Monday, March 29, 2010

It's raining! And I like it.

Hello Family and everyone else!
Today it is raining, and it is exactly what we need in Chimalhuacan! A lot of the streets here are unpaved, so the rain does a good job of keeping all the dirt on the floor and out of my eyes. Plus I love the smell.
Plenty has happened this week, so I'll try to stick to the highlights. So, as I said last week, Sofia told us that she has the desire to be baptized, so Elder Escobar and I went to her house to talk to her parents, because we need their permission in order to baptize her. So we explaied (again) about the importance of baptism, about receiving the Holy Ghost, and eveything else. Her Dad told us that he will NOT give her permission until she completely changes in her attitudes and, basically, he wants her to be perfect in everything that she says and does. I explained that the receiving the Holy Ghost is exactly what she needs in order to help her progress, and he basically said I was lying and that you don't receive the Holy Ghost by Priesthood holders or anything like that, but we receive it once we look for it and find it. Wrong. I explained that the influence of the Holy Ghost and the Gift of the Holy Ghost are very very different, and that the latter is received by the laying on of hands by Priesthood holders. He told me I was wrong. I asked him if he had read the Bible. He said no. After a few minutes of trying to explain to him, he said: Well, thank you for the visit, and here is the door. Bummer. But we called Sofia's mom a few days later, and she told us that she would give permission for Sofia to be baptized this week, but only if she improves her behavior at home. We accepted the offer and have her baptismal interview scheduled for Wednesday. Please pray that everything will work out well.
So the other day Elder Escobar and I were knocking doors and totally found a recent convert from Salt Lake City! Her husband lives here in Mexico, and was listening to the missionaries before but had to come back to Mexico to renew his papers. Can you say MIRACLE? In Spanish?! If you can't, it's MILAGRO! So we'll see how things work out with him this week.
We had a sweet Zone Activity this morning, I'm sending some pictures, along with other pictures from our meetings with the Ward Mission Leader. Enjoy.
Hugs and kisses (psych...can't do that. I'm a missionary.)
Elder Budge

Monday, March 22, 2010

This work is not for WHIMPS!

Hello family!
I never know how to start writing this letters, and I usually end up sounding kinda weird. So I'll just get to the good stuff.
This week has been pretty sweet for my Companion and I; our Zone Leaders gave us some new goals for the past week and things have worked out pretty well for us! We started doing 100 daily street contacts, and started having shorter, shorter visits with investigators, members, inactives, etc. We're starting to see things turn around so we're pretty pumped for the last two weeks of this cycle. This area is going to explode!
So we had a few cool events this past week-- on Thursday we had our interviews with President Bulloch, and of course, they were awesome. We had a really good interview about facing challenges and trials in the Mission. I always have to remind myself of what he said in a Zone Conference and repeated in our interview: This work is not for WHIMPS! And it's so true. We work really really hard, and sometimes see so little fruit; that's when we have to keep the chin up and trust in that the Lord is preparing a lot of blessings for us!
On Saturday we had an awesome devotional in the MTC here in Mexico with Elder Tenorio and President Ochoa (of the Young Men's General Presidency). I especially liked President Ochoa's words: "God loves His children so much that He's not going to give them to just any pair of missionaries," and "No one here has been called to fail." He spoke to us a lot about the things that usually stand in the way having the success and we and the Lord desire, and I was able to figure out some of the things I need to change in order to see even more MIRACLES here in Xochitenco. Elder Tenorio shared a story that I really really liked, about how the Lord keeps his treasures hidden from those who aren't really sincere. He told us that a reporter came to the Mexico City Temple a few days after it had been re-dedicated, and wanted to enter into the temple to 'check it out'. The people at the front desk told him he couldn't enter, but the reporter was very insistent. So Elder Tenorio came down to talk the reporter, and he told the reporter, "Of course you can enter! Let me teach you how!" He told the reporter about Faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and if he would wait a until a year later, he would be able to enter. The reporter looked at him weird and told him he didn't want to do all that, he just wanted to go in. Elder Tenorio asked him, "Well, here in the Temple, sacred ordinances are done. Which one did you want to do?" The reporter told him he didn't want to do any, he just wanted to satisfy his curiousity. Obviously, the reporter didn't get to do even that.
If we're sincere in our desire to seek the treasures the Lord has hidden from the insincere, and we do everything that the Lord wants us to do, we'll be granted those great blessings that God has ready for us.
Yesterday was a pretty good Sunday; Sofia, who has been coming to Church for about 5 weeks or so, told us that she wants to be baptized this week. We had to stop teaching her because she had told us that she no longer had the desire to be baptized, but after our Gospel Principles class about baptism, she told us that she knew she needed to be baptized. AWESOME. So we'll be setting things up for her baptismal service this week, and we're praying that her parents soften their hearts and give her permission to be baptized.
That's about all I've got to report. Have a good week!
Elder Budge
I'm attaching a couple of pictures I took on the way to the Devotional on Saturday. The first one is of me and one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Tanner, and the other is of (from left to right) Elder Guzman (our other ZL), Elder Perez (my DL) and yours truly.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Can you say AWESOME Zone Conference?

