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!
A common street in my area. You can see other pictures later. Patience is a virtue.
I`ll talk to the missionaries when I get home. I`m looking forward to that--I want to see how the work is in the States, and see if I can adjust to teaching in English. Although I`ll have to start looking for a job when I get home too, so I don`t know what`ll be happening. But just remember this: we force NO ONE to live the gospel. No one can live on borrowed light and never will. The only person that was able to vicariously save anyone else (ALONE) was Jesus Christ. WE may be able to do vicarious work for others in the temple, but that is ONLY thanks to the Atonement.
I`ll be looking forward to Skyler´s talk. That´s so cool that he´s going on a mission. THAT. IS. AWESOME.
We´ll keep working all this week. I´ve never stopped working and I have no intention of doing it now. Even if we´re losing two days in the week because of concilio--we leave tomorrow to go to Hermosillo and get back on Wednesday. I´ll be going through the Hermosillo temple for the last time tomorrow night. And on Wednesday I have to present something on how to help people repent in concilio . . . that´ll be interesting. Especially since I had to prepare a talk again last week for Church.
We were able to see E. Barker and E. Martinez baptize a small family this Sunday. The Spirit was strong and we were able to take two investigator families to the service. They loved it. And yes, we were able to find another family this week--just the Dad is a member, and he travels a lot. He got to Nogales and told us to come teach his family. Yet another family I`ll be leaving. That kind of hurts, but at least I`ve got practice.
We visited an old woman this week. She´s been a member for 50 years, but can´t get to Church by herself, she needs help. But when we got there, her whole face just lit up. She´s shorter, wrinkled, and, well, very "mature," but I`m pretty sure some of the Lord´s purest and most precious souls are contained in the smallest and most wizened vessels.
We taught a Christian man this week about the Book of Mormon. His family are members, but he´s not, and really did NOT want to accept the Book of Mormon, he just wanted to continue reading the Old and New Testaments (which are important and great, by the way). "A Bible, a Bible . . ." We tried as hard as we could to keep it peaceful, and we did, but in the end, as all people have to do when confronted with someone that doesn´t want to listen, we testified. E. Hurtado bore his testimony. The already present Spirit increased. I testified. I read to him 2 Nephi 33: 10-11.
10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also aJew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and bbelieve in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shallcbelieve in Christ ye will believe in these dwords, for they are theewords of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they fteach all men that they should do good.
11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with apower and great bglory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
I testified of the Book of Mormon too him, and told him that these were the words of Christ. As I did so, I remembered an experience I had nearly a year and a half ago.
I was with E. Cancino, I had a few weeks into the mission, and we were teaching a very intelligent older man, with his wife present but not really participating. They were richer than usual, a normal thing for Satélite. I could hardly understand a thing, I was phsyically, mentally, and spritually spent and I hardly understood a thing that they were saying. But I got the gist of it. E. Cancino was defending the Book of Mormon and the man was declining it. The discussion grew more heated and I was . . . hurt . . . to see that he wouldn´t even accept the Book. I slowly raised my hand in the air. They stopped and looked at me. An American that harldy spoke Spanish wanting to teach something to an educated man. I opened my recently received Book of Mormon and read him the same passage of scripture in halting Spanish. I then looked at him straight in the eyes and told him that without that Book, I would have no witness of Christ and no witness of the existence of God, and that without that Book, I was really worth nothing as a missionary. The man just sat there staring at me with his lips parted and his eyes astonished. E. Cancino had the same look on his face. I hung my head and they began to speak again. A few minutes later, someone, I don´t remember who, said the closing prayer, and we left.
I wanted him to accept the truth. I cried that night as I prayed and wondered "Why will ye die?" (Helaman 7:17). I received the answer: agency. All have it. And no one that truly understands and follows the Gospel can manipulate it.
Later in this past week, we taught a less active woman. She was having a few problems and we taught of faith in the Lord and His divine Plan. E. Hurtado and I both testified and she looked at us, saying, "I find it so amazing that I can look you both in the eyes and I can tell that neither of you have any doubt about this."
I know that all this is true. All of it, for me, is thanks to the Book of Mormon. Testimony is not conversion, but I have the first, even if it´s not the strongest, and I`m striving to do all I can to receive the second.
I know that all of this is true. I know that a mission is the best thing that any youth can ever do. It is all worth it. I don`t know exactly what´s going to happen when I get home, but I have no intention to stop working this last week. And I don´t want to be depressed after arriving home either--deep discouragement ends spiritual growth, and is one of Satan´s most effective tools. But neither will I be completely happy, or the mission will not have meant that much to me. Everyone has to find a balance. I hope I can find mine. But like E. Holland says, this has meant everything to me. And I hope I´ll always be able to say that.
I never have been nor will be a perfect missionary, but I`ve done all I can up to this point, this last week. And that´s all the Lord asks--your best.
We found this in the house today when we cleaned for almost the ENTIRE morning.
We`re teaching a man that is really trying to learn and prepare to be baptized, but he has something that is for some reason keeping him from going to Church . . . it`s kind of annoying to help people when they don`t let themselves be helped. There`s only so much that we can do to help them, unless we want to start interfering with their agency . . . but we don`t really want to do that.
