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 got to help out in the baptism for our Branch President´s grandson (we had a few investigators there as well). Also, we went to Yavaros (a small fishing town an hour away from Huatabampo that has all of the fish processing factories). Here´s one of the inlets.
The reason why we went there was to teach the mother of the woman that is reading the Gospel Principles book. Her family is doing very well, and our lessons with them are getting more and more spiritual every time. We went this week and taught a bit more about the Restoration, but this time with the Dad there. As we began to speak, he had his eyebrows furrowed and looked kind of angry (or at least, I thought that). I actually got a little worried, but we continued with the lesson, and we finished by watching the 20 minute movie The Restoration. We watched it in silence, and when it finished playing, I glanced over at the Dad and he said, "I enjoyed that a lot. Honestly, I feel completely at peace right now." He continued expressing his thoughts about Joseph Smith. We left spiritually edified that night. So awesome.
Also, when we were in Church, we were sitting in Gospel Principles class and listening to E. Treviño teach about obedience when Pte. and Hna. Velez suddenly opened the door and sat down next to me and one of our investigators. E. Treviño saw them come in and froze. His face slowly relaxed and then continued teaching. My first thoughts were, "Oh, I hope Hna. Velez doesn´t ask us to show her the house" (Hna. Velez demands complete spotlessness, no matter how clean the house is), quickly followed by, "I am so glad it wasn´t my turn to teach the class this week." I´m pretty sure I would have gotten pretty nervous.
We weren´t scared or anything (minus the whole house thing), but they got there without any kind of warning whatsoever. When he sat down next to me, he asked me, "How are you?" "A little surprised." It was all good, Pte. just interviewed each of us (in his normal way, talking about the mission in general, but then suddenly jumping out of nowhere with a piercing look and the question "Are you worthy?"), and they said goodbye, continuing in their minivan to go to Etchojoa.
Good week. I hope everything is going well at home. Love you all
Oh, and Hna. Velez said that the new mission president is from Paraguay. That´s all they know.
Pics--E. Tovar got sent to Puerto Peñasco in special transfers this week. A few new gringos arrived in Hermosillo, and they had to go somewhere, so a few people got moved around. We had to wait for E. Jackman to arrive in the bus station for a while. E. Tovar will be missed--I got along with him really well, even if he wasn´t my companion. And I went on exchanges with E. Cirne in Etchojoa this week. Unfortunately our bikes blew out on the way back from one of the small towns we went to, so we had to hitchike our way back. Also, everyone from Huatabampo and Bacobampo went out this morning to hike a . . . well, it´s not a legitimate mountain, but a pretty big hill (complete with bat cave) near Buaysicobe (pronounced BWAI-se-coe-bi), a tiny town near Bacobampo. Here we are up top.
I have no idea who Alberto E. Hernandez is, but Pte. Velez will definitely be missed. That guy is great. But he´s working like crazy before he goes home. Haha, and he and his wife will be leaving one of their daughters in Hermosillo--imagine, attending your daughter´s wedding as a mission president, in the temple right next to where you work all day.
As for the quotes, I´ve noticed that EVERYthing that E. Bednar writes, says, or shares, it ALWAYS focuses on action. Christ died so we could act, not be acted upon (2 Nephi 2:26). We can pray, but if we don´t do anything about it afterwards, our prayers are in vain. And as for Pres. Uchtdorf, he just makes everyone feel happy when he speaks.
As for other things, I saw bell peppers (or chiles morrónes) for the first time this week. I found that strange.
But a good spiritual experience as well. We´ve been teaching a small family for a few weeks, but this week was different for them. The mother had a death in the family, and she was super worried the first time we got there after her death. You could see it in her face--she wanted to know where her sister went. We taught about the Plan of Salvation, and actually left a Gospel Principles book with her. A little bit more in depth than usual, but when we went back the next time, she had read every single chapter that she could find that talked about life after death. Not only
that, she´s started to teach the rest of her immediate family about what she´s learned.
