Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week 1 in California

Hey People!!!! So I’ll start from Tuesday morning!!! (September 17th)

So we go to the bed Monday night all packed and stuff and totally ready to leave. We go to sleep and suddenly its 2:25 and the other guys in the casa are dressed and walking out the door. I'm not sure what happened but our alarm which was supposed to go off at 2 never went off. :( .   We get dressed and get out of the casa and over to the loading dock. We hang out for like 20 or so minutes and then we start loading up the buses. It’s about 3:15 when we pull out the front gate of the MTC. We are running late and the bus driver is like crazy on the empty roads. It was fun but also scary. We get to the airport and unload our stuff get into the airport and get to check-in.  I had to pay for my second piece of luggage and that was about $40. We get to the gate and everyone is calling or not (using the pay phones to call their mom’s) and I for some reason thought I’d have time in Dallas and so I didn't call. I'm really, really sorry mom :( We get on the flight and what do you know. I'm alone. I have 2 empty seats to my right. It was lame!!!!!!!!! So I just studied and stuff. It was a good flight. Pretty uneventful.

Dallas was rough - we landed and we got off the plane and realized we only had about 40 minutes to get from Terminal D to Terminal A.  Luckily the Church is awesome!!! and got us Express Connection passes. That sped the process up by a whole lot!!!! :) But we were like struggling to get to the gate and then we find out the airline changed gates and we had to sprint to the other side of the airport. We got to the gate 5 minutes before takeoff.  When we boarded we could tell nobody was very happy about that. There was one other guy in my row. But he pulled out a laptop and put headphones in so I didn't talk to him either. It was nice to see all the signs and ads in English though!

When we got to Ontario (California) our group of about 20 split into 3 groups with only 5 of us going to Redlands. We said goodbye to our friends going to other missions and drove to the stake center1 across from the Redlands Temple. We hung out and had Sub sandwiches for lunch. They were pretty good. We had some training and we had short interviews with President Van Cott. Then we all went over to his house for dinner. We had Hawaiian Haystacks and they were really good!!! :)** Then we had a family home evening2 and were split up for the night. Elder Moore and I stayed with the AP's3 who dropped us off at their apartment before they went to get ready for transfers4 and they didn't get back until Midnight!!!! Then we all got up at 5!! They are crazy!! But they are awesome. It’s obvious they love working :)
 On Wednesday morning, we went back to the Van Cott’s and we were chilling and they made us waffles for breakfast!!! They were sooo good!!! I ate like 4 of them in like 15 mins!!! I love waffles!!! ^.^

We then went over to the mission office and there we received some training and we got our Trainers5.

My Trainer is Elder Cebreros. It’s almost like the hat, or if you say February in Spanish and just change the letters. I don’t know…. He's a cool guy. He was born in Mexico but moved here when he was two years old. He lives in Northern California. His mission call sent him down here and he didn't go to the MTC. He's been out for a year and 4 months now so he knows what he's doing.  He speaks crazy good Spanish but doesn’t know the grammar, so I am helping him with that! Oh and he is our district leader6.

Something cool is that Elder Cebreros and I are opening a new proselytizing area!!! We are opening the area of Coachella. It is 97% Latino and it’s in the middle of the Desert. We are the 4 companionship in the Thermal Spanish ward. That’s 8 missionaries in one ward7!!!! Crazy!!!

Being new there was no apartment for us soooo we are in a brand new apartment that has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a good main living/work area. The pictures are of the rooms we us.

We are the only ones there.  I think we'll be getting more elders at the end of the transfer Elder Cebreros doesn't. We had nothing in our apartment. No food, now cleaning supplies, nothing. So we had to go out and buy it. Luckily we have a car!!!

Which I am the driver of!!! Awwwwww yeeaahh. It’s some 2010 Corrolla. It runs alright. It’s weird I’m not used to every road being a 50mph road.

 We live kind of day to day right now because we had to buy towels and a shower curtain and rod, curtains, and detergent, and food. It’s been a hectic week. But we are surviving. 

Thank you sooooo much for sending my heavy blanket!!!!! I sleep so well at night!!! It’s awesome!!! ^.^!!!!

We don't have a cell phone and we don’t know anyone in our area so we had to go find a Best Buy and buy a GPS. It was weird that first day I'd smile at people and I’d get these weird looks back. At first I was confused and then I remembered that I’m wearing a white shirt and a tie and I have a name tag on my pocket. That was a rather depressing moment when I realized people were judging me because I’m a missionary. Huh. Oh well.

Um dinners have been fun. The members give the Zone Leaders8 food and we go to the church and eat. Because there are 8 of us and people don’t want to do like half and half splits9
We went to McD's our second Day for lunch and I had a McChicken and a McDouble**. They were pretty good :) We then went and bought some more stuff for our apartment and then went home to figure out how we want to proceed in our area. We also discovered the dollar store so we went back there today to get everything else we needed. Well anything we could think of that we needed.

Friday the 20th we did some studying and we worked on the area map. We put dots next to where everybody lives in the area. We got all the names into the GPS because we don’t know where stuff is. We had fried chicken for dinner with the other missionaries and then Elder Cebreros and I went to the Bishop’s10 house and met some ward members.

