Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week #102: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XV- Week 16

I`m going to start off with an excerpt from my letter to President Bird (which I`m currently writing still):

"The past few weeks Elder Pasapera and I have been working, but we have been failing in our lessons with Members. This week we are putting into practice something that the Zone Leaders taught us about setting the daily goals for the week during our Weekly Planning, and working each day specifically towards these goals. It seems very feasible, and they had success putting this method into practice. The whole District is doing this, I believe. I will verify during the week to see how everybody is doing with this method. It should be good. We fell a bit behind in "Las Primeras 12 Semanas," but we`re going to catch up. It has been good to study this manual. I really like it. A lot of people don`t, but I do.

This week we studied the Fundamental "The Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion," and it was really great. I liked it a lot. Something that we have been failing at is helping people understand HOW the Spirit works in their conversion, such as what kinds of feelings or answers to expect from Him as a confirmation that the message is true. I liked that we were able to see this lack, and start to fix it in our teaching. One scripture that stood out to me was one where the Savior talks about "working" under the section of requirements to have the Spirit with us. It just really clicked, and I understood it very well. We need to work hard if we want to have the Spirit with us. We`ve started talking more about the Spirit, and the way He talks to us in our lessons, and it`s been good.

One such lesson was on a day where we had 5 new investigators. First we taught a woman named Cristal and her son, and she is searching for the truth. We hope that she can make it, and that her son comes along as well. Next we taught a man named Jonathan for a few minutes only, and we presented the Book of Mormon to him, although we didn`t invite him to be baptized. Next we were able to teach two people who seem like they`re really ready, RED TOMATOES. We hope. Bertha and her son Humberto are their names, and it was a great lesson. She said that she has always been Catholic, but that her daughter-in-law is cristiana, so she is a bit confused. We talked to her about how the Holy Ghost will help her to know the truth, and we shared the First Vision with her. We invited her to read the pamphlet, to pray, and to be baptized. She and her son accepted the invitations. It was great. However, they did not come with us this Sunday. Hopefully this week they can make it to General Conference.

I am excited for Conference. I`m sure that in our interview (which is the Tuesday after Conference) we will talk about what I will have felt and learned. As we both know, I am about to take the next step in life, and move on to something new. I know that this Conference I will hear many things that will help me as I take this step. I am going to pay a lot of attention, and I am going to take notes. I am going to try and focus more on my feelings and impressions, and not so much on word for word notes, as I have taken in the past. I know that it will be more valuable to me. I hope that this Conference will be great, and I am looking forward to it."

I hope that everyone has a great weekend, and learns a lot. I`m sorry that my time is short. I`m still writing a bit with President Bird. I felt that my letters to him have been lackluster, so I wrote to him first, and I`m still in that process. I love you all and wish you the best! Have a great week! Talk to you all next week! Also, today we went out to eat: a Chinese Buffet. I was stuffed. I`ll send the pictures next week, for time. I love you all!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week #101: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XV- Week 15

It`s been just a few short days since I last wrote. Right now I`m in my quest to finish the Book of Mormon in Spanish before I wrap up my time as a missionary. I`m pretty close right now: today I was reading in Mormon 2, 3, and 4. Needless to say, these are not happy times for the people in the Book of Mormon. Everything is falling apart, and it`s because of their own wickedness. These moments of destruction are a lesson to each and every one of us: we must repent and do what is right, we must be humble and depend on the Lord always, we must never boast in our own strength, we must be like Christ. I have been learning and seeing personal lessons as I have been reading the Book of Mormon, and I am grateful for that.

What is new that I can share with everybody? Well, I learned today that my Great Grandma Erekson passed away, and now is a time to remember. I did not have a whole lot of time with her really, but I remember the times we shared together. My memories of her include going to her house with Dad and my cousin, eating whole grain (with seeds) buttered toast, and thinking of her makes me think of Family History Work. I know that she was very involved in that work, and that is an inspiration for those of us who remain here. I personally want to work on my own Family History, especially for the Herrera branch of my family. The blessing of serving a mission in Mexico and learning Spanish is not only for my own benefit, but to help others as well. I know that I will be able to help them receive the Gospel as well. I know that some work is being done for my Holt ancestors, and I would like to help there as well.

