WELCOME to Elder John-Gregory Sierra's mission blog! For the next two years Elder Sierra will be serving as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the California Sacramento Mission. We hope you will enjoy his experiences, shared through weekly letters. We will post his letters each week and any pictures he may send.

Write Elder Sierra

WRITE ELDER SIERRA!

Missionaries love to get letters (and care packages)! If you'd like to write to Elder Sierra, please use the following addresses:

MISSION OFFICE:
Elder John-Gregory Sierra
California Sacramento Mission
8267 Deseret Ave
Fair Oaks, CA 95628

EMAIL:
john-gregory.sierra@myldsmail.net


Sunday, December 28, 2014

A LITTLE HOLIDAY CHEER

Recent pics from the Sacramento Mission:

Christmas Day on Skype




Some members sent this pic of Elder Sierra and Elder Osorio helping them with their Christmas tree!


Our Soccer team

Up in the mountains near Placeville, CA



NO FUE COINCIDENCIA QUE LES VI AQUI!
Letter from Dec. 15, 2014

Hey Mom,

Sorry I am sending you a letter so late. A LOT has happened today.
Well Mom, its hard for me to think of a present. I really got nothing. I mean maybe a harmonica so I can start learning how to play that too. Benjamin told me about his plans for the dance. I am happy he is having fun. It seems like he has a good group of friends and is happy, which really puts my mind at ease concerning him. He has always been a good kid... His date was cute. Tell him I say good job. 
So, work is beginning to pick up A LOT! We just got a new investigator, named Antonio, and we have a return appointment for tomorrow. He actually called us over and asked us to teach him. It was very cool. He enjoyed hearing the Plan of Salvation. He has just moved to Placerville and had seen missionaries in Mexico, but never actually talked to them. So when he saw us, in his own words, "No fue coincedencia que les vi aqui!" (It was no coincidence that I saw you here!) He invited us to come back and since he found out that I like to spar (he is a boxer) we are gonna have a little match tomorrow. It'll be fun lol. I will update you on what happens. Work is moving along. La familia Perez came to church yesterday and that was awesome. We are gonna see them again on Wednesday. Elder Osorio and I have seen that, little by little, we have been seeing miracles here. The best part is that we notice them after the trial of our faith and diligence every time. It's awesome!

I almost forgot to mention that something BIG just happened in the Sacramento mission. It was SO BIG that President Jardine called all the missionaries on a huge conference call last night. The news was pretty huge. We were the first ones to find this out. The stake presidents don't know, the Seventy doesn't know, and the other mission that is involved doesn't know either. They all won't know until tomorrow or so. So you will be also one of the first to hear. Our mission is getting SPLIT! Bottom half of our mission and a small part of the Fresno mission are going to become part of a new mission that will be known as the California Modesto mission. It was hard to take in. I served in three of the four zones that will be going to the Modesto mission. I loved serving there and I guess for me and a lot of the others we just feel that they are splitting our home. It's our mission that's taking the biggest hit. It'll be rough for the missionaries to adjust to, I feel, but I know it will be fine. California will have 20 missions total by July. That is when the actual split will happen, so I will be long gone before it happens for real. My companion is worried about going to the new mission. He'd rather stay in Sacramento, as I would assume most missionaries feel that way. It was tough for President Jardine as well. He is going to have to reassign about a 1/3 of our missionaries to this new mission and the language programs will be taking a huge blow as well. Well, only the Lord knows what's best so it's in His hands. That's all I have for ya Mom. Love you and can't wait till Christmas to Skype you again. Talk to you soon.

Elder Sierra
TRUE LOVE BETWEEN YOUR FELLOWMEN

Letter from Dec. 8, 2014

Hey Mom,

The concert was great! One of the missionaries took some pics and some video of the songs, so it worked out great. My talk is being made as I go.  I'm kinda just putting some dynamite stuff in there as I receive inspiration throughout the day. It'll be great... And yes, we did see the Christmas devotional with the members that we live with at their parents' place. It was a nice family setting. I enjoyed Elder Christofferson's talk the most. When the guy speaks I swear he just commands the elements around him. Real Majestic-like. Although, the part that touched me the most was the part when they were talking about the children waking up to a dill pickle on their plates, then hearing about all the things that they have to be grateful for. Then the boy finds a dime, runs immediately to the store, to which the store owner charitably takes time away from CHRISTMAS MORNING to give him bags of sweets for his whole family. To me, that really made the devotional. True love between your fellowmen and I think about the boy and how he didn't use the dime to get something for himself, but instead ran out to get his whole family sweets just because he believed Santa left a dime for them =) Work here is a bit slow at the moment, so there isn't too much to talk about, but we have a killer week planned that is full of appointments with investigators, service projects, and temple trip with the zone. I am very excited for that. Other than that, sorry not too much more to go on. A lot of appointments got cancelled so that's part of the problem, but we have been getting somewhere with our less actives. That's been AWESOME! We may start doing some reactivation pretty soon (which is a miracle in itself). We are still happy. I love you Mom Merry Christmas!

Elder Sierra
 THINGS I'M THANKFUL FOR
Letter from Nov 27, 2014

We asked Elder Sierra what he was grateful for this year and this was his reply:
 1.) I am grateful for my freedom. Freedom is God-given and it allows us to choose for ourselves what path to take. As we obey His commandments, we can achieve the peak of spiritual freedom. We were never created to be bound or enslaved by anyone, or anything. 2.) I am grateful for my family. For the bonds I have with not only my parents, brother, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma, etc., but also with my friends that I consider my family as well. I am grateful that My Father in Heaven placed them in my path so that I could truly enjoy my life and share it with all of them. They enrich my life with happiness. 3.) I am grateful for the Atonement. I don't and will never understand the sacrifice of our Savior fully in my mortal life, but I can appreciate and apply it as much as possible. There is nothing more comforting than to know that my guilt can and will be swept away from my past mistakes. I can scratch it all away and move on. This to me will always be the most important part of the restored gospel that I share. The Restoration of Prophets, Apostles, Temples, and all the other little blessings are wonderful, but they are merely just icing on the cake. None of those things could exist without the Atonement. That is how Jesus Christ saved the world. 

