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!
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!