Tuesday, May 31, 2016

WEEK...I LOST COUNT

Dear Family and Friends,

So this week has been crazy...And it will be getting crazier! So my P-days are now extremely busy!!!! Emails will be a lot shorter... We have the biggest zone in the mission so we have to drop things off to different missionaries every P-day. But yeah, I still love you all! Here is my week (summed up in a few sentences):

Monday: Transfers calls came in. I was transferred to the Lakeridge-Vineyard-Spanish YSA Area and to be Zone Leaders with Elder Florez. (Elder Florez was the Assistant that picked me up from the MTC and said one day we'll be companions). Elder Florez goes him this transfer so I will be taking over the Area and the Zone......that'll be fun.  

Tuesday: Spent the entire morning packing and planning...it was fun but kind of sad because I was actually leaving my baby area... That entire evening, I said goodbye to everyone that I was teaching and we had a few lessons that were really good because they finally accepted baptismal dates.

Wednesday:TRANSFER DAY! I met up with Elder Florez and we got to work. It was intense because he recently took the area over from some missionaries who couldn't/didn't know how to work...So it still is basically a white wash. We ran around had some cool lessons. We cover all of Orem in Spanish YSA. So we spent some time down on UVU and met some crazy young ladies....(yeah, we'll put it that way...) and so we left UVU and began our family ward lessons. It was so much running around. I get home sooooooooooooo tired. but it really is worth it! 

Thursday: we woke up at 6am and ran to UVU.....wow......it was good. the sunrise was just absolutely gorgeous!! There's like a man-made waterfall right in the middle of the campus and that is where we run to every morning now. It was fun! Since Elder Florez is going home this transfer, I'm helping with giving him advice and life help and packing (not yet haha) and everything. Elder Florez joined the church about years ago. He is the only member in his entire family. His testimony is so strong and it is felt throughout the work. 

Friday:we had a mini Zone Training Meeting. I got to train the Zone for the first time as a Zone Leader. I was nervous but the Lord helped me through it all. I think I did a good job! After that we began weekly planning but also, we had to get the building ready because we had a baptism the next day from an 11 year old boy named Christopher. He is soooooooooooo ready! I was glad he finally took that step to be baptized. 

Saturday: the baptism!!! It went super well :) his dad accidentally messed up but its okay! Chris was super excited that he has the chance to say he got baptized twice (not really, but you know what we mean). 

Sundaysunday was sooooooo long. We had lots of meetings and lots of food.......my favorite time was the YSA ward. There are so many YSA wards that there are double chapels in church buildings, meaning more than one sacrament meeting going on at once. So many people looking for their future spouse. But the thing that stood out to me the most was when the teacher (Brother Dickersen) taught about the Book of Mormon. It was really good and it motivated everyone there to take a stand for the BoM and continue to read it. The investigators we had there were impacted by it so much, they want to be baptized now :D 


Thank you all! I love and miss you all soooooooooo much! :)


Love,
Elder Ovalles

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

TRANSFER NEWS


Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a week full of Miracles and Blessings! It was truly
the best week of the transfer and now I won't get to see more of it
here because....I AM GETTING TRANSFERRED! I am being transferred out
of Suncrest and Sharon Park, I will truly miss all of the people I had
the chance to serve in these two areas..... I will be covering 2
Spanish Wards in Orem and covering all of Orem and some of Pleasant
Grove in Spanish YSA. Also, I have been called to be a Zone Leader
over the Orem Spanish Zone with Elder Florez! They're reorganizing
some of the Zone today so I have some meetings and stuff with Elder
Florez and the Assistants today. So this email might be short! but
here is my week:

Monday: lots busy stuff.......I forgot what else we did......

