Friday, February 8, 2013

Another week has come and gone

Mon 1/28/2013 4:46 PM

Well, another week has come and gone, and I cant believe how fast this week flew by, honestly, it scares me at times haha. By the way, this week I finally received the package from dearelder, and wow, the cookies and the beef jerky were soooo good! Also, I love the calendar of temples, so amazing and it is awesome to look at so many different temples. My companion was shocked by how many are in Utah haha and even more so when I told him about how long it takes me to get to each one, probably because the closest temple to him is 6 hours away in the US, count your many blessings right? So the big news of the week is that tomorrow, Tuesday, Elder Russel M. Nelson is coming to Mexico and is going to talk to all of the missionaries in DF, and luckily my companion and I are in DF haha, so we will get to go to Aragon, where the temple is, and listen to an Apostle speak directly at us missionaries, if you cant tell, I'm pretty excited about it. 
So this week I learned alot about what it means to really love someone the way that Christ loves us. So this week we had been focusing on one investigator named Juan, who is a psychologist, and ya, he is super duper smart. Anyways, hermano Bravo had been a Testigo de Jehova, or a Jehovah's witness, for almost all of his life, and he did full time proselyting for more than 6 years when he was about my age right now. The problem is that this church doesn't allow their congregation study certain careers in the university, and psychology is one of them, so he was basically excommunicated from this church, but it doesn't mean that he doesn't still know the whole bible by basically memory. Anyways, so one night we were just knocking doors cause all of our plans fell through, we knocked on one door, and the neighbor, this hermano Bravo, answered the door, and said (in broken English) Elder, come in please! Well obviously we were excited, so we entered in his home and began to talk. Apparently he had almost gotten baptized about 1 year ago, but when he was about to enter the water he all of a sudden backed out and hadn't visited with the missionaries for a whole year after that. Well obviously that got us excited. Anyways, that happened about a month ago, so we decided that we were going to give this week one huge push with as many lideres as we could to try to get him to commit to baptism, and wow, some of the most powerful lessons that I have ever been in. The last one we had with our District Leader was something special. We realized that we were focused on what he needed to do, and not on the blessings that he would receive if he did get baptized, so we repented and did such. The spirit was seriously so strong, there were parts were all three of us were tearin up. This is when I learned what it means to love someone the way Christ loves us. As it talks about in 3 Nefi when Christ came to the Americas, there are a couple instances when it talks about how Christ's joy was so great that he began to cry, that He loved the people so much that He, the Son of the Living God, cried because of His love for the people. Now, we now that Christ loves us more than we can possibly comprehend, but it is amazing to start to feel this same love for someone, but at the same time, as representatives of Christ, sometimes we walk in His path and are rejected, even when someone feels the Spirit and knows the truth, and that is what happened this night. Bravo decided not to get baptized, to wait even longer, even when he knew very clearly that by not excepting to come unto Christ, to progress, is the same as rejecting him (Mathew 10 i think). I've learned though that we all do this.  By not repenting, by not changing our lives everyday to come closer to Christ, we are rejecting the Atonement and its powers to save us. Even though we have been baptized, confirmed, and some of us entered in the temple, this doesn't mean that we are done, or anywhere near done. It is just as easy for some of us to not read the scriptures everyday as it is for someone to decline baptism, and the first is worst that the last. It is just as easy for us to not go to church one day, as it is for someone to smoke a cigarette. That is mostly what I have learned this week. That when he have light, sometimes we think that we have sufficient to enter into the Celestial Kingdom, and we reject further light, we don't read the scriptures EVERYDAY (look in Preach my Gospel chapter four, it is a commandment), or go to church EVERY WEEK (there is a reason why it is the 4th commandment out of the big 10). As members of the church, it is even more urgent that we repent quickly, that we change quickly, that we get back on the straight and narrow and as dad taught me several times throughout ym and that I am just beginning to understand, cling to the iron rod, not just hold on, but cling to the word of God, the Scriptures (not just the Book of Mormon, but the Bible, D and C, and the Pearl of Great Price). If we don't do these things everyday, we are in more jeopardy of loosing our salvation that someone who closes the door on us saying ´´Gracias, soy Catolico´´, because we know better. Take the Amalekites for example, and read what the Prophets say about them.
Well, no more time, sorry!, Love you all, thank you  for all your love and letters!

