Thursday, December 13, 2012


Hola Familia!

On the 12th day of Christmas, Heavenly Father gave to me:

12 tribes of Israel
11 pass-along cards
10 recent converts
9 paisly ties
8 door to knock
7 days to teach
6 different pamphlets
5 inspired lessons
4 books of scripture
3 Spanish zones
2 missionaries and
1 new investigator!

Haha. That would be a great explanation of this mission during Christmas..kind of ;). This area is on FIRE! We have never had so many new investigators and all the records are being broken. In every category! We are finding like crazy and not just anybody, but the elect. The mission is averaging 10 baptisms per week! The work is progressing so much out here, and I love it! This has been the busiest week I have experienced yet, but I wouldn't have it any other way. My companionship is on fire, and we just keep shattering our goals. This next week's goals are incredible! And although they may be high, they WILL be achieved. We know it. We live it. We love it. I'm so excited for an amazing week ahead of us, I'm ready to be even more tired! I don't even care about sleep, let's find! :)

The time is just FLYING by, I can't even believe it! I will be sending a package with your presents this next week, but don't open it until I call you on Christmas, okay? :) PROMISE?! That means you, too, Alyssa...present peeper ;). Happy Birthday to Chandler! YAYYYYY! Can't believe you are already 18! That's insane. What are your plans? Anything? (p.s. the only way to answer those question is to write me, so write me, dang it! ;)) I hope you have a great day, I'm sure you'll make it the best! You will have a present coming for you in the mail today! yay! Hope you're not expecting something big though ha, Happy Birthday, Hermanito!

As for an update of the companionship? We're great! We are SUPER sad that this will probably be our last week together, but we hope to maybe be reunited as Zone Leaders or Assistants to the President someday! :) So either the snails council has voiced warning of Elder Andersen, or they hibernate. Do snails hibernate? hmmm. We haven't had any snail incidents to laugh about, but that doesn't stop us from laughing. :) Sadly, this week we haven't had much rain, it's been getting a little December...grr. But it's fine in a car! Well...while I miss the rain, Elder Andersen is glad ha. So we have weekly exchanges with our new District Leader, Elder Bunker, and since they are bike Elders, we get to ride bike occasionally, yay! Well, again...for me. So Elder Andersen+bikes=wipeouts. And Elder Andersen+bikes+rainy days=more wipeouts. ha Poor guy wipes out everytime he gets on a bike, and it's even worsened when it's raining. But, on the bright side, he's totally fine, and for every wipe out this past week, we got a new investigator! haha Love him to death. With transfers this next Monday, we are preparing for goodbye, but hopefully we can get another transfer together. Either way, we're finishing strong! :)

As far as the work goes, our investigators are continuing to stay strong! Clemente is awesome. Just great. He has had so many missionaries working with him to prepare him, so he's well and ready! Just around the corner! The 6th of January! Yay! We have many new investigators this week, and we will be extending the baptismal commitment to all of them this week, so we will testify through the power of the Holy Ghost! It's true, without a doubt! 

As we prepare ourselves for the next couple weeks of this Christmas season, my hope for all of you is that you don't forget the true meaning of Christmas. The Savior of the world is born. What a remarkable thing that is. We often get side tracked by the importance of presents and traveling and forget what it's all about. We had a wonderful talk this week in our ward where the member asked the question: "when was the last time you read the real story of Christmas to your family before you rushed to opening presents on Christmas Day?" This season is about giving, but have we forgotten the most amazing gift of all? "God loved us, so he sent his son." It doesn't get better than that. As we remember his birth, let's also remember his life and all that he has done for us. For me, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the same season, because we should be grateful during both! As we read in Alma 7:11-12, Christ went forth suffering all manners of afflictions and all to give us that chance to be saved. I sure am grateful for the Savior. For his teachings, for his life, and for all he does STILL do for us. He is still there for us when we are in need. He always knows what we are going through personally, and he is always there for us. I love you so much family, and I can't wait to talk to you soon! May we all remember the real meaning of Christmas I pray, en el nombre de Jesucristo, amen.

-Elder Gallego

"I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives."


