November 23, 2010
Greetings from my first Preparation Day in Oceanside, California! I am serving in the Oceanside 5th Spanish-speaking ward. My companion is Elder Lucas Driaza. He is from Florida but was born in Colombia and speaks español (and Spanish) perfectly. There are three companionships here in the Oceanside 5th ward (the ward is divided into three proselyting areas because it covers the entire Carlsbad stake), and my companion and I got lucky (or unlucky) enough to have the beach in our area! This is the best part--my district is entirely Spanish missionaries! It's the three companionships here in the Oceanside 5th ward (President Cook has divided the mission into more zones than before, so districts are becoming smaller), so we have district meetings and everything in Spanish (it's a lot of fun). Yesterday, for the district meeting I wrote on the chalkboard, "The field is white already to harvest" and then during my training I erased "white" and put "brown." It was sweet.
We have been working really hard. The other elders had baptized most of their solid investigators already, so we are doing a lot of finding right now. For the first time in my mission, I knocked doors and talked to people on the streets for almost an entire day last Friday. It's a lot of fun. We found a family yesterday (ironically, named Jesús and María) who have actually come to our church on their own once before recently, but have never taken missionary discussions. We also found a couple people who had been taking discussions years ago. The first night was a bit challenging, because we were "whitewashed" into the area (it's what we say for when two missionaries get stuck into a brand-new area), so we spent the first night trying to figure how to get around. We actually found a great young couple our first night and got a return appointment for the next day, only to find out later that we had made a mistake and they weren't actually in our area (the sisters in our district say they are doing really well, though).
Everything is going great. We had our first baptism on Sunday. Yeah, we're that good. (Just kidding. The elders who were here before had been teaching this 10-year-old son of inactive parents named Isaac, and we just happened to luck into being the missionaries who had the baptism). We're teaching this really nice guy named Rafael who tries to give us food every time we go over (asks like three or four times, in spite of our repeated 'no'). We are in a car-share, so we bike around three days out of the week. Which reminds me, I am pretty sure that we set a mission record for flat tires. In the space of less than half an hour, Elder Driaza and I got flat tires on 4 out of a possible 4 tires (both of our tires on both of our bikes). We had locked up our bikes on this little vacant lot that had a metal sign sticking out of the ground, and when we came back, we realized that the ground was littered with these little thorns from some sort of plant. We quickly realized that we had ridden over them and acquired a hefty amount of little punctures. So.....we're going to have to take care of that today.
Other than that, everything is going great. We're starting to get to know our area a lot better, and I love the people in our district. We get to go to the San Diego Temple on December 21st! I had no idea how much of difference temperature-wise there is between Escondido and Oceanside--it's super cold here at night (especially since the sun goes down early). I'm hoping that we are allowed to wear sweaters when we are proselyting. But the good news is that since the Escondido South and Carlsbad stakes are touching, I will get to go back when Yesenia, José and their family get baptized!
Enjoy your week and Happy Thanksgiving! (Feliz día de acción de gracías!)