Monday, February 24, 2014

Week #71: Tamaulipas 1.1 - XII - Week 15

This week was a pretty good week. As I said this last week, the Mexico Area Presidency wants us to be teaching more lessons, and in order to do that the mission wants us to cut our lessons up, make them shorter but more powerful, and get a lot more people in the teaching and baptismal pools. So, we tried to work hard this week, teach little lessons, inviting people to be baptized, etc.

It went pretty well. We´re on our way. This week we taugth 27 lessons, as compared to 20 last week. Hopefully we can keep going and have a really good rhythm in the work. We were able to teach some new investigators, and we have hopes for some baptisms in the next two months with those that we already know.

One such person is Liz. She is 20 years old. We contacted her in the street, and we weren´t able to consistently visit and teach her, so her baptismal date fell through. We actually gave up on visiting her, because she was going to leave for school. But, we saw her, and got back in contact. Then, she came to Church! So, we set up an appointment to see her on Friday. I was on intercambios with Elder Soto, so he and I taught the lesson, and we asked how she felt. She sounded really excited, and sure, that the Church and Book of Mormon are true, and she confidently accepted the baptismal invitation. Elder Soto was really excited, said that she was "Escogidísimo" (very chosen). It was pretty cool. We´re hoping that she´ll be ready by March 29th.

I wrote about our intercambio in my letter to President Bird: "The Zone Leaders did intercambios with us on Friday, and Elder Soto came with me to the area. We had a golden day - we taught 7 lessons, and two people accepted baptismal dates. It was a full day, and very good. One of those lessons was actually by Elder Carbajal and I before the intercambio. We need to get to the point where every day is like that. One thing I really liked from the intercambio was the audacity and faith of Elder Soto. In his prayer before we left to work, he prayed to see miracles, and we had a miracle day. That was pretty great."

We´ve got some other people in the works right now. One is named Juan Sánchez. We met some new families, and one of them seems like they could progress and end up being baptized too. We´re going to keep working with them and working hard in the area.

In other news, the ward should be getting two more missionaries this transfer (March 18th). That means that there will be three companionships, and SIX missionaries in the ward Tamaulipas. That will be pretty cool, and the work will keep moving forwrad. We´ll be able to find more and more people, teach more lessons, focus on a smaller area, and it´ll be great stuff. We found out Tuesday night.

So, life has been pretty good this week. Thanks to everyone who has written me, shared their testimony with me, or who has prayed for me and the work. Please pray that we might be able to continue in this path, working towards our goals of teaching many lessons, and having many baptisms. Please pray that our studies will be effective, and strengthen us.

I´ve felt pretty good this week. I´m going to keep focusing my studies, my prayers, and my actions on the work and the gospel. It should be good. I love you all and wish you well.

Week #70: Tamaulipas 1.1 - XII - Week 14

It´s been a short little while since we all last chatted, so I don´t have too much to share that´s new. It was a pretty good end of the week though.

On Friday we had a training meeting where all of the District Leaders got together to be trained, practice, and learn. It was a pretty great experience, I really liked what they were telling us about. I have a lot to learn, but it´s been good so far. We talked about how we need to set an example with our area, our obedience, and our faith. We should be teaching many MANY lessons, and they should be short, direct, and powerful, and frequent. It´s a cool new focus that´s a bit different, that I really like.

Afterwards I was in the offices briefly getting some maps scanned to make a new map for Tamaulipas 1.2, and Arboledas 1.2 too, and I signed Elder Raff´s journal with my "goodbye" to him - he´s wrapping up his misison in FOUR WEEKS. I remember when he was in my first District - he had less than a year in the field. He´s a great person. After that, we left to go back to our area, and we worked.

We were able to have our weekly meeting with Hermano Villasana (the Ward Mission Leader), and we talked a lot about problems and potention problems in our side of the ward with the work, helping members stay active, etc. We talked for like an hour. Then we left for an appointment, and the other Elders started their half of the meeting.

We had a TON of people at Church this week, it was pretty full actually during Sacrament Meeting. We had people who are reactivating themselves, less actives who haven´t come for a while, investigators, and lots of people. It was good. It was nice to have the ward be fuller. Hopefully we can keep on working hard and well with the ward, and help more and more people come, and get some baptisms.

