Sunday, February 27, 2011

Avalon Week 10

So our investigators are doing well. Stephine finally came to church again! It was so awesome to see her there! There is a member that moved into our ward that is really close friends with her dad. So she will be a great influence on getting her out to church! She'll be baptized soon I hope. She called us up last Friday and asked if she could be baptized the next day/Saturday! We were happy that she really had that great desire but when I asked how long she had quit smoking for, she said 8 hours, which isn't long at all. I had to lovingly explain to her that one has to be ready and worthy to get baptized and 8 hours clean of smoking isn't enough. She understood and was able to make it out to church. Hopefully that will give her more strength to overcome the temptations. It's incredible what church will do for someone's ability to resist temptations. Emil and Mona weren't able to make it to church due to some family visiting so we'll be meeting with them this Saturday and they'll for sure be coming out to church more. Emil really loves the Book of Mormon and said that he'll have most of it read by the time Saturday rolls around so that's really exciting! Some of our investigators we haven't been able to see in a while so there's not much to report there but we were able to find 2 more investigators this week, so that was exciting.

Other than that this week really wasn't that eventful. There weren't too many things that happened of note. So I
guess I'll just close this letter for this week. Well that's all for this week! love you! Take care!

Elder Benjamin Serrano

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Avalon Week 9

Elders Taylor and Serrano
It sounds like you had a pretty good week over there in the west! This week was pretty much awesome as well!  It's so crazy that Nate is going to be 22! Wow!  I remember last year when I was in the MTC I got him a box of teddy grahams! And I think that sister.... oh man I forgot her name. but she delivered it for me! I feel bad that I forgot her name, it's in my brain somewhere. Anyway you know who she is. :) (Sister Church-SS)

We were able to pick up 3 new investigators and we were able to have 5 investigators out to church this week!! We would have had Chis with a baptismal date but his grandma, who is a member, discouraged him from coming because his kids were sick. That was a bummer because we can't set him with a date unless he comes to church consistently.  Emil and Mona A..., came to church and the ward did a wonderful job at welcoming them and helping them feel at home. They said that they real enjoyed it and hopefully we will be able to see them out next week. The other 3 are some eternal part-member families that came this week. We're still working with them and finding ways to be able to help them to progress. The 3 new investigators that we picked up are cool people too! We got 2 of them last night when it was about 8:15pm and we were out and Elder Taylor wanted to get 2 new investigators. He wanted to tract but I thought it was too late for that right now so we brainstormed. A name of a guy that I had talked to 2 days back came into mind so we decided to try him anyway. We get to his house and some guy answers the door (not Jeff who we are looking for) and we ask if Jeff is there, he says no, and I proceed to do a regular Door approach, (we're missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ.... etc.) And he says, hey guys why don't you come in, it's cold outside. So we did and guess who was sitting on the couch? Jeff!! The guy that answered the door said that he doesn't let just anyone in who is looking for his brother Jeff, but once we started talking about Jesus he was more than happy to let us in. We were able to teach them and it turns out that Brian, the one who answered to door, had met with missionaries about 20 years ago, but didn't want to stop smoking and drinking at the time. He knows about the Book of Mormon and we gave him a new copy because he had misplaced his. It was a wonderful opportunity because we accomplished our goal of getting 2 new investigators last night because of the Spirit's influence!

 I'm really enjoying serving with Elder Taylor and hope to be able to serve with him another transfer, we're working hard and are starting to see some success here! I'm also really enjoying reading the Book of Mormon more and more everyday! I'm a little behind but am working hard to catch up on it. I really feel the Spirit when I read it and I love it. Things that I haven't noticed or things I forgot, come back to me and it's true when one says that they are living scriptures. The church is true! I know it is!

Happy Valentines Day mom!

Elder Benjamin Serrano

Friday, February 11, 2011

Avalon Week 8

Too bad for the Steelers.... It's a gloomier day here in Pennsylvania. Nobody is smiling, and outside, you could hear men, women, and children crying on the streets after the game, fanatics yelling at their TV to help the defense out. But sadly they lost the Super Bowl XLV. Well maybe next year. Last night the mission President asked us to be inside by 6 pm. because of the super bowl. He didn't want us out doing stuff while
the Pittsburghers are watching their form of General Conference.

