Monday, November 25, 2013

12 - Bonfil 1

So today is judgment day.  Not really, but it is transfer day and I moved into the area of Bonfil.  It is part of the Cancun Zone which is the eastern part of the city.  I haven't been proselyting yet, so I can't describe much of it yet.  My new companion is Elder Humphrey.  He is about a year into the mission and he will be finishing up my training.  He is from Alpine, Utah.  ¡Que potente! I'm really looking forward to working with him.

Glad to hear from home.  I'm doing fine, but today I finally found a bathroom scale and discovered that I've lost over ten pounds since I arrived in the field.  I remember Elder Gonzalez telling me how the American missionaries burn a lot of energy in the sun.  I'm eating well, although the food schedule is a little weird.  In the morning we have time for a quick breakfast, and at 2:00 we have a big lunch at a member's house, and then we don't always have a dinner.  It depends if a member offers or if we have money to buy something.  But everything else is going well.  I'm healthy and doing fine. 

So it looks like we have Thanksgiving coming up.  They don't celebrate it here in Mexico, but it is still a good holiday to remember.  A lot of the time we don't really realize how much we are blessed.  Looking back, I often see the Lord's hand working in my life and my mission so many times.  Every day I give thanks for this amazing opportunity to serve.  You may not be in the mission, but I know that there are many ways that the Lord is guiding and blessing you.  That will be something good to think about for Thanksgiving.

So thank you for all of your support.  Love you all.

Elder Bailey

Last night with Elder Gonzalez and Elder Forsythe.  The bishop invited us over for chocolate cake as kind of a going away party.
My new companion, Elder Humphrey

Monday, November 18, 2013

11 - Coba 6

So it's now officially a month into the mission. Looking back, it is amazing to see all of the progress I've made. The Spanish is still progressing. I'm not fluent yet, but I'm getting there. We got hit with a couple of major storms, but we now have some clear skies.

Something interesting happened last week. President Kirkham assigned another missionary to work with us in Coba. We will be working in a trio now. The new missionary is Elder Forsythe. He transferred into our area from Tizimin, a city northwest of Cancun. He has been in the mission for about nine months and speaks good Spanish. I'm looking forward to working with him. He is a really fun missionary to have around. He likes to talk and help other missionaries with their Spanish. He is from Provo, but before that he was in Texas. There is a lot I'm learning from him already.

Things have been progressing in some ways. We unfortunately had to drop off investigators last week because they were not keeping any commitments. But we do have one golden investigator we are teaching. Her name is E. She was referred from another member and accepted our message from the start. She really loved church. After her first Sunday, she told us in our next visit that she wanted to be baptized. We are so excited to work with her.

So when we were visiting with one of the members in the ward, she shared something really interesting. Everyone here lives in some degree of poverty. Most can manage to live in a house and live well enough. But they are also very thankful for their living condition. They are afraid of earning too much money because they don't want to become prideful. When they earn more money, they are afraid of thinking that it is because of them that they are prospering instead of the blessings of God. In the Book of Mormon, we see this kind of thing happening over and over again. It is important to remember our blessings and to give thanks to God. A good story to go with this is the story of the ten lepers. Read it.

Elder Bailey

Monday, November 11, 2013

10 - Coba 5

Another week in paradise. Not too much happened this week aside from having to bail out a baptismal font (biggest workout I had in weeks!). It was the baptism of the stake president's son and there was something going on with the drain in the font, so someone left it filled all week. Really gross. We had a fun time hauling buckets of the dirty water from the font, cleaning it, and refilling it for the baptism. Lots of fun.

Most of the work is focused on reactivating the less actives. The biggest problem is that they don't like to commit. We do have a large group of investigators that we are working with, but there are two commitments they have trouble with: going to church and getting legally married. But they love our message, especially about the Plan of Salvation. Many of them have families that they love dearly.

My Spanish is progressing. I'm still am not fluent, but I'm exercising patience.

Earlier, Hermana Kirkham, the mission president's wife, shared an interesting thought with us. She shared a scripture from Moses where Enoch was called by God to be a prophet. Enoch responded by asking why of all people he was chosen, because he was slow of speech and not favored with the people. Here God gave an amazing promise. He promised Enoch that if he would open his mouth to speak to the people, the Lord would fill it with utterance (Moses 6:32). For us missionaries, we have many weaknesses which sometimes include speaking the language. But this promise also applies to us when we teach. We give the spirit opportunities to teach through us and we teach the things the spirit teaches us. This doesn't just apply to missionaries, but also to every member of the Church. If you open your mouth or let the spirit teach through you, the spirit will tell you what to say. I hope we can always remain worthy to have the spirit and to teach from the things the spirit will put into our hearts. If we do this, we will always know what to say.

Hasta luego,
Elder Bailey

Monday, November 4, 2013

09 - Coba 4

Hey Everyone,

It looks like my letter didn't come last week, so I’ll try to give a good update.

The last two weeks have been crazy.  We've been hit with a bunch of storms and most of the streets are flooded.  This makes it a little difficult to get to the appointments on time.  But it feels good to have a little cooler weather in contrast to the normally hot, sunny days.

The work is progressing rapidly.  Most of it is focused more on the less actives.  The people here are very humble and receptive to the gospel, but they have a hard time with commitments.

My Spanish is progressing rapidly.  I can speak well enough for the lessons, but the biggest struggle for me is following the native’s Spanish.  They speak fast!  But the members have been very helpful and encouraging.

Also, in our last zone conference, we received an exciting announcement—in our zone we get to have beds!  The hammocks are fun, but often you wake up with a couple of stiff muscles.  Everyone in our zone is all excited about it.

Also, about Halloween.  From what my companion told me, most of Mexico normally celebrates El Dia de Muerto which last for two days, but here in Cancun, they celebrate Halloween instead and it lasts for three nights!  My area kind of turned into a party town.  We had trouble sleeping those nights because one of our neighbors set up a mega sound system in his front yard and was blasting spooky music all night long.

During church last week, one of the sisters in the ward gave an interesting lesson.  In Mexico, the holidays are traditional and everyone loves to party, but they have all forgotten the meaning behind the holidays.  Especially El Dia de Muerto.  It is a holiday to remember and honor our ancestors before us for the sacrifices they did for our generation and we serve them on these holidays.  In the church, it is especially important.  We do family history to learn about our ancestors and do service for them by performing the sacred ordinances they need but didn't have an opportunity in the mortal life.  Each of us is encouraged to actively participate in the Family Search program and learn about them.  There are many things that we can learn from them and they need us so that they can have the ordinances necessary.

Elder Bailey

Other stuff:

[I am in the west and north side of Cancun;] most of the area is all of the city to the south and to the north into the jungle.  It’s kind of big.  It actually is supposed to be divided into two parts, but too many missionaries left and there are not enough coming in, so my companion and I have to work the entire area.

One image is the new beds.  I don’t have a pillow, so I stuffed the pillowcase with the sheets to make do.  The next image is our house.  The tree in front has coconuts that we will soon pick and have for supper.

I’m happy, although I've developed a craving for bread lately.  I haven’t had bread ever since I arrived.  It’s always tortillas.  I miss Mom’s bread and cooking.  The food here is very good, but they always serve the same thing.

Every night we put our shoes up against the fan to dry them out.