Tuesday:We had a dinner planned with a Part Member Family and we were
super pumped and ready for the lesson after the dinner. We called the
Sister to confirm our appointment and she said she wouldn't be able to
host us the next evening. We were super bummed out because we were
planning on putting the investigator on date. She did tell us that she
schedule us another dinner appointment with an Active Family. We were
still grateful that she did that for us. When we got to the dinner, it
was pouring rain and we were hoping that the husband was home so we
could enter, but he wasn't home yet, so the wife had us start eating
outside. Once the husband showed up, we entered and continued eating
and talking with the family. The husband then pointed to his niece and
told "She needs to be baptized!" We thought the brother was joking
because of all the jokes he was saying during dinner. Then when we
took him seriously, we found out she actually isn't a member! He then
told us that she has never spoken with Missionaries because she has 4
SUPER HARD questions that she has never received a good answer. We
then asked what were the questions. She replied with the following:
"1. What is the importance of The Book of Mormon?" 2. How was the
world created? 3. Where did I come from? Why am I here? and Where am I
going after this life? 4. What is the apostasy?" We were shocked with
the questions because its something that we read and study about
daily! We scheduled an appointment with her for later that evening.
When we came back with our fellowshipper (the husband had to leave for
work again so we couldn't enter the home) we taught her the
Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. She took it all in and at the
end said "This makes sense, but I want to know more!" So after we all
exchanged numbers with her, we continued our other visits of the
evening. After nightly planning, the fellowshipper called us and told
us that she texted him saying "What do I need to do to be baptized?"
We were so excited!!!!! On top of all of that, she has been attending
church actively for about 2 months now and just yesterday sung with
the Ward Choir.

Wednesday: we had the chance to go out with our stake president in the
Suncrest stake, President Jensen. We visited a non member sister named
Estella. Estella told us about how the trial went and she said it went
alright and that she still has hope. She let out a lot of feelings
that she had about her daughters and about others who look down on her
situation. We testified to her about the power and love of God. We
explained to her that we will have pain, but we don't have to suffer.
President Jensen beautifully shared a scripture in Alma that touched
her heart. She liked it a lot and she also is committed to read the
restoration pamphelt.

Thursday: we had the last District Training Meeting of the
transfer......it was sad but super spiritual. I had someone (an active
RM) come give a training on how us as full time missionaries can
involve the members more and how could we do it. It was amazing. After
that we ate some really really good lunch. In the late afternoon, we
meet with a less active family, Familia Hernandez. Brother Hernandez
was working on a car and it was super nice car. He told me he'll sell
it to me for cheap when I finish my mission. So maybe, I'll come back
and buy it haha. But with the Hernandez Family, we talked to them
about their relationship with God. We talked about scripture study and
prayer and how it should be done. At first, they thought of it more as
a thing they just had to do, but w explained to them that it's
something that truly benefits us and our families. It came into the
picture that the husband has some concerns about some gospel topics,
so we will go deeper into that next week. Later in the evening we
found someone named Fernando. We were knocking at his door and right
as we were going to stop knocking, he showed up with his family. We
talked to him for a good while outside and got a really good feel of
what he is dealing with. He said he wants to be more connected with
God but had to leave some old habits behind to be a true follower. He
accepted the commit to pray more frequently to invite the spirit more
into his home and life.

Friday: we had district lunch at IHOP!!!! It was so yummy :) I ate
like a bunch of food. After that we had a really good and effective
weekly planning session. And then we were running around like crazy
people after that. Also, the other day we had a lesson with our Recent
Convert, Mario Ramirez. He brought his non member friend (who just
came from Mexico 3 hours earlier) to listen to the messages. We taught
the friend, Fernando, the plan of salvation and it stuck with him
really well because it came out that a really really close family
member recently passed away it this message gave him comfort. We
invited him to church and gently and kindly declined to the
offer.....I was like no way.....I got rejected so hard but in such a
beautiful way. We invited him again and he said if he feels compelled
to, he'll go. We were like okay, we like that answer better.

Saturday: sooooooooo much to do. We were running around because I had
to give baptismal interviews to like the whole world. But they were
really good people! I'm excited they made the decision to be baptized.
But before that, we had a lesson with Jessica Sanchez. She is super
super awesome but she wouldn't pray during the lessons. But today she
did!!!!!!!!!!! I was sooooo happy. Then we had lots of interviews
after that. Then we had a Ward party in Suncrest. Lots of good food
and none of our investigators. Then we went out with a member and
contacted all of the Latinos in his Ward Boundaries. It was a lot but
we found some new investigators from it.

