"sabe bautizar? porque si no le corrijo" -Obispo Fuentes
WE BAPTIZED ON CHRISTMAS!!!!
Let me tell you this crazy story. We had a baptism planned for the 25th for like two weeks. We did the interview on Saturday and everything is ready. We show up early to church on Sunday to fill up the font. We get it on and everything ready and then 30 minutes before church when were about to go pick up our investigatior she calls. I answer the phone and shes says "my daughter has a fever so we can't come to church today and also I'm not going to be baptized today." I was like well just rip my heart out and tear it to pieces why don't you, I was didn't know what to do so I just gave the phone to my companion. I told him what happened and he as well could not convince her. We just were like "adios bautismo". We waited a bit and then Elder Sanchez had an idea. He called her again and asked her "what if we do have the baptism at 7 tonight?"...and she said yes. We waited all day and then we baptized her last night at 7. It was wonderful. This is a white Christmas in the mission.
I don't have a whole lot to say because I told everything to my parents yesterday when we talked on skype, There is one thing that I want to tell everyone. This Christmas I've really learned to value family. I was talking with someone about this, how before the mission there were traditions that I just despised sometimes. Like "hey were gonna drive around and look at Christmas lights!!" and I couldn't stand it! Or "hey were gonna go The Colony and watch the light show" and I'm like "we're willingly going to go to The Colony?" But this Christmas I would do almost anything to be able to watch Christmas lights with my family, I would give anything to be able to listen to Josh smack his cereal bright and early in the morning or hear Kate annoy the dog so that he starts barking. It's those small things that I never appreciated as much as I should have that I really, really miss. My invitation to everyone this Christmas is that we remember our families, and learn to love them a little more....because in the day that they're gone, you realize what you've lost. I'll be the first person to attest to the annoying-ness of families sometimes, but they're also those who we should love more than almost anyone else ever in the whole world. That's what I've really learned this Christmas.
I hope that everyone enjoyed their presents but more so I hope that everyone remembers Christ this Christmas. Here's something from President Grossen to end. It's called Mary's dream:
Mary's dream I had a dream Joseph. I don't understand it, not really, but I think it was about a birthday celebration for our Son. I think that was what it was all about. The people had been preparing for it for about six weeks. They had decorated the house and bought elaborate gifts. It was peculiar, though because the presents weren't for our Son. They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and stacked them under a tree. Yes, a tree Joseph, right in their house. They'd decorated the tree also. The branches were full of glowing balls and sparkling ornaments. There was a figure on top of the tree. It looked like an Angel might look. Oh it was beautiful. Everyone was laughing and happy. They were all excited about the gifts. They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our Son. I don't think they even knew Him. They never mentioned His name. Doesn't it seem odd for people to go to all that trouble to celebrate someone's birthday if they don't know Him. I had the strangest feeling that if our Son had gone to this celebration, He would have been intruding. Everything was so beautiful, Joseph, and everyone so full of cheer, but it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus not to be wanted at His own birthday celebration. I'm glad it was only a dream. How terrible, Joseph, if it had been real!
I love all of you guys and miss you so much!!! Have a great new year and make some resolutions!! Write me pouch mail...ask my mom how to do that.
Every now and then I get a special treat in a random text, email, or a Facebook post. This pic was posted on a page that is for parents of those serving in the Mexico City West mission. They just had there Christmas zone meeting. Looks like they had some fun racing cars made of veggies....
Christmas is already here and it doesn't feel like it at all. It's pretty weird to be here and when it's Christmas and I'm not asking for presents or anything. But it's casual, the mission is pretty cool.
I hope that everyone is enjoying their Christmas season and being out of school! We have half a day off and a conference...then we work the rest of the day. It's cool! I enjoy it. I'm not sad because I won't be getting presents or anything but I am just a little triste (sad) that the fam isn't here, ya feel??
This email is gonna be short, but a few things: we knocked an entire building this week. I read fourth floor last door one morning and felt inspired to go knock a building, so we did. First floor of 10 doors, nothing. Second floor of 10 doors, nothing, Third floor of 10 doors, nothing. Fourth floor, andddd....another 10 doors of nothing. Finally, the fifth floor, the promised land, where we would find the answer to our prayers, and 10 doors of nothing. I was just there thinking why in the world did I spend an hour knocking 5 floors, 50 doors in total, for nothing?....There's a principle here that I think I've already shared in other emails, but to me, there's faith, and then there's true faith. I think a lot of us have faith, we pray and we have the faith that things can happen. We know that Heavenly Father can answer our prayers, but that really isn't faith. It's easy to believe he can answer our prayers, give us what we want, but true faith, is that we trust that he gives us what we need. It's that faith that says "I know that you can save my child, heal my sister, fix this relationship, but if not....."it's the faith that says but if not, I still trust you. I still love you. I still know that you have a plan for me that's perfect. It's really hard, but there really is a plan that's perfect for all of us. We just need to trust in him.
