Hey all, I hope you're all doing well. I'm here at the end of my first week in the new area. We cover part of Pico Rivera, and part of Whittier. There's a LOT of area to work here, and I'm just happy to be here! My companion Elder Lopez and I are working hard and being obedient, and that's what it's all about. I can feel the Lord changing me into who he really wants me to be here in California. I know this is where he needs me to be.Quick shoutout to my home ward, Parkway 9th, for sending me a special Package! It consisted of a paper Christmas tree with ornaments, each ornament having a quote or a hello from each member of my home ward! I'm attatching a picture so you can all see.
Monday, December 11, 2017
Monday, December 4, 2017
Well ladies and gentlemen, the news is in. Transfer facts are in, the votes have been counted. Drum Roll please....
Yessir! After just 1 transfer in his area, Elder Horton is packing his bags and heading out to another zone. This time, maybe to stay and finish his mission. Only time will tell. This zone, Whittier, is also where Elder Horton started his mission. He will be heading back to another area and he'll be able to see the same members and friends he left behind. We'll now have the chance to hear from him...
*cough* well hello family and friends. I'm headed out from my third area in this ward. I'll miss it very much, including the people and places. But I know the Lord has other plans for me. He also has plans for my current companion. He has been called to train in this area! I know he'll do a fantastic job with all the people we have met and taught. He's a fantastic missionary. My new companion's name is Elder Lopez. He was born in Bolivia, but came out to the field from Maryland. He's been a missionary for almost 1 year. I served in his district before, so I know he's a great missionary and I'm excited to work with him.
Lupita and her family are all still progressing towards baptism. We sat down with themand planned out their baptismal service for the 23rd. They are overexcited for that day. All they've got to do is come to church 2 more times in a row! It can be tough with 4 kids to get them all dressed and to get them to church by yourself, but Lupita is basically superwoman so she can do it. My companion and I have been praying so hard for her.
Jocelyn came to church for the first time this Sunday and she loved it! It was stake conference and so we didn't get to take the sacrament, which she was super excited for. I guess she's just got to come next week to see what it's like!
Stake conference was awesome! We had a visitor there from the presidency of the Seventy, named Elder Patrick Kearon. If you don't know who he is, he spoke in General Conference recently about Obedience. He told a story about when he went camping and a scorpion stung him. Ring a bell? If not, go ahead to lds.org and read it. Anyways, he gave a great talk in our sacrament meeting about how this is a church of fresh starts. He spoke specifically to the investigators and how we as missionaries are offering a fresh start, free from sin. I had never thought about it in that light. But it's true. When we are baptized we can feel our sins washed away because of that covenant we are making with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Anyways, I love you all. Keep finding ways to #Lighttheworld. Serve someone today. Brighten someone's day.
Sorry no pictures this week
Monday, November 27, 2017
Time is seriously weird in the mission. The first few months can often feel like they drag on and on and on, and then it feels normal for a second. Then, once a missionary hits their year mark, it feels like slipping down a slide where there's no possible way to grab the edges and stop. That's how I feel right now. Here I am, my second Thanksgiving in the mission and I'm wondering where the time went. If anyone has the number for Father Time, please give it to me. I would like to speak with him.
I'm in love with this place! Ever since I have been put on bike, I get the chance to speak with so many more people. The people here, (especially Hawaiian Gardens) can be the most firmly against the Gospel, or the most humbly accepting of the Gospel. Recently I have felt like a tool in the Lord's hands as he has placed me in the fertile parts with people who's hearts have been prepared. That's not to say this work is easy by any means. We get appointments that fall through, members who last-minute flake, people who curse and make fun of us, and problems with every investigator coming out of the blue. I dare say the opposition has a very good hold on those here in Southern California. But the Lord has selected a few to accept his Gospel! I'm just glad to be here.
That being said, I hope you all passed a good Thanksgiving with your family. We had a few people who treated us as family and welcomed us in their home to feed us. So for us, those feelings aren't far away. But, of course the main part of Thanksgiving is THANKS. I hope you all had a good couple minutes to sit back and ponder what makes your life easier, and what you are thankful for. Sometimes it seems we can't appreciate something fully until it's taken from us. Here's a couple things I am grateful for.
1. My family, even though they're far away. I can feel their love and prayers daily.
2. Christ. He gave us the ultimate gift, his life.
3. The opportunity to serve in the Lord's vineyard. There's nothing that replaces these 2 years.
4. The Book of Mormon. It has brought me peace and knowledge in my life.
5. My friends. I have many friends serving in parts all around the world. I feel blessed to know we are all serving the same master, and that he has put us in the place where we can learn the most.
