Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25th, 2013

So to respond to what you have been writing me:

No I haven't gotten the Valentine's day package, but Elder J tells me there are 3 packages for me in their house in Guzman, so I'm guessing one of them is it, which means I'll get it tomorrow.  The transfer is this week, so who knows where I'll be next Monday and with which companion.  It's decently likely that I get transferred, but you never know with President Wagner.  The transfers usually aren't what anyone expects they'll be (e.g. Elder B is still in A training again!) so we'll see.  I could stay here and get a new companion or we could stay another transfer together.  But next week I'll let you know where to send the licorice, whether it be to me or to the member's house.  

That's cool that you've been watching The District.  And I didn't even know that Elder Moreno is Michael Moreno!  How do we know him again?  Those guys are like our heroes because we watch little clips from those videos all the time as part of Elder R's training.  Also, maybe you've noticed that what you have been seeing is called The District 2.  Yes, the District 1 exists, and it was actually filmed in the San Antonio mission!  It looks like a great mission.  Timo, you'll see those videos in the MTC, and if not there, in the field.  Pretty cool, right?

Gwen, I'm sorry I didn't say anything about your tooth.  I love you!  And I've noticed that you have been writing me all by yourself, smarty pants.  Stop growing up!

Sounds like the whole call opening thing was an awesome experience.  Wish I could have been there.  You filmed it for me, right?

SPENCER'S ENGAGED?!!! (friend who was in his band)  He's been home like barely 6 months, right!  Sheesh!  That's super great!  And even better that she's a Switchfoot fan!  And I am not at all surprised that he's the first one to go.  I just had this know?  And I'm pretty sure Tyler (Spencer's younger brother and Taran's friend too) will probably be engaged before I get home.  He'll be the first one from my generation to go, if not Andrew (another friend in the band and on a mission).  So you can use this to freak out Sister Bernards (the mom of Spencer and Tyler) a little more if you want.  

No, the new missions in Mexico don't effect us at all.  They're all really far away from here.  Good news, right?

Happy late Birthday Micah!  I totally forgot to mention it last week, but I hope it was a great day, and that you got lots of birthday kisses from your women friends :)

This week was pretty good.  We did divisions (splits) again and this time I went to G with Elder J.  I love that guy.  It was a blast.  So the guy that works in the Cyber Cafe--Elder R went to see him with Elder D.  They couldn't teach a full lesson because he was working, but they asked him if he had read the Book of Mormon we gave him and he said he had.  The next day when I got back we went to visit him and I asked him about his reading.  He said that he had to confess that he hadn't read.  He told me he felt something weird that wouldn't let him lie around me, and that he needed to tell me everything.  And then he told me everything!  I now understand the phrase "Spirit of Truth" a lot better.  He told us that he never had a Dad and that is what has bothered him the most all these years--he feels like he's not a good dad because he never had one, he finds it hard to believe in God for the same reason.  He was crying right there in his cyber cafe telling us all these things.  It was amazing.  The man felt the Spirit just from our presence, we didn't have to say anything.  So remember Timo, as a missionary you have TONS of authority, and people will recognize it and feel the power of God if you are obedient.  Unfortunately, we haven't been able to have a good lesson with him so far (he's always working), but we'll see how it goes this week.  

As far as other investigators, not a whole lot going on.  

This week we had 66 people in church, the most there has been since I got here!  In that group of 66, 12 were less actives--one of which gave a talk--so we're seeing success there!  Our little house of prayer was so full!  And this Sunday, for the first time since I've been here, we had an intermediate hymn and everyone stood to sing it.  It was super powerful with all the members there!  It was really great.  The closing hymn was "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" and was equally powerful.  I had been kind of sad Saturday and Sunday since this is probably my last week here, but it helped me feel better, and worse at the same time!  I really, really love it here.  Good thing I've got at least one more Sunday--we're going to see if we can break 70!

Elder R is still struggling adjusting to missionary life.  The poor child just did not know what he was getting himself into.  At all.  But when he focuses, he teaches really well.  Keep praying for him.

I love you all!  We'll see where I am and who I'm with next Monday.  Thanks for all your love and support, I can definitely feel it!  The church is true, Heavenly Father loves us and Jesus is our Savior.  ¡Adios!

-Elder Pew

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18, 2013

I got all my Christmas cards from everybody this week.  Thank you all!  And don't worry, I'm still in the Christmas spirit because the only songs on my mp3 that Elder R likes are the Christmas songs, and he can't go 15 seconds in the house without music on, so I pretty much hear them always whenever we're in the house.  Ha ha!

Thanks for the updates mom.  No I did not no about S's mission call, nobody tells me anything.  But that's awesome!  If any of my friends get engaged or get their calls, don't wait to let them be the ones to tell me, because they haven't really kept me in the loop.

