Sunday, February 10, 2013


Hola Familia!
Well, for starters, Happy February! I hope all is going well with you from day to day, I constantly have you in my prayers. :) This has been a great week! Full of so much, and in such a little space of time. This week flew by, again (naturally)!
It's a new transfer, and today has been a day of changes. I'M STAYING HERE, AGAIN! Woo hoo! I love this area and ward so much, I'm so excited to stay another transfer here. And not only am I staying in this area, but Elder Facer and I are staying together, too! Yay! He's such a great missionary, we've learned so much from eachother already, and get along really well. Love the Elder. However, I am so sad to say goodbye to my best friend so far in this mission, Elder Weymouth. :( He is being transferred to Garden zone. I was so sad! But it's okay, I guess ;), because Elder Bunker's new companion, Elder Fuentes seems like a really great Elder as well. We're excited to have him in our area, he's a worker, too! :)
Also this week, as I'm sure you have heard, I was lucky enough to receive permission to visit Grandma and Grandpa Meo! It was such a neat experience! And a great surprise. ;) I had asked President Bowen on preparation day if I could do it, but didn't hear back from him, so when Wednesday came around, I was too nervous to call him and ask him because I didn't want him to think I was being pushy. Not that he isn't easy to talk to, I LOVE President Bowen. It's just a little nerve-racking ha. On our way out of town, Elder Facer let him know we were leaving, and then mentioned it shortly in a message because his phone was off, but I wasn't expecting it and didn't think he'd return it in time. But, luckily, just before we arrived in Arcadia to Elder Facer's doctor appointment, he called and gave me permission to do it as long as we were home on time! Yay! It was just as much a surprise for me as it was for them to see me at the door ha. They are just so cute! And Elder Facer loved meeting them as well. :) After a nice little chat with them, we offered Grandpa Tony a blessing, and he accepted! So we gave him one, and we were on our way. It was a short little visit, but well worth it, seeing as it may be the last time I see them. :) After the cute little signature Grandma Betty slippery kiss, I said goodbye. What a blessing it was to have that experience. I continue to keep them in my prayers, as he struggles. Love them so much!
It was fun to take a roadtrip to Arcadia, and a funny story along the way kept us laughing for quite some time, and we even still laugh about it. As we were on our way home, we passed through a little area where it smelled like pines. Elder Facer, being the observant one he is, got so excited by the smell that he reacted too fast for his brain to think, and just shouted out "Smine!" After puzzled looks were exchanged, he explained his story, and it the explanation made it even funnier. He cracks me up all the time. haha
While on the topic of humor, I have another story to share! This week, I tried something that I would have never expected to enjoy. Tacos de lengua. The funny thing is that I didn't know I was eating tongue! Let me explain. We were having our coordination meeting with our Ward Mission Leader, and, as usual, his wife was preparing dinner for us. The meeting ended and we began eating these tacos full of delicious meat! I was so hungry, that I had quite a few, they were good! Meanwhile, we were having a discussion around the table about how cow tongue tastes, and about the different parts of animals that are commonly eaten in the latino culture, as I was completely oblivious of the fact that I was eating it. Dinner ended and we were on our way, and it wasn't until later that night that the topic of tongues was brought up again as it was shared that lengua is a sort of a delicasy here. After a swift remark on my part that I hope I NEVER eat tongue because of the countless times I had seen the gigantic, (cow tongues are huge!) squishy specimens laying in the window of the meat department at our commonly visited market; everyone started laughing at me. They then shared with me what the "tasty tacos" we had eaten earlier that night were full of...tongue. Gross. I was disgusted with myself...but now that I think about was actually pretty good. So from now on, I'll eat it...only if I don't know beforehand that it is tongue ha. They still find it funny to make a joke out of that here. Tacos de lengua son muy ricos!
This week, all around, was just a fantastic week. Our investigators are working their ways towards progression, and the ward is doing a great job helping us out. Despite the fact that Samantha's own grandmother has shared that she will disown the family if Samantha gets baptized, she is still strong in her desire to be baptized soon. The faith of this 8-year-old girl is remarkable, and such an example for the rest of her family. Please keep the Cedillo family in your prayers, that their grandmother's heart may be softened. They sure love us missionaries, and really look forward to our visits. Especially the 4-year-old, Sebastian, who continues to refer to us as the "Mystery Men" because he does not know how to pronounce missionaries correctly. It's just great, I love them!
This week also included the burning ceremony of both: a tie to represent my six month mark being passed this past Friday, and a pair of pants to represent passing the 18 month mark by Elder Facer this past week. We had fun burning them over at the Lopez Family, even though my tie is practically fireproof. It was frustrating, but we finally burned the sucker up! You'll see pics of that, soon. :)
We found a couple more families this week, and I will update you about them next week, as we get to know them a little bit more. The fire is going here in is Santa Ana 5! Las cosas! Les amo mucho, y espero que todo este bien con todos ustedes. Les extrano mucho, pero se que estoy haciendo las cosas del Senor aqui! Estan en mis oraciones, les vaya bien! Andale, pues!
-Elder Gallego
"Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless-whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people." Mosiah 23:21-22

