Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 2nd & 9th, 2013

December 2nd, 2013

The guy working here in the Cyber cafe lived in Saint George a little while back.  Let's see if he wants to get baptized.

This week was pretty good.  Tuesday was another epic district class.  Try this activity out sometime:  Make a list of the reasons for the Atonement and the functions of the Holy Ghost, and you'll find yourself making the same list twice. The Holy Ghost is the only way to put the Atonement in action in someone's life, which is why it is absolutely necessary that we invite people to be baptized and confirmed in EVERY lesson, or we aren't inviting them to partake of the Atonement.  One of the coolest things the Spirit has taught me on my mission.  I found myself yelling a little bit when I was teaching this.  President Wagner's having an effect on me...

Wednesday we had a weird, awful experience.  We were teaching a lady that we had contacted a few days earlier and it was going really well.  She's was opening up and feeling the Spirit, when suddenly her 9 month old daughter, who was in one of those baby walker things, tipped the thing over and fell on her head.  She was screaming and bleeding and everything, and then the husband came out of his room and yelled at his wife and said a lot of bad words, so we left.  Dang it.  Hopefully she'll be able to receive the gospel soon.  

Friday I was in splits.  I took Elder T to my area this time.  It went really, really well.  We had a lesson with a recent convert, F, and since her husband wasn't going to be home we had to take a priesthood holder with us to the lesson.  We brought J, who was born in Cameroon, raised in France, and married a Mexican and moved here 2 years ago.  He's super awesome, even though he doesn't speak spanish that great.  We had a great lesson and afterwards F gave us two awesome referrals, one of which she is going to invite to the next lesson. Yes!  We were going to have a lesson at 8 with the V family, but they called and said they weren't going to be there.  About 3 minutes later, the young men's president called and asked us if we could go to mutual at 8 and help them do the same activity with the young men that we did in the training with Elder Johnson.  Perfect!  After the lesson with F, we went and taught a SUPER awesome family, the D family.  The dad's an architect, the mom's a professor in ancient Mexican culture (basically "Lamanite Studies"), the 2 oldest sons are DJs and the youngest son is a drummer.  The youngest, H (16), told us he had a friend he wanted to invite to listen to us.  Sweet!  He invited him to mutual and we met him there.  His name is P and he is way cool.  He also went to church on sunday and we put an appointment to visit him this week!

Right before mutual, we had a lesson with a less active named Q.  She's a painter and sells her paintings on sundays, so because of that she hasn't been able to go to church.  When we first met her, she told us that she didn't like the Book of Mormon because it was just the same story over and over again: They behave well, God blesses them, they get prideful and behave bad, he curses them and they repent.  So we left her 3 Nephi 11, hoping she would like it.  She did.  This week when we visited her she told us she's gotten to Mormon, and that she prayed and felt an answer that the Book of Mormon is true.  Yes!  Now we just need to help her develop enough faith to stop working on sundays.  

Saturday a lot of lessons fell through, but sunday was great.  We went to teach a member family after church.  They have 3 sons, ages 8, 4, and 2, and they are wild.  They remind me of Izak, Micah, and Zane (his younger brothers) when they were that age.  So we had a tough challenge putting together a lesson interesting and simple enough that they would pay attention and learn something.  We decided to teach them the Restoration but we had them act it all out.  It was awesome!  Someday we should do it in family night.  

We got a nice little phone call today with special transfers.  Much to my surprise, they told me that I was being transferred to C, which is part of the M district; that Elder H was going to stay here with Elder R (Elder K's companion), and that they still don't know who Elder K's companion is going to be.  But we're pretty sure it's going to be Elder Y, who was in C before his Appendicitis and has been staying here in the office to recover.  I don't know what his companion (my new companion) has been doing the last few weeks, but I think they figured that Elder Y's going to take a little longer to recover and they need someone more permanent in C right now.  I don't know a whole lot about C, but from what I've heard it's a little town on the border of J and C by the coast, it was a closed area for a while and they just recently opened it up at the same time that I was transferred to E.  I'm going tomorrow at three.  It's been a big bummer, because I feel like I was just getting settled in here and I was really loving it in this ward. But I guess I'm needed in another place.  It's a little branch, so we'll see what happens.  I could be there until I finish my mission, or it could be just for the next two weeks until the transfer ends. But I'm going to make the most of it.  

I'm sending pictures 
Have a great week everyone!  Thank you for all the love and support!

A small branch he visited on the weekends.  He loved the people.

Guadalajara Temple

December 9th, 2013

This week's subject line  (Land abundant in women) brought to you by the meaning of "C" (town where is serving now) in the Nahuatl language.  

Well, straight to the good stuff.

Monday was a bittersweet day.  We had a family night scheduled with the bishop's family, and it was amazing.  We taught the restoration and it felt like a bomb of Spirit had gone off in there.  After the lesson, through tears, I explained to them that I would have to leave the next day.  They were all sad.  But the bishop told me that even though I had only been there for 6 weeks, I had made a great difference in the ward.  He said that even though we probably haven't noticed, the last 2-3 weeks the members had all been talking about how great missionaries they had in the ward, and that he had heard a lot of good comments about the talk I gave in sacrament meeting.  It felt good to know that I had made a difference.  

Tuesday was weird.  Elder T also had special transfers--another missionary had to go home early so they sent him to his area in S, so at 8:00 we all met in the offices for the great exchange.  I stayed with Elder T, we took my bags to his house and then went to district class.  It was a relief not having to teach it anymore.  After 9 months you kind of run out of ideas.  Afterwards, we took pictures with everyone in the zone, since somehow the rumor had gotten out to everyone and they were all bummed.  The sisters brought cupcakes and we had a little goodbye party.  I was in U for about 7 months and made some of the best friends of my life there, it was sad to see them go.  From there we went to our last meal, we ate in E and it just so happened to be with the C family that day.  It was great, they were one of my favorite families in that ward.  The son J was the assistant ward mission leader and the mom is the stake relief society president and had been with us on a lot of the excursions to T, so I had worked a lot with them.  

