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 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.