She doesn´t look as worried anymore. The awesome things that the Gospel does.
I might have run over E. Treviño with the bike. And the Mexican version of Panda Express is such a rip-off.
Mmmm . . . oranges and cinnamon rolls.
Okay, quick email, sorry. SORRY. I don´t have much time right now, unfortunately.
The chapel here is going to be the first building in the history of Huatabampo that has an elevator. Crazy, huh?
A few stories. Did I ever tell you guys how we got our bikes? The police gave them to us for free. We went to the police station and asked if they had any impounded bikes that they didn`t want. The man in front then arranged an appointment with the chief of police, who we both talked to and taught. We explained who we are, he explained what he does, we talked about religion, and he talked about how screwed up the drug cartels in Mexico are. I immediately thought about the secret combinations in the Book of Mormon, but we finished before I could find the chapter in Helaman that talks about that. Anyway, at one point he even said, "I can´t say this outside because this is the way things really are, and if anyone does that with the government here, it`s not that great." He`s our friend now. He even called out to us from his truck one time we were in the street and I had the strange opportunity to teach a full grown educated man about religion on the curb. We teach a lot of people about religion, but they´re not normally his type.
E. Tovar and I had another experience like that as well. The workers of the elevator yelled out to us one time we passed by the chapel, "Hey, play us in soccer!" We said okay--with the condition that we could teach them afterwards. They agreed, but the ball went flying in the backyard of the neighbors next to the Church. E. Tovar and I went to go pick it up, the lady came out and gave us the ball, but she started to ask questions. The normal ones, like "Where are you guys from, what do you do, what´s an American doing here," and so on. One of the workers came out, took the ball from us, and we stayed there talking. This lady lived in the US, and speaks English, and started to speak about Literature. E. Tovar and I both love to read, so we began talking about that. The subject than returned to why we´re in Sonora, and religion. We explained about the importance of a personal testimony (which isn´t the normal thing that a missionary teaches in the first visit in Huatabampo) and prayer. The conversation eventually ended with the Light of Christ, with a Book of Mormon as the parting gift. My mind felt really weird, because we normally only talk about that kind of doctrine between missionaries. But it was cool. We´re going back this week. How strange (and dumb) that no missionary had EVER talked to her before.
Unfortunately, the email won´t be as long this week. But yes, we´re still working and the zone is doing better. E. Campos and E. Gil are working their butts off in Bacobampo, and one of their investigators is getting ready to be baptized next week--the first person in that area for almost a year. Everyone is doing well. Even if we don´t have many things to do on P-day in these tiny towns. But that´s all goooood.
E. Tovar and E. Olguin cut each other´s hair. They both have lines on the sides of their heads. I declined the invitation. Also, we went all the way to Etchojoa on our bikes this week. It was interesting.
Oh, E. Tovar says hi.
Anyway, two things. First, we went to Hermosillo. E. Roberts is still in Pitic, and is going to be there for 7.5 months. That´ll be 13.5 months in Hermosillo in total. Crazy. But it was good seeing all the other elders again.
We learned about a few things--E. Florence got a book by E. Bednar from his parents (Increase in Learning--add that to my list of things, by the way), and Pte. asked him to teach a few things from it. In the book, E. Bednar teaches the importance of learning in the Plan of Salvation, and how our agency plays a part in it. We learn by faith and by experience. We can have knowledge (associated with the mind), understanding (associated with the heart), and we can be intelligent (applied knowledge and understanding). For example, someone can know many things, but be an idiot when it comes to making decisions in their lives. When we are taught by the scriptures, there is a sequence of teaching--Doctrine (a pure truth, unchangeable and given by God, such as the first three Articles of Faith, answers the question "Why?"), Principle (a guideline, founded in Doctrine, such as the 4th Article of Faith, answers the question "What?"), and Application (actions, answers the question "How?"). That was just a quick summary. If you want to know more, buy and read the book. The funny thing is that E. Bednar taught about the same exact thing when he came to the MTC more than a year ago.