It was a great week.  Tuesday and Wednesday there were four missionaries in S; each of us went with one of the Zone Leaders.  It was very helpful.  I learned a lot from them and we are teaching a lot better because of it, I think.  Thursday we had Zone conference, and I cannot say enough about how much power President Wagner has!  We did practices and it blew my mind how direct he is when he teaches!  He literally asked the mock investigator "What are your sins?  Do you think God likes your sins?  That's why he sent us here, so that you stop sinning."  Wow!  I learned a lot that day.  Something awesome always happens after these conferences, and this time was no exception.  Thursday after the conference we did splits with our district leader; Elder R stayed in G with Elder J and his companion, Elder D, came with me.  He has one transfer more than me, he's way awesome and a super good missionary.  That night we visited S, who has kind of stopped progressing since she can't come to church every week and she refuses to accept a baptismal date.  So we tried to put one again.  We figured out the things that have been keeping her from accepting:  She doesn't feel like she has any sins and she's scared of making a mistake after her baptism and breaking her covenant.  So we explained to her that she's not God and still has sins and that she can take the sacrament to renew her baptismal covenant, and she seemed a little more receptive.  She's been saying that since it took her 5 months to plan a vacation to the beach, she should take at least that much time to plan her baptism, since it is much more important.  But she finally asked us when we thought she could be ready.  The Spirit (through us) said March 9th, so we had her pray about it and we all felt super strongly that that was the date!  We just need to get her to stop working on Sundays and she should be very, very ready for that day.  Pray for her a lot!

More miracles:  Elder R came back Friday night and we went to visit a less active named I.  His mom was the first member baptized in S, but he has been inactive for about 20 years.  His wife and 3 daughters are super active and super faithful, but he has just never had the desire to go.  But about 3 weeks ago he broke his ankle skateboarding, and after 1 week of not being able to get in for surgery, we went to his house and his wife asked us if we could give him a blessing.  That day they had gone to the hospital again to see if they could get in, but they were too full and were going to have to wait until the next week.  In the blessing, it said that he would be able to get surgery soon and begin to heal.  He was crying when we finished.  Later that day, they went back to the hospital and everything had suddenly cleared up so that he could have his surgery.  Taking advantage of the fact that he can't move and is stuck in his living room all day, we went to visit him.  His daughter is going to turn eight next month and is going to get baptized, so we used that as a motivation to help him come back to church.  He told us he felt the Spirit really strong in the blessing and that he knew he needed to come back to church.  Friday night we had a super spiritual lesson with him--we taught him the first two points of lesson 1:  God is our loving Heavenly Father and The Gospel Blesses Families.  It was powerful--we had never taught a lesson with such unity and so spiritual.  He felt it too, apparently.  The next day his daughter came with us to a few lessons and while we were walking around, asked us "What did you say to my Dad last night?  He's been acting really weird."  Apparently by really weird, she meant that he had called the whole family together for family prayer, was super happy, told his wife to iron his Sunday pants so that he could go to church, and reminded them to be home Monday night for Family Home Evening.  What?!!!  And sure enough, he came to church this week, even though he still can't walk without crutches.  That's the power of the Holy Ghost.  It really does change hearts and lives when we let it in!

Last miracle:  Last week we felt impressed to contact the guy who works in the cyber cafe where we always write.  We did, and he told us that he had to go to Guadalajara that week, that he wasn't going to be able to meet with us, blah, blah, blah, he's not interested.  But we went back Saturday to put more credit on our phone and he was outside washing his car.  He yelled for us to come and said he wanted to talk to us.  Apparently his wife left him Tuesday and took the kids with her and he has been really lonely.  So we gave him a Book of Mormon and told him to read it until we could meet with him this Wednesday.  Heavenly Father knows His children and knows when they will need the gospel most!  

Finally, congratulations Timo!  San Antonio is a great mission!  And the cool thing about going English speaking is that the moment you get into the field you can already be the Man instead of having to learn how to communicate first.  You'll be great, I'm sure!  I'm super excited for you and super excited to tell everyone here about it!  Love you!

Have a great week everybody!  I haven't had time to read your letters today, so I'll respond to them next week.  Hasta luego!

Elder Pew

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11, 2012

First of all, to answer questions:

So about that talk.  I was going to make copies of it because it belongs to Elder B, but then I got transferred out of A and I haven't seen that talk or Elder B since.  But I think I'm going to ask my mission president if he can get a hold of it for me (and for my companion).  So I'll keep you updated on that.  

So you're probably all wondering where we had church.  Well, we were looking and looking all week, and finally Wednesday we found a house that was pretty big, so we called the number on the sign and set up an appointment to go look at it.  We went with our branch president later that day.  It was a really cool house, with lots of perfect little rooms for classrooms, and a big open patio thing in the middle with a swimming pool.  The problem was that that was the only space big enough to have sacrament meeting, so we decided that if we could convince the maintenance people into putting some sort of metal cover on the pool and installing a roof, it could work.  That's how we do things in Mexico.  The next day when the maintenance people came, they went and talked to the lady who was renting us the old house of prayer and convinced her to renew the contract!  Which was really great, because when we called the people who were renting this other house to tell them that we didn't need it anymore, they told us that they had already rented it just that morning.  So the Lord wanted us to stay where we are, I think, which is good.  The only downside is that that pool would have been a super awesome baptismal font...

