Monday, December 31, 2012

January 31st, 2012

This is a little boring after skyping last Tuesday.  But hey, it's still way better than having to send you letters in the mail!  

This week was really great.  I don't really have a whole lot of time right now, but we found a lot of new awesome people.  In fact, we put 5 baptismal dates! It was awesome.  

We went back with a family that we had visited with Elder A but we never really followed up on them.  We talked with the mom, whose name is T, and taught her the restoration.  It went well.  We challenged her to pray every day because they have been having a lot of economic problems lately and are really stressed out, and we went back the next day and she felt a lot better!  This time, we challenged her to be baptized, and she said that she likes listening to us and everything, but doesn't really want to change her religion.  Then we explained to her that everything we invite her to do is something that will help her have a better life.  For example, we told you to pray, you prayed, your day has been a lot better today than it was yesterday.  It'll be that way when you read the Book of Mormon, go to church, and get baptized.  And she actually got it!  It was really cool to feel the spirit working through us to know what to say and through her to change her heart.  I loved it.  The next day we went back and her husband (R) was there.  We had a super awesome member with us that helped them feel a little better about accepting a baptismal date, and they did!  They didn't go to church, so we'll work more on that this week.

R, Valentina's sister in law, went to church this week, accepted a baptismal date for the 19th of January, and told us she is going to separate from her boyfriend (R) so she can get baptized. Awesome!

We got a referral from one of the youth of his friend O.  Also super open and ready to get baptized!  He has a date for January 26th, and the coolest thing about that is that his friend who is a member will be 16 by that time and can baptize him!  He didn't go to church either, but we'll see what happens this week.

A less active member also gave us a referral and we visited her last night.  We taught the restoration and it all made sense to her and she told us that she has been looking for a spiritual guide in her life.  Perfect!  She's also getting baptized on January 26th, if all goes well.

Also, V was going to go check today if her old marriage is still valid.  If not, she can get married with J soon and he can get baptized!  So hopefully that all works out.

So yeah, this week was awesome.  I`m feeling really great and my companion's doing a lot better too.  We've had a lot of cool spiritual experiences and it has really helped him.  I need to go, but I love you all!  Happy New Year!  Make 2013 the best year of your life!  Have a great week!

Elder Pew

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 24th, 2012 Christmas Eve

It was a rough week.  We were in all different places and it was hard to get a rhythm.  Monday we were in Guadalajara, Tuesday in Ciudad Guzman, Thursday night we slept over in Guzman because we had to go to Colima Friday for a Christmas party with the missionaries from 3 different zones.  It was kind of crazy.  And then we get home Friday night and I insists that we baptize him the next day.  What!?  So we went over there and went over the baptismal interview questions and he knew them really well, so we planned the service, mostly because we didn't want him to get discouraged by telling him no when finally he was ready and excited.  He passed his interview Saturday morning and was baptized that afternoon.  All seemed to be going well, until he didn't show up for his confirmation on Sunday.  Why?  Because he didn't feel like it.  I was pretty bugged about that.  How can you call us the night before insisting that we baptize you and then not come to your confirmation?  But we went and talked to him after church and hopefully he'll come this Sunday.  

It's been a little stressful training.  Elder R has been kind of sad and hesitant to do anything this week, and we haven't really had time to calm down.  Also, we don't have a whole lot of investigators right now, so we're looking for new people and praying that we'll find them.  

The Christmas party thing was really great.  Elder A, Elder C, and R were there, so that was fun to see them again.  Elder A calls me about every two hours to say he misses me.  Kind of funny.  Our zone was assigned to perform "What Child is This?" at the party, and I played piano while another Elder from another zone played violin.  We spiced it up a little bit and it was pretty sweet.  It was fun to do that kind of thing again.  

We also had a Christmas party in our branch Saturday night and it was really great.  I'll explain more later because we are running out of time.  

Tomorrow we have district class in Ciudad Guzman in the morning, so I won't be able to talk until about 4:30-5 ish, so like 3:30 over there.  We have an hour to talk.  I hope that's ok.  Be looking for me that whole time.  If that doesn't work out, I don't really know what to do.  Maybe I'll call you, or send you an email with a number you can call tomorrow in the house of the member where we are going to talk.  But I'm confident that it'll all work out.  

Pray for me a lot.  I have a lot of responsibility right now - I have to teach a new companion everything he needs to know and run this crazy area at the same time, and I've never even been senior companion before.  I don't really know what I'm doing but I'm trying my best.  I love you all so much and I can't wait to talk to you tomorrow! Have a great Christmas!  Don't forget the reason we celebrate this holiday -- for the gift our Father in Heaven gave to us.  Use that gift in your lives, the gift of His Son and His Atonement.  He lives and loves each one of you.

Hasta mañana

Elder Pew

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19, 2012

Hey.  It's Wednesday and I haven't written yet.  I'm guessing that Mom has already stalked around the mission blog enough to know that I'm training.  So yeah, that's why I haven't written yet.  I was in Guadalajara all day Monday to pick up my child and we didn't get home until 9:30 at night.  And yesterday we had district class in Ciudad Guzman and appointments to go to.  It's been a crazy start for the poor little guy.  I feel kind of bad because we don't have food, water, an iron, or shampoo, but not that bad because my first week was way crazier. 

Elder A got transferred to Colima as District Leader.  He's only called me about 7 times since he left.  I think he misses me or something.  But, I found out that he lives in the same house as Rockford (Breton's cousin)!  Which was cool to find out because I had heard nothing of him up until now.  I talked to him on the phone a little bit on Monday.  Sounds like he's doing great.  Also, his new companion is Elder C, who was with me in Auditorio!  So he's in good hands and I'm basically best friends with everyone that lives in that house.  

