Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 11

Sounds like a good week back home!
(I asked about the ward members) The members do like us a lot more definitely! They trust us now that they see that they have missionaries here that want to work! But sadly, no dinner invite numbers have gone up. But they are still there. Few and far between, but they're there. :) Mostly I think the members drop stuff off for us, which is good too. Our ward is split into 2 areas in which missionaries cover. The other missionaries that are zone leaders have probably 90% of the active members in their area. Which gives them many many more appointments then we do. And we can't cross area boarders so we can't travel over there for a dinner.

We are no longer seeing him (Norm) anymore, so no worries. We haven't found out any more about him and his situation or his motive behind his craftiness because the bishop wants to talk to him personally and see what's going down. But Norm doesn't have a ride to get to the church and the bishop of course is really busy all the time. So we're just going to leave it at that. I'm not sure what steps are being taken to prevent this from happening again, but we were strongly advised by our Mission Pres. and Bishop to stop all contact with Norm. Baily on the other hand is doing fantastic!!! She just the greatest ever. She wasn't able to make it out to church this week because her boyfriend's sister passed away. So she was caught up all weekend and we have yet to hear from her. She said that she would be calling us within the next few days so that'll be good so we can talk to her and see what's up.

Yes, we have found a few more people to teach!! This week was a very good week. We implemented the training that we received during a training conference from our mission president in the which we set all
the investigators that we met with for the first time with baptismal dates. We were relatively surprised on the success that came out of it. We had two appointments with potential investigators, Brian and John, that were our first meetings with them. As we were teaching them we got the impression that of course we should at least try out the baptismal invite and see what happens. And to our surprise, they both accepted the invitation to be baptized and agreed to the date of the second weekend in December!! And we also have a new investigator his name is Shawn. He stopped us on the street a few weeks ago and said that he was studying with us and wants to get back into it. We had a great lesson with him, and it turns out that he has been meeting with missionaries for the past 2 years and he has been very close to getting baptized but something would always come up. But he said that he is very committed this time and really wants God back into his life. He's pretty legit.

This transfer has been a great one for me in the which I'm learning a lot. I am way excited that we are studying the New Testament and focusing on finishing it by the end of the year as a mission. I have learned so much and am finding lots of new things that I didn't know about Christ's life. I think it is so cool how in Matthew, he constantly is writing in his gospel, that Christ is fulfilling prophecies, he gives at least 6 references within the first 2 chapters. It is so fun to flip to the Old Testament and to read about what the prophet at that time is
saying, and his prophesy. I am learning so much.

Elder Serrano

Saturday, October 23, 2010


 We received a memory card from Elder Serrano yesterday.  It was full of, what I am sure, are great memories.  Unfortunately we have no idea what those memories are, so we just picked a couple.  The first is his 6 month tie burning in Johnstown, the second is of his new companion, Elder Hurley, in Pittsburgh, the South Side.

6 Month Tie Burning
Elder Hurley and Elder Serrano

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 10

Okay so now for the update on our investigators:
Baily our investigator came to church here and is set with November the 13! She is so amazing and really is progressing in the gospel nicely. She is really working hard and striving to live the word of wisdom, the only thing is iced tea, but she'll get over it with the Lords help. I told her that that was a big hurdle for you too /(mom)/ but you got over it and I think that that gave her some more hope. She said that she really enjoyed church and the members did a great job of fellow shipping her and being friendly towards her which is really nice. She's the best! Hopefully I'll still be here to see her baptized, transfers are coming up on November 2nd. So we'll see.

And now with the situation with Norm. It turns out there are 2 people in the ward that recognized him at church, last week, that are from different areas. One was a sister who used to live in Philadelphia 6 years ago. And the other is from a Brother who was on a mission 10 years ago in California. And guess what, the brother who served a mission in California, BAPTIZED HIM THERE!! Except he was under a different name!! And the sister that recognized him was at his Baptism in Philadelphia when he was baptized into their YSA group!! So it's pretty evident that he's not who he says he is. He was under different identities as well during those 2 baptisms. And who knows how many other times he has been baptized that we don't know of. And for the time he was baptized in California he used the same story as he has with us except he had triplet sisters, and his mom died while they were meeting with him. This time he has quadruplet sisters and his dad died while we were meeting with him. So we don't know what's true with him. We tried meeting with him on Sunday with Bishop but he wasn't home. We did set up, however, an appointment to meet with him on Thursday evening. So we'll be getting this whole thing straightened out this Thursday and we'll know for sure what he's up to. Hopefully things will work out to a point where we can prevent this from happening again with him. So our investigator is not an investigator but a member who has been baptized many times before. So that's a crazy situation but a sweet mission story as well. Who knows maybe he'll disappear before we confront him.

