Blog Archive

Friday, September 15, 2017

Working


September 4, 2017
    Today was a pretty normal day.  Elder M stayed with us until the afternoon.  We cut each other’s hair, except for my comp who tried to cut his own hair.  It didn’t turn out so well.  We also got our food for the week and emailed home like usual.  Nothing much happened today.  Nobody was home or wanted to be taught.  We just contacted.  That was our day…boring.  Though I did call the branch president to ask him who he would like us to visit.  We had a pretty good talk, but I learned that you really should work with your leaders.  Pres. is a little different, but he is super cool and the branch needs a person like him.  I wished that he lived locally in Tamazula because that would really help the branch.
September 5, 2017
    Today we spent all morning walking and looking for people in Colonia who we don’t know very well.  We didn’t find anyone.  We ate lunch at a member’s house which was awesome as usual.  Her son showed me his video game collection.  It is more impressive than mine and was a pure distraction.  After we went to teach J. a lesson that went as usual. It is very hard to understand anything that he says due to a defect of his mouth.  but he is sincere ands a baptismal date set for the 16th.  Then in the afternoon we were rejected by one of our investigators.  We stopped by some less active members and shared lessons with them.  That’s pretty much it.
September 6, 2017
    Today was a hard day.  Me and my companion are starting to argue over little things. They are not heated arguments, but just things that cause enough frustration to drive the spirit away.  It really comes down to me having more patience, love, and humility. Elder F contacted an old lade in the morning and he really wanted to share the entire restoration story with her, but she kept cutting her off.  She kept talking about her nice neighbor, her husband, her old tortilleria, and how much more handsome I was than my companion…haha. Oh man, it was funny. We contacted all morning and then ate at Celinas restaurant.  After that, we had our studies and looked for more people.  Elder F. talked me into letting him buy huorachas, well he didn’t talk me into it.  I just got sick of him constantly mentioning them.  Then we taught a couple of kids who are going to be baptized on the 16th as well. We had another short lesson in the evening with a couple who I don’t think will followup with anything we ask them to do.
September 11, 2017
    Not much to say about this week, things are going well and we are working hard. Well as hard as we can, Elder F. still has a lot of pain, but we are going to see the doctor tomorrow to see how he’s doing in his recovery. This Saturday we should have 3 baptisms!!! and we are going to have a branch activity for Mexican Independence Day after! It should be pretty fun. The next week is district conference and the week after that is General Conference, so we´ve planned to have a few others be baptized on the 7th of October. Work is going well here, but reactivation is a little difficult. The nice thing is that the Lord wants us to do the work he gives us, so he will provide the way to do it. We just have to be diligent.  D&C says "be not weary in well doing, for behold ye are laying a foundation to a great work.
    I don’t have much to say about our week, All we’ve been hearing about are earthquakes and different hurricanes. Everyone here is talking about the end of the world hahahahaha. I can’t count how many Mexicans have asked me about what the book of Revelations means, they’re afraid of it. Well it is called apoclipsis in Spanish. 

Toe still hurts!
The hills we walk


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Catch up Entry - ONE YEAR MARK


 August 20, 2017 - August 26, 2017
    Church was good today.  We had some investigators there.  One guy who really wants to progress and be baptized. But he has never gone to school and doesn’t know how to read or write.  He obviously has a hard time with learning and remembering so progress is slow with him. 


    This whole week was super challenging for me because I did not have the desire to do anything.  I got up late almost every day, didn’t exercise, didn’t make much progress in my studies,  and when we left the house, I just didn’t have the drive to work.  FRITO.  My companion can’t really help in that he is so disabled.  I am pretty worried about him.  I think that I might have pushed him too hard because he has a bunch of pain and a weird inflammation at his surgical site.  I guess that we will find out when we got to the doctor’s next week. In spite of my personal difficulties with the work this week, we still had some new investigators who are very interested.  We also set baptismal dates with 4 different people this week.  September will be the best month on my mission!
August 27-September 2, 2017
    All 4 of our investigators who are set for baptism this month actually came to church.  I don’t know why the Lord is blessing us so much when we have struggled to barely function as missionaries.  It doesn’t make any sense - and kind of makes me feel worse about the work and myself.  This week was the last week of the transfer.  One of the zone leaders finished his mission this week.  He ordered pizza for the District class and the other missionaries brought doughnuts and milk.  It was more of a party than a district class.  We got back tour area later than I had hoped.  This whole week it has been raining like crazy.  There has been a tropical storm that caused it to rain for 3 days straight.  I still don’t have an umbrella, but Elder O. gave me his umbrella when he left. 

