Friday, July 30, 2010

Johnstown Week 22

There were a few exciting things that happened this week! First off._Dawn and Alphonso are getting married!!!_ He proposed to her last Sunday night and she told me about it Monday evening!! I was so excited to hear about it! They'll be getting married late August early September. They haven't picked an exact date for it yet, but they'll let me know. It's so cool too because they both have a goal of getting to the temple a year after they are married. They are so awesome! It's so great seeing the two people I was able to bring the gospel into their lives start to make those steps to living in accordence with that gospel, and strive to make it to the temple. So that's awesome!!

We were finally able to get back into contact with Paris... again! And we were able to have a great discussion with her about baptism and the word of wisdom. She accepted to strive to live it, and to set another goal to be baptized! The new goal is August the 21st! She's great, and is still excited to learn about the gospel. She even changed her religion on Facebook to say Christian/Latter-day Saint. I thought that was pretty cool! She's great.

Yesterday were tracting this street in an area I've never been in (think of that! I've been in Johnstown for nearly 6 months and there's a part here I've never been to! weird.) it was pretty rough, it seemed like there was nobody there that we could talk to or that would talk to us. But lo and behold, the Lord blesses us! and the very last house we knocked on before we were going to call it a night, there was this young lady, Amada, who answered the door. It turns out she had been having some questions and thoughts about who God is, where we came from, why we're here and where we're going. And she even talked to her Minister at church and he couldn't answer her, so he recommended that she go to a "non-denominational" church, then, we knocked on her door! Perfect timing wouldn't you say? We gave her a Plan of Salvation Pamphlet and she was way excited to read it! She had something cooking on the stove so we didn't want to keep her but we're going to see her next weekend and talk and discuss more! It was great!

Okay there is this Asian guy, Kevin, who we tracted into who came to church again! this week two times in a row and we haven't even had the chance to teach him anything! He's so funny! yesterday we were over at
his house and we were watchin Finding Faith in Christ, and while we were watching, he got up and said, "Hoe ahn wah meenuh." (hold on one minute) then when he comes back into the room, he's carrying this frozen 15
pound ham!! And he says "Dees foe yoo!" Woah! a 15 pound ham just for us! We of course at first didn't accept it but he would let us leave with out us taking it. So we took it, and took it over to the Bishops house so he could give it to someone who needed it. We don't have room in our freezer for it anyway or we would have kept it ;)

(Answers to some questions from Mom) Is it great (having your car back)?YES!!! Did your old keys ever turn up? Nope not yet! How goes the Bed Bug Battle? We're winning!! They're just about gone and not as big as a problem anymore. Is Jessica still doing great? Jessica is still doing awesome! She has some disposition to want to be baptized when her hubby gets home from overseas at the beginning of next year, so we'll address that concern with her. How are things with Elder Killpack? He's doing great, he's an good missionary and improving Are you being a good trainer? I sure am trying to be! Please answer all these questions. Done! :) )

And one more thing!! Yesterday in church I was asked to play the hymns for the sacrament meeting! So during the week I practiced a few times on the organ so I could be able to do that for the meeting. I experimented with different sound and what not and found the sounds that worked best together. So yesterday was my very first time playing the organ for sacrament meeting!! And now I get to do it next week too! haha! it'll be fun! it's awesome!

We'll that's about it! This week was great, and very hot. But hey, the Mormon missionaries are the only people in the world that would be out in such extreme conditions spreading what they know to be true! The
gospel is true and I love it much! Serving a mission is the most rewarding thing I could do at this time in my life!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Johnstown Week 21

No, still no keys to the car. Potentially, we will get them today. And no, they are not locked in the car... haha! We had a locksmith come and open the car so we could look, and when we found out they weren't in there and that the copies of the keys that the office sent to us were lost in the mail somewhere, we ended up getting the car towed to the Toyota dealership so they can re-key the car. So hopefully we'll get them today. I received a lot of flack from this blind guy in our ward that just got baptized in Feb. He was making fun that I lost the keys and that he's blind and he never loses his keys!! I'm thinking of getting some kind of chain or lanyard that I can hook onto my belt loop and the keys too so that I never lose them when I get the new ones!

So we've been on foot and bike the for the last 2 weeks or so. So that's been fun! We've been able to meet a lot of people too since we're passing people on the sidewalks as opposed to in the car. It's been good though, besides it's been really hot! There are only so many areas that we can go to feasibly on foot so we have pretty much been blitzing the areas around us. We've met a lot of nice people and a lot of crazy people too haha! But mostly nice people. In fact, just on the way here, and older gentleman that has a bad cancer/tumor growth on his ear stopped us on the street, asked us if we were Mormon. When we affirmed, he asked, will you please say a prayer for me? So we did just that; right there on the street we said a prayer with him while everyone was passing and walking by. It was a great experience.

Our investigator Jessica is doing FANTASTIC!!!!! She now officially has a baptismal date of August 23rd! There was a baptism here in the ward of a little girl who just turned 8 and Jessica came. She said that she really enjoyed it and thought it was great! AND THEN! In church yesterday, she came, and she brought a friend! Dawn Owens was up giving a talk in church, and was telling the story about Joseph Smith and his first vision. While Dawn was talking about all the religious confusion back in Joseph's time and about the first vision ("I saw a pillar of light...") I heard Jessica turn to her friend and whisper "This is true; this is a true story." !!!!!!!!!!!!! That blew me away! She has a testimony of The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith! Now the only thing she has to get over is the word of wisdom, and she has committed to live that and is working on it right now. She's amazing, in fact when I was talking to her last night, she even told me she was going to start planning out her baptismal program! haha! wow. she's awesome.

