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Monday, February 25, 2013

Week #19-Nuevo Aurora-Baptism-Pain in the Eye

This week we did intercambios again, and on Tuesday it was my turn to remain in our area. This meant that I was basically the Senior Companion. It went pretty well. I was with Elder Brandeburg, who is a Zone Leader. It was a good experience, and although we didn´t teach very much, it was good. Plus, near the beginning of the day I ended up getting something in my left eye. It hurt. I tried to get it out, but was not able to. I wasn´t sure if it was a scratch on my eye, or if something still remained there. It hurt to blink, or to move my eye forward to look to the right, unless both eyes were closed or I applied some pressure to my eye. However, if I aimed my eyes to the left, I could blink without pain. It remained about this way for around two days, until we went to a doctor. It was there that my pain was alleviated. It turns out that I had a bit of iron in my eye. Very small, like a little grain. Possibly from the men working on the road nearby when the wind blew the thing into my eye. But, I´m better now. It was an experience to remember. And, I have part of a scripture to share as well:

Matthew 5:29 says - "And if thy [left] eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee..."

Alright, another good thing that has happened this week has been my experience with contacting people. We started talking to people en route to our areas. I´ve had some good experiences there. However, one time this week was a contact especially good. We had just had two appointments fall through, and we were going to the house of a joven in order to bring him with us if possible to some visits. But, Elder López thought instead to go to the house of an hermano nearby, and we did such. As we walked to his house, a man on a motorcycle stopped at the house across from us. After a brief visit with the hermano, to learn his schedule, a hymn, and a prayer, we left. The man was still there. We gave him a brief salutation, and rounded the corner. I stopped, and said something about talking with him. Elder López agreed, and we returned. We talked with him a bit, and set an appointment for tomorrow. Elder López afterwards told me "That was an inspired contact!" (in Spanish, of course). Everything fell in place, and it was nice to be an instrument in the Lord´s hands to contact him. I felt happy and good after that.

We also had a baptism, and it was my turn to perform the ordinance. It went well (with the exception that I didn´t bring a change of clothes, I only brought a change of shirt and the white pants) so I got to leave a bit wet, but it´s all good. It was a good experience. She is the mother of the first baptism we had together. It´s been pretty good this week.

Algo que olvidé en mi carta a la familia es cerca la nueva misión. Este miércoles aprendí de los cambios que ya vienen. La Misión Mexico Reynosa. De verdad, yo espero que me toca ir a esta misión. Si lo pase, yo voy a haber servido en tres misiones.

Things are going pretty well here in Mexico. I had a pretty good week. Oh! I forgot to talk about making tortillas de harina last Monday after emailing home. Yeah, it was with a mix, but I got to help roll them out. They were pretty good. So, that was a good experience to have. Elder López and I also got to help paint on Saturday and today. Things are going pretty well, and although right now I´m in civilian clothes, I was wearing your tie today, and every time I wear it I think of you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Week #18 Nuevo Aurora

Gracias for all of the mail which you sent me. I realized that I failed as a grandchild to give any sort of salutation to Grandpa Tom while he was nearby in Utah. If you could all help me to repent of this, and say "Hi, and I´m sorry" to him, that´d be great. Also, if you could send my love to Grandma Terry, Grandma Sandy, Grandma Val, and Grandma Erekson also, I´d appreciate it. Hopefully you all had a good vacation this weekend, and that the trip home today went well. I love you all!

So, as far as things are going for me, I´m doing pretty well. Although, I did happen to lose my [debit] card from the mission, therefore being unable to draw from my "mensualidad" - that was about a few weeks ago. When it came time to look for my card, it was unfindable. So, we lived off of my companion´s money for a while, until that too ran out. So, last week I withdrew some money with my emergency card. Don´t worry, I´m doing alright, and should hopefully have my "mensualidad" within this week... hopefully. So, no worries.

Let´s see, what else can I write about. I´ve got about 30 minutes to write. I can make up for the letters that have been wimpy in the past few weeks.

