Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 28, 2013

Hola y buenos lunes!  It was a great week.  

No mom, I have received no such banner from the Youth.   We went on splits again Tuesday and Wednesday, this time Elder J came here to S with Elder R and I went to G with Elder V.  Elder V is Elder J`s child, but he has one transfer more than Elder R.  He's from Kaysville, but both his parents are Columbian.  It was a fun two days.  We had some really powerful lessons together and I learned a lot from him. Elder R's been doing a lot better (homesickness) and it helped him a lot having to plan everything by himself those two days.

Saturday we had a missionary activity with the youth.  We met up with them in the church at 8:00 and had them go through the regular missionary routine.  They studied for an hour and then we did some practices:  how to contact, how to introduce someone to the Book of Mormon, etc.  Then we all went into the streets to preach.  We had 3 boys and three girls show up, so we put them in pairs to go contact everybody we passed by.  We have a lot of people to visit this week thanks to that.  We tried to have a few lessons, but nobody was home, so we just ended up contacting the whole time.  They got tired really fast because of all the walking but they all had fun.  

Right after the activity, we had to get on a bus to G for the priesthood session of district conference.  This district conference made a very busy week for us, since we are the Branch president's counselors.  We had to rent a bus to take the members to the conference Sunday morning, so we spent a lot of time this week visiting every active member to ask them if they were going, then going back to the ones that said yes and collecting their money.  And then we find out Saturday right before we left that President A still hadn't contracted a bus and was still looking, so we had to quickly look at all the options and the budget and decide.  It's been kind of nuts being a counselor in the branch presidency and a missionary at the same time.  I feel like I now know what it's like to work two jobs and raise a child at the same time.  

District conference was great.  President W spoke in both the priesthood session and the adult session Saturday night, and it was super great.  The adult session the talks were on the 7 celestial habits of active church members: Family and personal scripture study every day, family and personal prayer every day, family night every week, regular temple attendance, and assisting in missionary work.  It was perfect because in branch council the week before we had decided to go around teaching all the active and inactive members these 7 things.  Revelation?  Yep.  

Saturday night we slept over with all the other Elders from our zone in the house in G.  We prayed really hard that all the members who had signed up to go would go and that the ones that still hadn't payed would pay so that we didn't end up with a huge debt, and they did!  Even J came and tied his own tie.  I was so proud.  Also, a taxi driver that Elder R and I had contacted in G a few weeks ago and invited to the church over there randomly showed up asking for us.  He sat by me the whole time and already wants to be a missionary!  He's an older guy, so I think that's probably possible.  He really enjoyed the conference and the Elders where he lives are going to start visiting him.  Also, one of the investigators I had found, taught, and invited to church with Elder V in G also came, so it was nice to see that my efforts are helping somebody come closer to Christ, even if they aren't in my own area.  The Sunday session was a broadcast to 50 different stakes/districts in central Mexico.  President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballard both spoke and it was perfect.  Elder Ballard talked about faith, repentance, baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  President Uchtdorf talked about temple attendance, scripture study, and prayer, to go right along with the theme from the night before.  It was really great.  About 25 of our members came, all the faithful ones and we rode the bus home with them.  They're so great!  Mom, I do feel exactly the way that scripture says that you sent me--burdens made light. I LOVE IT!  It's been really hard but I feel great.  This could be the start of my last transfer here, so I'm going to enjoy it.  Also, going along with what you told me that Bro. Stewart said about how trials help us receive revelation, it´s true.  I've received a ton this week and learned a lot of cool new things to help me and the people I teach.    

As far as investigators go, we don't really have a whole lot going on.  We find cool people sometimes, but then we can never find them again, or we go back for the second visit and they don't want to listen anymore.  But we'll find someone awesome this week, I'm sure.  That's all for this week!  I love you all!  Thanks for everything! 

Elder Pew

PS - there's a member here who saw licorice in some movie and wants to try it, so next time you send me a package, it would be nice if you could include a package of Redvines or something.  Thanks!

Also, I keep trying to send pictures, but the computers are really awful in every cyber cafe we go to.  Sorry.

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013

Sorry for not answering your questions (something I mentioned in my letter to him this week).  Sometimes I read your letters before I write you and sometimes after.  And sometimes I forget.  But today I'll try to answer the ones I got this week.  

This week was pretty cool I guess.  Yes I got the package with the baptismal clothes.  Still waiting on those Christmas cards.  Keep writing me long emails, Mom :).  Dad, thanks for the song of the week you've been sending me.  I'm loving them all, especially "Come Thou Fount." but we'll see how that goes. Timo, sounds like preference was awesome.  Sounds like it was pretty awesome.  Emily, good luck with your auditions, I know you'll be fine.  Izak, keep Tim (his bass guitar) busy!  That's a good boy.  Micah, I`m great. I had a lot of fun this week too.  happy pranking.  Zane, I bet your basketball team could at least beat me.  I played today for the first time in like 3 months and I have completely forgotten everything.   Gwen, I love you too! But you should have taken a real octopus to school.  Go big or go home.  

