Friday, May 30, 2014

May 19th & 26th, 2014

May 19th, 2014

If I explained all the happened this week, it would take a whole other week.  But we'll go with the highlights.  

I think I mentioned in the skype session that an American member on vacation here showed up to church on Sunday asking us what he could do to help.  So we handed him the branch missionary calendar and he signed up to come with us Monday night.  He was with us from 6:00-9:00.  This was great because:

1.  He had a rental car and he drove us all over the place in it.  We made it to all the lessons on time and didn't have to be in the sun. 
2.  He is one of the most loving, friendly, spiritual people I have met in my life.  

Our first lesson with him was with R and J.  Before the opening prayer, J started saying that he didn't want to keep going--that there has been too much opposition and he feels like it isn't worth it.  And it´s true, there has been a lot of opposition.  All kinds of people have come to tell R that she's wrong for leaving her old church and to make sure they're disapproval is understood.  All the opposition led to her getting sick last week, and she couldn't come to church because she was feeling so bad.  So J had decided he had had enough.  We said a prayer and explained to them that OBVIOUSLY there will be opposition because it's the TRUTH!  Satan can't be divided against himself (Matthew 12:25).  We did the best we could to help her make the decision to keep going and she decided to do so!  And that really was the only battle to win, because if she's going to keep going, there's still going to be opposition anyways, so J might as well keep going as well.  And he has.  They both came to church this week and are doing a lot better, which is an absolute miracle. 

Tuesday:  We had zone class.  Man is the mission going through a lot of changes.  They talked about all we need to change to be able to acheive what the area presidency wants us to acheive.  Basically what I got from it was that we need to recognize that we can't baptize every week, find 20 new investigators every week, or teach 40-60 lessons every week, but Christ can.  We all need to be more humble and recognize our dependance on Him now more than ever.

After we got back, all our lessons fell through, and none of our backup plans worked out either.  This always means SOMEONE else needs are help.  I had no idea what to do, but I felt like we should walk down to the end of the street.  Why?  I didn't know why, until about 20 seconds later when we saw V sitting there on the corner.  So we stopped to talk to him and found out that he and C had had problems the night before and that she had left the house with her kids and gone to stay with her mom.  So we decided to go visit her at her mom's house, knowing now that that was where the Lord wanted us to be.  We had a nice conversation with C and she said that she knew she needed to go back with V.  He showed up at the end of the lesson so we decided to leave to let them sort things out.  On our way to the next lesson, we saw our branch President and his wife walking up the street.  We asked them where they were going and they said they were going to visit M!  So we told them that was great since C and V were there and needed help.  Amazing how God not only inspired us, but also the Branch President, to be where we needed to be to help that family.  They're fine now, and I'll go into more details about that later.  

Wednesday was zone conference.  I can't possibly describe the hundredth part of all we learned there, but it was absolutely amazing.  They talked about "killing the zero," in other words, having at least one of each key indicator (lessons with a member present, referrals received, referrals contacted, new investigators, lesson with a less active or recent convert) every day.  From that day on we've been able to do it (except one day).  President Wagner taught us about the Book of Mormon.  He said "tell me all the evidence your investigators give that the Book of Mormon isn't true" and then one by one went destroying all the theories that we hear every day!  It was so awesome.  He talked about the three witnesses, (which are enough witnesses to win any court case) who saw the plates, heard the voice of Christ declare that they had been translated by His power, and saw the angel Moroni who commanded them to bear testimony of the work.  And ALL THREE witnesses were excommunicated and turned against the church and even still never denied their testimonies.  Not to mention 8 other witnesses who saw the plates, Joseph and Hyrum Smith who sealed their testimony with their lives, and the personal testimony we can all receive by reading the Book of Mormon, applying the principles it teaches, and asking God if its true.  That's evidence!

