Thursday, April 14, 2011


From Derek's letter on April 13, 2011
"Elder Shinost and I are staying in Langley Park! Which is really good, it'll be good to have a normal companionship, especially since I already know how to work with Elder Shinost, and we have caught the vision for this area. I was really glad I wasn't transferred, because I feel like God has something specific for me to do this transfer, now I've just got to figure out what it is and do it. It'll be sweet! :)"

"Well, this week was a pretty cool week, a little weird though because unfortunately we didn't get to work too much. Since Elder Castillo is leaving the members here threw a little party, and invited us to eat a ton of times! We had back to back dinners one night because we didn't know another member had scheduled us to eat with them, and we also had another appointment, that night I literally gained 5 pounds... Yeah, it was super disgusting and I felt gross for like a day and a half afterwards, haha but members literally do not take no for an answer, like you tell them no and they come out with another plate expecting you to eat it all."

"But some super cool things did still happen, first the baptism! Unfortunately I forgot my camera so I don't have any pictures of it, I'll have to wait until we can print them off from Elder Shinost's camera, but it was way cool. Elder Castillo baptized her, and the spirit was really strong. That day the ward had 6 baptisms! The coolest part for me was realizing just a little bit how much [this young girls] life will change now that she's a member of the church. Even though we didn't have the opportunity to see her change much while we were teaching her, since she's so young, it's really amazing to think of the difference her life can take now. Now she has a support group in the ward, and the Holy Ghost that will help her to avoid all the horrible stuff that happens here. There are so many pregnant fifteen year olds, the smell of pot is in just about every apartment building, and weird stuff happens on the street every day. It's super sad, a lot of these kids just have no chance, but thankfully, the gospel gives them that chance. It made me extremely grateful to have the gospel, and to see her have the same opportunities, the same possibility of having an eternal marriage and family, it truly is a miracle."

Then this week we also taught [the family] who I think we've mentioned before. [The Father is] ... a fairly well off man. Yet he's still humble, and extremely religious. This week we had an incredible lesson with him. We taught him about Lehi's dream and pointed out the vision or goal that we have for him and his family, or better said, that God has for him and his family. We talked about the importance of scripture and prayer, baptism and the holy ghost, all as prepatory to receiving eternal life. He and his wife caught the vision, and at the end they committed to be baptized.... The spirit was really strong, and [the father] even bore testimony to us of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of the Church. It's incredible because we have really done nothing to deserve having such a prepared investigator. But prepared they are, and God has given us the blessing of helping to bring them into his Church. It was really cool to feel so clearly of God's love for these people and of his intense desire to have them have an eternal family. It was incredible, and needless to say made us all very happy! :)"

"[These] pictures probably look interesting, they're district pictures in a church tower. And please don't freak out mom! :) It wasn't dangerous or anything, as safe as window washing, probably safer actually.

We volunteered at a race [the Azalea Classic 5k run University Park, Maryland] and this is the picture. Haha I really wanted to run!

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