I had my first Zone Conference this week. My Zone (Los Ángeles) and another (named Andalucía) combined to have this conference. President and Sister Walker came and taught us, we had some "capacitación" from the Zone Leaders in my Zone, and two missionaries got to speak (not me, they were selected at the conference, although I did prepare a talk). I don´t know if I ever told you, but I thought I was to give a talk a few weeks ago in the ward, but it wasn´t to be so. So, I didn´t have to get up and give a talk either occasion. Bueno, the conference was pretty good. Sister Walker talked to us about how we should always know "quienes somos," that is, "who we are." She talked about how the Savior knew who He was, and was able to fulfill His work as the Savior of the world. If we can know who we are, we can have the confidence to overcome the trials and temptations that come our way - we can live up to the expectations which the Lord has for us. She also spoke of "Pedro" and how he did not know who he was very well, but she also talked about how she loved him and that he became a rock in the gospel, and lived up to who he really was. We are children of God. That is who we are. She also shared with us at an earlier moment a personal sacred experience she and the President had, which I liked hearing.

President Walker talked to us on a quote by Elder Faust which was along the lines of "I don´t want to be remembered as a show horse, but as a work horse." or something along those lines. He also showed us a painting of the horse "Hard Labor." He taught us about "diligencia," or "diligence." The more diligent we are, the better we can have the Spirit, and work. He also spoke about how diligence should not be the end, but the means. Something like that. The Zone Leaders (Elder Brandenburg and Elder Castro) taught about resolving doubts which our investigators have, out of Preach My Gospel.

So, yeah. The first Zone Conference was pretty good.

If you could send my thanks to Grandma Sandy for the mail she´s sent me (I received the letters last week from January 23rd and 29th, with one from you Mom, and the talk about being a missionary from you Dad - thank you), I´d appreciate it. Hopefully things are going well for all of you.

Thank you for sending me the pictures, the addresses, and the stuff about my friends, and the pictures from the trip you all took as well! Yesterday was the completion of 4 MONTHS as a missionary, more or less 1/6th of my missionary service has already come and gone. So, I should apply the teachings of President Uchtdorf about how we should "Enjoy the Journey." How have the past four months been for all of you at home? For me, I´ve had good experiences, good spiritual experiences, and am doing pretty well. Spanish is going pretty well too.

We had a surprise birthday party for Elder Raff last week. I forgot the photos... Next week, sorry! It was pretty good though.

Mom, with your class about adversity:

Adversity is something that we don´t like to face. It is sometimes painful. It makes us put forth more effort, and feel uncomfortable and have to face things sometimes we´d rather not look at, not deal with. But, adversity is something that helps us to grow, become better people, and progress. Adversity is what the Lord allowed happen to the Nephites, to "stir them up to remembrance." Sometimes when things go smoothly, we forget the Lord, we forget to think on Him as much, because things are good. When we have troubles, it helps compel us to turn to Him, and with that we can grow. With adversity we can face hard things, learn about ourselves, and in the end overcome some struggles and be better people. That kind of goal is something I want from my time here as a missionary. I want to have doubts dispelled, and faith strengthened, and be a better person, bettered for my time. Have a stronger testimony.

Hopefully something here can help you Mom, with your lesson.

I read a talk by Elder Bednar (one he gave to students at BYU before he was an Apostle) about the Atonement, and Grace. He spoked on "the enabling power of the Atonement." How it can help us not only to repent and cleanse ourselves, but to also do hard things. If you can find it, I suggest reading it. He speaks of praying for strength in place of praying for a change in circumstances, and cites a few examples. One is in Mosiah 24, with Alma and his people. Here is the reference I´d like to share with you:

Mosiah 24:12 - 16

I love you Mom, and hope things go well for you. I had a scripture to share before, but now I can give it to you. Hopefully you can find comfort in the words you can find there. Thank you for all of the words of comfort and scriptures you have shared with me (Dad and others too). Okay, here it is:

Doctrine and Covenant 123:17

Alright, it´s time to wrap things up here. I hope you´re all doing well, and have enjoyed your time in California, and the trip home. Give Dad a big fat "thank you" for his personal sacrifice in driving all of those hours. Love eachother fully. Take care of eachother. I love you!

Alright, the time has come. I´m going to get off. Hopefully you all are doing well, have a great week, and I´ll hear from you soon! Anyway, thanks. I love you! Take care!

- Elder Izak Thomas Erekson

Monday, February 11, 2013

Week #17 Nuevo Aurora (pictures!)

Sorry, this week the letter isn´t going to be very huge. Yeah, I know. I´ve been a bit of a slacker in writing back to you. Thank you for all of the love, and support, and prayers. Every night I pray for you. I´ll continue to try and do better with individual blessings for each of you. Part of the problem is I don´t know all of the things you each have to deal with, so it´s a bit general, but I do think of you and pray for you. I love you all!

