Thursday, May 30, 2013

Monday, May 27th, 2013

They took me out of S.  I was figuring that would be the first thing you'd all be asking, so there you go.  I'm in G again, but in a different zone.  I'm in a ward called E, and the temple is in the ward boundaries.  Pretty sweet.  It's right on the border of my area.  There are 3 companionships here: 2 of Elders and this transfer two sister missionaries will be opening a third area.  I'm still district leader.  My companion is Elder D.  He's from Columbia.  He's from the same generation as Elder A and Elder R, but he spent the first 4 months of his mission over there waiting for his visa.  He's the only member in his whole family.  He was baptized when he was 13.  We live in a mansion (literally) with 2 other missionaries who seem awesome (another American and another Columbian) along with a member family who lives in a different section of the same house and rents it to us.  Basically, this area is the rich section of Guadalajara, and apparently there's lots of Americans.  It's about exactly the opposite of S.

We had another swap of companions.  Elder D's companion is now with Elder A in S, and it just happens to be Elder Q, my brother who was also my first Zone Leader in A.  He's going to finish his mission there.  They did not put another companionship in S yet, but President Wagner told me they would in the near future.  They did put another companionship in T, another little down by G, and they sent Elder J and Elder H there to open up that area and they sent sister missionaries to their area in G.  Pretty soon these misioneras are going to take over the whole mission...

We had a good last week.  We found a super awesome investigator named J.  We contacted his wife and put an appointment to go visit her, but when we got there she wasn't home.  Instead, a shirtless, gangsta looking dude with tattoos all over his body answers the door, smoking, and asks us what we want.  Based on previous experience, I was pretty sure he was going to get super defensive and tell us that his wife is Catholic and they don't want us to visit them, but no.  He invited us in and listened to everything we said, and was super interested in the Restoration.  We left him with a Book of Mormon and when we came back, he had read from the introduction to 1 Nephi 2 and understood everything.  And even better, he told us he knew it was all true!!!  That was the last time I saw him, but we had an appointment with him for tomorrow night and I'm excited to find out what happens there.  

We had found an investigator named V a few weeks ago that seemed kind of interested but stopped being home when we went over.  We found her again Sunday and she told us she wanted to give the Book of Mormon back because she didn't have time to read it.  So we said a prayer and started to read with her in the introduction and explain the importance of it.  She had a lot of doubts, but the Spirit was super strong and guided the whole lesson.  We just seemed to know exactly what she needed to hear--and it was amazing to see the Spirit work through us, including the member that came to help us teach, and through the investigator.  At the end of the lesson she told us she was going to read the Book of Mormon, and then we challenged her to pray and ask God right there in that moment if it is true.  She did and told us she felt like she had been illuminated.  She said that it seemed like her eyes had been opened to something she couldn't see before that prayer.  It was amazing!  And that just happened to be the last lesson I taught in S with Elder A.  

By Friday, I already knew I was going to be transferred.  That night, I said my last goodbye to Elder A, who got home today, and that day we also found out that Elder J was going to be sent to T and would no longer be part of our district.  When I was praying that night, I felt sure that I was going to be transferred, so when the call came Sunday I was ready.  It was a blessing, because if not I think I might of cried.  Ok, maybe I did anyways, but not as much as it would have been.  Luckily, I had time to quickly say goodbye to everyone I wanted to.  Some were sadder than others.  V was the only one that cried, but J was about to.  It's been really sad.  I'm going to miss all those guys.  SOOO many things happened to me in that area.  I feel like I matured about 10 years there with all that went on in those 7 months.  But at the same time I know that this is where I'm supposed to be now.   I don't know why, but I'm sure I'll find out.  When we were here at the temple Saturday and Monday, I felt like I was going to get transferred here.  And here I am.  And thank goodness I'm not on the coast sweating like a little pig.  I'd love to be in G and G
Practicing teaching

Scripture Power

Treats for his birthday from the Mission President and his wife

Elder A and Elder Pew, the winning companionship!

Taran's zone without him and his companion
my whole mission, and so far so good.  

Thanks for your prayers and support!  I'm really going to need them this week!  I love you all!  

Elder Pew

*Photos from a Zone conference a couple of weeks ago

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What a CRAZY week!  Let's start with...I don't know.  Update on investigators?  We have a couple of cool ones right now.  We went back to teach a couple that I taught with Elder A.  Their names are A and R.  R's grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles are all inactive members but he's never been baptized in any particular church. He's about 23 and he's super cool.  His wife was studying to be a cataquista (I don't know this word in English) in the Catholic church, but stopped and went to live with him.  They're not married, which is the biggest challenge, but they're always there for the lessons (miracle!)  and they like listening to us.  So we'll see how that goes.  

