Letter from July 7, 2014
My 4th of July was alright. We had a breakfast activity at our building with the members to kick off Independence Day and it was a lot of fun. We had a pancake contest and, surprisingly, I won. I ate 14 of those flapjacks. I was one hungry boy so I just downed them. Later on, we had a zone conference and we got to meet the new mission president. Man, is he different from President Lewis. President Jardine just punches you in the face with his testimony and his ideas on missionary work are COMPLETELY different. We are expecting a lot of changes to be made. I like the guy a lot. He and I clicked pretty well. During the training, he was all like you must be obedient, you must be faithful and diligent also, but if you don't love who you serve or what you do, then you are obviously doing something terribly wrong. I was like AMEN SON! The other missionaries that I was sitting with were getting hyped up. When we had lunch, he sat at our table with me and my other pals in the mission. He said, "Out of everyone in this conference, you group of Elders look like the biggest handful, so I'm gonna sit with you guys." He was awesome to have around. He asked us all to share our craziest stories in the mission so we went around the table doing that and he was just laughing. I wasn't gonna tell my craziest ones, but my companion decided to tell them for me. He told him about the one time I chased a guy down because he threw a rock at me and now he is baptized because of it, and President Jardine just looked at me, laughing hysterically, saying, "Why isn't that in the Ensign? That's the type of stories that these missionaries need to hear." I was like, there's no way this guy is my mission President. As time went by, I looked at my watch and said, "Oh, dang, lunch is over." I was getting ready to go and then Prez says, "Sit down Elder Sierra, I haven't heard your companion's story, yet." "Oh...okay." Prez goes on to say, "I'm the President. I decide the schedule and make whatever adjustments I want, haha. So, sit down. We can be 5 minutes late." THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF WHAT I'M USED TO! Needless to say, I love this guy. I love the unorthodox.
Later that day, we had a nice dinner with one of our members: Carne Asada con salsa mango. SO GOOD! And then we headed out for an activity with the zone. We played milk jug lacrosse (best game ever) and I was goalie cuz my back is out. I will explain in a bit. And we played signs and then took turns guessing each others background in high school and life before the mission. It was a nice way of getting everybody to bond a little closer.
So anyway, about my back. We had a soccer activity between our ward and a different ward and the members asked me to play because they thought I was pretty good. So I, of course, went. It was good. We beat them 6-4. I scored 4 of the goals, but during the game one of the players smashed into my back and that hurt A LOT, but not enough to keep me off the field. I was toughing it out because I didn't want to have the mission scramble to get me a car, but then I got into a bike accident and I flipped over my bike and hit my back on the pavement and my bike hit my back as well. Needless to say, I can't ride my bike right now and I am in car for the time being (Mom please don't freak out. I am fine).
We also have a new investigator with a date for the 9th of August. He is Alex Santa Maria. What a humble guy he is. Lives in a pretty bad duplex and he is right next to where a lot of drug deals go down and he is trying to move to get his two small kids out of the area he is in, but he doesn't make too much money working at a Panaderia. My companion and I were like DANG! He goes on and on that he wants to follow God and be a true Christian, but he doesn't think His true church is on the earth right now because there are so many different ones. He then asked us why there are so many and we taught him the Restoration. The Spirit was so powerful there, especially when we quoted Joseph Smith's vision to him. The Spirit was just so tender, but so thick at the same time. I just wanted to wrap my face around it. Alex immediately recognized it and we challenged him to be baptized on the 9th of August, to which he accepted excitedly. Life is good Mom, and transfers are up next week. Elder Martinez and I are pretty sure we will not be serving together for another transfer. I am also pretty sure that I am gone after this transfer. I'm probably gonna go to the Hills in El Dorado or maybe Stockton (FINALLY). I have served in or been around all the other areas, so there are not many more places for me to go. Anyway I love you Mom.
My back in not that bad, but seeing as how I probably won't win this one, I will find a chiropractor. And Yeah, all the Elders are jealous because I'm like everybody's favorite. Even Sister Jardine told me IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY, "Oh Elder Sierra, I have heard so much about you. You are like everybody's favorite Elder." I got a lot of looks after that. I can't help it if I'm awesome!! My companion hates me for that. lol