Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Last letter home 6-2-14

I don't know how to start this letter.  Day by day, I guess, to not complicate life too much. 
Monday:  In three hours of proselyting we taught 4 lessons- 3 with investigators and 1 with a less active member.  We met a new investigator named R.  We had contacted him in the street a few days before and he told us that he has never been part of any religion.  His wife and kids go to some other church, his parents are Catholic, and he's talked to the Jehovah´s witnesses, but he said he's never felt anything.  He feels bad because he feels like he's unbelieving or something like that and he wonders why.  So obviously we taught him the Restoration and it went great.  He said "If God has tells me which is the true church, I'll go.  I'll get baptized.  I just need to feel it's true."  And he said that before we taught him about Joseph Smith and the first vision.  So we put a baptismal date for July 19th and he accepted.  The problem is that he works in Manzanillo and it's been hard to find him again, but we saw him yesterday and put an appointment for today at 8:00.  We visited the former relief society president, who has been inactive, and taught her about Enduring to the End and the Sacrament.  It was a super powerful lesson.  She feels the spirit and commits to come to church every week, but she just doesn't come.  It's a little frustrating, but I have faith that one of these days she'll understand.  Then, we taught J, who is still doing great, reading the Book of Mormon, and accepting all the commitments, but he's still working on Sundays.  I don't know if we should just be a little bit more patient (we've been teaching him for more than 6 weeks now) or drop him for a little while.  He can't come because of his job, and he's tried everything to get out of working Sundays, but he hasn't been able to.  I don't know if it's like a N family situation or if he's just not ready yet.  Anyways, afterwards, a lesson fell through so we went to contact some referrals.  We were looking for someone named M and we couldn't find her address, so we asked the people in the neighborhood if they knew any Ms around there.  They gave us two addresses, so we went to look for the first and it wasn't the M we were looking for but she was super receptive and listened to us right there in the door way.  We taught a 3 minute long lesson and left with a prayer without even entering the house, and she thanked us a lot for having come over and said she knew that God had sent us.  We've been doing this a lot more lately, praying with people right there where we contact them, and it seems to be working.  They feel the Spirit and the need to learn more. 
Tuesday:  We had district class, which was great of course, and then afterwards we did divisions.  Elder C stayed in Manzanillo with the district leader, Elder C, and I came back with Elder G, who's from Honduras and has 1 transfer more than Elder C.  He's way awesome and we had a lot of fun.  It was actually drizzling a little bit off and on so it wasn't too hot.  We got back to the house and realized that Elder C had taken the keys with him to Manzanillo, so we couldn't get in!  We called the landlady and she said she didn't have a spare, so we called a member from Manzanillo and arranged for him to find Elder C, get the keys, and send them to C on a bus so that we could pick them up when it got here.  Saved the day!  Then we went to visit M and H and they were doing great.  H loved primary and was super excited to go back to church.  M said she wanted him to keep going because he's a little rebellious and he had been a little better behaved after going to church on Sunday.  They're awesome.  We also went to visit C and V and M and all them, and we taught them about the word of wisdom.  At one part of the lesson I told them I wanted to share with them the blessings that the Lord promised for living the word of wisdom, and M said "It's in Doctrine and Covenants 89, right?"  My jaw dropped about to the floor.  I'm pretty sure when I was 13, I had no idea where the word of wisdom was in Doctrine and Covenants, and I had 13 years in the church, not 3 months.  Greatest converts ever!
Wednesday:  I went to pick up Elder C.  We went to visit R, kind of sketched out already because we had an appointment with them on Tuesday but they weren't home, and the primary president had told us that they hadn't gone to their reading class that day, either.  And we got there and she came out, looking horribly depressed, and just told us that for now she didn't feel up to letting us in.  She said she had just got back from the hospital but she didn't really want to tell us what was going on, she just said "We'll see if God gets me out of this..." which was enough to know that something awful had happened.  She didn't want to put another appointment, and she went back into her house crying.  I haven't seen her since.  We tried to send the primary president to go visit her, but she hasn't been able to yet.  It was one of the saddest things that has ever happened to me, and it was bothering me the rest of the day.  In fact, I can't even remember what else we did that day, other than visit F.  We contacted F in the street one night and he accepted an appointment right away.  He's an older man, in his late 50s or early 60s, and he's a carpenter.  He has a wood work shop in his house and we teach him there.  Last week we started teaching him and he's great.  He says he wasn't the greatest father and husband and just recently he started reading the Bible and he said it has helped him a lot.  He has a great desire to learn and to make things right with God and with his family.  We had a nice lesson about the restoration last week in the which, by some miraculous way (I don't even remember what we said or how this happened) it all kind of just clicked to him and he's been a lot more receptive towards the church and baptism since then.  Wednesday we read the Title Page of the Book of Mormon with him (man is it powerful!) and he seemed really interested.  Up until then, he hadn't read any of the Book of Mormon, but he committed to read it and to come to church on Sunday that day. 
