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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?

*DRUM ROLL*

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.