As of last tuesday, I am the Leader of the Xicotepec District--in the very farthest area of the mission! It takes about 4 or 5 hours to get to Mexico City from where I am...and there is one state between my area and the Federal District! It´s kind of crazy but I absolutely love it! It´s ridiculously beautiful; lots of trees, rivers, waterfalls, and of course, lots of people ready and waiting to get baptized. Ha you won´t believe it, but here in this Zone, Elder Walk (my MTC companion) is one of my Zone Leaders, which is absolutely awesome (actually, he is at my side on another computer in this very moment!). We slept at the Zone Leaders´ house last night and played some sweet basketball in the morning. We have to travel to their house every Sunday afternoon to turn in records and letters and things like that...they live 2 and a half hours away. Yikes! But it´s really fun because Elder Walk and I get to catch up and talk about EVERYTHING. He´s really become a good buddy to me.
Anyway, so I had to leave my son, Elder Montoya, with my new grandson, Elder Lara, in Los Heroes. I´m sure they´re doing great...that ward is so awesome. And now, I´m in Xicotepec. My new companion is Elder Cruz...he´s super chill and an awesome missionary. We get along really really well...we think the same in a lot of ways. So he´s pretty much a stud. We spent all last week just looking for new investigators...it was ridiculous! I´m too used to working with city people, it´s been weird getting used to these small-town folk. This area is just ready to explode with a lot of success. I have so much faith in this new area...I know that there are thousands of the Lord´s elect ready and waiting for us. It´s just up to us to go out and find them. Elder Walk showed me a really cool letter that his grandpa sent him, and he talks about how being a good servant is just receiving the assignment and doing it. There´s no asking why or how or when...you just do it! I was reminded of how Dad always tried to teach me that principle. He always would say, ¨Jake, just be a problem solver!¨ I´m really grateful for that teaching, because that´s how the mission is. Success in the mission is baptizing...the Lord has called and commanded us to baptize. So we just need to go out and do it! He´ll worry about the how´s and why´s and who´s...we´re just instruments in his hands.
I had a really awesome experience this past week in my very first baptismal interview. The entire interview I had really strongly felt that his man wasn´t ready for baptism...after digging a little deeper, he had some issues that I was uncomfortable with and in the end, we decided to wait for his baptism. I called President Hicken and we talked about what had happened in the interview, and he said to me, ¨Elder, you couldn´t have given that man better counsel if you had been a Bishop for 25 years.¨ I still felt unsettled about what had happened, and I was wondering about the decision I made was the right one...so I prayed, and decided to crack open the ol´ Book of Mormon. I opened right to Mosiah 26:34-39. I´ll let you all read it. It really helped me realize the importance of my calling and my responsibilities in the mission. I´m doing another interview tonight, so I´ll ask you to be praying for me as I do so. I need all the help I can get!
This week I prepared a blank Book of Mormon, and marked all the passages that explain the principles of the Missionary lessons, among other things, so I can use JUST the Book of Mormon in the lessons we teach. It turned out pretty awesome, and has been a great tool in teaching. I love the Book of Mormon!
I love you all, and I think that´s all the news I have for you. I love you all, and thank you for all your prayers!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sorry I wasn't able to write a letter last week. I bought a new USB memory stick thingy and I spent most of the time downloading all the pictures I lost from when I got robbed. Me perdonan? Muy bien. So a little bit about what happened last week...not much. That's actually why I felt ok not writing haha. Don't worry; I'm still alive; I still love you, and no Mandy, I'm not mad at you for not writing. And I'm not mad at you either, Mom, I know things get busy and sometimes you can't write. That's just the way things go. I will tell you that last week we found whom we thought were awesome investigators, but we dropped them last night, mainly for their lack of progress. I can only last so long explaining the same principle of why "bad things happen to 'good' people" in so many visits. Goodbye old investigators, hello miracles!
This week was super busy for us. On Tuesday, we had an awesome Zone Conference where the Assistants taught us to always use the Book of Mormon in our teaching (NOT the Bible) because we're in the land of Lehi and his descendence. And then President Hicken explained to us the importance of obedience. All in all it was an excellent conference. Then on Wednesday we had to be in the house at 6 o clock because it was Mexico's Independence Day...and in the afternoon it's too dangerous for us to be out in the streets. We cleaned the house...kinda like Derek, but man, looks like Derek lives in a PALACE!!!! Holy Cow! And then we weren't allowed to leave the house until noon the next day. We lost a lot of working time, but we definitely took advantage of the time we DID have, and were able to have a really good week. We found a couple of families that went to Church with us, and some of the members brought some investigators to Church too. It was a very excellent Sunday for us.
So...I have transfers tomorrow! I will be saying goodbye to Los Heroes after being here for almost 6 months, and I'll be embracing my new calling as a District Leader. Hello Cell Phone! Haha. Also, my son has been called to be a TRAINER, which is just awesome, and I'm going to be a grandpa!! Awesome, huh? I feel really grateful for the trust that the mission President and the Lord has in us. So next week I'll let you know where I am and who I'm with and all the rest. I really don't have any other news...we went ice skating, bowling, and mini-golfing today (AWESOME!), and I feel way exhausted. I love you all, I hope you have a great week, be safe, and go to the temple!
PS. I'm attaching some photos from our little trip today, the car I'm going to buy after the mission (Dad, you know what i'm talking about), and i don't remember what else. Enjoy!
Monday, September 6, 2010
As you may or may not have guessed, today I did my THIRD and possibly final trip to the Pyramids here in Teotihuacan, Mexico. It was sweet, and because it was my last time, I bought some cool souvenirs that maybe I will send home. Maybe. I'm attaching some sweet photos this week--some soccer jerseys that some members made for us, a photo that explains pretty well how i've been heating up water in order to be able to bathe, intented murder, and my awesome mustache. Enjoy.
There's really not much to report this week. We had a really challenging week...as far as numbers are concerned, definitely not a week I am proud of. But, I'm super determined to just keep on keeping on. I was thinking a lot about some scriptures that my companion and I usually share with less-active members or with investigators who are afraid to keep commitments, and just in general when people feel like God isn't blessing them. In section 58 of Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord explains exactly why that is. I'll paraphrase, and kind of translate from what I remember from what it says in Spanish. He says, "Who am I to promise and not fulfill? Men disobey my commandments, and I revoke the blessings. Then men say, this cannot be the work of the Lord, because His promises are not fulfilled!" Wo unto men who so think. I like to ask the question, "If the Lord always fulfills His promises, and those promises are received based on our obedience to His commandments, then what is going on if we aren't seeing the blessings?" Answer: We're not obeying the Lord's commandments.
Family, the Lord is perfect, and He certainly isn't a liar. The scriptures mention that we, the spiritual Sons and Daughters of the Most High God, are less even the dust of the Earth. Why? Because God says, "Dirt, move over there." And what does the dirt say? "Ok." But what happens when God gives us a commandment? "Well, it's really not that important...I don't see why I need to do that...what's the big deal if everyone else does it?" I think we can all take a good look at ourselves and figure out how we can better our obedience to the Lord. Let's be loyal to our Father in Heaven and follow His commandments. It's not a coincidence that those commandments lead us to Eternal Happiness. Who wouldn't want that?!
Anyway, I want you to know that I'm committed to being better, more obedient, and more faithful as a Disciple of Christ. I love all of you.