Sunday, July 11, 2010


Hi all.

There's so much I want to talk about so I'm typing as fast as I can so please forgive any spelling errors. How do I sum up my whole week so far? I 'd say just this scripture:

"And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day." (Book of Mormon, Alma 37:40)

The Independence Day week was nothing short of extraordinary, Sunday the most of them all. Still, I'll go with how the week began. Last Tuesday, as we were teaching a new investigator, named Joey Lopez, Elder Franco and I followed a very strong spiritual prompting and changed our lesson plans RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of teaching about God's commandments, and taught about the aspect of God wanting families to be united eternally. Well, it struck a big chord with Joey and he became SO interested into the subject, asking us a lot of questions about how he can have a eternal family. And we didn't even teach him any of the basic gospel principles yet! The next day, while teaching him and his girlfriend at a park, we followed YET ANOTHER strong spiritual prompting and committed Joey to baptism right on the spot. What shocked me even more is that he said right that second "Alright. Let's do it.". We have a date for baptism on July 25 and a LOT of ground to cover with Joey so I just know we will be visiting him very often.

This week, Hadlock and I went on 2-day splits with our District Leader. the first split was on Thursday (Elder Jackson with the other ASL elders, which mean Hadlock tagged along with Franco and I), which coincidentally landed on Sports Night, an activity in our branch that takes place once every 2 weeks and branch wants us to attend because it's a good missionary tool. We were very scared because our district leader is very strict and doesn't really understand the ASL program. That, and for the last few months, all we can get to come to sports night were about 2 or 3 people, making it kind of suffer. If Elder Jackson saw that there were no one coming to Sports night, he would discuss with the mission president about banning all missionaries from sports night permanently! so all of us prayed really hard and talked with everyone we could think of via cell phone, video phone, and friends. As the night came, we braced ourselves for the inevitable.

First one person came, then the 2nd, then oh at least 35! the gym was packed full of people wanting to come to socialize and have fun. And the most of all, most of those people were not members of the church. My jaw nearly dropped to the floor. This sports night, I think, has been the most enjoyable one ever since I first came to Los Angeles.

The next day, Friday, Elder Jackson splitted with Elder Franco, means I was with Hadlock and Elder Western that day, in my old area. the day was OK, and then we has an appointment to meet a new investigator named Renea Lee at a Starbucks near the South Bay Galleria. Funny thing, that Friday night happened to be a "deaf Starbucks night" and we got to meet a lot of new deaf people who are friends of Renea. I had a very interesting experience as I met a deaf man named William who is a "deaf power" (It's like racial pride). He acted friendly until he saw Hadlock's cochlear implant and ranted about "Why would deaf people want to be hearing??" like a drunken politician. It was kind of funny.

Last Sunday, the 4th of July, surprised me at EVERY turn. The whole month, all of us were completely excepting the church to be like a ghost town because of the holiday. That, and it was fast Sunday and Independence day fell on the sabbath. Never before had we been more wrong. while some didn't come, People CAME. and a good number of them, even investigators! I guess you know the real measure in a person's heart when he or she chooses to put patriotism to their country second to God. Joey Lopez also came. During testimony meeting, I felt prompted to pray, and I prayed that Joey would stand up and share his testimony. The second I said "Amen", Joey immediately stood up, walked over to the podium, and testified about the truthfulness of the gospel. (He have not even read the book of Mormon or prayed yet!) After church, we did some tracting with amazing results, having placed two books of Mormon, taught 4 lessons, and got 2 referrals. That night, the zone leaders called all the missionaries together at the Artesia chapel where we listened to 2 speakers from the Gardena and Lawndale Wards teach and testify about the importance of Independence Day, and how it helped provide a suitable environment of a free country where Joseph Smith could restore the church. it was very spiritual. As we went back ot our apartment, we got to watch a big firework display right from our apartment windows. Our apartment is 3 floors up and overlooking a nearby park, making it possibly the only apartment in the mission with a prime spot for being able to watch the fireworks without breaking any rules (It being 9:30, we being already inside our apartment and sacred 30 was over). If I were you, I'd think that the Lord has blessed me a hundred times over that day, and that He is letting me know that He appreciates me for giving my 2 years to serve the Lord.

God Bless America. And God bless Los Angeles.

E. T.


Hi Mom and Dad. And all others.

I just had a very frightening revelation. Do you realize that July 11 means my mission will be 1/3 over? Where on earth did the last 8 months go? Well, I can say this: Forget those high school summer vacations. Missions are the one that needs to SLOW DOWN. June flashed past as if it had only been a week long. I LOVE LOS ANGELES.

Well... you know, anyway.

Elder Franco is amazing. Definitely miles better than old Elder Pessimism. Franco has a very open, very positive attitude, has a lot of cool ideas, and we agree on a lot of things. I guess as long as I have him, everything will go swimmingly, but I don't know about Elder Van Dam yet (STILL not yet in the ASL program. Fancy that...) so we'll see what happens. I hope he does come in soon. He's a great guy too.

Vitaliy (The deaf Russian guy) is off on a cruise with his family, so he will not be at home or church for awhile so we can't teach him. Bummer... We did on the other hand commit him to baptism on July 11-18 and he happily accepted so we're staying hopeful. Three weeks ago, Franco and the other elder (I was not yet transferred) taught him the word of wisdom since he's a big coffee drinker. They said that Vitaliy was really bummed about it. Well, the next visit, I with Elder Franco, of course, found that he has TOTALLY kicked out his coffee habits and substituted on Pomegrante juice and milk. He's made amazing strides since then. I guess the true gospel really does inspire people to take better courses in their lives.

Well, I'm absolutely giddy. Why? one of our investigator houses turned out to be this mini deaf community. The investigators' names are Ana, Juan, and Jennifer (That is as it is at the moment) and they have a big family and a LOT of deaf friends who drop by every now and then, and maybe even more to refer to us. The three are very interested in the gospel, and they feel they're "the foundation of all their peers", so we think this is a golden, nay, DIAMOND opportunity. Why? If we can help them accept the gospel, most likely all others will follow them in their example. We are talking about not 5, not 10, but at least 25 potential baptisms, making the branch leadership goal of 40 baptisms in a year ridiculously easy. Wishful thinking, I know, but I'm a believer of miracles along with fasting and prayer so I think everything will work out great. I think that if we just "Do it", with all the help from the Lord, the Torrance 4th Deaf Branch is well on it's way in becoming the Torrance Deaf Ward.

And that's only scratching the surface.

According to intelligence (our branch president), There is enough deaf people in all of LA county to form at least 4 or 5 Deaf stakes/districts. A humbling thing to know, don't you think? But one step at a time. One step at a time. Focus on the little snowball first.

Time's up. gotta go.