Anyway the battle with the bed bugs is nearing it's end! The exterminator came in on Friday and sprayed down our bedroom and the left us some extra bottles of the spray for us to use if we see more. So that's pretty exciting! Finally we'll win! Hooray!

Anyway I think that's pretty much it that's going on and has happened this week, I just hope that we get our car keys soon!

*Note from Sheryl: Elder Ben wanted me to remind everyone not to send anything to his home address the week before August 10, because he may be transferring. You may use the Mission Office address and they will forward it to him.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pictures!

We got Elder Serrano's memory card today so I thought I'd post some pictures for you to enjoy.


At a cool waterfall

In the woods??
On the Incline

 Overlooking Johnstown

In the rain
Pennsylvania Rain
video
 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Johnstown Week 20!!

Well this week was pretty exciting, I few cool things happened. First off we lost the keys to our car last Monday. That means that we were on foot this past week, which really hindered the work in some areas. It
was hard to get places that are far away from where we live because most of it was pretty much up hill and too far. We called the office and they said that we would have our spare keys by last Wednesday. Well, it's
Monday now and we don't have them. So it's a little frustrating. But in a way it was a blessing because we were able to find quite a few potential investigators. Which is nice because we could be getting a few
more people to teach! Which is always exciting.
 
There is some bad news pertaining to our other investigators. Chris and Nicole are broken up, and moved out, so we have no idea where they are right now. And Paris, we haven't been able to teach her for the past 2
weeks and she missed 2 weeks of church, so we have absolutely no clue as to what is going on with her. The bad part about it, too, is that she lives in one of those far away places that we could only go if we had
our car, so we haven't had the opportunity to stop by her house for this past week. I hope nothing too bad has happened with her and no body "anti"ed her. So that's sad. But on a higher note. We have a really
great investigator named Jessica ..... She's amazing! she has been reading the Book of Mormon a lot and is loving it! We had a great lesson with her last night and she expressed that she knows it's true!! We also
had member with us for that lesson and when he was bearing his testimony about the church and about the B of M and other things, the spirit was so strong! Strong enough is to where... Jessica cried. She's the best.
We asked her if she would be baptized and she said yes, when she knew for sure, for sure that these things are true. Which she pretty much does. We didn't set a date for her yet because we felt it wasn't the
time. Plus her husband (who is overseas) has expressed some concerns about her talking to us, but she was telling us that she was going to talk to who she wants, so hopefully we don't cause anything unnecessary,
marital conflict.

The bed bugs are still here.... we got some killer stuff from the mission office and we sprayed everything, but it didn't do anything. I don't thing it killed the big ones. So our land lady Marlene is going to have the pest control guy come and inspect the apartment, so hopefully he'll be able to do something about it to rid the problem.  It's getting kind of annoying haha! oh well.

Other than that I think that's it! Elder Killpack is doing great! He just needs to relax a little bit ha ha, oh greenies. psh! What am I saying I'm still new! ha ha! Anyway I think that's pretty much it!
Things are going well and we're doing great!

Love,
Elder Benjamin Serrano

 Elder Serrano watching fireworks



Elders Serrano and Killpack



On their bikes.


With the new "pie-eating" shirt Steve made him.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Johnstown Week 19

Yes, I have a new companion, and yes, he is a greenie. I'm sure Chris(Elder Page came to the house on July 5th. It was great to talk withhim) told you a little bit about that when he visited. His name is Elder
BENJAMIN Killpack. Yes, he has the same first name as me! Pretty crazy I know. He's from Mesa Arizona and he reminds me a lot of Austin Sisneros. He's super out going, and already an awesome missionary. So that's good, that I don't have to break someone out of their shell in order to have them talk to someone.

The 4th of July was alright. A lot of people weren't home, either because they were out of town or because there were at a big party along with the rest of their neighborhood. So there weren't a lot of people to
talk to. But nevertheless it was a good week. We do have a new investigator, Vincent, and he's the son of one of our other investigators, Jennifer ..., so that was pretty cool. Jennifer was late for her appointment with us so we decided to talk to Vincent, and lo an behold he's interested in learning about the restored gospel.

So last Sunday, our investigator Paris, left suddenly right after sacrament meeting with out saying anything, and throughout this week we couldn't get in contact with her. So a last Thursday night or so I was
pondering and praying on when we should go stop by her house, or call her or whatever, and this time kept on popping into my mind: 4:32 pm. Okay, 4:32. So I asked in my mind, on what clock? My watch? The car
clock? my comps watch? what? And I got the impression that it should be on the car clock. Alright! So I was excited for the next day so that I could call Paris at exactly 4:32 pm according to the car clock, then we
would talk and have a great conversation and set up an appointment and what not. So 4:32pm rolls around on Friday afternoon and I pick up the phone and call her. It rings, and rings, and rings...... and the voice
mail picks up. So I was pretty much confused at the fact is to why I received all that revelation about 4:32 and what not. So I decided to just put that thought to the side, and just continue on not giving it much thought. Then Sunday comes to pass and we're up kind of in the area where Paris lives, so I thought, heck, why not try one last time. So we drive into the parking lot and we see her car there! Hooray! And we knock on the door... and she answers!!! We had a quick, pleasant, 5 minute visit, and it turns out she had just a hectic week with work and school and family coming in for the 4th. But she's still excited about the gospel! We set up a return appointment and left. Rejoicing, we return to the car and I get in and start it up. The clock turns on and guess what time it is? 4:37pm, which means that 5 minutes ago, when we first knocked on her door, it was 4:32pm.

The Lord works in mysterious ways! It was amazing to see how the inspiration that was given was real, and it was just another testimony builder on the power of prayer. It truly works! I love this Gospel and the work that is apparent and continues to go forth.