We all have a lot of work to do in this life. The Lord expects very much from each and every one of us. We are truly blessed to live in the Last Dispensation, the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. When Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came to the MTC with some of his family for Thanksgiving, he talked to us about the blessing and privilege we have to live in these days. Every other dispensation fell into apostasy, but ours will not. Ours is the task to bring the Gospel to everyone, both those who are living now and those who have gone on before. We are truly blessed with Temples, which dot the world, wherein we can help those who have died without the Gospel. I am grateful for this blessing.

Right now things are going alright in the Missionary Work part of the Work of Salvation. Rodrigo is out of town for his chess tournament, and Jorge once again was unable to come to Church, but he seems pretty willing to live the commandments, which is great. We hope that he will be able to start coming to Church, and have good experiences. A less-active family came this Sunday, which was great to see. Elder Pasapera gave a talk about Charity and Love, which was good as well. This weeks is another week of work and learning and growth.

I am 21 years old on Sunday. It will be interesting to say that I am 21, and not that I`m 20 now. It`ll make me seem older. I`ve had some great 21 years, and I`ve been learning a lot. I will continue to learn and grow as time moves on. I am grateful to be alive, and I am grateful for the people in my life who help me and teach me and psuh me to be better. I am grateful to my Father in Heaven that I can serve Him and my Savior as a missionary. I am grateful for my many blessings, and encourage all of you to reflect on life and set goals. I will do so.

Have a great week everyone, and I`ll let you all know what`s new next Monday! I love you all!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Week #100: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XV - Week 14

This past week and half has been good. We had the great blessing of having Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy, First Counselor in the México Area Presidency coming to our mission to give us some special conferences. I have had the great blessing during my mission to hear from many General Authorites (forgive the name-dropping, haha), such as Elder Wilford W. Anderson of the Seventy, Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the Seventy, Elder Tad R. Callister then of the Seventy, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (twice - once in the MTC, and once here) and Elder Quentin L. Cook, but personally this conference was really edifying for me, in ways more so than these other visits. It was really great. Perhaps because it was a closer setting (we were a few Zones together instead of almost the whole mission), the way he taught (walking close to where we were at, using the whiteboard, asking for responses and participation), and the fact that I`m older, but whatever it was, the Spirit was good and I loved it.

One of the things he talked to us about was the Priesthood, and its relation to men and women. This is a topic that is very public these days, many people learning more about how the Priesthood works and is organized. Something that he said was cool. He said that receiving the Priesthood was a covenant extra that the Lord requires of men, and not of women. He requires this extra commitment. That was a cool thought / insight.

Another insight that I loved was during the section he gave us of questions. Somebody asked how we could work better with the members as missionaries, and he taught us what we need to do. We need to change our way of thinking. We want them to do things our way, and they want us to do things the way that they expect. What we need to do is found in Doctrine and Covenants 41:2-3, and I applied it to all types of decisions in life. The scripture instructs us to unite, come to an accord on the word (this could be reading the scriptures, teachings, etc), pray with faith, and then receiving the guidance we need. If we have an important decision in our family life, or in anything, we should unite, study and meditate, pray, and recieve. Then, we must act on what we receive. I liked this a lot, and have been able to think about it more these past few days.

We also talked about Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, which has the requirements for baptism. Elder Pieper talked about them being requirements for the Sacrament too, and that was kind of cool. I think. It was good.

Another insight was to have investigators guide their own conversion - instead of just teaching and throwing them all of the answers, we need to give them assignments, so that they can find their own answers. I like this too, and it will be good for the future when I`m older. It`s something that I need to improve as well, finding my own answers. It was a good conference for sure. I was able to say my personal goodbye to Elder Carbajal, and I got a photo with him and Elder Pasapera. It was nice.

I was able to go on intercambios with Elder Aguila to his area, and it was really good. We were able to have some good lessons, and even surpass some of the daily goals for the work. It was a good day, and I also had an interview with an investigator of Elder Aguila`s area. I had a doubt for a moment, but Elder Aguila helped me out. Their investigator is set for baptism on Sunday.

