Monday, December 16, 2013

Week #61: Tamaulipas 1.1 - X - 5

Well, this was the last week of the transfer. Sure, it was a shorter transfer with weeks, but it was also really short in the sense of how it felt. It has been really fast. It was over a month ago that I wrote my first email from this area, and was struggling and having a hard time and feeling a lot of stress. Time flies, and people change and grow. Now, I feel pretty good in the area, more sure of myself, I´ve seen more miracles, and things are going well.

This past week was full of different events. On Tuesday I had intercambios with Elder Bautista in his area, and it was as pretty laid-back day. It was kind of nice to just go with the flow as the "junior companion" with him there. In the night we had a training with the Relief Society about visiting teaching, and organizing, stuff like that. It was pretty good. We did a practice where we showed them what NOT to do, and it was pretty funny. We said stuff like, "I know we don´t know eachother very well, but Sister Mancha (the President) assigned us to come and visit you" and "Why are you less active?" Stuff like that. It was fun.

Let´s see... The rest of the week? Well, we were able to visit some less-active members, some investigators, and we had our weeky English class. This week we learned the first verses of two Christmas hymns in English. We wrote the words in English first, then in a phonetic English (according to Spanish pronunciation) to help everyone say it well. It was fun. It looked funny too.

This was Silent Night (if I can remember correctly):
Saylent nayt, joli nayt.
Al is calm, al is brayt
Raunt yan verllen* mader end chayld
Joli enfent so tender end mayld,
Slip in jevenly pis. Slip in jevenly pis.

*ll = dge of "judge" more or less. I told them to think like Argentinians with that part.

Phonetically, that´s pretty close to our English. Cool huh?

The rest of the week was pretty normal. This week are the transfers, but I´m staying in my area and I´m staying with Elder Carbajal too. This transfer will be number 11, XI, and will last 7 weeks. Elder Needham is leaving, so we´ll need a new District Leader. We´ll see what happens with me... Who knows?

I guess I´ll wrap up the email for now. Next week is Christmas everyone! I get to talk to my family! Yay! It´ll be good. I might cry. We´ll see what happens. Also, PS - tomorrow I have 14 months in the field. Bye!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week #60: Tamaulipas 1.1 - X - 4

This past week has been pretty laid-back overall. It´s been more calm than the week before. There are just a few highlights that I´d like to touch in the week:

On Tuesday we had our Zone Conference, and I was only expecting it to go from about 9:00 - MAYBE 3:00, but we left there at about 6:30pm. It was pretty long, but it was good too. A lot of what President Bird talked about were things that were needed. Things that I needed, and things to help my companion out too. It was a good meeting, and I liked it. Took some good notes, and we´ve already been able to apply some of the stuff we learned there.

On Thursday we had a film activity where we watched The Testaments. It was hardly attended, but we had investigators. They all seemed to really like it, and it piqued their interest. One said, "I really liked it, but I don´t know anything about the Book of Mormon!" We´ve since visited him and he now has a baptismal date, and he came to Church on Sunday.

On Friday we did exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and I was with Elder Cayetano (my amigo). He was the Executive Secretary before Elder Capiz. We basically had fun chatting and being together. He´s wrapping up his mission next Wednesday. He´s a pretty fun person. Together, we visited Adrian y Mireya (the contacts from a few weeks ago, and those who went to the Temple activity) and they accepted baptismal dates for January. The next day we visited Javier and Maria Eloísa in the morning, and they also accepted baptismal dates. So, that´s good stuff.

It´s gotten a bit cold here. Hmm... Next week are the transfers, and I´m pretty positive I´ll be staying here. Christmas is in a few weeks now! Crazy stuff. That´s it for this letter. I love you all!

P.S. the "X" is because I´m currently in "Transfer 10". If I count the MTC as one transfer.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week #59: Tamaulipas -3

What can I say? This past week was a crazy week. Super crazy and full of stuff. Our excursion on Monday ended up with a bunch of us missionaries being in trouble, and getting corrected for it. It was a good learning experience, but of course it always feels bad to be corrected - to have done something wrong. We overstayed our time at the mall, and President corrected the problem. This week I´ve been able to have good repentance experiences. I´ve felt bad for my mistakes and I´ve been able to be more determined to be good, to continue on, and to make the best of the time that I´ve got in the miss

ion still. This week was full of so many different emotions. Thursday we went to the Thanksgiving with President and Hermana Bird. It was pretty good and fun, but it also made me miss home a bit.

We ate Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, rolls with honey butter, Marineli Cider, and Pumpkin Pie. It was tastey. I did like having that food on that day. The rolls weren´t as good as Mom´s rolls though! Ah... Home.

Friday we did intercambios (exchanges) and I got to stay in the area and work with Elder Needham. We were guided by the spirit, and were contacting people, when we contacted a woman. She didn´t feel comfortable giving us her address, but gave us a referral to her family. Elder Needham encouraged us to head over right away, so we did. Once there, it was a woman I had already met with Elder Carbajal, but she didn´t give us her address. Wow! So, we taught her and her family (thanks to Elder Needham, I was just going to make an appointment) and three people accepted Baptismal Dates (as a goal). It was awesome. That was the spiritual highlight of the week.

We had a goal as a Zone that each companionship would have 100 contacts. We started out counted instances, but with Elder Needham changed to people contacted. We started Saturday with 47 / 100, and ended the day with 112 / 100. It was crazy - so much contacting. I felt good that we were able to meet our goal. It was awesome. We were ready for the Temple Activity.

Only problem though, was that our investigators who were going to go became busy. Uh oh. We prayed that we might still be able to go to the activity, with some other investigators. It was as the Lord wanted, because we went with Adrian y Mireya (the two new investigators from last Sunday) but it was a bit of a weird experience for us. The Temple was super crowded, and they couldn´t hear the guides. We ended up explaing to them ourselves afterwards, and we kind of saved the night. Some awesome members - La Familia Villasana - took us. He´s the ward mission leader. It was good overall, and the Lord truly blessed us.

There´s more to this week, but I´m going to wrap up. After the mission we can chat more about everything. I love you all and wish you well!

Love, Elder Izak Thomas Erekson

P.S. Oh yeah! I got to see Elder Harrop (my MTC companion) for the first time since December 17th, 2012. It was pretty great. We´ve emailed a bit, but we haven´t seen eachother until yesterday. I got to see Nahum too. It was nice. The Lord truly blessed me.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week #58: Tamaulipas - 2

This past week was good, but had some stressful moments to be sure. I don´t have a lot of time to write (I´ve still got lots of stuff to write to some other people, so forgive my brevity). I had some stress this week, some tiredness, and one morning I asked for a blessing from Elder Carbajal. He kindly gave me a blessing, and I´ve felt a bit better. I started off pretty stressed, but doing well... And this past week was a bit stressful. The Lord was with us though, and he really helped us to escape dangers, temptations, and to be protected by the Spirit. One contact we did gave us the strong feeling of "No" even though he invited us to come into his house and visit him right there. We followed that impression, and didn´t go in, but we did get his address. We´ll see if we return.

I´ve been finding a lot of comfort and counsel in the Book of Mormon this week too. It´s been good and helping me out.

Yesterday we taught our first "new investigators." We contacted them on Saturday before the food (we celebrated Elder Carbajal´s birthday with some members) - they were contact #55 of the week, and we did 56 in total. If we hadn´t put forth that effort, we may not have found them. We both felt good about the contact, and we went to visit them yesterday to get to know them. We didn´t really teach much, but we got to know them - so in the future we´ll be able to teach more of the actual message. They seem like they could progress and be passionate about the gospel, but we´ll see. They remind me of Pablo y Paty.

Today we actually have free time. Thursday I´m off the offices for THANKSGIVING DINNER with the "Family" so that´ll be awesome. Sunday we´re off to a sort of "open house" at the Temple. Should be a good week. We have a great Ward Mission Leader now, very passionate and with a huge heart. It´ll be good stuff.

This week is Thanksgiving. I am very thankful for my family and the love which they give me. I am grateful for my friends and all that they do for me too. I am grateful to be a missionary, and that I have been able to learn and grow in the mission field. I am grateful that I still have time to learn and improve, and get more out of the my time here. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and the comfort it gives. I am grateful for many things, and I love you all! I am grateful for technology to write home. I am grateful for the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, which enables us to keep going, be with our families forever, and one day live with Him and our Heavenly Father.

That´s it for this letter. I love you all!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Week #57: Tamaulipas - 1

Well... The day has come. Actually, it came like a week ago (Tuesday). I have left the mission offices and have returned to the field as a "normal" missionary. Let me tell you, it`s been a bit tough, but it`s getting there.

My last day in the offices before transfers I went to the hospital with on of the office Elders so that he could gets some tests done over a two day period. Last I heard (today) he is still there and has a beard now. I guess he got some treatment done or something. But, it was a pretty good day. Kind of chilling with him, writing some converts, riding an ambulance to take him to a different hospital during the evening. Good stuff.

I think I`m a pretty emotional person sometimes. Today I`ve felt a bit emotional and had some hard times, but right now I feel pretty good. It`s a lot different being a normal missionary. It`s different not being with my friends at the offices. We really became a family of sorts, and I miss them. But, I`m doing okay. I`ll get to see them all at latest by the 28th of November (special Thanksgiving Dinner family reunion!) so that will be nice. Elder Cayetano (one of my current Zone Leaders and an ex-office Elder) told me that I would feel "trunky" for the office for about 5 days, and then I`d be alright. I`m still kind of there a bit, but that`s okay.

