Monday, April 26, 2010

Johnstown Week 9

This week was pretty good! The weather was absolutely crazy and has been for a couple weeks now! Last Friday, there was a microburst here! The wind and the rain were so crazy!! There were winds in Johnstown that got up to 80mph!! That wind blew over so many trees and knocked down so many power lines! There were trees that were 3+ feet in diameter that were blown over! Dumpsters were being tossed around like paper! The rain was epically intese too! We weren't in Johnstown at the time of the immaculate winds but where we were at, it took 3 seconds for us too look like we had just jumped in to a swimming pool, I kid you not, the rain was that intense! I loved it!! haha the rain was so much fun, weird I know, but I was laughing and smiling the whole time! And just yesterday we got a ton of rain and marble sized hail! That was fun too! but the down part to all of this was it really put a damper on the work and the plans we had to walk around and find people on the street because everyone ran for cover.

We were able to get in contact with a media referral (where someone calls SLC and asks them for something, i.e. a Book of Mormon, a Bible, a particular DVD, or a missionary visit) and she's really cool, she wants to find truth and find more happiness!! We have a return visit on Tuesday, her name is Jennifer. She's a really nice lady!

Our investigator Yadiah has a baptismal date set for May 8th!!! She's really progressing in learning and wanting to learn more about the Gospel. We talked to her parents and they said that as long as she knows
what she's doing, they are alright with it! so that's moving along nicely! Alphonso(correct spelling) said that he wants to be baptized within a few weeks or so, but we still have a few complications that arose that we have to work out with him, so keep praying for them and that things will work out! They're such good people and they deserve this truth! Other than that we're still looking and searching for those that are doing the same.

The other night Elder Page and I were tracting along this street and we happened to stumble upon these apartment complexes that we had no clue existed!! So we looked at them and chose a row of apartments that we would try, and as we were walking along we looked at this door and it happened to have that famous LDS picture of Christ on it! So were HAD to knock on it! When this short lady answered the door, she exclaimed, OH! Elders! My goodness, how you know I live here? Come in Come in! We soon found out that she was a less-active Philippino lady!! She let us right in and showed us the pictures of all the elders that she had known that were living in Johnstown throughout the years. Her name is Sis.Foster. She's so awesome and is probably going to feed us this Thursday! It's so great how we were led to this wonderful lady and were
able to get back into contact with her, and hopefully get her a ride so she can come to church!

Well that's pretty much it and all that's happened within this week. Missionary work is the best, and continue to look for opportunities to share the gospel!!

Elder Benjamin Serrano

Friday, April 23, 2010

Johnstown Week 8

The weather out here is beginning to look up! It wasn't this past weekend because it SnoweD!!! Weird... but the trees are FINALLY starting to turn green, and it looks so amazing! I can't wait for them to finally get all green and pretty around here. That's when people are out on the streets and we can talk to them easier.

My new companion, Elder Page, is great! He's a fantastic missionary! He's so good at teaching, it's unreal. I hope that I'll be as good and as natural of a teacher as he is one of these days. I love serving with him, it's a lot of fun!

We got a whole new district basically! Everyone in the different areas in the district got a new companion so there are 3 new elders to the district, and they all are fun great guys. One Elder, Elder Poston is a major music man!! More so than me! He is an organist and is very good at it, and is fantastic at arranging stuff on the organ and piano. His goal is to be the conductor of MOTAB one of these days. And believe me he could do it! He's awesome, the new district is awesome!

Our investigators are coming along nicely.  Our investigator Yadiah is totally solid!! She's learning and learning and learning! and she understands and wants to live the commandments!! She basically already has throughout her life and has been encouraging others to do so also! Such as living the Word of Wisdom, she was telling her friends to not smoke or drink or anything of the such before we even taught her about the Word of Wisdom. She's going to baptized on May 1st or May 8th, either one, depending on if she's stuck in Delaware this weekend. But she's going to be baptized for sure!!

I cannot believe that Steve (Boles) is coming home ALREADY!! That's so insane that it's already been two years since he's been gone! Now he's back! Wow, it's incredible!

Other than what's been said I can't think of any other stuffs that been happening on the exciting end of things, but the work is going good and I am truly having a fantastic time out here spreading the gospel to those who are searching for true and everlasting happiness! To be that bringer of said message is an honor.

Elder Benjamin Serrano

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Famous Pointing Picture in the Missionary Training Center
Elder Serrano and his District in the MTC

Elder Serrano with his bike in Johnstown, PA

Johnstown Week 7

I'm doing well now! Earlier this week, I did get sick... I got some kind of flu virus that's going around. It was no fun especially since it was the last few days with Elder Zaleski and we didn't get to do anything, or with Elder Page (my new companion). Then he got sick after me so we didn't really get out to do much this week which is a shame... It really put a damper on the momentum we had last transfer, but we're back on the rise!

Elder Page is a really cool elder! He's from Provo and he's been out on his mission for almost 22 months so I'm going to be his last companion. The word around here says that I'll be staying in Johnstown for a while... Because I'll stay with Elder Page until he leaves.

So this week was really uneventful. Just getting sick, and trying really hard to find some new people to teach.  Oh, I twisted my ankle too so I have to wear my ankle brace! (ha ha good thing I brought it!) But don't worry I'll be fine! I've gone through worse!

