Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 5, 2015 Lights out

so we had another interesting week

i think it started out on tuesday, we were walking along and i look down and what did i see? popcorn popping on the apricot.. no i saw a bill for 200 pesos on the ground (literally a bit less than 20 dollars, but i would say that its worth more here, because everything is way cheaper) so at first i was pretty excited, that’s a lot of gummies you can buy with 200 pesos, but then a thought popped into my head, you know, what if it belongs to the people who live here in front and they are prepared to listen to the gospel  and i found this to be able to contact them? so i knocked on the door and asked them if they had lost any money, turns out they had, so i gave it to them and started to contact them...they basically just slammed the door in my face. so here i am 200 pesos poorer. i feel like i should feel good because i did the right thing or something else like that that mom would say... but i guess I’m still not quite good enough to prefer that over 200 gummies.

Then  wednesday was interesting as well, we were studying and all the sudden all the lights went out, we looked outside and the guy from the power company had just disconnected our electricity. usually the lady in charge of our little gated community brings us our mail, but this time she didn’t so we didn’t realize that we already had the electricity bill, and we forgot to pay it. so thursday we did and just lived with flashlights for a while, which was fine.  what wasn’t  fine was the water. here the water system uses a pump to fill a tank on the roof, and then just uses gravity to distribute it. so that worked for a little while until the tank ran out and we had no more water, so luckily we still have access to elder M´ house and so we just stayed there for a few days until they connected it on sunday.

the funny thing is the reason they took so long to connect it. we called them after 2 days, and they told us that the guy had already passed by but that our counter was inside of our house, so they couldn’t do anything. it’s not inside of our house, but we live in a gated community, so apparently the guy thought that the whole gated community was one house... oh well, at least we have electricity again.

every first friday of the month we have started having a family home evening with the ward, an activity where we can bring our investigators to help them get to know the members. our ward mission leader just got a job and was working, so we were left alone to plan it out, but it actually turned out really well, we taught about prophets to prepare for general conference, and so we divided into 3 groups to go to different stations to learn stuff about prophets.

group 1: we had a puzzle, while they had to put together, but we only let one person see the picture of what it was supposed to be. we taught them that the prophets have a much wider view of the picture than us and that they can help us see what to do. this one was fun to buy, we went to a little shop and asked for their puzzle with the least amount of pieces, she brought us one with like 19 pieces, a puzzle of a little kid princess show just to show us the size, we told her, yeah that’s fine... we´ll take that one. i think she thought we were crazy, but we just bought it for the pieces and covered it with a picture from the liahona.

group 2:we had 2 seemingly impossible tasks, get a hard-boiled egg into a bottle, and stack 14 nails on top of one nail. none of them could do it until we showed them how, so we taught them that the prophets  can guide us to help us do things we don’t know how. (i won’t tell you how to do them, you can try it if you want, and then when you fail, ask the missionaries and they can teach you how)
group 3 (my group): we gave them the option to choose between oreos and peanuts, but i told them that the peanuts were better to choose. some of them still went with the oreos, and when they went to eat them, realized that we had taken out the cream and replaced it with toothpaste, the application was pretty simple, when the prophets give us counsel we should follow it, so we don’t end up with bad stuff like toothpaste (though actually most of the young men liked them...cada quien)

then saturday we obviously went to conference, crazy that we had 3 new apostles called at the same time, but they just seem like the right people to take the position, so i guess the lord knows what he is doing. the conference was great, i got more out of it by following advice that elder bednar gave us, that when taking notes usually we just kinda write a summary of their talk, but it is better to just write down the spiritual impressions that we receive as we listen, that way it is applied much better to what you need and they will continue to help you in the future (i don’t think I ever went back to read my notes when i did it the other way.) just another quick thought, i think the general authorities are reading my blog, because they totally stole a bunch of ideas from me.

sunday.. we didn’t actually go, which was a bummer, but elder m was pretty sick all of the sudden, so he was puking  and stuff, so we just stayed at home. funny thing is that i think it was my birthday pizza that did it, because i also had a bit of a stomach ache (but without the puking and stuff) while elder m2, who ate no pizza was fine. we went to the doctor today and got him some medicine, and i guess we´ll see if he feels better tomorrow to go work.

well, that’s it for now, love you guys, be good.

elder gandola

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015 Working overtime (and undertime)

hello all,

im gunna start out with a general thank you for all the letters  i got, i would love to respond to each individually, but 1 hour is a lot less time that it would seem. but it seems my christmas list of letters passed on to my birthday.  i wasn’t really expecting much because i forgot that you guys actually know when my birthday is. no i haven’t told my companions, they think it’s in january. but don’t worry we will celebrate it. i sneakily mentioned that lunch would be complicated saturday because of general conference, then i told them that we could talk to the relief society secretary, or we could just order two pan pizzas from dominoes (they are having a special and our money comes this week) so we will celebrate without them realizing. also we´ll probably buy churros or something  thursday for my 1 year mark.

and well other than that i can’t stake my usual claim on the, "this will be short because this week was normal." so i guess the question is, where to start?

how about tuesday, so there we were, in an average district meeting.. side note, i now have the smallest district in the mission... 3 elders,(i´ll explain, don’t worry.) when we got a phone call that a few elders in the mission got sent home, and so there was some filling in to be done until we get more missionaries, and one of the elders in my district was given special transfers to go fill in. so we sent our companions to go work and i went back with the elder to go pack and get ready to leave.

they were working out the travel plans and everything, and so we didn’t know exactly when he would travel, so they just had us waiting in the house for 2 days so that we would be ready at any moment, waiting in the house is kinda poopy.

but anyways he got transferred and the three of us were kinda just standing around wondering, "well, what now?" so we talk to the zone leaders about how we manage everything, and they let us know that the three of us will stay in a trio for now, and that we now have both of the areas to work in. the only thing is that elder matos (our new companion) doesn’t really know his area very well. for like a week and a half they were in the house because his companion had an infected toenail and then we had exchanges and stuff like that, so basically he only has like a week in his area. so basically we are opening an area, but we have another area as well, fun stuff.

so then thursday we went and worked. to complicate things even more,  lots of stuff is changing in our area which was progressing a lot in these last few weeks.  thursday we had to drop 2 investigators, one of which had come with us to church twice, and then friday in the morning during our study 2 more (some of my favorite investigators) dropped us out of the blue.

needless to say (but i will anyways) i was feeling pretty stressed. i had no idea how to keep up with all this stuff being piled on me. but then i studied that morning a lot about faith, and i realized something. i have no idea what i am doing, but the lord does. the lord has charged me with this right now, and it’s his work, i don’t need to be stressed out, i just need to work, and it will all work out.

i also found much comfort in a scripture in mathew 25:23 which tells us, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things" now I’m not claiming that i have two areas because I’m better or anything like that, but it doesn’t matter what the lord gives me, i want to prove to him that i will be faithful in any situation.

so friday i worked feeling a lot better.  saturday i felt a lot worse. we started working and i felt kinda not so good, so we went back to the house so i could puke. i did, and then i felt a little better, but i slept to recuperate my strength, afterwards i tried eating a yogurt in the night, the result was more puking. so that night i prayed pretty hard. i understood i needed to work and i wanted to work, so i prayed that i could get better to be able to work. i got the impression, "why are you asking me, you have two priesthood holders there and you haven’t asked them for a blessing yet." so i did.  the next morning i felt normal, went to church gave a talk, worked all day, and didn’t puke.

