January 9, 2012
It was an exhausting but satisfying week. I forgot my camera again so we’ll have to wait for pictures for another day. It was a roller coaster week but we made it through.
First on Tuesday we had plans to make everything set up for the baptism of Mari and Eli. Then later on Tuesday we felt like something was wrong and we knew that we couldn’t teach the lesson that we had planned. We asked and asked and tried a lot of different ways. We asked if she was ready for Saturday and she looked like she didn’t remember what would be so important Saturday. We reminded her and she said, “oh yeah, my daughters baptism.” (Meaning not hers too)Later I read from the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 29:1,2 Oh that I were an angel and could….) she welled up in tears and said that she wasn’t going to listen to us that day. It practically broke us in pieces. I felt so bad and I didn’t know what was going on. But we talked and talked during the week and she ended up getting baptized on Saturday like we had planned, it was just a little bit more stressful than normal. But it was great to see them take that step. After the baptism they both went up to the font and looked at everything that was left behind. Saturday night we went to their house and ate and had hot chocolate. It was super good. It feels so good to be able to help this family.
In other news, we had a new investigator that is going to get baptized this Friday. After eating on Monday, we asked what we could do to help and things like that. Then I asked who she knew that we could share the gospel with. She pointed at her granddaughter. It took a minute to figure everything out. But she has gone to church a couple of times and she already wanted to be baptized. On Tuesday we set a date for the 21st but later we talked and she says that she wants to be baptized on the 14th. No problems there. We have been working with her and she understands really well. She is 17 and has a lot of support while she is here. The trick is that in Mexico City her family is Catholic and she is thinking how hard it would be to step up and be alone. Its great having a companion like mine for these parts because he is the only member of his otherwise Catholic family. It was one of those things where he was meant to teach her because he knows exactly what she is facing.
Another cool thing that I felt so crazy when I found out is about my companion’s father relationship. In the mission I’m his “dad” and he is my “son” because I’m his trainer. When he was growing up, his dad left and his mom was alone for a while. Later, his mom found another man (that would be my companion’s step-dad) but he doesn’t love him. One night when we were in our hammocks he said, “You know what? You’re the first dad I’ve had that loves me.” I felt pretty cool and that it was another one of those things that was planned out before we came here.
One of the things that I got to do a couple times this week was testify of Christ. The new investigator that is really sharp didn’t know the importance or who was Christ. Other contacts and other things made it a pretty special week. It’s one of the things that I never get bored of doing here in the mission. It’s such a strong spiritual atmosphere when we have those lessons. I can never forget those feelings. But even more I can never forget when one man twenty some years old asked me if I really believed in all this. I know and when I say I know, I know that he is my Savior. I cannot deny the countless times that I have studied His words or thought of Him or taught of Him and felt the same feeling. I knew who He was but not to this level. As I said in my Christmas gift to mom and dad, this is the thing that is most precious to me, my testimony of Christ. I cannot wait for the day when I look down and I see a pair of feet with nail prints and look up and echo Peter’s words, “Thou art the Christ”. I know this and I know that everyone needs to know this.
January 2, 2012
Oh an interesting week! Everything is going more or less under control. Nothing crazy has happened. We just keep working. Oh yeah and by the way. Happy New Year!
So for changes one of the elders gets to train again. We had a rat race taking care of him in the morning. We had to run back to his area then later we had to send him out on the bus station. We went running and if we wouldn’t have run, we wouldn’t have made it on time. Thursday I went to Tulum again, and then Saturday I went to again to Puerto Morelos. That’s the traveling part of the week.
