Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cardboard Christmas Tree

Hola familia,

Of course transfers happened this last week. Elder Hortin got here on Wednesday afternoon. He's from Smithfield, Utah, which is near Logan. He came out at the same time as Elder Blomquist. He's served in Yakima and Sunnyside.

This whole last week has been extremely busy, in part, preparations for Christmas. We're going to the Stake President's house today for a zone p-day. We're really excited about that. The reason for that is because the stake reached its goal for the year, which is amazing. There are also a lot of baptisms scheduled for January. We'll start the year off with a bang.

Jose Vargas got interviewed to receive the priesthood. He'll receive that next Sunday. He asked me if I would ordain him. That hit me really hard as I was talking to him in the church hall. I feel very privileged for having that opportunity. It's been amazing to see that family progress. They all love church. And the other daughters are going to be baptized in the beginning of January.

I don't know if you remember last year when we talked to you for Christmas. We used a member’s newspaper store. He has four lines there so we can be all talking at the same time. I'll call you at 9:45 our time which is 10:45 your time.

I believe that I got all of the packages. I got the one from grandma and the one from Amy and from Crate and Barrel. I remember at least one from big box games and I think there's another one in the van. We're driving the mission van up to the Stake President's house. It's pretty big. I think it's a 12 passenger van.

We have a cardboard tree in our apartment that Elder Anderson got from somewhere last year. All of our presents are under it. I'll take a picture of it so you can see it.

I love you and look forward to talking to you on Christmas!

Elder Arnold

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baptism and new companion

Hola familia,

This week has been an awesome white and snowy week. We got maybe a couple of inches of snow. It snowed again a little last night. It makes driving a little bit slower but it is pretty and white.

We took Elder Godinez to President Belnap's house this morning. I'm going to miss him a lot. We've been companions for the past four and a half months. Elder Hortin is my new companion. He came out with Elder Blomquist. He'll get here tomorrow.

Just so you know Elder Godinez will be going to Rexburg for school. He's going to be studying Construction Management.

I'm glad I'm over being sick. I missed going to our dinner with the Llamas family. Which by the way means flames in English. They didn't come to church. We haven't been able to talk to them and found out why yet. They seemed so excited to come.

The Vargas family, previously referred to as the Gomez family, are now married and baptized. The wedding was amazing. So many people helped them out. They made it a very special experience for them. And lots of people came too. I took lots of pictures and will be sending them home this week.

Their baptism went very well. Again there are pictures of their baptism as well. Three of them were baptized this week, Jose, Antonia, and the older daughter Cristal.

This has been a very busy week with all that's happened.

Love you all very much
Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sick again

Hola familia,

This is going to be a short letter. I’ve been sick since last night and haven’t had as much energy.

We still don’t know anything about transfers. They didn’t give us the information at ZLC like they usually do. They said that we were going to get it at Christmas Zone Conference but we didn’t.

By the way Christmas Zone Conference was great. We got very spiritually fed. And we got to watch Forever Strong. They cut out the first 11 minutes or so though. It was very inspirational. There are lots of things to apply to missionary work out of it as well.

The Gomez – Vargas family, soon to be the Vargas family, are getting married tomorrow, Thursday. The parents will then be baptized on this upcoming Saturday. They just got their marriage license on Monday. I can’t believe how many miracles have happened to get them to this point. I’ve been praying for miracles so that they could be baptized before Elder Godinez left. And it’s going to happen.

We’re having dinner with the Llamas family today. They haven’t come to church and we haven’t had many lessons with them recently. There will be more to report next week.

Love you

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

La familia Gomez

December 1, 2009

Hola familia,

This week has been very eventful. Another family found us: La familia Gomez. They are progressing the fastest out of anybody that I've taught. They've come to church and have kept all of their reading commitments. And they accepted a baptismal date for the 12th of December. That was all after just like 3 days of knowing them. Three of the kids are baptismal age. It's been amazing teaching them. We've run into a little problem with them that might push their date back but they'll still be baptized.

Here's a story about the mom in the family:
The Gomez family is amazing! We watched the testaments. We then re-watched the part about the authority given to Nephi. They accepted a baptismal commitment for the 12th of December. So Elder Godinez will still be here!!! Antonia sent us home with a big pan of food and with a bunch of homemade tortillas. They were good.

I was just remembering another experience we had with Antonia. In our lesson that we had with them yesterday she told us about a near death experience that she had, where she was standing outside of her body and watching the doctors and other people around her body. This happened at the beginning of this year. The reason this came back to me today was because in the Gospel Principles class the topic was the Spirit World. Brother Bedoya was talking about death and how it is a separation of the spirit and the body. He then asked Antonia if she believed that was true. She said that she knew that was true and nodded her head. That was her whole response. Then she looked at me and gave me a smile...

The Llamas family isn't progressing a lot right now because we're having a hard time getting a hold of them. We went by on Sunday. Little Gabriel was outside playing in the yard. He ran over as soon as we pulled up. We talked to him about coming to church with us in a little while. He ran up the steps to tell his mom saying, "Yes, we get to go to church today!" He is such an awesome kid. I really feel like he'll be an amazing missionary someday. Hopefully we'll be able to find them at home more often.

I'll let you know how transfers go next week because we have ZLC this Friday. I can't believe time is going by so fast.

Love Elder Arnold

PS I got the package this morning. Thanks for the jacket. It's just what I was hoping for. I already set up the little Christmas tree. Did you get that from Germany? I already ate a bunch of the candy too.