Alrighty! So this week was a great week! We had a great time at church yesterday because 3 of our investigators came out to church! 2 of them missionaries have been working with for a long time and they are
progressing slowly. They've come out to church many times before and they're doing okay. The third one though was way awesome! His name is Chris M and he's a great guy. He's married to a less active member of
the church, and we've been meeting with him for a while. I don't know if I've told you about them before or not. Anyway We've been trying to get him out to church for the past 7 weeks or so and he hasn't come, each
time he promised to come too. Anyway, the whole family showed up! Chris, his wife Charmaine, and their little kids! The ward did a great job friendshipping them and being way nice to them. And another thing that
was way awesome that happened this week! I want to share an experience that really strengthened my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. We have an investigator family called the A... family. They are from Egypt and moved here to America about a year and a half ago. We tracted into them and found that were very receptive. Since they are Egyptian they don't speak english very well. It's broken and we can somewhat communicate but there is a barrier there for sure. The hardest part was that they couldn't read english well at all; one line per day is what they said. So we called the office and had them get us a copy of
the Book of Mormon in Arabic and it just so happened that they had one on hand in the office. We got it and delivered it. On Saturday we went to see how their reading went. Mona (the mom) expressed to us that she
read the introduction, testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and 16 pages of 1 Nephi. She said that she felt in her heart that the book is true! Though we have a language barrier, the Spirit speaks in all languages and testified of the truthfulness to her. It was a wonderful experience! They promised to come to church this next week and I'm positive that they'll progress and eventually enter into the waters of baptism :)!!!!!!!

So for my year mark, Elder Taylor took me out to eat at Applebees! He's a great guy and I really enjoy serving with him! It's a wonderful blessing to be able to have a companion that cares and has great faith. We're having a great time together and are positive that we'll see some great things happen this transfer. Not much else happened this week. I've been out for a little over a year now! How fun is that! It has been a great first year! I have learned so much when I look back on it and I have experienced a lot too while I've been in the few areas in my mission. I love it very much! Serving a mission has been the best decision I've made!

Elder Benjamin Serrano

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Avalon Week 7

WOW one year already?? That's a cool picture of the shirt (Ben's countdown shirt). It looks like you wrote some comments by some of the dots. I'm guessing those are transfers and what not? At any rate it's half way filled out! I like the tie especially. :) It looks like the Steelers! (of course).

Oh speaking of Steelers! So this Tuesday was transfers and I got my new companion Elder Taylor, and guess who was feeding us that Tuesday night? Chris Hoke, #76, Defensive Tackle for the Steelers. Yup! There's a Steeler in the ward here and he's really nice! His family is really energetic and nice as well. He played for BYU and went on a mission to France. It was way awesome, and we had a great time there. He's probably on his way right now to Texas for the Superbowl next Sunday! Too bad I get to miss it this year, hopefully I'll get to catch it next year.

So my new companion is Elder Tyler Taylor from North Carolina. He's way awesome! He has a lot of faith, works really hard, and is a health/exercise nut. So I'll be eating healthier and getting buff this transfer :) We've already started doing this workout call P90X.  I don't know if you've heard of it but it's super intense. He's got me getting up early every morning and after the work out, protein shake! We're getting along great and we teach together well too. We're way happy to be serving together, and pumped to get working this transfer! We're going to see some good things happen, that's for sure!

So as for our investigators... They're doing okay. Stephine seems to be avoiding us which is a bummer, same with some other people. We had some good things set up last week but things just fell through and we didn't really find any new investigators... but we did get the Arabic copy of the book of Mormon! We took it by the Aziz family (that's their last name) and dropped it off. They were very excited to be able to read it. Mona, the mom, said that Emil, the dad, could read a book in 3-4 days and that's what he expected to do with the book of Mormon. We're very excited to find out what happens with them! They're probably the most promising out of all the people we're working with. And that's fine! I really like them, they're a great family! I hope that they gain a testimony of the book of Mormon that would be great!
Well that's pretty much it for this week. The church is true and I love it!  I'll be thinkin of you on Thursday :)

Elder Benjamin