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.