Thursday: We visited M again and we convinced her 12 year old daughter E to be part of the lesson this time.  Both her daughters are SUPER shy so we were wondering how to get them to listen.  But when we got there on Thursday, E was the only one home, so we asked her if we could wait outside for her mom to get there.  She said yes and we took advantage of the opportunity to talk to her a little bit.  When her mom got there we invited her to be part of the lesson and she joined right in!  God totally put everything into place so that that could happen.  We brought the Relief society president to the lesson and I cannot say enough about her.  SO GREAT!  Anyways, the lesson went really well and they're still super excited about everything. 
Friday:  We still hadn't found a house for the sister missionaries and were kind of in panic mode, so we went looking for one.  The members had told us of some departments in the centro, but they were all full, so we just started asking random people in the shops and things if they knew of any apartments that were for rent.  A guy in an animal food store showed us an advertisement for some new apartments in another side of town--there were pictures on the advertisement and they looked really nice.  So we called the number and they asked the price and it was within the budget, so we went to check it out.  They're brand new and way awesome, super modern looking.  Cool design.  Anyways, we told the guy right there that we wanted the apartment and we're just waiting for the money the missionary couple sent us to get here to make the contract.  Whew!
Other than that, we also met M's sister, A, and her three kids, B, W, and A.  She's going through a divorce and really needs the gospel right now.  They were way receptive to everything we taught and A and B accepted a baptismal date for July 19th and committed to come to church.  Awesome!  I felt the impression during the lesson to say "I know you've been praying to ask God that he would help your family.  The fact that we're here is an answer to your prayer."  She started crying and said it was true.  The Spirit knows all things.  
After that, we visited M and her family, and her 14 year old daughter M also joined in that day, so the whole family is listening to us now!  We had left them Mosiah 4 to read and E said she had felt something really special when she read it.  Like, her heart started beating really hard and she felt the power of God.  She looked different, there was more light in her eyes.  That's one of the things I've loved most about the mission.  Seeing how people change when they have the gospel.  They all committed to come to church, even if their mom couldn't (she might have had to go on Sunday to Colima to settle things with her husband). 
Saturday:  In the morning, M took us to meet her grandma and one of her friends that she had preached to at school.  Neither one of them received us in that moment, but I was still really proud of her for taking us. We visited A again and she was still super pumped to go to church.  We were super direct "You've been wondering which is the true church.  This is it.  Will you be baptized on July 19th?"  She said yes.  That night we visited F again, he was still doing great and had read up to the Testimony of Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon.  And he was firm in his commitment to come to church. 
Sunday:  We went to pick up A and her family to go to church together.  That's always such a nerve-racking experience.  The whole way to the investigator's house you're always thinking "are they going to be ready, or are they going to stand us up?"  But there they were, ready to go.  When we were one block away from the church, we saw F turn the corner on his way there as well!  We got them all in and settled and left again to bring M and her family.  When we got there she was ready but she told us that her daughters weren't going to come.  We said "Let us talk to them."  E came out and we asked her if she was going to come.  She said "Sure.  Let me change real fast."  M had a headache so she didn't come, but E, M, H, and their cousin A that they invited also came.  Along with J, that made for 8 investigators in church.  It was an amazing testimony meeting.  Brother G bore his testimony and he said that he felt like he was doing it for the first time.  And he was--he's a new man now.  It was powerful.  Everyone was crying.  I just remember feeling so, so grateful to my Heavenly Father for all that was happening, for all he has let me experience here in the mission.  It was a great moment.  Our genius relief society president invited M and A to their cake making activity this week, and the genius young women's president invited E to a stake young women's activity in Manzanillo in 2 weeks.  I don't know what the Primary president does with those kids, but she does it well because they all came out super excited and happier than they were when they got there.  It's a lot of work having so many investigators in church, but the members did their part to make sure they all had an amazing experience.  I could write more about all that happened on Sunday, but time won't allow it.  Let's just say it was a day to remember. 
If you ask me what I feel right now, it's gratitude.  I'm grateful for the mission Heavenly Father has given me.  For the gospel, the Atonement, my amazing family and the amazing experiences I've had here the last two years.  This is the truth.  God loves us.  He does so much for us that we don't even notice.   Jesus is the Christ.  This is my testimony, and nobody can take it from me.  I love you all and hope your enjoying your summer! 

See you next week!

Elder Pew