Monday, March 24, 2014

This Week Was Pretty Sweet!

This week was pretty sweet!
Monday we met with a less active member named Chris.  We had dinner at a member's home and that went well until he started asking us all of these "What if's" and the Spirit was like "Peace out."  We were actually able to go over to his house on Wednesday and got another lesson in with him.  He works on Sundays so he isn't able to attend church. :/ 
We also had a nice lesson with Morgan on Wednesday about temples.  Temples are the best place in the entire world. I love going to the temple and we were actually able to go on Thursday!  It's was such a neat experience.  I know for myself, that when I go to the temple, I feel closest to Heavenly Father.  I know that He is always there and I would encourage you all to go to the temple as often as you can.  It is such a wonderful opportunity for us to seek personal revelation and to really feel the Spirit directing us in what we should do.  We are so blessed to be able to go to the Houston Temple once a transfer, but I still wish I could go more! 
Speaking of transfers, we have one tomorrow.  We all thought that Elder Christensen was for sure leaving because he has been in this area for over seven months and the longest a missionary has ever been here was nine because it was his last transfer so President let him choose.  We got a call last night and Elder Christensen and I are staying and Elder Peterson is leaving tomorrow.  We all we SO shocked!  We thought Elder Peterson and I would stay together.  I know that it is supposed to be this way though.  Our President has been set apart for The Texas Houston Mission and he knows where we need to be. 
Elder Christensen's Grandpa worked with a guy here in our ward but this guy was inactive.  Over the course of four months, Elder Christensen was able to get into this man's home and talk with him!  They got talking and things just clicked.  This man is now active and just got a calling as family history consultant.  Elder Christensen's work isn't quite done here.  He needs to be here for the love and support for this man and we are actually going over to his house tonight to teach a lesson to him and his children (hopefully).  He said he would invite them to listen but they are in their twenties so its really up to them. 
We also went over to another member's home for Elder Christensen to say "goodbye" to and he showed us his old 1960 Ford Galaxie. Such a sweet car and it only has 64K miles on it!  It fired right up and we were talking about all of the stories that were involved with that car.  I'll show you some pics.  (: 
Our week was really great and to end it off we had Stake Priesthood Meeting last night and that was really inspiring. The Stake President likened the Priesthood unto a bow and how if we aren't worthy of it, it's like pulling back a bow with an injury.  It hurts and sometimes it isn't even possible.  That stuck out to me because Morgan was actually really sick yesterday and wasn't able to come to church.  We had Ward Correlation in the morning and that was over by Morgan's house so I was like, "Let's go give him a blessing before church."  So we did!  That was so sweet.  This was actually my first time sealing a blessing.  I have done the anointing part a couple of times but I never sealed.  I felt the Spirit telling me the things I should say as my hands were placed on Morgan's head.  It was kinda crazy, cause even before we got there, I felt like I was going to be giving the blessing and I was kinda nervous.  We explained to Morgan what we were going to do and how there were two parts and how the blessing will not work if he doesn't have the faith that it really can work.  I said "Who do you want to do it?" and he just smiled and pointed at me.  So Elder Christensen anointed and then I sealed it with a blessing as the spirit directed me to do so. 
It is such a privilege to hold the restored Priesthood and it is crucial that we (worthy priesthood holders) exercise that Priesthood and to not underestimate the power of it.   
Morgan said that he felt numb after I was done with the blessing. That was interesting to me but really neat at the same time cause he wasn't feeling the pain in his head and throat. Our phone was on silent, but before we had gotten home, he had texted us and said that he really was starting to feel better. Priesthood blessings are so wonderful and such a privilege to be able to act in God's name. I love them! 
So those were the highlights of this week. Ill talk to ya'll (I never say that here.) soon.  

I love you guys and I want you to know that I have a testimony of this restored Gospel.  Talk to ya soon! 

All my love, 

Elder DeLuca   

We've been doing some work on the farm too! :)

I found a little turtle at the park!

Elder Peterson and I with our li'l friend!

