February 22, 2016
I think it would be safe to say that this was one of the most stressful/hardest weeks of my mission. I think I lost some hair. It started out really good and everything looked like it was going to go beautifully. Here in Mexico, during February they have free weddings for Valentines day. So, we timed it really good with this one family we are teaching that wasn’t married. We have been preparing them forever for this! Jose started following the Word of Wisdom. They got married on Thursday and then were going to get baptized on Saturday.
We also had another baptism planned for Saturday, that of Enrique. Well, on Thursday we went to the registro civil (I completely forgot how to say that in English honestly, its where people get married here). As we were leaving the registro civil, Jose angel whipped off his shirt and said “WE ARE MARRIED AND RIGHTEOUS!” It was hilarious.
So, everything was looking good. We were going to have a double ward baptism with Enrique, Jose Angel, and this really cute, awesome lady named Viridiana from a different ward that went to the same building. She is really good. I was so happy for Hna Howells and Hna Corral who taught her.
Anyway, we don’t have a ward mission leader, so we asked their ward mission leader to get the font filled, the program made, etc. Meanwhile, Jose called us and said that he wasn’t following the Word of Wisdom and couldn’t get baptized. We told him to wait for us while we got to his house (we had to take a 20 minute bus because our area is enormous), but by the time we arrived he had left. So we searched the whole colony for him. We couldn’t find him or his wife anywhere. We wanted to talk to him to maintain his excitement for the gospel. When people make mistakes, they can get really frustrated with themselves and decide to not continue striving to be better. Anyway, an hour and a half later we gave up on searching for him. (Quick note: he showed up to church on sunday and we talked to him really good and helped him understand, so he’s doing fine for a baptismal date a little farther in the future).
So we weren’t able to get to the baptism early. When we get there, we see that nothing is ready. The mission leader of the other ward wasn’t able to fill the font. Some families got hot and bothered and made some unhelpful comments. The baptism started an hour late, but it was a beautiful service and the Spirit returned once we started. Everyone was in tears! Especially Enrique and Viridiana. They are going to be wonderful members of the church.
I had some other stressful experiences to share later.
Here’s a highlight of the week: My companion ate NOT ONE, but TWO habaneros! If you don’t remember, the habanero is the hottest chile that exists in Mexico. They use it in lots of really good salsas, but in small doses. The Mexicans love it because its ridiculously hot, it has great flavor, and it doesn’t affect your stomach.
Elder Faerber was a warrior. Unfortunately, his stomach wasn’t as determined as he was, and he puked. I wouldn’t ever dare eat two at a time. I’ve eaten two, but in separate occasions. Good for him. Its good, clean fun.
We also got to wash a less active families car. We had a hilarious time. The picture describes everything.
Before I end, there’s also this investigator we are teaching named Alejandro. He used to be extraordinarily catholic, but we felt like we should visit him again (the last time we went, we decided he wasn’t going to progress and didn’t return). We sat down with him and he was SO DIFFERENT! It was weird. He basically told us “I want to get baptized, I just want to feel the spirit. I don’t want to do this for my wife (who’s a member). Rather, I want to do this for me. If you can help me have these spiritual experiences, I will be baptized and I will be an active member to the death. I don’t really care what my family says anymore. What do you guys have to say?” We were a little surprised. We taught him about the role of the spirit in his conversion so he would know what he’s actually looking for and how it will feel. The first couple verses of 3 Nephi 11 work really well for that. Then, we left him 2 Nefi 29 (the best BOM chapter ever) to get rid of his doubts. This Sunday at church he said “That chapter you left was good. It’s really really direct and a little harsh, but it helped me a ton with my doubts. He also needs to get married before getting baptism, so he’s leaving to work for a week to get money to do so, and when he gets home, we shall see what happens. I’m excited.
Anyway, thats all I can think of. I love you all!
I love you Lindsey I’m so pumped to go to BYU with you!!
February 29, 2016
I’m not really sure what to write about this week. We had a lot more success. Ah! Yes! I just remembered.
So about 3 weeks ago we found this family. There last name is Organista which is pretty cool and funny. They professed themselves to be very Catholic, but we insisted and they let us in. To be honest, I got excited because it was a family of 4 (AND THEY WERE MARRIED….WHAT A MIRACLE!!) so I kinda took over the whole lesson and taught it. I felt like I did so very clearly, but they had good questions and I gave them some bad, hard to understand, answers. Long story short, the lesson was a complete failure, hah. I was so incredibly frustrated after that lesson. It took me like 4 hours to get over it and vent it all out. I’m sure my companion got annoyed with me. ” Why did they not understand!?” “how could they possibly believe what they believe!? It’s so ….”