We got back here all fired up, and we killed the zero in three hours.  We went to visit R and J again, and C and V came with us to the lesson.  What was our surprise when we found out that those two had visited R and J on Sunday afternoon after noticing that they hadn't gone to church.  Nobody told them to do it, they just went.  And after hearing about all the strugglings they were having to get married, they offered to help.  Basically the problem is that J's birth certificate is registered in Michoacán, which is another state and it´s a lot harder and takes a lot longer to get it here.  But V has a brother that lives in Michoacán, so he wrote down J's information and sent it to his brother so that he could get the birth certificate and send it to them, making it so that they can get married a lot faster.  I could go on for about an hour about this, but it truly was amazing to me to see this happening.  It's only fitting that C and V, after going through so much to get married and get baptized, be the ones that help R and J.  It´s because of that that they feel such a strong desire to help them.  And it's just amazing to me that two recent converts would go visit a family of investigators without the missionaries and without being told to do so, when in most of my areas even the ward leaders wouldn't go visit the investigators with OR without us even if we told them to!  But the reason they did is because the members here visited THEM when THEY were investigators, and so they have understood now that THAT IS WHAT WE DO in this church!  One good example can have such an amazing effect on the world.  

Thursday was a historic day in my mission.  We taught 7 lessons, contacted 8 referrals, received 5 more, and found 3 new investigators.  One of the new investigators was P, who's dad is A, a less active member that we didn't know until Wednesday when we contacted him in the street and he told us he was a member.  He's an older man that hasn't been here for a whole lot of time, but he's been a member for 2 years and really wants to come back to the church.  And he has a lot of daughters and granddaughters that aren't members.  They didn't make it to church this week, but we're going to keep working with them.  

Friday morning the branch president's wife came with us to the lessons, but they all fell through.  So she took us with one of her friends, C, who we taught the first lesson and invited to be baptized on July 5th.  We're going to try to visit her husband this week so that we can teach them together.  Her dad died 2 years ago and she just found out she won't be able to have kids, so she's got a lot of needs and is ready to receive the gospel.  

After that, we had a lesson with a young couple we contacted in the street the day before.  Their names are M and A.  It was a great lesson--M got super excited when we taught about the Book of Mormon because he had always wondered why the Bible didn't talk about the american continent.  And he accepted a baptismal date for July 5th super easily.  We're going to go visit them in a few minutes.  

Skip to Sunday, running out of time!  Sunday was the third week in a row we had 63 people in church, which is the record for all my time here!  There were no seats left.  Also, the G family came again.  Bro G looked so happy all day and in Elders quorum he said he's made the decision to come back to church.  J and R and J made it and they were great meetings.  Also, we're teaching a mission prep class for the youth who are leaving on their missions soon, and we started yesterday!  It was great!  And I heard rumors that C and V are going to go to the temple this week!  Life is great!

Have a great week everyone!  Love you!

Elder Pew

Not sure what Elder Pew is doing but it was something funny during a Zone Conference.
May 26th, 2014

This week's subject line (4) brought to you by the number of missionaries there will be in C next transfer.  We got the call Sunday morning before church. In two weeks there will be a pair of sister missionaries here to open C 2.  We have to find a house for them to live this week and have everything ready with furniture, meal schedule, and a division of the area.  It's been cool to see how the Lord has been preparing this area to receive another pair of missionaries.  SO many less actives have come back into activity, not to mention the two new convert families that are super strong.  They'll be ready.  So this will be the second time they send 3 more missionaries to be my replacement in an area.

It's really, really hot here.  This morning it started raining and we were super excited but by about 10:30 it stopped and the sun came out again.  And all that rain made it even more humid.  Yuck.

In other news, all my pants have a hole in them in some place or another, most of which are of considerable size.  And I can't find my sewing kit.  I'm kind of in super survivor mode.  

More Ensign stories.  I just haven't been able to keep up with all the excitement that's going on around here.  Week by week isn't really the way to tell all these stories.

