Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 29th, 2013

I don't have a whole lot of time today--I was writing Timo.  But it's been a good day and a good week.  We're still working with all the investigators I talked about last week, and the little kid, S, is getting baptized this week.  I had to fail a baptismal interview this week for some other missionaries in the district.  That was kind of hard.  But we all realized it was a good decision when he didn't show up to church on Sunday.  We're hoping he gets baptized this week.

We're planning the greatest activity of all time for next Saturday.  We planned it with the missionaries from our ward and from another ward, along with our ward mission leader.  Basically, we're telling all the members it's going to be a Hawaiian dinner.  When they show up we're going to stick them in a plane and tell them we are flying to Hawaii.  Then the plane is going to crash, and angel is going to come aboard and tell them they've all just died.  Then they'll go through the Spirit World, judgment, and the Kingdoms of Glory before we give them their food.  We've planned it out super well and if it all goes as planned, it's going to be an AMAZING experience for everyone.  And the members are all excited and set on bringing investigators.  SWEET!

Today we played volleyball in the park.  The problem was, there isn't a volleyball net in the park.  But there are trees, so we pulled down a couple vines from a big, weird, hairy looking tree and fastened them to two other trees to make a volleyball net.  I feel like all the six missionaries in my district and the other two sisters from the other ward that always hang out with us would have fit right in with my high school and college friends.  The Celestial Kingdom's gonna be a party.  

I don't have any time left, but know that I'm doing great, I love the mission, I love my life, and I love the gospel.  Have a great week!!!

Elder Pew

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Letters from July 15th and 22nd

July 15th, 2013 Letter

Somebody asked me if I was from South America this week, because of my accent.  These Colombians and Peruvians (he has had 2 Peruvian comps and 1 from Colombia) have really gotten to me...

Responding to things I have yet to respond to:  Erin's ENGAGED?!!! (his cousin) Congratulations!!!  No I hadn't heard.  That's great.  Muchas felicidades.  

I love Mexico, in case you were wondering.  I'm really, really in love with this country.  

Can you tell I have nothing to write about today?

This week, we had a lot more success with less actives than what we had been having.  They've been letting us into their houses and listening to us and everything, and 7 came to church this Sunday.  Which was great.  Also, L was there again, which was comforting.  Her sister still is working on Sundays, so we'll see what we can do there, but hopefully she'll get baptized this transfer.  As far as investigators go, things are still pretty slow.  But we have referrals to contact still and I am sure we will find someone who wants to listen this week.  A few extra prayers would be nice.  Thanks!

Today we went to the Parque Metropolitano, it's basically Central Park but in G.  We rented a quatricycle.  What? Yeah.  It was awesome. 

We did have a cool teaching experience this week:  We had everything fall through one day.  We ended up near our apartment so we decided to knock the door of a family we had already met there who had already listened to the missionaries because they are friends with some members who live in the same apartment.  ( I am aware that was a run-on sentence, but my English is really just struggling right now.)  Anyways, the 21 year old son opened the door.  His name is E and he has arthritis (coincidence? I think not).  He let us in and we started talking to him.  He didn't seem super interested--since he'd already listened to the missionaries and rejected them once.  But we kept talking and just had the impression to find something he would be interested in.  It was way cool to see how the Spirit guided the conversation, and we were able to discover that he was really, genuinely interested in finding out about what happens after we die.  So we told him the answer was in the Book of Mormon and left him with Alma 40-41 to read.  We then used that to make a little bridge to the restoration, challenge him to pray to know the Book of Mormon is true and be baptized on August 4th, and he accepted!!!  It was way cool, and it really impressed me to see how the Spirit had really changed his desires in less than an hour of talking to him!  We haven't seen him since then, but hey, it was a cool experience, and we're going to keep looking for him.  He'd can't avoid us that long since he lives 2 floors under us...

One day this week, it rained so hard I couldn't see anything.  I looked out the window and everything was just white.  I'd never seen anything like it.  

