Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 20, 2015

So this week, Angel will be getting baptized....well at least we hope so. We didn't exactly plan well for his date and we recently realized that we will be very short on time in teaching him all of the missionary lessons. However, considering that we've had to stretch in our creativity abilities as of late, I'm pretty sure that all will be fine. 

Sometimes I am so grateful that we are not left alone to do missionary work. One of those was when the Lord turned a horrible beginning to a lesson into a wonderful ending. We have a couple that is investigating the church and we've been working with them for a little however, we could not seem to get up the courage to invite them to baptism. We had planned on doing so in this last lesson that we had and had invited the bishop to accompany us. With the ever so present knowledge of the bishop and his wife being present and the reminder of our district leader to not even go to the lesson if we didn't have the Spirit ringing in my ears, I got a little nervous and effectively lost a bit of the influence of the Spirit. The same happened to my companion. It was a bit of a rough start but in the end they accepted the invitation to be baptized without even being invited. We're very excited for them because all they need to be baptized is receive an answer that this gospel is true. They're married and don't seem to have problems with the Word of Wisdom and are completely willing to be baptized if God tells them that this church is true. 

We have an investigator named Maria who lives in a little town about a 30 minutes walk from the town that we live in. She is super awesome. Seriously, she is completely full questions about anything and everything. I absolutely love teaching her. She has received the Jehova's Witnesses before and basically tells us everytime that we go that they're just cooky. =P She has been very confused by what they have told her and has wanted to see it in the Bible. Well, considering that the entire gospel that we share as missionaries can be found proven through the scriptures, she quickly believes what we teach her. This last time we taught about baptism and here in Mexico, one of the biggest problems that people have is that they were baptized as children and usually can't understand why they need to be baptized again, however, with simple reading about Christ's baptism in the Bible, she herself noticed that it had been wrong and is now willing to take the step into the water if God tells her that this is true.

We had our last interviews with President and Sister Christensen. Oh man, was it sad to think of that. However, they were really good. President and I talked about my goals that I have for the rest of my mission and for after. I really enjoyed it. 

We are now teaching even more kids. We have two new investigators that are 10 and 8 years old. The 10 year old has a learning disability and honestly, we are not sure what to do with him because I'm absolutely positive that he can learn but we don't really know how to help him do so. His little sister, the 7 year old, is nice and normal however doesn't know anything about the gospel. This in particular frustrates me because both of their parents are members, less-actives, but members and they haven't taught them anything. I feel that we will be spending a lot of time talking about Christ because they don't even know who he is. I have learned a lot about the responsibilty of parents to teach their children about the gospel and just about all of it has come from examples of those who don't do it here in this area. Not gonna lie, I usually have a lot of patience with God's children whether their members, less-actives, or investigators, however, with these parents who are teaching their children nothing, I find it very hard to not be very direct and over kind with them. =P

Funny thing that happened that was only funny because it wasn't me. Yesterday we went to an appointment, it was getting late and we were already late for the appointment. As we got close to the little shop where our appointment was, we saw a few men and instantly knew that we would only be making another appointment and leaving. Well, while my companion made another appointment with the lady, I ended up having a very interesting conversation with a very very drunk man. He was very respectful and it was for that that I was even willing to be close to him. He told me he was a Mormon and then testified of the importance of prophets. I was rather concerned not because he was drunk but because his face was covered in blood. When my companion was done, I shook his hand in goodbye and he very cordially shook my hand. Then the funny part came. When he shook my companion's hand he held tight and pulled it to his lips saying "Let me kiss your hand. Let me kiss your hand." and he promptly kissed it. Oh how traumatized was my companion was after we left. It was really funny to me but we were really glad to get out of there. =P

Chilling at our apartment on Easter Sunday

Results from the make over the children of an investigator did for us

13 months in the mission field

This week has really been a good one. 

Hermana Mazòn and I are finally getting the connection between us going when we're teaching and have been able to find 4 new investigators to teach and teh majority is a family. We were looking for a contact that Hermana Mazòn had made while with Hermana Duran and that she had felt for a long time we needed to visit. When we found the wife and reminded her of who we were, she seemed a little hesitant to let us in. Being long used to people not receiving us, I was getting ready to walk away when she let us in. We began talking to her about her family and her religion. She of course is Catholic but not active at all. She's listened to a lot of missionaries from different religions and doesn't quite sure know which one is the true path that leads to God. We had a wonderful lesson with her. It was great to watch her countenance change as we talked about the Trinity and who God is and who she is for him. 
Later, her husband and one of her sons arrived and joined in the conversation. They seemed to really like the idea that they could pray directly to God and receive an answer. I loved how Hermana Mazòn taught and the Spirit that we had as we worked together. We were really excited when we left their home and we both hope that they will progress and grow spiritually enough to be baptized and continue on the road to their Heavenly Father.

We had a lesson with Angel, our 9 year old that's afraid of water. We still have no idea how we're going to beptize him but we're doing everything we can think of. We had been having trouble teaching him in a way that caught his attention and that didn't put him to sleep. Finally, we pulled out all the tricks we could think of. We put up pictures, did puzzles, played games, everything to help him understand the importance of prophets. We will soon be teaching him about Repentence and it will be interesting and fun to prepare that lesson for him. We're also looking for ideas to help him overcome his fears of water. Any ideas?

