I needed to write down on a post-it note yesterday all that I wanted to share in this e-mail today, because so much happened this last week. I do not want to forget mentioning something important. A lot has happened in our area this last week and I am excited to give account for how it went. One of the highlights from this last week is that Hermano Mayans received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained as a Priest and will be given the opportunity to bless the Sacrament soon with the help of his Son. This week was also full of exchanges. Unfortunately for nearly half of the week, Elder Ramirez and I were not together as a companionship, but I do not plan the exchanges, I just do them. I must say though that I learned a lot from each exchange and I think that is the most important thing. I am serving with some very special Elders. We all are very different, but so alike at the same time. I love how immediately united two missionaries can become knowing that we are all here for one purpose. I have really enjoyed being apart of this District.
Hermana Rosalve is ready for her Baptism of December 29th. Elder Ramirez and Elder Quito taught her last week on exchanges and she mentioned that she wants to be Baptized on this date. She was not able to come to church yesterday because she had something planned that we were not aware of. We had a family home evening with her and the Stake President with his familia two days ago on Monday and it went very weel. President Villegas taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. President brought up her Baptism and asked her if he could Baptize her on December 29th. She has great desires to follow the example of Jesus Christ. She has strong faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement. She also has a change of heart and desire to be clean from sin. President Villegas taught very well that following faith in Jesus Christ and Repentence is Baptism and recieving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. She understood the lesson quite well. We need to still teach her Lesson 4: The commandments, and then if all goes as planned, she will be baptized on December 29th. We had a Ward Christmas dinner on Saturday and there was a great showing. We were able to get some less-active and part-member families there so that was great. I have enjoyed for my entire mission working with part-member familias and less-active members. In regards to our finding this past week, we were only able to find three new investigators. We did not have many member present lessons last week either. It seems that during this time of year, it is hard to get members to come out with us to lessons which is understandable, but we will not give up. Members are crucual in the social conversion of any investigator. One thing I have enjoyed doing this last week is asking every family that we eat with to have a kneeling prayer as President Villegas has asked and pray for three specific things; 1) the desire, confidence and willingness to share the Gospel, 2) the words to say when we do approach someone and 3) opportunities for missionary work. We have done this at every dinner appointment and will continue to, because recently, we have obtained more trust and referrals from the members of this ward.
Online Proselyting Training: All missionaries of the Anaheim California Mission are now on facebook, which is why I am emailing on Wednesday this week and not two days ago on Monday, because of an online training we had. It is a big change without a doubt, but it is necessary and exciting! My missionary account is still in the works, I have been on my old account and have pulled a list of friends to add and photos to upload to my new one, and am eager to get it going. We have one hour of what is now referred to as "Online Proselyting Time" each day, and are encouraged to do it. It is amazing some of the success stories we have had within our zone. I am adding to my new account primarily my friends who are members and who speak Spanish as to help the work move along. We are to concentrate our efforts primarily where we are serving, or in other words, the majority of my facebook time and effort should be spent teaching people who live within my area boundaries, and who speak spanish. The neat thing is that if I am teaching a lesson to an investigator through Chat and I have another friend who is online, regardless of where they live, I can invite them to the conversation and they can be a member present to add another testimony to mine! So Shaun, Terry and members of the Spanish Branch who speak Spanish can help me teach here in Anahiem from their cell phones or computers in Portland! Isnt that amazing? :) The church has really stepped up to the plate in creating almost endless online resources especially some very quality and inspirational videos on mormon.org and mormonchannel.org. It is exciting to be able to be a Pioneer in this field. Only 30 missions in the entire world are currently doing Online Proselyting. In time, I imagine that many more missions will be able to as weel, but our mission and the others are the first to use these online resources. We are to ask ourselves constantly "Does this help me to fulfill my purpose?", and having applied that question, the