Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Hola familia!

This week was a blur. So much but so little happened this week. It
went by so fast, but it went by so slow. After all that
happened/didn't happen this week, I can barely remember what
did/didn't happen. Ha Weirdest backwards week, but it was a great
week. Don't worry, no drinking was involved, just a scattered
20-month-old missionary brain. Ha

We had a couple meetings this week and had a few lessons with other
investigators, but, as of right now, not too much success aside from
the Chavez. They just do not seem interested in changing right now, so
please keep us in your prayers that we will be able to find more truth
seekers! Our main focus this week was Claudia, of course.

After the miraculous moment last week, we had a lot to do this week.
On top of a surprise baptism, we also had our ward activity to plan
and take care of along with exchanges and zone meeting. So in that
sense, it was a busy week, but it all just fell into place, so it
didn't end up being as stressful and crazy as we had anticipated.

We were a little worried when Claudia told us Monday night that she
wasn't sure if the 9th was really revelation for her, but rather that
she would prefer to wait another week. We know how hard it is to wait
2 weeks after someone receives such a direct and straightforward
answer - not that we didn't want her to feel comfortable about it, we
just know how nerve-racking it is to wait - so we invited her to pray
about it. That night, she prayed until 1 in the morning and the
following day, at our final lesson with her, she explained that she
received another answer and that she knew she needed to be baptized
the 9th, so all the planning continued. She was so ready and the
Spirit was already so strong with her - it's amazing. The Holy Ghost
is so powerful.

As we continued the planning for the baptism, we also pulled off a
ward Culture Night. We were a little worried because everyone started
to cancel right before, but it actually all came together well. We had
different members prepare presentations from the different countries
they are from and they each set up tables around the CULTURAL Center
in the church. Ironic? Nope! We have Mexicans, Peruvians, Hondurans
(at heart - Hno Badillo served his mission there), Nicaraguans,
Salvadorians, Guatemalans, Colombians, and Americans (we attempted to
represent ha). The point was to show that although we are all from
different cultures, we are all children of God and share a core belief
- our faith in the Gospel. It was a great opportunity for members to
show pride in their culture, and the food was delicious! It turned out
really well! I'll send pics!

The following day was the baptism and it went amazing, as well. It was
definitely the most powerful and smoothest baptism I've been to. It
was great. I was so impressed and it's remarkable to see how far this
ward has come. It was a very touching experience as Hno Chavez was
able to baptize his daughter that he thought would never accept the
gospel just a few weeks after baptizing his wife. Also, Hno Sanchez
baptized his 8-year-old son. The baptismal talks and testimonies ended
up being centered around how special it was that they were both able
to baptize their children. Very special moment. We sent Claudia little
spiritual moments throughout the week and she is already doing great.
We have already seen a huge change in her. This week will definitely
be a week I will never forget.

These last few weeks have strengthened my testimony so much. I am so
grateful for the chance I have to be an eternal family. I love the
primary song that reminds us of the power of this gospel. Families Can
Be Together Forever. I understand this song so differently now. It
doesn't say Families Are Together Forever, I feel, for a reason. We
CAN be together forever, but we have to get there ourselves. As I have
watched part-member families be united recently and enter that path to
being sealed as an eternal family, I have come to love the importance
of this message. That we can be together forever. If we really apply
the teachings of the gospel, God has made it possible to be with our
loved ones for eternity. I love this gospel, and I know it can change
lives. I have seen it so many times out here, and I am so grateful for

I love you all so much and I appreciate all the love and support I
receive from you! Miss you and hope you all are doing well, and I pray
that we all take advantage of this amazing blessing we have to be
together forever and they we indeed accept it so we can be happy
forever. Love you all, have a great week!

-Elder Gallego

"We aren't supposed to make time for children, children are what God
gave us time for."


Hola familia!

His week was a week of miracles. I can't even get over how amazing it
was. I am so blessed to be a part of this gospel and such an amazing
work. I just love it!

For starters, it rained so hard this week! That was my first big
testimony builder of fasting this week. Bringing back what I talked
about a little while ago, the First Presidency issued an invite to all
the members here in California to fast and pray for rain, and sure
enough, these last three days was more rain combined than all of last
year. I had to check my location! I thought I was in Arizona. It was
raining SO hard at some points. I was driving and literally could not
go faster than 20 mph with the windshield wipers on full blast. It was
awesome! I loved it, and I'm so sad that it is gone now... Hopefully
it happens again soon. Definitely the hardest I have ever seen it rain
here, and it was more than enough to get California out of the biggest
drought ever recorded. Prayer and fasting works. Miracle #1.

