Tuesday, September 29, 2015

President Threw a Quick One on Me!

Well this week was crazy!! On Tuesday, we brought Elder French to his new area because that was transfer day and he left us. We were sad to see him go, but he will do great things in the Windrose area. Its actually in the Klein Stake, "my stake" as I would say after serving 10 and a half months there! 

After we dropped him off, we had to go get out brakes checked on our car. Okay, get this. Two weeks ago, we went to Pep Boys to get our oil changes and our alignment done, and I asked them to check the brakes because I knew they were bad. I knew it. When the car was finished the guy who gave me the papers said the brakes are fine. I said, "Are you sure because they are making a bad noise and I am pretty sure they are bad". He said, "If the brakes were bad, that is money in our pocket, so we would fix them." This statement is true.  However, if it was just the pads that were bad, it would have only been like 40 bucks, but if they let the pads wear down to the rotors, it would be over 300 dollars. That was exactly what they were doing and I knew it. I was furious! I cannot stand being lied to. I should have told him to read 2 Nephi 9:34. I told our vehicle coordinator and he told me us to take it to this other place which was owned by members. Sure enough, the pads were shot and we had to get new rotors as well. I know my cars, and I know when I am being lied to. Not cool. I must have had steam coming out my ears! I wanted to go bad to Pep Boys and talk to the guy (who was a manager) who told me they were fine, but that would not have gone anywhere good. I just had to bite my tongue, and I am getting very good at that being a missionary. Long story short, DO NOT go to Pep-Boys. EVER! 

Here is where it gets a little crazy. Thursday morning, we did our usual get up early and go hard in the gym. Then we came home. I was just about to take a shower but felt like I needed to go check the phone. There was one missed call and a new voice mail from President Mortensen. He said call me ASAP in the voice mail. Uh oh, what did I do now!? Haha, just kidding! I called back and he said, "Hey I need you to put the phone on speaker. "  So I did. Elder Edwards and I were looking at each other thinking, "What in the world is he going to say!?" He said I felt like I need to make some changes last night, but I ignored them because of the inconvenience it would have been but I need to make them. He said Elder Edwards I need you to pack up and Elder DeLuca I need you to be at the training meeting at 9:30 because I need you to train. He said I was going to have another missionary train him, but that is not going to happen anymore. He packed up quick and we took showers and headed down to the meeting. There was a bad accident on the freeway so we texted President and told him that we were going to be there around 9:45. He said no worries. Little did I know he was waiting to start the meeting until I got there! The prelude music was still playing and then, right when I walked in, the sister stopped playing the piano and the assistants started the meeting. I felt like a V.I.P. .... haha. We had a opening hymn and prayer then President came up and said something interesting. He said, "I want you all to know that the Lord is very involved in the selecting of trainers with the trainees. I was going to make some changes last night but I ignored them because of the inconvenience it would have been. I woke up in the middle of the night with the impression that I had to make the change, so I did this morning." No one in the audience except me knew what he was talking about and Sister Mortensen looked at me with the biggest smile when he said that. I felt the Spirit so strongly when he said that and I knew that I was supposed to be there. 

I am now serving with Elder Myers in Conroe! He is from Springville Utah. It is interesting for me to train a new missionary because of how faithful they are. It is so neat. They have no limitations on the possibilities that could come because they haven't been brainwashed by other missionaries about how the work is, in some areas. When I introduced our area at the training meeting, I said I hope you like to get pneumonia because we are going to be soaking wet from being in the baptismal font all the time. :) I am staying really optimistic about our area with him because I want this to be the best 3 months of his mission. My goal is to be able to have him prepared enough to train a new missionary in 12 weeks if need be. This is such a sacred trust and responsibility from the Lord and from President Mortensen. I am so stoked!  

