Monday, October 31, 2011

Talking to everyone...

Dear family,
It is always fun to hear from you. I am really grateful for your help with class registration and housing. I am glad that it is out of the way. We have big plans for November. Tonight we are meeting with a man that has been attending the ward for several months now, but has yet to be baptized. Yesterday he sought us out to set an appointment. Pray for us.  November could be Leo's month.
Yesterday's sacrament meeting was really good. Bishop and Sister Lopez spoke in preparation for their three year calling to the Oakland Temple presidency. Bishop Lopez is the first Hispanic member of the Oakland Temple's presidency in its history. It is really a testament to the growth of the Spanish speaking members here in San Jose.
Friday was yet another zone leader council. Much of it was centered on helping our missionaries remember their purpose and doubling down on obedience. We can always be more obedient.  We are encouraging our missionaries to seek every blessing possible.  Blessings come through obedience.
Saturday evening we decorated our trunk for the ward's trunk or treat.  Members kept giving us candy to give away so we ended up being one of the last cars to shut down.  It was really a great way to "move into the ward."
Our work is picking up. We keep feeling like we are going to turn a corner and things will begin skyrocketing, but that has yet to happen. We are working extra hard this week to make this week the tipping point.  I think tonight's appointment with Leo could really make the difference. Our work with the members has gone really well. We are teaching over two lessons a day, but want to add one more lesson to each day.  This week could make the difference.
I should be going back to Gilroy for another baptism this weekend. Angel Lopez was found through our Gilroy movie night.  The interesting part is that he is the father of a potential investigator we had tried to teach for the entire six months I was there. Now that they are teaching Angel, the missionaries in Gilroy hope to be able to teach Nancy, his daughter.
We are working hard.  I still go to bed very tired from long days.  We are building the kingdom here in San Jose. All of the time and effort is worth it.  Seeing Jesus Leon last week reminded me how much the gospel can change lives.
Elder Badger

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lots of Lessons....

Dear Family,
This week we really put our focus into planning for our movie night and teaching lots of lesson.  As a result, we were able to teach 15 lessons this last week. We are very happy.  Teaching is my favorite thing to do. It's also the best way to further the work along. People change as they feel the spirit work within their lives. Even members appreciate feeling the spirit during the lessons.
We have been getting ready for a specialized training that will be happening later this week.  Think of it like missionary charm school.  A handful of companionships will learn everything from etiquette to teaching skills.  We are in charge of conducting the preach my gospel evaluation.  It should be a way to better help young missionaries focus their studies and strengthen their understanding of the principles contained in "Preach My Gospel."
I can't believe that this week is the time to register for BYU classes.  Although, I have to begin to think about life after the mission, I am pushing strong to the end. We are hoping to baptize a complete family by the end of the year and will make every sacrifice we need to make to achieve the goal. 
Our movie night went very well and was a huge step towards spreading the missionary fire among the members.
On Saturday I returned to Morgan Hill for the baptism of Jesus Leon. It was nice to see him again and say hi to all of the members I left behind in Gilroy. President DeSalmones gave us a ride from his house to Morgan Hill. I even got to say hi to Elder Smoot and Maria Franco while there. Both are doing well.  Fortunately, I will be returning in two weeks for Angel's baptism.  I look forward to it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some Weeks are tougher than we would choose...

Dear Family,
This week has been one of the most interesting of my mission.  Our work is progressing. The movie night is set for this Friday. All we have left to do is pop the popcorn.  We are really hoping it will translate into new investigators.
It hasn't been the work that has made this week tough. On Wednesday afternoon, we received a call from President Watkins asking us to get Elder W-----, our Spanish district leader, to the mission home. Earlier in the week, Elder W----- had told us that his mom's cancer had come back after four years of remission.  She was to begin treatment immediately. 
As the week progressed, we spent the majority of the afternoons at the mission (home) with Elder W----- so he could skype his family.  On Friday, he was able to talk to his mom and family as she passed away.  Please maintain him in your prayers.  I don't know how I would deal with a situation like this if anything like it were to happen to anyone in our family.
He is really being a trooper.  We understand that there isn't much we can do.  We are there to support whenever needed, but we definitely don't want to hover either.  Amazingly, the day his mom passed away, he went right to work and taught our district meeting. I don't know how he is doing it.