Now for Miracle #2. The Sunday before last, I had the privilege to
confirm Elvia a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints and give her the gift of the Holy Ghost. What a blessing it is
to watch this family take steps towards being an eternal family. :) I
have never done a confirmation before, but I believe it went well.
They have a lot ahead if them, and I am amazed at the miracle that has
happened in that family for her to go from wanting nothing to do with
the Church to accepting the invitation and receiving a testimony of
her own. It's incredible, and I a, so happy that Hno Chavez now has
the ability to be with his companion for all eternity.

Miracle #3. This was another one of those moments when I can't really
even describe in words the feelings I felt. To give a little
foreshadowing, this moment was very similar to that of Roberto and
Elvia. However, this miracle may have been one of (if not THE)
greatest turning points in my testimony and certainly in my mission.
Claudia Chavez. I, personally, have been trying to work with her for
just about 9 months now, and at the beginning, she didn't even want to
listen to us. Over time, she relaxed a little more and we didn't find
ourselves in gospel debates anymore. Little by little, she actually
started to understand that we are here to help solve doubts rather
than add to her confusion. We've recently been meeting with her
regularly. She started to show a lot more interest as her mom did as
well. After a few weeks, her Mom pulled ahead a little more because
she was having trouble juggling all that was going on in her life-
school, work, etc. Elvia was baptized, as you know, and it's been an
excellent example to Claudia. Claudia had so many doubts and little by
little we are resolving them. Now the main miracle took place
yesterday, and I literally get chills thinking about it. There's not
doubt that God is there listening.

Saturday night we had an extra special lesson with her. We talked to
her about recognizing the Spirit because we have pretty much taught
her everything besides the 10 commandments, which she definitely
already knows, so we had reached a barrier. She needed her answer to
continue. We got through the lesson and after a really spiritual
discussion and answering even more of her doubts, I was impressed to
promise her that the next day she would receive her answer. Not going
to lie...it was a little nerve-racking! Don't get me wrong, I had
complete faith that she would, but the words coming out of my mouth
even caught me off guard along with everyone else in the room. It was
a very strong promise to make. She has been telling us that she has
been waiting for so long now for that sure answer. So the promise was
extended, and we talked about how it will be fast Sunday so we will
all be fasting and praying for her, and she said she would do the
same. The next day, she came to Church and we started the day with the
Spirit of Revelation video by Elder Bednar. It really set the mood, so
we went to testimony meeting. Through testimony meeting, they were so
well focused towards doubts that she had. It was really good! Then
they closed with her favorite song "Nearer, My God, to Thee." During
Gospel Principles, another doubt of her's was answered about the
Creation. She had to leave early, but she said before she left. "I'm
starting to be convinced." We could tell the Spirit was really working
in her. Sorry this story is going to be really long. It was just all
so great! And since I don't write in my journal....this will have to
do. Ha

Now this should be the climax of the story (hope it's not
anti-climatic...). We had a lesson planned for her for Thursday, but
we knew we couldn't wait until Thursday to visit her after a day as
important as yesterday, so we asked if we could stop by last night to
see how the day felt and invited her to thinking about what she has
felt and was feeling. We stopped by last night and talked to her about
how her day went. It was a good lesson and she shared her thoughts on
it all and again, the Spirit was so strong. We could feel she was so
close to receiving her answer. After another wonderful lesson with her
dad, we got back to the barrier again. She didn't feel she had really
received her answer yet, so we were wrapping it up and inviting her to
pray about it all, and right in the middle of that invite, she stopped

