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 also heard our bishop speak this Sunday. He began to speak about how a mission can change someone´s life. It was great-I love hearing about the effects that peoples´ missions have had on them, and the blessings that they have received because of them. It was especially nice because we were seated next to two youth that were baptized with E. Beeston and E. Mooney (yes, he knows the area). They´re part of the family of four that came into the Church about a month ago. They´re super excited--19 and 17, and the 19 year old asked us this week what he has to do before he can start giving talks in Church. Awesome converts.
Yeah, Obregón is cool. Unfortunately it doesn´t have a Costco, just a Sam´s Club, but it´s right next to the Wal-Mart, about 8 minutes away from our house walking. Unfortunately the membership costs 50 bucks and I won´t be going to Sam´s after the mission. But I still miss the bikes, though. We´re a lot more tired when walking.
Oh, and E. Roberts got sent to Caborca--E. Beeston arrived in his place in Hermosillo. We´re all going to Hermosillo next week for Concilio, so we all get to see each other from time to time.
This is called a "venado." It literally means deer in Spanish, but "la danza del venado" is a dance that the native Yaqui tribe performs. They take a deer´s head and put it on their own--I´ve never seen it performed, but it´s part of the native culture of Sonora. The Yaquis were a fierce Indian tribe, and was the only one that never surrendered to the Mexican Government. They just stayed on their lands and there are still Yaqui reservations throughout Sonora. Obregón is the city that most took over their native culture (it´s more than just commerical, but I can´t exactly describe the way they´ve assimilated it into their daily lives), calling their baseball team the Yaquis, and making these types of statues that are found throughout the city. Learn more on Wikipedia. Everything I´ve learned about them is just from listening to members.
E. Flores and E. Hardison baptized a man that had been listening to the missionaries off and on for 20 years. He finally made the decision, and there was even a returned sister missionary that taught him 5 years ago that came to speak in his baptismal service. Awesome.
One experience from this week. The elders from the Haciendas area gave us a referral, and we went to check it out on Wednesday. We arrived to the house and there was an older lady there--she said she wanted us to talk to her son. He´s middle aged, and is addicted to hard drugs. We sat down to teach him, and he started describing his desires to change. I´ve taught drug addicts before, but he was going through a lot of withdrawal symptoms. Scraggly beard, dirty clothing, constantly scratching his arms because of his anxiety. He said he had listened to the missionaries before, but had never had the desire to truly change like he had now. E. Mooney had taught people like that before in Sonoyta (he was there for 8 months, and it is one of the must drug-dealer ridden towns in the entire state), and I had done so as well in my other areas. But almost every time the same thing happens--the addiction takes over after a few days and they are no longer in the right state of mind to listen. But even though he looked pretty addicted, he did have the desire. We talked a little about repentance and prayer the first visit, and came back 2 days later. The change was amazing. He had shaved, clean clothing, and instead of constantly rubbing his arms, he was calmed with just dry washing his hands. His eyes were different as well. The difference is quick when the right principles are applied correctly.
Yeah, Obregón is about 1.5, 2 hours from Navojoa. I cannot get out of the south. But it´s great. Just as humid as Navojoa, though.
Being with an American companion is weird. Really weird. I like it, and I don´t like it. I love English, but I´ve discovered after a week of speaking in English for a while that I love speaking Spanish as well. We have the same culture background, and we get along well. Unfortunately, I can´t just turn around and ask what something means anymore. He´s been here for a transfer longer than I.
Obregón is HUGE. We went to Wal-Mart after writing last week and I was amazed. I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate factory. It was crazy. I was weirded out to see so many things in the same place, and that I could actually buy dairy products, since we have a fridge now.
Tell Sis. Decker about this--our ex-ward mission leader (he just got released and was called as Young Men´s Pres.) served his mission in the Colorado Denver South mission, and got back 6 months ago or so. Christian Medina. He said he met Jessica there, but never met Jeremy Robbins. He speaks English. He drew this on our whiteboard at home when he came over.
Like I said before, E. Beeston left a very good area here. He´s an incredible missionary, and the bishop even said when we went to ward council this week, "E. Beeston left the bar high when he left, elders, so work hard. But I´ll know you´ll do it, so I´m not worrying."
We went with a family that E. Mooney and he were teaching. The mom was devestated when E. Beeston left, and had to leave the chapel on Sunday because her eyes were so swollen from crying. She told us straight out when we got there, "We still want to go to Church for the right reasons, but elders, we don´t want to get attached to either of you anymore." Needless to say, the situation was a little uncomfortable when we got there. But after a few days, they started warming up again. Here´s E. Mooney jumping rope outside with the little girls to make them more receptive.
Obviously we´re not here to convert people to us, we´re here to convert people to Christ. But when the pure love of Christ is always present, it´s much easier to do so.
We kept teaching them, and the husband and 2 daughters were baptized. The mom was a less active member, but had always wanted to come back to Church--all she needed was a visit. The dad is a soldier, and is currently on leave. He´s a bit more quiet, but knows that this Gospel will help him. The daughters are awesome. 8 and 9 years old, and they´re super funny. We went to go visit them on Sunday after they were confirmed and we could feel that the house was different. The Spirit was there.
