"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

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Protect Yourself

This week we were fascilitating transfers, helping everyone get to their areas and get situated, and then a lot of meetings with the Stake and Ward. Which, surprisingly, did not really take hardly any time. 

It was a rough week. I still had quite a bit of time to lose 10 investigators and a baptismal date. And after a week so rough, I thought to myself, why? I couldn't find anyone to blame but myself. But what was wrong about me? I had made it a personal goal to take out my scriptures in each lesson at an attempt to use them more. It helped me realize that people hate to read when one of them said, ¨No, not the scriptures!¨Haha. He didn't even know he was killing my personal goal. So, what did I learn? People here don't have the habit to read. So, you have to teach a little better. So we started using all the materials we have. Including DVD's and pictures and games. And we are seeing a lot more results with that. 

But I've got a few things to finish up. I cut a less active member's hair in exchange for him to come visit some people with us. He's honestly a great member, and probably would have gone out with us for free, but he needed a haircut and I wanted more practice. He's got a strong testimony.

The spider was behind the mosquito net in our shower. It's pretty big. I sprayed it with bug killer on four different occasions. But it never died and eventually ran away. 

But, I hope all is well with you all.

Take care,
Elder Andrews

Monday, August 19, 2013

Always Learning

So, a while back when Elder Rangel and I went to Villahermosa I bought some hair clippers. Something we hadn't thought about as I was leaving on a mission, but yes, you do have to cut your hair often as a missionary. Also, I have realized that it would come in handy now and forever to learn how to cut my own hair as to always meet the requirements, and you always need a little touch up. Again, not all missionaries know how to cut hair, so I figured I better learn to teach them. Cause what everyone knows is a buzz cut and nothing else, but buzz cuts make my mother cry. For that, sorry I haven't sent many pictures, but I love my mom. ;)

Anyway, with that lack of confidence already in the air, Elder Rangel woke up one morning and decided he needed a haircut and sat down and let me at his hair with my new $30 clippers (surprisingly cheap, super nice). Attached below are some results about how things went. Elder Rangel still tries to say he didn't like it, even though all the members ask him who cut his hair for recommendations. :0  We may or may not be giving free hair cuts to find new investigators. We are actually using it to get inside a house of a kid we are teaching to get his parents to give him permission to be baptized.

Speaking of which, there were a lot of transfers in the Zone. We thought we were going to get kicked out of our area to make room for the Sister Missionaries. Now 1/3 of the Zone 6 of 18 total are Sister Missionaries. "Gringas" or more formally known as white women (although it is mostly used here to describe a type of taco) will be coming to the mission as well in December. Not really sure how that is going to work, since before the age change American women were kept away from Mexico for their safety, but we'll see what happens. 6 of the missionaries we had here are gone. Lots of changes. 

But we are still here together in Insurgentes Elder Rangel and I. We are really having a lot of success we have been able to find through keeping our Area Book up to date. We are putting in Chris Tarbet's "Pipeline Theory", which, they surprisingly taught us in the MTC as well. Pretty handy.

Anyway, lots to do, little time, plus, I still gotta read the Bible. I'm in Leviticus. Animal sacrifices. Which makes you wonder about all the churches that supposedly live the Law of Moses and that's why the keep the Sabbath Day as Saturday. But if you are going to fulfill the Law, why not keep it all? Read the Book of Mormon. Read the Bible. Don't live in ignorance. Because once it takes hold of you, it's hard to get pulled back out.

Act for yourself. Make wise choices. Keep yourself in the strait and narrow path of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Questions? Ask the Missionaries. Ask, and ye shall recieve.

Take care of yourselves,
Elder Andrews

Elder Rangel's cut hair.
Edler Rangel's haircut.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Area Book

This week everyone in the Zone got sick--except my companion and me. Literally everyone. It's because we took our pills this week to kill all the bugs and parasites that we have gotten over the last six months. But that is that, I've been surprisingly, one of the healthy lot this go round.
Anyway, a lot of our focus in this last week was to focus and make sure we do the Little things right. Something that has worried me a lot here in this área for some reason is that all the work I do might be lost--all for nothing. President Castañeda would put the example of our work as a house, that we are painting blue and when another set of missionaries show up they decide to paint the house red and start over again. So, I can't really control what happens after I leave, but Elder Rangel and I decided we know how much help we can be to those who follow us in how much they know. So, it is important for you to know that as missionaries, in each área you will find an área book that contains a registry of everything that has been done in the área before you (or at least it should). And sadly, it is neglected because it is easy just not to do or to forget with the many other things there are to do. But, we've decided to try to put everything we can find--all the information we can get--into this área book (originally, I thought, to help others after I had been long gone). But, in this process I realized I may just have helped myself more than the information ever helps anyone else. It really helps us keep track of what we are doing more efectively. Helps us be more true to the work we are ding each day as well, because if you really can't write anything in it at the end of the day, you really didn't do anything. Thankfully that hasn't happened to me yet. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for my journal writing sometimes. :P
Anyway, so I'll tell you a Little bit about our investigators. We don't have many. When I got here they had a family that since has not come to Church. They are great and good friends of ours, but they just don't seem to want anything if they keep having troubles going to Church, so this week we dropped them.
We are also teaching a 17-year-old girl named Jocelin. She has already accepted baptism with us which is great, except since we just had Stake Conference this last week and the Stake Presidency got changed we haven't been able to set a date, but she is excited to be baptized. She has come a long way, since the majority of her family is Catholic. Her Aunt are members and her Uncle was baptized Young but has never really gone to church, but he is one of my best friends. His name is Blino and he goes all over Mexico because he is high up in one of the prominent parties of government, How important I'm not sure. I understand all his Spanish, its just that I am mainly clueless when it comes to the politics--even more here in Mexico.
We are also teaching another Catholic family--mainly Ivette (22) and her mom Leticia(51). They are super receptive and now have the Plan of Salvation memorized. We'll continue working with the whole family and hope for the best.
Anyway, time is always short. Make the most of what you have.
Take care of yourselves,
Elder Andrews

