Elder Carlos Samuel Gomez

Elder Carlos Samuel Gomez

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Day SKYPE

Kind members bearing gifts for my boy!

Second Christmas in Argentina! It was great. We had a really good time. On Christmas morning we opened up presents and got ready for church. Just about 10 minutes before heading out to the church it started dumping rain super hard. We ran to crazies and made it to the building just soaked. When we stepped little bubbles would come out of the sides of our shoes, haha. There were only 25 members that went. When we had sacrament meeting the Spirit was super strong. I could feel the faith of all of the members that had gotten soaked but made it to take the sacrament.

We got a huge suprise after the ward dinner. We got to our house and a member had bought us a huge box of food and soda for Christmas dinner, and that night another family brought us pulled pork and we had a mighty feast :) I was blown away by the kindness of the members!!! We also had a service with the whole zone and President Zanni. We made cookies and took them to an old folks home and sang carols for them. There was a great Christmas spirit.

Our district did a gift exchange and I got some great presents! Elder Beutler gave me a yo-yo and a new watch, Elder Hanson gave me a personalized *mate. (*That is a Spanish word pronounced like mahtay, not mate in English, haha :) ) It is a kind of cup that they drink water out of. Anyways, he drew the Slytherin crest on the side, a little Utah map with Lakepoint pointed out and my name. It was sweet! Elder Buckholz played a joke and gave me an airplane neck pillow. I still have seven months left, but they still tease me and say I´m dying. ç
We were very blessed to find a few new families to teach these past couple weeks! I´m stoked. There are a bunch of new investigators and a few of them are very interested. We`ve got them reading and praying. Recently two of our investigators with baptismal dates moved, so we´re trying to track them down and keep teaching. I´ll let you all know how it goes.
I really enjoyed talking to the family on Sunday. Levi is huge and sounds like a man now! That was weird. I love you all a ton and hope you had a very merry Christmas. Ciao!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Calvinball and new progress

This week was great for Arroyo Seco A. On divisions another elder showed me a cool way to organize all of my contacts, old investigators, and members and see everything at once. I spent some time with him making maps and lists and pins. It has been really helping to make planning more efficient, and we are finding more less active families that usual. The other day we explored one of the towns that make up our area. We had the name of an inactive family and the name of the town, but no address. That happens a lot on the lists here. We asked around a few businesses and the guy selling vegetables happened to be their neighbor! We miraculously found their house and it turned out that they were baptized 30 years ago and moved to a different part of town, stopped going to church, and never received a visit again. We were the first Mormons that they had seen in over 25 years. It was crazy. We taught them the first lesson and on of the brothers had not been baptized when he was little so we set an appointment and now we have a new investigator :) What a miracle! We were also looking around for other old investigators there and we found one that seems to be interested. We're pumped!
Another event was the branch temple trip to Buenos Aires. Of the 56 that attended church the week before, 56 went to the temple!!!!! It was amazing. Even our investigator Noel went and she loved it! We`re going to have baptisms soon with her and her neighbor Alan, but we're going to see how things work out because transfers are coming on next Monday. I can`t believe how much faster every transfer goes by! I only have five left now!!!! That scares me out of my whits. 
Some good news are that now that I'm in a branch with two more elders we wake up earlier to exercise together. This week we played soccer, basketball, monkey in the middle (on a skateboard half pipe), and calvinball (if you have read Calvin and Hobbes you`ll understand). It`s been a blast and we are getting a better workout too :) 
I was on divisions the other day and we had a powerful lesson with the Narducci family. They are less active and basically it's the dad that is holding them all back. We talked to him about his responsibility as the father and told him that he was not doing his job to help his kids go to the Celestial Kingdom. He said he is going to quit smoking!!! We also taught a new convert that said that she doesn`t want anything to do with the church because her husband showed her antimormon junk on the internet. We testified and invited her to remember the Spirit that she felt and come back. My companion shared a powerful testimony! I love the Gospel. The Church is true. Have a great week, Ciaò! 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Nativity, Transmission, Fishing

Well, this week has been fun and different! It started on Monday when we went fishing with the Ward Mission Leader. I was fighting to get the worms on the hook and to learn to cast more than 10 feet, haha. With practice and a lot of patience from Hermano Labat I got it down finally. My companion caught a little fish. It fell off the hook onto the beach and when he grabbed it it flailed and made it back into the river. It was hilarious! It caught one too, but it was about the size of my pinkie. Elder Beutler thought it was really funny. 

