Monday, August 19, 2013


Hola familia!
Well, once again, another week has made it's way by! Granted, this week was a little bit slower than the others, but still, the transfer is over! Elder Garza and I have had quite the time together, but we are pretty sure this is going to be it for us. :( Looks like I won't be the one to "kill" him after all. One more transfer for him and he's gone! That will mean that 3 of my 5 companions will be home. I am feeling older every transfer. I mean, it's true, but still...I love it out here, and it's going too fast! ugh. Internal conflict. ha
We had a great week as we worked to make it a strong finish. We have one more week in this transfer, and from what we have been told, this District is going to change up a lot, so we are working on leaving this area string and the teaching pool full in the chance that this area gets white washed. Anything is possible now! Elder Larsen, the assistant to the president for nearly my whole mission ha, is leaving this transfer, so we are convinced he is going to go out with a bang. ;) We'll see! I'm just going to keep on going with whatever happens!
Again, I am running out of time to write this email (as usual) so I will try to focus on the main points of this week.
We are continuing to work with Ana, Tanya, and Teresa. We are struggling still with getting our investigators to church, so we are going to keep that as another main focus this week. We hope that they will understand the importance of going to church so that they can better strengthen their testimony in this church. We are seeing them progressing in other aspects, just need to get them to church now! :)
We also had Zone Conference this week, so that was super great! I sure love Zone Conference. Especially this one. We reviewed all the training we have received this week month by month and I loved being able to apply it to each of our investigators and seeing how we can better help them in their conversion process. We also learned about charity and how the power lies in the motive. In the Bible Dictionary we read that it is not about the things that you give, but rather the motive-the driving factor. We are not being charitable if we our heart is withheld and we are merely doing things because we are told to or because we are obligated. Charity is the pure love of Christ, and I am confident that Christ did what he did because of true love and the desire to save us all. We had the correct motive, and we are taught about it over and over again in the scriptures. We can learn about it in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 in the New Testament. I especially like verse 2 when it says "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." I feel that way out here. I can work and work, learn and learn, teach and teach, but when it all comes down to it; if I do not have charity, I am nothing. My working, learning, teaching, etc with all be in vain. It is through charity-the pure love of Christ-that I can touch the hearts of those I teach and bring the message we share unto their hearts. Granted, they still have that choice as to whether or not to accept it, but if I have pure love for these people, I am confident that I have done my best and the seed will have been planted-in hopes that one day it will become a tree. :) I truly do love the people I serve out here and I am so grateful to be here.
I love you all so much, and I hope you're feeling the blessings as you read your scriptures and pray daily, go to church every Sunday, and look for opportunities to serve and love those around you. I love this gospel so much, and I look forward to another transfer! Love you and miss you, you're always in my prayers! Take care!
-Elder Gallego
"Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." 1 Cor. 13:7
P.S. Here's a fun little picture of Elder Garza, Elder Afu (another elder in our district), and I on exchanges! :) We stopped by the swap mall on our lunch break and took a couple dorky pics in this warp mirror. ha And also Elder Garza and I at a fun birthday celebration for a member in our ward!


Hola familia!
This is probably going to be another short email because today is SUPER busy, but in no way does it reflect that this was a slow week! We were so busy! I am so happy to see the success that is going on in our area right now. We could always see more, but that's what we are constantly working on as missionaries. Continuing to stay strong and push ourselves more and more every day! It's a constant battle against Satan, but I'm confident that right now we are winning. ;)
First off, CONGRATULATIONS to Matthew and Ashley for getting married. I am so happy to have her as a new member to this family and look forward to spending time with the both of you once I get back. I am also happy to see that I was somewhat included in the wedding with my little cutout that I hear everyone was fighting over! YAY! I love the attention. ;) Too bad I didn't catch the garter...lame. ha But I am glad to hear that everything went well and you are enjoying your Honeymoon in Mexico right now. SO JEALOUS! Not only does the water look amazing in the picture you sent me,'s Mexico! I will go there someday. I will. I was great to get a little chance at least to talk to you! You both seem so happy, and I am so happy for the both of you. Enjoy the Honeymoon! ;)
This week we had another powerful lesson with yet another well prepared investigator. I don't remember if I had told you about Teresa earlier on, but we have been trying to teach her and contact her for about 3 months now. She is a referral from her neighbor, who is a member from the English ward, and she is finally making time to meet with us. She even told us that she has had doubts (we've met with her before), but for some reason she feels like there is something about what we teach that she needs to know and that brings her peace in her life. Her neighbors have been such great examples to her and her family, and they admire the love and happiness they see coming from their home. I am so excited to see her progress more!
