We are working hard here in Tijuana and it is a little comforting to be able to see my home country when we get to the peak of one of the many many many hills that we have here in Miramar. It is great to have so many hills to bike because I am losing my fat and gaining a testimony!
I hope all is well with all of you. All is well here in Tijuana because we are working hard and receiving a ton of rain. Rain is a blessing for us because we have been in a drought, but it is interesting how everyone now wants it to stop. It is interesting that we always want what we don’t have, but if we get something that we have been praying for (like rain that causes a little inconvenience for us) we then pray for the opposite! Well, our Heavenly Father knows us, and he is going to give us something…and in case anyone was wondering, he does have a sense of humor.
Our investigators are progressing, working hard to make those changes in their lives that they know will help them, but at times they have the most difficult questions. The most difficult question I have been asked on my mission is, “How do I know if it is God answering me or just me wanting to do it?”
This question is the question of how to recognize the spirit (or the way in which our Father in Heaven answers our prayers). This is so difficult, and the answer to this question is different for everyone. I always thought that the missionaries were always just ready and knew all the scriptures, doctrine, and answers, but that is not true my friends. We study in the morning, for 2.5-3 hours, and then when we get back home in the night, we study for the answers we didn’t know or what are possible questions the next day.
We are never going to be 100 percent prepared for everything, but when we plan for everything we can pray for strength and then have faith that our Heavenly Father will help us. He will help us whether our challenges are physical, spiritual or mental. I have had this help in these last 6 months and will receive a heck of a lot more in the next year and a half.
I am so happy to hear all is well with all of you and just keep doing what you are doing! Read the scriptures when you get a chance. When life gets too hard to stand, kneel and be lifted by the Lord. When you don’t have the job or money to pay for water and food, fast and give tithes and offerings, and He will give you blessings that you cannot even imagine. When you feel that you are alone, on Sunday there is a building with at least a hundred people that want to talk to you and help you, so go and feel the love that your Father Heaven has for you!!
Well, this week was one for the books. I went from being in Ensenada with bikes, to being in the most hilly area of the mission here in Tijuana. The only nice part with the hills is that I can see San Diego (part of my homeland!) at times when we are at the peaks of the hills.
I want to give a little insight of these hills. You cannot get to most of the houses with a car or motorcycle because the incline is too steep. But hey, it is for the Lord. i am going to lose all the fat I gained from over there in Ensenada.
I love this area already. We are teaching multiple people and they really want to change their lives for the better! That is what I love to see and that is why I am on my mission.
This week, due to especial circumstances, I was in the mission office for 3 days and the President had a decision between me and another elder to be the secretary. We had a little interview, and during the interview, President asked me what I wanted to do. I said I would rather teach in Miramar, even if it is the most hilly area in the mission, than be in the mission office until August. I got what I wanted an I’m in Miramar. Todo esta bien!!
The members are awesome here, just like the members all over the world! I do miss the converts, members, and investigators in Ensenada. They will always have a special place in my heart. After praying, working, and living with people for almost 5 months, I got to see them change. You can’t help but fall in love with them. To those folks trying to read English there in Ensenada, les amo muchisimo y nos vemos en 2 años, ¡cuídense!
I love all of you and am so glad that I am able to be serving my mission. I am thankful that I can teach these people about the plan of happiness, and that I can see San Diego…it is really cool!
I assume that you have all heard that there have been changes in the way misisonaries are focusing the work and the changes in the schedule. It is not that different, but we are going to change how we are working here in Ensenada in order to bring a more souls to our Heavenly Father and I want to get going before the President thinks of transferring me away!
We are experiencing changes in the ward with how they are fulfilling their callings and how they are starting to trust in us more and more. For example, we (my compañero and I) have been praying and fasting to gain the trust of the members to teach their friends and families the Gospel. This Sunday we had the chance to do so! We were in sacrament meeting and a brother asked me if we could come over that afternoon to teach his brother about the Gospel! What a blessing! We went over and it was awesome because he knows English and Spanish, and wanted me to teach in English. it was nice, but actually a little hard to do.