Just a couple examples. As we continue into this time of Christmas, let's not start to turn inwards and think what others can do or give to us. But let's turn outwards and reflect the true Character of Christ! Service!! If you have not seen the new Christmas video the church released, head right now to mormon.org and watch "Light the World".https://www.mormon.org/?cid=HP_FR_24-11-2017_dMIS_fMORG_xLIDyL1-A_ I also encourage you to print out the calendar and do your best to do all those things each day.
Elder Ramirez and I are having a great time out here serving the people of Hawaiian Gardens and Lakewood. We appreciate your prayers and thoughts as we do our best to work some of these people to the waters of baptism.
Happy Birthday Mom!
Friends of Elder Ramirez's family dropped by and brought us a yummy treat of croissants and hot chocolate!
Lupita and her awesome family
Elder Ramirez - Bike life
My comp cut his finger
Monday, November 20, 2017
Hello friends and family! Thanks to the beautiful invention of technology and the blessing to have it in this mission, I'm typing this email while in my apartment, listening to Christmas music :)
Happy Thanksgiving to all those who get the chance to celebrate it this week. For me and my companion, we will be working!
This week also went by fast, but nevertheless it was a fantastic week for me and my companion. We are really starting to see some of the fruits of our labors in this area! We're out here working like dogs, packing a lunch into the field, changing and patching bike tubes in the middle of the day, talking to everyone, trying to connect members to investigators, and more and more. It really feels good to lose yourself in the work of the Lord.
This past week Elder Ramirez and I were able to help 2 more investigators set the goal of being baptized soon. One for the, who's name is Jocelyn. She simply just wants to follow God and set a good example for her brother. She has made some wrong choices in the past and wants to make everything right. A fantastic desire to change! The other for the . Lupita's daughter Amarie decided to join her mother and sister in their decision to be baptized Christmas eve. What a better present to the Lord then to join his fold!
Also, Lupita brought her family (minus her husband) to church for the first time in a long time. Her sister also joined with her kids. They enjoyed it so much! And the members almost flooded her after sacrament meeting was over. Even our mission president, who showed up to our church services, talked with her and her kids afterwards! It was a magnificent experience to see them all there.
I didn't know what to put in my subject line, so I figured I would take the opportunity to let you know we are safe here in Hawaiian Gardens , California.
Nothing else of news this week, but I appreciate all your love and support! Have a great week this week!
Monday, November 13, 2017
I'm going to limit my Spanish in this email to that.
Really, this week not much happened. I'm going to apologize in advance for the shortness of this email. But this week truly was good! It's getting a lot colder in the night, so I have had to start wearing a light sweater as we bike in the night. It gets down into the 60s and the 50s here.
We have found some really good people to teach this week. One of them is named Pedro. He let us right in to his house, and we taught him the Restoration. He understood the whole thing and responded to all our questions! My testimony that the Lord prepares people to hear the Gospel has grown so much.
This week in my personal studies I have been substituting my name or the names of those I work with. I encourage all you to do the same! I especially loved Alma chapter 7 (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/7?lang=eng). Anywhere is says "my beloved bretheren", "his people", or "you", substitute your name in. It really makes things more meaningful and personal. I invite you all to try it!
I've run out of ideas and time. Love you all! Until next week.
Monday, November 6, 2017
Hello friends and family! I hope you have all had a great week. For me, it went by pretty quickly. My butt doesn't hurt from biking anymore, I'm adjusting to the new diet which requires me to eat more since I'm burning more calories, being on bike and all. Oh yeah, did I mention we are on bike? It's actually a lot of fun. My companion and I have started counting the number of Close Encounters we have to a crash with a car, whether it be someone pulling out in front of us or almost hitting us. Surprisingly, a lot of drivers here can be pretty ignorant. Even when they see you are there... we counted 7 close encounters of almost crashing into a car. But the Lord protects us so much! I have gained such a big testimony of how the Lord blesses his ordained servants.
This week went by really fast actually.I hit 14 months in the mission which means almost nothing, except for the fact that I'm marveling at how quickly the time is passing.
Elder Ramirez is showing me very much how to work with members. He's a fantastic missionary and I am learning a lot from him! We have been taking a member of the congregation out to work with us almost every night. Even though we are on bikes, it works! Normally if we were in a car, we would be expected to pick them up and take them with us. But they are so nice! They will meet us in a place, and drive us from place to place.
