Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26 in La Laguna

Well sorry that I didn’t get to the group last week everyone. I’ll try to do better. I’ll just do it first thing from now on. So in these past few weeks actually not much has happened. We continue to teach the family from the states. We’re going to baptize them this Sunday. If I haven’t already talked about them I will now. The members of the family here in Veracruz are: the mom, her brother, her son who’s nine, and her daughter, who’s 7, turning 8. They’re from the USA, of Mexican ancestry. The mom is living here, and her husband is working in a nearby town because there’s no work here. They’re here in Mexico so that their kids can learn Spanish, so when they come back to the states for high school and middle school, they’ll be bilingual. The mom and her brother speak perfect English. Their parents in the states are members, and have been waiting and praying a long time for them to accept the gospel. We’re super excited for them! 

In other news, the work has been absolutely dry this week. I’m a little disappointed.  But it’s okay. Everyone has bad weeks. We just gotta get up, dust ourselves off, and get back to work. And then we will see miracles.

Spiritual thought: So there’s this part in the Book of Mormon called the Book of Ether. In this book the Lord leads a family and their friends from the tower of Babel to the Americas, where they become a great nation. I focused my studies on the part when they cross the sea. The Lord says that they could not cross this great sea, with its grand waves and terrible tempests, without Him first preparing them, by instructing them how to build boats that would outlast it. He then says to fear not, for all the tempests and the winds have left from his mouth, makes clear that these things would propel them across the sea to the promised land. Like them, in our lives we are crossing a grand sea, and our goal is to get to the promised land. We cannot reach the promised land without the winds, and the storms, and the waves to drive us there. We must be tried, to be found worthy of it in this life. But the Lord has told us how to build the ship, He has given us the gospel to keep us safe, and if we build ourselves on that, there will be no monster of the sea (or great trial in this life) that can break us. When we are submerged we will be lifted up again, and we will have light and peace continually, even though outside there may be a raging storm.

In this order: Ether 2: 24-25, Ether 2: 16-17, Ether 6: 3, 5-12

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19 in La Laguna, Veracruz

Sooooo... I forgot group email this week but I’ll send one next week! 

I’m super excited for TJ to be leaving. (California San Jose Mission) He’s going to have a blast and I hope we’ll be able to stay in contact, because he’s one of the best friends I ever made. 

Spiritual thought: Praying is really important. Say a heartfelt one and find out why.

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12 in La Laguna, Veracruz City

So today I don’t have much time so it’ll be really short. This week was great. We found a family of 4 that’s living here. They’re from the states, but of Mexican heritage. They’re just living here so their kids learn Spanish, then they’re going home to the US. The parents of the mom are members of the church, and she says that her parents have been praying for her to accept the gospel for a long time, but she’s just never been that interested until we showed up at her door. I know we were sent from God to teach her this. They accepted the gospel and have baptismal dates for 1 of February. They also came to church, and it’s just so great to see progress that’s already happening in one week!!!

A few nights ago somebody was shot and killed outside the house of the sister missionaries while they were studying. That reminded me that I’m in Mexico.

In Spanish I can read great, and my pronunciation is really good, but I have terrible grammar. To fix this, I started writing stories in Spanish and have my companion check them for errors. His final comment was, "Well, it’s better than little kids in kindergarten." Hahahaha. But yeah, it’s fun and a cool, creative way to stretch my brain (improve my Spanish), because I’m always learning and stringing new words together. 

Spiritual thought: Don’t forget to pray.

Anyways, love yall, have a great week!

P.S. So last week I hit the famous six month mark. I’m one fourth done with the mission already....

It rains more here in the summer, but it still rains right now too. There is fast food, but it’s in downtown Veracruz. I’m in more of the suburbs (if it can be called that) and there’s NOTHING like that here. But there IS Subway.

They have universities here. Almost all of the Mexican elders are determined to go to college. Most of them were converts at a young age, where one of their parents joined the church and then they did too. I have yet to have a comp who grew up in the church since birth.

photos from last week

The first is me in the bathroom with the story I told in my group last week and then the second is me on Christmas Day with my last present, the only one that I had the discipline to wait until Christmas for. It was a box of a bunch of cookies from our bishop.

Monday, January 5, 2015

January 5 in La Laguna, Veracruz

Wow. So lots of stuff happened this week. First: I had the best New Year’s morning in the world. Lemme explain. 