The Temple was pretty good. Today we`re going to eat pizza and some kind of acitivity as a Zone. Hopefully it`s fun. Just in case, I might bring my journal to get a bit caught up, haha. I also had a good experience last night sharing some scriptures with my companion in a moment of trial for him. It was good, and I was glad to be able to be guided by the Spirit in this.

I testify that Jesus Christ lives. I know that He loves us, and has great mercies that He gives us. I know that Heavenly Father also loves us and cares for us. They understand what we go through. Christ suffered so much more than we can ever suffer, but even so, what little we may come to suffer is important to Him because it is important to us. This is something similar to what President Bird told me once in an interview. I know that Christ lives, and that He loves us. Let us read the scripture to know His words. Let us prepare for General Conference in just 2 1/2 weeks. Let us prepare to be taught.

Have a great week! The work keeps moving forward! I love you all!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week #99: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XV - Week 13

Well, my time is really short this week. I`m sorry about that. I hope that you all are doing well, and I have a few updates to share, and some photos! So, here we go.

On Monday we had the opportunity to have a chill day. I bought some new shoes, a watch, and we worked with a new missionary for his first day in the field. We had a lesson with Rodrigo, who is progressing well. He came to Church again this week, and we have hope for him. We need to finish teaching him everything, but we`re getting there. His baptism is currently set for the 21st, so we`re hoping things work out for him. He is improving and working towards baptism. He`s good.

This morning we cut each other`s hair. Elder Pasapera helped me finish my own haircut, as I was cutting it a bit in the mirror. The haircuts turned out pretty good. I`ve got a photo of us attached in the email as well.

On Sunday I was able to feel the Spirit very strongly and personally during the Sacramental Hymn. As we sang, I felt that the words were very applied to me, and I had words come to my mind as well. I know and testify that Jesus Christ suffered for me, that He knows me and my struggles, and that He is always there for me. He loves me. He loves all of you. Any suffering or worry or pain that we have, He understands and knows what we feel. I am grateful for that, and that I was able to feel that.

It seems we`ll be seeing Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy this week, so that should be good. I`ll let you all know how things are on the 18th, after we go to the Temple. I have got to go. Have a great week, and begin now to prepare for General Conference. I love you all!

Week #98: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XVI - Week 12

Time flies really quickly when you`re writing and reading emails, and other things. The point is, this week my time is short to write, so I`ll try to make the most of it and write the best I can in these few minutes (I haven`t even written President yet...) that I have left.

This week was the last week of the transfer, and it was a pretty good week. Elder Pasapera and I continue working hard, and learning together. We were able to reach our minimum of 101 contacts, even though our goal was a bit higher. It was crazy. We had to do 40 on Sunday to make it, but we worked really hard and talked with a lot of people, and we were able to make it. We set at least one appointment as well, and we actually had a lesson that was a bit crazy.

We didn`t have a single change in the District, all eight of us are staying the same, with the same area and companions and everything. Sometimes change is hard, and sometimes staying the same is hard. However, I know that the Lord has a plan for each and every one of us, and that there is a reason that we are all staying the same for six more weeks. There is something that we need to learn that we have not learned yet. There are blessings we need to receive, struggle we need to have, and He will be with us every step of the way. These next six weeks will be weeks of growth and learning.

With my current planner I`m going to be a lot cleaner, and organized. When I started off my mission, I was very organized. Lately, I`ve gotten rather sloppy with my planner and planning, so today is the perfect day to change. Whenever we`ve got something out of order, or that needs to be better, today is the perfect day to change. The Lord has given us each day so that we can learn and grow and become better. We are with the people we are with so that we can become better. I`d like to share something that my Grandma Sandy shared with me this week in her letter to me:

"...I'm sure you are enjoying your missionary work. It seems like you and your companion get along really well. You have been blessed with good companions. You have been able to teach them things and I know they have taught you as well. Heavenly Father knows the people we need in our lives and places them near us at just the right time. Sometimes we don't know or understand why, but in looking back at my life I can see the lessons I have learned or the things I have been taught by knowing them."

I testify that these words are true. We are with the people we are with, where we are, for a reason. The Lord has a special plan for each of us, and He will help us to achieve it. I read a talk this morning from the July 2014 Ensign by Bishop Dean M. Davies that I liked a lot. He talked about how the Lord will not send us trials to impede us, but rather He will send them to help us grow, and that the Savior is always there to help us.

