Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's a beautiful day in Hollister

Dear family,

I send you my love from Hollister, CA. I am on exchange with Elder Carpenter, an English elder from Orem, UT. Life is good. We just taught a lesson to an new investigator named Daisy Luna. She accepted a baptismal date for April 2. It's not even lunch yet. I can tell that today is going to be a good day.

I hope all is well with the family. I hope you expressed my love to all of the family in attendance at Uncle Glen's funeral.

Our work is going well. We are beginning to really teach a lot of our investigators in our large teaching pool. We have really begun to see who is really interested in baptism and who isn't. The gap between the first and second lesson tells us a lot as missionaries. If our investigators have kept the commitments we give them early on, we usually see them in white at baptism.

In other news, we found out that our new mission president will be Lincoln Watkins from Alpine, UT. From what we know it looks like he has a business background. It is really weird to think that we will have a new mission president in July. It's amazing how much the Jacksons have really shaped what the California San Jose Mission is.

This last week, Elder Cornaby and I were very busy meeting with all of the companionships in our zone. We are really trying to help the missionaries rely on the Lord more heavily. It's something that we will need if we are to continue to see baptisms increase in the Morgan Hill Zone and in the mission.

The only really bad thing that happened this last week was the flu that hit me. It hit me hard. I woke up Thursday morning throwing up. I thought I was ok to go to Hollister to attend the district meeting down there, but realize that that probably wasn't the wisest decision on my part. After taking my temperature and calling Sister Jackson, we concluded that it was the Flu. I slept for the rest of the day and was back on my feet the next day. I am glad it is over. I didn't realize your muscles got sore from throwing up, but they do. Luckily, it only put me out of the count for the day. Exchanges allowed us to make all of our appointments with investigators.


Elder Badger

Zone Conferences Survived!!!

Dear Family,

Guess what....

Life is beautiful. We have been seeing a lot of success this week as we teach are large teaching pool. Two weeks ago, we had about two investigators. Since then, we have found ten new investigators and plan on picking up a few more in the upcoming week. For some reason, I feel like finding in one of the keys to being successful. It can be really discouraging to have a small teaching pool without a lot of excitement. Many of these new investigators are eager to learn more, they are reading from the Book of Mormon and want to know more.

One of our strongest sources of new investigators has been our branch mission leader, Brother Arriola. He seems to know everyone. Five of the investigators we tracted into are related to him. It makes it really powerful when he says, "Primo, este evangelio me cambio. Quiero que lo tenga. Lo necesitan." (Cousin, this gospel has changed me. I want you to have it. You need it). Literally, the man knows almost everyone in Gilroy. If they work at Christopher Ranch, the garlic farm, they know his wife. If they are from Vera Cruz, Mexico, they are probably his cousin. It is fun to call the man and ask him if he is related to any of our investigators. It's even better when he says yes.

Our next strongest source of investigators has been the Catholic Church. We volunteer weekly at St. Josephs Family Center in the administrative office. We help those in needs by creating records for them so they can receive food from the food pantry downstairs. We are able to use our Spanish a lot. They really appreciate the help of the Spanish missionaries. This opens many doors because much of the relationship of trust has already been established. I am grateful for the missionaries who set up this volunteer work, years ago. The citizens of Gilroy know that the Mormon missionaries are good people and actually aren't that different from them. When we ask if they have met missionaries before it is nice for them to say, "Si, me ayudaron hace..." It helps me realize that what we do will have an impact for years to come.

Last week we hosted our first zone conference. It was fun, but a little stressful. We couldn't use the chapel because of direction we have received from Salt Lake City, so we crammed 50 missionaries into the primary room. We hope it was a learning experience for all. It was very powerful to hear President Merrell of the Morgan Hill Stake tell the missionaries that there are 2000 people that will join the Morgan Hill Stake in the next three years. They are excited to have members that are so eager to baptize. Missionaries love getting calls from members in their areas saying that they have people for them to baptize. It makes us smile like it's Christmas morning

This upcoming week we are facing three days of district meetings. Elder Cornaby and I are teaching. We have taught one thus far. It is actually really fun. It is a great time to cultivate discussion and teach. I definitely didn't give enough credit to my leaders before I got to the Morgan Hill zone. It is a lot of work. We are constantly planning, calling and teaching. It is the first time I have seen the test tube of teaching used with missionaries. So much of our attitude reflects in the missionaries we work with. Even though we may be exhausted and it's 10:20 at night, we have to sound chipper, awake, and excited. Attitude reflects.

One of our big focuses as we meet with the companionships in the upcoming week is tapping into the Spirit. This zone is doing very well. They are working harder than I have ever seen a zone work before. They have the fundamentals down. We are working on helping them plug into the Spirit. It will be interesting. We are talking about a shift forward. It hasn't really been done before on a zone level. Elder Cornaby and I have been praying a lot and feel that this is what we need. We are looking a lot to Helaman 5 to see how we can help people catch the fire of the Spirit. It will be hard work at first, but once we break through this barrier, we will find that it is actually easier to work in such a manner.


Elder Badger

P.S. Thank you all for the Valentine's Day package. The cookies were perfect. How did you get them to stay so soft?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gilroy is great!!!!

Dear Family,

First off, let me tell you that it smells like Garlic. A lot of garlic.

We have had a great week. Since arriving we found six new investigators and have been teaching a ton of lessons. It feels great to be busy. We are even busier because we have zone conference on wednesday (tomorrow). Between all of the lessons and the preparation work, we are swamped. I love it.

Much of the mission focus is on getting each companionship to baptize monthly. If we can do this, the mission would double what we are achieving now. It really isn't beyond reach when we think of it that way. The Los Angeles mission achieved this benchmark last year, we can start doing it soon.

Elder Cornaby is great. It is the first time Ihave been with an older missionary since I was trained by Elder Tidwell. I forgot how much fun it is to teach with a missionary that has a lot of time out. We should see a lot of miracles. He wants to end his mission in April baptizing. We are currently set to baptize on the weekend of the 20th. I can't wait.

I hope all is well with you all. It is interesting to note the differences in areas. Gilroy is chalk full of Latino's. It has an advanage because it is very close to San Jose, but is fairly inexpensive in terms of cost of living. This makes it a great place to be a Spanish missionary.

The Gavelin Branch has the fire. They are eager to become a ward and receive the blessings that come from being a ward. If all continues to go well, they could make the change by the end of this year. I am eager to help them do so.


Elder Badger

PS We are in car. WooooHoooo!!!! I don't have to buy another bike.