We`ve been blessed with the chance to teach a family the last few weeks. The mom is a less active member, but she`s the only one in her family. She got baptized in Huatabampo (haha, I know her home city better than she does now, because it`s been so long that she´s been there), but once she got here to Nogales, she never looked for the Church. But since we found them (member referrals are so AWESOME), she`s slowly been getting more and more anxious to live the Gospel. She told us this last week that she has to start going to Church again, for the sake of her children. The dad is great as well--he constantly is teaching and reminding everyone else in his family to say their prayers. They have a few kids, and we`re happy to teach the entire family.
Yet another family that I`ve found. But seeing as how things have turned out so far in my mission, I`ll be very blessed and fortunate to see them baptized before I leave. I want to help families . . . but it`s okay. We just have to keep doing our part--we can`t do anything else.
We fasted as a zone this past week. Everyone did it, and even if it didn`t bring ALL the desired results, the missionaries of the zone saw miracles.
We found a less active family a few weeks ago and we started teaching them. Well, actually, it`s the grandma, the daughter, and the 12 year old grandkid. Since we got there, the grandma loved us and wanted us to teach everyone there. Her husband wasn´t too receptive, but her grandson wanted to learn. We started to teach them, and they started learning it all again. The youth read everything, and they went to District and General Conference. He wanted me to baptize him, and the best part of all was the Sunday of his confirmation. We had fast and testimony meeting the last week (8 days ago), and the grandma got up to testify. She expressed her thanks to be able to come back to Church and for her grandson being the catalyst of the whole thing. It was great.
I also had to talk this last week. I broke my record. The latest I had found out that I would be talking is 5 minutes before sacrament meeting, but this time I found out after the Sacrament. Cool. I had to get a talk ready in about 7 minutes. I did alright though. 13 minutes with almost no preparation. And I felt the Spirit while doing it, so I guess it was alright.
Love you all,
"Slow down, everyone, you´re moving too fast . . . frames can´t catch ya when you´re movin´ like that . . ."
You know you´re a missionary when you get psyched by a bunch of old guys in suits and ties that are talking about the gospel.
I loved nearly all the talks--the only weird thing is that E. Holland already gave that talk a year and a half ago in the MTC. And he was much more open with his feelings in the MTC. I´ve got a DVD with the entire talk. You can all see that later if you want. "Do you love me? DO YOU LOVE ME?!"
Also, E. Bednar´s was great, but he kind of robbed it from E. Oaks´ "The Challenge to Become" from October 2000.
I read a lot of talks.
In other news, I found out that I´ll be getting home to Sacramento at 7:00 p.m. after a 5 hour layover in LAX. That´s not going to be too fun, but whatever, I don´t have to worry about it just yet. Also, please thank Bishop Weight for the letter again--we have a lot of experiences like that in Mexico.
And here´s a house that we found after looking for a referral we got. Both houses have the same number, and they´re both abandoned and/or destroyed. Nice. That´s what happens with the referrals we get sometimes.
E. Hurtado in zone meeting. Awesome comp. I also taught--more on that later.
We had concilio this week. It was . . . different. Instead of hearing the APs and President teach, we all had an open discussion about the rules. I personally had the idea that E. Christofferson talked about a few years ago when he gave the talk "Moral Discipline." It doesn´t matter how many rules and laws you have in society (or in a mission) if the people involved are bent on disobeying. All that happens is that they get more creative in the art of sin. The real thing we must do is change the people/missionaries so that THEY can make their OWN changes.
So what happened was that the "open discussion" pretty much turned into a "tumult of opinions," but with a few rays of light poking through. It was interesting, different, and charged with an air of pride--I was glad to get out.
It was strange teaching about all that in Zone Meeting. What we did was just talk about our own personal conversion and how we help others to do that as well--what it really means to be a missionary. If we are truly missionaries, and not just "in the mission," all obedience problems will no longer exist. Also, we all have good and bad desires--how we choose between them decides who we are. Good desires (finding, teaching, and baptizing) can be satisfied only in the mission--once it ends, that´s it. The mantle of missionary is taken away and that´s it. Other desires, that aren´t necessarily bad in and of themselves but not good in the mission, cannot be fully satisfied unless that missionary goes home early. And all those desires can be satisfied after the mission anyway. I talk about missonary disobedience, not sinful disobedience.
The ex drug addict I was teaching in Obregón is still progressing, but he still has to work out a few things before he can get baptized. And the family E. Cirne and I reactivated and helped so that the youngest son could be baptized by his dad is also doing great. The dad is the 2nd counselor in the Young Men´s Presidency, and the mom told E. Cirne the other day that this is the first time in their lives that they´ve been able to get along together, everyone, with the Gospel. AWESOME
We´ve got to go to an appointment now, adios, I love you all,
The internet place I`m in is still horrible, so all I can send when it comes pictures are more ones from the Mexican Independence Day thing. E. Herron and a few other elders left the zone this last week, and I`ll miss a few of them, but the zone is doing great. We`ve got great missionaries and I really enjoyed the DL meeting we had last Sunday. I`m psyched for this month--the zone didn`t do too well in September and we just need to keep on working to forget about it and keep moving on.
E. Hurtado is great. I met him when I was in Navojoa and Huatabampo, since he was in Villa Juarez for about 7.5 months, a few of which he was branch president. He knows how to WORK. I`m not lazy, but I`m not the best at finding people, but things really picked up this week. We found a bunch of new investigators and we`re working great with the members. I`m really glad we were able to do that this week--honestly, I love missionary work, but as far the work goes, finding is the part that is the least fun. At least we`re not in Hermosillo though--walking through the streets when it`s 53 degrees Celsius outside is not a very pleasant experience.