As far as investigators go, it’s been pretty interesting. Eli and Mari (the sister and mom of Pati that got baptized on the third) are going in the water this week! It’s been fun teaching them. They usually accept everything and we had some pretty powerful lessons this week. Also we have been sticking with an older lady named Elba. We had talked with her a couple times before, but it hadn’t really soaked through for some reason. This week we had three long lessons with her. First was a ton of curiosity questions. The second was about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and prayer. When we were talking about prayer we were felt later that there were some things that she had had to go through some trials. We talked about it on Sunday and she cried for almost the whole lesson. It was a crazy spirit to feel. Apart from her we had a really cool guy that I talked about. Three or four weeks ago, we found him drinking. Since that day, he hasn’t drank (which is quite an accomplishment beings how Christmas and New years are pretty big drinking days here) and has gone to church four times in a row and two of them by himself. We watched the For This CauseHave I Born and he asked what he was going to do when he got baptized. There are a few marriage problems to work out but no big deal.
I have had a lot of weeks to think about patience and realizing how necessary it is in order to live well. We are in a world full of things being instantaneous. We said that the oven took too long so we came up with the microwave. We said that it took too long to go all the way back to the house to make a call so we came up with a portable cell phone. We got impatient and wanted to take our computers with us so we have made tiny laptops and iPads that we can carry around with us where ever we want. But we forget that with our Heavenly Father, we are in a very long process of growing and learning; one that has taken so long and he has been waiting patiently. We are asked to be patient, in an impatient world. Thinking about it, a lack of patience was one of the things that caused the fall of Lucifer he wanted to be like God right now. He couldn’t wait, he didn’t have any patience. According to God’s plan, he would eventually receive what he desired, but he wanted it right now. Even more, if we are not patient with ourselves, how can we expect Christ to be patience with others? Patience is a special ability to put our own will on hold and do what someone else wants to. It means to have self control. And not give in to our immediate desires. Shouldn’t or couldn’t we all be just a little more patient this year? And happiness is one of the gifts that come when we are patience. And for those of you who say, “I have tried to be patient and it didn’t work!” well, how many times did you try and how patient were you with yourself? Let’s see five more tries at being patient. I know that anyone can be patient because I know that everyone is a child of God and through the merits and mercy and grace of Christ become like God; patient.
December 26, 2011
Dear Drummond Branch
Well, can you believe it’s been 16 months almost since that kid Elder Mackay left the branch to Mexico? I’m sure many of you paused to think that surely it hasn’t been that long. I agree. Something interesting has happened here in the mission. I came here to teach the gospel and I have turned out being the one taught. In this “16 months” I have learned countless lessons, but three really stick out.
First I have learned that the windows of heaven, where by blessings come, open and shut based on our obedience. It is surer than the law of gravity, for it is a Celestial law written by a divine hand. “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say. But when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. This shows the simplicity of our Heavenly Fathers plan. I ask whether it be tithing, family home evening, visiting teaching, or whatever seemingly insignificant thing; I ask that you do it so that you might be blessed.
Secondly I have learned the cleansing power of the gospel. I am a district leader now and I have the opportunity do to baptismal interviews. I came across a couple that had some serious problems to work out. We needed them to talk with our Mission President. I waited for what seemed like half of these “16 months” wondering what was going to be the outcome. It was an inexplicable pain to know that the blessings of the atonement might have to wait. I needed not to worry. They were baptized within the hour. Walking back home that night I was in a meditative mood and I realized how incredible that all this “other business” that this couple had was washed away. I understood even further how the blood of Christ contrary to human blood, does not stain. Rather it cleans perfectly, stained souls.