This week has also been good because personally I've gotten over my disappointment of being transfered. I've never been unhappy for a change in the mission but the transfer that I received was really hard for me. However, the Lord has really helped me adjust and begin to focus well on my new area. Also, I received a blessing from my zone and districts leaders today and it brought quite a bit of help. I'm so grateful that the Lord is not just mindful of others but also of me and that He doesn't give us what we want when He knows that He has something for us that is better.
Boiling Eggs to color.... my companion has never colored Easter eggs before

Isle of the Christ  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Happy Easter

My new companion is Hermana Mázon from Querétaro, Mexico. She's super fun and we've had a good first week together. Sorry that I don't have pictures, my camera decided to die but no worries, because the hermana that was here before me left her camera because it had broken just a little bit and I'm going to send it to get repaired.

This last week, we've found 5 new investigators. 3 are children but two are a couple who is just so beautiful. We contacted the wife while looking for one of our investigators and she accepted a visit from us. When we went to visit her, her husband joined us for what turned out to be a wonderful lesson. We talked about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and then about the Trinity. They took to it really well and have such strong testimonies of their Heavenly Father. We really hope that we will be able to continue working with them.

We also have a young boy who's 10 years old and who is positively terrified of water. Not very good prospects for someone with desires to be baptized but we're going to work really hard to help the Lord work a miracle in this young boy so that he can be baptized.

To answer the question about Easter. Here they have nothing to do with cute little bunnies and chicks and coloring Easter eggs (although my companion and I did that on Saturday :) it was her first time :D ) What they do is a re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion. They use colored sawdust to make an isle in the middle of the street with pictures and drawings that goes throughout the entire town and then a man, who was chosen previously before-hand, carries a cross throughout the entire town, down the middle of the isle made but the town residents in the morning. Then when he gets to the center of town, which is where the Catholic church is, he is crucified. Generally, he's not really nailed to the cross, just tied there but in some places (like Mexico City, I think, and Peru) he is actually nailed to the cross. This is done in every town and city on Friday of the Holy Week. Then the town is a mess for two days as everyone celebrates. We actually stayed home after the General Conference on Saturday because it was a little dangerous for us to leave. 

General Conference was AWESOME by the way. I forgot my notes but I will be making sure to send some thoughts on it next week. =)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Goodbye Libres

Hno Emilio's kids (Brittany, Heather, and Emilito)
Saying goodbye :(
So I will be leaving Libres tomorrow. It was rough to hear that I'm being transferred but the Lord is really helping me let go. I spent the last two weeks praying to my Heavenly Father, telling him just how much I want to stay in Libres for just one more transfer. I actually had the rest of my mission planned out in my mind. =P I would stay in Libres for one more transfer and then have my last three transfers in another area and then I would be ending my mission....Apparently, the Lord didn't like my plan too much and has decided to show me just how much better His is. ;)

This week, well not much happened. On Sunday we had stake conference right? Well guess what? José Abel received the Melquisedec Priesthood and participated in his first blessing on Saturday! Oh! How proud of him I am! I really feel like he's my little 66 year old son. =P Also, yesterday, we had a really funny experience with him....okay, funny now, not so funny then. We had planned to do a missionary practice with him to review the Restoration and he and I were going to be companions and my companion was going to be the investigator. Well, when we got there, we had Hno Emilio with us and then José Abel's uncle showed us (José Abel had invited him). Oh boy, was this man a treat. =P And man does he talk! There's an epidemic here in Latin America of Motormouth and this man had it bad. He's some kind of christian and when I asked our "investigators" who god was for them...oooooo we were there for 20 minutes listening to this man more or less explain who god was for him. (psst he never answered the question =P). We eventually gave up the idea of a practice and tried to get rid of some of the apostasy that this poor man had. We eventually gave up on the too because he wouldn't let us talk, he just wanted to explain in the most elaborate way possible why he believed what he believe. I respect that but after everyone tried to cut him off, I felt the impression to take the quietest route possible. While he was explaining to me something in the bible I began to say in 30 second intervals "Hermano" but just quite enough to hear. Little but little he quieted down and he gave me the opportunity to speak. I then said all that came to my heart, slowly and quietly but firmly so that he would not overbear me while talking. My companion said that in that moment, the Spirit entered the room. We finally finished the lesson and ended on good terms with Mr. Bash (the uncle).

We continued with our tradition of finding a new investigator every Sunday night and will now be working with Hno Manuel. A friend of Hno Emilio. He kinda scared us at first because he was looking at us with way too much interest and held onto our hands too long. Funny how sensitive missionaries can be =P. He understand everything actually and we had a good lesson. =)

Today will be our last goodbyes to everyone. We'll be enjoying a lunch with José Abel and others and then we'll be visiting Hno Emilio and his wonderful little kids. Oh how I'm going to miss them. Then we'll be having a little FHE with cake! :D To celebrate my year in the mission, Hnas Perez and Cupul's 6 months in the mission and Hna Gonzalez and I leaving. It's going to be sad but I was so excited last night that I couldn't sleep. =P 

I love you all and hope that you all have a wonderful week!

With Hermana Perez and Hermena Gonzales

Caught in a hail storm