Timo, hang in there!!!  Be like a little sponge in the MTC--it's lots of information in so little time!  Be focused and do what you are supposed to but have fun while you're doing it.  It's always hard to find that balance in the MTC, but you'll get there.  The mission field is great!!  You'll love it!!!

Oh!  More good news!  Elder A was able to baptize J before he left S.  FINALLY!  Always makes me happy to see people I taught get baptized after I leave the area.  

The church is true!  I love you all!  Have a great week.  Be excellent to each other.  Party on dudes!!!

Elder Pew

July 22nd 2013

Sounds like you all had quite a week.  That`s good.  Enjoy your summer.  

Good to hear that Timo's having a blast in the MTC.  I can't imagine only being there for 2 weeks before being shipped off to the field.  The Lord has a lot of confidence in this new generation of missionaries, and in the ones who will be their trainers.  

Let's just say that all the hard things I went through in S are paying off.  There is definitely a reason why it happened, and why I'm district leader here right now.  I've been able to help a lot of people who are going through things I've already gone through.  The church is true!

We had a great week.  It started with an epic district class on Tuesday.  I felt like I had to be a little bit President Wagner-like in calling us to repentance for a loss of focus.  It went really well, and gave fruits.  We were able to contact a basketload of referrals from members this week, and we finally found some people who wanted to listen!  Meet our new investigators:

A:  A guy who sells tacos.  We taught him the Restoration right there behind his taco stand while his assistant was packing up for the day.  He has 3 kids, a wife, and seems pretty great.  He was super interested in the Book of Mormon, and accepted a baptismal date for August 10th super easily, on the condition that he receives an answer that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is true.  

C and J:  C was a referral from the same member who introduced us to A, and the lesson with her was going really, REALLY well until her husband, J, showed up, interrupted us midsentence, asked questions to try to trick us.  But we answered all his questions--unfortunately he didn't like all the answers, and by the time he had finished his wife had already left to open the shoe store they own, so we are going to go back with her to this week to see what happens, because she seemed golden.  

G:  Actually the same G we were teaching the first few weeks I was here, but we finally found her again and she's still super cool.  She doesn't have a job right now, so she told us she'll have more time to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know it is true.  Also, she has a little pug dog that always has his tongue sticking out, even when his mouth's closed.  He's the funniest looking creature I have ever seen.  

S:  7 year old kid who turns 8 next week.  Lives with his mom and his grandparents.  His mom isn't a member, but his grandparents are and they take him to church every week.  Since his parents aren't members, he counts as a convert and has to listen to the missionary lessons and pass a baptismal interview with a missionary before being baptized.  So he's basically just a free baptism that we'll have on August 3rd.  

We're still teaching D, L's sister, and we had some cool experiences with her this week.  We taught her about the plan of Salvation, and it really stuck in her mind the idea that "nothing impure can dwell in the presence of God." (Alma 40:26...I think)  She asked us how she can become pure.  We explained to her that through faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost she could be clean from all her sins.  She told us she didn't really feel ready to be baptized.  We said that's ok, because baptism's step three.  We asked her if she had faith, she said yes, we explained that the next step is repentance, and then she'll be ready for baptism.  I don't know what it was about this lesson, but the Doctrine of Christ finally just clicked in her mind.  She understands now that she needs to repent so that she can get baptized.  And thus we see that when people really understand the Doctrine of Christ and what it means to them, they progress a lot faster.

We had another lesson with her that went really great.  We had left her with the Introduction to the Book of Mormon to read, and when she told us she hadn't read it, we read it with her.  At the end of the lesson, we invited her to kneel down right then and ask God if the Book of Mormon was true.  She got her answer!!!  She sat there in silence for about 2 minutes after the prayer, and she told us that she felt an overwhelming peace, like she could forget everything else that was going on in her life and just feel God's presence.  It was sweet.  The catch:  She needs to find a new job, because where she is working, she doesn't have a day off during the week, so she's working on sundays.  That's this week's project.  