I can.

Hello family! Everyone! Thanks for the emails and the warm fuzzies I get when I read your words of encouragement!

So this week went a little better for us than the last, but Elder Escobar continue to make a lot of changes so that we can qualify to see more miracles here, in Xochitenco, Chimalhuacan. Mom, just so you know, Brady Crump's email address changed (like mine did) so if you can forward these emails to xxx now that would be sweet. He's having a good bunch of success, and I'm way proud of him. Man I've been so blessed to have such great friends!

So last week, as you can guess by the title of my email, we had a really awesome Zone Conference with half of the mission. It was really good for my companion and I because we figured out a few of the things we need to change in order to have more success. It always amazes me that when we pray and ask for answers to our questions, the Lord always provides us with the answer. BUT, we always to need to keep our eyes peeled for that answer, and pay attention to the feelings that come to our hearts when we hear the words of the leaders that the Lord has chosen to be over us--because He always inspires them in a way that will benefit those to whom they serve. So we're definitely making some changes--very small ones, but ones that will give us great results. I also have my interview with the President this week on Thursday, which I'm really looking forward to.

Holy cow sounds like you had an amazing birthday in Paris. I want one like that when I get back! Haha well I just really want to go to Paris. We'll have our 22nd and 46th birthdays the other way around, mine in Paris and yours in Mexico! Va? Va. But I'm glad you got to spend your birthday with a few of the people you love, and I'm certainly glad I did too.

This past week we still met many, many challenges, and I feel like I came home every night not wanting to do anything but plan for the next day and SLEEP. We came home exhausted every night, especially Saturday night, because we taught a bunch of lessons, met with a lot of people that were going to go to Church with us, and had to resolve a lot of problems with some people. I love coming home feeling that satisfying tiredness. One of our greatest challenges this week was with Eva--when we visited with her on Saturday, she told us that she no longer wanted to be confirmed. She said that after her baptism, her Mom called her and told her not to do it and all that jazz, so we had to go and talk to her, ask her why she didn't want to do it, and explain how much she needed it. Every reason for which she told us she didn't want to be confirmed was everyone reason for which she NEEDED to be confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost. She told us that she felt really confused, that she wasn't learning about the Gospel as fast as the rest of her family (the Fierros Family), and we explained that the Gift of the Holy Ghost was exactly what she needed! We kneeled together and prayed, and the three of us started to cry (Que Chillones!!) and she told us that she was going to do it. And she was confirmed yesterday.

We also were planning on having Veronica and her 2 kids, Karen and Cesar go to Church with us, but again they went to Hidalgo to visit family, and missed going to Church for the 2nd week in a row. So we had the "Charla Franca" (the Frank Discussion) with them, and explained that we would no longer be able to visit with them, and that there are thousands, literally thousands of people here who are already willing and ready to accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. We could see in their eyes that they knew that what they were doing was wrong, but told us that it would be hard for them to change their lifestyle. We left on a very friendly note, and she told us to come back whenever we wanted to come eat with her (haha) and we told her she would always be invited to come to Church. That's probably the hardest decision I have to make here on the Mission--leaving people who don't show the signs of the Elect and the desire to progress. But our time here is so short, and we really need to focus ourselves on those that the Lord has already prepared to accept the Gospel. That's just how it is.

