Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18th, 2013

I got the Valentine's day package!  Thank you very much!  Also, the banner that the young men and women made for Christmas also got to me this week.  Love those guys. The only people who are not allowed to write me are girls that live within the mission boundaries.  So yeah, all their email addresses would be nice, and also as long as S hasn't moved to Puerto Vallarta she's good too.  Also, if you could get C's email address for me that would be great, because she's sent me two letters that I still haven't responded to.  Thanks!
What a great week!  We found a bunch of new investigators and we have appointments with two more today!  In fact, we have so many appointments tonight (4) that we are going to have to do splits with some of the Priesthood holders here to make it to all of them.  We have been very blessed this week.
Meet our new investigators!
C:  Valentina's brother's girlfriend who has been living with them the last few weeks.  V had told her a lot about the church and invited her to listen to us this Tuesday.  She's really great.  She's really receptive to everything we say and really wants to be a good person and change her life.  She had a super spiritual experience one time--she got hit by a motorcycle and basically died.  She saw a light and went toward it and said it felt really great.  Then she heard her mom's voice telling her to come back and she woke up alive again.  She has definitely been prepared to hear the gospel.  Also, she wants to get married to her boyfriend, so we dodged a bullet there, too.  She's getting baptized April 13th.
M and A:  Another referral from V.  M's husband works for the military just like J, so that's how they met.  They just barely moved in around the corner from V and her family and they're not from S, so naturally they are way receptive to everything.  A is her 12 year old daughter who has also been listening and is really interested.  She is very smart and understand's everything we talk about.  They are really great and always super excited when we come over.  The dad still doesn't seem to want anything to do with us, but that will change.  I always feel the Spirit super strong when we teach them. 
J:  10 year old son of a less active we've been reactivating.  He came to church last week and loved it and has been listening to us ever since.  He's a little shy, but he's a good kid and recognizes the Spirit really well. 
V:  We found her and her husband, L, about 2 months ago looking for a less active member from the ward list who had moved.  Every time we went over after that they were always busy or not home, but we found them again this week.  She's super receptive also and has accepted a baptismal date, but we are going to have to move it to the 13th of April because she didn't make it to church. 
J and F:  One of the members here is a taxi driver and took these two girls somewhere one day.  He talked to them about the church and they were interested.  We went over to visit them Saturday and had a great lesson.  They are sisters, J is 21 and F is 18.  Their mom is a Cataquista (I don't know this word in English, but basically she works for the Catholic church), but she lets them listen to us.  They told us they had never really understood religion, that they found it hard to believe in God because they had never seen him or felt his presence.  So we taught them about faith and prayer, and we invited J to pray at the end of the lesson and ask God if he really exists and if he loves her.  We promised her that she would receive her answer right then, and she did!  She was crying halfway through the prayer and her sister and mom were too!  I love that!  Our authority is so real.  I love being able to tell someone with all the confidence in the world that if they ask God for an answer to their prayer right then, he will give it to them right then, and then seeing it happen!  So ever since that lesson they've been hooked.  We have a lesson with them tonight and it should be great!
L:  Our Zone Leader, Elder A, started his mission in S and told us to visit her.  We haven't had a real lesson with her yet, but we have passed by her house a couple times and she already told us she wants to get baptized!  The only challenge is that she is living with her boyfriend right now, so we need to help her get married or separate from him. 
Luckily, none of them came to church this week.  Luckily, because it was a disaster.  Our branch president had a family issue so he did not make it to church.  Big problem, because he had the sound system, the microphone, and all the cables that we needed.  So we had to yell from the pulpit and sing a capella.  
Well, I haven't heard anything about Grandpa yet, but I really don't feel that sad.  I felt the saddest when you told me he was being put on hospice.  It's just obvious to me that I'll see him again and he'll be much happier when he's passed on.  Heavenly Father has blessed me with a lot this week in a lot of different ways, and it's helped me stay focused and keep from getting sad.  The Spirit truly is a comforter.  But I am going to miss him, a lot.  I have so much respect for that man and all he has taught me.  I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for him and his example.  I love you Grandpa!  Thank you for the life you've lived!
Thank you all for everything!  Have a fantastic week!  See you soon!
Elder Pew

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

We received news this week that we are now allowed to email friends and recent converts and we have 2 hours each p-day to write.  So I'm enjoying that.  

Thanks Dad!  That Savior Redeemer of My Soul song might be my new favorite.  And Timo, oh gosh!  New York is just the best, isnt it?  I agree that Lion King was absolutely incredible and I actually didn't love Spiderman--the first half was pretty good but after that, well yeah, it just got weird.  Also, look up the music video for "I feel better" by Hot Chip and look for Doctor Armstrong at the end of the video.  Also, enjoy the rest of it because it's pretty hilarious.  Oh, and Carnegie Deli...heaven.  Mom, still no Valentine's day package.  Who knows what's going on, but whatever.

It was another rough week, but not because of the companion, thank goodness.  Elder A is super awesome.  He's kind of quiet and shy, but he's a hard worker and is exciting to get things moving again around here.  He's got a great attitude and it's really helped a lot.  We're going to have success.  

We need them (the members) to really understand the gospel so that they are good examples to the investigators and so that they can teach their children how to act.  We have been handing out pamphlets of the restoration and telling them that we will come back in a few days so that they can teach us the Restoration.  I think it's going to work well. 

