September 14, 2015
The only thing I want to talk about today is the Mexico City temple dedication. It was so cool! I’ll try to explain how it was, the best I can.
So, what they did is, they closed down the normal church services this last sunday in the entire country of Mexico. To be able to go to church, you had to bring a valid temple recommend or you had to get an interview with the branch president, and you had to be a member. They considered every church building an extension of the temple, so it was super reverent.
I loved it!!! The first sunday I could actually go and enjoy church 100% without worrying about investigators showing up or anything.
Elder Holland and President Eyring spoke. It was cool, because almost everyone that spoke or that was up on stage were people that I knew and had met!! Elder De Hoyos, the 70 president of Mexico, Elder Walker, a 70, the guy who translated for president Eyring, and Elder Villalobos who organized the open house. I realized what a privilege it is to be a missionary and to meet so many leaders of the Lords kingdom. Also I saw president Crickmore!! haha. He went to the morning session and the actual service. I pointed him out to all my buddies in the zone and was like “thats was my Stake Pres!! He’s so cool!”
I think one thing that I learned a lot about is how to pray. When I heard President Eyring do the dedicatory prayer…. it was so…good! I don’t know! Like… I could feel the lords presence and felt like I was involved in a very real, active conversation between the Supreme Creator and his beloved leader. It was cool. I felt such an appreciation for temples. I mean, that was the point of the whole Restoration!! What a cool thing. I really want to go through the Mexico City temple….the interior looked absolutely gorgeous based on the slide show we saw. Afterwards a couple missionaries in the zone asked me what I thought about the Rededication and all I could say was “man, I wanna get sealed in the temple so bad.” We all laughed together because I’m pretty sure thats what every missionary in the room was thinking. We then teased a couple of the ones who are about to go home, including my beloved ex companion Elder Ortiz. What a sweet guy he is…. it was so fun to talk with him.
I received revelation for my area during that session. For example, we had a recent convert who slipped back into old habits. During Elder Eyring’s talk he mentioned the sacrament prayer and said that it is “instructions to be worthy before the lord”. I had never thought of it like that before. Leaving the session, we went and shared that with this convert and explained the process of repentance to him. He’s really excited to go to the Veracruz Temple to do baptisms for the dead on October 17.
Temples are houses of the Lord, and were established so that the Lord could visit the earth. We are endowed with power from on high as we attend the temple, and there is no work in the gospel that gets closer than the Lords vicarious, eternal sacrifice than the work in the temple. I encourage everyone to be worthy and attend the temple frequently. The ward trips every 6 months are simply not enough. It’s such a blessing. And if anyone is wondering where I will be after my mission and what I will be doing, I hope to be in the temple.
September 21, 2015
Well, I feel like I always start my emails off with the same thing, but its been a good week!
I’m trying to think of what we did. We went into the Primary and talked about missionaries and then the teacher opened it up to a question and answer session. It was so funny. They asked us if we missed our families like 4 times. The first time we just said “No.” and they all gasped… They were not expecting that one, hah. Then they asked again and again and finally we found a good answer. “A little, but God helps us.” They were satisfied with that answer. Then they asked funny questions like “What do you guys even do?” or “Why can’t you drink Caffeine? My mom lets me drink it.” We say “It’s a rule. We have to behave ourselves.” And they would say “Oh really? Says who? Your mom’s aren’t here.” And I looked at that kid and said “God.” His eyes got really wide and he sat back. The teacher was laughing. But then I said “We have a president of the mission who is like our dad. He told us. And we have to be good.” Then they all understood.
We have a funny little investigator. She’s a cute lady named Maria. She’s like 40 years old. But her son and his wife got baptized the week before I came here. My style of teaching is very direct. After 3 days of being here, her son said to her after a lesson “That new elder came here with a mission. He want’s you baptized doesn’t he?” (Her son told me later. It made me laugh a lot.) My thought is that I don’t like wild goose chases to lure them into our traps like Satan does. I mention baptism within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone. The path is very narrow and straight and trying to blur that path doesn’t help, at least in my view. Anyway, she’s getting baptized this week. Her husband the next week. (MY FIRST SEALING POTENTIAL FAMILY KNOCK ON WOOD! IM TRYING TO NOT GET TOO EXCITED)
After church yesterday she came up to us all serious-like and said “HEY you guys have to come by every day this week because this is my baptism week and I want to pass the test on wednesday!” (the baptism interview). She’s a joy! She’s what we call a “mama galleta” which means cookie mom. In other words, she gives us food every time we go. But we taught her fasting the other day so she always gives us this “are you fasting!?” glance and then brings out the food. I hope to send a picture of her baptism next week.
September 28, 2015
What an incredible week. I don’t know where to start. Only have time for a couple stories.
So we live in an apartment complex and there is this really annoying dog who lives there in a super super big house right next to the complex. The dog is encaged but always barks and tries to attack us when we get home at night. So on wednesday night we showed up to our house with a member (he was gonna take us up to the door) and the dog was especially annoying, so i picked up a little seed from a tree I found on the ground and threw it at the dog. It was a nice water polo backhand style. I didn’t notice at the time, but the owner of the house saw it. He got super mad and said a bunch of bad words to me. Eventually he came down to our house and started pounding on the door and challenging me to a fight. We just stayed inside and didn’t say anything. Our member friend took emergency freedom to hop into our house, and he called the police. They showed up really late, because the dude already went back into his house by the time they arrived and didn’t come out when they knocked. Anyway, it was a learning experience. I learned I have to always, always, always be on my best behavior. We talked to him the next day when he calmed down and apologized. I had an interview with President Cordova this week and I told him about this experience and apologized. Speaking of the interview, he taught me so much. I spent a lot of time thinking of questions to ask him and I apparently asked some good ones because he taught me a ton. Some he wasn’t willing to answer and said “remember that for your last interview with me” and then said “wow elder that was a great question. just wait”. I love learning. Questions are the key to learning. From the side of the teacher and from the side of the student. Especially when he answered most of my questions with another question. He is just a gospel wizard.
We had a baptism this week! Actually 2! We were really blessed. So on saturday we had a conference with president in our chapel (we are in the stake center) so I left my suit there when he took the whole zone out to buy tacos. I left the phone in my suit accidentally. While we were joyously eating tacos, Maria, the one who got baptized, tried to call us and cancel the baptism because she felt sick. Once we finally got back to the church and got a hold of our phone she was there too, even though she hadn’t been feeling well. She explained what happened. Then she said “well, when you guys didn’t answer, I realized I just needed to tough it out. This is way too important to miss.” The Lord makes our weaknesses our strengths. I love working for the Lord. It’s such a joyous roller coaster. The other person who got baptized is Maria’s granddaughter. Her name is America. You can imagine how excited I was to “baptize America”. That will explain the following pictures.