Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 22, 2013

Well, we couldn't find any of our investigators this week, so we looked for new ones.  And we found some.  Here they are:

I, E, and F: A mom and her 14 and 9 year old kids.  We contacted them in the bakery that one of the members owns here.  Speaking of the bakery, we went over there today to help them make bread.  It was fun.  They are cool.  They're friends with another member and we've only taught them one time, but it went well.  

J and S:  J walked up and talked to us in the street one night and told us that he had gone to our church in Mexicali and liked it a lot.  He told us he wanted us to come over.  He's a Mason (like National Treasure Masons) but he's cool.  His wife has also listened to the missionaries before and is super excited every time we come over.  

K: J's 17 year old sister.  She usually ran and hid when we came over to teach him, but we tied her down one time and taught her this week.  She's super shy but super smart and says that she's not so sure if God exists.  We gave her a Book of Mormon and are pretty confident that she'll read it because she loves reading.  She came to church and liked it and all the youth were super great with her.  They even invited her to go to EFY with them this summer and she said she'll think about it.  I think she'll progress once she's sure that there is a God and that He loves her.  

Interesting experiences this week:

We were eating lunch with one family and Elder A dared their 6 year old kid to take a big bite out of a huge, spicy chili they had in their house.  He did it like it was nothing and then it was Elder A's turn to take a bite.  He did, and dared the little kid again, and he ate it again!  So Elder A had to take one more bite, and after that, he was super sick for the rest of the day.  He said it just felt like his stomach was on fire.  He was in the bathroom for about an hour afterward.  And the six year old kid?  Totally fine.

A member invited her friend from another church, the "Light of the World," to church this week.  He came for the last hour and since it was just me, my companion, and our Elder's quorum President in Priesthood, he decided to try and preach to us.  It started out as a heated battle but in the end we were all friends and he left with a Book of Mormon having promised to read it.  Sweet!

Elder A joined Elder J in the "I ate a cucaracha" club.  yum.

We're out of time.  I love you!  The church is true!  Thanks for everything!  

Elder Pew

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013

I feel like there was something interesting from last week that I was going to respond to, but I can't remember what.  So just consider it responded to, whatever it was.  I really don't have time to read letters these days, I print them off and read them on buses or whenever I happen to have time.

Well, that subject line was a complete lie (he had written another town in the mission).  I'm still in S.  Haha!  Yep, 5 transfers here, I'll almost have a year in the mission by the end of this one.  I think I'm going to buy my house here and tell them to give me a calling in the branch.  

Ah!  I remembered the interesting thing.  Granny!  Yes, Mom, it weirded me out at first just a little bit (my mom is engaged), but then when I kept reading I felt like it was all good.  Like Heavenly Father was rewarding and blessing her for her patience and longsuffering with Grandpa, and that was His way of doing it.  If she's happy, I'm happy.  Love you Granny!

Happy Birthday Elder Pew!  Thanks to the branch President!!!
We had a good week.  I had a good birthday, thank you very much.  It was our last lesson with J before his baptismal interview (Law of Chastity to a 9 year old--kind of tricky) and it went well.  We had a SWEET lesson with J.  We showed up at her house and she had changed completely.  She told us she finally had decided to accept God and not blame him for all the bad things that happened to her.  We taught the Restoration and it went really well.  Very spiritual lesson.  Unfortunately she disappeared again after that, but we'll keep looking.  Also, in the middle of the day our Branch President called and told us to come over to his house at 4:30--something urgent.  The picture of me with the cake was the result of that visit.  And the other picture will give you a little more detail about what he put on it.  Love that guy!  
His 20th Birthday cake

We also had awesome lessons with A--including tears during the First Vision.  I was in splits with Elder D in G when it happened, but it sounds like it went really well.  She couldn't come to church for an unfortunate situation that we are going to try and help her resolve this week, but she should get baptized this transfer.  
Baptism of J

Speaking of baptisms, J got baptized on Saturday.  It was a little hectic because the font didn't want to fill up, so we had to do it with buckets, but the good thing about being in the true church is that these things somehow always work out.  It was a great service, Elder A baptized him.  We also sang "Come Thou Fount" but since it doesn't exist in Spanish we sang the words to "O My Father" in Spanish.  We literally put it together 10 minutes before the baptism but it turned out ok.  And J showed up for his confirmation, so that was a relief.

A less active member, L, brought his non member girlfriend to church this week and she loved it and is super excited to learn more!  Her name is E.  Such a blessing!

