Birthdays, Beards, Barbecues, and Baptisms???

...Ok, I lied about that last one.

In regards to birthdays, Happy Birthday, Will! I was very pleased with the video I received of him blowing out the candles. 

In regards to beards, shout out to "Bearden" for keeping the facial hair game strong back home.

In regards to Barbecues, we had one! And it was outrageously successful! That being said, here is a President letter to give a little more detail:

This week was a good one! 

The highlight of the week was the noche de hogar barbecue. It was a combined ward activity and the elders were in charge of most of it. We were passing out fliers and inviting investigators and less active members all week. Elder Anderson and Elder Bird were in charge of cooking, and Elder Garrard and I gave the spiritual thought at the beginning. We showed the video of Christ healing a blind man and discussed how faith is a principle of action and power. It went well. By the end of our message about 30 people had arrived. A little over an hour later, roughly 100 people were present! Less-active members and some investigators from every area in San Fernando also attended. 

(Abraham is the bigger guy in the blue shirt. He has the face of a Spanish Burgermeister Meisterburger and it's awesome)

This experience was miraculous in a few different ways. The overall success of the night was one. The turnout was also a very unexpected suprise. Another was that everyone was well fed. President, I am almost certain that we did not buy as much food as was served that night. However I do know that our planning was sufficient and well thought out, and that somehow the Lord took care of whatever we were lacking.

Abraham is making very good progress. He's reading in The Book of Mormon and writing down any questions he has along the way. He has also attended church twice now (and the BBQ) and we've only just taught him the Restoration this week! Alejandro has suggested that we pick up the pace in lessons with Abraham, and we completely agree. It makes me happy to see someone adjust so easily to the gospel, and it blows me away to know that I'm a part of that process.

I'm starting to take slightly greater strides in my interpretation. I have noticed that interacting with members is a lot more effective when you can actually understand them! Isn't that crazy? As I learn and understand more, it is easier to make jokes and show sincere interest with members and form better relationships with them. The barbeque and today have showed me how far I've progressed already. Elder Garrard and I are making greater efforts to visit members and include them in lessons.

I'm becoming more involved in our daily planning and at times, planning lessons. For example, today, on the way to an eating cita with our bishop, we realized we needed a message to share. Elder Garrard mentioned the concept of a scripture in Alma. I knew exactly what he was talking about (Alma 23:6-8) because I had just read that chapter in personal study. I also recently listened to a talk by Elder Bednar (Converted Unto the Lord) that covers the concept of that scripture perfectly. So I put two and two together, and as a result, we had a clear and thought out message.

Much of this week was similar to the last, in regards to encountering many empty homes and unanswered calls, but it just felt much better. There were greater bursts of progress and a more positive spirit was present.

A cool cloud formation that gave some well needed rest from the sun.

The castle thing was a bit of a bust, but I can still flood your inboxes with BBQ pictures!

It was Hermana Mercado's birthday this week, so we went to What A Wok after District Meeting. There are Chinese restaurants here, but the ones that are buffet style are a little more high end, and called "Woks". Along with buffet items (Chinese AND Spanish), there is a section of raw meat and vegetables that you can take and have cooked right there by a passive-aggressive Chinese man speaking to you in Spanish. It was good!

We have a Zone Conference this Friday, so I'm excited for that.

I don't believe I have any more to say beyond that sooo I'll talk to y'alls later!

Elder Jensen :)

The sun is like this almost every sunset, and the color changes rapidly as time goes by.


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