so if there is any advice i can give to all of you from this very hectic week, trust in the lord. you may not know what you are doing, but he does, and that’s enough.

anyways, that’s it for now, be good, love you guys, peace out

Elder Gándola

Sunday, September 27, 2015

sept 21, 2015

September 21, 2015

so this week was pretty normal, so i don’t really have too much to write about. but i guess there’s a couple things i could comment on.

elder M, not my companion but from the other elders in my district had an in-gown toenail that got infected and so he couldn’t walk or anything, so they stayed home, but we passed by to give him a blessing, and he he can work now.

well actually this week was a bit different because in these past two weeks we have started having more progress. this past transfer has been hard at times because, even though we are working well, we have hardly had anything. but these past two weeks we have seen progress in everything. first of all we have found some super ready new investigators, which is something we have really needed recently, we also had some people in church, only one investigator, but a lot of less actives too. we always have the occasional less active that shows up, but some of the people we have really been working with in these last weeks came for the first time, so it was great to see them refocusing themselves on what is important. so it just goes to show that when we do our part, the lord will do his. it’s not us that gets to determine how or when, but it is our efforts that determines whether or not we will permit that the lord can do his part (at least right now.  we can’t stop the lords work, we can only postpone it and decide if we are the ones to do it. i say it’s better that we do our part so that it’s us and not somebody else.

anyways, person of the week goes to R (sr) and R (jr) and E.  elder M and elder C contacted R (sr) during exchanges, and we visited them sunday.  when we got there they were working, they make uniforms, but they said that we could come in for a couple minutes while they iron the stuff. they never got to ironing because we started teaching them. I’ve gotten very good at sneakily slipping lessons in with people. (i did the same with another woman, we visited her and her husband in their shop, he started telling us that it’s too hard to find time between customers to be able to talk, and he was so busy saying that to my companion and a member, that he didn’t even notice that i got a full lesson in with his wife before he knew what happened) but anyways, they are Catholics, but for tradition and have never really heard anything else, but they just ate everything we gave to them (not literally) and accepted baptism. you know it always kinda surprises me when people accept so easily, but when we have the spirit it happens again and again. but we will see what happens with them, we both think they will progress rapidly

anyways, that’s it for this week. love you, be good.

elder Gándola

September 14, 2015 Mate

September 14, 2015  Better than Drugs

so this week we started out interestingly. Remember L the investigator of the week a couple weeks ago. well her son turned 3 years old on monday. we didn’t know but we passed by, and they were a bit busy so we just kinda said hi and left. she had had to work, so they hadn’t really done anything for him. so later elder M had the idea that we buy him a pinguino (like a hostess cupcake) and some candles and go throw him a little makeshift party, so we did. he was super happy. we didn’t get to teach them, but it just goes to show you that it’s always good to do service, even when you don’t get anything immediately in return. but hopefully this will help them organize their priorities so that they can progress a little bit more. she has tried reading the book of mormon with her son, but he hasn’t really listened, but we also gave them one of those book of mormon stories books with pictures to help them.

after that we had exchanges with the other elders in our district. i was with elder MA, who just arrived here and has has like a year in the mission. he is from brazil, but lives on the border of argentina, which means he drinks, and has all the equipment for... mate! so we may have drank a lot of mate in  the exchanges, including, dad, mate dulce. which is drunk with juice or something else sweet, we drank it with sprite. (but if you do that dad do it in the metal cup or a normal cup because it will ruin the other one. i forgot my camera today, but for those of you who don’t know what mate is, you can look up pictures but i swear it’s not drugs. but when we got back elder M asked me, "elder... why do we have drugs sitting on our counter?" but it’s not. its better

you know what else is better than drugs? temples. we had the rededication of the mexico city temple this week. saturday we watched an awesome cultural celebration, and sunday the dedication. it was nice because i have really been wanting to go to the temple recently, and we didn’t, but the stake center was considered an extension of the temple, we needed a recommend to enter, and the spirit was very very close.

 elder eyering and elder holland came, and gave some awesome talks. one thing that really struck me is that elder holland said, "i thank all of you for your dedication to this gospel, or in this instance, your rededication." and it’s true. we are also temples of God. we have dedicated ourselves through covenants (well, the majority of those reading this) but we all must find times to rededicate ourselves. we can all look for what else we can do, and like the temples before their rededication, what we can change. the sacrament is something that is for our rededication every week. we learned that may times we don’t appreciate temples until they are closed, and i would add that many times we don’t appreciate the magnitude of this rededication that we all partake of every week. just something to think about.

well. that’s all for now. be good, love you guys

elder gandola

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August 31, 2015 Churros are Kosher

hey guys,

so this week was a little different, we worked normally until wednesday, when we had a 3-zone wide health conference. basically we all got together and they taught us the, "10 commandments of health." it was pretty basic stuff like drink safe water and take baths and stuff like that, but the guy was a good speaker and made it fun, and it’s always nice to do something a little bit different. also none of the commandments said anything directly against 1 peso churros, so i won’t complain.

guess the stake and the doctor must have been on the same wavelength, because we had stake conference this week too, so saturday and sunday we got to go listen to stuff that was really more directed at the members than at us, but it was still good, especially to see how we as missionaries can help the area progress in their specific needs right now. its super cool to be here right now, because (the church in) mexico is really starting to make progress and is on the verge on becoming completely self-sufficient as a country, which means that it will be providing all of the funds necessary to cover its own needs, and the church will be able to use the excess to help other countries where the church is not quite as well established.

the work this week was a bit tough, didn’t find a whole bunch of people, but we could definitely see that the lord is guiding the work. we didn’t really plan on having anybody at church, because they were all busy and such, but at 11:30 saturday night, we received a text from unknown number asking us what time church started. we didn’t see it till the morning, and explained the stake conference and all that, but still didn’t know who it was or if they were coming. so we stuck around after the first session hoping and waiting to see if anybody showed up, they didn’t. well we didn’t have money for a taxi, so we started walking home, and about half an hour later we got a text from another compañonship telling us that an investigator we hadn’t been able to visit that week showed up with her boyfriend. so that was pretty cool.

the person of the week this week is actually not an investigator, or at least not a current investigator. so in the health conference we got to talk with the elders in matehuala about my old area. i don’t know if you guys remember, but i had a convert there, A, a young man who was baptized and wants to serve a mission. well he is currently living in monterrey. he lives like 3 blocks from the temple. he goes there almost every day. but he is not the person of the week. we also started teaching his dad, also A, who is one of my favorite investigators, but who stopped progressing for a situation he was in. we he has since managed to change that situation and has accepted a baptismal date, I’m so happy for him.

anyways, that’s it for now, love you guys, be good.

