Monday, August 22, 2016

Week 78

Flash back to the CCM. GO DUCKS! :D

I know I say this every week....but this week was AMAZING! :D First of all, it rained almost all week, but not much during the day so we didn't get too wet, although it was enough to cool the temperature for a while. I had missed the rain a lot! It's so weird that it`s been cool because we are still in the "canicula" (supposed 40 days of pure hot sun), which ends this Wednesday, but it was only super hot about a week or two this time out of the 6 or so weeks. What luck! I probably shouldn't say anymore because who knows what will happen in the coming months. Maybe it just came late this year. :O

Anyway, that isn't the main reason this week was so amazing, only a side note. My favorite part of the week was when President Maucotel came to our area to visit Fidel Martini!! Since Fidel had a past problem with one of the questions in the baptismal interview, President Maucotel had to give his approval before we could proceed. He agreed to come visit him on Friday and met us at the church to go see Fidel. Fidel was super happy to see the couple again, since he met both Pres. and Sis. Maucotel at the Stake Conference, and we all sat down first to chat. Fidel has the coolest personality and Pres. and Sis. Maucotel loved talking with him (even though Sis Maucotel is still learning Spanish, but she`s learning fast). Then President asked for a moment alone with Fidel so we left outside for a few minutes. Afterwards President told us that Fidel is "sooo ready, he`s just so ready for baptism" and upon taking us home he told us Fidel`s story of how his prayers were answered.

The story goes like this, Fidel had a surgery on his throat to take out an abscess. There ended up being some complications and water got in his right lung, forcing them to operate on his lung too in order to take out the water. He was conscious at first, but the pain of poking in his lung made him pass out and he was unconscious for 4 complete days. He soon woke up and recovered enough to go back home and rest. During the next few months of slow recovery, he began to meditate about his existence and converse with God more than he`d ever done before in his life. He plead with the Lord that he would help him make it back to him after this life and to have more time to live in order to do so. After a while he received an answer in a dream. He was instructed on what he needed to do in order to reach Paradise, some of which were to repent of his past sins, find the Lord`s true church, and be baptized by an authorized servant.

Three days following his prayers we arrived and knocked on his door. He was already familiar with the Mormon church and actually desired and prayed specifically that Mormon missionaries would visit him because he felt if any church was of God, it must be this one because of how much respect he has for it. I knocked on his door, looking for his wife, who`s a member, but to my surprise an older man slowly descended down the stairs with a wooden cane and bandaged throat and side. He told us something like "hey, you guys made it, where do we begin?" and we got to know him and invited him to be baptized which he accepted without a hesitation.

Now here we are, five weeks later with his baptism planned for this Wednesday! He asked me to perform the ordinance, despite our attempts to incite him to choose one of the members that had been visiting him. I will be honored to fulfill such a call and can`t describe how thankful I am to the Lord for using me as an instrument in his hands in blessing the lives of others. There is no place I`d rather be in the world right now than on my mission.

On top of all that, I found out today that my Mom had been praying for months that I`d have a baptism in the last part of my mission (I still have tons of time left Mom...:P) since I went several months without even one investigator attending church and she was afraid I would get discouraged. She really wanted me to once again experience the joy of seeing someone truly accept the gospel before I left my mission. Well Mom, your prayers have been answered, and in the most marvelous way imaginable! I too, like my Mom, know that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers because he loves us:) Thanks Mom and all the rest of you for your fervent prayers and support. Love you all, have a wonderful week!!!

