I hope you are all doing well. It's been a great week this week!
On Wednesday we met a new kid, Jose, who is friends with Tony, an inactive kid we're teaching. We went over to see Tony and his mom Yamilda, and Jose came down to join us. He had a bunch of typical questions about our missions and what we do, etc. We answered all of his questions and ended up teaching the first lesson. The Spirit was so strong, especially when Elder Graham told the First Vision. He butchered the words to it, but the Spirit was still really strong. We introduced the Book of Mormon to him, and read the verses about praying to know it's true. He said "but I felt it already. I already know it's true! I know whatever you say about it is true!" He accepted to be baptized on Feb 25. We left and came back about 10 min later to give him a DVD and they were still talking about the lesson. He accepted the DVD and said he'd watch it the next day. We asked for his address and we found out he lives in Fallbrook, a city about 10 miles north of Vista, in the next zone over. A little deflated, we explained that other missionaries would come by and teach him everything else before his baptism. He understood, and the next day we sent off a referral. Someone just got a "golden referral!" It was a great lesson either way. But now Tony is opening up more. Yesterday we went over in the morning and knocked on his door, half-expecting him to be gone because he always is. But he opened the door and let us in for a lesson. We were going to teach him about repentence and prayer, and were going to read in Enos and 2nd Nephi. But after small talk, I felt very quietly to change the lesson. We instead read 1 Ne 8, about the vision of the tree of life. After reading it, he said it was pretty crazy that we decided to read that, and that he really enjoyed it. We hadn't told him we had changed the lesson. Later at night, we went by again to say hi and give him the Book of Mormon that we forgot to bring earlier. He and his mom were in the living room reading her Book of Mormon (highly unusual!) and he was telling about the lesson we gave earlier. To our surprise, he let us in for the 2nd time that day and we read in Moroni 10:1-5, about knowing the truth of the Book of Mormon. At the end of that, he said "Can I ask a question?" "Sure!" "I had a cool dream last night. That lesson you gave this morning wasn't what you planned, was it?" "Actually, no, it wasn't. I felt to change it as we begun talking. We were going to read something else." "I had a dream last night that kinda had a tree in it. It wasn't quite what we read today, but it totally made sense after we read that. I felt the Spirit really strong. It's time for me to go to church, I think." He promised us he will come to church this week. His mom is very happy we are making such big progress with him!
Again last night, we were driving around late, just before it was time to go in. We had tried a few doors with nobody answering. People usually don't like us coming after 8, so we were hesitant to try these ones. It was 8:55, and we drove by one more house. It was a long driveway and a really big dark house. We were considering not going in because it was dark, but just like you hear in all the mission stories, we tried anyway. He didn't come to the door right away, but about a minute later the door opened and we got in to teach Ivars , an old man originally from Latvia who loves God very much. It will probably take a few lessons to make progress with him, but he is a very kind man with lots of love.
Unfortunately that's all the time I have but we also had a stake conference broadcast this week from SLC, with Elder Perry speaking.
We've been picking up our work little by little lately, and it's been really nice. We are even more grateful than usual to have new people to teach, since it's been really hard to find people lately. Finally we are getting some new investigators. I think I told you about Bryan, the fan of Mitt Romney. He didn't make it to church this week, but he did ask us to help him move his furniture and things from his place to the downstairs unit, where he will stay for several months. He is opening up to us more and more, and he is going through major struggles in his family right now. He is a good man, and I think this is a great time in his life for the Gospel. After we helped him move, he had us help him make dinner for all of us--steak, grilled peppers and onions, hot dogs, and some things like that. I learned that I'm not as good of a cook as I thought! But it all worked out. We found out later though, that while we were there, we missed our usual meeting with Brother Waddell, and this time his son was in town for two days and wanted us to meet him. His son is usually in Peru as an area Seventy for the Church. We are pretty bummed about that, but hopefully I'll get to meet him later!
I'm out of time, but I have more to say. Next week!
Love you all
Elder La Follette
I got a couple more minutes it looks like, so I'll just highlight a few more things that happened this week.