We are going to really focus in on our investigators, and help them with their commitments. That is really all this life is about – us holding up our end of our commitments to Heavenly Father. When you think about this life, do you think about your decision to come here, to be tried and tested, and then to be in front of our Heavenly Father? I know, real deep question.
The weather here has been all sorts of weird. It is like Utah in the Spring. It can be sunny, rainy and then snow all in the same hour. Here it is sunny one minute and then pouring the next. I was talking to my brother about the rain and how there has been a ton here, (it has rained more here in these past couple of months than the past 6 years combined) and he told me not to worry about it, and to pray for more because the more it rains, the more success you will have spiritually and more blessings you will have after your mission! It is interesting, because the culture here is that if it rains at all, they don’t leave their homes (which is PERFECTO). We knock doors and they answer, let us in because it is pouring, and we teach a little bit about the family and they love it!
So we hit a few bumps this week, literally and figuratively. Bumps in our lives help us to grow, but we actually hit some bumps on our bicycles and my companion fell. It was pretty funny to watch.
I am still in Ensenada, which means I’m going to be here for another transfer. I will be here for the first six months of my mission! That is a long time huh? To be honest, it has gone by really fast. To all of those that are preparing to go on missions, you are going to hear this a lot and you won’t realize it until you have been in the field a while, that your mission is long. The days feel like weeks, but at the same time it goes by really fast, and the weeks feel like days. It is weird to think that my trainer, Elder Bernal, is going to be going home tomorrow to be with his family. It caused him to think a lot about his mission, his choices, and his feelings during his mission. He expressed a lot of these things with me during a meeting we had with all of the missionaries together. It was powerful, but very sad.
He was a great missionary. He taught with the spirit and loved the people, and they loved him, and that is all that you can ask for from a missionary. He told me that he wished he had known that when he started his mission. He thought that when he arrived 2 years was such a long time, but now he is leaving! I have been out for almost six months, and yeah, at times it is long, but the truth is it has been soooooooo fast!!!
I have grown up so much. For example-
I can buy my own food.
I can cook that food.
I understand the importance of having toilet paper…ALWAYS. (Yeah, that is a funny story. Regular paper from notepads is not very effective, I’ll tell you that much)
I have a son!! who would’ve known that I would have a son on my mission!
The real growth has taken place within my testimony, in how I view service, in how I view those that are truly humble and the difference between them and those that are prideful. I can somewhat understand how the Savior has truly loved all of us to sacrifice his life for us and how my Heavenly Father has loved me and protected me for a purpose and how I need to be forever worthy to fulfill that purpose. I have also learned a little bit of Spanish, and that people really need to have a focus in their lives if they really want to fully take advantage of this blessing we have.
I have witnessed miracles on my mission. I have received promptings more often and more powerful than at any other time in my life and have witnessed the blessings that can come from obedience to the Lord. I am thankful for all of you and for the people here that I live with. I am so grateful to be able to speak in 2 languages so i can love both the americanos and the mexicanos! It is just so perfect!
I know that we have challenges in our lives for specific reasons. We are to be joyful throughout these challenges and we will receive help during our trials, and we will receive miracles in times of peace. I encourage you all that are thinking about going on missions, to pray to our Father in Heaven, seek His counsel, and he will give it to you (and if you want my counsel, freaking go serve a mission)! It is only 2 years and you will gain some wicked awesome experiences! I do love you all and I am so happy to share my experiences with you every week.
This week was another good one! Well, they are all good, but this one was good because we had a miracle this Sunday. Yes, I know that everything here is a miracle, but I know that my Father in Heaven is watching out for me and is giving me chances to feel better about myself and the work here in MÉXICO!
I am so glad to be serving my mission here and at the end of this week, I will have served 4.5 weeks in my first area! That is pretty awesome because I recognize everyone. I know the area and I know where all my stuff is in the apartment! Those things are not all that important, but what is important is that we are working hard and are being as obedient as we can, and with those two things, we are going to have success!
