Thursday, August 30, 2012

Some photos of Elder Pew in Mexico!

Elder Pew rubs his eye, his companion Elder Heath to the left of him.

Elder Pew teaches the Restoration to another missionary in 3 minutes.

Elder Heath and Elder Pew on the end enjoy sloppy joes and chocolate chip cookies --his President's wife's doing.  She is awesome!

His Zone, Independencia (he is not standing with his companion)
So being the stalker type mom that I am I follow the mission blog and I noticed a new post with photos from Zone Conferences.  I had received a quick email last week from his Mission President's wife that she had seen him and he seemed to be doing well, yadda yadda.  It was nice of her to say so!  So I thought,"Hey maybe there are some photos of Elder Pew".  YEAH, there were 4!  Okay not the best photos of him but still...made me smile.  I loved Zone Conferences, and I think he is loving this one!

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27th, 2012

Hello!  Week 2.  Wow.  Already feels like a year.  I hope it doesn´t stay this slow too long.
So I haven´t read anything anyone sent me yet.  I´ll print them off and read them later and respond to them next week.  We don´t have hardly any time today because my companion forced me to teach him piano and it took up an extra hour and a half of our time.
We have investigators!  I will describe them.
B y G- Already have met with the missionaries before, both have super strong testimonies and two of their daughters are members.  They want to get baptized, but they´re not married and they are living together, so that´s what we´ve been trying to help them out with.  They´re not actually in love, the only thing stopping them from separating is that they have 2 little kids together and they feel like being separate would be damaging to their children.  So it´s going to take a lot of faith for them to figure this out.
L- We found her contacting or something, I don´t actually remember.  No, this is not a common name.  She´s about 40 years old, has 1 18 year old son and three daughters, ages 1, 2, and 3.  Crazy.  So we´ve taught her a few times, but she didn´t come to church on Sunday.  She doesn´t work and she depends on her 18 year old son for money, and I guess for some reason or another she can´t leave the house when he has work on Sundays.  I don´t really get how that works, but whatever.  I gave her the copy of the Book of Mormon that you sent me with our family picture in it. 
O- 15 year old kid who we found on the street.  His dad has been an alcoholic for 22 years, but really wants to change.  So far he hasn´t done anything about it, though.  His mom is basically atheist, but she´s not around a whole lot since she´s the one that works to support the family.  But yeah, his dad wants him to be the example for their family by listening to us.  Osmar´s a really cool kid, kind of quiet and shy, but whatever.  But he also didn´t come to church this week and we´re not really sure why yet.  I gave him Emily´s Book of Mormon she sent me and I really hope he reads it.
M- About 40 years old also, and also has talked with the missionaries before, but they dropped her because she never went to church.  But we came back and she decided to listen to us.  We challenged her to read the Book of Mormon because she hadn´t yet, but she still didn´t when we went back for our second appointment.  That day, we had Zone Conference and Pres. Wagner had told us that if we kneel down with investigators and they ask for an answer, they will get it right then if we have enough faith, because of the power that comes with our calling.  So we read 3 Nephi 11 with her and told her to kneel down right then and pray to know if it was true.  She did and about half way through the prayer she just started weeping.  The Spirit was so thick in that room.  Best experience of my mission so far.  She knows it was an answer from God and that she needs to get baptized, but she also didn´t go to church.  We´re going back with her in about 30 minutes.
L, F, A- Light, Flower, and Soul.  Cool names right?  They are members of the light of the world church, which is really similar to ours.  Luz is really involved over there, she has a calling and everything, but her daughters, Flor and Alma, still haven´t been baptized in that church, mostly because when women get baptized into their church, they have to wear a super-long skirt all the time.  So we´re hoping at least those two will come to know this is true, because their mom really isn´t that interested in changing her religion.  I gave them the Book of Mormon Steph sent to me.
There´s more people we´ve talked to, but these are the main ones.  We´ve really just struggled getting people to church, so we´re going to try harder with that this week, unfortunately, it´s stake conference this week, so they´ll have to go a lot farther.  But we´ll do the best we can anyways.
What else?  The food is really good.  We eat a lot of beef, rice, and really spicy things and limes.  Everything has lime on it.  It´s really great.  The weather goes kind of like this:
Morning-  Cool, foggy, awesome.
Afternoon- Sunny, too hot.
Night- rainy
The other night, we got caught in the biggest rainstorm I´ve ever seen in my life.  The streets were literally flooding.  At the time, we were with Hermano Ramos (awesome member) driving around in his little dune-buggy thing.  It´s an awesome little vehicle, but it doesn´t have a roof.  It was nuts.
We ran into a crazy old lady the other day who asked me if I´d counted all the bones in my body.  What?
So far I´ve played the piano in sacrament meeting both sundays and at the baptism of a little boy.  At the baptism I found out I was playing as they announced the hymn.  That was fun.  Especially since the piano didn´t have a music stand, so I basically just made it up on the spot anyways.  Also, I taught Sunday school yesterday.  They called at 10:30 the night before ( I was in my bed trying to sleep at the time) to let me know.  But it went pretty well.  I taught about sacrifice. 
What else?  Oh, at the store today we met the coolest guy ever.  He basically contacted us.  We´re walking out and we hear "Elders!"  His name is J, he´s from California and speaks English (and teaches it, actually), and he almost got baptized while he was there, but his wife wouldn´t let him because she is super Catholic.  But he´s divorced now and he´s moved back to Mexico with his parents and we´re going to teach him tomorrow.  And he gave us a ride home from the store.  So cool! 
Well, I´m about out of time.  Sorry, I will definitely make more time for this next week.  This is what I´ve been up to.  I wish I could write more details, but yeah.  Also, Mom, that Dear Elder just got to me, but I have no idea when it got to Mexico.  They kind of just deliver our mail whenever they can get around to it.  Thanks Granny for the letter!  I hope everyone had a good first week of school and that the second one is even better!  I love you all!
Elder Pew

