Dear family and everyone else,
As you might have guessed it from one of my pictures, I totally ran into one of my old friends from Utah, Brooke Barnett as many of you have known her; however, from what she told me at church, she is married now--about 7 months ago. Her name is now Brooke Gay. It was exciting but also nerve racking that I saw her. I was down the hall walking when I saw her face. I'm like, wait, is that Brooke. Then it was. I wanted to hug my old friend so bad. But mission rules state that I can't hug girls. Mom's are the only exception to the rule of course. Love you lots mom. She's living down in Provo now. She was in Manteca to see her husband's family. Then they drove all the way back to Utah-- an 11 hour road trip. Oh the poor dears. It was cheap, what do you expect. From that moment until yesterday, I thought I had been seeing a bunch of my friends faces on people--my best friend Chaston, and the other was a swimmer girl that I can't remember her name. It was in a way taunting me saying: ha ha, you still got 11 months left to this day. Oh well, life presses on. I did my best to shake it off like I always do.
In this week's proselyting, we taught the Tagal's. They are Philipino (if I didn't say that already.) Sweet couple with a super friendly skinny dog. I think they call them strudels or something. Anyways, we set up an appointment for one evening, and when we got there, we didn't know that they sent us a text saying that they had to go somewhere. So we get there and they told us that they changed their minds and they were home and continued on teaching about the restoration since they watched the 20 minute video we gave them. They love YouTube and movies in general. They thought the video was really special and that Joseph Smith was a really respectable person. They continue to be open in hearing what we have to share with the world.
On Tuesday, Elder Shepherd had a dentist appointment. The first plan was to have him go with a member while I go with our district leader to service at the 2nd harvest food bank. However, the plan slightly changed when we gave them a 30 minute leeway and they didn't show, so we left and told them it was too late to pick me up and that they should still go to service. They got themselves busy by helping the Zone Leaders. So our district leader Elder Ahau learned his lesson to set his priorities straight and to follow on every commitment. We extend commitments to investigators. We as missionaries should do the same. We all learn from our mistakes, and the atonement covers even the smallest things. When we get to Modesto and when Elder Shepherd was done in 30 minutes, miraculously, he was charged after some missionaries told him that the service would be free, so he and the dentist talked it over since he didn't have dental insurance like he thought and the member dentist just forgave the charge. We will see again tomorrow if the dentist will do the dental work for free or not. He does have like 2-4 pre-cavities that need to be filled, so he is brushing his teeth 3 times a day now, which is good.
We talked to the Eckles's son Luke as well on Saturday. He is staunch Baptist and has asburger's, which is high functioning autism. This defect has the person unable to connect their feelings with their logic. He is super smart and very accountable for his actions. He just needs to find the right crowd is all. It's almost impossible for him to feel the spirit because it's too gentle. If he ever gets converted, it will have to be logically. Not very many Mormon's can really grasp the belief in the Trinity, because the explanation just doesn't make sense. We did our best but he's not budging with the godhead. He did say that he will study the Book of Mormon starting with 3 Nephi soon with us.
Also on Saturday, we talked to a somewhat homeless woman named Jane. She lived in Riverbank but was kicked out because of some things that she mentioned. She really wants to work but couldn't find anything yet. She is also on disability which isn't really much to pay for rent around here in California. She rented out a motel for a month before she goes on the street again. She might have found a deal with one of her friends to move in together and pay for an apartment together. They're just looking everywhere except for Stockton for how bad it is there. She flagged us down and said that she studied with the missionaries before. She just likes things slow. She does understand that we do want to baptize her. She just wants to find her answer first.
On Sunday, Maria Johnson wasn't at our ward, but she did go to Union ward with her boyfriend because they were busy later in the afternoon since it was Easter. Marsha Baker "The trouble Maker" is what she called herself, woke up late and missed yet another baby blessing. She loves babies so much, but there are plenty of other opportunities for her to see one in the near future. This is a younger ward with many young families with expecting wive's. Because Marsha missed church again, she will not be getting baptized like we hoped on the 9th, but we are still expecting Maria Johnson to. We just need to start working on the program with her, and her interview.
I want to conclude my letter to all my friends and family in sharing a brief message about the importance of EASTER. "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29; Alma 7:14) For unto us, a Child is born. The Prince of Peace. "He was wounded for our transgressions. (Mosiah 14:5) He was bruised for our sins". (Mosiah 14:5) This Easter season, remember to go to Gethsemane. We needed a Savior so mercy could be extended. Justice and Mercy though apposite, work in harmony in the plan of God. Peace was found, and peace was restored. Remember the first Easter. Great joy is proclaimed, and all can "Find new life." Love the Savior, and love his commandments. He overcame all, so trust and obey.
With Sincere Love to all,
Elder Tyler White
Tyler and Brooke