We are struggling right now with having these well-prepared investigators come to church, though. We have such great potentials, but they need to come to church in order to really connect with this church spiritually and socially. Please keep them in your prayers that they can make the effort to make it to church. Our main focuses right now are Teresa and her family (the Gavina family), Ana, and Tanya. We are working with trying to help them understand the importance. I know that with prayer and diligence, they will make it. :)
I know that sometimes it can be a little difficult out here, but when things get hard, I still think back to a talk I watched in the MTC that helped me change my whole view on this mission. At times enduring to the end just seems like a cliche that doesn't seem to have substance to it, but I have learned in my mission that that is not in any way the case. The mission is hard, it tries you, and it eats you up sometimes to see that people do not follow what you know so strongly to be true-what you try to help them understand for themselves that is important. I definitely know those feelings when you warn your investigators not to do something and then they go ahead and do it anyways. It's pretty annoying sometimes that we have to try so hard, but they can still use their agency to fight against us! UGH! If only we didn't have to deal with agency! ;) Well, if that were the case, life would be pretty lame for us, too. ha On the bright side, though, as we do our best, and even if some of the people we come in contact with don't make it now, I am confident that later down the road, they will realize that that seed of faith has been planted, and they will revert back to the way they felt when we were with them. Enduring to the end can definitely be a struggle. I have seen that many times in my mission. In the MTC, "Missions are Forever" by Jeffrey R. Holland really helped me paint the picture to how I would react to difficulties in my mission. It is amazing, and I have learned to apply so many things that he taught here on the mission. I remember one thing he taught that has really stuck with me through all the ups and downs that we face as missionaries. He said something along the lines of, "Why should missions be easy? They shouldn't, nor will they. If it wasn't easy for Jesus Christ to go through what he did in the Garden of Gethsemane, why should it be for us?" That has really helped me to understand that this mission is going to be tough, but it is that way because it is supposed to be. We learn and grow so much out here, and I am so grateful that I get to learn out here from this all. I can see how these trials are helping me learn and grow so much more. I know that if I just keep going, endure to the end, and remember, He never said it would be easy, but He said it would be worth it, I can just imagine the blessings I am going to have when I get home! I can see an example of it in Matthew's life, and I am so happy to do my best out here, so I can be worthy and ready to accept those special blessings that await me upon my return.
I love you all so much, and I hope everyone is enjoying their "after wedding relax time." ;) Sure wish I could have been there, but I know that means the reunion will be all that much better now that I have ANOTHER family member waiting at the Airport terminal when I come home. :) I hope all is well, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon. LOVE YOU!
-Elder Gallego
"Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (thanks again, Vane! :))


Hola familia!
