Monday, April 25, 2016

Never Give Up

So as I sit and ponder on this week the only thing I can really think
of is how many times I've shared a certain story that I would like to
share with each of you. Just a forewarning, I am getting deep about a
topic that probably shouldn't be that deep. But here we go!

So, as many of you know I love the Warriors. And my favorite player?
Just like the rest, it's gotta be Stephen Curry. But the reason why is
one that may not be like the rest. I don't think there's ever been a
better or more inspiring underdog story. You see, he was a very small
point guard in high school. And he still is really. But because of
that, nobody thought he would go to a big college to play ball. Which
he didn't. But he still took them far in the brackets. Then it came
time for nba and absolutely nobody thought he would get drafted and if
he did it would be for a lower graded team and he wouldn't be playing
very much. Well as hard as it is to say, he went to the Warriors when
they weren't that great but he still gave his all to prove himself.
Then just as he started rising to fame, his ankles would give out on
him every other game he played. He was at one of the lowest points and
he definitely could have just given up. But he put faith in God,
bettered himself each and every day and now look at him. He's done
everything everyone said he'd never do.

Now, why would I share this story? Because so many people get to their
lowest points in life and just feel like it's better and easier to
just give up. Well as hard as it may be, that's the complete opposite
of what we should do. We have been put in this life to get through
hard things. That's how we progress and become more like our Heavenly
Father each day. We pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off
(sometimes literally) and we put faith in God, His plan for us and His
son Jesus Christ and all will fall into place. Sort of. There's a lot
that we have to do but there's always a way. No matter how far we
think we are from where we want or need to be, there's always a way
back. Always.

So yeah! That's my deep thought for the week! As for everything else,
lessons are still happening, seeds are being planted and people are
slowly but surely being prepared for baptism. We only got to see
Raymond once this week but we still had a really good lesson with him
and cleared up a lot of questions as well. We also got back finally to
talk with Carlos who was the guy who didn't want to talk to us for a
while. And we finally got to meet the son of the blind member who is
hanging with the wrong crowd and getting in some trouble. We are
hoping to really talk to him more and help him get back on the right
path. I also got to see a lot of the members from midwood this weekend
because we had stake conference so that was really awesome too! My boy
Joaquin was included in that group of course 😏 pictures included!!
And that about does it this week! Much love!

1) District picture at the bridge last Monday
2) So last week I may have gotten a little dehydrated playing
basketball and I was exhausted but apparently my tired face is also my
grumpy face. These are two different picture with the same exact face
3 and 4) The crazies from this week
5) How my district does accountability
6) The Rodriguez family from Brentwood!! Their son recently got
baptized and I was one of the first missionaries to teach him. I got
to see them at yet another funeral we sang at
7) Joaquin! Plus other members I don't know and missionaries who are
also deriving in Brooklyn
8) Me and Joaquin!!

La Expiacion

So this week was another pretty successful week. We taught, brought
people to church and even set up an interview for Jessica and Raymond
Ortiz to meet with the branch president since he was out of town for
the past 2 weeks. We also got to talk to him for a little bit and tell
him about some things we have learned about some less actives in the
ward. Gaining trust from the branch presidency is definitely going
well. As for crazy moments we saw a pretty good street fight which was
my first one so far. Someone was also yelling world star so I was
happy to hear that's still a thing haha.

This is a shorter email again but to finish up I just wanted to share
something I learned yesterday at church: The more we experience the
true amazing feelings of the atonement, the more we should feel
obligated to share our testimonies. I've never thought about it like
that before! Because it's pretty much the basis of our purpose in this
life and if we don't share that with others, then how could they
experience the fullness of joy that comes with it! I'm probably not
the best at explaining it but I blame Spanish for that haha. But in
short, the atonement is amazing. Share that knowledge with people! Yup
that's pretty much all I have to say this week!

Also after about 8 or 9 months of being in Brooklyn I finally made it
ONTO he Brooklyn bridge! P.S. I my eye on the left looks messed up
because of the glare...I don't really have a lazy eye. There was also
a shoutout to Concord High! In my eyes at least

Craziest Week Yet!!!

