My first week in the Buena Vista Ward has been awesome. I don't even know where to start. My last couple days in Delano were good.......hard, but good. We said a lot of goodbyes on Monday night and it was a little sad, but I know that I was transferred for a reason. My new companion is Elder Swindler. He is from New Jersey and he goes home in five weeks. He has a great attitude and is really excited to go home. He arrives home the DAY before Thanksgiving, but he is working hard and is really focused. We are staying busy and his last transfer is going to fly by.
This District here is really awesome. It is all Spanish, so we do everything (district meeting, calls, etc.) in Spanish, which is pretty fun. Anyways, our District of six missionaries covers the entire Bakersfield South Stake. So our areas are huge! The only problem with this area is the size. It will take me a while to learn it. I'm used to smaller areas now like Delano and Lake LA, but I love it so far. The Ward is awesome and really involved. There are a ton of people investigating here. There is never any shortage of people to visit. I am used to sometimes not having a ton of people to visit, so we'd go out and knock for as long as it took to find someone new. It seems like here we have tons of people to visit and when we find ourselves with free time, a member gives us a referral. I love it.
I will try to name a few people I have met. I love the Malina family. Yesena and Marvin are living together, but not married. They remind me a lot of Mario and Yasira from Bakersfield 2nd. Just like them, the Malinas really want to be baptized and know they need to get married, but they are having relationship problems and need to fix those first. It was the same case with Mario and Yasira and they ended up getting married and baptized, so I have high hopes for the Malinas as well.
We also visited with Anthony. He is the nephew of a recent convert, Mario. Mario is a really great guy. He loves the church and the Gospel so much and shares it with everybody. It is really cool. We got a text from him the other day and he had us come over and talk with his neighbor. He has no shame about his beliefs and wants to share his happiness with everyone he can. His nephew, Anthony is 14 years old and almost as tall as me. He plays soccer and is a great kid. The missionaries met him last week and he already seems to be progressing really well.
We also found Luis. His parents are members of the church. They are recent converts and so we are going over and teaching Luis so that he can be baptized too. He is a pretty smart kid for being ten years old.
I'm really excited about all of the people we have met so far. I am amazed to see how many of these investigators have been found with help from the members. The members in this Ward really have a strong love for the Gospel and genuinely want to share it with others. We took out a man named Hermano Sanchez to a lesson. He is 76 years old and has a lot of energy. He loves going out with the missionaries. During a lesson he took out some pass along cards and gave our investigators pictures of Christ like it was Christmas and he was giving them the best gift in the world. (actually.......he was) It was really sweet. I've already learned a lot from the love and enthusiasm these people have for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes I think I take my opportunity to be a missionary for granted, but these members definitely do not. I am so happy I get to be here and probably finish my mission here. I already love this area and these good people.
I love you all and hope you are having a great fall. It is even cooling down a little bit in Bakersfield. I finally got to break out the sweater! hahaha Have a great week and take good care.
Elder Chad Thompson