And this leads me to the greatest lesson I have learned. I know through countless experiences and countless times that Jesus is the Christ. This is the greatest lesson anyone can learn. Those of you who have any doubt whether he really lives I assure you that He does. Many of us feel that we have gone too far and done something so bad or so many things bad that we could not ever live with our Heavenly Father ever again. Sometimes we feel like our second chances have run out. These are nothing but lies from him who seeks to make all mankind miserable like unto himself. My invitation is that we all might listen and eco Nephi’s pleas “Awake my soul, no longer droop in sin. Rejoice o my heart, and give place no more to the enemy of my soul. Do not anger because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of my afflictions. Rejoice oh my heart and cry unto the Lord saying: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yeah, my soul will rejoice in thee My God and the rock of my Salvation.” My brothers and sisters let us leave the past behind and look forward with an eye of hope to the future. My many things and wishes for a Merry Christmas. I testify that these things are true, and I know anyone can come to know that these things are true in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
December 19, 2011
Well it’s been a really crazy week. I’m really glad that you guys wrote about calling. This is the plan. At six I am going to be at a house of a few members and they have a way to call to the states for free. So I will be there at six o’clock my time. I will call there at six. If something doesn’t work with the conference call, I’ll call dad later mom. But let me just say that this week was crazy
Tuesday, I had to get up at four in the morning because I had to be at a conference in Cancun and it started at eight. It was really great conference but I wasn’t a big fan at getting up at four. This conference was on what is called “eight fundamental principals”. It was about how to be better teachers of the Gospel. There were a lot of things that President said that wasn’t really new, he just expects us a higher level; like how when the hermit crab grows, it has to find a new shell. There’s good news, we’ve grown, but now we need to go up to another level, and find a new shell (did I lose anyone?). After I went to an elder’s house to stay the night. We had sandwiches like what you would get from Subway, only bigger. I know it’s really weird saying it but it’s like Subway but on steroids.
Wednesday I was in conference again and I got back in my area late. I had plans to go and do interviews in Tulum (an area in my district) but when I called the sisters that were there, they said their investigators decided not to or something. So I still wasn’t going to be able to work in my area.
Thursday I had an interview for one of my investigators in my area and then in the afternoon I went to Tulum to help the sister missionaries with what they needed. There weren’t any problems in our area with our interviews so that wasn’t a problem. We went to Tulum and we started talking. In the end, we had two interviews. I remember a lot of it really clear. The spirit was super strong. When we finished, the family hadn’t thought of anyone to do the baptisms so they wanted me to do them. It was an older lady and a deacon aged son. After the interviews, the older lady kept saying that I was familiar, “like we had already met somewhere.” It was pretty fun.
Friday in the morning I had interviews in Puerto Morelos. It was a little bit hectic because the lock on the door had broken and the elders were locked inside their own house. One elder went out the back and climbed up on the roof and then jumped down. We went to do interviews and one had a problem with question 4. So they had one baptism. Later we had an activity set up in more or less central of Playa. It was in a park type thing. The activity was we had a member dress up as Santa. We invited everyone to take pictures with him because later we would print them and take the printed pictures to their house. Also we sang and had juice and everything like that. After the activity we had another party but it was missionary style. We had a huge baptism with the whole zone. There were only two companionships that didn’t have investigators to baptize. It was called our “white Christmas”. It all turned out well but it was a lot of headache.
Saturday we worked and did a lot of service so that our investigators could go to church.
Sunday we had a record for me. There were ten persons in church from our area that aren’t members. It was really cool, we are getting things done. In the afternoon we did the normal stuff but this has been a crazy week.
Well for a spiritual thought, I had a cool experience. We wrote in a copy of the Book of Mormon. I wrote how they had become a part of my family basically and that I went there every day so that my family could enter into the celestial kingdom. Later we sang “Families Can Be Together Forever” and it took on a new meaning. I already supposed that I was helping out my family, but it came to a further depth. I am here on a rescue mission to help my brothers and sisters from the pre existence come back home. I was blessed with the opportunity to listen to the gospel and I have put it in practice and I know that it is the way to get back home. Now I want everyone yes, EVERYONE even those that read my Email to know that Jesus is the Christ. He has set a way of living that we might apply his atoning sacrifice to our lives. Applying this atonement makes us pure and allows us to return home. I also know and want everyone to know that these teachings were lost, but are now restored. I know that they were restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. And most importantly I know that anyone can know this, if they want to know it. They can ask our Heavenly Father if this is true, through prayer.
My many wishes to those at this sacred holiday