I hope you all are doing well. We got transfer calls last night and Elder Dee and I will be staying for at least another seven weeks here in Lake LA. That is what we figured would happen, since we are both new to the area. Our roommates, Elder Iguasnia and Elder Sawyer are both staying as well. I am excited, it's a fun four man pad and I didn't want it to change. The rest of the missionaries in the district are all leaving, except for Elder McKnight. I will miss them, but I am excited to meet the new district. Transfer calls are pretty cool now. They changed it so that from now on when we get our transfer calls, they tell us who our companion will be and where we are going. That will save a lot of time wondering and worrying about where we are going and who we will serve with. So we already know who is coming to the District and we are looking forward to an awesome seven weeks!
This week has been pretty interesting. Last Sunday in church they released the Branch President, Presidente Gonzalez. For those of you who don't know a Branch President is the leader of the congregation, kind of like a pastor. He has been the Branch President for over ten years, which is a really long time. It was a very difficult change for the members though. All of the members who regularly attend the church are fairly recent converts. Most of them learned about the Gospel here in Lake LA and only have a couple years as members of the church. So for them, Presidente Gonzalez has been there through it all and he has been a huge part of their conversion. They all really love him and were very upset. They don't understand that it was time for a change. So this entire week we have been visiting all of the members trying to help them with the transition. They are sad because not only is Presidente Gonzalez no longer going to be Branch President, but he is going to be attending a different Branch in Palmdale. A lot of the members we have visited are even considering moving and going to a different Branch. We were nervous about how many people would be at church at Sunday, but it turned out great. We have been working all week with the new Branch President and on Sunday we had the biggest turnout that we have had in the five weeks I've been here. It was awesome. Change can be a hard thing, but I think everything will be going smoothly soon. We will continue to help the new members with the transition.
We visited Alicia this week. She is going through a really difficult time. She lives alone with her sister who is mentally ill. She has been caring for her for her whole life and feels really alone, because she is under a lot of stress and has no help. She doesn't really know what her purpose is anymore. She was having a tough day when we went to visit. We both bore our testimony that we have a purpose here and even though we pass through difficult times, there is always someone we can turn to for help. She was grateful to be reminded that she is not alone. She seems to be at the perfect point in her life to accept Christ as her Savior and follow Him. She has a neighbor who she loves who is also a member of the church, so we will be bringing her to some appointments.
The rest of the week went well. It rained again on Friday! What kind of desert is this?! The good thing was that it rained all night and stopped in the morning, so we didn't get soaked again. Also on Saturday the ward and branch got together and had a Christmas party/dinner. It was fun. We got a picture with Santa. haha Well, I hope everyone is doing well and is ready for Christmas!
Elder Chad Thompson