Monday, February 29, 2016

Wherever there is water, we baptize!!

Hello friends and family!  So this week was really awesome, for the first couple of days or so everything was pretty normal.  We taught lessons, contacted, the usual.  Its pretty great, I enjoy the "normal" missionary life.  Every day I have the opportunity to teach and serve.  It's pretty much the greatest, despite the trials and difficulties that pop up every now and then.  

So this Saturday we had 2 baptisms!  The first was an 8 year old who lives in Ejutla named S.  Her dad isn't around, so I had the opportunity to baptize her.  It was my first every baptism!  Originaly we were going to go down to a river or something to baptize her, but it was really cold that day.*  So they decided that I would baptize her in her front yard, in a little well for washing clothes.  It was tiny!  If she wasn't so small, I wouldn't be able to get her under the water.  But it turned out fine, and it was a great experience.  She came out of the water laughing, and I could tell it was a good experience for her.

The second baptism was our investigator E!  It was so great!  I am so glad she got baptized!  She is an amazing person, and has such a pure spirit.  She decided before that she wanted to be baptized in the river, so we all headed up there in the afternoon.  It is such a cool place!!  I was really glad when she decided to be baptized there, haha.  I had the opportunity to baptize her, and it was a great experience.  The water actually was really cold, but it was awesome!  She looked so happy afterwards!  

It is such a great feeling to help people come unto christ through baptism!  I really do love it.  I can see how happy they are, and how happy they can become if they continue on in the church!  I know that this church is true, and I am so proud to be a missionary.

So here in Miahuatlan there aren't a lot of people who have experience with music.  So even though I can't play all of the hymns on piano right now, I volunteered to be the pianist in sacrament meeting.  There are times when I can only play with one hand, but I'm glad to contribute to the branch!  I guess the members here were pretty excited to have a pianist, so the wife of the branch president asked if I would teach a music class.  I accepted, and I taught the first class yesterday.  It was really cool to share my talent with them!  I think that many times we think that we aren't good enough to share our talents, but I see now that this is never true.  This experience reminded me of the parable of the talents.  The man who recieved 1 talent was expected to share it and increase it, just as the man who recieved 5 talents.  We should do everything we can to use our talents to bless others, even if we are embarassed or think that we aren't good enough.  

Welp, thats all for this week.  Adios!!

Elder Lindsay

*Note:  When mexicans say that it is "really cold," its like 55 degrees.  So they have their big coats and everything and I'm doing fine in my short sleeved shirt.  A while back I was sick, and they all said that I was sick because I never wear a sweater.  Nope.  Thats not how it works.  So yeah, basically the temperature is fine here.  :)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Visit from the Mission President

On the way to Huatulco, we passed through Miahutlan to give Elder Silvestre and Elder Lindsay a blender for their house. The family providing them dinner invited us to eat with them as well. We very much appreciate those who care for our missionaries. (Feb. 26, 2016)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Oaxaca's a pretty sweet place

Hello!  So this week was pretty good, we had some rough moments in the beginning, but everything is good now.  It's still really hard to live with someone so different from me.  Elder Silvestre is a great guy, but he and I have very different beliefs, habits, strengths, weaknesses, and so on.  I'm a little more quiet, and I don't have as much iniciative as some people.  This really bothers Elder Silvestre, even though I'm trying my best to get out of my comfort zone to be a good missionary.  Change takes time, so I'm improving little by little.  We talked things over, and things are better now.  It's hard to have a companion who is difficult to get along with, especially when you're with him for 3 transfers, (18 weeks) but I'm learning a lot from my experiences with him.

So we have a really awesome investigator who we have been teaching for about a month now.  His name is O.  He is a great guy, he's 27 and he is a teacher here in Miahuatlan.  He is somewhat shy, but very sincere and willing to do what we tell him to do.  (that is very rare here, usually the people say they are going to do something and then they never do it.)  He is reading the book of mormon, and he said that he recieved an answer that it is true!  He constantly wants to know more, and he asks a lot of questions, which is awesome.  We set his baptism for the 26th of march and we're working hard to prepare him for that day.  He has a small problem with alcohol, but he seems willing to change.  He also is interested in learning english, so we often stay at his house a little longer after lessons and I teach him a bit of English!  I'm so happy for the opportunity to teach him and help him find the happiness that the gospel brings.

We had to drop our investigator N...  I was super sad about that, because she was progressing so well and everything.  She wasn't making the changes in her life that are required for baptism.  Elder Silvestre made the final decision, and even though I wanted to continue teaching her to help her change, he wouldn't budge.  It's really sad, but I still believe in her.  Her progress record is in our area book, and after a time maybe other missionaries will have the opportunity to teach her.  Maybe then she will be ready to make the required changes in her life.

But the baptism of E is going to be this Saturday!  I am so excited for her!  She is an amazing person.  I am also happy for her son, L, who is 6 years old.  He is super cute, and because his mother now has the gospel, he will also have the opportunity to have the gospel in his life.  This missionary work really is amazing, I am so happy to be here helping people recieve these wonderful blessings.

