Monday, March 31, 2014

Week #75: Tamaulipas 1.1 - XIII - Week 19

This week was a pretty good, and pretty full week. On Monday I wrote home, and as I said last week, I stayed in my area and my companion Elder Carbajal went to a different area. He ended up going to Apodaca 1.1, which is a HUGE ward, with 6 missionaries, but his area is still bigger than our whole ward. He says he´s going to spend a ton in travel costs.

In the transfer meeting they announced that I would continue as the District Leader in Tamaulipas, that my new district would just include our ward, and that I would be training again. I was pretty excited. I also had pretty high hopes to have an American companion for the first time. I was hopeful. My Distirct is the following: Tamaulipas 1.1 (me and my companion), Tamaulipas 1.2 (Elder Bautista and Elder Redford), and Tamaulipas 1.3 (Hermana Perez and Hermana Bazan). It´s been pretty good. I feel good about having sisters in this part of the ward - they should be able to do a lot of good, and a lot of work.

So, the moment came to find out who my new companion would be... and I guessed it right. We were looking at the new Elders, and I thought "Maybe it´ll be that one," and it was! My new companion is Elder Bradley Anderson from the Los Angeles area in California. We´ve been getting along pretty well so far actually, with some of the same interests and chatting. One thing I miss though it speaking more Spanish. I hope that my Spanish doesn´t get worse from not speaking it enough. We actually should speak a lot more Spanish than we are. We´re going to be improving that. But, it´s been good.

We´ve had a pretty good week. We´re going to have to work a whole lot better, and a whole lot harder, and have a whole lot more faith, but we will see miracles, and baptisms. This week we got 7 new investigators, and 5 of them accepted baptismal dates (the other 2 we didn´t invite...), and it´s been good. We hope to help them make it all the way to the waters of baptism, and ultimately to the Temple.

One thing that has helped us a lot is contacting more people in the street, or as we ask for somebody at doorways of addresses we´ve been given, we contact them too. We ended the week with a total of 80 contacts, with 7 new investigators (from contacts or referrals from contacts), and 5 new baptismal dates. We´re going to be working really hard this week to get moving forward, and Elder Anderson is helping push my forward. He has some great ideas and excitement to contact and work hard, which is something I wanted in my new companion. It´s going to be a good transfer. His Spanish is already improving too.

On Saturday we had the Special Conference with Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and it was really good. Elder Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the Seventy also spoke. It was a really good meeting.

Elder Cook spoke about having faith, loving all people, having a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and moving forward with strength and faith, invoking a special blessing upon us: " will be able to help the Lord establish His Church here... have a positive spirit... some of you may have been discouraged... I invoke a special blessing upon you... understanding from this day in your heart... what you are doing is more important than anything else... Some worry... [that they are] not capable enough... none of us [General Authorities] feel capable enough... don´t let that impede your progress... you are every bit capable enough to be the servant of the Savior..." He said other words too, but that´s what I´ll share here. He mentioned about success in the field in what we are becoming, and I liked that.

Elder Callister spoke before Elder Cook, and he talked about the Atonement and how we can access its power. It was a good talk too.

Elder Johnson is the Area President here, and he talked about working with the members. A promise he made to us came true that very night. He said that we should trust in the fact that the Holy Ghost will bring names to the minds of the members, and it totally happened that night, and it was really cool.

I think I´ll wrap up the email for now. We´re going to leave in about 20 minutes to go eat, and I´ve still got to write President Bird. I love you all and wish you well! Have a great week!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week #74: Tamaulipas 1.1 - XII - Week 18

Well, another week has gone by and so has another transfer. It´s interesting how quickly times seems to fly by sometimes, and how slowly at other times. This transfer (6 weeks) has gone by really quickly. Tomorrow we have the transfer meeting where we will find out who is our new companion, our positions, etc.

Last night the Zone Leaders gave me the transfers... It was during the weekly call-in report where I talk about the areas in my District and our goals, numbers, and all of that good stuff. First they told me about some of the other areas - no changes whatsoever. Finally the moment came to hear about my area, and they told me that I AM STAYING. Then, they told us that Elder Carbjala is leaving the area. So, that is the only change this transfer. He leaves, I get a new companion, and the Zone opens two new areas up.

The ward Tamaulipas is going to have three companionships as of tomorrow. So, that means that my area will be a bit smaller than it is right now, but it will still be Tamaulipas 1.1. So, it will be interesting to have a smaller area. It´s not that much smaller, but I hope it makes a difference and helps us work better with more people in a more defined area. The other Elders in the ward also have their area smaller as of tomorrow (we both took parts of our area to make the third area) and it will be good for them too. They got the new house where they´re going to live, and they are staying together for a third transfer.

So, I´ll be starting my fourth transfer in the ward with a new companion. I´m looking forward to it. It will be nice to have a bit of a change. We have set some high goals for the next week, and we´re going to have to have a lot of faith, and we´re going to have to pray for miracles, but it can happen. Mircales can happen, they do exist, if we have faith. I´ve seen many little miracles, and we need some these days. It will be a miracle to have 60 lessons in a week, and it will be a miracle to baptize every week. Miracles are possible. We have to work hard though.

We had our Zone Meeting and Zone Conference this week, and it was really good. In the Zone Conferene President Bird talked about the Sacrament and its importance, and how it can help us. It was really good. I liked it. I want to have better experiences as I partake of the Sacrament. It´s one of the ordinances of "Endure to the End." I want to be prepared for, and look forward to, the day when I get to partake of the Sacrament at home again, in Sacrament Meeting in English in our beautiful chapel, with the organ and sacrament hymn that isn´t in the Spanish hymnbook and good stuff like that.

