Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Backpack, Book of Mormon, Action!

Well hey there!

This past week has been probably a nine out of ten. Not because anything bad happened, but solely because there´s no such thing as a perfect week. Elder Tohara was really nervous this week because today is transfer day. Thank heavens he didn´t get transfered because I'm just a wee lil' pup of a missionary and we've also grown to be good friends and I´d give our companionship a solid 9 our of 10 as well!

Last Thursday we had a huge multi-zone conference with over half the mission. It was a big surprise because that never happens. Elder Tohara and I thought that maybe the President was going to anounce the "end of the world" or something on the 21st or 23rd or whatever haha. But you know, just the norm. I learned a ton and there's a lot to apply from my notes. It was good to see some of my friends from the CCM and my former companion Elder Wilcox.

Last Friday we had what I would consider "my first baptism". His name is Joel and he's fifteen years old. His mom is a less active member but ever since we started with Joel they've been coming back to church. Joel is an investigator that I had the privelege of being there from the first contact to baptism. Ahhhhh I know..... my first big step. I'm growin' up Ma! The young men's group is really starting to see some sizeable results here as we´ve already had two new young men be baptized in the past month. Us missionaries and Elder Price, the senior couple missionary in our branch, are really working with the branch president to get things going here in Mala with these boys. Any advice Dad?

The members are also starting to bring people to church, and the Spirit is really guiding us as our third companion. An older gentleman named Hipolito, just seemed to float right into our pool of golden investigators, and he's super excited to be baptized on the 5th of January! We also found another younger guy, Cristian Jesus, who's going to get baptized on the 19th of January. And last but not least, we've been visiting a member family, the Pomas, for the past month and they're now returning to the church after years of inactivity.  Their son is getting baptized this next Saturday and the parents are starting to prepare to enter the temple to seal for all time and eternity. What an amazing blessing it is to be a part of all that's happening here!

Last of all, I have kind of a funny story haha. So Thursday night, right before bed, Elder Tohara leaves the room to go to the bathroom. The bathroom, first of all, is about 50 feet from our room, so just know that. Also know that I was so completely exhausted and tired that I could barely keep my eyes open. So yeah, I kneel to say my personal prayer while Elder Tohara is doing his business. Without even realizing, I wake up in my bed, under the covers, unaware that I had even moved or finished saying my prayer. I look at the clock which says "12:47 A.M.". Then I look at the other empty bed........wait, EMPTY?! Yup, so I run to the bathroom since that was the last place I knew of the whereabouts of my good ol' Latino mission buddy. I knock softly on the door and say in Spanish, "Elder Tohara, what are you doing?". All of the sudden I hear scurrying and the light suddenly turns on from behind the door with the quick little reply "I can't open the door." So yup, I found a hammer and we basically broke the door open. Apparently the lock broke and so Elder Tohara was stuck inside for almost 3 hours while I slept peacefully in my nice warm bed. Also, he tried to bang on the door and yell to get my attention, but of course, I was already saying good night. After companionship prayer at 1:09 A.M I said I was sorry and we jumped into bed. I really am such a good companion.

Anyway, that's it folks! I love you all and just know that I think about you everyday!

Elder Lundberg

P.S. Hannah Denney - Thanks for your letter! I'm so excited for all of you deciding to go on missions. Keep me updated! Chocolate!
Mackenzie Brown - I completley believed in your letter that you were getting married. Good one. Thanks. Stay single! Or at least ease the real news next time.
Kelsey Baer - ITALY! No. That doesn't just happen. How insanely bangarangin of a missionary you'll be Sorobella Baer! Keep up the good work my friend and we'll stay in touch!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Oh yeah...What's up America?!

Family and Friends!

Sorry about the last letter I wrote home. I got cut short on time and didn't have enough time to explain my story fully. But just to clarify, it was Hermana Prissy who had the miracle of finding 20 soles in her little book that her little boy found while at church. She actually gave an incredible talk yesterday in church about the true Christlike spirit of Christmas. She really inspired the whole crowd with her Spirit. Our chapel was filled to the brink and there were more people than ever before! I love breaking church attendance records.

Anyway, Christmas is coming up so quick. I will actually be able to communicate home using Skype. I'm not sure when, but I'll let you know when I know. And it's a little different having Christmas in the summer time, but it sounds like Utah has had yet another warm winter. Last night I got to watch a recording of the First Presidency Christmas Devotional and felt a little tinge of homesickness seeing all the lights on Temple Square. My companion always says jokingly, "Wow. Gringos tienen plata eh?" (Gringo have silver, eh). So he said that in the middle of the devotional as it panned over the conference center and water fountains with lit up trees everywhere. Basically, he thinks every single American is a millionaire. I try to convince him otherwise, but he insists. Ah well. We really have so much to be grateful for.

