Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Blessings from heaven are raining down! (and literal rain as well)

Hey!  So this week was so great!  There were so many things that happened this week, It's crazy!  First of all, it's starting to rain a lot.  It has been raining every single day for a while now.  We haven't had any super crazy downpours, like my first week here, but we do get wet...

But yeah, this week we finally found people to teach!  It's been crazy, we've been working a ton trying to contact and find new people to teach for the entire change, and it hasn't been working out.  But this week we've been blessed with a ton of new people to teach!!  I couldn't believe it!  It really made me realize the hand of God in this missionary work.  We found so many people who were so prepared to listen to the gospel message!  

We had divisions with the zone leaders on Thursday and we contacted a ton!  I went with Elder Weaver, who was my district leader before in Miahuatlan and now is my zone leader.  We found a good amount of people to teach, and had a good time as well.  He is a good friend in the mission.

That day Elder Rullan and my other zone leader found someone awesome!  His name is Hector, and he is 19.  He has a girlfriend who is leaving on her mission this month!  For that reason he is really interested in learning about the church.  We found him this week and he went to church on Sunday.  He has a ton of potential!  We are super pleased to have the opportunity to teach someone prepared by the lord.
We have an investigator named Elodia.  She has been taking lessons from the missionaries for a long time, but she has been really stubborn about getting baptized.  Her mom is catholic, so she's had a hard time adjusting from her catholic background and having the courage to say yes to baptism.  Last Monday we had a lesson with her, and everything changed!  She accepted baptism.  We are so happy, and we know that the Lord truly softened her heart.

So yeah, we've received many blessings this week.  I know that the Lord truly does bless us when we strive our hardest to do his work.  They don't usually come right away, we need to have patience, but we can have the faith that he will always support us and guide us.  I know that the lord has a plan for each and every one of us, and even if things don't look so great right now, everything will turn out in the end.

Now I have a story, and it's really funny.  The other day we were leaving a lesson, and it started to rain.  We took out our umbrellas and started walking home, when a man came up to my companion, grabbed the hand that was holding the umbrella, and started walking with him under the umbrella.  We didn't know him.  We think he might have been drunk.  We asked him where he was going and he said he just wanted to go with us.  Ok then.  So we went to a dead end and the member that was with us told him to knock on some doors to see if anybody there knew who he was.  He started knocking, and we casually started walking away, and when we got to the corner, we ran as fast as we could.  It was so weird!  But that's one of the reasons that I love my mission, there are a ton of weird experiences like this one!

That’s a little bit about this week.  Thanks for all your prayers and letters!  I love you all!  

Elder Lindsay

Monday, May 30, 2016

This place stinks, but it's awesome!

So this area is stinkin hard.  Just for you all to know.  You know how everyone says that going on a mission in Mexico is so wonderful because everyone opens the doors and you can baptize like 100 people and stuff like that?  It's a little bit different here.  The people are just plain uninterested.  It's okay, I know that I'm in this area for a reason, there are people here who are being prepared to receive the gospel, and I need to find them.  But for now, we're struggling a bit.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love it here.  The members are so kind, maybe a little too kind!  They give us so much food.  I'm always stuffed.  It’s great!  Also it's really beautiful, even though it’s the city.  There are flowery trees planted on the side of the road and we have mountains as part of our area.  
So right now we basically don't have any investigators.  We have a couple of eternal investigators who have done everything but they just don't want to get baptized, but that is about it.  We are contacting a ton but it isn't working so well.  But it's ok!  I know that I'm here for a reason, I just need to find it!
The mangos here are so good!  I've never had mangos so good in my life.  Apparently it is "Mango Season" here.  Why don't we have that in Utah?  I'm loving it.  The food here in the city in general is super good.  I'm really enjoying that aspect of the area.
My companion is a weird but awesome guy.  He is kind of serious.  He does Tai Kwan Do.  It’s pretty awesome.

This week I have had moments of frustration and impatience.  There were so many difficult circumstances that I really had no power to change.  But as I pondered and thought about it, I don't need to be discouraged.  As I read the scriptures I found the comfort that I needed:

Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivest thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you.

