Languages and Lessons

Dear friends and family,

My companion and I celebrated his 5th month as a missionary and my 1st month this past week. We had a can of tuna and some lettuce for dinner to commemorate this big event. Haha. I can't believe I've been gone for a month. Where has the time gone? 

It was a mix emotion of a week. We started out super busy and excited for all the plans and appointments we were privileged to have, but as the week played out, it was cancellation after cancellation. Bummer, so we spent a lot of time this week biking, I almost got hit by a car...twice. Elder Mo'o swerved narrowly missing a car from hitting him head on. Crazy California drivers! 

Last Friday my companion and I taught seminary. Tomorrow I am doing a training on How to Begin Teaching to the district. The following week I am giving a training on baptismal invites and promptings of the Holy Ghost to the zone. Lots of teaching and training to members/missionaries out here. I love it! 

This past Sunday one of the bishopric asked me what I liked to do back home and I said that I love MMA and tennis. He later announces on the pulpit that "Elder Jalla is a cage fighter and has dominated everyone he has ever fought, including Bruce Lee" So now everyone in the ward is asking me all these ridiculous questions--- its entertaining and embarrassing. 

So you know how I was bummed out about not going foreign speaking? Well, there are 101 languages in the valley. Yes, 101... Peachwood ward is the exclusive ASL ward for the entire mission. I now know how to start a conversation and introduce myself as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ in ASL, Hmong, and Spanish. Elder Mo'o and I are going to teach the Restoration in sign tomorrow and two Sundays from now we are doing a special musical number in sacrament all in sign. Crazy right? 

Every night Elder Mo'o and I bike home and sometimes we're like 5-10 minutes early so we go to this park right next to our house. We take time to unwind and reflect on our day. Sometimes we talk about our family and home, other times we crack jokes about all the craziness of that day, but almost every time we talk about the blessings that Heavenly Father has given us. It is my favorite part of the day because most nights are clear skies and there is usually a baseball game that we can watch as we bond about everything and anything.

1. Lady came into church and asked to meet with us. She said she is looking for a church and this is it. Someone gave her a Book of Mormon and she said it felt that it was right. She stayed for the whole 3 hours. We begin teaching her tonight.
2. We visited our street contact and as I shared the First Vision we both teared up. He afterwards said, "that was the most powerful thing I have ever heard" We set a date for him to be baptized three weeks from now and he said yes. 
3. Met with a less-active family and I had no clue what to share so I offered a prayer of the heart and words and scriptures came pouring out. She held my hand for the longest time as we left and said, "How did you know? You answered the questions that have kept me away for so long. Thank you."
4. After 3 hours of biking and getting chewed out, cussed at, and have things thrown at us a random passerby stops us and gives us some of the most encouraging words. One thing he mentioned was, "Looking at me you probably thought that I was going to yell at you, but I am a member of the Church you represent. Christ did not give up on me, neither will you give up on those that seem as if they are not in need of what you have to offer. You are doing good, stay courageous, change lives." We talked for a bit longer and said our farewells. I needed that and Heavenly Father knew it. 

Sometimes our lives get so busy or we get so distracted, focusing on all that bad that COULD happen or have happened that we miss out on the blessings that WILL happen and are constantly happening around us. 

Sorry this e-mail is a bit all over the place. I miss and love you all!

Your eternal friend, brother, and fellow missionary,

Elder Jalla

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