Sunday, October 27, 2013

...defined by his or her purpose: to invite others to come unto Christ.

Mission Life

"The breadth and depth of a missionary's experience are defined by his or her purpose: to invite others to come unto Christ."


Valle De Mezquital Zone 

This group having a good time on Preparation Day... And I trust that this was after their houses were cleaned thoroughly, groceries purchased, and laundry taken care of... 

Elder Oliver you are grounded from ever playing soccer..... remember?! 
"High risk for Injury"

Noah wasn't the only one having to deal  with flooding waters. Poor Elder Barber and Elder Duran had to endure the torture previously together and then after transfers Elder Smith was allowed to share the pain. When the floods come it runs to their house... and up through the shower drain it flows. They have found a new place to move and hopefully this next week will be in a dryer environment, but they make the most of the inconvenience, teaching me that when you want to cry just laugh... it makes you feel better. Why cry over things you can't control! I love how creative Elder Smith is to decrease the level of the smell......

Story of Service: " It All Started With a Canceled Appointment"
On a recent Thursday as we were walking down a suburban street, we were presented with an unexpected opportunity to serve. We were coming back from an appointment that had fallen through and since we had been fairly confident that we would be occupied, we were momentarily lost in what to do next.  We must have been pretty sad looking because an older fellow with a machete noticed. Now normally when some one approaches you with a large sword sized knife and starts staring you down its understandable to take a little caution, Personally I was getting geared up to start running! The man smiled however and jokingly said, "You boys are just walking around... why don't you help me cut my grass?" Though he was just teasing us I figured "Why not?". After all, service is an important part of being a member of the church. To this man's surprise, I put down my shoulder bag, took his machete and started hacking at the lawn in front of  his house. He let me take a few dozen swings, then said his thanks and asked for his machete back. Obviously my cutting style was a little lacking in grace and precision. But he smiled as I handed him back the blade. From inside the house came a woman who asked, "You guys are Mormons, right?" You help the community? Come help us move our furniture!" By serving this random man, a door was opened, friends were made, and a potential investigator found.
Elder B

The mission office on Monday is a fun place to be- with an English Test being taken today by Elder Zumudio who did excellent and got a very high rating. Also we love to see the Elders who live closer and those assigned to come in and get "pouch" for their areas.  President has special interviews and works on finances/visas with our amazing secretaries.

Then off I went to do a home tour......

Home # 1- "Pachuca Mex Tecnologico II"  

This quaint little home sits in a perfect place for these missionaries area. They have a large area like everyone else... however, they have the most beautiful new chapel with the most amazing ward. Elder Felsted and Elder Carlson keep their place "spotless and in order". They have made it so inviting and it looks clean, smells clean and is clean. Score of 9.97       Thank you so much Elders!!!

P.S. President- They would love bikes for their area..... 

Here they are with their "area book" and new "shower curtain rod"- Don't they look serious?!" And then off they head to take their laundry to be washed for $ 50 pesos which is about $ 4.00 U.S.

(Below) President and I were able to attend their baptismal service tonight (Sunday) for 6 of their investigators. It was awesome! So proud of these boys and what impressed me the most was the total support they had from all the ward auxiliary. They had the Relief Society President, Elders Quorum President, Young Men's President, Primary President, Bishop, and Ward Mission Leader. They all introduced themselves and welcomed each specific individual into their area of responsibility. The primary kids got their "Faith in God" books, and the Home-teacher was there to introduce himself to the new brother who was baptized. The Relief Society President verbalized by name who the sisters' new visiting teachers would be and the young man got his manuals to help him learn more about the youth program and his Savior Jesus Christ. I have never seen anything like it before... so impressed. With a ward that surrounds, supports, strengthens and welcomes how can these newest converts fall through the cracks? Oh... and that rambunctious little two year old boy in the front... its a good thing the nursery leader stayed home to rest! She is going to need every bit of energy to keep up with him..... Oh my!!!


Our cute Elder Ford (Center cut out) had his sibling get married last weekend and when I asked how it went he said he was in attendance! I wanted proof.... and this is the proof. Between the bride and groom there are three missionary siblings out in the field. All three full size cut-outs of them were standing to represent how important family feels their service is to the Lord and to let them know that no one has been forgotten. Congratulations to the new couple from all of us here in the Mexico Pachuca Mission.


We really do have the most obedient, cutest personalities, and spiritual giants of any mission in the World! I might be a little biased, but I'm being honest. I trust them explicitly. 

