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!