Elder Gándola

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015

so this week was interesting. but I’m short on time.
i will make the theme of this letter phillipeans 2:13 "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

so we had a zone conference this week with president, and he showed us that us as a mission have amazing potential, but we are honestly not achieving as much as we could be doing, he gave us some awesome council, but i realized that it doesn’t really do much unless we apply it. so this week we worked on applying the stuff and it worked amazingly well and were able to bless many more people.

for example we received training on how to ask for referrals from everybody. it really wasn’t anything new, though they did clarify some stuff. and we received 20 referrals in this semana, when the average is like 3... in a good week. and that’s just from applying well and working hard in basic stuff, we need to do it, God helps us with that, but even before that, we need to want to do it, God helps us with that.

friday we went on divisions with the other elders in our district. they are great elders, but this transfer they have been discouraged and have hardly been contacting people. so after trying many things to help them, i gave them a very simple assignment, pray in every prayer for the desire to contact. this week was so much different for them, and overnight they completely changed how they were working. why? because of anything i did? no. because of anything they did? no. it was because they wanted to, because of what God did.

so it is with each of us, we all have things that we should do, but we won’t do anything effectively unless we want to, and the desire comes from one source, God. i like to look at it from the scripture stories, we read about amazing missionaries like alma and ammon. but they were not great servants because their dads told them to be, it tells us that they were filled with burning desire to share the gospel, the sinners that they were before would not have wanted that unless they had been filled with the desire by the spirit. i guess the message is that to magnify our callings and responsibilities, we should do the stuff, but first, we should seek the desire that will drive us.

that message was kinda convoluted and I’m not gunna proofread or anything, so I’ll end with something a little less confusing, the investigator of the week.

se llama R. we found her by just talking to her in the street. she is a teacher of kindergarten and a super happy energetic person. she has been listening to us for about a month. we haven’t really been sure how to help her progress, but this week we visited her with a member, and turns out she taught the members kids in school so they already know each other. the sister invited her to come to church this sunday and... she did! (yaaay! party! confetti! but more reverent than that!) our ward is pretty small, but all the people are awesome, like 7 people came up and started getting to know her, sitting with her in the class, and even walking home with her, so we think that she felt pretty comfortable there, and we hope that it will help her to want to receive more of the gospel.

That’s all for now, love you guys, be good

elder gandola

August 17, 2015 Back-up Plan

Back-up Plan 

hello all,

well this (the title) doesn’t really give me a lot to tell you about. to explain that better, sometimes when we have an appointment that seems too sure to fall through, i put, "cry" as the backup plan. ...we cried a lot this week.

so we didn’t really have a ton of lessons this week, and we didn’t have anybody in church, but like i told the zone leaders while reporting our weekly progress, "we haven’t had to much success, but i honestly feel like we are doing our part, and giving our best effort, so maybe it won’t happen right now, but i know that the blessings will come." so don’t worry about it, all is well over here.

like i said, this will be short, but i want to end with something that i almost started a while ago, but want to actually do. so the investigator of the week is L. she is a single mother, has 2 kids, 15 and 3 years old. the 3 year old has adhd, and is very hyperactive, but they are all great.  she is a contact that elder P did in divisions with the other elders, we visited her once with him, and she was very interested. we passed by again like 3 weeks ago with elder M, but then for like 3 weeks, we completely lost contact with her. we managed to reach her by phone like a week later, but she told us, "I’m not sure when i can, I’ll call you"  for those of you who don’t know, they will never call us. even if they have tons of interest (that doesn’t really work in english does it?) they don’t call. but last night we felt like we should just pass by and whadya know, she was there and we could teach her again. her big problem right now is she can’t come to church for work, but she is looking to see how she can make it work.

well, that’s it for now, but be good, love you guys,

elder gandola

Aug 10, 2015

miracle monday (and tuesday, and wednesday, and... some other days)

so this week was pretty cool. the thing about mission weeks is they all seem pretty normal, but when you look back on them you can see all the blessings.

so the first miracle i had this week almost made it into the last letter, so monday we left a bit late and we had an appointment that we needed to get to, but i had forgotten our map... and their address. but i knew that we did not have time to go back for those things. so i just kinda had an idea of where it was, didn’t say anything to my comp, said a prayer and started walking. a couple streets later i suddenly remembered exactly where it was, down to their obscure street name, and we didn’t miss a single street getting there. elder M even commented, "wow, you have a good memory." it wasn’t my memory.

miracle tue(sday): so in monday night planning, we saw that we had an appointment with E. only one problem... who´s E? but we felt like we should keep it there anyways. so we went through the day and were praying to be able to find him,.and we eventually remembered... nothing. nope nothing, i had no idea. well, let’s go work. so we were going to our other appointments, when we felt like we should go to try to find a reference, we had passed by before, but they were never there. so we go over when all the sudden, "...hey elder" "yeah?" "you remember when we contacted that guy who lives next door the last time and put an appointment with him, but didn’t write down his name?" "yeah" "...i know who E is." so we found him. but he wasn’t there. but his mom was. she has been inactive for over thirty years.

miracle three (sunday): so last week for fast sunday i fasted that we could have people in sacrament meeting, just 1 person. in 6 weeks we have had a grand total of... 0 people there. we received a promise from president that if we study the doctrine of the lessons for half an hour every day, that half of the investigators in sacrament meeting would baptize. awesome promise... but half of 0 is 0. so this week we worked hard and we were waiting for 7 people , guess how many we had? we had (drum roll please) ...0. yup, nobody. then in the second hour we were called into the bishops office, there was a man there (who had sat next to me in sacrament meeting) who had apparently been baptized 15 years ago, but was never confirmed, he lives right outside of our limit, but attends here, so we will most likely still teach him. so we couldn’t count him this week, but at least we had somebody there, just that 1.

long moral short, there are three things we need to see miracles, or receive guidance in our lives. 
1. ask 2. be worthy (that includes in our desire) 3. do our part.  that last one is key, God more easily directions moving feet. want something? get moving

that’s all for this week, be good, love you.

elder gandola

ps. we had a miracle on wednesday too. i found a woman who sells churros for 1 peso each. that’s 15 for a dollar. i may have bought ten, because the miracle of churros is the greatest miracle of all.

Aug 3, 2015

well, this week was kinda interesting. it went by super-fast because we didn’t really have many "normal" working days.

so the thing about being a leader is you have to do divisions more, you have to do them  with all of those in your district, (preferably twice so you can do it with each companion) and you have to do it with your leaders as well. so we planned on having them with elder M and elder G thursday to friday, and then the zone leaders called us and told us we would have them with them tuesday to wednesday. so i guess with pday and church the only day that elder M and i worked normally and a full day was saturday.

so remember how i said that my old  companion elder C was our zone leader? well he came to work with me, it was really nice, because of all the companions that i have had, our teaching styles fit really well together. we had a couple good lessons, it was also good to get some input by somebody with a bit more experience on some of the administrative stuff of a district, i was kinda thinking, "well this is good to know, but i don’t really think i will ever need to apply it." well i had to apply a good amount of it pretty soon afterwards, so good timing there.

then the next day with elder G we didn’t really have too many lessons., but i got to know him a bit more, he is a bit quiet, so i didn’t know him too well, but he is a good missionary, and really smart. when he was at home he played in chess tournaments and won and stuff, he thoroughly handed it to me that night when we had the chance to play.

church was good, but a bit different. the teacher of the first principles class and the president of elders quorum (two young semi-recently returned missionaries) just got married. they were on their honeymoon and i was thinking in sacrament meeting "hmm, wonder whos gunna teach the classes today." quick answer, it was me. in both they came up to me and asked, hey can you teach the class? yeah, ok well then you have the time right now. ...ok.  they actually turned out really well and i had to cut one short to finish in time. something that i have learned this week is that sometimes we can do super legit stuff, like teach both classes on the spot, but if we started thinking about how good we are and how great we do, we can’t do super legit stuff anymore. for example i know that i had the lords help in those classes. if i had had a week’s notice and had thought, "psshh preparing is for losers" then i don’t think i could have done it on the spot, but if we are humble, and do what we can, then the lord will help us.
moral: i am a super humble person, probably more humble than anyone i know.
(ok that’s not actually it, its trust in the lord.)

