Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2nd

I can't believe it's already June... Finally the weather is somewhat warm!! This Thursday will also mark the first year completed for my mission as well. I just can't believe how much time flies. But I know and am also learning to try to enjoy every moment and every opportunity, because I only get to do this once.
Thank you for all your letters and packages. Dad- I received the package with the letter and pictures. It sounds like we got a lot of catching up to do as far as trips to take and courses to play. I'm way excited for whats to come. Just be patient man:) Karen- Thank you for the pants! It feels good to have a little bit of a change to the wardrobe haha. Oh and I got the amazon package with the proactive and mangos. Yes, thank you!!! lol. I don't know if you know, but can you send a thank you to whoever sent me the book called "Trust Jesus" by Elder Holland. (They forgot to send a return address of who it was from). I really appreciate all of the letters and packages that you guys send.  
As for me, I am doing great! This past Wednesday, as Elder Johnston and I were hanging our flyers for the Spanish Group on the front of the doors in the little spanish/brazilian stores and resturants, we came across an African-Jamaican restaurant and decided to hang one up there. We felt like it was still a good idea since we were still in the small Hispanic section of town just across the river from downtown Lowell. So as we asked the owner if the restaurant if we could hang our sign on his door, we started explaining to him who we were and what we were about. He said that he had heard of the LDS church from Mitt Romney but not too much other than that. He also told us that he had a strong faith in Jesus Christ and was interested to know more about our message. So the next day we went back in that same restaurant and taught him the Restoration Lesson. The lesson that we taught him at that restaurant, I believe, was one of the most powerful lessons that I have been able to teach on my mission. The owner's name is A___ M____, a 40 year old from Sierra Leon. He is also one of the most humble guys I have ever met as well. He's a single father with 2 little girls and had the opportunity to come to the states about 10 years ago. He has to work two jobs to support his little family but is very positive and hopeful about his situation. Anyway, I could just see it in his eyes as we were teaching the lesson that he was genuinely looking for the truth and had the desire to know more. We were also able to leave a blessing over his restaurant after we were done teaching the first discussion, which was also very powerful as well. We extended a baptismal date for Al to be as soon as in the next 3 weeks, after he attends church and continues to keep his commitments of reading the Book of Mormon. The only set back we still have with him is that he occasionally smokes cigars. Unfortunately as well we have to pass him off to the English Elders as they will need to work with him as he further progresses. That is something that we will still have to work out, but I can honestly say that he has a great desire to change and was truly ready to hear the gospel in this time in his life.      
Yesterday we finally started the Spanish Group in Lowell! President Packard was even in attendance as well with his wife and son, who just recently came off his mission from Santiago Chile North (diff than Jazz). He ended up translating for them during the fast and testimony meeting. But wow! The sacrament meeting that we had was so strong. Many people from the other Spanish ward (15 min away outside of our mission boundaries) came in attendance to support our group. But we also had a few who were in attendance that haven't been to church in years. It really was a blessing to witness the success of our work. We ended up having a total of 42 people for our first Sunday for the group! We were blessed to have had a lot of those people who hadn't attended church in a while come up to the pulpit and bear their testimonies on how this small little spanish group is like a family. We know that it will take time for it to grow, but all things come in due time of the Lord. I am blessed to know that these things will come to pass and I am a part of it.
I feel like my Portuguese has improved somewhat lol. Elder Johnston and I get help from the some of the members who are native to Brazil and they help us out a lot with that. Even though there are many Cambodians in the area, we haven't learned any Cambodian yet... Our main focus is to help the Hispanics in this area to invite them to come join "our family". That is the focus and the goal.
Glad to know everyone is doing well. It sounds like Karen and Dad had a great time in Portland! (doesn't sound like that cool of a place to go visit- milwaukee). Jazz sigue el trabajo. Le quiero mucho!
I pray that you all continue to have joy and have opportunities to serve. It's great to know that you are taking care of the missionaries K, I'm sure they appreciate it. Have a great week, Love you all!
Elder BerthelsonBostonStrong

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