D&C 46:7-8 

We must always remember to be thankful. Honestly, I do not believe the Lord really cares so much of receiving thanks, as much as he cares about us being able to see His acts of love and charity in our life. As we are thankful, not only do we show gratitude, but we notice the worth of what we have and it implies a greater meaning. It armors us against the adversary. We need never feel that we are alone, unloved, or forsaken. We should always be grateful that we are never alone. As long as we live in a state of Thanksgiving daily, Hell has no power over you. As a special servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, I testify that we will always be protected by the Armor of Righteousness as we clad ourselves with love, gratitude, and purity. May we celebrate Thanksgiving daily. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

His letter:

Hey Mom,

Sorry for not mentioning that last monday was not gonna be P-Day. Hope you weren't too upset lol. Las familias Garcia y Villianueva estan haciendo muy bien. No sentiamos que estan listos para aceptar una invitacion por bautismo pero vamos a tener una actividad la proxima semana con todas de las iglesias en la comunidad. Se llama "Guardando Cristo en Navidad". Voy a cantar por el evento y invitabamos las familias para venir. Ojala que sienten el espiritu muchissimo que pueden reconocer que estan en el camino correcto. (The Garcia and Villanueva families doing very well. We don't feel they are ready to accept a baptismal invitation, however, we are having an activity next week with all the churches in our community. It's called Keeping Christ in Christmas. I will be singing at the event and we invited our families to come. Hopefully, they will feel the Spirit and can recognize that they are in the correct path.) 
Anyway, so work is going great. We are moving everything along. What is cool that we have noticed about our teaching pool is that all of our investigators found us, instead of us finding them. We are LOVIN it! We just need to keep the momentum rollin. I received one of the packages two days ago. I didn't get the other one yet, but the pink camo stocking sounds legit haha. Speaking of camo-style Christmas, I have begun an operation here in El Dorado, an operation that has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. It will be a stake-wide activity with members and missionaries alike, bringing good cheer and hope to the poor in heart and spirit of El Dorado. Operation SECRET SANTA is BACK!! We will be donning the santa camo hats once again. We are already beginning to find homes and families that could use some serious Christmas joy. The phase one: "Mark Your Targets" has already begun. I will update you on that operation next coming P-Day. So the zone here would like to say, "THANKS FOR THAT PECAN PIE!!!!!" (I shared). It was AWESOME (as always)! We appreciate the treats you send us, thanks. Also, for today we are eating with some members. We've got like 4 families that invited us over. We feel ill-prepared to eat 4 Thanksgiving meals, but we will see what happens with the upcoming match on Elders vs. Food! Other than that, we just had a turkey bowl that was setup by yours truly (that's just tradition!) and it was a blast. We got some good hits and I had some pretty good runs. Caught the ball on the 50 yard line, then I ran it down to the end zone (got by 7 people). It was legit. I got hit pretty hard as well (totally blindsided), knocked all the wind out of me, but I'm all right. It was a lot of fun. I'll send you a picture of my team (we won). We played against some guys we found on the field already. So much fun (cuz we WON). We are having a great time right now. It's a full-day p-day. So about the tree, we will be working with some members on a Christmas tree farm this Saturday and they said we can buy a nice size one for cheap. We are gonna have all the elders at our place opening presents at our tree, so we are gonna get a good sized one. It'll be pretty sick! I wouldn't send any ornaments until I get the actual size of the tree. I'll send you a pic on my next p-day. So touching on the new baby, she is ADORABLE!! I hope I get to meet her someday. There is not much else to talk about right now. Love you Mom! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Elder Sierra

p.s. tell all the Family that I love them.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

RECENT PICTURES FROM THE SACRAMENTO MISSION



My whole zone on our hike.

Some of my district elders. My companion, Elder Osorio, is with the dog, Elder Bancroft is wearing the cowboy hat and Elder Yi is the Korean Elder. the member is Brother Swarbrick. He is awesome and takes care of me for ya! lol

Glorious Miracle! We got steak!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

THINGS ARE GREAT HERE IN THE HILLS OF GOLD!
Letter from Nov. 18, 2014

Dear Mom,

I am staying here in the hills (SO HAPPY) and I keep my current companion (even HAPPIER). Yeah, Osorio and I are stoked. We wanted to stay another transfer together so we could continue to see the work progress. We have added 2 new families, the Perez family and the Garduno family. They are all open to receiving the gospel and we are very excited that we finally have an actual TEACHING POOL!! On top of all that, the stake president (great guy) has granted us permission to go and work with all the ward mission leaders in the entire stake so that we can try to find more (Spanish) work and coordinate with them accordingly. President Jardine has mentioned to us many times on how much he appreciates our desire to get things rolling. He understands that work here is very difficult, but that we have been pressing forward and trying to be creative in coming up with ways to make the work here effective. We have had to work very closely with the wards, individually, as well as on a stake level. It's pretty funny. We meet more with the stake president than the zone leaders do, haha. I gotta say this has been one of my greatest challenges yet, but Elder Osorio and I just love it here. We love the work here, the members, the people we are blessed to teach, and we wouldn't trade it for anything else. Things are great here in the Hills of Gold. 

How is everything going for Thanksgiving and Christmas preparation? I hope that you guys aren't stacked with a long list of stuff again. Please don't kill yourselves by over volunteering again! Well, anyhow, I have been asked to sing for a multi-faith event on Dec. 5th. It's an event that is titled, "Keeping Christ in Christmas". I will be singing "O Holy Night" and also "I Wonder as I Wander". I am humbled to have been asked to sing. The Stake President had asked me to sing, so it will be a great experience. That is all that is happening as of right now. I will keep you posted if anything new comes up. Love you all!

Elder Sierra

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A MIRACLE AND LA FAMILIA VILLANUEVA. LOOKS LIKE THINGS ARE PICKING UP IN EL DORADO

Letter from 11/10/14

Hey Mom,

Sorry that I am responding to you so late. Our zone just got back from an AWESOME hike in the mountains along a beautiful lake. We had a lot of fun. 
So, this week we did have a miracle. We got a referral from President Weston (Stake prez) and it went wonderfully. We have just added a family of 5 and we are very excited. They are the Garcia family and they have been very open to the gospel, especially the father, Juan. He has a very solemn and profound love for his family and he has had the opportunity to visit the temple in Salt Lake and the one here in Sacramento. He actually likes the missionaries and respects what we teach. In fact, after we gave the lesson he came up to us, gave us his number, then told us that Thursday and Saturday nights are the best way to go. I love it when they give us a schedule to come back haha. He is very humble and we are very excited. 
So now, we are working with him and also with a part-member family, la familia Villanueva. The wife is not a member and has been a little hesitant on being baptized simply because she is afraid of what her parents would think. Well, as luck would have it, her parents now live with them and we have actually begun the discussions with them......and they LOVE IT hahaha. So freakin' hilarious. I looked at Hermana Villanueva y le dije que, "No tienes ninguna excusa ahora." ( I told her that "you don't have any excuse now) So we are gonna see where that goes. It's not pitch perfect here in El Dorado, but things are getting better little by little and President called me and my companion and commented on the fact that things were looking like they were getting better. It's nice to hear support from your President. So anyway, things here are on the rise. 
I am happy that Benjamin and you have been having a fun time with genealogy work. I need to get on that when I return home. Right now, my work is for the living, not the dead, but once my mission here is completed I will get into the habit of doing that. That is pretty cool that we are related to Danish Kings. Well, mom, I don't have too much to talk about today, other than the fact that Osorio and I ARE SO HAPPY with the package you sent me. It is the best. We love the cd's. Thank you so much.