So, on Tuesday morning my replacement arrived at the hospital to take my place as "companion" during the studies, so I came back to the offices. However, the meeting where they announce the transfers had already taken place, so I heard about it from my friends. They told me that I would be training, and what area I would go to. I helped out with a few office things, then went to a training meeting for the Trainers.

After the meeting, we received our new companions. My companion`s name is Carlos Javier Carbajal Alarcón. He is from the state of Guerrero, en Mexico. He is 22 years old, and will be 23 within a week. So, my pattern continues strong. I have had pure companions from Mexico here in Mexico, and I either have "older" missionaries, or "young" missionaries. My companions had the following ages (more or less): 24, 19, 26, turned 19 while my companion, 22 (about to be 23). So, my next companion should be younger - haha. Elder Carbajal has sensitive skin, so he has permission to wear a hat and sunglasses (his eyes are sensitive too).

It`s been interesting to be a Trainer, and to be Senior Companion. It`s been hard. I`ve felt like a better missionary, but I`ve also felt more stress, more "What are we going to do?" since I am the one who needs to give the example and direct. I`m trying to be a good companion, but it`s hard. It`s definitely a change. Since I`m training, and Elder Carbajal is fresh from the CCM, we`re sort of "opening an area." The area already existed, but to put us here they pulled out both missionaries who were already here.

I know that the testimony I bore last week about companionships and everything is true. Sometimes, however, living it is a bit harder than solely testifying of it. We`ll see why we need to be companions in this area, but I know we are here for a reason. My companion was "supposed" to arrive last transfer, but didn`t make it. He made it this transfer, and we were put as companions. The Lord knows why He does what He does. I know that we need to be companions and to help eacother grow. I need to help him be the best and happiest missionary he can be. He actually kind of reminds me of myself when I was younger (and nowadays) in the mission field.

It kind of feels like I did when I was new to Mexico. Pray for me please. I`ll be praying for you. I`d like to share some verses with all of you that I shared with my sister. There is a song I have that bases some of the words off of it, and it really impacted me today as I listened to it for comfort and strength. Here are the words (emphasis added):

3 Nephi 22: 7 - 8, 10 "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kidness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer... For the mountains shall depart and the hills shall be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee..."

No matter what, the Lord will not forsake us as we serve Him. Even if "the world is falling apart," He will be there. He is constant. He is kind. He is loving. I know that I need His help to do this work and keep moving forward, and I pray for it. Always remember to keep your hopes up, and endure to the end. That`s what I`m trying to do in the tough times.

Don`t get me wrong, it`s not that tough, but it`s a bit tough. I`m sure it`s hard for my companion as well, if not even harder since he`s brand new still (he got to the Mexico MTC on October 31st, 2013). We just have to keep on working and never give up hope.

Have a great week. I`ll talk to you next Monday.

Much love, Elder Izak Thomas Erekson

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week #56: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 12 / The Offices - Week 36

Well, here I am... writing a letter to all of you one last time from the offices (at least that´s what it appears at this moment). I decided to go ahead and add a double title to this email, just to help add some perspective on my time in the offices. The time has finally come to head out.

It´s been a really good time for me here in the offices. I´ve had lots of fun, lots of great experiences, and met lots of great people. Last night we spent some time playing games and hanging out one last time before I head out, and that was pretty fun.

Things are going to be very different.

In the mission, transfers are a closely guarded secret. Once upon a time, everyone found out their transfers Sunday night (the Secretaries found out Sunday about 2:00), but with President Bird that has changed. Sunday night, the Zone Leaders pass the information to the District Leaders, and they tell the missionaries something along these lines: "Elder X is staying in the area. Elder Y is leaving. Pack your bags." Then, they pack their bags. Come Tuesday morning, at around 8:30 there is a meeting where the Assistants announce the transfers by area, and companionship. The offices are on the same grounds as a Stake Center, so the missionaries meet in the Chapel for this "Transfers Meeting." It´s pretty cool. I still haven´t had one where I was surprised, so this may be my first.

I say it may be my first since I don´t know if I´ll be there for it. You see, I´m accompanying an Elder to the Hospital so that he can get some testing done. It´s an overnight thing, and we´re heading in today. So, I don´t know what exactly we´re going to work out, but it could be that I don´t get to go to the meeting. It´s all good though. We´ll have a lot of down time. Maybe I´ll read, sleep, write converts and family and friends, or something. So, that´ll be good too. Plus, I´ve never been to the Hospital here, so that´ll be a first for me.

This past week we hardly worked our area, since we were so busy in the offices. Also, an Elder is going home for medical issues, but we really hope he´ll be coming back in not too long once he´s been taken care of. I worked a bit with him in our area one night, and yesterday we worked a bit. Other than that, we haven´t spent much time in our area. I said goodbye to Nahum last night. He´s a great friend; he´s a real inspiration and he´s got such a big heart and testimony. We´ll definitely keep in contact.

Elder Quevedo and I had some good times together for sure. I was able to learn a lot of things from him, and grow as a person and Disciple of Jesus Christ. I made some changes that were needed, and I feel pretty good. I´ve felt pretty calm thinking about these transfers. Who knows where I´m going, but I´ve felt good. New horizons and new adventures are heading my way. Life keeps going.

This has been a large chapter in my mission, but it´s time to move on to a new chapter. Of course there are things that I will miss, but there are things that it will be nice to get away from too. I won´t have thoughts or time spent on office things anymore - I´ll be more focused on my area, the work, and my investigators. I´ll be spending a lot more time walking and working, but that´s a good thing and I´ll get used to working "full time" again. A change of scenery is a good thing, and so is a change of companion (at least in the mission). Coming back to the offices will be weird though, since it was once my area. It´s basically been normal since even though I switched areas, I´ve still been coming to the offices almost every day. But, from now on coming to the offices will be different. Like a flashback, but totally different.

Well, I guess that´s it for now. In a week I´ll let you all know where I am, what I´m doing, and whom I am with. It´ll be a new adventure for sure. I bear my testimony that everything is in the Lord´s hands. He will put me where He needs me, and where I need to be. My companion will be who I need, and I will be who he needs. The Lord loves each and every one of us, and it´s up to us to recognize His blessings and love, His corrections and instructions, and His will and designs. May we all search for these things in our lives always.

I love you all, and wish you well. Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Week #55: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 11

Things are going well for me here in Mexico. This week we had a bit of a harder time finding people, and we ended up teaching a whole lot more lesson of "retention" than we did to investigators, so that´s alright.

Hmm. Yeah, I´m not sure exactly what else to write. Got it.

The Lord is always watching over us, and directing things for our blessing and care. On Thursday after writing, we ended up without money. Elder Quevedo had been paying for the both of us as I waited to recieve my card, so that I could have money and pay him back. Just that evening, guess what showed up? My new card! We were able to go to the bank, get some cash, I paid my companion back, and all is well. The Lord really gave us a "tender mercy" that night. He is always there to bless us, but sometimes we fail to recognize the small and subtle blessings which He gives us.

Speaking of which, yesterday I read Elder Bednar´s talk "The Windows of Heaven" and it had a lot of good stuff that I was able to apply to myself and being a missionary. He talks about receiving a greater capacity to recognize blessings; a great capacity to endure; and other great things like that. It was a talk chosen by my sister for Family Home Evening study a few weeks ago, and I finally got around to studying it. It was a pretty good experience. I´l lbe reviewing and reading the talks from this Conference.

This week I taught Elder Quevedo a little bit of German. There is a sister in our ward who knows some, and he wanted to be able to say something to her in German. So, I taught him to say "Guten Tag Schwester. Wie Gehts?" German has been coming back to me, which is both cool and a waste of my time a bit. I´m here in Mexico, serving in Spanish, and I need to focus on that. But, it´s kind of cool to remember stuff. When I get back I´ll maybe look more into German and other languages, but for now: Spanish.

I feel more conversational this week. It´s kind of nice to be able to chat with people in "live time."

Love, Elder Erekson

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Week #54: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 10

Another week has come and gone, and it´s been a pretty good one. It´s actually been of a week of "course adjustment" and repentance in some ways. Last week I was definitely feeling a bit down and not happy or super peaceful when it was time to be emailing, but right now I´m feeling better in general. Some of this has to do with the "course adjustment" I mentioned earlier. Being an office Elder (est. March 5th, 2013) puts me in front of a computer screen five days out of seven. Well, during many of these days, I´ve found time to go to the Church website and be studing different topics, themes, and other things like that, instead of dedicating 100% of my time to the office things that I need to be doing. Everything worked out fine, I got the stuff done, but it wasn´t the best use of my time by any means. So, I needed to correct that.

During one of my night-time prayers, I made a commitment with Heavenly Father that I would not study ever again during the office hours, for as long as He sees fit to have me in the offices. Since that prayer, I´ve been using my office time a whole lot better, and I feel less stress in the offices too, and in life in general. I´ve been more focused during my normal studies too on what I should be doing as a missionary and helping my investigators, and it´s been a good change. It was a necessary change.

Also, this will help me be ready for that future day when I am no longer an "Office Elder," and that day is fast approaching. By the time I write again I´ll be a day short of eight months as a Secretary. Sure, I´ve been in two areas, in three different positions, with two different Mission Presidents, and three different office rooms, (that list just tells you how long eight months is, doesn´t it?) and it´s been pretty great, but it´s been a long while. I feel kind of ready to move on to more "normal" things.