Best news of the week:  I have parasites!!!  In our interviews, Sister Wagner told us the symptoms of parasites, and I had almost all of them.  My stomach has been hurting me almost every time I eat, and food goes through me way too fast.  So she gave me a pill for it, and said if I really have a parasite, they'll get a little resistent to the pill and I'll get sick.  I took the pill yesterday and today I woke up with a hurricane in my stomach!  So I'll be living off straight up guavas until my little friends have all left.  Cool, right?  I still love Mexico.

That's it for this week!  Thanks for all your prayers!  Good luck this week, Timo!!!  I love you all!

Elder Pew

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 1st & July 8th 2013 Letters with photos

Two more weeks and I'm no longer the center of attention.  Haha!  That's good, Timo deserves it for once.  You're going to LOVE the mission!!!  Sounds like it was a super special week for all of you, and it's only going to get more and more exciting.  I hardly even remember the last few weeks before I left...but whatever.  

I also had an awesome week.  Tuesday and Wednesday I went to the Zone Leader's area with Elder D, who is from Chicago and he's 6´6.  He also has 8 transfers in his area and is going home in August, so it's looking like he'll end his mission with one year in P.  It was super fun. I love splits because I always learn a ton.  Also, their area is pretty cool.  It's the whole businessy section of G centro.  Good times.  

Friday I had to do my first baptismal interview because the sisters also had a baptism on Saturday.  Their investigator's named G.  She's 37, single, and showed up at the church during the Saturday session of stake conference a week ago wanting to know more.  A nice little gift for obedience, I think.  I was kind of nervous.  But it went well.  Very spiritual experience.  She was super excited and super ready to get baptized.  L also had her interview that night and passed, so we started with the preparations for Saturday.  We had 2 baptismal services, G at 1 and L at 7.  They were both super spiritual and ended with the recently baptized member crying her eyes out.  About 40-ish people went to the L's baptism--we couldn't fit everybody in the room with the baptismal font, but since there was a stake dance going on in the Chapel, we couldn't do it there.  Among those 40 people were 6 investigators, 2 from the other elders here in E, 1 that the sisters from another ward in the zone brought, L's niece's husband, who lives in a different ward here in the same stake, and 2 from our area.  1 was Lupe's sister, D, who has listened to the missionaries for a long time but never has wanted to get baptized.  Now she does.  But she works in the afternoons, and because of that we wont be able to visit her until Wednesday, because yesterday we had church, today was P-Day, and tomorrow we have District meeting.  We were worried that the excitement would wear off between now and then, but the cool thing about this area is that there are a bunch of returned missionaries here, so we sent one returned sister missionary to visit her today, who called us this morning and said that she had taught her the restoration and that she's super excited.  She even left her with an assignment in the Book of Mormon.  Yes!  Tomorrow our ward mission leader, J, is going to go visit her and put a baptismal date.  Love this ward.  

Anyways, back to the baptism.  The other investigator is a 17 year old girl named A, who's boyfriend is on a mission right now.  She's listened to the missionaries before, but never got baptized.  We saw her teaching record and called her this week, but she told us she didn't have time.  But it all just worked out perfectly, because the music from the stake dance was super loud during the baptism, so Elder T and I left for a second to tell them to turn it down, when a young man from our ward comes walking down the hall with a girl.  We stopped to talked to him and the girl abruptly asked me if I had called her that week.  When she told me she was A, I said yes and invited them in to the baptism.  They were at the stake dance and were just about to leave, so it worked out just perfectly.  We're going to try and visit her later this week.  