Elder Sierra

Thursday, October 30, 2014

HEAVEN FORBID I QUESTION IT TWICE!
This week's letter
Hey Mom, 
This week hasn't been the best, as far as lessons are concerned. We haven't been having the best of luck in our area with lessons. It's been scarce as of late. Something that will change this week. We will try harder to contact more people and to get a lesson in. 
Something that has been nice, though, was that we have been doing a lot of service and have had many opportunities to work with members lately which has aided us in receiving referrals to find people to teach. We have also been strengthening the less actives and have found an investigator through working with them, as well. In short, we have seen some sparks happen and we are hoping to continue to fan the flames. 
There was one cool experience that I had. Last Friday, we were heading over to an area to contact a referral, Then, I received an impression to go and see Hermano Juarez. I'm all like, "We saw him yesterday, Why do we need to see him again?" Then the impression came to me again that we go to Hermano Juarez and Heaven forbid that I question it twice!! I turned to my companion and told him, "I feel like we need to go see Hermano Juarez," to which he responds, "I've been feeling the same." With that, we did an about-face and went to his home. We got there and saw that there was an ambulance there and I saw that they were carrying Hermano Juarez into the van. His sister came over to me and told me to follow her to the hospital. We got back into the truck and we booked it to the hospital. We got there before the ambulance did. He had fainted, due to pneumonia and water in his lungs, and now he is being prepped for open-heart surgery. We were able to see him real fast (he was not looking good) and offer a quick prayer for his health. The next day, we received a call from his sister telling us that he got moved to a hospital near downtown Sacramento and asked us to come over Sunday to give him a blessing before the operation. It was WAYYYY out of our area, but I wanted to be there to help, so I called President Jardine. I explained the situation to him and he agreed saying, "I believe it is a necessary and vital need to have the missionaries always be on call to help their members in their respective areas." He went on to add, "Usually, I wouldn't let missionaries go so far out of their area and I would get other missionaries to go there, but I trust you, Elder Sierra, and I know you love those you serve, so you have my permission to go and give him a blessing." That meant a lot to me. I really love my Prez. He is a great man and is very in tune with the Spirit. I wouldn't have any other leader. We went over yesterday to administer the blessing and the Spirit was there and it was a comforting feeling to everyone in the room. Ricardo Juarez feels happy and ready for his operation. We are expecting to hear how it went very soon. 
That's all the major news that has been going on lately. We will be throwing a surprise party for a cool Elder in our zone named Elder Bancroft. He is newer in the mission, but is a great guy. I had the chance to perform with him as we jammed on the guitar and the uke. It was pretty freakin cool. Elder Osorio and I have been planning this since yesterday and we've got everything prepped. We have a pretty unified zone (I really love it here). Mom I love you as always and I will hear from you soon.

Elder Sierra


Pics from a member's house in El Dorado Hills and from a concert Elder Sierra played in.
On a mission from God!

Jammin' on the uke with Elder Bancroft



Monday, October 27, 2014

THE YOUTH ARE WHERE IT'S AT!
More pics 
Letter from Oct. 20, 2014

Hey Mom,

Things are beginning to roll here in El Dorado. Elder Osorio and I are determined to get things moving here with Spanish work. We are still working with our prominent investigator named Margartia Mendoza and we have been talking with the members around the stake and several ward mission leaders about some ideas we are starting to implement here in the mission. We have also been getting a very positive response from members all around the stake. We have received several referrals last week. A couple of them, surprisingly, were from the youth here. Pretty awesome, right! I gotta say, referrals from the members are wonderful, but I have found that when youth reach out to their friends and invite them to learn about what we share, it is usually a much better turn out. They, for some reason, seem more intrigued, they aren't set in their ways and are more open-minded. Best of all, they are usually more curious. It's wonderful to see the youth try to help us in our work. I love the stake here. Work here is hard, and after about two weeks, we have deduced that tracting just straight up doesn't work here (most ineffective way to find people). EVERYONE is spread out and the Spanish people themselves are hidden all over. I was a little worried because I wanted to keep my teaching in Spanish up, but I have been translating sacrament a whole lot lately. I'm actually pretty good, when people aren't talking at lightning speed!! My Spanish has seriously come along. I understand 90% of everything. There are words here and there that I don't know, but vocabulary comes with time. Also, my grammar is coming along nicely, as well. It was TERRIBLE in the beginning of my mission, but now it's much better. Many people have asked me if I had learned my Spanish from my parents and I'm like, "No. Aprendi todo que yo se aqui en la mision." And they are like, "MANDE!!!!!" They thought I just grew up speaking it, which makes me feel happy. I have been working hard on my Spanish. It's an honor to be able to have finally gotten the language down. I can proudly say that I am proficient in the language and that if you stuck me in a random city with nothing but Spanish speakers, I would get around just fine. So anyway, everything in El Dorado is great. Its a very rural place, but I love it....What's also awesome is that we have dinner EVERY NIGHT! It's real cool. They all love it when we come by.

Us in the diner with some members of our district and the Roberts Family (the family we live with)

Golden Sunsets of El Dorado



Friday, October 24, 2014

OPERATION IGNITE!
 
Letter from Oct. 13, 2014

Hey Mom,

About my new area, the place is literally bursting with energy. The members here are ON FIRE! I've realized that this area is definitely hard. The area is huge and it's widespread, not to mention, the concentration of Latinos are all over the place and practically hidden. However, Elder Osorio and I have identified the problem: one, we have not explored other areas, two, the stake is unaware of our circumstances, and three, we have been contacting the same people over and over again. To combat the problems that we have here, we created a plan of action. Because my companion and I both have plans for the military in the future, we came up with, "Operation Ignite!". Like the name, we want to ignite the Spanish work here in El Dorado. We have 3 objectives that we are going to meet. We want to start growing a pool of progressing investigators, we want to have firm STAKE member support, and we want to reactivate the very small group of members and recent converts that we have to solidify our current group. We have the details all planned out and we have met with a few of the ward mission leaders from around the stake, our bishop, and our stake president. They are all behind us 100%. We have received 4 referrals after implementing this operation two days ago. We have an investigator already, named Margarita Mendoza, who is progressing towards baptism. We are going to set a date with her for this month. We are very stoked. We can feel the energy and the urgency of the work here. We can't wait to see the fruits of it all. El Dorado is definitely going to ignite. The area has so much potential. The real problem that this area has had is the fact that the missionaries that worked here were not that experienced and also weren't very creative. 
Elder Osorio is the perfect companion for me to have here. He has been out for 8 months and is still figuring it all out, but he will be just fine. He is a fast learner. The guy is also very organized. I have done what I can to help him, but he has done 80% of the work in organizing the area books, the registries, dividing the area maps accordingly, and he has been making files for the members in El Dorado that speak Spanish, so we can use them to help aid our work here. The guys is really on top of things. He is also a native from Mexico. His Spanish is fluent, which is a bonus! I didn't want to help another missionary work on his language while we were here. In short, work is progressing here and we are very excited to make it all explode in the City of Gold. 