My new companion is Elder R.  He's from Trugillo, Peru.  He's 18 years old and has been a member since he was 9, even though his parents aren't members.  His aunt and uncle took him to church every week because he was the only member in his family, but he baptized his older brother a few months before leaving on the mission.  He is a little shy but he's obedient and has lots of questions.  President Wagner told us to answer all questions possible with "What does the mission manual/Preach My Gospel say?"  We'll see how long it takes for him to get sick of hearing that.  He's been a little homesick and he misses his friends from the MTC.  It's been kind of hard for him these last few days, so pray extra hard that he can feel better.  

I feel kind of weird training because I hardly know anything either, but it's cool.  Of all the 9 trainers this transfer, only 2 have more than 6 months of experience.  Most of them are from my generation.  President Wagner told us that we were chosen for obedience, not knowledge, and that the Lord wants the culture of obedience in this mission to improve.  We had an hour and a half long meeting with him before meeting our children and it was pure gold, as always.  He told us that we will learn more in these 12 weeks than in our first 12 weeks when we were trained.  I totally believe it.  

J got baptized last week.  Elder A baptized him, I confirmed him, and he got the priesthood Sunday also.  We aren't going to have any baptisms this week for reasons that I don't have time to explain, but we were having 20 lessons with a member every week with Elder A, and I don't expect that standard to change.  We have a lot of people with baptismal dates in the next few weeks, so hopefully that all goes well. 

We are allowed to talk via skype.  The call will come on Christmas day, I'll tell you what time this Monday.  If there is a time that you would prefer, let me know, because I'm pretty sure we'll have that day pretty open.  I don't have a lot of time today, but pray for us a lot, ok?  Mostly pray that Elder R can feel more comfortable and that I can know how to train him well.  I love you all so much!  Have a great week!  Talk to you Monday and Tuesday!

-Elder Pew

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

Hello everyone!  Thanks for all the letters!  I am so very blessed.  My poor companion was stressing out this morning when we came to print off our emails because nobody had written him.  Luckily, they wrote him later in the day.  Prayer works. 
Zane - Be good so that Santa brings you your Lego Batman.  I hope you are having fun in the snow!
Gwen - Did you go to Granny's house?
Izak - I'm not going to lie, your letter this week scared me a little bit.  Are you ok?  Good thing it's almost Christmas break. 
Micah - You're funny.  And obviously we have churros here and they are way better than the ones in the United States.  They make them fresh in the street and they are super cheap so we always buy them.  Another reason why I'm fat.
Timo - Sounds like everything is going great.  Your sports sewing class sounds amazing.  Pictures?  Also, I wish I could be there to see Lone Peak's basketball team this year.  Sounds super awesome.  Also, your little mission prep class sounds really great.  That is the most important thing--following the Spirit--both when planning the lesson and teaching it.  And when you feel it working through you and the people you teach it just feels amazing. 
Emily - I also sang the national anthem this week.  I teach English classes in the church every Saturday and Wednesday night, and I felt like that would be an appropriate opening hymn.  Congratulations, because I'm sure you did it much better than I did.  You sound very busy and happy, so keep it up!
Dad - Thanks for the music, it all made it just fine!  It has gotten colder here too.  It's still pretty warm during the day, but in the mornings it's pretty dang cold.  Sayula is one of the coldest areas in this mission because it is so high up in the mountains.  I kind of do miss the other seasons, actually, it's just more exciting that way.  Ask me in two years if I still think that and you'll probably get a different answer, once I'm back in the frozen tundra of Utah.  But a little bit of a difference would be kind of nice.
Mom - I thoroughly enjoyed the quotes that Dad sent me from you.  Ingenious.  I would love that recipe, but we don't have an oven.  Or time.  And if you make me a DVD I could probably find somewhere to watch it.  And oh my goodness I didn't realize how much you get done until now that I read it every week.  You are amazing, Mom!
This week was a little crazy.  On Tuesday we had our regular district class in Ciudad Guzman, and afterward we were standing outside the chapel when 4 Jehovah's Witness Missionaries walked up and started talking to us in English.  One was from Idaho, two from Maryland, and one from somewhere else.  They were there to preach to the English speaking people of Ciudad Guzman, which are probably about 6 or 7, but whatever.  Me and Elder J, another missionary in our district that I met in the MTC, decided to contact them.  It's official, I can't speak English.  I tried to explain the restoration to this lady in English but I could not do it.  It was kind of sad.  I'm in this weird stage right now where my Spanish is still not perfect but I'm losing my English fast and it just feels weird.  
So we had two baptismal dates for this Saturday, T and I.  Everything was going great with T until Wednesday.  We had a great lesson, she was still planning on getting baptized, and then after the closing prayer she totally changed her mind and said she didn't want to because her kids are Catholic and one of her sons was going to do the First communion or something that week.  It was really weird.  I really am at a loss for what to do about her.  The poor confused woman just doesn't understand half of what is going on in the world around her.  
I (initial) was iffy all week, and we went over Friday to review the baptismal interview questions with him and he clearly wasn't ready.  He'll listen to us, come to church, and commit to do things when it's convenient, but he really doesn't feel much of a desire to really repent right now.  So we're going to leave him alone for a little bit.  
More miracles with V's family - We showed up one day and V and J were about to separate.  They were both really mad at each other for dumb reasons and were ready to give up.  We talked with them for about two hours.  At the end, we shared the story of Jesus when he asks Peter three times "Do you love me?"  and by the end they were hugging and in love again.  It was so amazing.  The spirit really has the power to change hearts. 
Miracle 2 - Her super-gangsta brother started listening to us this week.  At first when we went over there, he would leave, turn up the volume of the TV, or be really obnoxious, but the last two weeks he hasn't been that way.  V asked us to go put an appointment just with him one night, so we went and talked to him.  He accepted, and then told us that he hears voices in his head and they bother him and he wants to get rid of it.  So we fasted and gave him a blessing on Saturday and it was amazing.  He even cried!  He told us that he is sick of the life he is living and wants to repent.  We have a baptismal date for him for the 29th, but it's going to take a lot of work. 
So guess who showed up to church this Sunday?  President Wagner(Mission President!  Love that man.  He spoke in sacrament meeting and it was amazing, and then talked with our Branch President to set everything straight.  Whew.  Also, V, J, their kids and their niece came.  J should get baptized this week.  Things are going good. 
This is the last week of my third transfer and I meet the 6 month mark this Thursday.  Where has all this time gone?  I feel like all my time is running out.  But I'm learning so much.  Thank you all for your prayers and support.  I couldn't do this without you.  It has still been really hard, but through our trials we grow stronger.  Trust in God and in your Savior!  Don't ever forget the reason we celebrate Christmas.  He lives and he loves each one of you.  I love you all so much!
-Elder Pew