Sunday: Fernando came to church!!!!!!!!! After he denied us so nicely.
He showed up :) made my day. Oh and also, Julio Sifuentes told us he
wants to be baptized on June 4th!!! We're so excited for him :)


Thank you all for praying for me and my companion! We can truly feel
the love and see the blessings.

Love,
Elder Ovalles

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

7 MONTHS


Dear Family and Friends,

I don't have a lot of time because we have to do errands and play
bubble soccer for Zone Activity but here's my week:

Monday: we had a fun P-Day and we got things done. First we cleaned
out our car (we still had stuff inside of there from moving a while
ago). Second, went shopping (at target....I'm waiting for my Costco
Membership) Third, began laundry (I love wearing clean clothes)
Fourth, set up for District Activity (volleyball and chair soccer)
Fifth, have District Activity (it was amazing, sooo much fun) Sixth,
hung out with the Zone Leaders and the Assistants for a little bit (we
all were writing emails and sharing funny stories about the mission)
Lastly, we got read for our lessons and studied our scriptures. It was
a good day indeed!!! Sad thing is that we didn't have a dinner
appointment.......... #hungry

Tuesday: long day.......we had MLC (Mission Leadership Council). It
was really good and really long but really good!!! We talked a lot
about how we can increase baptisms from what they are right now to a
higher number. We also had the chance to hear from Elder Ringwood of
the Seventy come speak to us and also his wife, she's so amazing! That
took up a huge chunk of the day........I got home at like 4:00 and
then we had a lesson every 30 minutes after that.......we busy and
long. I was like half asleep for all of them...........

Wednesday: long day again...........We had meetings again in the
mission office. The first one was for trainers and trainees and that
meeting is always good even though it's like the same thing every time
I go haha but I love just being there because it reminds me how far
I've come. After that meeting, they gave us a super good lunch :) and
then I had a District Leader meeting. That was long and brutal, but it
was totally worth it. I learned a lot and I'm going to be applying it
really soon!!! After that meeting, we immediately began contacting all
of people we had planned for. We found a new less active member named
Jovanni. We found him while looking for Maria Castillo. We asked him
what ward he assists but he couldn't give the name. Anyways, we shared
the "because he lives "video. He really liked it and he told him he
needs help in different things.....things we as missionaries can't
help with. So we got him in contact with the Bishop. But we testified
of the importance of Jesus Christ and how he loves us all and there is
always a second chance because of him. We had some other lessons and
then we went to check on Virginia. We came to see if she read 3 Nephi
11. When we knocked she immediately grabbed her book of Mormon because
she didn't read. So we read with her in the assigned portions. She
read all of it by herself. She had some doubts about Jesus Christ
appearing in the Americas. Shared with her and explained in detail
John 10:16. We used Bible to clear off some other doubts she had, but
we referred to the final answer to the book of Mormon because the
Bible is more of the battleground than common ground. We explain to
her that the book of Mormon isn't here to replace the Bible but to
help with growing and gaining testimony of Jesus Christ. We invited
her to read 2 Nephi 33 and to pray about it. After dinner, Mario
called and asked to meet with us really quick. We only had a short
amount of time. But he expressed to us a great interest in coming out
with us to visit people who are interested in the Gospel. He said how
the Gospel has blessed him and his family. He testified of the
importance of the gospel and he mentioned a couple blessings that he
has seen in his life. For example, him and his son have been getting
along a lot more which is something he didn't think was possible but
something he really wanted. We invited him to come out with us to a
lesson of someone he knows who wants to be baptized as well. He is
super solid and I love this man! He's great. Then Luz called us and
asked if we wanted to come earlier to the lesson so we could eat some
steak......we said yes. We had a wonderful dinner with Luz and her
soon to be family. After dinner, we talked to her and Matthew about
Jesus Christ and his atonement. We expressed importance of knowing who
Jesus Christ is in what he did for us. We showed a two minute video
about the Christlike attributes. She expressed which attributes she
like the most. When she mentioned all these attributes that she liked,
we is going to talk about the importance of the atonement and also
repentance and how this is an essential part and also some of the
basic principles of the restored gospel. She said she will put these
attributes it to play to prepare herself to be more like Jesus Christ
and be baptized.