The final thing is that I feel like I've learned the true meaning of Christmas. It's not about the presents, it's not about the food, the fun...I mean those things are all great and I miss them, but it's not about that. We all know that, but do we understand it? I'm not really getting any presents, not having a ton of the typical fun, I'm still eating lots of food though....but with those things that I don't have this Christmas I understand why. Go watch He is the Gift, I think it's from two Christmas's ago. It's super great and helps us to understand what the true gift of Christmas is.
I love Christmas SO MUCH!!! I miss you guys lots! This Christmas is really weird without everyone, but I know Heavenly Father doesn't want me in any other place, and that I'm exactly where he needs me to be. Have a fun Christmas and write me a nice Christmas email!!! Be safe, relax, and drink white hot chocolate because I cant find it in Mexico :( I love you guys! Remember what Christmas is really about!!
Hello family and friends, Christmas is approaching and I sweated to death today.
First I want to tell you guys what toreo is. You should google it, type "toreo naucalpan molino" or something like that and find the huge mall. Basically it's a mall, but it's 5 stories and super legit. We go sometimes on pday to look around and I think we're gonna go bowling sometime soon there. (yeah missionaries can bowl. I didn't know that either). But it's pretty legit.
In Mexico, for the most part stop signs and stop lights don't exist. At bigger intersections they do but mainly it's just slow down a little and whoever has more confidence sticks their neck out and goes. It's pretty funny to watch the traffic sometimes.
This week I got asked if I was Brazilian. I just kinda sat there for a minute and contemplated the question and what I was going to say. It really caught me off guard. but I'll take the honor that apparently my Spanish is good enough to be considered Brazilian. For those of you who don't know, Brazilians speak Portuguese. So I'll just leave that here.
I got sick, yet again. There's no more to say, besides the fact that even though I love Mexican food, Mexican food doesn't love me.
I got to paint! We painted a roof for an Hermana. It was pretty cool. We went to her house and I brought jeans to change into. I'd never worn these jeans before because I bought them right before I left. I put them on and I actually couldn't do the button. I'm not joking. I struggled for about 10 minutes....and after a lot of sucking and sucking and more sucking I finally buttoned it and suffered through painting with tight jeans for about 2 hours.
I tried "jugo verde" this week and let me tell you....probably the worst thing I've ever had in my life. It's a mixture of cactus, oranges, apple, banana, and some other green bitter thing. I almost cried drinking it, but I hope it makes me like super man or something with all that healthiness.
This is a cool story. We had a lesson with a new person this week and we had our second lesson with him on Sunday, The first time we met on his patio because we couldn't enter his house. His family is super catholic and testigo de jehovah. At the end of the lesson he was really interested and told us he wanted to make us feel a little more at home the next time we meet. So on Sunday (our 2nd lesson) we met in his workshop where he paints cars. We started to teach and stuff and he was like "uh sorry, but I'll be right back" and runs out. We were a little confused to what just happened and wondered if we had said something wrong. We wait a bit and he comes back with two bottles of water and apples for us and said "I just wanted to get you guys something, sorry". We then continued teaching and he was like "wait we're gonna do something". At this point I was thinking what's about to happen, and he grabs the keys to an Audi Q4 in his shop. He opens the drivers side door for me and I get in and Elder Sanchez gets in the passenger seat, and he gets in the back. So we have a whole entire lesson in an Audi....and at the end we committed him to be baptized on New Years day. That's pretty legit.
The last worldy thing is the saying "haga patria y mate un chilango." The concept of chilango is hilarious. Basically, no one wants to be a chilango, but the debate is that a chilango is either the people who live here in the ciudad, or the people who aren't from here but come to live in the ciudad (like me). The saying is basically "be a patriot and kill a chilango" because everyone hates chilangos. I just thought that was funny. Elder Sanchez taught me that..
Okay everyone, here is some homework for you...First there's a talk called "This Day" by President Eyring. Read it! It says we need to act TODAY. Don't wait for tomorrow, for the new year, or a new week. Start today! If we procrastinate the day of really anything, it could be too late. If we really want to change, we should do it today!I invite all of you to apply this...really try to change today. If you want something different, make it different right now. There's no need to wait. Second,
look up the talk "In Times of Affliction" it's not a talk but youtube it. It's super good. A lot of times we claim to be followers of Christ, but what do we do? Nothing. If we claim to be followers of Christ, WE MUST FOLLOW HIM! And where did he go? To suffer in the garden of Gethsemane, to die on the cross. If we say we follow Him, we too need to go to those places. It's tough. Believe me, I know it's tough. But it's worth it. If we really want to carry his name, we need to do what he did, say what he said, act as he acted, and feel a little of what he felt. Then we can say that we stand shoulder to shoulder with him. I can't think of a greater honor than that.
I love you guys a lot! I hope everyone is enjoying your Christmas season. I love this time of year. I hope you're all safe and happy because you all have a million reasons to be happy! Count your blessings please. I'm still praying for Texas and please pray for me! The mission is great, but it sure is tough. I hope you all have a great week! I love all your emails...keep them up.