"It is more important for the investigator to learn than for us to teach." -- E. Bednar
The second. We were asleep at 11:00 p.m. on Thursday when the phone rang. We got up and found out that a less active man was in the hospital--his kidneys weren´t doing too well. We called Pte., he gave the go-ahead, and we went to go give him a blessing. He saw us and laughed a little bit--"Haha, Olguin y Humbert." We gave him a blessing and went home. It´s interesting how people still have a testimony of principles of the Gospel (such as the priesthood) even if they don´t do anything with the Church.
The Atonement works. Even if it seems kind of crazy how big of an effect it can have when truly understood and applied. Unfortunately no one can understand or comprehend it that well unless they have done something similiar. That´s why I´ve thought at times that the repentant sinners are normally more effective (but not better, since that depends on the missionary) missionaries--Ammon, Paul, etc. But then there are those that had always been pure, remained pure, weren´t as successful, but were blessed more than anyone else--such as Nephi III in Helaman 10. Everyone has their own gifts, their own favorite principles of the gospel. But when it comes down to it, the other priniciples of the Gospel are just "appendages" of the Atonement, as Joseph Smith once said. Everything comes back to that.
Transfers today. The entire zone . . . (wait for it) stayed exactly the same. I´m staying with E. Olguin here in Huatabampo for at least another transfer. Haha, I´ll have 6 months here soon. Crazy.
By the way, "Huatabampo" is a Mayo (not Mayan, Mayo--one of the native tribes that lived here in Sonora) word for "willow in the water." Or "sauce en el agua." Cool stuff.
As for the week, I have some very good news. Remember the man that read 100 sections of D&C in two weeks? Well, something big happened.
We went to his work Tuesday morning and began to teach him (we´ve taught him in his work every time--I´ve never been to his house) about the meaning of baptism. I don´t remember how many times I had done that before, but we felt as though we needed to do it again. We were teaching, and after responding one of my questions to verify that he had understood the lesson, he suddenly said, "Me voy a bautizar" (I´m going to get baptized). When he said that, I just stared at him. My mouth opened a little and I just sat there. E. Olguin congratulated him and I was thinking, "Whaaa?" Then I snapped out of it and got pumped. YEEAHAHHH!!!! He was baptized on Friday--and was ready for it. He´s the kind of person that COMMITS--I´m pretty sure he only failed on 2 or 3 of his assignments the entire time I´ve taught him, which is why he waited so long to make the decision--a covenant with God is much larger that any commitment to man. And he wanted to be completely sure.
Haha, when we asked him who he wanted to baptize him, he pointed at me and said, "If anyone is going to drown me, it´s going to be you." I had invited him to baptism a few times before.
As for his story, it´s a long one. I respect my investigators´ privacy (which is why I normally don´t just write about my investigators every week), but I will say what he has felt change. He was born in Tepito, one of the most infamous neighborhoods of Mexico City, and one of the most dangerous. After a few years, he ended up in Huatabampo. He had read the Bible before, but had never truly had a firm belief in God. He was "Catholic" (but never really practiced the religion), and wasn´t interested in anything religious. But one day he went to a member´s vetrinarian (hospital? service? how do you say it?), where he saw a few pamphlets on the table. He picked them up, read them all, and a month later the member told the missionaries to go teach him. He´s read almost the entire Book of Mormon. He´s read every copy of the Liahona we give him. He understands everything, but unlike before, he has told us that he now TRULY feels the Lord´s presence in his life. He learned how to pray, and now does so every morning and night. He´s gone to Church more than most members.
I asked him the moment before the baptism what changed for him. He just told me, "I always knew I was going to be baptized, but I was just making up excuses when I said no to your invitations. I finally just sucked it up and made a decision." He didn´t literally say that, but it was the gist of it.
Mom, as for your question of "HOW are YOU doing", I´m doing great.
Adios. Enjoy the long email. I organized my letters well this week.