First off, early congratulations to Matthew and Ashley on their marriage! I am sad that I cannot be there, but I am super excited to hear all about it. I am excited to have Ashley as part of the family, and look forward to being reunited with all of you again. :) I hope all goes well and it is the night of your dreams! Also, Happy Birthday to Miss Maddie Mosley! :) It is her birthday today, so if you see her, or have a way of contacting her, let her know I say Happy Birthday from here. :) Love you all so much, and I hope you have a great week of celebration. :)
This week was another amazing week! We really hit the streets and have been contacting like crazy. I don't think I have ever spent so much time on one street before! ha It's been a gold mine, though, and we are finally seeing this area pick up again! :) I have been so happy to see the progression being made in the investigators here. We found a couple more golden investigators this week! :)
As far as Ana goes, we finally met Poncho. He is a very hard-headed man who apparently does not want to listen at all. :( We have only met him once though, and although we are not going to force our message upon him (obviously) we are hoping that maybe when we stop by and visit her, he will listen in a little and maybe he will change his mind. If only he knew of the importance of this message in him life! They are having family problems and everything. I know that if only he would listen to this message, they would come to know of how to fix things and feel more comfortable. I really hope we can meet with them again this week! She has such a desire to learn. If we can't get him on board, though, then we will have to pass her to English, unfortunately. :( Please continue to keep them in your prayers!
We also found another couple wonderful investigators on Thursday. One's name is Blanca. As we went to follow up on a contact we made a couple days before, we found her sitting outside talking to the one we had intentions to contact, Maria. We introduced ourselves, and got started in a conversation with Maria, and Blanca kind of just sat there listening. It wasn't until we resolved a doubt that Maria had heard women need to be married to the bishop first in order to get married to their husband (that was a new one for me ha) that Blanca came out and started defending out church! It was so confusing to us! Turns out, she used to be a very diligent investigator. She came to church and everything, and already knows a lot about it. It must have been a while ago, because we have NO record of her in our Area Book. She was telling her friend about how of all the churches she has visited, she loves the Mormon church the most. We were so aw stricken, like "why aren't you a member?!" ha She wouldn't really tell us why, and she had to leave, so we set a return appt, and really look forward to meeting with her again. :) Can't wait!
Also, we found a woman named Tanya. She is in her early 20's with a 2 month old baby, and she shared with us at her door that she wasn't sure that God answers her prayers. That was a perfect opportunity for us to bare witness that he does indeed hear every one of our prayers and answers them. After we shared a little bit more about what it is we do, she invited us back because she, too, had to leave. So, we came back another day, and had a VERY powerful lesson with her. She was a lot like Ana. We asked her the same question we asked Ana, "is it important for you to know if this is true?" And she, just like Ana, looked at us and said, "I know it is true." We invited her to be baptized, and she set the date of the 8th of September! We are SO excited to continue teaching her! The most powerful part was when we asked her to say the closing prayer, and she started to cry because she said she felt the Spirit so strong. It was such a heartfelt prayer, and we could tell she is going through a lot and really wanted and needed God's help. I look forward to helping her strengthen that relationship with Heavenly Father, so she can come to know that she is not alone.
In addition to such an amazing week, the investigator of the Sisters that I told you about a couple weeks ago that I shared my experience with got baptized yesterday! SO happy for him! His mom was there and everything. :) It was a beautiful baptism. One of the Sisters from that companionship, Sister Hulet, and I sang a duet! :O It was the first time I have sang in front of people in almost a year! It was scary...but not really, because there were only like 50 people there. ;) We sang I Know That My Redeemer Lives (in Spanish, of course). And, of course, President Bowen decided to show up the only time I have ever sang at a baptism haha, soooooo we'll be looking forward to that call to sing in Zone Conference or something ha. He told me he loved it! YAY! ha The Spirit was super strong through the whole baptism, and all went well and as planned. :)
This week was all around fantastic! There were a lot of changes ha. Such as, I am now a purse Elder. :\ The missionary wardrobe has changed, and with it, backpacks were outlawed, and all the Elders had to change to side bags. Granted, they're not purses, but they aren't backpacks. I feel so much more secure with a backpack. ;) But, I guess I will just have to deal with it! ha On the bright side, khakis are now approved, and they are SO much more comfortable! Yay! I attached a picture of the new wardrobe so far. ;) I also got an awesome hat in the mail from Maddie for my birthday! First hat I think I have ever owned. And worn! I am not usually a hat guy, but I promised her I would give it a try haha so I did! It's not bad. ;)
On Thursday, I hit my year mark! Elder Contreras (my twin in the mission that I met in the MTC) and I were on exchanges by chance the same day that we both hit our year mark. SO, we burned a shirt together as part of the tradition here in the mission. I'm right on track! ha 6 months-tie, 12 months-shirt! IT was pretty entertaining, but easier to burn than a tie for sure. ;) We did it at a Spanish-speaking English member's home, the Velasquezes. It was very nice of them, because not only did they help us out with that, but she also made us red velvet and white chocolate cupcakes to celebrate! She's a baker, so she is SOOOOO good at it! She also made me some for my birthday. She spoils me. ;) SO GOOD!
