Monday, September 12, 2016

Weeks 80 and 81

Almost Mexican Independence Day!!

Week 80

This week I had a wonderful experience with my fast, which I based on two investigators specifically, Yhoana and Juan Uribe. Turns out my prayers and fast were answered because both Yhoana and Juan Uribe made it to church yesterday and they hadn't gone in weeks!

It was Juan´s third time attending and he went up to bear his testimony again, and this time he explained how he has felt God´s hand in his life guiding him to this church, but he worries he´ll flake out since he´s had a lot of other opportunities that were missed. It was interesting, but very humbling to see him speak so honestly in front of everyone and the Ward was able to encourage him quite a bit. We are hoping he can be baptized soon, even before transfers, but if not as long as he makes it to baptism prepared, I´m happy as can be:)

Yhoana now has been to church four times and this week finally accepted a baptism date!!! She chose the 15th of October, which was a little further than we had hoped, but she had never felt ready to choose a date before so it´s progress! And if she ends up feeling ready before that date, we can always adjust it:)

This week was SUPER packed with meetings and things to do. First of all, our 3rd companion left us on Tuesday to go to another area:,( but he did manage to make us hot dogs, which were delicious yet simple (that´s all we had:P). Next, on Wednesday we had a Gira de la Mision which is a big meeting where an authority comes to train us. Elder Valenzuela and his wife came and gave a wonderful meeting focused on how to work with members and obedience to the mission rules overall. Something I took from it was that we don´t come on missions to receive help from the members, we come to help and serve the members and strengthen the Ward we are in. The goal is to always leave the ward in a better state than it was when we arrived (I learned that in Boy Scouts, thanks Scout leaders!). Obviously, we hope that the members will actively seek to help us, but that doesn't mean if they aren't willing, we can justify not working with members in our missionary work. We need to actively serve, invite, and teach members so that they can participate and we can fulfill President Monson's goal that the missionaries and members can come together in purpose and action.

On Friday we had our Mission Leadership Council, which Elder Valenzuela also attended. (That doesn't happen every day!) It was an amazing experience and we learned a lot about our responsibilities, like how we are to care for our sheep, which as Zone Leaders means starting with our District Leaders, and other missionaries in the zone where possible. Also the mission is focusing everything on working with members and obedience, which we all came unto an agreement to implement in our zones. I can´t even begin to explain how wonderful these experiences were with Elder Valenzuela, but the Spirit felt is not something I will soon forget. Also I played the piano at both events. I can´t believe how far I've come:D 

Week 81

Listening to uplifting music with my bowling tie I found in a market:P

I`m still trying to accept the fact that it`s September already...and I just realized it's almost half through, yikes! I try not to think about it though, because I still have SO much to do in these next few months. It got hot again this week, REALLY HOT. Or at least it felt that way, but I hear it`s supposed to rain this week again, so that`s good, I love the rain! It reminds me of Oregon:)

Speaking of Oregon, this week I had exchanges with a fellow Oregonian named Elder Rosenbalm, a giant red-head with just as big of a personality as he is tall. It was cool to be able to talk about places in Oregon and experiences we've had. He lives in a small town north of Corvallis, which I always forget the name of since it`s a little strange...but he worked as a firefighter before his mission and plans to continue with it as his career, my respects! He made me toaster waffles in the morning, which was the first time I've eaten those on the mission:P

We faced many challenges this week with our investigators, but hey, not every week can be as wonderful as they have been or else it would all seem plain and normal. Our investigator closest to baptism is struggling to rid himself of his coffee habit and his family doesn't help him since they all drink it, even his little grandson, Axel, who`s just 5 years old. That bugs me a little...but who am I to judge. He also told us he still has doubts about Joseph Smith, which was a big blow to us because he had been telling us that he believed him to be a prophet of God before. Also he slept in and didn't make it to church, despite calling him, knocking on his door, and having reminded him the day before. We just need to be patient, I know he`s making a lot of adjustments in his life which isn't easy.

Fidel Martini, our recent convert, received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday!! He was super happy and all the brethren came up to hug him and congratulate him:) He`s excited to bless the sacrament next week. Love this man!

This week on Friday it`s Mexican Independence Day, so there will be a lot of parties and noise and fireworks, so that should be interesting. On Thursday there is a ward activity to celebrate and we are hoping to bring some investigators with us to have fun with them. Also the Ward`s 1st counselor to the Bishop is getting married in Cancun on the 16th, so half the ward is going to be out of town this weekend. That should be fun this Sunday with an empty chapel!

Anyways I am so grateful for the experiences I have and will continue having as a missionary, it truly is a blessing. And thanks to each and every one of you for all your support and prayers, I love you guys!

Flashback to my first district at the Temple!!! Good ol`days :,)

Jenga isn't only good for making a plain old tower:)

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