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!

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012

¡Hola!  Another great week here in Guadalajara.  Our investigators are coming along really well.  Well, mostly.  

M - Progressing really well.  We went over there on Tuesday and she has been reading and praying, says she has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Joseph Smith and has seen significant changes in herself.  Love that!  Also, last week we left her with a pamphlet of the Word of Wisdom with the intention of teaching it on this day.  Don't worry, she read the whole thing and quit smoking right then!  What?!  Yeah, we didn't even have to teach it.  We showed up and she tells us she has been off smoking for 8 days.  So great!  She was super excited to come to conference too, but then she got super sick.  Every week it's something.  Satan just does not want her at church.  Pray for her this week, please.  Thanks.  

G - Finally got back from her vacation!  She's doing really well too.  We've taught her the word of wisdom, chastity, and the ten commandments, all of which she accepted super easily.  She also came to conference and said she felt the Spirit really strong.  She's got a baptismal date for the 20th of October!  Love that kid.  

N family - Canceled our appointment with them on Wednesday, and then couldn't come to conference.  Not good.  We are having a family night with them tonight with our ex-bishop and his family and we are going to teach the Sabbath Day again.  They should get baptized on the 20th too, but they've got to keep that commandment first.  

V family - The mom is a lot more receptive now.  In fact, she's been pressuring her husband to not work on sunday so he can dedicate that day to God.  We haven't taught them that commandment yet!  And she's the nonmember!  The Spirit is definitely working in her.  They were going to come to conference, but then their car broke down and they couldn't.  Bummer.

I - Came to both sessions of conference on sunday and loved it.  There's just some problems in his life right now that make him feel a little iffy about being baptized, even though he technically could this Saturday.  But he also needs to quit drinking first.  But he's doing really well.

C - We dropped him.  He has been impossible to find since leaving him the Law of Chastity pamphlet.  And thus we see the difference between someone who is really ready to accept the gospel.  One reads a pamphlet and disappears, the other reads a pamphlet and quits smoking.

M - Also dropped.  He has started every lesson this week with "I don't want to get baptized."  Even though we have taught him why he needs to countless times, he still wants to be Catholic because his whole family is.  But he still wants to come to our church on Sundays.  What?  Maybe some day he'll figure it out.

We found a new awesome guy knocking doors named A.  He's 54 years old and loves Jesus Christ, but he doesn't belong to any religion.  He was Catholic until he realized that they worship idols and must not be the true church.  Also, he is a magician.  He does amazing magic tricks!  Super cool guy.  But he said he would come to conference this week and never did.  Hmm.  

Well, that's what's going on.  Conference was wonderful.  I am so happy about the change in mission age announcement!  More missionaries out in the field!  More of God's children hearing the gospel!  So great!  Also, Elder Nelson's talk was about the greatest thing ever.  Also, that was the best priesthood session I've ever seen.  I don't know if it was just because I'm a missionary now and am a lot better at feeling the Spirit, but yeah.  Loved it!  Especially president Uchtdorf's talk.  Dad, they broadcasted conference live at the stake center, so that's where we watched it.  During a few of the sessions, they had a room where we could watch it in English, but others we had to watch in Spanish.  But it was still great.  I bet Elder Holland's talk would have been awesome in English.  You just don't get the same emotion with a translator, you know?  It was still a really great, powerful talk.  Loved it!

Well, that's all for this week.  I love you all!  Happy birthday Gwen and Emily!  Be good!  

-Elder Pew

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012

Hola Todos!  So much to write.  Such a good week.

Well, let's just dive right into things.  So last Monday we had a family night with G, Hna S and her family, and the ward missionaries.  It went super well.  We watched the Restoration movie and the Spirit was really strong.  G almost cried.  Then we had a little testimony meeting about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  It was really great.  She told us she does believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true and that she feels like she received answers to her prayers about those two things.  Sweet!  Then we taught everyone there how to play Ninja Destruction.  Obviously I dominated.  Each time we played it got down to me and Elder Heath in the finals and I won 2 times and he won 1.  He told me he's never been beaten in his entire mission, so judging by that, I'm going to assume I'm the best Ninja Destruction player in Guadalajara.  But yeah, it went really well.  Unfortunately, she went on a vacation with her family for the rest of the week and we haven't seen her since.  But we are going with her again tomorrow and I really hope she's still excited and remembers her testimony.  