When I got out of the shower in the morning I went to shave, yayaya morning stuff. I dropped the cap to a thing of acne cream down the drain by accident. I looked down, and it’s sitting there in the bottom, a good six inches down, and wayyyy too narrow for my hand. Suddenly visions of all those movies where people drop things down the drain, and then water and fire and everything bad that could happen happens, rush to my mind. I calm myself and think of what I can do to fix the problem. I look under the sink and find the drain tube. I reach down and pull off the tube. I get my cap and breathe a sigh of relief. Thank goodness it all went well. I relax as I carelessly reach down to reattach the drain tube. As I remove my hand I feel my forearm smash into one of the pipes that brings water. And I feel it snap in half. I’m like "oh freakkkkkkkk........" and super pressurized water just starts blasting the far wall... in minutes the floor is covered, I’m yelling for my comp, and we take turns putting a finger over the pipe so we don’t drown while the other one is searching the house for the key to shut off the water. We found like, five of them, but they were all too hard to turn. We weaklings couldn’t manage it. We then realized that there was actually a key handle shut off right below our fingers below the faucet. Elder C goes to turn it and.... snaps it off. At this point I can’t even control myself and just break down laughing. Our house is flooded, there’s water incessantly rushing out of this little tube, and we’ve been here for hours trying to fix it... this WOULD happen to us on New Year’s morning. Eventually the bishop shows up and makes us feel really dumb because he brings pliers and fixes the key and then shuts off the water and then all’s well. Why don’t we have pliers? The next chance I get I’m going to buy some and never part from them.....

Anyways this week was cool. The past 2 weeks we have found 23 people to teach. The problem? None of them come to church. Going to church is something VERY important for a billion reasons. The sacrament is how we become pure again after we’ve been baptized, so that’s super important, and going to church is a commandment, so that’s super important, and it’s like school for how to enter into heaven, so that’s super important. Really we cannot progress spiritually if we don’t go to church... so that’s the problem right now. We have to find out how to get people to come to church.

Cool thought of the week: Moses 1:39 says that the work and the glory of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. So first off, what’s immortality? It’s living forever. All of us will have the opportunity to live forever, not as spirits, but in our bodies. That’s what the scriptures talk about with regards to the resurrection after the second coming of Christ. Eternal life is more. Eternal life is living forever in the presence of God and inheriting literally ALL that he has, and it is the only way to be truly happy after this life. To bring to pass these things is His grand design, work, and glory. So we can reasonably think that’s why were here, to gain this. We can also think that this is  why we have commandments from God, because through obedience to these principles we can gain LIfe Eternal. If you believe in the Bible then you must believe this, because this is taught in the Bible. Then you must believe that in order to be happy you have to live according to His commandments. And if not, you cannot receive this eternal happiness. That’s just the thought from me this week.

Love yall, talk to you next week.

December 29 in La Laguna, Veracruz

These photos are from my last area, in Tuxtla, with Elder L, and our Christmas ties.

Sooooo..... There’s not really not much to write this week. Other than my experience with the “Vickies”.

Also if you don’t get my joke in the title of this email then we’ve got problems. You don’t have to like these movies (Star Wars, A New Hope), but you at least have to have seen them.

This week we found 11 new investigators. That’s absurdly high. I know we were guided by God to find these people, and you will too, when you hear my story. 

One morning we went to go talk to this one member who doesn’t attend church very much. He is a taxi driver. He told us that we should go visit Vicky, who lives in a blue house on the corner by a paper shop. We went. The blue house on the corner said no Vicky lives here, but one does live next door in the green house. We went. A woman opened the door. We said we were looking for Vicky. The woman called into the house, “Mom, your brothers are here!” And then out comes this old woman. “You’re Vicky?” we asked. She says yes. We say, “Hi we’re here from the taxi driver, you know him?”  She says no. We ask, “When did you stop going to church?”  (Because the taxi driver member told us she’s also a member of our church.) She tells us that she stopped a going a few years ago when her husband died, but she stopped going to a different church. She’s never even heard of us. We asked if we could share a message. She says she figures that we were sent from god, because this is just too weird to be anything else. So we teach an uber short lesson. Then we invited her to pray. In the middle of the prayer, the spirit hit like a tidal wave, and tears started to pour down her face. She had her answer, she knew it was true. So then we left, but as we were leaving, she told us that maybe the Vicky we were looking for lived two houses up.

So we went, talked with that Vicky (the second), and she told us another Vicky (the third Vicky) lived next door. Well, we sat down and taught the second Vicky and her sister and their neighbor. They all became new investigators. Then the third Vicky came, and agreed to be taught on another date. And then she said that a fourth Vicky lived another block down, and maybe that was the Vicky we were looking for, since none of the first three were the one we were looking for. We didn’t go to look for her because we didn’t have time, but we did tell our zone leaders about the “Vicky” experience. After, they were knocking on doors in their area (a different place than ours), and found a Vicky!!! In short, I know that we were led to them. The next day, we taught the daughters and granddaughters of the first Vicky that we found, and they all accepted the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, are now reading the Book of Mormon, and everything. 

This was not my only experience of God guiding our footsteps this week. It happened very obviously a few other times this week, but I don’t have time to recount.

Well, I love yall, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and don’t forget why we celebrate Christmas!