We had some great service opportunities this week! The best was to help a contact with his car. Elder Beutler is a farm mechanic. We took some tools and took out the transmission for a guy on Friday. I was passing him ratchets and wrenches and I remembered the good old days helping Dad. At the end I got under the car to help him lower the transmission, so I got to get some grease on my hands and feel useful, haha. We are going to go back to fix the part and put it back in this week! 

The Best part of the week was the branch primary nativity. They asked us for help, and I ended up as the Angel Gabriel. I had this huge white robe that was a little transparent and my baptismal clothes underneath. The branch members thought it was cool until my companion picked up the back part and made it look like the train from a wedding dress. They all laughed and took lots of pictures. We also sang in the nativity. We were excited because a less active member went and took her granddaughter that isn't a member. We had previously given her a BOM and couldn't find her after, so we were happy to see her there at the church. We invited her to church on Sunday and found out that her dad is good friends with a recent convert named Dario. *Cha Ching* We have a new family and a member friend! I'm super excited for this week and because Christmas is almost here! The high today is going to be 105 and humid. Enjoy the snow! I love you guys. The Church is true. Read the Book of Mormon. Every week I say the same thing because it is SO important. Read the Book of Mormon. Have a great week, and follow the daily Christmas videos on Mormon.org. Have a great week! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Lluminando el Mundo

This week we´ve been ¨Iluminando el Mundo¨, or lighting the world with the Church´s new Christmas initiative. It is a cool card that leads to Mormon.org and the new Christmas video. It is fun to contact in a new way! We have been getting creative with the way we contact. The other day we saw a family outside and the little kids were jumping rope. I got excited and jumped in and started jumping with them and then after we talked with them about mormon.org. It was a ton of fun. That same day we walked up to a house and we crossed a little ditch where the family there was going to put a gate. They didn´t answer. We were walking back out when a really loud alarm went off! We just walked it off, haha. We could still here the alarm as we were contacting like 5 blocks away! 

Every Sunday morning before church we go to wake up a less active member that wants to go on a mission. The first two Sundays we went and woke him up, but as soon as we left he fell asleep again. Yesterday we went with less faith than we should have had, and no one answered the door. Later as church was starting he walked in with a good looking suit and sat down next to the Branch President. I was super excited! It turns out he was in the shower when we passed by and couldn´t go to the door. No matter how many times things don´t work out, NEVER lose the faith that they eventually will! That is especially important when it comes to our own faults and failures. Be patient with yourself. 

We had interviews with President Zanni this week, and like usual I could feel him staring into my soul, haha. We talked about goals and he challenged me to work harder to make personal goals and do everything possible to reach them. This is a quote from M. Russell Ballard that helped me a lot to understand personal goals:  am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in or life and learn how to master the technique of living to reach our goals, we can reach ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but small part of our full 

Sorry the text is so big. I guess the Lords wants you all to see it better :) This week I´m going to be setting and reaching lots of goals! Have a great week, and remember that the Lord lives. He loves us. Jesus is the Christ. The Book of Mormon is true. If you haven´t asked God in prayer specifically to know if the Book of Mormon is true, please do it tonight! It is the best decision you can make. I love you a lot!
-Elder Gomez

Pictures - 
This is Pablo (far left) the week after I left Baigorria. He got baptized!!! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas spirit

Let´s see where do I begin? This week has been great! Well, it has been tough too. Remember Noel? She was doing great, was reading the BoM, and was excited to be baptized on the 10th. We sent the branch missionaries to walk with her to church and when they got there Noel was nowhere to be found. It turns out that she moved to her mom´s house because of a problem between her parents. It was sad, but as soon as we find out her new address we are gong to send more missionaries and she will still get baptized :) 

This transfer we have been having much success, and I have been excited. Our branch has a baptismal goal of 8, and we were on track for our half. I was feeling great, and I think prideful as well. I forgot that it is the Lord that has the power to convert a heart. Yesterday Noel moved, a family told us that they were never going to be baptized, and we found out that a couple didn`t tell us the truth about their marital status, so they can´t be baptized before the end of the year. I believe that it was the Father´s form of teaching me humility. Now I´m trying to focus more on others and less on myself, and to recognize God´s power in all of the success that I have seen. 