We found another guy named C who's about 32.  He lived in the US for 15 years and also doesn't belong to any other church.  He's really interested in the Book of Mormon and being forgiven of his sins.  His 14 year old brother is also pretty interested since he's madly in love with one of the youth here in the branch.  

So the craziness started Thursday.  Actually, more like Tuesday.  Elder A's tooth started to hurt really bad, and by Thursday he couldn't take it anymore.  So we went to the dentist and found out he had an infection in his tooth.  It was so bad that she couldn't do anything about it right then, so he started taking pills for the infection so that it goes down a little bit.  Hopefully they'll be able to operate on it this week.  But it didn't stop there.  It was still hurting him really bad on Friday, and to go along with it he had a fever, chills, and his body was aching all over.  Not to mention the diarrhea.  Friday night he couldn't sleep at all because he was so sick, which was awful since we had to get up and 4 in the morning.  You may be asking why--because we were going to the temple!!!  The branch had a trip scheduled that day at 5 am and we had planned to go with them.  But it turns out the van we rented was just a minivan, and more people than we had planned on showed up.  We weren't about to stuff 13 people into a dodge caravan in a two hour trip to Guadalajara, so Elder A and I went in the normal buses with another member (E, the one that said hi to you guys on skype.)  That was good since he was able to sleep on the way.  

Guadalajara Temple
Elder A and Elder Pew with branch members at the temple
The Guadalajara temple is beautiful!  It was a great experience even though Elder A was so sick.  It felt like going's kind of hard to describe.  It was cool doing a session in Spanish--once again, thank goodness for that little old man.  I learned a lot and understood a lot better why missionaries go through the temple before leaving on the mission.  Look for that when you go, Timo.  Anyway, we just did one session so that we could get back to the lesson that we had at 4.  We got back and went straight to the doctor because he was feeling worse. His fever had gotten worse and he had to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes or so.  They just asked us what was happening, did a normal little checkup without testing anything, and told us to go by 4 different pills to cure his intestines.  So we did.  But then Sunday he was even worse.  He could barely walk.  I had to find someone else to teach the youth because he couldn't stay standing in Gospel Principles.  After church we went to the house and he slept for a bit, then we went and left him with a member in splits while I went out with a 23 year old to go teach since Elder A couldn't do anything.  It was a good experience since this kid is finally about ready to go on a mission!  But then that night we had to go to G to sleep over because we had mission conference Monday in Guadalajara and we all went together as a zone in the same van.  That night, Elder J and I gave him a blessing, and he woke up Monday morning (at 4 again) feeling a lot better. He said that now all that was hurting him was his stomach, but his body felt fine.  Thank goodness for the priesthood!  Miracle!

Mission Conference was amazing!  Elder Benjamin De Hoyos of the Seventy was there along with D. Todd Christofferson!!!  I got to shake his hand!!!  He talked to us about repentance and how that should be the focus of everything we teach. He also promised us that in the next few days, we would have an experience to help us know that the Lord is pleased with our service.  It totally happened to me yesterday.  Overall, it was an experience I will never forget.  I know that man has been called of God to be a special witness of Jesus Christ.  The church is true!

Mission Conference with Elder Christofferson
It was also super fun because I got to see all my friends from the mission:  Elder D (who's in Auditorio!), Elder B, Elder C, Rockford, Elder S, Elder E, Elder R, Elder A, and many others.  Also, we were combined with the Guadalajara East mission, so I saw Dakota Murdock from Lone Peak and my friend Mason from my BYU ward (see photo attached).  It was great.  
Elder Pew and BYU friend Elder S from the Guadalajara East Mission

We talked to a mission doctor who told us that he thinks Elder A has a parasite, so he told us to by a certain pill for that and it seems to be working.  Monday morning about 4 different members called us to ask how Elder Atoche was doing.  It's been really cool to see all the support we have from them.  I'm so grateful that they're so wonderful!

That was my nutsy week.  Still don't know if there'll be 2 more missionaries in S

this transfer, so maybe this will be my last week here.  How many times have I said that?  We'll see.  But it's been an amazing experience.  I love you all!  The Church is true!  Christ is our Savior!  Have a great week!

