Monday, January 27, 2014
This is a very active area, but it is not without a few disadvantages. Palmas is a big ward and is divided into two mission areas. A pair of sister missionaries have one half (which is where all of the members are) and we have the rest. With most of the ward members living in the other area, we rarely have any members who we can take with us to lessons. But the few members we do have in the area enjoy coming with us and even do their own visits and make friends with them, so it has been good for the investigators.
Aside from that, it has been getting hot here, but it is supposed to get even hotter after March. I'll be honest, I really miss the cold and the snow (although we do have ice-cold showers in the morning). At night, it is still pretty warm, but the people here complain that it is freezing and wonder how come I'm not cold. I'll probably adapt more to the hot weather as the mission goes on.
The mission has been a great experience for me! I love it. I love working with the people here. I can't really explain how, but the people here are fantastic. I don't quite have the language down, but I've still been able to work and progress in many ways. In the mission, I have learned a lot about the Savior and his role in everything, and especially in the lives of the people I teach. It is awesome seeing how the gospel changes them and their lives. The mission is the best experience of my life. I encourage everyone to start now and prepare for a mission. You won't regret it! You will come out of the mission loving it and wishing you were still there.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Another week in the mission. I've now been in the field for over four months. Looking back, I'm wondering what happened. Everything feels like it is going faster.
Our area is pretty big. The church is a little far. The ward is split between us and a pair of sister missionaries. I don't know if President Kirkham will be doing anything more to the area—it has been one of the most productive areas in the city.
The work in Palmas has been progressing. We contacted a few more potential investigators last week, although we haven't quite been getting all of the lessons in we would like. We have most of our investigators clear on the other side of the area, so we have to do a lot of walking between appointments. But we have been rewarded for all of the work. We were able to bring a less active family back in and we are preparing one of their daughters to be baptized this week.
We also made a big breakthrough with one of our progressing investigators. I may have mentioned her last week. She has been really taking in our lessons and also she has been reading and studying the Book of Mormon and has been praying every night. She has been going to church and everything, but she hasn't received a witness that all of this is true. Last week she had an interesting experience. She had a dream one night where she was directed by an angel to the baptismal font and was told that this was the true church that she should join. Little more than we expected. We have her baptism planned for next week.
My companion has been great. He has been helping me find more ways of teaching and improving my Spanish. My health has been good; the members are really generous and insist on serving us meals, so eating hasn't been much of a problem. The weather has been heating up a little. We have been getting a little more sun. But with sundown at about 5 o'clock, we haven't had much exposure. I'm not sure I'll be able to send pictures while I'm in this area. We use this one internet cafe and it doesn't have a port for me to plug in my camera.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
My companion has been working out great. Elder Quarez has worked in this area for a long time before and has been introducing me to everyone and everything. He is American, but I asked him to speak to me only in Spanish so that I can learn and he has been really good about that. I would describe him and his personality a little similar to Spencer Walker in the way he talks and everything (he actually looks a lot like him). But everything has been working out great.
There is a very big ward in this area with a lot of active priesthood leaders. We also have a lot of progressing investigators going to church and everything. There is this one family who we are teaching who is accepting everything and also has been asking a lot of good questions. Although, one of the biggest struggles for them is with giving up tea. They drink a lot of tea because the mom owns a small tea business. But they have been really active with the ward and everything.
Palmas is the very western end of the city. The city is divided up into regions and they call the region where I live Tierra Maya. There is a Chedraui store around the corner from our house. It's pretty much the Mexican version of Walmart. In some parts there are a lot of apartment buildings, and in other parts there are a lot of small stores.
My spiritual thought this week comes from the scripture Helaman 5:12.
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
That is a powerful promise in this scripture. If we look to Christ in our thoughts and our works, I know that we can overcome or stand up against any temptation, trial, weakness, or difficulty. I know it and testify of that.
Friday, January 10, 2014
Sorry I didn't write last week. With the New Year, everything was kind of crazy. On New Year's Eve, all of the missionaries had to retire to their houses early and we had to stay there until 6 pm the next day. There are a lot of things that happen during the New Year celebration that could be dangerous to the missionaries. Everyone drinks and they light off all sorts of fireworks, which most of them are pretty much just bombs. Fortunately, I slept through it all and we are all safe.
The area of Bonfil in the last week has exploded. We came across a couple of new families to teach, and some of our old investigators started to become progressing investigators.
But judgment day came last weekend and I received a transfer call to another area. The area is called Palmas. It is pretty much the western edge of the city and borders my first area Coba. So it is pretty similar to when I started, except it's a little more crowded. My new comp is Elder Quarez. He is from Utah (Morgan) and has been in the mission for about fourteen months and transferred into this area from a pueblo a few hours outside of Cancun. He is an awesome companion and I am really looking forward to working with him.