But anyway, we continue working. I have no desire to slow down. Just gotta keeeep goin´. . .
Oh, and by the way, E. Hurtado is from Pachuca, Hidalgo. It`s about an hour north of Mexico City. He`s got 20 months in the mission and I respect him a lot.
And when it comes to my time to go home, I`ll be going to Hermosillo on the 5th of November and I`ll be flying home the 6th. I should be arriving in the Sacramento Airport, if what E. Stewart from the offices is correct.
We´re psyched for General Conference and we`re going to trying to get as many people as we can to go--listening to a prophet`s voice is definitely something that helps in the conversion process. Even if it`s really a translator that`s saying everything.
We had an FHE this week with a family that has about 3 years in the Church--we went over and the sister told us that she had accidentally mixed up an appointment with some community type meeting in her house with our appointment with her, and started apologizing. We told her that it was alright, and that we would teach anyway. There was a woman in the doorway that was waiting for the community thing (I honestly have no idea what they were doing, but it`s alright), and the sister asked her if she`d like to hear a message about Jesus Christ. She said, "Sure, I need it anyway." We sat down and started teaching about the 5 basic principles of the gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end), and she just opened right up. She started talking about a lot of stuff that was happening in her life and she told us, "I haven`t told this to anybody before, but I don`t know, I just feel that I need to talk to you two." The Spirit was very strong and E. Hurtado and I felt great. Along with everyone else there. Sometimes we just need to be humbled a bit, before we can be helped out by the Lord and lifted up (Ether 12:27), but in the end, we always end up at a higher spiritual level than we would have otherwise been able to get to.
I know the Atonement is true. It`s just that simple.
In Moroni 7, it talks in the first few verses that if we give a gift, but not really meaning to, it benefits us for nothing. Maybe it might help the person we have given it to, but we are not edified or changed by it.
That`s the difference in real prayer and the average prayer. At times we just say things. Other time, we talk to the Lord. If you`re used to it, you can easily discern between the two. The Spirit is present in one and absent in the other. The Lord always answers one and might ignore the other, because we might not be completely ready to receive that blessing that we think we so desperately need. I know Bro. Newey knows the difference. And he not only knows, he does. If the Lord is willing and the prayers continue, "everything will work out."
We`re going to Concilio in Hermosillo in an hour. Take care everyone, don´t forget to think of questions you want answered in Conference.
P.S. Elder Rivas is training again and Elder Hustis, Elder Rivas´ first trainee, is training as well. According to mission slang, I`ve got one son, two grandsons, and one great-grandkid. My seed continues to multiply and replenish the mission!
We got to go to Hermosillo as a zone this week. It was cool. I hate being responsible of a bunch of missionaries that are hard to keep track of, since they all blend into the crowd with all the black suits, white shirts and ties. It's like a ton of penguins.
The . . . talk? Devotional? Training? Seminar? What's it called in English? of Elder Alonso of the 70 was cool. He just spoke a ton about our purpose as missionaries--of course we're here to bless the people and serve them, but our primary purpose, above everything else is to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel to every single person we can. The best thing of all was his testimony though--special witnesses of Christ testify with a power that can't be matched by any normal person.
E. Alonso shook everyone's hand and stared each and every missionary in the eyes. He told why he did so later. "Anyone with the correct stewardship and with the spirit of discernment can often tell who is worthy and who is not just by a quick glance in the eyes, into the soul. I can see which of you are obedient or not--those who are in need of repentance, and those who are pure. I can say more than that--I know what you did, where you did it, and when you did it. Do not believe that the ends justify the means. You must help others to progress towards baptism AND obey. If you believe anything else, you are deceived of the devil and are digging your own spiritual grave."
E. Alonso is very direct.
I spoke with him after the meeting. I had tried to make it a point to stare at him in the eye every time he looked my way for that exact reason, and I kept doing so when I was talking to him. What he said was true. If you have the Spirit of discernment, you can look right through anyone. But I'm glad to be able to say that I have nothing to hide. I am not perfect, but I have nothing to hide. I make my mistakes. But repentance is not too far away in order to not be able to be cleansed, again, and again, and again. I just asked him a few more questions. I love being around people in order to learn. A spiritual giant isn't just heard, he's felt and seen. And not just with physical eyes or senses.
Another thing. We had transfers this week. E. Campos has left--I`ll miss him a lot. I honestly wanted him to be my last companion, but he`s headed off to Hermosillo to be a zone leader out there--the person that will be coming is E. Hurtado. I met him in Navojoa (he was Branch President in Villa Juarez for a while) and he´s part American. Well, I actually don`t know the whole story, but he knows English. But from what I know, he`s a cool guy and a hard worker, so I feel good about this next month.
The only downside is that we are STILL not having much success in getting people to Church. We need to change something, and I`m willing to do it. I will leave EVERYthing here. I will.
Haha, and as far as I can tell, we`re doing it right so far. 3 times this week we got home, planned, and I laid down on my bed to rest a bit before getting ready to go to sleep. That didn`t work out. All 3 times, I woke up around 2, 3, or 5 in the morning and realized that I still had my shirt, pants, and shoes on. Yeah. I`m kind of tired these days.
Unfortunately, I don`t have any pictures because I am once again in a poor quality internet place that doesn`t have hookups for my camera.