The Lord has been good to me. He has answered my prayers - sometimes He has answered within minutes. I have been greatly blessed being here in the offices, and there are still blessings that remain for me to tap into and receive, however long He leaves me here. In the meantime, i´ve got to work.

This week we had a ton of baptismal dates fall through (because they didn´t go to church). We started Sunday with like 8 or 9 people, and we ended with 2, but that´s how it is sometimes.

We also lost Julio as an investigator. He wasn´t fulfilling his commitments, so we told him: "Okay. If you don´t read before Saturday at 6:00pm when we come by, we won´t take you to Church this Sunday. Is that fair?" He agreed. So, when he didn´t read, we didn´t go pick him up, and we told him we weren´t going to come. We did, however, set an appointment for Tuesday to see him again. Between these times, we decided to go ahead and read with him, since it´s really hard for him to do it alone. When we get to his house, he tells us "Ya no vegan. No vinieron por mi el domingo." (Don´t come anymore. You didn´t come for me on Sunday." And we tried to talk to him a bit, but he was done. So... We lost him.

The rest of the week was pretty normal overall. Doing secretary stuff. Teaching lessons. Going to Church (it was nice this week; we got to patake of the Sacrament for the first time since before General Conference), that was good.

Well, I guess that´s it up to today. This morning we went to the Temple, then came back here to do some stuff in the office we needed to do, then we went to a museum, then came back here to write. So, that´s my life right now. We´ll see what happens next.

Take care all, and have a great week!

Love, Elder Izak Thomas Erekson

Friday, October 25, 2013

Week #53: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 9

This past week I hit my 1-year mark as a missionary of Jesus Christ. It was a pretty normal day overall, but I was able to finish my second six-month journal, and I finished reading the Book of Mormon all the way through (I´m not the fastest reader, so I felt good about reading it this year) and I´ve started it again.

I´ve learned some cool stuff about the Book of Mormon this first year, and already starting the second year I´ve learned more. The Book of Mormon is a great book, with a clear message and spiritual power to witness the truth unto us. I need to remember that and really treasure and use the Book of Mormon the most that I can, in my studies and in the lessons too.

The first year of my mission was a good one. I was able to receive a stronger testimony of many parts of the Gospel, a greater understanding, and I feel good about my service. I have plenty of room to improve on, but I´ve got about a year to work on that. There isn´t a better day than today to start improving, overcoming weaknesses and challenges, and becoming a better person. Right now I need to focus more on the work, doing my job, strengthening my faith in order to help others with theirs, and becoming more Christlike.

So, as far as the new family we met last week, we had a bit of a bump in the road yesterday. We went to have our lesson with them, and the father told us there had been a change of plans. His father-in-law didn´t like that they had people over to the house (it´s his house that we visited them in), and we were told that we were kind, that they liked the message, but that we could not continue visiting them there. We chatted for a little bit, and we might start seeing them in the chapel, or the missionaries where their house is might start seeing them. For right now, we´ll just have to see what happens.

We went with a past investigator this week and we invited her to be baptized. She accepted, but we´ll have to keep working hard to help her understand the message and the Book of Mormon, along with going to Church. She said she was going to come, but did not this week. We have a lot of investigators with baptismal dates, but helping them attend Church and progress is our challenge.

It´s starting to get colder now, and darker earlier. We wake up in the mornings or at night now, and it´s cold. So, that´s cool. It was like that when I got here in January, so that should be what I´ve got to look forward to for the next few months, until it gets really hot again. But, it was a pretty nice climate for a while this week.

Elder Quevedo got a pretty good photo of me in my new suit on my year-mark day, but I think it´s a bit blurry. If it´s not any good for a portarit, Mom, let me know and we´ll get a new one. I realized after the fact that it looked a bit blurry, so that´s not good. I´m sorry if it´s too blurry, and I´ll definitely get a new email.

What else can I talk about? I feel a bit tired mentally and physically right now. I need to get some more energy, pray to the Lord for His help and comfort and strength. I know that the Lord loves us and helps us. He is there to help us with what we need to do, and has great patience with us in our weakness. We should always trust in the Lord. With Him at our side, we can do all things, "...for I know that the Lord provideth a way..." (1 Nephi 3:7).

I think that something which I need to do is look back at old journals and reflect on some great spiritual experiences which I have had as a missionary. That can help me get the energy I need. I invite all of you to read back in your journals, emails, or whatever it be that has your great spiritual moments, and to reflect upon them; thank the Lord for these moments, and remember these "Holy Places" as Sister Ann M. Dibb called these moments in our lives, and "be not moved" (Doctrine and Covenants, section 115). The Lord will help us remember His love when we need it most, which is always. Please remember me in your prayers, and I´ll pray for you as well.

Have a great week, and be strong! I love you!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week #52: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 8

As I write you all I´m starting to feel a bit better. I´ve been a bit sick for like two weeks now, and Sister Bird told us to go and buy some pills (Elder Quevedo has been sick too), and I took one this morning. The problem is, I took it on a basically empty stomach. Oops. Just before we went out to eat, my stomach started hurting me a ton. When we went out to eat, it hurt. It´s been killing me, but right now it feels better. Still not totally 100%, but it´s better.

So, on to more important things... This week we had some issues getting out and working well in our area. We were pretty busy with office stuff, and we definitely lost some time that we should have used better. But, the Lord still poured out many blessings on us.

A few weeks ago Elder Maxwell told us about a house that he learned about on his street (that´s an area right next to our area, and he was my old District Leader until this latest transfer when he finished his two years). Elder Quevedo and I ended up going there and checking it out, and meeting with the representative of the owner, and we really, really wanted this house. We kept going to talk about this detail, or that, with him and we ended up having to ask President about it.

Instead of having a boiler it has an electric heater on the shower head, which wasn´t acceptable with Presidente Walker. We talked to President Bird about it, and he was funny. He told us: "Well, you´ll just have to look for another house. You have 20 minutes to find a different house, and if you can´t, you´ll just have to go ahead with this one." So, we ended up getting this one. It is SUPER nice. It came with furniture, Air Conditioning, and it´s just a great, clean, nice little house. It´s awesome. The Lord really blessed us with this house. I´ll load up some photos of it.

Yesterday Rocío was baptized by Elder Mills. It was a pretty cool experience to come back to Laureles and see old people again. Last week I got to see Pablo and Paty, I´m not sure if I mentioned that last week... Maybe it was this very past week. I´m not sure right now. It was pretty nice to see them though. It was nice to see Rocío too. Lots of missionaries were there yesterday. The Assistants, Elder Ramírez and his companion (it was nice to see Elder Ramírez), Elder Mills and Elder Miller, and Elder Quevedo and I. I got to give a little talk about the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Rocío seemed to appreciate it. She was all tears and happy to be taking this step. It was a pretty cool day. So, Elder Ramírez and I were able to see her make it to baptism. I´ll have to send photos next week of her baptism.

The Lord also blessed us by letting us find some new investigators last night. Our week was pretty awful as far as getting out and working is concerned, including on Sunday. We went looking for some new investigators with Nahum (who isn´t leaving on his mission just yet for medical reasons) and we were looking for one "Rubén." On our way to that house, Elder Quevedo stopped by the house of an old referral that we didn´t find and stopped looking for a while back.

He stopped and was like, "Why am I here?" Nahum said, "Just go ahead" or something like that, to encourage us. So, we went ahead and knocked on the gate. A man came out of the house and we started to talk to him. We asked for his wife, and he told us that she wasn´t there. We started to contact him, and I was in the middle of talking to him, and I said something like, "...and we´ve love to share this message with you and your family." I stopped there, without adding anything like, "When can we...?" He told us he was alone, and that he was very "preguntón" (prone to ask lots of questions), and we went in. We went ahead and started teaching the First Lesson, "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

We kept it going and under control, and then his family showed up. We started to share a bit with them, and finished up the lesson. He and his wife and their two kids accepted to be baptized, as long as they receive an answer from the Lord that it´s true. They have a goal for the 7th of December. He actually asked us, "Why so far away?" and we explained about how there needs to be preparation, etc. They seem pretty good and hopefully they progress. It was really an inspired contact, talking to him and teaching him. It was a great way to end our week, and the Lord really blessed us.

Today I got a new haircut, and it looks pretty good. I´ve been needing one. I´ll be sure to take a nice photo in my new suit and with my haircut on Thursday to commemorate my 1-year mark. It´s been a good year. I feel pretty good about where I´ve gotten so far, but there´s still a lot to improve. It´s nice to be getting along, and it´s nice to have more time to get more out of my mission. I think maybe next week I´ll try and spend more time reflecting in my letter on the year I´ve had in the mission field. It´s been pretty good, and looking back it has definitely gone by fast.

I think we might go to a Zone activity sometime soon. I´m going to wrap up the general email. I love you all and hope you have a great week. Take care, and enjoy every moment of your lives. Remember the Lord and His love for each of you. Pray to Him for help and strength. Read the scriptures. Write the important parts of your life. Write the little things.

Nice choice on the Elder Dube talk for our Family Home Evening. I´m at a point like he was in the story. I need to keep focused on looking forward and working well. Thank you for all of the support you´ve all given me this year and in my entire life. I love you all!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Week #51: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 7

This was a pretty crazy week. I already wrote about what happened during the transfers, since last week I got to write on Wednesday instead of Monday, so I´ve got like half of the week already written.