She picked up her Bible and read a scripture in Ephesians 4, and
retread it a few times. She looked at us, and said, "dice 'la
verdad.'" "It says, 'the truth.'" She had the biggest smile on her
face, and explained that just then she was flipping through her
scriptures and praying in her heart that He would give her an answer.
She felt prompted to stop and read, and that's when she read about
changing her life to be on the path of The Lord- the oath if the
truth. The Spirit was so intense as she said, "I've received my
answer." As she said that, her dad, Hno Chavez, buried his face in his
hands and just started to bawl. It was so touching to see as she went
to comfort him, and we was just so happy that she finally received her
answer. He has been waiting for this day for a LONG time. He knew his
wife would join eventually, but he knew it would be so hard with
Claudia because she had always been so stubborn to listen. After all,
she finally received her answer. God had heard the prayers and
accepted the fasts of all us that were praying and fasting for her to
receive it. At the very end of the night, she got it, turned to us and
told us she knows now. She explained how she knew her answer would
come through the Bible. Not that she didn't believe in the other
scriptures- she just loves the Bible and knew that God knew that. It
was such an amazing experience, and I just wish that everyone could be
there for it. Her faith his so strong, and I know without a doubt that
God heard our prayers and accepting our offering of fasting to Him. We
were impressed to invite her to be baptized this next Sunday, and
after a little bit of discussing and planning, she accepted. She will
be baptized this Sunday.

My heart is filled with joy today as I think back over all that family
has been through. He had made such remarkable changes in his life 5
years ago, and he never left it. He has always been that amazing
example. His wife now is with him, and his daughter, too, is following
the Savior to be with her family for forever. I know without a doubt
that God hears our prayers. I have an even stronger testimony now of
the power of fasting. I needed this moment to change my own heart, and
for that reason, I am grateful to God for the chance I have had to be
a part of it. Their loves are changing, and as they do, so is mine. I
am so grateful for this mission. It has changed my life. I feel like
Ammon from the Book of Mormon right now. As I boast to everyone about
these amazing experiences that are happening, I do not boast in my own
strength or my own efforts, because I know that I cannot do it alone,
but rather I boast in the power and miracles of God, who has made
these blessings possible to His children. This work cannot NOT be
true. The miracles that I have seen just strengthen more and more my
certainty that this is the Church of Jesus Christ restored again to
the earth with His perfect doctrine. As we drove home last night, she
sent us a message thanking us for caring for her family and helping
them back to God. The mission can change your life. If you're even
questioning it, don't. Just do it, and you will never regret it.

Please continue to keep Claudia in your prayers that all goes well
this week as we prepare for her baptism. Sorry this is so long, but I
hope it's not too boring. Love you all so much and hope you find the
same joy I do in this marvelous work and a wonder. Take care, you're
always in my prayers. This Church is true. If you haven't already, put
it to the test, and God will answer you. I am a witness of that, and I
testify of it in the name if Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Gallego

"Knowing that God knows each individual personally is like a light
that illuminates one's life and gives it meaning." Bishop Gerald

P.S. Some pics from last week. Couldn't figure out how to get the pics
from my personal camera into here, so I took them off the screen of my
camera. Ha sorry for the poor quality!


Hola familia!

It's official. As I have said before, the weeks I cannot email for two
weeks are definitely the busiest! There was a mix up and we were under
the impression that it was Presidents Day last week, so that's why it
is another combination email. So I am sorry if this email drags on,
but I will do the best I can to keep you up to date and not bore you
to death. There are a lot of fun things that happened these last
couple weeks, though, so it shouldn't be too anti-climatic.

Eyewear. I finally got my new glasses! After a couple months of having
my glasses fall off my face, I now have a new pair. I don't think I
ever explained that story, so for those who don't know, a couple of
weeks ago, I was playing dodgeball with my zone, and my father (Elder
Andersen), being his typical not-thinking self (haha) decided to throw
a dodgeball as hard and fast as he could right at my face. Needless to
say, my glasses shattered on my face and left a gash on my eyelid. All
is well, though, I've been repaired. Super glue just didn't seem to
work... What do you think? And yes, of course, they are still Ray
Bans. :)

I know, I know, I need to shave! I forgot to shave this morning as we
hurried out the door to get started on time to get everything done. No
worries, though, I will shave before we get out in public. My bad.

Now the reason I was able to edit that picture the way I did is the
next big news...wait for it...we are now iPad missionaries. Woo! Kind
of. There is a LOT of work to be done to get these things going. So,
once again, as many times it has seemed to happen in my mission, we
are the guinea pigs to get it started. Ha So I hope the missionaries
that come after us are grateful to their iPad pioneers. ;) That's what
I get for being out here for "the wave", but I wouldn't have it any
other way. We have to put our whole Area Book into the iPad, so it's a
lot of monotonous work for an hour a day, but we can already see how
it is going to help the Lord's work hasten. It is such a great
blessing to have what we have. The rumors were just those, rumors. We
don't actually get to keep the iPads - they get passed down...darn.
Luckily, with the iPads now, we don't have to worry about libraries
closing anymore. And taking all the pictures is fun.

