Monday, September 30, 2013

One more week

September 30th, 2013

Well this week went pretty well. The three kids of the Lopez Castillo family were confirmed in church yesterday and there were a good number of Less actives that showed up! The mom of one of our investigators, who is less active, went to church with her daughter! I was so happy because the three weeks before there was a different excuse for why they didn´t go but this week they finally went! Also a less active named Hugo that we found this week went to church! Miracles really are happening! Yesterday, we decided to visit a teenager that has talked to me in the street a couple times because she speaks almost pure English but visits México on the weekends. We went to teach her and her family and it turns out that her mom is an inactive member! haha and the kids didn´t even know. They are super prepared. The have a lot of experiences with God, mostly the parents, but like the father is an alcoholic and went to AA and was telling us how we have to accept that there is a God more powerfull than us and that when you have an addiction like that, you have to rely on his help. The only bad part is that we can only visit them on Saturday and Sunday. But the good part is that when we invited them to church, they usually go to a catholic church, but the father was like, Sure we´ll go to their church next week, why not? Which was awesome! I just hope he ment it. Oh yeah, and the whole lesson was in English! My poor companion barely talked but it was fun to do almost a whole lesson by myself haha. 

For those of you worried about safety, health, or whatnot, don´t worry! I´m absolutly fine. It rained pretty good for about two weeks but it dries up pretty quick here. It´s been pretty calm here to in terms of like violence so don´t worry about that either. Missionaries are always protected from things like that if they are being obedient. (which I am, don´t worry)

We had some pretty spiritualy lessons this week. Actually, I think the most spiritual lessons that we did have were those where a member acompanied us (ahem.) But I really did learn something from that. The members sometimes, actually almost all the time, can relate better with the people we´re teaching than us missionaries can. 

Well I hope you are all doing well at home, enjoying weather that doesn´t make you sweat every day and watching the leaves turn all pretty. Could you maybe send me a picture of our house? Every time I say I´m from New York, people freak out because they think I´m from the city haha. 

I love you all very much and pray for you daily! Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Warren

Monday, September 23, 2013

Baptisms!

September 23rd, 2013

Well, we had three baptisms this week! It was really awesome! It was so nice to see the dad baptise three of his children. It really is a miracle that they have come back so strong. The program was great, there was even a special number by the children of the primary that almost made me cry. They sang, well I don`t remember the name, but it`s the one that goes, I like to look for rainbows, whenever there is rain. Really awesome. I`ll be sending pictures to you of that family. If I ever come back to Mèxico, I`m definitaly going to go visit them. I could tell also that the father felt really great and the kids also haha.
 
Other than that this week wasn`t too fantastic. We have a less active family that has a lot of non members and we`ve been trying to get them to come to church now for 3 weeks. Every week they said that they would come, but they haven`t assisted since then. Satan is working very hard with the people here to keep people from coming to church.
 
I`ve been thinking a lot about how I can improve as a missionary and just as a person in general. Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel is a wonderfull tool for this. there`s a person test you can take at the very end of the chapter to help your evaluate yourself and then each topic more in depth to help you improve in the areas in which you are weak.
 
Something I`ve realized this week, or re-realized, is that we are always improving. There isn`t a point in the which we have become as good as we can be. This is also true to our conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we grow stronger in the gospel, we become firmer in our faith and conviction to ``do good continually.`` The people of King Benjamin experienced this type of conversion in Mosiah 5:2-5. They believed through the holy ghost on the words of their King and desired to do good so much that they made a covenant with God to remember him always and always keep the commandments, which happens to be the same covenant we make in baptism. I think we all need to work on improving ourselves so much that we have a desire to do good, not only the obligation. I`m still working on that in certain areas, and I think we all are, but I know that we can improve continually if we remember our Lord, who we need daily as a sustinence.
 
I hope you all had  a great week and continue to grow spiritually!
 
With much love,
Elder Warren

Monday, September 16, 2013

The work goes on!