The rest of the week was not eventful. We were super occupied with stuff in the offices and other things like that. Some news: our mission now has 7 Zones, and the names have changed too. Before, we had 6 Zones. They´ve changed from the names of the stakes (at least in part because they are no longer divided by stakes) to Christlike Attributes. The zones changed as follows:

Andalucia = Templanza (Temperance) Los Ángeles = Diligencia (Diligence) Apodaca = Obediencia (Obedience) Libertad = Esperanza (Hope) Moderna = Paciencia (Patience) Paraíso = Caridad (Chartiy)

and the new Zone is called Humildad (Humility). So, it´ll take a little tiny bit to get it all registered in mind, but it´ll be good. I like it. The rest of my email will be more decicated to the other big event from this week: General Conference.

I was able to see each session of Conference, but in Spanish. It really is a miracle and a blessing that the Spanish-speaking people of the world can hear conference in their own tongue (even fulfilling prophecies) but it´s really more of a second-rate version of Conference. I´ve been able already to hear a few things in English, but this week I´ll be focusing on that (since I have the blessing and opportunity to be in the offices, and able to hear Conference whenever). I´ll give each session a good listen in English this week.

---- One the moments that really stuck out to me was when Elder Holland spoke. He spoke on depression, and overcoming things like that, and as he closed he went a bit more general and spoke of people with disabilities.

He testified with great power of the glorious resurrection that will come to all of us. The translator started to choke on his words and cry, and as he spoke I too was deeply touched. I found myself thinking of my brother Jakob. He is happy, and we are greatly blessed to have him in our family, but the words of Elder Holland, and imagining Jake in the glorious resurrection - perfect, and "free at last," I was pounded by the Spirit and I wept. I imagined him being able to freely converse with me, and I cried.

I had the great blessing this morning to hear him speak in English today before emailing, and I was able to understand his words better. When he got to the part at the end as he testified of the Resurrection, I thought again of Jake and wept again. It really is a great talk, especially that end part for me. The Spirit powerfully hit me both times I listened to it. I love Elder Holland. ----

On Sunday (after Conference) we met some new investigators who seem to be really good prospects. A young man in our ward (named Nahum) is their friend, and he thought of them after the Conference. When we stopped by, the woman (who had just had a baby) accepted to let us come into her home to visit her and share with her. We were just outside though, since the man was taking care of the baby. When we shared the lesson with her, near the end, the man came outside and heard just the end part. She said the closing prayer. After she prayed, we invited her to be baptized for November 23rd, and him as well, and they accepted (at least she really did). She said that she DID feel something, and that since Nahum was such a good friend to them she accepted to let us in. We focused on how the family can be Eternal if we follow the Gospel plan, and she really wants her family to be eternal. It was a good lesson and we´ll see how things go for them. Their names are Sergio and Laura.

I had other moments that were good, that gave me counsels I needed, and it was good. I´ll be studying this session a lot more (as Elder Hales told us). He was looking good, wasn´t he? On his feet again. That was nice. I feel like I got more out of this Conference in ways than the last one. I neglected to review that one well enough, so that was part of the problem. Last Conference, one of my favorites was Sister Ann M. Dibb´s talk. A year ago was great too.

When Elder Dube spoke on looking forward, not backward, I thought a bit about, "Look forward during the second year" or along those lines, since I´m about to hit my 1 year mark as a missionary. It´s been good, but I´ve still got tons to work on and a bit over a year to do it. I feel good though.

I hope you´ve all had a great Conference Weekend, and that you get to review the talks in a good way to strengthen your faith and love for the Gospel and the Savior.

I´ll go ahead and wrap up with that. Keep going strong, write down the Spiritual impressions you receive, and your daily events in your journals. Keep records. I love you all and wish you well. Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Week #50: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 6

This past week has been pretty good for me. As far as working in our area, we had some good moments, but the week overall was lower than we´ve been doing lately. But, we were pretty busy with other stuff, so that´s what can happen sometimes. We went and did a service activity for our investigator Julio. He is an older man whose house was very dirty. We spent basically the entire afternoon (from like 5:00 to 8:00). We cleaned out his kitchen, his bathroom (yours truly helped with that one) and the main room, the front entrance too. It was pretty good. A bit gross at moments, but definitely great to do, and it helped him. Elder Quevedo gave him a haircut and a shave (I kind of helped a bit with the shave) and we found his glasses and I fixed them, so he can read now! It was good stuff. Later in the week... Well, on Friday the 27th, my birthday package got here! I was so happy that it made in one time. It only took three weeks to make it here, so that was pretty great. I opened it the next morning, on my 20th birthday, and it was great to receive a package. Thank you family for the letters, treats, and music to listen to!

I spent the rest of the day at the offices helping to prepare for some stuff for the transfers and the new houses we´re opening up. We opened 7 more houses this transfer. We just keep on growing.

So, now that I´m 20 I´m not a teenage anymore. It´s been good being a missionary. Sister Skinner called to my attention the fact that I gave my "farewell" talk a year ago on Monday. A year went away. It´s been a good year. Pretty soon though, I´ll have a year in the mission field. That will be cool.

On Monday it was super chill, since it wasn´t our P-day. In the past, I was always scrambling to write while I could, but this week not so much with that problem. Also, Elder Quevedo took over almost all of the responsibility of being the Executive Secretary, so I was chilling and not stressing much at all.

Tuesday, however, was different. I had people asking me for stuff, materials; I helped out with moving things for new houses, and other stuff like that. It was pretty good, but a bit crazy. It was nice when everyone left and it was just us here at the offices. We spent the rest of the day here. We could have probably left and worked well, but we stayed here. I got to see Rocío and Charlie again, since they had an appointment with Elder Mills and Elder Miller. It was pretty nice. We ate afterwards, and Rocío had a laugh attack when she saw an old school I.D. of Elder Miller. It was pretty cool and fun. She´s on track for her baptism on October 13th, 2013.

This week coming up is conference, so that´ll be good stuff. I plan on listening to the Relief Society Broadcast before then. This week we´ve got the Leadership Council tomorrow, then Friday I think Immigration for the new missionaries, so that´s good stuff. I guess I´ll kind of wrap up this email. I´ll attach some photos.

OH! So, on Saturday before my birthday everyone in the offices surprised me with cakes and they sang to me. It was nice of them, and I didn´t expect it. Later, we went out to eat at Chili´s. It was fun and nice of them. We ate some tasty carrot cake, and I took the traditional Mexican "Bite" out of the cake, and Elder Quevedo pushed my head into the cake. I didn´t really get dirty, but there was a funny result. But yeah, it was a pretty good week overall. Not perfect, but pretty good.

Well, I love you! Take care all!

Love, Elder Izak Thomas Erekson

P.S. Wow, as I looked for pictures to attach, I realized that I forgot to talk about going bowling on Monday. It was a ton of fun. I almost won the second game, almost. It was a pretty fun day. I enjoyed it. I´ll attach some photos.

P.P.S. As the Materials Secretary, I work with the mail of the mission, and the materials of the missionaries. So yeah, good stuff.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week #49: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 5

This week was pretty good. Not a lot of super specific stuff to report, but we´ve been constantly progressing in the number of "Lessons with a Member present" duruing our time together, so that´s been pretty awesome. We felt pretty good about that, but when the weekend came we kind of flopped and didn´t work as well as we could have or should have, but there´s this week to repent and be better at our work.

I don´t really have new photos do send either. Actually, I do. We learned that the mission boundaries have been changed again, giving us more area in our mission. It´s area that´s technically not organized (the areas fall under the jurisdiction of the "Mexico Monterrey East Mission Branch" or something like that). I´ll go ahead and send an image of the new map if it´s available. Nope, I just checked. Those PDFs I downloaded and sent a few weeks back are still not updated with the new boundaries. Oh well.

Reading the Book of Mormon is going pretty well. I´m one chapter away from finishing Mormon, then I´ll be starting to read in Ether. That should be good, as I said last week I think. I hope to be able to get some good stuff from Ether, since I´m not that familiar with it.

So, this week Julio came to Church again. We dropped by on Saturday and gave him some food and drinks, and a white shirt and some dress pants so that he could be a bit cleaner and nicer at Church, and he wore them. This week we´ve got programmed to go and help him out at his house as a District, so that will be good.

Speaking of good stuff, two of the awesome people I´ve met progressed yesterday! Pablo received the Melchizedek Priesthood yesterday! Daniel (the young man) did too! So, that´s good stuff. They´re progressing on their way and going strong.

Also, Nahum (the young man who´s been helping us out a ton) got his mission call. We went to his call opening last night, and he´s going to the Misión México Veracruz! He enters the CCM on OCTOBER 15TH - so that´s really soon! He´ll be just about a year behind me on everything, so that´s pretty awesome.

I´m going to close up the general email for now. Sorry there´s not a ton to report. I´m going to try and have more this next week. OH! That reminds me, since I´ll be busy with the transfers, I´m not going to have my P-day until WEDNESDAY, so don´t expect any mail on Monday. It MAY be a possibility that I can write on Monday, but if I don´t - don´t freak out. I´m doing okay. I love you all and wish you a great week! And, thank you for the birthday wishes!