but anyways that’s all for now, love you guys, be good

elder gandola

Monday, August 10, 2015

July 27, 2015

hello all,

this week was good, i learned a lot

lesson 1: parenting is hard.

so I may not be a real parent, and i may not be beginning the training of my companion, but no obstane, through training a new missionary and having a district, i think i got a little taste of what it’s like to be a parent. The thing is that more than ever you have to worry about everything you do.  1. you have to be a good example so that they can learn the right stuff to do, 2. you have to not do anything wrong so that they don’t call you on it, and 3. you have to worry about every interaction you have with them, especially when you are teaching them, was that too firm? was it not firm enough? did they understand? how else could i explain it or show them so they will start applying it? what else could i , HEY, DONT PUT THAT IN THE ELECTRICAL SOCKET! ... ok, so maybe nobody almost electrocuted themselves, but still. I’m sure that it will be even more so when i have real children.

also the thing about being a leader/ example is that you have to pretend like you know what you are doing. the more that i gain life experience, the more i am convinced that nobody knows what the heck is going on, they all just pretend. at least i sure as heck hope they don’t know what’s going on, because i sure don’t, and i don’t see that changing anywhere in the next few (ok many) years. the trick is just pretend that you know what you are doing and people will think that you do. (I’m really good at that with directions now, when your lost you just pretend like you know exactly where you are until you actually do.)

lesson 2: take advantage of people.

ok not quite like that, but same kinda principle. so i realized, as I’m sure that most people do, that service is important. giving service is easy, the hard part is learning how to accept service. i have seen this from 2 different points of view.

1. fun fact, missionaries hardly ever give service. why? because nobody lets them. there are many times when we offer service, usually its very obvious that yes the people actually need help. the thing about service is that we all think we are very humble and willing to serve, but we are to prideful to actually accept help from others.

2. so we left the house of some members, they have a little shop and they offered us water bottles like they always do. i gladly accepted because the chimp was ironing (it was hot) but my comp refused multiple times but asked for a glass of water.  now obviously in situations like this we should not overly take advantage of them, it is a source of income, but when they offer us things out of the goodness of their hearts, it can validate them, and help us too. and I’m sure that the feelings of generosity that they had and the blessings for the small act were worth more than the 50 cents that the bottle was worth.

so yeah, the moral of this lesson, be humble enough to accept assistance (without overly taking advantage of them)

well, those are some main points of this of this week. do with them what you will.

love you guys, be good

elder gandola

July 20, 2015

greetings friends family and possibly enemies.

so this week was kinda interesting i guess.  the week itself was pretty normal, we looked for a lot of people and nobody was there, but we had some unusual lessons and such.

so first of all we found a now investigator, a woman who lives with her husband and 2 kids. she was super great, but her son made the lesson very interesting.  he is a 3 year old who came out at the beginning of our lesson, he was talking a lot and trying to show his mom everything that he was doing on his phone and such, but hey kids are always distracting. but then his mom told us that he has adhd and problems with anger and such, which soon became very apparent. so after a bit he wanted the phone, he wanted specific things on the phone (which weren’t there) and when it didn’t work he started screaming and crying. so we ended up waiting for this kid for like 20 minutes.  most of the stuff he did was completely illogical. "i want cookies!"  "ok here are some cookies" so he took them and just threw them on the floor. "mom they fell down, pick them up" "no, i didn’t throw them on the floor" "... you did it" eventually she went to pick them up but he just screamed and tried to stop her.  he basically did that with everything down to juice, and then he got mad when she was handing him stuff because he physically "couldn’t walk" to go get them and a lot of stuff like that. but eventually he calmed down and we have another appointment for when he is in daycare, but i think she will progress.

this week was the last week of transfers, but we already knew we were going to stay the same, but probably receive a third elder. elder P goes home in two weeks, so it wouldn’t make sense to send him anywhere else for only two weeks. but guess what? we did have transfers. elder P got sent to his old area with his old companion and another elder for the last 2 weeks, so all the changes don’t really make a ton of sense but bueno. i received an almost new missionary, he is halfway done with his training, so i get to finish training him this transfer. Technically president has told me all of my transfers so far then, except for the special transfers that he didn’t know about before. because he told me that i would train this next transfer. the bad thing about this is that i missed all the good parts of training. 1. i don’t get the buffet breakfast that everyone gets when they go to get their trainees. 2. we don’t get to mess with him because he already kinda knows how stuff is. 3. i can’t tell people, "this is my beloved son, hear him." the most that i can do is "this is my adopted son, hear him... if you want to" doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

anyways, he calls himself elder M, he is tall, he is mexican, and he can’t walk too fast right now because he cut his foot open last monday with a machete while he was trying to cut grass. so we will probably go to the hospital today or tomorrow so that they can take the stitches out.

but yeah that was my week, that’s it for now. love you guys, be good.

elder gandola

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015 Dog Training and Space Weapons

so this week was good, a little interesting though.

so i guess I’ll just start out by saying that dogs and missionaries are just mortal enemies... or good friends, lucky for us that so far all the big dogs seem to be our friends. the small dogs... not so much.

so in our house we live in this super tiny gated community, and to get to it we always pass by this little tiny dog in front of his house. he really can’t do anything to us but if he was bigger he would totally dismember us, but as the situation is he just kinda contents himself with following barking like a madman. we have tried to  scare it away by pretending to charge it and stuff, but it just gets madder.

so i think tuesday we walk past the dog, and we were carrying our umbrellas, because the rain hits in the summer here, and as we were about to get to this house, elder p. asks me, "wanna see something funny?" "...yes." so as we pass elder p. just points his umbrella at it and opens it. let’s just say that it’s a good thing that dogs don’t wear pants, because he would have had to change them. the best way he can describe his reaction is "BARK BARK BARK DIE DIE DIE BARK BARK BAR- OH MY GOSH SPACE WEAPONS!" but yeah, after a couple space weapon attacks (only when he barks) he doesn’t mess with us anymore. he just stares at us with hate, or he takes a lap around the block to avoid us, but anyways, I’m pretty sure that I’m qualified as a dog trainer now.

as district leader i had my plate full  this week, with planning the district meeting tuesday, and then intercambios thursday, and then a baptismal interview friday. but all went well, and i have a good district. i actually like being a leader, not really because i want extra responsibilities and stuff like that nor ordering people around, but because it seems that you receive more revelation when it is to help other people, fun stuff.

but we had some interesting lessons this week too. The one that tops the rest was with a random contact that we did. we passed by and he wasn’t there, but his mom was, so we started teaching her, with her husband kinda listening in, when all of the sudden he tells us, "i'm gunna leave, i have a meeting with my pastor, but i just want to tell you that Mormon isn’t a prophet, he’s not in the bible, i want you to find him in the bible, actually you can’t, cause he isn’t there." it seemed obvious that he didn’t really want an answer, so we just kinda let him rant for a minute, leave, and then we came back to our lesson.  but then, just as we are finishing up, he comes back in, but with his pastor. at first we were thinking "oh no" but we finished the lesson, turned to them and asked what question he had. the pastor was actually great, he just asked what we did as missionaries, so we explained, then the guy brought up his Mormon question again, and we just explained really calmly about the book of mormon, bearing our testimonies the whole way through. the pastor accepted our answer, and so then the guy did too. the pastor actually accepted a book of mormon and said he would like to hear ore of or message.