I am happy to hear things are going [good] at home...I also hope that Benjamin will be able to continue to excel in martial arts. He is pretty good at being basically great at everything he does. And from what Dad has been telling me, he has been a very busy boy and also a great help to you. That does me good to see that he really has magnified his callings, especially as a son, above and beyond the call of duty. I keep him and, of course, all of you in my prayers. Not much more to mention. I love you all. 

Elder Sierra

Monday, October 13, 2014

RIGHTEOUS FURY AND A NEW AREA/CHALLENGE
Letter from Oct. 7, 2014


Hey Mom,

Conference was nothing short of DIVINE!!!! Answered a lot of problems for me, for my investigators, and for how I need to continue to conduct my work. We had many investigators come to Conference and every last one of them loved it. We are looking at what is to be 4 baptisms in Stockton. We are very excited! I want to see the success that we are truly reaping right now, but the Lord has once again called me to go to El Dorado. I will not be staying with Elder Stockton Williams a.k.a. "The Prince of Stockton". I was pretty upset at first, but I know that I need to go and help revive work in El Dorado. It has been very unsuccessful there and it has been said because it is a hard area, that the people aren't prepared, and also, that it is almost impossible to find any Latinos there. My personal response, "What a bunch of half-backed horse crap!!". No wonder work there is slow. I refuse to believe that El Dorado is an area that cannot receive success. I know it will be a challenge, but if there is one thing you never do to the "JG" it's that you never challenge the "JG", cuz you know I'm gonna meet that challenge with joy and I will take you OUT! Ironically (once again), President Jardine called me after I received the call and told me the situation in that area. They may close down the Spanish work there if things doesn't progress. He asked me if I was willing to still give it a shot. I told him, "With all due respect and with great humility, you also told me South Stockton was not getting much success as well, but I came, I saw, and I conquered. We average the most lessons in our area more than any other Spanish area in the mission. We have a large teaching pool of 20, not to mention we have 4 investigators that are set for baptism. You can be sure that things in El Dorado will turn around." Pres said, "Haha. All right Sierra, I expect great things from you. Keep in contact, alright?"
Hence, my next call will most likely be my last and final challenge. One that I will destroy! I am excited. 

Work in Stockton is seriously picking up. Because we have been having so much success here, they have decided to bring back Spanish Zone leaders again (they got rid of them when we first got there because there wasn't much success). My companion was called as one of them. He is a little intimidated and looked to me saying, "Dude! What the heck?! Why am I doing this? It should be you!!". Haha I just reminded him, "Bro it's all good! They picked the right man for the job. I got my work cut out for me in El Dorado, anyway." We weren't exactly excited about leaving each other, but it's been a good run. And last night, we ended it with a BANG! I was teaching one of our most prominent investigators, Teresa, and she is so wonderful. The most humble lady I know. Her family is really going downhill and she treats me and my companion like her grandchildren. When we completed our thought and ended with prayer, we were going to take a picture with her before we left, but her son came over and was being EXTREMELY disrespectful to her and told us basically to leave and never come back. I was getting ticked, but I wasn't gonna shout back, however, he started insulting Teresa and she is such a sweet lady in her 60's and I kinda got steamed up and told him, politely, "Please quit it man. That's your mom. I understand if you got a problem with us, but you don't need to insult your mom like that." He got angry, "Shut up! I pay rent here, you want me to kick you out?!" (He called me out) I get out of my chair and get face to face with him, "Try me SON! FREAKIN TRY ME!!" My companion never saw me snap like this. [Her son] got freaked out and stepped back. He was LITERALLY shaking!! So funny. He gets all freaked out and then tries to pull the 'I threatened him' card, so he goes and calls the cops. We went outside, took a picture, and Teresa apologized for her son. The cops show and the entire time they are telling him off for being a drama queen and trying to impose on another's right to worship. [They] basically pulled out the 1st Amendment on that sucker. I didn't really like cops before, but those guys were awesome. And what was even better, they came up to us and said, "Don't worry we got your back. We served our missions too." My companion and I flipped out!! They were members. God seriously has a sense of humor and He's got connections! Pretty legit story, right? Teresa has a baptismal date for November. We are excited. 

Now, drumroll please! The Stockton Street Wings STOLE THAT LOCAL COMPETITION!! We won our semi-final and last Friday, after a long game, we won 2-1. It was awesome. It was a hard game. We were going back and forth the entire game. We scored one goal in the 43rd minute and they scored against us in the 77th minute. So therefore, it became close. We then scored again in the 88th minute. So things were getting REAL CLOSE!! I had to step up the game so, I started bringing out the aggression. I played it fair though. Just had to make it look like I am going for the ball and not their ankles ;). So during overtime they slipped through our defense, they made one shot, which the goalie blocked, but they got a rebound shot and he dove to block the rebound. So the goalie is down and the opposing team got the ball AGAIN!! You can imagine my frustration. They made one last shot so I blocked it......with my face!!!! It was a [bold] move, but I blocked the shot. However, you'll never believe what happened next. THEY GOT THE FREAKIN BALL AGAIN!!! They made one last desperate shot, and in my head, "This is BULLCRAP!", so I blocked it........with my hand lol. They were pretty [ticked]. The ref came and gave me a yellow card. They were given a penalty shot, so it all rested on the goalie. All of us were breathing hard, crossing our fingers, and our eyes were keen on the ball. The shot was made......and it was BLOCKED!!!! The ball was rolling back to their team again, but I was like, HEAVEN FORBID if they get ANOTHER REBOUND!! SO, I sprinted, kicked that ball to the other side of the field and out of bounds. That ended the game. Time was up. We totally STOLE the championship title, which means bragging rights for life! haha. We felt like bosses. That, and our investigator had a great time. Even better than that, a guy named Javier, who is less active, got reactivated through the activities and is now preparing for a mission. My work here in Stockton is done. We have done well here. I am content with leaving my area with Elder Williams. He is more than capable of leading the area. 

Well Mom this concludes my letter for this week. I hope you and Dad are safe. I miss you all! I love you all! And I will be home in 3 more transfers. Pretty crazy right? You all have fun on your business trip. 