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20th, 2012

Oh, Mexico.
Wow!  Yes I am here and yes I am alive.  We got here Monday at about 5 pm.  It was supposed to be 4, but the stupid plane from Dallas was overbooked, so they had to put some people on the next flight and of course their baggage was already at the bottom of the plane, so they had to take it all out and put it all back on.  Also, since there were about 20 missionaries flying to Guadalajara from Dallas between the two missions combined, there was too much baggage for the tiny little plane, so half of us only made it with one suitcase.  More about that later.
Guadalajara is enormous.  I didn´t realize how big it was.  Also, it´s very green and beautiful, especially compared to how hideous and brown Dallas was.  Wow.  But yeah.  I was kind of freaking out as we were flying in.  It was raining and super green and the mountains and big green ravines with rivers at the bottom just looked so SWEET!  Oh gosh!  So yeah, we flew in, the President and APs picked us up, we had dinner at the mission home (super sweet house) and then slept in the mission office (super ghetto).  The next day, we did some orientations and then met our companions.  My companion is Elder Heath.  He is from Kaysville Utah and has 3 months left.  There's pros and cons to this.  Pros: he speaks english.  cons: he speaks english.  I will be his last companion.  He´s cool.  After that, they shipped us out to our area.  We are in an area called Auditorio--it´s on the outskirts of Guadalajara, about 30 minutes from the Centro.  It´s pretty much just a bunch of little houses and shops, all stuck together and crowded.  To find it on Google Earth, just type in Colonia Auditorio, Zapopan, Jalisco, or something like that.  Also, this is a brand new area that we're opening.  Neither of us knew anyone here except Elder Heath had met the bishop once.  We had no investigators, no area book, no map, no ward list, nada.  To add to that, the house for missionaries in this area only fits four, and now there are six, so two had to look for a new house before we could move in.  So until Saturday, we were living in Elder Heath's old house, sleeping on the couch because it's a two person house, and having to take 3 buses for 30 minutes to get to our area.  Also, my biggest suitcase with all my clothes, toiletries, etc., didn't make it on the same plane as me, so it was dropped of at the mission office when it arrived and didn't get to me until Friday.  Welcome to the mission field, Elder Pew.  I was happy to get that and not wear the same clothes that I had worn all week.  
It was a crazy week, but I'm fine.  I don't say any of this to complain.  I'm doing well.  It's hard for me to understand the people still, and I need to just work on getting up my confidence to talk to people on the street since we don't really teach a whole lot of lessons.  We've taught a few, but we're really just starting from scratch.  We haven't taught anyone more than one lesson yet, but we're working with the members and talking to everyone to find people to teach.   The members here are really solid, so that's a blessing.
We don't have a specific limit on email time so you can still email me, i think.  Dear Elders are reliable and Elder Heath says he's only ever lost two packages, and that mail sent back to the US almost always makes it too.  So that's good news.  I don't know my address, but just send everything to the mission address anyways, it'll make it there.  
Well, I think that about does it for this week.  Pray for us to find people to teach and for me to be confident talking to people.  I love you all and miss you!  See you soon!  
-Elder Pew 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Letter from the Mission President's Wife