Elder Beutler and I are super excited about the new Christmas initiative that the Church put out for December! You all need to go to mormon.org and watch the Christmas video. I love it. I´ve been thinking a lot lately about how Christ is the Light of the World. He is definitely the light of my life. I can´t explain how important he is in my life. He is everything for us. As Christmas comes, do your best to come to Him. I can´t think of anything more important to share. The rest of Christmas is not as important. I am here in Argentina in the summer heat without the usual Christmas trees and gifts, etc, but I feel even more excited about Christmas this year than ever before! The Gospel is just great. I love what President Uchtdorf said in the very first talk of the last General Conference. He said that us members of the Church are walking on a path of diamonds, and sometimes we see it as a path of common pebbles. Be grateful for the blessing of having the Gospel in your lives. Most people do not have that blessing! I love you guys. Set up your Christmas trees!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Arroyo Seco

So I´m here in Arroyo Seco now. It is great! I do miss Baigorria, especially because of Pablo, but I just got word that he was baptized and he is doing great :) I am super excited here because the members are working a ton. The branch president is helping us out a lot to get the leaders excited and focused in on missionary work. The branch has the goal of 8 baptisms before the end of the year. President Ruiz (branch president) keeps on saying that we are going to have a ¨White Christmas¨ I love it! There is a sister named Noel that was investigating with the other elders and when we met her she said that she knows that the church is true. She accepted the baptismal invitation and now she is going to get baptized on December 10th!!! She went to church yesterday with her dad. We are psyched for her, and we are going to have two lessons this week with the branch missionaries. 

The branch missionaries are two young women that are planning to go on missions and they are on fire. They do two or three family home evenings with less active members every week and help us in whatever we ask. Right now they are helping us with Julieta, who is the daughter of a less active brother. Neither she or her mom are members. She is a typical 16 year-old, so it is hard to get her excited about church and the Gospel. We asked the branch missionaries to talk to her and invite her to take the baptismal lessons, so we´ll see how that goes. 

We also have a great ward mission leader. His name is Antonio Labat. He´s 29 and lives with his parents. He reactivated about a month ago, so we are also working on retention with him. He is helping us teach Kevin, who is a 19 year-old less active member that wants to go on a mission. He is finishing up his papers right now. The only problem is that he doesn´t go to church... *sound of frustration*! We woke him up on Sunday and he said he´d be there but when we left he just went back to sleep... We´ll take cold water next week. There are also little towns surrounding my area and the members gave us a ton of referrals of their relatives and friends that live there. We are going to meet them on Wednesday with the ward mission leader.

 My new companion is named Elder Beutler. He is a potato farmer from Idaho and is in to cars, dirt bikes, scout camps, boating, mountains, potato guns (haha), and dutch oven food. We get along well. He also cooks well, which is always a bonus. He is also nuts in a good way. We do crazy things. He is a good guy, so I know that we´re going to have lots of success and a ¨White Christmas¨! 

This week I finished the Book of Mormon and I can honestly say that I know that it´s true. It is a wonderful book and it changed my life. Read it every day! That is seriously the best advice I could give anyone. I love you guys. Be nice and watch the Church´s Christmas video that will come out on the 25th of November on mormon.org. Have a great week!
-Elder Gomez

Picture: The last lunch with Elder Gutierrez :( It was an amazing Argentine food called matambre a la pizza :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Transfers! saying goodbye to his friends in Baigorria

Transfers came and went. I left Baigorria and now I'm in Arroyo Seco, a small town about an hour from Rosario. My companion is named Elder Beutler and is in one of the pictures that I sent. Leaving Baigorria was super hard, especially because Pablo is finally going to be baptized this Saturday and I won't be there. I think that the Lord is trying to teach me to be humble. Please keep praying for Pablo so that he can make it to his baptism! I attached a bunch of pictures that I took with families from Baigorria. Pablo is in the picture of me on the bed. My companion bought hats for us to remember each other, and so we walked the streets in style for the last week.

This morning I woke up and started the daily routine of excercise, breakfast, studies, more studies etc, and I realized that I am truly happy I felt it as I was in the apartment. I am really happy! It feels good to be able to say that :) I know that it is a the Love of God that makes me feel this way. Only He can make us happy. I was getting to know the members yesterday and I was honestly nervous. What were they going to think of me? Will they listen to me? Am I talking to much? (Usually I do haha) I realized that it was pride that made me feel like that. I want the members and investigators to be able to trust me so that we can teach them, but I realized that I just need to be genuine and trust in the Spirit. That has always been tough for me. Honestly, I am awkward when I get to know a new investigator and it is tough to develop a trust with them. I've been thinking of something that Katelyn sent a week or two ago. She sent this:

What Satan wants us to think: Me+More=Christ
What Christ wants us to think: Me+Christ=More

Amen! It was just what I needed. All I need to do is trust in Christ, and the Spirit will put the words in my mouth. I hope that you all think about how you view yourselves. Ether 12:27talks about our weaknesses, and it says that we have weaknesses so that we can be humble. If we are humble and trust in God, He can make those weak things strong. I know it is true. I love you guys, have a great week!
-Elder Gomez
P.S.Word on the street here is that Donald Trump is my new president. Is it true? Who did you guys vote for? The people here hate Trump with all of their hearts. I love you!