I testify that the Lord loves us and sustains us. I know that I will have trials in the next few weeks, and I know that the Lord will help me overcome them and learn what I need to learn. This week I have felt the love of my Savior Jesus Christ, and I know that He knows everything that I go through. I am grateful to Him for everytrhing that He does for me, as well as my loving Father in Heaven, and the Holy Ghost, who helps me feel this love.

Week #97: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XVI - Week 11

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

"This week I´ve felt pretty good overall, especially last night with the weekly phone calls. I wrapped up late, but I felt that they were efficient and powerful. Elder Pasapera has told me that I need to be tougher as a Leader, and I´ve tried to apply it a bit, be more assertive and direct, and it´s been good. The capacitation for District Leaders has helped me to improve my daily and weekly reports as well, as I´m trying to talk to them more about their day and people, along with the numbers. It´s been good, and last night especially I had a lot of ánimo to work, and we´ve been watching the District 1 this past week for the First 12 Weeks, and it´s helped me as well. I am glad that I get to end my mission training, re-learning the basics. Thank you for this opportunity."

I am still learning a lot, and growing. I am ready to work and continue being better and better, I am grateful for the blessing of being a missionary, and for the blessing to be able to repent when I make a mistake.

This week I have been trying to improve my personal prayers (again), following some advice that I receieved from my Mom, and it´s helped me feel better a bit. It´s still a work in progress, but I´m trying to make my prayers more meaningful. I am trying to open myself more to My Father, and express my feelings better. It´s been good, and I´m going to keep working on it, and little by little becoming who I need to become.

I hope you all have a great week, and my time is almost up. Sorry that the letter is short this week. Have a great week, and I love you all!

Week #96: Miguel Alemán 1.2 - XVI - Week 10

This week was a pretty good one overall. It was actually a week and half, so it has been a while since we´ve had a real break, so it´s been pretty good. In these past 10 days I´ve been able to go on two different intercambios, and they were both pretty good overall. The first was with my Zone Leader Elder Fry, and it was fun. We only had one lessons (which was quite the visit), but we were able to have 30 contacts in the street, which was good. It was fun talking with Elder Fry. The other intercambio was with Elder Gómez, and it was pretty good too overall. We talked and got to know each other a bit better, which was pretty good.

We had a baptism this last Sunday. I already sent all of you some photos. Aneth´s baptism was an experience for sure. We didn´t prepare very well, so it was a bit chaotic to start with, but in the end everything worked out for Aneth and she was baptized by her uncle. She was confirmed that same day in Sacrament Meeting (we had the baptism in the morning before Church). Now we have to help her continue growing in the Church and learning more. We´re going to be reviewing the lessons with her to help her deepen her understanding of them.

What else has happened these past days? We´re going to have Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy come and train us, or so in September, which should be good. He is in the Mexico Area Presidency, and is either in the First or the Second Quorum of the Seventy. It should be something good that will help us. We all had to take a survey this week about how well we apply Preach My Gospel, so that he can know what we need to learn more about. Something like that. It was good. We took it on Monday, since today is our P-day, but they needed the surveys by Wednesday at the latest I think.

We went to the Temple today, and then we went to Citadel to do some shopping. The plan was to find some new shoes (didn´t end up buying any), we went to Krispie Kreme Doughnuts and I got a Mexico World Cup Jersey. It was on sale too, which was a great suprise. Should be cool to have in the future. Of course I´ll bring other things home with me (like the lessons learned, memories, friendships, etc.), but it´ll be cool to have this too.

Still no more news as far as the itinerary, but it shouldn´t take much longer now to arrive, and then I´ll forward it home. It´s crazy to think about the fact that I only have 8 more letters home to write, and then I´m there. Time sure does fly sometimes. Life has treated me good. These days I stress myself out to make sure I wrap my mission up the right way. I expect so much from myself. I know that Heavenly Father loves me. He is perfectly just and perfectly merciful, as is our Savior Jesus Christ. They will not make a mistake in how they treat us. We need to trust in Them, do our best, and trust in Their love and justice.

I will be writing again soon (on Monday). I hope to have good things to report. I love you all, and wish you a great week! Bye!