The investigators that we do have they are all doing well!  Alfanzo realized that you didn't have to be perfect to be baptized so he's going to pray to find out when he wants or feels ready to be baptized. Our investigators Jay and Manda are doing alright. We have another investigator, Yadia (pronounced Wi-dee-uh), she's 15 and a friend of one of the member girls in the ward, she's totally solid and has a baptismal date for May 1st! All these people are so solid and are going to baptized, so please pray for them, and for things to go smoothly!

Being out here has strengthened my testimony 10 fold already, I love it! I've found that the scriptures are a true source of happiness and peace in a busy day, and reading them in the morning really sets the day off
right. The Scriptures are true! The Church is true! Thomas S. Monson is God's mouth piece today, truly he is!
Thank you for all the prayers and love you send over this way!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Johnstown Week 6

Happy Easter!! This week was Nice! The weather was totally awesome! But I think it got hot too fast! Riding bikes in the heat isn't so fun.. But that's what we had to do! I got a little tan but it's the "Missionary Collar" tan, which is cool I guess.  This week is transfers week and sadly, Elder Zaleski is getting transferred to somewhere. Elder Zaleski is a rockin missionary and he's taught me so much, but the Lord needs him elsewhere. I'm remaining in Johnstown, and another elder (apparently the elder joining me used to be a zone leader, so this'll be fun :) ) will be joining up with me on Tuesday afternoon.

Wasn't this conference amazing? I thought so! I learned so much from this one, I don't even know where to begin! Being a Missionary, you really learn and get a lot more out of conference than when you're at home hangin' out. I thought that there were a few common themes throughout this whole conference weekend pertaining to talks: Patience through trials; Parents teaching their kids and raising them in righteousness; and remembering Christ and living His gospel. I think that patience was my favorite topic talked about. Especially the one by President Uchtdorf! I think it may have been at the afternoon one, or the priesthood session, but it was incredible! And perfectly applicable to Missionary work. We need to be more patient with people, because, think of how patient our Heavenly Father is to us when we, who know better, make mistakes. And I think patience is really one of those Christlike attributes that is really key for anyone and everyone needs to have.

We had Jay and Manda come and watch conference at the church building, they thought it was so awesome because the session they went to (Saturday afternoon) was really focused on families and raising kids in righteousness. They really enjoyed that, because that's what they want with their family that they want to raise. They're doing great! They're awesome. 

We found a few promising people this week that seem interested in listening and learning more. This one lady, "Cozy", (that's what she told us to call her) is one of them. We talked to her son a couple weeks ago and told him about the restored gospel and said that we could come by and talk to him and his mom. When we arrived at the appointment, his mom let us in and told us that if we could get her son to invite us back and talk about religious stuff, then there had to be something good or divine that influenced him to invite us, because he isn't a very religious person. So that was totally cool! and she seemed to really like and understand well the things that we were teaching her. It's amazing how the Lord works and prepares people and families to receive this wonderful message about the restored gospel, I absolutely love it!  The work is going amazing and I love it! The church is true! I've received an edifying testimony of that as I've been out here seeing all the many churches that are here in Johnstown.  I know this is God's true and living church once again established on the earth through a prophet of God!

Elder Benjamin Serrano

Friday, April 2, 2010

Johnstown Week 5

Dawn Owens is now officially SISTER Dawn Owens!! The baptism was so amazing!! I was able to play the piano for it, the prelude and the hymns. There were some amazing talks that were given by ward members,
and the baptism was fantastic! Elder Zaleski was the one who got to physically baptize her. Here whole family was there supporting her which was a really big blessing too! Everyone felt the Spirit there! Her boyfriend, Alfanzo, who is also an investigator felt the spirit so strongly that he started to get a little teary-eyed and he asked if that was normal, and we said that of course it was! Dawns knee, though, came out the first time the was baptized and so we had to do it again of course. We had a few problems with the font: it didn't fill up as much as we would have liked, and the water was kind of cold haha... But other than that it went really well! On Sunday Dawn was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! She chose me to be the one who confirmed her! I was a little nervous, because I really didn't know how it was all going to play out, but we went up in front of the whole congregation in sacrament and confirmed her.

It was such a great meeting! It was our Easter program so there were musical numbers and what not. I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of that program. I, along with the organist played a duet of the
hymn, That Easter Morn. And it turned out wonderfully!  I got to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, so one of them came here to Johnstown and I was the one that was leading everything and going places and he was following me, it was kind of nerve racking because he is WAY more experienced than me! But it was fun nonetheless because he's just an outstanding missionary, and his name is Benjamin too!! haha!

My companion and I are getting along just great! We've become real good friends and are learning more to teach in unity..He just awesome and a great example to me. We ran out of mileage on our car, so we get to ride bikes everywhere, which is kind of a rough thing because there isn't a flat road in all of Johnstown haha! so it's always going to be uphill where ever we go, except for coming home, then we get to go down hill!  Slowly and cautiously of course :)

We're assigned to one ward. It covers huge ground! It probably takes an hour and a half to drive from top to bottom and 45 min to drive side to side, so it's fairly large.  The members there are so fantastic, and loving, and very generous when it comes to feeding us! Its so delicous all the time!

We're getting a few more investigators, Jay and Manda are coming along. Jay really wants to learn, but Manda is really shy at the moment.  She'll come out of her shell soon though. The members help too in
fellowshipping, so she should be fine. The problem is Jay loves to talk alot so we don't get enough teaching in as we would like to. He's just looking for a good spiritual foundation for his family, which is the gospel.