Hola a todos de Portland!
So the major highlights from this week was that we had stake conference this weekend! We were told we didn’t have to go to the Saturday night session and so we worked instead, but we went to the Sunday morningsession. We were supposed to translate into Spanish for the people in our branch but nobody showed up, so we didn’t have to end up translating. I feel comfortable translating to English from Spanish because I feel like it’s easier, but I was super worried about translating from English to Spanish, so I was practicing in my head even though we didn’t actually have to translate. It’s really tough, but I feel like I could muster the ability to do it, if I really wanted to. Anyways, all of the speakers were really good and it was a super great meeting. One of the member of the temple presidency came and he gave part of his talk in Spanish and it was super good, but he talked about how it’s super important to go to the temple and do temple ordinances because the work for the dead is really important and it really seems like family history and temple work has been a topic that has been coming up a lot lately, so I guess I probably need to pay attention, right?
Well this week was good! We have an investigator family that we have been working a lot with this week, that the English sisters here found and asked us to help them with. The mom speaks both English and Spanish and she wants to go to the English ward, but he mostly only speaks Spanish and is super interested and wants to come, but they want to go to different congregations and they have a 19 month old baby who has autism or Down syndrome and they have to take care of him, so they don’t want to bring the baby to church and be a distraction. They are currently living in a hotel and have been for the past month because their apartments got condemned after and huge landslide here. They are super frustrated, but patient, and they are going to be moving out of the mission soon, and we want to baptize them before they move because it’s super hard to switch missionaries and much easier to switch wards. But oh well. The Lord has a plan, so we’ll see what happens.
We got the chance to do a lot of service this week and service is always really awesome because it puts everything in perspective. Every week we go work for a community center that does stuff for homeless people and one of the things we do it make boxes of food for the homeless people to take so they will have food and it’s been really humbling to do that. We also help receive and sort food that they receive from other food banks and stores and such. At first I was a little bitter because they got some really nice food stuff from stores that as missionaries, we probably couldn’t afford, but then I realized I was just grateful for the fact that I have money that I can buy food with, and it was really just a humbling moment. We also got to help a lady build a firepit in her backyard while it was raining and it was so much fun. We were digging in the dirt and the mud and putting gravel down and placing big concrete blocks, then we quick-creted it all together, and it was really fun. That’s the service that I like to do. We kept joking the whole time that we were all earning our Eagle Scouts again. It was fun.
We also had our Spanish district meeting this week where all the Spanish missionaries in the area get together and we have a district meetingesqe thing, but it’s in Spanish. I like them a lot because the whole meeting is in Spanish and it helps so much more to learn the language if you’re immersed in it. It was fun to see all my Spanish buddies again too.
Last but not least, we had a baptism yesterday for the branch. It wasn’t ours, but it was for the other elders in our ward who are in Mollala. The baptism was for a family named the Reyes family. I don’t really know them that well, but I’ve seen them at church acouple times. It was a nice baptism. We were asked to be the witnesses and I never realized how much of a job that actually is. We had to make sure no hair or feet or arms or anything flew up and so it was cool, but I never realized what that was like. We also gave a short lesson about the Restoration while the family was getting changed. It was funny because we were talking and kids were running and playing everywhere and the parents were just paying attention to us. It’s funny because in American culture everybody would have been freaking out, but Hispanics were just like eh. But it was good and afterwards everybody went to one of the members house in Mollala for dinner. Like, everybody went to this house for dinner, and they were a lot of people too. But it had been raining a lot and the field they had everybody park in was super wet so half of the people got their cars stuck in the mud and we had to help push them out in our suits. It’s okay, we didn’t get that dirty. But they had a crap ton of tamales and spaghetti so that’s what we had. It was awesome because it felt like one of those big Mexican family parties and it was cool to be a part of.
So I want to share another quick story. So lately we’ve been kinda stuck with the investigators that we have and we were getting a little discouraged, so we decided that we need to do some finding. So, confession about me: I hate tracting. I hate going from door to door and knocking and asking people if they want to hear about the gospel. I don’t like it because I hate getting yelled at or doors slammed in my face or people just not caring at all and I don’t like how the majority of my tracting experiences have been negative. Anyways, we decided we had to do some finding and the best way to do that is tracting. And I was a bad attitude, but I told myself “We have to do it, it’s part of being a missionary, so suck it up and do it” so we did. I picked an apartment complex that we haven’t knocked and we decided to knock it. So me, with my bad attitude, was just ready to endure what was about to happen and not really do it whole heartily or happily, but I did it anyways. So we were walking to this complex and I thought that we should start on one side rather than the other and so we did. The first door we knocked on was a Spanish family and the dad already had a Libro de Mormon and had talked to missionaries before but lost touch. It was a blessing to me because the Lord was like “Jeremiah quit being stupid. This is my work and you have to knock doors. All people aren’t bad. There are people that need the gospel out there and you need to find them.” So we, me feeling embarrassed from being stupid and having a bad attitude, kept going and kept knocking. Nobody answered the next couple doors and then we knocked on a door and a guy answered. He was a white guy with tattoos and piercings and usually that’s bad news for us. But he was wearing a cross necklace and so I immediately started talking about how it’s great how he has a belief in the savior and how it’s important to have that faith, especially with all the stuff that’s going on in the world now. He then showed us his cross tattoo on his chest and we talked about Christ. He kinda listened and then stepped out and lit a cigarette. At this point I’m like this dude is rude and is doing it on purpose, but he then asked us if we smoked and when we explained moved so the wind wouldn’t blow smoke in our faces. We talked about the Restoration and left him a Book of Mormon and he said we could come back. It’s the little miracles and things that happen on your mission that humble you so much. I was so grateful for that opportunity to go tracting. So I was thinking of the reason why I don’t like tracting so much and I came to the conclusion that it was because I don’t want to be yelled at or rejected and I don’t want people to judge me for what I believe and why I’m not their door step. But that’s why I’m here to be a missionary. I’ve been thinking a lot about Romans 1:16 which says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” I realized that I was acting like I was ashamed of the gospel and I’m super embarrassed now. As a missionary, I need to spread the gospel message of Christ church and not be ashamed and that’s what so important. I don’t want to get to heaven one day and have to admit to being ashamed of the greatest things in the entire world. So I have repented and and working on being better and liking tracting more.
I love all of y’all and I hope y’all have a great week! Remember, never be ashamed of the gospel. Be so proud to have it in your life.
Here’s a picture of me with a cowboy statue at a McDonalds in Mollala. Mollala is the best.