G family:  I've mentioned this family before but I'll give the full story now.  Bro. G had a lot of difficult challenges. He stopped going to church and his family went inactive with him.  He had a lot of anger built up inside for a long time.  And that's how we found him.  His wife had started to want to come back to come to church, but he still resisted.  We tried teaching him when Elder M was here, but he usually left his wife and kids with us and went into another room, or sat there to listen but wouldn't participate.  The Sunday School President even left sacrament meeting one Sunday to pull him out of his house and take him to church, but after two or three Sundays he said he didn't feel comfortable in church and that he didn't want anyone pressing on his agency.  So he went inactive again.  His wife stopped receiving us for fear that he would say something rude or embarrass her.  So we left him alone for a while.  A few weeks ago, we started to visit him again.  We just made it really clear that we only wanted to help him, that we understood that he already knew the doctrine and knew what was right, and that it was up to him to come back to church or not.  He started receiving us a little better and we taught him and his wife the restoration and invited them to come to church.  He said "If I feel like it, I'll come." That Sunday, his daughters wanted to go to church, so he took them and when he got to the church, he felt like he actually wanted to be there.  So he came in and stayed all three hours!  The next week he came again, and one of the district leaders that he had so much resentment for was there.  I thought "Oh, no!  He's going to walk out and never come back!"  But he didn't.  He stayed all three hours again, and two weeks later he still hasn't missed a Sunday in church.  I wish you could have seen what he looked like before and what he looks like now.  He is a changed man.  We had a lesson with them yesterday and I could not believe what was happening.  The Atonement changes people and can heal any scars from the past.  

P family:  Brother P is a returned missionary, he has 3 kids: S , B , and S.  His wife has about 3 years in the church, and he has been inactive for who knows how long.  His kids came every week without fail, with or without their mom.  They are really some of the greatest kids I've ever met in my life.  Special spirits.  One night we went and taught them about eternal families and invited them to prepare to be sealed as a family.  They said they would think about it.  The next Sunday in branch counsel President Q told us that the P family had the goal to get sealed in May.  From that Sunday on, the whole family has come to church every week.  And not just to church, but in every activity, in institute, and in our mission prep class, they're the first ones there.  Saturday they were sealed in the temple as a family.  Brother P is serving as branch secretary, and it's been amazing to see the change that has come over them.  

S family:  Brother Suarez is our ward mission leader and works in the military base.  After a few months, he stopped working with us with the same excitement that he had before.  Sister S was young women's president, but they released her and weeks later they went inactive, in part because of financial problems.  Lots of members went to visit them and they still weren't able to make it.  Because they live in M, we weren't able to visit them much, but after about 2 months of not seeing them we were able to find them and teach them.  Brother S apologized for what had happened and they said that they would be able to start coming to church.  Now not only are they active again, but Brother S has been coming to C (they live about 40 minutes away in M) to help us out with the lessons to fulfill his calling, and his family has been blessed for it.

Now to keep up with the R and J saga.  This week there has been more opposition and they've been rethinking getting married.  I've seen that one before.  It's the same tool Satan always uses to keep people from getting married.  For some little argument they start questioning that they're marriage will really work and they lose the desire to get married, but they really do love each other so they don't want to get separated, so they just end up staying together in sin until they die.  That's his plan.  God's plan is not to procrastinate the day of your repentance.  So we had a powerful lesson with them about that yesterday and invited them to pray to know what they should do, even though I feel like I already know the answer.  R has said countless times that meeting J was an answer to her prayers, and if that's true, that's probably why I can't get this scripture out of my mind: "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:6)  

We found a cool new family this week.  It's a single mom named M.  She has 3 kids, 2 girls ages 14 and 12 and a 9 year old boy named E.  She just got separated from her husband, he lives in C right now and they're going through rough times.  We found them looking for another investigator who wasn't home.  They were sitting outside her dad's house and we talked to them and taught a mini lesson and said a prayer with them right there.  We went back the next day and M said that she had felt better ever since the prayer we said.  Her mom was there and told us she had dreamed us the night before, dressed in white in a paradise-type place.  Awesome!  M and E went to church on Sunday and we're really excited to keep teaching them.  They accepted a baptismal date for July 12th.  

Have a great last week of school!  Our branch president is having another operation this week--extra prayers for him and for my companion, who's having kind of a rough time lately.  Thanks for everything!  This gospel is true!   Love you!