This weekend we´re going to hear from Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He will be speaking to us on Saturday. It´s going to be really good. Our mission is really blessed to be able to have Apostles visit so often. Before I arrived in 2012 Elder Bednar came, last year we had a visit by Elder Holland, and this year Elder Cook. We are truly blessed.

This week we went to San Pedro for a check-up on Elder Carbajal´s skin. We took a bus for about an hour and a half almost to the richer part of the Monterrey area (it´s in the West Mission). During that trip, in the office waiting, and coming back I was able to get some good reading of the Book of Mormon done. I read Alma 5, 6, 7, and 8. I was also able to talk to a man who was seated in front of us on the way back, who talked to us. He seemed really interesting, and it as a good contact. I felt prompted to give him a Book of Mormon that I had, after already giving him the Pamphlet of The Restoration. It was cool. I´m going to pass the referral on.

Well, I think that´s it for now. I love you all and wish you well. I am going to work hard and make the best of the last 7 months I have in the field. It sounds short now... Haha. Today I´ve got 17 months in the field. Time flies by. General Conference is soon. Have a great week everyone! I love you all!

Elder Bautista drew the cool images. The food is called Chilaquiles, and I´ll make them when I get home, I promise. Really simple and tastey.

Week #73: Tamaulipas 1.1 - XII - Week 17

This past week was pretty good overall. We weren´t able to give very good follow-up to some of our investigators, and we saw that reflected in Church Attendance, but we´re going to work at it and improve a lot this week. It´s the last week of the transfer, so we´ve got to work really hard and do the best we can while we´re still here and still together. It´s probable that one of us leaves the area - this time much much more probable, but we´ll have to see what happens next week. I´ll let you know.

This week we did two intercambios with Tamaulipas 1.2, and we also had an activity on Saturday. The intercambios were pretty good overall, and we were able to set some goals and stuff like that. We´ll have to see what happens next week with them too (they´ve already got two transfers together, so we´ll see if they end up with three, or if they split up). It will be very interesting to see what happens.

So, as I said about our activity... a few months ago we planned an activity which would be a type of tour through the Plan of Salvation, with rooms representing the different kingdoms, places, etc. It was something that we talked about for a long time, and we kept post-poning the activity for lack of organization. Well, the day was coming closer and closer, and it seemed that once again it lacked organization and follow-through, so I wasn´t quite sure what was going to happen,

But, we continued on with the activty. We decorated the Telestial Kingdom, and the Spirit World (Paradise and Spirit Prison). The good news is that the ward did a great job and helped us out as planned. The Young Men decorated the Terrestial Kingdom, and the Young Women did a great job decorating the Celestial Kingdom. It was really cool and peaceful in that room, it was like the Temple. That was the best part of the activity.

So, people came, we had the tours, and people seemed to like it. In the end, it worked out great - the Lord saved our activity. We weren´t sure how it was going to turn out, and I brought a Plan B. But, it really did turn out pretty great.

This coming week we´ve got a lot going on. Tomorrow we´ve got Zone Meeting, where the Zone Leaders are going to train us on some new things, and try to help us improve. Then on Thursday we´ve got our Zone Conference, where President and Sister Bird are going to come and train us on stuff too, with more training by the Zone Leaders. Then, Sunday we find out the transfers and if the new area is opening up after all. So, it´ll be interesting.

That´s it for this week. Take care everyone, have a great week, and pray for me please! Thanks so much! Love you all!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week #72: Tamaulipas 1.1 - XII - Week 16

This week I don´t have a lot of time to write, because we´re going to go iceskating in a little while, so I´m going to try and write what I can in a short amount of time. So, here we go...

This week we worked hard, but still had less lessons than the week before. But, that´s okay. This week looks pretty good actually. We´ve got plans to have some of the youth and others accompany us to our visits, and that will be a huge help. The work is a lot easier to do when somebody is accompanying us. That´s something that I never really had the opportunity to do before my mission - accompany the Elders. Hopefully Luke can get a chance to do it before he heads out, and maybe I´ll be able to lend a hand after my mission too.

What´s new? This transfer is going by pretty quickly. We´re already at week 5 of the transfer. Pretty soon they´ll be telling us what´s up, who´s leaving or who´s staying, etc. It will definitely be interesting. Change is always interesting. It seems like it´s a pretty sure deal that we´ll be getting 2 more missionaries in the ward (making us 6), so that will be a change for the better. We´ll just have to wait and see what happens. In two weeks I´ll let you all know what´s up.

Here´s an excerpt from my letter to President Bird:

"I was able to do two intercambios this week. On Tuesday Elder Bautista came to our area with me, and we were able to have a good working day - we were able to have some powerful lessons and get 2 baptismal dates. I enjoy working with Elder Bautista, he´s a good friend, and a really good Elder. He and Elder Redford know how to work well together, and with the members, and they are good at having many lessons too. We did the inventory, and we set some goals to help them improve their communication one with another, which hopefully will help them.

Later on Friday I was able to bring Elder Harrison to my area to work with him, and it was also a good day. It was a tough day at times with appointments falling through, and other difficulties, but in the end we were able to teach a good amount of lessons, and we enjoyed spending the time together. He is still struggling with his Spanish, but other than that he´s pretty great. He´s excited, he wants to work hard and be obedient, and he´s a good Elder. After the intercambio we had our inventory and we set many goals with Arboledas to help them move forward in the work."

Well, that´s it for today. I love you all and wish you well. Have a great week! Talk to you next week!