Elder Pew

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 13, 2013

I don't really see the point in writing a big letter describing what I did this week because, well, I talked to you all yesterday and you already know all the big news.  So I'm just going to send some pictures if this computer lets me.  

Other item of business: Next week I will be emailing on Tuesday instead of Monday.  I can't say why yet, but next Tuesday you'll find out.  He (or she) who guesses correctly will receive nothing, but it'll be a fun game to play anyways.

The computer is not reading my memory card, so I'll send some older pictures from my USB drive.  Sorry.
Me with R (his friend Breton's cousin) and his companion and the Christmas Posa

El Centro during Christmas

 Makeshift raincoats

The active volcano in Guzman

 Elder V and Elder J with Elder R and I at District Conference.  


So I [mom] will share some things we talked about on Mother's Day so you know some fun things going on there!     First I'll share some thoughts Taran had about what has helped him as a missionary, as far as preparations are concerned:

Go to seminary, learn scripture chase scriptures—I use them everyday

Study the Book of Mormon, know the Book of Mormon, have read it all the way through (some elders have not)

Going to the temple often before the mission

Teaching lessons in the family, in quorum meetings and mission prep

Learn Preach My Gospel

Family prayer, scripture study, devotionals and family home evening

Know how to cook and be independent in every way possible

Have a job, know how to work  

These are things some of the moms in our neighborhood wanted to know.  

He told us that they had a Zone Conference last week and they had a test on scriptures and Preach My Gospel. Taran and his companion won so they get to go to the Guadalajara Temple as the reward!  Pretty Cool!  I asked him if the members there go to the temple often since they over 2 hours away and he said that they plan a branch temple trip every month so they will go with the branch next time they go!  Pretty cool!

He also found out that they will be sending 2 more missionaries to their area!  I was happy to hear that since I felt like it was a lot to divide their time between branch needs and being a missionary!  He also said that they are getting 31 new missionaries in 2 weeks most likely he and his comp will train, is what he is thinking anyway.  I know they got 9 visa waiters last Monday!  Busy times!   He said that they will open 13 new areas!  I amazing!  

He said that he had not felt well the past week due to not sleeping well when he went on splits with another elder in another area.  The elder didn't have a pillow so he felt like his nose got super clogged laying flat.  I am sure you are all glad to know that!  I actually told him to take allergy meds because it might be that.  He agreed--the allergy doctor he saw before he left on his mission said that he may have similar allergies there as here because parts of his mission have similar climate.  He said that it's usually pretty temperate as far as weather goes like it's hotter here but it's dry here and there.  He said they get sweaty because the lack of AC.  He wears sunscreen and uses Aloe Vera if he gets burned.

He said that being a district leader isn't that much more for him than his normal stuff.  He loves his mission President and his wife.  They are amazing, which we thought.  

He loves the food misses ice cream a little bit, their ice cream is watered down.  He wonders if he will be able to eat without a tortilla when he gets home (in over a year) since he loves them and eats at every meal.  

He got all our packages.  I have been sending them in small packages and so not as expensive as the flat rate but I do put pictures of the virgin Mary all over them!  He was wearing a tie when we skyped that had been my dad's that I sent him for Easter.

It was so fun talking to him!  He has a Mexican accent!  We were teasing him about it.  The kids all had stuff to say to him which was fun.  He ended the skype with his testimony in Spanish.  That boy can speak his Spanish!!!  (He said that it took him a few months until he could say anything he wanted and understand everything...pretty awesome.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 6th, 2013

Not a lot to report here this week.  A lot of investigators went into hiding again.  One in particular.  We showed up at her house for the appointment, knocked on the door, and her kid answered telling us that his mom wasn't home.  We felt like that was a lie, so we told him to go ask her what time we could come over the next day, and he took off running.  Woops.  The two that Pres. A introduced us to were here for two lessons this week and then moved to M, so hopefully they find the church out there.  They were super, super golden!

We haven't seen K since last Sunday, J since Wednesday.  And nobody answers their phones.  

Highlight of the week:  Splits with the zone leaders.  Elder A was here in S with me, which was fun since he started his mission here and baptized about half the branch.  I learned a ton from him, plus he's just super awesome.  He's been my zone leader ever since I got here, so we're BFFs.  

Due to all the problems we've been having, we went to branch counsel yesterday and assigned people to take our investigators to church next Sunday, and everyone there was super willing to help.  Love them!!!  Also, a basketload of members signed up to come to the lessons with us this week, so that should be good.  The branch is really strong right now, and that's been our source of joy.  