In other news, I accidentally mixed up the word for "preservatives" with the word for "contraceptives" when we were with a member this week. Yeah. Kind of awkward.
The 16th of September is Mexican Independence Day. On the 14th, Rama 3 had they`re branch activity. I was fortunate enough to be able to go on exchanges that day with E. Herron (he`s the grandson of the man that baptized Pte. Hernández a long time ago, by the way), becuase I had to conduct a few interviews. The activity was great, but the interviews were even better--true converts. I love being with people that are willing to take that step. Both of the investigators finished the interview with a prayer, and each thanked the Lord for sending angels to guide them back to the Lord. I`m no angel, but the work that missionaries do is definitely angelic. E. Carver, the new missionary I talked about last week, was able to baptize for the first time on Saturday. I loved seeing the look on his face when he did so. Mexi-stache. Boo yah.
This is a massive statue called the "Mono Bichy." "Mono" literally means monkey, but it also means any kind of figure/statue type thing. "Bichy" is a purely Sonoran word that means naked. Hence, the "Mono Bichy." I don`t remember if that`s how you use the word "hence," but I tried. The meaning of this statue is pretty cool. Benito Juarez is the man standing and pointing in front. He was the president of Mexico that seperated Church and State--and is very respected for that. The massive statue represents the Mexican people, pure of any kind of outside influence. He has a spear, and is splitting a monster in half. One half is an eagle--the Mexican government. The other half is a bat--the Catholic Church.
Yeah, Nogales is dirty, but it`s about the same as every other city I´ve been in. Well, except for Hermosillo and Obregón. There was a lot more pavement there. The branch activity was cool, but honestly, this week was not one of our best. People weren`t home, they were busy, or things just didn`t work out. But we`re going to keep working hard in the week--holiday times aren`t the best for missionaries, but whatever. I`ve had much worse weeks. Plus, we got somebody to go to church this week, so we`re doing a bit better. Tomorrow we`re heading out to go to Hermosillo. It`s going to be special meeting with Elder Alonso of the 70--all the northern zones are heading down to the stake center in Hermosillo for the meeting. We`ll be getting back on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, we`ll be losing half the week, but it`s alright. We`ll pick it up later. Love you all Elder Humbert
Well, I´ll be honest. I really don´t know how to respond to the news about Kelly. News from home is kind of hard for me to grasp sometimes, but I do know one thing--something good has to come out of this. And, like you said, Mom, it´s going to be a life changing experience, but the Neweys have all the spiritual and temporal back up necessary to make the best out of all of this.
Physical afflictions can be healed, or not, but in the end, our physical destiny is already fixed. But spiritual afflictions can be healed, and if tended, will stay healthy forever.
D&C 122: 7-8
The work is going alright here. There´s a new missionary here in the zone, and 4 weeks ago when he got here I got a flashback to when I was in his position. He´s asking the same questions (When will Spanish really click? What the heck is going on with Mexico? Will I ever stop having stomach pain because of the food?). Okay, I didn´t ask all the same questions, but he has the same look on his face. Time goes by so fast. He´s going to do great.
If you wonder about what the border looks like, this is it. I see it about every day, since our area is right next it.
We found A&W in a store here. Crazy.
We also had concilio last week, and I got to see 2 of my very good friends in the mission. E. Rivas has been a great example since the beginning, and I´m sure he taught me much more than I think I taught him. He´s in Guaymas right now. E. McKenna is also one of the best people I´ve ever known and a great missionary. He´s in Hermosillo. I would have sent the "good" version of the photo, but this was taken right after E. Rivas started jabbing us in the kidneys. It´s more accurate as to how things really are when we´re able to hang out.
Pte. Hernandez is focusing a lot more on conversion rather than baptism. He´s teaching the mission from a different point of view, and things will be looking up.
We went to a lesson this week with a youth (well, he´s in his mid-20s, I don´t that if that´s a "youth" or not, I dunno) that we contacted in the street. We gave him a pamphlet, and he read it all. We gave him a Book of Mormon before the weekend and went back on Wednesday morning. When we knocked on the door, he peeked out the window and motioned us to wait for a little bit. I jokingly said to E. Campos, "This´ll be one of those times when we come in and he tells us that he read past Jacob." We went in, sat down, and he told us that he had read past 2 Nephi 2.
I need to say that more often.
We´re also teaching the sister of a convert that was baptized about a year and a half ago--he´s the seminary teacher for our branch now, and is serving great in the Church. Every time we teach with him there, he always has a sincere testimony and always invites the Spirit. His sister has been listening to the missionaries off and on since her brother got baptized and is finally starting to really understand and live the Gospel. I really enjoy our lessons with them.
Actually, the first time we taught her, I was sitting there on their couch and listening to E. Campos explain a little bit about how Jesus Christ came to the Americas. He finished, I taught a bit, asked a question, and listened. In that moment, I felt like someone had just whispered in my ear, "You won´t be able to do this often for much longer." I feel little impressions every day to keep making me want to work. I want to be able the Spirit like this every day.
We´re doing alright, we just need to get more people to go to Church.
Oh, and as for my birthday, I woke up, started my workout, and didn´t remember that it was my birthday until Pte. and Hna. Hernández called me to wish me a happy birthday. A few minutes later, E. Barker called me and as soon as I answered the phone, I could hear his guitar and him singing "Las Mañanitas" (Mexican happy birthday song). As soon as he finished, he promptly hung up and left me laughing.
