Sunday, 7 January 2018
I am now going to be working in the Tlaxcallan ward which goes to the same building as Totolac on Sundays aka I can see my converts and friends from that ward every week! Also I seem to be getting so lucky because we just switched to 12:00 church, and when I was there last year it was also 12:00 church. I am training Elder V from Peru. He is a 26 year old convert and his middle name is MacGyver, literally. I guess his dad really like that show so he named him after him hahha. Should be fun.
Our ward is in the center of Tlaxcala, where that big bull ring that I sent pictures of a while ago is located. I am also the district leader and opening an area which is a pretty hard combo of things to do, but I will learn a lot.
Last week we had the best week of the whole time I was in Hueyotlipan, we were able to leave the area with 7 baptismal dates and 5 of them went to church! Isabel is going to get baptised this week, and I have a district leaders meeting in Puebla that day I might try to get permission to go! She is so excited! I can honestly feel like I left that area better than I found it. That's the goal. I didn't get to baptise much there, but knowing that now they will brings the same feeling :)
So so so glad to hear about the Taggs :)
My son (what missionaries call someone they are training) is currently contacting the guy in the Internet shop on his own while I write home on his second day in the mission, so I'm not worried about him hahaha. We live in the biggest house in the mission (it's actually 3 houses that we can use) that they let us live in for free because it's haunted but so far I don't feel like it's haunted. It's like super "fresa" (nice/modern/new). The elders that were here before us baptised 3 people on Saturday and there are 5 more members of that fam that we want to baptism but we haven't met them yet. The bishop is cool and so is the ward mission leader.
Should be a great few months here.
Happy new year!
Did you ever notice that the big pack of Tic-tacs had little Canadian flags on them?Don't think I got a pack of tic tacs with flags :(
What did you do the rest of Christmas day? Dinner?
Does the ward invite you out for dinners/lunches even if you’re office elders?
Where is Elder S going to go? And you?
Reyes magos coming up. Watch and learn and let us know what it is all about!
Serve your companion…be kind and helpful. Be a bit more observant and watch for those little things that you can help with.
Baptise a lot of people and finish strong! I honestly hadn't thought of it much, but this last stretch of the mission will determine how my whole life goes, so I guess just be better than yesterday.
We made waffles, hung out in the offices and then did office work at night haha the mission doesn't rest!
Ya! We try to avoid the offices if we can, so they still feed us.
Elder S is training two new APs Elder B and Elder B, both really good guys. I am here training, opening area, and being a district leader in Tlaxcallan.
Wow that is the best news ever about Caleb and Michael. I am honestly so happy to hear about that. Can't wait to see those guys!
I (PJ lady) is still hyped and everything but when we stopped by on Sunday she wasn't home and we don't know where she went, but we should be able to find her pretty easily again. She's killin it.
This week I went on interchanges 3 times and every time I stayed in the other area aka I only worked one day in our area, but it seems like it's doing good still. We had another new investigator come to church for the first time, lots of support from the ward, and some other little miracles.
Cool experience from interchanges with Elder A (from my mtc district): We were knocking doors, and a lady opened up and we contacted her with the book of Mormon and he asked her if she had ever thought of what Christmas eve was like in the Americas and she just like freaked out and said like "Why didn't my priest ever ask me a question like that? Is it really true that he came to the Americas?! What was it like?!" Just like super super hyped on Jesus being born in the Americas. 3 Nephi 1 talks all about it. It really is a huge blessing to have the BoM to teach us about how much God loves all of his children and how literally the whole world needed to know he was going to be born.
I'm loving this Christmas honestly, it's a lot of fun being in the offices at Christmas because we get to see all of the missionaries and give them packages from their families and go to the Christmas conferences. Should be a great week. I think I have all of the boxes now hahah I've gotten a ton! No Christmas baptisms, but it turns out the mom of that little guy Cesar that we baptised a few months ago isn't registered in the church system so we may baptise her.