Tatsiana came to church yesterday, which is the first time we've heard from her in several weeks. She is still interested but may be staying in Encinitas, or may move to another place out of our stake, so she probably won't get baptized in our ward, but will get baptized soon I think. We will hopefully teach her in the next couple days again.
We found another new investigator this week, a really Bible-smart guy that likes talking to all types of religious people. His name is Adrian . He is smart enough we can use phrases like Levitical Priesthood or Atonement and he knows just what we're talking about. It's pretty nice that we can talk straight to him! He has some interesting views, but is willing to learn about our view. Hopefully he can come to church soon. He has a really good heart.
We also finally found an inactive couple that we've bene trying to get a hold of for a month. They are Ben and Melissa , about 28 yrs old each. Ben is a returned missionary, and neither have been to church for 4-5 years. They just got married and moved in last July. They told us they want to be sealed this year and want to come back to church. We are going to have another lesson and dinner with them tonight. They are awesome. Ben is also a huge surfer and has about 12 surf boards in their front room alone. Apparently the size of the waves will influence your board choice!
We picked up another new investigator last night named Rian . He just married an inactive member, Misty . He is interested in learning but doesn't want to be pressured into baptism. We assured him we wouldn't drag him to the font and drown him, but we'll wait to talk about that until he feels he is ready to make that choice. They will probably have a hard time getting to church because their jobs depend on them working on Sunday, but we'll try to work that out soon.
We have a new district now, since transfers were last week. Elder Wheeler and Elder Findley are gone, and now we have Elder Hensley from St. George and Elder Soderburg from Kaysville, UT. They makes 6 out of 8 in our district from UT. One is from Wyo, and one from Samoa. Go Utah!
Well that's all the time I have. Have a great week!
I hope you're all doing well. Things have been good here. We found another new investigator this week! We were walking at night past a grocery store near our apartment to go to a BBQ, and a guy got out of his car behind us in the parking lot and called to us and wanted to talk about Mitt Romney. He is and has been involved in Romney's campaigns and really admires him. Of course, the conversation turned to the Church itself, and the Book of Mormon. He thought he'd read the Book of Mormon before, but after we talked about what the Book says, he figured he hasn't read it before. He had lots and lots of questions and is really curious. He is going through a hard divorce right now and has two little boys. He lives by himself in a rented vacation home by the beach. After our conversation, he invited us to his house the following night to a BBQ he was having with some friends. We went, and one of the friends answered the door. She said "Oh.. we're having a party right now." "Yeah, we know! Bryan wanted us to come by!" "Uh.. really?" "Yep! We talked to him yesterday." "Let me go get him.." Bryan came to the door and was excited to see us and waved us in. The faces on some of the people in the house were priceless. But within 30 seconds they were very friendly and treated us as Mormons would treat someone on their first day at church. One by one throughout the next couple hours that we were there, almost everyone at the party had come sit by us and asked us about our missions and the church. Later, we went to talk to another guy, who then pulled out his 12 string guitar and played some old rock songs for us. We ended up becoming good friends with a lot of people in there. It was a really neat experience!
As for our other investigators, Tatsiana is still not responding to us. It's been about a month since we last talked to her. Yamilda Evans in our ward said she is coming to the gym every day, so she is not out of town. We're trying very hard to see what has happened. Her friends in our ward have been trying to talk to her. Nothing yet!
We taught Beth again on Sunday. She went on our ward's youth trip up to Big Bear last week (a nearby mountain/ski resort, kind of like Sundance) and had a great time. She got up in the testimony meeting they had and bore a great testimony! We taught her Sunday at the Rosells, and finished up all the pre-baptism lessons. She is very ready and very excited. The baptism is still a month away because her grandparents from Long Beach can't make it until then. I guess they're the busiest grandparents in the world! But we will work with what we have! While Beth was at Big Bear, we met her mom, Jacqueline, and her little brother Logan at the church and gave them a tour. It was Sister Bloch's first time inside a church building in years, and Logan's first time in anything other than a Jewish synagogue. Logan is excited to come to church. He didn't come two days ago, but will come next week. Brother Rosell realized a couple days ago that he used to home teach the Bloch family 14 years ago, before he was a bishop or stake president. They never answered the door for him. It's amazing the work God does!