This week there was a lot of rain down here, thank goodness I have an umbrella. I had the umbrella you sent me mom, but an individual wanted it a little more. I got a new one this week and it is going to help me continue to preach the gospel to all of these wonderful people!
It was great to tell everyone that my dad had his birthday this week too. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPÁ! It is nice when members in your ward are friends with your dad on Facebook and call you in the morning as if you can call your parents and wish them a happy birthday. I hope it was a great day for you dad.
We experienced a miracle with a family that we are teaching. They even came to church! It has been difficult for them, but they finally had the ability to go and they felt the spirit so strong. I know that when we have the chance to go to church and partake of the sacrament, we are in one of the most holy places, doing one of the most holy things. Always remember that Sundays are a day of rest from the world, but a perfect chance to talk to a friend or family member about this wonderful truth!
Everything is going well down here in good old Mexico with the people, the missionaries, and the food. Yes, i am in LOVE with la comida aquí (the food here)! We always have a lot of food and meals always include tortillas which are delicious. I need to watch how much I eat though because i have gained 2.5 kilo (which is about 5 pounds while being on my mission). I am going to do a better job of taking care of my body because i can’t serve the Lord if I am fat and can’t walk or ride a bike!
We are working real hard down here but at times, we do not receive the rewards in the time that we think we should receive them. This is a lesson that I am learning and have been learning for the past month or so. Our leaders have taught us that we cannot control other people, but boy do I want to! I just want all the members to quit their jobs and come work with my companion and I! Wouldn’t that just make life so much more clear? For me it would be a whole lot easier. I’m just kidding, that’s why we have missionaries to dedicate all their time and efforts to helping other come closer to our Heavenly Father.
We as missionaries have to trust in the Lord and do all that we can, and He will bless us at some point with the blessings we need and the blessings that we are worthy of. but As long as we hold onto our faith, hope, and develop our charity, we will have blessings in this life and in the life afterwards! That is something very easy to say, but hard to do, especially when all you want to do is have people read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and then come to church! There were times this week that I was very discouraged, but I need to have hope because without hope, the work cannot move forward. That is one of the lessons that i have learned this week, that even when things are looking down, we need to look up and into the light of Christ and follow His example.
Well that is all the time i have, I love all of you so much and keep up the work! stay healthy and continue to do the little things…because one pebble in your shoe can cause a whole lot of pain, so imagine what 5 minutes of reading the scriptures and a prayer can do for your day!
I love all of you and I just want you all to know that the church is true! When things get hard, we need to hunker down, and get ready to “thrust in our sickle with our might!” That is what I have been learning here these past couple of weeks and this brings me to a quote that I would read every time I was in the Ellett’s home:
“Not every day is good, but there is something good in every day.”
This is how we should live our lives, especially out here as a missionary. Not every day is a good day, but I received help from my companion and other elders. It helps to know that the worst day in your mission is better than every day before! I really like that saying. It is simple and clear. We need to focus on our missions in life.
At times, our mission is more than we can handle and that is a part of the plan that Heavenly Father has for us. Always remember that He has a plan specifically for you and for your family. Since it is God’s plan, He will help you.
I cannot be a missionary on my own. I cannot do all that I want to do on my own. What I can do is control my confidence and faith in the Lord. This is the lesson that I have learned this past two weeks. We cannot control others or their actions, but we can control our own reactions and our faith. We have to continue to do the right things and try to serve others.
I love all of you and want to see all of you, happy, healthy, and pleased with where you are in your lives when I come back to the states. I know that I will be. Remember a little prayer, a little fasting, and a little faith will go a long way when we have questions and doubts.
This week was exciting, great, scary, and miraculous! Yeah, a week on the mission can be like that, especially when you are in a foreign country trying to talk to people in a language you don’t understand about the most important message you can be carrying!