Sounds like a great experience for the youth with David Archileta and stuff. Good work west stake ! :)
Here's some treat pics, Merry Christmas!
Talk to you soon!
Tree and Presents
Conducting Joel's way
Secretaries, AP's and the Mission President and Wife
Ok so the wifi in the offices is down, so we are just writing from a hotspot on Sister Nelson's phone, but they need to go so I need to be quick!
Elder Barfuss is now here in the offices and is being trained to be the new secratery, looking awesome. President says he's bringing the Canadians into the offices so that he can keep a closer eye on us haha. We are calling it the #Canadiancreamchristmasdream
PJ lady came to church again! But just so you know her name is I haha. She's doing good and has some friends already!
Sounds like everything is good back home, sorry that I can't write too much, but I'm excited to talk to you in a few weeks!
Love you all! Doing better than ever.
Did you get any more boxes? There should be 3 from me, and 1 from Oma and me (with the maple syrup)?
I got the syrup one and the one with the beef jerky and kinder eggs and stuff. In that box there are also some cards in envelopes, what am I to do with them?
Did you put up the tree I sent…you can. And the other “branches” need to be put on (I left them loose so they wouldn’t get all folded up.
Ya I set it up and read them all, including the one you sent in the other box! Loved it, thanks!
When will we be talking Christmas day? We are so flexible…but would like to know. Will you Skype from the mission home?
I will call home on Christmas day I think, it will most likely be from the offices, but we are low key waiting for the evite to the mission home, so we will wait and see.
What does a secretary do in a mission office? How long will the 2 Canadians be there together?
A secretary is in charge of reimbursements, referrals, materials, and a whole bunch of other things that nobody understands. We will just be together for 3 weeks.
Tell us about some traditions you have observed around Christmas.
Well they are into the "reyes magos" and not Santa, they come to give presents in early January, forget the date. Different songs, like that one the Velazquez´s sang at the ward party like 6 years ago. I will keep observing and let you know!
The cookies actually arrived…as cookies? Or something that gets sprinkled over ice cream because it’s crumbs?!
It was more crumbs, but it worked well that it was in that bottle because we could just drink them!
Tell Elder S that he is welcome in our home anytime (he's good at service!)! We need him to be an example to some other boys who shall remain nameless!!!
I will tell him...
The #ILUMINAELMUNDO (#LightTheWorld) thing is really going well so far, the members get so hyped! We ran into J, that homeless guy who we paid for him to go get his hair cut, and we were able to go buy him a bottle of water on the water day. It's been good. We have also started the "Hora de oro" (hour of gold), an hour that we are dedicating as a mission every day from 5:00-6:00, to drop everything and just contact as many people as you can, look for service opportunities, and just go find miracles. It has been so awesome. Every day we have found at least one new investigator when we have done it, and we have seen a ton of miracles.
The other day, we were knocking some hora de oro doors, and an older lady opened up the second story window to see who it was, and we just presented the BoM (Book of Mormon) and said we wanted to give it to her. She asked how much it costs and we said, "free!" So she started coming down, but then her brother came home and started talking to us out front, and he was kinda mad, must have had a bad day, didn't want to listen, and when the first lady saw him, she went back into the house. The brother left and didn't want to listen, so then we were just waiting outside of the door, looking at our planners, trying to figure out what to do, and then the first lady opened the door again and said "now I can listen." We had a great lesson, gave her the BoM, invited her to church and felt the spirit as we testified of the atonement. Then, as we were about to leave, someone from the house in front of her´s said "Hey Elders come on in!" Turns out the guy who invited us in was a returned missionary who was visiting his less active GF who's mom wasn't a member. We taught them as well and committed them to go to church as well. On Sunday we passed by for them and both families came! We got there early with the first lady, and we showed her the font, explained what baptism is, and she was very excited to accept! She should be baptised this month! Such a huge miracle, I don't think I have ever had a lesson go so well.