Elder Pew   

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 5th and 12th, 2014

May 5th, 2014

This week's subject line (Full House) brought to you by the house of prayer (church) this Sunday, where there was an attendance of 58, including 2 less active families that came.  Also, it seemed fitting since Elder C and I have been playing with Monopoly cards all day.  (note from mom, he must be playing Mexican Monopoly because I have never heard of a full house in our Monopoly)
Well, we did find a good amount of new investigators this week, but R, J, and J are still the only ones that are really progressing.  But I'll introduce them to you:

H Family:  Made up of C, her 14 year old son F, her 12 year old daughter V, and her husband who we haven't met yet.  Let's see if I can explain how we found them...where to start, well there's this less active 18 year old girl named D in the branch (her older sister is the primary president who is teaching J and R how to read), who is actually going to college in Ciudad Guzman, but when she's been here for vacations and stuff we've taught her and her boyfriend G, who's also studying in Guzman but he's also from here.  Anyways, in the few opportunities we've had to meet him, he's seemed really cool and interested in learning more about the church. So last week during spring break we saw him walking down the street and got to talking and the thought occurred to me to ask him where his family lives.  He said they lived right around the corner and we asked him to introduce us to them and he said sure!  So he took us over and we met his mom (C) and put an appointment for this Tuesday.  We went Tuesday on splits with members because we had 2 lessons at the same time.  I went with R (convert power!) to visit C and my companion went with our branch president (more on that later).  Basically, we were only there about 30 minutes, we taught the first principle of the restoration, invited them to read the Book of Mormon, go to church, pray, and be baptized and they accepted a baptismal date for June 7th.  It was awesome.   They're open to what God tells them to do.  And the kids are way smart and receptive also.  We went back Saturday and had a powerful lesson on the restoration.  We had left the Book of Mormon Tuesday night and C read it but didn't understand, but by the end of the lesson the Spirit was way strong and they accepted the baptismal invitation again.  F said the closing prayer and I don't think I've ever heard a more sincere prayer from a kid his age, and it was the first time he had done it!  Unfortunately, we don't know how the dad will react to all this--they said they were going to see if he wanted to come to church and they didn't come so I'm guessing he wasn't too thrilled with that idea.  But I have faith that they will keep progressing.  

E and A:  E is President Q's nephew, and the same day we had asked G to bring us to meet his family, President Q was with us and felt the impression to take us to meet his nephew.  He wasn't home that night, but we felt like we should go look for him again and so Elder C and President Q went to see if they could find him Tuesday night while R and I taught C's family.  When I came out of the lesson, R and I went to the meeting spot to wait for them, but by about 9:20 there was still no sign of them.  The very latest we can come home is by 9:30, so by this time I was kind of freaking out, especially since I had the phone and Pres. Q doesn't have a cell phone and there was no way to communicate with them.  I didn't want to go looking for them because they could show up at the meeting spot and then I would be the lost one, plus I wasn't really sure if they had found E or not, but when it was already 9:35 and they hadn't made it, I called our Elders quorum president, who is about the only member here with a car, to take me to go look for them.  I was kind of panicking--thinking that my brand new companion and branch president could have been kidnapped and it was all my fault.  We had started the splits at about 8:15, so I really couldn't imagine what was taking them so long or where they had gone.  I called the branch president's family and they said that he hadn't come home yet, so I went to look for them with our elders quorum president, Brother M.  We went to President Q's nephew's house and they told us that they had just barely left about 10 minutes ago (by this point it was already 9:50 and the zone leaders were started to get a little sketched out by the situation.  They were calling me every 2 minutes to ask if I knew anything yet).  So we went back to the meeting place and there they were!  Whew!  Elder C was super pumped, apparently they had taught the restoration and E and his wife had a lot of questions and he had a lot of fun answering them.  Unfortunately it took them about an hour and a half to do it.  Oh well, the important thing is that we got home safe and sound.  We went back on Thursday and I got to meet them.  They're a young couple with a two year old kid and they're way cool.  They hadn't read any of the Book of Mormon so we read it with them.  They committed to coming to church and we passed by at 9 Sunday morning to remind them, but they didn't make it.  Who knows why.  We're going back on Tuesday so hopefully we can help them be a little more committed this week.  