      We were in Guzman from Thursday until Saturday.  We were with Elder Morroy who is cool.  He goes home next transfer.  He is super fun to work with. We did a service project that involved breaking up and investigators floor and digging a trench. Elder O left so much stuff when he left for the offices.  In fact, we had to back to Tamazula to get his suit and give it to a member who is a taxi driver so that he could get it to Elder O before he left. 
    This week  marks one year in the mission field. Man has the time gone by fast. too fast. I honestly don’t know what to say about this year that has passed. I have learned a lot and gained a lot of experience with lots of different things. But the most precious of all that I have learned is my knowledge of the gospel. Now it may not be very extensive (its rather small really) but I have learned that learning about the gospel is the most important thing we can do in life. I say learn about it but if we really want to learn the gospel we have to practice it. The understanding comes from faithfully living, and patiently waiting for the understanding. It comes. Sometimes a little slower than we might hope but thats just part of our individual trial. I really don’t know what to say though. More than anything there’s so much more to do. I feel like I need another 2 years to really start to figure things out. I know that for the next year the Lord expects much, but he understands my weakness. Sometimes when we feel that the expectations are too high or that we aren’t good enough, we have to remember that God recognizes our efforts and he will strengthen us in our weaknesses. Well that’s probably enough rambling. This church is true and this work will go forward, even though it’s done by imperfect people. It is Gods work and he is working with His laborers in the vineyard.
    Tamazula is doing better, now that we can get out of the house and do a reasonable amount of work. We have 2 baptisms for the 9th of September, 1 for the 16th and 1 for the 23rd. they are reasonable firm so I really think that we will see some progress here in this area. Elder Flores is doing a lot better, we actually walked up the hill over centro, and its not exactly small. I don’t feel like we teach very well together, but that just takes time, study, humility, and lots of practice. We´ll get there. This is the last week of the change (holy cow!!) Other news is that when I went to Guadalajara I brought  keyboard back with me! so now I can practice! well its a keyboard but its better than nothing! 

    I'm stuck here in Tamazula hahaha but la Zona Guzman creció!!!! We now have 14 missionaries!!!! Wooooooooooooooooooooo and 8 in my district. It's the biggest district I've been in and kind of strange because the number of missionaries in this mission keeps dropping and Guzman has always been the smallest zone, but they just put more in here! It's inspired so we can't complain, and I don't have to pack my bags!  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Zone Conference

August 14, 2017
    Well today was a normal Monday.  We washed clothes and stayed in the house.  Later we went to write our emails and A. came by with the iPhone that he bought for me.  Actually he came for the money and then he took it back so that he could go buy a sim card and activate it.  I paid about 60$ for an iPhone 5 so I hope its a good deal.  It won’t have any capability to actually make calls, but I will be able to put scriptures on it and listen to conference talks.  We also bought our food and my comp got his hair cut. And that was our day.
August 15, 2017
    Today was strange.  I really feel super disobedient because of this post surgical recovery.  It’s super hard to wake up on time and we don’t leave the house until lunch time.  Today we were going to go to Guzman to have my comp’s stitches removed.  We had to cancel our afternoon appointments so that we could go.  I got my iPhone delivered this morning.  Then we went to our lunch appointment and spent too long there.  It started to rain super hard and then we got trapped because the bridge was flooded.  We had no choice but to stay put.  The doctor called us later to reschedule for tomorrow.  So there we were with nothing to do.  We went house to house knocking on doors.  My companion had to sit and rest between each house. While we waited, we said a prayer and then finally a door opened and we were able to teach a lesson.  Really, my companion can’t walk for very long without wearing out or having lots of pain.  I’m not sure what we are going to do, but we have to keep working somehow.