Now here's the funny part of the story, when we showed up to take her to church on Sunday, she was still wearings her PJ's! We said we would pass by again in 10 minutes to give her time to get ready. When we came back she had changed.... into a different pair of PJ's and lipstick! I think that's just her thing hahaha.
Big bummer about the pieps (Piepgrass family), tell them to stay! Also, that box with syrup didn't show up yet, but a different one with a kendama did show up! Not sure if I am supposed to open it. If you could let me know which ones are to open now, and if there's any for Christmas day, that would be perfect. Thanks a lot though! Love it!
The Lord has blessed us so much this week, I'm loving it!
Love you guys
How much walking do you do in a week?Depends a lot on the week. This week it was a ton because we were doing divisions all week, and very little office work. Other weeks we are in the office planning things all week and in meetings. Couldn't tell you in kms though.
How was an American Thanksgiving? Same amount of fullness as with a Canadian?! Did you miss anything special that we make? Brussel sprouts?It was really the same haha just that our mashed potatoes are better (secret ingredient? Plain, creamy goat cheese!). Don't miss brussel sprouts haha
Have you received any other packages? You can open the boxes, but the presents inside have to wait for Christmas? Otherwise…enjoy!Ok thanks, I guess that answers my question about the box. Thanks for the cookies, they were a big hit with the secretaries. Also the big tree! Didn't read them all because I wasn't sure if I was allowed to, but from what I saw, that was very nice of everyone!
Favourite scripture this week:Gotta go with Alma 7: 11 because we felt the spirit super strong as we shared it a few times this week with people who were really suffering.
Person this week that you watched exemplify Christlike behaviour?Elder S, he has been so hyped on service, like at thanksgiving dinner he just got up right away and started washing plates at president's house even though they have a dish washer haha but he's just like that always, doesn't have to be told to go serve.
Thanks for writing early mom!
And thanks for sending boxes for the whole crew! :) There are some that I already have in mind who will need it. There are missionaries that literally don't have a home address serving in this mission.
That quote would have been perfect to hear at the beginning of this week haha, it was a very full one. (the quote: One day at a time. It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear. Never load yourself so. If you find yourselves so loaded, at least remember this: it is your own doing, not God's. He begged you to leave the future to him and mind the present. ~George MacDonald)
We ended up with only half a pday, and about 1 hour to work in our area all week. The mission baptised more per missionary this month than it has since President Nelson arrived 2.5 years ago (and maybe ever, not sure). We feel very good about that. The Lord has blessed us a ton, and there are just so many miracles that we hear about.
This week we were able to give a few really fun trainings. One of them was about being persistent and we made a fake door and slammed it on them if they weren't persistent. The other was with the ZLs and Sister training leaders and we talked about the difference between the word "minister " and "administer". They are both very important as leaders in the church and the mission, but it's important that as we administer, we do it with the purpose of making the minister part easier. Small but important difference.
I have been able to change the way I pray this week, asking and thanking for specific people, and their specific needs. I feel the spirit with me a lot more as I have done so.
The new generation that arrived is killing it still, finding lots of miracles and living the dream.
Right now we are going to go eat Thanksgiving dinner with President and Sis. Nelson, the dream! I keep telling them thanksgiving is in October but they don't believe me.
Love you lots,
Saturday, 25 November 2017
October 30th, 2017
This week president asked us to go on divisions with him after some of the interviews and it went really well so I think he's kinda wanting to do it a lot now. We worked in 6 areas in 3 days haha. It is super hard to keep an area going like that. We have been so blessed though. On Sunday a recent convert brought her friend who really liked it, and we have an appointment with her today, we found a mom and a daughter (9) who speaks 4 languages (the 9 year old), and just now the ZLs called and said they found a really awesome family of 4 that lives in our area that wants to listen, has member friends, and have all started reading the Book Of Mormon. Also we have an investigator who is the only Mexican woman who is a firefighter for Formula 1 races (like nascar stuff!), she has come to church once and has a baptismal date in December!
