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