May 18, 2015
So we had a really interesting week. We worked SO HARD this week. I think this last saturday was the best day (in terms of quantity and quality of work) on the mission. We got a big group of young men from church, divided them into two teams. We called them the “army of helaman” and “army of moroni” and we kinda did a competition to see who could do more missionary work that day. I led one team and my companion the other. The area is huge and I’m still getting used to it, so I had this one kid as my map man (I took a pic of the map in our house with everyone on it on my camera) and I handed my camera to this kid and I would say “alright take me to Gustavo” and he would lead us. It was hilariously fun and all those boys slept really well that night thats for sure.
There’s this one really cool story I would like to tell from this week.
So this week we found this really young couple named Leonardo and Maritza. Leo is a member (very less active) and his wife isn’t a member, and is 17. That’s a big red flag because they are living together, and you cant get married here if you’re younger than 18, with or without permission of the parent. They have 2 kids already. My comp and I, when we met them and entered into their house for the first time to teach them, gave each other this look like “this is going to be a quick lesson because they can’t progress”. But, we sat down and started talking. We found out later that about 14 missionaries (according to Leo) had passed by trying to baptize his wife without success, because they were breaking the law of chastity. But they just kind of left them out to dry until November, when Maritza turns 18. We almost gave up on them ourselves, but then we asked them “So you guys cant get married, but have you considered the other option?” “No. What is it?” “You guys can separate. One of you has to live in a different house and you cannot have any relations. As if you were just boyfriend and girlfriend…” In that moment they just kinda looked at each other and Leo was like “Well do it. Honey you go live with my sister down the street. You watch the kids during the day, i got them at night.” Me and Elder Villanueva were almost blown out of our chairs in surprise. Are you serious!?! And they did it!!! They simply wanted to keep the commandments of God, but no one had enough faith in them to give them the chance. We really gotta watch them and make sure they keep on keeping the commandments though…because they have 2 kids and live very close together so we will see how it goes. But wow, what faith. It was super cool and inspiring. I love them. They are so cool.
Actually, Leo came with me in my army of Moroni on Saturday and gave a cool testimony. This catholic mom told me that ever since she let her son go to church with us, he’s been acting worse. I didn’t know what to say. But Leo looked her right and the eye and said “Well, you cant expect him to change over night. Look at me. I even have tattoos all over me. But I’m here in front of you, following a missionary of the Lord all over Loma Bonita. I’m trying to change, and I am changing! Let your son do so too.”
Its been a crazy cool week. Lots of spiritual experiences. Love you all. Have faith in God and put faith in people so they can be what they need to become.
May 25, 2015
This week, we had a baptismal interview for one of my favorite investigators of all time, Gustavo. He’s awesome. He’s really animated about his baptism date, and it will be an incredibly powerful baptismal service with someone who wants a new life so desperately. He’s the shortest little kid I’ve ever seen.
My understanding of the Atonement, with regards to the plan of salvation, has dramatically increased. Studying by faith to unfold the mysteries of God is a real thing. The Gospel is so…..full of sense and reason and order its ridiculous. An important thing we need to understand is not just “HOW” but we need to understand the “WHY”. When we do so, our testimonies will shoot into the bed rock of our heart. It’s really, really fun. I don’t necessarily feel like I should share everything I learned, but here’s something I would like to share:
We have been put in our exact circumstances here in life for a very very specific reason. It is based on our faithfulness and testimony in the pre existence. One thing that a lot of people don’t truly understand HOW MUCH WE HAVE ACHIEVED before this life to make it to where we are. WE HAVE MADE IT SO FAR!! We cant flake out now because our priorities are confused. Understanding the Atonement, Jesus Christ, and the Full Plan of Salvation is SO IMPORTANT to keeping us locked in the Gospel.
Umm… one thing we did this week is work our guts out. We didn’t see a whole lot of results from it. Didn’t achieve a single weekly goal. We were really really frustrated at the end of the week. We really hit rock bottom. I had a small temper tantrum in my brain and too much escaped out my mouth too. We talked about it, Elder Villanueva and I, and here was our conclusive agreement “I don’t really know what went wrong or what we did. We just gotta go. We just gotta do it sometimes.”
I think we passed the learning experience because we had a very considerable amount of people that showed up to church. That was really relieving. Gustavo always sits in the front row. I love that kid so much.
Anyway, we are going to put our faith into a miracle this week and I’ll tell you all about it next week. Maybe we will even find a family. I hope so.
Jun 1, 2015
So, this week was a pretty cool week.
First of all, the other day we were walking down the street and passed by a gun store. This lady walked out with one of her customers and this gigantic rifle and they were looking at it. As we walk by she puts the butt into her shoulder as if she were going to shoot. My companion looks at me and says “Wouldn’t that be super funny if she actually tested that thing out in the middle of the street like that?”
The next thing we heard was a really loud gunshot.
We then agreed “You gotta love Mexico.”
Another funny thing. They finished an elevator in our chapel!! That was really cool. Because some couldn’t go to church because it was on the second floor. Then in sacrament meeting they called Hno Tronko to be the “Elevator Operator” and he was sustained by the congregation. It was hilarious. What’s even funnier is we don’t have a 2nd counselor in the bishopric, a ward mission leader, or counselors for the Elders Quorum presidency. But don’t worry, we have an elevator operator.
Also, our house flooded!!! It rained crazy hard on Thursday night and we had quite a project. Pictures will follow.
I had a really neat experience which I view as a miracle. It really increased my testimony of fasting and specific prayer. We are teaching this catholic boy who is barely a minor, and we had to get permission from his mom for a baptism. She was not having anything to do with it and would leave immediately when we came. We didn’t know how to fix that situation. We decided to fast, all three of us, to be able to talk to her and get her signature for the baptism. We did. We decided to go on thursday right as the fast ended. It was a cloudy day, which gave me and my companion an idea. We decided to pray so that it would rain so she would be trapped inside and we could at least get a chance. So we did. We recognized the will of God in all things, but told him we had thought about the situation a lot and the only solution we could see was rain. The most exciting part was hearing thunder as we were walking over to his house. When we got there it was pouring rain. Boom. lady trapped. It was a really really cool experience.
We had a really, really cool lesson with a less active yesterday. He hasn’t gone to church since his baptism and we finally found him. We taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ. Both my companion and I were studying it yesterday, and then I learned so much more from teaching it!! It was incredible. We talked about how the gospel applies to our daily life. My companion explained (with really good questions) John 3:16 in a way I’ve never thought about it before, and it was really inspiring.
This guy has a job that doesn’t allow him to go to church or read or even pray. At least that’s what he told us. So we gave the 5 step gospel lesson applied to obedience. Faith, repentance, baptism, HG, endure. We told him, in summary “Look, faith is shown by obedience to the lord. You want to help your family. So does the Lord. Your goal is the same, but your plans are different. Your plan is to work from 5am to 9pm every day, and Gods plan is for you to follow his commandments. When you exchange your plans for his, that’s called repentance. The transition between your plan and his plan can be scary, but you made a promise with him when you got baptized and confirmed that you would be willing to do so, and he promised HE WILL HELP YOU. Enduring to the end is staying with, or continually seeking HIS plans for you. And that’s the gospel.”
He had his scriptures out and his highlighters and was marking all the scriptures we shared. It was a powerful lesson taught by the spirit. I learned so much and he thanked the Lord for the “marvelous lesson he needed to hear”. Good thing we didn’t teach that lesson by ourselves. It was so cool!! That was the highlight of my week.
I love you all, and I invite you to apply the gospel to your life. Its a DAILY gospel.