To end our week, we had a lesson in the chapel, where we presented the Sacrament room, and the baptistry. It was cool. Our investigator seemed calm, he talked less than usual, and he said he felt peace. We put a baptismal date goal for April 5th, and he accepted. We´re going to work hard and help him make it to that goal.

As I said about teaching MANY lessons: the Area Presidency wants us to step it up and teach more. They want us to be teaching 40 - 60 lessons a week, and our weekly total this past week was 20 lessons, so there is work to be done. In order to get to this goal of better work, we are going to be teaching the lessons shorter, divided, and more frequently. The ideal would be the following:

- To be baptized an investigator needs to go to Church (Sacrament Meeting) 5 times at least as a rule in Mexico.
- We have 5 weeks, then, to teach the 4 Lessons (The Restoration, The Plan of Salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Commandments) before they are baptized. It would be ideal to teach the lessons cut up, like one per week in 3 visits or so, and that they come to Church each week.

It sounds really great in theory, but it´s hard to get it into practice. We´ll get there though. It will be better. In short lessons, they can feel the Spirit quickly, notice the difference when we leave, and progressed little by little. That´s what needs to happen. It will be good.

Well, that´s it for today. I hope you´re all doing great and have an awesome week. Thank you so much for your letters, love, and prayers! Take care!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Week #69: Tamaulipas 1.1 - XII, Week 1

I´ve got some new news for everyone. I learned on Tuesday that I am the new District Leader, and that we changed Zones. We are no longer part of the Zone Humildad, we are part of a new tiny Zone called Conocimiento (Knowledge). The Zone Leaders are my friends Elder Quevedo and Elder Soto. My District is Tamaulipas 1.1 (me and Elder Carbajal), Tamaulipas 1.2 (Elder Bautista and Elder Redford), and Arboledas 1.1 (Elder Aguilar and Elder Harrison). It´s been good so far. In the Zone, I´m one of the old people now. Me, and the Zone Leaders are the only people who served with President Walker in our Zone.

I was able to do some intercambios. First I went with Elder Redford to his area, and we had a pretty good day. I talked too much in the lesson though, so I think we´re going to do another further along in the transfer and I´ll let him teach more. It was a pretty good intercambio.

The next intercambio was this past Tuesday - after my first capacitación (training / lesson that I give), and I went with Elder Aguilar to his area, and it was also pretty good. I obviously need to improve as a District Leader. Good news is that tomorrow there is a meeting for the District Leaders, so that should be able to help me out a lot. Plus, sometime in the near future I´ll have an intercambio with Elder Quevedo (my old friend), and he will help me out too. It should be good.

Things are going pretty well in the area too - we´ve got some investigators who are actually progressing - we had people come to Church. We set some goals and made some plans to help them progress towards baptism, and of course looking for new people, and strengthening the ones who are coming back to Church now. We had some worrysome moments, but I feel calmer now about the reactivation. We´ll see how we can help them all stick around and be strong.

This week I´m not writing until Thursday, because we had a change of P-day this week. Today we went to the Temple. It was pretty good overall. I bought some music at the store in the chapel, and it was good. Here is a photo of my District. They are (from left to right): Elder Redford, Elder Aguilar, Elder Carbajal, myself, Elder Bautista, Elder Harrison. We went out to eat at a buffet today, and after we finish writing we´re going to watch a movie in the chapel. Not sure which movie yet, but we´ll be watching it.

Well, I´m going to end with some personal messages, then I´m off to write President Bird. I love you all and wish you well!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week #68: Tamaulipas 1.1 - XI - Week 7

This past week was pretty full of events actually, since we finally had some intercambios. That was pretty fun actually, it was good overall. Let´s see how much information I can squeeze into this email.

On Tuesday we did intercambios with the Zone Leaders, and I went to their area with Elder Rivera and Elder Pendleton (his companion went home, so he´s been with the Zone Leaders this transfer). It was a pretty eventful day. We ran a lot actually, to try and make it from one appointment to another. We had a meeting with the Ward Mission Leader, and then we went to approve a new house for the Sisters in the Zone. Bad news was that the owner was late, so we got home pretty late too.

