Monday, May 9, 2011

After Weeks of Silence

Heelllloooo FAMILY!
Things are just great here in Arenal, thanks for asking! Yep, I´m still in the same ward that I´ve been in since December, and this is officially my tomb. I´ll be finishing my time as a full-time missionary here in this Ward. It´s so great. So here´s an update:
After several weeks of difficulty, we´ve begun to see mild success again in our area. Two weeks ago we baptized a boy named Daniel, whose mom is a less-active member and dad is a non-member (and non-interested haha). It was kind of a battle with them, considering the fact that they live right next door to us. We had started working with them a few months ago, but decided to leave them because they never went to church. But one day about three weeks ago we decided to try and visit them again, and they accepted. They attended Sacrament meeting and Stake Conference with us, and then Danny was baptized last Sunday. All went well, except for the fact that the boiler has kind of stopped functioning and the water was freezing cold. Fortunately, cold water still works to wash away sins. He got confirmed yesterday, and he got really shy and didn´t want to sit in the chair to be confirmed in front of everybody. But I went up to help and participate in the ordinance, and all went well. Remission of sins received!
Yesterday we had the awesome opportunity to baptize Daniela, the daughter of another less-active mother named Olivia. She is one of the most intelligent 9-year-old girls I have ever met! My last companion (Elder Galvan) and I were working with her in February but also decided to drop her because her mom would go to parties on Saturday night and wouldn´t wake up to take her to church on Sundays. But, again, we decided to re-visit them, and they decided to put the batteries in and make an effort to attend Church. Long story short, they have been going to Church every week and Daniela got baptized yesterday (with the same cold water with which Daniel got baptized...the pump that takes the water out of the baptismal font is broken we had to use the same water as the week before). But still, the water was cleaner than the water was at the River Jordan, so all went well.
President Hicken sent us a really good email this week about obedience to our leaders, and I feel like that is one of the most important things I´ve learned here on the mission. He used the example of Brigham Young, when Joseph accused him ofdoing something wrong when he knew he was innocent. Instead of trying to ¨defend¨ himself, or prove Joseph wrong, he humbly said, ¨What would you like me to do?¨ That´s the attitude we need to have when we receive counsel from our leaders. Whenever the assistants call us and ask us to do something that seems a little strange with the Zone, I always just say yes. My companion usually asks me, ¨why do they want us to do that?¨ And I tell him that I don´t know, we just need to say yes and do it. It´s something that has blessed me immensely, and it´s an attitude that I think will help all of us throughout our lives.
Anyway, I love you all. Have a great week!
Elder Budge

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Is every week like this as a Zone Leader?"

Hello Family!

The subject of this email was one of the very first things my new companion asked me after a ridiculously busy week.

On Monday Elder Galvan and I had our last day of work together, we went to the Temple to pick up some new missionaries and work with them for the day before they received their new trainers on Tuesday.

Tuesday we headed out to the changes meeting at the Temple, and we dropped off the greenies with their new trainers. Elder Galvan got changed to the Aragon/Moctezuma/Vergel Zone, and I received a new Zone Leader, Elder Robles. He's awesome; obedient and hard-working. What more can I ask? Tuesday we only got to work in the afternoon, but we were able to find a new investigator named Eleazar. He accepted all his commitments and accepted his baptismal date. We'll see more of his progress this week.

Wednesday morning we had Zone Leaders' Council from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon! It was really good actually, and the Asisstants gave us an awesome class about humility. We got back at about 5 o clock, which gave us a little bit of time to get Magui's interview done. The secretaries called us right after the interview, and told us that we need to head to another part of our Zone to look for a new house for new americans that were going to be coming to the Zone. We headed out and were out looking for a house all afternoon to no avail...

So Thursday we left the house early and headed back to continue looking for a new house. We ran into some other street preachers that wanted to fight with us, but we did our best to just not listen to them. They very "politely" invited us to embrace what they call the truth, but we continued on our house-hunt. We finally found a good house, and right afterward we had to head back to the temple for Magui's special interview. Then we came back to our Zone with the secretaries to sign the contract for the new house.

Friday we held a District Leader Council in our Zone, and right afterward we went back to the Temple AGAIN to pick up the new missionaries in our Zone. One of the new people didn't show up to the training meeting, so we had to head out to a place called La Paz (kinda far...) to pick him up. We brought the new missionaries to their house, set them all up, and got to our house at nine.