i guess through all this, and other stuff this week, I  kinda learned to trust in God a bit more. we don’t have the whole perspective, and there are many things that we could not work out for ourselves, but if we just trust that he is in control and do our part, that we end up way better than we would on our own.

anyways that’s it for this week. take care all. love you guys, be good.

elder gandola

July 6, 2015 4th of July

hey guys,

i'll make this quick.

so me and elder p. are getting along. the area is good, but it’s always a bit hard the first week of opening an area. but elder p. has served in the other area of our ward before, so he knows the area a little bit. the area book was super well kept, so we spent a couple hours this week organizing it, and today we spent a couple hours cleaning the house, but now we should be able to work better.

i didn’t have to capacitate this week, because we had a zone meeting this week, but i will have our first district meeting tomorrow. i already kinda knew the guys in my district because we saw them every sunday, so I’m not really worried.

4th of july we were planning to celebrate with hamburgers, but fast sunday changed our plans, so we celebrated today instead with kraft mac and cheese and root beer. (i aM SOOO HAPPY TO HAVE ROOT BEER AGAIN... IT’S BEEN 9 MONTHS, BUT WE FINALLY FOUND WHERE THEY SELL IT. OH WO I’M USING CAPS LOCK, I WASNT EVEN LOOKING AT THE SCREEN UNTIL I FINISHED THAT SENTANCE)

spiritual message for this week, prioritize your stuff, there is lots of time for lots of stuff, but get the important stuff out of the way and you will end up being able to more other stuff done anyways.

anyways, take care, be good, love you

elder gandola

Sunday, July 5, 2015

June 29, 2015 Special Transfers

well, this week was interesting.

so first of all, we had to stop teaching a bunch of people this week. we realized that our teaching pool was just too big, and that many of them realistically were not going to progress, especially many who had had a lot of time in teaching. lots of times satan doesn’t try to attack us by making us do bad things, it’s just kinda more effective to make them not do good things. either way they aren’t progressing, and its easier to just tell them to delay the good stuff until tomorrow. i suppose there’s a lesson there for all of us.

but then we got  some interesting news  sunday night, that’s right (for those of you who read the title) we had special transfers (not sure if that’s how they say it in english or not) but at like 10 at night they called us and told us that we had transfers the next day. at first we thought it was a joke but nope, it was real, fun stuff.but it was kinda a bummer. elder p and i get along well and have been working good together. i think of all my companions he is the one i have played around with the most.

but anyways he was super worried because he is staying there, but as señor companion (wow...that’s even incorrect in spanish... meh, I’ll leave it). he says that if he is senior companion right now that he will be district leader sooner. well, if my experience is anything to base it on, he’s right. actually, he should be district leader in about three weeks. yup, i got put as district leader. the ironic thing is that i didn’t really move. i got put in the other ward that meets in the same church building, though it is a different district for each ward, but they are tiny, 2 companionships each. actually i just switched places with the other guy that was in this area before, now he is in my old area. my new comp is elder P. he is the first companion i have had that 1. is american, and 2. i knew beforehand. he was in my first area for one transfer, and then was my zone leader in aguas for 2 weeks. he actually heads home halfway through the next transfer, so it looks like more special transfers are in my future.

well, that it for now, but should be interesting, guess we’ll see what happens.

well be good, love you

elder gandola

Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 22, 2015 Father’s Day

so funny story, my watch has time settings for 4 cities, and it was the on the wrong one. so my companion woke up from relaxing, i was reading, and asks me, "why didn’t you wake me up earlier?"
"...it’s only 2"

“ no, its 5"


but we have an appointment with a member at 6, so we have to leave early and i don’t have time to write really, so sorry

happy fathers day!

elder gandola

June 15, 2015 The dangers of being lukewarm

 i don’t have a lot of time, so I’ll just share a thought i had this week. we are much more complacent with things than we should be. i realized that i am not really doing anything bad, i am following the rules, i am working all day, I’m basically doing everything that i should, but I’m not really doing anything overly spectacular either. and i was thinking, why should we settle for just being mediocre, for just doing what we are "supposed to?" if I’m here on a mission dedicating all of my time, then i should dang well be doing everything possible to use it in the most effective way i can. the mission lowered the baptismal goal when i arrived from a baptism every week to every month. if it’s possible to achieve something, then we should not settle for less.

in the church i have realized that there really no is any standing still. you can progress or we can unprogress.  Christ’s plan has always been progression, like it says in revelations. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:  I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." if we are going to be involved in something, we had better be committed, or there’s really no point.

so this week i started applying something found in the new testament, when the rich young ruler came to jesus and asked him "what lack i yet." i feel as if we don’t ask this question enough, and i think the reason is because we all feel sure that we will get an answer.

so that’s my challenge for all of you, go get an answer. then work on it.

that’s it for now, be good, love you guys.

elder gandola

June 8, 2015 I like to Move it, move it


we actually basically didn’t work this week, we weren’t sick or anything (or in jail for kidnapping), we were just working on other stuff. so the secretaries landlord wanted to raise there already high rent, which wasn’t gunna fly, so we got to find  a new house and move everything over there.

fun fact, moving is hard without a car. especially when you are the secretaries, who need a house fitted to hold 12 elders, and is packed with junk that the old guys leave behind when they head home. so basically we spent the whole week taking stuff apart and moving it over .  we ended up finding a member with a truck

the first day of the week, all the zone leaders were coming to stay with us, so we moved all the beds that day. they all got there at the same time we finished, so they all had  to help us put them together. they didn’t actually know how to do it though, because they didn’t  take them apart, so we had to go around and fix them all when they were done.

friday we had divisions, and i went over to the zone elders area, and i was thinking that finally i will get to work normal again. first thing we did was go do service. we helped a woman lower down a big wooden bed frame down from a third story roof with ropes.... i have a curse.

we didn’t have any extra space, so we had to bring the washing machine to the assistants. we went to pick up the keys, but the assistants were out with president, so when we got there, president invited us to go eat hot chocolate with him. he had chocolate tamales brought out for us to try, and he asked us if we would like him to order more, ap 1 "no, I’m good" ap 2 "no, I’m good" secretary goff "nope I’m good" me "...yup" lesson i have learned in the mission, if people offer you things, they usually actually mean it. also, if you are a junior companion at lunch with president and his wife and the assistants and a secretary ...then you are allowed to take advantage of the situation. it was a good tamale.

but we got it all done, so... yeah. like i said we don't really have a lot of lessons this week, but we had good ones. we went to visit the recent convert that we just baptized and her family, and we brought the restoration video to watch. they started it in english on accident and so i started translating as a joke, but turns out that they lost the remote, so they couldn’t actually change the language, so i just translated all of it. i think that makes up for last weeks spanish jahaja

today we had transfers, i got sent to san luis potosi in the city this time as senior companion. my comp is elder P, he has like 6 months in the mission, and we have already gone over the explaining new companions thing.

well, that’s real all i have for this week. take care, be good, love you guys.

