Elder Carlos Samuel Gomez

Elder Carlos Samuel Gomez

Monday, April 24, 2017

First generation church

What a great Sunday! This week was just wonderful. We were a little nervous after Florencia´s baptism because there weren´t any promising investigators. We started looking harder than ever and began to teach Elias. He is a 15 year-old that my companion had stopped teaching because he didn´t want to progress. We checked up on him and he said that he wants to return and he went to church yesterday! He was super nervous and didn´t want to go because he didn´t know anyone. We were there in his house and we stood up and walked to the home of a young man in the branch so that he could meet him, and we arranged to walk with the two of them to church in the morning. We had to wake them both up in the morning, but we got them moving and they made it. It turned out that Elias already knew almost all of the youth from school, and he mixed in surprisingly well. He LOVED it. I was getting giddy watching it all. He´s going to be baptized in May!!

Before we looked for Elias we woke up another investigator that is named Belén. She´s 18, and is the best friend of Florencia, the girl that was baptized 2 or 3 weeks ago! Florencia was sick so she couldn´t go with her, but Belén was brave and got ready to go on her own. While we were waiting outside her house for her to get ready a neighborhood dog must have thought I looked like a fire hydrant because the next thing I knew my companion was cracking up and pointing at the dog doing its buisness on my leg. Satan attacks in many ways folks! We got her to church though, and President Sanchez´ daughters did a great job of fellowshipping her. The youth are thriving here in the 3rd Branch! They are all getting to be better friends and they are inviting friends. There were 16 youth at church this week and 5 of them were investigators. The whole branch got excited. It was a miracle!

Speaking of miracles, Elder Larsen and I have been reading a few chapters from the History of the Church and we were astounded by the faithfullness of the early Saints. We realized that all of them were converts and that the only way that they could run the church was through revelation. We thought about the 3rd Branch and we realized that of the 80 wonderful active members in the branch, all but one of them are converts to the Gospel. The wife of the Branch president is the only member that was born in the covenant in the congregation. We thought for a moment and any feeling of judgement or complaint that we had towards the way the members fulfill their callings melted away. We were filled with a profound respect and love for our stalwart, faithfull members. When I think about their children and their grandchildren, I know they´ll tell stories about the early Saints of Venado Tuerto. What a miracle! The church is true. I´m sorry that the funniest story I had was the lame one of the dog peeing on my leg but that´s all I got friends. I love you guys. Have a great week!
-Elder Gomez

Monday, April 17, 2017

FLORENCIA, Sick Week, Miracle Divisions

I´m going to start with the sick week so that this letter can get better as you read :) This week we were blessed to see Florencia get baptized. Unfortunately the night before we all ate a bad stew in a member´s home and we were in bed sick the next day. I made it to the baptism but I couldn´t watch it because I was feeling awful. That didn´t stop the Spirit from touching my heart :) It has been rewarding to see Florencia´s change over the last few weeks as she has began to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and attend church. She is very special. The branch is doing a great job of welcoming her and being her friends. Despite our stomach problems all of us elders walked home with big smiles. Easter Sunday was probably the very best of my life! Florencia was confirmed and both Matias and Nico (Recent converts from March) received
the Aaronic Priesthood. It was a joyous day!
On Friday we had divisions with the other elders in our branch. I was with Elder Cranney, and like always we saw miracles. For the first time in my mission every house that we contacted invited us in to talk! I couldn´t believe it! Our first lesson was with the less-active Loza family. The oldest daughter, Daiana, just barely returned from her mission in Mexico (¡Olé!) and is working hard to activate her family. While she was in Mexico her mother fell away and became Muslim. You can probably imagine how difficult this lesson was. We testified of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the woman repeatedly refused to accept that Jesus suffered for her sins. Daiana left the room crying and we invited her to ask God if Jesus is the Son of God. She accepted the commitment to pray. Please pray for the Loza family. Later we met a bunch of new investigators and the last lesson of the day was with an active member that invited his neighbor to a FHE in his home. What a missionary! We met Ivan. He is a great guy and had lots of questions about what makes us different from other churches. We taught him that there are living prophets and apostles and he looked startled and asked "Seriously"?! 
We gave him a Book of Mormon and the Conference Report Ensign to read. He opened up and began to read President Monson´s talk in the middle of the lesson. What a great investigator!
Another fun event was a morning birthday breakfast! The Yufra family invited us over and we made chocolate chip pancakes with delicious jam and dulce de leche. In Argentina there´s a tradition of throwing flour all over the birthday boy and my companion happily did so :) It was a blast! So that´s the wonderful week that´s happened here in Argentina. Have a great week!
-Elder Gomez