And behold, I am sent to command thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.
Alma 8:15-16

Now, seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?
Alma 29:6

Even though many times I feel inadequate and imperfect, I can say with confidence that I am keeping the commandments that have been given to me.  Like Alma I can rejoice and return to the city and preach the gospel again.  I should be happy with the calling that I have received, and not wish to change the circumstances that are before me.  The only thing I need to decide is how I react to the circumstances here.
I have faith that God will never give us a commandment that we are not able to complete.  I testify that he helps us in our trials if we will but open our hearts and come unto him.  
I love you all and I'm thankful for your support and your letters.  Have a wonderful week!
Love, Elder Lindsay

1. The family that we share a house with.  They are super fun!  It was the mom's birthday this Tuesday so we ate cake.
2.  My companion and I eating tacos in a park.  :)
3.  This is part of our area!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Huh, i'm not in Miahuatlan anymore.

Hello!  So I don't have a lot of time to write and I have so much to talk about, but oh well...  I'll write what I can!  This week was so very different!  My area is totally different than Miahuatlan, It's like a different country!  I came from a tiny town in the middle of nowhere and nowI'm in the middle of a big city, which happens to be the richest area here.  I love the area so far, the ward is great and it is so beautiful here!  It is definitely difficult, it is really hard to have lessons here.  People aren't that interested.  But it's fine, such is the mission life!

So on Tuesday it rained SUPER hard!!  It was crazy, the streets were basically rivers!  There were literally logs floating down the street.  It was cool, but we got completely soaked.  The water was almost up to our knees as we trudged down the street!

On Friday we helped a member in the ward next to our ward move her store.  We gathered together as the Elders of the district and carried big fridges and racks.  It was great, I really like to give service as a missionary.

We live in an apartment above the house of some members, and they are really nice!  They are always inviting us to dinner and to drink hot chocolate in the nights.  It is really fun to have members so close.  They are super fun.

I wish I could write more, but I'm out of time!  I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Lindsay

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Area!

So yeah, I'm sorry, I don't have a lot of time to write today, and I have a ton to say, but oh well, such is the mission life. 

So yeah, transfers were today and I left Miahuatlan for the city of Oaxaca!  It is so different here!  In miahuatlan it was so old school.  Here it is really modernized.  My ├írea is one of the richest parts of Oaxaca.  Its really pretty here, I'm right by the mountains and there are a lot of trees here.  I missed trees so much!  Miahuatlan doesn't really have many trees.  But yeah, I just got here today, so I don't know a lot.  We'll see how it goes!

We live in an appartment that is part of the house of some members, named the family perez, they are really awesome!  They already invited us to eat there haha.  It will be fun to be so close to members!  They seem like great people.
My new companion seems really cool!  He is a newer missionary, he only has 3 months here, but he seems to know his stuff.  He is really motivated to work hard here, I'm really glad to have someone who will push me to do my best.  I think we are going to make a great team!
It was sad to leave Miahuatlan, but I'm glad for this opportunity to start fresh with a new ├írea.  I have high hopes for my time here.  I love the mission and I know that the church is true! 
Love you all!
Elder Lindsay

Monday, May 2, 2016

Its starting to get hot!!

So I don't know if you guys knew, but it gets hot here in mexico.  We walked a ton this week and now that summer is approaching, the weather is brutal.  But oh well!  I'll survive.  

This week was a pretty difficult week.  Once again a ton of our appointments are falling through.  We went to a ton of houses and we didn't find hardly anyone!  It was sometimes very frustrating.  To make things worse, we found out that our investigator Genaro who recieved an answer to the book of mormon went back to the university, so he moved away to Oaxaca.  He was progressing more than any of our investigators!  And finally, even though we are working our very hardest, our investigators who were progressing very well just a week ago are starting to lose interest.  It's kind of a disaster at the moment.
But not everything is so bad!  Yesterday we found 2 new investigators (a middle aged couple) who are really interested!  It turns out that they have 3 sons who are members of the church!  When they told us, we were super pleased!  We've only had 1 lesson with them, so we'll see how it goes.  But I have high hopes.