This is our district on Thursday at the temple.  I love this place!

Here is that beauty I was talking' about.  Isn't she perry?!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Not Gonna Lie

Not gonna lie. This week was a little slow with missionary work but still great!  My companions and I helped Brother Dowdle fix Sister Zezulka's fence that has been broken for like 7 years.  I'll show you some pics. ( : 
So, we have been on like two exchanges this week.  Elder Tanner came back with Elder Peterson and I cause Elder Christensen and Elder Naville are zone leaders so they go to all the special places.  (; hahah. So when we were on that exchange, we went out finding (people to teach) at the waterway and we did find a family.  There was this guy and his two daughters and we talked to them for like an hour!  We told him to give us a call and we also got his number, so we may have to just call him because he hasn't called yet.  He was solid though!  He actually agreed to everything we were saying to him!  That was really sweet.  I'll let you know if they become investigators.  Keep that in your prayers, please!
So, on another exchange, I left my area and I went with Elder Bird cause his comp is a district leader so he goes with all of the missionaries in the district to see how they work and what not. Anyways, Elder Bird and I had like 2 or 3 appointments to go to and we only made it to 1. That stunk!  haha we were walking in this neighborhood and it started pouring rain on us!  Neither of us had an umbrella with us cause we didn't think it was gonna rain.  (This is a bike area so we didn't have a car).  We ran to our dinner appointment and we were a little early and the Dad there was working on his car, so we talked with him for a little bit before dinner. 
So, some good and some not so good. That's part of life though! We need opposition in all things. 2 Nephi 2:11
So, we had a great church meeting on Sunday.  My Bishop talked about focusing on things with an eternal perspective.  He is an awesome guy and I really feel that everyone can try to focus more on what really matters.  The Gospel and our families and doing all that we can to live with them forever.  That is what really matters most. 
I was talking to my Mom about a hymn that reminded her of her Mom.  My Mema.  She passed away a few years back and she had a hymn book with all of her favorite hymns in it and it was left on "Because I Have Been Given Much."  Anyways, I heard that song twice on Sunday and I felt that Mema was with me. She was the sweetest lady anyone could ever meet.  She still is and I want my family to know that she is still here with us.  I know that.  I also know that she wants whats best for us and that really helps me be the best missionary I can be. 
I really am so grateful to be here and live through my experiences.  I have learned more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the past month than I did my whole life.  I love being a missionary and I love you all very much.  Thank you all for your love and support! 


Elder DeLuca 

This is the fence!

It was pretty messed up!

There is Elder Christensen!

Cars, fences.  You name it, we fix it!

This is what I came to after my exchange.  Yea....hahaha!

Elder Tanner and I today.  They email at our place.  He's a stud, huh?!  I love this fool!

Monday, March 10, 2014

This Week Was So Sweet

This week was so sweet (other than the fact that I was feeling really sick)!  I have had a little bit of a sore throat and I have been having the worst headaches ever and I don't know why.  But that is boring so I wont continue with that. Plus this isn't about me anyways!
So, the highlight of this week is that one of our investigators (Morgan) asked us to be baptized! I know….crazy huh!? Haha.  He is 17 and in high school.  We have met with him multiple times and he always believed everything we said, but he didn't understand why 'our church.'  He thought that God loves us so much so he gives us all of these churches to pick which one best fits us.  We talked to him about how our church had the priesthood and he still wasn't understanding.  So, last Tuesday we had and exchange so Elder Tanner was with Elder Peterson and I and we went over to Morgan's house to chat.  He has been through all of the discussions, but we taught just the middle part of the Restoration and went through the 13 Articles of Faith.  In the middle of reading this, he was like "so do I need to be baptized to live in God's presence?"  I don't sugarcoat things like this so I was like, "Yes Morgan you do."  He just kinda said "okay" at that point, but then later when we were reading the 13 Articles of Faith, we stopped after a verse and he was like, "I wanna be baptized in your church.  I'm having good feelings and I know that it is God telling me through you guys that I need to do this."  Crazy huh!?  The spirit there was incredible…..I can't even tell you. 

At the end of the lesson, I asked him who he wanted to say that prayer and he was like "Let's all say one."  This was the coolest experience EVER!  He started, then me, Elder Tanner and Elder Peterson. The prayer I said was seriously not even me talking.  No joke. I was directed by the Holy Ghost through the whole prayer.  This was my favorite prayer I have ever said and, honestly, I don't even know all of the things that were said.  However, I do know how I felt and that is a feeling that I'll never forget. 

This email is a little shorter this week but it was still a really great week. I want all of you to share The Gospel with everyone.  Seriously, the first step is to invite people.  Every conversion starts with a simple invite.  I know it isn't easy, but don't ever feel discouraged about sharing your beliefs with people.  If a friend gets upset with you, then you know they aren't a true friend. Lately we have been able to talk to a lot more people. We are asked to invite 25 or more people to learn each day.  This was very tough in our area, but the last few times we walked the waterway, we were able to get 28 two days in a row!  It was sooo sweet.  A lot of people do not want to hear from us, but some do and they are very interested. 
Missionary work is hard work, but it is so worth it. I love it! I love being a missionary. I hope you all have a great week and I will talk to you soon! 


Elder DeLuca

This is the waterway that we walk at night when we have time! 

This is my ghetto desk made out of cardboard boxes and parts of other desks!

The orange gummy bear was mini so I made a family pic! Hehe.  I know…..I'm weird.  (: 

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Best Week By Far

Okay, so if any of you are at all like me, you sometimes see a long email, then pass by it and never read it. DON'T do that now, please. 
This past week was by far the best week I've had out here. Wednesday we had zone conference and we learned so much and it was great. I wanna move on to the fun stuff, though.
Thursday we went to an older couple's house to check up on them because Brother Z was very sick. (I'm gonna call them Brother and Sister Z.). Brother Z had a stroke about 14 years ago and as a result, he was paralyzed from the neck down. He still had some minor movement in his right arm though. Note that Sister Z married him after this had happened. She knew she would be taking care of him for the rest of his life. A few weeks back Brother Z was diagnosed with leukemia and he was not doing well at all.  When we went there on Thursday, Sister Z said that hospice told her he had 24 more hours. We sat there and talked for a while with her but he couldn't even say anything. 
Saturday, I had a very neat experience with prayer. Elder Christensen always showers first and he's quick, so Elder Peterson and I usually sit there for a minute and wait until he is done. I thought to myself "Why don't we do a little workout while we wait?" Soooo lately, we've been doing this good little workout. One of us will jump-rope while the other does jumping lunges and we do it constant for a minute then switch. Sounds easy, but try it! So Saturday they were waiting for me to get ready before we went to the gym, so I was rushing. I didn't say my morning prayers.  I know…..I'm a bad boy. Okay, so we went and worked out, then came home and did our little girly workout at the apartment (Sorry girls! It really is a good workout.).  Elder Christensen was done showering, so Elder Peterson went and I stayed on the patio to jump-rope some more. I do not currently hold a world record for jump-rope but I know how to do it and when I was by myself, every time I started, I ended up jumping onto the rope. No bueno. I did this like 4 or 5 times and started to get upset. Grrrrr! haha. 

I had a thought come to mind that said "You didn't say your prayers." and I just kind of ignored it. I kept trying to start jump-roping and my body could not do it. It was crazy. I wasn't tired or anything. Then another thought came and said "You're not gonna get it unless you say your prayers." I then again ignored it and tried. I failed. I set the rope down and got on my knees to pray. I said my prayers and in that prayer, I said "If it be thy will, Father, please help me be able to jump-rope". This sounds so silly but I'm being totally serious. I went back to the patio and started jump-roping. I could have gone forever! I seriously could have held that world record. I was so persistent in my jump-roping. I was on a roll for a few minutes and the only reason I stopped was because one of our investigators walked by, went to his car, then came back by and I finally stopped to talk to him. That is a whole different story. 

He went to some other church and feels that he needs to be attending that church instead. I was so sad but hey, it'll come at the right time. Moral of this story is that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. I promise you that. He is there to help us, we just have to be willing to seek for it. Some prayers are answered quick and some take time. Saturday was quick for me, but sometimes it takes longer. Give it time but do not ever be discouraged if your prayer isn't answered right away. He listens and he knows what you're going through. My testimony on prayer was strengthened greatly because if this experience, so I wanted to share. 
Later, we helped a less active member replace an A/C compressor on his truck then asked him now that his truck works, will you come to church? We know how to work the system (; hehe. Jk, but seriously. He came!  
We then helped out at The Woodlands marathon for like 4 hours. After getting home and showering cause we were so gross, we went out to do work. We went by some homes and no answer so we got back in the car and we were driving and I had a thought to call Sister Z. We called and no one answered. We drove over there and the lights were on but we weren't sure if we should go in.  We all stood neutral. I suggested that we pray about it and so we did. I offered the prayer and then we sat there for about a minute in silence. We all were trying to seek revelation on what to do. I felt that we should go in, so I told my comps to close their eyes and I was gonna say "whoever wants to go in raise your hand" (cause I didn't want any of us to influence the other's decision). The moment I said that, they both looked at me and said "I got a good feeling" then I was like, "Lets go." 

So we go to the door and Sister Z answers and invites us in. Brother Z was in his bed so we went in there and Sister Z just started talking. She was talking about how they met and basically their life story. To be honest, I was kind of in my own little world. I do this a lot, but this was different. My mind was running so fast and I was trying to keep up. My forehead was sweating and I was tense. I was very uncomfortable. Brother Z had some ice cream prior to us coming over and he was trying to cough it up, but he couldn't even do that. It disturbed me to watch him because I could do nothing. He looked at Sister Z and mumbled something but no one understood him. He kept reaching into the air as if he was grabbing something, then a few minutes later he looked at Sister Z and said "I love you". We all heard it very clear. She started to ball her eyes out and wrapped her arms around him so tightly and looked at us and said "He's about to go."  I have never witnessed anything like this before. Brother Z was trying to hold on and was struggling. She said "Its okay Din Din, Ill be there soon". Then, almost immediately, he passed. Saturday evening I literally watched Brother Z pass through the veil. I was lost in the moment and all I could do was cry. His last breath was at 7:42 pm on March 1st, 2014. I was there to watch his spirit and body separate and the feelings thereafter were so peaceful. I put my arm around Sister Z and said " Its okay, no more pain. He is so happy right now."  She looked at me and thanked me and told me that she knows. She told us that he waited for us to be there so she wouldn't be alone. We all feel the same. Not only were we there to comfort her, but our testimony on The Plan of Salvation grew immensely. We were all so humbled, especially me. 

This experience showed me that The Plan of Salvation is so real and that God is in control of everything. He loves us so SO much and he gives us the opportunity to come down to earth, obtain a physical body, gain experience and understanding, then hopefully make righteous choices that will lead us back to Him. I know that God lives. I know that he sent His only begotten son to atone for our sins. Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is our Lord and our Redeemer. We cannot make it home without Him. If I didn't know this, I wouldn't be serving a mission out here in the small state of Texas. I would be home doing the things I love doing (Driving cars). But I'm not. I am here. This is my home for now. This is my life. I love my life and this is just the beginning of it. I want you all to know how much I love you. I also want you all to go tell your family how much you love them, especially your spouse. For your spouse should be the most important person to you (for those that are married). 
I am so grateful to be here serving a mission for THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, the one and only true church that is directed by a living prophet who holds the restored priesthood. I know other churches have truth, but this church has got it all. I am a representative of Jesus Christ and I know that he lives. I love you all so much and this is my testimony to you!

All my love, 

Elder DeLuca

Okay, this is a bad picture, but it's me!  This is at our apartment complex!