Yeah. Definitely the craziest week of my mission. It was Allow me to explain:

1. So as you may or may not have heard, my jaw has been having a lot
of problems...again. So last Monday I had to go and get that checked
out and after a 3 and a half hour visit (2 hours of which I was just
sitting in the waiting room) the doctor prescribed me some pills. He
said that they were just a stronger muscle relaxer and that "they
might make you a little sleepy". Well I took one before bed since it
gets locked up in the mornings. Well when I woke up it literally felt
like I hadn't slept in over a week. I've never felt so tired before!
2. Tuesday we also got a call from the other two elders who got a call
from a member and said she said that her dad died and that we needed
to go to the funeral to support her and possibly will need to set some
things up for it too...and I was really confused since I have never
planned anything let alone a funeral! So what did I do? I called the
elders quorum president! Then I was really confused because he said
she doesn't know her real dad and her stepdad is in jail. Soooo I was
really confused. So long story short it was her friends dad, none of
her family are members so she invited us to introduce the entire
family to the church, elder Franco had to conduct the funeral and all
the missionaries sang. It was really weird but hey we got the name of
the church out!
3. When we were doing service we saw a guy and a girl breakup and true
ghetto Brooklyn fashion with yelling, jumping and running. It was
4. We were trying to look up a member (the one that looks like the guy
from key and peele. I'll include another picture for a better image)
and we saw this guy across the street hiding behind a pole
re-positioning himself each time we took a step. So we looked a little
closer and who was it? Hermano Alcantara...the guy we were looking up.
Then as soon as we turned around and kept going he booked it across
the street. This was actually the first time that's ever happened.
Good times
5. Thursday we got a referral saying we had a lesson with that same
person the very next day at 4 which luckily worked but we still wanted
to call him just to confirm it. Well usually when you get referrals
they're investigators right? Well this one turned out to be a member
already. He told us it's been a really long time since he was at
church, he's schizophrenic, bipolar and a bunch of other stuff. I
thought I've seen and heard it all at this point but wow. This guy was
something else. But his faith in God is so real and it was really cool
to see that in someone who has been through so much. He also said he
was going to try and go to church on Sunday and even though he called
us Saturday saying he wasn't sure if he could, he still came!! And
participated in the classes too!
6. We were street contacting and we talked with someone who said his
nephew is Carmelo Anthony...
7. This one investigator who the elders were teaching before elder
Franco and I were in Bushwick didn't want to talk to new missionaries
but after finally having a lesson with him he said he might give us a
call. But then we had a nice little bonding moment when it turned out
we both like Metallica and a bunch of bands. So the spreading of the
gospel through metal continues \m/
8. Finally, Saturday we had an awesome lesson with the Ortiz's,
Raymond said with time he could possibly be baptized and he is able to
understand all that we teach but he knows that it's gonna take time.
And that's okay! God's time is never our time but we just gotta keep
preparing him! He's a super awesome guy and him and his wife are super
fun to talk with. Then they also gave us food and since we had to rush
we both ate fast not thinking how that means we are really hungry. So
I finished my plate quick and Jessica asked if I wanted more and you
can't just simply say no so I said yes but only a very little and she
gave me the exact same portion! Dominicans man. They're crazy with

So yeah! This week had some fun times! And that about sums it all up!!
Now here's some pictures!

And here's a couple more fun videos. You should watch them in order to
fully understand

Conferencia general!!!!!

Well as the title makes it seem, general conference was awesome! It's
just super cool that we get a chance to hear from the prophet and the
apostles. It's also fun to get a ton of snacks from the members to eat
during it haha. This conference probably affected me the most too.
There's so much I want to do better now and I know without a single
bit of doubt that there's a way prepared for each and every one of us
to be better!

So besides conference, the other highlight of my week was that we
actually got to meet that couple I talked about last week! The one
with the wife who's a member and the husband who isn't. There names
are Jessica and Raymond Ortiz just because I'll be talking about them
a lot. And they're already married which is almost unheard of in
Hispanic culture! He seems to be pretty open to a lot of things but we
also didn't teach too much stuff when we met with them. Then Sunday
came around and him and his wife both came to the first session of
conference! He was a little overwhelmed but one thing that worked
perfectly was that the first talk given yesterday was about the
restoration and he was able to follow along with that one pretty well
since he read the restoration pamphlet we left him with. But then
after that he said he was pretty lost. But we have a return
appointment with them on Thursday and we're hoping to clear up a lot
of stuff for him. So stay tuned with that!