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3rd, 2012

You are right, mom, the year is going way fast.  I almost have 6 months in the mission already.  What?  Crazy.  Also, it feels double crazy here because the weather hasn't changed hardly at all and to me it feels like April.  But it's December.  ¡Cómo marcha el tiempo!
Thanks for stalking for me and giving me updates on everybody's lives.  At this rate, seems like pretty much everyone will be on a mission or married when I get back, but it's cool.  And I am so very happy to know that the N family is finally getting baptized!  I'll have to write them a letter one of these p-days.  Also, speaking of facebook, apparently I have a friend request from someone named M.  It's V, I guess her real name is M but everyone calls her V because she was born on Valentine's day.  So don't decline that request, just wait and accept her when I leave this area. 
Dad, I haven´t exactly seen what Brother Powell described, but that is also my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon and the people here definitely feel the Spirit when we read it with them. 
Timo, sounds like you had the time of your life in New York!  I do love that city.  You got to do a lot of things that I didn't when I went (Brooklyn Bridge, Metropolitan Museum).  Super fun.  Maybe you'll get your mission call there.  I kind of secretly wanted to go there if I went stateside.  Have fun with your mission papers and know that I pray for you every day.
This week was pretty good.  We accomplished our goal of 20 lessons with a member present!  The standard of excellence for the mission is 30, and it's only a matter of time until we meet that goal, too.  C and S have been coming with us to all the lessons every afternoon and it's been really great.  Strenghten the new convert, have more lessons with a member.  The bad news is that I really didn't put in much of an effort to be ready for his baptism this Saturday, so we had to move it to this week.  Other bad news, T was the only investigator that we had in church this week, even though we were expecting about 8.  So there's still plenty of work to do.  But, we should have two baptisms this week, if all goes well.  And we have baptismal dates for every Saturday in December, so hopefully all these people can come through. 
We had a super cool experience this weekend.  To start off, V's mom is the most Catholic person I have ever met in my life.   Every once in a while we end up teaching lessons over there because that's where V, J, and J are, and she has no problem with that.  She's been present for a few lessons and she participates.  But the other night, she asked to talk to us.  She shared some problems that she has been going through and asked for help.  We put an appointment for the next day and talked to her.  It went pretty well, and we scheduled a family night with her and V's family for the next night.  We taught the restoration in the family night and cleared up her doubts on why we don't pray to Jesus and the Holy Ghost, why we don't worship the virgin, why we don't use the symbol of the cross, all that.  It was really great, and you could really see the spirit working in her.  We visited her and her husband Sunday after church and taught the plan of Salvation.  We challenged them both to be baptized and they accepted a date for the 29th of December. It was an absolute miracle.  Afterwards, they asked us to give them blessings for their health, and everybody felt the Spirit really strong.  We challenged them to take off their cross necklaces and sleep without them for one night to see how it would go, and they said they would.  The Lord is working miracles in this family.  It started with one less active member and now her husband, son, sister in law, niece, mom, and dad are all listening to us, despite the fact that none of them wanted anything to do with us about a month ago.  This church is true, and when people feel the Spirit and have a willing heart, it works miracles in them.  I can't wait to see what happens with them.  There are still a lot of challenges for them that they need to sort out, please pray for them this week. 
Thanks for sending the baptismal clothes, and thanks to Sister Maag for providing the money for them!  Thank you all for your love and support, for your prayers for me and your faithfulness in the gospel.  Things have been really hard for me here--for time's sake, I haven't shared the challenges that I've had--but I am receiving so many blessings and learning so much.  Elder A and I really are working hard to help the work go forth here, and we are being blessed with lots of results.  Jesus Christ lives, and this is His church and His work.  Never doubt it.  Trust in Him.  My new favorite scripture right now is John 16:33.  He has overcome the world, and through Him, we can too.  I love you all so much!  Have a great week!
-Elder Pew
PS We are thinking about setting up so that we can use Skype when we call home this Christmas.  Would that be possible for you?  Would your internet connection support that, or could you find some other place to do it if not?  Let me know what you think about this, so we can set it up.  Love you! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012