August 16, 2017
    Today we went to Guzman for district class which went okay.  Then we went to the doctor to have my comps stitches removed.  The doctor said that he can walk and recommended that he should try going to a park and walking around a basketball court 10 times and then that’s good enough for the day.  That is unfortunately no where near what a missionary has to walk every day.  We got back to our area late and missed our lunch, so we went to our house and rested.  Later we went to teach and investigator, but he talked the whole times about his dreams, anyhow he wanted to live in a good Christian community away from all the corruption. We really couldn’t talk at all.  We got home late tonight because my companion just cant move faster than an overweight penguin.
August 17, 2017
     Got up late again today. It’s so hard because Elder F. can hardly get out of be and I don’t want to exercise because of my sore toe.  So yeah, I’s not doing what I should be doing and it feels terrible.  We did part of our weekly planning, walked to lunch and probably too far for my companion.  Our appointment fell through, but we found one contact who asked us for money. Then we waddled back to our house to finish weekly planning. I really need to change something and change it fast because I don’t feel good working like this.  Though now I can listen to talks which I enjoy. My iPhone battery dies super fast and it is kind of beat up, but it works for what I need so that is good.  We set some good goals and I am hoping that things can improve from here on out. 
August 18, 2017
    Today started off better because I got up on time and did some exercises and studies, be we didn’t leave the house until 1:00 PM. It is that my comp literally cannot be walking around all day long, he just can’t do it. But we used the time to study and we did an activity where we practiced sharing the restoration story in less than one minute so that we could teach that during contacting.  I tried to share it throughout the day, but it didn’t work very well.  I need more practice, haha. We ate with a brother who is super cool and can talk for hours, but almost forced you to eat and eat and eat.  The food is AMAZING so it is not hard for me!  None of our planned appointments were home, so we went to teach a less active member’s children.  The kids are 12 and 9 years old and are set for baptism in September.  

 August 19, 2017  - ZONE CONFERENCE
    Today was a super cool day.  We went to Guzman for the zone conference.  We learned a ton of stuff.  The president basically told us that he doesn’t like how we are teaching as missionaries. We need to simplify and teach lessons in less time.  He said a lot of other things, but the whole conference was focused on how to be a better teacher, which is exactly what I needed.  I really had started to feel that my teaching was ineffective, like all of my investigators were not progressing.  But there is a lot of things to improve on.  We played a game where there were three groups of missionaries who rotated through stations.  At one station, every person had to iron a white shirt, another station was sewing on a button, another was washing your hands (properly) - we had to sing “I am a Child of God, and another station where we had to make and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while reciting a scripture.  The whole game was a competition for fun. I was the last person to go in the last group to rotate.  So when it was my turn for the sandwiches, I was alone.  I decided to make a huge sandwich of peanut butter and honey - like double the monster sandwich that I would normally make.  Then President noticed that I didn’t have anyone to race against, so he made the assistants race me.  BUT, I still won.  I downed the whole thing so fast!  So yeah, that was my day. 

*The Assistants taught about divisions, 

and companion inventories.

*The Sister Training Leaders taught about testifying

of the prophet Joseph Smith in each lesson

*The Zone Leaders taught about testifying 

of the Book of Mormon in each lesson 

Elder Anderson is no longer in my zone, but this is a pic of him at his zone confernce

Our Activity

Station #1 ironing a missionary shirt

*reciting the Standard of Truth in Spanish
Station #2 sewing a button on their shirt

*reciting their Missionary Purpose in English
Station #3 washing their hands while singing

*I am a Child of God in English
Station #4 making a PP&J sandwich

*reciting D&C 4 in Spanish or English

(their choice)