Thursday: not a super long day but it was long.......we had Zone
Training Meeting! It was sooooo good. But it took up a lot of the
morning. So we had to go back and begin planning for our other lessons
we forgot about. But we started weekly planning, but there was still
so much to do..................we had some lessons and an amazing but
super spicy dinner........

Friday: WHAT A LONG DAY.......AGAIN.........first we had to wake up
early to do studies. Then we had to go open the chapel for the other
district to use for the training and interviews. And then we our
district training and then interviews. We ate and then we had weekly
planning.....by the time we started planning it was already dark
outside...........after that, we had a couple quick lessons with some
less active members.

Saturday: we helped a lot of people move in the
rain..................and the rest was a blur. But I do know that we
got paid for at Baskin Robbins :)

SundaySunday was great for multiple reasons!! Church was amazing as
usual. We had lots and lots of investigators and less actives show up
today. It was cool to see that participate and mingle with the
members. Jose Mendez Perez came to church :) we were so excited
because we know how much he loves the gospel. So we pulled him and the
young men's first counselor into a room and we had a wonderful lesson
with him and now he's on date to be baptized THIS SATURDAY. We are so
excited for him :) After church, we had a wonderful lunch with the
Brenning Family (they have a son marrying Luz Lopez (our
investigator)) and we ate really well. After that, we had a lesson
with Luz. We talked about the Plan of Salvation. Everyone was really
into it and Luz was engaged because life after death wasn't something
she really considered but now she said she doesn't have to worry or be
scared. She will probably be baptized in two weeks (after the wedding
and the honeymoon). After that......WE GOT TO SKYPE OUR FAMILY
:))))))) they were nice enough to feed us, let us teach Luz in their
home, and now use their computers. It was soooooooooo nice to see you
all again. 2 more times left!!!! Anyways, the rest of our day was
great. Had 6 or 7 more lessons after that so we were running around
for a while. Then we came home and I had to begin calls and get
numbers. I love my District :) they're the best. Seriously.


Love,
Elder Ovalles

Monday, May 2, 2016

7 months on Saturday


Dear Family and Friends,

This week was long, but we worked hard and saw miracles and loads of
success. Without further ado, here's my week:

Monday: we had to move and clean the old apartment and that took the
majority of the day......I was so mad because what I had to clean
wasn't even anything that had to do with me or Elder Lopez. Other
missionaries who left stuff in different places or wanted to try
something new. It was a mess! But it's done and I'm glad hahaha after
that, we wrote emails and got haircuts, shopped, and started laundry
and that was our day. After that, we had a lesson with a man named
Joel. Joel doesn't believe there was an apostasy and he also believe
that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are all one person. He
seems like he's super knowledgable about the scriptures but I don't
know. He's an interesting guy. If anyone has any advice to help him,
we'll take all we can :)

Tuesday: we had a good and busy day. We contacted lots of people in
the morning to see if we could visit them (members and other leaders).
We also got Alan Ortiz to come out with us!!! Alan Ortiz has
officially started his mission papers!!! I'm so excited for him! He's
going to be such a great missionary. He came out with us to a couple
lessons that night. And one that stood out was the Familia Amaya. Alan
truly stepped up to the plate and helped this family in their
challenges. He bore a powerful testimony of the atonement of Jesus
Christ. It was really moving! I'm so glad I had the chance to meet him
on my mission. (If you don't all remember, Alan is the person who came
and picked me and my trainer up from the Mission Office my first day
in the field).

Wednesday: best part of the day was dinner. We had Costco Pizza!!!!!!!
That was my first time having Costco Pizza in like 7 months!!!! Which
reminds me, I have a Costco in my Zone now sooooooooooo you all should
send me a membership :))))) thanks Mom and Dad! Anyways, we had lots
of meetings today. We went and played soccer with the youth. Found
about 15 non members there who are fairly interested in the church. So
we had the Hispanic youth plan days to invite their friends over to
their homes for a Family Home Evening with the missionaries. The youth
are strong and faithful! I'm so glad to see people preparing to be
missionaries.