Love, Elder Izak Thomas Erekson

P.S. Since starting this letter, I have finished Mormon. Next up: Ether.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Week #48: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 4

To start off, I´m finishing up the email from last week. These three photos are from when we went ice-skating last week. It was fun. Cool, cool - now it´s time for this week´s email.

This has been a pretty good week overall. We had some really WET, rainy days, so that was pretty good. Lots of wetness actually. I´ve just been chatting a tiny bit with Dad about the weather - Ingrid is heading our way - but Dad says it´s acutally headed south of our area, so we´ll get rain but not a strong. Speaking of rain, that river we crossed a few weeks ago looked pretty full today. Not crossable.

Overall I´ve felt more on top of things as a missionary this week. It depends on the day... On Saturday I had a pretty great Personal Study and Language Study was edifying too. In the Book of Mormon I finished reading Fourth Nephi today. So, I´m getting close to the end there. Some pretty good stuff I feel is coming. I feel like I don´t know Ether very well, so that´ll be good to read soon. Maybe I´ll finish the Book of Mormon by the time I finish a year in the mission. After that, I want to read it again in English... But I should read it in Spanish. Months ago I was doing it, and I stopped in like 1 Nefi 17.

Hmm... Elder Quevedo and I are getting better numbers, so that´s a great thing. We felt pretty satisfied with this week, but the truth is we can improve a whole lot. We met a "Past Investigator" named Julio, and we are visiting with him. He is a bit older, and it takes a bit more effort and simplicity for him to understand, with some repitition, but he´s willing. He has a goal to be baptized on October 26th. He came to Church this Sunday too. We can help him in many ways, spiritually and phyisically by helping him clean up his home.

I got to eat MOLE again... It was better than the last time, but still gross (to me). I´m not that big a fan of chicken overall actually, unless it´s prepared a certain way - but like, the piece of chicken just sitting there is gross. I learned that mole is the SAUCE ITSELF, and not the chicken. So, that´s gross. I thought if I ate the chicken it´d be fine, but the Sister found out. I didn´t want to tell her, so I didn´t say anything until she asked me directly. Oh well.

What else can I write about? Church was good. One sister talked about Geneology, Salvation for the Dead, and things along those lines, and it was something I needed to hear. Her husband spoke on using our time well. He told a funny story about when he first talked to his wife. He asked her, "Do you have a boyfriend?" - "No" - "Do you want to go out with me?" and she whips out her planner to see when she can (she is also a Returned Missionary). So, that was pretty cool and funny. They´re pretty cool.

What else? Elder Quevedo and I went to get our teeth whitened. It didn´t make them as white as I had hoped, but for the price it´s pretty good I think. They do look whiter. It HURT SO MUCH! I realized today that one of my teeth has the gumline pretty receded, and that one was KILLING me during the like 30 mintues the stuff sat there to soak into the teeth, to get them ready for whitening. It hurt. Needless to say, every once and a while a sharp pain hits me in my teeth. Elder Quevedo has also been experiencing this. But, it´s pretty good.

Some changes that have happened in the mission: Our District Mettings (which used to be on Mondays at 6:30pm - following our P-day) are now going to be Tuesday mornings at 11:00 - 12:30. This way, we can go to Family Home Evenings and visit people on Mondays. I personally like the change. It was always, "When can we meet with you?" - "Mondays" - "Is there another day?" But now, we CAN visit them any day of the week. So, it´ll be nice and hopefully the numbers in the mission go up with this change too.

Tomorrow I´ve got 11 months in the mission field. Time can fly away from you. I feel pretty good overall with my progress and how the time has gone. It feels good to be progressing in time, and it´s good to still have plenty of time left to go. I feel like in some areas I´m on the right track for the future. My last weeks as the Executive Secretary are here. I feel pretty good about this too. Last week I actually was working pretty well here in the offices, gettings some things done more efficiently. But yeah, life is going pretty good.

I think I´ll close up the general email for now. I wish you all well, and I ask that you´ll keep me in your prayers. Take care, have a great week, write in your journals always, and remember to recognize the blessings of the Lord in your lives.

P.S. Carlos (who we were teaching a while back) got baptized a week ago in his actual ward, so that´s good.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week #47: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 3

This past week was pretty good. I mentioned in the last email that we were going to go ice-skating, and we totally did. It was pretty fun, even though I can´t skate and I fell a lot. But, even with that, it was a pretty fun and memorable experience for me. We went to Parque Fundidora (it´s like my fourth time, and I´ve gone to the park with every single companion I´ve had here in México so far). It was pretty cool to be out there, and to be dressed in normal-people clothes. I felt pretty good-looking if I may say so... But, the bad news is I think my camera is in the house, so I can´t send any photos from that this week. I´m sorry! It was fun though, and the photos remain promised for a following email. Sorry!

This week was a bit busy, and overall it was pretty good. The most notable events are the following:

Thursday we got up at about 5:15 AM to get ready, so that we could go to the TEMPLE for an early-morning Endowment Session. It was pretty great to be able to go to the Temple again for the first time in about 8 months. This time I enjoyed it, and I was able to see the Savior more. I was thinking more of Jesus Christ and His Atonement while I was there, and that was pretty good.

Afterwards, we went to McDonald´s near the Temple, and I got 3 Sausage Egg McMuffins. I hadn´t had a breakfast sandwhich like that for... like 10 1/2 months. It was pretty tastey. I have to admit I ate it with some of the packaged salsa that they gave us... Actually, it was like the "Obama Burrito" that I loved from from Sonic. Sausage, egg, cheese, and salsa. Tastey stuff. So, that was a nice little taste of home / America.

The next day was the Leadership Council that they do once a month, and this time around I got to sit in on the activities and take notes of everything that they were saying. I couldn´t write or type fast enough to capture EVERYTHING but I tried, and I did get a lot of information captured. So that was pretty cool. To start off it was well, then we had a break, and after that it got a bit harder. I felt a bit tired and it was hard to try and keep up with everyone at that point, but it was alright. I said a prayer for help and I was able to keep going until the end of the meeting. Now, I´ve got to type up and edit the notes I took to get them to Presidente Bird. Still work to do.

In the training they talked about a lot of cool things. Doing good intercambios, working with Bishops in the field, how to conduct and plan a baptismal service so that it´s a good, spiritual experience, and stuff like that. I enjoyed the meeting, and seeing the stuff that´s going to be changing in the mission too. Next week I´ll share more about that, but it´s a pretty "big" change for us, and I think it´s a good thing. It´ll let us work better with people. It actually makes this mission a bit more like my experience in the Colorado Denver North Mission. It should be a good thing.

On Saturday we had a companionship inventory for a little bit, and we talked about some stuff we need to improve on so that we become really good friends. TO ALL PEOPLE - resolve concerns or simply let it go. Don´t let bitterness mount up. Resolve in a good, calm manner. It´s something I´m trying to learn more. Forgiveness, like, real forgiveness - for others and for myself. But yeah, it´s a good thing to set things in order in our relationships.

Actually, there´s a pretty good resource book we received recently. It´s called something like Adjusting to Missionary Life and it´s got some good stuff in there about managing stress and things like that. I´ve been liking it overall. It´s not something that´s been "implemented" here, we just got them and I, here in the office, have taken one and have looked at it. I like it.

Sunday was pretty good. I got to give a talk. I wasn´t sure what to talk about, but President Bird encouraged us to share spiritual experiences or stories, so I decided to share about Pablo y Paty, their story and conversion and the sacrifices that they made to be in the Gospel. I talked about the Atonement, Grace, and sacrifice. We need to sacrifice, give our all, and then we can lay claim to the Grace of Jesus Christ and be saved in the last day. Stuff like that. It was pretty good. While I spoke about them, telling people that I loved them and taught them, I got emotional. I felt pretty good about that. Sometimes I like getting emotional. It was good.

That day we taught a bunch of lessons, one was an impromptu lesson at the dentist´s office. Then we went and taught Nahum´s (he´s a young man in our ward getting ready to go on a mission) cousin´s house, and we taught him. Then, afterwards we went back to the office (Nahum´s aunt lives there) and we taught her friend Cristina. It was a pretty good lesson. She could progress really well. So can Nahum´s cousins. Overall, we had a pretty good week. There is a lot of room for improvement, of course, but we´re heading that way a bit.

Well, after the Leadership Council I had more desire to be a really good missionary. I was really feeling that on Saturday. I want to keep that up, be a great missionary and really work hard and well, and help people. I have work to do, I need to be better, but I´m going to be trying to improve each day.

There´s a talk in the September 2013 Liahona and Ensign about Grace. I liked it a lot. Basically it talks about how we have to do all that we can, to BECOME better, but that doesn´t qualify us to be saved. Grace already lets us do that, but we have to do our part and grow and improve.

This week we´ve talked about swapping computers (Elder Quevedo and I) so that he (we) can start learning our new jobs to be more ready for the acutaly swap. So, that´ll be good.

Also, today we took a picture in basketball shorts and our white shirts and ties, for P-day. President and the Assistants started it. It was pretty funny, but it was also kind of cold here in the office with the AC one. I´ll send a photo next week too.

I love you all!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week #46: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 2

This past week has been pretty good. We had intercambios and I went and worked in the area of La Pastora. Their area is pretty huge, and it´s really close to El Cerro de la Silla, which is the famous mountain here in the Monterrey area. In their area we can actually see "La Silla" part of the mountain too - in my area you can´t really see it, because we see the side of the mountain, and not the view that gives it its name. We climbed up pretty high and could see the entire valley basically.

