I hope you are having a great week. Things have been crazy and a lot has happened so I will just jump right into it. So on Monday we finished saying our goodbyes. We said goodbye to Larry and Adrienne (they gave me a mug!), the Vasquez family (and their 10 dogs), and the Calvario family after our dinner with them. It was hard to say goodbye. I will miss all those great people. Tuesday was transfer meeting. It was so cool to see some missionaries I haven't seen in a while. I hadn't been to a transfer meeting in six months! It was really sad to see my two best friends in the mission, Elder Dee and Elder Martinez, go home. They are both great missionaries and it is weird seeing them go after all this time. My new companion is Elder Tapia. He is basically the same person as Elder Martinez, but with better English. His family is from Mexico, but he was raised in Utah. He is an amazing soccer player. He was practicing to play for Real Salt Lake and then he decided to go on a mission. He is really great at talking to people and just like most of my companions, he is getting ready to go home. I feel like the Grim Reaper of companions! All of my past companions have gone home, and in two months, he'll be home too. He is really funny and we have a blast together. He is another great missionary. Delano is just as I remembered it. It is very hot with tons of fields. This town is awesome though because it is full of Hispanic people. Almost every door we have knocked on has been Hispanic. It is awesome! And that totally makes up for the blistering heat. So this week we have done a lot of knocking. It has been a long time since this area has had a baptism in it. I was looking through the records and all of the baptisms that happened in the past five years have been through members. So, in the coming weeks and months we are going to be trying to work with the members as best we can. The ward doesn't seem to have a big focus on missionary work, but we are going to do our best to change that while we are here.
We saw our first little bit of success on Sunday. One of the members of the bishopric, Brother Gutierrez, came up to us and asked us if we could come to his house for dinner to meet his son in law. His son in law was taking the lessons about a year ago, but soon stopped. Well now a year later, he has said that he wants to meet with the missionaries. While Brother Gutierrez was explaining things to us, I remembered that I had met his son in law before. A year ago, while I was serving in Wasco, I went on exchanges and I was in McFarland for the day. Well that night we had a dinner appointment in Delano and it was at the Gutierrez's home. While there we met his son in law and we taught him his very first lesson. I think it's so cool that I am back in Delano and I get the chance to teach him again. It makes me sure that there is a reason I am back here in North Bakersfield. This week we also taught a man named Jose. He is solid and wants to be baptized, but he needs to get married to his girlfriend who he is now living with. He needs to get some legal stuff figured out in Mexico before that is possible so right now we are waiting for that and continuing to visit him. He is a nice guy and really funny. They really like to see Elders eat spicy food so they say they are going to have me eat some of their food soon and I am sure it will be super hot.
There was also a funeral in the ward this week for a little boy named David. He was only 6 years old and it sounds like he was a really sweet kid. It was a beautiful funeral, but very sad. It was sad to see such a small casket. He had been sick for a very long time and the family knew it was coming, but it was still really hard for them and especially for his twin brother. The ward has been taking them meals and they have a lot of support right now, but it's a really sad time for the family. My heart really went out to them. I am so grateful that they know they will see him again someday and that this separation is not forever.
This week we did a lot of knocking doors and talking to people. We didn't have a ton of success, but we did find the coolest less active member of the Church ever! Her name is Adriana and she joined the church ten years ago. She was only active for a little bit and then stopped coming. She has always really liked the Elders she has met and so she was really nice to us. As soon as we met her she started trying to feed us. We met her son and they are both really cool. She is a single mom and she does a great job at it. She is pretty strict with Adrian, but she also gives him a lot of freedom and is really nice. She reminds me a lot of my mom. Adrian is 14 and has never been to our church. We shared a message with them and it went really well. Tomorrow we have service with them and she is going to make us dinner. When she found out that we get to skype home on Mother's Day, she immediately offered to let us come over to use her computers so we can skype. She said we can call her mom since we are away from home for now. Haha, she is so sweet and we are so glad that we found them both.
Delano is hot and it's a bit difficult here finding people interested in what we have to share, but I am excited to be here. I miss Lake LA, but I know I am here for some reason. The other two Elders serving here in Delano are Elder Ackermann and Elder Brown. They are both cool guys. Ackermann goes home in 6 weeks and Brown has barely been out 6 months. Elder Brown is hilarious. He is from Ohio and is a huge Ohio State fan, so we immediately hit it off......Go Bucks!
I am doing well in Delano, life is good! I miss you all and I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day. I am excited to talk to my family on Sunday. I am so pumped to see them. Take good care.
Elder Chad Thompson