I've had a cold for about a month now that just won't go away. Brother Waddell gave me some Robatussin for it. That stuff is awful! But it's starting to work a little bit. Hopefully it will go away soon. We hope that I just have a cold, and not a fungus or something (not sure what the symptoms would be). About the time I got sick, we discovered a bag of very old and very rotten potatoes in a cupboard in our kitchen, with about 150 maggots around and a horrific smell. We're assuming some missionaries got those late last summer. Hopefully I didn't get sick from dealing with that!
Also, I wanted to mention that California road construction is a lot more efficient than Utah road construction. On Saturday they put out some signs on our street that said (handwritten) "no parking Monday-Friday 7am-5pm" and said we'll be towed if we park there. Monday morning there was a full construction crew out working, and they were gone by 1pm. They finished the job and didn't come back! In Utah they probably would have taken 2 weeks for the same job! We thought that was impressive and funny at the same time.
Well I hope you are all doing well. Things are going well here. Transfers are today, and I'm staying in Carlsbad with Elder Graham for another 6 weeks at least. We get along well and he is learning a lot. We work together really well, and fill in each other's weak points. There are two elders from our district getting transferred out.
Happy New Year family! It's now 2012, the year the world will end...
Tara had a baby this week! That's so wonderful! I wish I could have been there, but I will see him before too long I guess!
I hope you all had a good New Year! We did here. We went into our apartment at 6 (we're supposed to for Halloween and New Years) and did our weekly planning, cleaned up the apartment, and went to bed early. It was great. Got some extra sleep for once!
We finally have one new investigator! His name is Shane . He is in his early 40s, and his wife is an inactive member. They have two kids, Ozzie and Aurora, both are under 10. We've known him for a while, but haven't been able to teach them until last week. We knocked on his door about 7:30 at night, and he came outside to talk to us. He said they were having a Bible study with a couple guys from their church in Oceanside. One of the guys then came out to talk to us, a Marine about 24ish. He asked a couple questions, then Shane's wife came out and invited us in for hot chocolate. We came in, and they had us sit down at the table. We knew we were going to be grilled, because that's what happens, but this time was a little different. The two Bible study guys asked lots of questions--regular ones from those who "bash" with us, but these didn't have the regular combative feel. We answered every question and challenge he had, most with a Bible verse to back it up, and eventually he ran out of questions. During this time, we taught the first lesson about the Restoration and part of the Plan of Salvation. Ian, the Marine, was sitting on the fence of being interested and trying to challenge and question us. He accepted to try reading the Book of Mormon, and Shane said he would read it with his wife and pray about it. The other Bible study guy had left 20 min earlier because he had to go. But that was okay because he was more combative. Shane invited us for dinner Wednesday, and Ian will probably come too. He will be deployed in a few days, so we'll probably bring him a mini Book of Mormon and a good luck card or something. So things are starting to turn around a little bit for us. We also have 3 appointments this week with some other new people!
We taught a less active family last night that we just found last week. There is a grandma, Elsa , in her 60s, and her son and daughter Eric and Crystal, in their 20s, and Crystal's two kids Alex and Brianna, both under 10. None of them have been to church in a long time but they all said they'd come to church this week. They were very friendly to us and said we can come to see them anytime we'd like. I hope they can get active again!
Tatsiana and Beth have been out of town, but we will resume teaching them in a few days. Still don't know where/when Tatsiana will move!
Oh, I almost forgot, we talked to another kid on the street. His name is Malcolm, and he knows a couple of member kids. He is about 15. During our conversation he said "I've been thinking about joining the Mormons. What do I have to do to get baptized?" We told him he'd need to meet with us and come to church, and he readily agreed. Hopefully we can start teaching him within the next day or two! We are very excited.