Well, this has been an interesting, but pretty good week. I've forgotten what it was like to move areas and have to deal with not knowing anything or anyone. But Elder Teran is very capable and I've been able to make it a smooth, relatively stress-free transition so far because of him. I think Elder Teran and I will be able to work together well, and our goal is to get this area going like it should be. It should be an area that is on fire, and it has been a little slower than it should be the last transfer, for a some reasons (issues with previous companion...). But it's a new transfer and Elder Teran and I are very excited to be here together and to work this area back to where it should be. It's really nice to be back in a branch again. I loved being in Vacaville, and I loved the group there, and it's members, but it is nice to have enough Spanish members (and population) to be able to just work with and be with Spanish people all the time. All in all I'm very excited to be here in Napa, with Elder Teran. It's a beautiful part of the country and in some parts (not where I am, but more out in the country) it kind-of reminds me of Georgia. It has quite a bit of trees and greenery all about it. Also, I am indeed on bike, and except for the cold, I've been loving it! I really do enjoy being a missionary on a bike, and just riding a bike in general a lot. I just need to get a few things today so that I can stay sufficiently warm... I've been fine though :) Or else I wouldn't be writing y'all right now :). Anyways, I'm really excited, I want to work hard and become better at many things while I'm here. It's a great opportunity to change, being in a new area with a new companion, and I want to take advantage of that opportunity.
We were able to have a lesson with an investigator named Ruben who is fairly new; I think this week was his second lesson. We taught him the rest of the Restoration, and invited him to be baptized on January 11 but he said that he felt like he needed to learn more, and study more before committing to that, even as just a "goal". We had a lesson as well with a recent convert, Lupe Garza, and she's AWESOME!! She is such a solid member, even though she's only been a member for a few months. It probably helps that she lives with some strong members as well, but she is so strong in her testimony, and in her knowledge and she is super willing to help the missionaries out with whatever she can. We also have been instructed that we should teach at least one lesson a day, so if we don't have any scheduled with investigators or less-actives we should teach members. We kind-of inadvertently did that yesterday, we went to teach Lupe, but she wasn't there, so we just stayed and taught the Lozano family (the active family she lives with). We taught them the Plan of Salvation and it ended up that the wife had some questions about her kids, that aren't members, and about what will happen with them in the Spirit World and things like that. While we weren't able to answer her questions directly, mostly because we don't know those kinds of answers, we were able to give comfort to her that Heavenly Father loves them (their kids) as much as they do, and that He will give them the opportunity to accept the Gospel, whether it's in this life or the next. It really helped me to realize what a great comfort this Gospel really is to us, and it strengthened my testimony that the Plan of Salvation really is a Plan of Happiness. We will all have the chance to choose to accept the Gospel and what it brings into our lives and to live in peace and happiness with our Father in Heaven and with our families if we so choose.
I love y'all and hope y'all are having a wonderful Christmas season!! OH!! I almost forgot. One of the English wards had an amazing activity called A Night in Bethlehem. It was SUPER good. It was open to the community and had a "market" area, where members of the ward dressed up and were "selling goods" (like soup, hot cider, and kettle corn for example) for "shekels" (I think they were pennys given out when people "registered" for their "taxes"). They also had some beggar and leppers wandering around, and had some Roman Soldiers that announced things and "kept the peace" (played around and yelled "off with your head" at people haha). They had an area with animals, like donkeys, chickens, and goats for kids to go see and pet. Then they went and had a Nativity reenactment. It was AMAZING!! They even had a cherry lift to lift the Angel up in the air above the sheperds. When the Angel said "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people..." My heart was filled with the Spirit testifying to me that Christ indeed was born in Bethlehem, and that He indeed is my Savior, your Savior, our Savior. And what "good tidings of great joy" that is that should be reason for "all people" to rejoice. I love Christmas!!! And I love Christ!!!