From there we took a taxi to President Wagner's house to meet our zone leaders.  It felt like just yesterday I was there being welcomed to the mission.  When we got there, the council had just barely ended so they were all eating, so President Wagner took the opportunity to explain a little bit of the situations we were going to.  He basically just told me that C is a great branch--there's a lot of priesthood and the members are great and that I was going to love it there.  He said I was going to have a very young companion and that I needed to bring him up in the ways of the Lord.  He then talked to Elder T, who is going into a little bit more of a complicated situation. Basically, he explained to us that he needed to send us to these areas because he needed somebody he could trust in both of them.  He also happened to mention that in S a few weeks ago they had a sacrament meeting attendance of 95!  It was at about 60 when I was there, so that's a BIG improvement.  

When they had finished eating, we went with our zone leaders to bus station.  My zone leaders are Elder U and Elder L and they're awesome.  We took a bus from Guadalajara to M, which lasted about 4 hours.  While Elder L slept, Elder U (who is from my generation) and I had a 2 hour long mega companionship study, which was awesome.  We got to M at about 9:00 at night, and when I got of the bus I could feel the heat and humidity.  We went to the Zone Leaders' house and stayed the night there.  When we got there I met my companion, Elder M.  He's 25, from Veracruz, and is a convert of 1 year 8 months.  He has 3 1/2 months in the mission and was still with his trainer when the accident happened, so I'm his second companion (Step-dad). He's new in the church and in the mission so I've got a lot of teaching to do, but he's a really hard worker and is really motivated.  

The next morning we took a bus to C.  It was about 40 minutes and passed right by the beach and then through the middle of the jungle.  And then it stopped in the middle of the jungle and we got out in a little tiny town, which they tell me is C.  I had never seen anything like this in my life.  It´s full of coconut trees, banana trees, iguanas, frogs, lizards, etc.  It is very hot and humid here, and this is winter.  I'm sweaty and sticky all the time.  Most of the streets are unpaved and made of sand.  The silly person who designed this town put the centro right under the hills and constructed the rest all over them, so it's basically an all day hike that we do here.  It's definitely a lot more of what you'd expect to see in Mexico--lots of poverty, but the people are very happy and friendly.  Religion is more of a topic here--not like S and G where everyone is Catholic.  There are a lot of Catholics but a lot more of other religions also, and people are more willing to listen.  Our area covers three different towns--C, B, and M.  B and M are right on the beach and there are a good chunk of members there, too.  They're about 25 minutes away and we go once or twice a week in bus.  Our house is in a 3 story building, the 2nd and third stories are ours.  On the second floor we sleep, eat, and study, and on the 3rd floor we have a washing machine and a dryer!  Can I just tell you how beautiful that is?  The downside is that we don't have running water every once in a while (like today) so we have to save it in buckets to be able to bathe ourselves.  

The members are AWESOME!  There is a lot of priesthood and almost all the leadership positions are filled.  There's a branch president, his counselor, secretary, elder's quorum president, his counselor, sunday school president, ward mission leader (awesome!), full and complete relief society presidency, young women's president, young men's president, and primary president.  There are two priests who will be turning 18 and leaving on missions soon and they're also great.  This sunday there were 55 people in church, and we could barely fit everyone in the house of prayer.  There's not a whole lot, but they work hard and do it well.  There's lots of potential.  

This week we were basically just trying to recover all the work that Elder M and Elder Y were doing before they had to leave.  They hadn't baptized anyone, but they were getting close with a few.  We were able to bring 3 investigators to church this week.  V and M went and have gone 4 times now.  The problem is that they're not married.  They're about 50 years old and seem pretty converted, but it's going to be a long process so that M can get divorced to her ex husband and get married to V.  But the Lord will provide the way.  They even came to the Christmas devotional and liked it a lot.  The other investigator was G.  That's been a good name for me on my mission since I've aready baptized two of those, so hopefully she'll be the third.  She lives in M and is the Branch president's first counselor's wife.  They've been married for about a year and have a new born baby.  She's been to church more than 5 times but hasn't felt a sure answer to her prayers yet and seems a little timid about getting baptized because her family is really catholic.  

We also received a basketload of referrals last week (like 16) but when they give referrals in a little town like this, instead of an address they just tell you "You go down this street about 3 or four blocks, turn left at the star-fruit tree, pass by the store, go up the hill, turn right at the corner and on that street in about the 4th or 5th house is where the person lives.  It's a white house with a black gate, there'll be a pitbull barking outside and 4 or 5 blue birds in the tree in front.  Across the street there'll be an old man sitting on the side walk, probably drunk, and if you need help you can ask him, he'll know who it is."  So we haven't been able to find them yet, but we've got a lot of work for this week.  I feel like I've just been sent to this area to enjoy it, for however long I'm here.  It's been an interesting adjustment but I need to learn to be a little more patient.  Nothing the Atonement can't help me overcome.  If there is one thing I've learned on my mission, it's that the Atonement is real.  "I can do all things in Christ, which strengtheneth me."  I love you all and hope you have a great week.  

Con amor, 

Elder Pew

PS Yes mom we are using the advents.  And thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the package, I got it this week.  

PPS  If anyone ends up with Anti monkey-butt powder after all the white elephant parties this year, I'd appreciate it if you'd send it on down.  Thanks.