Also, we dug a grave this week.  For a dog.  It was fun.  We were knocking doors and the Father of a part member family told us to come over.  He seemed pretty sad, because his favorite dog had died.  He had started digging a hole, and we offered to help him dig the grave.  Its harder work than I thought.  But I was glad to offer service and help someone out in a hard time.

Speaking of giving service, on Friday when we were eating at a member's home, sister norma told me that the young woman were expecting me to play piano for them that night for new beginnings.  Oh.  Thanks for the heads up.  Turns out they had chosen 2 fairly difficult piano pieces for the program.  When I arrived to practice a bit, they only had one of the piano scores.  They gave me the other 5 minutes before the program started.  So yeah, I struggled a bit.  But hey, I did what I could.  It turned out better than I thought it would.  Yeah, I don't think they understand the concept of practice here in Oaxaca.  But oh well, I was glad to use my talent in music to serve others, even though I'm not the very best.

This week we found a young mother who seemed fairly interested in our message.  We walked it and started talking with her and everything was going well.  But everything changed when we mentioned the Doctrine of Jesus Christ.  Turns out she is very anti church.  She believes all the churches on the earth today are evil.  She has a very... interesting concept of the bible.  She says we should all be perfect.  She believes that the only purpose Jesus Christ had is to show us that in reality it is possible to be perfect.  But she believes that we have to do it ourselves.  Basically we weren't able to get a word in.  She bashed on our church and us personally, relentlessly.  It was a pretty rough lesson.  In the end Elder Velazquez was so worked up that he couldn't talk.  So I interrupted her and told her that when she wanted to actually listen to our message, we would be happy to return.  And then we said a prayer and left.  Even though it was a rough lesson, I felt a peace afterwards.  I knew that I did all that I could to bring her the truth.  She had excersized her agency to reject us.  I felt sad for her.  But such is the mission I suppose.

Well, this week was a little rocky.  But I'm trying.  I know that the Lord supports us and gives us peace even when life is hard.  I learned that sometimes we just need to be grateful, and everything feels a little better.  I know that this church is true.  I am thankful to have this testimony, and that even when attacked, it stands firm.

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Lindsay

Monday, April 25, 2016

A week in the life of Miahutilan

Hello!  So this week we had a pretty good week.  We didn't have a ton of lessons, but we found a good amount of people and the investigators we have are really starting to progress.  It's exciting.  Even though it is going slow, we are having more and more success every day and have a good amount of people who have a lot of potential for baptism.  Its sad to think that I won't be able to attend any of their baptisms, because I'm almost positive that this is my last transfer here in Miahuatlan.  But the important thing is that they are progressing and they're recieving the blessings of the gospel.

We found an investigator last week who is really awesome.  His name is Genardo and he's a young man of about 22 years.  He had an accident about a month ago and broke his knee.  When we found him, he still couldn't walk, and we taught him beside his bed.  He is very humble and really willing to learn about the church.  We gave him a book of mormon, and he's been reading it.  The last lesson we had with him we asked him if he had prayed it the book is true, and he said yes.  He said that he recieved an answer that it is true!!  We are very excited for him, and he is excited about the church as well.

This week I had an awesome experience while contacting.  We were knocking on doors all the morning without much success.  It was really hot, so we decided to go to one of the little shops to buy a drink.  I don't usually contact the store owners, but this time I felt prompted to contact them.  We started talking to them about the gospel, and we found that they were very interested.  They happily let us in to share our message.  Their names are Juan, Rosita, and Bartolo., and we visited them 3 times in this week alone, and they are hungry to find more.  They read the entire pamphlet of the restauration, and asked for the next pamphlet on our second visit.  They truely were prepared to recieve the gospel.  I am so thankful to have been made into an instrument in the lord's hands to help find and teach these people.  It makes me think, what would have happened if I didn't contact them, if i couldn't recognize the spiritual prompting?  The experience really humbled me.  As a missionary, I should talk to everybody, because who knows who is being prepared to recieve the gospel?  I want to do my best to give as many people as possible the opportunity to recieve this message.

