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