elder gandola

June 1, 2015

hey guys,

so first of all, i got the package this week. the sour gummy worms were super mega great. they were even better because we didn’t have food, so i still had something to eat. (i actually did have money, but nobody else did, so we didn’t go to the store, but now we all have money again, so it’s all good) also we didn’t have light or water for a couple days because the electricity got cut and we didn’t have time to pay it. but luckily we are moving houses this week, so hopefully no more problems like this. we are moving for 2-3 reasons. 1. the rent is being raised. 2 me and elder gonzales are gunna go move apart from the secretaries, so were gunna move twice. also i'm gunna have transfers probably. president told me that i would probably have transfers this time, and after that i will train... president has spoiled the surprise of every single transfer i have had. but anyways, we were packing stuff all today, and so we are running a bit late

but anyways, not too much time, but 2 quick things. first of all i learned an important lesson this week, not really a missionary lesson, but a spanish lesson. short version: por and para are very important. long version: so we were out on exchanges and we were contacting and  worded one of the questions weird, i will explain it from my point of view first. "blah blah contact stuff... so these are your kids" "yeah." "oh, well what are your hopes for their future?" (he gets this really confused/disgusted look on his face) "...nothing" "...really, you don’t want anything for them?" ...now before i continue the conversation i will tell it from his point of view. "...so these are your kids?" "yeah" "well how much can i offer you for them?" "...nothing" "really, you wouldn’t sell them for anything?" at this point we realized what he thought and clarifies "oh, no, like, what are your dreams for them" "oooh..... i thought you were trying to buy them." so the moral of this story is learn por y para better when you study spanish and pay more attention to which you use. also missionaries should not buy children.

secondly we had an meeting with elder Arnold of the 70. i was ready for another nice meeting with a general authority... he planched us pretty hard (planchar means to iron but missionary slang its kinda like... chewed out? no not quite, but like be really direct) he did it with love so it was ok, but he helped us see the things that we can do better and how we can achieve more in this time. a lot of what he said reminded me of something i studied in d&c 3:1

 "1 The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught."

now something interesting about this section is that he is talking to joseph smith about the lost pages, it was Joseph's actions that  were not in line with the lords will. now if he did anything against God, he could not have stopped the restoration, he just wouldn’t have been the one to restore it. so basically the lord will do his work with or without us, we just have the opportunity to be the tools he uses, but if we are not doing what we need to, we are all replaceable. Basically, we can live in a way that we can be used to hasten the work, or we can get out of the way. i feel like hastening the work is a better option.

well that’s all for now, be good, love you guys.

May 25, 2015 Secret Agents

greetings again,
so lucky for you guys i actually remember some stuff from this week. because this week was different.

so we were in a gated community, and we went to visit somebody, when all of the sudden a guard pulls up on his bike (you know, bikes aren’t very intimidating) and tells us to hit the road. so we go up to the front to see what’s up. so when we enter, we always have to give them our id´s and the address we will go visit. so they were upset because we gave them an address, but went and visited multiple people. we didn’t know beforehand that that was a problem, so we explained our situation, what we do, and offered multiple solutions, but they just told us, "nope, until here, no more, you guys can’t come back." i was mad, we weren’t even aware of a problem until then, but there was nothing to do, so we left, even though we had appointments with  our recent baptism and with our only baptismal date in there.

so we called them to cancel the appointments, but they were all, "not in my gated community," so they came and picked us up and told the guards that we were coming in,..now  they let us in as long as we give them all the directions. but anyways, we can enter now, but they always follow us now "in secret"

but yeah, well now i guess i will just have to one up you guys. danielle told me that you guys had a stake conference with a 70. well we had 2 at our stake conference. oh yeah we are also having a meeting with just the missionaries in this are with another 70, elder Arnold. oh yeah also this past tuesday we had an all mission meeting with another 70, elder piper. Oh wait, he was accompanied by another guy, (wait for iiiit).... Elder Bednar. yup, we got to meet with an apostle. you may be thinking the same thing i thought when i heard he was coming, "i didn’t know that Elder Bednar spoke spanish." ...well he doesn’t, he just used a translator

 he started out by telling a story  (that i have heard somewhere but don’t remember where) about a woman who always cut off the end of the ham before cooking it. when asked why by her husband she said she didn’t know but that it was how her mother had done it. so she asked her mother who responded in a similar manner, so she asked her grandmother and discovered that when they were first married that her grandparents had not had a pan large enough for the ham.

he explained that many things we do, especially in the church are silly, and that the only reason we do them is because that’s the culture. one of the things we do is our notes, we note down a history of the meeting, and then later we never use them and can’t even find them. that we shouldn’t do that, but that we should take notes of spiritual impressions that we receive and it will serve us much better.

then he told us that he would not be giving a talk, but that he would be asking and answering questions. another one of those ham cutting traditions is playing a game called guess what’s in my head, and that we ask questions that are ineffective because they are just asking people to do just that. so all of the questions where not meant with a specific answer. so we basically just had a chat with elder Bednar and our whole mission.

what i learned most was the ability that we have to be agents (secret agents, like Bourne, ok maybe not). we have agency, which doesn’t mean we just get to choose, it means we get to act, and that we should cause things to happen. so when we want something, we should not be an object, and pray for God to make it all better, we should ask for help and then do our best to do it ourselves. Nephi didn’t ask for God to get him out, he asked for strength so that he could burst the bands.

so i don’t really know what you guys need right now, but go ask God for his support, and go do it.

signing off,

double-o gandola

Saturday, May 9, 2015

May 4, 2015 may the cuarto be with you

May 4, 2015
may the cuarto be with you

sup peeps,

so this week was interesting, first because of the whole opening an area thing, and second, because this area is basically the opposite of my first area. matehuala was a small town with a few people, aguas is huge, our area is impossible to walk across (though we ended up doing it a couple times because we got lost.) but basically we have to take public transportation everywhere. there are taxis and buses but what we use most are the combes (i think its pronounces for you guys like comb-bees) which are basically just big (tnt berry style) vans that you get rides in.

our area is way different too, we have the super-rich privadas that make you guys all look poor, we have the average old suburbs (though a bit mexicanized) and we have an area that is pretty poor. (still safe, our whole mission is),  the people are a lot less open. right now we are living with the secretaries right now, elder g and elder h, so our house is super duper fresa (strawberry or fancy, pick your favorite) and you might even think that we were loaded, except for the fact that we are all dead broke, and with all the transportation cost we managed to burn through our personal money and emergency fund, but it’s all reimbursable and we just got our  mensualidad so todo bien.

the work is good but still  bit slow. for the first five days we only had one lesson every day, but these last few days we have had like 5, so we are starting to get the hang of it. the assistants left us with 2 people preparing for baptism, so this saturday we have an 8 year old girl l, and the next week we will have the wife of a menos active, both of them are great.

well that’s it for now, but if i left anything out i can fill you in on sunday, still don’t know when we will call, but i will try so shoot for later. like 6 or 7 here (4 or 5 california time). yup, peace out.

eler gandola

ps oh yeah, be good, os amo

April 27, 2015


this week was great. first of all we saw a bunch of progress in a youth that we are teaching. he has recently received a clear answer of the truth of the church, and this week decided by himself to go on a mission. he explained his process to us. at first he was atheist, and not very happy with life. we started teaching him and he faked enthusiasm, but he thought we were crazy. but we kept persisting and he saw that we and the members were actually happy, and then he started thinking, "well why do they care so much, they don’t win anything if i read and pray, why would they be so persistent unless there was a chance of it being true. so he did the stuff,  he read and prayed and went to church, and like people will always receive with real intent, he got his answer. he will be baptized on the 9th.

we ended the week with a baptism, not ours but the guy is so great and has changed so much that we were as excited as if it were ours. my comp got to baptize him and he wanted me to confirm him but president didn’t know so he did it. again he wasn’t ours so i can’t really explain his whole story to  you but he is the bestest.

then saturday we were told that my and elder w’s companions would be training, so they traveled down to aguas and me and elder w (yes he was mean mom) were comps again. since our companions are training, we got transfers, so here i am in aguascalientes, jesus maria 2. me and my new companion are opening the area, and before it was the area of the assistants, so  we should have an interesting week finding our way around and finding all the people. good thing is that our area is the area of the mission  offices, so i will get all my packages without a month delay. you know, all those packages that you guys have sent me...

but anyways don’t have much time, but take care, love you guys.