I had a good birthday. Or at least, I liked it--we worked all day and were able to teach.
Well, we didn´t have much time on Monday to write but we´re waiting for the bus to get here to go back to Nogales, so E. Campos and I wanted to take advantage of the time to write.
A few experiences.
These past few weeks I´ve been studying a bit more about humility. Once you start focusing on a certain subject in your studies, you start seeing it everywhere in the scriptures. Haha, E. Campos even told me one day, "Yeah, I get it, you´re working on that, you tell me about it every single time we have companionship study." E. Campos is awesome, by the way.
So, I started thinking about the need to repent when it comes to pride. I asked in a prayer for the Lord to humble me, without taking away the blessings of others. He obliged. A ton of things started happening every day to remind me that I honestly know nothing and I have no right to start thinking that I´m better than anyone else, or any other missionary.
That´s what I miss about being a newbie. When I didn´t speak Spanish, I had to rely completely on the Spirit. The most powerful spiritual experiences that I´ve had happened near the beginning of the mission. Maybe because I wasn´t as used to feeling the Spirit as I am now, but I know that it also has something to do with my awareness of my own nothingness. In the GEE (Guía para el Estudio de las Escrituras, like the Bible Dictionary in Spanish), you can read that humility is the power to be changed and guided by God. If you are prideful, your eternal progression comes grinding to a halt. "Condemnation" can also be understood as the inability to change. Because if you are condemned, whether to outer darkness or whatever place, you can no longer spiritually progress.
An example of what God has been doing to me are the lessons in English. I am not used to teaching in English. I´ve gotten to the point with my Spanish that I can talk and teach without thinking. That´s a good ability (and is very useful when preparing last minute talks), but when you do not focus, with your mind or with your heart, the Spirit is offended, and recedes. But when you have to teach a lesson in a language that you thought you knew but have not spoken for almost 2 years, you cannot teach without striving to do so. But when that happens, your words may not be as eloquent, but the Spirit is stronger and the people are converted.
For example, we taught a lady from Ohio a few weeks ago. She said that she had heard the missionaries around 10 years ago. When we began teaching (E. Campos says the prayer and testifies, but that´s about it for his English), she told us, "This is different. They didn´t teach like this before." I told her about the way teaching has changed. We don´t recite lessons anymore, we teach them according to the Spirit. She said that she had never felt the way she had felt when we explained about the Restoration.
I have a testimony of Preach My Gospel. I know that people are converted by the Spirit, not by pretty words. I know that humility is the key to eternal progress. I know that this is true. Not because anyone else has told me, but because the Spirit has testified to me. I know it.
We still go to Hermosillo once a month. I really like concilio--we learn a lot and I get to see good friends each week.
We baptized as well this week--this man is great. He`s the guy I wrote about last week, and he loved his baptism. He`s been coming to Church for about a month now, and he`s excited to serve. We bought him a cake, since it was also his birthday, and he just spent the whole time serving everyone else because he was so happy. He`s made a lot of sacrifices to be able to live the Gospel, but we talked with him a bit and he`s doing great.
Oh, and by the way, I talked in Church last Sunday. Want to know when I found out? 5 minutes before sacrament meeting. Cool, huh?
Ah, I don`t have much time, I`m sorry, but I love the email, I had a great week, the Lord is answering my prayers and I`m still growing. I love the mission. Thank Bishop Weight for writing me I love you all
No pictures. Sorry. The computer I´m using isn´t the greatest.
No mission can really be compared with another. There are so many things that you just can´t do it. It´s just better to accept that each mission is specifically suited for each and every missionary, no matter who baptizes more or the external results, the only thing you take with you are the changes that were made
That is, if you can´t keep in contact with your converts after the mission. Geez, I hope I can do that. Because I´d like to see my converts on Earth again, not only like it says in D&C 18.
Saying goodbye in Obregón was pretty hard. The minute we got the transfers from the APs, I felt like my stomach flipped over. But I was able to say goodbye to almost everyone--I´m going to miss my converts so much. And my investigators. The ex-drug addict guy we were teaching took it especially hard. It´s not very fun to say goodbye to someone when they´re crying. But he´s still progressing.
I´ll also miss all the elders from the zone. Good missionaries, and good friends.
One story from last week. I went with E. Tovar on exchanges to Esperanza, and we ended up going to a small town called Cocorit a few minutes from the city. We met an old man, the father of a less active member. We shared a bit about the Church that Christ established on the Earth, but as the lesson went on, he started saying, "But which is the right one? Which is the true Church? And how can I know?" I just sat there thinking, "Wow, it´s as if he was trying to do everything that Preach My Gospel says," and I began to share the Joseph Smith story. By the end, he was just staring at me with an amazed look on his face. I offered him a Book of Mormon and he took it without hesitation. When we left, we taught him how to pray, and he did, thanking the Lord for sending us to his home. He went to Church last Sunday, and as far as I know, he´s still doing great.
As for Nogales, it´s great. I love the city. It´s nowhere NEAR as hot (air conditioning is no longer a necessity--we can survive with just a fan), it rained 4 days last week, it´s full of hills (my calves are killing me), the members are cool, it´s GREEN, and it´s literally right next to the border. Seriously, I can walk 1 minute from where I´m seated right now and see the border and Arizona on the other side.
E. Campos was Branch Pres. in Bacobampo when I was in Huatabampo, and we´ve known each other for a little while. He´s from Cancún, Quintana Roo, and he´s a really good guy. We´re working hard.