Pachuca Mex Zone Activity Day

If this group doesn't look like trouble then I am not sure how trouble is defined... and as for the geese ... well- they should have known better when they saw these Elders coming!


Elder Chavez going dippin' with this happy young man. 

Those smiles say it all!



 Home # 2- "Pachuca Mex Loreto"

This home tour had two purposes... First, to replace the sink with the professional help of Elder Campuzano (who did plumbing professionally before his mission) and to bring a couple of other necessities to these two great Elders. Elder Macias and Elder Sanders have the most luscious green garden courtyard as you enter their home. It has a locked gate out front which makes it feel protected and safe. And the simple new mirror, clothes iron, and kitchen table made these two Elders happier than peacocks!
Kudos to Elder Sanders who is working so hard to learn the language and adjust to Mexico. He doesn't let the challenge of the mission ruin his spirits... instead he becomes more determined to learn the language, to love the people, and to leave "homesickness" in the gutter! So proud of both these Elders for having their place in order for my visit.

Quitting is not an option here... and everyone chips in to lift spirits when the going gets tough... because
 we are all family here in the Pachuca Mision.

Special thanks to Elder Campuzano... what would we do without you?


Home # 3- "Pachuca Centro -Pachuca"

Hermana Cerbreros and Hermana Contreras are so cute and totally let us stop by their home unannounced. They were busy studying at their study tables and everything else was clean and in order. Elders "take note"..
These two are a ray of sunshine and never complain... they giggled that they have hot water now... thanks to their big brothers (Zone Leaders) who are watching out for them!



Elder Loza (AP) visiting the Actopan District for Wednesdays Meeting.

 Elder Loza on "splits" with Elder Vique and visiting with Elder Zepeda and Elder Niro.

 Home # 4-  "Pachuca Centro- Real De Minas"

This cute "Town-home" is neat and in order and these two 'Spirited Elders' are just a perfect companionship to serve their area. They have great members that live close by and also our Area Seventy Elder Mendoza lives in their neighborhood.  They have a good sized ward and sit about 20 minutes outside of Pachuca. 


Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Mexico Area Mission President/Wife Training

President and I were invited for a 3 day training to Huatulco which is a beautiful part of Mexico. It was very hot and humid... no long johns needed there! All 34 missions Presidents in Mexico gathered to be trained by the Area Seventy and their sweet wives. Also in Attendance were the Mexico MTC President/Spouse, and Area Legal Council/Spouse both amazing couples whom have served as previous mission presidents.

President and I are in the 3-4th row back slightly left of middle.

What was our instruction, what did I learn, and what are we going to do better?

  • Concerns of : Lower baptismal numbers in Mexico overall
  • Concerns of : Are the missionaries being taught doctrine to help them be better teachers?
  • We are going to : Teach our missionaries more doctrine
  • We are going to : Go out with companionship's while they teach to assess their teaching styles, then teach and assist in helping them grow in that area.
  • We are going to: Direct teaching opportunities on the "how to"....
  • We are going to: Find additional planned meetings for teaching doctrine
  • I am going to lead by example : of finding references where ever I go
  • I am going to lead by example: of being aware of those I can serve
  • I am going to lead by example: of Obedience with Exactness
  • I am going to be more involved with the success of English language study
  • I am going to lead by example: an attitude of enthusiasm, support, courage and hard work in all aspects of the mission
  • I am going to lead by example: that I am an instrument in the Work of Salvation and be sensitive to promptings of how I can be his tool for good


Odds -n- Ends

Sunday, October 20, 2013

...having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine...

The Work of Reclaiming the Lost Sheep...

"Our missionaries are examples of giving by their genuine concern and untiring love for the people here in Mexico by using kindness, patience, long suffering, love, faith and diligence."

 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine ain the wilderness, and go after that which is blost, until he find it?
 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

President Egbert,

It was another great week in the Lords Vineyard. The results are few at the moment but we are giving it our all for the Lord and I will continue to do so!

Friday night we got home at 9:00 and planned. We were done at 9:30. We were super exhausted and were just ready to crash. But before I did, the prompting came to me, "Call your Elders!" (Call some companionships in the zone to see how they were doing.) I tried to justify not doing it, being super exhuasted. Then the Spirit reminded me of a scripture, "Wherefore, let every man learn his duty, and act in the office which he is appointed, in all dilligence. He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen." I meditated on the Savior and the lesson that he taught us with what he did three days before his ressurection. He did not rest. He continued to work! I was not even close to being as exhuasted as the Savior, I could make some phone calls. I did and was able to help a few companionships in the zone. This may seem like something innocent but it was a great lesson that I learned this week. The Spirit confirmed to me that what I did was right after I made the phone calls.

