I am currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Mexico City Southeast Mission.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Without this essential key, we are stuck and unable to progress.
Greetings everyone! Here I am again, one week more in the mission. It honestly felt like two days. I wake up, work, do missionary service, eat, and go to bed again. Two minutes later I wake up and blast into another day. Everything is just flying and blending together and I don't know how I feel about that haha it's plum loco I tell you. We had a fun week full of adventures as always. On Tuesday Hermana Herlinda in our Ward helped get a few recent converts started on family history in one of their homes. It was fun to see how excited these people were to do this work and to focus on the Temple...one of my favorite things about the gospel. We will be doing the same thing this Tuesday as well. Saturday was fun. We took a group of people to El Centro para Visitantes (Temple visitor’s center). It was fun getting jam packed into a combi again -- haven't done that for awhile. It always amazes me just how many people manage to squish themselves into public transportation. The majority of them were investigators of the Elders (Elder Perez, our district leader, who is training Elder Revolorio from Guatemala City) but we brought along one of the most precious old men I have ever met named Jose. He is coming back to Church again and we visit him about once a week. He has the biggest most precious toothless smile and laugh ever and he enjoyed the visit. We met up with our investigator Ana and her little girl Isabela. Ana is the daughter of a recent convert named Leticia who I taught during the activity we had with the jovenes, and was baptized the weekend before we got here. Ana is an amazing person who does all of her tarea (homework) and comes ready with really good questions. She is preparing to be baptized at the end of September. She mentioned to us a few times during the visit how excited she is to come back but this time to be able to enter the Temple. She told us that she now has hope of seeing her father again who passed away seven years ago thanks to the Savior’s gift of resurrection. The Savior’s Restored Gospel is what brings us that kind of hope. Later in the afternoon Juan Carlos was baptized! He is the brother and uncle of a few recent converts who had been listening and attending Church for awhile but eventually came to a standstill due to the pressure of others to be baptized. I think he pushed a little reset button when we arrived and felt reanimado to be baptized. It was a very nice little service. The Bishop baptized him (didn't get a picture with him sorry) and his sister Magdalena who was baptized in April spoke. My companion and I also shared short little messages and the other missionaries in the district were able to bring investigators as well. I took the opportunity to relate a fun little experience my companion and I had a few days ago with the principle of baptism. What happened was we had just closed the door when my companion asked me if I had the keys. I made a "doh!"sound in my head as a I realized that they were still inside the house. We cannot enter our apartment nor leave the main entrance below without these keys. We were literally stuck...unable to progress. Fortunately, the Bishop lives right above us and his wife was home and provided us with a screw driver which we used to successfully removed a window, and then stuck our hand in to open the door haha my handy man skills/eagle powers are developing quite nicely. The point is that baptism is a necessary ordinance and covenant that we need in order to progress back to our Heavenly Father. It opens the door for us to journey through this life en el camino de Cristo (the path of Christ) and eventually return to live with our Heavenly Father. Without this essential key, we are stuck and unable to progress. The baptism went very well and on Sunday he was confirmed by the Bishopric second counselor Hermana Arellano. This Ward is really great. Last night we had a very cool experience with an investigator named Victor. Remember the hermana I told you about a couple of weeks ago who met by accident in the rain and turns out they are a less active family who came to the ward again? Well, Victor is the "husband" (not actually married yet) of the daughter of this woman. It has been very neat teaching him. It has been slow progress but last night something miraculous happened. They had invited us to cenar (dinner) and during the whole thing I was wondering "how are we going to approach this lesson tonight? how exactly are we going to teach it?" because, until last night, it had been difficult even getting to a discussion about the restoration of the gospel. As I sat there waiting for an answer I heard in the back of my mind that we needed to teach him about the restoration because he would listen tonight. Honestly I had my doubts but we waited for the right moment and eventually Victor started asking the right questions and basically served everything to us on a silver platter. I wish I could tell you the whole experience but honestly could not if I tried because it was the Spirit talking, not me. It was so perfect and so powerful how everything just fell into place. I do remember that he asked me directly where he would be able to find all the because's to all of the why's that he has, what scripture references I could give him to understand more clearly and receive all of the answers he is looking for. I paused for a moment, took a breath, and then told him that I could refer him to many different books, internet sights, historians and all sorts of things that would give him a human, imperfect knowledge of what he is looking for, but that if he wants real answers, untainted by human error and perspective, the only source that he could turn to and the only person that he could ask is God. I had him read Santiago (James) 1:5 in the Bible and he sat there and just nodded his head. He understood so clearly. We talked to him about how to conquer fear by exercising faith and many other things I can't remember. It is so incredible being an instrument and saying things in another language that don't come from me. I don't share this to brag or anything like that and I hope it is not taken that way. I simply share this because it was a very special, reaffirming experience for me. Hermana Torres and I are so excited to continue teaching him. Things are great here and I am happy :)
Hermana Friendita Juanita -- another nickname from Elder Perez and Elder Revolorio
Baptism of Juan Carlos.
More from the baptism of Juan Carlos. We really struggle to take nice group pictures haha :) good old memories. The woman in the purple is Juan Carlos's sister Magdalena. The woman in black to my left is Dalia who will be baptized in September and her mom Veronica who is below her was baptized in January. The woman next to Magdalena is Leticia who is Ana's mom and was just baptized. The woman in pink is Martha and she will be baptized at the end of September. So many amazing people here. Martha and Dalia are also people who have been listening for a very loooooooong time and are now overcoming their fear and making the decision to be baptized. Speaking of baptisms, Julio who I was teaching in my old area was baptized on Saturday as well. Hermana Martinez told me that two other people who we taught together will be baptized in the next two weeks. I love that casa de oración and am so happy to hear that it is growing. It was such a privilege to serve and work there and I feel grateful to be a small part of such a huge and wonderful work. It is a blessing now being one of the people who gets to see the culmination of many seeds that missionaries planted before me in my current area. Many of the people we are teaching right now are what we call "eternal investigators" who are now finally making the decision to be baptized. It feels good being on both sides of the story and to realize that what matters most is that people are coming unto Christ, regardless of what part of the journey we are there to witness.
Breaking into our house :)
Our trip to the Mexico City Temple Visitor’s Center.