I was hesitant to share this last week because I didn't want to put my Dad on the spot, but I am going to do it anyway. Some of you may know that my Dad is a devoted Catholic. If not, now you do. Last Sunday, I was fasting that he would be able to go to a sacrament meeting with my Mamma and my little sissy Bailley. I remember stating in my prayer when I opened my fast, "Heavenly Father, I have faith sufficient to know that he will go, but please make sure people reach out to him and are friendly to him when he goes." Last Monday, my little sister Bailley sent me a picture of my dad all dressed up driving her and my Mamma to church. Tears were flowing down my face out of pure happiness. Bailley said, "Miracles do happen." I just wanted to publicly thank you, Dad, for doing that. Despite your devotion to your church, you took the time to attend church with Bailley and Mom. I love you so much, Daddy, and I hope you have a great birthday this Wednesday! You should note that my Dad told me, "The people were really friendly there." I know that the power of fasting is real. I would invite you to read about the doctrine of the true fast found in Isaiah 58. It is wonderful, and it is real. I know that and because of this knowledge I fast pretty frequently. Once a month doesn't cut it for me, especially as a missionary. Remember why the sons of Mosiah were so effective? They had searched the scriptures diligently and they had given themselves to "MUCH prayer and fasting" and they taught with "power and authority from God." (Alma 17:2-3). 

The Lord continues to bless me every day. I am learning so much from being a missionary! This was the best decision I could have ever made in order to prepare for my future. My life is forever changed and I am so grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. May we all keep and open heart and an open mind as we listen to our beloved Prophet and the other General Authorities this coming weekend. I am so excited!! 


Elder DeLuca 

Sorry I only took one picture, but this is my new companion Elder Myers! Elder Mikesell in the back is my zone leader companion and he serves in the Conroe 1st Ward!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Lots of Lessons

Editor's note - I was sick last week and didn't get this posted.  This post is actually from Elder DeLuca's September 14, 2015 letter.  My bad!


Alright, well this week went by really fast and I have to hurry because we are going to the mission office soon! 

The Saenz are progressing really well. This past Monday, we taught them the Word of Wisdom lesson and Alice and Chris had been drinking coffee. It was interesting to see them change so quickly though because of the things that they know are true. It is not a matter if the commandment of the word of wisdom came from God, but rather if the Book of Mormon is true. If you know that the Book of Mormon is true, then you know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God and that this commandment came from Heavenly Father. Alice was like, "Well I am done drinking it." And Chris has been slowing down a lot. He drinks a lot of coffee and tea, but he has slowed down so much! 

Tuesday, we did a lot of service! We were helping a Brother in the ward put sheet metal on top of some 2 x 4's for a little storage shed he was building. We also had a lesson with Luke and the Saenz again. 

Wednesday, we helped a guy unload some hay. We were sweating pretty bad!  Haha. After that we went to the mission office to pick up Elder French. He is going to be staying with us for the remainder of the transfer. We had a lesson with Justin and we planned on setting a baptismal date with him, but it didn't go as planned. He was not ready to make that commitment. He also had some questions about the coming forth of the Pearl of Great Price. He heard some common misconceptions that we addressed. Bishop and I came back on Friday, answered all of his questions and explained what really happened. If you are going to by a Ferrari, you don't go to the Honda dealer to learn about the specifications. Likewise, if you have questions about our beliefs and our doctrine, you don't just google it. There has been persecution on the church for over 150 years. There are plenty of sources online that are not true doctrine. If you have questions or concerns you need to go to LDS.org to find real answers. We also saw the Saenz after that. The lesson went really well!

Thursday, we saw Luke and Amber. We talked with both of them about why we have commandments and the blessings that come as we obey. 

Friday, we had a good district meeting and then we went on exchanges. Elder Beck came to Conroe with Elder French and I and then Elder Edwards went to their area with his companion Elder Hansen. We had a really good exchange. When I was in the lesson with Bishop, they went finding together and found a new investigator named Haley. 

Saturday, we went on splits and I went with Brother Morris to teach a family that we found earlier in the week. The father was studying to be some sort of a preacher so he thinks he knows the Bible really well.....yeah. We taught them the Restoration lesson and set up a return appointment for this evening. Then we saw the Saenz again that night and we taught them the Law of Chastity and then Elder Mikesell came over to have their baptismal interview with them. They passed with flying colors. :) 

One thing I have learned from working with people is that investigators progress so much more when one. they read from the Book of Mormon daily and two, you meet with them frequently. It is so much more beneficial to have frequent 30-45 minute lessons as opposed to seeing them for an hour once a week. I love being a missionary so much. My time is going too fast!! I love you all and I hope you have a great week. Thanks for all you do! 