Hola Familia!
It is wet and rainy here in Cali and has been for the past week, I LOVE IT! The rain is just so great, plus the weather here in Cali, it's just perfect. :) However, the rain here is nothing like the rain in Arizona...all it does is mist here. But, it still happens to look like it has be DUMPING. I think it's because Arizona absorbs the rain faster than it can show it's raining, whereas, here in Cali it sprinkles a little and it look like Arizona when it goes through a Monsoon. It doesn't make any sense, but hey, I still love any rain! :)
This week was a pretty good week. So so. Not the best week, but not the worst as far as success goes, but my companion and I are still looking on the bright side and being optimistic. I absolutely love my companion! We have so much fun, while still staying focused. It's the greatest.
So the sad news is that the baptism of Melissa did not happen this week...again. This is the third week. Unfortunately, as we were working with her to plan her baptism this week, she expressed concerns she hadn't voiced before. The typical doubts that the adversary tries to get in the minds of the investigators preparing for baptism. She told us she doesn't feel ready and that she doesn't feel she knows enough. This is sad to hear because we finally got consent from her mother, so she was set to go. Plus, she has had all the lessons, and been to church a bunch of times, and all the stuff we taught her, she already knew. She went to church down in Tijuana. Since the beginning, she's known the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith to be true. She knows the church is true and she knows that baptism is necessary. She understands it all. But we can't force her to do anything. She says she wants to learn more before baptism, but what we are trying to explain to her is that baptism is the beginning. A lot of people feel baptism is the end, that you take all the steps and once you're baptized, you're done. Although there are steps leading to baptism, it's not the end. It's the beginning. We explain that after baptism is when she is really going to learn more, become a member of the church, and grow. We can see how much she has grown, even her family says it. Sadly, since she is not ready to take the next step, we have to drop her. Just for a couple of weeks, so she can figure out what it is she wants. She hasn't been the best with her reading, so we are hoping that this will give her time to read and learn more through the Book of Mormon, and hopefully when we come back, she will be ready. :) We'll be around for sure though, we are still teaching her older sister, Roxanne, and she continues to invite us back, so we'll still get to see Melissa and support her in her studies! :)
But anyways, other than that downside of the week, our numbers are getting even higher! We are finding like crazy and have been finidng lots of new people to teach. Clemente is continuing to progress, and we're so happy for that, he's going to be ready for his baptism, we know it. :) We pray for it.
This week we also had the opportunity to have President Interviews! My first one. :) I love my Mission President. President Bowen is just the greatest! In our interview, he had me teach him something, and I chose to share with him something that I feel really applied to a lot of our lessons with investigators this week. Something that really stood out to me. The Atonement. Something a lot of people don't realize about the Atonement, is that we need to use it. People think that just because Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, we are clean, and now we can return to our Heavenly Father's presence. The thing is, we need to USE it. When we are baptized, we make a covenant or a promise with Heavenly Father. You can find these in the sacrament prayers, when it says that we will take upon ourselves the name of Christ and keep his commmandments. When we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, we are not only trying to be like him, but we are using his name to cleanse ourselves. Does that make sense? When Christ died for us, he made it all possible to repent and return. However, we can't do it without using his Atonement to repent. If we don't use his Atonement and repent of our sins, he died for no reason. We are not automatically saved. Repentance is key. I hope I explained that's hard for me to put what I'm thinking into words. ha I love my President, and I sure am blessed to have such an amazing Mission President and his Wife. :)
Elder Andersen gave me a good workout as he made me laugh until I cried pretty much all day Wednesday. I don't know what it was, but he was so funny that day! I sure love that we can be successful and have fun doing it at the same time. :)
That night, we were headed up our pathway leading to our apartment. Surprisingly enough, our path is pretty treacherous! I don't know what it is, but snails FLOCK to that path, and you have to really pay attention to where you are walking so you don't end up ending up at the apartment with gooey shoes...gross. That night, there were more than usual with the rain...apparently they were they get thirsty? Hmmm... So anyways we were being extra careful, and we made it through the section where all the snails usually are. Well, as we rounded the bend, Elder Andersen, being his funny self was making me laugh and talking about how they need a sign that says CAUTION: SNAIL X-ING...and RIGHT as he said that, and since his focus was turned on me, we hear this HUGE crunch. Ha Sure enough, he landed square on a snail. I was DYING laughing. I think I use that phrase too much...I am still alive, no worries ha. It was super hilarious. Poor snail. :( It happens a lot though apparently because there are splotches of snail everywhere on rainy gross, right? Oh well...
All around, this week was great. From powerful lessons, to hysterical laughter, I'm pretty sure I ranged all emotions this week. :) In a good way. I love you all so much, and I sure hope all is well! The work keeps going! Love it. Love you, miss you, until next week, cuidense!
-Elder Gallego
"If you find the loop-holes in the rules, God will find a loop-hole in your blessings." Elder Groesbeck...Elder Andersen's old's kind of stuck with Elder Andersen, and he says it all the time ha.


Hola Familia!

Ummmmm...I'd have to say the hardest thing about P-Day is figuring out what to talk about in the letter home ha. This week was amazing! We taught more lessons than we ever have, we have 4 new investigators, and we now have another investigator with a baptismal date. We are SO busy! But we absolutely love it! :)

So apparently last week, our Zone set new records with everyone's amazing fire! So to add onto it, we went even further! The mission is at it's highest it has ever been, and we can see and feel the amazing blessings that are coming from being obedient and valiant missionaries with a purpose. :)

First off, thank you so much for the package! It was a great blast from home. :) However, the Skittles are going to make me fatter! grrrrr ;) But I loved them anyways ha. My companions and I are taking advantage of the new music and listen to it everywhere we go! Reminds me of the music from home, but that's okay during the Holiday season, I'm still focused. I'll be working on responding to all your letters in writing form today. I laughed when I saw a letter from Ellen in there ha, too funny. ;) 

It's amazing to think that Thanksgiving happened this week! It feels like forever ago, since we have been so busy. It was great though. We went over to the Atomojo's house and all the extended family came over as well. Which is pretty much half the ward ha. We had big tables set up inside and enjoyed a HUGE feast of everything worthy of a Thanksgiving dinner, plus some. Since Hno Atmojo is from Indonesia, there are some different traditions that they throw in as well, like spring rolls, but they were delicious, too! We all stood up and took turns saying what we were grateful for. The Spirit was so powerful as everyone shared their thanks for the gospel, the blessings from it, and the blessings that come from families. Sure made me miss you! But that's okay, because they made us feel at home, too...we sure love the Atmojo, Swenson, De Leon, and Cifuentes families. :) They are such a support to us missionaries and this ward. 