Thursday: we had district training meeting for the first part of the
day and that went well. I got use my new HDMI-iPad cable! Sooooo I
made like a presentation on my iPad using screenshots and the note
pad, and it looked pretty professional.....well...at least I hope so
haha. After that, we had a correlation meeting with the Suncrest 3rd
WML. We talked to him on how we can hasten the work in his Ward
boundaries and how baptisms can go up if everyone puts their shoulder
to the wheel. So planned different things with him such as having the
Ward missionaries go out and teach in the neighborhood. We called it,
a Blitz Split! So each Ward missionary and the people the Ward
missionary council and us would go and knock every Hispanic door in
the neighborhood and teach them a short simple message about Jesus
Christ. (This is kinda only possible in Utah because they have
neighborhood maps with names of each person in each house, including a
baby). So Brother Mangum was really good about planning that. Later
that night, we had a lesson with Carlos Piña. All of his family are
active members and amazing. He has brothers and sisters that are
serving a mission presidents and temple presidents around the
world.....but Brother Piña isn't a member of the church. Why? Well
because he thinks we just need to be good and we can go to heaven.
Also, he believes he doesn't need to read the Book of Mormon. We
talked to him about missionary work. He has a grandson living there
that is awaiting his mission call. We asked him why does he believe
that his grandson is making a good decision. He gave an explanation
that was more secular than spiritual. We talked to him by what power
we are called and then we testified about the Book of Mormon. He said
that we almost convinced him that it the Book of Mormon is true and
that this is the true church, but it wasn't enough. It reminded me of
Paul when he was bearing his testimony to King Agrippa in Acts 26.
"...Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a
Christian." We told him we couldn't convince him that it was true. We
talked about how we need to read and pray about it. He said he has
read and kinda prayed about.  We shared with him Elder Dallin H. Oaks
teaching on Moroni’s invitation that we ask God with “real intent”
regarding the truth of the Book of Mormon. He said: “Moroni did not
promise a manifestation of the Holy Ghost to those who seek to know
the truth of the Book of Mormon for hypothetical or academic reasons,
even if they ‘ask with a sincere heart.’ The promise of Moroni is for
those who are committed in their hearts to act upon the manifestation
if it is received. Prayers based on any other reason have no promise
because they are not made ‘with real intent’” he accepted the
invitation to read and pray with his wife.

Friday: we had weekly planning like all day basically. We had some
really planning and organizing to do!! After that, we went to go eat
Cafe Rio! I promised Elder Lopez that if we talked to 10 people and
hand out 10 pass along cards, so will pay for us. So that's exactly
what we did. We handed out 3 Books of Mormon and 23 pass along cards.
We got in line and someone offered to pay for us. Blessings of the
Lord :) after that, our dinner appointment that never responded back
to us called us and asked if we were still coming......we were like
"uhhhh ohhhhh". So we quickly rushed over to their house (the Familia
Amaya). We got there and they ordered pizza so we had to finish 4
boxes of pizza..... Wow were full..... After the assistants called and
invited me to something called MLC, Mission Leadership Council. I'm
excited! And then we had rush over after that lesson to meet up with
the Zone Leaders for that lesson with Victor. (Victor called us
yesterday asking to meet with us at a church building because he's
ready to be baptized). So we called the YSA missionaries (our Zone
Leaders) to come to the lesson with him. I don't know how it went
because we did temporary exchanges with them. So Elder Florez and
Elder Lopez taught Victor and Elder Arriola and I went into the field
and worked! After that, we pulled over to a gas station to get some
shaving cream because I had zero left...

Saturday: today was awesome! We woke up at 5am (we've been waking up
at 5 for a while now...) for the correlation meetings and other
planning sessions. After that, we were invited to a community
breakfast outside and it was cold and the food was cold and basically
all gone. But that's okay, I got some juice and fruit and I was set :)
soooooo after that, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Elder
Rasband for a little bit during our Mission Meeting. What a powerful
man! He talked to us about repentance and progressing investigators.
One thing he told us is this (with a stern and serious voice): "Don't
you ever think that President Monson cannot fulfill his duties as the
President of the Church. Because he has fulfilled them, he is
fulfilling them, and he will continue to fulfill them... I have knelt
with him and I have heard him pray for the church and the people all
around the world. He loves you all." That really hit me because begin
here in Utah you hear members say crazy things. Some members were
saying, I wonder who's going to be the next prophet or I wonder what's
wrong with President Monson. What Elder Rasband says goes to all those
members perfectly. Anyways, after that's conference, we went and ate
some lunch and had a couple of lessons and got home really tired. Oh
and we had a lesson with Julio Sifuentes!!!! He is still golden!!!
Told us that he still wants to be baptized over here and wants to
attend this Ward!!! The downside of all of this....he's moving to
Provo with his new wife and family. We were like "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"
So we got in the car after that and prayed that there will be some way
that he can still be baptized in this Ward (Sharon Park). We felt
comforted that all will go well so we decided to go home and eat some
fruit loops to calm ourselves.