So I have a thought to share which was something that my mission president taught us at a workshop last week. He talked about how big things and big changes are affected entirely by small things. He used an analogy of how an entire door swings because the hinges move a little. I'm sure that we all have things in our lives that we would like to change or work on which we can accomplish by simply doing or changing the little things. Examples of these small things could be like reading our scriptures in the morning or exercising for an hour every day. Things like these can do big things in our lives such as helping us to receive a testimony or to become stronger or better in shape. Any big changes that we want to make in our lives can be easily accomplished by changing and working on the little things.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
The [Christmas] call was great. It is good to see and talk to everyone. It was good to see Jen. Christmas was great. The zone leaders put on a zone activity with piñatas, white elephant gifts (I got some Christmas cookies that were great), cake, and a lot of nachos. And at the end, President Kirkham arrived to deliver Christmas goods to all of the good missionaries. (If he had a beard, he would have looked just like Santa.) It was fun, but proselyting the next few days was difficult because everyone was either asleep or drunk from Christmas. But towards the end, it picked up with a couple of potential investigators who we are excited to teach. For the New Year tonight, we have to return super early to our house and we are not allowed to leave until 6 pm the next day because it gets super crazy and dangerous for the missionaries with everyone getting drunk. (Drinking and going to church are two of the biggest struggles for us to deal with here.)
Your favorite missionary,
Monday, December 23, 2013
It's Christmas time and things have been very active here in the mission. Yesterday our mission did a big Christmas devotional for all of the local stakes. It was a good program which included a couple of special numbers by all of the missionaries in the city. It was great and the spirit was strong. We all are excited for the holiday.
This is really an amazing time of year as we celebrate the birth of the Savior. Christ was sent here into this world so that we can all be able to overcome our struggles and sin, and have the opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father. This is the greatest gift that God has given us. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, it is possible for any of us to find comfort and help in times of struggle, and relief and forgiveness for any sin. As we apply the atonement in our lives and continue to recognize weaknesses and work to correct ourselves, we can find much peace and joy in our lives. This I testify of, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
|Baptism picture of C. He is the youth that we baptized a few weeks ago. I believe I mentioned him in a previous letter.|
|View of Bonfil from the balcony of an investigator's house. Kind of gives you an idea of what Bonfil is like.|
|Feliz Navidad from our zone, taken last Thursday after the district meetings.|
|One of our investigators worked at a circus that was in Bonfil last week. We got our pics next to Simba.|
|Us with the investigator at the circus.|
Monday, December 16, 2013
Bonfil is actually a pueblo just outside the main city of Cancun, although our assigned area still includes a part of the main city. The people here are poorer than in Coba, so some of the food that we have been eating usually involves scrambled eggs and beans. Those are the cheapest foods to come by.
Bonfil is one of the hardest areas to contact investigators. The blocks are divided up into properties which are bought by families, and then they build houses on these properties. This is a problem for us because most of the people usually stay secluded on their property and only come out for work, so street contacting is a little difficult. But we have been working with some of the members and have been receiving references that we have been working through.
Last week we contacted a small family who has been really receptive to our message and who we've been excited to work with. It is a divorced mom and three children. The mom was baptized into the Church, but went inactive shortly after. She has a brother who is an active member in my last area, Coba. The only problem is that they have been exposed to some anti-church stuff previously, but the spirit has been working through us and has been eliminating a lot of their doubt. It's really exciting for us to see the changes in them.
So, for this week I have a thought that comes from Alma 47. This is when Amalickiah starts to take over the Lamanite nation and raise an army to go against the Nephites. There was a group of the Lamanites who were afraid of Amalickiah and knew his objective, but they didn't want to go to war against the Nephites. They gathered themselves on a hill and they had a leader named Lehonti. Amalickiah sent messengers to Lehonti to have him come down to the bottom of the hill to negotiate. Lehonti knew Amalickiah and knew that negotiating would lead to bloodshed, so he refused to come down. Amalickiah sent more messengers, and to all of them Lehonti refused to come down from the hill to negotiate. Finally Amalickiah came halfway up the hill and sent a final messenger to tell Lehonti to come only partway down with his guards which Lehonti accepted. We all know how the story ends with Amalickiah through trickery appealing to Lehonti, and then he murdered him and took over his armies.
I like to relate this to us being on the hill and Satan tempting us to come down. We know who Satan is and know where the lines are where there is safety, but a common strategy of Satan's is to tempt us to come closer to the line or to come partway down the hill and to test the limits and get further from safety. The standards have already been set for us and we have been given commandments so that we can be safe. They are not something that should be tested or toyed with. It is important for us to stay far from the limits and to stay fast and true. Giving in to only going partway will certainly lead to terrible consequences.
So thank you for your prayers and support. Remember the true reason behind Christmas and do what is right.