We found another family that is very interested in the last couple of weeks.  We are teaching the married couple right now, and their names are Marta and Severiano.  (something like that.  I don't know how to spell it.)  They let us in without having to explain anything more than "we are missionaries."  There aren't very many people like that, haha...  They are fairly interested and are progressing well at the moment.  We had an awesome moment with them in our last lesson.  Marta has a little restaurant in her home.  As we were teaching them, a soda vender came to the door.  Marta placed her orders for the soda for the restaruant, and afterwards asked "When are you going to take Bible lessons from these missionaries?"  He said "I'm catholic."  "It doesn't matter!  Do you know what days we are in?"  She asked.  He said no.  "We are in the days of the beast!  We need to prepare for the end of the world!  Did you know that?"  Once again he said no.  "Well, sir, you need to study the bible more."  Then she invited him to church, our church!  She hadn't even been to church yet, and she was willing to invite someone to church!  It was hilarious!  The poor man looked really scared.  But yeah, our investagators are awesome.  :)

Well, thats just a couple of the stories that happened this week.  It was a very successful week overall.  I am so glad to be here in the mission, and for the opportunity to have a bunch of cool experiences like these. 

I love you all!  Until next week!

Monday, April 18, 2016

6 months!!! :D

I've been here in the mission for 6 months now!!  Its crazy how fast the time goes, I'm already 1/4 done with my mission!  As I reflected over the time I've had, I realized how much I have learned in such a short time period.  The mission is really hard and I've had plenty of trials, but the experiences and the lessons I've had were so amazing.  I'm excited to keep moving forward, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to serve for another 18 months!

So yeah, the beginning of this week was fairly normal, we're working really hard to help our investigators improve and progress, but it's kind of a struggle.  We haven't had any investigators in church for 2 weeks in a row now...  It's frustrating, because we are working really hard and doing our best, but they just don't seem to have a desire to really do their part.  Although its really sad for me and frustrating, I know that we have done everything we could to help them, and that they have their own agency.

This weekend was kind of a disaster...  On Saturday we only had 1 lesson all day.  It was terrible.  We probably went to the houses of 15 investigators, and all of them were "busy."  Sometimes I just want to shake them and say "this message is more important that whatever else you are doing now.  You're going to sit down and we are going to teach and you're going to be happy."  But ya know, I can't do that.

We had a nasty experience with our former investigator Nataly.  We returned to teach her another time this transfer with Elder Velazquez and it appeared that she was really ready to recieve the message this time and progress to baptism.  But it came to our attention that she has been lying to us.  When we went to her house on Saturday, we were about to teach her a lesson when someone knocked on the door.  She came back and said that we needed to leave.  When we were leaving, we saw that there was a scruffy looking teenager at the door.  He looked mean.  I offered him my hand for a handshake, and he slapped my hand away.  When Elder Velazquez told him have a nice day, he told us to get out of the house and other nasty things.  Turns out that he is her boyfriend.  I don't think we'll be going back with Nataly for a while.  

And then on Sunday... I was sick.  It stuck, I wanted to work really hard to make up for only having 1 lesson on Saturday, but I couldn't.  I had to rest for a bit at the house.  And then we went out again, even though I still felt sick.  Luckily we were able to have some good lessons, but it was a rough weekend overall.  Thankfully I woke up this morning better from my sickness.

Sometimes it is so hard to keep going forward.  Some days are just plain crazy.  But the good thing is that these times will never last.  I was so tired and frustrated, but I wasn't discouraged.  I was able to remember that these trials would only last for a small moment.  I remembered Jesus Christ and the many things he suffered.  He suffered infinitely more than I have suffered.  And because he loves me, he provided a way for these trials to just be for a small moment.  I was able to wake up today feeling good and hopeful, and I am so very thankful for the opportunity to start this week fresh.

Thats all I've got for this week, I love you all!

Elder Lindsay