Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Week 30

My new companion, Elder Arizmendi (and me).

Well I got my new companion this week! His name is Elder Arizmendi from Mexico City, Mexico and he only has until January left in his mission. I'm super excited to have him as a companion because I have been and will continue to learn from his experience and testimony. Actually our first week together was amazing! We were able to find 14 new investigators this week as we focused on contacting, knocking doors and using our time wisely. I'm not sure if many if any of these investigators will end up progressing or being baptized, but I have faith that if we keep working hard to find new people to teach, the Lord will lead us to the ones prepared to receive the gospel.

Of the 14 new people, I want to point out one who we had a cool experience with. We were walking down a street and I almost passed by a man sweeping in front of his house, but at the last second I decided to greet him and almost immediately he invited us into his home. There we asked if we could share a quick message with him and he surprised me by accepting, but asking if we could teach it in English! I agreed, knowing my companion can speak enough English for a lesson, and it was a super cool experience. I have to admit it felt a little strange on my tongue, but soon came to me naturally once again. His name is Ruben, he is living alone at 37 years old, studying in college and working, and he has a huge desire to learn new things. He even accepted to come to church the next day (this being Saturday) and he showed up! I sure hope he was able to feel the presence of his father in heaven during the church meetings and will follow through with his commitments to read the restoration pamphlet and pray to know if it's true.

The rest of our investigators we had difficulties finding and none were able to make it to church, but we are being patient with the ones we truly believe have the desire and potential to progress. Kerena and Ismael are struggling financially right now and for that couldn't even afford to take a bus to church, but are continuing to press forward as they shared with us last night how they have been reading the Book of Mormon and praying for help. I'm glad to see they know who to turn to in times of trouble, but next time I hope they reach out for help because if we would have known, we could have gotten a member to take them to church. These things come with time.

The weather continues with it's heat here in Monterrey with temperatures in the 90's still almost every single day, but it's already almost October so I'm sure it'll cool down soon....I hope! Oh one last thing, my companion shared with me a BYU devotional talk called "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox that he has the audio of. This talk is one of the most amazing speeches I've ever heard and it motivated me as well as taught me a ton! I hope you will all take to time to listen to it and be able to be touched by it in the way I did. Love you all!

I made my new companion french toast to welcome him to his new home :)

My Last Supper with Elder Toledano :P (Campechanas!!)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Weeks 28 and 29

We finally replaced our mirror which broke about a month ago, it was difficult without one!

Week 29: Well a ton has happened and yet I have less time than ever to write so this will be interesting. First of all we found out the results of the transfers last night and I´m getting a new companion tomorrow!!! But I will continue working in my same area which means by the end of this next transfer I´ll have reached 7 months here in the Apodaca Ward, Apodaca Stake! It´s a trend in this mission to stay in areas long periods, so I may only have 3 or 4 areas my entire 2 years. I´m happy about it though because I love the ward, members, investigators and location. The thing I´m sad about is that my papa (trainer) is leaving me :( I will miss him a ton and I´m super grateful for all the wonderful experiences we had together and the many ways her helped me learn and grow during the past 5 and a half months. It´ll be interesting to see who I end up with next, everyone keeps saying I´m probably going to train a new missionary, but I´m not sure if I feel ready. Nevertheless if I´m called upon I will do my best to help the new Elder in the way my papa helped me adjust to the mission life and learn the ways of the missionary.

I just want to share my experience yesterday. I had the privilege of attending a broadcast of the rededication of the Mexico City, Mexico Temple! It was one of the most amazing things I´ve ever felt. As I explained last week the stake center was converted into an extension of the temple, meaning only worthy members with temple recommends or special permission were permitted to enter. That environment brought the spirit before the rededication even began. President Eyring presided, conducted and gave the dedicatory prayer, but also my favorite Apostle Elder Holland spoke as well and his speech in particular touched me and stuck with me. We also did the Hosannah chant with white flags and later sang The Spirit of God just as the saints did for the dedication of the Salt Lake City Temple :D I can go on and on about this experience, but it sufficeth me to say that my testimony has grown because of it and I will never forget that day.

Today my companion is going to say his goodbyes to our investigators and members, so we will be running around our area the next few hours, hopefully I will be able to get some pictures!

Elder Toledano, Alex, and me

Gustavo, Carla, Alex, Elder Toledano and me

Week 28: Another week has soared by in the mission field and this is the last week of this transfer, so I might be changing companions or areas!!! I´m super nervous but excited for a change since I´ve been in the same area with the same companion for almost 6 months now. It seems to be pretty common in this mission for missionaries to stay in area for long periods of time. Some made it 2 years with only 3 or 4 different areas! There are lots of ups and downs to such giant chunks of time in the same area, but ultimately I know that our assignments are given by our mission president who receives direct inspiration from our Heavenly Father for us:) 

This week we finally ended the drought! Meaning we had investigators make it to church. Kerena and Ismael with their 4 kids made it to church again which we were super happy because we hadn´t seen them in church for 3 weeks. They are progressing AMAZINGLY and are super close to being baptized. The trial right now for them is that they still aren´t married, but we are going to do all we can to help them raise the funds they need like we did with the Villela family we baptized shortly after I arrived here.One of my favorite experiences of my mission so far was a lesson we had with them where Ismael told us that "First we are going to get married, then we are going to get baptized, but our goal is the temple" I can´t express how much joy I felt to hear those words from our investigator :) It´s such a blessing to help people find their way back to God to live together forever with their families!

Also some big news, the temple rededication of the Mexico City Temple is this Sunday!!! What´s even cooler is that they are "transforming" the stake centers all over Mexico into "extensions" of the temple, which means they are going to broadcast the rededication in each stake center, and only those who have temple recommends can enter, or other members who have special permission from their bishop. Our recent convert Alfonso had an interview with our bishop and was given such permission! I´m super excited for him to be able to experience it with us, but also I´m super excited to view it myself because I´ve never seen a temple dedication before:D

The weather has toned down a tiny bit, but the sun has just refused to give up it´s summer heat, so we continue in the mid to high 90´s for yet a little while longer, but I hear the chill soon approaches and boy am I ready! I had a lot of fun with my district this week because we celebrated Elder Pasapera´s birthday, we played ninja attack a ton, and also today we had a District activity where we played soccer, ninja attack, ¨bop it¨ and ¨Jenga Quake¨ and afterwards we went to the huge plaza (mall) in our area to eat lunch. I bought Chinese food since I was starving and they always give you a ton to eat. Other than that it´s been pretty normal, and by normal I mean every day is super busy and packed with amazing experiences, trials and blessings, but that´s what I´ve come to know as normal days in the mission!

Strawberry Cheesecake for breakfast!! YUM!