PS Happy late Birthday to the one and only Granpda Jones!!! He's pretty cool :)
Our really good friends, the Fores family (they are actually more like family) have cousins in Mexico City. They met up with Braeden and plan on taking him to lunch on Wednesday. I recieved the nicest message and this pic yesterday. Oh, how it made my day and made my heart extrememly happy. Tender mercies are real....
We already agreed with Elder Jones and his companion, this week he will change his preparation day to Wednesday. They are going to the temple, so we agreed to take them to eat next week, we asked them if they needed anything even if it's money. I already gave them my cel and we will be in contact to come for them, it has to be in their area since they can not get out of it, but it is a very large area, we saw him very happy, tell his parents that we already talked to his bishop so he can make sure he is very well cared for. We will send more photos when we see him again. Greetings and keep in touch
This week, not a lot happened. I didn't get robbed. We didn't baptize anyone. People tried to speak English to me. I ate a lot of Mexican food. I ate another torta, like 4 times. That's all. Thanks guys, love you, have a good week!!
Nah, just kidding....a little more happened. This week I received a package from my lovely family with chocolate covered Oreo's, Chips Ahoy, and hot chocolate. All of you need to right now try these white chocolate covered Oreo's. They're magnificent. If any of you want to send me a package of Oreo's I wouldn't mind. Just ask mom how. :)
We have two newbies in our zone so I am no longer the greenie. Hermana Skagerberg from Utah and Elder Hassard from Idaho. They're both even whiter than I am so that's good. It was nice to speak English again.
I spent a night in the most dangerous area in the mission and I survived without a scratch. La ciudad (the city) is basically just a bunch of rolling hills. I'm in the two areas (actually 5, I'll explain that in a bit) that have no hills. In Molinito 2 you are pretty much always walking straight up a hill or straight down. If you don't believe me google maps Molino or Juarez Cadete and street view around. It's crazy.
We were in the metro the other day and just walking down the corridor and BOOM out of no where we see a ginormous church ad that says #ILUMINAelMUNDO (#LightTheWorld). It was LIT! It was this huge sign and I was proud to be a missionary preaching that every day.
I ate Little Caesars. We went to a members home to eat and they had an entire pizza for us. It was great. Also Jarritos orange soda....good stuff guys. Little Caesars tastes better here than in the US.
TMI so beware of this paragraph:
I clogged my first toilet in a members home and had to ask for a plunger. It was
quite embarrassing. Then I unclogged it and realized that it wasn't clogged...there was just not enough water. So I flushed it a few times and with the little bit of
water there was most of it went down. Then I was like, oh well, I tried.... and then we
learned that pooping is sketchy in Mexico because ya never know if the toilet
is gonna flush.
I threw up yet again everyone. These paragraphs are gross, huh?
I have learned to beware of street food. You think you're gonna be okay and you can do anything and then you try it and you throw it all up the next morning. Then you sleep for an hour and then you work the entire day because that's what missionaries do.
We contacted this lady one day and as we were talking to her she said, "uhhh I'm from a......different.....religion" and we were like that's okay. So we persisted a little and were getting no where so we left. As she closed the door Elder Sanchez said, "did you see her necklace?" and I said no, but apparently is was of the Santa Muerte (if you guys remember what that is...the saint of death) I was like "oh, that is a different religion." We then knocked a few more doors and found her friend dealing drugs. Weird but I felt perfectly safe. It's amazing how the spirit can influence someone in situations like that.
We now cover half of a zone. We cover 5 different areas now, Tezozomoc, Armas, Aquiles Serdan, Culturas, y Haciendas. This means we have the opportunity to baptize more, but it also means that I'm going to die of exhaustion. Totally worth it. There's this area in Culturas that"s called "las brujas". I don't know what that means but I know that they say if you go in after dark, you don't come out. So we're definitely gonna avoid that area.
This part is just for you mom....This morning we had to leave the house at 6:45am to leave our clothes with an Hermana to wash them. As we were walking I saw a mom and her son on a tandem bike on the way to school. Que lindo (How Beautiful).
To finish on a good note: I want to share my own quote I wrote while in Molinito 2. It was despues de la comida (after lunch). I was waiting for my companero while he used the bathroom. I saw a backyard for the first time since I've been here in mexico. I went and sat in the playground there. Remember there are lots of hills and I was looking out over the area. This thought came to my mind, "I'm sitting in a backyard in Mexico, on a seesaw, overlooking Molinito 2. I just ate guisado...and it's because I love Jesus." This may not mean anything for you but for me it meant a lot. I've experienced what it means to be in Mexico, in the most dangerous area in the mission. It's pretty hard at times. A lot of times in life we're asked to do a lot of really hard things....especially as members of the church. It's hard, I know. I've learned so much in the past 3 months, probably more than the last 18 years of my life. I'm here because of the love I have for Christ. I think that's what motivates us to do these hard things. When we really love Jesus Christ and understand what he's done for us and the blessings we have, it doesn't matter how hard the life is. It doesn't matter if, like I've said before, if we fail that test, lose that job, get robbed, lose a loved one, because we understand Jesus Christ, and his love. I invite all of you to search for his love in your lives. If you don't feel it, search a little harder, because I promise you it's there. Maybe you think "nah, it's because he's Elder Jones and he's in Mexico and he needs it more" but no. We both sleep under the same moon. We're both children of God....and the love of Christ will always be available if we search for it.
