Monday, January 24, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
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!
Monday, January 10, 2011
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!
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
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!
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!