It's been a struggle to find investigators.  We've been getting a lot of referrals, just not very good ones.  For example, we went to contact one, and this guy came out of his house super angry.  We tried to contact him, but he was too mad to listen.  He demanded to know what authority we had, and when we explained to him he said a bunch of apostasy and got even madder.  To avoid the spirit of contention, we left as he kept screaming at us, calling us "borreguitos" (little goats) and a lot of other things that I won't mention here.  Poor guy.  That's just kind of how this week went.  But, we've kept having success with less actives.  Another member who hadn't been to church in about 18 years came this Sunday, and her husband and three kids aren't members, so that could be good.    

I have been thinking a lot about unity lately, with all these problems we have in the branch here.  I've learned a lot.  We've been trying to put more emphasis in the first point of lesson 1--God is our loving Heavenly Father--trying to make sure that everyone understands that Heavenly Father loves them and wants them to become like Him.  Heavenly Father, Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one and their whole purpose is to make us one with them.  You can see that pattern in everything we do in the church; for example, the Sacrament.  It's a covenant that we make with our Father that we will remember His Son so that he gives us his Spirit.  The Atonement is the way that we can become one with them--just look at the word and what it means.  When Christ suffered for all our sins, pains, and afflictions, he did it individually, for each one of us, and became One with everyone.  Through Christ's Atonement, we can become more like our Father as the Spirit works a change in our hearts.  And since Christ is one with everyone, as we become more like Him we too become more united with others.  We can feel the Father's love for them and see in them what He sees.  The Atonement is the answer for all the disunity and misunderstandings in our lives.  Moses 7:18 says "And the Lord called His people Zion, because they were of One heart and One mind."  Put the Atonement into effect in your lives so that we can establish Zion, so that we can be at one with our Father and with His children.  

I know Christ lives and that His Atonement is real.  This is his church, and nothing can stop his work.  I love you all and thank you for your love and prayers!  Have a great week!  Bye!

Elder Pew

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013

They still can´t get rid of me here in S. 
Also, I seem to be a Peruvian magnet.  That´s right, my new companion is, Elder A, is also from Peru.  He´s actually from the same stake as Elder R and has the same amount of time in the mission.  Wild, right?  He seems pretty cool, he just got here today and he was a little sad to leave his first area (who isnt?), but we´re excited to work together.  Elder R is with Elder A´s trainer in his old area in Guadalajara, we just traded companions.  Kind of fun.
This was possibly the craziest week of my life.
It all started last Monday.  Elder R had a little problem with the mission rules again, and since I don't let him break them, the little problem became a big one.  He gave me the cold shoulder all day and before district class Tuesday he told me that he had told his family the day before that he was going home that week.  I kind of freaked out about that and talked to the zone leaders right away so that they would talk to him.  He was still super mad after talking to them and our District leader, so I talked to President Wagner and he talked to Elder R.  He gave him until Thursday night to make his decision on whether he was going to stay or go home.  In the bus back to S he still wasn't talking or letting me help him, so I said a prayer and told Heavenly Father that I had done everything I could for him and asked Him to help Elder R make the right decision.  Wednesday was probably one of the worst days of my life.  We learned the principle "if ye have not the spirit ye shall not teach" really well.  It didn´t matter how many people we talked to and how many appointments we put, we couldn´t get in a single door.  It was absolutely miserable.  Thursday was about the same, still not talking to me, still nothing happening in the area.  But then when he talked to President Wagner that night he told him that he was going to stay!  It was an absolute miracle and I know it was a prayer answered.  President talked to me after and said to still not let him be disobedient, to help him learn to think about other people and be focused on the mission, and that he was going to leave us together another transfer in S.  It was a great moment.  Unfortunately, the problems didn't end there.  Friday and Saturday were equally ineffective and I was really pretty unexcited about everything going on.  Then Saturday the craziest thing happened.  A member of the branch who transports gasoline from one coast of Mexico to the other for a living got in a car crash and passed away that morning.  He was endowed, and I guess endowed members have to be dressed in their temple clothes when they are buried by another endowed member of the same gender.  His family, who were all Catholics, came looking for us for that reason.  We had to get in contact with the District President to have him do it or authorize someone in the branch to do it, because President A had left S that morning and was still on his way back when we heard the news.  We finally got in contact with him and he told Pres. A to do it.  Since the only other endowed men in S are us, he told us we had to help him with it.  I could not believe what was happening.  I literally was going to have to change the clothes of a dead man!  Why had my life led me to that?  Who knows.  But the thing was that his body was in a morgue in Guzman, and his family was going to call us when they brought it to S.  After a few minutes of tensely waiting, they called us saying the body was too burnt to be able to put any clothing on him, so that was about the biggest sigh of relief in my entire life.  This crazy little area!
Sunday we only had sacrament meeting, because his funeral was right after.  We all went to the cemetary together and it was a good experience.  We´re hoping that it turns into a chance to teach the rest of his family because we have to stay in contact with them so that we can go dedicate his grave. 
At 6 we got the call that Elder R was being transferred.  He was a little sad, and he actually cried this morning when we said goodbye.  We were on good terms when he left and I hope he does well in his new area. 
We´re basically opening an area this week after what happened last week, so pray a lot that we can find new investigators who are willing to progress and change their lives. 
Happy birthday Izak and Dad this week!  and speaking of Dad, are you ok?  have you sent me emails the last two weeks, if so, they haven't gotten to me (He did send them but to the wrong email--oops!).  If not, repent!  I miss you!  I love you! 
Have a great week everyone else!  I love you all!  Thanks for everything!
Elder Pew