Sorry this letter is coming so late.  We went to Tapalpa again today and got back a lot later than we should have.  There are a lot of things going on around here out of my control that shouldn't be that I am going to try and take control of this week.  Whew.
Ok.  Well, it was a great week.  Remember J?  Well, his whole family is listening to us intently now.  We put a baptismal date this week with his sister in law , his neice S, his son J, and J's girlfriend D.  When we teach over there, they bring out all the chairs and stools they own and sit in a big semi circle in their living room while we teach standing.  It feels pretty awesome.  We actually had lunch with them on Wednesday, which is when we met D.  She told us she wonders some times if God really does exist, so we had her pray and ask if he did.  She felt the spirit really strong and was there the next day while we taught the plan of Salvation to the whole family.  She had a ton of questions about religion, it blew my mind a little bit (she's 13).  Questions like "Why do we naturally not want to do the will of God?" and "If this life is about falling and getting up again, why don't my parents let me make mistakes?"  She's super interested and we answered all her questions.  She really felt something that first visit and knows the church is true, but her mom is super catholic and she is scared to tell her that she is listening to us, so we are praying really hard for her. 
J is 13 and has never wanted to listen to the missionaries in the least until now.  He is a really smart kid that has been mixed up in the wrong crowd but wants more peace in his life.  We taught him in the chapel one day, and by that I mean I taught him the whole restoration in about 12 minutes while Elder A was in the bathroom.  The poor man was having problems that day.  But anyways, he understood everything really well and has been super excited about everything.  He's reading the Book of Mormon and praying and he said he wants to get baptized because he knows it will make him happy. 
We had an activity Saturday morning.  We invited all the youth to come with us and be missionaries for a day.  We did a little training in the morning, made them their own name tags, and then they came with us to proselyte.  Only 4 people came, including J and C, who both weren't members at this point.  But it went well.  Except that J and one of the other kids that came, Z, are enemies and really hate each other.  So before we did anything, we had a little lesson with those two about the Atonement and had them sort out their problems.  They forgave each other and were companions for the day, and were best friends by the time the activity ended.  That is the power of the Atonement.  It is infinite and eternal and can work miracles in our lives if we are humble enough to use it.  It was a great experience to see this immediate change between two people.  The activity was really fun, we didn't have a lot of appointments that day so we spent a lot of time contacting people in the streets, and by that I mean making 12 and 13 year old kids contact people in the streets.  It was a great way to help J strengthen his testimony--testifying that our message is true to a bunch of random people he doesn't know. 
We had C's baptism that night.  J, J, V, and S came.  It went well.  Elder A baptized her and I did the confirmation yesterday in church.  It was a great experience.  She really felt great when she got baptized (obviously). 
When we went to a Cyber cafe to print out the programs for C's baptism, the girl helping us asked us if the baptism was in Sayula.  We told her yes and explained who we are and what we do and put an appointment for the next day.  She said she would like that.  We went over to teach her and she is super escogida!  Her name is J, and she told us that she is looking for spiritual guidance in her life and that no church that she has gone to has really satisfied that.  We taught her the restoration and it all made sense to her.  We put a baptismal date for December 29th and she accepted it and said she would come to church this week (the lesson was Sunday afternoon).  She is in college and lives in Ciudad Guzman during the week, so we only will be able to teach her Saturdays and Sundays, but hey, I am not complaining.  I love it when God just blesses us with someone like that out of nowhere. 
We have been having challenges with our Branch President.  I am not going to go into details, but he doesn't treat the members with a whole lot of love and is making it really hard for this branch to progress.  And when we give him suggestions, he gets mad and thinks we are trying to challenge his authority.  It has been a struggle.  Pray a lot for him to change his heart.  He is the man with the keys to run this branch, and we have to act under his direction, but the way is doing things really has been difficult to deal with, both for us, the members, and the investigators.
Today we went to Tapalpa with the Zone leaders.  They slept over at our house last night, 4 of us in two beds, in other words, nobody slept.  We hiked to a waterfall, but it took 2 hours to hike there and back, and with the travel time that it takes to hitchhike to Tapalpa from here and the two meals the members insisted on feeding us, it was a long day.  But I took some really cool pictures that I'll send you some time. 
It was a big week. If C's brother I really works hard this week, he could get baptized this saturday.  Speaking of which, I am going to need white pants and a white tie for baptisms.  There isn't an extra pair here, and I probably won't survive the whole mission without baptismal clothes.  What would be the best way to get them?  Could you send me some, or is that out of the question?  Let me know.  Also, Dad, email probably is the best way to send music to me.  Thanks!  Also, that memory card you sent me in the package didn't make it past the mailroom, so I bought one here. 
I love you all!  Pray for me a lot this week, there is a lot of work to do here.  I love you all a lot! 
-Elder Pew

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19th, 2012

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Timo!  Ya puedes fumar, casarte, divorciarte, e ir a la misión.  Sugiero que escojas la última.  Pero en serio, ojalá que fuera un día excelente para tí.  Disfruta tu tiempo en la prepa y preparate bien para la misión.  Tendrás éxito, estoy seguro.  ¡Te amo!
Zane, you get a happy birthday in English!  Yes!  Have a super awesome birthday on Saturday!  9 years of being a pompeeface, how does it feel?  Chile con carne, me gusta.  Love you!
That's super awesome that you met Elder Heath.  He's super great!  I really wish he was here right now.  That really made me so happy that you got to talk to him. 
I got the first Christmas package with the stockings this week.  Thank you very much!  I loved the cookies especially.  Also, thanks to the Cleveland family for the Christmas package!  I'm assuming I'm not supposed to open it until Christmas, so I won't unless I receive further instruction.
It was a hard week again.  We have a lot of appointments, but I don't feel like we are really teaching a whole lot of people who actually care.  We only had one investigator in church yesterday.  His name is J.  He is living with a less active member (they aren't married) and he's a member of some other church, but as the missionaries have been working with his not-wife, he has gotten a little more interested.  We explained the restoration to him and it seemed to make sense.  He accepted a baptismal challenge but we can't really put a date because him and V will have to get married first, and that could take months to sort out here in Mexico.  But he's cool.
T didn't get baptized.  I'm kind of at a loss of what to do about her right now other than just wait, because she can't read and still doesn't remember who Joseph Smith is, even though we've taught the restoration twice.  Patience, patience.  She does have a really strong desire to follow Christ and has received multiple answers from the Holy Ghost that the church is true, and she has come to church a bunch of times.  Not really sure why she didn't come yesterday, but I´m guessing she probably just forgot since we couldn't visit her Friday or Saturday. 
C should get baptized this Saturday.  We've taught her everything and she is still reading the Book of Mormon and praying every day.  She couldn't come to church yesterday because her family went somewhere, but if all goes well, she should still get baptized.  So that's good.  I do really enjoy teaching her. 
Elder A is nice and he loves me, but he really wants to make sure I do things right and doesn't let me make mistakes.  That's been a little bit discouraging sometimes, realizing how many weaknesses I still have and how far I still have to come.  I'm learning a lot of humility here, and patience.  I want to run before I can walk, I guess you could say.  And all this has made me a little too worried about what I´m doing and less focused on the people and what they need to hear.  I´ve kind of back fired on myself a little bit.  I don't know.  I've been praying a lot for help, but it's going to take some time.  I know I'm supposed to be here and that I need to go through this to become a better person and to be able to help more people.  
In other news, I tried tongue tacos this week.  Yep, cow tongue tacos.  They were fantastic!  I really did like them a lot.  Elder Heath really missed out by never trying them because he was too scared.  Next on my list are eyeball tacos and lip tacos.  I can´t decide which I should be more scared of...
So there is this little town about an hour from here up higher in the mountains that is also in our area.  It's called Tapalpa.  It kind of reminds me of Park City, just more Mexican.  There are a few inactive members up there, and one family that comes to church whenever they have the money to pay for the bus ride down here.  We went and hung out with them today with two other missionaries in our zone.  They have a little ranch resort thing, so we went and walked around.  How did we get there?  Hitchhiking.  Not even joking.  As if it wasn't dangerous enough in the United States...  But it was fun.  Very cold, but fun.  Things like that just make me love Mexico.  That we can ride in the back of three different random trucks to get where we want to go and it's not even a big deal.
Picture from Zone Conference, Taran's companion is on the right.