Sunday: we had another meeting super early in the Sharon Park stake.
We talked a lot about Julio Sifuentes and our other investigators. We
had referrals flood in and everything. Oh and I'm not sure if I told
you all but Mario Ramirez found a new house and moved into the
Suncrest Stake. And get this, he was receiving the missionary lessons
in that stake but wasn't ready. He moved around a little bit more,
found him in the Sharon Park Stake and was ready! And now, he's back
in the Suncrest Stake! Anyways it's super cool to see all this unfold
within a short period of time. So when our first sacrament meeting was
going on, Julio and his wife showed up! And then Mario came to us. I
was thinking he was coming to talk to me but he came and talked to
Julio!!! They know each other from work!!!!! Mario bore his testimony
to Julio and said that "you're in good hands, keep going, God is
cheering you on". Julio got up and hugged him. I was like wow this is
soooooo awesome! And during the sacrament, Julio leaned over to me and
whispered a question "can I be baptized next week?" I responded "of
course!" I love being a missionary. After that, we went to the other
sacrament meeting in Suncrest and it was packed like crazy.....for a
baby blessing but also loads of less actives that we've been trying to
get to come to church, showed up!!!!! So as church passed by, we had a
lesson with Angel Fortin! He said he still wants to be baptized. So we
talked to him a little bit more about all of it and he said it's
something he wants to do. I asked "Angel, why do you want to be
baptized"? He thought about it for a little bit and then responded
this "because I want to be with my family again and I know I need to
be baptized to go inside the temple so I can be married for forever
and help my dead family join the church." How powerful is that.
#poderoso sooo in two weeks, he'll be baptized. So after church, we
had a lesson with Luz Lopez. She officially moved out of Park City and
lives in Orem now. We taught her the restoration and she came out and
said I've prayed and I've read and I know these things are true. When
can I be baptized? Literally like that.... Like wow! It was nuts. We
discussed a couple days but we invited her to pray about a specific
date and to let us know on Wednesday (our next appointment). So later
on in the evening, we had a late snack with some drunk Mexicans. They
cooked us some taco type thing, it wasn't really good but it went
down. We talked to them about temples and our beliefs. We realized
they weren't "all there" so we decided this isn't using our time
wisely. Like the lady started laughing when we talked about Jesus
Christ. I was like oh yeah, you're drunk. And then we came home and
made calls for key indicators. Also, President called us and talked to
us about the situation about Julio Sifuentes. He gave us the
permission to teach him and baptize him :)

I really like how President Dieter F. Uchdorf put it in his talk "Lift
Where You Stand": "Individual recognition is rarely an indication of
the value of our service. We do not know the names, for example, of
any of the 2,000 sons of Helaman. As individuals, they are unnamed. As
a group, however, their name will always be remembered for honesty,
courage, and the willingness to serve. They accomplished together what
none of them could have accomplished alone." This can totally apply to
the vast number of missionaries around the world and also to the
members of the church. We personally don't know all of their names,
but we do know what they're doing, what they stand for, and who they
represent. As for the members all around the world, we also personally
don't know their names, but we do know that they were baptized by the
same authority, taught the same principles, and accepted the same
covenants. We (as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints) must put what President Uchdorf said Into practice. "They
accomplished together what none of them could have accomplished
alone". We must work together! We all may come from different
backgrounds and might be on different levels spiritually, but there is
one thing we all for sure have in common, and that is Our Purpose.
What is our purpose? Pray about it and let me know what you think next
week :)


Love,
Elder Ovalles