We have been trying a new idea to find investigators and get the members excited to help us.  We've been asking the members to make a list of 10 people that could accept the gospel, and then to pray to find out which of those 10 is prepared.  Then, this Sunday, we had them fast for that person, and this Saturday they are going to take their names to put in the prayer roll in the temple.  After that, they are going to give the person a Book of Mormon and tell them to read it, wait three days, and go back to see if they have read and if they want a visit from the missionaries.  It's worked miracles.  Heavenly Father has been revealing to them who they should invite to learn about the gospel, even to some of them in dreams!  The members are super excited right now and they are supporting us a lot.  2 of them have even told us that they are going to go knocking doors like JW's to find more people for us to teach.  Also, our Branch President has called a few other members to have callings and it's helping them to be more excited.  It's been an amazing thing to see--just an absolute 180 shift from what was going on a few months ago.  Which is why I was super worried they were going to transfer me.  I almost cried in Sunday School with the youth, and a few of them almost did also.  But the phone call came during branch counsel:  Elder J told me that we were both going to be staying, that his companion Elder D was being transferred, and that he was going to receive a child; and because he was going to train, they had called me to be the new District Leader.  So we'll see how that goes.  It was a super happy moment--I wanted to stay so bad!!!  This is going to be an amazing transfer, I am sure.  

Well, I think that's all.  Have a lovely week!  Thank you all for everything!  Love you!

Elder Pew

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8th, 2013

So I just barely got done reading all the birthday wishes that were sent to me this week. Thank you everyone!  And Timo, no, your birthday means absolutely nothing on the mission.  It's better that way, trust me.

Well, this week went pretty good.  Of the investigators we found last week, the ones that are really progressing the most are R, S, and S, a family of three that we found contacting R in the street one day.  S is 12 and S is 7, their dad works and lives in Guadalajara and only comes to visit them about once every 2 weeks.  They are super Catholic.  S had open heart surgery recently and is very close to God.  They are all really receptive and awesome, especially little S.  At the closing prayer of our lesson yesterday, he told us that he felt like Christ was in his heart, and that he heard a voice that said "Follow me."  Pretty awesome!  They're getting baptized the 27th.  Unfortunately they didn't come to conference, but we'll keep trying.  

We're still working with R, who accepted a baptismal date for the 27th also.  He's awesome.

We found a new investigator named A, who is not from J so naturally she's super receptive and also has a baptismal date for the 27th.  

We invited everyone to conference, but unfortunately J was the only investigator that came.  But fortunately, he's getting baptized this Saturday and we're super excited about that!  

I got to see a lot of conference  (watch it here).  They showed it here in S, and it was 100% Spanish this time, which wasn't really that big of a problem.  I saw Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, and most of Sunday afternoon, unfortunately I missed Priesthood session, so I'm going to try and download it on my mp3 when I have the chance.  It was awesome!  I feel the same way mom, kind of sad when it ended.  But now we have 6 months to study everything!  Awesome.  I feel like they all spoke about things that I have been studying a lot lately:  obedience, the nature of God, families, unity, it was all there.  It made me feel like I'm headed in the right direction with this little branch.  

Well, I'm out of time.  Love you all! Oh, and Timo, if you're still working on that song, it's best to write the melody, then the chord progression, and the lyrics can go either first or last.  But I kind of just did it however it came, and that's probably what will happen with you also.  Good luck!

Elder Pew

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 1, 2013

It has been very, very hot.  I haven't seen a cloud in about a week now, and apparently this is nothing compared to what it will be like in May.  Perfect time to get transferred to the coast where it's hotter and super humid.  I'd love it if they left me here for one more transfer but I don't think it's very likely.  Two more weeks in S, where has the time gone?  

It was an awesome week!  Here in Mexico the kids all had last week off and this week as well, so we are taking advantage of that to teach lots of lessons with members present--like there's one of the youth with us at every hour every day!  They're so awesome.  They don't just come to the lessons and listen, they share their testimonies, whip out scriptures they've been reading on their own that totally help the people we are teaching, and really are just making a big difference.  We were able to teach 21 lessons with a member present this week (the S all time record, set by Elder A and I, is 23, and the mission record is 31) which was really good.  We found a bunch of new investigators too, and I think a lot of them could be really good.  The problem is that nobody was home this weekend, so we've only been able to teach about 1 lesson to most of them and nobody could come to church.  

Let me just explain a few of the Easter traditions around here.  The last 40 days have been what they call "Cuaresma" (Lent) which is supposed to represent the 40 days that Christ fasted before his ministry.  And to celebrate it, every Friday during Cuaresma they don't eat meat.  Fortunately, it's a Catholic thing, so the members still eat meat those days, but unfortunately, all the butchers here are Catholic and don't open.    The week before Easter is called the "Holy Week" and everything got super crazy around here.  The Centro turned into a Flea market/amusement park and there were events every day leading up to Friday (which is the day they celebrate the most).  Friday they did a live representation of Christ's crucifixion--everyone gathered in the center and they played out the whole thing with Pilate washing his hands, Christ being whipped and beaten, etc.  Then they all brought him up a hill by one of the Catholic Cathedrals where there was a big cross for him to be crucified on.  No, they didn't actually nail him to it, but they did tie him there for a few minutes.  Or so I'm told.  Luckily, we were able to avoid all that and still teach lessons while it was going on.  We just saw the big group of people walking toward the hill and it really did look like the multitude that killed Christ. 

