SJ Week 15 – Fire, Lightning, Earthquake

Fire! Lightning! Earthquake! Smoke! Pretty crazy week here in San Jose haha. I love it here and it’s been a good one. Here’s a recap:

This week, I met my son (new trainee)!! His name is Elder Andersen from Seattle, and wow, he’s a stud. He came to the mission so prepared, which has taken a lot of weight off of my shoulders. He already knows Spanish (his mother is from Puerto Rico) and knows the doctrine and lessons very well. He is so motivated to work and to help others, and is a great kid. It’s been fun being with him and we are gonna see miracles in this last transfer together. We told him and our other new roommate (Elder Kuttler’s companion, Elder Valencia from West Valley who got reassigned from Colombia Bogotá North after 7 months) that I’ve only been out for just over a year, so we will see how long we can keep that going haha. They’re both gonna be shocked when I leave on Sep 30.

There’s been some crazy stuff going on over the last few weeks here in California and in the world. First, Corona. Then, a crazy lightning storm that started a bunch of fires. Then, we had an earthquake on Monday (3.3 so nothing big). Then, we had tons of smoke in the valley, and ash falling down everywhere. There was this crazy orange mist everywhere, and it smelled super weird. Some places have been getting evacuated. None of the missionaries are in danger, there’s just some days where we have to stay inside or else your eyes get all puffy and stuff like that.

We’ve been having daily calls with the Mission Leadership just to make sure all the missionaries are okay. President Smith has been a huge help and has really guided us through these crazy times. It’s been a big blessing. We had Mission Leadership Conference this week, which was a good one. Sadly, still through zoom haha, but I’m hoping the next one can be in person. We talking about the importance of servant leadership. President Smith shared some cool quotes that I liked, one which said “Life is like a tennis match, he who serves better rarely loses”. Another one said “Your attitude determines your altitude”. We just gotta do the things Christ would do, and we will be blessed.

I got asked this week to serve as an admin for our local Facebook page, so I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to do that haha. There’s a lot to learn in a short time, but it’ll be good and I love serving in any way I can. I wanna talk about some cool experiences we had this week: So yesterday, I had a message request on Messenger from a semi-sketchy looking account of some girl saying “Hola🥺”. Obviously, I was suspicious (we get tons of people trying to hack our accounts) but decided to carefully respond asking how she was and if there was anything we could to do help! She tried calling us right off the bat, which obviously is sketchy so we didn’t answer. I sent another message asking if everything was okay, and she didn’t respond. I tried blocking her, just because I wasn’t sure what was happening and it never ends up well in these situations, but I lost signal in the moment and it didn’t go through, and got distracted by something else and forgot about it. Later, she texted us a few sentences asking about us and explaining why she’d requested to friend us. We shared a bit of who we were (still cautious) and she started opening up more to us. We found out she wanted to learn more about our Church, because she’s seen missionaries in Colombia and has always admired the light that they had. Long story short, we’ve been talking with her back and forth all day, and she is just sincerely looking to learn more about God and His path and plan for her. Tonight, she will be praying tonight for extra confirmation that this is what God wants her to do and the path that He wants her to follow.She said she’s so excited to continue being guided in His path and to continue learning more. My testimony grew of miracles in the mission. We have been working hard and praying for miracles. This has been an obvious answer to prayer.

We had a district council, and I wanted to share a quote I shared by Elder Tad R Callister where he said… 

There are some people who say “I don’t have time to read my scriptures.” This statement is somewhat reminiscent of the story of two axmen who held a contest to determine who could cut down more trees in a day. At sunrise the contest commenced. Every hour the smaller man wandered off into the forest for 10 minutes or so. Each time he did this, his opponent smiled and nodded, assured that he was forging ahead. The larger man never left his post, never stopped cutting, never took a break. When the day ended, the larger man was shocked to learn that his opponent, who seemingly wasted so much time, had cut many more trees than he. “How did you do it when you took so many breaks?” he asked. The winner replied, “Oh, I was sharpening my ax.”

Every time we read our scriptures, we are sharpening our spiritual ax. And the miraculous part is that when we do so, we are able to use the remainder of our time more wisely.
I know this is true and it relates to a lot of other aspects of our lives, whether it be prayer, fasting, keeping the commandments, going to the temple, planning, etc. As we put the Lord first, all of the other things tend to work out so much better. Please, put the Lord first. I promise that it’s worth it, in every way.

I love you all, and I love being a missionary. It’s so sad knowing my time is coming to an end, but I’m motivated to make as big of a difference as possible over this next month. Thank you for your prayers, and for your examples. I love you all and I’m so grateful for each of you! 

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