Thanks for reading guys, I love you all lots!! Pray for Elder Sanchez and our investigators, and the members, and the profeta and apostles, and me too please.
I hope you all have a good week and are enjoying the Christmas season!! Watch the Christmas video from the church this week, I don't know how its called in English but go to mormon.org and you can see it there!!! You'll feel Christ's love if you do. I love you guys!! Have a great week and be safe
Odd subject title, huh??? Well people cut their toe nails when they're gonna be out with their shoes off....and missionaries only take their shoes off in public when they baptize. So guess what that means? MY FIRST BAPTISM!
Let me just tell you that it's up there with the best experiences of my life. To baptize someone, to help bring their soul to Christ, and to know that we were the ones that helped Juana Maria arrive at that point....was amazing. The service was so spiritual I almost cried. This is what makes it all worth it.
We don't have gas in the apartment right now, so basically we bathe with water that's so cold. When I get out of she shower my scalp´is numb and then hurts very painfully. We're in the process of figuring out how to buy gas. It's tough guys.
I was pretty much sick all week. Every member got very mad at and me and then regañaban (scolded me) I don't remember how to translate that one. So now I have this huge bag of medicine of pretty much anything you want for a cough or the flu. It's great that they actually care about me.
I gave another talk on Sunday, this time in Tezozomoc. We also didn't know about it until Saturday. It was crazy because I barely wrote anything and the words just came to me. A lot of people said they liked what I had to say. I really felt the spirit guiding my words and that I said what the Lord wanted me to say.
When I put my shirt on yesterday.....I couldn't button the top button.... it was really painful and took about 10 minutes to do but I finally got it. It was really really tough. I need to lose weight.
Enchiladas are really good. Like REALLY good. Also tortas. I finally had my first torta in the street and it was amazing.
Yesterday we went to a place called Toreo. It's not in our area but we had to meet the zone leaders. Basically Toreo is a ginormous mall. I saw some white people. I was so excited. I wanted to talk to them but I was to scared. We went about our business and we lost sight of them. As we came out of the bathroom we saw them again. I didn't want to miss the opportunity again so I talked to the wife. I asked her if she spoke English. We started talking and she told me they are from Germany. They're visiting their brother that works in the embassy. She asked why I am here and I told her that I am a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Finally her husband came over and she asked how my Spanish is. I said it was okay and they asked me for help because they couldn't find their Uber, I was able to talk with the Uber driver and they got their ride and thanked me a lot. It was cool. It's amazing how I finally decided to talk to them. It was really just because I wanted to speak English a little bit. They actually needed my help because it was getting dark and stuff. Afterwards I realized that the Lord led me to those people to help them....because I acted, they received the help they needed.... and it was just cool to speak English again
I know the lord has a perfect plan for us. We need to try and understand why Heavenly Father has us experience some of the things we do. It's all part of a perfect plan that He has for us. It's super hard to understand at times. Trust me, I've learned that in the few short months here....but i know there IS a plan, I promise you that. People are placed in our way, good and bad, for a certain reason. It's through prayer, and the love that we gain for our savior that we understand, learn, and progress in this life.
I hope all of you guys are learning from me! Because I'm learning a lot right now and I love to share with all of you. Life as a missionary is super tough, a little scary, but more rewarding than anything else. I learned that this past weekend with our baptism. I love you guys so much!! And miss you too! Don't forget that. I hope you're all good. Have a great week this week!! Pray for me while I'm praying for you!!!
Hey guys mission life is still great and also crazy. Few things I want to share with you (and Kate but I don't have her email) I finally pooped solid yesterday!!! woohoo it was amazing. Also THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT MAKE ME A SKYPE ACCOUNT TODAY. I NEED IT BEFORE WE TALK ON CHRISTMAS AND I CANT MAKE ONE HERE. DO IT LIKE BRAEDENMICHAELJONES AND PASSWORD XXXXXX. But that's all about that. Also one crazy story. On Saturday after the baptism we went to an investigators house. Well first we went home and I called to see if we could come by in an hour, and when she answered, she was crying and really bad so we went by in that moment. She was mourning the death of her husband from about 6 months ago, and she was really drunk and it was really interesting to say the least. But we just listened, and eventually she wanted to give us something to eat so we sat down and ate and after that we asked to take all her alcohol. She said no at first, and dumped some into a glass with coke and we got really nervous and we kept talking, and then she drank half the glass as we pleaded with her not to. So we kept talking, got her to give us the beer in the fridge so we dumped it down the sink. She drank more of her glass. I couldn't take it any more. I was really frustrated and so I raised my voice and demanded that she gave me her glass, that we're here to help and were trying so hard and it's because we care and if you don't listen to us were just wasting our time and you're wasting your time, so give me your glass right now. and I kept asking and asking and finally she agreed and gave the rest to me and I dumped it. It was crazy. But I felt that the spirit was able to influence her just enough in those moments that she gave me the rest. It was one of those experiences I'll never forget from the mission. I love you guys a lot!!! and I miss you. but we'll talk in 4 weeks!! have a good week and hasta luego
Hello everyone! I love you all. Right now I'm in the process of dying from an unknown sickness but it's okay because I'm a missionary.
