"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, October 8, 2012

"In Memory of our God, our religion... our (family)" Alma 46:12

First off, I am so prepared for this mission. Mom, all that powdered milk you made me drink made this terrible Mexican stuff nothing for me. I can drink it plain with easeeee. First gringo to do so apparently. Also, living in two college towns helps me with this Mexican traffic and walking through it all. Sometimes Elder Andrade thinks I'm insane.

Second, do you know how many talks in General Conference were about dealing with the loss of a loved one? Especially a new-born? At least ten. I lost count. I have never prayed for something more in my life than you Lisa/Luke. So, I was very relieved to see pictures this week to know all went well. I'm an uncle (again)!
Lisa asked about how Comida works. We eat every day at a member's home. I got typhoid most likely from that fish...did I mention I don't like fish? But yeah, the members are great and you love to eat their food mainly cause you love them. True Mexican food seems to be an aquired taste--and by that I mean I can't taste much of anything. Hopefully that was just my sickness--maybe it was just a blessing and a miracle. You love the members here, and I already have two members (fathers) ready to adopt me. One wants to take me to Veracruz to find me a wife. Whoops.

The missionary announcement! I am actually older than Elder Andrade. So, it'll be weird being way older than everyone else. The real question is, are all of you in "the next generation" ready to step up to the plate? It was definitely a good switch--not that I need to say more than the prophet already has. It'll be interesting to see the dynamic that it has on the Mormon "marriage pool". While marrying a female return missionary sounds nice to some, many current missionaries say they don't want to be Junior Companion for the rest of eternity. As for me, I'll take the safe answer and say I am so lost in the work that I haven't taken thought on the topic. Interesting to see how it turns out nonetheless. I love the Prophet.

So, this week is more a recap of last week. Not only did I have RiKetsiosis, but I was also fortunate enough to contract Typhoid, and some very interesting internal bleeding (not really what you think it is, and not something you really want to know). But, before you start to worry, the antibiotics fight typhoid too, so its chill. We still went out each day. Staying at home is death in the mission. This last week we actually got called to Villa to meet with the President and other leaders of the mission. Turns out we completed the mission goal of six baptisms in six weeks. Whether you believe in revelation or not, the President had one and thus was the goal. I didn't know cause I'd only been in the field for 4 weeks and Elder Andrade kinda just forgot to count in his head or really when he was supposed to start counting. But, we completed the goal! While there everyone got the opportunity to share their experience with completing the goal. Elder Andrade gave me mad props. It sounded even cooler in Spanish. But, walking around bleeding, with Typhoid and RiKetsiosis is practically nothing compared to what others sacrificed. One Elder was standing in the baptismal font with a 105 degree fever baptizing the family of 4 he had worked so hard to help solve their problems and was immediately after rushed to the hospital. Another missionary was able to still work through the death of his father to help others. (Dad, I will not be happy if you pull that one on me...) And the President's wife stayed too to do her work even through the death of her sister--which actually helped me and the other Elder with our medical ailments. Everyone had their own afflictions, and I am sure that many of you have your own too.

Perserverance: Don't quit before the blessings.

I could tell you about how to feel comfort in your afflictions, but quite honestly it isn't enjoyable in any way you look at it. You just have to look at the blessings you receive along the way. For example, last week I mentioned I started the week with 50 pesos. That wasn't to complain, but to mention that there was no way I could ever afford a doctor. I had the choice between buying clean water for the week or bread (I chose bread and used my filtered water bottle--not quite sure it works). I had received so much help from members (its not allowed...but I was dying, so don't do it and don't die when you go to the mission) to go to the doctor. Also mom, I payed them back, don't worry. Look for the Lord's hand in your life. General Conference? The question that hit me was, "What is a man willing to exchange for his soul?" (Más o menos). Even bigger question for me is, "What is a man willing to give in exchange for another man's soul?" (Take the question for the context it is in...) In other words, am I doing everything I can do to save people with the message I have to share? What is your answer?

Then, from the fiery words of Jeffrey R. Holland, "The crowning characteristic of love is loyalty." Loyalty is something I thought a lot about before my mission. Am I loyal to my religion? Am I loyal to my team? Am I loyal to my family? I guarantee you that if you look at any person you can find some way they have fallen short in every category. I will be the first to tell you that I myself have as well. You don't have to look far to see the bad in people, but if you take time to look closely, you can always find the good. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." Perfect loyalty to me, is a constant effort to support and stand for a person or cause you have joined yourself to. Perfect loyalty has mistakes still. Make them small ones. Find them. Fix them.
"How can we not press on in such great a cause?"

Love you all,
Elder Caleb O. Andrews

Gringo = American (or foreigner)
Comida = lunch in Mexico (literally "lunch")
Pesos = currency of Mexico
Más o menos = more or less

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