Monday, October 31, 2016

The magic of hymns

This week Pablo has been doing a lot better. He had an operation on Thursday and is recovering right now. Hopefully he´ll be able to make it out of the hospital! He is a trooper. 
One of the big events of the week was one of the sister missionaries´ baptisms. His name is Daniel Bravo. He is a great guy. After his baptism on Saturday we found out that his brother in law had passed away from cancer. On Sunday he was going to be confirmed and he wasn´t showing up to church. We called and called and the sisters finally got ahold of him and found out that he was at the funeral. He made it just in time for sacrament meeting and was confirmed. It was a great moment! 
A fun event happened while we were walking towards an appointment. We heard guitar and Mexican style singing and it turned out to be a family sitting on their roof and singing. We stopped and contacted them, and my companion told them that I was a famous singer in Utah and that we had to go back another day so I could sing hymns for them. They got suprisingly excited and now they´re going to be waiting for me on Wednesday.... That´s going to be interesting :) 
We have been singing hymns in every lesson lately. The hymns bring the Spirit quickly and teach a lot of doctrines of the Gospel. I´m grateful for the hymns. We have been finding more people to teach by singing as well. Yesterday we met a couple that had lots of good questions. The girlfriend is named Vanessa. We presented the Book of Mormon and she asked about who wrote it, where they were from, what it contained, and who was Joseph Smith. We gave her a pamphlet about the Restoration and she immediately started reading in front of us and looked super interested. The truth has power! We wanted to teach more to Vanessa, but her boyfriend although friendly was also a little drunk so we set a date to go back when he isn´t intoxicated so he can feel the Spirit. The Church is true! I love this work. Look for missionary work opportunities! I love you.
-Elder Gomez

November 7, 2016
Pablo! We are way excited for him. We have been preparing him for baptism ever since he left the hospital and he accepted a baptismal date for November 19th! He is super excited and is reading and praying every day. He went to church yesterday and felt wonderful. It was fast sunday, and his sister (who is a member) gave a great testimony about faith and told a little bit of the story of how Pablo miraculously survived the heart attack even though he has 90% percent of his arteries completely blocked. It was powerful. Today we pushed him in his wheel-chair to the hospital to do some things and we were talking a lot. He is way excited and very converted. Wahooo! We have a lesson with him tonight and we are going to take a member.
We had a wicked zone conference this week. President and Sister Zanni talked about how to help people increase their faith and repent of their sins. It was the last zone conference of 4 missionaries in the zone, including Sister Cabrera who has been in my district for 3 transfers. They all shared really cool testimonies. I felt the Spirit a lot. I also liked a story that Sister Zanni told us. About 11 months back she challenged all of us to fill out a pamphlet called My Family that is about geneaology. Since we have zero time left over to do family history she said we had to ask our parents for pictures, info, stories, etc. One missionary had a mom that wasn´t a member and asked her to look for the missionaries and ask them to help her do family history. She got baptized!!! I had a really cool feeling when I heard the story. 
The last big event this week was a baptismal interview that I did on Saturday for the Beltrán sisters. His name is Jorge, and we had a long interview. I was waiting for the Spirit to tell me if he was ready or not, and it wasn´t until we had prayed for 30 minutes and talked for almost 2 hours that I felt the Spirit tell me clearly that he was ready. He felt the Spirit as well and asked if I could baptize him. It was special. The poor sisters had been waiting and probably biting their nails like crazy, but were happy to see that he passed. I believe that baptism is extremely important, and so I feel that I must receive a clear confirmation before passing an investigator in an interview. I had never had to wait so long for that feeling, but I felt wonderful to know that if we are patient and keep holy such sacred things, the Lord will respond. I love you guys! 
-Elder Gomez

Email and pictures from a sweet sister in Argentina

Querida hermana Nancy
ayer le envie fotos de su hijo, perdón que lo envié sin texto, ni saludos.
El es muy bueno, muy educado siempre, muy feliz y dispuesto a trabajar duro en la obra del Señor. Deben estar felices por ello.
Se lleva muy bien con su compañero, que tambien es un joven de oro. Siempre es un placer tenerlos en casa. Aqui en las fotos comiendo su comida favorita (dijo él) ravioles con salsa y carne.. y postre de frutillas.
Les envió mis cariños
Hna Nora