Monday, August 5, 2013

On a Lighter Note

Other cool news for everyone, I go to renew my Visa this week.

Normal backpacks are now illegal to use as missionaries (supposed to be world-wide). Now we all use man-purses.

A kid in my District who is training a new missionary was going to teach his new companion how to contact and went to talk to a lady. She was standing there near a cow and the first thing that came out of his mouth was: "Hey, is this your cow?" She said yes, and so the Senior Companion said, "Oh, ok. Bye." The Elder he is training has lost some respect for his Senior Companion. Elder Rangel and I are getting a good laugh out of it.

Green Grapes here aren't as expensive as I though, so I've had some for the first time in a year. That was cool. 

Our house here has lost our water again. Hopefully we don't go two months without like we did in Villa. 

Mom, you are still the only girl waiting for me. It's cool.

Elder Andrews

Captain Moroni - Doing Things Right

"I would that ye remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also." (Alma 60:23)

This week in our Weekly Planning Session we decided we weren't getting anywhere. That it didn't matter all of the efforts that we might exert ourselves in however long we are here in this area because once we leave, our efforts go with us. We had been doing everything ourselves, and it wasn't getting us anywhere.

The change of the Mission President has been rough. For all reasons different than I had thought. I thought that he would come in with his own style and change everything right at the start to have everything his way. But, it has not been that way, but rather taking everything and changing where he (President Morales) sees fit. President Morales is a young and very understanding President. He has a lot of confidence in us as missionaries. And so we have to take that confidence and get it among the members that we work with. 

The key to missionary work in this day and age is that the missionaries work side by side with the members. Let me be clear, because I think some may have a clouded view of what the mission is really like. Remember my Christmas calls? Yeah, the internet is like that and so we didn't hear the announcement that missionaries were allowed to use Internet and FaceBook and all the goods the day it happened, but rather heard it a few weeks later when some members had watched it again. Also, that transition is with the guidance of your mission President, and not effective immediately. So, no, I don't use FaceBook yet, and I don't sit in the Church all day. Rather, we keep doing what we have always done, yes, we contact. We knock doors, just not every door. I "knock" a door (I say knock because you just yell here cause everyone has gates--but my Carmen hoot comes in handy) any time there is a kid playing outside, or someone just chilling in a chair. We just don't knock houses where it looks like no one is home--for the most part. The new missionary work statistics say that 600+/1000 references from members are baptisms and roughly 10/1000 contacts are baptisms. So, that makes you think, more baptisms, right? But how many references have you given to the missionaries this last week? If they have had time to knock 60 doors before you have given a reference, you have failed. But, its true, I baptized every reference from Bishop Chablé in Mercedes. But take a moment to think about what you have done for missionary work lately. 

But, I like to take Moroni's words, that honestly you have to cleanse the basic unit to build up. That would start with me, then my companionship, then our organization of missionary work (ward mission leader and ward missionaries), then ward council, then the ward, the stake, the state, the country, the world-wide Church. If, by chance, you have forgotten one of these steps, once again, you have failed. The sad part is that most of us these days fails before we can make it past the first step--yourself.

So, I'll tell you a story. You don't just become a missionary. With a name tag or a member missionary or whatever you are thinking you don't just become one one day. It takes work. You cannot help someone else if you do not know how to help yourself. 

A few years ago, I put myself in a situation like this. I would let myself down to raise others up. I saw it as an act of humility on my part. But God does not ask us to give up our own salvation to try to help others find theirs. If you are in a situation doing things that you shouldn't because you are trying to help others from falling worse, you are being sorely deceived. Get out now. 

I intended to relate this scripture to my work here, but I fear that others may have needed it to speak to them. Help yourself, so that you may help others. I have always been inspired by the Coast Guard's slogan (as I heard in a movie, so who knows) "So others may live". That is the kind of self-sacrifice that I would hope all of you and I would have. But you do not get to be a part of this spiritual army saying that you'll do some good when it comes along. You have to manage what is given to you and get into the storm. Fighting this battle, and making it through requires personal action and progress. 

I pray that God blesses each and every one of you as you show your love to Him through your righteous actions

Elder Andrews