Spirit is with us and we are guided and lead to where the Savior would have us be, doing what he would have us be doing. Furthermore it is now easier to communicate with all ward leaders and members to confirm appointments, help with fellowshipping, get information on ward activities and just stay connected in general. We are currently doing all of our online proselyting in public libraries, but next month we will be getting Ipads or Tablets so that we can have access to GPS maps (say goodbye to 200 years of missionaries getting lost in new areas and missing appointments because of wrong addresses and say hello to google maps :), and so that we can do our online proselyting from our own personal devices. It is an exciting time to be a missionary! Before, I thought it would be cool to have an Ipad as a missionary just because it was an Ipad, but being out here, being submerged in the work it makes me want to be able to use these things for the Lords purposes... I feel that I will be able to share the peace and direction that the Gospel brings to lost souls to even more of my brothers and sisters, and that is why I am excited about this new opportunity. This is a revolutionary time. The Lord has put a lot of trust in his servents, the missionaries. I pray for the diligence and obedience of every missionary including myself with such a privilege. We are to Be a missionary, focussed, determined and dedicated. With permission, I can now teach a lesson to less active members who might be my old friends or members of my own family, or send them links to videos that will lift their faith. God truly is hastening his work. I am reminded of the scripture that I read this week in Jacob 5 when the Lord sent forth his servants for the very last time to work in his vineyard to prepare it to be burned, and he worked with them. The Lord is here with me. I feel his influence here everyday in my life. "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."
Tender mercy story- this last week has gone very well, and we have seen miracles, but I dont have much time to tell you because I spent a lot of my time writing about Facebook. In short, I was on exchanges with Elder Curtis this week in his area and after a long and trying day we were waiting for the other Elders to come and drop off a key that we had accidentally left in their car to be able to unlock our bikes and go to the next appointment. It was dark, we were sitting on a bench on the street corner and there was a middle aged woman walking down the sidewalk toward us. We were going through some papers to do some planning and I told Elder Curtis that if the woman kept her course and walked past us that I would contact her. He readily agreed to support me and kept looking through papers. As the woman got closer, she changed her course and began walking through a parkinglot in the opposite direction of us. Elder Curtis joked and said "well Elder Harvey, now you've done it, she heard you and is running away." At first I was bummer out and then thought for a second, looked at the woman, and then back at Elder Curtis and said..."I still have my Agency!!" and jumped up and began to run/jog after her! hahahah Elder Curtis later told me in this moment he thought to myself "he is going to scare that poor woman to death!" and sure enough, I did startle her a little, but after talking to her for a second, I waved Elder Curtis over and it turns out that she was in great, great need of help. Her and her husband had been praying for some guidance, some means of getting out of the current situation that they were in and some spiritual healing for the trials which they were passing through. We taught a short lesson and prayed with them right there in the parking lot. That was saturday night. Sunday morning they were both in the church and stayed for all three hours and made wonderful friends with the members. Monday afternoon, Elder Curtis and Elder Quito had a lesson with them and they taught the restoration and challenged them to baptism for th 29th of this month. They both agreed. Yesterday (tuesday), they taught had another powerful lesson with them and the Elders said that they loved everything they taught and are progressing incredibly. It is amazing how the Lord works. All because of the urge I had to get out of my seat and open my mouth.
I would like to end with my testimony. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a living Prophet today and that the Holy Priesthood is on the earth once again. I know that The Book of Mormon cannot be proved false by anyone. It is another testament of Jesus Christ. It is the evidence we hold dearly as members and missionaries of the Church that declares that the fulness of the Gospel has been restored. The work of the Savior is growing like it never has before, and I am so grateful to be apart of it. I hope that you all have a great week! Don't forget, add me on Facebook; Elder Mason Harvey, firstname.lastname@example.org!
Making Sugar Cookies with Jalapeño seeds for the Ward Christmas dinner. They were good!
Cooking Carne asada with Hermano Orozco outside the church building. We used a overhead and a progector screen for light, because no other source of light was available. It is funny sometimes how the Spanish culture resolve problems.