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Hola familia! 

I'm seriously freaked out by how fast the weeks are flying by. Granted, this week was one day shorter from preparation day to preparation day, but still! I sure love it out here, and I love my ward. :) The ward is so great and are really doing a great job stepping it up and helping us out with the missionary work. Members are so important! It's great to hear that you went out with Matthew and the missionaries, Mom, I'm sure you did just fine and it went great. :) I'm sure they greatly appreciate your guys' help.

This week was a great week! Lots of finding and lots of success. We have been going through our area book and visiting all the old investigators and the people that previous missionaries have said are potentials. It's proved successful! We found a couple new FAMILIES (finally) and have been working a lot with the part-member families in our ward. This past week was full of work! We are also still working on reaching out to the less actives, and we sure love seeing that their faith is still there. That's what we find most of the time. Less active members still have a very strong testimony and faith in the gospel, just other things happened that drove them away from the church. But, just like we read in the title page of the Book of Mormon. If we find any faults in this church, it's not the church, it's the members. This message is so true. All we need to do is focus on the message. :)

We are also working with a less active family, the Cedillos, who want their daughter, who is 8, to be baptized, and they are such a great family! We are teaching Samantha, and she has a brother who has 4 or 5 years. He is so adorable! He talks SO much, and is always wanting to show us his angry birds games and his other games on his iPad. It's really cute because most of the time, Elder Facer and I switch off conversing with him and teaching the lesson to Samantha at the same time. It's a total multi-tasking house. :) She is doing a great job learning, and preparing herself to be baptized. Love that family. :)

We pretty much started from scratch this week and now we have a full pool of investigators! It's wonderful how the Lord provides a way for us to teach his gospel to those who are waiting to hear the truth. We found the Moreno family this week through the area book, and they are perfect examples of people searching for the truth. The elect. They have been taught by missionaries before, but they are really looking for the strong feeling in their hearts that the church they attend is true. They came once a while ago, and weren't impressed by sacrament meeting, so they left. We're working with them to give it another try, and they said they would love to because they can already tell that this time will be different. They said the other missionaries were always so cold and didn't make them feel comfortable, but by the end of our lesson we were laughing and have already learned so much about them. But there is no doubt that the other missionaries still planted a seed. We sure hope we can help in the cultivation of that seed. As long as they do what we teach them, they will find the truth. :)

The work is true. Without a doubt, I know it. I know we can receive an answer to our prayers about anything in our lives. We just need to search the scriptures and pray. We need to show our effort in searching, and then through the trial of our faith, we will know. Then once we receive our answer, we need to be willing to change what we need to in order to subject to the loving will of the Father. I sure love it out here and I am thankful everyday for the difference that missionary work has made in my life and the life of my family. It is weren't for missionaries, I would not be here. :) I look forward to the final week of this transfer. It's already over! :O Not in a good way. I sure hope Elder Facer and I have another transfer together in this area. The ward has really warmed up to us. :) This 7 week transfer has flown by! Regardless of what happens, we are going to finish off strong! I hit my 6 month mark on Friday. SIX MONTHS! Already! O_O...time has flown by, and I can't wait to burn a tie as part of missionary tradition. ;) I have the perfect left over ugly tie from the MTC ha. Love you all so much, I pray for you every day, and I hope all is well!