Saturday we got to work normal and went the whole day looking for new investigators, contacting everyone in the street. We got two more interviews done and set up everything for the baptismal service on Sunday.

Yesterday Magui and her two children, Vianey and Luis Angel were baptized. It was an excellent way to end the week.

This week, we'll actually have time to work in our area! Woo hoo! And PS, my airplane will be arriving on May 28th, at 12:30 in the afternoon! And the records secretary hooked me up with the window seat!

Love you all, have a great week!

Elder Budge

Monday, March 7, 2011

The General Epistle of Elder Budge

Hellllooo Family!

How's it going back home in the Gabacho? I hope everything is going well, everyone nice and cozy, watching TV and eating Pizza as I roast in the hot sun on the Mexican street out here in Neza! This past week was a blast for my companion and I, because I'm now 21 years old! Is that weird or what? It's a strange feeling and I don't want to think about it anymore, but I must because I have to tell you how my b-day went here.

So last Monday I took myself shopping, bought some sneakers and a T-shirt, and we ate some delicious Domino's Pizza, courtesy of Jared and Monica Budge. Then on my actual birthday, an investigator named Magui bought me a delicious cake and a brand-new, beautiful tie. That's how we can tell she is ready for the Gospel, right?! Then yesterday another family bought me another cake, equally delicious, and some chocolates. All in all, it was a really good birthday!

Anywho, back to business. This past week Magui has been progressing so much. She is absolutely incredible! I don't know if I told you last week, but she fixed her work schedule so she can go to Church every Sunday, and this past week we were able to teach her two children as well. Her son, Luis Angel, is really shy, but has been reading the Book of Mormon on his own and has prayed about it. Her daughter, Vianey, is really awesome as well. We watched the Restoration video, and afterward when we asked her how she felt about it, she started to cry and wouldn't tell us why. I asked her if what she was feeling was positive or negative, and she said that it was positive. That's good news too! Long story short, Magui will be baptized this coming Sunday and her kids next Sunday.

My companion has transfers tomorrow after six short weeks together, and I'll be training yet another new Zone Leader. Time flies!

I really love the Gospel, and I can't believe I have so little time to continue sharing it as a full-time Missonary!

Elder Budge

Las Fotos:

1. Me with my new shirt and shoes!
2. Again...with my new socks as well! (Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!)
3. Pizza and soda and my companion Elder Galvan.
4. Magui, her three kids, the cake, my new tie, and my companion.
5. Our last photo together....

Monday, February 28, 2011

No Clever Ideas Today...

Hello family!
Thanks for all the letters, fotos, packages, and everything else! Grandma and Grandpa, yes I did receive your package on Valentine´s Day, so it was fun to re-live the Christmas excitement. And I also received a sweet package from Conrad, with an Armor of God coin that I now carry with me at all times.
This past week was awesome. We were able to find some really elect people that are really striving to change their lives for good and follow the example of our Savior. We found a lady named Rosario, who told us that she remembered that Elders used to go to her house and play with her when she was 5 years old, and that they would teach her family as well. So we were able to teach her, invite her to be baptized along with her sons, and they went to church with us on Sunday.
We also found an amazing lady named Magdalena, who told us that she has been searching for the truth for a long time. She left her original Church, studied with another religion (hint: they knock doors like us...) but then she didn´t like it either, and she told us she noticed big changes in her aunt when she joined the Church. We went and taught her about the Restoration and how she could come to know for herself which Church is true. We invited her to be baptized on March 13th, and she accepted. She told us at the end of the lesson that she had felt a peace that she hadn´t felt for a very long time, and that for the first time in a very long time she smiled and laughed (well...I like to be myself when I teach, and sometimes that means a few funnies...). She´s golden, and I feel so blessed to be able to teach her the Gospel.
That´s pretty much all the scuttlebutt from my end, I hope you all have a great week, and we´ll see you sooner than you think!
Elder Budge
PS. That last little bit of the letter doesn´t mean I´m going home early. Don´t worry about that...haha.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another week...another opportunity to BAPTIZE the world.

Yellow family!!!

How are things going?! I'm feeling really good today, the sun is shining, there's a lot of dirt in the street, plenty of people walking around, ready and waiting to receive the message of the Restored Gospel. Who could complain?