April 20, 2015 Ice Cream Man

greetings once again,

this week was another good week, but i dont really remember what we did becase missions are like that. but i will share some stories with you.

first of all we found some golden investigators again. we contacted them in like my second transfer, but they are never there, so we cant really teach them, but we were working and all of our appointments fell through, so i thought. "hey, lets go talk to them again," and they were there. so we go in and were teaching them, we were teaching about prophets and the priesthood, and i used the ice cream an example. for those of you who have not served missions since "our search for happiness" was written, the ice cream man example basically is just that if an ice cream man pulled you over and gave you a ticket, would you pay it? of course not, because he doesnt have that authority. so in the middle of my example, the woman (they are a couple) stopped us and said, "now look..." oh man, i thought they were going to progress. but she went on to say that she has been looking to get baptized but doesnt like the frivolity of many churches, so they were just thinking of baptizing each other, but when ishared the example, the husband realized, "i. would be... an ice cream man..." so good thing for the spirit prompting us to say stuff. it also made me realize even more how important it is to have that authority in the church today.

then later in the week i had my testimony of it strengthened even more as we were called to give a blessing. we give lots of blessings but this one was different, it was the friend of one of the investigators of the sister missioneries who recently lost his sight and a leg to diabetes. we got there and started talking to him, i was tired so i wasnt saying much, i think i only told him my name, but when we asked who he wanted to give the blessing he pointed at me and said, "him." so i said a quick prayer for guidance and gave the blessing. i have given blessings before but i have never felt so guided as the words were coming out of my mouth. i dont even remember what i said, but i know that it was from god and not from me. no i didnt heal him miraculously, nor even promise him to be healed, but talking to his friend he told us that he has taken comfort from it and can now sleep without medication.

anothewr thing that made me think happened when we contacted a reference. we recieved a reference of a woman who ha lost her son, and we were sent to talk to her with the warning that she is very catholic and possibly wont want anything to do with us. well, she didnt... until we let her know that the member had given us the reference, and then she immediately let us in. I was thinking about how good it is that that member is living the gospel, and that the woman could see her example and know that it was something good. made me wonder what people would say if some missionaries talked to someone and said that i had sent them. i hope that that would encourage them to listen, and if it wouldnt, then there would be some things that i need to change. as a missionary i have been living in such a way, because its my job, but know that there are still things i can improve. i would like to invite you all to think about things in your lives that you might be able to do a little bit better, so that when people hear that you are a member, they want to learn more.

well, thats all for this week, be good, love you guys.

elder gandola

April 13, 2015 Anakins (the chosen ones)

how’s it going

well I´ll just start by saying that the past three weeks have been rough. no i didn’t have salmonella, no i still haven’t gotten mugged (i know right, how lame is that?) but we have had little to no progression. more specifically we have had little to no lessons, we haven’t worked with the members, and the people weren’t doing what they needed to. the worst part is that it’s not our fault. we have been working together well, planning well, setting more appointments, etc. but everything just kinda seemed to fall through.

however, i am happy to report that this week has been different. we have still not had an excess of lessons, but have had about normal, which in contrast was great. and even better is the success that we have had finding people and teaching people by the spirit. we have been focusing a ton on focusing on commitments and helping the people cumplir with them (can’t remember what the word is in english) and it has been working miracles. this sunday we had 6 investigators at church, which for here is a ton. i shall tell you about them.

the first one is named ______, she has two kids ______ and _____ (they all went) we contacted them this week searching for a reference and they invited us in. she is catholic but thinks that a lot of things they do are wrong, but she doesn’t really see the need to change (but she is gaining a testimony). she has a lot of trials right now, her husband died 3 years ago and her older son (who was 12 at the time) is a bit rebellious. however he still listens and has even met with the zone leaders alone at their other house. the youngest is a rockstar, he is always the first one to accept commitments, and when we invited them to church, while the others were all thinking about what to say, he instantly responded, "i want to go!"

the next is _____, he is a kid of 17 years  (that comes out weird in english)  who we found because he was working in the shop of his grandfather, who we were teaching at the time. we hadn’t found him for like a month after that, when he showed  up at church about a month ago, because a young woman invited him (yeah we thought of that too, turns out that flirt to convert is good for getting guys to church, but really awkward in lessons) but anyways we started teaching him again. he is very smart, so we have been working on applying it to him intellectually, especially with the history of the church and the book of mormon. he texted us this morning telling us that he knows that its true.

the last is ______ and his son (11 years). we contacted him in his beer shop (not really a bar, just sells beer) because he was out front. he doesn’t drink, and has since left it and works as an ice cream man but we are teaching him and his son. they learn slowly but are great.

other than that we have a regular who was out of town. he attended 4 times before we realized that he wasnt one of the hermanas investigators. he lives like an hour away but still comes down every week. why? because he is a boss.

well i don’t have too much time, but that’s it for now. if you would like to include anyone in your prayers this week,  we have a, i,and u. thanks.

anyways, be good. love you.


April 6, 2015

I'm tired, and i don't have much time, so this will be short

still alive, stil doing god.

conference was good, it was the best session i have seen, i'm assuming that it has more to do with me than the quality of the talks, like the quote by bishop Gerald cause, its not a change of landscape, its a change of eyes... something like that, (the text isn't up on lds.org yet, and i don't have headphones)


Sunday, April 5, 2015

March 30, 2015 at your service... oh, well i guess not

hey guys,

so just to start off i realized that i forgot to explain the title last time. so here it is, the law of the heavens goes something like this "there is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of this world, upon which all prayer assignments are predicated, and when we obtain any prayer assignment in a lesson, its cause we´re the new guy." last week was the first week of transfers, so i didn’t have to give any prayers, there you go.

me and elder c have been working together well, but we have decided this week however that elder c has a curse. ever since he got here, our work has been all thrown out of whack, and not cause we are working differently, just cause stuff is weird. we have had lots of strange contacts this week, and our lessons keep falling through, which is obnoxious because we have been doing awesome with planning and setting appointments and stuff, but more about that later. but the worst part of the curse is that people have started thinking we are  working for the bank.

this week we started receiving lots of requests for money from random investigators, less actives, random guys on the street, etc. lots of seeing people on the street "oh hermanos! how’s it going, we still good for friday right?" "yeah of course, we have an appointment right 5 minutes ago, so we have to go, but is there anything we can do for you guys?" "well... yeah, you got 10 bucks?" "insert long explanation about how we can’t and how we are broke here" "oh ok... so how about 5?" ...dang it elder castañeda.