Dad sent me a picture of the Olympic final scores,
congrats USA!!! (Thanks Dad:)

Rice and bananas, you have to try it!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week 77

My new Pumas Soccer Jersey:D (Corazon Ligero means Lightheart in Spanish:D)

This has been another amazing week on the mission field. First of all, tomorrow are transfers, and last night I was informed that I`m staying here in the Pastora Ward with Elder Gayosso for another transfer!!!:D I`m super happy to be honest and I really wasn't expecting to be given any more time here since I already have 6 months here, but I LOVE it here and we should be having some baptisms soon so I`m excited to be blessed to be here for that. :)

On Sunday, we had our Stake Conference here in Paradise (the name of our stake) and I was very impressed and would like to share a little of the best parts:

First of all the Stake Patriarch gave a talk on (what else) patriarchal blessings, which I loved. He started out talking about how many other religions hold a patriarch as the most high up who leads and gives the commands, but our church is the only who holds this position in such a humble, yet powerful way. He then explained how a patriarchal blessing is a road map for this life and into the eternities and that if we live worthily and follow it`s counsel, we will receive every blessing mentioned and more, even beyond our imagination. He also warned that we shouldn't wait for our blessings to arrive, but rather start striving now to obtain them, because that is what God`s purpose is in the blessings - not to show us all that will magically fall upon us, yet show us who we can become and how to get there, leaving it up to us to follow that counsel. He gave the example of the Liahona that led Lehi and his family in the wilderness and compared it to our patriarchal blessings (1 Nephi 16:10). We must be worthy in order for our blessing to guide us, just as that family of old.

I learned a lot from that talk and it brought back memories of when I received my own patriarchal blessing. That event is something I will never forget and is one of my strongest sources of my testimony that I have a Father in Heaven, that knows and loves me more than I will ever be able to comprehend. I have seen some of those promises be fulfilled both in part and completely and I have a strong testimony that all will be given one day (whether in this life or the next), if I will just keep the commandments and endure to the end. :) I highly recommend that, for those you who haven't received your blessing, you talk with your bishop and start the process now because I promise you, it'll change your life and become one of your most cherished treasures. 

I testify that God lives and loves each and every one of us and that he speaks to us through his called servants here on Earth. I am so grateful for all the church leaders that have guided me in my life and especially for the Patriarch Bullock who represented the Lord when he gave me my blessing. I love you all and hope you can strive to obtain your own special guide or for those of you who have it, that you`ll appreciate it more and study it as often as possible. Have a wonderful week!

Last time being with my papa...:,( He leaves Wednesday morning back to Morelos close to Mexico City.
 It has been wonderful to have him here in the Zone while he finished his mission!!!
Love him so much and I owe everything to him for all he has done for me. Best of luck Elder Toledano! :D

Elder Gayosso and I with our Jerseys (Gallo means rooster so he put Gayo
since it`s pronounced the same and is the beginning of his last name:P)

We ordered personalized jerseys for the whole zone, they turned out great!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Week 76

Solved my first Rubix Cube!

It`s been over a week since I've written so there is so much to say with so little time. I am SO happy right now. First of all, because we had 4 investigators in church on Sunday, three of which are progressing and two are on track for their baptismal dates in late August!!! The three are Fidel, which I've mentioned before, Juan Uribe, who used to be a baptist pastor, but now doesn't attend any church until now, and Yhoana, a young college student who has a Mormon boyfriend who`s a return missionary. She has been to church three times now, but still doesn't feel ready or comfortable with baptism.

Actually, now that I remember, in a lesson with her she explained how she doesn't feel support from her family or friends and they all say she just wants to be a member to be with her boyfriend Jorge. We explained how she shouldn't worry what other people say because we know that isn't the case because of her dedication to learn, pray, and attend church, even without him pushing her to do so. In that moment, I also was impressed upon to tell her the story of my mom`s conversion since it has a similar context. I explained how Mom was dating a Mormon boy (Dad) and that just as her my mom didn't have any family that were members or support from them in her becoming one and that I imagine many people judged her as only becoming Mormon to be with my Dad. (Clarification from Mom: "Actually, my family was supportive or at least not against me joining the church, but I'm sure some people thought I was only interested in the church because of my boyfriend, which was definitely not the case.") I explained how that wasn't the case because my mom had a true desire to know if the Church was true and even asked my Dad if she could accompany him to church, accepted the missionary lessons,and made her own decision to be baptized. The thing that I feel impacted her the most was when I expressed my gratitude for the valiant act of my mom to join the church and how now she is one of the strongest members I know with her very own testimony. Most of all, I`m grateful to have been raised in the gospel because, if it weren't for that, I wouldn't have had the chance to be here and testify to her of the happiness this great message of the restored gospel has brought me in my life.