We just got this email tonight!  So great to know a little more what is going on!

Brother and Sister Pew,

I wanted to write a quick note to let you know that Elder Pew arrived safely in Guadalajara last evening. My husband and I are very excited to have him here with us in the mission field.

I wanted to include a picture of him with his new companion/trainer, but somehow in the confusion of the morning the two of them escaped my camera. However, I can tell you that his companion is Elder Heath and an excellent missionary. Elder Heath has been serving as a zone leader but was released from that calling to finish out his mission as a trainer to your son. They will be working here in Guadalajara. 

For your information, we do have a mission blog that will be updated regularly. You can find it atwww.guadalajaramexicomission. (which we put in the sidebar)

If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact me at this address.
Sister Lori Wagner
Mexico Guadalajara Mission

Monday, August 13, 2012

Update on Taran and some more photos

Elder Ringer

Elder Ringer and Elder Pew with ???  dorm life in the MTC

Elder Pew and Elder Ringer with ??? same guy above?
Ditto to the photo on the left
Elder Pew and his teachers?

Goodbye to Dylan, Elder Bay old BYU roommate
Goodbye to Austin, Elder Averett another BYU roommate

So Elder Pew called us this morning around 7:30ish.  We chatted about 15 minutes and that was it.  Their flight was delayed going to Dallas.  Originally they would have had a 2 hour lay over but it was only 30 minutes.  I am somewhat confident they made it or he would have called from Dallas telling us they missed that flight.  We sent him a phone card to call from a pay phone at the airport.  He was able to talk to Timo who had to go to work early today so he missed the call at home.  They had a nice chat.  We got these photos today from Emily's camera Taran borrowed until we bought him a new camera.  So there won't be much explanation unless I know who the people are!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 11, 2012 Last Letter from the MTC

Oh my goodness!  Last email from the MTC!  What is going on?!  Wow.  No I'm not freaking out.
First things first, Elder Ringer did get his visa!  They called into our classroom on the intercom Tuesday (one more reason the MTC is exactly like elementary school) and asked Elder Ringer to come down to the travel office.  Obviously, we kind of had a little fiesta right then and there.  He was pumped.  When the lady asked if Elder Ringer could come down to the travel office, I think the only intelligible response she got was Elder Ringer screaming "GET YOUR GLORY!"  So yeah, he was pumped.  He went up to the consolate Wednesday and he's all good to go this Monday. 
So, what else happened this week?  Saturday we taught TRC (which is where volunteers from the outside world come in and you just teach them as they are.  No pretending.).  We taught this nice Chilean guy named Jonathan.  What a man!  He joined the church when he was 18 and left on his mission 11 months later.  It was so cool to talk to him!  We talked about receiving revelation through prayer.  I've been thinking about how important this must be lately, since there are SO MANY models of it in the Book of Mormon.  There are so many different examples of people who hear/read the word of God, ponder about it, pray, and receive an answer (Lehi, Nephi, Enos, Alma the younger, Lamoni, Lamoni's father, etc.).  Jesus tells the Nephites in 2 Nephi 17:3 to go to their homes and ponder and pray about the things he has taught them before he visits them again.  In the last chapter of this book, Moroni exhorts us to read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon and we'll know it is true.  Also, this is exactly what Joseph Smith did to get an answer to his prayer, which eventually led to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.  One of the main themes of the Book of Mormon is to show us that this formula works, and I know it does, and that by doing it we can grow closer to hour Heavenly Father and become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
Monday was our last day with Hermano Miller, because he "had to go to Hawaii with his family."   I'm going to miss that guy.  Actually, I already do.  He's super great!
Dylan and Austin left Tuesday.  I miss them too. (Taran's BYU roommates who were in the MTC with him and lived in the same building.)