Love,

Elder JG Sierra
Uhh, yeah. Mom had a few questions about his 'encounter' and a general conference talk about meekness that he'd just received. ;)

Yeah Mom, the temple was amazing!! Throughout the entire thing I felt a spirit of gratitude radiating from all around me. I am absolutely sure I felt a thank you from my great grandfather. I look forward to seeing our eternal family beyond the veil, but I need to finish my work among the living first. I read the talk [on meekness!] and it was amazing, but this moment was literally a moment of RIGHTEOUS FURY! I truly felt that I needed to stand and tell him to back off! My companion (I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!) told me that when I stood up, "...there was a hush in the entire home for the space of two minutes. It was as if all the elements of the home practically obeyed your very essence, that was literally RADIATING! You truly are a frightening man when you are pissed off in a holy way lol" It was a pretty cool experience. And Mom, once again, leadership doesn't suit me. It's too easy... I am here to cry repentance and baptize. I can lead others by being an example. They can see my work and learn what they need to from it. It's okay Mom. I get the hard assignments for a reason. It's not because I'm obedient to the white handbook, it's because I obey the Spirit. That is literally my secret. It's what makes me tick. I don't really follow my plans that I make. It is all on the spot and it's really cool. And I have realized that my companions are a big part of my journey. All of them I learned from and they have all learned from me. Heck, five of my companions tell me all the time that I am their favorite. I'm trying not to brag, but I just love being a missionary so much. It's just SO COOL! I can't wait to hit up El Dorado and bring the freakin RAIN! I am ready.
And Mike's business is EVERYWHERE! He is gonna try and visit me from time to time. Because I am a bauss like that lol. Also, I had dinner with Ricky the other night at Olive Garden. The guy is SO SOLID! He has his date for baptism all set up in January and he is still strong in the faith. I love him so much. He still wants me to baptize him. I think he just might be the only investigator I will actually baptize. He is doing electrician school and he just got top of his class. His school is getting paid for and he has a side job that pays $15 an hour. He is doing very well. He is gonna try to see me this month as well.
I do know my companion. His name is Elder Osorio. He is REAL CHILL! I can't wait to serve with him. He is a native as well so that is helpful. I didn't want a companion that had crappy Spanish. I don't need that handicap right now. This is the big leagues!
FULL-DAY P-DAY?!! PRESIDENT JARDINE IS A BAUSS!
Letter from Sept. 29, 2014


Hey Mom,

This week has been BOSS! We have been getting a lot of lessons and new investigators. There is one investigator that we picked up yesterday by the name of Jose Diaz. He was very ready and excited to hear about the gospel. The lesson was very spiritual. I had the impression after we had finished a lesson to go knock on a door at the end of the house. Not much came of the initial contact, but the person that lived in the house referred us to a different house on the street. So we made our way over there and, lo and behold, Jose was excited to see us. He had been searching for answers to questions he had about life and religion and had hoped God would send someone to answer them. We were more than happy to. We started off with the restoration. He was very interested and understood very well the importance of Prophets. He told us that he had understood why it was necessary for a prophet to lead and guide us. He then asked, "Por que no tenemos profetas hoy en estos tiempos?"(Why don't we have prophets now?) To which I responded, "Pues, actualmente tenemos un Profeta hoy y su nombre es Thomas S. Monson." (Actually, we have a prophet today and his name is Thomas S. Monson) We then explained Joseph Smith's vision. The Spirit was very powerful. My companion then challenged him to be baptized. Without hesitation or second thought, he said, yes. He has a date for Nov. 1st. Our next appointment is on Wednesday and we are very excited. 
Brian Arevalo is set for the 25th of October (it would be sooner, but he will be on vacation for a couple weeks). He is very prepared, his family is supporting him and they are also taking the lessons. He is 13 years old. Brian is SO ready for baptism it's not even funny. His mother told us to get him baptized and that she would follow right after she is finished with work. She has two more weeks in los campos (the fields) and afterwards, she will be off [the rest] of this year and most of next year.  We are PUMPED!!
We have been blessed to find a lot of work and prepared, humble people that are willing to make and keep commitments. My companion and I are doing great still and we are just chillin' now. Today, we have been blessed with a FULL DAY P-DAY (a day which is basically a vacation day almost) because we got to see the new movie, Meet the Mormons (I so recommend watching it), meaning we got the whole day to chill. We don't proselyte that day.  President Jardine is a bauss.
Anyway that is all I got for you guys this week. I love you Mom

Elder Sierra

BEING BAUSSES
Letter from Sept. 22, 2014

Dear Mom,

You are the best, but also crazy!!! My companion and good friend, Elder Rentz thought that was pretty funny what you did to my passcode... I will talk to you more about education later, but thank you so much for making life easy for me, Mom! I love and appreciate the fact that you took the time to help me to get the details and obstacles out of the way so it can be a very smooth transition when I come home.

As far as the mission goes, life goes on and Elder Williams and I are continuing to be Bausses!! We just got 25 lessons last week and we have been picking up new investigators. Two of them are from an investigator we are already teaching named Armando. Armando is a 17 year-old kid who really was prepared to receive the gospel. At first his parents weren't all for it, especially when he accepted a baptismal date for Oct. 18, but as they saw the changes he was making, they were curious to understand why he was doing what he was doing. Now we are teaching them and his younger brother. Brian is still trudging along. It's been tough because he hasn't been able to come to church, but he still has his eye on the prize and his mother gets off work soon, meaning that her schedule will be a lot more flexible. In short, winning!! 

Today was an awesome pday because I went to Coloma which is a site for gold discovery that was established by the Mormon Battalion. It has some interesting stories and a fantastic history about the saints back then. Sadly, we didn't have time for most of it that and there was a huge wildfire that had happened before we got there so there was a lot of smoke and the view wasn't that great, but we still had fun. Later our buddy Mike, you will meet him soon (he is da bomb!!!), took us to Deseret bookstore (I couldn't buy anything I had no $$), then to the DI to get some mission library stuff, then to nike because mike decided that my tennis shoes are utter crap and that I need to stop pulling the proud card and ask for help. So he was a boss and got me new shoes. They are nice and I'll send a pic when I can. In short I'm happy. Well anyway, I love you mom and I will do better about email next week. 

Love,

Elder Sierra
THESE THINGS I'VE LEARNED
RUMINATIONS OF A SEASONED MISSIONARY
Letter from Sept 15, 2014

Elder Sierra's dad asked him how he felt he'd changed or grown in his mission. Here's his reply:

Well Dad, 
 
I thought about the changes I've made in the mission. There are many and I will list them as follows:
 
Temper- I know my temper used to be crazy and unpredictable. You couldn't light the fuse because it would blow up in your hand. However, now there's time to throw the bomb away before it blows. The time is 5 seconds lol. 
 
Patience- It goes in hand with temper, but more than anything I have learned to accept that the Lord's timing is not my timing. Being able to accept that I have no control of certain situations has helped me to become humble and see the grand scheme of things in my mission and in my life. 
 
Humility- I do think many times that I am above everyone. It has been a struggle to not get too overconfident about the success that I have. Following the Spirit, if anything, I realized that my success comes from the Lord and that gratefulness helps us to keep our ego in check.
 
Gratitude- Developing an "Attitude of Gratitude" is an attribute that I have tried to apply greatly in my mission during both the best times and bad. Especially during the hard times, it helps me to see how close the Lord really is as I work, which in turn helps me to stay diligent and endure.
 
