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 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.
Check it out. Bitter enemies can be friends. As long as you tame them and then raise them together.
Concilio this week was interesting. Pte. and Hna. Hernández are from Minas, Lavalleja, Uruguay, and both were converted while young. Hna. Hernández´s family met the missionaries when she was 8, and the entire family was baptized. She served a mission in Argentina and is excited to be a missionary again. Pte. was baptized at age 15 when he was working in a car shop. I asked him what was the principle of the gospel that had really converted him and he replied that it had been the Book of Mormon--he did not understand all the things he read, but as he read, he could feel the Spirit testifying to him that it was true. He told the missionaries he wanted to be baptized immediately. He was called to be Branch Pres. in Minas at age 21, without a spouse or family. He has not served a mission until now. He´s soft spoken but firm, and seems completely open to any whisper of the Spirit. He has (sorry, I don´t remember the number) various children, one of which served in Oakland, California, about 10 years ago.
Other things about them--the grandson of the missionary that baptized Pte. Hernández is serving here in this mission. That is pretty dang cool.
They speak with one of the strangest accents I have ever heard--I want to speak with Harrison afterwards to see if he learned to speak that way as well. It´s a mix between the Argentinian accent and other completely unique pronunciations--lots of "j" sounds instead of "y." I can´t describe this well through writing. But I don´t want it to sound like they talk badly, it´s just a LOT different.
I remember what I first thought and felt when I met Pte. Velez--I felt that I could trust him. What I felt when I first heard Pte. Hernández was that I know and feel that is that he (and his wife) know and feel that this Gospel is true. The Spirit let me know that they have their testimony from the same source as every person that has a true testimony.
The mission will start changing soon, but only Pte. and the Lord knows what. But one thing is for sure--he´s stressingconversion a lot more now instead of just baptism. Pte. Velez stressed both, but Pte. Hernández is leaning a lot more towards total conversion.
Other news--the youth we baptized a few months ago still wants to go on a mission. We´re trying to teach his mom, who is very nice (and would like him to go on a mission as well) and has already been fellowshipped by the ward. Things are going well.
We have an investigator who is super into the Book of Mormon. When we arrive, he opens the door immediately, tells us everything about what he learned about when he read the chapter we left him, he already uses the cross references to find other scriptures, and often keeps reading even after finishing what we´ve left him. He is PSYCHED. Cool. The Book of Mormon is true. Just people´s reaction to it is a testimony of that.
Another cool thing from this week--we went to go see a less active sister who is having a lot of problems. Work, health, family, many things--we went to go teach her and at one point we felt prompted to speak. "You would not have these problems unless the Lord knew that you could support them. You have the ability to overcome all of this, and even if you still have problems, you will be stronger becuase of it." We shared Ether 12:6 and 27. I looked at her again and just said, "Dios confia en usted." (God trusts you) Her face softened and said, motioning towards her chest, "I just felt something." We finished teaching and then left.
We don´t know what we´re doing differently, but we´re having a lot things happening in our area. Which makes me remember a phrase that E. Bednar often tells missionaries, "Success is not earned, it is given. The Lord will decide whether or not you have success. It is just your job to work, and to be worthy of the blessings that God is willing to give you." And another, "Do not strive to receive blessings. Strive to be worthy enough to receive them."
Not exact quotes, but close enough. Love you all
First Zone Leader Council. That´s an overly long name. And it´s not even that crazy, really. But the stuff we learn is pretty dang cool.
And check out what we found downtown. Nope, no one saw us taking the pictures.
Elder Cirne is from my generation, and was in Hermosillo when I was, was in Etchojoa when I was in Huatabampo, and was in Reforma (here in Obregón) last transfer. Like I said, he´s poblano (from Puebla), and he knows how to work. We honestly don´t know what happened this week, but we were blessed with a lot of people to teach. We were both telling each other, "I have no idea what´s going on, but it seems like God is happy with us this week." We worked, as usual, but everything turned outwell, instead of the normal trend (some days bad, some days good).
We´re working with a less active family, and the father isn´t a member. The mom and husband arrived to Church a few months ago by themselves, but this week we got every member of the family in Church. It was great because right before I got up to share my testimony in sacrament meeting, the daughter of the family got up and bore her testimony about how she can already feel that the Church will help their family become more unified and strong--she felt that when she entered the chapel.
We had two other less active families that came, each with at least one person that isn´t a member. It was incredible.
As for Pres. Monson´s quote, it´s true. I remember in Hermosillo when E. Rivas and I went with the sister missionaries to teach a man from Utah. I taught him in English the entire time, but after 20 minutes of feeling the Spirit so strongly, one of the sisters burst out and said, "I have to say something, I don´t understand a word either of you are saying, but I HAVE to say something, the Spirit is so strong here right now." She shared a scripture and I translated.
Off to Hermosillo.
Quote sent to Brok today
In the April 1985 general conference, President Thomas S. Monson, then
a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said, "There is one language . .
. that is understood by each missionary: The language of the Spirit.
It is not learned from textbooks written by men of letters, nor is it
acquired through reading and memorization. The language of the Spirit
comes to him who seeks with all his heart to know God and to keep His
divine commandments. Proficiency in this language permits one to
breach barriers, overcome obstacles and touch the human heart."