Thursday, July 17, 2014

Week #91: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XV - Week 5

It`s been a pretty good week and a half since I last wrote. Things are going well in the area as far as investigators are concerned. We need a lot more of them, but we`ve got three pretty solid baptismal dates as of right now. Their names are Aneth, Ceci, and Santiago. We`re pretty confident they`ll make it. Their current goal is to be baptized in August, and we`re working towards that.

Some more good news! Lucía from my last area is getting baptized this weekend! Elder Anderson called me last night to let me know the good news. She just needs to have her real interview, and voila! It`ll be awesome. I`m glad to see some more results (even if they`re after I leave the area). So, I`m looking forward to that.

Today we went to the Temple, and I enjoyed that. I was able to learn and feel pretty good and calm. The past few weeks I`ve been stressing myself out, but I feel better overall now than I did a few weeks ago, so that`s great. I`m still working on being more relaxed and letting myself feel the Lord`s love, but I`m getting there, a bit more now than earlier this transfer.

The transfers are this next week. Crazy how 6 weeks fly by really quickly. Anything could happen. I could stay, leave, change companions, change positions, whatever. Sunday night we find out what`s going to happen, so that will be exciting. I could totally stay another transfer with Elder Smith if the Lord wants us to. We`ll see how the cookie crumbles. Oh yeah.

Last week we did an activity where the Zone Leaders had us put ourselves in the mind-set of being Returned Missionaries, and thinking of whom we could share the Gospel with. I had a lot of different people and relatives come to mind. I have a lot of work to do when I get home. Lots of people to help enjoy the gospel, and live the happiness it can bring us. But for now, it`s a bit more here focused on my mission.

So, these are the two photos I have for this week. The first is of a bowl of some sweet cereal I bought a few weeks ago. Elder Smith pointed it out to me, and I was ecstatic. I love this cereal, and I haven`t been able to eat it since I left the MTC in January 2013. So, I went like a year and a half almost without them. I love this cereal. Truly a blessing of the Lord. Seemingly insignificant, but a blessing for me.

I bear my testimony that the Lord loves us, and is constantly working towards our happiness and salvation. When we mess us, we can repent. When we go astray, we can return. He has His arms open wide to receive us. We should not let more time go by. We should pray and come unto Him. He will happily receive us. I have learned a lot about repentance out here in the field, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I love you all and wish you the best!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week #90: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XV - Week 4

This week was pretty good overall. Let´s see what´s happened so far?

Well, I´ve been doing some cleaning and preparing with my luggage and the stuff that I´ve been carrying around with me. The thing is, when I came to this area, I had two super-stuffed suitcases, a backpack, a side bag, and my scriptures bag all stuffed. Any I had some stuff in a plastic bag too. That is, way too much stuff, way too much bulk. So, I´m thinking ahead and getting things organized and consolidated, leaving things that I don´t need to take with me. I hope to finish that soon... We´ll see. But, in the meantime, the house is a bit of a mess at my fault. We cleaned the Kitchen up though, which is really nice.

We were able to teach quite a few people this week, finding some new investigators of varying potential. Hopefully we can get some of them to progress. We tried to get a lot of people to Church on Sunday, but we ended up with a bunch of them not being there or coming. However, the Lord blessed us and we had a bunch of people there. A less-active family we´ve visited came, and we counted 5 people as investigators for our numbers. It was pretty good.

On Tuesday we had intercambios with Victoria 1.2, and I had Elder Minch here with me. He´s from Arizona. It was a pretty good and fun intercambio, and we talked about lots of different things. We talked about a lot of old shows that we both watched too, and it was fun. Intercambios are pretty good usually.

Next week we´re going to go to the Temple, which should be good. I might buy some stuff from the store too. I´m very grateful that we have to opportunity to go to the Temple in my mission. My testimony and love for the Temple has grown while serving out here, and I plan to continue learning and growing. I´m constantly learning and growing, and needing to be better. We can all grow. I am very grateful for the opportunity that the Lord has given me to be a missionary.

I bear my testimony of the Lord´s love for each and every one of us, and I invite all to take this week to improve their personal prayers. It´s an area where I need to improve, so I´m going to work on that. I love you all and wish you well!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Week #89: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XV - Week 3

This week was pretty good overall. We were able to have intercambios with the Zone Leaders, teach some new investigators, and learn some things too. There were a lot of moments where we could have done better, and I have been praying a lot to improve, but we´re doing pretty good. I´m doing better than last week in some things.

On Sunday there was a great moment when the Bishop was talking. We worked with him a bit on Friday and Saturday, and he was talking to the parents of the ward about teaching their youth by example to be good, to be ready to go on missions. He mentioned that he had spent some hours with us, and he expressed his respect and appreciation for us, which was a really nice moment. It made me feel good about the work we´re doing here, and he is a great Bishop. He´s still relatively new, and he´s doing a good job at it. I like this ward.

Also, this last week marked the year mark of President and Sister Bird arriving here. Pretty awesome. Time flies.