Elder Noel


Mon 1/21/2013 12:38 PM

Well, another week as come and gone here in Loma Hermosa, and boy was it a good one! Definitely a testimony to me that it doesn't matter what has happened in the past, what matters is if we are going to apply the Atonement in our lives today or not, and change today, that is what really matters. It doesn't matter if we had a crappy day yesterday, we have the decision to make today a good day, and that is what we did. As you hopefully can see by the pictures, we had a lot of success this week, and I would like to spend the majority of my letter today focused on the pair, Ramon and Araceli.
So we met these two about 2 weeks ago yesterday, when Araceli went to church basically all by herself. These two were living in Ecatapec, in the state of Mexico, but a construction company was building something right by their house when the foundation of their house caved in due to the construction next to their house, so they basically lost everything. Well, this started their conversion, one way or another. They were forced to move out, and about 3 weeks ago they came here to Loma Hermosa, were coinsadently (I have completely lost all ability to spell in English... so you´ll have to sound that one out) she has a friend who is an active member, and Sunday morning he invited her to come, and she did, all alone without her husband. So after the services, we talked to her and since they had just moved, their apartment was full to the brim with boxes, so she said that we couldn't come visit them until they had cleared a spot for us to talk with them. Well, that wouldn't do haha, so we offered to help move all of their boxes so that we could talk with them, and oddly enough she accepted. Well, she wasn't lying, there was a lot of boxes. There, we got to spend about 1 hour and a half moving boxes, occasionally talking a little about the gospel, but mostly using this time to gain the confidence from her husband, who after all the disasters in his life, basically gave up believing in God, so this was a great opportunity for us to explain the restoration of the Gospel, and he was actually somewhat interested. He said that he had been praying to receive an answer from God what he should do with his life, and we told him that we are it and the message that we bring. Anyways, fast-forward to the next Friday (last Friday that was terrible for us), Araceli had accepted baptism, but Ramon no, but that night Araceli had told us that she wanted to wait to be baptized for another month or so, and this was difficult because we were going to have a lesson with them and the bishop at the church, and he was really anxious to  meet with the bishop, so we didn't have a chance to talk with them. Anyways, Ramon came to church a week ago yesterday, and loved it. So during the week, we invited them yet again to baptism, and they both accepted, for yesterday, so obviously we were super excited. Well, this happened Tuesday. So we passed by again Wednesday, and things weren't as they seemed between the two. It turns out that they are on the brink of divorcement, and that things were only getting worse, until we showed up. Well, we shared with them the plan of salvation again this night, and the next day we came over with goals for them as a couple to read the book of Mormon everyday together, pray together, and do an act of service for the other every day, and they both promised to do it. The next day we went over and showed them a video by the church called ´´together forever´´, and boy was it just what they needed. All 4 of us were tearin up at the end, and it was seriously so amazing. Well, we told Ramon that he can love his wife again, but it has to be through the Gospel of Christ, and that the way to come closer to Christ is first through baptism, so he said that he would think about it and bring his stuff the church, but he wasn't promising anything. Well yesterday as he got to the chapel, he was still saying that he wasn't going to be baptized, which made his wife really sad. Well, end of the services, and he still didn't want to, but his wife was in movable (just like you mom :) ), and went to the bathroom to change. Well, a very straightforward sister came and talked to him, and he said, ok, and went to go change. When his wife came out of the bathroom and saw her husband dressed in white, she almost cried, it was amazing. The services went amazing (oh the other man is named David, and the teenage that did the 3 baptisms is the nephew of David, this is another story that really touched me that I just don't have time for), and when Ramon came out of the water, I have really never seen a bigger change in someone. He looked up at me and smiled, and I could see a real peace come over him. It was one of the most powerful moments in my mission yet. But wait, when they came back into the room, the best part ever happened. They were holding hands. Just another testimony to me that the Gospel of Christ really does bring families together, for eternity. I love this gospel, and I hope you all are well. I love you all, and thank you for all your support!