C got baptised this week, and the whole fam came! Also it was one of the biggest turn outs to a baptism' Ive seen in my mission. They had cake, a special musical number planned and everything! Super spiritual, and he was running around the church before because he was so hyped! On Sunday he sang in the primary presentation and I think the nerves are gone!
Just now we went to Apizaco to play volleyball with some members and other narrys, including the legendary Elder Stones! It was a lot of fun but there's this guy up there named Hermana S who is famous for cutting ties with giant scissors and I happened to be wearing my Canada tie that you sent me :( So if you could send another Canada tie that would be awesome.
That's about it from me, the time is going by super fast these days and we are super tired but I love it!
November 6, 2017
Gonna start off with a little miracle. Yesterday a less active lady that we were supposed to visit this week but had to cancel came to church and brought her 8 year old grandson. The ward secretary was joking around and went and asked him if he wanted to be baptised TODAY. He was hyped and said its the biggest desire of his heart and didn't understand that the ward secretary was joking. The 3rd hour of church one of the bishops councillors came and pulled us out of our class and was waiting there with the boy (Eric). He was super confused because he was going around telling everyone to come to his baptism after church. Anyway, we went and visited them in the afternoon and grandma is hyped to come back to church, his parents have potential, and he has a baptismal date for this month! He sat us down, offered a glass of water, told us "estan en su casa", real gentleman. He then said "lets talk business, when am I going to get baptised?" hahha pretty rare to have baptisms just fall out of nowhere like that, but we were super grateful, and we are really hoping the whole fam can just be baptised. Only problem is that the grandma on the other side of the fam is a JW.
This week like 4 big fams in the mission got baptised, one was a family of 5 in Totolac! We already have almost as many baptisms in this month as we did in all of September, after just one week!
The zone conferences went really well, we are going to get more into working with the YSA (young adults) and using FB and stuff to get the youth more engaged. We're thinking of a Christmas scavenger hunt thing that we want to do on the FB page (Mision en linea Puebla Tlaxcala) and get everyone to share their missionary experiences in the comments.
Who's Ben Barfuss gonna marry because I was talking about that with Elder Barfuss the other day and he hadn't heard anything haha.
Did I tell you guys that our stake president´s wife passed away a few weeks ago? Super sad, he's a very young stake president (maximum 40 years old) and has young kids. The other day we got to the offices and there was a 70 just waiting outside to interview him and so we could talk to him a bit. This week Elder Valenzuela of the area presidency is gonna come to reorganise the stake presidency and he's gonna stay at President Nelson´s house! Might meet him :)
Glad the weather is still so nice over here hahaha, gotta enjoy that while I can.
Sounds like all is well back home.
Love you guys, love being a missionary.
November 13, 2017
It's Christmas time in Mexico :) (just in our apartment but were hyped)!
You will all have to wait another week just like the rest of the missionaries to know if I will stay another transfer or not haha.
We had a special stake conference with Elder Valenzuela from the area presidency and Elder Chavez of the seventy. The Mexico city temple president and of course President Nelson were also there. Those seventies understand very well why they are there and do not waste a single moment or word that isn't going to help the stake with what they need. They called a completely new stake presidency (the old one was only there for like 7 months or something). Don't know them yet but seem good. Elder Chavez gave a really, really good talk though about what he saw happening in the stake that needed to change. He talked about the way the Saviour responded to the adulterous woman, that he didn't say "I forgive you" because she still hadn't repented, but he did show that he was willing to forget about it and forgive her once she had done so. He talked about how we need to be willing to forget about the mistakes of others (especially leaders) and not judge. It takes faith to trust that imperfect people are still called of God even when they make mistakes. "if you look for the flaws in the men we have just called, you will find them. If you look at the fact that all 3 of them are even shorter (he's pretty short) than I am, you will find it." We should look for the good in everything, like that Gordon B Hinckley quote you sent mom. Very good and needed talk. Has been a big help looking at the good and not the bad in missionaries while in the process of choosing 22 trainers hahaha.