Monday, April 10, 2017

Wet and Muddy, FLORENCIA, Light Bulbs

How many missionaries does it take to screw in a light bulb? It looks like only two, but it will take a couple of hours, a bunk bed, and a lot of hymn singing. We´re getting ready to move here soon and Elder Larsen and I are trying to get the new house ship shape so we can move the day that we get the power activated. On Monday we learned to install lamp holders (the piece of plastic that you screw the light bulb into). We were fighting trying to wrap the wires perfectly around little screws  and stripping wires high above our heads. After we had fought for a couple of hours and managed to get 3 of the 5 done, we ate lunch with a member and he taught us a way to finish it off in 30 seconds. I almost spat the stew all over the table when I saw it. We finished the other two off quick :)

Something less frustrating and much more rewarding has been teaching Florecia Ludueña. She is progressing a ton! On Saturday she passed her baptismal interview and yesterday she went to church. She´s on fire. We also saw a mini miracle as Sacrament Meeting was starting. Remember Belén the 21 year-old that was baptized in February? She was sitting alone as the meeting started because there isn´t anyone her age in the ward practically and a 15 year-old young woman who was sitting with two other less active members took notice. She moved the whole party over to Belén and the four of them enjoyed the meeting together. Even though it seemed small, I know that it met all the difference for Belén and I felt so happy to see the youth take charge like that. 

This week has been really foggy, rainy and muddy and it has been fun to jump ditches and puddles. It´s also a little easier to teach families because we knock on the door and they open and exclaim: It´s raining! What are you crazies doing?! We smile and say: We teach about Jesus and we´re very wet. Can we come in? Sometimes they say yes! :) We have been finding lots of new investigators. Some have had great problems in their lives and really need the Gospel. Others just need it and are interested right off the bat. The new Easter videos are helping loads as well. I´m so happy that the Church has such inspired resources like mormon.org and lds.org! They are fantastic!
Well have a great week folks. If the sun is shining, enjoy it. I love you!
-Elder Gomez

Monday, April 3, 2017

Conference, Claudio, Junior

Quite a week! Things were a little crazy toward the end. Conference was the best as usual. Another elder made a funny observation yesterday. He said: "General Conference is like the Super Bowl for missionaries"! It´s so true. I´m going to have to review my notes because there were so many great talks that it´s hard to remember everything. I did really like the talks from President Nelson in the first session and the talks from Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf in the priesthood session. Satan launched his mighty winds, shafts in the whirlwind and his hail and mighty storm. The streets filled up to the curb with rainwater and we lost satelite signal. We changed to wifi and kept watching and that worked for a while until the power went out. We wouldn´t have it, so we got all the missionaries and sang hymns until the members joined in and within a few minuted the power came back on and shortly after the satelite signal as well. Due to the storm Claudio couldn´t make it to conference. No worries, we´re going to watch some talks with him another day. He went to a branch family home evening on Thursday and felt the Spirit in high voltage from all of the members. He is super excited and wants to be baptized. We were planning to set a baptismal date with him yesterday, but in the middle of the lesson he had to go quickly so we´re going to have to wait. The good news is that Nico´s two friends Ulysses and Agustin were there as well and out of nowhere Ulysses told us that he had prayed to know if the Church was true and felt the answer! It was another one of those moments when someone gets big news and spits out whatever was in their mouth, haha! Now both he and Agustín have baptismal dates on April 29th. 

Junior is a new convert that moved to our area a few weeks ago. He´s ten and is the only member of his family. He has a rough, rough environment in his home. He lives about 40 minutes away from everything as well, so we were thrilled to find him on the second try on Saturday morning! He convinced his mom to let him go to conference and loved it. We are excited to start working with him because he is already inviting his new neighbors to church :) All in all, it was an awesome week! The investigators are progressing and that means everything. Have a great week!
-Elder Gomez

I can´t lie, the great Mexican Feast always calls me when conference time comes around :) The family is looking great! Levi is looking huge. The boys as well. I´m glad you made it safely from Angel´s Landing! We´ll have to do that hike some time. Things are going great here Mom! I´m learning and changing a lot. I´ve learned about a lot of things I have to change from all of my companions, haha. Hopefully I´ll be a little easier to have around. The work here is going well! We feel supercharged because of the conference. We hit the streets excited after conference and the Lord led us to two friends of a recent convert that didn´t have interest to change before and now they do! It was a big blessing. We´re going to hit our baptismal goal this month! Watch the new Easter videos, they´re super good!