How's it going everyone? Well it's been a great first week here in Buena Park. We really have been seeing the hand of the Lord in all things we are doing since neither one of us know the members, area, or investigators. We have really had to rely 100% on the Lord to guide us in the right direction. I know I neglected to tell you about my companion and area. My companions name is Elder Contreras. He was born in Mexico, but was raised in Texas. He's a big guy. He played football and did a lot of wrestling down there in Texas, so you don't want to mess with this guy! No, he's super funny and super fun to be with. He's also a workhorse. I really couldn't have asked for a better companion to end my mission with. Oh, by the way, I'm still a zone leader. I just got sent to be a zone leader over a different zone. So it's still fun to be working hand in hand with our missionaries over here. We have a great zone and I’m stoked for this transfer! Elder Farnsworth (MTC comp) is one of our district leaders. So we get to finish our missions together! It's pretty crazy to see the growth we've made. It’s awesome! Our area is pretty big. We cover all the city of Buena Park and a little slice of Anaheim. Knott’s Berry Farm is in our area. We pass it all the time when we go out to teach people. I've never seen it before, but it looks dang fun. Our church building is right across from Knott’s as well. There are a lot of different nationalities that live here. In fact, the other day we got talking to someone who is from Lebanon about the gospel. She was really funny, talking about how we Mormons aren't polygamists like she "saw" in a movie. We have been getting a lot of that lately. I made it clear that we aren't polygamists. She got a kick out of how I was white and was speaking Spanish. She loves the Lord and wanted to come to church. We gave her the address. We hope she comes! It's very diverse here. I love it! It gives us a lot of fun adventures! We have really great members. I'm excited to be here!
So, we didn't have the baptisms this Sunday we were hoping to have. We went to see the Arroyo family the very first night we got to the area. The 3 kids were planning on being baptized yesterday. We talked it out with their mother. She wants to be baptized with all 5 of them together. We were okay with that. We set a goal for the 2nd of February. We know there were some challenges ahead of us so we made the goal for that day. We talked to the father. He loves everything about the church. He wants to be baptized too. We talked about his problem that he has with the Word of Wisdom. We came to his home while he was doing his thing. Right then and there we taught him about the blessings that come while keeping it. We committed him to stop and to live this commandment. We returned the next day and he had given in again. This is natural. It all starts with degrees when it comes to an addiction. So we talked to him and recommitted him to stop and to live this commandment. We asked him if he wanted a blessing to help resist this temptation and he accepted. We gave him a powerful blessing. We returned the following day and he told us that he didn't smoke. He didn't even have the desire to smoke. When we gave him the blessing he felt that our hands were really warm. He got a chill throughout his whole body. Then he felt totally relaxed afterwards. When he was at work he would reach for a box and then he would have an empty, painful feeling in his stomach. He would turn away from it. Pretty amazing huh??? It's so cool to see what the priesthood of God can do. It can do anything! It can heal the sick and help anyone in spiritual need. If there is anything I’ve learned on my mission is just that. He is solid. The family is solid. We are going to work on another big obstacle this week. They need to get married. We are praying that they will be able to do that before the 2nd of February. Pray for them!
We are also teaching a girl named Kately. She’s super awesome as well. She's about 14 and has already been taught everything for baptism. She wants to be baptized too. Her grandma is a member and that's how the elders in the past found her. She's been to church tons already. Her only set back is her father. He goes to a Calvary chapel and is strongly against her being baptized. Fortunately we don’t legally need his permission for her to be baptized. Her mom has full custody of her. She still wants his moral support. She was with him on Saturday and we committed her to talk to her father. I would imagine as a father of a different faith it would be very hard to support her as she wants to make this change in her life. We hope he will be able to see the fruits of it and be wiling to let her be baptized. We are going to see them tonight and see if she did it.
We also have a great part member family named the Luna family. They have two kids. Over the span of about six months one by one, starting with the kids they have been getting baptized. Now the only member of the family that isn't baptized is the father. He is basically a member of the church. He's been to church faithfully every Sunday since July. He reads the scriptures with his family. He does almost everything that a member does. The reason he isn't baptized? Because he wants his family to come up from Mexico to see him get baptized. They are all working on visas and passports, but it's being delayed. That's a new doubt I haven't heard about before. We hope that we can find a way to overcome it. We think he says that as an excuse because he smokes. He tries to hide it, but we know it. We are going to visit this beautiful family tonight and try to get a goal set up for baptism. That would be so awesome. He knows it's true. He just needs a little push like all of us do now and then.
What a week! I'm so excited! Only so much time left! I just want to let you all know that I love the Lord and this work. It's the most amazing, hard, and satisfying work. I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Dallin M. Ollerton