Well, other than that, it was just a lot of WORK WORK WORK this week! And I loved every second of it. :) I love you all so much, and sure do love hearing from you. I look forward to hearing back soon, and I hope all is well! LOVE YOU!
-Elder Gallego
"The trick is to enjoy life.  Don’t wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead." (Love this! Thanks Kelsi! ;))
P.S. Sorry the pics are kind of terrible...but you get the gist of it. ;)

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Hola familia!
Well, this is it! This Thursday marks my one year mark here on the mission and might I say...WOW! It's amazing to look back on the last year and see how much I have changed and how much I have experienced. It's crazy to think that it's only been a year. It seems like it's been way longer! I have just been too busy to notice that it's been a year! I love it more and more every day, and look forward to continuing to learn and grow out here. From what I hear, the last year goes by even faster...NO! I don't want it to end. I LOVE IT! But now worries right now. I still get another year! YAY! I look forward to what Heavenly Father has planned for me in this next year. :)
This week just what I have been waiting for. I have no other way of explaining it. I LOVED it! The hard work is starting to pay off. This week we found someone GOLDEN, we saw success in our lessons, people opened their hearts to the message, and we had so many wonderful experiences that I will definitely be keeping with me for the rest of my life.
For starters, we have found a true truth seeker. Her name is Ana Gomez, and she is so awesome! Originally, her husband was the source of the referral because the Samoan sisters met him tracting and he invited missionaries to come back again. However, as we went to contact this referral, he was not home, and instead, we met his wife, Ana. I have never met someone so earnest to know the truth in my mission. It was such a powerful moment. At first, she was very standoffish, but as we explained a little bit more about what we do, we watched her heart open and have already seen a huge change in her countenance, and this was just Friday that we met her! She explained to us about how she has so many questions, and as she shared with us the questions that she has been trying to be answered for years and years of attending other churches, we were able to share with her all the answers. She was so impressed and aw-stricken that she invited us to come back the following evening to meet her husband and share more of our message. It was the best contact ever! The following night was even more powerful as we returned to do as she insisted. It started out a little rocky as she explained to us that her husband said no, and we were a little afraid that that was a no for her as well, then, but it wasn't. We proceeded to have a VERY powerful lesson with Hna Monge accompanying us (she's a return missionary and wife of our ward mission leader, so she's awesome in lessons!) and we answered so many of her questions, and she continued to be so impressed that we knew the answers. It was pretty funny at one part, because, after sharing her personal witness of the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the truthfulness of this Church, Hna Monge asked her if it is important for her to find out if this is all true. She said no. We were all immediately thrown back because she had been so into it all. You could tell even Hna Monge was caught off guard and confused. But then, she did the unthinkable, she turned to us, looked square at us and said, "I know it is true. I don't need to find out." It was so powerful! We were all so happy to hear that. The lesson concluded with the same power, and we left her with 3 Nephi 11 to read. She committed to being baptized on the 1st of September as long as she feels ready by the day-of course, we never force anyone to be baptized. I could go on and on about her, but this paragraph has already become a novel ha. The only setback is that she is most comfortable with English. However, her husband is most comfortable with Spanish, so if they were to go to church together, they would go to a Spanish ward because there will always be someone there to translate for them, but not always vice versa. So PLEASE keep her husband in your prayers (Poncho Gonzalez-hes different last name, but WHEW they are married ;)), that his heart will be softened and that all will go well with them.