Yesterday for P-day we had a multi-zone activity!  It was great, our district went up to Oaxaca on Sunday night to sleep there in the mission offices.  Then in the morning when everyone arrived we headed to "Àrbol del Tule," a really big tree that is more than 2000 years old!  It was pretty cool, and yes, it was really big.  Then we went to the ruins of Mitla.  They were awesome!  They are the ruins of the Zapotec people that lived here in Oaxaca before the spanish came.  It was way cool, and I am really glad I got to go!  It was fun to be with mission friends and make new mission friends.  We don't have a lot of opportunities as missionaries to just have fun, so it was very much needed.

Yesterday in the night we found a new family to teach, and we had a very spiritual lesson.  They are going through an extremely hard time, their daughter is in the hospital, their son started drinking, and a loved one reciently died.  When we knocked on their door, they were super ready to let us in, to listen to the word of God.  I felt the spirit guide me in that lesson so much.  I said things in spanish that I didn't know that I knew.  Elder Silvestre and I worked extremely well together as a companionship.  My favorite part of the lesson is when we gave them the book of mormon.  I was testifying of the book of mormon, and I said something like this. "I testify of this book.  I know that this book is your answer.  It can change your lives.  I came all the way from the United States to bring this book to you, because I know that it can help you more than anything else."  After testifying of the book, the Grandma looked up at me, and said thank you in such a sweet and sincere manner.  I felt the spirit so strong, because I knew that my words were given to me by the holy ghost, and that their hearts were open to recieve the holy spirit's testimony.  I knew that they would read the book of mormon.

Welp, thats my life in the mission this week.  It really is amazing to be here.  I love you all!

Elder Lindsay

Monday, February 15, 2016

¡Si! ¡Tengo 19 años!

So yeah, my birthday was this week, and it was pretty great!  There was a family in the ward that got sealed on my birthday, so I got to go to the temple with them on my birthday!!  It was the perfect gift, and I am so happy I had the opportunity!  I had an amazing, spiritual experience inside.  It was so beautiful to see this family enter the temple for the first time, and to see the spirit touch their hearts.  When we were in the celestial room, I looked over to see Hna. N (the mom) crying tears of joy, and I got a really warm feeling in my heart.  I realized that this was what I was doing as a missionary, bringing people to this joy and happiness.  I felt a great love from my heavenly father.  I knew that I was in the right place, and that he is so proud of me.  I wanted to share the gospel before, but now I want to share it even more!!  I want everyone to feel of this love that heavenly father has for each one of us.

The sealing was extremely spiritual as well.  The two were sealed as husband and wife, and then their children were sealed to them as well.  They were so happy and so filled with the spirit.  I love that we have the opportunity as members of this chuch to have eternal families.  It is so beautiful.

So yeah, that was the highlight of my birthday.  Other than that, it was pretty normal.  We didn't have a lot of time to celebrate or anything like that, ha...  But yeah.  Honestly, I couldn't have asked for more for my birthday.  It was a little weird and sad to not have my family around for it, but I know that I'm in the right place.  Although I'll be away from them for these 2 years, I will have the opportunity to spent eternity with them in the future.

In other news for this week:  I threw up for the first time this week!  I almost made it 4 months without throwing up in mexico!  But honestly, I'm surprised I lasted that long.  It wasn't so bad, I was just sick in the night, and in the morning I felt better, more or less.  So yeah, the food here is sketchy.

Also, we had interviews with the president this week.  He gave me some really good advice about investigators who aren't reading the book of mormon on their own.  He told me that if they aren't reading on their own, I should read out loud with them, until I feel the spirit.  When I feel the spirit, I should stop, and ask them if they feel something.  If they say yes, I should say, "do you want to feel that more?"  When they say yes, I tell them that they can do that by reading the book of mormon.  Our president is a great person, I'm really grateful for his help.

Today is the start of my third transfer here, and...  I'm staying here in Miahuatlan.  And so is Elder Silvestre.  Whew.  Honestly, I was hoping to get a new companion, because I've been with Elder Silvestre for a long time, and he is sometimes hard to work with.  But I remembered that this work is not about me, and that if the lord wants me here with Elder Silvestre, it is for a good reason.  I will work my hardest to find all those that the lord has prepared for me here.  

Thats all the time I have for today, I love you all!

I found Elder Matheson!! (McKay) He's in my zone! Here's a picture. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

The week that I fell in a pit.

Hello!  So this week was fun.  We actually had a pretty good week lesson-wise, we're finding lots of people to teach who seem really receptive to the gospel, and our investigators are doing well, more or less.  We walked a ton this week, like always.  I wish we had bikes!  But eh, its fine.  I like walking!