Later that night, we were given like 5 dozens of donuts from one of our old investigators and told that they are for we spent a large part of the rest of the day handing out donuts to homeless people and sharing that holiday cheer with them. I sure loved seeing their faces light up as we came up to them with their little signs on the side of the rode and gave them food. A little something for them to be grateful for when they feel they have nothing. We shared a message about Jesus Christ with them and let them know they're not alone. It was a great experience that I will always remember. 

But with Thanksgiving in the past, we turn our faces towards Christmas! YAY! The Christmas season is my favorite! All the decorations, lights, food, and most importantly, music! I love Christmas music, my companions (if Elder Andersen isn't with me next transfer for Christmas) are going to get so sick of Christmas music...but I don't care! :) They will come to love I just need to get my hands on some ha. Elder Andersen wants to get the Lower Lights Christmas CD so we can be hicks through Christmas as well ha. I just realized how many times I just said Christmas...yikes. As you can see I'm excited for this year. My first Christmas in Mexico! (ish) And from what I've heard, Christmas here in this ward means tamales, tamales, tamales. Perfect! Butttttt....I may get fat...grr. I'm tired of this battle with myself. The plan is to hold onto my figure (what's left of it ;)). And still enjoy it! Bring it on! 

So Melissa's baptism got pushed back ANOTHER week because her mom was still not home from Mexico. :( Super sad, but she is back now, so this weekend is the weekend! We are so excited for her and we can see the light coming off of her that she is ready and excited as well. We will be making all the plans tonight as to how the program is going to go! Plus, we are not teaching her older sister, Roxanne. We had had minor conversations with her before, but nothing too much...because, this is sad to admit, but she is really pretty, so we get nervous! haha But she's actually really great! Super nice and wants to know more. We taught her the Restoration last night and she seems to be taking it all in very well, and committed to pray and read about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We have a follow up with her on Thursday, and we asked her to prepare her thoughts for that lesson. We're so excited! We also invited her to baptism, but said she wants to pray and think about it. That's perfect, because the Spirit will use that time to testify to her of this truthfulness. Missionary work is so exciting!

The other investigator with a baptismal date is 16-year-old, Clemente. Clemente is just awesome. He has been investigating the church for the past two years or so. He was stuck at a wall because he hadn't been showing that he really wanted to be baptized to his mom. Background is that his mom is a member of the Church, but is inactive. Clemente was raised in the Church, and has heard from a bunch of missionaries, and says he has wanted to be baptized, but has never really shown it. His mom doesn't want him to get baptized and then fall away from the Church because he doesn't understand what he is doing, so that's why she won't give permission. Well, just recently, we have seen a HUGE change in him. He has started reading the Book of Mormon every night, is praying every night, coming to mutual, coming to church, and inviting us over, all without us even saying anything! How crazy is that! He expressed to us that he is ready this time and really means it and wants to change his life around. He went and met with Obispo Flores yesterday and he shared with us that Clemente is ready to take the discussions and finally plan towards baptism! FINALLY! So we set up a map with him and went through everything he has to do in order to be baptized. Together we set the date for the 6th of January, and we are going to sit down with his mom tomorrow night and discuss it all. She really just wants to make sure he knows what he is doing. We know she'll be able to see the change in him if he continues to keep his mind to it! I am so excited for him. I know he can do it. :)

Well, I feel like this letter is just dragging on ha. Sorry! But this was just a great week, and I am so excited for the weeks to come. Santa Ana is on fire. Well, California Anaheim is on fire! :) We are higher than we have ever been and we continue to grow! I sure love it out here, just like I say every week. I love the things I learn from what I do, and I love my companion. He has taught me so much, and I look forward to the last few weeks (maybe) that we have together! Love you so much family! Glad to hear you had a great Thanksgiving, too! Stay strong, and keep me posted on life! Sure love hearing from you. :) Tis the season to be jolly! jolly. :)

-Elder Gallego

"The harvest is great, and the laborers are few;
But if we're united, we all things can do...
...We'll cheer up their hearts with the news that He bore
And point them to Zion and life evermore!"