Remember M from last week?  He's great.  We had about 3 lessons with him this week. We taught the restoration and he understood it pretty well.  We left him Moroni 10 to read and he read it about 5 times before we came back!  He's progressing really well.  We put a goal for him to be baptized on the 13th of October and he said he would prepare for that date.  

We had a lesson with C on Tuesday about the Plan of Salvation.  He is really brilliant and understands everything we tell him.  But we left him with a pamphlet of the Law of Chastity to read and couldn't find him the rest of the week after that.  Huh.  Finally, we got a hold of him Saturday (he doesn't have a cell phone or a house phone so it's a little hard) and he seemed to be doing well.  He didn't have a lot of time to talk to us though, but he seemed happy and he said he's been reading the Book of Mormon every day.  He didn't come to church this Sunday, which also worried us, but his friend Hno L went to visit him after sacrament meeting and said he was really great with him.  He received him really well and still seems to be motivated to change.  So we're not giving up on him.  

We've been going back with that inactive member with the 4 kids.  They are the V family.  The kids are really great and love it when we come over, and E (their dad) says he knows he needs to come back to church, but it's been hard for him to get over there.  Also, the mom still really doesn't want anything.  She's nice though, and it's no problem with her if we teach/baptize her children.  So we are going to keep working with them and try to reactivate the dad so he can baptize his kids.  Pray especially for them, please!

So a few weeks ago we ran into this guy named E.  His dad had been listening to the missionaries before and almost got baptized, and we saw his records in the area book and decided to go see if we could teach him.  His dad wasn't there, but E was, so we talked to him only to find out that he's GOLDEN!  He told us he was coming to church and that he wanted to get rid of bad, worldly desires that he has.  But then he disappeared.  He didn't come to church, and we couldn't find him in his dad's house or his mom's for the next 2 weeks or so.  But this week we finally found him!  It turns out that he switched jobs and works on Sunday now and has a whole different schedule, but he still wants to keep listening to us and he is trying to change his schedule so he can go to church.  Also, he read the entire Restoration pamphlet that we gave him and understands it perfectly.  He even wrote down all the key words that he learned like "priesthood" and "apostasy."  Super Awesome!  He's about 23, has a nice pirate goatee and shiny earrings and looks a lot like Jack Sparrow.  Love the guy.  I hope he really does put in his effort so he can go to church.  

This week we also went with a referral from our former ward mission leader, Hno H.  The guy's name is G.  He actually used to live in Ogden (yes, I robbed him from Elder Plowman and Elder Woodward's mission).  What was he doing there?  Oh, don't worry, just working construction on LDS chapels!  So he really has good feelings for the church and it's members.  He never went to a church meeting back then, though.  About a year ago he had a stroke and it paralyzed the left side of his body, and he's just now getting to the point where he can walk and move his left hand.  But that experience made him want to come closer to God and to change and become a better person, so he's super willing to listen to us.  His wife even accepted the baptismal challenge even though she told us at the beginning of the lesson that she goes to mass every Sunday in the Catholic Church.  That's what the Spirit does to people.  Unfortunately, when we tried to go back with them, G was at therapy and his wife was feeling extra Catholic that day and didn't want to listen to us anymore.  But we're going to go back with her husband this week sometime. 

M.  She's progressing really well and everything, but she's scared to get baptized so soon.  She needs to forgive someone for something that she's been holding on to almost her whole life, and doesn't think she can do it by the 13th.  I think we are going to whip out the don't procrastinate the day of your repentance scripture on her today.  We are having a massive family night with her, hopefully her family, B and her family, the B family (members who live nearby, Hno B is the 2nd counselor in the bishopric and he's the greatest), and a 16 named F who also lives right by her. I hope it goes really well.