-Elder Gallego

"Faith is not so much something that we believe; faith is something we live." Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin


Hola Familia!

This week went by so fast! I can't believe it is already Preparation Day, again! This was a great week, and I really enjoyed it. :) 

For starters, thank you Johnson family for the unexpected visit. ;) It scares me how awkward I was. I'm sorry if I was rude for being rushed or anything, I was just nervous haha. When you met me in the foyer after the tour, my mission president's counselors were the two gentlemen standing nearby. :| It's okay though, I'm pretty sure I'm good. :) I hope that's not what I would be like if I would to return to "the world" right now. I just didn't really know how to react, so sorry, but it sure was great to see you! :)

So, Elder Facer and I were assigned to give the Spanish tour of the temple that we have every couple of months. The tour was pretty good, despite the fact that our group didn't say nearly anything, so it was a little awkward, but the Spirit was still felt, and it was an enjoyable experience. :) The Newport Beach Temple has such a great history and it's so pretty! When it was being built, it had a lot of the major walls up in white stone, but the city told them they could not build the temple to be that white because it distracted from the landscape. Unfortunately, they had already bought all the white stone and mortar for it, so they didn't know what to do. So they prayed and fasted about it, and a few days later, right before they had to dispose of the material, a company contacted them. This company was searching for the color white because they had the pinkish rock and mortar already and the employer told them the opposite. They no longer wanted a pinkish structure, but rather a white structure. So they switched! Miraculously, both companies had the same amount of material, so it was an even trade! Isn't that amazing? :) There's proof right there that God is aware of all of our situations.

I have a testimony of that fact because my experience this week is an example. As you may have noticed in my recent letters, this month or so has been pretty difficult, and I wasn't quite sure where we were supposed to go in this area. People haven't been listening, investigators are dropping us, and it is all around just a little frustrating. Or has been, I should say. So, let's just say I was really looking forward to the temple session we had today. I went in with a few questions, and came out with solutions. I love how that works. :) My main question was that of, "what should we do in this area?" To me, it just felt like the investigators we have are just good listeners, but aren't willing to act on the promptings they receive, or stick to the commitments they set. So the answer came to me and my companion at the temple that we are going to white wash. Usually, in missionary terms, white washing an area is to take the set of missionaries out and put a new set in that know nothing about the area, but in this case, we are referring to our investigator pool. We are cleaning everyone out and starting fresh. If they are truly interested in the message, we will leave it up to them to contact us, rather than us try only to get rejected every time we call, or avoided when we knock the door. It's been happening a little too often lately, but I have sure confidence that this was revelation from the Lord as to what he wants us to do in HIS area. :) I sure love it out here!

Check out the hymn "More Holiness Give Me" when you get the chance. I've never really noticed that it is a song all about the Christlike Attributes. We had a lesson on that this week, and I loved it. :) We can all acquire them with just a little work. It's all about the attitude, right, Mom? ;)

To sum it all up, this week was a good week. We as companions are closer than we have ever been and we look forward to the next week of starting over. We're going to work hard! Can't wait. :) Happy January Birthdays to Scarlett, Mariah, and Breck!! Sorry if I missed someone, I'm losing track of birthdays out here! :\ Love you all so much and hope all is well with you, too! Hasta la proxima semana, les vaya bien!

