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!
We made little wooden cars and painted them for a few investigators of E. Mooney and E. Tovar for Christmas. Also, I look kind of weird in the picture, but I gave a tie to the mentally handicapped son of one of the families in Huatabampo. He was happy when he went to Church. E. Gonzalez and E. Mooney did as well.
I have to write about 2 things. Let´s see if I have time.
We got a call in the morning 2 days ago from a member in Hermosillo. A youth there had died of leukemia and was going to be buried in his home town, 1 hour away from Huatabampo. He told his mother that he always wanted the missionaries to be at his funeral. So, we checked with Pte, he said ok, and we got a ride from the family (they had come all the way from Hermosillo with the body) to the town.
We arrived, and everyone turned to look at the 4 people in suits, 2 of them American, with the family surrounding an open white casket beneath a few tarps in the backyard of the family. I´ll have to tell the entire story next week, but the mother of the deceased looked at us. I had no idea what to do. I stepped up and asked her if it would be okay to sing a few hymns, say a few prayers, and bear a few testimonies. She said yes. For some reason, she had complete confidence in us. The other elders and I went off to one side and I had to organize a funeral service there on the spot. With the ENTIRE family looking at us, we then came back, and held a funeral service. Details will follow. But it´ll just have to suffice for now that each of us bore our testimonies of the Savior and His Ressurrection. I shared Mosiah 16:7-9 near the end, and looking in the eyes pf everyone there, I testified.
I know that Christ lives. I know he was born more than 2000 years ago. I know that we will die not as He died, but we will live as He lives, for what He did so long ago.
I don`t know if they felt the Spirit as I did, but I know that My Redeemer Lives.
Merry Christmas. The complete story, and the other, will follow next week. But I´m 20 years old. And for some reason that I cannot fathom, people trust in us to do things that so many people would never do. I´m 20 years old, and I just conducted a funeral service. God works in some mysterious ways.
Check it out. We have El Pollo Loco here too. But it´s a little different. Also, check out some of the fields behind Huatabampo. We were going to a food appointment in one of the little villages on the outskirts of town, and it is beautiful out there. Also, check out the typical Mexican taco stand. You can see the carne asada, the instestine, peppers, green onions, and the other miscallaneous organs in the lower left hand corner (including the heart, kidneys, and other strange meats).
Anyway, news of the week and a few spiritual experiences. We don`t have a fridge. Ours died last week and we´ve survived. Although I really miss having milk with my oatmeal in the morning. Water isn`t as tasty.
We went to go eat with a man this week that has only recently been coming to church. The other elders have been working with him, but we got a chance to help him out too. After eating, I pulled out my scriptures, and we began to talk about repentance. I obviously will not repeat everything, but pretty much all of the questions and answers all centered on the redeeming power of the Atonement. So many people believe in Christ, but sometimes feel that they`re so weak that Jesus´ sacrifice can`t help them entirely out. That`s what I was telling myself at the beginning of the mission as well. But that`s where the faith comes in. Anyway, we kept talking, and Isaiah 1:18, Alma 36, and D&C 58 especially helped. As we finished teaching, we all could feel the Spirit, and I could see in the man´s eyes that he could too, and even if wasn`t completely confident of his ability to repent, he was helped enormousely. He asked me, "How old are you?" "20." I didn`t ask him why he asked me that, and I honestly don`t know why, but that still surprises me a lot. There is no way that 19, 20, or 21 year old boys would be able to do this work if it wasn´t true.
We had a leadership meeting in the Church a few weeks ago (when I was still with E. Cruz), and we were the two people that were teaching in the meeting. The branch president passed it off to us, and we began to speak of the importance of preparation, and what one can do when the circumstances change and there´s no more planned material to use (bear testimony--see D&C 100:5-8). Everyone in the room shared a short, one line testimony. The Spirit came. All felt it. It was awesome.
I also miss all of the organization of the Church. What normally happens when there´s an activity here is that when we get there, everyone is all over the place, a few people know what´s going on and are trying as hard as they can to get everyone ready, and then we get there and speed everything up with a few more hands. And feet.
We also have a new elder in the zone from St. George. He´s fresh out of the MTC and hardly knows any Spanish. Ah, I remember those times. They sucked, even if I appreciate how much I learned. Also, he´s the first member of his family to go on a mission. He likes the mission, and is being trained by E. Cheron in Villa Juarez.
E. Gonzalez is doing well. He´s a good elder, even though at times I´m surprised at times by how much different he is than me. He´s really new in the mission, and lets me see how much I´ve progressed. It´s crazy. I feel the same, really, but . . . I don´t know how to describe it. Maybe a picture would help--one from the beginning and one from this week.
As for what we did in the mission for Christmas is that we all went to Obregón for a multi-zone conference/party thing. We all watched special numbers or sketches from every district. But seeing as how I found out 2 hours before the conference/party, we all just got up on stage and sang "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." Yup. It wasn´t that great, but hey, at least I now know that I have lost almost all fear of embarrassing myself doing dumb things in front of other people that aren´t very well organized. That will be very useful in the future.
We also had a piñata. That´s apparently always done at Christmas. This elder had no idea where the piñata was.
And this picture is just awesome.
Finally, we had a lesson more in depth about faith with one of our investigators that has learned EVERYTHING, but just needs to wait a little bit more. Everyone knows the normal definition of faith (believing in something that can´t be seen), but that´s not it. Faith isn´t obeying and receiving blessings. It is not give and receive. It is give everything, always, not receiving anything, and continuing on anyway. Not because it gives results, but because we know it´s true. I would write more. But there´s no time. I wrote the P.S. thing before this, strangely enough.
Pics first--we had a family home evening Monday night with one of the families here. Awesome. Although the Grandma likes acting like she´s mean. But she´s nice, as long as you really know her. And the roof in our house is really low at points. We also found a few kids one day playing baseball in a dirt field. An appointment had just fallen through, along with our backup plan, so we went, played 30 minutes (I had two runs), and invited them all to mutual. Awesome. And . . . I enjoyed the Christmas devotional in English, alone in my little room with the satelite receiver.
There was also a little typewriter sitting in that room. I wanted to take it, but I didn´t want to take it all the way back to our house from the chapel in my lap on my bike.
And by the way, E. Cruz got transferred. He went to Caborca, and E. Gonzalez arrived in his place. He´s from Puebla, and I´m his second companion in the field. I´ll send pictures next time.
A few things . . . Pte. is thinking about making another zone out of all the little villages in the southern part of the mission (Huatabampo, Etchojoa, Villa Juarez, Bacobampo). Who knows what´s going to happen.
We started having mutual here again. We (the missionaries) run almost everything, and I feel like I´m prematurely turning into a Young Men´s President with all the youth here. Unfortunately, I´m still horrible at soccer and everybody destroys me. Even the little kids. It´s funny, really.
We were in Gospel Principles class, and it was E. Cruz´s turn to teach. But about 20 minutes into the class, he looked at me and I could easily read his expression--he had no material left. That was interesting, teaching 20 more minutes with zero preperation. But it was cool. One of things I´ve learned in the mission is how to keep on talking about the same thing for a long time, using different scriptures, different interpretations, and a lot of unecessary words to say the same thing but still teach. Although I can switch back to the other method of teaching pretty quick too (teaching things quickly and directly). That´s cool.
I´m still learning a ton, and that´s what I´m liking a lot about being in a branch. We do more here, even if at times it´s a little intimdating. But it´s all good.
I don´t have as much material this week because I didn´t have space in my planner to write down the notes of all the things that I was going to write. But it´s all good. Adios