This week was an okay week, I got sick again at the beginning of the week again, so that was a bummer, it was kind of a relapse of what I had a couple weeks ago. Except I had a splitting headache Monday through Friday. But I'm better now, although I do feel like my brain is still in a little fog due to all the sicknesses.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 9

Well this week was pretty much the same as the week back home {not much happening}, oh but wait.... NORM CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!!! We finally got him out there. What we did, is we set up a ride to come and pick us up at his house, then we walked to his house and got him up and then waited for the ride. There was no way he was copping out on us this week! He said he had a great time and that he really loved the ward. It was so relieving to finally get him there after 9 weeks of trying! haha! But right now there has been some new information come up on who Norm really is. Yes, you may ask yourself, why would that have to come up on who Norm is? Right now we don't have all the facts, but next weeks letter, you will have quite the story to read coming from Pittsburgh! Yes, be excited. Also, Baily went to church out in Philipsburgh PA her home town!! She was there this weekend and was able to go.  She is still interested and loves the church. We taught her the Word of Wisdom in a coffee shop! She's living it. She's golden. We can't set her with a baptismal date yet because she needs to come to church here in Pittsburgh a few times. And because of her friend's health situation, we don't know when it'll improve, or end. We're thinking we should send the other elders over there to heal Baily's friend so that they both can come to church and be baptized!!! that would work.

Anyway other than that there really hasn't been much going on over here in the South side. And sorry I don't have any cool stories for this weeks, but next weeks edition will be great I promise! We are really really trying to find new investigators but it's really hard for some reason. It seems no one wants to learn... but it's okay. We'll find those that are searching!

Elder Benjamin Serrano

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pittsburgh Week 8

It's my 8 month mark yesterday! :)

Yes, conference was amazing!! ( I absolutely loved it! I wish I had my notes with me right now so I could share with you a lot of the things that I learned While listening to it. I think one of the main themes to this conference was "Wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10) I heard that quoted in talks probably 10 times! But I must say that that is a very very true statement. Seriously how could wickedness be happiness, when the only true happiness comes from the knowledge of the truth and found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ! When one sins all they feels is pleasure at the time of the sin and then guilt and remorse after words. While one who is living the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) feels nothing but happiness as they strive to live it's teachings because God is pleased with them. That's the main thing that I really got from conference. But it truly was amazing. I always love hearing the talks that are prepared by the prophets and apostles, I always come away more inspired and having a greater desire to work hard and to do good! Especially as a missionary.

This week was a little rough for us. We had a lot of appointments fall through with less active members and with investigators that we would have had a member with us. We have a lot of good appointments with
investigators set up for this week that we are excited for. Our investigator Baily is in a different situation. She has a really close friend that is dying of leukemia, is in her latter stages, and lives over in Philipsburgh, an hour north of Johnstown. So she wants to spend her weekends over there to be with her, and she expressed her apologies in which she wants to come to church really bad but she won't be here in Pittsburgh. However, we told her that there was a branch building over there in which she could attend church and she said that she totally would go without a doubt. Now we're wondering what we should do with her baptismal situation. She accepted the invitation whole-heartedly and wants to be baptized but the church attendance here, is the set back and we weren't able to set her with a date. So that will be fun to get around. Baily is our only set investigator, we have others that we're trying to get in contact with again, and so we can teach them.

Other than that we have been working hard. We started keeping track of our OYM's (number of people we talk to on the street, OYM= open your mouth) and we are seeing our skills in that starting to increase and our
shells coming off even more when it comes to talking to people. I love being able to talk to people and knowing what to say when I need to, to get them interested in the restored gospel. The Spirit is amazing in
that sense in which it tells us what that person needs. It's not like a voice saying tell this person this, but it's a feeling of, I think I'll talk about.... with this person. So it's pretty neat.

I am feeling so much better I was completely recovered by the time Wednesday came around. Thank you so much for the card and for all your prayers that I would get better I sure felt them and I truly believe that's what attributed to my speedy recovery. Thanks!
Elder Benjamin Serrano