Sunday, March 1, 2015

01 March 2015- " No matter how long the winter..."

"No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow"

One of the secrets to finding joy in serving as a missionary is to
 "Forget yourself and Get to work"...
 I truly feel that is the turning point for so many missionaries; 
and why these four missionaries have genuine smiles- 
Is the Work easy? NO!
 But is it worth it? YES!
"The secrets to a happy, purposeful life aren't such big secrets- in fact, they're the small and simple things you already know about. You simply have to do them daily with real intent to see real benefits."

President, I forget something!

Something interesting happened this week. On Thursday, everyone that we talked to rejected us. Everyone. We talked with 15 people on the street and didn't get one reference. We taught lessons and they were unsuccessful. Then in the night, we went to follow-up on a family to whom we had a given a blessing earlier that week. The blessing was so great - the Spirit was there and I said things in the blessing that I had no idea were true and actually happening in their lives. It was pretty great and we were thinking they were a golden family. When we went to teach them the first lesson, they had some family visiting. We began to teach and...... well it ended pretty ugly. Their visitors totally reamed us out, yelling and saying that they only believe in God and Jesus Christ (funny, because so do we) and that there was never going to be any book other than the Bible, blah blah blah. Long story short, as soon as we left the house, I couldn't hold it in any more! I started crying... everything about the day seemed like a failure. I returned to the house pretty discouraged. As I was preparing for bed, I remembered that the zone leaders had sent us a message with a scripture that morning that I had forgotten to read. So, I decided to look it up, Moroni 9:6 - "And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God."

It was really a testament to me that Heavenly Father is aware of me, little old missionary in Huauchinango, Puebla. In my moment of trial and discouragement, He sent His Spirit to help me remember that message. And, how inspired are the zone leaders? I am so grateful for the organization of God's church - everyone is taken care of.

I am so greatful to be a missionary. Even though sometimes it's the hardest thing ever (you're dealing with people's salvation here...) it's also the most incredible.
Hermana S.

Some of the blessings of mission service...

"Abigail, the daughter of a preacher. Has already born her testimony in fast and testimony meeting and this is her baptism. She's  a force to be reckoned with!"

 "Beautiful job Hermanas"

 This man has been married 23 years to his wife who has been a member her whole life. He now accepted the Gospel in his life after all these years. Yes, a time of pure joy!


Getting our SERVICE on...

 Helping clear the property so construction can begin on a home...

Making some chocolate....
Presidente Egbert,
Gracias por su trabajo. Esta semana ha sido una con altas y bajas como toda semana. Para que sea algo corto, sólo quiero decirle que estamos bien y progresando.
hemos encontrado MUY buenas personas aquí. hemos sido altamente bendecidos por poder ser guiados por el Señor tantas veces. una semana hicimos una oración para "obligar" al Señor y él nos cumplió dentro de 3 minutos con "una familia preparada por angeles" (las mismas palabras de nuestra oración). 2 de los hijos se van a bautizar esta semana.
Olivia es otra investigadora que encontramos por medio de contactar los 10 diarios. estuvimos yendo hacía la casa en la noche cuando de repente nos dimos cuenta que sólo tuvimos 9 contactos del día. vimos en la calle una señora caminando y decidimos acercarnos y contactarla. aceptó y desde la segunda visita ha estado leyendo el libro de mormón y está TAN animada para su bautismo. de hecho, nos dijo que está esperando anhelosamente.
Gracias por su amor y paciencia presidente!!! Le amo.
-Elder S

Working in this part of His vineyard...

 Elder Vique is plum tuckered out!!!


Well..... these missionaries had to be assigned somewhere!!!

 Oh my- how serious a pose is this?!! You all just make me giggle.... Love you all!  Santiago District- Tezontepec Zone

 District meetings are wonderful...

 Treasures in the corn field....

 Elder Pearson and Elder Urriola all settled into their new casa.... NICE!

 Look what the 'wind' blew into the office on Monday... ?
5 Missionaries took their FINAL English language exam today!!! Woot Woot!!!

 Dropping off two bikes and supplies to Mixi 2 Elders and while we were talking in the street they contacted this man and his wife who walked past. It was so fun to watch these two exceptional Elders at work. Mom Egbert was very IMPRESSED! 
 Elder Ellibee's Spanish is great after 8 weeks in the mission!


Oh Ya... Early Morning Exercise!!!
We bet the Elders don't look as good as we do in the mornings...

Glad that part is done!

 District Meeting in Huachinango 
What a great group of missionaries who are working hard and have a lot of investigators progressing. President and I were very impressed... keep up the good work!

 This is a "spunky" little district!
Tulancingo Lucerna District Meeting 
President just dropped off mail and said hi! 
Zone Leaders reported that Elder Smith (far left) did and an excellent job teaching his second only district meeting. Thank you!

