May 26, 2014 - No Manches Güera
Another week in the marvelous world of Missionary work. As always, the week was full of ups and downs:
Bright spots: I learned a lot about how to find new people to teach from my Sister Training Leader in our intercambios. Marcela and her family are going strong and the ward is starting to help us out. Angel is getting ready for baptism and has an awesome testimony. We've found a couple of new investigators who have been prepared to recieve our message. My companion is doing very well and we get along great. I have an awesome district and a district leader who watches out for us. I still am horrible at soccer, but it's fun anyway.
Slightly less bright spots: Walking walking and walking for most of the day without finding anyone. It's a little discouraging when all of your appointments fall through, even your dinner appointment... A few of our investigators who just aren't putting in their part and aren't progressing.
So that's the story.
Side note: remember that many are called but few are chosen. If you want to be "chosen," that is, if you want happiness and success in life, do the things you know you have to do. Just get to work. Also, I second what my brother Elder DeFranco said, if the missionaries bring someone new to church or they'res a recent convert in you ward, BE THEIR FRIEND. No matter how strong your testimony is, it's pretty hard to go to a church where you don't know everyone. The missionaries can't hold their hand every moment. Invite the new members to your house for dinner, have family home evenings together, give them rides to the activities. It's not hard and you may make a life-long friend in the process.
June 2, 2014 - Llevo 5
(unrelated side note: I am finding it more and more difficult to write in English, I have to double check my spelling and grammar. Also, there are a lot of things I want to say but I can only remember how to say them in spanish... Other note, this keyboard is horrible and I have to pound every single letter. Now my fingers hurt...)
We cleared a terreno (piece of land?) for a recent convert. In the US this might involve a few trees and some chainsaws. Here it involved GIANT nopales (cactus) and some machetes, shovels, pick-axes and other tools of the trade. Our whole district came and we ended up happily covered in cactus juice, blisters, and spines. In all, it was an awesome morning 😊
Angel is a college student working on his thesis (he graduates next month). His friend is a member and introduced him to the gospel. He is so so so so so great, he always reads his scriptures and prays and is totally willing to keep all the commandments. We are all very happy for his baptism.
The Book of Mormon:
President Egbert gave us the challange to read it in 2 months and we did it and it was awesome. I've found that it is very easy to apply the Book of Mormon to our live and I love teaching with it. So if you're not studying it regularly--- DO IT! You will recieve so many blessings!
June 9 - I Used to Not Say Fetch
Dear Presidente Egbert,
First of all, this letter is going to be really long. I'm sorry about that, but not sorry enough to not write it....
Thank you so much for asking us to read the Book of Mormon these last 2 months and pray about it. I finished it Saturday night and prayed about it. My answer came a few days later as I felt the need to read my Dad's conversion story during my personal study. I'd like to share some of it with you:
"I remember when I was in high school and at Cornell that, during quiet times, I sensed that I was missing something, that something would come along later... When I was at Cornell, I tool a leave of absence from the school to think, to just work because I wasn't sure I was in the right thing. At that time, an older student at the school, a convert to the Church named John Taylor, became an intern at the hotel school as the Human Resource Manager. He hired three Mormon girls who were home for the summer from BYU. They were Kathleen and Claudia Reeder, and Paulette Wallace. They talked to me (and everyone else who would listen) about the Church and its doctrines.... The girls invited us to the Palmyra Pageant and we went. While there, Mark bought me a copy of the Book of Mormon. Since Pageant ended late and we drove almost two hours, it was very late when he dropped me off at my apartment. My roommates were out of town so I was alone. I remember I decided to read the Book of Mormon (as the girls had explained) and so I sat down to read it after having knelt in prayer. Before I was done reading 1 Nephi 1:1, the Holy Ghost came strongly upon me and told me it was true. I was very excited and knew that I would join the Church. It doesn't happen to everyone this way, but this is how it happened to me. So shortly after I joined I decided to go on a mission, then waited the required year. Everything I have comes from that experience and those commitments."
The final sentance really hit me "Everything I have." In that moment the Spirit also came strongly upon me as well and testified of the importance of the Book of Mormon and also the importance of that moment for me personaly. The Book is true, everything we teach is true and is of infinite value. This work is the most important work we could be engaged in.
I learned something else from this expierence, the importance of the Holy Ghost. A lot of the time we tend to pass him over a little bit. God is our loving Heavenly Father, He created us. Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, our Savior, and our Brother. We cannot comprehend their love nor their glory and power. And the Holy Ghost, He testifies of them. And then we leave it at that. I love what Elder Ballard teaches in "Our Search for Happiness," that when God presented us with the Plan of Salvation, he told us we would be alone, but not quite so alone. The Holy Ghost is our only connection with our Heavenly Father and our Savior right now. Our only connection. Without Him, we would have no access to the grace, mercy, and love of Christ. As Joseph Smith taught, we cannot be saved without revelation- that is, without the Holy Ghost. How grateful I am to Him! How grateful I am that he came and visited two young man searching for the truth in upstate New York. One He quickened in order to enable him to see God the Father and Jesus Christ; and to the other, my father, he visited with great power and testified of the work of the first.
Something else I learned this week: I loved our zone training this week! The video of Sid Going really impacted me, especially when it said something along the lines of "don't think about what you can gain from your mission, only think of what you can give." If Sid had not gone on that mission, maybe that one family never would have recieved the Gospel. Think of the consequences for generations! If those girls who shared with my father had not opened their mouths, if he had not listened and prayed, where would I be? I never would have been born. My parents now have 5 faithful children, 3 grandchildren, 1 returned missionary, 2 serving missions, and one preparing to serve this year. All from one simple act of faith. The work we do is important.
Ok, I'm done preaching now. Anyway. We are doing well. Hermana Tuz is pretty torn up about the cambios, she really doesn't feel ready. But I know she is ready for anything. Whether she gets to train or gets to continue her own training, she's ready. As for me... well I haven't really thought about it. We shall see....
I should probably write more about how the work is going... but I'm all written out now.
Suffice ito to say that we really are working hard. I've never had so many investigators and less actives with so many really really complicated and difficult problems. It's really hard to figure out how to help them, but we try to rely on the Spirit and help them see how applies gospel principles can really help them. We've had quite a bit of success contacting in the combis, in the streets, in the stores, etc. It's a gratifing experience 😄
June 16, 2014 - Así Es Ella
In other news, I´m now with Hermana Cebreros who is AMAZING! We are opening a new area here in Progreso. For one Sunday our ward, Mixquiahuala had 3 pairs of missionaries but they created a branch in Tlahuelilpan (try saying that 5 times fast. Actually, try saying that at all. I still can´t). So now it´s just us and our zone leaders in Mixquiahuala. Oh, and I´ve left behind the greenery of Tulancingo to return to the Valle de Mezquital. Not the same zone or stake, but next door neighbors. Actually this zone (Tezontepec) was part of the Valle de Mezquital zone when I first got here, but was split after my first transfer.
We´re finding lots of people to teach! Hna Cebreros has contacting down to an art 😊 It should be a very interesting couple of months. We´re going to see many miracles, we already know it.
A few notes about the new area. We got here with no area book, no telephone, no map, and a boiler that only works when we don´t need it. It´s been an adventure! 😊
Love you all!