Other than that, this week was still full of finding and I had a blast as I went on exchanges in the North Elders' bike area for the first time in FOREVER! It was fun to ride around on bike all day. :) Plus, we had a pretty hilarious story come out of it. ;)
After visiting one of their investigators, we noticed that there were some kids messing with our bike (3-6 year old kids; nothing too dangerous ;)), so we told them to not touch the bikes and whatnot. Well, they thought we were cool and hung around to talk to us (keep in mind all of this is in Spanish), and one of the kids around 5 years old looks at my companion at that time, Elder Richards, and asked him if he lies a lot. ha A little bit puzzled (he's still learning Spanish) he responded, "no", of course. Then the kid decides to respond asking, "then why is your nose bigger than all the others'?" I died. I was laughing sooooo hard! It was right as we started riding away, so I almost crashed my bike. It was SO funny. What made me laugh even harder was that Elder Richards didn't understand what he said. He was so puzzled, but I couldn't pause from my laughter to tell him yet. So I quickly told the other companion that was with us, Elder Contreras, that is a native, so I knew he would understand, and he started dying laughing too haha. Then I explained it to Elder Richards and we all started laughing together. It was amazing to us that a little Hispanic 5 year old could draw a connection between the nose (rather big, I'd say ;)) of Elder Richards and Pinocchio. That kid is going places. ha
Joke continued, Elder Richards got a done a little bit early today from emails here at the library, and as I watch him looking back and forth at the books, I, again, started to crack up because right beyond where he was standing was a poster for Pinocchio, and he was tuned just to where his nose was pointing at recreated in the picture I've attached ahah. It's going to be an ongoing joke that will stick with him for quite some time, I'm sure. ;) He completely agrees that his nose is big and he jokes around about it all the time, so no worries, I'm not making fun of him. ;) He's a good sport.
All around, this was a dream week. I had so much fun working, and it sure has been great to see the fruits of the labor. I am so grateful for this gospel, and I grow to learn more about it and love it each and every day. Thank you for all the love and support, I love you so much, and I can't wait to talk to you soon! See you in a year! ;)
-Elder Gallego
"Be believing. Be happy. Don't get discouraged. Things always work out." President Gordon B. Hinckley (thanks Vane! :))


Hola familia!
Just a heads up, this may be a pretty boring I apologize, but not too much crazy stuff happened this week. We spent a LOT of time knocking and searching for new investigators. Door after door after door! It's been pretty fun! I like door knocking because it is like constant never know what is going to happen to you at the door. You don't have time to plan a lesson that tailors to their needs. It's all based off of scriptures you've studied, practices you've done, methods you've used, etc. Ultimately, for the first time in my mission, a door was slammed in my face! ha My companion was so confused when I told him that. I guess I have just been lucky enough to knock on nice people's doors. It's interesting, but the results have been pretty decent. We look forward to seeing how they turn out this next week.
Other than a lot of knocking, not too much happened this week. I mean, I constantly have a blast and all, but all the days are blending together so much now! I am losing track of what happens in what week... Some disappointing moments, but nothing too devastating. I have learned to keep a positive attitude and bounce back faster so that I can keep going and although I still try to help those who deny us, I can keep going to find more people.
I love you and miss you all very much, and I hope that all is well with you! Welcome back to Cali, I hope you enjoy your vacation together! :) Talk to you next week, be safe!
-Elder Gallego
"Worry ends when faith begins."


Hola familia!
