Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Weekend to Remember

Dear Family,

Looking back, the last week in general has been very busy. We are nonstop. It's a good thing Elder Smoot and I can read each other's minds because it allows us to keep up with each other.

The Morgan Hill Zone was blessed to have three baptisms this last weekend. This month has been the zones most successful month since January. We are very pleased. It felt good contributing to the zone's success. Maria's baptism was very spiritual. We had over fifty in attendance. Unfortunately, the Jackson's weren't able to attend because of the time change. I wish you could see the pictures of the respective families involved. Included in the program were four generation of members, all excited to see their, Grandmother take this step. Over and over, we hear family members testify that they had been praying for twenty that she would one day get baptized. At the same time, many family members were a little surprised that she got baptized. Based on our first meeting, I would have agreed with them. The changes we saw were astounding.

The most touching moment of the weekend happened at her confirmation. Her son-in-law, Hermano Rivera, gave her the Gift of the Holy Ghost. She then preceded to hug everyone and ended by crying into Hermano Rivera's shoulder. She then thanked us for teaching her. She is such a funny lady that really has grown to love the gospel despite an interesting introduction.

Friday's zone leader council marked our last meeting with the Jackson's. As always, we couldn't believe some of President's comments. He has a way with shocking us and making us laugh at the same time. Dad would get along well with President.

As of now, President Watkins is our mission president. We will meet him on Thursday. We are excited to work with him. I am sure that he will help this mission continue to grow. I look forward to learning what I can from his experience and wisdom.


Elder Badger

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

Dear family,

Have I made mention that Gilroy is the hottest area in the mission. I am feeling it right now. We are nestled in a valley that gets absolutely no ocean breeze.The saving grace is that we are in a car with AC. I don't know how the bike elders do it. Last week topped out at over 100 degrees. We are currently at 96.

We are loving the Gavilan Branch. We continue to see additional support. All of our success can be attributed to the hard work of the members and their eagerness to share the gospel with friends. We have received over a dozen member referrals in the last week and we are working hard to cultivate more. Some have very good prospects. The best part of the whole process is that these investigators already have a strong support of members who already love and care for them and want the best for them. It makes our job as missionaries even easier. I think the attitude of the branch was summed up best when President DeSalmones stood up in Sacrament meeting and spoke on the responsibility we have as members to rescue, retain, and baptize. He then promised to give the missionaries a family to teach by the end of the week. He then challenged the members to do likewise within the month. I couldn't be happier with the eagerness of the branch.

With all of the missionary fire in the branch, it is no surprise that we are seeing a good deal of success. This Friday at 7 pm will be the baptism of Maria Franco. Everything is already in line. All six of her member children are very excited for the day and look forward to congratulating her. It was fun to watch her make the rounds at church inviting everyone to come to her baptism. She already feels like a part of the branch.

The preparations for the new mission president continue to move forward. The Jackson's are down to their last week. President isn't slowing down and plans on sprinting across the finish line. I think the transition should be fun. We will welcome President Watkins in a meet and greet on the 30th. The next week will start with personal interviews with President Watkins as well.

The Morgan Hill zone continues to do well. We were blessed to witness two baptisms last week and will see another three this week. One of which was a miracle "surprise baptism." Those are the best. Every district will baptize next week. Our long term goal is to have every district baptize every week. That would mean the zone is baptizing three people weekly, which is fabulous.

I hope you are enjoying the sun as much as we are. As things heat up, so does the work. I love you all and hope you have a safe summer. Jump in the lake for me. I wonder if I will even remember how to swim.


Elder Badger

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Dear family,

Much of our work with the ward council has begun to paid off. We had spent quite a bit of time in the previous week teaching members how to share the gospel. As a result we were blessed with over five different referrals. Missionaries love referrals. These are amazing new investigators that have existing fellowship and are excited to attend church. These people make the best converts.

Last night, we began teaching one of these referrals as part of an FHE. It went very well. We watched the Restoration and then played a variation of Blind Man's Bluff to illustrate the importance of having a prophet leading and guiding us. It was way fun. Our members told us after the lesson that they were surprised that sharing the gospel was that simple and that fun. Sometimes we let our fear keep us from making the attempt. The blessings come with the attempt. These attempts often lead to miracles.

Gilroy is preparing for the Garlic Festival. We have already been recruited as volunteers to work at the Gourmet Alley. It will require us to do a lot of food prep as we help the various food vendors at the festival. I can smell the garlic already.

We are very excited for our baptism on the 25th. Maria is very ready and is preparing for her baptismal interview. President Jackson is planning on spending his last Saturday as our mission president by attending the baptism. It is amazing how happy Maria looks when we talk about baptism. As I have explained before, this is huge change from our original welcome.

The work continues to progress. It is impossible to stop a true work from progressing>Love,Elder Badger

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Jackson's Last Transfer

Dear Family,

I have survived another transfer. I am blessed to be with Elder Smoot. We are both excited to have another transfer with the entirety of the Gavilan Branch. We still cover from San Jose to Gilroy. We have a baptism in two weeks and another the week after that. We keep lining them up. The Branch members keep coming up to us to say that they have referrals for us. We are doing everything we can to respond and follow up with our referrals within 24 hours. Sometimes this can be a challenge with the number of lessons that we are teaching, but we still manage to find time.

Last week was a near perfect week in many respects. We were only one key indicator off from having perfect standards of excellence numbers. These are the numbers we report weekly. Standards of excellence is a goal set by President Jackson that is designed to get areas to baptize monthly. It's amazing how consistently areas baptize as these are achieved. The best part about achieving standards of excellence, is that it gives us lots of time to teach. Teaching really helps to build our faith as we see people grow closer to Jesus Christ.

The baptism of Jesus Calderon Huezo was perfect. His son is a counselor in our branch presidency and had been a member for a decade or so. It was a happy day for the entire Cisneros family. We were blessed to hear prayers, talks, and musical numbers from all of the family members. Even his in-laws from Los Angeles came for a visit. Our investigators in attendance were very excited for their own baptisms and expressed their excitement while we were eating refreshments. Jesus was beaming as he came up our of the water. The branch is already looking for ways for him to excercise the Aaronic priesthoo (he received it on Sunday). Because he can't read, they are trying to figure out a way for him to participate in the blessing of the sacrament.

Today's transfer meeting was very interesting. The Tri-Valley zone was split into the Pleasanton and Livermore zones. Also, the mission has done away with Spanish wards that have three companionships. This will allow missionaries to better work with ward councils. It gets a little crowded in ward councils with six missionaries. The large wards will have two companionships. As such, some branches have two companionships. These changes are blessings that will ultimately help missionary work across the mission. I don't know how we managed to go unscathed in the Gavilan Branch. (We are one of the strongest branches in the mission)

I am glad that it is warm back home. Supposedly, Gilroy is the hottest area in the mission. We have yet to see this. We have begun to see posters for the Garlic Festival. We still smell the Garlic every morning.

In response to something Dad mentioned in his letter. I don't want to get transferred. There are other areas in the mission, I have yet to see, but I would much rather stay here where the work is good. I love Gilroy. We have a great relationship with the branch and want to keep it going. I hope to stay here until Christmas.


Elder Badger