This past week we contacted a new married couple! Their names are Nestor and Vanessa and they have two small boys. The first thing they said was how they want to change their lives and come closer to Christ. Their biggest challenge is that the father works in the mine for ten days and then has five days of rest, so it's hard having huge spaces between lessons. But this past Sunday they came to church, and attended the Gospel Principles class afterwards where I taught the Plan of Salvation as a review with all the new converts. Hermana Vanessa had a huge grin on her face when we asked her how church went at our lesson with them yesterday evening. It was pretty great. We're going to set their baptismal date for January.

I received way to many letters today and made the mistake of reading them all. So sorry my letter is really short. No time left haha.

I love you all!

Elder Lundberg

It's the Mala life for me!

Hey ery´body.

Well, this week has been interesting. A lot of good and bad, but it´s still going great.

First, the good. After my last email last week we went over to the Wilson family's house for lunch. They're an older couple from Nevada. The Price couple, who are from Idaho, and who work with Elder Tohara and I in Mala, were also there. They're the kind of hilarious old people that just say funny things and when you look at them you think "Ah, cuuute." Haha. Anyway, they prepared a really nice Thanksgiving ¨lunch¨for us with all the props.  I goota say, I was pleased. So, bye bye chicken and rice.

On Tuesday we visited with Kelly to have kind of our last lesson with her. After we finished, I invited her Mom to her baptism. Her face was completely  surprised to find out what her daughter had never told her, that she was going to get baptized. You could tell her mom was a little miffed, and Kelly's face went really red. We left feeling a little worried. 

The next day she showed up to her interview and she was super discouraged. Her uncle is a Catholic priest and all her aunts are very Catholic. Kelly rolled her eyes as she said, " mi familia es Catolico" (My family is Catholic). She also became very sad when she explained that they all said ¨muy feas cosas¨ (very ugly things) to her. There exists a lot of confidence problems between her and her mother. Her mother doesn't really understand baptism and thinks Kelly has to wait a few more months to make a decision. That's just how a lot of people are here. Marriage, baptism, grocery shopping, etc are just things that people say they have plans for in the next few months, but it usually ends up being about thirty years. Haha, not all, but some.

So yeah, we're hoping to talk with Kelly's mother this week and teach her the doctrine of Christ to help her understand the decision that her daughter wishes to make. We're going to do our best to have her baptism this coming Saturday, otherwise the retention for situations like these is very low.

Another hard thing for me was showing up to some of the investigators homes for visits and finding the kids outside and their parents drunk inside. This past weekend there's been a lot of partying. We showed up to visit Juli and Jesus, a married couple with four kids, and found her daughter walking out who told us about her dad being ¨borracho¨or drunk inside. Yeah, that was hard to see. But I'm keeping my head up despite the adversary's efforts to prevent the work from rolling forth.

A highlight of the week was our visit to Hermana Cruz. Although we found out that she's going to be moving at the end of the month and therefore can't be baptized since she won't be ready by then and there's no chruch presence where she's going.  

Hermans Prissy, her neighboor recounted a miracle that happened to her.  Last Sunday she had to walk to church because she only had about a sole and a half which is about 80 cents America money. She walked about 30 miles with her two boys. While at church she prayed to God that she might find a way to get home instead of walking. In a little book that she gave to her boy he found 20 soles which she had actually searched earlier that day very very thoroughly for any left over money. I teared up as she told and cried during her story. What a woman of great faith and such an example.

Love you all !

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Can anyone say pollo?

Oh hey fam and friends.

This past week has been absolutely fantastic. The mission. So great. The companion. Even greater. He also would like me to say "Hello" for him.

I think you guys are most curious of all about the little details. So here I go.

I wake up at about 6:26 every morning. Kneel by my bed and pray until about 6:32 am.........

No, I'll spare you those details. A normal day here in Mala really just consists in visitng investigators. Elder Tohara and I have study in the morning, we go over to Hna. Faviola's house for lunch each day (which usually consist of some kind of chicken and rice) and then the rest of the day we visit couples, individuals, etc. Many times we go with members to the different homes to visit.

Right now we are working with 3 married couples toward baptism and 3 unmarried couples towards a matrimonial date. The Lord has really answered our prayers for new families to teach. The ward really lacks more priesthood holders because a lot of the men work or don't feel like coming to church on Sunday morning. This Saturday we have the baptism for a young sister named Kelly. She is really an incredible person and is really smart. She also cooks amazing pastries. One time, before she was taught the Word of Wisdom, she baked some cookies with coffee in them and gave them to Elder Tohara and his previous companion. But she quickly learned to throw away that recipe. Talk about someone who is SO prepared for the gospel. I'm super excited for her baptism!

Last Saturday we had a "Gran Toque de Puertas" where members from all around the zone came from other cities to help members in Mala visit all the less actives. We had about 50 people show up! Mala is one of the towns that has more struggles compared to the other towns, so it was really great to have that kind of support. We were able to visit a lot of people and get new references for Elder Tohara and I to teach. The next day in church (yesterday), our chapel was PACKED. I felt so happy and inspired by the members.

Anyway, that`s my story for the week! I would advise you all to read Mosiah 2-3. Really great stuff in there.

Love, Elder Lundberg