And then... Thursday.  I'm not quite sure why, but Thursday I was a disaster.  I woke up on Thursday feeling really sick.  We did our studies, but it was really hard to focus, because I felt terrible.  When we were about to go our Elder Silvestre said I shouldn't be on the street while I felt that way, but I wanted to work, so I called my district leader to get permision to leave, haha...  So we went to our appointment with J, who had some doubts about the LDS temples.  He was angry that only baptised members of our church could enter temples, and said that the temple should be a place for everyone.  We explained temples to him, and I think we addressed his concern, he seemed satisfied at the end.  But I just kept feeling worse and worse.  Eventually I gave in and said that we should probably go back to the appartment to rest for a bit until I felt better.  It stunk.  Eventually I felt well enough to go out again.  By this time it was dark outside, and we had an appointment in the outskirts of Miahuatlan.  We were walking on a path to our appointment, and suddenly there wasn't ground beneath me.  There was a pit in the middle of the path, that certainly wasn't there the last time we were there.  It wasn't terribly deep (probably about 4 feet deep) but I fell on my foot wrong, and hurt my toe.  I hobbled to the rest of our appointments, and yeah, that pretty much sums up that day.  The day after I couldn't walk normally, I was limping really badly, and we had appointments all over the city.  So that was a struggle!

But in the end, everything turned out ok.  By friday I was feeling better from my sickness, and now my foot feels fine too.  Looking back, I'm glad I had these experiences.  It reminded me of a scripture that I really like, in D&C 122

 7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into  the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if   the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather  blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge  up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell   shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know   thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee  experience, and shall be for thy good.

Well, this week I was literally "cast into the pit."  And from this experience I learned a lot about trials.  Sure, they hurt in the moment, but we have the promise that they will always be for our good.  I am thankful for God's help in that somewhat difficult day.  He gave me the strength and optimism that I needed to endure to the end.  

Another cool experience this week was when I started my monthly fast.  But first, a bit of background info.  Miahuatlan has a lot of ugly, inappropiate images on the streets and in the shops here,  There are innappropriately dressed maniquins in stores, bad magazines, and all sorts of nasty stuff.  Many times I feel gross and uncomfortable with all the evil that surrounds me, and it makes it hard to keep my mind pure all the time.  As a missionary, I recognize how important it is to be clean and pure at all times.  So this month for my fast I asked for help and support in keeping my mind pure dispite all of the temptations.  Right when I finished my prayer to start the fast, I felt a peace and love of the savior.  I knew then that I could resist these temptations, and keep myself unspotted from the world, even when there was evil all around.  As I studied these things over the next couple days, I found many tools and resources to help me "let virtue garnish my thoughts unceasingly."  I read an article in the church magazine that talked about a similar subject, and cited this scripture.

26 And they said unto me: What meaneth the river of water which our father saw?
 27 And I said unto them that the water which my  father saw was filthiness; and so much was his   mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water.

When our minds are filled with good things, we, like lehi, will not behold the filthiness of the world.  I am so grateful for the fast, I know that through the fast we can recieve strength and guidence in our lives.  I am also thankful for personal revelation.  I know that it is real.

Well, I'm out of time.  I love you all!  Until next week!

Elder Lindsay

Monday, February 1, 2016

Do I really look like I'm from Chile?

Hola!  This week was really good, we had plenty to do!  We had a lot of lessons every day, and I was really glad for the opportunity to keep busy teaching people.  It really is such a joy!  

This week we found 2 investigators who are really prepared to listen to the gospel!  They seem very sincere and humble.  One is named C (something like that, names here are hard to understand) and the other is M.  It was cool to see the gospel begin to enlighten their minds!  We only had one lesson with each one of them.  We hope that they will be able to progress and learn.

We have 2 investigators with baptism dates, E and N.  E is the lady that we found last week who just didn't know how to be baptised, and N is a 15 year old we have been teaching for some time.  They are both great, and willing to accept the gospel into their lives.  Both of their baptisms are set for the 20th.  I'm excited!

We had an area seventy come and visit our mission this week!  It was cool, we had a big multizone meeting.  I learned a lot of things from him and our mission president.  I have plenty of things to work on!  I'm going to work on them one at a time.

Haha, we had 2 really funny moments this week.  One was with a little 8 year old who is getting ready to be baptised in the branch here.  We asked her, "do you know where we lived before we came to the earth?"  She responded, "In the United states?"  It made me laugh, haha...  Also, a bunch of drunk people have approached us this week.  It's sad, but they're really funny...  One of them invited us to have a drink with him.  We declined, and elder silvestre offered him a pamphlet of the word of wisdom, haha.  Then he tried to guess where we were from.  He looked me over, thought for a while and said, "You're from... Chile, right?"  Haha, no...  

Today we went to Oaxaca for P-day, it was fun!  We visited some of the old churches there and shopped around.  I bought an electric piano!  I'm super excited!!  Now I just need to figure out how to transport it in transfers...

Elder Silvestre and I have become really good friends.  It is such a joy to get to know so many people from different parts of the world!  The mission gives me so many opportunities that I would not have had any other way.  Anyways, he's awesome, he plays the guitar every night, and he is really good.  He's also really funny.  He knows a lot about the scriptures, and knows exactly what scripture to use for all sorts of circumstances.  I've learned a lot from him, and I'll be sad when he leaves.

Well, thats it for this week.  Adios!  Love you all!

Elder Lindsay