I did not baptize his daughter this week, but either this week or the next it'll happen, and it's going to be awesome.  

It's pretty certain that J will get baptized on the 13th.  His mom is now fully active in the church, now we just need to work on his dad and older sister so that they can get baptized someday also.  It's been fun to teach him.  We are also teaching his mom's cousin, who has been listening to the missionaries in S but just barely moved here.  He reads the Bible every day, has received an answer that the church is true, and knows he needs to get baptized, he just doesn't feel ready yet.  In the lesson when he told us this, I felt like he just needed to know the commandments (law of chastity, sabbath day, word of wisdom, etc.) and keep them and he'll feel more ready.  He said he was willing to do repent and change his life, so we're not too worried about him.  BTW his name is R.  

We found another awesome investigator contacting in the plaza during all the mayhem this week.  Her name is D, she's 19, and super ready for the gospel.  From the moment we walked in her house there was just a good feeling there.  We connected really well with her from the beginning and the Spirit was way strong.  She accepted a baptismal date super easy, and the next visit she told us that she had prayed and received an answer that it was all true!  But then her stinking boyfriend showed up and ruined everything.  The first thing he said was "Are you guys Catholic? Oh, well we don't want to listen to you."  And then he pretty much pressured her into not listening anymore, so we're praying for another opportunity to find her and that her boyfriend changes his ways.  

We played soccer, volleyball, and basketball almost all day today and I am redder than the Mexican flag.  (see photo attached)

I haven't read all your letters, but it sounds like Grandpa's funeral was a good experience.  And the only friend that I've been writing is Austin, but man has it been good!  Love that guy.  They sell chocolates here, but I haven't actually ever bought them.  I should, right?

Well, that's it for this week.  Prepare yourselves for Conference, it's going to be awesome!  I love you all!

Elder Pew

March 25th, 2013

Well, it was a tough week.  Remember all those awesome people I wrote about last week?  They disappeared.  Except for J.  Definitely going to get baptized.  He came to church and everything this week and he is understanding the lessons really well.  We found a new person named L who seems pretty cool.  She didn't come to church but she's super excited and accepted a baptismal date for the 13th also.  but other than that we pretty much just walked around looking for people who weren't home.  

I don't have a lot to say this week.  One cool experience:  So Wednesday I got the call that Grandpa had died.  I was fine, a little sad, but fine.  I didn't shed a single tear or anything and it didn't distract me at all.  We've been doing this new program with the members to get them excited about missionary work and help them know the doctrine better.  We give them one of the pamphlets to go along with one of the lessons (restoration, plan of salvation, the gospel of Jesus Christ, etc.) and tell them to study it well.  Then a few days later, we come back and do a little practice where the member, with one of us as his companion, teaches the other missionary, who takes the role of a current investigator, the lesson that they had studied.  That night we went to do it with a 17 year old girl named R, and she was going to teach us the Plan of Salvation.  And of course it was my turn to be investigator.  It was exactly what I needed.  I wasn't sad or anything, but it helped me a lot and strengthened my testimony.  She had no idea what had happened that day, but the Spirit spoke through her and Elder A what I needed to hear.  Mostly this whole experience has strengthened my testimony of the Plan of Salvation a lot.  I surprised myself with how totally fine I was with the news.  I know I'll see Grandpa again and that he is in a better place right now--doing exactly what I'm doing.  It has been a real blessing to be here in the mission when this happened, not having to see all the suffering and being completely focused on the gospel and the needs of other people.  I am so full of thanks. 

Our Branch President going to be in Guzman and Guadalajara all this week, so I'm in charge of the branch right now.  Hopefully nobody dies and we don't have to look for a new house of prayer, or nothing else crazy happens this week.  

This Sunday I, the less active member that I told you about, is going to baptize his 8 year old daughter.  Should be sweet!

I told you i've been teaching sunday school for the youth here.  Basically I love it.  This new program is super inspired and is going to make some pretty rocking missionaries.  The lesson yesterday was particularly awesome.  It was about relying on the grace of the Savior to become a better teacher of the gospel.  I hardly had to teach anything, the youth did it all!  I just told them which scriptures to look up and they taught each other.  It was super spiritual, and at the end we did a practice to see if they could do it.  I pretended to be one of their less-active friends and they as a class had to use the spirit to convince me to come to church next sunday.  It was a great experience, they did really well and felt the Spirit super strong.  And then they decided to go around and visit the less active youth for mutual this week!  So I´m excited to hear how that went.  They are so great.  

I'm glad to hear that you all took the news well also this week.  I've been praying for you a lot, especially Granny.  Take good care of her, ok?  I love you all!  have a fantastic week and happy easter!

Elder Pew