this week the members were awesome, we had a ward council tuesday, and the branch president has really been focusing on helping with the missionary effort... so we got 11 references (that’s a lot). which is awesome, especially seeing as the last 6 baptisms in this area have been references.

other different things this week was exchanges with the new zone leader and we had a branch activity on saturday, brought a few investigators and had some good food. not gunna lie it’s a bit weird going to a ward activity and instead of having mashed potatoes and hot dog buns we have a bowl of guacamole and tortillas, not that imp complaining.

well back to the not having lessons thing, it’s interesting to see how God works, and how we tend to define success. every day we have been walking around in the 35 degree weather (that’s hot) all day with no success, but then we end up with one awesome, almost miraculously good lesson. one of the days we found A again (thanks for the prayers) and he is still reading and praying and still wants to be baptized and confirmed. the next day we found his son again, who is also super excited about the book of mormon (he wants to be a historian, so we taunted him with the awesome history of his people found within the book... it worked pretty well) but anyways it’s good to know that while we have very little control, that if we just do our part and trust in God, that everything will work out.

last of all is a new investigator for this week. J. already explained a little about how we contacted him in his cyber, and how he doesn't have support from his family but he is still progressing. Well, we can’t teach him anymore right now because the cyber cafe is his mother in laws and she won’t let us teach him there, nor in her house where he is currently living. through all of this he is still awesome and interested. right now he is looking for a new house, and if he finds one we can teach him there, so if you could pray for him in his search that would be great.

well that’s it for now.

until the pasta (hasta la pasta)

Elder Gàndola

ps, if you haven’t seen the new church video "he lives yet" go watch it, its new from the church and we have new cards for it, like with he is the gift.

March 23, 2015 law of the heavens

dear everyone,

this week was very long and very tiring. turns out that i do know my area better than i did before. elder c doesn’t so i was leading all this week, so i lead wherever we walked and we didn’t really get lost, so i guess I’m good. only problem is that we spent a lot (and i mean a lot) of time walking. this week we had a problem that we have almost never had here, and that is that nobody was there, we only had like 2 or 3 lessons everyday (not for lack of trying). half of the time it wasn't bad, but the other half was pretty awful. why? oh that’s easy, because the climate here is more bi-polar than my senior year ----- teacher. it would switch from raining and freezing to scorching hot like 3 times every day, i wish i was exaggerating.

but despite the lack of lessons that we had, they were good ones. we saw a lot of miracles in the progression of the investigators. i don’t think that elder casteñeda noticed, because he still doesn’t know the people, but i have been here for 5 months, so it was great to see.

our first day we went to visit a member, but she was getting ready to go to an activity for relief society, we just talked with her daughter and she said she was going early to pick up a friend, we asked if we had taught her and her daughter said no. so we went to visit an investigator family who are great, but who are nervous about going to church. we got there but she was packing to leave, at first we were a bit disappointed, but then the member showed up, we had brought her along once before, and so by her own will had invited the investigator. high five random member.

our second day we found a new investigator, we had contacted him at his cyber a few weeks earlier, and left him to watch a few videos, didn’t think anything of it because on the same occasion i swear that while he was watching a video with his friend i heard him say "jajaja mormones." but when we passed by he was super excited to see us, and had watched a bunch of videos and was interested. so we taught him and in the middle of our lesson he asked us, "and what can i do to help you guys preach?" "....umm, well i guess we could leave you these pass along cards you can hand out." and the next time we passed by he said he was talking with his wife about us and she got upset with him for it, but he totally defended us because he feels like our church is different and its true... high five random computer guy.

this week president came down and we watched “meet the Mormons” with him, it was in spanish but i understand it all now, and we even got to watch the boxing one without some english voice over, so ha. then friday the branch got to watch it, we invited a whole bunch of people but nobody made it, so we just sat with one of the hermana’s investigators. but he liked it a lot and seems to be progressing.

we had lots of good lessons this week, but we went to church and still had nobody there. i was feeling frustrated because i have been working in this area for a long time and so i prayed that we could just have 1 investigator show up, just 1, just something to show me that it was any good to be working here at all. nobody showed. but then we walked into the first principles class and there was sitting one of our investigators. i went over and talked to him and he said that he had been in sacrament meeting, he had just sat in the back and we had missed him. it was super cool to see the lord answer my personal prayer.

other than that we have focused a lot this week on teaching the members about general conference and the importance to be prepared to receive gods message for us individually. i have been using an example from a talk we had in the mtc by the wife of elder russel m. nelson. she was engaged at that time, but wasn’t sure if it was the right decision, so she prayed about It before general conference, and was surprised to find that in the first session, every one of the speakers had spoken on marriage, and every one had said not to marry that man. then a couple years later she went back and read the session, but realized that, in reality, not one of that speakers had spoken on marriage. so my last message to share with you is that of the importance of preparation for receiving the words of the prophets, if possible with a question in specific that you can pray about in these coming weeks. i know that if you do so that you will be able to find an answer to your question meant specifically for you.

thats it for now, love you guys, be good


p.s. i was thinking about starting to tell you about an investigator every week, but for many the details are probably not things that i should share, so instead I’m going to leave you a name every week that if you feel like including in your prayers, that would be great.

this week, A, he is progressing rapidly (read to 3 nephi in just 3 weeks) but we have been unable to contact him for 2 weeks.


March 16, 2015 “so we keep on waitin (waitin) for the missionaries to change”

hello everyone,

still alive, still doing well, but super short on time. so bien sincillo, we had cambios this week, well today.

got the transfers last night in a lesson with an investigator family. elder v got changed after 4 transfers in the area, which is just short of 6 months. which means i will have at least that time by the time that i leave matehuala.

so we got up at 4 in the morning so he could pack and get to the bus station in time for his transfer, then i went and just kinda waited at the house of elder w with him and elder o (our also american zone leader). i find it kind of ironic that elder w and i are the newest missionaries here (and still practically the newest in the mission) but we now have the most experience here in matehuala. (oh yeah elder w has stopped dying from appendicitis, now he is ok)

our new companions just got here, we went to pick them up, went home to drop off his stuff, and came here to write. my new comp is elder c. still don’t know him super well, and we already discovered that I’m bad at describing people, but he just got done training elder c from my district in the mtc.

funny story from today, so we were bored and hungry and elder w had still not gotten to eat pizza (which is what he wanted after being given only hospital food for a week) so we ordered a pizza from a local place. it was taking super long to get there, and we were wondering what was taking them so long, and we thought that maybe elder w had given them the wrong address, he checked and hadn’t, but i heard it as he had (given them the wrong address). So 5 minutes later they had me call to see where it was, but i thought i was calling to give them the right address, the conversation went something like this."hi, pizza classics, how may we be of service?" "hi, I’m just calling because we ordered a pizza like an hour ago, but we gave you the wrong address" ...the other elders look shocked for some reason, but I’m not sure why. i realize that what i just said sounds bad. "...no, like we gave you the wrong number" "...ok" " " ... the real number is (insert same number as before) ... bye" so from her point of view, "hi, we ordered a pizza with the wrong address earlier, you know just for fun, but were hungry now, could you send it to the right (same) place?" ... i might be an idiot.

that’s all, keep you updated on our progress next week.