I hope you all had a great week. I really miss you all.
We ate with Hermano Morales's family on Wednesday. They feed us delicious food every other week. He always says, "aquí comemos rico, aunque seamos pobres" this translates (more or less) as "here we eat delicious, even though we're poor". I almost cry every time he says this....it's true, I can make soup for 10 pesos and it tastes just as good as anything else in the United States.
Last Monday we were walking to a cita (appointment) in the rain (again it rains too much) and this taxi was just chilling in the road for no reason. I was getting a little upset that they were holding up traffic. Then I realized the taxi was muerto (dead). The taxi driver rolls down the window and yells "GUERO" and says some other stuff I didn't catch but he made some pushing motions with his hands. I finally understood he wanted us to push his car. So we pushed his taxi until it started. It was cool, I like pushing cars. We pushed another car on Saturday but we accidentally pushed it into a curb, but it's casual.
We helped move this lady out of her house and into another. We carried a bunch of stuff from the third floor of an apartment building down into a van, and then jumped in the back of the van and laid on top of all the stuff. (this was so great I wish I had a picture) There was so much stuff we scraped across speed bumps. One of the bishopric members made the joke that we were getting ready to cross the frontera (border), and that we should keep our heads down. It was great
We ate Dominos pizza and had Costco cheesecake on Wednesday....greatest day of my life. It was just like the United States. The same counselor of the bishopric that said we were gonna cross the border told me he can find mountain dew here and buy it for me. I almost cried for joy.
This story is awesome. We had intercambios (exchanges) on Wednesday with the lideres de zona. Elder Martinez came to our area with me. That night he told me he wanted hot water in the morning so we were examining the boiler, trying to figure out how it worked (first bad idea). He begins reading the steps on the boiler, they don't make sense to me because they're in Spanish. (I only know how to preach in Spanish) So he turns some knobs, sticks a lighter in the hole, and we wait. I have my flashlight pointing in the hole and I'm looking through it. I hear this "whoosh" and I'm like what is that. Before I can ask Elder Martinez the boiler lights and a huge flame shoots out the hole and hits me straight in the face. I freak out and sprint into the bathroom wondering how much of my eyebrows and eyelashes are gone, but everything is intact so no worries guys.
I contacted my first micro. A micro is a bus. It costs 4 pesos to ride. The micros are those buses you see pictures of where there are 800 people inside and 17 hanging off the doors, and they're real. The best spot actually is hanging off the door because the wind is blowing and it's great. Anyway, we were coming back from intercambios and I told Elder Sanchez I was going to contact this micro. So it's pretty full, all the seats are taken and two people are standing in the back. I knew this was the perfect opportunity. I stand up and ask the bus driver if I can share something with his micro, and he says of course. I turn around with my Libro de Mormon to these 20-25 people and say "Muy buenos dias hermanos y hermanas! Disculpe por la molestia, pero queremos presentarnos con ustedes! Somos misioneros, de la iglesia de Jesucristo do los santos de los ultimos dias..." (Good afternoon brothers and sisters! Forgive me for bothering you but we would like to share [a message] with you! We are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints....) and I contact this entire micro. We got one reference from from those 25 people but he's not from our area. Speaking to the whole entire micro was hard to do, but I actually really enjoyed it!!
We visit some less actives from one of our wards a lot. Elizabeth, Abish, y Ana Elen. They're a family of three. Ana is 7. Her mom wants us to teach her so that she can be baptized in February. We were with them the other day and Ana comes up to me and gestures for me to bend down so she can tell me a secret. She says "you're my favorite Elder that's ever visited us". I started laughing so hard it was really adorable.
I had a really special experience where the spirit spoke to me like never before. We were knocking a door of a less active family. We had never visited them before. We knocked once and no one came to the door. So we knocked again. After the second knock we waited. We could smell the weed from inside, that's pretty normal and doesn't usually stop us, but this time I really felt that we really should not enter this house. My companion was like, "Nah, it's okay. We are going in". So he knocks one more time and someone answers. We go in and teach this family. It's obvious that they need help so I began to think that what I heard/felt was nothing...that this is good for this family. We continuing talking to them and it gets weird. The family tells us about some problems and the conversation gets even more weird. I was not getting good vibes. My comp asks they're last name and when they tell us, my companion realizes this was a family that the Bishop told us that we should NOT visit. So he hurries up and ends the lesson and we leave. He then tells me, "that's the family that the Bishop told us not to visit. I'm sorry I didn't listen to you...you were prompted by the spirit and I didn't listen." It was an amazing experience for me but I also felt bad that I didn't stand up more for what I felt we needed to do.