Two experiences. One. We´re (or at least I am) teaching a family from the US. The dad was deported a few years ago, so they all came with him to live here. The only people that are really listening are the kids (17 and 14), but their parents are supporting them in everything. Teaching in English is weird. My mind works much faster in English, so I can teach quicker, but my mind is programmed to teach in Spanish. I feel weird doing it. Honestly, I prefer Spanish.
Two. We started teaching a man this week that had already gone to Church a few times. But E. Palfreyman and E. Campos couldn´t teach him before for a few crazy reasons. He was first contacted by the elders from the other branch (oh, and the Church here is a District, composed of 5 branches, 3 in Nogales, 1 in Imuris with E. Vargas as Branch Pres, and 1 in Magdalena), and he started going to Church the moment they invited him. They then gave the referral to the other elders. But his brother, whom he was living with, wasn´t happy with E. Palfreyman and E. Campos coming over to teach him. His brother took and threw away his Book of Mormon and all his pamphlets. So, the man moved out. He found another apartment, and we set an appointment to go see him. We got to his apartment, knocked his door, and waited. He wasn´t there. We called him. "Oh, elders, sorry, I´m in the chapel. The branch pres. invited me to come help them clean the church, so I came." We were surprised, needless to say, and headed over to the chapel. He was there mopping, and we helped him out, along with the other members that were there. We taught him afterwards, and he asked us, "So what do I need to do to be baptized?" He´s been progressing like crazy. Awesome guy.
Hey I don`t have much time, but yeah, I´m being transferred. I love every single one of my areas, and Obregón was no exception. I love the people here, I love the ward, I love my converts, and honestly, I knew that I was being transferred. But it didn´t make it hurt any less when I said goodbye. But we never stopped working, even in the last week. The missionary slang in Spanish that means that a missionary stops working is "morir." In other words, to die. I never want to die. I´ll fill you in next week about what happened in the week, but I´m going to Nogales, with E. Campos, in place of E. Palfreyman. Nogales is colder, we have a washing machine, and one of the elders before me left a bunch of weights in the house to work out with. Cool. I love the mission. I love my converts. I will never regret the decision of serving. Say hi to the returned missionaries for me, I`m glad Kurt`s back. Thanks for the news, I love you all. Elder Humbert
Mom, just so you know, I really, really liked that article. I can`t understand the complete magnitude of it, because I haven`t lived as long as many, many people, but we`re right when we tell the youth of the Church here that the most important decisions they will ever make in their entire life is (1) whether or not they serve a mission and (2) who they will marry. The mission is the most important thing I have done in my life. In high school I thought that I had lost myself in football. That`s nothing compared to the work. I`m not saying that I`ve lost myself completely, I`m not perfect, but I`ve tried as hard as I can, and this is the biggest thing that any young man can ever do.
And yeah . . . I`m honestly not that good at teaching large groups of kids, because they normally just sit there looking at me, silently. Unless I start playing with them. And then I don`t really teach much. Normally they just laugh about the fact that I`m American. But in the US that isn`t as rare.
But I HAVE to keep speaking Spanish after the mission as well. I HAVE to. Whether I work with Mexicans or take a bunch of Spanish classes, I HAVE to keep it. That will involve going to the Spanish ward when I go home. But I don`t know how that`s going to work.
The temple was great. The downside of this concilio was that we had to say goodbye to a few missionaries. The one that I knew the best was E. Spencer (I couldn`t take any pics because my camera died). But here`s a picture of us near the beginning of the mission, of the first meeting that we had with the zone leaders in Hermosillo. E. Spencer has got to be one of the best missionaries I have met in my life. He´s the tall one standing behind me. And in one week, I will be the only one left from this picture.
As for the week, honestly, it wasn´t the most eventful. We had concilio for 2 full days, and we worked our butts off the other days to try and make up the work for the week. And we did, fortunately.
We had a good week, even if it wasn`t super interesting. But I`ve got to go now. Please don`t get mad, I promise a longer email later. Although next week are transfers, so who knows how much time I`ll have.
Brok--thought this was a good article. Read it when you get a chance.
The Mitt Romney effect on Mormon missionary curiosity (From the Deseret News)
Twenty years ago this month I stepped off a plane after serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At no time during the last two decades have I faced more questions and curiosity about my mission to Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Call it the Mitt Romney effect.
It’s understandable. For the first time in history, a “Mormon” will be the official nominee for president of a major political party. More people than ever before are Googling or Yahooing the name of the LDS Church, well-known members and common myths.
While it’s true that I’ve met Mitt Romney and we share the same faith, I have no idea how he would characterize his own mission to France or where he would rank it among the decisions and defining events of his life. I can only speculate that it’s among the most important.
If Romney’s mission was like mine, he was taught early on to work hard by dedicated companions who ranked among the best of the best. My first companion and trainer was Elder Alves, a Brazilian who was easily the hardest working young man I’d ever known. We walked miles and miles everyday in search of the one person he believed was waiting to hear our message.
I’d never worn through soles before, but before I left Brazil, I was sticking surplus pamphlets into my shoes to protect my feet.
If Romney’s mission was like mine, he learned to face hate and rejection. Doors were closed and hearts slammed shut. In one city, several angry men chased my companion and me through an outside café. For weeks we took circuitous routes home to avoid being followed. Once we helped an abused wife hide from her drunken, enraged husband by twisting her up in the curtains dividing two rooms of the chapel. In another city, after baptizing a courageous woman in a river in her backyard, members of her family raced after us cursing and throwing rocks.