Saturday we were a little depressed because we did not have any investigators to go to church. We had a week before put an appointment with a less-active to go visit him. We wanted to really focus on investigators but came through with the appointment we had put. When we got there, his mother answered and told us that he was not there. We asked the non-member mother if we could share a fifteen minute message with her. She was busy but the Spirit touched her heart and she let us in. She informed us that she was a Christian woman and pulled out her Bible as to want to contend. We taught the restoration in about twelve minutes. The Spirit was there very, very strongly and we know that they felt it. They agreed to pray to know and to go to church with us the next day. It was an answer to our prayers. It was great!

Sunday, recieving reports, we realized the zone needed a whole lot more help than I thought it really did. After the reports, by the invitation of Elder Loza, we knelt in prayer and asked the Lord for inspiration to help us know what we needed to do to help our sheep. It was so amazing as ideas just flowed to mind. We are super excited for the mini-zone training on Wednesday.

I love the mission! It has been the best two years of my life, without a doubt! It is such a blessing to be able to share what I know with my brothers and sisters and at the same time have the Holy Ghost teach me and testify of the truthfullness of my words!

Thanks for all of the love and support President.

Continued Success - Onward and Upward           Elder A


Elder Ramos looking fancy in his "Mexican Sombrero" 

Dear President,
As was fast Sunday yesterday, my companion and I fasted for our area and to be able to find new people to teach. Also a number of people that we would put as a goal for baptisms for November  At the end of our fast my companion and I came together with a number that we feel we should put, we both came up with 4 people that will be ready to be baptized in November  We thought that if we both thought that 4 baptisms in November than it must be inspired.
Later that night we received a message from a member saying that he was talking to his friend and she would like to hear us. We were like ok we don't have any set plans for this hour so why not. We ended up going to the house with him and not only is she there but her mom, her brother, and her sister, so 4 in total. We go on getting to know them and start the lesson. We start with how the gospel will help them with their family and how god wants them to be happy. The mom started to show more interest in what we were saying. We talked about prophets and the sister of carina, the reference, went off about prophets and what they are. My companion and I were shocked. We go on to finish the lesson and invite them to read the Book of Mormon. All accepted. Then we invited them to be baptized. One by one they all accept. The mom goes on to tell us about she wants to do whats best for her family and is willing to do whatever. And how she has seen us missionaries walking around all the time and how she respects our work. There baptismal date is the 19 of November.
After the lesson I knew that this is the family that the lord told us was prepared to accept the gospel. That we fasted for these people and to be able to find them. After this experience my testimony of fasting has grown! I know that if we fast and are willing to sacrifice food for spiritual growth personally and for others that the lord will prepare the way.
Something that I learned from conference is that we don't get a testimony from the gospel unless we live it. We wont get a testimony of tithing unless we pay it, we wont get a testimony of fasting unless we fast, and we wont get a testimony of the Book of Mormon unless we read it. Having faith is good, but without works, or acting, our faith is dead (James 2). My testimony of fasting just grew a whole lot from this experience. And that the law of the fast is true.
Elder S


Tuesday- Quarterly Interviews- Tecamac I Zone

 "Boys to Men"

Sister Egberts oven "died" Monday night when trying to make sugar cookies so poor Tecamac I had to have substitute treats...


 "District Meeting in Mezquital"

"What's for Dinner?"  

Elder Dove and Elder Loza with the famous Shrimp Taco's made from this amazing convert of Elder Dove's. No wonder they like to check on those missionaries in Mezquital! 


Wednesday- Quarterly Interviews Pachuca Sur Zone

"A great day of interviews- President really enjoyed this round of interviews in each zone"

Our cute sisters have so much personality. They fixed breakfast for the Bishops family (upper right) and welcomed our two newest sisters to the mission(bottom left). 

"Sisters are Soul Mates"

Mexico Pachuca Home Show/Tour continues....