September 16th, 2013

Well we had a pretty nice week this week. It wasn't quite as awesome as the first week but it was pretty good. We found a new investigator who is awesome! His name is Rey and we were walking down the street and he started talking to us and then started talking in English! haha. He was born here in Mexico but moved to Texas a while ago like in 1970 something and just came back here like 6 months ago. We met him and agreed to have us over the next day to talk to him. Later that same night we saw him again and started asking us all these questions so we answered some of the questions and gave him a book of Mormon. So we left him with that and  with some questions because he had a bunch. We found him in his house the next day and he said he had been reading the Book of Mormon that night and was really attentitive to what we were saying. He had lots of questions which is really awesome because that means they actually want to hear what you´re saying. Its a custom here to be nice to people, even if you don´t want what they have to offer. It like people here can´t say no. They´ll say that they´ll go to church but then won´t go. They´ll listen to the whole lession pretending to be paying attention but they really aren´t paying any attention. But Rey, obviously, was different. We explained lesson 1 which answered his questions about what the book of mormon is, why we have it, things like that. He also said that he was now really curious about what the book says and that he´s gonna start reading it like crazy. He has been looking for a church his whole life. He was baptised catholic as a baby but he doesn´t like that he didn´t have any choice in what church he was baptised in so we explained that we don´t baptise infants and that you should chose for yourself where you get baptised and he liked that. I think he´s studied whith every church except ours because he hadn´t really hear about us haha. But.. there´s bad news to this story. We found out that he went to Houston to work and his family doesn´t know for how long he will be gone. The good part is that he´ll come back. 

Also, we had a zone conference with a member of the first quorom of the seventy. It was a pretty awesome conference. There were some changes in how we will be working as missionaries. The focus on the conference was how to work with the members, because as I´m sure you know by now, the work of salvation is for all members not just missionaries. Also earlier, missionaries focused mostly on missionary work, but now it´s the work of Salvation. One of the changes, is that now members have to assist sacrament meeting 5 times before they can be baptised, when before it was 2. I think this is a really great idea because now we can take our time teaching the people the lessons and we can be sure that they are ready for baptism. 

The three children of the family that is now officially active again, is going to be baptised this Sunday at 5 and their father will be baptising them! How exciting haha. Also, President Morales was talking to me this week and told me pretty much that I´m leaving the area after this transfer, so I gotta enjoy my time here while I can!

We had lots of people that we are teaching that didn´t go to church this sunday. It makes me a little sad when that happens but There isn´t much more that we can do than invite then and ask if they want a ride and pray. 

In other news, it´s been raining like crazy here. I think it´s like a hurricane or something that decided to go into Mexico instead of Florida haha. Lots of mud. Not really what I imagined Mexico as. 

Well I hope you all had a good week and have a great week to come!

Love,
Elder Warren

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Companion!

September 9th, 2013

Well this week was actually really awesome, probably one of the best weeks I´ve ever had here in the mission. Well my new companion is Elder Amador. And he is awesome. He is so loving and kind to everyone. He is also really good at talking to people, which is something that I still struggle with. I think I´ve been making the excuse that it´s because I still don´t talk spanish very well, which I think maybe is partly true, but before I was also not very good at talking to people, especially people that I met for the first time, but I´m working on it. 

We found lots of new people this week, 9! A lot of the investigators are whats called a partial family, where part of the family members are members of the church and others aren´t. Most of these partial familes are less active at the moment, but we´re working with them. The three kids that I told you about that are in the family that is re-activating are still on for the baptism. We´re going to wait another two weeks so that the dad can be ready to perform the baptisms! I´m really excited for it!

I don´t really understand how or why it happened, but the work began to explode this week! I´m really excited for this transfer. 