The rest of the week we were doing normal stuff. We taught, and worked in the office and went to immigration. We had an adventure too. We went more into the center of Monterrey than I have ever gone in visa trips. It was good. We had to do some paperwork to officially tell immigration that some Elders lost certain legal / visa documents. So, that was pretty cool. Tomorrow we´re going in, in order to finish up some documents. There´s a Sister from the Dominican Republic who has until the 6th to put in her paperwork, we´re going the 3rd! Wooh! But, we´re all good with that. No worries. I´ve got it under control. I only have to really, REALLY, worry about this kind of stuff until October starts, then it´s all up to Elder Quevedo (and of course I´ll be here to help him along the way). Kind of cool knowing my future.

Hmm... What else can I talk about?

Ah yes, our baptism. It was a good experience. Omar is a great kid. We went early in the day to go and get things ready in the baptismal font, cleaning it and starting to fill it up, and we set up the chairs. That afternoon we got together with him and his family, and members of the ward started trickling in before the service. We took a lot of group photos, with primary kids and other ward members, and we went inside to start the service, when guess who shows up. Presidente y la Hermana Bird came to be there for the baptism. They had called and said they were going to try and make it, and they did. Omar was told and he got SUPER excited to see them (they came to our Stake Conference last week). It was cool.

Elder Quevedo had the honor of baptizing Omar. Afterwards, Omar was so happy and emotional that he started to weep. I was snapping a ton of photos on Elder Quevedo´s camera, and I got some really good ones that capture the moment. It´s a blessing the Lord has given us, cameras to capture moments in our lives. I liked getting some good photos. It´s a nice, moving photo.

During our Gospel Principles class, our teacher let Omar´s mom borrow his Triple from his misson, and it had an image of the Savior hugging a person that looks A TON like the photo that I snapped. It´s pretty cool. It can actually be connected to how we will feel when we´re there with Him and our Heavenly Father. Also, as missionaries we are literally REPRESENTATIVES OF JESUS CHRIST, and as such we should live up to certain standards. If we´re doing it right, we are acting as though HE were there. We are to do what He would do, were HE here with these people. That´s something cool and beautiful.

I got a haircut today, we´re going iceskating, and I´m going to be able to go to the Temple this Thursday. This week we´ve got the Leadership Council, and I´m going to be taking the minutes of that, so we´ll see how it goes. That´ll be fun, kind of cool to be there with all of the Zone Leaders, the "Sister Leaders," the Assistants, and President and Hermana Bird. Being "on the inside" of that meeting for the first time. Good stuff.

For now, I close my letter. Take care all, and be happy. Love life, and have a great week. Always remember to write in your journals, and look for the miracles each day in your life. Take care!

P.S. I went to my first ever Ward Council yesterday. 10 months before I had a ward council!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Week #45: Guadalupe (La Oficina) - 1

This past week has been full of stuff. Really. Like, full of stuff. I´ll have to see what I can fit in here to get a nice full General Email out to all of you, and still get the personal messages out there too.

Before I forget or anything happens: HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA VAL! I hope you have an awesome birthday and I love you! I owe you a letter!

This last week, as I indicated in my past letter, was the week of transfers. I knew my future at that point, but did not reveal it. Now, I will reveal what all happened. To recap, I was told beforehand that I was going to be leaving my area, so I packed my bags and we emptied out the house. Then we came here to help out with the transfers. It was, as always, pretty crazy stuff. Well, not really that crazy. Most of that was my own fault... PROCRASTINATION! But anyway, everything looks okay at this point. One last note of craziness: I´ve got TWO ELDERS who are going to need help with their visas more than the normal... But, it´ll be okay.

So, Tuesday morning was the official announcement of the transfers, and I am with a new companion in a new ward....

My new companion is Elder Isaias Quevedo Espinoza (Elder Quevedo). He just turned 19 this past week, and he has 1 more transfer in the mission than I do. He is the Materials Secretary in the offices right now, and we´ve already spent some time together. He has been the materials secretary as long as I have been (in-training) Executive Secretary. He is from Sinaloa, México. So far we´ve been getting along pretty well. We both have the goal to be really good, like best friends by the end of our time together. Elder Ramírez and I did pretty well on that, getting along well, so we´ll hope for the same here.

My new ward is Guadalupe. It´s in the Paraíso Stake, and I´m liking it so far. It´s smaller, and it reminds me a bit more of my first area. The members are nice, and the investigators we´ve met have been pretty good so far. In fact, this weekend we´ve got a baptism planned.

Omar is a young boy who has been listening to the missionaries with his family for quite a while. His mother and his Grandmother are not able to be baptized quite yet, but he is. On my first day in the area, we were sharing a lesson with them when Elder Quevedo asked if he felt ready to be baptized. He said, "Yeah. I don´t know" or something, so we went ahead and did the Pre-Interview (practising the baptismal questions) and he answered well.

Elder Quevedo told him that he was ready, that he answered perfectly, and he ran out of the room while we spoke of baptismal dates. He came back and we put a baptismal date and he started to weep. Elder Quevedo got up and gave him a hug and Omar said, "Thank you" and I think that he felt "bonito" (beautiful, or really nice) and he was like that like the whole rest of the time. He was so excited. He really misses Elder Mills (a lof of the people in Guadalupe do) but even so he´s really friendly to me too. His family also accepted the date, and are happy for him. It was pretty cool.

The next day was Elder Quevedo´s birthday.

There is a river that separates our area (Guadalupe) from the area where the offices are (Laureles) and Elder Quevedo and Elder Mills spoke of crossing that river. Well, that morning we slept in our house, and we decided to go ahead and walk to the freeway, then drop down in the river, and cross it. It took some time to find a good place to cross without getting all wet, and there were a ton of trees, so we didn´t want to worry about what´s in there, but we went for it and found a good place. Then we climbed up, crossed the freeway, and and walked to the offices. It took about an hour, and it was pretty fun and adventurous. I´ll be sure to attach some photos.

We worked in the offices, then we canceled our food to go out as an offices family (the four Secretaries and the Assistants) to eat. We decided to go to a Mexican Buffet which is called Los Generales and it was a good experience. Really it was. There was some pretty good food, and even though it was a bit costly, I ate what I liked and the ambient was awesome. The architecture was good, and there was a LIVE MARIACHI BAND! So, that was pretty awesome. It was good.

Let´s see... The rest of the week... We had rain, yesterday we got SOAKED in the rain. I´m enjoying Guadalupe. I´m in THIRD NEPHI nowadays, I just read Chapter 7 I think. Getting close to the personal ministry of the Savior. Things are pretty well. P-days are crazy now. I guess for now I´ll close off this general letter and get to the personal messages. Take care all, and love every single day of life. Be sure to record your memores and experiences!

Oh, one more thing. With the photos we´ll name each of us (from right to left):

Elder Vazques (Assistant 1), Elder Mills (Financial Secretary), Elder Erekson (Executive Secretary), Elder Larsen (Assistant 2), Elder Miller (Records Secretary), and Elder Quevedo (Materials Secretary). Okay, so that´s the email. Take care all!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Week #44: Laureles (La Oficina) - 24

Well, the transfers are this week. That is, they´re today and tomorrow. Transfers are always pretty crazy here in the offices. Definitely something different than a normal transfer - which I really have never had. I got here alone, was with my companion, then we had one transfer day when we didn´t have transfers, then the time it was my turn to have a transfer, I came here and helped with the transfers. Ever since that day, I´m here helping with each transfer. Good stuff.

To give a bit of background information on this week´s transfers, I´ll just share some basic statistics; sound good? Here we go:

Total Missionaries who are going home: 3
Total Missionaries who are coming here: 22 (actually 21 - one came last week)
Sisters who are leaving: 2
Sisters who are coming: 4
Elders who are leaving: 1
Elders who are coming: 18
New areas opening up: 10
Visas to do: 12 or 13, I don´t remember 100% at this moment.

So... These are interesting days. I have to help prepare a bunch of visas. I have to finish up the Release Packets for those who are going home. What else? Help out with everything else. So, this should be some busy stuff.

This past week was pretty good. On Saturday we spent too much time here at the offices, but we had to help receive the beds, bed-frames, refrigerators, and other stuff. So, we were there for a while. It was a bid wasteful in time, but we were able to get stuff done. That day, we ate with Pablo y Paty, but we had to only go and get the good "to go" because she was alone by the time we went for the food. She made Chiles Rellenos and they were good.

The next transfer we´re going to be opening more areas still. Good stuff.

Tomorrow is the announcement of the transfers. Next week I will reveal what I know now to all. As for now, there are transfers to be. What is common knowledge, acceptable to share with ALL before the transfer: I am leaving LAURELES. So is Elder Ramirez. Both of us leaving Laureles. So, yesterday we had to say our goodbyes to our people. We got to almost all of the really important people we really like and love.

I´ve had some really great experiences here in Laureles. It´s been great. I got here on March 5th, and I´m officially leaving tomorrow, August 20th - so that gives me 5 months and 15 days in Laureles. It´s been good. 24 weeks here. I´ve been able to grow, and I´ve been able to have fun. I have also been able to see my weaknesses, things I´ve gotten bad at. I need to improve and be a better missionary. I have time to do it, so that´s great.

