Tuesday, December 31, 2013

17 - Bonfil 6

We had a workshop yesterday and P-day was moved to today, but I'm probably not going to send a big email this week.

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,
Elder Bailey

Monday, December 23, 2013

16 - Bonfil 5


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.

So in Bonfil everything has been progressing with the season. My Spanish isn't there yet, but I'm making fast progress. I can understand about 60% of what the Mexicans are saying and can communicate well enough, although I'm really not very fluent. We've made a bunch of contacts last week that we are excited about. The spirit is strong and it is amazing to see the changes that occur in the investigators.

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.

Elder Bailey

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

15 - Bonfil 4

Christmas is coming up fast. It's weird how you don't notice it without the snow and everything. Every day is always sunny and warm. (I don't know why they complain that it is cold. Everyone tells me that it gets really hot in the summer.) I really loved the Christmas devotional. There are some inspiring messages that would be really good to remember. Here in the mission we will actually be doing devotionals in the different areas, and I'm looking forward to this. We've been working hard to invite all of our investigators to come.

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.

Happy Holidays!
Elder Bailey

Monday, December 9, 2013

14 - Bonfil 3

So, the holidays are coming up and we are now working extra hard this season. As a missionary, perhaps one of the biggest changes is that the days or times when you would normally rest are the days when you work the hardest because it is when everyone is at home and with their families. It also feels a little weird to see all of the Christmas decorations coming up, and the foliage is still a lush bright green and all of the tropical flowers are in bloom. (I think Jimmy Buffet's Christmas Island album would be very appropriate here.)

Things have been going well here. It's been a tough week, but we just had a baptism last Saturday. There aren't too many members or investigators, but we are excited with the baptism. Plus, we just received a bunch of referrals from the members, so things are looking up. The week has actually been a little more difficult than it sounds. We really only did about four lessons for the entire week. It is a tough area, but we are being optimistic. The president actually gave us the assignment of establishing a branch in this area, so there are some people that the Lord is preparing.

Perhaps the most effective teaching tool that we have is The Book of Mormon. The first step in the conversion of the investigator is to have them read The Book of Mormon and gain their own testimony of it. The Book of Mormon is the pure word of God and there is a power that exists in that book so that as you read, that power will flow into your life and bring blessings. It is important for any missionary set apart or those not to understand this power and how critical The Book of Mormon is to conversion.

Thank you all for your support,
Elder Bailey

Sorry, but the computer isn't reading my camera again. Sorry, not too many stories. Also the blog is doing great. I actually received a letter from someone in Las Vegas who just got a mission call to Cancun and found the blog. Really cool.

Monday, December 2, 2013

13 - Bonfil 2

I'm starting in on my second week in Bonfil.  It is an amazing area with much potential.  It is a large area that also includes a lot of the private residential areas which we don't go to unless we are invited or receive a referral.  A lot of the work in this area is concentrated in a small section of the city.  It is a little more cluttered than Coba, but the people here are great and I enjoy working with them.  There aren't as many members here, but we have received a bunch of referrals that we are working through.  

My new comp is awesome.  He has helped me a ton with the language, and every day he teaches me a lot about being a good missionary.  I enjoy working with him.  

Something that Elder Humphrey said about being not only a great missionary but also a great leader, is the importance of having humility.  No matter what position we are in, it is important to accept that there are many things we still may not know and that there are many people who know more than we do and that there is something we can always learn.  Humility is the foundation for developing all other Christ-like attributes.

Thanks for your support,
Elder Bailey