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."