After the service, the second counselor in the Bishopric that was there came up to us and told us that he needed us to speak on Sunday about the Atonement. That was at 7:50 p.m. Saturday night. So, I got to stay up a few more hours that night and get a talk ready. But when the time came, the confirmations made things run late, so I had to cut my talk down. I bore my testimony and pretty much repeated what I said about 17 months ago. After all this time, it´s pretty obvious to me that what I said was completely true. I still cannot compare my suffering with that of His, but I have experienced more of it in this past year and a half than for the rest of my life combined. But His sacrifice was infinite. There are no limits. Ever--except for when we limit ourselves by denying our own faith. I´ve testified about that I don´t know how many times. But I don´t even need to think about it anymore--it feels like more than just faith now. I don´t say that to be prideful. I just know it. I´ve never seen God or Christ. But His sacrifice is more than just something people like talking about in Church. You just have to know how to apply it in the right way.
Anyway, check out the ONE shoe that I got compared with the one I have right now. No, the other package wasn´t stolen, it just got here a little bit later. We went to Hermosillo this last week for Zone Leader (meeting? I dunno, the Spanish word is "concilio," but "council" sounds too pompous), so I got to pick it up. Also, it was Pte.´s birthday. I was there last year, and for this one too. Check out E. Spencer playing the cello (he played a duet with E. Hancock on the piano--Love at Home). That guy is CRAZY. Soo cool.
E. Mila also got to testify at the end of his mission--he´s going home to West Valley, Utah today or tomorrow. He was a great leader, and an amazing example. Even if this picture turned out bad.
I was transferred. I´ll miss E. Olguin, but I´ve been sent back to the city, in Obregón, a city about 20 times larger than Huatabampo that has 2 zones of missionaries. I´m with E. Mooney (from Reno, Nevada, my first gringo companion), and we´re in the Juárez area, in charge of the zone Obregón México. E. Mooney has 3 months left in the mission, but he´s still doing well. I´m completely psyched (one of the main reasons being our house--much cleaner, with a decent paint job, air conditioning, a decent even if not complete kitchen, a REFRIGERATOR, and a WASHING MACHINE--6 months washing by hand, adios). I´ve also always heard good things about Obregón, and E. Beeston, the missionary there before me, left a reputation that will be hard to live up to. He was a great missionary, and for the first time in my entire mission, I´m arriving in an area that is already well developed.
But, I will miss a few things from Huatabampo. E. Olguin, obviously--he´s got to be one of the funniest people I´ve met in my entire life, not to mention he´s an awesome teacher. Also, quite a few people. I was actually surprised at how many people wanted to take pictures with me or say goodbye. It was kind of strange. But honestly, if I was able to learn one thing in Huatabampo, it was more about Mexican culture and how to love the Mexican people. Among other things.
The very good news is that we baptized this last week. Remember the massive family that I mentioned about 5 months ago? We had been teaching them off and on for a lot of time, until one of the family members came back to live in Huatabampo after studying in a university in Obregón. We started focusing on her a bit more (she´s actually the young woman I mentioned last week), and even though the entire family loves us a lot, she started progressing much faster. She came to General Conference (she took notes and everything), she´s starting 2 Nephi right now, and has an Institute manual to help, and is loving it all. I asked her a few minutes before her baptism, "Why do you want to get baptized?" She replied that she had never felt before the way she feels as when she came to Church. She said she truly desires to be a better person and knows that the Gospel will help her do so. She´s a true convert.
After the baptismal service, E. Olguin and I were walking home when I suddenly felt the Spirit. I had already felt it in the service, but in that moment I could feel it testify to me that I had fulfilled the Lord´s plan for me in Huatabampo in that moment. I had fulfilled it, and I wasn´t surprised at all when we found out the next day that I was leaving. It´s a very good feeling, knowing that you´ve done what the Lord has expected of you.
Hope everything is going well at home. I´m happy here. Even if things are heating up.
I know it´s weird, but I got super excited when I saw ladybugs (or "catarinas") in the field this week. It had been more than 17 months since I had seen one.
And Andre, thanks for writing, as usual. I´m glad to hear that you can still think what my point of view on popular culture would be if I was still home. And thanks for filling me in on Axel and Kellen. Axel, get transferred to the Red Robin on Greenback. Kellen, keep going in crew. Yes, it´s a sport. But not a very popular one.
We got to see Conference except for the first 45 minutes of the Saturday morning session, since when we arrived at the chapel, no one that had the keys to the room of the projector was there. But E. Jackman and I enjoyed hearing everything in English this time, and I wasn´t super worried like last time because one of my investigators went missing 6 months ago the day of conference.
But I especially liked E. Bednar, E. Oaks, E. (or is it Pres?) Rasband, Pres. Uchtdorf (the one on Mercy), and E. Holland, as usual.
We´re currently teaching a young woman who is progressing a lot. She´s been going to Church for the past few months and especially liked General Conference. She´s expressed her desires to be baptized for a few weeks, but a lot of things are going on in her life right now--it´s always annoying how Satan starts working hardest during the most crucial moments. Family, friends, school, everything just crashing down all at once. I have a lot of respect for converts--I was born into all of this, and I´ve never had to worry about all the problems that happen in the life of somebody that joins the Church in the middly of life. Once again, Dad, thanks for serving a mission with just a few years in the Church. Bro. Aten (I don´t know if he´s still in Tempo Park, but I haven´t forgotten him, by the way).
Another. We went this week to teach the woman that E. Tovar and I went to teach a few weeks ago. It was incredible. She speaks English, so I got to teach in English the whole time--apparently I explain a lot better in my native tongue. The only downside was having E. Campos (from Bacobampo, we were doing exchanges) there the whole time just listening. He said he understood everything, even if he didn´t speak much.