Diligence/Endurance- I have always been a hard worker and always had the desire to go the 'second mile', but second milers are not enough for a mission. If you wish to see the fruits of your labor, you have to go a third mile and then some. It truly taxes everything out of me, but it's worth it. I get more and more exhausted as I work throughout the day, but following the Spirit gives me the strength I need to do what I must do throughout the day.
 
Obedience- There are some rules that I still ignore because I think they are ignorant and hold work back, so I can't say that I am a rule follower through and through, but I can say that when the Spirit whispers, I obey. As I obey the Spirit, I am able to fulfill my purpose as a missionary. Honestly, in this mission that is the hardest thing for a lot of Elders and Sisters to do. It's a stumbling block, because they can 'feel the Spirit', but they don't know how to act on it. That has been my greatest tool. I make plans and try to plan by the Spirit, but I also have to heed promptings to forget my plans in order to help those I serve. If I had always obeyed what the handbook would have said or what my plans asked me to do, then I would have missed SEVERAL of the people that I have met that are now baptized. Follow the Spirit. That simple. It really helps to pull down your pride. 
 
Pride- I think we all know that I am a VERY prideful man. I am prideful of a lot of things. I know I am confident about what I do, I'm tough, I learn things real fast, I have a will that can't be topped unless I let you, I'm very opinionated, and if it's a skill that I am good at, then automatically I think I am the best at it. In missionary work, I could teach very well since the beginning. I teach pretty DANG well. I can relate to my investigators very well and I have many stories and experiences that I have had in my life to help me testify and bear witness of the gospel. However, my pride halted my progression in following the Spirit and letting the Lord (or my companion) take over. It also interfered with me finding new people to teach because I thought they weren't going to accept it or even give them the chance to change. It took a lot of work, but I have learned to rely on the Spirit to utilize my skills and also to yield to my companion when he is feeling prompted by the Spirit as well. We are both called to call souls to Repentance, therefore I gotta let him do his job as well. It helps to build unity within the companionship, which allows us to testify exponentially better. Honestly, the antidote to pride is charity.
 
Charity/Love- If there is one thing that I did right in the mission, it was to love the people, the members, and the missionaries. Love one another, by this shall men know that ye are my disciples. I believe that having Christlike love will help a missionary reach his TRUE potential. When you love God with all your heart and all your soul, your faith (belief in Christ) will increase immensely, also, you will want to make your dream/hope (salvation/exaltation) become reality. To make it become reality, you must be obedient to the commandments, you must seek after knowledge, being patient to receive spiritual guidance, also being humble to recognize changes that must be made, which will help us to become pure. The pure love of Christ is unfailing. It has helped me to conquer many bad habits, including my pride and temper.

Those are more or less what I have learned on the mission. There are obviously smaller things, and some other things that I left out (I don't want to spoil everything), but these have helped me greatly to be a better disciple. 

Love you Dad,

Elder Sierra 

STREET LEAGUE SOCCER- THE NEW WAY TO 'KNOCK DOORS'
Letter from Sept 15, 2014
Hey Mom,

Missionaries are heading out from all over. We have a few in our ward that are preparing to leave as well. They are part of my crew. Them and their families make up my Stockton crew. We are going to chill out with them tonight because today is El Grito de Mexico!! They invited us over so we and other elders in our ward are going to have a fiesta. I will take pics. It's the Zavala family. It's a family of like 7 guys so we mix quite well. They all come out with us for lessons and three of them are preparing for missions. We play soccer every Friday night with them. We sorta entered an unofficial street league, and we made a team, the missionaries and them haha. We call ourselves Stockton's Street Wings. You need to tell Benjamin, "Yeah I went there!" He will understand. We have been unstoppable and we use it to get loads of contacts and referrals. It has been very successful. We are leading the spanish mission with the number of lessons we have been having. Our average is 25 lessons a week. The games are every Friday and they are all around Stockton. So we just use our dinner hour and go make chaos. The work in Stockton is AWESOME, fun, and we are so high off the Spirit. The Zavala family have been the best fellowshippers for all of our lessons. And we all got nicknames that people call us cuz of the way we play soccer. 
The names are: 
Hermano ZAVALA (El General)- Captain of the team. He is 50 years old and still has the skills to pay the bills. He organizes the plays and how we work. When we follow it, all we do is WIN! 
Aaron (The Speed)- The guy is wicked fast. Sometimes when guys get past us and we think that the ball is long gone, Aaron blindsides them, steals the ball, and goes through players as if they're standing still. 
Refugio (The Phantom)- Ball control is his game! He will pass you easily. If you blink, he is already around you, using slick tricks and a style that is his own. The ball will literally leave after-images. Hence, "The Phantom".
Johnny (El Ladron)- He may be small, but he is cunning. Players that try to "juke" their way around him will keep running past him only to realize... the ball is gone!!  
JP (El Matador)- The guy can predict a play and, like a bull fighter, he goes for the kill. An awesome defender. 
Ricardo (The Juggernaut)- The guys just started learning the art of the sport, but his athleticism makes up for the lost time. Once he accelerates, you best brace yourself....the guy is UNSTOPPABLE!!
Javier (The Sniper)- The boy has got some serious pin-point accuracy. He sees, he shoots, he scores, then walks off like a BAUSS! He bends it like Beckham. 
Elder Sierra (The Killer)- In this league, fouls aren't called much. Therefore, I'm takin on all comers. I earned the nickname from my unique way of "juking" players by knocking them all down. I took out four in a row (including el portero), still made my goal, and those players are still getting up as I simply, brush my shoulders ;)
Elder Williams (Daddy Longlegs or "The Prince")- My companion's first name is Stockton and he acts all royal about it so that explains "The Prince", but the boy's got long legs and uses them to their full potential. When you think your past him all he has to do is stretch and it's his. Not to mention, he's the perfect guy to pass to for a header.  
Elder Hart (The Red Baron)- Elder Hart has red hair so we thought that was creative lol. He's got some speed on his side and at times he leaves a red streak as he sprints haha.
Elder Ruiz (The Rookie)- The brotha is Mexicano, but has never played much. However, he is the #1 unpredictable player. He can either make or break a play, but he's got beginner's luck on his side, so he usually comes through. 

We have been doing good so far. It's a local competition that people can just sign up and enter. We've won 6 games, so far and lost none. So we are now in the quarterfinals, since we just won the round of 16. We are gonna smash this tournament. We have been destroying all the teams we've come across. This next one's going on our kill list as well. Stockton's Street Wings are the new crew in town! 
 We invited President to see our final game because we know we are headin there lol. 
I Love my area haha and I just received word that I am here to stay. So, dodged a bullet on that one (Love President Jardine). I really wanted to finish my transfer here. We still have Brian Arevalo and Armando on date for September and October. We are hoping for the best. We have been teaching like crazy and have been finding a lot of people. So there is no shortage of work and it continues to grow. We are loving it a lot. There is nothing better than being busy and getting compliments from everyone that we are doing great work. I love Elder Williams. The guy is my brother. We are definitely gonna chill after the mish (mission). Not too much to report right now. Everything is going great and thanks for the package. I appreciate it a lot. I love you Mom.