This week I hope to improve a lot, learn a lot, and do what I need to do to be the missionary and person the Lord wants me to be. I haven´t heard anything about the Temple this next week, but it could be... So, sorry if I don´t write until next Thursday. That would be why. I hope everyone has a great week! I love you all!

P.S. Here´s what I wrote today because my friend Lisa asked for some insight on covenants for her Sunday School class, and I came up with this huge sermon... Oops. But, I liked writing it, and I think it can help everyone. Just me sharing some ideas I´ve heard and learned about making the Sacrament more meaningful. So, here is some of what I said:

"First, let´s talk about the Sacrament:

President Joseph Fielding Smith has some great things to say about partaking of the sacrament, and making it special. We need to think of the sacrament as the important ordinance that it is. There are certain ordinances in the gospel. In fact, the "Missionary Purpose" talks about these covenants and ordinances. Covenants are usually entered into through ordinances. So, the ordinances are very important.

The missionary purpose is very similar to the Fourth Article of Faith and is to "Invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End" (Preach My Gospel, page 1.)

Faith and Repentance are principles of the Gospel, and not ordinances. Faith leads us to act, and that faith motivates us to repent and change where we are wrong. Faith and repentance help prepare us for the covenants we are going to make, and the ordinances through the which we make these covenants. Once we (or an investigator) has repented, we are ready to make our first Covenant, which we do through the Ordinance of Baptism.

We covenant to 1) Take upon ourselves the name of Christ (which is what Mosiah 18 talks about basically - "mourn with those that mourn..." etc.), 2) Always remember Him (also in Mosiah 18 - " all times, and in all things, and in all places..."), and 3) Keep His commandments. Actually, what I just wrote comes from the Sacrament prayer for the bread.

Once we are baptized, we need to be confirmed to finish that process. One is not complete without the other. So, that takes us to the step of "Enduring to the End." How can we do that? We need to constantly renew our covenants. When we partake of the Sacrament, it is as if we were being rebaptized, and we receive a renewal of our Confirmation as well, (The Lord´s promise with the Sacrament is "...that they may always have His Spirit to be with them") as it says in the sacrament prayers. When we do this worthily, we repeat the process which is "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" (Lesson 3 in the missionary lessons) and we receive a forgiveness of our sins. We are enduring to the end.

I had a thought along these lines during a conference: Partaking of the Sacrament is the Ordinance that goes with "Endure to the End." We need to constantly renew our Spirits and our forgiveness, in order to slowly progress towards perfection. The Sacrament Meeting was described by President Joseph Fielding Smith along the lines of the "most sacred of all of the meetings that we have." To make it more meaningful, we should contemplate the words that we hear as the prayers are said. Not many prayers are set. Baptism is a set prayer. So are the Sacrament Prayers, and each one is different. Each can bring us different insight and hope.

The Prayer for the Bread reads as follows:

"O God, the Eternal Father. We ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen" (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77).

I used these words to describe baptism and our covenants. This is what we covenant to do with the Lord. The prayer for the water is a bit different. Paying attention to this difference can be good for you and your youth.

The Prayer for the Water reads:

"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this [water] to the souls of all those ofdrink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen" (Doctrine and Covenants 20:79).

This covenant helps us to grow and progress. Another idea is to imagine that the Savior Himself was blessing, breaking, and passing the Sacrament. President Smith talked about that too.

Once my companion and I explained the Sacrament to an investigator, who was worried about baptism, because he feared messing up afterwards, and being condemned. When we explained the sacrament to him, how it repeats the process of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and renews us each week, he said something along the lines of, "Now I understand why it´s important to go every week."

We need the Sacrament. I read a talk in the June Liahona (kind of like the Ensign) that had a question that I liked a lot. It said, "Do I feel forgiveness as I partake of the Sacrament?" I liked that a lot..."

Have a great week! I love you all! Happy Birthday Jake! Happy Independance Day! We´re going to celebrate a bit! Pray often. Make the Sacrament what it should be. I testify of the Lord´s love, and of the reality of His forgiveness. We just have to do our part, and He will be there for us.

Week #88: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XV - Week 2

Sorry that this email is going to be pretty short. I spent a lot of time doing other things and writing President Bird. But, things are going alright. I feel pretty alright, and the work is moving forward. We were able to have some new investigators this week, and we`re going to keep working at it.

We had our interviews with President and Sister Bird this Wednesday, and it was a good experience. I`ve learned a lot since then too about myself, and I am striving to improve and be the person that I know that I need to be. I have been able to recognize some of my mistakes, and I am grateful to the Lord for making them known unto me. I invite all of your to examine your lives, and to work towards perfection and sanctification. We all have things we need to work on. Sometimes the Lord opens our eyes and we see something we have failed to do. I know that He does this because He loves us. We can all learn and grow every day and every week.

The Lord truly blessed us and takes care of us. We`re low on money, and the Lord provided a family to give us food today. Just as it says in the Sermon on the Mount. He takes care of us - we need not worry about what we shall eat, or anything. We are blessed by Him. I also lost my memory card last week, but got it back today. I testify of His love for each of us. I pray for you. Please pray for me.

I love you all!