We learn failure, too, and it’s often the most tragic aspect of the work. Missionaries find, teach and build friendships with families who will eventually look them in the eye and, for a variety of reasons, ask them never to come back.
If Romney’s mission was like mine, he learned to love people who were different from him in every imaginable way. My heart found room for people so poor that having anything other than rice and beans was like a holiday feast. For some, having a chicken to kill for lunch or dinner was a miracle of Red Sea-parting proportions.
Missionaries also learn to love those of every faith and of no faith at all. We discover that many of the most honorable, faithful Christians in the world are quite happily members of other churches. And while some of our beliefs are different, our God is the same. We discover quickly that Heavenly Father loves all of his children equally, no matter what name is on the church’s sign outside.
If Romney’s mission was like mine, he made friends he continues to love and pray for many years after returning home. Through the miracle of modern technology and social networking, I am able to communicate regularly with several families I worked with from 1990-1992. I love and admire all they have accomplished on their spiritual journeys.
One of my companions near the end of my mission has since left the church. It’s heartbreaking, but I still cherish the time we worked together and the lessons he taught me. I love him just as much as the other dozen or so companions I served with.
Whether you agree with Romney's politics or not, it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t accomplished quite a bit in the years since his mission to France. He’s made millions, built businesses, rescued the Salt Lake City Olympic games from scandal and served as governor of Massachusetts.
My own accomplishments in the years since my mission are much less impressive. I’ve made a few bestseller lists, been on television, met some celebrities and spoken to audiences around the world.
But if Romney’s mission was anything like mine, it ranks well above his other accomplishments. At the time, choosing to serve a mission was easily the most important decision I’d ever made. Today, all these years and countless choices later, only one has become more important: the decision to marry my wife and start a family.
As I observe this unique presidential campaign, I am grateful for the curiosity about the LDS Church and our worldwide missionary program. I welcome the chance to share my faith and the experience of laboring a world away as a representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As I celebrate this 20-year mission anniversary, I wonder what career accomplishments would ever overtake it. Would selling a million more books? Would topping the New York Times list for three years straight? Would seeing one of my books finally make it to theatres? What about becoming president of the United States?
Not a chance. And if Mitt Romney’s mission was anything like mine, he’d agree.
As for the photos, we went to go visit a sister that has a four year old, who somehow got me to assemble a Barbie puzzle for her in front of her small store that her mom owns. It took me about 5 minutes. But then she took it apart again and wanted to make E. Cirne do the same thing.
And there isn`t much water out here, but the canal is kind of big. No rivers though.
Aaaanyway . . . this week was the first EFY in the history of the Church in Sonora. It was kind of annoying, because we couldn`t visit some of our converts/recently activated members/their family members because they were busy in San Carlos, but sacrament meeting on Sunday made up for everything. Instead of having speakers, the Bishop got up and asked about 4 youth to get up and bear their testimonies and/or share an experience that they had in the activity. After the 4 finished, he would get back up and ask 4 more.
Every single youth that went bore their testimony. It was incredible to see--and feel. Every single youth seemed nervous, and they definitely had a lot of emotion when they spoke. But it was great. The Spirit was felt so strongly, and I got to see the youth that I baptized a few months ago get up and bear his testimony, saying that he wants to serve a mission. I saw a few other youth that were struggling get up and say without any doubt that what they had felt during the activities in EFY was the Spirit. Other youth that we`ve worked with also bore their testimonies.
I feel so good when I see people we`ve taught express themselves. Something that most adults are afraid of is easy for a lot of the youth here.
The ex-drug addict that we`re teaching is doing well. I don`t really enjoy writing that every time, though. So the guy that we`re teaching is doing well. He has a small family, but everytime we had gone to his house and tried to teach his wife, she just said hi to us and walked to the other room. She`s not rude, but she was really shy. So we told our investigator to invite his family to watch a movie with us. He did so. So the next time we went, we were able to watch Finding Faith in Christ with him, his 4 small children, and his wife. When it ended, we talked a bit more about the Atonement and what it means for the family. The change of expression in people`s faces is always so awesome to see. Everyone was participating in the lesson, and by the end, his wife was talking to us naturally. His 3 year old even high fives us now, even though he didn`t even like looking at us before.
Teaching families. Great experiences. The only thing that I`m afraid of is that transfers are in 2 weeks. But oh well. If something happens, it happens. Whatever the Lord wants.
We had a crazy storm here again. Luckily we were inside, but yeah. It was cool. We saw a plastic seat go flying through the air, and then a few moments later, a car pushing it, but with one of the seat legs stuck in the grill.
E. Mckenna and I found Panda Express (REAL Panda Express) in Mexico. E. Cirne and I went to a baptismal service of one of their investigators and we saw this cup outside. Honestly, I shouldn´t get so excited for something so small, but I did it anyway.
Yeah. Everything´s going by pretty dang fast. That´s normally what happens when you´re busy. Which means that you´ve had a pretty busy year. That´s always good.
Anyway, I love the mission. So much. Yes, it´s very hard. But it´s the best, most rewarding, most joyful experience I´ve ever had. Yes, the cliché is true.
