Okay, another has week come and gone extremely quickly. Let's see... first of all, for the Christmas video call via gchat, a family said we can come to their house around 9am California time mas o menos. I think Hermana Mulliner is going to go first, so that means that I will probably be available somewhere around 9:40-10is possibly assuming there are no technical or other difficulties at the member's house. I know you are in a different time zone, but I'm never sure how to figure that out so I'll let you do the math.
Just to let you know, I did receive the package. Thanks a ton! We love the pillowcases that said to open early! Did you make them? They are so beautiful!! Thanks!!!
Now for this week... whew. What a week! We were so crazy busy the whole time that it just flew by. Each mission president has the opportunity to establish what are called standards of excellence for the mission, which is kind of like a recipe so you can try to spread your efforts out in the correct proportions. So those established for our mission right now are that each companionship has 1 baptism per month, always has 3 baptismal dates for the future, has 5 investigators at church each week, has 8 lessons with members each week, and 4 new investigators each week. It is hard to set huge goals like that for the rest of forever when you're not sure how you can make it work out, but we decided that our area is doing so well, so we were going to try our very hardest to meet all of the standards of excellence for at least one week. We were so close too!! We made or exceeded every single one of them except that of having 5 investigators at church. We had 4. That is definitely the hardest one to have happen because it feels like it has nothing to do with our choice. The hard part too was that we had several other people who could have or should have come as well and then we couldn't even get a hold of them this week. It was sad. But I guess that means we'll have to keep working to make all of the standards of excellence another week! It may not be this week, but it'll happen sometime!! I can't remember if I mentioned it already or not, but this Wednesday is our huge temple trip, so I get to go to the LA Temple for the very first time!! I am extremely excited!! It will be so wonderful! I've seen pictures and heard stories and evidently it is HUGE, but it will be so great to be able to go to a temple again finally!
Some stories from this week... we have an investigator named Antonio who we've only taught around 4 lessons to thus far, but he is a person who it seems like has been so prepared for the gospel in his life. He has come to church twice already and he likes it. We had a ward Christmas/end of the year dinner and dance and he had a blast. He really likes it all. It's funny because it seems like it is too easy. Like he keeps all of the commitments we leave with him and he really likes it all. If everything continues to go as planned, he should be baptized by the end of the year which will have been a little over a month of having known him.
We did meet a really interesting new investigator this week. He was referred to us by some elders in a different area who ran into him on a sidewalk. He has had a really hard life. On our first visit with him, he straight up started talking about how his life is so bad and how he has been into drugs for around 35 years but he is tired of it and he doesn't have a job and is almost out on the streets and doesn't have any food in his house. On our second visit we brought Hermano and Hermana Escober. That was Alba's first time being out to help teach with the missionaries since she got baptized a few weeks ago. She was so great!! She bore such a strong testimony and if nothing else, I was glad I was there to hear that!! That was so beautiful to witness! But it was perfect because Hermano Escobar is in charge of the addiction recovery program here, so he was able to invite him to that. Then on Sunday he also received permission from the Bishop to get some food to him to help him out this week. The very sad part is that he was going to go to church and we even had a member set up to take him, but all of Sunday morning he never answered his phone. In fact, he still hasn't answered since. It almost feels like he was scared away somehow. We have no idea what happened to him between Saturday and now. I hope he didn't get scared away somehow. We were helping him out so much. He even said that he needed to learn more about God. And that he recognized that he'd be dumb if he didn't take opportunities like this that God is giving him while he had the chance. He told the analogy of a person who was drowning and three times people came to him to throw him a rope or floatation device etc and three times he refused it saying that God will save him. So when he died and went before God and asked why God didn't save him, God told him that 3 times he sent people to him to help him. He told us that story and he definitely is that person drowning right now. I hope that sometime this week he'll accept the help God is giving him at this point in his life!
But anyway, this was such a good week. The date 12-12-12 came and passed. Halfway through weekly planning we took a break to get smoothies at a nearby shop just around the corner which was really fun. We've been coming home each night so tired because we've been working so hard but it is great. We had a comp study with the zone leaders one day and Zone Training Meeting another day this week and between the two of them, I received more ideas of how I can do things more efficiently and how it is possible to achieve the standards of excellence. We went to the ward Christmas party thing on Saturday and I think something in some of the food was bad because at least 4 out of the 6 of us missionaries in the Reseda ward got sick between yesterday and today. Elder Jossie got the worst of it and had to go to the hospital on Saturday night. I was sick mainly on Sunday morning but we did come home early that night and I just went to sleep and slept for like 12 hours straight and am pretty much better now. Hermana Mulliner didn't get sick until this morning and so she took her turn sleeping for several hours this morning. Crazy stuff, but hopefully we'll all be completely better within the next few days. I say that that's not too bad for me, though because this is the first time I've been sick since I got a cold at the MTC clear back in June.
Besides, that, as a quick Christmas thought, I'd like to encourage you all to think of something you can give to Christ during this season and for this coming year. He's given us so much, so we can all give him a little bit in return.
Anyway, have a great week and then I'll talk to you next week! (That is so crazy. It doesn't feel like Christmas to me at all. Like the weather is cold, but a lot of the trees still have leaves or are just starting to change color. It doesn't snow here at all in the valley etc. So it doesn't really feel even like December nonetheless Christmas. Plus we are so busy all the time that time is just flying by all of a sudden it is already the 17th of December. How crazy!!)