I ate some bad chicken on Friday. It woke me up early Saturday morning and I saw it all again. It was quite terrible. But because I'm a missionary I slept a little and then we went to work.
Finally, last week we had a conference for all of Mexico. Carol F. McConkie (she spoke in very bad Spanish), Elder de Hoyos (he speaks Spanish), Elder Hales (he used a translator), and Elder Nelson (also spoke in bad Spanish) spoke. It was super spiritual. Elder de Hoyos said "joy and happiness have little to do with the circumstances of life. They have to do with focus, and our focus should be the Savior". This hit me like a bag of bricks. All the times that I've been upset because of how life has been around me....its really not those circumstances that should affect me. I should be focused on the Savior and his love for me. Then I'll see and feel and know the happiness we can obtain here. In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter if you get robbed, if you fail a test, if your baptism falls through, or if you scratch up your car. We need to have an eternal perspective to focus on the Savior.
Very last, Alma 38:5 says: And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
Remember this always. Remember that if we trust in God it's gonna be okay. I promise you guys that, as a missionary I've learned this. It's really hard to understand the plans God has for us, but they're his plans and they're perfect. Remember, if we have that eternal perspective, focus on the savior and trust in God, we will "be lifted up at the last day"
I love you guys! Pray for me, and I'll be praying for you. Enjoy Texas! I miss it. Enjoy Thanksgiving!!!....because it doesn't exist here (awk)
HaHa....only joking, I got a shot. We were given flu shots on Thursday at a meeting I attended, which I will explain about more later. It was by another missionary too!! They just ask if you feel comfortable giving shots and if you say yes then have fun! I was a man though my eyes didn't even water.
First off, I forgot to mention last week about the Santa Muerte. I mentioned it to you all before, but if you don't remember you can google it. We were walking home late one night and we hear this ominous voice like chanting something, and we look and see this congregation of people all listening and there are 75ish people all standing and listening. As we pass we realize it's for the Santa Muerte. I start freaking out and start to walk really fast and then this little kid passes us and goes "BOO" and I almost pee myself. He and his buddies start cracking up and I'm about to cry BTW this is like two blocks from our house on the same street. But it's chill.
One of our investigators works in a polleria. We saw her one day and started to talk with her and her co worker. As we were talking they pull out a chicken and start destroying it, like chopping it up in all sorts of ways and the head was still attached. She just straight up whacked it off. It was legit. Maybe I'll take a video one of these days.
We had comida on Tuesday with Hermana Recendiz. I ate so much that I literally almost started crying my stomach hurt so bad. I could barely move. I tried to go to the bathroom and there was NO PAPER. So I knock on the door of the hermana and I'm like "hermana tiene papel por el baño" and shes like omg it's over in the other room hurry!! I was so thankful!
It's rained like a metric ton here in the past week, On Tuesday or Wednesday we were in a cita and it started to rain, and then rain a little more, and then it started pouring. As we finished we walked outside and the guy (he's really old) we were teaching asks if it's raining (remember it's pouring) and we're like "No, only a little, no worries! We'll see you later!" At this point we take off sprinting for cover, and run from cover to cover on the street to our house to get our jackets. We get to the house and I'm already soaked and put on my jacket which is literally pointless. (remember we don't use umbrellas....that's a no). We throw on our jackets and run to the church for our "meeting". I get there and my shoes and socks are soaked. My pants are soaked. Even my underwear is soaked, My shoulders are wet, and my head, hair, and face are soaked. We get to the church and the meeting was canceled!! So we keep running and finally find a taxi that lets us in, we get rejected a lot...I'm not sure why. We go to the Bishops house and he apologizes for forgetting to tell us the the meeting was cancelled!! From there we sprint to our cita. The sister we are visiting opens the door and I'm just smiling from ear to ear soaking wet. I don't know why but I loved that night so much!! Mission's are cool.The mission life is great!
I'm sad because I'm fat. I lowered a loop on my belt
We had a meeting with the area 70 here named Elder Valenzuela on Thursday! I wish I would have brought my notes but I'll tell you guys more next week. It was super great!! I learned a lot.
Everyone calls us Edgar because they think we're Edgar but I'm like no dude its "Elder Jones not Edgar Jones" it's super funny.
I was super depressed that I couldn't watch the USA v. Mexico game. However, I did watch about two and half minutes but I am trying to be a righteous missionary, I did see USA lose in the last five minutes which was a little sad. But I'm in Mexico so I guess I should be happy?? Nah, I still root for USA on the soccer side.
I'm going to tell you guys about the enabling power of the atonement next week because I also forgot my notes for that. Dude it's so crazy what Elder Bednar has to say about it. We can all learn so much!
We played American football with the Elders of the ward last week and I ate 16 tacos de canaste. It was super fun. You can tell some of them had really never touched a football in their lives but it was a solid game!! Of course, as the only guero playing, I was the mvp.