M and family:  Friday while we were looking for referrals we contacted a lady inside her house (basically door knocking without knocking the door) and taught her a brief version of the restoration.  Her name is M and she has some medical problem that keeps her in her house all day.  She's about 60 years old  but Friday we gave her a Book of Mormon and we went back Saturday morning and she had read from the title page up to 1 Nephi 10.  She was waiting for us excitedly and had a lot of questions.  We answered them and started to teach her and her family the restoration.  Her son and his wife and daughter were there visiting from Manzanillo, along with another of her daughters and her 3 kids who live there with her.  So there were a lot of people there and there weren't enough chairs for us to sit so we taught the lesson standing.  I felt like an old-style preacher from the early days of the church.  Or like Peter when he went to teach Cornelius´s family.  It was awesome.  They had a LOT of questions but they said that if God tells them the Book of Mormon is true they'll get baptized.  They also didn't come to church on Sunday, but it's rare that someone comes the first time we invite them.  

We also have 21 other referrals to contact this week, yeah, we've been getting a lot.  So we should keep finding and finding until we get to the ones that have been prepared.  

R and J are doing great.  We taught them the 10 commandments on Tuesday and C came with us.  I think she ended up teaching more of the lesson than we did, she did a great job!  LOVE my converts!  R has this necklace with a cross on the end that she always wears, and the next lesson after that she told us that the day after we had taught the 10 commandments she was cooking and miraculously the cross fell right off the chain of her necklace.  It wasn't broken, it wasn't loose, she showed us the two pieces afterwards and I really couldn't explain to you how that thing fell off the chain, but she took it as a sign from God and said I guess I shouldn't use this anymore.  Thank you!  Also they paid tithing this week and all the members love them and have done a great job of making them feel welcome.  J came to church this Sunday again, making it now 6 times that he's gone, he just needs to make the decision to be baptized NOW and we'll fill up the font.  I don't really get what's still keeping him, but we'll work things out this week.  His family is really neutral, and I think that's tough for him.  They don't tell him not to go to church or to listen to us or anything, but they don't have any interest at all either.  But he is God's child and this is His work, so I'm sure He'll do something (or inspire us to do something) to help him make the decision.  

Thanks for your love, letters (not love letters), and prayers.  I feel them for me.  I think it'll be a hard thing to get use to not having so many prayers said for me.  I love you all as well and I love hearing about all you're doing.  Have a great week!  Happy 5 de Mayo!

Elder Pew
May 12th, 2014

First and foremost, I would like to thank the general public for all the letters I received today which contained something along the lines of "see you soon."  Know that your efforts are appreciated, but that no futile attempts will have such an effect upon me.  There is nothing you can do to make me trunky.  
What a week.  Since we talked a lot yesterday, I'll be brief.  

Monday- We broke the Taco record, played Monopoly, and taught two lessons to people who were totally uninterested.  

Tuesday- We had a lesson with R and J.  I can´t actually remember what we taught them, but at the end we ended up giving R a blessing because she's been pretty sick.  It was sweet--she was promised that she would sleep well that night and wake up feeling better, that she would be able to be baptized and learn how to read some day, and that her children would be able to enjoy the same blessings of the Gospel some time in the future.  Which is the biggest shocker of them all, "for at the present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith. (Enos 1:14)  But we're waiting for that miracle, whether in this life or the next.  And she did sleep well that night and feel better the next day.  We're still working on the getting baptized part.

Wednesday-  Wednesday morning we were teaching a new investigator who wasn't really seeming interested, but we asked her what her neighbors' names were and she told us about the couple across the street, named V and E.  Since they live right by the Branch President, we went to his house and he volunteered to come with us in that same instant to go contact them.  They let us in and listened to us and accepted a baptismal date for June 21st.  They're an older couple, they're both from Chiapas and only have about 6 months together.   They've been going to a Christian church for the last 4 months and V says that thanks to that, he's been able to stop drinking.  So it seems like they've been well prepared to receive the gospel.  