-Elder Gallego

"Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love. In the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine." President Gordon B. Hinckley


Hola Familia
Man! This week was worse! It's hard out here, without a doubt, but I know I am still being blessed for my efforts.
Not many lessons were taught this week because we had to move all the Elders in our district, including ourselves, so we didn't have time to meet new people, and when we did have planned lessons, they kept falling through with our investigators. We felt like our investigators were avoiding us. It was frustrating. But it was true.
To top off my week though, I received my first ticket. :( Just to add to it all. It was a couple weeks ago when a yellow light turned red RIGHT before I took a right turn at an intersection, so it flashed me. That started out the week bad, and then came Sunday.
Yesterday was probably the hardest day on my mission. To start off the day, and after our studies, we left a little early so that we could drive by our investigators' houses to remind them of church, because most of the time, our investigators don't respond through the phone. So we set out and no one opened their door except the last one. The house full of Salvadorenos. I remember a couple of weeks ago, I believe, I told you about them. Well, they invited us in, and since our first encounter and awesome lesson with them, it had been hard to contact them, but we finally did, but to no avail. They told us that they were not interested in our message anymore and that they would continue to go to their Catholic Church. They also told us that when we stop by, they have felt uncomfortable to tell us, so that's why they haven't. Okay. So that was Hit #1 of the day.
After feeling a little down, we proceeded to church anyways and kept our heads high. Church was pretty good, and a couple of our investigators showed up anyways, so that was cool. We ended up teaching the 16-17 year old chamacos. It was a lot of fun though to talk to people younger than us and give them this time to basically do question, answer with us. So that was cool, and neat. I don't know if you remember Melissa, but she came to church for the first time in about 3 months with her boyfriend Ivan, who is already a member of the church. He is a cool kid, and he's going to help us talk with her about baptism again this week. :) We're excited about that because we knew once he'd come back from Mexico that she would be more dedicated to going. We look forward to teaching her again.
After church we had lunch over at the Cifuentes house and had a great time talking with the family (they're pretty much half the ward ;)). It was nice to get my mind off of the denial. ha So after, since they live so close, we went to visit the Villegas family that had a baptismal date for this next week, and have been progressing really well. Except for the fact that they have not been completely able to visit with us lately, but we were excited to finally sit down with them for the first time in about a week. Well, that's what we thought. We could hear chattering going on inside as we came to the door, but they wouldn't answer to us. So we called them, and Alicia answered and said they couldn't come to the door because they were busy doing "things." Then she proceeded to tell us that she and her husband decided that they are no longer interested in us missionaries passing by anymore, and that they would be returning to their old church. They wouldn't even open the door to tell us that. I was so sad. They KNOW this church is true. I've felt it in their home. Hit #2.
At this point a little heartbroken, we tried to stop by another investigator we have in the same apartment complex, Carmen Zuniga. We met her one night on our way in to visit the Villegas family and she asked us to stop by her house. I was excited because she asked us...which is different. So the next day, Saturday, we stopped by and taught her a VERY powerful lesson of the Restauracion. She loved our message, and she was so excited to read the Book of Mormon. She even told us a couple times throughout the message that she felt our message was true. I could tell she could. Towards the end though, she mentioned that her husband is a Jehovah's Witness, and nothing against them or anything, but they aren't too fond of our message. So that seemed to be a little bit of foreshadowing for me. Even though she accepted a baptismal date, and I could feel that excitement in her and see it in her eyes, she left us a voicemail telling us that she needs to stay with the Jehovah's Witness church and that we can't come over anymore. Ugh. This was right before we went in to visit the Lopez family that I told you about last week, so I was just plain frustrated. Hit #3.
Just as I said last week, I am so grateful, though, for the Lopez family. Julie Lopez is an ex-missionary, and her spirit is so strong. I told her about all that had happened, and kind of just frustrated myself. She helped me out so much though. She told me stories from her mission that really related to me, and I left that house with a different attitude. Not that I was really letting it get to me BAD. I was just frustrated. But I had a spiritual experience later on that night that I won't forget. I am so grateful for this family, and for the chance I have to learn from trials.
Through all this negativity, I know that I am being blessed. As I focus more on being the best and most obedient missionary I can be, I know that Satan is going to try and knock me down. We won't. I know that it is all up to the will of the Lord, and for that reason, I continue to push forward and be strong in this work. If it weren't for the testimony I have of this work and the love I have for this Church and for the Lord, I wouldn't be out here. It saddens me to see that missionaries give up sometimes when times get rough. I'll keep pressing along because I know that the Lord is not only building his kingdom through me, but he is also building me. I look forward to a great week ahead of us, we're pretty much starting from scratch again, so this ought to be good. Love you all so much, I continue to keep you in my prayers, and I hope all is well. Love you and miss you!
-Elder Gallego
P.S. Preparation Day will be on Tuesday next week. We get to go to the Temple, again. I can't wait. It's perfect timing. :)
"We either have a choice to give up and let him win,
Or keep on fighting and never give in."