We contacted a van(?) of 12 people. Since I am the token white person we started talking about Trump. We turned it into the gospel. It's really easy to contact right now because everyone wants to talk about Trump and how bad the world is. I always tell them this gospel is the good in the world, it can change your life if you give us 10 minutes to tell you about it. I love being a missionary!
I got pooped on by a bird. I have no more to say concerning this.
Also it's really cold here right now....like 55 degrees all day. I'm over here bundled up in a sweater and jacket all day.
That's about all this week! The last thing is that yesterday, instead of me contacting someone, this old guy contacted me! It was IN ENGLISH. I have never struggled so much in my life to speak English. I tried responding in Spanish but he wanted me to speak English because he to practice. He was good! I was stuttering and trying to think of words as I spoke to him in English. It was the hard.
That's all amigos! Thank you for your emails this week. I'll talk to you again next week!! stay safe and follow Jesus, i love you guys!!
Hello family! I love you guys a lot!! I miss you guys every morning when I wake up and when I go to bed. During the day I don't really think about you guys because it's like walk and walk and walk and work and work and contact and contact and don't get hit by that car, and that guy looks sketchy so lets cross the street, and oh there's a moto so lets turn around and run, but I hope you guys are having as much fun in Texas as I am here. Also suffered a little too because that's how we know we're having good times. But two things!! Tweet or instagram that if people aren't getting my emails to message their email so they can receive it too. Also print all my emails and put them in a binder in chronological order! So it's like a book of my mission. Also Josh if you can find principes on amazon, order the kind in the green package. I normally just get the other two kinds but I tried the green and it's like KEY LIME PIE!!! I ate one and I was like JOSHUA bc he always talks about key lime pie. Also last week after we talked I had the greatest evening of my life, it was so great so thank you guys for everything you do. I got pouch mail and the package this week so thank you guys a lot !!!!!!! It was delicious food. I love you guys lots if you want a souvenir or something tell me specifically and I can search the next two years. Love you guys!!!
Number one: remember how last week I said I'm fat? Well, we contacted a guy who owns an Herbalife franchise, (which is not in the price range of missionaries) and I used his scale. I have gained almost 14 pounds. Pray for me people. My collars and pants are a struggle. And it's super hard to exercise.
Number two: we contacted this nice little viejita on Dia de los Muertos (I dont remember which one because there's two Dias de los Muertos) but she was nice. We talked a little and then we tried to set up a cita with her and she was like "I'm deaf" and we kept trying to talk to her and she just kept saying "I'm deaf! I'm deaf! it was the funniest thing ever. Sad to say, we walked away without an appointment.
This past Wednesday we had the junta de nuevos, which is just the newbie meeting. It was super great to see Elder Romero again, a great relief, because I really, really miss him. We were best friends. In the junta we just talked about different things about how we can adjust and reviewed what we've learned as newbies so far. It's really interesting because I saw lots of my friends from the CCM. We were talking about different problems we have and I told them I was upset because we would have like 6 or 7 lessons scheduled but only have 3 or 4 actuals by the end of the day because addresses don't exist, people aren't home, and stuff like that. I learned a trick: always ask for a phone number, and if they give it to you, read it back to them. but change a number, and if they don't correct you then they lied. It's pretty smart, an elder that's about to go home taught me that.
At the junta I talked with some of my friends about their problems. It's hard because one of them really misses his brother because they were best friends. So I talked about how I've coped, because I always need someone to confide in like mom or dad or Josh or Kate or Braxton or other friends, but all I have is my companion...who is from a completely different culture and doesn't speak English. Don't get me wrong, I love him, but if you can understand it's just hard to confide in him because of our differences. It's a great skill I'm learning here in the mission. I shared how we need to learn to confide in the Lord. Especially here in the mission, we NEED to learn to confide in the Lord. One night this week I just buried my face in my bed (we don't have pillows) and talked to him and told him everything that was wrong. I didn't start with padre celestial and I didn't end with amen, I just talked and I felt really good after. It was like we had our own little conversation. I think it's a skill we should all master, not just for missionaries.
We contacted this old guy and I was super stoked because he approached us. He said he wanted to learn more about Joseph Smith and the restoration. So the day of the cita came and we went to his house (he lives right next door...how convenient and amazing). We walk in and sit down and he says "step 1¨ and does this catholic prayer and blesses us. Then "step 2¨and goes on to explain the catholic religion and why he believes in it. Then "step 3" and mas o menos tears us apart for our beliefs, tells us that we need to go to a padre and repent and confess and change, and then tried to guilt trip us at the end by saying our companions never came back and visited him so we need to come back and talk with him. I don't think we're going back. I'm learning a lot about other religions! It's pretty hard in Spanish but I'm trying.
Elder Sanchez was telling me about the junta de nuevos when the newbies and trainers split up, and the trainers were talking about each individual newbie. and the ONLY ones that said their companions were doing well and working hard and progressing are Elder Sanchez, and Elder Johnson (in other words the trainers of me, and Elder Romero) which made me feel really good because I've felt like a tonto the past four weeks really, it's hard to be a missionary. But good, and rewarding.