Home # 1 - Tecamac I- Zone Leaders

This apartment is inviting because of the little garden located outside their front door. I assume the neighbor lady is a "green thumb"... These two amazing Elders are almost OCD. Not a thing out of place and everything spic and span. I love their Tupperware collection that belongs to several of the sisters in their ward. See for yourself... no concerns here! President sure appreciates the examples our leaders are to those in their care. Great job Elders!


Home # 2 - "Tecamac I- Jardines De Morelos"

This cute little home is situated in an orange colored complex located directly across the street from a corner pharmacy. They live on 1/2 of the second level. This little place has one of the best bathrooms I have seen. We dropped off a book shelf on Thursday so they can take one table and use it in the kitchen. When asked what they needed they only mentioned that a curtain for the window and a couple of sticky hooks to hang clothes on while in the shower would be helpful. Elder Santos is training Elder Clark and so they spend A LOT of time studying at their tables... they apologized for the messy look and confirmed to having it already arranged nicely on a recent phone call. I love these Elders who take personal interest in their homes and always leave it better than they found it. Parents at home can be proud.. they even had one light bulb burned out and when I returned two days later had it replaced. Talk about efficient!


Home # 3- "Tecamac I- Bosques 2"

 This little apartment sits nestled down a gated block. Elder Mora and Elder Katich had just rearranged their study area which looked comfy- almost too comfy! They are troopers as they work around the homeowners "extra" stuff shoved in every corner and closet. They are working with her to remove or store some of it so they have more room to live in. I loved the organized area in the kitchen and met one of their great neighbors who is investigating the church. They have a "leaky" sink that went on my "Get'R fixed" list and a door latch that won't latch. Other than that they are quiet content here.


Home # 4 - "Tecamac I - Heroes"

This cute little "condo" is snuggled in a neighborhood where I was constantly feeling watched walking down the street. Elder Gil and Elder Lainhart feel safe locked inside the gate to their home and members live right next door which makes me feel better. I was proud of their efforts in cleaning their home and loved the creativity of their "desk organizers." They needed a few things for their place which we dropped off on Thursday; including a burner to cook on that doesn't spark and shoot flames! They also have made an effort to "spring clean" and remove junk that has collected from past companionship's. On Monday they promised to work on the bathroom...Thanks so much!


Home # 5 - "Tecamac I- Pradera"

 So this cute little "casa" has a lot of character. It sits locked inside the white gates pictured above. Elder Camacho and Elder Iverson keep things in tip-top shape. The home is accented in "blue" which is perfect for "boys" and they have personalized it with pictures taped to the wall. I did notice transportation coming down the street outside though I think they walk most of the time and take taxi's. These two Elders are a dynamic duo together and have fun stories to share with us often. So proud of their humble spirits. 


Home # 6- Pachuca Mx- Palmar"

This unique little home is located near a corner bakery.  Elder Smart and Elder Chavez have made huge progress in whipping this place into shape. The stove is "White"- but, one wouldn't have known that before. And look they defrosted their fridge/freezer just as asked at the first of each month... Their closet is so neatly organized and bathrooms look a lot better. What I wanted to share with this house is the creativity of these Elders in making this unique map of their area. Notice the assorted pin colors each depicting the houses in their area of "members, in-active members, leadership, investigators, and homes of those that won't allow them to visit.(we don't like that color so much)" Great job Elders...       Love the progress!


This was a Friday night stake activity ... 13 Elders from the Mexico Pachuca Mission participated. Each area contributing with a small/mini training for members  focusing on issues such as retention, rescuing or baptizing. This was a very spiritual activity where members could understand a little more about the love and commitment we should all have for the Work of Salvation as asked to do by the prophet.  At the end we enjoyed a very fun game (jeopardy) with which included a sock ball testing knowledge  of all the members.


OPERATION: Mission Pals

"2 for the Trail"


"Sharing some of our baptisms"

"We be dippin' "  per Elder Poulsen, Elder Shillig, Elder Dove


"Wrapping up the Week"

Our second daughter Taysia Kai and her husband Chris brought the new grand-baby Emri Mae down to Pachuca for a two day visit. They flew in late Thursday night and flew out early Sunday morning. We went to the Pyramids all day Friday and Saturday just hung out together and attended one of our missions newest converts baptism. It was so much fun to get acquainted with the newest edition to our family... but always hard to say goodbye.

I don't know who was more tired Emri Mae or Elder Dove after a full day at the Pyramids- Elder Loza climbed to the top! An amazing view and interesting history of this land...

President Egbert actually got teary after they left... feeling blessed.