Elder Noel

Hay Estamos

Monday, January 14, 2013 4:46 PM

Well, this week definitely was an interesting one. But to start off, yes, I finally did receive one of the packages, and wow, thank you sooooo much mom! (and everyone else) It really was awesome to receive all of those treats, and the ties! I love them! But my favorite of all, the Utes stuff haha! How did you know that I needed pj’s that are long haha it really has been great, thank you all! :)
Well, on to this week and all of the craziness that happened this week. To start off, I don't even know where to start, so much has happened it is hard to remember what happened on what day, but here we go. So in the beginning of the week we had our weekly junta or gathering, with our district and zone, and wow, it really was powerful. I was reminded of what I haven't been doing here that we were doing in my last area, and I really think it is because we haven't been having as much success here as my last area. I kinda forgot to invite people to baptism on the first lesson, and boy have I realized what a difference it makes. For all of those people that are preparing to go on a mission, this is extremely important. If people don't know exactly why they are having missionary discussion's, they are never going to get baptized and are never going to progress, but, if they know right from the get go what we are there and what we are preparing them for, then the chances of them being baptized increases, significantly. After the junta, we had several interviews with some of our investigators for baptism, which we were super excited about, and they all went well. We were even able to put down a date with a couple, Areseli and Ramon, for this last Sunday. Everything kept going good, until Friday morning. So when had 3 investigators that were going to go baptized this last Sunday, and Friday in the morning we received a call that David, our other “possible” had a doubt and didn't want to get baptized on Sunday, and the problem is that he works everyday until 10, so we couldn't pass by that same night to check what happened and all. So that is how Friday started, and during the day little thing after little thing kept happening that just really got us down, but we still had hope, we had an appointment with Areseli and Ramon at 8 to go over to the chapel and talk with the bishop so he could get to know them a little bit more before their baptism, and we were just looking forward to that all day. Well we walk in the door, and the first thing that they say is well, we don't think we are going to be baptized this Sunday, but lets go over and talk with the bishop, but we changed our minds about this Sunday. So not only did they postpone their baptism, but they didn't give us any chance to find out why and talk with them to resolve their doubts, and we didn't have any time to resolve the doubts with bishop either, so you could say that when we walked into our house that night, we were defeated. We were tired, we had been rejected all day, not only did all of our baptismal dates fall, but also all of our other appointments. To be honest, it was the lowest point I had gotten on my mission, the first time when I responded to my district leader, how was today, and how are you, it wasn't a super bien. It was hard. I can now testify that whenever people say that a mission is hard, those who haven't gone on a mission have no idea. But, I learned an internal truth that night. As I was pondering about the day, what went wrong, where I went wrong, what I could have done better, my companion turned on a video that our President gave us about the atonement, two different talks from President Eyring and Elder Holland, for missionaries. It starts off with President Eyring talking about what Christ did after His crucifixion, and how even though He had finished a hard task, He went to the spirit world and He didn't stop His glorious work of saving souls. After, Elder Holland talks about how when we are rejected, when we are spit upon, when we are driven to our knees, that as representatives of Jesus Christ, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with the best life this world has ever seen. You can imagine the impact this had on me. I finally understand the statement of our area presidency that when we have faith in Christ and His atonement, we wont become discouraged, because we know we have the truth, we have a living prophet, and that through Christ, all pains can be resolved. As a missionary, a representative of Jesus, I have really finally come to know the healing part of the Atonement. We have all experienced the forgiving part of the Atonement because we have all sinned and have all repented of something, grave or not, but until this night I had never experienced the soul healing part of this great sacrifice of our Lord and King. I challenge you all to give it a try, to apply the atonement of Christ in your life in a way that you have never done before, to put aside the pains of yesterday aside, and that through the mercy of Christ, move on, and work harder. Just like President Eyring says, that the example of Christ working in the Spirit world after the atonement can give us the courage necessary to work even harder when we thing that we have finished a hard task in His service. Remember also, as members, we have taken upon us the Name of Christ. Think about that. Not only does that mean that we should do as he did/does, but as Elder Holland says, it means that we stand shoulder to shoulder with Him when we are in His service. You could say that I have only just begun to understand what it really means to serve God with all my heart might mind and strength, and I am beyond stoked to learn how to even more every day. I love this work, and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to leave everything, everyone, behind, in the service of my Lord. He lives, and I see His hand working miracles everyday. He lives, and what comfort this sweet sentence gives!

With all the love I can give,
Elder Noel