Post Op Week

August 14, 2017
    Okay, I will try to write a brief account of what happened last week.  On Monday we spent all day in the house, made food, and studied.  On Tuesday it was super freaky….we had a district class in our HOUSE, with the sister missionaries.  It was super weird.  We got special permission, but it was still strange having the sisters in my house. Later we had divisions and I went with Elder M. who is super cool. We didn’t teach, but we set up lots of appointments and contacted lots of people. It felt good to leave the house.  I was about to buy some food and get a few things done.  On Wednesday we left on divisions to go to work, but President Clayton called us to tell us that he wanted to stop by and visit my companion on his way to Manzanillo.  So, you can imagine, we ran home to clean up.  It wasn’t dirty, but because of divisions and taking care of my companion, it was messy.  President stopped by (with a few of his kids) and brought us a few treats (Gatorade and Chokis)  He is so awesome!  Hermana Clayton commented that the house looked VERY good, and how clean my clothes looked hanging on the line (so that was worth it!) She also looked at my toes and told me to call the doctor.  Thursday was a regular day.  The zone leaders came back to visit us this afternoon.  They finally found some new people to teach.  My throat started hurting today and I think that I am somehow getting sick even though I have been locked up for a week in my house. The ZLs stayed the night and ate all of our food and used all of our toilet paper.  Seriously, divisions can be rough. Friday I went to the doctors to have my toe looked at.  He did not want to remove the nail so he just gave me antibiotic pills and a cream to take for a week.  We also needed to buy some food.  The members have been awesome in supporting us with food, but we got cleaned out on divisions. I was with Elder O (a missionary from Mexico). He had to go buy some socks because he forgot to pack clean ones. Divisions ended that afternoon and I returned to my sitting around and studying. There is a mountain of tupperware in our house from the members who bring us food.  This is my life now, I don’t know if it is punishment or a vacation! Sunday was our liberation day.  My comp decided he could go to church. It took a million years to get there, but he did it!  Seriously, there are 90 year old Mexicans who walk faster than he did.  At church they asked us to bless the sacrament an there was an intermediate hymn so it was hard on my comp to stand and sit every other second.  The poor guy!  I really love this branch though!  There is a ton of work to do and at times it seems impossible to do. But the few members there are here are faithful! After church we went back to the house and my comp pretty much died.  It took a lot out of him.
    Considering everything, this has been a pretty exciting week of sitting around and reading the book of mormon!!!!  But for all that time I’ve had, I’m still in 2nd Nephi. "and also my life passed away like as it were unto me a dream...." but things are going great. Every morning I have to change his bandage so thats really fun! Also I’m getting really good at making meals with absolutely nothing in the house. I don’t know how: lots of hot dogs, pasta, and oatmeal. Zone conference is next week so we get to see president and learn lots. I feel like I haven’t done anything here in Tamazula, but hopefully I can start to get back to work. I am officially the laziest missionary sadly.... but this week my comp should be able to walk more!

Cleaning the font on top of the meeting house


Hospital Week

August 1-2, 2017
    While writing emails on p-day, I started feeling super cold.  I didn’t think much about it until the weakness hit me.  I hadn’t eaten all day and I had fasted yesterday, so I thought that I just needed to get to the house and eat something in order to feel better.  But as we went home I started feeling worse and worse.  When we got home I didn’t feel like I could eat anything at al.  I lied down for a rest for a few minutes hoping that would help me, but I kept getting sicker.  Then it really hit me with a high fever, stomach pains, and diarrhea.  There was no way that I could leave the house.  It sapped all of my energy. 
    I woke up about 5 times last night with diarrhea and was pretty miserable.  I woke up late super sore.  We didn’t leave the house until noon because I couldn’t stay out of the bathroom.  We didn’t really know what to do with our day. Then we left to look for a bunch of people who weren’t home.  We ate with a member and then looked for a bunch more people who weren't home. Then to distract my miserable self, Elder F told me all about his chicken/rooster fighting days.  He told me all about the different training and fighting tactics.  Not a spiritual topic, I know. 
August 2, 2107
    Today was one of those days where it’s really kind of sucky but then it turns out okay.  We went to Guzman for District Class which I had not prepared for due to my sickness. There was a lot of confusion and I thought we weren't going to have class and then ended up having to teach.  So I had to wing it and I didn’t feel great.  It went all right though because I just used material that I used in Vallarta.  After that, the zone leaders gave us mosquito repellant that is so toxic you are not supposed to use it inside the house, but you are suppose use it on your clothes and on your bed?! I am not to excited about using something that could blind me on my bedding, but they are concerned about Zika down here. 
    After that it was another one of those not finding anyone to teach kind of days intermixed with lots of trips to the bathroom.  In the evening while we were unsuccessfully contacting, we walked past two ladies who were outside their houses.  We we at the very end of our day and decided to talk to them as a last chance to share the gospel.  Turns out that one of them was super depressed because of her family problems and health concerns.  She broke down and started crying right there in front of us.  We listened and shared a few spiritual thoughts and she asked us to come back.  her neighbor also asked if she could join us when we came back.  MIRACLE!  We said a prayer with them and hopefully we can meet with them again on Friday.  Hopefully the zone leaders can help us with divisions that day because my comp is having surgery tomorrow!


