Let me preface this letter by reminding you of my extensive pre-mission Spanish vocabulary. It consisted of one phrase I could remember from High School Spanish, dientes de ajo. Directly translated, it means teeth of garlic, but a more accurate translation is a clove of garlic. I didn't think I would ever use this phrase on my mission. I found out about transfers. I will be going to Gilroy, California, Garlic capital of the world. I have driven through the city once and know very well that they grow garlic there. It reeks of garlic. I am very excited to be serving there. I will be serving in the Gavelin branch. They whole stake is very missionary motivated. The branch is really pushing to become a ward and has been growing like crazy. The stake has very ambitious goals, they want to almost double in size in the next year. They have been doing very well at achieving this goal. My companion will be Elder Cornaby from Utah. I don't know much about him other than the fact that he baptizes like crazy and is going home in six weeks. I will arrive Tuesday after transfer meeting.
Also, I have very good news. I found out about some baptisms that happened in Redwood City. Dina Pena's husband Santiago got baptized the same day as Valentin. They had 90 people at his baptism. That is twice as big as the Mocho branch. If you look at the picture from Dina's baptism you will see a cute little eight year old named Ashley. Let me tell you that she is very cute, but equally cunning. When teaching her the new member discussions I taught her about eternal families. I explained what was necessary to make an eternal family. She then asked me if that meant her Dad would need to get baptized. I told her yes. Right before she left I told her that her mission was to get her Dad baptized. At the time, he wasn't really interested in taking the lessons. His heart was softened as Dina battled Hodgkin's. He took Ashley to church every week during this time. Eventually he invited the missionaries over to teach him. As the sisters taught him the word of wisdom, Ashley was eager to help by throwing away his cigarettes and alcohol. On the day he got baptized, Ashley told the sister missionaries that her mission was complete. Good job Ashley. I even got permission to call Dina. She is doing very well. She feels 100 times better than she did before. She is back to work helping her husbands drywall business. Even better, her 24 year old son Anthony is taking the lessons from the sisters. Dina is excited to enter the temple in a year and get sealed to Ashley and Santiago. You know what that means... I have to book a flight back to San Jose in a year.
Also, Adonay Luna's wife is getting baptized next weekend. He didn't even introduce us to her. He said that his decision to join the church was a very personal thing and didn't really want to get any of his family members involved. With time, she wanted to know more and began asking questions. He gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and she began investigating the church. It is amazing to see the blessings enter the lives of the recent converts.
Finally, one more baptism. While waiting for an appointment in my first area,Elder Tidwell and I decided to knock doors in the mean time. The first door we knocked contained the Flores family. We began teaching them and referred them to the missionaries who covered that area. Naomi, the mother, has a baptismal date and is excited to make the covenant of baptism.
I am constantly amazed at the way the Lord continues to work in the lives of his children.