Now I´m trying to think of a funny story for you..Oh well it did rain this week. A lot. Oh well firstly, we were walking in the morning on Friday, like we do every morning, and there was a little walled in garden and the wall reached up to about mid thigh. Oh, and it´s in the middle of a sidewalk. Mexico. but on this wall they have some like barb like things to keep birds from making nests there. But yeah, we were walking and all of a sudden, I hear RRRRIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPP. I look down, and my pants are ripped from my pocket down below my knee. It was horrible. But we kept going because we had an appointment with the kids of the family that´s re-activating. So we kept going over there, my companion shielding my right leg as we walked. I had hoped that the mom of the kids there could give me some safety pins or something, but she was asleep when we got to the house. Long story short, we didn´t find anyone that could fix my pants until we arrived at the house of the member that was feeding us that day. Oh yeah, and it rained a lot. The equivalent of if I was under that big barrel of water at Sea Breeze when it tips over. So the hermana gave me some pants of her son and she is fixing my pants at the moment. So it ended well but it was interesting. 

I really am learning a lot here about what life really means. Sometimes when I think about it, being on a mission still feels like a dream. I´m really used to doing this but it feels surreal when I really think about what I´m doing and how I only have these two years, now 18 months to do it. When I come back home, I will come back with all of the knowledge I´ve gained, but I won´t have the same authority or responsibilities that I have now. Thats why I have to do everything I can now and enjoy the time that I´m a missionary. 

Thanks for all of your love and support. And It´s great that you took the missionaries to the beach, but I ment more like go with them in a lesson of an investigator or less actives. Miracles in the work of salvation don´t happen without the help of the members! 

Hope you all have a wonderful week back at home!

Love,
Elder Warren  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cambios!

September 2nd, 2013

Yup that´s right, there´s.... dang I forgot how you say it in English.. Hold on.. TRANSFERS! thats the word. Well are you ready? Someone from my area is leaving and.. it´s... NOT ME! haha. My companion, Elder Millán, will be going to a place called Valle Hermosa, which here in the mission at least is called the city of three lies. It´s not a city, it´s not in a vally, and it´s not lovely haha. But yeah, thats how it is. I´m still here in good old Monterreal. Kind of sad because I wanted to leave a little bit but good because I get to be here for the baptism of the kids of the family that is reactivating. 

So I found out that they haven´t been to church in about 6 years. Now, because of us, the whole family is going and their kids are getting baptised!! How awesome huh? 

This week not much happened. We found two new people but when we went back for out appointment with them, they didn´t answer the door. It´s a bit frustrating but it´s how it is here. We were talking with a return missionary that lives below us and was telling us how in his mission, they had baptisms almost every week. Down in the south by Veracruz. The people here have much harder hearts, like Americans haha. I think it´s because we´re so close to the United States that the people here are actually a lot like people over there. 

Okay, story time. This is one of those stories that I will always remember because it was something crazy haha. Okay so my companion had to go to Matamoros for his last visit to the doctor. So we go to the bus station, now usually we have these little papers that let us get free tickets, but we ran out. So we had to buy our own tickets and get reimbursed later. Now remember this is at the very end of the month, so we didn´t have too much money. So we arrive in Matamoros, go to the doctor, everythings fine, we go to leave, but the last bus for Rio Brava, where we live, had already left. Because my companion didn´t want to sleep with the elders we were told to sleep with if we had to stay the night in Matamoros, he wanted to leave. So we decided to buy a bus dirrect to Reynosa, which passes by Rio Bravo. But we had to buy the tickets. The tickets were 100 pesos each. We pulled out all of the money that we had with us, and it equalled 200.70 pesos! Whew. So we bought the tickets with the plan to get off the bus on the highway outside Rio Bravo then walk home, which we weren´t sure could happen because they said it depends on the driver if he´ll let you off on the highway, but he did! So thats our crazy travel story. We went on a dirrect from Matamoros to Reynosa with 70 cents of pesos which is about 5 cents in American money, then walked about 5 Kilometros to our house. There are some pictures to come.

Well that was about my week right there. I hope you are all having a wonderfull week at home and don´t forget to support the missionaries!! They will love you for it! =)

With much love,
Elder Warren