Elder Valenzuela talked about some experiences he's had with sharing the Gospel in creative ways. He went to a graveyard with his wife on day of the dead and gave out "My Family" pamphlets. Pretty creative. "We don't need to wait for Salt Lake to tell us before we come up with different ways to share the gospel." Pretty good stuff all around.
They're gonna get married in August I bet.
Eric's parents aren't as excited about him getting baptised as he was, but we want to go serve them and I think that way we will be able to get through and help them see the need for the gospel in their lives.
I think that's it from me, see ya next week! Also if someone could get me Ana's missionary email address that would be good :)
November 20, 2017
Thanks for the spiritual thought mom, honestly I think that's been one of my biggest weaknesses in my mission, studying well. Kinda surprising because that's all I did before the mish and I did it well, but it's something I need to step up in the mission. Goal for this last stretch will be to learn how to study in a way that I can continue for my whole life :)
Sorry for writing so late in the week, with all the news that arrived on Monday we had to take two days to train them and choose companionships. To answer your question mom, yes we do have a very large part in choosing the trainers, the companionships and everything about the transfers. We go out and do our homework, calling all the leaders in the mission to get reports on every missionary, we bring that information to the transfer meetings, and we work together with President Nelson and the Spirit to make those decisions. This time it was pretty hard to choose 22 trainers in such a small mission. Right now more than half of the mission is either training, or being trained. We now have the zone leaders of 2 zones (Tlaxcala and Tlaxcala Norte) acting as trainers and zone leaders! Huge job for them (Elder A and Stones who arrived with me are two of the 4 that are doing that). 2 zone leaders and 2 news live together and they are pretty much trainers by day, and zone leaders by night haha. Should be good. We have been so blessed with this generation though, our problem was that many of the news already seemed more ready than their trainers! Super prepared, spiritual, smart missionaries. Probably like 6 future APs in the group. Pretty sure Ana met several of them in the MTC because they were all there at the same time.
President took us to IHop after the transfer day to celebrate and for Elder Stirling's birthday! Pretty weird eating in such an American place.
Other than that we have just been preparing for more meetings and stuff so far this week. It's going to be more fun to plan the zone conference though because it's the Christmas conference this time :) That was a big part of why I wanted to stay another transfer hahaha. That, and because the mission is doing awesome now. We had 28 baptisms last week which was more than any other week since I've been an assistant! Also in week 3 of the month we already have more than we have in any other month since I got here! We have been very blessed and it's been a lot of big families too :) Love hearing about all the miracles.
Also, the stake president whose wife passed away was called as our ward mission leader on Sunday! So hyped on that one!
What do you think your strengths are, that you brought to the mission? Ask your companion this too.
Elder Stirling says my huge arms, my testimony, my hair looks nice, and he says I know the scrips well but I think that one isn't that true. Also that I'm really flexible. I think one of my biggest strengths is being constant. I don't think I am the best at teaching, or the language or a lot of other things, but I am constant in working hard even when things don't go my way :)
Why do you think you were called to serve where you are?
I think the Lord had some super specific people and companions he wanted me to meet. I think this mission is a place where I have been able to have a ton of super spiritual experiences, and a lot of success, but also some really hard times that taught me maybe even more.
What ideas or inspirations have come to your mind since being called as AP?
One big push we are trying to do right now, is changing the way the leaders in the mission motivate the rest. Before, when I arrived, it was very competition based (showing the numbers of all the areas, giving awards for the zones that baptise more, etc...), but now we have changed a few really small things, like the way we present the progress of the mission, so that it is a unity based motivation. We now set goals the come from the bottom up, not from the top down, and when one of us baptises everyone is happier now.
Favourite person to work with this week…WHY?
Elder B, he's one the new zone leaders and I went on interchanges with him and we just really got along really well, pretty much the same person. Wasn't the best day for the work but it was super fun :)
Tell me a kindness you witnessed today?
Latest P-day activities?
What is different going on divisions with the President vs. another missionary?