Saturday we were walking down the street and saw this guy sitting outside of his house.  We both felt like we needed to talk to him.  Of course, he let us right in.  His name is I.  He's about 48 years old and he opened right up to us.  He's having some problems in his family right now and wants to fix them.  He is very smart and asks us lots of questions to make sure he is understanding.  He prayed at the end of the lesson and started crying!  He felt God's love really strong I think for the first time in his life.  That's the third time this has happened on my mission.  Anyways, he's really great.  He said he would come to sacrament meeting the next day even though he was going to be super busy.  Awesome!

That same night we went with the N family.  We taught them about Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end.  We also asked them about their testimonies.  They all feel like they have seen changes and have become better people since listening to us, and C said he has seen so much of a change in his wife that he wants to try harder to have the same experience she's been having!  And their 11 year old son M prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true and felt a strong confirmation that it is!  And they accepted a baptismal date for the 13th!  After all that, we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" and everyone was about to cry.  They are so GREAT!!!  I love seeing how happy people are when they are following the Savior.  

Then came Sunday.  The big test to see if our week of work (and fasting on Saturday) would pay off.  We went to pick up I in the morning.  Not only did he come one day after meeting us, he paid for our bus ride to the church!  Then, who should we see walking up to the door but the N family!  I kind of freaked out a little bit inside!  It was one of the happiest moments of my mission.  4 investigators all walking in!  Wow, so great!  Then, M shows up with our Elders quorum president.  6 investigators in the chapel.  I was still a little sad that M and C didn't make it, but hey.  Fasting works.  That's all I really need to say.  

Oh, by the way, I gave a talk in sacrament meeting about prophets to try and get people excited for conference.  I think it was good.  I also played the piano.  Well, I always do.  Except this time, after my talk, a 10 year old girl walked up to me and asked if she could play the closing hymn, "We thank Thee O God For a Prophet."  I said yes and she did pretty good.  Crazy.  I think everyone who came to church had a good experience, so that was great.  The members were really, really good about making them feel welcome.

So, mom, I bought a backpack last week.  Probably should have told you that.  I just couldn't wait, the broken one was bugging me too much.  It's given me new life!  It was about 40 dollars, it's Nike, and it has all the features I need and seems pretty sturdy.  So I don't know what you want to do with the other one you bought me, if you want to just return it or hold on to it and see if I need a replacement before my 2 years is up or if you want to save it for Timo for his mission.  Sorry.  I hope your toe feels better! 

Dad, I'm glad that old guy from the yardsale was still alive.  And that BYU dominated so much!  That's sounds like it would have been a fun one to go to.  Also, your Jim Gaffigan quote from last week was inspired, because we went to McDonald's for P-Day last Monday!  Big Mac's have never tasted so good.

Timo - Sounds like you had a good time at homecoming and that flag football has been fun also, even though your losing.  At least you guys have the Spirit when you play, thanks to Chappy.  I laughed for about an hour about that.

Emily - I am super jealous of your Harry Potter week.  Who won the Quidditch cup?  Why weren't you student body vice president when I was in Jr. High?  Also, I am excited to hear Roses in December.  Keep taking good care of Wife, Ethel, and Optimus Prime.  

Izak - 9!  Wow!  Keep dominating!  That's really awesome!

Micah - I'm glad your team is still undefeated.  Good luck this Tuesday!

Zane - I hope you are cheering loud for BYU for me.  Keep being a pompeeface! 

Gwen - That's fun that you got to see the Avengers.  I haven't eaten any apples here, but I have had apple soda and apple yogurt.  They have fruit here called tuna.  What?  But it doesn't taste or look like tuna, thank goodness.  It's like a little cactus thing with this weird, tasty green fruit inside.  

Well, everyone, that's about all.  Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!

-Elder Pew