"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, September 24, 2012

Families are Forever

Dear Family and Friends,

First of all, I'm afraid all of my comments and stuff may have scared away a few future missionaries. To you, I have to say, yes, this is difficult. But I'm still here, aren't I? So, there has got to be a reason. And, if you are interested in that, read on.

So, this week was a bit of a shift. Can't really say it was a shift up, but definitely somewhere. But to start, let me tell you of a miracle that happened. As with all miracles, you have to have the right heart to recognize it, so please take your time to get there if need be. So, Friday, we met as a Zone with President Castañeda. He really is like Bill Cosby (someone mentioned they looked alike) in that he seems to be good at everything (a master at piano). He has that charisma and smile, but still has the capability to be very serious at the same time. So, as he met with us, he was encouraging us to meet our goals as a mission, zone, and area. While talking about this, he asked everyone who had a baptism that weekend. In my district, only one of the three companionships did. Then he directed to us the importance of planning a baptismal service every week. (After all, when we invite people to be baptized we tell them we will be having a baptismal service on a specific day, so have it prepared!) After that, he told us to go back to our areas and prepare a baptismal service, and we would have a baptism. So, Elder Andrade and I did just that. But, it was a little odd because we already knew that none of our investigators were ready to be baptized. But, we came back and started talking about a boy we had met with a week earlier--son of some less-actives who said he wanted to be baptized, but his father wasn't ready to let him be baptized. So, we prepared a baptismal program and took it to the boy and father for their approval. The father wasn't for it still. But the son wanted to be baptized and since everything was already set, the Father suddenly had a change of heart and consented. There is the first miracle. The second is that the boy still wasn't quite prepared--he didn't know of all the things he was committing to do through baptism, right? So what did I get to do? We went back the next day (this time on splits--Elder Andrade was not there) and I got to teach him EVERYTHING. I did it all (with quite a bit of help from my new companion Elder Cuecuecha I will admit). But we did it all in an hour. It helped that he was a smart kid. And remembered it all that night for his interview too! And he was baptized, by me. My first baptism, and it was special--for him and me.

But the SAME thing happened with the other companionship in our district without a baptism. So as the companion to the District Leader we got to walk to their area for their interview. It took us 50 minutes at quite a good pace under the heat of the sun after already walking around for lessons and Comida all over the island. After returning for the interview of Derek (that was the boy we baptized name) we took out the records for the Zone Leader to sign, looked like we dropped them in the ocean because they were that wet. Elder Andrade didn't believe me that it was just my sweat, but I assure you that my whole backpack, including the things inside, were soaking wt from my sweat alone. Welcome to Mexico. 

Also, we had splits on a different day too (for the whole day though) and I was with Elder Cuecuecha in his area. It is a bit nicer, but that's just cause he can actually see the beach most of the time--more hotels more money kind of thing. But, it is what it is. The people were a little more crazy because of that. And this is where the family comes in. I miss my family dearly, and last week I had to opportunity to hear from many of them, which was awesome. And everything this week had to deal with families. Saturday a couple (who own this 'Ciber Center') got sealed in the temple. And with Elder Cuecuecha we reinvigorated the enthusiasm of families to a less-active family who were excited to come back. We helped a young couple in their search to be legally married. And under an assignment from the Bishop, we counseled a couple about a divorce. Through all of them, the power of my calling was manifest. What do I know about marriage? Practically nothing. But I do know something about family, and that is mainly that I am thankful for mine. Be thankful for yours. I love you all, and wish you the best.

Also, the Assistants here have never heard of Pouch Mail. Emily's got sent back too. So, I guess I would advise not sending through the pouch. I guess DearElder is the way to go, although real letters are nice too. But, that's for you to decide, I'll appreciate anything I get.

Scripture for this week: Romans 8:18

Elder Andrews

Comida=Lunch (at least in Mexico; literally it means "food")

Note: "Splits" are more formally known as exchanges. This is when a missionary exchanges his companion for another missionary or Melchizedek Priesthood holder in order to do cover more ground, do baptismal interviews, or to get to know the needs of the missionaries in your district, zone, etc.

For those unfamiliar with any of the mission/LDS (Mormon) lingo that will often come through in these letters, please feel free to comment below for clarification or questions.

Emily's letter was returned because she was unaware of the new Pouch Mail instructions.

Derek with Elder Andrews after his baptism.

Next to the beach on exchanges with Elder Cuecuecha.

Elder Juarez and Elder Andrews. This picture appears to be from the MTC in Provo, Utah, USA.

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