I think that's all the news I've got for you. I'm sending some pictures from the Zone Conference (we took our MIssion Panoramic Picture). The first one is of my buddy Elder Nicolas and I, then the other is of Elder Allsen and I, the 4 Elders from our "generation", and I think that's it. Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Budge

Monday, March 8, 2010

One ROUGH week.

Hello Family!

I hope everyone is doing super bien and enjoying the many trials and stresses of our daily lives! I know I am. Haha.

As implied by the subject of this email, this week was super rough for Elder Escobar and I. We started out the week really well--we had people to teach, lessons, we were finding new people to teach, and everything else. Last sunday in the afternoon, we found a really cool family of 5 people who were really interested in what we had to say--actually it was a really cool experience. We were knocking a street, contacting people and all of that, when I saw that out of the next door we were about to knock, left four people in a VW Bug, so I walked by the door and figured that no one else was home. But, my companion stopped to knock the door, and an older lady answered the door. We introduced ourselves and asked if we could come in to share a short message, and she said yes. So we came in, and a few minutes later, the people that left in the car came back and told us that they decided to come back and hear what we had to say as well. We taught a really good lesson, and we were invited to return a few days later. So we did.

We returned the Tuesday afterward, and they stood us up. We passed by in the night again, and they told us to come back the next day to teach. So we did, they were there, and we taught about the Plan of Salvation, and a couple days later about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They told us that everything was fine for Sunday and that they were going to come to Church with us. So we had them, Veronica, Karen, Cesar, and two more new investigators (Mariana and Azucena) all ready to go to Church with us on Sunday. We went to the Chapel really early in the morning to do Splits with some members so we could pick all of them up, and one by one we found that they either weren't home, went to visit family, or simply did not want to go to church anymore. So we came to church with NONE of our investigators, including the investigators that have their baptismal date for this coming Sunday, which now has to be moved back until the next week. It was really frustrating for my companion and I, but now we can figure out what we've been doing wrong and what we can change this week in order to be more successful.

On the upside, I've made it yet another without dying (that's for you, Dad!), and I now have a total of 20 years of learning here in mortality. We went to eat with Sister Alicia Duran on Friday, and she had a sweet cake ready for me after we had our Comida. My companion pushed my face into the cake, and it was pretty delicious. I'll send photos!

That's about all I have to report on this week. Que tengan una buena semana!

Elder Budge

PS I'm sending another picture to show you how much weight I am losing!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Goodbye February, Hello March!

Hey there fam!
This past week has been a really, really good week for Elder Escobar and I. We were able to participate in yet another saving ordinance yesterday, but not without experiencing plenty of trials and obstacles. Eva, the sister of a recent convert of ours, was our focus this past week and the Lord has blessed us immensely in helping us help her.
We had a few lessons with her last week, mainly focusing on the Restoration and the Atonement, to help her feel the need to be baptized, and how it was going to help her family. We watched Finding Faith in Christ with her, and she began to cry, and told us that she wanted to be baptized, but didnt want to do it right away. She told us she was afraid of being rejected by her family, and that her own children were telling her not to do it. It was really tough--most of the time Elder Escobar and I have to help people resolve problems that are very much outside of our personal experience. That is when having the companionship of the Holy Ghost really helps us out--we remember things we have learned and say words we really didnt have ready to say, and it has been a huge blessing and help for us. After talking with her for a while, she told us that she didnt want to be baptized that coming Sunday.
The next day, her sister, Veronica (our recent convert) told us that her sister had told her that she had changed her mind. We didnt know why, but Eva had decided that she wanted to be baptized, and soon. We visited with her, and she explained to us that she wanted to be baptized that Sunday (yesterday), and that her daughter wanted to be baptized too! She spoke with her daughter, Wendy, the day before, explained what she had felt when she was with us, and Wendy told her that she too wanted to be baptized. Long story short, Eva had her interview on Saturday, and was baptized Sunday. Now we´re working with Wendy so that she can start preparing for baptism too! We have been really blessed this past week, and have started our new cycle together in a successful way. We´ll be keeping the momentum up, of course, with the prayers of all of you to help us. Thanks a ton! Love you all!
Elder Budge
PS Grandpa and Grandma! I received the package you sent for my birthday. Thanks!!! Mandy...Im still waiting for that package from Christmas Time! haha.