Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 27

5 Bibles, 2 Hymn Books and 1 Video we bought from the temple store for our investigators.
It was super heavy to carry them all!

Well it´s only been 4 days since I last wrote home, so not a lot has changed. The trials and our church attendance drought continues as not a single one of our investigators made it to church yesterday, even though many committed to go. We even had members pass by to give them rides, but they ended up either not being home or still sleeping. It´s really frustrating sometimes when our investigators are doing so well with all their commitments like prayer, reading the Book of Mormon and other reading assignments, and they are excited and committed to come to church, and yet end up missing it and apologizing the next day for having slept in or left to visit family somewhere. I guess this is where I learn patience. We need to either continue to encourage them to rearrange their priorities, or in some cases we might need to give them time to decide if this is really something they are willing to continue in. That´s what I´m most scared of because we´ve reached the point with some of our investigators where they have hit a plateau in their spiritual progression, and if they don´t decide to press forward, we have to let them go for a time and move on to others that have the true desire. This is also where faith comes in. Although it pains us as missionaries to have to let our investigators go, it´s an act of our faith that we believe there truly are others waiting to receive us and truly prepared to receive the gospel.

Anyways there are only 2 weeks left in the transfer, so the nerves and worries of what is to come now begin. I´ve been with the same companion in the same area since I arrived in the mission field, so all evidences are pointing to a big change. Although I´m nervous, I´m going to press forward with full force regardless of what is to come. Outside of that, it´s cooled down a little, and by that I mean it´s been in the mid to low 90´s rather than high 90´s low 100´s we had constantly for over a that´s good news! It´s supposed to be high 80´s low 90´s this week, woo hoo! Tomorrow I have an interview with President Bird since this transfer he is interviewing all of the missionaries individually, so I´m excited for that, it´s always nice to be able to talk to my president because he is such a great leader and I always learn something new that I can do to improve my mission and life in general:)

We cleaned and reorganized our house today!! I found something in the street to hold my books
and such and finally got to cleaning it and placing them in it

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Week 26

Temple selfie;)

Alright, first of all I wasn´t able to write on Monday because we went to the Temple today so my preparation day was changed to today, and sorry that I forgot to mention it last time I wrote! There´s been a lot on my mind lately with all the work, experiences and enjoyment lately! I don´t have much time to write today, so I´m just going to summarize how our investigators are doing and I have a ton of pictures as well that will explain the rest.

Kerena and Ismael are continuing to learn and grow which has been amazing to see, but we are dealing with them trying to get married and also encouraging them to get up early enough to make it to church more consistently. It´s hard for them to wake up and have enough time to get the kids ready, especially when Ismael works nights when he gets home anywhere from 3 to 6 am! Nevertheless we are being persistent with them because we know they have the desire to follow their savior and his teaching to be able to be baptized and continue in the gospel until they can one day be an eternal family!:)

Next Cindy and Luis asked for more time to think about their baptisms and after a lot of patience we brought it up again a few days ago and they told us they have been talking, thinking, and praying about it and they decided they need to attend the church a few more times and also stay for the full length to feel more comfortable before committing to a baptism date. The funny thing is that´s exactly what we´ve been worrying about with them is getting them to come to church and not just for the first hour because the other hours are a lot more personal and we know they will feel more involved and close to the members if they stay.

Viviana who I talked about before as the 17 year-old that showed up in the middle of church without an invitation from any member or missionary here. She had attended EFY which motivated her to come to the church. We have been struggling to catch moments when we can teach her because first she lives super far, two she works a lot, and three we need another member to come with us when her brother isn´t home since we can´t teach her without another man present. We for sure aren´t giving up on her though, the first lesson we had with her was amazing, she already has a testimony of el libro de mormon and of Joseph Smith! My companion commented after that he thinks she is going to serve a mission for sure, and I´m in agreement because she was already acting like one during the lessons where she practically taught us the first lesson.