Elder DeLuca 

One day I'll be as big as Elder Edwards! 

The Saenz and The Sabbath Day

I honestly do not understand how my weeks go by so fast!! We have been in a trio companionship so we goof around a lot more and maybe that's why! 

We had some lessons with the Saenz to make sure we covered everything before their baptism this week!  I have never met a family so prepared as they were. The Lord knows each of us and our lives perfectly and He worked it all out in the perfect time, as He always does. It was a miracle that we even found them because we were not planning on going back to that street that particular day, but we prayed about where we should go and then ended up knocking into them. They have told us things like, "We have been searching for this our entire lives, and you guys brought it to us." and, "I have been looking for a church home that I can take my family to and I have finally found it." The Spirit is very real and, as the scriptures teach us, that is what does the conversion....The Holy Ghost, not the missionaries. We are simply an instrument in the Lord's hands. The Holy Ghost is what carries the message to their hearts. 2 Nephi 33:1. 

Their baptism went really well. They know a lot of people from the ward and many people showed up to support them. The room where the baptismal font is didn't have enough room for everyone so we had to go to the Relief Society room and it was entirely full. I stay in contact with some members from Tomball and I told Dale Ure about this incredible family.  He drove all the way out here to be at their baptism. It was awesome. He and I went to the grocery store after the service while a member took my companions out to dinner. I sacrificed not having dinner to spend some time with Brother Ure. He is like another grandpa to me, who I can literally talk about anything with. We all need people like that in our lives. 

I have been studying more about the Sabbath Day and the principles that I have learned are important to me. To the world, the Sabbath is just another day but, to me, it is the Lord's Day. We are to rest from our labors and work, including making other people work. What is interesting to me is that the Bible is very clear about this in Exodus 20:8-11. Interestingly enough, that one commandment takes 4 verses to explain when all of the others 9 commandments are explained simply in 1 verse. Hence, this is important to the Lord. It is His day. Our modern-day prophets and apostles give us great council and caution on things pertaining to the Sabbath day. I have been pondering things I can do differently in order to truly do my best to keep it holy and sacred. I have made some changes in this process. There can even be conflict between me and companions at times, but when I explain things to them they tend to agree with me. For example, I have a companion who was going about to do his laundry last night and I said to him "Hey, do you mind just doing that tomorrowmorning?" At first he was like, "What's the big deal? I am only putting clothes in the washer." I said, "Yeah, I know but there is no reason why you cannot just do it in the morning. I am trying to keep the Sabbath holy and I have made a lot of changes as well. I'll let you wash everything you need to first, and then I will do mine. He was like, "Yeah, you're right. Ill just do it in the morning." By small and simple things are great things come to pass. 

I am grateful for my companions and their dedication to serving the Lord. Nowhere else in this world do you see 18-26 year old guys doing what we do. It is hard work, but it is so worth it. On Sunday morning, when all three of the Saenz were confirmed members of the church and received the Holy Ghost, I had an overwhelming amount peace fill my entire body. Everything that we do is for the salvation of others, and it is really tough at times, but when you find the elect, it makes it all worth it. We are not here to convert everyone. We are here to find the elect. The Lord is preparing people all across the world, it is just a matter of finding them! 

May we all do our best in loving and serving others that stand in need of love and service and may we all remember the Sabbath Day, and to keep it holy.  These are some of my greatest desires. I couldn't do what I do without the help of all of you and I certainly couldn't do it without the help of the Lord. He sustains me physically, mentally, and spiritually. 


Elder DeLuca 

This is our district!

It snowed in Conroe this past Saturday! :) This is the Saenz Family!

