I can't believe it has already been one week in the field. Time has flown by so fast, but it also feels like an eternity since I stepped off the plane last Tuesday. I am learning so much and working a lot.
It's really weird to not have my MTC companions any more, but I am really good friends now with the my new companions. I've gotten to know them a bit better since I last wrote. Elder Reid, who is Elder Biddle and my trainer, is hilarious and really knows how to make the mission fun. He is also a great teacher and knows how to make friends with the investigators and church members. A lot of the members in church really like him. He also does a good job of giving me opportunities to teach, contact, and learn from experience. Elder Reid and I are pretty tight and our personalities go really well together. Elder Biddle is a humble, hardworking, and motivated "greenie" who has been out for just a transfer and he really tries to be obedient. It is usually Elder Biddle and I studying together in the mornings. We get along pretty well, but he isn't much of a talker. Anyway, when we are out working in the field we all work well together and try our hardest.
Right now we have two investigators who will most likely get baptized. One of them is named Surgio, who had a drinking problem but has stopped. The only issue is that it's kind of hard to get him to come to Church. A lot of the people we teach don't have transportation so we have to organize rides with the members and stuff. Even if they do have rides, its still not a guaranty that they'll show up.
My first Sunday was really good but kind of annoying since I can't speak a lot of Spanish yet. I really want to be able to have good relationships with the members. A lot of them recognize that I am trying and they compliment me for what I do know. Since I've only been out for a week -- my Spanish is actually pretty good. I can already see that my ability to understand what others are saying has increased but I still have a ways to go.
One thing about our area is that it's fairly new (only one transfer old) so the work here is still kind of slow. One cool thing is that the temple is right on the edge of our area so we can go there and do service on Saturdays. I have already had the opportunity to go to a sealing of one of Elder Reid's converts.
I had two contacts that were really weird -- they were really drunk and started to freestyle rap for us for about 15 minutes. There are so many people I see that really need the gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives.
I had one really crazy lesson with this recent convert named Anita who is not very active. We were lucky to catch her home (she isn't usually there) so we went in and taught her. I had the opportunity to teach my first full lesson (Lesson 3) which includes the topics of faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It went really well and the Spirit was there. After that we gave her a blessing for her back pain. Elder Reid then started to talk to her more about enduring to the end and what we have to do to persevere for the rest of our lives.
Then he started talking about the Ten Commandments and how we should not worship idols or graven images. One big thing in the Hispanic Catholic culture is the worshiping and praying to saints. Even though she was a member, Anita had this huge framed picture of San Judas on her wall that she prayed to prior to being baptized. We told her that she had to take it down because it was against the commandments. Elder Reid was very straightforward with her and asked her where her pictures of God or Jesus Christ were. We told her we would go and buy a picture of Christ and bring it back for her.
We rode our bikes down to the Deseret Book store and picked out a framed picture of Christ that looked like it was about the same size as the picture of San Judas that she had. Miraculously, two people who happened to be in the store while we were there asked us why we were picking out this picture of Christ. After we told them what we were doing, they bought it for us! So now, after the Lord provided a way for us to get Anita's new picture of Christ, we were determined to go back and replace San Judas with it.
When we got back to Anita's house, she was somewhat reluctant for us to take down San Judas, but eventually she allowed us to replace it. Later, we talked to a member who said Anita was glad for what we did.
By the way, the house where we're staying is a member's home. He is really awesome and has this super nice, NONTHREATENING (dad...) PIT BULL named Sadie that we love to play with. It seems a ton of people have pit bulls in Mesa (and so far they all seem really nice).
PS - The food here is amazing!