Wednesday morning we continued the intercambio, but Tuesday as we headed home we got a surprise: Elder Pendleton had to go to Immigration in the morning. So, we went to the offices together. That was kind of nice, being able to see my friends in the office for a bit. Elder Rivera and I worked on something called a "Caja Chica," which is where the Zone Leaders put the refunds for the missionaries. I´d worked on them before in the offices, but this was a Zone so it was bigger. It was pretty good.

Thursday was a pretty good day too. We were only able to have one lesson, but we were able to help a less-active hermano destroy some concrete. Years back they had a kitchen counter thing installed. Well, we helped him destroy it. That was fun, but I hurt myself a little bit. It´s healing pretty well now, so that´s good. Then we had English class (we talked about names). We´re still seeing if it´s worth doing... Haha.

Friday we had another intercambio. This time I also left the area, and I went with Elder Nay (a newer Elder) to his area. We had a good day full of lessons and it was nice to teach with him. He´s a good Elder. I liked being able to teach actual lessons more than we have been in our area, and it was a nice break from being the Senior Companion.

Saturday we did some service for some members in our ward, and the other Elders in the Ward came by to help out too. It was longer than we expected, so we lost some teaching time, but it was good overall. I also got my Valentine´s Day Package, so that´s good. I´ve already read the card, but I´m waiting until the 14th to dive into the treats and stuff.

Sunday I taught about Repentance, then about the First Vision. It was a pretty good day at Church. We tried to find some people, and met a new investigator too, so that was a good thing. We´ve got hope that he can progress. To finish the day, we went with the Obispo (Bishop) and his family to get to know them a bit better, since we´ve got 12 weeks and we´ve never visited them that way. It was good.

So, things are going pretty well. The ward has a Ward Mission Plan, goals, and we´re doing alright so far on those goals. We haven´t had any baptisms yet, and we won´t until at least March, but we´re working a lot with less-active members too. We´re going to find more investigators, and we´re going to find ones who will progress and be baptized.

Also this week I´ve been keeping myself a bit motivated as I think about August 12th, 2014. That is the programmed day of Pablo and Paty´s sealing. They´re on their way to making it there, and I hope they do. I think it may end up being the best day of my mission when they get sealed. Anyway, here´s hoping for that day in just 6 months. I´ll be really old then.

I guess that´s it for this week. I love you all and wish you well!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Week #67: Tamaulipas 1.1 - XI, Week 6

This week was a pretty good week overall. It had its hard moments and its good moments too. We`ve been trying to help people progress, but so far we`re not having the best success in that department. I did a count of our "lessons" last night that we`ve had in our 11 weeks together, and we`ve had more than 100 (and that doesn`t count the active members we`ve visited, or other visits that don`t count as lessons) and we currently have 0 progressing investigators. No worries though, it just means that we need to work harder and be better. Plus, everyone has their agency.

We were looking at the numbers of the past 6 weeks of this transfer, and we`ve done a whole lot more actual teaching than we did in the first 5 weeks we were together in the area, so that`s pretty good. We`re going to improve our teaching skills, focus more on the people, find new people to teach, and keep on working. It`ll be good.

So, next week we`ve got the transfers. Anything could happen this time around. Elder Carbajal and I are starting what is our 12th week together, which means it`s the last week of "The First 12 Weeks" training that we do. So, this is my last week as a trainer with Elder Carbajal. However, sometimes companionships stick together an extra six weeks to keep working together and learning. So, who knows what will happen with us? We`ll just have to see, and accept whatever the Lord gives us. He`s pretty positive that we`ll stick together. Next week I`ll let you all know.

This week the Lord has been giving me little reminders to keep my faith strong. We all just need to remember the things that we have learned and experienced, and to keep our faith strong - constantly nourishing that faith. Church was pretty good. We listened to a talk by President Spencer W. Kimball that was pretty straightforward, and I really liked it. Haha. Quite direct.

On a positive note, we ARE seeing results as far as helping to reactivate less-active members. This week we had 7 (6 whom we have visited) come to Sacrament Meeting for the first time in a while, so that was great. We need to keep working on that and doing well. That made us pretty happy. We just hope that they keep going, and that we can help more come back too.

Well, I love you all. Keep learning and growing. Remember the Lord`s love for you. Take care!