Hola Familia!

Whew! This week was difficult, I must say. I don't have much to say, but this work is just a great big roller coaster! Don't worry, still working hard and overcoming any obstacles, but it's just a little frustrating sometimes. 

For starters, the baptism of Clemente was cancelled. Again. A few days before his baptism, after we had gotten consent, finished all the lessons, and felt he was prepared, he took off out of town with his girlfriend and her family before he could be interviewed. Now he is avoiding us, not answering any text messages, phone calls, nothing. It's tough. He was SO close, and we could already see the difference this wonderful message is making in his life and the life of his family. We don't know what happened, but unfortunately it didn't happen. We are working on getting back in touch with him so we can help in any way we can, but I'll keep you updated on that!

This week was just rough in general because all of our lessons were falling through and it seemed like all of our investigators were avoiding us. We are doing the best we can though to just continue pushing through the hard times and not let it get to us. Thank goodness for my companion and I, we are not very negative people so we just do our best to look on the bright side of everything. It reminds me of Joseph B. Wirthlin's talk a while ago when he said "come what may and love it." He talked about a time he and his family were on a roadtrip and they kept taking the wrong turns and getting lost, but rather than getting angry and upset about it, they laughed about it and kept on going. I feel that is the best way to describe Elder Facer and I.

Although it is extremely difficult sometimes being a missionary and going from a great week, to a bad week, to a great week, to a bad week...this emotional roller coaster is building us missionaries. I have learned so much out here, and I know that I have so much more to go, but it will all be worth it. I know I will see the fruits of my labors soon, I already do. But even more, just have to be patient. :)

Fun little excerpt of the week though. I went on quick exchanges to Newport Beach with Elder Andersen as our companions went to visit the doctor in Arcadia together. It was awesome! Not only was I reunited with Elder Andersen, but I was finally in Newport Beach. :) It was the weirdest feeling knowing it all already. We drove past a bunch of our vacation spots, like Newport Dunes. :) It was a blast from the past! 

Something else that was great this week was our continuing spiritual experience with the Lopez family. They are just great! They have been so loving to us missionaries, and it has been great to work with them in their return to church. They have all been coming back to church lately and the parents have been inviting us over to dinner a lot, which according to Julie, is quite rare. We had a really spiritual lesson with them the other night and tears were being shed by all. The Spirit was so strong. Julie shared with us that this is the first time in about 10 years that her family actually remembers the name of a missionary. I have been blessed to work with them through this and to witness the pure love of Christ as they realized his loving guidance and mercy. Her niece, Vanessa is also coming back and even is helping her other friend return to church now. It's amazing to watch, I absolutely LOVE the Lopez family. Soon we will be meeting with the dad about baptism again. He's been taught before, but has never accepted baptism for various reasons, but we will see! Anything is possible through the power of the Holy Ghost. :)

On the bright side, the church time here has changed to 11 o'clock rather than 9 for the past 8 or so years, so that is going to be a lot more helpful getting investigators to come to church. Church is so important for them! 

Not much to talk about this week, Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad! :) Hope you had a great celebration! 23 years! WOO!! Almost to a milestone of 25 :). And thank you so much Grandma Pat for sending me the pumpkin roll in the mail, I loved it! And all the Sisters at the office wanted to try, and they loved it as well, thank you so much! :) Love you all so much and I hope you are all doing great. Please keep me and my investigators in your prayers that we will all be able to follow the will of the Lord in our decisions. Love you and miss you! Cuidense!

-Elder Gallego

"'I am the gardener here, I know what I want you to be.' Thank you God, for cutting me down. Thank you for loving me enough to hurt me. We may all reach the expectations of our Heavenly Father, if we willingly subject to his loving correction." D. Todd Christoffersen