This week was good. The zone has been doing great, and E. Cirne and I have been busy doing a lot of interviews lately. Interviews are cool. VERY talkative people, however, make the experience a little less enjoyable. But I still like doing them. For example, two of the people I´ve interviewed lately have said, "Let me tell you my life story," or, "When I was born . . ." Gah.
Other good news is that we were able to see another person enter the waters of baptism--a while ago we got a call from some less actives--they wanted to go back to Church. We, of course, went to teach them as fast as possible, and they were receptive from the beginning. Finding people like that is awesome. It´s also great because they did it with their own free will--we didn´t even need to go out looking and knocking doors in the hope of helping them do something with their lives. They haven´t missed a single Sunday since we started teaching them and the daughter of the family is currently in EFY (the first one that has been done in the history of the Church in Sonora). The father was able to talk with the bishop, we taught the whole family, and he was able to baptize his youngest son. Great.
Do you remember about the story of the ex-drug addict that E. Mooney and I found a few months ago? We couldn´t find him for a while (we honestly just could not find him in his house for a few weeks), so we had to stop visiting him. But a few weeks ago, I passed in front of his house with another elder in exchanges, and he was sitting out front. He saw us and yelled out--he wanted to hear everything again. E. Cirne and I went back later, and he hadn´t just read what we had left for him, but had actually bought a notebook to take notes of what he reads in the Book of Mormon. He´s progressing great again. We enjoy seeing him every week--he truly wants to change. Seeing the process of conversion has been awesome with him. He truly has a testimony of prayer and repentance. He´s truly repented.
We also had a Family Home Evening with the youth that was baptized a few months ago. He´s also in EFY right now (it´s being held in San Carlos, a beach in Guaymas), but we went to go watch the Joseph Smith movie with him. He invited his mother and sister, and we were able to watch it with them. E. Cirne is normally great at reading body language, and I´ve learned a few things from him, so we were a little freaked out by the way that the mother and sister were watching the movie. They looked completely serious, as if they didn´t want to really think about what they were watching. But the movie ended and they both turned over to look at us. "That was really good--I liked that a lot. Do you have anything we could read?."
I like how the Spirit helps us out even when we aren´t sure of our own abilities or that of something as simple as a Church movie. Or when we´re really worried about teaching a class. Or giving a talk. Or anything else, really, that has to do with the Gospel.
This is E. Hardison explaining in district meeting how one of his investigator`s kids is always drooling everywhere and throwing toys at them while they try to teach the kid`s dad. E. Hardison is GREAT
Say hi to all the people that ask about me. Even if there might not be many. But who knows. I hope Ricky is doing well too. It`ll be interesting how much everyone has changed during my time in Mexico. And I hope Houston can enjoy his mission as well.
Bro. Aten was a great teacher. And like I said before, I have so much respect for converts. They change their whole lives sometimes to live the Gospel, while kids that were born in the Church (like me) have always been this way. Thanks Dad, Bro. Aten, E. Cancino, and all the other converts that have served--that´s an incredible thing.
We haven`t gone to the temple recently, no. But we should soon. Pte. Hernández mentioned that he´ll be inviting the missionaries regularly. But the "big" changes are still to come, though. I think he´s just getting used to the fact that he´s a mission president first. But I don´t know. I´ll just do what he says.
We also had a bit of rain this week. We got caught by a violent summer storm about a half mile from the house at 9:00 p.m. and had to sprint all the way back. We were soaked when we got there. Oh, and this is E. Cirne, by the way. He´s just making that weird face because he felt like doing it. He normally doesn´t look like that. He´s a great teacher and a hard worker--we both have the same time in the mission and we´re doing well here in Juárez.
The downside of the rain is that the humidity got a lot worse this week. I´m back to seeing my arms drip sweat all day. The good thing about Obregón is that there´s a lot more pavement instead of just plants--that means a bit more heat, but a lot less gnats.
We´ve had a bit of success these past few weeks--the investigator that loved 1 Nephi 3:7 got permission from her father to be baptized. She was invited to Church by her boyfriend a few months ago, and has been coming constantly almost every week. She didn`t let E. Mooney and I teach her for a while, until one day one of the teachers for the youth told us that she had asked in the class how much time she needed to come to church before she could get baptized. We started teaching and she`s loved everything. She actually left her job and found another to come to church on Sunday. Her boyfriend baptized her but we made sure to teach her right--so she could baptized for the right reasons. She´s been a pleasure to teach.
This past week we were able to also see a few youth be baptized. Some weeks ago, we got a call from the missionaries from the other Zone--they had a referral for us. A less active woman that lived in our area wanted to come back to the Gospel--from the moment we knocked on her door she was super excited to be able to become active. She had us teach her kids and they all immediately started to see the differences in their family. Less fighting, less cursing, better family relations, everything. They were ready to be baptized this weekend--the 12 year old ALWAYS has a lot of questions and the 8 year old is always funny. The only downside is that we couldn`t find clothing to fit the 8 year old--we had to improvise and fold up the pant legs. I baptized the 12 year old and E. Cirne the 8 year old. They`re seeing the blessings of the Gospel, and it`s also been great to teach them. They had a ton of support from the ward in the baptismal service, and the Spirit was felt. Even though the 8 year old was afraid of the water and kept throwing his arms into the air everytime E. Cirne tried to baptize him. They ended with a grand total of 7.
We keep visiting everyone, though--we try to go see all the recent converts at least one time a week, and more if we can. Gospel Principles is full every week.