Well, this week was scary and great because my compañero (companion) went to Tijuana for a District Leadership Meeting, and so I was here with two other missionaries on splits. It was fun because they are both wonderful elders and I learned a lot from them. Then on Friday we had exchanges. It was amazing becuase we were going all over the place in our area and I actually kind of knew what I was doing a little bit! It was really nice becuase this elder will be leaving the same time with my companion and is having a little bit of trouble in his area. He is animated with me and it was fantastic.
This week we had a miracle. We had an appointment and they weren’t there. Our plan b and c were not home either, so we went to go look for a new person to teach. As we were walking, I had the impression to look into an open door, and there was a man. He has problems with his legs and aches because of it. My compañero and I taught him and he accepted a baptism date! We were able to go pick him up with a member and bring him to church on Sunday! It is awesome how the Lord blesses you when you decide to go work and not to be lazy.
This email is a little shorter because we are in a rush to go to an appointment, but we had Thanksgiving this Sunday! I have some pictures from it and would just like to say 2 things to my mom. First, thank you for the packages, they are so awesome and always remind me of home. And second…HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY!!! I love you so much and am so thankful that you are able to influence so many lifes around you! I want to give you everything in the world, but most of all just a hug. I love you and will give you a great big hug in two years when I have just started a life of service!
Thank you to all my folks in my two wards, Granite Bay 1st and Mill Pond. Love you all, and thank you for your help with my missionary stuff, and keep on doing the Lord´s work and He will bless you in your lives! When you get a chance, read Jacob 5…it is about how we are needed to be missionaries and when we are good ones, we will be filled with joy!
This week has been both wonderful and stressful! It was a great step forward for me spiritually, a great tester of our fortaleza y diligencia (strength and diligence), and I have come to understand what the true meaning of “numbers” is for a missionary.
We have been able to teach in a more unified way because I am able to follow a bit more with the lessons and listening to the Spirit. That is the big thing, listening the Spirit. He knows what these people need, I do not. I need to continue to work on my humility. I have been saying, “Oh, we had another baptism,” when in reality I have not done anything. It is all the Spirit when things are going well, and when we are struggling is when we are relying on the arm of Man (in our own capabilities). When we decide to lose ourselves, and to really try and focus on others, that is when the Spirit will come in and give us the words and ideas that we need to pass along to the people we are with.
We have been having a hard time with one investigator (for the sake of the story, their name is Bob), and they just were not really understanding the lessons and doctrine we were teaching. Then one night we were planning and were going to teach Bob the next day and did not know what to teach. My companion has a book with a bunch of photos, and there are 15 or 18 photos about the life of Christ, and I had the idea that we should teach Bob with these photos and about Christ. This idea was from the Spirit, because the lesson went so smoothly. Bob felt the Spirit and was able to understand what we were teaching and why Jesucristo es importante (Jesus Christ is important). And to finish it off, we were able to invite another person that was present for the lesson to be baptized and they accepted!
This story is short, and may not mean much to you, but it means everything to me. I have been feeling like I haven’t had the Spirit with me and that I could not teach very well because of this. I just haven’t been able to recognize Him when He is testifying to me. I know this idea was from Him and was for this investigator. As missionaries, we have documents. Many, many, many documents. One of these documents is all of the lessons we have to teach an investigator before baptism, and then all the lessons we should teach after. Teaching the life of Christ is not one of these lessons. That is one way that I know He gave it to me. It was perfect for me since I like number and I like to see a list and check the things off that need to get done. That moves me to my second big momento de inspiración (moment of inspiration) this week.
Numbers. Goals that we have for ourselves, companionships, districts, zones, missions, and the church all have numbered values for us to keep track of everything. The beginning of my mission, that is all I cared about, the numbers. I did not care like I should have for the people we were teaching or contacting or the way that we could better help them, but how we could boost our numbers on all fronts. Now, it is not a bad thing to care about numbers. Numbers reflect one of two things.