Also, that day the members from La Huerta sent us the requirements for marriage in their town.  It's substantially easier and cheaper there, the only problem is that they ask for a recent birth certificate, and J was born and registered in some random town in Michoacán about 2 days from here in car, and he either has to go all the way there to print it off or have them send him one, which takes forever and sometimes doesn't even work.  So he's been pretty depressed about that lately.  We'll see what happens with them.  

Thursday-  We had another lesson with V and E, we taught the Restoration and V seemed to have understood everything.  Esperanza seems to be comfortable where she is and doesn't really understand why she should look for the true church.  They couldn't come to church this week, but we're going to go back Tuesday and we'll see how they're doing.  

That night, we had a lesson with President Q's friend, J.  We taught him about the Atonement and invited him to be baptized and he said yes.  The problem is that he works on Sundays right now because they're preparing the fields (he works on a farm) for rain season.  So we've been praying that it rains soon so that he'll go to church.  

Friday-  There was a Mother's day activity in the church, but we only were there for the very beginning and the very end, because we had an appointment.  Our lesson was with 2 new investigators:  J and his wife E.  Last week we were asking a less active investigator for referrals, and her 9 year old daughter told us to visit one of her friends.  We asked her what her parents' names were and went to go contact them.  They weren't there, but we actually ended up contacting the dad in the street that same day.  We met his wife later on and put an appointment and Friday night we taught them the Restoration.  It seems like J really has a desire to repent and be cleansed of his sins.  They're both about 30 years old and they're good friends with the M family (the family whose computer we used to skype yesterday).  They also accepted a baptismal date for June 21st, and J went to church on Sunday.  E couldn't go because her dad, who lives in Guadalajara, got really sick and was about to die, so she was getting ready to go to Guadalajara for a few days to be there with him.  

Saturday- We found a family of 3 Saturday morning.  Earlier in the week, we asked J, one of the future missionaries, if she had already talked to all her friends about the gospel.  She said that she had and that nobody was interested.  So we asked her who her enemies were and she named a few, one of which is C, who lives on the same block as her.  So we went to contact him and he accepted an appointment on Saturday.  He's about 20, we taught him, his 23 year old brother D, and his mom L.  We had been practicing the Restoration a lot lately in our companionship study after what happened with E earlier on in the week, and it paid off.  We taught it very clearly and the Spirit was really there.  They all accepted baptism and L said the closing prayer and was crying throughout the whole thing.  I feel like they really have potential, but the went to visit L's mom on Sunday and didn't go to church.  But we'll keep trying.  

Sunday- R and J didn't come because R was feeling sick again.  J didn't come either, but J did and the whole G (less actives) also came and the 16 year old daughter brought her boyfriend.  Also, another less active member, who strangely enough is also named J, came for the first time in all my time here.  The branch president went to visit him during the week and Sunday morning stopped by to take him to church. That was great.  In all there were 8 less actives in church, plus all the visits from Manzanillo made for an attendance of 63, which is the best we've had in all my time here.  And they were really good meetings, also.  It felt great.  

Today- We went to Manzanillo for a zone activity.  We played basketball and it's become very apparent that I've been in Mexico for a while now.  I think I might of made 4 shots the whole time. But it was fun to get together with everyone there.  It's a really young zone--there are 6 missionaries in my district and I have more time in the mission then the other 5 combined--but they're great.  We came home early to have time to still do everything we need to before 6:00.  Then back to work again!

I love you all so much.  It was great getting to talk to you yesterday--even though it was hard to do it in English.  Mom, thanks for all you have done to help me become who I am.  No effort has been wasted--all your good work will pay off, so keep it up! Being on my mission has helped me really learn to appreciate you and dad more--I've seen the difference you've made in my life and I realize all you have done to help me.  You are exceptional, Mom, and I will forever be grateful for that.  Have a great week!  You deserve it!

