Well Hello Everyone!
First of all, thank you for your emails, letters, etc.! They really help pick me up! I guess I will start this letter off with some impressions of Mexico/funny experiences that I have had during this week.
1) So, I have already told you but every week we help a sister in our ward with her English class named Hermana Gabby. Usually after each class she brings us tortas (sandwiches) and buys us juice but this week she completely forgot! She decided to bring us to a little market to buy us some food. While we were walking through the market we passed by a fruit stand and the lady that was selling started trying to get Hermana Gabby to buy some apples. Hermana Gabby told her that her apples looked delicious, then, the lady looked at me, looked back at Hermana Gabby and said, "Not as delicious as that white boy you are carrying"...I was uncomfortable and flattered at the same time.
2) So, this week we passed through Halloween on the 31st, and the Day of the Dead on the 1st and 2nd of November. There were literally children everywhere at nightime chanting this creepy song that I could not understand. I guess it is their form of Trick-or-Treating? But anyway, the Day of the Dead is REALLY big here in Guerrero. People create little memorials for their departed ancestors, present offerings to them (their favorite things) and kids get school off. The only thing that I missed from home on Halloween was that I wanted to watch Hocus Pocus. Like, REALLY BAD. But I suppose the work of the Lord is more important.
3) I did not tell you all but last Sunday I gave my first talk in my ward about missionary work. I was talking to Hermana Gabby afterwards during the week. I sort of told her confidently that I had written the talk all by myself, expecting praise. She then said, "Yeah, I could tell." But later she told me that even though the words and grammar were not perfect, she was drawn to me because my words and manner of speaking had a certain commanding spirit in them. I thought that was pretty cool. But really, language-wise I am beginning to understand a whole ton more.
4) So, we all know Applebees in the United States. Apparently here in Mexico, Applebees is like a ritzy restaurant. Like it has valet parking.
5) We ate with the Bishop that just got released this week and he literally had the UGLIEST dog I have ever seen. The skin of the dog was jet black and shiny but it was really wrinkly and saggy. I really cannot describe it but apparently it is the type of dog that they eat in some places in Mexico. They kept joking and asking me if I wanted the head or legs...sad.
6) This week both Elder Miguel and I got head colds. Mine was not bad enough that I could not go out and work but Elder Miguel was really sick. So, I had 3 days to do a lot of studying. A lot of studying.
All in all, I have been really happy this week. It was far from perfect, and due to ill health we were not able to work a ton, but we have a solid plan for how we are going to find new investigators working solely through references from the members. We are going to pull out all the stops. We pretty much just enter their homes, and give them very specific challenges such as, Will you share this pamphlet with a friend by Friday, or We would like to hold a Family Home Evening with you and your family this Thursday at 6, will you pray and also invite a friend that you feel would like to here the gospel? We still have a lot of leg work to do but I am confident that we will see the blessings. Other than that, we spend a lot of our time looking for less-active members to teach and reactivate. Which is also a very rewarding process. We have already seen 3 or 4 families start to come back because of our visits and lessons. And we found two new invesitgators to teach this week which is exciting!
So, big news. At least for me. I finished the Book of Mormon. I was actually sort of sad when it ended. I started after a week here in Mexico and finished on Thursday or Friday. I cannot really tell you all what it has meant to me to read from this book everyday. The Spirit has whispered to my soul in so many different chapters and in so many different verses that this book is the word of God. That it is true. It has raised me up, edified me, strengthened me, and given me the courage to face the work here in Mexico. That book really will change your lives if you will only read it. It has made me happy and content. And I cannot wait to read it again. I am going to take a break from it and read in the New Testament though for a while. I feel directed to go there next.
So, this week I have been thinking a lot about patience and faith. Not exactly two of my strongest Christ-like attributes to be honest. I like to rely on myself a lot and get super impatient during trials and hard times. I was studying in Mosiah 24:9-16. It was so beautiful and enlightening to me. It talked about burdens being made light, and the Lord succoring and comforting his people during trials if they will only show him their faith and be patient. I have truly felt that this week. It has been a week of surrendering to the circumstances in which I have been placed. And after I have done this, the Lord has opened up to me and has poured out his Spirit to me. He has answered prayers and concerns. He has not taken away the trials or challenges, but he has made them easier to bear. I testify that God works through power. His goal is to empower us. To reassure us that we can do anything, absolutely anything if we trust in him. And we are always entitled to peace. No matter if the world is crashing down around us and we feel like we are failing in every aspect, we can still feel peace and rejoice in the truths that we know and the love and the Spirit that have been manifested to us. Just like Matthew 11:28-30 says, we need to drop our own self-inflicted yokes and take up the yoke of the Savior which is easy and light. I do not think it is easy and light because we are free from challenges and burdens. I think that it is easy and light because we know in whom we trust for our protection, our light and knowledge, and our peace.
I love you all. I pray for you all. I hope that you are all happy and doing splendidly well. But most importantly, Happy Voting Tomorrow! I will be in Chilpancingo for a zone conference!