This week was a week of some serious improvement for us here in Neza. We've been having some struggles these past few weeks, but we're doing everything we can to follow the counsel of our leaders explicitly and and we're beginning to see the blessings. We're trusting in the Process, and working our hind quarters off to contact, find, teach, bring to Church, baptize, confirm, and everything else!

We've been focusing mainly on just a few investigators we've found in these past few weeks...mainly the only ones that have gone to Church. Firstly, we're working with a brother named Juan Gonzalez and his daughter Monica. We found him when we did splits with the assistants two weeks ago, and he's been really receptive to our teaching. Last week we met his daughter Monica and Karin, but Monica has been the only one of the two that has been keeping her commitments to read, pray, and attend Church. She's definitely the one that's progressing most! She has her baptismal date for the 27th of February, and we're working hard with her to make sure she has everything she needs. Her sister, Karina, was really interested before, and would always ask us a million and a half questions about everything, but later told us, "Nah...I'll just stick with my religion." I'm always reminded of the Parable of the Sower when we meet people like that...that just let other things get in the way of the growth of the seed they plant. But, we're not called to teach them...we're called to teach the Elect, those who "hear [the Lord's] voice and hardenth not [their] heart[s]." And only them!

We've also been working with a 10 year old girl who hasn't been baptized, though her mom has been a member of the Church since she (the mom) was 8 years old. Her daughter, Datia, hasn't been baptized because her dad won't let her be baptized. He says that she only ten years old and doesn't really know what she wants (although she was baptized as a baby...back when she did know what she wanted...?). This sister, Catalina, told us simply that "she's living the consequences of not following the counsel of the Church". That is...marrying outside of the Covenant. The main difficulty is the father though...he says that if she gets baptized, she's not going to have a Dad anymore. Sound rational to you? Nope! Gotta love those awesome, loving fathers...but this girl is totally ready to be baptized. She knows more Articles of Faith than my companion! Hahaha!

At night, I've been reading the Institute manual called "The History of the Church in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times", and I've read a lot about all the sacrifices the early Saints did as they remained faithful to the Savior and His Church. It really is incredible...of course, you've got a few Apostates here and there sometimes, but it's amazing the way the Lord provided for all who stuck to it with faith like Iron. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven, I know it. I've also read a few times Doctrine and Covenants 58, which has been a great help for me as well. I would suggest that you all read it.

Anywho, I love you all. The Gospel is true, and never forget it!

Elder Budge

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sorry about the last two weeks!

Hello Family!

Yes, it is true, I haven't written for the past two weeks. But worry not little flock, I will update all of you so you can know "Que what's up" with the NezaPantitlan Zone. Two weeks ago Elder Coutino had changes, and I received a new Zone Leader, Elder Galvan, from Oxapampa, Peru. I think we're the only companionship in the mission that doesn't have a Mexican! It's been a blast working with him; we already knew each other before, because when I was first assigned as a District Leader in Xicotepec, he was in my district. It's fun that way because we don't have to play the "Get to know you" game.

This past week was pretty intense, we taught a bunch of lessons, and found a bunch of new investigators, but on Sunday only one of them went to Church. I was pretty bummed, and pretty confused, but after reporting to the Assistants last night I have more or less an idea of what we need to do in order to improve. This week should be a pretty good opportunity to figure out things we can do better, because on Wednesday we have our Zone Leaders' Council and on Thursday we have Leadership Training in our Zone.

Anywho, that's really all the news I have! Have a good week and go to the Temple!

Elder Budge

Monday, January 24, 2011


This is a photo of the baptism of Marco Antonio that we had last week. Sorry I can't write much! See ya next week!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hello Cap'n Crunch's Christmas Berries!‏

Hello family!

This past week has been pretty sweeeet. And to top it all off I just found Cap'n Crunch's Christmas Berries in Wal Mart. Let's just get right to it, shall we?

This week Juan Carlos was confirmed, and he showed up with a white shirt, a sweeeet black tie, and a pretty spiffy black vest! Now we just need to work on his mohawk haha. I love seeing people get confirmed; and I love feeling the Spirit confirm to me that we're helping Heavenly Father bring to pass His purposes.Marco Antonio was baptized yesterday, and the baptismal service was really special. We had several investigators attend, and we watched the Restoration movie while my companion and Marco were changing into dry clothes.