We are also working a little more with this less active woman and her
boyfriend who really likes the church too. That's Maria and Roberto.
Roberto says he believes in it all, feels good when he goes to church
but still needs to try and fix his schedule so he can actually go to
church. But he's super solid!

This past week we had a really good weekly planning session where we
just went hard planning for each person and thinking of where they
could be in a couple months now that elder Franco and I have gotten a
good feel for the area and the people and we're both staying. Well, as
we were planning we saw all the potential success we could be having
this coming transfer so we are hoping for that!

To finish up, this past week I realized the real reason why I've
stayed on my mission through all the tests and trials I've had. I
won't go too deep into it but it's definitely because of the atonement
of Jesus Christ. Because of that sacrifice of his, there are so many
blessings that are available to us. So much love, peace, forgiveness
and happiness we can receive from what he did for us. And I've felt of
a lot of those blessings and it just wouldn't be right if I kept all
of that to myself! It's like a whole team winning a championship but
only a few people get the credit while the rest of the team isn't
acknowledged at all. That ain't cool man. So that's why I'm here so I
can try and share that knowledge and happiness with others!! Well one
of the big reasons at least haha

It's an Easter miracle!!!

Hey everyone! How's everyone doing? Hope you're good! I'm still out
here just going along working like always. This past week was a little
different though. A lot of smaller things kind of came up so getting
lessons was a little harder especially because people were busy
celebrating Easter with something called family and friends? I didn't
understand what that meant but I'm sure it's something good!

Something kind of funny that happened this week was because of the
massive amount of Jews in our area, my companion said it'd be funny to
say happy Easter to one of them. Well me being me I just kind of
agreed with him and thought, yeah here comes a surprise my good
friend. So we were walking and I said happy Easter to the very first
Jew we passed 😂 he didn't think it was very funny but we did! They're
just literally EVERY WHERE. And I guess they speak Spanish too so my
companion and I can no longer make fun of them in Spanish...sad day.

Okay serious stuff! So one of the things that we had to do was we went
to zone conference which was super awesome for 2 reasons, 1) I had a
little reunion with all my friends in the other zones and 2) it
actually motivated me a lot more than usual to be better. And one thin
that president said that kind of stuck with me was how we can't ever
know what God's desire is for us without asking him and then he asked
us all to do just that. And that's kind of been something I've wanted
to know for a while. So yesterday our branch did fast Sunday since
next week is general conference and everything and that's exactly what
I fasted for. I definitely felt the spirit throughout the day but
nothing that I could really say was an answer. So then we are getting
home and then the phone rings and it's an unknown number. So I answer
and it turns out that it was a woman who moved here recently from the
Dominican Republic, is a member, wants to know where the church is and
wants us to teach her husband who isn't a member! #eastermiracles !!!
And then I just got this really good feeling that Heavenly Father does
really trust me and wants me to continue to find and teach the people
in this area to bring them unto Christ and he will always prepare the
way in his own time. So yeah! Super cool experience

Something else I wanted to share real quick is about the sacrament.
Yesterday I was listening to one of the talks from the October 2014
general conference called the sacrament by Cheryl Esplin. She starts
explaining the symbolism behind the sacrament including something I've
never realized before...she starts out by talking the painting of
Jesus with all his angels behind him where his arms are extended
towards us. And then she explains how the young men who pass the
sacrament are exactly like that painting in the sense that they
represent Jesus Christ with his arms out towards us always ready to
allow us to partake of that and be clean and start over again. I just
really liked that. I probably didn't explain it as well as she said it
so you should all just go and look it up. There's also a super cool
new Mormon message on you should check out too!

So yeah that about does it for me! Hope all is well. Love and miss you all!

1) This is the street where my boys elder Robinson and Elder Saintersn
got robbed. I thought I'd stop by one day because we were in the area
2) This less active guy looks like the guy from key and peele 😂
3) My poppa is getting married!!!

And the videos kind of speak for themselves