Let's see... Oh yeah! Let me talk about the food here. Of course you all know it's a melting pot. I can go anywhere and find bomb Korean, Indian, Mexican, Peruvian, American, Greek food, etc. It's fantastic. For me, I have tried so many different mexican dishes and I love them all. The unique thing about mexicans is their affinity for Spicy food. My tongue has been burned time and time again. But as they say, one learns Spanish faster when they learn how to eat spicy!
So I'll talk about the people I'm now working with.
We are still working with Lupita and her family. They are progressing very well and I dare say they're close to baptism! Lupita has had a lot of crazy things going on in her life lately and we haven't been able to sit down and have a good solid lesson in a while. But she's reading in the Book of Mormon as often as she can. It's awesome- when she reads, she takes notes to make sure she understands!! That's fantastic! We are doing our best to introduce her to more members because they are those who make the difference.
The same thing with Diana, Armando, and Erick. We are connecting them with more members.we will be doing a Family Home Evening with them and Diana, Armando, and Erick in this family's home. It was very kind of them to offer us their home.
We have also been doing a lot of finding. We have to spend more time working with those who are willing to find out the truth of the message for themselves, and spend less time with those who are just willing to listen just to be nice. So we have found others who are willing to act on the message! I'm very excited to begin working with these sons and daughters of God.
Another thing I have been pondering on recently. In John chapter 6 is registered the account of Christ teaching how he is the bread of life. This is a beautiful chapter, and the church even has a video about it! I will attach the video link and I encourage you all to go watch it.
I have been pondering the coorelation this teaching has with the sacrament. Watch for how many promises he makes to those who eat of his flesh and drink his blood, or to those who eat the bread. We know that he is talking about the sacrifice he will soon make for every one of us. To commemorate that sacrifice, we take the sacrament. I invite you all to think how much the sacrament means to you. Is it simply eating a piece of blessed bread, or is it truly having an intervention with the father and committing to follow His commandments?
Monday, October 30, 2017
Hola everyone. How's your week been? For me, it was HOT. I don't like the random 3/4 day heat waves we have here in California. Last Monday the car told me it was 107. I didn't believe it, so as we kept driving around I was watching the temperature gauge. And sure enough, it stayed at 107. Ay caramba!
As I mentioned in my last email, I was transferred to another area in this ward. I'm covering all area that I have covered before. So nothing is new, except for some people, and the fact that I'm back on BIKE! I can't tell you all how much my butt hurt in the first few days back on bike life. It also takes 20-30 minutes to bike to the part of our area where we work. I can't complain too much though, at least we have bikes to use. I know some people just have to walk and walk for hours. But yeah. Bikes require a lot of maintenence. I've had to go under the hood and check some things out. But thanks to God, everything is well. I've only got one flat so far.
Speaking of my new comp, his name is Elder Ramirez! Some of you may be thinking, "Hey, wait wasn't Elder Horton already comps with Elder Ramirez?" And you would be correct in that. But I'm with a different Elder Ramirez. This Elder Ramirez is very different! He hails from Orlando Florida, though his family has recently moved to South Jordan Utah. He has been on his mission for a little less than I have. In fact, he will hit his year mark this week. He's a native Spanish speaker. His father is from the Dominican Republic, for all of you who know what that means. This is his first time being on bike his whole mission so we both have had to settle into it. I'll attach a cool photo.
Along with being with a new companion in a new area, we've got to talk about the new apartment. So, this apartment had been vacant for a few weeks since the sister missionaries living here before got transferred. They didn't want to sell this apartment just to have to buy a new one later, so they left it for us. It is big and nice! I'm super happy to be living here. There seems to be so much space for everything. A small family could live here!
There's not too much else to talk about, to be honest. This week has just been full of trying to get to know all the people in the new area, contacting people, and simply just working. I've already learned a lot from Elder Ramirez. He's the District Leader here so I've got a lot more to learn!
Something I've been thinking and studying about a lot lately is the importance of the Spirit. Not only in the life and teaching of the missionaries and investigators, but in the life of everyone. Why do you guys think the spirit would be important? Go ahead and reply below. I understand a little more how the spirit can be our guide. I've seen the spirit guide me and my companions in the mission field, and I have seen the spirit guide the lives of my investigators. I know that is how the Lord communicates to us. We live in a world of so many loud things and distractions, but if we could simply take a few minutes to sit down in silence, and feel that peace that comes from the spirit, we can learn to discern his whisperings. I encourage you all to more fervently pray for the guidance and feelings of the Spirit in your life. It will not only guide you, but it will be your comfort in times of need, he will warn you of danger, and he will teach you ALL things. Let the Lord Jesus Christ be our focus.