Love this one!
I'm sorry if this letter seems a little discouraging.  I'd like to say that things are getting better, I really hope they are, but it's a process.  I know my Heavenly Father put me here for a reason, he knows me perfectly and he knows what I need.  Jesus Christ is my Savior and His Atonement can work miracles in my life.  It already has, and it will again.  This is His church and His work that I am doing, and if we are on His side we cannot fail.  I love you all!  Have a great week!

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012

What a long week.  Wow. 
This is a very different place than the city.  Very calm, less...busy.  Like, we can meet with our investigators every day, the members have time to come with us, it's cool.  Also, did I forget to mention that we have bikes?  Pretty fun, but my legs are on fire always.  Naturally, I got landed with a tiny, Mongoose bike like the one I had when I first learned how to ride, and pedaling that little thing all over the rocky streets of this little town is hilariously painful.  But the weather is amazing, the mountains are absolutely gorgeous, I like it. 
Elder Armengol is a horse.  The man works and works and works.  Apparently, his previous companion didn't want to do anything, and now he's bursting out of his cage.  They normally had about 5 or 6 lessons with a member each week.  This week we had 18.  I'm learning a lot from him.  Obviously, there is a reason I am here.  It's sad to be away from Auditorio, but God wants me here and I'm going to find out why. 
So being in a branch is a lot different than being in a ward.  For example, this sunday I spoke in sacrament meeting, played piano, prepared the sacrament, and taught primary.  Which is all fine, except for the primary part.  THose kids are a lot of work.  They combined the whole primary this week because the primary president just moved to mexico city (I don't blame her at all) and the other primary teacher went inactive (I do blame her).  They were like a bunch of 4 foot whirling dirvishes.  I don't even know what a whirling dirvish is, but that's what they were like.  Sheish.  Anyway, this branch really lacks priesthood leadership, there are only a handful of active men, and half of them are recent converts who don't really know anything.  So that will really be the challenge here.  We are focusing more on the members than the investigators right now.  President Wagner said that if the attendance in the branch stays where it is at about 70 from now until december, they will construct a chapel here in Sayula.  Right now we are meeting in a rented out building.  It's beautiful and serves its purpose fine, but still, who doesn't want a chapel?  So we are using that to motivate the members to come to church and to come with us to lessons, because we have a new mission rule that we can no longer teach investigators without a member present unless the lesson is in the chapel.  No member, no lesson.  Pray for the members here that they can be strengthened.  We have been going around every day teaching them whatever we learned in our personal study in the morning, and it has been pretty effective.  A marvelous work is about to come forth here. 
I got sick this week.  Tamales again, dang it.  Better stay away from those.  I spent two nights on the toilet with diarrhea.  But speaking of food and the perks of Sayula, there are two members that own bakeries and one with a taco stand, so we pretty much have free reign of mexican pastries and tacos whenever we want.  So great.
We might have a baptism this week.  Her name is T and she has been going to church for a long time, but she has a really hard time understanding things.  It is hard for her to progress because she can barely read the Book of Mormon and still doesn't get how to pray.  It has taken a lot of patience.  Pray for her please!  We have a baptismal date for the 24th also, a 13 year old girl named C.  She is friends with some members and has also been coming to church for a while now.  We have taught her almost all the lessons this week and she is progressing really well. 
I just want to take a minute to tell you how much I love you.  Mom, Dad, thank you for being faithful members of the church who raised me well so I can be happy.  I have been so blessed and I know it is because of decisions you made when you were my age and younger to choose the right and serve the Lord.  It has been really hard to be all of a sudden sacked out of an area and away from the members, missionaries, and investigators that I loved so much, and to come here where I have no friends, no idea what is going on, and no one else who speaks English other than my Heavenly Father.  I have been a little homesick this week, I am not going to lie, and I don't want to be like that.  I want to be totally focused and consecrated to the Lord.  What did you do in situations like that?  I have definitely been praying a lot and learning lots of patience and humility, but I still don't feel...satisfied?  I don't want to be so focused on me and how I feel, I want to care more about the people here.  Advice? Pray for me please.
Timo, enjoy your last week of childhood!  Keep being strong in the gospel.  Read the Book of Mormon and pray every day.  You are going to be an amazing missionary, I know it.  Set a good example for the little guys.
Emily, keep being the wonderful person you are.  Smile, be a friend to everyone like you already do, and Heavenly Father will use you to bless many lives. 
Izak, you have the priesthood.  Honor it, be a good boy and listen to mom and dad.  You will be a great example to your friends and little brothers.
Micah and Zane, listen to the Holy Ghost.  He will help you make good decisions.  I love you!
Gwen, you're so great!  Smile, be nice to your brothers and your friends, pay attention in primary.  Be ready when it's time to get baptized in two years. 
I love you!  I pray for you every day!  Trust in God and in Jesus Christ.  He is your Savior, and through him, we can live together forever!  Have a great week!
Elder Pew
PS somebody tell Steph happy birthday this Saturday.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 5th, 2012

C's baptism

Awesome family they have been teaching.

