…Here in Las Vegas they don't mess around on pioneer day at all. There are huge multi-stake parties at parks with food, bounce houses, and a parade...a real parade. We had a group of maybe 25 missionaries from those 3 stakes in the parade. So, believe it or not, when you are a missionary, you feel like a celebrity sometimes. We marched down the street singing called to serve and everyone cheered. we had a good time seeing the other members and their potential investigator friends in a more casual setting.
Well, the big news this week is that they have split our area in half and added two new elders to our branch. I forgot to mention it last week because it was still a rumor then but now it is real. The new elders are working hard. They are goofy but good. We are excited for them but a little heartbroken because we lose Sandra, Maria rodriguez, carla, alejandra and a few other really good potentials that we've been working to gain their confidence and trust. Sandra is the sister of a member and her son was supposed to be blessed in sacrament meeting but he got sick. They gave him a blessing of health. She has already had positive experiences with the gospel. We have high hopes for her. Maria rodriguez was our baptismal goal this month....now it's the elders. She has really good questions but a lot a lot of faith! Carla and Alejandra are the only 2 member referrals we've ever gotten. So, The elders are going to take care of them and we're going to go to their baptisms. We still pray for them and we still think about them. It's always hard when they split an area and you have to let go of some of the people you have grown to love but it will be ok. I'm still optimistic. Sister Cedillo and I have a new method to keep our heads up. we simply say, "where is our faith?" and it reminds us that God knows and he has the power to do all things.
So mom, you asked about martin. Martin is doing really well. He blesses the sacrament every week and has prayed a miracle into his life of never working another sunday. He is a great example for his family. We are working with his mom a little bit. Little by little. She likes to sign up for meal which is great because we always get to do a lesson with them too. The only down-side to the dinners is that she prepares so so much food! last time we had a meaty soup, a plate of rice beans and tortillas, pork and green mole, and spaghetti. one meal? i don't think so. We had eaten lunch with a member just 2 hours before that. We were so full and borderline sick. It was all really delicious but we couldn't finish it. She likes to cook so we are going to work with it. We are going to do another FHE with their family but turn it into a barbeque with other families from the branch. His sister seems interested but isn't consistently home. This last week when we went by, his brother prayed for the first time. Family, there is nothing more beautiful than a sincere first prayer. I have an increased testimony of the power of prayer. Give thanks always always always. pray for others always always always. Prayer changes hopes into reality. in 1 nephi 7:12 it explains prayer a little. when we pray for God's blessings, they will come if 1-it is his will and 2-we exercise faith. Then we are invited to have faith. it is such a simple scripture. The scriptures seem so fundamental to me. they are powerful and applicable! we read the book of mormon with inactive members sometimes and help them understand. Sister Cedillo knows her scriptures well! i respect her a lot! We have our quiet and sometimes awkward moments of frustration but we have our close moments of humility together too!
ps - thank you emma, kari, and dan for the letters!
Dear President Neider,
This has been an interesting but good week. My first experience with any change to the area. As soon as we found out that the area was splitting Sister Cedillo and I began praying that the Elders in our area would be ready and willing to work hard and would take care of the investigators in their area. I know that prayer was answered. Elder Bailey and Elder Martinez are working hard. The members are excited to have elders in the branch as well. Even though the elders are good, it is still a little sad to pass investigators over. I know that the area splitting will be a great blessing though. Sister Cedillo and I are trying to be exactly obedient and diligent in our studies and looking for people to teach. Sister Cedillo and I have both come to the conclusion on our own and together that we simply need to exercise faith and expect God's miracles because they happen in the smallest of ways that make the biggest of difference in others. Although i haven't been in the mission field for long, as i have prayed i have felt the truth of the fact that it is God's work and not mine or anyone's. They aren't my investigators they are His children. It's not my progress or my success but His. How i want to do His work, not mine. We are working hard and trying to adjust to the new changes. I know that low numbers don't mean a thing. Our new technique for finding people to teach is asking for referrals EVERYWHERE and asking the members and the other missionaries to simply write down addresses of Hispanic families. Because there aren't a lot of Hispanics in our area, we want to talk to every single one! We are still setting high goals as a demonstration of our faith. Thank you president for being supportive and inspiring. Sister Cedillo and I think the world of You and sister Neider. Hurrah for Israel!