But, on friday morning, we were walking around. All appointments fell. It was just a normal day. But that family just popped into my mind. We decided to head over and visit them. They received us really well. I was a little worried. Their grandmother was there. She was 97 years old. To be honest, I’m a little scared of old ladies like that. They are very firm and feisty for the most part. Turns out she was blind and deaf. I sighed in relief. The mom, who had all the questions, sat down and had her book of mormon all ready in her hands. She said “Missionaries, I read this book last night for the first time. I really liked the testimony of Jose Smith. But I have a question. I simply don’t understand how god keeps calling prophets.” My mind just exploded with different thoughts and feelings. She understood something from last lesson!? She has desire!? She read!? She’s interested!? What!? The most prominent feeling was “The pressure is on. Lets see how we do this lesson.”
I looked over at my comp hoping he would teach instead of me. And he just stared at me and said really quietly in English: “Its all you. Time to repent.”
I gave her the simplest explanation I could about dispensations and how God always calls prophets. Every follow up question she made just led me to the next principle. After explaining prophets she said “Thats true. We have always rejected prophets. Even Jesus Christ.” So i taught about Jesus! Then she asked “Okay, so what happened when we rejected Jesus and his apostles?” I explained the apostasy very simply. We actually spent most of the lesson on that point because of her church’s misinterpretation of Matthew 16. But, we made it past that part. I explained Joseph Smith. She asked “okay I believe you. But how can I be sure he was a prophet.” At that part of the lesson I just smiled and pointed at her book of mormon. I said, “read that. and pray and ask God.” She started to feel bad because she had read but not prayed. Then she said “How did it happen for you?” So I bore my testimony. She said “And you think he’ll really answer me?” I said “He did to me. Does God love me more than you?” It was such a beautiful teaching moment where I could make up for all the teaching mistakes I committed the lesson before.
Once my companion saw that my repentance was sufficient hahaha, he started to verify with her: “okay, so why will you read and pray?”
she said: “well, I want to know the truth to raise my family. My salvation is on the line.”
That answer hit me like a brick. Because the lesson before, she and her husband told us like 900 times that “you aren’t going to change my faith. everyone believes what they want, and its all okay as long as you believe in God right?” LIKE 900 TIMES. She even accepted baptism!
It was a big testimony to me and my companion that God is at the steering wheel. He does His work. We do almost nothing. He has all influence and power and wisdom. His timing is perfect.
He taught that to us on friday. It was really cool. We didn’t say a word to each other after that lesson until we got to the next appointment. There really was nothing to say. It was.. really an incredible experience.
Love you all!
March 7, 2016
We had a slow week. I got sick. I’m better now because it was nothing fatal or worth preoccupation, but it hit me like a truck and I was down for the week.
It’s always fun experiencing the medical treatments and beliefs of the country. They have some hilarious ideas in the world of medicine. When I went to the doctor, I told her about 5 or 6 different symptoms for what I had. The doctor then proceeded to prescribe me 5 or 6 different medicines. One for each symptom hahaha. I just bought the antibiotic and then threw the prescriptions for the other medications away, took some ibuprofen, and I feel better now. We had a couple interviews and we visited a cool little family on saturday night. Dad is a member. his name is Gustavo. The wife and kids aren’t though. They actually went to church on Sunday. Accepted baptism and the whole 9 yards. It was really good.
I think my body is just…how do I explain this…
I think my body hasn’t recovered from earlier parts of my mission. In my first 4 areas, I just worked my guts out. As hard as I could. Full throttle all day every day. Now that I’m in my 5th area, my body just can’t do that anymore. We still work really hard, but it affects me more.
For example, with food, before this area, I could stuff as much food in my stomach as my brain allowed. Generally, that resulted in over eating so I didn’t offend an hermana in the ward and other social pressures alike. But now, my stomach and my brain don’t care anymore. I only eat 1 plate of food, and I feel very satisfied and very happy. And that is all. They look at me and say “There are tortillas right there.” or “Theres more food elder.” or “you’re really big you should eat more.” and I just smile and say “I’m sorry I cannot physically eat anymore.” Because if I do, I feel really bad the rest of the day. I was a little concerned, and I talked to about 8 different missionaries who all have as much time as me or more, and they are in agreement. So yeah, thats the update on my life. I’m doing wonderful. Getting sick is a mental struggle more than anything. I made great progress on Jesus the Christ though.
The picture is after a nerf gun fight with my companion