P.S. Elder Andersen and I witness a bum fight outside of our apartment...but don't worry we did not start it with our donuts. ha It was a fight of words that ended with them going their separate ways. It really made no sense, but was pretty entertaining. Love you!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Hola Familia!
Yo nunca se que deba decir primer! Hay muchas cosas que pasan cada semana, pero es dificil de recordar para mi! jaja Entonces......
This week was AWESOME! My companion and I have never been closer, our numbers are higher than they have ever been! Not that the numbers matter, but it shows whether we are having success or not. I love it! What does it all tie back to? STUDIES. Our studies were faltering pretty bad, but as soon as we really buckled down and got back to studying our 4 hours every day, we have already begun to see the blessings. I think my English is getting worse already. Poo. Please don't judge me!
Highlights of this week: Thanksgiving Social, the Ten Commandments lesson with Melissa, the Spider Story, SpiderManzano, Lower Lights, Apricorn, District Sleepover, the Work! This week was FULL of excitement. I can honestly say I have never laughed so hard in my life at some of the things that happened. haha
Our ward had a Thanksgiving Social on Friday and it was great! I videotaped some of the dances they did, so look out for those in the next package home :) Hermano Palacio decided to tell us at the very last minute (2 minutes before) that we were going to perform something...what? WE DIDN'T KNOW! So imagine 4 missionaries scrambling around everywhere to find something to do to compete with all the other AWESOME skits and such. It was an epic fail. We were going to sing along (with hick accents) to the Lower Lights verson of Count Your Blessings...a crowd favorite. But the CD player wouldn't work, and we didn't have time to find a way to make it work, so we just sang it acapella...with hick front of a bunch of people...awkward. It was pretty hilarious though, and unfortunately my camera decided to be dumb and only record us getting ready for it and then died before we started, so I don't have a recording of it to share. :( But it's in my mind! ha So we will be remembered for that...lesson to be learned? Always prepare something, regardless of being asked. ha But all around it was great, and everyone enjoyed it!
Can't really explain the Ten Commandments lesson with was just hilarious. But in a good way! We were teaching her through the "ten finger" method. I don't know if you have seen it before, but I will have to record that, too and send it home. It's great, and in the next visit, she had mastered it and remembers all the commandments. :) She is still our only investigator, this week was SUPER busy with meetings and such, but we are still finding! We got to focus more on her though, so she really feels prepared for her baptism that will be happening this next Sunday, yay!!
So the Spider Story is just hilarious. Or at least it is in words...I'm terrible at explaining something funny in writing, but I'm going to try! So I was making a phone call while Elder Andersen was making frog-eyes salad for the Thanksgiving Social, and JUST as the person I was calling answered the phone, Elder Andersen started freaking out. ha So apparently he is TERRIFIED of spiders (I didn't know this ;)). Well...while he was cooking and I was focusing on my phone conversation, he noticed a spider on his shoulder. Well, his hands were full of pineapple, so he started blowing on his shoulder and doing whatever he could, but the spider simply avoided his tactics and leisurely moved to his back. Out of sight. At this point, I could not see the spider, so I was doing the best I could not to die laughing while still on the phone. Pineapple starts flying everywhere and he is patting at his shoulder to no avail. I'm thinking he's lit his shoulder on fire or something so I head over to try and help and since I was STILL on the phone, Elder Andersen looked at me with a look of terror and mouths the words, "spider...on my back!" So I grab a notepad that just so happened to be nearby, and squished the rather giant spider on his back, observe the disaster in the kitchen, held back my laughter as best I could, and finally finished the phone call. It was hilarious! I hope you can imagine it, too ha. We laughed about that for quite some time ha.
Speaking of spiders though, we went to have dinner with one of my favorite families in the ward, the Manzanos. They are so funny! Especially Hermanita Manzano. So she walks around her tiny little house with a fly swatter and keeps making a squishing noise with it when she slaps it everywhere, so we keep laughing at her. Well, apparently the other day, her husband was bitten by a spider when he was picking fruit from their trees, so she is convinced now that he is going to turn into Spiderman hahaha Spidermanzano! :) She said she was waiting to see him start shooting webs out of his wrists haha such a great family! My whole ward is just great :) I sure hope I get to stay here for Christmas, since I already know this area!
Elder Andersen and I are supposedly both training next transfer, so that means one of us if not both are leaving this area. :( So sad, but I will do what I'm instructed! I know it will be great no matter where I go! :)
We also had a District Sleepover this week along with exchanges, and had some great times! Elder Weymouth and I made a video for you, that I think you'll like...hopefully :). So look out for that, too! Ah! SO much on the next camera card. :)
Well, as much as I would love to keep going with our great stories from this week, I only have 7 minutes left, so I must wrap it up :(. I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Some things I am grateful for, as we go into this week of Thanks remberance. I am grateful for my family (of course :)), and being out here on this mission. I am learning so much and growing so much out here. I wouldn't change it for anything. I am grateful for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and for all that they have done for us. I am grateful for all of you as an example to me, I love you so much! And believe it or not, I am grateful for trials. I know that through trials we can become stronger and learn. I have already had so many here on my mission, but I know that they are for the benefit of learning, and I know that God has a plan for me. I am grateful for the blessings of missionary work, and I am grateful for this Thanksgiving season. Always remember that it doesn't have to be Thanksgiving season to get down on your knees and thank God. Love you and miss you all so much! Happy Thanksgiving!
-Elder Gallego
"Count your many blessings name them one by one...count your many blessings, see what God has done."