Another great family they were teaching.

A member's dune buggy thing--I told him I wanted a photo of it!
The baptism of G.

*We got this late and then we had internet problems.

Guess where I am right now?  Not in Guadalajara.  I´m in Sayula.
Where is Sayula?  Why am I here?  I´m wondering the same things. 
Basically, we had an amazing week.  Last week, a woman named M came to church with us.  Her daughter just got baptized in another part of the city, and she came with her husband to our chapel to introduce her mom to the church.  Obviously, we went and visited her and it was awesome.  We met her other daughter, A, who told us she was confused about all the different churches in the world and wanted to know which was true.  What?!  Yeah, super great.  So they were super cool.  Also, we went with R, J, and M, met their other sister/daughter, also super awesome and already wants to get baptized!  We found E again, he's still awesome.  The N family is still super converted and C didn't drink any coffee.  Things were going great. 
Then Wednesday we visited G to do the reteaching with her.  
We had to do divisions on Friday and because we had Canciano's baptismal interview that day, Elder Sosa went with Elder Heath and I went with Elder Brighton, who has just as much time in the mission as me.  Kind of crazy, right?  But it was awesome!  He is incredible, and I learned that it doesn't matter how good I am, if we try our best and follow the Spirit, God makes up the difference.  We taught the plan of salvation to a guy named J and put a baptismal date for him!  It was great.  Elder Brighton is now not only district leader, but he is also training a new missionary.  He is going to be the prophet.
C passed his interview and got baptized Saturday morning.  It was great!  He's a great guy, and he was really happy.  They interviewed him right after the baptism for the priesthood, too.  He got it yesterday in church.
Yesterday was absolutely incredible.  We had 9 investigators in church!!!  Which ties the record for Elder Heath's entire mission.  J, R, and the new sister M came, along with the N family, A, and a new girl that a member brought named C.  We have been so blessed this week!  So grateful.  But not only did we have all these investigators there, it was also the most incredible testimony meeting I have ever been in in my entire life!  The feeling in there was just incredible.  There was an enormous line of people to bear there testimonies, youth, children, and adults, and it was all very, very spiritual and very powerful.  I can't even describe how amazing it was and the love that I felt for each one of those people in there.  It was really bittersweet, having to leave all these people but knowing that we left the area strong.  Elder Heath left at about 3:45 for the mission office, and I hung out with Elder Quilumba, our zone leader, who also was trained by elder Heath and who´s companion also went home this week. 
His new companion.
I found out last night that I would be transferred to Sayulah in the Ciudad Guzman zone.  Sayulah is a little town way up in the middle of the mountains about 2 hours south of Guadalajara.  It's really cool, it's not super rural or poor or anything, lots of nice little parks, skinny little streets, and surrounded by beautiful, green mountains.  Also, the weather is incredible.  It's one of the coldest areas of the whole mission.  There are about 60-70 active members here in the branch.  Oh by the way, I'm the second counselor in the branch presidency.  My companion Elder Armengol is the first counselor.  He's super excited and seems like a really hard worker. He has two transfers more than me in the mission and he is from Oaxaca.  He's been a member for 2 years now and he's 23.  There's a lot of work to do here, but we're going to have success. 
Well, that's my crazy week.  It's been really hard to leave Auditorio and start over where I don't know anyone or know what's going on, but I know I am here for a reason and if we work hard, we'll be blessed.  I'm going to need a lot of prayers this week, for me, for this area, and for the investigators that we left in Auditorio.  I love you all and I know this is the true church.  Be good so we can be an eternal family! 
Elder Pew
PS  thanks for the packages, I got the Halloween and Thanksgiving ones this week. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29th, 2012