I have heard it said that more so than our mission is chosen by revelation, we are assigned to a mission president by revelation.  Such is the case with Elder W----- and President Watkins.  President Watkins went through a similar experience on his mission.  He has told us of his last conversation with his mom before leaving to Mexico.
I think the hardest thing about this week is the fact that we can't do anything. I have learned that sometimes we are thrown experience completely out of our control as human beings. They force us to rely on the saviors atonement and trust that there is a plan in all things.
Despite our knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, it doesn't make saying goodbye any easier.  Much like a child is homesick for his parents despite the knowledge that he will return home in a few short days, the separation of death can leave us feeling homesick for those we love. We know we will see them again, but it doesn't change the fact that we are separated for a time.  Fortunately, we know that there is a reunion to come.  We must wait diligently, but it will come.
Elder Badger

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two Trasfers Left...

Dear family,
It has been quite a week. I don't know if we can be any busier.  Are you tired of hearing that yet?  We taught 15 lessons and are really making some headway in our work with the members. The fire is catching. We are also working really hard in our rescue work with the less-active members.  Progress is coming.
Yesterday marked the beginning of my last two transfers in the field.  I am heading for the small coma.  We are working harder than ever.  I am still with Elder Manning and very happy that we will be together again. 
The work in the ward has been going so well that we are planning a movie night on October 21.  It will be an opportunity for the members to invite their nonmember friends and enjoy the company of the ward. We are also "moving into the ward" by hosting our car at the trunk-or-treat.  We already carved pumpkins yesterday and are excited to participate. 
This transfer meeting was very interesting.  President Watkins is putting many leaders as trainers/leaders.  Such is the case with Elder Smoot. He was transferred to Santa Cruz where he will be ZL/DL/ follow-up training.   We were glad that we survived these types of surprises.  We have our hands full in San Jose. Our zone is one of the largest in the mission. I can safely say that our hands are very full right now.
I love your letters. Please keep writing me. I look forward to hearing from you. I am trying to be good about writing, but it can be tough.  I am definitely planning some Christmas cards, so I may be asking for some addresses soon.
Elder Badger

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Busiest Week Ever....

Dear family,
I will give you an idea of our week.  Monday-Meeting with the mission department; Tuesday-Work day' Wedensday-Temple day' Thursday-Work day' Friday-Zone leader council; Saturday-Conference; Sunday-Conference and Outgoing fireside.
Despite all of the meetings and commitments, we are happy.  We especially enjoyed our trip to the temple on Wednesday.  The member that gave us the ride is the former bishop of the Los Alamitos ward. He was just called as the second counselor in the Oakland Temple Presidency.  I may have mentioned before that Maria Franco chose him to be her "Padrino" (look that one up, some traditions die hard) and baptize her. 
Luckily, this upcoming week is calmer.  We are focussing on teaching members to generate referrals. All of the members want to do missionary work, but sometimes don't know how. Our plan is to build their confidence in us by teaching them the missionary lessons. As they see that we are good teachers, we will see success. It is one of the best ways to do missionary work and see success. 
I am planning on returning to the Morgan Hill Zone this next weekend for the baptism of Jesus Leon.  I am iterested to see what how Elder Smoot is going to perform the ordinance. Jesus suffered an insdustrial accident a while back and has four pins goming out of his leg.  I am sure that there is some way they can manage the baptism.
All in all, our work is progressing well. We are happy and see the work improving.  We are talking to everyone because we know that there are brothers and sisters ready to recieve the gospel.  Sometime they call us(Dina), sometimes we find them changing tires(Jose Luis), and other times they don't even know that they are looking(Maria Franco).  I have yet to find two investigators the exact same way. As we open our mouths, something unique about our message is carried to their hearts through the spirit.
Elder Badger