Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

January Leadership Conference Plus

     Hola todos! Elder Angulo officially ended his mission and now I’m with Elder Schank, a gringo from Nevada! The Americans are stormin Barra de Navidad. Everything’s good, nothing much to say, just trying to keep on keepin on. Next week I’ll send a real email! 
His name is Carlos and he’s one of the best young people
in the world. He was prepared before we even taught him;
he pays close attention to everything and shares it with others.
His baptism was very difficult because there was a lot of
opposition, but a miracle took place. He was baptized and
it was a feeling of great joy for his family, especially for his
grandmother. Their desire to live the gospel is being fulfilled
more and more.
     Firstly, I’m sorry for basically not writing anything at all. We’ve been absolutely crazy busy, last week we had no time to write because of changes, and the week before that I don’t know what happened, the week before that was Christmas, and during all this time I haven’t written in my journal ONCE.... pero ay vamos. 
     The mission has been going really well. Some investigators are progressing a lot and others no. One investigator put a marriage date so that they can be later baptized and it just so happens to be on the 25th of January, pretty good birthday present. But they haven’t gone to church in a month because they still don’t want to stop working on Sunday. The past few weeks they haven’t been able to go to church because they have had too many clients. Strangely, they’re super happy about that because. “God is sending them more business on Sundays".... My patience is running thin with their theory. 
     Other than that my companion and I have been working a lot to find new investigators and use our time wisely. President has just given us permission to sleep in the casa de oración in la Huerta, so we can de a TON more work there. Unfortunately we have to sleep on the floor and its super cold in the mornings. Elder Schank is very cool, just kinda weird but we’re all weird! Even though he’s going home in 4 short months, he doesn’t want to die so we are kind of motivating each other to work harder and talk to everyone. It’s pretty great with him. 
     I wish I could tell you about everything that’s happened, but I really don’t think I would have the time to write everything down. But what’s incredible to me is how God organizes his work. It’s incredible the amount of "coincidences" that happen every day, but they aren’t coincidences. God is guiding people to us, and us to the people who need to hear part of our message. It’s incredible the amount of patience He has for us, for me honestly. I feel like I’ve wasted so much of my time trying to do things my way and am just barely figuring out what it really means to have an eye single to His glory and do His will. I’m still a long ways away from where I would like to be, but I find myself receiving more and more joy in missionary work as the days go by. It is the work of angels, yet He lets His imperfect children take part in this great and marvelous work. How great a blessing we have.
     As a run down of the last few weeks, we had a mission council and noche de hogar with the leaders in the mission, other meetings with certain church leaders, and just yesterday, President Clayton told all the missionaries to come to a meeting with the leaders of the Manzanillo district that he was inspired by the spirit to have. It was a really special experience and I feel like that Manzanillo can really progress if we follow what we learned. The whole district is kind of suffering. The adversary is honestly fighting really hard for Manzanillo, But now is the time for miracles here. 

     This week we have focused on the less actives quite a bit, not so much teaching them (they usually know anyway) but trying to show love towards them and inviting them to come back. What’s really cool is that in la Huerta, we had 29 people in Church and in Barra we had 20. The Elders in Cihuatlan are working super hard, and had like 24 people as well which means to say that in the whole branch of Barra de Navidad, the attendance was at 73ish. Miracles!  All I know is that if we show love and concern to others, they can feel the love of God in their lives, which motivates all people to act. We just have a lot more to do now!!! 

     Les amo a todos ustedes, perdon por no decir nada en sí pero...... Ya me arrepentí 

Que tengan una excelente semana! 

December Rush

      Let me just start out by saying we are literally snowed in with work, and not the kind of work you would like as a missionary. Instead of being able to get out and find all the new investigators that we wanted, or have the baptisms that we wanted, I spent most of my time on buses. And the little time that I had off of buses, was spent waiting for more buses, and all other time was in the house planning all of the Christmas parties and things we have to do. We did have several divisions, Even then, with the little time I do have we aren’t using it very efficiently. I really have to get back into contacting people personally. I find myself making excuses and avoiding contacting and I’m not sure why. It’s something I really need to improve. I feel as though I’ve walked right by many many people who need to hear the gospel and they didn’t because I didn’t open my mouth. So that’s my goal this week, really get out there and preach to all the world the gospel. 
     This week is going to be even more crazy! We have a zone activity, a Christmas party, divisions with the assistants, a Christmas dinner with the branch, a baptism and other divisions! lots and lots and lots of things to do!
     I want to make a challenge to all of you this week, that we can each of us pray and ask Heavenly Father to help us be the answer to someone else’s prayer. We should strive a little bit more this week to be prone to the promptings of the spirit to know what the Lord would have us do to help someone else in this Christmas season. I’m going to try my best to do it as well this week, and I know that each of us can see miracles if we do! I’m certainly going to be praying for miracles for here in Barra!