My District of 6 (the new hermanas are Hermana Laguna and Hermana Bautista:)

Los Elderes at the Temple

As I explained earlier we went to the temple again finally! It´s been almost 3 months since the last visit since last transfer the temple was being cleaned. Since the temple is pretty far and it starts a 7 in the morning, we have to ask members for a ride. The member who we asked though showed up super late because his little girl had accidentally disabled his phone alarm before they went to bed! I was super freaked out that we would miss it as he didn´t arrive until 6:30. He made a diligent effort with some crazy mad driving skills, but we still didn´t enter until 10 after 7. At first I was really bummed that we wouldn´t be able to do an endowment session since it already started, but the temple workers told us that we could do initiatories instead (another ordinance we perform in the temple). I realized that I havn´t ever done initiatories in Spanish, so it was a really cool experience, and to my surprise they let us enter the celestial room after where we had quite a while to sit and ponder about life in complete serenity. We waited there until the other missionaries finished their endowment session and it was a wonderful experience for sure! 

On our way to Parque Fundidora!

After the Temple we went to a big park that is famous here called Parque Fundidora which was super cool and we even were able to rent bikes for a half hour! I realized how long it had been since I´d ridden one and how much I missed it!

Bicycling with mi amigo Elder Mera
Entering the park
Attempting to do some cool picture effects...

Arena Monterrey!!! (Where all the huge concerts and shows come to Monterrey)
A view of the mountains of Monterrey! And me...haha

A cool purple sign with our State of Nuevo Leon on it

Joseph Smith´s first vision remake;D Mas o menos...
Monterrey is beautiful!
Servicio peeling paint for some members

...and lunch afterward.

A tradition in the mission is to burn a tie at 6 months, a white shirt at 1 year, and pants at 1 year 6 months. I completed 6 months and my companion Elder Toledano completed 1 year so....yeah we had a crazy burning frenzy, did I mention I love fire?? 

Happy 6 months to meeeee! with a campechana and cake!

Silliness with a blue mustache I found.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 25

The family for the area of the Hermanas with Marco who I baptized! :)
Well another week has zoomed by and in fact tomorrow marks 6 months since I left for my mission!! That's insane because it's 1/4 of my mission completed, and yet I feel like I just left yesterday! I'm super excited to continue working hard and I hope I can continue to learn and grow in the next 3/4 as much as I have in this first one. To be honest my Spanish has continued to improve and I am starting to feel very comfortable speaking and even more understanding what others are saying. It's truly amazing to look back at that progress and I know it is thanks to my calling and the gift of tongues.

My planner that I personalized!

The work has been crazy lately as we are trying to keep up with all our many investigators in their different levels of progression and their different needs. The heat has continued right along but I've more or less gotten used to it now, of course the worst is coming to a close I hear. The major thing that happened this week were the baptisms yesterday. There were 3 baptisms in all, and one of them was ours named Alfonso, the other two are our the Hermanas named Marco and Zamira who are children of a less active family who were reactivated. I baptized one of the 3, but it wasn't our investigator and there's a funny story behind why I performed the ordinance. Last Tuesday we arrived to the Church for our weekly ward missionary correlation meeting and when we entered the Sister and her two children were there waiting for their baptism interviews. My companion and I greeted Zamira, Marco and their mom briefly and then proceeded to our meeting. A few minutes later the Hermanas showed up and Hermana Laguna told me that Marco wants me to perform his baptism! I was super shocked because I just met him 2 minutes before. Of course I accepted and I feel super blessed to have been given the opportunity, but it was a little surprising! 

 Anyways our investigator Alfonso was baptized by his brother Hno De la Fuente, also the second counselor to the bishop, and Marco's little sister Zamira was baptized by Bishop Sanchez:) It was a wonderful occasion and the spirit was strong throughout, but especially when Hno De la Fuente gave his brother a welcome into the ward and he got emotional and expressed how he never thought he would see the day that his older brother would enter the waters or baptism. The blessing of the Lord are being poured upon this ward and I am so blessed to be a witness of these conversions:D

Alfonso, our investigator, Alfonso, his brother Hno De la Fuente, our ward mission leader, Hno Pastor who is looking at the floor for some reason..., my companion Elder Toledano and I :D

The family of Alfonso and us!!!
Lunch with the other Elders Pasapera and Mera of my District in my house.

