Hey-o. Welcome to m' mission blog. If you're interested in keeping in touch with me via mail, check out my address(es) on the right side of the page. If you're too lazy to do that, go ahead and read the posts below.Hoo-rah!
Spiritual experiences - we have two investigators right now that are going to be baptized the end of this transfer. One, a man who is about 40 years old, is awesome. He´s the man we gave the blessing to a couple weeks ago (have I already written about that?), and his entire countenance has already changed. He reads everything, he asks if he can pray at the end of every lesson, and he epitomizes the awesomeness of "chosen" investigators. Gah, I love teaching people.
But unfortunately, this week was almost completely dead for us. The week before Easter, called Semana Santa or Holy Week, is a week full of traditions here. Meat is not sold certain days, the Catholic Churches are working like crazy, and everything. Unfortunately, many people also go to the beach because it´s a vacation week. So our area was completely dead. I felt like I was Will Smith in I Am Legend. No joke. Really creepy.
We also got to see a few E. Holland talks this week in meetings. Let me share a poem cited by him really quick - -- Come to the edge! No! We´ll fall.
Come to the edge! No! We´ll fall.
Come to the edge! So we went to the edge. And He pushed us.
And we flew. -- Read that, along with Ether 12:27, and think about it.
Okay, spiritual experience. This week was tough. But we saw results. One night, we went and visited a young inactive member, who is bound to a wheelchair. He´s the only member in his family, and has probably one of the most Christ like personalities I have ever seen. We went with the Bishop of our ward to his house, and began talking about the Gospel. It wasn´t a planned appointment, and we didn´t know we would be teaching, so it was more of a discussion than a definitive lesson. But when we began to speak to him and his grandma, who isn´t a member, the atmosphere gradually began to change. We steered towards the healing power of the Atonement, and the setting of the lesson became very conducive for the Spirit. At one point in the lesson, the young wheelchair bound man touched Elder Cancino´s shoulder and asked, "Do you feel that?" We nodded. He could feel the Spirit. I could too. Almost as if could touch it if I wanted. We talked of the Atonement, and the young man´s grandma had tears in her eyes by the end of the lesson. They did not accept a baptismal date, but they did accept an invitation to church. And they came. THEY CAME! Gah, I feel good.
But yeah. As for my week, I talked again on Sunday, and I found out that I would be doing it on Friday night. It´s nice to know I can write a 10 minute talk in Spanish in only a few hours. Maybe I´m getting better at Spanish. Who knows.
Thank Bishop Weight for me again, please. I love letters and emails.
But as for a spiritual experience this week, I was on exchanges with one of my zone leaders. We were teaching a young man (well, like me. He´s 18), who is the son of a member, about the Plan of Salvation. He said he will be baptized when he receives an answer about the truthfullness of the message. When we were teaching him, he understood everything, and we began to talk about understanding the promptings and whisperings of the Spirit. We asked him how he felt--he said he felt good. We asked him if the Plan of Salvation felt familiar to him--he said it did. He looked at us, and I began to speak. Gah, I felt the Spirit. I explained that that familiarity, that recognition, is the Spirit reminding him of how the Plan was presented to him before this life, in the pre-mortal world. He looked surprised, but he understood. We asked him, "Do you believe that this message is true?" He bowed his head, and then looked back at us. "Yes."
Gah, that felt so good. It´s so easy to love people when they do their part--read, pray, and go to church. It´s so easy because you know that God will bless them for their faith, since they are demonstrating it through their works. The only challenge is loving the people that don´t. But there´s always room to improve, right?
And I am so glad that there are more less actives in the Church. I think about my converts, and I think about the role that members have in helping them endure to the end. I think about that, and it makes me so sad when people choose to stop going to Church. I think about that, and how easy it is to help them. Gah, all they need is to be talked to, or visited, or something. Alma 37:6-7 --Not much is needed. Please help the missionaries at home. You have no idea how important the members are in the work if you haven´t been on a mission. Ha, I know that, even though I still know nothing about the work . . .
It was President Velez´s birthday this week. Check out the picture of him with a massive knife ready to cut his cake, standing with his wife. Oh, and Eric, it´s a Mexican tradition to shove people´s faces into their own birthday cake. So maybe you have some Mexican blood in you. Bahahaha
This was a hard week. We dropped some investigators, but it was made up in conference. I loved Elder Oaks, Elder Scott, Elder Christofferson, Elder Andersen, and President Monson´s talks. Amazing.
But let me talk about what I should be talking about.