Spanish is..ugh. Sooo hard. I need to learn more and study harder because I don’t even understand the words they are saying most of the time. At the get together we had some Ceviche(or something) it’s a Mexican dish and its chopped vegetables and some meat or potatoes. It’s alright. Not my favorite. There were like 4 or 5 different kinds and some of it was hot. But I cleaned my plate.

On Sat we went out and started doing some member visits. We visited the 1st Counselor of the Thermal Ward Bishopric10. Him and his wife and kids are really cool and remind me a lot of the Schillings.  Just in what they do and say and act. We visited some other members. Most were not home. But we ran into a couple of less active memberss11. We don’t know who is less active and who isn't - the ward list isn't the most accurate either. But we are making it work. That night the 8 missionaries went to a family’s home for dinner. They live in a mobile home out on the outskirts of town. We had some very simple food but it was really good and they were happy to have us in their home and we were happy to be there.

Sunday was pretty sweet in a crazy, understanding very little, sort of way. We went to church early and found out we were invited to the choir. So we go and ummmmmmm. We kind of are the choir. All 8 missionaries sing and then 2 other brothers and 2 older sisters and 2 youth girls. Yeah we got 14. It’s fun. We all sing the melody in unison and yeah that’s it.  I wish there was a way to hype it up more. So that people would want to be in choir. Because i know there are people in the congregation that can sing they just need a reason too. Hmmmmmm.

Classes were good. Everything was in Spanish. But the Gospel Principles12 teacher is super animated and fun and even though I didn't understand everything I was able to get the idea of it and I even learned something I had not quite realized before about the plan of salvation13. So that was cool. We went to Familia de B_____ for lunch and a little lesson. We had Enchiladas, Rice, and Beans. And it was sooooooooooooooooo goood!!!!!!! Oh my gosh!!!** It was a little hot and everyone laughed at me when I told them at the end of the meal but I’ll get used to it. It was really good though :)

Today we went and visited some members and got rejected by some people and now I’m here emailing. So all in all its been a good week. We get up in the mornings and run to the church building and back it’s about a mile total but we are both out of shape so it’s good for us. Then we make eggs, pancakes and we just got bacon today so plus bacon for breakfast and then we do our studies. We pray in Spanish and we read Preach My Gospel14 in Spanish then we read a chapter or 2 from the Book of Mormon in Spanish. My reading is getting both faster and my pronunciation better.

We have 2 investigators15 and a referral16 for another that we are trying to contact. So the work is going along and we are doing what we can. We are obedient and we do whatever we can to serve. I'll hopefully have some better stories to tell next week!!! 

Write me some letters!!!! And I’ll write you back!!!

Love all yalls people out there,

Elder Zachary Gore 

**Note from Zach’s mom: Anyone who knows Zachary knows he is/was a pretty picky eater!  I made Hawaiian Haystacks a year or two ago and he wouldn’t even try them! As far as I know he only ate chicken nuggets from McDonalds and he didn’t like my enchiladas and wouldn’t try refried beans!  What a change!!! I have decided not to worry at all about the 13 pounds he lost in Mexico City - he is clearly going to gain them back!

Glossary of Terms
1- Stake Center – a large church meeting house.
2 - Family Home Evening - refers to one evening per week, usually Monday, that families are encouraged to spend together in study, prayer and other wholesome activities.
3 - AP’s – Assistants to the President – Two or more young men (missionaries) who assist the Mission President in varies duties and assignments.
4 - Transfers - Very few missionaries are assigned to the same area for the entire duration of their mission. Most missionaries will work in one area for a few (or sometimes several) months until the mission president assigns them to a new area.  The moving from one area to another happens on a specific day every 6 weeks, that is Transfer day, it Redlands it is on Wednesday’s. 
5 – Trainers – A missionary who is assigned to train a brand new missionary, like Zach.  
6- District leader - A district usually has two to four missionary companionship's. A district leader trains the missionaries, sees after their welfare, makes reports, proselyte together, and share successes.

7 – Ward – is a large congregation, usually 200 to 500 church members within an area.

8 – Zone Leaders – The missionaries are divided into zones, each led by one or more missionaries assigned as zone leaders. The zones may be geographically large or small depending on the mission. The number of missionaries in a zone also varies widely. The zones are divided into districts, each being led by a missionary assigned as a district leader.

9 – Half splits - divide the missionaries up or only feed ½ of them??

10 – Bishop & Bishopric – A ward is presided over by a bishop, the equivalent of a pastor in many other Christian denominations. As with all church leadership, the bishop is considered lay clergy and as such is not paid. Two counselors serve with the bishop to help with administrative and spiritual duties of the ward and to preside in the absence of the bishop. Together, these three men constitute the bishopric.
11- Members of the church who may not fully participate in  church activities on a regular basis.

12 – Gospel Principles teacher- The person who teaches a Sunday School class designed for new Church members and those who are learning about the Gospel

13 – Plan of Salvation – Our Heavenly Father sent us to earth to receive a body and to be tested. He gave to us the ability to choose for ourselves how we will live. One clear choice is whether we will follow Jesus Christ, our Savior. We know that we can find happiness in this life and have the chance to return and live with God and Jesus Christ, and our families, forever.

14- Preach My Gospel – A manual designed to help missionaries study the gospel and plan effective missionary activities.

15 – Investigator – Someone who is actively meeting with missionaries. They are ‘investigating’.

16 – Referral – when a Church member refers a friend or acquaintance to the missionaries to share a message

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