Baptism of L
Elder D baptized L, but since she has arthritis and can't bend over that well, he had her sit in a chair and just tipped it backwards to baptize her.  It was kind of cool.  Taking advantage of the fact that there were 6 investigators there, I taught the restoration to the crowd while Elder D and L were changing.  It was sweet!  I think a lot of people are going to get baptized as a result of this baptismal service, because it just went perfectly.  The other messages were really great, and it was really spiritual.  To finish it off, we did a musical number with our assistant ward mission leader, J.  He is literally the best guitarist I have ever met in my life, so he and I played a little guitar duet and we sang "Come Thou Fount" in a mixture of English and Spanish.  Coolest musical number at a baptism that I've ever seen, if I do say so myself.  Then to top it off, one of the members who came had brought a basketload of tostadas with ceviche (look this up on the internet if you want to know what it is, I couldn't tell you in English--a seafood dish).  It was delicious.  One of the best nights of my life!

Good news, L showed up for her confirmation.  The ward is super excited to help us and we've started to gain their confidence.  Everything really seems to be going well.

By the way, we climbed up a volcano today and took pictures of ALL of G
On top of a volcano on P-day, The volcano itself is decently ugly, but here's the view from above.

It's officially enormous.  I love this city!

Love you all!  Enjoy your last few weeks of Timo while you can!  Prepare yourself well!  

Elder Pew

Photo:  Another advantage of this area:  baptismal pictures outside the temple.  Awesome!  Look at all those members that came to support us!!!
Elder Pew with a young man who lives in Mexico where Elder Pew is currently serving  but he attended high school in the states, at Lone Peak High School where Timo (Elder Pew's brother was his TA!) Small world!  See last letter in June.

Seriously laughing my head off with almost every letter I read this week.  Thanks!!!  

That's cool that it was the fourth of July.  I didn't even remember.  The Mexicans had to remind me!!!  I'm becoming one of them.  My Independence Day is September 16th.  That's the kind of weird reality we missionaries live in.  But don't worry Timo, I don't think it'll be possible to forget the 4th of July in Texas.  

It's not hot anymore.  It's officially rain season!!!  It rains every day now for a few hours at least, and the rest of the time it's cloudy and nice out.  And everything's green again, like when I first got here.  I love this place!

We had a decent week.  We keep getting referrals but they usually aren't interested.  But whatever.  Keep trying, I guess.

We had a super sweet lesson with L .  She didn't come to church and her sister didn't either.  So we went over after church, and decided we should talk to them about sacrifice, which is not one of the lessons in Preach My Gospel, but we felt like it was what they needed to hear.  So we did, mixed in with the sacrament, and I learned SO MUCH in that lesson.  (The whole thing was based off of Luke 22, which I had studied in my personal study the day before.  To put emphasis in what I said to Timo)  It was super cool. I now understand how the sacrament is essential to help us progress as people, and the better thing is that L and her family does too!  We committed them to think of something in their lives that they can sacrifice to God, and then to come to church with that in mind on Sunday when they take of the sacrament.  And then to think of a new one for the next week.  I think it'll go well.   

Packed up and ready to go
I never told you that we moved out of our house.  We're living in an apartment now, but we have been living without a fridge, stove, hot water, beds, a fan, and chairs.  Fun stuff.  The other day we went to the mission offices to pick up all our stuff, and the photo attached is our form of transport.  We made it intact, miraculously.  

Note about the other picture:  Yes that is a real snake.  

Elder Pew and a snake, what the???
Yesterday were transfers.  No changes in the district, as expected.  But some unexpected news from S:  They took out Elder A and his companion and sent an Elder who goes home in December to train and be the new branch president.  So that will be good.  

Today we went to a Golden-Corral type restaurant.  Yep, in G.  It's called Sirloin Stockade.  It was amazing!  We went as a whole district, plus two other sisters from another ward in this zone.  It was way fun and we were all laughing hysterically the whole time.  I love this district a lot.

I'm loving my life, and I'm super pumped for Timo join me in the mission!!!  Don't cry too much, it all seems kind of ridiculous to me now :).  Thanks for everything!  Have a great week!!!