The mission is hard. It´s hard. It´s hard. But I love people that want to come unto Christ. And for some reason, people love me back. In fact, Victor, who is easily 50 years old or more, calls me his godfather. I love that man.
People´s lives change so much, so much. The first time we came to Victor´s house, he would not stop talking about his problems in his life. His face was creased, his eyes were downcast, and he wasn´t able to focus on a topic of conversation for longer than a few minutes without veering off. But something happened after about a week. It wasn´t incredibly sudden, but gradual, like the sun coming up on the horizon (thanks E. Bednar for the analogy). He started to smile more. I started to smile more. His voice became less strained. He began to ask if he could say the opening prayer in our lessons. He has changed so much. GAH! I am SO HAPPY WHEN I SEE PEOPLE CHANGE THEIR LIVES! YOU JUST HAVE TO LET GOD DO IT!
Ahhhh! I want to write, I want to WRITE! I will write! Jen, I want to, believe me. I want people to know how I feel! But I can´t do it as much as I want to! But I promise, right now: from every P-day onward, I will write for at least 30 minutes by hand, which will be compiled at the end of the month to be sent in a large letter. Believe me, I want to right more. But exact obedience is the price-
Anyway, the pictures. The first is a picture of a family home evening we had with our recent convert and her family and some members from the ward. We would have done the same with Victor (it´s okay if I say his name becuase I´ve already said it, although I´m going to have to start being more confidential in the future. I don´t think people like it when their stories are published on the Internet with their name attached), but he´s single and doesn´t live with his kids. Although he did receive the priesthood last Sunday. Gah, I love that man. He always smiles back when I smile at him. Which is often. Even though he wasn´t very smiley in his baptismal picture. The other photos are of the Cathedral in downtown of Hermosillo and a bill board close to our house. If you can´t already tell, it says "CHRIST RETURNS! 21 OF MAY 2011!" Gah, that makes me laugh.
But this week, we unfortunately did not have any baptisms. But that´s okay. There will be more. My Spanish is better, even though I still know nothing, and my teaching continues to improve. Even though I still want to be better.
And I´ve only gone to the temple once.
One more rambling thought before time runs out. God is eternally progressing, but is perfect and complete at the same time. That´s possible becuase He "progresses" through us, His children, even though He has already reached perfection. He´s happy when we´re happy, and sad when we´re sad. I don´t want to say that I am in any way perfect, but I finally can understand God´s joy when He sees that His children are progressing. I´m happy when I see my investigators progress towards baptism, and I´m ECSTATIC when they are finally baptized. I finally understand the phrase, "This is my work and my glory . . ." I would explain more, and more eloquently, but I´m out of time this week. Adios!
The good news is that I had another baptism this week. Remember when I wrote a few weeks back about being lost in one of the richest parts of Hermosillo? (In fact, my area has the main Catholic Cathedral in all of Sonora and the gobernatorial palace in it. The house of this investigator is super close to them. We plan on going there and taking pictures in a few hours) And how we taught her (name withheld) an incredibly spiritual lesson, and she came to Sacrament Meeting the very next day? Well, guess what? She was baptized and confirmed this weekend. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, YEEAAAHHH I FEEL GOOOD! Ahem. I feel good. Oh, and the pictures are of her, her son, Mom, and niece.
We were teaching her for three weeks. She´s very, very intelligent, and questioned almost everything we taught. She asked me at certain points, as a person born into the Church, if I have ever had doubts about the Church. Some of the most powerful testimonies that I have borne in my mission so far (with the help of the Spirit, of course) were given when I answered her. She struggled for a testimony, read, prayed, and did everything she could to receive a witness of the Spirit. And she received it.
Her life has changed these past few weeks. A few days ago, she told us what the first lesson was like for her--she said she could see something in our faces that she didn´t have. A peace, an assurance, something that she couldn´t define. As she received the lessons throughout the past month, she´s said she has felt that peace. And now, she´ll have it for eternity.
The baptismal service was special. The ward mission leader was out of town, so E. Cancino and I planned and organized all of it. We did everything we could, and she knew it. She felt the Spirit, and was a little nervous. But when she entered the font, I told her, "The baptism is about 5 seconds. But the effects last forever." She was baptized, and promptly burst into tears a few seconds later. She knows the change that has been wrought in her life. She understands.
I had to write that now, while the memory is fresh in my mind. I have the written experience of my first baptism in my journal, and unfortunately didn´t have enough time to write all of it last week. But don´t worry, it´ll come in time.
To all of you that have written me, I have written replies. But I haven´t had a chance to send them.