Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas and New Years

Hey I really don't have a lot of time everyone! We Skyped on Christmas of course so I have companions and roommates who are wanting to go now now now. haha

I had a wonderful Christmas though it was no where near a white Christmas. We got to go caroling and it actually opened up a lot of doors for us to homes where we usually can't go in. We even sang so well that we got a baby to fall asleep in the arms of a mother when she answered the door. Boo ya!

We had an awesome experience with a family who has been around the church for years. The mother as I have said in the past is all gung ho about joining but the Husband said he had some concerns. Elder T and I felt like we needed to share the Restoration Video. We asked the family if we could watch it real fast and if we could then answer questions after the video and address those concerns. The Video played and for the first time the house fell completely silent and you could tell the family was touched by the spirit. I asked now for Steve's concerns and he looked at me and told me he had none anymore, that he just needed to read the Book of Mormon and if that was true then Everything else was true and that was that. It was so awesome and it is truly the time for this family.

We had an amazing Christmas Conference where we all got together as a mission and president Cook threw down some deep doctrine. We had a fun talent show and then even more deep doctrine. We also got to watch a DVD with all the pictures of all the baptisms that happened in the mission in the last year and it was super super SUPER awesome. What was even more awesome is that I got a copy of the DVD and will be sending it home I think soon so you all can see it as well and see what's up[ in the Carlsbad California mission. I also got a really cool shirt from the mission and it was just a great Christmas Stress Relief. I also got to see my Papa Elder Tetuanui again which was really doing well for the new ZL Laguna Beach.

Well I am so very grateful for all the Christmas Gifts I received and hope you had a great christmas as well. Loves! :_

Elder Gemperline 

Boy the holiday season makes things really difficult as a missionary. We have so much work going on in our area and then suddenly everyone is out of town and we have no other choice than to go about trying our best to find people to teach. We did a lot of tracting and contacting but ya know what, at least it paid off. 

On Saturday we had an appointment fall through and I remembered President saying in Christmas Conference that when that happens we should stay in the area and work it. So I decided we would walk down the street to visit a kid we talk to occasionally named Arturo. Well as we were walking there we saw a young lady named Ivanna trying to clean out her truck. We stopped by to see if we could help her in anyway. She said no, that she needed to go inside to take care of some kids but then paused and asked if we were the Mormon Missionaries. We confirmed this to her and she said that she was dating a boy whose family is Mormon and then asked us for "one of those books." We of course gave her a Book of Mormon and told her we would stop by soon when she wasn't busy with her Children to talk to her a bit more about it. Monday came around and we got a recently returned missionary in the ward, Devin Traconis, to come along with us. Devin had gone on a mission to Mexico where they were baptizing on average 3 people a week. When we went into the house I lead the discussion and it was awesome. Half-way through teaching the Apostasy she told us that she really just wanted to feel God's peace and that she was feeling it right now. So Devin told her that we were there just as guides. These two missionaries are just guides to help you come closer to God and Christ so you can feel that peace and when you feel closer to Christ you will want to get baptized. Then I extended the Baptismal invitation and she is going to be baptized on February 9th. Devin walked away like it was nothing at all and that it happens all the time. It is so funny to see the differences between missions in the world because that almost NEVER happens in Southern California. 

The other day Elder Udall and I went to visit some members to see if they were working with any of their neighbors and to better get to know the family since they work a lot in the Singles Ward. Well when we were there the older couple whom we went to visit had all sorts of family over. There was one couple there who we were talking to who said they were from Fort Worth TX. "I lived in Keller!" I exclaimed and they told me that is actually exactly where they live! I told them that I lived in Hidden Lakes and the father of the family joined in now and said "Oh, Really? I served my mission there. When did you live there?" I told him when we had lived in Texas and it turns out that I was speaking to Elder Anderson, the missionary who was in the Keller 2nd ward for the time that we were there as well. He looks and me and my name tag then says: "OH! you're a Gemperline! Your family was awesome! We loved going over and teaching your family at dinner. I loved that ward but the only people I really remember is your family, your father who did all the road projects and worked for the olympics, The Earl family because we worked with them a lot" and a few other families whom I can't remember he said. Over the past 4-5 weeks I've been having random flash backs to the impact the lessons the missionaries taught my family in Texas and now I met one on my mission and returned the favor to his family! I will send a picture of him and I for sure. 

I hope you all had a great time at New Years and of course stayed safe. We were in the apartment by 7 that night for curfew and we had a bit of fun. We colored in all the coloring books we have, we played Noah's Arkle (Farkle, Thanks Allison!) and Qwirkle, which is like Scrabble for Dummies. It was a lot of fun and the best part is we recently bough nerf blow guns and we had a nerf war in the apartment and were still in bed by 10:30.

The next morning we had a GREAT Zone Training Meeting. President Cook showed up and gave some AMAZING insight on finding people by using the Book of Mormon. We talked about how we should plan for achievments to make throughout the day rather than just accomplishments. How we need to present ourselves in such a way that the light of Christ can't be missed, and most importantly how to ask questions of the soul to people on the street and then answer them with the Book of Mormon. If the people take no interest in these questions or they don't want an answer from the Book of Mormon they simply aren't ready to hear the message of the restored gospel, and perhaps you have planted a seed. Well when the training was done all the missionaries were so pumped it was crazy! We all went out and worked harder than a lot of us ever have. I was so exhausted by the end of the night and just frustrated because to be honest I had had nothing but really rough rejection all night despite my greatest effort and the testimony I bore, but by the end of the night my testimony of the Book of Mormon and Savior was stronger than it ever probably has been. We also got many "Miracle Messages" that night on our phone where missionaries in our zone send out miracles they had through voice messages on the phone. It really was awesome to hear them all and everyone still has their agency. 

Another miracle that happened in the mission was for the month of December we needed 57 baptisms to reach the Mission goal of 500 baptisms a year. We prayed and prayed and tried our hardest to get these baptisms for President Cook's last full year and we found out New Years Eve that there were 502 baptisms! I guess there was a family who in December just called the mission office and said they wanted to get baptized. It is crazy what a united effort of prayer and faith can do. 

Well I continue to try to do my best as a Senior Companion and to help my Junior Companion to feel more comfortable with missionary work and studies and just the whole Kaboodle. 

Elder Gemperline

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