Monday, November 12, 2012


Hola Familia!
Well, what a great week! This past week was full of excitement and honestly, I don't know if I can remember everything that happened this last week, it was so busy! Lots and lots of Spanish, and more meetings! But one of the many things I have learned here on my mission, more specifically in the MTC, is getting accustomed to meetings and firesides that last about two hours or longer. ha Before my mission, I dreaded going to firesides and such because I thought they were boring and I could not stay awake, but now, I LOVE THEM! I wish I had payed more attention during firesides and meetings like these because they are so informational ha. I can't wait for the conferences that we have. This past week we were visited by Elder Kopischke of the Seventy.
Elder Kopischke is from Germany and he actually spoke to me in the MTC, so I knew it would be great. :) He is on assignment from the Apostles to visit Stakes and talk about missionary work. So directly after our Zone Conference, he went and visited with all the leaders of the Orange County area pretty much. Something that was really neat that he had us do during the conference (and it seems like a lot of general authorities seem to do this) is that he did not plan anything. He told us to take a few minutes and come up with one or two questions that we wanted answered by the end. Then he explained to us something that he said every member of the church can learn from. If you want to really get something out of church, you should come to church with a question. What a great idea! Then our entire 4 hours was based off the questions and was led by the Spirit. It was so great! It wasn't just a lecture, but it was a conversation, so it was easy to stay awake for 4 hours. ;) He has a way with teaching. My answers were answered, and I learned so much that my companion and I can change to find more people to teach. My question was what I can do to be more of an influence in the lives of my investigators, because I was feeling like our investigators were not completely understanding our purpose and the importance of our call, although we tried to explain it. He explained to us that even though they may not realize our importance right away, they eventually will when they see the difference the Gospel has made in their lives because of us bringing it to their home. That totally answered my question because it made me realize that all the investigators we have had so far have either moved or stopped listening to our message (besides Melissa), so they haven't really gotten to the point when they can really given the Gospel a chance to change their lives. But we can totally tell it with Melissa.
Melissa is solid. We knew she was going to be ready quick judging by the fact that she had already had a close relationship with the church in Tijuana. Her baptism is this week, but she is wanting to maybe push it back a week or so because the person that first got her into the church can't make it up from Mexico until the following week, so we invited her to read and pray about it, and she had a bad week because her grandpa died, so we could not meet with her, but we are going to see her tonight to talk about it all. The only unfortunate thing is that her mom left to Mexico because it was her dad that passed away, so the baptism probably will be postponed a little bit depending on how Melissa feels after these recent occurences. She said she had a rough weekend, but is feeling better. She seems to still be strong in the decision to be baptized still though, so that is good. We need to get consent from her mom before we can baptize her thought because she is only 17, so we'll see on that as well. Her mom totally supports it and everything, she just isn't here right now.
Something fun that we have started to do here is teach English, yay! However, it's super difficult! ha Well, for me. I always thought it would be so easy, but I think in order to be a good teacher you really have to have patience. It really puts things into perspective though, to see how I was when I was first learning a language. It is really fun to teach Spanish, but I just hope they are actually learning ha.
I finished my first transfer! WOO! It was a great transfer and I look forward to another one with my companion! That's right, I'm staying in Santa Ana with Elder Andersen! This transfer is going to be a little different though because it is only going to be 5 weeks long. The regular transfer of 6 weeks ends Christmas Eve, so it wouldn't make sense to have that confusion during the already crazy holiday season, so transfers will happen the week before. I sure hope I get to stay here for Christmas! I absolutely love this area and the members here, this ward is so great! Something I was told by President Bowen, though, is that I will most likely be training next transfer because of all the changes, so hopefully I'll be training here, a place I somewhat know ha. I'm working on getting to know it at least. I have heard Christmas in this ward is great. I'm going to need something to keep my mind off of being away from family for the holidays! According to Elder Andersen, Christmas season is a free trunky pass for all Elders, unwritten rule. ha But I'm going to continue to stay focused. :)
As I say in every letter, I sure love this area!  Tenemos una social del dia de accion de gracias este viernes, entonces, voy a engoradar mucho! :( Los miembros nunca dejan de dar camida a nostros, entonces, siempre estamos comiendo comida! Ugh. Cuando regrese, sere un gordito! No en realidad, porque no estoy ganando pesos ahora, pero es posible que engorde mucho durante de Navidad! Hare muchos ejercicios para pelear contra la comida!
Wow, I just realized how scattered this letter seems. Sorry! I hope you can understand it all! I guess that would explain my week...pretty scattered! But I loved it :)
La obra esta progresando cada dia, hora, minuto, segundo en el mundo. Estoy muy agradecido por la oporunidad de estar aqui al predicar el Evangelio de Jesucristo. Esperamos que todo este bien con ustedes! Les amo y les extrano mucho, pero yo se que aqui es donde necesito estar. Sin duda! Hasta el proximo correo, les vaya bien!
-Elder Gallego
"Always have a question if you want to receive revelation." Elder Kopischke