Elder Pew


Last Zone Conference for Elder Pew

All these elders it was their last zone conference-some have one more transfer than Elder Pew.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

April 21st and 28th, 2014

April 21, 2014

This was such a tiring week.  And just an FYI I've been battling with this keyboard all day because the "a" key gets stuck, so if there happens to be some random "a´s" in this email, just ignore them. 
Monday I had an awful allergy attack.  I used up an entire roll of toilet paper in about 3 hours.  We did end up having a lesson with some new investigators.  A member, M, took us to meet her friend P after we invited her to write her testimony in a Book of Mormon and give it to someone.  I was too sick to breathe, so Elder C ran almost the whole lesson and did a pretty good job.  P and her husband, L, are an older couple (about 70) but they've been reading the Book of Mormon and have enjoyed our visits so far.  L works on Sundays and they're not married so those will be the biggest challenges there. 
I feel like I need to share the story of that member, M.  When I got to this area, she was inactive.  She's in her late 50's and has really bad arthritis, so it makes it really hard for her to get to church.  For about a month we visited her almost every day to read the Book of Mormon with her because she wasn't in the habit, and finally she started to read it on her own.  She started feeling good enough to come to church, and for about 3 months now she's come every Sunday.  In February she went to the temple to get endowed and has given us more referrals than any other member.  Cool story. 
Tuesday we had district class in M, ate lunch there, then worked with the Elders there for a few hours before going to the bus station to go to Guadalajara.  We got there at 5, which gave us just enough time to get on the next bus at 5:15 which would get us there at about 9:00.  Or so we thought.  But it turns out they didn't tell us that the bus we got on stopped in every little town on the way and we ended up getting there at 11:30 at night.  On the plus side, we got to see just about every town in the mission in one day, and it was cool to stop by Ciudad Guzman again.  We slept in the offices and all the other Elders there were already asleep when we got there. 
The new missionaries went to the centro in the morning to get their visas all worked out and afterward we met in the chapel by the temple for the training meeting.  President Wagner said something I had never heard him say before:  "Very few times have I been with a group of such good missionaries."  It was a great meeting, as always, and we got out by about 3.  We made it to the bus station at 3:30 and took a bus to M at 5.  We got there at about 9 and stayed with our district leader that night.  We finally made it to our area again Thursday morning and we were just exhausted.  Plus we haven't been sleeping well the rest of the week.  We remodeled everything in our house today, so we'll see if that helps. 
Lots of our investigators are still doing great.  J went to church for the 5th time this week, so technically he could be baptized this Saturday but we're going to wait a little longer to make sure he's ready.  I think we're going to have to teach him the first three lessons again before we can go on with the rest of the commandments and laws and ordinances.  J and R went to church again but we found our yesterday that they're not actually married, and the problem there is that the government pays R a certain wage every month since she's a widow but they'll stop doing it if she gets married and J doesn't have a job.  So it might take a while for them to get all that sorted out, but we'll see what happens.  We couldn't find G and M all week, and it turns out their baby's been sick so they had to go to the hospital in M and all that, but we have an appointment Tuesday with them. 
This week there was a YSA conference in Guadalajara and a member from our branch, Ml, took his friend A.  We had met him a few Sundays ago when he came for his interview with the Branch President for the conference, and he's way cool.  It seems like the conference helped him a lot.  He came to church yesterday and we put an appointment with them this week, so that could be good.  I just can't say enough about the members in this branch.  They're so great. 
Sunday afternoon we finally found N again!  Remember how she had gone to Guadalajara to see her daughter?  Well, she got back this week.  And while we were over there, her daughter M, the one that was listening to us and went to church and everything before she had to move, called and I got to talk to her on the phone.  That was a great experience--she's one of the investigators that I've bonded most with in my mission.  It sounds like she's doing better and she said she's reading the Book of Mormon and praying and has had some spiritual experiences.  Once her situation calms down a little more she's going to give us her address so we can send the missionaries to visit her there.  I gave her the addresses of about 4 different chapels in Guadalajara so that she can figure out which of them is closest and go on Sunday.  N's going to be back and forth between here and Guadalajara for a while, but we'll see if we can put a baptismal date for her in our next visit. 
I hope you all had a great Easter.  I know the Atonement is real!  Have a fantastic week!
Elder Pew

April 28th, 2014

We left a cake in the branch president's oven since we don't have an oven in our house and Elder C was DYING to make cakes again.  Did I tell you he was studying to be a cake-baker?  He is.  Also, he just cracks me up.  He is literally always laughing.  And he still has a little-boy-before-puberty voice, which makes it even more funny.  Anyways, the point is, we're going to have to go take that cake out and eat it soon, so I'll be brief.
Basically, this week we had to drop almost all our investigators.  Can't waste time with people who don't progress when there are lots of others ready to receive us.  And we found a few of them.  

