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