Elder Sierra 
Follow up:
It's cool to see where the Lord sends us. He sends me to the "ghettoburgs" because he knows I will thrive and do well in them...
And yes I am EXTREMELY happy. Soccer is a huge success that we enjoy doing. President thought it was "unorthodox and clever". He says if he doesn't see a lot of referrals from it then we should stop, but its been working so we continue to do it. And we get fed after the games haha, so I sacrifice nothing!
Bernal is out of the hospital, but he is recuperating still. So it will take a while. 
THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOR
Letter from Sept 8, 2014

Hey Dad,

I'm doing great. Just realized in a few days I only got 5 months left, so its killing me inside. The finish line is getting ever more visible and it's a little scary. Not that I am dreading going home, but Sacramento Mission has been my home. I have a great family here, too. Of course, it's not the same, but I love them, nonetheless. It's been pretty crazy here in Stockton. We have a lot of families progressing and we are averaging about 25 lessons per week. For a couple weeks (for Spanish work) we were leading the mission for the amount of lessons we had. I was pretty proud of myself and my companion :) 
 
I love being able to work hard and see the fruits of my labor come alive as I work. The other day, we saw a kid walking from school and I just decided to stop him and talk to him about the gospel. His name is Treyvon Skelton. He is a senior in high school and was having a rough day. Ironically enough, he has a good life and nice family, but his problem is that he didn't understand what his purpose was in life and had thought several times about ending it. He couldn't find God in his life so he had wondered, "Then what's the point?". I felt impressed to say, "The point of it all is to be tested. This is our training ground Trey. Here we hone our talents and skills so that we can become joint-heirs with Christ. It's a monumental challenge bro, but its through Jesus' sacrifice that allows us to press forward. We weren't sent down here to fail. Our Father in Heaven has been guiding you and has heard your cries. His answer is the message of the restored gospel that we share. That is why I stopped you, so you could listen to what the light of his restored gospel brings." To make the story short, we taught him the Plan of Salvation and passed him off to other English elders. He has a date for the 4th of October and is very solid. That is the umpteenth time I have sent a referral and it automatically turns into a baptism. Kinda makes me want to do English work sometimes, but I love teaching in Spanish so much. I've gotten really good at it ( I can say that since I have become more fluent). I have gained a lot of confidence in my language lately. I have been speaking words that just flow off the tongue. Everyone just thinks because I'm half Cuban that I just learned it growing up, just to be utterly shocked when I tell them I learned in the field. I am pretty proud of what I have learned. I look forward to speaking Spanish to you all when I return home. That is the jist of what is going on right now. I love you very much and am trying to immerse myself and then some in the work, so I won't notice the time. But the problem is that I lose track of time and then realize that it's all slipping away!!! Love you all.

Elder Sierra
 
Mom got:
 
no jafarin joke!! (using disney to cover slang and bad words)...  the entire zone thought it was clever so they are doing it too.
You will hear "Son of a Pumba" or "You're a Mufasin' Rafiki" 
My favorite is, "Oh SIMBA"
 
NOT ANOTHER SHOT GUN?!
Letter from Sept 1, 2014

Hey Mom,

I am still lovin' Stockton and this P-Day is going good so far. A couple of elders brought two pairs of boxing gloves so we decided to box in the gym. It was a lot of fun (because I won). So, things are good here. We are gonna go check out a burger joint later on. Well, Dad was talking to me about his car crash in Uruguay. I was, like, seriously? And by Elders?? Man, one of the sisters in our zone rear-ended somebody as well. I'm pretty sure the Elders that hit Dad are Ap's because they don't use cars for proselyting down there. Hope Dad's back gets better; the man still owes me a match when I get back. And as far as my back is concerned, it's not getting in the way of anything, so I assume it's okay. I have another appointment in about two weeks with the chiro so we will find out later. 
Man, so Ralynne is sealing the deal this [Saturday]......freak. Man, that's awesome, but weird at the same time. Well send me a lot of pics. And speaking of which, did you send me that package yet? Just wanna make sure it's on the way or what not. I have been hearing rumors that President may want me to go emergency transfer to shotgun train another area. I hope that doesn't happen because I don't wanna leave Stockton nor leave Elder Williams. We have gotten so dang close and I love my zone. A lot of my good friends are here. 
So Benjamin's favorite class is A Capella? Surprise, surprise. I hope somebody picks up that phone.......cuz I freakin CALLED IT!! I knew he would fall in love with it if he ever got into it. And he told me how excited he was to learn how to decipher notes and key signatures. About dang time this kid got more in tune with his musical side. 
So did you all do the challenge yet? haha This one is not for ALS it is for Cystic Fibrosis. It is a completely different challenge. There is a newborn kid in the Leatherberry family that has that disease and it's terrible for the family. We are trying to spread this around big time to help them out because the costs for medicine are insane and they can't afford it. So we are trying everything we can to get the word out. We are trying to spread this within the mission as well. I called out President Jardine, but I have yet to send him the video. I am sure he will see it soon enough lol. So for this one, there is no limit. You call out everyone you can and we don't use a bucket (I aint no SISSY) we go BIG or go HOME! SO please do your best to get the ward in or whoever you can think of to get in on this. 
I love you Mom. Enjoy your Labor Day. That is all I got to talk about right now. 

Elder Sierra
 
Follow ups:

Yeah, apparently President may want me to help jump-start work out in El Dorado area, which is out in the booneys. Ap's called me to give me a heads up. They told me, "President thinks you're probably the best missionary when it comes to getting Spanish work rolling along. I'm just calling to give you a notice so you won't be surprised if they take you out of El Dorado next week." I'm all like, "Whoa, we just got things figured out here in Stockton! You can't take me out now!! I just got work rolling here. It was dead before Williams and I got here." He then replies, "Yeah, do you get the picture now? Now we want you to do the same dang thing in El Dorado. Work's been dead there for a very long time, so we thought of you." I say, "That's kinda unfair to me. Just when I was getting used to the idea that Stockton might be my last area. Look,' I won't deny anything President Jardine asks of me, but let him know that I would rather stay in Stockton if that is at all possible."
Ap: "Will do man. Peace out."
So that's what happened.
I'm so happy for Benjamin. SOOO badly with I could've been there for that one. So she said yes right?
 
Christopher Bernal survived his operation and they all still want to be baptized. Everything is going great. 
 
Well, that's cool that y'all are traveling haha i wish i could travel *sarcasm* I travel around the mission too much!...