         As we approach Christmas Christmas, I invite all of us to think about what we have because of Him. We have so much, He has given us everything. Because of Him we have a purpose to life, we have a hope of better things, we have light and love, we have new beginnings and fresh starts. We can leave all of our pains and shame because of Him. He is the Christ, the Son of God. Because of Him, we have Christmas! So in this time I hope that each of us can think about what we have because of Him. Then, what we should do because of Him. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December leadership conference

December 12, 2017
       Man this week, so we had our December leadership conference yesterday.  We had to travel to Guadalajara the day before that of course.  We stayed the night in Indepencia which is my companion’s old area. So we got free food and we got rides all over town because the people there just loved my comp.  He had lots of success there and everyone wanted to see him again.  The training was awesome as usual, though it was very long.  We watched video about Zion’s camp and learned from the leadership fo Joseph Smith. Later we learned about the purpose of trials and how the Lord shapes us through our experiences.  Lots of stuff, but I liked how Sister Clayton used the example of ships/barges of the Jaredites. They would have never reached the promised lands if it wasn't for the strong waves and furious storms. Likewise, we will never arrive where the Lord wants us to go if we don’t pass through our own storms and the waves don’t crash against us sometimes. 
     We had to spend the night again in Guadalajara.  All of the Elders from my generation were there, a mix of zone leaders, district leaders, and secretary.  It was cool to see everyone there, but also kind of strange.  It’s weird because we’re starting to get old in the mission.  After we made it home, we visited a family and that wrapped up a long couple of day.
December 8, 2017
       Today we spent pretty much all day in Atlas looking for a house. The best part of the day was driving through the mountains and looking at the spectacular views. We found several different options, but they ended up choosing a tiny, rather pricey (but nice) apartment that Elder D and I found.  My companion isn’t happy about it, but I think that he just doesn’t like small houses.  I’m not sure why they chose that house, but at least it is fully furnished. 
Later on, we came home and visited an investigator who was celebrating her birthday.  Unfortunately, she was celebrating with a lot of alcohol. 
December 9, 2017
       Long day!  We worked and walked without a ton of success, and to cap it off, we had no time to cook or eat today.  Sounds bad, but I actually feel pretty okay with today because we worked hard.
December 10, 2017
      Today, like all Sundays, we went to La Huerta for church.  The area is suffering a little because we haven’t been able to visit in two weeks.  But we’re going to have a baptism there this coming week.  Later on we ate two lunches, so that made up big time for yesterday, and our investigator stood us up again.  One of our investigators brought her boyfriend to church and the gospel principles class turned out rather interesting.  We were learning about prophets and he first tried to prove that there are no prophets and that we are saved by faith alone, and that churches don’t matter, bot only our interpretation of the scriptures matters.  Then he tried to explain how we can all be prophets.  Unfortunately he talked for most of the time.  After church, we went home and stopped by some other people on the way home.  The parties for the Day of the Virgin are in full swing now, with fireworks and everything.  Overall it was a good day.  We never have any time to proselyte on Sundays sadly, but what can you do?  
       With all the travel expenses of the past few months, and also all the rents we have had to pay, we are officially broke. We haven’t been able to take out money, and apart from that, the offices are having problems with sending money to the missionaries, asi que we are scraping by. But that’s just part of the mission I suppose! It doesn’t worry me too much, somehow things have a way of working out. And it’s really humbling how many people, even of different faiths, are willing to help us as missionaries. It really fulfills the scriptures "carry neither purse, nor scrip.” 

      As we approach Christmas Christmas, I invite all of us to think about what we have because of him. We have so much, he has given us everything. Because of him we have a purpose to life, we have a hope of better things, we have light and love, we have new beginnings and fresh starts. We can leave all of our pains and shame because of him. He is the Christ, the Son of God. Because of him, we have Christmas! So in this season I hope that each of us can think about what we have because of him. Then, what we should do because of him. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Busy in Manzanillo

