October 1, 2013

Dear Family,

Wow where has all the time gone. It seems like yesterday I arrived at the MTC at 11:30 at night, but now it’s already October. The new transfer starts tomorrow! I get to stay in my area and I’m am privileged to still be with Elder Manning. There is a lot of change still happening in the mission. We don’t have enough elders to fill leadership positions that some are doing double duty. For example our District Leader has now become a Zone Leader at the same time. And many District Leaders are now trainers too. I heard from one of the Elders that President Weidman is now having an exciting first day planned for the new missionaries coming in. After they get off the plane they will be drivin roughly four miles away from the mission office, and given some pamphlets and cards, and a map. They will have to navigate to the mission office and get out everything along the way. I am so bummed out that I have missed this!

Zone Conference with Elder Richards was quite amazing! I have included a picture with him, taken after lunch. He talked about the great increase of missionaries and about the baptismal rate. We have gone from 140 missionaries to about 250! Sadly though we have yet to see an increase in baptisms. We had during the week 130 some baptismal dates but only 8 have been baptized. He talked about faith to act, be obedient, work hard and teach with plainness, simplicity and clarity. He helped me a lot by explaining 4 foundation truths of the Restoration that investigators have to understand in order to be baptized. (Jesus Christ and the Atonement, Joseph Smith and the First Vision, the Book of Mormon and Restored Priesthood Authority) and then to teach simply so that their understanding and conversion to these principles increases.  I feel I need to especially work on teaching simply and clearly. A lot of times I have so much information, that I kinda just throw it at them. I need to simplify things down. I have high hopes for this transfer. I will work as hard as I can!

2013-09-27 MV With Elder Richards

Our one investigator that we were able to have regular appointments dropped us. It was kinda sad and extremely frustrating. He had gone to the internet and looked up a bunch of stuff about Joseph Smith. I have a real dislike to the internet now. The thing that helped me overcome it was the fact if he wanted, he still could have received an answer, but it was his choice not to dig past lies. The funny thing is that most of his research was on Wikipedia, which is a joke, no academic research would be expected from there. There has been some light though! We have met with a young man He seems to be very humble and open. He plays football for a local college in Long Beach. We found in our potential list for Compton. We had a really good lesson about the restoration, and he said he would read 3 Ne. 11! We are going back on Wednesday. Please pray that we will be lead by the Spirit! We are staying busy and appreciate all of your help.

2013-09-30 Compton City Sign

Thank you so much for the package of garments. I have enough that I can shower after biking and change into fresh clothes for dinner. I appreciate and am sure members do. I work hard, but they don’t need to smell it. I don’t know what it was, but I only received a blank email from you lol; hope everything is ok. I was also wondering how much cash is in my bank? Thank you guys so much and I love you!

Elder Valdez

PS: I just found out a couple weeks ago that if you lower your bike gears, it makes going up hill infinitely easier. I was wondering why that it is? Maybe the engineer can give me a good answer? bye!