August 3, 2017
    Today my companion had his surgery in a sketchy Mexican hospital.  We arrived at the hospital after stopping by the zone leaders apartment for a blessing.  The doctor hadn’t arrived yet, so we just sat around and waited for an hour. My companion was assigned to a TINY room, but at least it had a bathroom.  They started his IV, but then forgot to run the fluids in so the IV hurt until another doctor noticed that it was running.  I waited alone while he was in surgery which only took about an hour.  He was super high from the anesthesia and would not stop talking.  He kept asking me to touch his feet.  He also said a prayer in English (which he does not speak) and that was pretty funny.  But when the painkillers wore off, man he was in a lot of pain.  The incision is only about the length of my finger, but he was really suffering and thrashing around.  It seemed like he was moving around way too much tossing from side to side.  He was also super nauseated and gagged several times. Another Elder came to stay with him tonight to give me a break.  I am sure that he will not get any sleep.  I went with his companion to stay in their house for the night.

Before Surgery

After Surgery
  August 4, 2017
    Everything went well for me today.  I still made lots and lots of trips to the bathroom, but it was good to get some sleep in the zone leaders house.  I got to sleep in a real bed and shower which was nice.  We left the house early to relieve Elder M at the hospital.  It was a long night for him, poor guy.  After that the zone leaders and i stayed with my companion all day.  They did bring some food for us which was nice because the only food in the zone leaders house was cocoa crispies.  Hospital food really isn’t that bad if you are used to a missionaries diet.  My companion did okay today, but they wanted him to stay an extra night.  They got him up at around 2 to walk around and use the restroom.  He did complain quite a bit though.  It doesn’t seem like his pain meds are working for him.  I tried to study, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Something about hospitals just makes me want to sleep and after a while I just get a headache.  I don’t know why.  The zone leaders asked permission to stay with us and we had a party in the tiny room. We ordered 30$ worth of hamburgers and played “Scripture Power”.  You have to think of weird things or difficult subject/phrases and find them in the scriptures. It’s next level stuff. The sister missionaries called me at 11:30 super scared.  Someone had been trying to force their door open to their apartment and they have some super sketchy neighbors.  So for the next hour we called the closest members to go and check on them.  Super scary, but nothing happened to them.  Other than that, sleeping on the hospital floor was fun!  Overtime the nurse came in, I had to get up and move out of the way.  It was an adventure for sure.
August 5, 2017
    Today was good!  Wie finally got to leave the hospital at around noon.  When they took out my comps IV it squirted me with his blood, gross ha! A member gave us a ride back to Tamazula for $400 pesos which is a pretty good deal (well sort of.) His car was super nice and we can get reimbursed for our expense, and he took us to the pharmacy to get my companions medication.  I am a little concerned though because the medication was super cheap and that makes me think that they are not going to work.  Ibuprofen costs more than the pain medication he was given.  Plus the fact that he was in a ton of pain this afternoon makes me wonder if he got what he needs. It was a long afternoon full of, “Man I can’t deal with this pain, I can’t take it.” I feel sorry for him, but there isn’t much I can do to help him.  I mainly just tried to read to pass the time.  I made a nice dinner and listened to some hymns. Pretty relaxing for me, but he was suffering.
August 6, 2017
    This is the first Sunday on my mission that I have not gone to church.  A brother from the ward stopped by to give us the sacrament and told us that there were a grand total of 7 members in church today.  There is a lot of work here to do and we are stuck in the house for a couple of weeks.  My companion had a really tough day today, even worse than yesterday.  He wanted to call the President at one point and then Jairo showed up with his mom.  I opened the door and they said, “Hola, we are here to visit your companion!”  Then they just walked in before I could say anything.  We can’t just let people into our house like that without permission.  But what makes it worse is that the sister looked at his medication and said that the painkiller he had was terrible.  She also asked about what diet he was on, and then they left.  They came back a short time later with a pain injection and pills.  I mean, she is a nurse so I am not too worried about it, but as missionaries we can’t just let members give our companions injections.  But, my comp was suffering and was pretty desperate to get some relief.  She gave him a shot right in the butt. I still don’t know what she gave him, but it helped him a lot.  He keeps telling me that he needs another shot, but I think we are done with that.  The sister also brought some food that my companion can eat.  The members are taking really good care of us even though they are few in number.  I do have to cook though.  I made some oatmeal this morning that my companion just loved.  I think that he was just really hungry, but he raved about how good it was.  I’m pretty impressed at how good my food turns out though! Lots of eggs, protein, and fruit, vitamins and other stuff that I don’t know anything about. Other than that, I have spent a lot of time studying, relaxing, and listening to the rain.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Tamazula