Catch up November -December 2, 2017
        Hijole, it’s been a while since I wrote. I’s not sure how to summarize the past month honestly.  It’s been good but at the same time, not so good. How do I explain.  First of all my numbers have been very good here. We usually have close to 10 new investigators, 4-5 teaching appointments, and 10 investigators in church.  We have has a baptism as well. So, from that standpoint, things are great.  But, I feel like there’s so much more I could be doing.  We hardly contact anyone, and we waste lots of time during the day.  We almost never leave the house on time, and sometimes we pass time just talking - like socializing - with people.  Then we always spend two hours in lunch because we buy and prepare food every day.  
         Then add that to the time we spend sitting in buses.  So I haven’t felt very good about my personal efforts in the past month.  I don’t know why but I am not opening my mouth to preach like I should.  Even when I feel like I need to contact someone, most of the time, I don’t.  That’s the worst part.  All I know is that God is being very patient with me.  Anyway, what else is there to say.  I really like my companion.  Sometimes he gets on my nerves, and he comes off a little prideful, but he is a great teacher and has sound knowledge of the gospel.  He understands the gospel better than I do and he teaches with interesting examples and asks great questions.  I have learned a lot from him.  
         We have had a ton of activities this past month including 2 zone activities, a Christmas activity, 2 meetings with President Rios, a zone conference, 2 ward council meetings, district classes, division, and transfers.  We have been super busy training and traveling.  Let’s just say that I have about 3,000 pesos that I need to get reimbursed. That might not seem like much, but that is 2 months of what we receive to live off of.  So basically my time as a zone leader has been lots of travel and meetings.  In our zone activities we had all of the missionaries divided out in all the branches and splitting with members to visit less active members  not to preach, but with the idea to serve them and offer them a priesthood blessing. We started with the weakest branch and we weren't supported very well there. The other areas were much better.  Then the Christmas activity we just did a few days ago and that consisted of a short Christmas program (hymns, messages, etc) and we shared the Christmas Church video.  We invited all present to #lighttheworld.  Then we filled white helium balloon and l let them go with the #lighttheworld card attached.  The idea is that the cards will fall to the ground somewhere in the area and someone will look up the Light the World program and participate!  Overall, it went really well. We did the activity in Barra and I used one of my cookie mixes to make treats.  Everyone thinks that I am a master cookie chef, haha.  We had 25 people come to the activity which is pretty much how many people attend church on Sunday.  The whole mission did this activity, but in each of their areas.  In Manzanillo they got permission to hold the activity on the beach.  
       The meetings with Pres. R. are just normal meetings.  I didn’t actually know that zone leaders met with the district/stake presidents, but now I do. We just talk about plans and the state of each branch.  President R. has been president for about 8 years now.  The members really don’t seem to like him, but sometimes I think that is because he is from the North and he seems to be the only person here who gets things done.  I really don’t have any problem with him.  
       The zone conference went well.  President Clayton talked a lot about the Book of Mormon on and how to teach more effectively with it. He also taught how to teach our investigators to actually read.  I think that we forget when we hand them the book and tell them to read that it is probably the first time they have ever read scriptures.  We taught our zone how to teach as you find and find as you teach.  We did this object lesson relating this message to doing burpees. We had an elder do 3 burpees normally, then we tied his hands together, and then we untied his hands but then tied a broomstick to his back and legs so he couldn’t use his legs.  He ended up breaking the broom handle, but the point was that in order to achieve our goal, it is impossible to do so without the proper use of our aides, our arms and our legs.  Different parts function but are inter-relate. The actions of finding while we are teaching, and teaching as we are finding are two different actions to achieve our purpose.  They are related and without one or the other, our goal and purpose is much harder to achieve.  Then we explained each part.  
       The leadership councils have been good as always. I always learn a ton from them.  President talked a lot about the urgency of the work.  The apostles have told us before, but now they are telling that there is even a greater urgency in the work. The time is short an we must fill the earth with the gospel. feel like I’ve bene slacking, so I really need to pick things up.  All the classes and division have been good and normal as always.  We received 4 new missionaries in the zone this last transfer, so everyone is looking for new places to live.  We have one third of our zone as new missionaries in training!  
       The last cool thing is that we had a baptism of A.  It was awesome.  When I saw him in his whites, I saw him as he would be in the temple and my heart was filled with joy and happiness for him, his decisions, and the gospel.  What a blessing it is to be so imperfect and really rather unprofitable, but to be able to be a part of this work. 
          Today is Saturday, December 2 and it was a rather normal but long day.  In the morning, we had an appointment who wasn't home, but some women who were there asked us to share a message with them that would increase their faith.  So we jumped at that opportunity and after we shared out message, they gave us food.  The only problem was that they were two rather young and attractive women and my companion was way too interested in one of them.  Later we went to Melanie and talked with some investigators who are really struggling with money right now.  We tired to share a message of hope with them.  Then another investigator stood us up big time.  It wasn’t even for a teaching appointment.  We actually found a house for him and he was supposed to come and check it out.  So we ended up eating super late, and walked for miles for nothing.  We did end up offering our services to the store beneath our house. They are closing up shop, so we helped them move everything into a giant truck. Our final appointment of the day actually did happen so that was a good way to end our day.
December 3, 2017

        Today was bad.  There were some good things as there always is, but it really wasn’t a great day. We went to La Huerta for church as always in the morning and it went well.  We had 6 investigators there and 25 in total.  It was testimony meeting which was rather interesting.  We only listened to 5 testimonies, 2 of them where short normal heartfelt testimonies, but the other 3 were forever ramblings.  I was really happy when that meeting ended.  In our lesson there we taught about fasting during the gospel principles class.  Most of the members here are practicing this principle at all, so this turned out to be a good lesson.  The worst part of the day was that there was a huge trash bag that people had been putting the stuff that falls off of the orange trees in. Then they forgot about it and it turned into a giant Vitamin C bomb and stunk up the entire corner of the prayer house.  It was disgusting.  I learned that you can’t let oranges sit in a black garbage bag for a few weeks.  The whole rest of the day we spent traveling.