El Camino Real Week 7

Last week there was no letter from Mason.  Boo.  He ran out of time as he has some changes in his district.  I wrote him a little encouragement to make sure that he at least sends a paragraph so I know he is alive and well!  Here is his recent letter.

Friends and Fam,

This past week was basically just a week of change! We have a new companionship in El Camino: Elder Bowman, our new District Leader, and Elder Otto. Here’s a quick funny story about them, when they texted us the first time Elder Varela read it and thought their signature at the bottom said “Elders Bowman & El Otro” (the other) when it really said Otto haha. And keeping the tradition of Spanish nicknames alive, sometimes they’re known as Elders Arcohombre y Otro. I know, I’m still super hilarious. But they’re both great. In our first District Meeting together we practiced contacting someone on the street and Elder Otto pretended to be a guy in a huge rush and it was the most awk contact ever: “Hey we only want to save your soul!!”. Just kidding, but sometimes I’m tempted to say that to people, mostly because it’s true! But I resist due to the fact they would probably think we’re crazy…

Being back on bike has been a blast. With my brand spankin new sleek silver bullet/red lightning mountain bike (sorry mom) we take on the world in our 2×2 mile area to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ! Sometimes I find myself trying to find the route with the most messed up sidewalks and mini-jumps to brake in my new ride but then I realize it’s probably not the best use of time haha. But nothing’s been stolen yet which is a plus! It takes us around 5 minutes just to lock everything up, mostly because I’m super paranoid now.

This week was great, per usual. On Saturday Elder Varela had the opportunity to visit the Los Angeles Visitor’s Center with one of our investigators, Emerson, and his family. It was so good! We took some pictures but I forgot my camera this week so I’ll send them next time. The visitor’s center sisters that prepared our tour focused on the eternal families since he and his wife have a little 2 year old and are barely starting our their lives as parents. I think it got him to ponder long and hard about what he really wants. And as we walked around the temple grounds I could really feel the holiness of the place and I hope Emerson was able to feel the same things and recognize the importance of taking the steps of keeping his commitments until baptism and then all the steps afterwards. When we got back home I was feeling confident about him, he promised to go to church the next day and also read/pray as a family! So we felt it was a successful trip…until church the next day. He didn’t come! Elder Varela and I couldn’t believe it. That experience, sadly, basically sums up my entire mission experience: we have a super spiritual experience with an investigator and they commit to do something that we know will help them progress, but then they don’t do it! It makes me think about the importance of doing the little things in life: reading scriptures, praying, and going to church. They’re all so easy to do but still people somehow make excuses: I work late, I’m too tired, I have to study, this and that. There’s a scripture I like to share that touches on this subject, how can I balance my church life and everything else? 3 Nephi 13:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” In a phrase, just do it! Eventually the two lives will merge and you will see the fountain of blessings that will enter into your life. If we do all we can to follow Jesus Christ he will help us with everything else. Because what is God’s purpose? To “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man,” to give us what He has! Everything he asks us to do is only to help us become the kind of person he wants us to be. So that’s my challenge for you all this week, make it a personal goal to pray and read your scriptures every single day, and don’t make any excuses! Try it and see what’s different from all the weeks prior.

We also had something called a “6 Week Follow Up,” were all the new missionaries from the last transfer got back together and got some finishing touches on our training. It was really great. Nothing much exciting or new, mostly another one of those motivating meetings that got everyone pumped to preach the gospel, especially since we actually know what we’re getting into now haha. President Hall challenged us all to really commit ourselves as missionaries again for that same reason. Although 2 years seems like a long time in the now, in the grand scheme of things it is really more like a particle of sand on a massive beach. That’s why I’ve been able to see it’s so important we use each and every moment God gives us to serve this people as effectively as possible. I forgot my notepad for my Elder Bednar minute this week, but I remember a quote his wife said that I’d like to share here instead. She said “You only have 2 years of your life to serve the Lord, and then the rest of your life to think about it”. That statement hit me so hard I wrote it on a sticky not and put it up on the wall where I would see it every day. I always ask myself, “Am I using every moment possible as best as I can?” because I know in the long run, 2 years isn’t that much time. This applies to life as well! Like I talked about last week, are you using every moment you have to truly devote yourself to changing your life to the one Christ would want you to live? Put up a quote that reminds you of this somewhere you can see it every day also to remind yourself of these things. Coming from a person with a horrific memory, I know it will help you so much.

So yeah like I said, no Bednar minute this week. 😦 Sorry! And unfortunately there’s only one left, but I saved the most important one for last! His testimony of the Book of Mormon. Get pumped, it totally changed the way I look at and study the Book of Mormon. Maybe try to read the whole thing this week to get your mind fully prepared? Just kidding haha. Maybe just read every day, that’ll work.

I’ll end with a quote that Elder Varela said a few weeks ago that got me thinking. We were talking about what’s going to happen when Christ returns when he said: “I’m so pumped for the Second Coming!” I laughed but thought about it too. I’m pretty pumped for the Second Coming too! And that’s why it’s so important we make sure we’re always worthy, we don’t know when it’ll happen. But get pumped for the Second Coming everyone by trying out the things I talked about this week! I know it’ll make this week a great one! 

Love,

Elder Allen

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