Wow wow wow what a crazy week this has been! I have already learned and grown so much in this first week! I have come to know even more how much God loves me and hears my prayers.
So we left the MTC at 3:30 in the morning on Tuesday. My flight left Salt Lake at 8:30, and I got to Sacramento at about 9:30! I was really confused where to go at first, right after I got off the plane, so I just went down to baggage claim to get my bags, and the mission president, his wife, and a couple missionaries were waiting for me at the bottom of the escalator! They looked so happy to see me and it made me more comfortable knowing that there was someone here for me. President Marston and his wife are so awesome! They took great care of me; we got to the mission office and I spent most of the rest of the day getting all oriented! There I met my two new companions, Elders Soto and Escalante from Guatemala and Peru. Tuesday was kind of hard for me cause I got like no sleep that night before.
The members here are so awesome! I love it here. I am in a Spanish speaking ward in Citrus Heights. They feed us every night! I thought I would be lost when people were talking but I understand almost all of it! It's awesome. I just need to work on my own speaking! Elder Soto and Elder Escalante are both really awesome!
I've had several lessons so far and they've all been pretty good! We are teaching an older man who was baptized a while ago, but it seems like he doesn't really understand the importance of the Book of Mormon. It seems like he also doesn't get that Joseph Smith is a prophet! But we were able to teach him about it and I testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to him. This helped me really know for myself how true the Book of Mormon is.
This week has been a little hard for me, just trying to understand what God's plan for me is, and I was reading in the scriptures one morning and read Alma 32:21 and Ether 12:6 which talk about how important faith is. It says: 21 And now as I said concerning faith--faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." And then: 6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." This helped me so much, because I realized that although I might not always know the reason why something is happening, and I feel lost, I can know that God has a plan for me, and that all I have to do is have faith in God and I will be blessed.
I had the opportunity to go to a few meetings with the Spanish ward here, and it is amazing to see how strong the members are here! I love them so much already. It's awesome to see how involved they want to me in the missionary work. Church on Sunday was so awesome! They asked me to conduct the music in Sacrament Meeting and so I did! I actually did okay haha. The members are all so nice. On Sunday night we had dinner with a family in the ward and they are converts of about four years. They shared with us how they came to know that the Church was the true Church. It was so cool to see firsthand how this Gospel and knowledge of Jesus Christ changes lives, not just on Earth, but for forever!
Random fact: did you know that 20 years ago this past week, "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" was released by the Church? Well it was. We had a big focus this week on the importance of families, and just going up to people or knocking on doors and sharing how important families are to us! I know that through this Gospel, and following God's commandments that families can be together forever! How amazing is that knowledge?
I know that this Church is true! I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon changes lives. It is truly the word of God. I know that if we have faith in Christ, we can be strengthened to do things that we cannot do on our own. I love you all!
Elder Daines and his Mission President and wife (The Marstons)
Elder Daines and his companions, Elders Escalante and Soto
"I was bored in the car so I took a picture for all of you."