Hola Familia!
Ahhhhh, what a great week...ish. It was a bittersweet week. A lot of wonderful things happened, and at the same time, some unfortunate things happened. I passed up 3 months this week, already! It's going too fast, and the transfer and already almost over. So sad because this transfer, I may or may not be moving already. Halloween was great, we watched 17 Miracles with a part member family because we weren't allowed to go out proselyting... Could you imagine that?
Two missionaries ring the doorbell
"Hello, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!"
"Good one! Take some candy!"
People would not take us seriously, says President Bowen. But that did not stop us from having a spiritual experience! 17 Miracles is such an amazing moving, and the nonmember dad is a total history buff, so he loved the movie, and we think he felt the Spirit, but from what his family says, he doesn't express his emotions. But the rest of the family felt it very strong! It was a great night. :)
This week was SUPER busy with lessons with our investigators and lots of meetings. There are SO many changes coming to the mission. We had a big Zone Meeting and President Bowen came to it, so that's when you know it's a big deal. :) He explained that since the big announcement of the age change for missionaries, there have been enough new missionary enrollments to create 60 new missions throughout the world! That is equivalent to 6000 new missionaries! How crazy is that? He said that to combat this huge surge, since the Church does not have enough time to create 60 new missions so fast, they are going to add missionaries to all the missions in North America so that there are 250 missionaries in each mission, regardless the size. Which is crazy for the 3rd smallest mission in the world, us! So as for the Spanish section of our mission, we will be going from 42 to 60, which means 18 new missionaries the next transfer. From what I hear, that's a lot. He was talking to us about how we need to be ready for any change that is thrown our way. He used me as an example as being ready to be called to be a trainer the next day and with short notice if needed, so now everyone is convinced I am going to be a trainer. I keep telling them it was just an example and that I am still in my training program, so that probably won't happen, but they're still convinced otherwise. Bottom line is, if it does happen, I have enough faith in President Bowen to know that he received revelation from God that it is what I need. And since God knows me better than I do, I will do all I can to serve. Since this is the last week of this transfer, I will know by the end of this week! So we'll see!
So as far as the investigators go, this week will be very full of finding. Our pool decreased drastically this week as we decided a couple weren't progressing anymore and as much as we tried, we could not meet with them, and also we had an investigator drop us. It was super sad to hear from the investigator dropping us, because we had just had an extremely spiritually uplifting church tour a couple of days before. But we haven't given up on her yet, we will be visiting with her and talking to her about her feelings and how we can help. We would hate to see her give up on something that we can tell has already changed her life. We love our investigators too much to just let them go. Commitments are crucial though, so when we have an investigator that is not following through with their commitments, we know where it is headed. So please keep us in your prayers for that tonight, we hope for the best and have faith that the Holy Ghost will guide us in what needs to be said tonight. At the same time, we had a couple come to church this week, so that was great to see them following through with that commitment. :) Church really is important.
What an all around great week though! It was crazy to think that you were pretty much 15 minutes away! I hope you enjoyed the beach, and enjoyed the vacation for that parts that you were actually vacationing. ;) I thought about yelling from my apartment porch and seeing if you could hear me, but I then I thought I'd just look crazy. ;) Love you so much, love this work, and love the gospel. When you get the chance, read Alma 32. It's one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. We need to plant that seed of faith and nourish it. We can't just say we have faith and not do anything. By continuing to read our scriptures, praying, going to church, and living our lives through following the commandments of God, we nourish that seed of faith, and our testimony grows. I have experienced that myself, and I continue to feel my testimony growing every day. Love you all so much, hope all is well!
-Elder Gallego
"And now as I said concerning faith-faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." Alma 32:21

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Hola Familia!
Without a doubt, this has been one of the greatest weeks here on my mission! I have absolutely loved this week, and my companion and I are SO strong now! Needless to say, the first couple weeks were a little rough coming from both sides, but this week we had a great Companionship Inventory, all came out that needed to change, and without hesitation we put it into play, and we have never been better! Although it hasn't been our most successful week in numbers, it's been a VERY successful week of working on unity and feeling the Spirit a lot stronger in our companionship. I am living the life right now, there is nowhere else I would rather be.
Unfortunate news for this week is that the Solorio Family moved on Friday. :( They were so great! But I KNOW and I have faith that they won't stop here, they're going to keep progressing and get baptized, they have that Spirit about them. They want to know the truth, and soon they'll realize they've found it. :) Jose (the son) is planning on getting baptized when they stop in Clearfield, Utah to visit family for a couple weeks, by the same missionary that baptized his brother a couple months ago, so that's great!
Sadly we weren't able to meet with Luis at ALL this week because he was busy, plus it's a little difficult to meet with him sometimes because he doesn't have a house that we can just stop by to, since he lives in his car. He wasn't able to get Sundays off from work yet, since he wasn't at church last Sunday or the one before, so we are hoping and praying that his boss's heart will be softened and will allow him to take a break for church. Please keep him in your prayers!
Rosa and Melissa are continuing to accept the message well, and now Rosa's husband (not Melissa's dad) is a new investigator and listening to the discussions now! The work is pushing forward very strongly here in the Santa Ana 5 Ward. I sure love it here, and it's amazing that Rosa and Melissa's family started as a reference from a member. Members truly are one of the most important factors in missionary work. Part of the 12 Week Program (training program for the first 12 weeks I'm out here) was to study the importance of members. President Gordon B. Hinckley said it well, when he said, "The process of bringing new people into the Church is not the responsibility alone of the missionaries. They succeed best when members become the source from which new investigators are found." Members play a HUGE role in missionary work, so please, if you can think of anyone who needs the message of the restored gospel in their life, do as Elder Russell M. Nelson said in the previous General Conference, "ask the missionaries. They can help you." Remember that every member a missionary. :)
I have a strong testimony of this work, I know it continues to strengthen and grow with the support of faithful members and exactly obedient missionaries. I also have a strong testimony of the priesthood. The other night, Elder Andersen was having a rough night and had just had an interview with our District Leader. He was really down. So I told him if he needed anything that I am here for him. Without hesitation, he asked me to give him a priesthood blessing. The Spirit filled the room as I layed my hands on his head. Later, as we talked about it, he said that was the most spiritual moment he has experienced on his mission. I agreed. I love this gospel, and the blessings it provides to those who are willing to listen. I continue to learn and grow out here! I love my Father in Heaven and his Son. The true church IS restored to the Earth today. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We need to do as the scriptures say, "seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you." The gospel can change the life of anyone who is willing to accept it.
I miss you all so much, and I have you in my prayers every day! Welcome home again, Matthew! Hope all is well, until next week, cuidense! :)
-Elder Gallego
"When it seems like everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." Henry Ford (favorite quote right now, thanks Olive!) :)


