Thursday, November 29, 2012

Week 15: Pampa, TX

¡Hola mis amigos!

So A LOT has changed in the Texas Lubbock Mission. Because of the new missionary age requirements, they are shipping new elders and sisters everywhere they can fit them. Our mission consisted of five zones and it has now been extended to NINE zones. Since there's new zones, leadership is required in them. I'm still in Pampa but I am now part of the Panhandle Zone and have been called to serve as a Trainer AND District Leader!! Which is super crazy because I just got done getting trained and now I will be training a brand new elder. I'll be picking him up tomorrow. 

My companion Elder Arredondo was called to be a Zone Leader in Abilene Zone. We also had a baptism on Saturday!! Isaac's baptismal service was AMAZING. He bore his testimony and just about made me cry... I have no doubt he'll serve a mission in a year...
I've been out on the mission for three and a half months already. The time is flying by and I love it. How was Thanksgiving for you all? Hope you all got STUFFED like I did. Haha We were at a couple of different houses on Thursday because everyone was basically fighting to have us over for dinner... Today Arredondo and I played frisbee golf (my new favorite sport) and of course I beat him so he now has to do the dishes. Sucker! It's his birthday today so we have a lot of celebrating to do..:) I'll be sending pictures hopefully later, stay tuned!!

With love from Texas,
Elder Rios

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week 14: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)

Que rollo con el pollo! (What's up!)

      What a swell week here in the Texas Lubbock Mission! It was seven days of hard, hard work! A lot of knocking doors... We have to find new people to teach. A couple of funny experiences while knocking doors: [Knock, knock, knock] An old guy answers and sarcastically says, "Who do you represent?" Trying not to laugh I answered, "JESUS CHRIST." He said "No thank you." Haha Another door... [Knock, knock, knock] A reallyyy old man on a scooter answers. "Yes?" After introducing ourselves and what we do as missionaries he told us he went to the Pentecostal church. He told us "I like to loudly praise and leap and jump, rejoicing with my fellow brothers." I looked at his scooter and looked at my companion and smiled at him. Haha Now I know this sounds mean but he was being rude to us okay... 

(Our new, awesome autistic friend)

(He loves ice cream and chili)

So anyway, we are working on keeping our recently baptized family active in the church and also working to prepare three more people for the waters of baptism. We had a lesson with Isaac on Saturday and we weren't sure if he was still committed to his baptismal date of Nov 24th so we decided we were going to be bold with him and read in 2 Nephi chapter 9 where it basically says if you don't get baptized you'll be damned... Then I asked him, "Isaac, what's it gonna be man." He responded, "Alright, let's do it." So my companion will be baptizing him this upcoming Saturday! Exciting stuff. This next week are transfers so Saturday we'll find out if we're leaving or staying. I hope I stay here because I've just gotten close with the people of Pampa. I'm pretty sure my comp is bouncing out of this area since he's been here for 6 months. I gave a talk at church yesterday and not to sound boastful, but I'm pretty sure I ROCKED it... One of the counselors to our mission president was in attendance so I had to impress. :) I talked about the blessing of missionary work. I hope I was able to motivate the ward to share the gospel with their families and friends! Thank you for the letters this week, you know who you are! Make this week GREAT!! Paz y bendiciones.

Elder Rios

Week 13: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)


Well another week down. I had a pretty bad day on Thursday, but now I'm laughing about it. Haha So we were on our bikes and we got yelled at and cussed at a couple of times and I was like whatever. Towards the end of the day this car drove by us and this guy looked me in the face and used almost all of the profane words in one sentence.. It took everything I had to contain myself, because you all know how I am.. He drove off before I could even say anything though. Later that night I was at a member's home and one of the kids chucked a basketball at my face when I wasn't looking so I ended up getting a black eye.. Then we had to ride our bikes all the way across town back to our crib. Just thought I'd share that because it's funny to me now haha 

On to the good stuff! We have been teaching some people who have committed to baptism! Isaac has really been progressing and keeping his commitments of reading and praying. Zack is a young man who is way pumped to learn more about the gospel and he's ready for baptism; we just need to talk to his mom about it, then we'll start teaching her too. Haha that's how it works. Claudia is girl who has gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and she's committed to be baptized. We started talking to her parents a couple of days ago and they really liked us so hope that goes well. Our recent converts, Lupita and her daughters, are doing great! We even had Lupita in a lesson with Isaac yesterday. I hope their testimonies continue to grow, they have a lot of potential! Our work with less active members is never ending... I found out that there are 339 members of the church in this ward and about 85 go to church each week. Now when I got here there was about 50 people at church so we've been making some progress. The chapel was actually full yesterday! It was awesome. Transfers are coming up soon and I'm nervous to see if I'll stay here or go to another area. Elder Arredondo will most likely leave because he's been here in Pampa for like 6 months. We just got hooked up with new beds today from a member, score!! And today is district P-Day so we're gonna be partying today WOO! K bye guys make this week GREAT!!
Elder Rios