So much to write about, so little time!  What a week.  It was great. 
So basically, we started the week with like two investigators.  Lots of finding.  We talked to a lot of people this week and got a lot of references and the next few weeks should be super awesome. 
So this Monday I read a talk that Elder Brighton showed me by Tad R. Callister about becoming a consecrated missionary.  Changed my life.  I think I'm about 6 times the missionary I was before reading it.  I'm going to make copies of it and send it to Timo because I don't think you can find it on the internet since it was given in the MTC. 
Crazy man story of the week:  Last week this guy showed up to church who talked to us in the street the day before.  But he seemed a little suspicious.  We put an appointment with him at church, and we went to visit him Tuesday.  As we expected, he's completely nuts.  He didn't let us teach anything, he just talked and talked about who knows what.  At one point, he pulled out a painting of an angel slaying a demon and told us the demon represents England.  What?  Also, apparently he knows Obama.  Pretty cool, right?
So, Thursday we had a ward activity.  The Elders Quorum president had a meeting with us missionaries last week to plan something to help out with our ward unity.  The attendance in the chapel has been dwindling, and since the ward boundaries were just changed a little before I got here, there is a bit of a division in the ward.  So we planned this activity and it went really well.  Each companionship of missionaries shared a spiritual thought about unity, the atonement, and charity, then we sang "To Bring the World His Truth."  I played guitar again.  It was great.  After that, we played volleyball and ate Nacho Libre style Mexican corn, which is really delicious.  It was super fun, and me and Elder Heath won every game of volleyball.  Yeah.  Also, all the little kids took turns playing guitar with me.  They would take the pick and strum while I did the chords with my left hand.  They loved it.  It was a lot of fun, a lot of ward members came, and Elder Brighton and Elder Sosa received a golden reference from it. 
Friday night we visited a couple who has already listened to the missionaries and have testimonies, they just can't get baptized yet because they aren't married.  They sell tacos, and they gave us 10 free tacos each.  They were amazing!  I tried liver tacos and intestine tacos, and they were both really good, actually.  Next on my list is tongue tacos and eyeball tacos.  I'm a little bit more scared about those.
We found an awesome family Saturday morning.  Their names are J (18) M (21) and their mom R.  I feel like I recognize them, like I've seen them before.  Probably in the pre earth life.  We contacted M husband a few days before on a bus and he gave us his address.  He wasn't there when we visited, but these three were and they are super ready for the gospel.  They were catholic, but didn't like a lot of things about that church.  They have recently started reading the Bible and want to know what God wants for them.  It was a great lesson, they could all feel the spirit.  J even started crying.  They even recognized it as the spirit before we explained it to them.  They are awesome!  And they came to church yesterday.  We are going to put a baptismal date for them this wednesday for the 10th of November.
Also on saturday, we had a lesson with a less active member named Hermano R.  He served a mission back in the 60s or 70s and baptized over 600 people!  He has stopped going to church ever since his divorce seven years ago.  At first, he seemed pretty stubborn, but we could really feel the spirit working in us to respond to his doubts.  It was really cool, and by the end of the lesson, he cracked.  He said he wanted to come back, but he would feel uncomfortable without any friends.  So we are going to work with him some more this week and see if we can get him reactivated because he really could help this ward a lot.
After that, we did a surprise attack visit with the N family.  Only the dad, C, was there, so we read the Book of Mormon with him and talked a little bit.  And by that I mean he shared his testimony for about 20 minutes with us about how he knows the church is true because he is living the way we have told him to and he has noticed great differences in his life.  Also, he has been telling his parents about what he and his family have learned and they are interested too.  He invited them to the next lesson with us, so hopefully we'll be able to start teaching them too.  I was so happy to hear all that!  I couldn't hold it in!  I was smiling really, really big!  This is why I'm here!  Yes!  The church is so true!  I am so grateful for the opportunity I've had to see this family come to Christ.  I can't wait for them to get baptized.  They have worked really hard on freeing up their schedules so they can come to church this week and hopefully every week afterwards, so they should get baptized soon.  Pray for them.
C came to church this week, we've taught him all the lessons, and he's keeping all the commitments, so he's getting baptized this Saturday!  He has a little trouble with coffee, since he works 24 hours straight as a security guard every other day and needs to take something to stay awake, but other than that there is nothing else really that would stop him.  Pray for him to not drink coffee.  He had some doubts about tithing at first, because he literally lives in the security guard shack where he works, pays 4/5 of what he earns to his kids since he is divorced, and hardly has enough money to buy food as it is, but yesterday he told us he is not worried about it anymore and that he knows God will take care of him.  Such faith!  Love that guy!  He's so solid!  I think we are going to sing "Where Can I Turn for Peace" at his baptism.  So excited for him!
So our focus this week was on finding, but other than that one family, we didn't really find any new investigators this week.  But then yesterday we received a bunch of awesome references from members that we are going to visit this week.  The Lord has really been trying our patience in this area, but we've kept working hard and now he's blessing us so much!  We really should baptize every week from this Saturday until the end of the next transfer, if all goes well.  I am very grateful.
To answer questions, Dad, we go with the Priests in our ward as much as we can.  There are going to be some amazing missionaries coming out of this ward, I can promise you that.  Elder Heath heads to the offices right after church this Sunday, so yeah, I'll be in a trio with Elder Sosa and Elder Brighton until Monday when I get my new companion.  I'll find out Sunday night who that will be.  As far as you guys going to his farewell, I am going to give him your phone number so he can call you when he gets back. He was already planning on visiting you, so I'll let you work that out.  I'm going to miss that guy.  I have learned so much from him about what a sanctified, consecrated missionary can really accomplish. 
I have not received any such Halloween package, it's probably sitting in the offices.  That's just how it goes around here, all our mail goes to the offices, and they bring it to us when we have zone conferences or interviews with the president or whatever.  Tell Steph congratulations on making it into the nursing program, that I got the first letter she sent me already, and that I am going to respond to it as soon as possible. 
Emily, you are funny.
Gwen, they don't eat pumpkin bread here, just pan de muerto.  I'll let Timo or Mom explain to you what that is.
Timo, ¡felicidades por alcanzar tu Águila! y por casi ganar el campeonato de flag football.  Y por tu español.
Micah, I hope you had fun at Clear Creek!
Mom, I don't eat anything other than a banana or a mandarin orange at night.  I never even eat dinner, but I'm definitely getting fat.  I have a little belly now, it's disgusting.  It's because they feed us SO MUCH in our lunch appointments.  I always leave with my belly bursting and my mouth on fire.  It's amazing food, but they always offer me seconds, and I have to say yes because I am American and they'll think I don't like it if I say no.  Also, I always thought "poquito más" meant "just a little more" but I think it actually means "GIVE ME ALL YOU'VE GOT!"  Sheesh.  So that's why I'm fat. 
Well, have a great week everyone!  The church is true, and they more you live the gospel the happier you'll be!  Love you all! 
Elder Pew
ps sorry, no pictures again, this computer's a little handicapped.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012

Well, we baptized someone!  Yes!  It all went really well. It was kind of hectic getting ready for it because we had the whole thing planned, then we found out Wednesday that she had got a job and couldn't be baptized Saturday night.  So we had to change it to the morning and we had to replan almost everything because we were going to have a joint baptism with Elder Evans and Elder Cisneros.  But it all went well.  She came, ward members came, the talks were good, the font was clean (there were cockroaches in it last sunday), and our musical number went well.  Me, Elder Heath, Elder Brighton, and Elder Evans sang I like to look for rainbows or whatever that song is called and I played guitar.  It was cool.  Also, G asked me to baptize her, so that was pretty exciting!  She's doing great.  She already has visiting teachers and they are going to give her a calling this week.  Love this ward!  