Good numbers – show that that area is progressing, working hard, and having succes with the Spirit
Bad numbers – show that that area is not progressing, needs to be more obedient and diligent, and needs more help from the Spirit
I love numbers becuase they are clear to me – a 6 in english is a 6 in spanish, so that is pretty easy too. These numbers reflect the people of my ärea, and if they are good numbers, I am doing what I should be doing and the Lord is helping me. If they are not the numbers that we would want, we need to change something about ourselves or better help this area grow and have the Spirit harvest those that are ready to come unto Christ.
I would just like to give a shoutout to my parents. They are both nervous, a little sad, and very happy that I am here on my mission. I love them both so much. Without them, I would not have anything good in my life, and would not be able to try and help those around me. Any good I have done for any of you, and good I am doing now, and any good I do in the future is because they have taught me the ways of Jesucristo (Jesus Christ) and our Father in Heaven. With these teachings, I am able to see people make a change in their lives. I am not teaching anyone. When they understand a concept, it is from the Spirit. I do get to partake in witnessing these people make spiritual and physical changes to better themselves and their circumstances, and that is a huge blesing for me. I love you both so much, and I am glad that you are doing misisonary work where you are and for the examples you are for me, Carlie, Derek, Rylee, and for all those that meet you.
I love all of you. And in this time of year everyone needs to know that they are loved. If you don’t love them, at least tell them that our Padre Celestial tiene mucho amor por ellos y quiere por ellos tener gozo y paz en esta vida, esto es porque estamos aquí (Heavenly Father has much love for them and he wants them to have joy and peace in this life, this is why we are here) *at least that is what Porter said it means*.
This week was another fantastic one! We had all sorts of wonderful and beautiful things happen this week. I am just surprised how much the Lord will help us when all we do is ask Him for it. If we ask, He will give us what we need and when we need it as long as we are doing what we should be doing and blessing the lives of those around us and not burdening them. These are some of the things that I have learned this week!
Well, the BIG miracle from this week is that we had another one of our brothers get baptized and recieve the Holy Ghost! It was fantastic! The reason it is a miracle is because he has only attened church 3 times. The rule is they need to attend 5 times, but with the approval of our stake counselor and mission president we were able to move ahead with just three! He is absolutey wonderful. Miguel has the strongest testimony that I have ever felt. Everything that we taught he felt was right and he followed through with every commitment and now his wife is interested in the gospel as well! I am so blessed to be able to see the changes in the lives of the people here in Mexico and cannot beleive that I have the opportunity to work with them for 2 years!
We had the wonderful opportunity of having a conference with the mission president. It was wonderful, but also eye opening. Here in Mexico there are more than 1.4 million members of the church, and Mexico is the highest baptizing country in the world. But, in the year 2015, the average attendance of at church was only 200,000. This is saddening. we are doing a great job at helping these people get on the path, but need to do a better job at continually staying on the path. We all need to take a step back, and look at our lives and ask ourselves, is this where I wanted to be 5 years ago? If we can say yes, then we are on the path we should be on, and if not, then we need to find out what we need to change about ourselves to make our lives better.
I love being able to serve these people and to learn so much about both the culture and love they have, and about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is incredible how love is so often mentioned when talking about Christ and service. One chapter that uses the word love multiple times is in 1 John 4. this capitulo me amo mucho porque es sobre amor and que amor es uno de los mandamientos de Dios y si tenemos amor, tenemos el Espíritu con nosotros y podemos hacer las cosas necesitamos en este vida (chapter I love so much because it is about love and that love is one of God’s commandments. If we have love, we have the Spirit with us and we do the things we need in this life).
I am so glad to be able to serve my mission. I know that the lord blesses the lives of those that do His will, and if we can forget about ourselves, our plans, and our worries and serve our fellow brothers and sisters, we will not have be preocupado con nada (worried by anything). With thanksgiving coming up, this time of the year gives us plenty of chances to bless the lives of those around us and to have thankful hearts. I don’t think I will get the same kind of Thanksgiving here than I have had my whole life, but I know that I will be very thankful and happy on Thursday! I love you all and am so thankful for your ejemplos para mi (examples to me)!!