July 31, 2017
    Well now I have to give a summary of the last 3 weeks and it has been crazy.  The last two weeks in Puerto Vallarta were cool, as in not hot. We taught and walked in the rain and that is pretty much it. A lot of the investigators we had were saying that they had lots of doubts about our message.  But V. is still solid in her desire to be baptized on the 5th of August.  This last Sunday we had 9 investigators come to Sacrament meeting which is a ton for this area.  I feel like I left that area with lots of potential.  Other little things happened in the end of my time there. 

  • The ward mission leader had a stroke and we gave him a blessing. 
  • Elder Anderson had a birthday and I gave him 6 jars of peanut butter for him to eat in the next 6 weeks of his new transfer. 
  • I made a deal with a member to buy us Costco muffins for the last week of our transfer together.  It was expensive, but I have been saving money in my reserve fund so I might as well use it. I will end up donating all of it as a fast offering in the end of my mission anyway.
  • We had a really good district class and I bought a cake for another sister who went home. She is the third person in the district to go home this transfer.  I have bought a lot of cakes this transfer! haha.
  • The hermanas taught an English class where they were teaching the students how to give and understand directions in English.  At the end of the lesson, everyone had to explain where they lived. The sisters wrote down their directions so that they could follow up with them later.  I just thought that was funny. 
  • The other sisters had a baptism but had to talk to the president and he said that they would have to wait a while before moving forward. 
  • And of course there were the transfers. 
     So that brings me up to now.  I am the district leader here in Tamazula with Elder Flores.  Tamazula is awesome, but rough at the same time.  It is super Catholic.  From our house we can see 3 giant cathedrals and several smaller churches.  There is a church in every colonia.  About 5 years ago, our church was very strong here too.  We had about 100 active members, but now it is about 20 and most of those are young children.  I don’t know what happened.  Right now they are trying to get the building relocated because lots of people can’t make it up the steep staircase.  Our goal is to have 100 people in attendance by December.  We don’t even know the area very well yet.  We have lots of work to do.  Luckily the few members we have are willing to work.  Sadly, our area book has not been updated in 3 months.  There was an investigator who came to church this past week and we can’t even find him in the book.  This week has been getting to know the members and trying to figure out which investigators have potential to progress and find new ones.  Our conclusion is that everyone and their dog is Catholic, but none of them actually go to church.  There are a few people who belong to other churches and we have had several experiences where preachers and such have tried to teach us the error of our ways. Tamzula isn’t that big.  It is really just a farming town.  There is a giant sugar factory and miles and miles of sugar cane.  The landscape is mostly a jungle of jagged volcanic hills. It is super rainy right now, so everything is lush and green.  But the BEST part is that it is NOT HOT!!!!! 
     I don’t have to worry about my agenda getting soaked in sweat in my pocket.  Our house is super nice, but we don’t have a washing machine.  That’s okay, washing by hand builds character. Our house is right in the center of town so all of our necessities are close by. 

    Elder Flores is pretty cool.  He doesn’t speak any English at all so I am very happy because I am finally learning a ton of Spanish.  He is 22, a convert of 3 years, and has been on the mission for 4 months.  He talks a LOT and LOVES to sing, but doesn’t sing very well. Overall, I really like him.  He has to have a surgery which will put him in bed for about two weeks.  Hopefully we will be doing some divisions with the zone leaders during that time so that I don’t get stuck in the house.  


    Sadly, the worst thing that happened to me in the past three weeks is that I lost or rather had my iPod stolen while I was on the bus.  It was my fault because I took it out of my pocket to read and then I fell asleep. I hadn’t slept the night before so I was completely out of it, like in a coma.  Honestly I don’t even remember what happened at all.  I keep trying to tell myself that it is just a thing and it isn't important. It's not working very well.