Wednesday we were hosts again.  It was pretty fun.  Also, Nicolas had his baptismal interview that night.  He passed!  He was very happy.  He told me he felt really close to God after the interview.  So great.  Also, if someone would like to explain how the investigators work around here to Sister Groneman, I think she'd appreciate that. ;)  *What we understand is that their teachers pretend to be people they actually encountered on their missions and follow that storyline.  It seems pretty real because they are teaching real, true principles they feel the spirit very strong.  Taran and his companion were asked to share some of their teaching techniques to some new missionaries a few weeks ago.  He told us this in a snail mail letter.*
Thursday night was our last night with the Vasquez family.  Luis apparently took on Moroni's challenge after we had left Moroni 10 for him to read, and he knows the Book of Mormon's true now.  Mario's still a little iffy, but progressing.  It's too bad we don't get to keep teaching them. 
The reason my P-Day is today is because yesterday was in-field orientation.  It was basically a day full of little workshop things from super-awesome teachers here at the MTC about things we haven't really talked about up to this point, such as finding people and working with the ward.  It was really great.  It helped me get excited to leave again, because I feel like every day since I got here my excitement level has depleted a little, since I'd gotten to the point where I just felt like I've been here forever and will be here forever.  But yeah.  I'm all fired up now!
Thank you everyone for all the packages this week!  I think I may have broken an MTC record (I won't say how many). 
Mom & Family--thank you for the candy and letters and Martinelli's.  And the pictures.  We are all very excited to celebrate with the drinks tonight!  Also Mom, Hermana Rood wanted me to specifically tell you she loves you. 
Teresa (aunt) -- Those Oreo things were incredible!  Wow!  They didn't last very long after I opened them.  Also, thanks for the card.  You are wonderful!
Granny and Grandpa --Thank you so much for the hummus!  You know it's my favorite!  Also we had a fun time with the See's candies guessing what was inside of them and trying to avoid getting the one filled with toothpaste or something weird like that.  But the actually were all really good!  Also, those cinammon rolls were absolutely divine.  So good!  Thank you so very much! 
And if anyone else who may have sent me something happens to ask, you can tell them that they'll be receiving their thank you very soon.
Well, I'm about out of time.  9 weeks later and look where I am.  In such a short time, it's amazing how much this has changed my life.  I'm definitely not the same person that walked in here nine weeks ago.  I don't say this to brag about myself, but the power of the Atonement of Christ.  Before my mission, I had a great relationship with my Heavenly Father--I prayed to him and talked to him every day and he answered my prayers--but I didn't feel like I had that great of a relationship with my Savior, and it really bothered me, especially since I didn't really know what to do about it.  But now since getting here, focusing on His work and becoming more like Him every day, I can feel Him in my life so much more.  I can feel it when I look back and see how much it's changed my life, and when I testify of Him and see the faces of those I am teaching.  I know He lives!  I know He died for us and was resurrected.  I know He appeared to the Nephites and that He will appear again to us someday.  I want to be ready for that day.  And I want each one of you to be there with me.
Thank you for everything!  I'll talk to you all very soon!  Hopefully Monday morning, but if not, definitely Monday afternoon! 
Love you!
-Elder Pew
Here are photos from Taran's broken camera so we got no explanation, sorry...
Elder Pew with BYU roommates Taylor and Austin at 'THE MAP'