Other than that, this week was kind of rough.  I was on divisions with Elder Sosa Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and we took turns being in my area and then in his.  It kind of threw off our rhythm a little bit.  I don't have a lot of time, but basically, we had to drop everyone but I because nobody is progressing anymore.  We'll still visit the N family and M about once a week, but we've already taught them everything and they just need to act on it now.  

We did get a sweet referral this week from a member family.  His name is C and he works as the Guard to this little gated community where these members live.  He met with the missionaries about 15 years ago, but then he moved and hasn't had anything to do with the church since.  But his life has taken a turn for the worse and he's ready to change.  He came to church this week and we have a baptismal date for him for Nov. 3, Elder Heath's last full day.  Loco.  

I love you all!  Next week I'll try to send pictures of the baptism!  Be good!  I'm doing great and this is going to be a great week.  Pray for us to be able to find new people to teach.  Hasta luego!

Elder Pew

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15th, 2012

First things first: Happy Birthday Gwen!  I hope you had the best day ever!  How are you already 6?  You need to stop growing up!  I hope you are having fun with your build-a-bear. I love you!

Happy birthday Emily tomorrow!  One more year and you can date and drive.  How do you feel about that?  Because it makes me kind of sick to my stomach.  But hey, congratulations.  Are you getting your permit yet or no?  I think I was 16 when I got mine, so you´re not lame if you wait a little bit.  Or you're at least only just as lame as we.  But whatever.  Have a lovely day, ok?  Ok. (yes, both girls have a birthday a day apart)

Ok, well, while we´re congratulating still, Emily King's engaged!? Awesome! Someone congratulate her and Michael for me.  Also, that's cool that Hannah Abbot's engaged too.  And I don't know if you heard, but Jay Jorgensen got his mission call to Uruguay!  Super excited for that boy.  Keep stalking my friends and updating me on these things, ok?  Thanks.

Alright, well, this week was a good one.  We found a new family with 5 kids!  Ages 6 (M J), 8 (M), 9 (M S),10 (M G), and 11 (R).  Their mom (M) seems really receptive to us and like she is ready for change in her life, so it could be good.  The kids are great, also.  They couldn't come to church this week, but since when does anyone come the first week?  

We also found a new lady named C.  She actually has an aunt who is a member who lives in Arizona, and she went to church with her a few times over there and loved it.  So when we talked to her and asked if we could come back and teach her, she invited us right on over.  She has been reading the Book of Mormon and enjoying it (obviously), so that's good.  She didn't come to church though and we aren't really sure why.  We'll find out tonight, I guess.

The N family didn't come to church.  Again.  So they can't get baptized this week.  They are literally the most busy people I have ever met.  They all have testimonies though, and they say they are trying to rearrange their schedules so they can come, the problem is that they are doctors who do appointments in people's houses and have had some of the same clients for years and years, so it's going to take some time to get that all sorted out so that they can keep the Sabbath day holy.  But hopefully they can still get baptized while Elder Heath is here.  

A the magician moved out of nowhere, so hopefully he finds the gospel wherever he is now.  

We had a hard time getting a hold of M this week.  We finally found her home on Friday.  I guess last Sunday she had to take her baby to the hospital, and then Tuesday she took her other daughter to the hospital, and she was sick the whole time too.  On top of all that, her family has been having financial problems.  She was a little discouraged.  She actually started smoking again.  But when we were there, she told us she wanted to keep progressing, to get back to where she was before all that stuff happened.  We talked about faith and gave her a blessing and it was a really spiritual lesson.  She asked us to keep coming and not leave her so she could keep feeling the Spirit.  It was really great.  But then she didn't come to church again.  So I don't really know what we're going to do about her.  She needs a lot of prayers.  It's amazing how fast people forget their testimonies without the gift of the Holy Ghost (and with it, sometimes).  That is why it is so important to always strive to have the Spirit with you to remind you of the testimony you have already received and the way you've felt when you gained that testimony.  That's why it's important to write down spiritual impressions, too.  How many times do we leave a super spiritual sacrament meeting, general conference, fireside, or something like that thinking "I am never going to sin again!"  And how easily do we forget these feelings!  We need always remember.  Always reflect on what you have learned and felt to help keep that excitement for living the gospel.  

I'm turning pink and getting fat.

I is doing great.  We had a super spiritual lesson with him about the plan of salvation this week. Once again, he gave the closing prayer and felt the spirit so strong he cried!  He said he really realizes now that we are children of God and how awful God feels when we are not obedient.  Yes!  He came to church again (on his own this time) and he will get baptized as soon as he can quit smoking and drinking.

We met J's younger brother yesterday.  Who would have guessed?  

G told us this week that she wants to get baptized as soon as possible!  She is totally ready, she just had to come to church one more time.  And she did!  So we have been planning her baptism this weekend!  My first one!  I am so excited!!!  Also, I think we are going to do a special musical number featuring me playing something on the guitar.  I'm not sure which song yet, but I've figured out a couple hymns and primary songs on Elder Sosa's guitar, so I'm pretty excited about that too.  But mostly I'm just happy that G is getting baptized!  Yes!

Ok, well, I'm about out of time.  Sounds like you are all doing well.  Keep being great.  Endure to the end!  Progress every day!  Become more like Christ, and you'll be happier.  And we'll be an eternal family someday.  I love you all!  Have a great week!