Speaking of time to improve, and other time: On Saturday I completed 10 MONTHS in the mission field. So, that means that I´ve only got 14 months left to become a better missionary, love my mission, learn, and grow. And then, I´ll be home. It´s been good so far. Time does go by pretty quickly. I´m already wrapping up my time with Elder Ramirez. We have almost 3 months together. 12 weeks. It was a good time.

I enjoyed being with Elder Ramirez. We´ve had good times. It hasn´t been perfect, of course, but it´s been really good. I´ve been happier, and I´ve learned things that will help me and bless me in my mission and my life. I´ve realized things I need to improve on. My life is pretty good right now. And, I´m feeling pretty good about the future I´ve got ahead of me too. Next week there shall be more detail. CAMBIOS.

I will definitely stay in contact with my converts here in Laureles, and others; also, with my converts from Nueva Aurora. I´ve had good people and experiences in my life.

I love you all, and take care!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week #43: Laureles (La Oficina) - 23

This week was a pretty good week. We need to work harder, and better, but we´re getting along well, so that´s a good thing. I have definitely been happier this transfer, this companionship than I was before. The Lord has blessed me with this, and we´ve tried more to be friends and resolve issues than I did previously.

This week, even though we´re in the middle of "La Canícula" we had rain. In fact, we got totally soaked on Saturday. It was raining really hard. We ended up seeing the Torres Garza family, and visited with them for a little bit. It´s the third time I´ve been totally soaked here in Laureles, and the third time I´ve got to see them while totally soaked. It´s like a "tradition" to see them if we´re soaking wet.

This week we had the blessing to have a baptism. Hermano Pablo was still without a record, and he and Paty set a goal to be sealed August 12th, 2014. The only problem was that HE had no record, appeared as not a member, and that unless we acted this weekend he wouldn´t be able to meet that goal (August 12th is their wedding anniversary, and their anniversary of becoming an item). We talked with President, and in the end he gave us the okay to baptize him. So, we had a baptism this weekend. He was happy.

This next week are the transfers. Who knows what will happen? I know almost 100% I won´t be leaving the offices, but that says nothing of which area I´ll be in, or whom I´ll be with either. So, we´ll just have to wait and see. It looks like we´ll be opening 9 more areas up.

Well, that´s it for this email. Next week I´ll know my future. I´m not TOO concerned about it, but it´s still something to think about. Hope you all have a great week, and I´ll talk to you later! Take care!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Week #42: Laureles (La Oficina) 22

This past week was pretty good. It´s been nice and hot. We´re now in "La Canícula," which is a 40-day period of 40°C +, but it hasn´t been that hot this year. I´m getting a nice tan, what with all the sun. And yeah, it is hot, but it´s not unbearable.

This week was "efy," and some youth got more out of it than others. One less-active young man told us that it changed his perspective totally, that he wants to put forth the effort and go on a mission. We´re going to be visiting and helping him out with all of that. His name is Miguel. We´ll see where we go.

That same day, we met a less-active young man named Erik, who is about 20. They haven´t gone to church for like, 12 years or so, and about 3 weeks ago his mother passed away. We´re going to be visiting him and helping him, and maybe he´ll start coming to Church too.

We met a new investigator named Juan Manuel, he was a referral from Elder Mills and Elder Quevedo (the other two secretaries). He was interesting. He said he was going to read the Book of Mormon in 4 days. Tomorrow we have an appointment with him, and we´ll see what happens.

The other noteworthy experiences from this week have to do with a woman named Angelica:

Angelica was an investigator from early on in the year. Elder Capiz and Elder Cayetano were teaching her, and President Walker even met her, and said that she was an "escogida" - or, a "chosen" person, who would be baptized. I think it was within my first week here in Laureles when I got to meet her. We were here in the chapel. She told us that she wanted to "close a circle" and that she didn´t want to keep meeting with us anymore. So, we said goodbye, and she went.

Her record does not have her address, but it does have her "hermanadores." I remembered who she was so it wasn´t a record that we just threw away for lack of usable information. A few weeks ago we dropped by her hermandores´s house and asked Hermano Hernández to take us to find her house. We dropped by a few times to try and find her, but we never found anything.

On Saturday we were here near the chapel. Elder Ramirez suggested that we go and see if we couldn´t find Angelica. We showed up, and her car wasn´t there outside, but we rang her doorbell. She opened her door, and I recognized her, and said something like "Hello, you´re Heramana Angelica, right?" She replied, "You remember me?" I replied, "We met once like 5 months ago. We came by to see if you wanted to start visiting with us again." We explained that not at that moment, but that we´d like to set up an appointment. She said, "Tomorrow is Church, right?" and she said that she would come to Church. We left.

She came to Church. She said she´s going to come to a Relief Society activity on Wednesday, and that the next week at Church we´d arrange the details. Later, we were talking with Pablo y Paty, and Paty related to us the following:

Angelica has lived here about 10 years, she is single, and was feeling really lonely. She decided to put on some music, but it only made her feel worse. She was really sad and crying. Then, we showed up and invited her to Church.

Hermano Pablo spoke about how everyone has their time. Maybe it´s now her time. We´ll have to see what develops, but we´ll talk to her. There are no coincidences. The fact that I´ve stayed here for so long, that we went and talked to her, that Pablo y Paty are in the Church, everything is by the Lord´s hand. It could be that she needed Pablo y Paty in the Church to be her friends. We´ll have to wait and see what develops, but we´re in this.

The Lord really does work through us, and the little details and little miracles really are great. It´s pretty cool. Each week and day we can see the hand of the Lord in our lives, and in the lives of others. It´s really a blessing to be able to see that and recognize it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Week #41: Laureles (La Oficina) 21

Well, today I finished up reading all of my emails and letters in about 28 minutes. So, that´s pretty good. Thank you to everyone who wrote me, thought of me, or send a message to me. I appreciate hearing about what´s going on in the lives of my people.

Let´s see... This past week we did better at leaving on time from the offices. We had interviews with President Bird this Tuesday, and it was pretty good. I chatted with him about my desire to become converted - like really converted - while I´m here on my mission. He said it´s a good goal, and a life-long one, but still. So, that´s good. As part of the interview we talked about leaving on time to work more in the area, and it´s something all of us have felt basically, and he talked to all of us (office Elders and Assistants) about doing. So, yeah.

This Wednesday I did "intercambios" or exhcanges with Elder Vazquez - one of the Assistants. They´re in our District (it´s just us and them, Elder Ramirez is the District Leader) and I got to work in his ward (AMÉRICA). It was a pretty good day. We gave a tour of the chapel to an investigator and he liked it. We worked on contacting people as we walked, and Elder Vazquez was rejected by every person he decided to talk to. The two best examples are the following:

1) A woman we approached said something along the lines of, "I know you. You´re Mormons. No thank you, I don´t want to hear your message. You can go on your way." Something like that. It was kind of funny, the rejection.

2) A woman (earlier in the day) who walked up to us and asked us if we were from a church, we said no, then she asked if we were christians and said something like "Whatever denomination you are, I´m catholic. I don´t want anything." Elder Vazquez: "Okay. But still, we´d love to share this message with you anyway" and she responds, "When you come and recite the Rosary with me, then I will listen to your message. Have a good day." And, she was off. It was kind of funny. Elder Vazquez later explained to me what the Rosary consists of.

Well... Hmm... This week we were accompanied by Daniel quite a bit. He was baptized just before I came to the area, and he´s doing well. He´s actually off to EFY today (Here they say it as a word, efy - as if it were "effee"). He accompanied us on a few visits, and it was good. He did a good job.

On Friday we were in the offices when a woman came to the chapel. She was seeking for help with her son, who started acting more violent and angry than normal. About a year or so ago, missionaries visited him. A few times Elder Capiz and I tried to find and contact him, but to no avail. Weeks ago, Elder Ramirez and I dropped by and she opened to door. We set up an appointment (which we missed) and we never found them again.

She remembered us from that time, and found the chapel and asked for our help. We went to visit them that day, and we still haven´t really talked with her son a lot, but Daniel did a good job trying to talk to him, and we visited with her and her husband. So far not a ton of teaching really, but it´s nice that they´re asking for our help. Hopefully we can get going with the teaching and help them out with the gospel. It´s like a story from a missionary movie, but those happen. Seriously. It´s been pretty good.

A few days ago I was reflecting on my mission a bit, and the thing that is really great is seeing the change in people, seeing how happy they are with the gospel. It´s a testimony building thing, and they´re really grateful too. Somebody asked me if I really liked Mexico, and it´s alright. Visiting my mission will be a lot more to see the people, not so much the stuff or the country. The converts and the members who I meet in my time here.

Let´s see... What else? This morning we had waffles. I´m currently reading in Helaman. I´m doing pretty well. Still have to work a lot on stuff, but I´ve got time. I realized this week more than once that I lack some of the knowledge of the lessons I should have, so I need to put myself to work on that. I need to focus more in my studying. The office is going pretty well right now. So, yeah.

Rocío has her baptismal date for August 17th.

Pablo y Paty are doing pretty well. Hermano Pablo is going to change jobs. He had a tough week after the baptism with work and stuff over there, but it worked out pretty well. Plus, somebody offered him a new job. He had his interview and starts Wednesday. He knows the Lord is blessing them. He gets more pay, works better hours (I think) and (he said this was the part that mattered most to him) won´t work Sundays except for during the Christmas Season. It´s a great blessing to know them and see the happiness and dedication they have.