Raul, the alcoholic we found the other week, completely disappeared this past week. My companion and another missionary from our Zone found him once while we were doing divisions and I was in another area, and they were only able to talk with him a little bit. We were a little worried about him on Saturday, because we thought that maybe he had been avoiding us because maybe he had started drinking again...but on Sunday, he went to Church by himself with his 8-year-old son, and told us he hadn't been drinking at all, he had just been working overtime! What a relief. He stayed for the baptismal service and loved it...if things go well, he and his son should be baptized this coming Sunday, but they might have to go out of town (yikes!), and we may have to postpone the baptism for the 30th. We'll see how things play out.

On Saturday night we found a really cool lady named Esperanza. We helped her take her groceries home, and she lives in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Mexico. It's called "Casitas", but we go there all the time during the day. We're just not allowed to go there at night time. But anyway, we went and talked with her and her mom and invited them to Church for the next day. We went to pick her up, and she was all ready with her skirt and dress shoes, and her daughter as well! She told us she had read the Restoration pamphlet, prayed, and already received her answer. She told us that she closed her eyes after praying, and saw Jesus with His arms extended towards her, and said, "Come unto me." Pretty cool huh? She'll be baptized on the 30th.

This week I've been reviewing the talks from the last General Conference, and it has been absolutely amazing. I have been especially impressed with Robert D. Hales' talk, where he explains how faith builds stronger character, and how we can become "permanently resistant to the eroding influence of sin and transgression." What really caught my attention was the word "permanently". He talks about how we need to put our faith in things that are true, like in Jesus Christ, in His Church, and in the counsel we receive from His leaders. And as we act upon that faith, it forges our character and strengthens us against future temptation, and we become who we need to become. "We become what we want to be by being what we want to be." After we act, we receive a witness that our actions were correct, and that the faith we had to act was true, and we confirm the validity of our actions. That in turn fotifies our testimony. He says: "Often such guidance is accompanied by powerful emotions that bring tears to the eyes and make it difficult to speak. But a testimony is not emotion. It is the very essence of character woven from threads born of countless correct decisions."

Like President Monson, I don't remember when I gained my testimony. I don't remember any specific event that convinced me that the Church was true. I just have received the witness a little bit at a time...over the last twenty years doing my best to make right choices. I just know that the principles and ordinances are true because I've lived them.

Family, the Church is most true!

Elder Budge

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hello Cap'n Crunch's Christmas Berries!‏

Hellloo Family!

I was very happy to see my inbox very full this afternoon! It always makes me feel all warm and tingly inside when I know that people sill remember about their little mexican missionary out here in the field. We had a pretty eventful week, so I'll just "get to the grain", as we say in Spanish. (That's "Llegar al grano"...get to the point. I'll get to the point now.)

Well I don't know if I mentioned in my letter this week about a very interesting drunk man we met on the very first day of the year of our Lord, 2011. If so, here it goes again. As we headed to eat lunch with some members, a drunk man's family stopped us and asked us to help Raul Quiroz (the drunk man) with his drinking problem. He's had 25 years of drinking A LOT and we talked to him to see if he wanted us to help him. He said yes, gave me an uncomfortably long hug, and we set up an appointment.This week we went to that appointment, and found him very drunk again in his house. We talked to his wife and said it would be better to speak to him when he's sober, so we went back the next day. He was still a little hungover, but was at least able to have a coherent conversation with us. We set the goal for him to stop drinking completely. He accepted, and we went back a few days later to check on him, and he had stopped drinking for four days! Needless to say, his family was stoked at the idea, so we invited all 5 of them to church and invited them all to be baptized, and they accepted! They were looking pretty spiffy with their white shirts and slacks on Sunday morning ready for Church!

We've also been working with a guy named Marco Antonio (we call him "Mark Anthony" haha), who has been progressing a ton. He read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it, and told us that after he prayed, he stood up, got dizzy, fell down and hurt his foot. And he took that as his answer that the Book of Mormon is true! hahaha! Hey, whatever works. He'll be baptized this coming Sunday.

We baptized Juan Carlos this past Sunday, who is the husband of a recent convert whom we baptized a few weeks ago named Mari Carmen. He's progressing a lot as well...right before his interview, we made him take off his earrings...he was kind of bummed but knew that it was the right thing to do. On Sunday his wife was sporting his earrings! It was funny and we giggled at it.