Provo Temple

Friday, August 3, 2012

August 3rd, 2012

Buenos Dias Todos!  Espero que esten bien. (Good Morning Everyone! Hope you're well.)
Yes, I got my visa!  I'm quite impressed with how well you stalked me to figure that out.  Speaking of which, Austin got his visa yesterday, so all is well.  He leaves Monday.
So anyways, the story goes like this.  I got this nice little purple slip in the mail Monday that said come to the travel office.  So I did, and they told me I was going to the consolate on Wednesday at 1:45 to sign my visa.  So I did.  We went up there (There were about 25 of us, all going to random missions in Mexico.  Kevin Schvaneveldt was part of the party as well) and all I had to do was sign three papers, get my picture taken and give my fingerprints.  Guess how long that took?  Yep, 3 and a half hours.  Woof.  But it's ok, because I get to leave on time!  Vale la pena! (Worth it!)  But poor Elder Ringer doesn't have his visa yet.  His twin brother was also part of my trip up there.  He's starting to get a little antsy, and it doesn't help that Elder Plowman and Elder Woodward (and Hermano Miller) keep teasing him that he's going to end up in Ogden with them.  He doesn't like that.  So pray for his visa to get here on time, ok? 
So going back in time a little bit, I finally saw Andrew last Saturday.  He's doing really well.  Loves his district, his companion, the MTC, lo que sea.  So that was good.  Breton and I were both kind of worried.  All three of us had a nice little chat at lunch on Sunday, so that was fun. 
Rex Pinegar gave the devotional on Tuesday.  So awesome!
You know you've been in the MTC too long when:
1.  You know which juices to avoid and which are safe.
2.  Can't English anymore write in.
3.  Puns start actually being funny.
4.  You can eat two FiberOne bars in ten minutes without it making a significant change in your day.
5.  We all sit and watch Elder Ringer do random addition problems on his calculator-watch.
6.  You feel naked without your companion or your nametag.
The lessons are going well.  Just when we thought we were going to baptize Nicolas, he decides to move to a different ward, so he has to go to church there at least twice before we can do it.  So hopefully this Saturday.  He's doing really well.  The Vasquez family is also doing really well.  Gabriela asked us what she had to do to be baptized--what?!--after going to church on Sunday, so it's all going really well with her.  Her sons are coming along.  Luis is just really curious and wants to know the why about everything instead of just the basics.  Mario is interested for different reasons.  We challenged them to read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon on Monday, and on Tuesday he told us he had read the first 4!  So we were pretty pumped, until he told us he loved the story of Nephi cutting of Laban's head and asked us if all our prophets kill bad guys.  So we just need to find a way to tie these awesome stories he likes into gospel principles that can help him have the desire to come unto Christ.  It's kind of fun.
This Wednesday we were asked to be hosts for the new Elders coming in.  So we did that from about 11:00 until I had to go to Salt Lake.  I kind of didn't enjoy it to be honest.  I felt like I wasted away that whole day--kind of funny, because that kind of used to be the goal each day.  But yeah.  It was kind of fun.  I hosted an Elder who actually is now in our zone and lives right next door, so that was cool.  He's from Missouri and he's going to Pocatello, Idaho Spanish speaking. 
The gym's open again.  Hallelujah.  I missed basketball. 
Speaking of basketball, thanks Dad for the updates on the Olympics.  I heard Carmello broke an Olympic record in their last game, so it sounds like all is going well.  That's a pretty lame new rule for gymnastics, though.  Also, who cursed all the tennis rackets you've been using? 
Izak, Micah, and Zane, I can only imagine how much you loved the Avengers!  That was nice of Teresa to take you to it.  What was your favorite part?  Tell me!
Speaking of Teresa, I met her friend Georgette's son.  He remembered me somehow.  Very impressive.  I guess he's going to Texas, speaking Spanish, I think. 
Emily, I hope you had fun at the plays with Granny.  Tell me about it, ok?  Thanks for letting me use your camera!
Timo, that's awesome that you got to go out with the missionaries.  It really is so important to follow the Spirit, bear testimony, and personalize the lesson specifically to the person you're teaching.  So you're already pretty well prepared for your mission.  Good work!
I forgot!  We got our travel plans yesterday!  I leave Monday very early in the morning.  I fly from SLC to Dallas, then wait there for two hours before getting to Guadalajara at about 3:00.  Not bad! 
Ok, well I need to go!  I'll give you more details later!  Love you all!
-Elder Taran Pew