Well, that´s it for this week´s general email. I hope you´re all doing well, and have a great week. I love you!

P.S. Here´s a photo of Elder Vazquez and I, AND - I´m feeling tanner than before. And, I got to eat a waffle this morning. Pretty tastey.

Here's a map of our new mission boundaries.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Week #40: Laureles (La Oficina) 20

I´m here in the offices, chilling and writing to you all and listening to "on hold" music. So, -well, I just got an email from Sister Skinner, so a real-time pause on my end. Gimme a few minutes.

Well, after a large break I am back! Hopefully all are doing well, and having a great time with life. Hopefully we´re all learning and growing.

Things are going pretty well here in the Mission, overall. This last week we didn´t work as well as we should have, so of course our numbers were very low. This week we have some goals to get things going better, find more people to visit and teach, and keep progressing.

Paty was confirmed on Sunday, and we talked too. I had the change to translate for Sister Bird for the congregation, that was pretty cool. I kind of liked that. There was a time where I had to pause to think. It was the word "wonderful" I think. Anyway, it was good, and my talk turned out pretty good.

This week was pretty empty overall - we had the Leadership Council that we helped out prepare and stuff like that.

We visited Daniel quite a few times today. He was baptized 3 days before I got here to the ward Laureles. We´re kind of helping him want to go on a mission when he can. So yeah, things are going pretty well, but we can be a whole lot more focused and work harder.

Now, I´ve received some questions about being an office Elder and Sundays, so I´ll take care of that right now.

SUNDAYS - We are supposed to have Ward Council Sunday mornings, but we haven´t - I still haven´t been to a single Ward Council as a missionary. We´ll see what comes soon. We have church at 10:00 am, sometimes we talk - then for the second hour I teach Gospel Principles - I might not be doing that soon, we might get a teacher. Then the third hour we get to go to Priesthood or the third hour class.

After that we go to eat at about 2:00, then we go and work until night time, when we come to the offices. Here in the mission, we are assigned directly to a ward, so we work in the ward boundaries and we go to our ward meetings and we´re the Laureles Elders. Some wards have more than one companionship - this last transfer there was a ward that got a third set of missionaries. So there are 6 MISSIONARIES in this ward. Our ward only has us, but in the future it could change... Yep.

Now, being an OFFICE ELDER - Well, here there aren´t Senior Couples, so we work on the office stuff. There are 4 of us, and the assistants. There is a Records Secretary (who works on putting in baptism records, keeping track of them, and a monthly newsletter) and I used to do that, there is a Materials Secretary (who works on materials and referrals) a Financial Secretary (who works with the money) and an Executive Secretary (which I now am - and I work with the Visas, Release packages, coordinating flights of leaving and incoming missionaries, and other stuff President asks me to do). Plus, the two assistants. So, yeah.

We´re here on Monday through Friday from 11:00am - 2:00pm. We also help out with transfers, and leadership councils, and stuff like that. We have meetings sometimes with President Bird. So, it´s been pretty good.

Take care everyone, and have a great week!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Week #39: Lauruels (La Oficina) 19

This week was pretty good overall. The main thing to talk about is the progress of Pablo y Paty. They´re great, and so happy, and so grateful to have met us and learned from us, and progressed as they have. They´re pretty awesome.

To re-cap the story: Pablo was inactive for about 18 years, and one day he saw some missionaries and decided to speak with them. They handed up the referral, and we went by to visit and teach him and his wife Paty. Things were going well, until about 3 lessons in she went out of town to take care of her nieces and nephews for like a month. Well, finally she came back and we started visiting with her again.

They were getting more and more excited, like enjoying the changes they were seeing. We´ve seen great stuff with them. And, this Sunday we had a baptism! She asked me to baptize her, and I of course was happy to do it, and honored to be asked. They´re great.

Also, it seems that Pablo´s record doesn´t show up. We have to see what the procedure is, but it´s possible we baptize him sometime soon too. So... We´ll have to see how that goes. But they´re great, and made sacrifices to get where they´re at. They understand well the processes and work hard. They´re great.

As of this Wednesday I´m going to have 9 months in the mission. So, time does fly away sometimes. It was a short while ago that I started, and here I am almost at 9 months. One more month and I´m going to have double-digits. And, also, I´m going to have half of my time here in this area next week - 20/40 weeks. So far I´ve been able to enjoy some things, learn, and grow. I still have a lot to improve, and to grow, but I´ve got time. I´ve still got time to learn and grow.

Congratulations to Michael, who enters the MTC this Wednesday!

I´m behind on my journal as far as length of entries goes. Sometimes I write very little, and that´s not great. So, I´ll have to improve with that. I hope you´re all well and have a great week.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Week #38: Laureles (La Oficina) 18

This week was a week of not getting a whole lot of work done in our area. We spent more time than necessary in the offices, but we´ve got the future to count on. We failed to visit a few people, so we´ve got to repent and apologize to them. It was also the last week of the Transfer - which means that there are transfers this week! Are you all ready?


I am going... NOWHERE. I´m staying here, with Elder Ramirez todavía (still) and the office Elders and the Assistants are all the same for at least another transfer - so that´s good. Things were interesting this last transfer - provisional offices, 8 secretaries, change of President, new offices, and stuff like that. But, we´re now at the day of transfers - which is a day that´s interesting and packed in many ways.

Before I get on with talking about transfer days - and these transfers specifically - let me talk about some important stuff this week:

We´ve currently got three investigators with a baptismal date, but it seems like only 2 of them will be baptized on time. This week we´ve got the Hermana Paty - I´ve spoken of her and her husband before. If you go back to the old emails, I´ve been mentioning them for a while now. She´s feeling good about her baptism on the 14th - it´s official now. We just need to finish teaching everything, have her interview, and yeah. She asked me to baptize her, and I feel good about that. It´s nice being chosen. We celebrated Pablo´s birthday this Saturday (which is also my brother Jake´s birthday!) and it was pretty good overall.

We also met a new person named Rocio. Her boyfriend is a returned missionary, and she´s been more or less investigating for a few months now - but we´re giving the lessons. They´ve gone pretty well so far, and she came to the first two hours of Church this Sunday. So, she´s got her goal for the 21st of July. We´ll see how she progresses and feels - so far, so good.

Now, transfers stuff:

Well, today we´ve got to go and buy some stuff, then at about 2:30 or so the new missionaries will arrive - I need to take their passports to do their visa paperwork, and then we all eat pizza. Then, they leave to have interviews, and to go work for a while. We stick around here helping with stuff, working on stuff, and then in the night we have a light dinner thing for them.

Tomorrow, we help out with the transfers - which are different this time. Instead of telling the missionaries their new areas and companions, they only know that they´re changing - so it´s going to be an event to learn their companions. Could be good. We work on stuff, and then the Elders who are warpping up their missions go out with President and Sister Bird, and the Assistants to the Temple, to eat, and celebrate. I´ve got to have everything ready for them.

Well, we´ve got an eventful week coming up. I think I´ll wrap up for now. Things are going well with President and Sister Bird. President Bird put an emphasis in a conference he did about us getting converted in our missions - he was, and so was his son. I want to work toward that - being really truly converted here. So, I´ll have to be putting forth my efforts for that.

Well, week 18 already in the offices. It´s been pretty good. We´ll see how long I can stay here - I like it. And, be sure to write in your journals. I´ve been a bit lazy and have some pretty short entries. I can improve in that. Take care all!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week #37: Laureles (La Oficina) 17

This past week has been pretty interesting. We had a change of Presidents.

President Bird is pretty different from President Walker. President Walker was more serious, like an "executive" is what Elder Ramirez said, and President Bird is more relaxed. He is still learning his Spanish again, and new stuff, and Sister Bird doesn´t speak hardly any Spanish. I´ve kind of enjoyed speaking some more English. We´re going to see some changes around here with some stuff, but more on that in the future. President Bird might come and spend more time at the offices than Presidente Walker did.

One difference between the Birds and Los Walker: los Walker always eat really well, like, healthy. On Friday, after we met President and Hermana Bird, we ended up eating fired chicken, and they were there with us licking their fingers and enjoying the food too. It was an amusing little difference between the two couples.

Yesterday we were like little Assistant juniors - Presidente y la Hermana Bird wanted to partake of the Sacrament, but were detained for some health stuff with a missionary, so they came too late to be at our ward, so after the first hour WE left with them to go to another ward. We were blessed to be able to make it there, but we were late too. So, we waited, they spoke briefly, and then we went to ANOTHER ward. This one waited for them, so they got to partake. Afterwards, we all went to the Baptism the Assistants were having in their ward (America) and we had a family there - Pablo y Paty. It was nice, and the Birds got to meet them. That was our little adventure during part of Sunday. Good stuff.

Today we´re here with the Birds, and we´ve been having meetings with him. It´s his birthday, so we´ve got some cakes, and we might go out to eat with them too. We´ll have to see what happens.

What else? The division is official - we´re a smaller mission now. It´s pretty good.

The new offices turned out really nice - a whole lot better than the old ones. They´re nice. I´ll attach some photos.

This week I´ve been reading in Alma - today I finished some stuff and chapter 42, so I´m getting along here. He spoke of our agency I think. It´s important that we make good choices. Earlier in the chapters near this one he spoke of good examples. We can all try and be good examples. It´s something I want to be for my family, friends, and my future family.

Presidente y Hermana Bird on his birthday.