In that moment I felt the spirit super strong and I could see she did too and I hope my mom`s story can help her to do what`s right despite any trial or opposition. I was so thrilled to see her at church on Sunday and hope she can make her decision soon to come unto Christ and be baptized in his name:D

Today I went to the temple, which was AMAZING!!! I honestly prepared more than I ever have, before entering because I had questions in mind that I had studied, conversed about, and taken a side, which resulted in an experience inequivalent to any other trip to the temple. I received answers (and-or confirmations) and an even greater feeling of peace and closeness to my Father in Heaven. Also President Maucotel came with us and he entered the celestial room first and so I entered to have my mission president standing there waiting to embrace me. What a loving gesture! Also a member from our ward came with us, named Carlos. He`s a convert of 10 years but is still single at age 33 so we are trying to encourage him to get married:P

Temple with President Maucotel and Elder Gayosso!!!

Zone Picture!!

Me and Elder Gayosso!!!

Oh and I had my interview with President Maucotel last week, which was also incredible! He is such a sweet and spiritual man that inspires everyone who`s near him it seems:) He left me a assignment to read "Repentance" in the Bible Dictionary, which I did and loved what I found. It explains that repentance is " a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world." And how true is that! I strove this week to truly repent of my wrongs, to prepare myself to enter the temple clean, and have been able to see how repentance brings about that type of mindset.

On Friday, we had our Mission Leadership Council, which was the best one I have been to thus far! President made it more of a spiritual experience and focused on meeting our needs as missionaries, in order to help us to meet the needs of our mission. One such thing was referring to the mission goals. He decided to have us, as Zone leaders, choose one spiritual goal and make plans for a mission goal. This was in order to have us, as leaders, search our own revelation for our zone and also help take away the pressure and stress that having several high mission goals, which are almost always much higher than what the average companionship attains. We explained all this to our Zone yesterday and they were thrilled about it as well. It`s time to focus on how to help the missionaries progress and stop mounting stress and more pressure upon their heads. I feel President's love for us very strongly and am so blessed to have him here serving:D

Although it`s been super hot and still is today, it rained SUPER
hard last night as we were walking home and I found a little toad:D

Took the picture I promised :)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 75

Flash back to my first day with my trainer Elder Toledano!! I had exchanges with him again on Friday, but forgot to take a picture...ugh I need one before he leaves in 2 weeks!!

This week was just as amazing as last week! My favorite experience was yesterday during Sacrament meeting when the young men and women gave testimonies of their experiences at FSY (otherwise known as EFY) and I felt the spirit super strong and I know they were strengthened by their experiences at the camp. They all went to a campground that the church owns that they call "Zion`s Camp" which is close to where the temple is and from what I hear it`s pretty cool. It has a bunch of log cabins and a cafeteria for camping events in the church. Thirr testimonies brought back memories of the many camps and church activities I had the privilege of attending and the spirit I felt and it brought joy to my soul to see these youngsters growing spiritually:D

I am entering the second to last week of the transfer and everyone is saying I am going to be changed to another Zone, which would make me sad to have to leave Elder Gayosso because he has been an amazing companion, but I am willing and ready to answer the call. Our golden investigator, Fidel Martini, went to church again and I know he`ll be baptized the 21st of August, after seeing his progress in just two short weeks. He has been reading the Book of Mormon, the lesson pamphlets and praying every day. He always tells us he feels secure with us in his house and when he is in the chapel, which I know is the spirit testifying to him of the truthfulness of the Lord`s message!! (To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.) D&C 50:14

My interview with President isn't until next week I think, but we are also going to the temple next week, so I`m excited:D I just heard that Gabe De la Cruz is going on a mission. I`m so happy to hear that. Way to go Gabe!! 

I`m also super proud of my actor brother and actress sister. They are such stars:D Keep it up Kasey and Kayla, love you guys!! Anyways I hope you all have a great week, love you all:)