Ay Caray! Because we have been very busy these last two weeks. I enjoy
being busy, though because these last two weeks have been busy weeks
of baptisms. :) There is no greater feeling than the joy of watching
someone you have come to love enter the waters of baptism. It is such
a blessing to be a part of it.

Last week was the baptism of the Regalado family (4 children) and
Jaqueline Menjivar. Then this week was the baptism of Elvia Chavez and
the Gomez family. It was a powerful experience to watch as another
part-member couple have been united to progress towards being an
eternal family. Hno Chavez was so excited, and although it took a few
times for him to perform the ordinance correctly (it happens ;)), we
were so happy to see them enter the water together and him baptize his
wife that he will soon enough be able to be with for forever. After
the baptism, Hno Badillo went up and explained that he was going to
give her a hug for us because we can't, and she straight up said,
"forget that," and then gave us both the biggest hug. It was
hilarious...and awkward. I'm going to be so awkward when I get
home...it's inevitable. She was so happy, she just couldn't contain
it. :) I can't wait to return for their sealing for time and all
eternity in the temple not long after the Sanchez's. This ward really
has become my home, and I am so grateful for the chance I have had to
spend so much time here and be a tool in the Lord's hands here. The
Gomez family was a district effort - as they have been investigating
for quite some time and have circled through missionaries and passed
through difficult times. They are a wonderful family, and it was a my
privilege that their oldest daughter Erika asked me to baptize her. It
has been a great past couple of Sundays and has been a great way to
start out the year. This ward is growing! There are yet many more
souls to save.

I hope I don't leave something out...the first time I sent this email,
as you could tell, it only sent half, so now I am retyping, and it
just doesn't seem the same. Oh well! It works. :)

Also within the last couple weeks, we had transfers. Because there are
still 6 more weeks of Elder Silvester's training, I am, of course,
staying, as anticipated, to finish. (Wordy...) I'm excited because
it's been a great learning experience for me, too. I love him and I
enjoy being his father very much. These transfer calls were a little
different, though. Instead of having a phone call late last Saturday
night from Grandpa (Elder Andersen) on the updates for transfers, we
ended up saying goodbye to him at transfers. :( Kansas City, Missouri
now has another great prospective Ward Mission Leader! Grandpa is
dead. I feel old. -_- keeping my mind off it!

Along with transfers, Elder Dehlin, too, followed his father, spread
his wings, and flew away for his first time. He left to Garden Grove
and I have officially outlasted 7 companions in this area. The members
find it hilarious ha. I call it my lucky number, because it ends here!
Ha Elder Urrutia was called to train and picked up his hijo fresh from
the Mexico MTC Tuesday afternoon. It was surreal to think that it was
6 weeks ago I did the same thing! Time's flying too fast. My son's
throwing up too fast! (Catch that?) His name is Elder Nixon from
Colorado Springs. He is a great elder, and I can tell he's going to do

Please always continue to keep all missionaries in your prayers.
Crazily enough, on his 5th day in the field, Saturday night, Elder
Nixon got hit by a car. Luckily, he is alright and is just a little
sore from being thrown a few feet into the street, and it really now
just turned into a great story, but I know he was safe because of all
your prayers towards our protection. Of course, it is all still the
will of God, but had he been in that spot any earlier, he could have
been seriously injured or thrown into traffic. I know there are many
beings that try to keep this work from progressing, but the power of
prayers will always be stronger. :)

I love you all so much, and I am so grateful for all the support. Seen
and unseen, heard and unheard, spoken and unspoken. I hope you all had
a great Valentine's Day! I loved the packages. I love you all very
much and I love this mission. It's been hard being away from so many
loved ones, but, as I've said before, I wouldn't have it any other
way. We will be reunited soon enough, and I can't wait to exchange
stories of the best two years of my life. Sorry if I talk your ears
off. Okay, I'll stop rambling now. Miss you all and pray for you
often. Thank you for everything. Take care!

-Elder Gallego

"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person
to be loved." President Thomas S. Monson

P.S. Downside of the iPads - can't send pics from my camera from here.
I'll try to figure it out for next week and send the pics of this
email. Stay tuned!