5 de Mayo is not as big of a deal here as it is in the United States.  Weird, right?  Nobody celebrates it, but they still get school off.  But since it was Sunday, everyone had school off today, so we had a branch activity.  We went to the park to play basketball and soccer.  It was fun.  And hot.  I'll send a picture next week if I remember because this computer doesn't seem to want to read my memory card.

Speaking of holidays, Mother's day is this sunday, which means I'll be calling you maybe (and by that I mean definitely) on Sunday at like 7 Mexico time, so like 6 in Utah.  It'll be by skype again.  Is that ok?  If not, you have about 5 minutes to respond to this email.  Haha.

Thanks for all the attempts to write my companion.  His mom did write him this week, so that was good.  

Sorry this is a super lame email, but nothing really happened this week.  If you have questions, we'll talk Sunday.  
It was a rough week, but every time we have a week like that, the next week goes really well.  So I'm not worried.  

I love you all!  Portense bien!

Elder Pew

Sunday, May 5, 2013

April 29th, 2013

How's it going everybody?  Good, good.  Things are going great here.  Other than that it's hotter than Hades.  But I kind of like it. The more I sweat, the harder I feel like I'm working.  It feels good.  

Before I forget, Elder A needs your help.  His family hasn't written him the whole time he's been here, and so I've decided that we're going to adopt him.   Everyone who speaks Spanish and has a heart, write him this week!  And if you don't speak Spanish but feel like trying it out, do it anyways!  Use GoogleTranslate if you have to.  Thanks!

Did Gwen turn gangsta?  And i'm not even going to ask about the story behind Emily's quote this week.  It made me feel weird inside.

We had a great week.  Tuesday night we had a lesson with K, J's sister.  She still isn't sure that God exists, so we read Alma 22 where Aaron teaches the King of the Lamanites.  It went really well!  We read most of the chapter and asked her what she thought of it.  She said it was really interesting because this king and a lot of the same doubts that she has.  We challenged her to be baptized if she came to know that the Book of Mormon was true, and she said yes!!!  We put a date for May 11th.  Awesome!  It was possibly the happiest moment of our companionship!  One of those lessons where we both walk out super pumped.  This is the girl that ran to her room every time we came to her house, and now she's got a baptismal date?  The Spirit really changes people.

We found two other awesome investigators.  One of them is L, who's cousin is an active member here.  She is way cool and super open to everything we teach.  She accepted a baptismal date for the 18th, but we haven't seen her since Friday so we'll see what happens.  The other one is L, who was a referral from a less active member.  She's about 30 years old and opened right up to us from the start.  She has a lot of problems with her husband (they're not actually married) right now and wants to make changes in her life.  She accepted a baptismal date super easy for May 25th.  

Who's Fuffles? (Timo's friend)

Remember J?  Well, he moved out and doesn't live with V anymore.  Which means he can get baptized now!  So he also has a date for May 18th.  It's still going to take some work with him, but if he can be ready for that date he'll be a big help to this branch.  

So basically we're super excited about all that.  Also, remember how we went around telling the members to make a list of 10 people, pray about which one should receive the gospel, etc.?  Well, the thought came to us this week to ask all those members for the rest of their list to go and visit them, and it turns out that we have over 20 different referrals to go visit right now.  Sweet!

More miracles.  We were walking down the street one day and we see President A outside a house with a couple that we didn't recognize.  We went over to talk to him and he introduced us to his 2 new friends, O and his wife (can't remember her name).  Apparently, they have been living in S, but they work for President A's brother and he sent them to S to pick up a truck full of who knows what that he wants them to then take and deliver the who knows what in San Luis Potosi.  So they got here Monday, thinking they'd only be here a few hours, and come to find out that the truck they were going to pick up isn't ready and won't be for 1-3 months.  So they're trapped here and President A has been helping them out, basically adopted them.  AND he's been talking to them about the church and they're super interested!  They went to the activity Saturday and wanted to go to church on Sunday, but they were busy and couldn't.  But we're going to start teaching them this week.  Miracles!

Other than all that, we had an activity Saturday.  President was working so we were in charge.  There was also a baptism for an 8 year old girl on Sunday that President A couldn't go to because he had meetings in G, so I presided, conducted, and gave the welcome to the Branch.  Busy weekend.  But it was fun.  We're super excited about everything right now!

Well that's it for this week.  And thus we see that through patience, blessings always come!  I love my life and I love this work.  And all of you.  Write my companion, ok?  Thanks!  Bye!

Elder Pew