Well, this week was FULL of surprises! NOT. It was very anti-climatic actually. ha Transfers didn't go NEARLY the way anyone was expecting-as usual-and I guess that was a surprise, but a different kind of surprise. :) It's always fun, the closer it gets to transfers, because out here missionaries that are really anxious have participate in something called "fantasy transfers", basically a spin-off of the more commonly known "fantasy football" from what I hear. I never really get involved because I learned a while ago that NOTHING happens as planned. Rather, I just leave it up to the Lord and keep my suspicions inside. ;) Well, let me tell you, there were SO many guesses going on for this transfer, and pretty much nothing changed. haha I am staying here with my companion Elder Garza for another transfer here in the good ward of Anaheim 11. :) I look forward to serving another transfer here. I love this ward, and I enjoy this time with Elder Garza. :) Not only am I staying, but everyone apart from Sister Rollins is staying as well in our District! We are thrilled. :) LOVE this District! We all have a blast, and get along so well. It's going to be another great transfer. :)
As far as the work goes, unfortunately it was another pretty slow week. We are having a really rough time right now finding people who haven't already had missionaries come knock on their door. Our area only has patches, so it can be difficult to find a part that hasn't been knocked already. ha People who have a foundation already set through a member that we can contact and teach is what we are looking for. :) We have continued to work on finding service opportunities to change it up a little, and also have been working on serving the English ward members to convert the referrals we receive from them into something "golden". We have a few lessons set for this next week with referrals, and the members have committed to accompanying us and providing that support to them. Because our numbers have not been the highest, we are also going to focus on some door knocking until the ball really gets rolling with the ward with referral, but we know it will get there. 
We had a neat experience this week as a Spanish-speaking member accompanied us from the English ward to visit their Spanish-speaking neighbor, and she was very inviting, and willing to listen to what we had to say. We felt that as we went straight to the Book of Mormon, she really came to realize that although she already had a strong testimony in Jesus Christ, there was something more that she could learn. The Spirit was felt very strong. It is a moment I will remember. :) I love the instruction we have been receiving.
*You can decide as to whether or not to include this in the mass email or not, but I wanted to share it with you!!!!*
I also had a neat experience with sharing my own spiritual experience with one of the sisters' investigators that came to church on Sunday that was very strong for me. Lately we have been receiving instruction to share our own personal experiences more often. So I did! :) This investigator's name is Martin. In our coordination meeting, one of the sisters shared his situation, and it brought her to tears. As I talked with him, he shared with me more of the situation. He shared that his mother means a lot to him, as does his family, but they are not supporting him in his decision at all. He shared that he has never felt so "right" about a church, and that he has visited MANY churches. He knows it is the true church, and he wants to be baptized, but his mother is very strong in her catholic traditions and does not approve. I was impressed to share our family experience with him. I shared with him about all the trials that our family was passing through, and how we really needed something to help us. How we were introduced to the Church by friends of ours, and since then our family has never been the same. I shared that it saved our family, and although our extended family and some friends did not support us nor saw the good it brought to our family, we joined the Church because we knew it was true and had faith and prayed that someday our family would accept it. I shared with him how with some relatives, I didn't hear from them for over 10 years, but with that prayer and diligence, that lost connection has been fixed. I shared that although it hurt, we used our faith to rely on Christ, knowing that all would be resolved someday. I have such a strong testimony of that. There are so many instances in life when we may not be supported in the decisions that are best for us by our loved ones, but in order to trip us up, Satan works through those loved ones to keep us from the truth.
*You can decide as to whether or not to include this in the mass email or not, but I wanted to share it with you!!!!*
I love this Church more than I can even explain in words. I have learned so much, and know with a certainty that this is the truth. I love the power of that knowledge, and that through that knowledge, I am able to bless the lives of others. I look forward to working even harder this week to help the referrals we have right now turn into a successful saved soul. I love you all so much, and am so glad that you, Mom and Dad, took that step and followed the promptings of the Spirit to join this church, although it may have been difficult to leave other things/friendships behind. You have brought our family so far as we have built ourselves off your faith, and I am so grateful to have such strong and diligent family members as all of you. You are all examples to me, and I love you so much. :) I look forward to hearing back from you soon, and I pray that all is well! Hasta la proxima vez, cuidense!
-Elder Gallego
"Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and focus on what could go right."
P.S. I hope you got the package, Mom, Dad, and Matthew! I will be sending another one soon with pics! :) Here's a leftover pic from last week! Birthday dinner with Elder Garza and the Lopez's! :)