Monday, September 7, 2015

3-Year-Old Insults

Last Monday, we went to the Saenz's house for birthday cake with Chris and it was super yummy. After that we went to the Douglas' home for dinner. Brother Douglas is our Ward Mission Leader and he has a great family! All three of his girls are age 5 and under and they are so cute. Get this. As we were leaving, his 3-year-old daughter looked at me and said to her mom, "He has the same hair as daddy!" Brother Douglas is balding! hahaha!!!! It was SO funny. You know you are going bald when a 3 year old tells you. Little children don't lie. Its all good; it happens to the best of us. :) 

Tuesday, we had MLC all day and a large portion of our discussion was on getting investigators to church. We had a couple of role plays that we practiced and I learned a lot! That evening, we practiced what we learned with Caleb. We taught him the first half of the restoration and then we left really fast after he said the closing prayer. We wanted to leave when the Spirit was strongest and take it with us. Caleb ended up telling us later during the week that he was not wanting to become a Mormon and he didn't want to waste our time. I personally think he just like bashing with us but when we came out on top with answer, he didn't like it. 2 Nephi 9:40.  The truth hurts the wicked. 

Wednesday, we had a good lesson with Luke and we taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson. After that, we went over to the Saenz's and has a nice lesson with them. Seriously, they are so prepared. 

Thursday was our weekly planning and then we went back to the Saenz's that evening to teach them about temples and family history. When we taught them about the spirit world and baptisms for the dead from the Bible, they were astonished. When Alice realized that she could do work for her mother in the temple she said "This is it. That is what was missing. It all just clicked for me." How cool is that? Robert felt very similar about his father and loved ones that have passed. Brother Brown who came with us told us after we left that he was so surprised on how well they received that lesson. I was not surprised, though. 

Friday, we had zone meeting and it went really well! I talked about our mission standards of excellence, having 3 gators at church, 5 member-present lessons, and 2 new gators each week. Then, Elder Edwards and I both taught about why it is so important to get our gators to church and how to do it. We felt like the training went well. We had a ten-minute break and I made cake pops for everyone so they were super excited about that. I didn't eat one, though, because I am having a weight-loss competition with Brother Douglas. Whoever loses the most weight in September gets a free ice cream from this place called Marble Slab. It is so good!! After zone meeting, we went on exchanges and Elder Harris came to Conroe with me. He is a stud! He goes home in two weeks. We went to lunch at Luby's with the Saenz and I thought of my Nana, then had a lesson with Luke, and then a lesson with the Saenz in the Pew's home. It was a great lesson! I posed the question "What it the importance of getting baptized at an age where you are making the decision, as opposed to having someone make that choice for you?" Chris had a lot to say to that, but then he said something profound. He said "When you are baptized you get a new heart, a new mind, a new soul, and new eyes." WOW! I saw Elder Harris write that down during the lesson. It was incredible. We had angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream after and it was super yummy. Not as rich as a cake pops! haha. Plus, Sister Pew made it, so I was not going to pass. We left during the dessert portion to leave them there to build a friendship without us. We do not want them becoming attached to us, but it is already happening. We are so close with them! I love them so much. 

Saturday morning, after we worked out we came and got all cleaned up and we were getting dressed and then got a call for help with unloading a storage unit. We changed back into normal people clothes and hurried over. It was nice to help them out. Then we helped Brother Lane unload some plywood for a lady that he home teaches. 

Sunday was sweet! We had 5 investigators at church. Instead of going to ward council after our missionary correlation meeting, we went to make sure our gators were planning on coming to church. The ones that we weren't certain about. It helps to do that! We were asked to give a couple of blessings. What a blessing it is to have the priesthood restored to the earth today. Then we went finding and found a new investigator named Clifford. When he introduced himself I immediately thought of the "Big Red Dog." Haha :) He was super nice to us. We will go back next week when he is back from a business trip. 

Things are going great here in Conroe! The Saenz family have their baptisms of the 19th and then Luke's is on the 26th of this month. Thank you for all of your prayers. They really do help us! 


Elder DeLuca  

​My companion was lifting weights in here. He is funny! 

Here is Elder Harris. He is a stud!