The hair dresser opened up early for us so that we could get our hair cut before we had to come to the office :)
Well last week we went to Apizaco and played volley ball and tie shopping. Right now I think the plan is to go for sushi and next week we are thinking about going to "African Safari" which I think is like a zoo.
Well I've only ever had President go on divisions with me once. What we do is go visit a companionship and I go with one and he goes with the other. When he goes though, one big difference is that he has a car and he is a really good teacher. He's kinda like the secret weapon, if someone has an interview with him it's almost 100% chance they'll get baptised.
Do they have an equivalent to Remembrance Day? That was just this past Saturday here.
I don't think so.
Do you ever think of presents you could bring your mother? You know….like a nice Mexican nativity set for her collection?! ’Tis the season!!!
I will find you a nativity set hahaha
Sunday, 29 October 2017
Thinking about going to DQ in a sec here so thought about you. There's only one in the mish and I haven't gone cuz it's expensive but we're almost at the end of the month and I'm doing fine with money.
MOM those pix get me HYPED!
(Sommer is headed to school this January,
Amy is headed to Tokyo, Japan on her mission,
Lance is headed to Toronto on his mission,
and Ana is headed to Mexico on her mission...best friends ever!)
Yeee hearing good news about good ol Caleb. Great news update tbh.
This week was pretty nice, I got to go on exchanges with Elder Stones again, the legend. He's still hyped on the narry (missionary) life. We found a homeless guy named J that told us about his life story in perfect English. He used to live in LA and has a fam and kids there, and had everything he ever wanted. He then started drinking a bit too much, got deported, and found himself living on the streets of Puebla. He had a real desire to change and he had read the BoM before and had a bible in his pocket. We couldn't do much for him in his current state, but we went and got him a haircut and invited him to the self-sufficiency class. We will see what happens, but honestly it was one of the experiences where I have felt most like Christ in my mission. Love Elder Stonez.
Also the familia S is killin it. C is going to get baptised this week, already passed the interview, and mom is super interested and committed to activate herself again. We have had lessons with members that are really helping her and the whole fam stayed all 3 hours this week at church. Sometimes the most fulfilling experiences aren't the ones that look awesome on paper. That's a lesson that has/is taking me way too long to figure out. I think that's about it from me. We are having a great time as companions too :)
Did you get birthday cards? Ana was asking.
Mmm don't think so, just the ones that were in the package, hyped that there should be one on the way though!No but I have most of them backed up on a memory stick.
Do you ever do magic tricks for anyone?
Have you heard from Emma? She bounces through her emails - she is so happy!! (note: Emma just started her mission on Temple Square in SLC)
Want anything else for Christmas? Pants for sure?
What are your companionship goals this week?
Do you ever get to ask your mission president good doctrinal questions? Or does he ask you?!
Nervous if you do get transferred this next round?
Do you use google drive to store photos? It’s part of your lds mail account FYI!!
No :( the other day we saw these street magicians though and they were doing tricks at one traffic light when we walked by (pretty good honestly), and then we kept walking and like 2 blocks later they were somehow there again! They teleported! Best trick ever, we gave them our change and then they did a lil private show for us. Also Elder Stirling found the pic of me on Bro Young's website and he made it his planner cover.
I think she just sent an email saying "HELLLOOOO!" so I too think she's happy hahaha.
The kendama would be awesome, the pants would be awesome, more Maynard's (candy from Canada!), and ties are always great (you've been killing it on the ties you've sent btw) Love you
Write in journal more, study more and better (kinda hard sometimes), and just like never make excuses for not doing something because we were busy with our assignment.
Honestly not really haha, he is super busy and our job is to make his life easier and make it so that he has more time, so we try to talk about the things that will help him. If we ever try to ask deep doctrine questions, he asks, "if I tell you that, is it going to help someone get baptised?" He's got his priorities very straight.
No! I think it could go either way depending on the needs of the mission, but I would honestly love the opportunity to go just work really hard in my own area and just focus on that for a while. If that's the case I would probably open a new area and train because we're getting 19 new missionaries.