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!