 "Hasta la vista Presidente!"

These two are chomping at the bit to work harder, but Elder Barrios (right) is still recovering from his appendicitis. We have been instructed for him to take it slow for a few more weeks. Thank you Elder Rubio for being such a great caregiver.

 LOVING US SOME PACHUCA MEX ZONE LEADERS!!! blinded by the bright morning sun....

 These two smile no matter what is going on .... but a new iron just made those smiles brighter! So proud of our sisters who have been serving in Pachiquilla over the last while. They have worked hard and had great success because of their work ethic and strict obedience... they talk to everyone!

Saturday Morning Fun in Sahagun... 
Helping the Elders move houses and so the neighboring Elders traveled in to assist, along with the zone leaders. What better way to start the morning than Hrmn. Egbert's french toast and bacon? Add lots of butter, syrup and whipped cream!!! 

 The smiles of the last load and the old house scrubbed clean....

 While half the group cleaned and hauled things from the old house these three (below) cleaned and set up the new house. Talk about TEAM WORK! They moved into a newer cleaner house that is 1/2 the size. And like Elder Martin commented... this new house will be so much easier to clean!

 And though this is not his house Elder Sermeno cleaned his little heart out! Thanks so much Elder.
Elder Butron commented he needed a "nap"... His companion said to call President. LOL... I think he changed his mind... about that phone call!


Eating a little Chinese Food together on P-Day.... 
The mission rules state no more than 4 missionaries out in a public place together. 
(Safety protocol- We appreciate the missionaries adapting and planning accordingly.)


Dear President Egbert:

I learned about covenats and again small thins. On sunday we went for our investigators and they weren't there and i was discouraged and then Hna P said: Hermana Let's find other investigators and then i said ok, she always has great ideas and we went and they were waiting for us , a mom and 5 children! and we went to the church and they felt so good and then we saw two of our investigators they told us that they don's know if they will go to church but they went. And Hno Matias returned of his travel to Oaxaca with his divorce already he just need to go on March 5th and that it! and He is so different and they are reading the Book of Mormon, they are so good and he and his wife want to be baptized, they asked us " Sisters well we are doing to ger marry and when can we be baptized? " haha I SAY THE SAME DAAAAAAAAY if you want. no Matias come back home with new clothes that His children bought for Him and he went to church with the best and he shared his testimony about the church on the gospel principles and i just wept and other investigators to. And cecy and abraham theyre so good and we went to htier house, a super humble house without furniture without food and with tons of dust but full of a great desire to change, we went with the members the rpimary president and Her husband and tey wpt with us and He gave her a blessing for her and her new baby who is waiting to born. President that little kid abraham is learning the Articles of faith he knows 3 and he wants so bad a book to read the bible and the triple and he has a new backpack for school and he put his book there and bring his new backpage to church. I love Him they teach me many things they pray in the moornings and read the scriptures, they dont have ANYTHING and they pay thier tithing . I love them i love every person here and I'm so happy , sometimes i feel bad beause i cant see how they progress and I'm feel worried to leave them and dont see how they get married or take a baptism but I will do the simple things i will try everyday to help them . President i know im so imperfect but i know that I can, and I just want to give my heart and mind and everyday try to be better and better.
With all my love.
Hermana C

I'm missing my missionaries but know that the reunions at home were happy ones...

Elder Cruz (Left) was greeted by Cristian Loza one of our recently returned Elders from Peru...

Elder Stewart and his wonderful family
Querido Pte. Egbert,

Esta semana voy a compartirle mi carta que escribí para todos aquellos en mi casa. Es mi ultima carta como misionero y puse mucho amor en ella. Solo para decirle gracias por todo en estos últimos meses. El Señor está haciendo un gran cambio en nosotros y lo continuará haciendo si seguimos humildes y diligentes en su obra. No importa en donde estemos. Siempre habrá algo que se tiene que hacer!

Dear Family and Friends,

So this is it. The last one. I can`t believe that my mission as a full-time missionary is coming to an end. I have no idea how to express what I`m feeling right now. I am truly seeking inspiration because I know that I will forever look back on this last email that I am currently writing to all my friends and family.

My testimony before the mission was strong. I knew that I needed to come on a mission and serve the Lord. I knew that these two years were going to be the most worth-while of my life but as my sister-in-law told me right before leaving, also the most difficult.

I was excited getting here to the mission. The MTC was a relatively smooth ride and I couldn´t wait to arrive in Mexico to learn a new culture, meet new people, let alone learn a new language, etc. But in the first few weeks, I had been having a really rough time. I look back on it and remember writing my parents telling them that I was struggling a lot, that I didn`t know if I could do it for two years, that I didn`t understand the language, that the days were long for me. One Monday, I got an email from X and that letter helped me realize that I had been talking about me, worried about me, etc. A lot of I`s in my emails. It really opened my eyes and helped me know that this wasn`t even about me.