One of our new investigators is J, who is N's son.  He lived in Salt Lake from 2001 to 2005 and loves Mormons because they treated him really well.  Also, he and his family went to General Conference while they were there, but since they hardly spoke English they didn't really understand it that well.  His wife's name is A and he has one kid, a 13 year old boy named A.  They're really nice people.  J fell off the roof of his house a few years ago and has a nerve problem--he lost control of the whole right side of his body and his right arm shakes uncontrollably all the time.  He is a car mechanic and has his own repair shop, but since the accident he's had to teach his wife and kid how to do everything so they can help him since he can't do much anymore.  We taught them the Restoration on Friday and went back Saturday and they had read the introduction to the Book of Mormon the night before and liked it a lot.  But who knows why they didn't come to church.  Oh well, we'll keep trying there.

J was in Manzanillo all week at work, and he didn't get back until Sunday afternoon.  We saw him yesterday and he had some doubts about tithing-whether he'd be able to pay it or not.  But we explained it to him the best we could and he accepted to pay it.  He's got a lot of faith.  Once we can get him to keep all the commandments and feel a little more confident, he'll get baptized.  

R and J are doing well, they went to find out what requirements are needed to get married and they were way too many--the one that really would be hard is birth certificates of at least two kids of each of them, because Js kids live in Veracruz, Tijuana, Michoacan, and other far away lands like that.  But some members from La Huerta, another town about an hour from here that's part of our branch, came down from there to come with us to the lesson with them on Wednesday and told them that they were going to find out the requirements for marriage in their town. They're pretty sure it's a lot easier, so once they find out they'll let us know and maybe they'll just get married there.  They came to church again but are going through a lot of opposition from family members and friends.  They need extra prayers.  

We taught A for the first time, (the kid who went to the YSA conference) and before the lesson even started he told us he wanted to go on a mission, and that he had already told his mom he was going to serve a mission and she told him he could do whatever he wants.  He accepted a baptismal date for June 7th, we would have put it earlier but he lives in M and it's hard to go out there more than once or twice a week.  Unfortunately, he didn't make it to church this week, again, who knows why, but his best friend is a returned missionary so I'm not too worried.  

Awesome memories from this week:

Monday after writing home we found C in the street.  We asked her where she was going and she said she was going to meet her visiting teaching companion to go do their visits.  Yes!
Wednesday we had a lesson with R and E, and when we got there only R was there. We asked him where his daughter was and he said she had gone to give a friend a Book of Mormon that she had written her testimony in.  We saw her again on Saturday and she said that she had invited her friend to church and told her she was going to go back to see how she was doing with the Book of Mormon.  BEST CONVERT EVER!  

Saturday we had an activity, inspired by Elder C.  We had studied part of preach my gospel where there's a story of a taxi driver that tells about his conversion, and my companion felt like it would be a good idea to get all the members to write their conversion stories and make a book with all of them in it.  We presented the idea to the branch president who talked it over with his counselors and planned the activity. He started out telling the story of Enos, how he had been a member his whole life but still had a conversion story.  Then he invited a few members who were born in the covenant to come up and share their conversion stories.  Then he talked about Paul, who was a convert and persecuted the church before his conversion, and invited a few converts to share their experiences, one of which was C.  Then he invited them all to write their stories and give them to us the next day.  It was an awesome activity, the Spirit was way strong.  Instead of making a book, he decided to put all the stories in a time capsule that they already had in his office.  They're going to open it in 2020.  

Well, that'll be it for this week.  We have some high elevated goals for this transfer and we're excited to give all we've got until the end.  Thanks for all your support!  I love you all a lot!

Elder Pew