This week started pretty rough.  Elder R just did not want to do anything, he was really homesick and struggling to motivate himself.  J (an investigator) even chewed him out one night for it.  But he recovered and is doing pretty good now.  We had divisions Friday and Saturday; our distrtict leader Elder J, came here with me and Elder R went to Guzman with his companion.  I've known Elder J since the MTC, he's actually been friends with Elder D (MTC comp for a few weeks) since like 3rd Grade, and he's got one transfer more than me, so it was a blast!   We taught L again, the restoration this time, and it was super powerful.  Elder J asked a super inspired question that just left him thinking for minutes in complete silence.  The Spirit was way strong and I think he finally realized the need to read from the Book of Mormon and pray every day.  It was super great!  Also, the first morning we were together,  we were walking down the street and this guy says to us "Hey, where are you guys from?"  We talked to him for about 15 minutes in perfect English (okay, on his part, not ours.  It's amazing how fast you forget.).  He lived in the US for 30 ish years and just barely moved back to Mexico with his wife and 3 kids.  He was way cool and after talking to him, we explained the restoration, gave him a Book of Mormon, and put an appointment for the next day.  He said he would like us to come over because he and his family are still struggling a little bit from the move and need a little more of God in their lives.  Super awesome!  But then the next day on our way to visit him he drove by in his truck and told us that he was on his way to the hospital in Guadalajara because he had hurt his arm.  So we'll see if we can visit him again this week.  

We also visited R and T Saturday night and taught them about the Sabbath day and the sacrament.  They told us they would go to church the next day, and they did!  After almost 6 months listening to the missionaries off and on, they finally made it. And the talks were really great and afterwards we took them to the baptismal font and put a baptismal date for the 16th!  It was great.  We also had branch counsel on Sunday, for I think the first time in the history of the branch.  We made a lot of plans to help the members be really converted and help the branch progress.  I was super pumped the whole time.  I want to stay here for like 6 more transfers just to see the progress that happens.  Even though this Branch president is a little rough around the edges, he is exactly what this branch needs to be able to fix all the problems, and now that we have a good relationship with him, good things are going to start happening.  

My time has run out.  I love you all and I pray for you always (Moroni 8:3)!  The church is true!  Have a fantastic week! 

Elder Pew

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 14, 2013

I feel like I was just barely writing you.  The time is just flying way too fast right now.  I turned 7 months yesterday.  My time is running out.

Today and last night were kind of crazy because Elder R had to be in the mission office at 8:30 last night to go sign for his visa in the morning.  So because I couldn't stay here alone, I went to G at about 6:30 and was in a trio with Elder J and Elder V.  It was fun.  I love those guys.  We taught a lesson last night and it was super powerful.  Let's just say 3 missionaries teaching is a lot more powerful than 1.  Elder R just barely got back about 2 hours ago, so we haven't really had time to do anything and we have an appointment in a half hour.  Lovely.  

If you're asking about the subject line, I got a hilarious letter from Caitlin Stratton today and, thanks to that, I lost the game.  Dang it, woman!  Haha, love that kid.

Also, tell the Johnsons and the Stauffers thanks for the Christmas cards/books they sent me.  

Ok, well, this week was really rough.  This is just a hard area, I decided.  We did find one awesome new couple to teach.  After one of our lessons, this guy in the street asked us if we knew where he could download the Bible in audio.  So we sent him to LDS.org and put an appointment to visit him.  His name is G, he's 20 years old and lives with his girlfriend, who is also 20.  He knows the Bible really well and had a ton of questions for us; about tithing, denying the Holy Ghost, who created God, etc.  Also, he knew it was bad to be living with someone he's not married to, and they are already in the process of saving up enough money to get married.  Golden!  So we taught him the restoration and it was really great.  When we challenged him to be baptized, he said yes, and when we asked him why he wanted to be baptized, he said "something inside me just told me to say yes!"  Perfect, right?  This happened Friday so we were pretty pumped, because the rest of the week had been pretty unsuccessful.  So we go back Saturday, and he's standing outside waiting for us to tell us that they decided that they don't want us to come over anymore.  I guess they read some things in the introduction of the Book of Mormon that they didn't like.  What?  No guys, that's not how it goes.  You're supposed to read the Book of Mormon, know it's true, and ask us where the baptismal font is.  So we told them to keep reading and asking God if it was true and they said they'd do that.  