Some fancy and expensive hair gel my companion just bought and is obsessed with called "Tech Italy"

I found a head massager or "Spider" as I call it, I'm super happy with it, feels amazing!
I finally printed pictures of the family and started a photo album:D

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Week 24

The work of the Lord has been continuing right along and it never seems to stop growing for us lately. It's a huge blessing to have as many wonderful people to teach as we have, but it's equally a huge burden upon our backs to fill the needs of all of them. Luckily, we aren't alone in this work; we have the almighty God behind us supporting us every step of the way. This week we were able to teach a ton of lessons and have amazing experiences along the way. First of all, I'd like to point out the fact that our baptism last week of our investigator Keren was the first of several people that we didn't have to search out for. They came to us. As I explained once before, Keren literally contacted us in the street one day as she called for us and began explaining how she has been waiting for missionaries to come teach her because her mom is a member and she feels it's something she needs in her life with all the problems and challenges she has gone through. It has been amazing to see the changes in her leading up to her baptism last week and confirmation yesterday and I know the Lord placed us in her path so that she could find the gospel that we are so happy to give away. 

Also another investigator of ours named Alfonso showed up one Sunday, out of the blue, and asked us to give him the lessons because he just moved here and had started attending the church where he lived before and is anxious to learn more. I am more than thrilled to say that he is already going to be baptized this Sunday!!! He has family living here which is a huge support and his older brother Hno De la Fuente is going to baptize him:D 

Finally,  yesterday a young woman and her family showed up randomly in church and at first I figured they were investigators of one of the other pairs of missionaries in our ward, but afterwards we were told they live in our area and we talked with the young woman and I guess she had attended a youth camp of sorts and that motivated her to come to the church and find out more. She seems very excited to learn more and receive the lessons and I am once again in awe of the miracles the Lord is bringing to pass so that his work can roll forth.

These experiences have confirmed a counsel that our mission president pointed out, which is that the Lord doesn't need missionaries to accomplish his work. This shocked me at first as I sat there wondering for a minute, then why am I here? He later explained that the Lord doesn't need us, but we need him and that is why we are here. It sounds selfish to me to say that a mission is for the benefit of the missionary, but in the end it's true. I have come to find out for myself through these miracles that if the Lord wants to bring to pass the work of salvation on his own, he can, but he asks that we take the work upon us to shape us into who he wants us to become. In my mission thus far I have learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. My weaknesses, strengths, likes and dislikes, desires, and so much more. This time also gives me the opportunity to learn how to overcome my weaknesses and build upon my strengths in search for the ultimate goal, which is to become like him who sent me here. I am so happy to be here in my mission where I know I am where I am supposed to be and where I can prepare for my future through the experiences I am having. Sorry I can't share more, but there is more work to do in this crazy busy amazing days as a missionary. 

!Adios, hasta el proximo semana!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Week 23

Baptism of Keren!! Yes that is her little girl Angie:)

I can't believe another transfer period has passed by!! I'm closing in on my 6th  month mark which is a fourth of my entire mission; can you believe it!? It's actually really sad to think that it'll be over before I know it because it really is the best thing in the world to serve a mission.

This week was a little more tame as far as the weather goes with temperatures in the high 90's all week, but the nights have been hotter so I've been taking extra showers in the night to cool my body off, and it's still hard to get to sleep. Luckily once I'm able to fall asleep my natural deep sleep kicks in and I don't wake until morning. What a blessing! Truthfully, I don't have much time to write today because yesterday and today have been crazy busy, which is unusual because I found out yesterday that I am staying here the next transfer and will continue serving with Elder Toledano again:D

Yesterday I was actually stressing out about the fact that I might have had to leave all my investigators and or companion behind. I realized how much I love my companion as well as each and every one of my investigators, and that's not to mention all the members and other missionaries I would miss as well. The crazy thing is the only person leaving our District is Hermana Arteaga who's returning home tomorrow. We all expected a lot of changes in our district because a lot of us have been here for quite some time. I feel super blessed to be able to continue working here with Elder Toldedano where I know we will experience incredible things this transfer!

Really fast this week we had a baptism!!! Keren who I had some concerns about last week was able to overcome her fears and doubts in preparation to be baptized. Also to my great surprise and joy, she asked if I could perform the ordinance for her. What an honor it was and yet another amazingly spiritual experience:) The rest of our investigators are continuing to progress and grow and I wish I could talk about each one and the experiences we had with them this week. All I will say is that I have faith that we will have more baptisms this transfer with the progress I'm observing!! 

It was 2 for 1 FROZT day ay 7 Eleven Friday:D (Mexican version of the beloved Slurpee:P)

Something I learned on my mission, cereal goes amazing with yogurt!!