Well it'll will be a week tomorrow since I entered the field in Salt Lake City. I love it here. Now that I have been here a little bit longer I can tell you a lot more about the area, my companions etc.
I am serving in the Cannon area of Salt Lake. It's located South? I think of Temple Square and the area of Salt Lake I am in is known as Glendale. It is no more than 5/10 minutes outside of the temple (We did an endowment this morning). There are a lot of Latinos, so we have plenty of opportunities to teach people in Spanish. We go to a Spanish Branch for Church, and our area covers 3 wards I believe, so it's actually a pretty small area.
As for my companions, I am loving both of them. We get along great! Elder Romero, who is from Mexico City has been out 6 months and he didn't know any English before he got here. He is also a recent convert to the church. We talk about Mexico City together pretty often. He is still working on his English, haha, so it's cool to see someone who is on the opposite side of the language barrier. Elder Coulston and I have fun teaching him English, especially when he asks questions like "What is a redneck?" and then we have to try and explain it haha. Luckily, we found a couple of good examples to show him. Also, he had his 1st slurpee today!!!! haha
Elder Coulston is also great, he is the District Leader and has been out 16 months. He's from Washington, and although he won't admit it, his Spanish is very good. He played football in high school too and loves sports. We get along great and I am learning a lot about missionary work from him. He has been in this same area for a lot of his mission so he knows how to do things and what needs to be done. He is also very patient with me and looks for opportunities to get me involved in teaching, even if I am having trouble with the language. He is a great Elder.
So since this was my first week in the field, I have had a lot of Firsts.....here are some of them.
FIRST DOOR SLAMMED IN MY FACE. Yesterday, Elder Romero and I were going door to door and contacting people while Elder Coulston was in a meeting. Most of the doors were English speaking. One door we knocked was answered by an old man who greeted us with a smile. Then promptly told us that he is orthodox. We started to introduce ourselves and ask him some questions when he shook his head and slammed the door. All we could say was "Have a nice Day!!" haha. It's really easy to tell when people just DO NOT want to talk to you at all.
FIRST BAPTISM. We baptized a guy named Felipe on Saturday. I met him on Friday night, so I wouldn't really consider him my first baptism, since I didn't have anything to do with the fact that he got baptized, but still he was technically my first baptism. He's a good guy, and he was confirmed in church on Sunday and he sat with us at church.
FIRST SACRAMENT IN A REAL SPANISH BRANCH. at this point, I have to focus really hard to understand what people are saying, which is hard to do for like 6 hours (Branch council and other meetings). But hopefully it will get easier.
FIRST TIME FEELING THE SPIRIT DURING MY SPANISH TESTIMONY. Last night we had an amazing lesson. We stopped by our investigator's house. Their names are Erica, Francisco and Francisco Jr. We watched a video about the Restoration with them. The Spirit was so strong. They were open to it, and the Spirit softened their hearts to what we were teaching them. Like I said earlier, Elder Coulston tries hard to get me involved in the lessons even if I am not completely sure what is going on. Erica said something that I couldn’t quite understand, and he whispered to me what she said and told me to bear my testimony. Erica basically said that she feels like Joseph Smith a lot, she is confused about church and she feels like ours is true and that the Joseph Smith story is true. I started to bear her my testimony, and I could feel the Spirit with me as I was talking. In times before, I'm usually concentrating so hard on my Spanish and I'm so worried about saying things right that I don't focus on my message or the investigator. But this time was different, I was calm and I took my time. I was able to express my message and I could see in Erica's family's eyes that they understood my message as well. It was amazing and I can't wait to do it some more. We ended up committing Erica and her family to baptism on the 16th!!! Really awesome.
FIRST MARRIAGE. We have been meeting with Carlos and Marisela all this past week. As is the case with a lot of the Latino people here, they are together and have kids but they are not married. We have been talking to them about marriage this last week and last night we had a Senior missionary with us who specializes in getting people married. He did all the paper work with them and today at about 4 we are going down to the marriage license office with them to get it done, and the branch president will marry them on Friday!! We read through Proclamation on the Family with them and you could just see how happy and grateful they were that we were helping them come together as a family. Marisela was crying at some points. They have two daughters who are 3 and 5 I think. I know that their family will be blessed because they are getting married. God will be with them and bless them for keeping his commandments. It's amazing to see how much this Gospel and all its teachings can bless people's lives.
There are a lot more firsts but those are the most exciting ones. I have already gained a great love for the Latino people here. A lot of them are struggling here in America with the language barrier especially. Believe me I know how that one feels so I feel for them. Our whole goal as missionaries is to show our love for these people by bringing them into the Gospel and helping them come unto Jesus Christ. If they do that, God will bless them and help them out with anything and everything that they may be struggling with. I love the work, and I don't even know Spanish very well yet. It's such a blessing to share the gospel with other people. Our goal for the Cannon zone for the month of October is 50, and our personal goal for our companionship is 9, we have 3 on date, with 4 or 5 more hopefully on date in the next week or so. I know we can do it, with the help of Heavenly Father.
Ok, so as far as mail goes, I get mail on Tuesdays, and the address I gave you is for the mission office, so it is sent there and the zone leaders pick it up and deliver it on Tuesdays, I got a letter from Cassandra and Grandma/Grandpa Peacock this week, so if anyone sent me mail, I have not received it yet. As for DearElder.com, I don't know how those work here, so you would probably be better of sending an actual letter because I will for sure get those every week.
I love you all and I miss you, but there is nothing else I would rather be doing right now. I love being a missionary and doing the Lord's work. I have the opportunity to bring such great joy and happiness into other people's lives right now. I am loving serving here in the Salt Lake mission, and I'm so excited to be able to hear from our Prophet Thomas S. Monson and all the apostles this weekend. It's such a blessing that we have them to guide us here on Earth. They are leaders of God's church on the Earth and they receive direct revelation from Him. They are inspired. So, take advantage of this weekend it's only twice a year!!!!
I know that this church is true, I know it with all of my heart. And I love sharing that with the people here in Salt Lake City!!