Week 12: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)

Good morning! This is Elder Rios coming to you LIVE from the city of Pampa!! 
It has been a djSWELL time out here on the mission so far. Time is flying by, I only have three weeks left of training. Then my comp Elder Arredondo will most likely get transferred to a different area and I'll be left in charge. Haha So let me tell you about my week...
Monday and Tuesday were just full of work and visiting less active members trying to invite them back to church. Wednesday we worked until like 6pm then we went and hung out with other missionaries since we weren't allowed to go to ANY Halloween activities. Keep in mind that the closest set of missionaries to us is half an hour away. This mission is so spread out! Thursday I had to re-baptize one of the girls, Natali, because here first and middle names were mixed up in the records. Haha Friday and Saturday we spent the majority of the days knocking doors... I hate Saturdays now. Each week, Saturday is the LONGEST day! Sunday was sweet!! We had a lot of less active members attend church, especially Spanish-speaking members. The chapel was almost full! After church we visited some referrals and set appointments with them. For lunch we went over to our recent converts' house and grilled up some burgers to break our fast. After that, we walked over to Isaac's house and had a lesson with him. He's committed to be baptized on November 24th! Then we went over to a less active family's house and I cooked dinner for all of us. Chicken Parmesan!! Thanks for teaching me how to cook Dad :) They were impressed! 

Earl & Loretta Bridewell

I'm so glad to be out here serving the Lord and doing nothing but helping people to be happier in their lives. I am learning so many things, both gospel related and not, that I can use to better my own life. I know that my family is being blessed for my service. I want to thank you all for your weekly letters and emails, I feel the love! Thank you for the thoughts and prayers, as well. Let's make this week GREAT!!!
Elder Rios

Week 11: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)

Hello everyone!

     On Saturday I had the privilege of baptizing Lupita and her daughters Katya and Natali. What an amazing experience! Elder Arredondo then confirmed them members of the church yesterday and gave them the gift of the Holy Ghost. I'm so proud of them for working hard to follow our savior Jesus Christ. They're an awesome family! We were over at their house last night and Natali kept asking me for chapters to read in the Book of Mormon, isn't that legit? I'm excited to see how they will influence the ward here and help it grow. 

We're teaching a few more people who have the potential to become members of the church as well. Like I've been saying these last couple of weeks, we're really working hard on less-active members trying to visit them and invite them back to church. Well our hard work is paying off! We had some less-actives come to the baptism (as well as two investigators), and some came to church yesterday, too! The chapel looked almost full of people... incredible! We're going to keep working on our Hispanic hermanos and hermanas to come back to church but they're all telling us that they don't feel like they fit in. We, as a ward, are trying to find a solution to this problem because we can't just open up a Spanish branch. Not that easy.. haha I'm thinkning about asking my mission president if I can throw a party at our apartment with carne asada and stuff... Just kidding. Oh! I need to tell you all of a miracle that happened this week! (Other than the baptism). So Elder Arredondo and I get up at 6:00am every single morning and drive down to the church to play basketball and exercise. Well I wanted something other than basketball to workout to. This last week I found P90X CDs in our apartment. <-- MIRACLE! haha Guess who's starting P90X today? :) Reminds me of when I would go over to Elder George's house every day after school and hit a quick workout of P90X. So basically I refuse to gain weight on the mission, and I found the perfect tool to help me with that. Score! Alright well we have a lesson in a little (in the middle of our P-Day, dang it) so I gotta go study! Hope all is well and make this week GREAT!! Love you all!

Elder Rios

Week 10: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)

Howdy :)
     I can't tell you all how much fun I'm having on my mission. It's ridiculous how happy working makes me haha Even tracting knocking doors! Elder Arredondo and I are looking forward to this Saturday's baptism! I will be performing all three "dunks", I'm way excited!! This family will be such a great contribution to the ward. I see a lot of potential in them. This last week we have been intensely focusing on less-active members of the ward, or in other words, hunting them down! haha I've told you that the ward here is rather small.. but it's only because about 35% of the members actually go to church every Sunday! Once I saw the list of people we needed to get back to church, I said "GAME ON." We were able to contact about half of the list and meet with them to address their problems. But all of them expressed the want to get active again. Laziness and embarrassment seem to be the biggest issues. But it's our goal for this transfer to drastically increase church attendance. It's a lot of work so far, let me tell you. But this area can be so great if all of the members were actively participating in the church! I know I can make it happen.

     Today is P-Day (our "day off"). Oh the joy that sentence gives...:) The missionaries from another area are coming here to Pampa to play some ball and also to interview the family that is getting baptized on Saturday. We're going to have a little Family Home Evening tonight with games and food! Thank you all for your letters and packages!!! I was planning on keeping all of my letters but jeez I have a lot haha I have some sweet pictures from the last couple of weeks so I'll be sending those next week! Stay tuned :) Make this week GREAT! Adios!
Much love from Texas,
Elder Rios