One thing you should know about Elder Sanchez and I: we don't use paraguas. Why? We don't want to look like testigos. We've already been mistaken for them once. One time too many.
I had a nose bleed this week. It was weird.
We have these neighbors that always blare worldy music...and it's good worldy music. It's hard to ignore it. If I'm being completely honest with you guys, sometimes I sit in the bathroom and open the window and just listen. I miss you guys and music.
So before the ninos pray here they always do the versito. I'm going to share it with you guys because its awesome.
"antes de hacer la oracion
pondre toda mi atencion
mis brazitos cruzare
mi cabezita inclinare
mis ojitos cerrare
mientras al padre orare"
I finally memorized it you guys should be proud of me.
There's this huge tianguis (un tianguis is a huge temporary flea market where they sell anything you can imagine--including Books of Mormon and himnarios that they've robbed from missionaries) but every Thursday it's right in the middle of our street and it's HUGE. I' gonna buy a fake Nike jacket because they look pretty fly.
There's this guy that helped us out when we got robbed one night. We were walking down the same street where it happened the other day and I was scared because there was a huge group of guys we had to walk past. We were walking by and the guy that helped us when we got robbed was actually there! He was like "AYY HERMANITOS" and I knew we were all good and then we saw him dealing weed with his friends... but oh well he's our protector.
The other night it was dark out and we were walking to a cita and I said buenas noches to this guy who was dancing. He starts screaming "HI HI HI HI AMIGO HI MY FRIEND" and I'm like dude, Elder Sanchez run! This guy is gonna kill us, and he runs over and puts his arm around me and is like "VAMOS POR UNOS COCOHUATES" and I'm like uh, okay...so we go to this store and he buys a huge bag of peanuts for me, Then blesses me in some weird manner and runs off dancing again. I was terrified.
Elder Johnson gave me some advice at the junta. I was telling him how it was hard to focus, hard to be a missionary, and he told me that I should just focus in the moment. He leaves in two weeks back to Portland, by the way. He said that I should try to think, that when I'm running around from cita to cita, and it's pouring rain and dark outside (which actually happened the night after) that I should think "This is SO cool. What other time in my life am I going to be able to do this?" So I've been trying to do that.
Also: I've struggle a lot this week homies. Being a missionary is quite the task. Please send me your SHORT...please keep them short inspirational scriptures or thoughts you have throughout the week if you think they can help. I would appreciate that.
We were talking with Juana Maria the other day. She's one of our investigators. She was talking about how she overcame her challenge to go to church. She has a health problem that causes her a lot of embarrassment so she doesn't like to go out very much. A few weeks ago I was explaining to her that there are some things that are commandments. It's really hard to do them, but they're still commandments. For me, it's to come here, leave EVERYTHING for TWO YEARS. My family, friends, studies, hobbies, everything, because the lord has commanded me. She told us the other day that because I told her that she decided to go to church. That made me feel really good.
Finally, I want to share with you guys three scriptures. numero uno: 3 Nefi 5:13 "13 Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." this is how we feel in the beginning. I AM SO STOKED TO BE A MISSIONARY. And I really am, I love knowing that I've been called of Jesus Christ to declare his word among his people, to help them be saved in the kingdom of god.
Numero dos: Doctrina y Convenios 122:7-9 "7 And if thou shouldst be cast into thepit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into thedeep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine tohedgeup the way; and above all, if the very jaws ofhellshall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. 8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? 9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."
This is where "therefore, hold on" comes into play. We need to hold on, find comfort in the sacrifice of the Savior, and keep pushing, because God is here for us. He's going to help us. We just need to have faith and keep trying.
Numero tres: 2 Timoteo 4:7 "7 I have fought a good fight, I have finishedmy course, I have kept the faith:" At the end of my mission, I want to be able to say this. And the end of my life, I want to be able to say this. It should be a goal for all of us. Keep fighting, amigos. I know that life is tough, being a student, parent, athlete, member of the church, simply living these days is really hard at times, but if we hold on, so that we can say we've fought the good fight, then we will be blessed more than we can know.
I hope I'm an example for you guys! I'm really trying to do good here. It's so hard, I'll be honest. A lot of times I feel like I can't do it, but I'm pushing. Missionary work is a huge sacrifice. I only have four weeks (in the field) and its the toughest thing I've ever done in my life. But when I think about what Jesus Christ has done for me....that he suffered all kinds of pain, temptations, and sufferings...he was spat upon, tortured, made fun of, despised, (you can read Mosiah 14 for more on his suffering that could help you understand), I realize that I need to do something. I'm here to give back what I can for what he did. So that others can then realize the grand sacrifice that he made for me, and for you, and for all of us. That they too can be saved through His infinite atonement. That's what motivates me to be here. I love you guys, thanks for spending time and reading my emails. I'll talk to you all next week! Stay safe, love you all