Highlight of the week:  interviews with President Wagner on Thursday.  20 minutes with that man and he had me laughing and crying and he blew my brain up about 6 times.  Needless to say, I got a lot of revelation out of that.  He taught me how we should be teaching the restoration--more focused on God´s love for us and less on the fact that our church is true.  Powerful.  He also said a lot of things we could do to help out in the branch and to help me with my companion.  It was so great.  The best part, of course, was when he told me that the N family had had a family night with him in his house that week, and that they invited him to their baptism on the 19th!  I was freaking out!  I'm so happy for them!  Thank you, Elder B!  

Yesterday the District President came to our church and changed all the callings.  He told Elder R and I a whole lot of things that made me really...sad?  I don't know how to describe it.  He gave us a bunch of extra assignments to try and help our branch president out.  So we're going to be focusing more on the branch than on the investigators right now.  I kind of had that feeling this week as all our appointments continued to fall through and all the cool new investigators we found fell off the face of the earth.   It's going to be a lot of work.  He put our youth Sunday school teacher in the primary to try them there and put me as their Sunday school teacher, which leaves Elder R to teach Gospel Principles alone.  I'm kind of excited but it's going to be hard.  We´re going to make a branch mission plan with our branch president to try and figure out how to solve the mess we've got right now.  

Well, that's about it for this week.  I've got my hands pretty full right now with the branch, the investigators, and the companion.  Thank you for your prayers and support, I couldn't do it without you.  I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Pew

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 7, 2013

Before I say anything I need to thank everyone for the Christmas gifts.  So thanks Granny for all the treats and the cards and the super awesome tree!  Thank you Grandma and Grandpa also for the treats and other stuff that was in there!  The toffe was a favorite!  Erick and Liz, how you packed all that goodness into that little box will always be a wonder to me, but thank you very much!  I made the mashed potato packet last night and it was incredible.  Cleveland family, the candy and cereal and drink packets were much appreciated and have been put to good use.  Thank you!  And Mom, Dad, and the little savages, thanks for the package as well.  I especially love the little head lamp, the awesome tie, and the skittles. 

The subject line is a quote from my companion.  (Tengo muchas preguntas con respeto a su cuerpo.  I have many questions regarding your body.) I'll let you translate it.  It's pretty classic.

I need to introduce you to my companion a little better.  Elder R doesn't like a lot of Mexican food (he's from Peru), especially anything remotely spicy (which is basically everything) and vegetables, but he did try Caesar salad dressing in the MTC in Mexico City and is absolutely fascinated by it.  So, naturally, when we were buying groceries two weeks ago and he saw that they sold it, he bought three bottles and took one with him everywhere and used it in every meal.  He bought two more bottles this week because he is about to run out.  Most of the members don't even know what it is when he whips it out.  They've never even heard of Caesar salad dressing, yet it's his favorite thing about their country.  There's just too much funny about this situation. 

We went to the pharmacy today so that Elder R could print out more pictures of his dog to tape to the wall.  He spent about 20 minutes trying to crop one of them just perfectly, and then it still didn't work out right.  Silly kid.  He is doing a lot better though and coming along pretty good.  He's talking more in the lessons and getting himself a little more involved.

This week was a little rough.  We had a lot of appointments fall through and nobody came to church.  I almost feel like I'm in Auditorio again.  Which is actually kind of a good feeling.  We still have a couple people that could still progress, so we'll see what happens this week.  

We did start working with a less active member named L this week.  He's the Elders Quorum President's son and got baptized about three weeks before I got here, unfortunately he works every Sunday and doesn't want to change jobs.  But we had a really great lesson with him on Friday.  He told us that he wants to feel the way he did when he got baptized again, but that he is expecting something to happen to strengthen his testimony so that he can go to church and motivate himself to read the Book of Mormon and pray.  We shared the story about Nephi going to get the brass plates and the famous scripture that says that God will not give us commandments that we can't keep.  Then we read in Ether 12 where it says that testimony will only come after the trial of our faith.  The Spirit was really strong and he seemed to understand.  We told him to read and pray and ask God what he should do to be able to go to church again.  I really hope he does it!

We had a lot of cool spiritual experiences last week that I'll tell you about.  The referral we got last week from the less active member is named S.  During the whole first lesson, I was a little worried about how we were going to challenge her to be baptized, because she had already told us that she is perfectly happy with her life and doesn't feel scared to die and go back with God.  When we had finished teaching her the restoration, I felt like we should share the scripture in Mosiah 18:10 that says "If this is the desire of your hearts, what have ye against being baptized..." so we did and then did the baptismal challenge and she accepted it super easy.  It was really cool to feel the Spirit tell me exactly what she needed to hear to accept the challenge and to make that commitment.  

Well, that's about it for this week.  I know this church is true!  Be excellent to each other, and party on dudes!   

Elder Pew