This past week has been pretty good for me. Something I´ve told Mom, but not to all of you in any letter - I don´t like mole. Mom or Dad can explain what exactly Mole is, but it´s not that good. Anyway, no worries. I ate it yesterday. I also drank some Tamarindo, Dad.

Whenever I wear my red tie (it´s not blue or grey like my others) (such as right now) I think of you Mom. The "Ducky Tie" too. And Dad, whenever I wear your tie, I also think you you. And when I wear your coat, I also think of you. Thank you for being a good example for me. Thank you Mom for being a good example for me too.

Since I´m near the offices, I should really receive mail once a week if I have it. We´ll see what happens with mail, and how long it takes though. The pictures of the park are from where we went a few weeks ago, and it´s a place called Parque Fundidora. It´s huge. I took over... 200 maybe pictures there (Elder López took some of them). So, I have a lot of photos from there. It was an old factory. I think I´m tanning a bit too, being in the sun often.

Well, that´s all for now. Could I get the foreign address of Elder Casper, and the address to write Elder Thomas (MTC and foreign)? Thanks!

Take care! Talk to you later! Enjoy your week, love you!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Week #16 Nuevo Aurora - Baptisms

Elder López and I were studying about using the Book of Mormon in conversion of investigators, and after watching a video, I felt to share the opening part of Elder Shayne M. Bowen´s talk from this conference. He and his missionary companion were teaching a mother, and they were sharing Moroni 8:10-12. As they finished, she was sobbing, and asked if they had done anything wrong. She responded to the contrary, that she had lost a child, without baptism (the topic of the scripture), and the Spirit had testified that it was true, and that her guilt was swept away. He shared how a loving Father in Heaven had revealed true doctrine. As I shared this, I too wept. It was a good experience. It´s another reaffirmation, and will help me be strong.

This week I was blessed overall with the new food, the different-ness, strange-ness. On Tuesday, the hermana wasn´t there, so I could decide (without offense) not to eat a lot of some of the food, which was a blessing. The next day, we had food that I enjoyed. We had "Sopa de pobre" which was basically a soup like "poorman" or "cheese and sauce," and it was nice to have that bit of home. I liked it. So, that´s a good thing. Thank you for making "cheese and sauce" Dad. I was grateful to be blessed with this comfort from Our Heavenly Father.

We had another baptism this week, yesterday. I got to baptize the hermano, and Elder López the hermana. There were more people at this service, so that was nice. It was MY first turn baptizing someone we´ve taught, and my first time in Spanish too.

Well, my time is running short again. I´m going to upload a couple of pictures, and I´ll try to print off your first letter, Mom.

I love you all! Tell everyone "Hi!" for me.

Please send Andrew my regards before he leaves. Tell him to be happy, that he is in my prayers (MPSOE is - among others), and to enjoy his time. Tell him that I say "Hi" and if he sees Elder Casper, to tell him "Hi" from me too. Alright, I love you! Take care! Until next week!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Week #15 Nuevo Aurora

This week I experienced my first "intercambios," or "companion exchanges" in English. The first was on Tuesday, and I went to a differente area with Elder A (3 Caminos II). It was a pretty good experience, and he´s a nice Elder - we might be companions one day, he has six months, I have three - and he also mentioned "campechanas" to me. Two days later I had the opportunity to go on a companion exchange with Elder C, one of our Zone Leaders, and worked with him for a day. That night we ate "campechanas." I liked it. It was a tortilla de harina (flour), trompo, beef, and I had some bites with pineapple, onion, and some green salsa. So, that was pretty enjoyable.

On Monday we went to ¨Parque Fundidora" which was an old factory, transformed into a park, and other stuff too - it was a huge park. Really big. Pretty nice too. This week we did not get a lot of numbers in our efforts. This coming week we´ll work to improve our numbers. Sorry that last week was so short of a letter from me. Once a week you get to hear from me, and I didn´t give you all very much.

This Sunday two of our investigators (a couple) had their interviews, and are going to be baptized the following Sunday. They´re the ones I mentioned earlier, the hermano who was like "I already know" or however he said it. I learned that my companion and I (and maybe the Ward Mission Leader) were going to speak during Sacrament Meeting. So, I wrote my talk (basing it around The Parable of the Prodigal Son mostly) about reactivation, and how we should all be supportive, and welcoming, and forgiving, like the father (and the Father) and not like the brother.