I interviewed a really awesome lady last week for some other Elders in our Ward, who had received an absolutely amazing testimony of the Book of Mormon. She said that while she was praying, she felt darkness all around her and couldn't speak; she then starting calling out God's name, and the darkness went away and said she felt an "immense light" inside of her. I was like..."Are you sure you're not just reading Joseph Smith history?!" Ok I didn't really say that but it's what I thought. She was baptized sunday night as well.

This past week we had an awesome Zone Leaders' Council at President's house, where we enjoyed a house with carpet (imagine that!!!), and delicious american food (Shepherd's pie, waffles, scrambled eggs, carrot cake...aahhhmmmm...). The Assistants gave an awesome training called "Key Indicators: Trust in the Process". They talked to us about how the U of U football team was able to have an undefeated season because they were able to trust in the process, that is, do the basic things they knew they needed to do, realizing the importance of every play and every player, and trusting that they would come out on top inspite of setbacks. They compared that to our Key Indicators, and how in order to increase the number of baptisms, we need to increase every other key indicator as well, and trust in the Process that the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency has established. It helped us out a ton, and we were able to have a lot of success this weekend because we were able to just trust in the process. Sweet!

Anywho, that's all the "what's up" from my end. Until next week!

Elder Budge

PS, I'm sending photos from the ZL Council, from bowling and ice skating this morning, and I think a few other surprises.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holy cow it´s 2011!!!!

Hellooooooo! La la la....

Muchos saludos de la Zona Neza/Pantitlan, y el primer saludo del año 2011! Pueden creer que el año ha pasado tan rápido? Yo no!

Anywho, my companion and I have some big plans for this coming year; there's lots of improvment to do, many people to find, bring to Church, baptize, and invite to come unto Christ! This year is going to be awesome. We already started off with a really good week to help us figure out the things we need to change and improve in order to bring more fruit unto the Lord. I spent a lot of the week outside of my area, but nevertheless had some really cool experiences.

This past week we did splits with the assistants, and I finally got to actually work with Elder Walk! We realized that we hadn't taught together since the MTC, and then we realized that in the MTC we never taught real investigators. So it was fun to have the chance to actually work with him in the Lord's vineyard and gather up some fruit! We had an absolutley awesome day. We did something he calls "Power Proselyting", which consists of choosing a street in which to work (of course through much prayer), busting out the good ol' Ward Directory, marking all the families that live in that street, and going to visit them, and of course, contacting everyone in our path and knocking a few doors if we feel like it. It was really awesome, we ran into some really strange less-active members (one lady who said she left the Church because she didn't want to pray to Joseph Smith....we told her that we never pray to him, but she said that they tried to teach her some memorized prayers so she could pray to Joseph Smith. Weirrrrrd), but were also able to contact a TON of people in the street. Later Elder Walk felt the impression to knock a door, so we knocked, and an active member came out and said that that was her house. We asked if their was anyone else in her house, and she told us we could try to knock some other doors in the building. We went to the last door, knocked, and a lady named Paolina Pluma came out, we introduced ourselves, and accepted our visit. After asking a few questions, she told us that she had had some serious difficulties these past few weeks with the loss of her daughter and granddaughter. We taught her the plan of salvation, invited her to be baptized, and she accepted everything! Elder Walk and I teach in almost the exact some way, so there was plenty of flow and harmony when we taught together, and when we left the house, we were skipping down the street with our arms around each other's shoulders! Ha it was really fun, and a really good experience for me. We topped the night off with a delicious Domino's Pizza, with their supposed "new recipe" that tastes the same as the old recipe...

The next day, my companion and I got to work together in our area, and we spent most of the day contacting, to almost no avail. Most of our appointments had fallen through that day, and we were getting a little desperate at the end of the day. We decided to take some advice from the assistants and find a quiet place to pray and ask for a specific blessing. We had the goal of finding two new investigators that day, so we told the Lord where we were going to contact, and asked him to bless us with those two new investigators. After we finished, we started contacting like locos, and every time we contacted it was a usually a couple walking together. We saw a lady that was standing by her car alone, so we contacted her, and she mentioned that she had been have some difficulties, and had been praying for the answer. We testified to her, and then ther eleven year-old son came up to us and we set up an appointment to visit them the next day. Sweet!

My time is running out, and we had some other cool experiences, but I'll share them next week maybe!

Elder Budge

PS I can't believe Deanna is heading to BYU already...she'll have to introduce me to her friends once I get back! hahaha!