Hola Familia!
First off, WELCOME HOME MATTHEW! Oh my it's crazy that you are already home. I can't believe times have already flown so fast. I can already feel it flying by out here, all the weeks just blend together, I am already coming up on 3 months this next week! 1/8th of the way already...NO! I love it too much out here for it to fly by. :( But it's okay, the work is progressing really well out here. It's really hard for me to think about things to write about right now because I can't stop thinking about Matthew being home...makes me a little "trunky," which, I don't know if they used that term in your mission, Matthew, but means homesick! I miss you! I miss you all :( But it's okay, still focused, but send me more pictures. :)
Okay, now as for this week, where to start? It was super busy, and literally flew by so fast I can't believe it's already P-Day again...well, a day past normal P-Day, but that was because we went to the temple today, so our P-Day switched to today only because of the temple, so no it won't be Tuesdays from now on, only this week! I know it's confusing, since we were just getting used to Mondays ha.
I must appear to be a celebrater, because my companions always seem to have their birthdays with me! Well granted I've only had two real companions, but still... So Happy Birthday to Elder Andersen! He turned 20 on Saturday, and Tony and Juan (two investigators) decided to stuff us full of food last night...I'm literally about to explode! I'm so scared I'm going to blow up like a balloon here! The people have NO problem feeding us. I'm scared. I love food, but I like not gaining weight there an inbetween? haha I guess I'll find out.
So sad news...Eugene decided that he likes to be taught and assist church in English, therefore, we had to pass him along to the English missionaries. :( He is still going to be taught by another set of awesome missionaries, but he was one of my favorites! He was always so nice and made us laugh with his stories, but still carried that wonderful light of Christ. So, we will hopefully still be able to attend his baptism! He's so great, and he is still in great hands! Miss him, but we press on!
Other sad news, the Solorio family is moving on Friday. Apparently they have been planning it for a while, and he finally found a job, so they are moving super soon! So we will be helping them move, and unfortunately, Jose Solorio the son will not be able to be baptized here on the 4th as planned. BUT, we will be contacting the missionaries there to continue to teach the family because they continue to progress, but they will soon be out of our hands as well. :( They are so great! All our investigators are disappearing! But with some leaving, we also replenished our teaching pool this week! :)
With Melissa and Rosa, they are still continuing to progress very well, but we are having difficulties getting them to church, because they work late Saturday nights, so 9am Sunday mornings is hard for them, but we are really hoping and praying for this next week, they said "no excuses, we're coming!" So please keep them in your prayers, we told them we know the Lord will provide a way if they exercise their faith in him! :)
We visited a couple inactive members this week, one of them came back to church on Sunday (hooray!) and the other one, Henry, couldn't come because it started to rain and his neighbor across the street's roof was being worked on, and they hadn't covered it with a tarp or anything because they were not expecting it to rain, so he helped them. Which, servicio is good, at least he wasn't just skipping church. But he said he is coming next week and wants us to help him with what he needs to do to receive the gift of the priesthood! So that's super exciting, but we told him the first step is coming back to church, so he's committed himself to coming next week. We're so excited for him and his desire to receive the wonderful gift of the priesthood. Also, Henry's friend, Luis, was there one day we went to visit him, we weren't planned for that, but we ended up teaching the first lesson, and he committed to baptism! It was funny because at first when we asked him, he asked it we could do it next Thursday ha. He has a burning desire to know the truth, and we can tell he is going to progress super fast, he just quit drinking a few months ago. Went cold turkey because he decided he didn't like what it turned him into. Crazy! The problem is that he only works Saturday and Sunday during the week and lives out of his car, so he really needs the money. We asked him to talk to his boss about not working Sundays and maybe working another day and he said he would, so hopefully that works out!
Just down the street from Henry lives Erika. Erika was a referral to us from her sister who is a member. Erika is having difficulties with her pregnancy, so her sister asked us to offer a priesthood blessing. We have been trying to stop by her house for the past three weeks and she finally was there this week, so we gave her a blessing and have a return appointment to teach her tomorrow, she really felt the Spirit during that blessing, and so did her roommate, so they are really excited to hear from us.
Well, those are the big stories from this week, I wish I had time to share everything! With door knocking this week, we found some more potential investigators, but we need to stop by again and teach them a lesson to know if they are the "truth seekers" that really want to hear what we have to say. I sure love it out here! I miss you all so much, I'm so sad that I can't be there to welcome you home, Matthew, but you know I love you and this is where I need to be, I can feel the blessings from my mission. It's changing me. I love it so much! My testimony has grown so much. Love you so much, miss you so much, FUEGO!
-Elder Gallego
"If you only have one convert on your mission, it better be you." Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Monday, October 15, 2012