So I'm kind of freaking out that Timo is getting is mission call this week.  Almost as much as I did when I got my call.  I don't know if I'll be able to wait another week to find out!  And congratulations to Scott (his cousin) for his call!  Salt Lake is an awesome mission, from what I've heard.  And it's also the most beautiful city on earth, so yeah, enjoy.  

This week was really rough.  It was Carnival here, which is basically the equivalent of the Cedar Hills Family festival, except way crazier.  Nobody was home all week.  The madness all started Thursday with the Día de Malhumor.  It's basically the day when everyone in S declares a waterballoon war on everyone else in S.  But they don't just throw water balloons, they get rotten eggs, fruit, and dog poo involved also.  And the water balloons aren't always full of water (use your imagination).  And it's tradition to burn a box of kittens in the Centro at the end of the day.  All the members warned us not to leave the house that day, but I've read the story of Samuel the Lamanite way too many times to let that happen.  So we left.  It was all calm in the morning, but after a lesson with a less active member, it got a little crazy and all the streets that we could see were blocked with people who wanted to get us wet.  It was nuts!  There were people in front of their houses with hoses and buckets drenching every person (and every car) that passed by.  There were also trucks full of little kids in the back armed with water balloons to throw at everybody else.  Everyone walking down the street had a backpack full of waterballoons and there were little groups of people everywhere.  So we stayed in the less active member's house until it calmed down a little bit.  I'm totally coming back in two years to be a part of that.

S couldn't come to church this week, but we had a good turnout.  Almost all the active members showed up and a couple less actives that we visited.  One of said less actives gave us a referral that we contacted Saturday.  She's an older lady named J.  She can't read and told us that she is not sure who God is, so we are pretty much starting from scratch with her spiritual knowledge.   She couldn't come to church this week, but said she would the next week.  We put a baptismal date for March 2nd, so we're praying that all works out.  

Elder R has had a really tough week.  Thursday and Friday were really bad days for him.  So I talked to the Zone Leaders about it and they are going to come with us tomorrow and Wednesday this week.  He's been doing better today and yesterday, but still needs a lot of help.  Keep him in your prayers.  

Well, that's all for this week.  I'm excited for this week and I really hope we can find new people to teach.  I could only have three weeks left in S, which is sad, but I'm going to make the most of them!  I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Pew

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4, 2013

Well, let's just start things off with a bang.  Thursday we had lunch with our branch president.  When we showed up, he smiled and told us he had good news (very sarcastically).  The person who was renting us the house of prayer (temporary chapel) decided to sell it and has given us one week to move out!  Awesome, right?!  This area...haha!  I thought it was pretty funny.  Just when everything seems to be going great--bam!  So we've been looking.

We still haven't found anything yet.

S came to church!  This was her biggest challenge since she owns a restaurant and works on Sundays, but she found someone to cover for her and was able to come!  And her less active friend who gave us the referral has started listening to us and she came this Sunday too!  Along with another less active family that has been kind of off and on since Elder R got here.  We visited them 3 times this week and they are reading in the Book of Mormon and praying as a family every day now.  It's amazing how much of a difference that makes.  

So we had a good last Sunday in the house of prayer/chapel.  It was also my first Sunday teaching the youth's Sunday School class, which was great.  I like that new program a lot!  Also the youth here are awesome--some of the strongest members we've got.  They're the hope of this branch for the future.  And Elder R taught Gospel Principles all by himself and as far as I know nobody has gone inactive because of it :)  He's doing great!  He's teaching a lot better and he's a LOT happier!  

We had branch counsel, AGAIN!  and they called a Young Women's president.  The oldest young women was in charge of everything the last few months so this will be great.  Still need a young men's president.  But that's ok.  It was a super spiritual meeting and we all felt like we're headed in the right direction with this branch.  I love S!

I think the only questions I got this week were from Gwen and Zane.  Sometimes it gets kind of cold in the mornings and nights, especially if it rains, but other than that it's pretty much 80 degrees and sunny always.  And I feel like Timo's going to Europe somewhere on his mission.  I'm going to go with Romania.  Elder R says he's staying in the US.  If that's the case, I don't think he'll go English speaking.  But yeah, there's my guess.  And Zane, I was rooting for the Ravens, yes!  

Congratulations Emily on getting that part in the play!  Prayer works :)  And congratulations Timo for finishing your mission papers.  As I said last week, everyone here is excited to hear where you are going and they all hope it's here!  But wherever it is, it's where God wants you and it'll be great.  

This is my third try with this email.  I've already killed two computers in this place trying to write it.  The curse has followed me here (he seems to feel he had bad luck with computers).  

Well, that's all for this week.  Thanks for your love and support!  ¡Hasta ver!

Elder Pew