Hello Family and Friends!
Well today marks my first day in my second transfer in Mexico! Every missionary has a minimum of two transfers with their trainer so alas, I am still emailing you from Iguala, Mexico. But I am happy. And what a first transfer it has been...a lot of learning and a lot of growing. But I feel like I am definitely getting in the swing of things. The language comes more and more everyday. For my language study I have decided to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish from cover to cover and look of unfamiliar words and gramatical phrases that I do not understand. I hope that by the end of this that I will be able to improve my speaking ability! And over on the English side of things, I am almost finished with the Book of Alma in the Book of Mormon. It has been such a powerful experience to read the Book of Mormon again. Every morning I pray that the Holy Ghost will be my teacher and that I will be able to find the answers and strength I need to face the day. And it always works. The scriptures have so much power. Power to change lives. And they have changed mine.
Impressions of Mexico:
1) So Elder Miguel and I were walking back from the Centro and we walked passed this elderly woman that had on a sweater and pants and was complaining about how cold it was outside. I was sweating and I bet it was probably 80 degrees outside. On this same train of thought, there is one member of our ward that refuses to come to church because she says that the Chapel is too cold (it happens to be one of the few places in Mexico that has air conditioning).
2) I have fallen in love with this soda called Yoli. It is unique to the state of Guerrero and is like Sprite but 10x better.
3) So. We have all heard about the water situation in Mexico right? I will include a picture of the water in our baptismal font. I want you to notice the color. To me it was a bright green with a tint of yellow. It made the baptism of our investigators that much more of a trial of faith.
4) The name of our ward missionary is Pepeo. Nough said.
Sorry. Not a lot this week. I have to work better on recording them and writing them down.
Anyway, I want to tell you about a beautiful experience that I had this week. So last week I was telling you about David and how he was heading towards baptism this last week. Well, we had also been teaching his mom Susy and his sister Cinthia but we did not feel like they were ready. Susy was never available to teach because of her work schedule and Cinthia seemed really disinterested. Anyway, we went to teach them on Tuesday and for the first time, all three of them were there together. During the lesson Susy interrupted Elder Miguel and asked us if we were curious as to why she was there (because usually she was never available during weekdays). She then told us that she changed her job so that she could be taught by us, be baptized, and attend church every Sunday. During the same week Cinthia grew more and more interested and receptive as well. We taught them everyday and they were baptized as a family on Saturday and confirmed as a family on Sunday. I cannot tell you how much this experience has meant to me. To hear their testimonies about how the gospel has brought them greater peace in their personal lives and as a family, to see their faith and desire to grow, and to see them enter into the waters of baptism dressed in white was so beautiful. People making changes, people giving up old habbits and ways of life, and people starting to believe and trust that if they walk hand in hand with Christ and Heavenly Father that they will receive something greater is what the mission is all about.
Again, how do you describe a week in the mission field in one email? All I can say is that my testimony of my Savior continues to grow each day. Serving a mission has taught me both how weak and dependent I am when I try to do things on my own and also how strong, capable, and happy I am when I rely on my Heavenly Father and Savior. It presents new challenges everyday that test every part of me, and I have found out that I can conquer any trial by using the tools I have been given. I have learned that God works through power. His goal is to build us up and father us. Allow us to become like him. I have learned that I still need to develop greater patience and love for others, no matter what they do, say, or think. I continue to understand, just a little more everyday, how much my Heavenly Father loves me, and how much he loves every single man, woman, and child that walks this Earth. I still do not understand it completely, but I continue to see his love manifest for me and for others everyday. And most importantly, I continue to develop even greater respect and love for my Savior and the Atonement. Every time I am tired, or discouraged, or feeling like I want to give up, I think about that sacrifice, and the miracles that it has wrought in my life, and then I keep going. There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that describe exactly how I feel.
"And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer;yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." Alma 29:10
My goal this week is positivity. I want to smile more and be happy more. Not fake happy. Truly happy. I have the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have the privilege every morning of putting the name of my Savior on my chest and working on his behalf. Sure it is hard. But I should be happy no matter what. And to be happy, I need to remember, constantly remember what my Savior has done for me, and then put all doubts and fears aside, and go to work. I am truly blessed. I can feel that my Savior loves me. And there is nothing that can detract from my testimony that I know God lives. I know Christ lives and that he suffered and died. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he restored the true church of God. The Plan of Salvation is real. The scriptures have the power to change lives. These simple truths make me happy. And I want others to know them as well.
I love you all. I love reading about your lives and experiences. I feel very blessed to know each and every one of you. And whenever you feel sad or discouraged, always remember to look up, and look out.