 
 

Monday, September 15, 2014

EARTHQUAKE? WHAT EARTHQUAKE?
Letter from August 26, 2014

Hey Mom,
We never noticed any seismic movement in our area. Either we were asleep or not paying attention, something of the sort. From what we heard none of the missionaries got hurt so I think the mission is fine. Speaking of the mission, I received my call to stay in Stockton and Elder Williams and I are still together. In short, we are happy. Our work is still exploding. We have many people that we are teaching, the Bernal Family and the Arevalo Family are progressing well, and so is Brian. Hopefully, things will go smoothly in September so they can get baptized. They are all on dates. Stockton is still great, although lately we have been getting a lot of people trying to mess with us, and Elder Williams and I mess with them back. One gal was just glaring at us while we were walking by and shouted, "Y'all look like ******* Mormons!" To which I respond, "We are freaking Mormons, whatchu gonna do?" And Elder Williams adds, "Seriously, who else dresses like us in the middle of the summer!?"
Stuff like that really lol. We like a little opposition here and there, it keeps us motivated.
Hermana Mendez, one of the members that we see a lot, sent those pics to you of me and my district. I thought that it had been a while since you received anything from me that I should do that now. And yeah JP's baptism was a very happy time. Obviously I expressed to the point of breaking backs haha. It was hard to contain high levels of happiness. 
So I did hear about the Ice Bucket Challenge, I actually have an interesting surprise for you and the family later concerning that. You should be receiving a video sooner or later about that. It'll explain it better. And thank you for giving me updates on the world. It's crazy how everybody is getting married. It wasn't that long ago when Elder Eichelberger left his mission. He got to work fast haha. Anyway, love you Mom. I'll talk to you later. 

Elder Sierra

A DIFFERENT KIND OF ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

Letter from Sept 1, 2014

Hey Mom,

I am still loving Stockton and this P-Day is going good so far. A couple of elders brought two pairs of boxing gloves so we decided to box in the gym. It was a lot of fun (because I won). So, things are good here. We are gonna go check out a burger joint later on. Well, Dad was talking to me about his car crash in Uruguay. I was, like, seriously? And by Elders?? Man, one of the sisters in our zone rear-ended somebody as well. I'm pretty sure the Elders that hit Dad are AP's because they don't use cars for proselyting down there. Hope Dad's back gets better. The man still owes me a match when I get back. And as far as my back is concerned, it's not getting in the way of anything so I assume it's okay. I have another appointment in about two weeks with the chiro, so we will find out later. 
 
Did you send me that package yet? Just wanna make sure it's on the way. I have been hearing rumors that President may want me to go emergency transfer to shotgun train another area. I hope that doesn't happen because I don't wanna leave Stockton nor leave Elder Williams. We have gotten so dang close and I love my zone. A lot of my good friends are here....
 
So did you all do the challenge yet? haha This one is not for ALS; it is for Cystic Fibrosis. It is a completely different challenge. There is a newborn kid in the Leatherberry family that has that disease and it's terrible for the family. We are trying to spread this around big time to help them out because the costs for medicine are insane and they can't afford it. So, we are trying everything we can to get the word out. We are trying to spread this within the mission as well. I called out President Jardine, but I have yet to send him the video. I am sure he will see it soon enough lol. So, for this one, there is no limit. You call out everyone you can and we don't use a bucket (I ain't no SISSY) we go BIG or go HOME! SO please do your best to get the ward in or whoever you can think of to get in on this. 
I love you, Mom. Enjoy your Labor Day. That is all I got to talk about right now. 

Elder Sierra

Monday, August 25, 2014

HOW GREAT SHALL BE YOUR JOY

Letter from Aug 18, 2014

Hey Mom,

The chiropractor gave me some news that wasn't the best. Apparently, something is off in my spine, so I have an appointment with him in about a month to figure it all out. I will be meeting with him until the end of the mission so I can go home with a back that is 100%! Dang! So, Dad is heading down to Uruguay huh? Neat.
 
JP's baptism was nothing short of AWESOME! The Spirit was there and I couldn't get enough of it. They asked me to go up there and share my testimony and I was just fighting to not be overcome with emotion. The Zavala family don't live in our area, but they invite us over for lunch and what not, all the time. I love hanging with them and we are going to meet at a local Mexican joint for lunch this Wednesday. JP and I are real close and seeing him go into the water (which was FREEZING COLD and draining so they had to do it fast) was awesome. It was a tender moment sharing my testimony. In the past month, 2 of the Zavala's cousins have been baptized. It's just miraculous seeing their family get closer and strengthened throughout their journey. Afterwards, they ordered pizza and we went over to their place for dinner. It was a LOT of fun. We were all just shooting the breeze, sharing bilingual jokes (Dad's joke was the favorite) and had a contest on which missionary could eat the most pizza. I got 2nd place (7 slices), Elder Ruiz ,a previous companion, ate 10 (the guy is a bottomless PIT)! 

I love you all so much and there is not much more to talk about. I'm sure next week I will have something big to talk about. I love you mom and miss you too.

Elder Sierra 
 
At JP's baptism
 


 


 
WHEN CAN MY FAMILY AND I GET BAPTIZED?  BEST QUESTION EVER


Letter from Aug. 11,  2014

Man Alive Mom, 

You all have been very busy. Ironically enough, so have I. J.P.'s baptism was moved to Wednesday and we are all SUPER excited because his Dad and other family are driving down to see it happen and, we have been picking up investigators left and right. Also, we have been hearing rumors again that we would be getting IPads, but I, having been out for a very long time, have learned never to trust rumors in the mission, EVER! They are always the opposite of what will happen, unless it comes from zone leaders or Assistants, or the Mission President (usually those ones are true). 
 
So, we are back on the same problem as usual which is church, but we have been teaching pretty bodly on that concept. Hopefully, the message comes clearer now. Anyway, my entire district is very jealous that you went to Mary Poppins and didn't invite them and they are all from Utah so they are telling me stories about the theater you went to and I'm, like, "Cool. I will check it out because I still don't know [anything] about Utah!" Anyhow, tell Aunt Kathy and Amariah that I do say hi, as well as a shout out to the whole family telling them all I love them. And if you do go back to Miami then let me know soon, so I can give you a list of people you must say hi to for me... 
 
We have been doing awesome with the Bernal family. They have been coming to church and are soaking everything in so well, especially Brother Bernal. He has been on fire. The guy gets out of the hospital and is already trying to get back to work and asked us, "when can my family and I get baptized?" There are not much better questions than that one. Elder Williams and I are grateful daily for the success that we have been seeing throughout the transfer and it has been passing by fast. Only two more weeks left then I will be down to only 4 left!!!! Pretty freaky right?! Tomorrow we have zone conference and it's gonna be awesome because 1.) I get to go back to one of my old areas, Manteca and 2.) I have a chiropractor appointment tomorrow- finally- so I can get my back checked up, which apparently is a little jacked up (don't worry Mom the damage is completely repairable). That's all the update I have to give right now so I will follow-up with more next week (which I am sure I will have much to talk about). I love you Mom!

Elder Sierra