Hola Familia!
Whew! What a busy week! Still trying to fight with time on my P-Days to email, but it is getting a little better now, and this will probably be the normal time I have to email from now on! :) I am absolutely loving it out here, the people are amazing, the culture is amazing, the food is amazing, the Spanish is amazing, and the GOSPEL is amazing. I am so grateful for how much it has changed my life and how strongly I can feel the Spirit everyday as I'm out here doing this wonderful work and serving the Lord.
Before I forget, General Conference! Oh my, when I heard the announcement of the new ages, I got chills. All my friends are elligible for a mission now, and the mission field ought to DOUBLE in numbers now. How amazing, the opportunity to serve a mission is one of the greatest blessings you can ask for, I promise. So all that are out there thinking about a mission and are now elligible, NEED TO! I want this experience for everyone, it has changed my life so much!
So this week was super busy. Lots and lots of finding. Our Zone has been getting pretty low on numbers, so we were told we needed to work on that, so we did! The number SKYROCKETED this week. We went from 10-12 new investigators a week to 40! The work has been progressing so well here, and the mission as a whole has found over 70 new missionaries, so our Zone alone was over half! :) We have loved every minute of it! My Zone Leaders call my strong desire to work and our success Greenie Fire! ha
As for Elder Andersen and I, we found 6 new investigators this week, and went from one with a baptismal date to five with a baptismal date. All the door knocking and referrals really payed off!
Well Jose Solorio has continued to come to church and we only got to visit with him twice last week, but the second visit, his wife joined in on the lesson. We are now teaching the parents, one of the sons, and the other son is already baptized, so that's just great! The sad part however is that they are moving, so we are hoping we can work with them towards a baptismal date before they leave. Doesn't really help that they don't know when they are leaving, but we invited the parents to be baptized Saturday night and they said they need to learn more. Hopefully tonight when we meet with them, they will feel the strong prompting the Spirit brings in the lessons!
On Tuesday we met Eugene knocking doors, and he is the coolest guy ever! He invited us in, and just talked with us for a while about his life ha. Took a little longer than it should have, and we were trying to make our way out, but he had just lost his wife, and he is pretty mucht the only one left now out of all his brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents...all in his generation or older, so he is super lonely and hates being home. We knew immediately what we needed to teach him. So the lessons began the next day! We got choked up saying the pray and was so happy to have us there, and felt it could change his life to listen to what we had to say, which it can! The Gospel definitely has the ability to change lives! We told him about the constant companion of the Holy Ghost after baptism, invited him, and he said, "ABSOLUTELY!" He is just so great and continues to follow through with the committments of reading, praying, and everything! Unfortunately, he prefers to be taught in English and wants to go to church in English, so we have to pass him along to the English Elders this week :( Super sad, but I know he will continue to progress towards that baptismal date, and we can stop by and visit him still from time to time. :)
We were referred to Melissa and Rosa, and daughter and her mother on Wednesday. They are solid, and the daughter pretty much already has a testimony because she has been through lessons and to church in Mexico, and Rosa asks lots of questions, and is so interested in every lesson. They both have baptismal dates as well, and we continue to see their testimonies grow!
Our final investigator with a baptismal date is George. I dont know him very well because I have only met him once, but has a baptismal date and apparently has experienced some pretty life changing experiences from the Church. He has been progressing from what I've heard!
We have plans for a couple more investigators with baptismal dates this week, and we know that the Spirit will testify to them that this Church is true, just like it has to us. I absolutely love this Church and I know that without it, I wouldn't be where I am today. This Gospel has changed our family and I know that it can change the lives of anyone who listens to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I sure love this work and I love being out here! Love you all so much, love hearing from you, and you're all always in my prayers!! :) Love you!
-Elder Gallego
"I'm a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it." Sister Ann Dibb

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Hola Familia!

Well, this is going to be a way shorter email than usual. Things have already been super busy here, especially today, but I'm enjoying it and I know I have been called here to work hard, so I'm doing it! :) I absolutely love it here so far, and I know I will continue to, the people are wonderful, and I have met so many new people already. However, with General Conference this past weekend, I wasn't able to meet the whole ward yet! Next week :) I am is what they call "little Mexico City" and I am loving it! Spanish is everywhere I go, and everyone keeps saying that I fit right in because my Spanish works for me. :)

My new companion's name is Elder Andersen from Missouri! He is extremely nice and pretty easy going. We can definitely already see room for improvment, but that is as can be expected. We have a lot in common at the same time, though, so that is nice. He is ready to work hard, and so am I, and he knows we are going to have great success in this area. I wouldn't know what that's like, so I just take his word for it, and go with the flow. :) Apparently, there have been a lot of missionaries that have come to the mission lately that are what they call "already prepared," and apparently I'm one of them! ha Thank you MTC maestros! So we have already hit the ground running!

Quick little story from this week, as we went to go visit one of the investigators with a baptismal date, Jose, his dad had just returned from a trip to visit family in Utah. As we were waiting for Jose Junior, his dad, Brother Jose, as we call him to distinguish the difference, talked to us. Well, just before we went into the lesson, I felt the prompting to invite his dad into it as well, at first he turned me down, but ended up coming in anyways! Well, that lesson did not go as planned haha His dad ended up asking a TON of questions and we did the best we could to answer them in our broken Spanish and ultimately invited him to start reading the Book of Mormon to answer his questions and pray about it. And he committed to it! He is an example of what Elder Andersen calls a "truth seeker." He is not just there to listen, he really wants to know! Andddd, not only did he read and pray, and continues to read and pray, but he came to General Conference, too! He took notes and everything, and we have another lesson with him tonight, it's amazing how fast he is progressing and keeping commitments with us. I can already see the Lord's hand in being here. Through Faith in Jesus Christ all things are possible. We asked for the blessing of finding more that would like to hear of this wonderful work, and we found Brother Jose the NEXT day. How amazing! So please keep both Jose's and us Elders in your prayers, tonight we have a wonderful lesson planned for him, and we are praying all continues to go well! Love you all, thank you for the love and support you show me! I love this work and I love this Gospel. It's true, without a doubt. I know it, and we can all know if through the Book of Mormon and praying with faith. Love you!

-Elder Gallego

"It's not a race, it's a journey...enjoy the moment." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf