Monday, August 31, 2015

Setting Dates and Finding New People!

Monday was the best day of my mission! It was a regular P-day and then I went to a lesson with the Saenz family and Lofton Bean. Lofton just returned from his mission like 4 weeks ago and he is a total stud. We went in to teach them the rest of the Plan of Salvation with the intent on setting a baptismal date for September 19th. At first, Chris had a couple of questions about the Restoration and Alice was teaching him! Then, after we finished The Plan, we went to John 3:5 and explain the metaphoric key that unlocks the gate to the pathway to the Celestial Kingdom being baptism. We explained that and then said we had been prayerful about a date for them and we had come to the conclusion that they would be ready by the 19th of September. Then, I said what are your thoughts? Alice said, "My initial thought is that is very soon." And immediately, Chris said, "Mom, why would you want to deny yourself of the blessings, peace, comfort and happiness that will come into our lives as we get baptized?" Alice started crying and said "Wow. He continues to amaze me." Chris is special needs, but believe me, he is one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. He knows right from wrong and he knows that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. He thanked me for getting him out of his "mirage of faiths" and for finding the true church. He is truly intelligent. Robert started cry and said, "Well, that date is inspired by God because that is my mother's birthday and she passed away a few years ago. I am good for the 19th." Then, Alice looked at him and said, "You are right, the 19th it is." As we all know, Elder DeLuca is not a crier but, believe me, the tears started to build up in my eyes. It was so powerful, I couldn't help it. Lofton and I just looked at each other and smiled and then we both bore powerful testimony. What a great lesson! I had to write this experience down in my journal. I HAD to. The Spirit urged me to do so. It was the first time since I have written in my journal since February, but I have repented. I have been writing in it every day since then and I am committing to do it every night for the rest of my mission. Too much is lost in just a weeks' account. 

We met with Luke on Tuesday and set a baptismal date with him for the 26th of September. It was a good lesson, but the member we brought was just kind of messing around and not being that serious. Luke and him are too close for bringing him to lessons! That night, we went tracting and met a guy named Caleb and talked to him for like 30 minutes and he and I got to the point to where we were almost bashing, but not quite so I bit my tongue. I need a mouth guard! We went back and taught him on Thursday. It didn't go as well as I would have liked it to, but we have another appointment with him tomorrow. He was arguing a lot with Brother Lane as we talked to him. 

Sunday was sweet. We had four gators at church. It would have been five, but Alice was in the hospital. She is out now, so it's all good. We went tracting after our dinner appointment and we knocked an entire street and everyone was being so dumb! They were so rude and the ones that we talked with slammed the door when we started to ask them questions about the Bible. People are so lost, it is sad. I was ready to go after the first few houses, but we endured through the entire street and finished in an hour. We had an hour till another appointment, so we went to another street. This is where we found a super nice black lady who talked to us for like 30 minutes! We gave her a Book of Mormon and she committed to read the first 15 chapters. Yes, please! Then we kept going. We were at the second to last house but there was someone at the end of the street, so we went to talk to him. We walked up and he told his son to go inside. Ouch! He knew who we were and said he was Catholic. I told him that my dad was as well. Right then, his wife walked up and she was so nice! She said that she had friends that were Mormon in Tomball. I said, "Who are they?" "Doug Bateman," she replied. I said, "I know Doug!" His wife's name was Payton but I couldn't remember right then, so I told her not to say the name because I wanted to recall it. Payton came to mind so I said that and she was like "Nope!" I knew for certain that her name was Payton so I was thinking to myself what the heck!? Then the Spirit told me to say "PJ" and she was like, "That is her!" Her name really is Payton, but she goes by PJ. Her friend just didn't know her full name. We talked to them about how our families can be together forever and we would love to come back. They said yes! Miracles ever single day. 

"Anywhere you go in this church, you will have someone to help you, that is part of what it means to be a Latter-day Saint." Those are great words of the one and only Jeffrey R. Holland. This is so true. It is a small world in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I met a guy last night that lives in our complex and he knows John Ortiz who works with him. I know John well. He lives in the Copperfield area where I served for four in a half months. 

Have a great week! 


Elder DeLuca 

Sorry I didn't take any pics this past week! We cut each others' hair a couple days ago! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Zone Conference and Meetings!

This last week went by so fast! It seems like time goes even faster when you are in a trio companionship. Monday evening, we dropped by the Saenz family to check up on them and they were doing great. Their countenance was changed. You could literally see a light in their eyes and it was a beautiful thing. We gave them a Doctrine and Covenants because they had requested one on Sunday. They told us a lot about their family and it was good to get to know them a little better. 

Tuesday, we met with Luke and we taught him the Restoration lesson and it went really well. He is really interested in meeting with us and he has already been coming to church for like two months. 

Wednesday, we had a zone conference and I was asked to conduct. I was a little nervous but I didn't mess it all up so it's all good! That was the first one that I conducted. The training that President gave was incredible. He talked a lot about the Priesthood and the role of men and women and how they are both equally important and necessary for Heavenly Father's plan to work. The role that a mother has to bring children into this world and the role men have to baptize their children are equally important. If women held the priesthood, there would be no need for men. President said that he thinks that men have the priesthood to be relevant to women. It's an interesting thought and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. 

Friday, we had district meeting and it went really good and then some lessons after that. We met with Luke again and he ate a ghost pepper during our lesson and almost died. It was really interesting and hard to keep the Spirit there. We taught the Plan of Salvation to the Saenz family and only taught about half of that lesson. We are going back tonight to finish the lesson. 

Saturday, was kind of a slower day. We had some appointments fall through, but we went to visit members that Elder Seamons and I haven't met yet. 

Sunday, was the best day of he week! We had a stake coorelation meeting in the morning at 7 so we started out early. After that, we had our ward coorelation meeting and discussed how we can best work with the recent converts in the ward and help them get to the temple. Then we had ward council and then Sacrament. Meetings, meetings, meetings! I was asked to speak in Sacrament on the Plan of Salvation. I love how our Heavenly Father is the master planner. He has created the perfect plan for us, and we will receive a fullness of joy if we choose to follow it. It is only through our Savior Jesus Christ that the plan works. Without Him, there would be no hope for us. He literally has bridged the gap between us and our Father in Heaven and He has paid the price in full. All He has asked us to do is to follow him. The Saenz family was there as well as Luke. After church we had a mission president's fireside that was AWESOME!! We participated in the choir again. I love it. I am a terrible singer, but the Spirit is so strong when we are up there performing and that is why we do it. I know that we have help from angels as we do so. The power went out right before the fireside started and it didn't even phase us. We went through the program as planned and it was powerful. President did a great job in adapting to the circumstances. He is the best speaker that I have ever listened to in person. He will be a General Authority some day. The Saenz family came and they loved it. They talked to some of the senior missionaries there and told them how much they have loved meeting with us and how we have filled the holes that they have had in their lives. How cool is that? 

Have a great week and know that I love you! 


Elder DeLuca

Here are Elder Bergman and Elder Darnell! 

My boy Elder Graves! 

This is Elder Willis at the mission president's fireside. He met my Papa in the Snowflake Arizona Temple and worked with him!! I had food in my mouth. That is partially why I look goofy.  :) 

Monday, August 17, 2015

First Week in Conroe!

Alright, so I arrived here on Tuesday morning and then I got all settled in and cleaned my bathroom. Yes, I have my own bathroom! We have a two bedroom/two bathroom. We all sleep in the same room and then we have a study room. I say we all because President threw a quick one on me and, when I got to Conroe on Tuesday, I found out that Elder Edwards and I were going to be training! 

Wednesday, we went around and visited members and I introduced myself to a lot of people and then we had a lesson with one of our investigators named Justin. He is so sweet! He grilled us up some steaks and we had dinner with him then we had a lesson. His wife is a member and they both live with her mother. We focused on praying to know that the Book of Mormon was true because we can read and ponder, but if we don't pray we will never receive an answer. 

Thursday morning, we had our training meeting and that was where we met Elder Seamons from Seattle Washington. He is a stud. He loves cars and dirt bikes so it is pretty much meant to be. He has restored a couple of older mustangs and he used to work as a mechanic for a Toyota dealership in Washington. After our training meeting we came back and started our weekly planning and then had another lesson with Justin and we went over some of the commandments. Keep the Sabbath Day Holy, Follow the Prophet and the Ten Commandments. The lesson went really well. 

Friday, we had district meeting in the morning and it was so good. I have noticed that I participate so much more in district meetings now, almost to the point to where I think I might be annoying.....haha! Just kidding....I hope not! We practiced teaching an investigator that has not prayed about the Book of Mormon, so we received some good insight on how to apply that to our investigators. Later that evening, we had a miracle! We prayed to see where we should go finding and we felt like we should go back to a street where Elder Edwards and I were on Tuesday so we went back. We knocked a few doors and no one was wanting to talk to us. A lady walked out of a house and she was saying, "like they are having a party so no one will want to talk to you." We kept on going and still nothing. The first door that Elder Seamons knocked, a guy answered. We started talking to him about the Book of Mormon and then I was like, "Do you have just 5 or 10 minutes for us to come in and explain more?" He said, "Sure. Come in!" It's go time! I whispered to my companions, "We gotta make this good." We went in and sat down and then asked if anyone else was home and if he would invite them to come and be a part of the lesson. His wife and son were there and they came in. Their names are Robert and Alice and their sons name is Chris. They are probably in their 60's and Chris is 30. We had a prayer and then we went straight to the introduction of the Book of Mormon after finding out what they had already known. We explained what it was and how they can come to know if it is true. We invited them to read the first 15 chapters before our visit with them the next evening at 8. 

Saturday morning was sweet. We helped some neighbors move in at our apartment complex and they were super nice. They offered to pay us after we were done and we explained that we didn't take money but then I said something. I was like, "We won't take your money.  However, we are missionaries for our church and we would love to come over after you get settled in and share a message about Jesus Christ with you guys!" She said, "Of course." Yes please! Then we went over to the Falcon's and we helped cut down a tree that fell on their fence. They had a Stihl chainsaw and Brother Falcon said that he hadn't used it in over a year so it probably wouldn't start. I was like, "Well, those are the best chainsaws you can get so let me take a look at it." :) We went out to the shed and it was so dusty but I took it out and shook up the gas and started pulling it and sure enough it fired right up. Back home, Jimbo wouldn't let me use his Stihl chainsaws so I took ahold of this opportunity. I am a big boy now! When I had that thing running and as I was cutting that tree, it felt so good. I just love motors and I miss my dirt bikes, so I had a smile on my face. :) Later that evening, we had a lesson with the Saenz family and we taught them the restoration. It went so good. We had Brother Morris with us and we invited them to church with us and they said that they would come. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt the Spirit tell me that they would be there. I had no doubts that they would be there. 

Sunday comes and they came! Justin was there and also another investigator named Luke that we are teaching this week. Okay, here is the coolest part ever. In Elders Quorum, I asked Robert and Chris how they felt and how they liked church and Robert said that he really liked it and then here is the neatest part. Chris said, "I think I have found my new church." I wanted to cry because I was so happy. 

I love Conroe so much. I would love to finish my mission here, but we will see what the Lord has in store for me. I hope you all have a great week! 


Elder DeLuca

I got one last picture with Paul on Monday

​Here are my new companions! 

I have my own toilet now, but I still put this up. Sister Rittman made them for me because one of my biggest pet peeves is when my companions pee on the toilet and do not clean it up! Come on man. I am just trying to teach them a lesson for when they get married. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

My Last Week in Tomball!

I am a little sad to say that I will be leaving Tomball. I will be taking with me the friendships and memories that these past 9 months have created! I will be serving in Conroe with Elder Edwards. He actually served here in Tomball and then he and I switched places when I left Magnolia and came here. We know each other well, and I am excited to serve with him! 

My last week here went by way too fast! I think it is partly because we are in a trio....haha! Tuesday, we had MLC from 8:30-4:00. We were there all day! It was really good though and then we practiced teaching for the last two hours. President wants to make sure the leaders have it down, so we can help the other missionaries in the zone. We had the opportunity to teach what we were role-playing that night. The Svedins invited their friends over to listen to a message from us. It went super good! The Elders have an appointment with them tomorrow

Wednesday, we were packed with lessons! We had a lunch with Sister Hughes and Sister Russel and then the lessons began. We met with Caitlin and taught her about temples and family history. Then we saw Trey and Xavier and taught Trey more about baptism. Then we met Julie, Cathy, and Madison at the library and had a lesson with them on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sister Bean came with us to that visit and then we had a dinner with them right after. We met Brother Williams at HEB again and went over to Horace's house. We were super bold with him and told him that the authority to make his baptism complete was only found in Jesus Christ's restored church. We told him to pray about it and seek an answer. We then saw Brother Mason and had a nice last visit with him. I am going to miss that man. After that, I went to say bye to Paul Kendrick. This was pretty hard for me to do. Paul and I got really close and he told me that he only had 6 months to live. His heart is a lot worse than what the doctors anticipated. He doesn't have health insurance so he cannot get on a waiting list for a heart transplant. It was tough. We gave him a priesthood blessing and Elder Hendrickson anointed and then I sealed it. He was very calm after the blessing and I know the Spirit was there. 

Thursday, we had our weekly planning and Sister Bickmore brought us dinner and it was super yummy. Then we went to the stake center to practice the role play for zone meeting on Friday with our Sister Training Leader. It went well! 

Friday, we had zone meeting and the time went too fast! Brother Siddoway from the stake high council was there and he did a great job. He talked a lot about what we need to do with working with the leaders in our wards and the stake in order to keep our investigators on track for baptism, and temple ordinances. Sister Peterson talked on master teaching and what it is and what it is not. She did a great job and then asked me to come up and talk about personal worthiness. I had everyone go to 2 Nephi 33:1-3. I talked about how when we are in lessons teaching true principles, the Holy Ghost will be there to testify of truth, for that is one of the roles of the Holy Ghost. However, we read in verse 1 that the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men. There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the power of the Holy Ghost. The power is conditional upon our obedience. After zone meeting Elder Hendrickson and I went on an exchange with Elder McGinnis in the ASL South area and his companion Elder Dean came to Tomball with Elder Allen. We had a good exchange and it was interesting for me to watch them doing sign language to people. 

Saturday was saweet. We got up and after we got ready we went right to the chapel to prepare the room for Julie's baptismal service. It went so well. I'll send some pictures for you! Horace came out to the service and then took us to five guys for a burger afterwards. Yes, please! Then we had a nice lesson with Caitlin that afternoon.

Sunday was great. We had the confirmation for Julie and Caitlin, Madison, and Trey all came to church. They all, with maybe the exception of Trey, really enjoyed church. I asked Sister McLane to introduce herself to Caitlin and she was like of course! And she ended up coming to gospel principles and talked with Caitlin there. Super sweet! The lesson was on fasting. I love fasting. After church we had a lesson with Brenda and Morgan Mertes one last time at the Smalls. They were doing a new member lesson, but I wanted to see them one last time so we came to the appointment. It was really good to see them one last time and I told them that when they go to the temple to be sealed in March, I would be there. 

This ward had been so good to me....maybe too good! I have loved these past 9 months here and I will always remember them. I look forward to see what Conroe has in store for me! I love you guys! 


Elder DeLuca


Here are Julie and I before we changed into our marshmallow suits! :)

My last time with the Klein zone! 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

We Got a New Companion!

Alright, another great week in Tomball. Tuesday, we went to S.O.S and we did some service there at the food bank and they always let us take a bag of whatever we want from there, so that is always a treat. My wallet loves it! We had to leave a little bit early, though, because we had a lesson with Caitlin at Panera Bread again. Karloline Clark met us there for the lesson and it went so well! We taught her the Plan of Salvation lesson and we committed her to be baptized on the 29th of this month. Yes, please! She said yes and she was super excited about that. When we finished the lesson Elder Allen and I left but Karoline and her stayed after and had lunch together! That was really cool to hear back from each of them and they told us how nice it was to stay and get to know each other better. Everyone needs a good friend! Later that night, we went back to a lady named Anna's house and we taught her and her boyfriend Corey the restoration. It went well, and we left a Book of Mormon for them. I'll report on them when I talk about the return appointment we had with them on Friday

Wednesday, we went to the usual TEAM service that we do on a weekly basis. This week was different, though. There was a girl who was like 18-20 years old there volunteering with her grandma who was kinda staring at us, not in a creepy or weird way haha, but I could tell she was looking our direction. Elder Allen and I started to arrange some kitchen supplies in this little area, then "all of the sudden" this girl was stacking towels like 10 feet away from us. That's when I was like, "Okay, I'm gonna go talk to her." I don't even remember how I started the conversation but I led into us as missionaries and I started talking about the foundation of Christ's church. She was Christian so it was an easy-going conversation you could say. She had all of these super good questions and I was answering them, then all of the sudden, her grandma walked up and was like, "Are we working or talking?" This girl, Clare, was like "Grandma, we are having the best conversation ever!" and then her grandma was like, "Come with me to the back to sort clothes." Party pooper! Obviously, her grandma didn't like us. So, we continued doing our usual tasks and then one of the workers asked us if we would go help them in the back....haha, awkward! Oh well. So we did and it was fine. We made little conversation with her grandma to show her that we weren't crazy or anything and then I gave Clare a card with our number and told her if she has any more questions to call or text us and that was about it! That was the only time I have actually talked about the gospel while volunteering. After we left TEAM, we went to meet up with the Spanish Elders that gave us a referral. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and set up a return appointment. Their names were Cody and Jazmine. 

Thursday, we got a new companion! Elder Erickson went home two weeks early for school so Elder Hendrickson came with us. We were super pumped about it, but our apartment is tiny so it is a little crowded, haha. Thursday, we did our weekly planning after we got back from the mission office. Our planning took the rest of the afternoon and then we had a super good dinner with the Kuhn family. 

Friday, I taught my first district meeting since Copperfield! Elder Erickson was the district leader for the Fallbrook district, so I covered for him because he went home. We talked about likening the first 15 chapters of the Book of Mormon to our investigator's journey to "the rod." It was good! Elder Allen went to the Inwood area with Elder Walker and Elder Perkins and then Elder Hendrickson and I came back to the promised land. We had lunch with Sister Rittman at Chick-Fil-A and it was great. We brought Brother Mason with us to Horace that evening but Horace wasn't feeling super well so we didn't stay too long. Right after Horace, we had Wesley Cannon come back to Anna and Corey's with us. They conveniently were not home. I say that for a number of reasons: 1. They didn't answer our call when we were just checking to see if it was okay to come; 2. They didn't reply to our text; and 3. They came home when we were talking to their neighbors and saw us AND TURNED AROUND....TWICE! They clearly didn't want to meet with us again. When they didn't answer, we saw their neighbors out front so I was like let's go talk to them! We walked over and he was working on his old truck and telling us all about his vehicles that he has had in the past. Normally, I would be all over talking about cars, but I wanted to get to the good stuff. I was like "Similar to the restoration of your truck, Christ's church was restored to the earth by the Prophet Joseph Smith." Then we taught he and his wife all about the restoration. We were there for a total of an hour or so (car part included) and Anna and her boyfriend were not planning on us still being in the hood that long. We were talking to Chris and Liz and then they pulled up and drove really slow past us and then turned around and left! Are you kidding me? Say it to my face, man! Haha, just kidding. But seriously, if you don't want to talk to us or meet with us, just tell us and we will respect your wishes. They'll hear about it sooner or later right? So, we continued talking to Chris and Liz and right as we were about to leave Anna and Corey came back and they stopped partway down the street so they didn't have to talk to us. Is my bald head really that scary?? Haha. I want to go back and see if they are at least interested in reading the Book of Mormon or not because if they say no, we will find someone who does and give it to them. 

Saturday was interesting. We had a lot of appointments fall through but we had a good lunch at Panera Bread and then we each bought a salad for the McLanes in our ward. He has been really sick and is now fighting pneumonia at the age of 90. That is tough and we wanted to go check on them and make sure that if they needed anything they knew to call us. Sister McLane was talling all about their conversion story and get this. They have added up roughly all of the people that they in some way introduced to the church and ended up joining and it is over 500 people. She told us this because she said you Elders have no idea of the impact that have on those you teach. That was super cool! After that, we went down to Inwood to pick up Elder Allen. We went to drop his belongings back off at our apartment and then headed to dinner with the Smalls. Great family. We went on splits after dinner. I went with Brother Small and my other companions went out together for the remainder of the evening. Brother Small and I went to an appointment with Cody and Jazmine and they didn't want to meet with us that night. BUT, it's okay because we had the sickest visit with Julie Stewart right after!! She is going to get baptized this weekend! She has been on and off about a date for a while now, but she explained that it's time now so we are going through with it. We contacted our stake president and let him know and he is all for it! He flew her daughter from Provo out here today actually so she can be a part of the baptismal service this Saturday. She was interviewed by our district leader Elder Roberts yesterday at church and she passed. We are good to go! Im going out with a bang! I am pretty sure I am being transferred this next week on Tuesday the 11th. 

Sunday was sweet. I knew I was going to bear my testimony because I was going to do it last month and I chickened out. I was not backing out this time. There was a less active member that came to church this past Sunday. This was the first time he has been here since last fast and testimony meeting back in February and he told me then that he was going to bear his testimony and then he chickened out. He said, "Next time I come, I'll do it." So yesterday, I nudged him and I was like "you said next time" and he smiled and said you go first and Ill follow you up. Now I really couldn't chicken out! I waited for a second after someone was done and then I was like, "Okay let's go.' We walked up and Sister Hiatt was up towards the front of the room and she got up as we were walking up and beat us to it. We sat down in the seats up front facing everyone and, for some reason, I was so nervous! My heart was racing. I could literally feel it beating inside me! I wasn't sweating though, so it's okay. I was trying to collect my thoughts and then before I knew I heard the word "Amen" from Sister Hiatt. Now it was go time. I just got up there and smiled . :) Haha, that was the first thing I thought to do. I thanked the ward from the bottom of my heart for all that they have done for me and my companions. I told them that we would not be as effective as we could without their help. I don't remeber all I said but I know I said something like this. Missions are tough. I couldn't do what I do if I didn't know with a certainty that the Book of Mormon was true. Even with that knowledge, I still seem to surprise myself with making mistakes I know I shouldn't make. Every time, the Savior is there to pick me back up and I ask myself "Why me? Why not someone much greater and much better than me." It's because he loves us each individually and unconditionally, more than our finite minds can comprehend. I have learned that it doesn't matter so much what step we are on on the stairway to heaven, but rather what way are we facing. We are going to slip up. We are going to fall sometimes, but what matters is that we pick ourselves back up and acknowledge our dependence on our Savior Jesus Christ. With the enabling power of the Atonement we will reach far beyond our own natural capacity. I know this. I know that God lives and that He is literally our Father in Heaven. He and our Savior Jesus Christ will always be there even when we feel that no one is. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it brings me closer to my Savior. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in these, the last days and that the Priesthood Authority that seals our families together forever is here in our Church. In the Lord's church. Of these things I am certain of. And then I closed in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

I love you all so much. I am most likely going to be transferred this coming week. I will be really surprised if I stay. Tomball is the land of milk and honey. I might have to name one of my sons Tom. haha! Have a great week everyone! Thank you for your prayers! 


Elder DeLuca   

​Sorry I didn't take any pics this week. Much love from the Three Musketeers! :)