At 3 months in the mission, I started worrying about the testimony that I had been teaching with. I realized that I was teaching through the mind and not the heart. I didn`t feel what I was teaching, rather it was just knowledge that was coming out of my mouth. I received a very personal invitation from my mission president in an interview that I needed to read the Book of Mormon in 10 days and then fast about two simple questions:
1. Do I have a loving Heavenly Father?
2. Is Jesus Christ my Savior and Redeemer?
Back to the basics, right? President later went on to tell me that "there must be no doubt". "As servants of the Lord, there must be no doubt." That stuck with me and scaried me a lot. I put myself to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish. After 9 days, I read Moroni 10:34 and then closed the book. I started my fast and ended it with fervent prayer asking the two specific questions. Ending the prayer before breaking my fast, I waited for a couple minutes and didn`t feel anything. For the next couple days, I worried not knowing what to do because I hadn`t received an answer. But about three days, I remember waking up in my bed on the second floor of the Calle Candelaria and realizing that my doubts that I had couldn`t be formed in my mind! A miracle had occurred! I knew in that moment that the scripture in Alma 37:6 rings true. "And small means in many instances doth confound the wise." With this answer, I started my journey once again on my personal conversion.

Since that fast and invitation from Pt. Egbert, I have been hoping to be able to one day say truthfully that "I know that this Church is true". I had said it a lot before the mission but needed to mean it. About 4 months ago, my testimony had grown strong enough that I felt the need to share that statement with the people I was going to meet.

I`ve thought in the last few days, what would my favorite scripture be from the mission? I thought about my dad (trainer), Elder Iris, when he taught me something that I will never forget. We read in Doctrine and Covenants 18:15:

And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

As my brother has counseled me in these two years, the truth of it all is that when I go visit my converts with my parents, I might not find them in the same circumstances that I had left them. Maybe they`ll be in the streets drinking a Corona with their garments showing underneath their tattered shirt. Maybe they`ll be in "unión libre" and haven`t been to church in over a year. Maybe they`ll be in other parts of the world and I won`t know anything about them or how they are.

But I testify to all of you that that one soul that Our Heavenly Father is hoping that we bring to Him is us. I have a testimony of this Gospel. I know Jesus payed for our sins and sufferings. I know that our Father in Heaven has given us the means to return to His presence. I know that Our Savior has worked miracles in the lives of those I`ve met here in Mexico. Mary Louisa, Fernando, Edgar, Sergio, Mario, Benjamin, Perla, Miguel, Abigail, and so many others have humbled themselves and have come unto Christ. I`ve had the opportunity to witness the work of the Lord. I know the work that I have participated in during these last two years is REAL. There is no joke about it. There is no game to it. This is the salvation of each and every one of us. I love it all. It`s too good not to be true.

When it all comes down to it, the only thing that matters to the Lord is that I will have gained a conversion of His Gospel through my obedience and diligence here in the mission. I honestly feel like it has been achieved. In verse 16 of Section 18, more souls are mentioned and I have been a witness of their lives being changed thanks to Our Savior.

I love you all and cannot even thank you in words for all you`ve done for me in the last two years to get me excited, to keep me going in the hard times, to warn me of my pride, to console me in my sorrow, etc. 

I will see you all fairly soon :) This is Elder _______________ signing off for the last time as this 85,000 member army.

 Elder S

Elder Katich welcomed home!

Hermana Cebreros (left) beautiful as ever- returned home and enjoying friends/family.


Elder Jacobson and his Mom.... The look from a mother who has missed her son for two years!

Elder Jake Segura
Elder Segura ... so happy to be with family again!

Elder Flores being welcomed home...

Elder Stephens and his family... Which one is your mom?

Elder Chavez... back in regular clothes and it feels different I'm sure.

Elder Barber...

Elder Smith and his beautiful family.

Elder Rogel (right) headed for home via bus to the airport with some of his missionary friends...

Elder Lainhart was blessed to be able to stop by the Mexico City MTC to visit his sister who is in training for her mission. What a blessing as it would have been another 18 months until they would have seen each other in person. Then back to the airport he headed for his flight home.

Elder Smart and his supportive fans!!! Nothing like family.

Elder Barrios back with his loved ones in Guatemala....


That was a long day, but finally arrived home in Wyoming...
 Family anxiously awaited Elder Kearls arrival... looking sharp even after 18 hrs of travel and no sleep!

Elder Bickley...
(I'm still trying to locate his pictures.)

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