Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween Letter from Trevor...

Mi querida familia,

(Trevor helping Elder Ibarra baptize a young girl)

I love you all so much. But don't have much time to write this week. I spent like 15 minutes writing my letter to Presidente, and when I sent it something screwed up and I had to write everything again. Times when I definitely hate computers haha. It has been a really good week though. We had zone conference with President Castañeda and his new counselor President ChiChia. President ChiChia is way humble and awesome, I love him. We practiced making contacts with him during the conference, and he taught us so much and inspired me to truly put more love and social aspects in all of our contacts. I can already feel my contacts being way more effective.

Also things are going great with Elder Ibarra and I! I learn so much every day, and we are helping so many people. I know that the gospel truly blesses our lives when we live according to it's teachings. Jesus Christ is the Savior of all the world, and paved the perfect path for us to walk on, if only we choose to follow him. I have thought about his guidance as a walkway..
Imagine that there is a straight path that leads to Christ. And you are walking on it, but cannot look down. You just have to walk wherever you are looking. The path to Christ, that he has paved, goes up and down, but is perfectly smooth and clean of debris or cracks. So all of the upward slopes are easy when we´re on the path.. Although sometimes we don't look at him, we are distracted by other things on the sides of this path, maybe a park, a surfboard, or a guy selling pozol(haha), whatever it may be. And we continue walking, but diverge from the path and start walking off until we trip on rocks, slip in mud, or soak our feet in puddles. Only to find that if we turn our head again to Christ, with His open arms, then we will start walking back towards the path, until we are on his pavement once again. If only we follow Him, and LOOK for Him, SEARCH for Him, we can be guided and everything will be much easier in this life.
Yes, it is complicated and I might not have explained it very well. To make things easier, just read the story of Lehi´s Dream of the Tree of Life in the Book of Mormon. Things will be much clearer and easier to understand, as it is the word of God, and He will help us.
Just know that I love you all so much, and am so grateful for your examples in my life. I don't know where I would be without you, my family, my friends, the church, everyone who I have ever met. You have all helped me so much in my life, especially in helping me prepare to go on this mission. I know my Savior Lives, I feel His presence with me when I follow Him and His commandments.

With love (and prisa), Elder Knight

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011 letter to family and friends...

Querida familia,
Yes, another amazing week here in the mission field. Miracles happen. They happen every day. We just need to keep our eyes open for them. Just think of all the things we miss every day because we´re not paying attention... I can promise you there are alot. We often find ourselves focused on our own problems and whats going on in the moment. I was reading or something the other day, when I read/heard/something that "There are so many opportunities to serve others every day. But we miss so many of them only because our eyes are not open to them." I know that this is true. We should all try and LOOK, SEARCH for opportunities to serve, to help and reach out, to lend a hand to others. We have helped so many people this week. We decided to always keep our eyes open (spiritually) while walking to our appointments, not look at the ground, but look for opportunities to serve. To share the gospel, to hold a door open, to clean a a yard, to carry grocery bags, whatever it may be. Just do it. Don't think about if the person would accept your help or not, or if they really need it, or that you don't have the time. When we put others needs in front of ours, I promise you that God will take care of them both. I know that when we put the time into serving and helping others first, we are putting God in control of our lives. And who better to do so, eh?
This week Elena and Alejandra were baptized. Such a beautiful service too. The primary and relief society both sang special musical numbers. And we had about 45 people squished in this tiny room with only 30 chairs. Super crowded, with 8 people sitting across 5 chairs, and pretty loud with so many little kids. But oh, was the Spirit present, and reverence filled the whole room when the actual baptisms were performed. I will truly never forget it, how beautiful of a family the Chim Ko's are. And what a great feeling to know that their family can now be completed with these baptisms. The next step is temple sealing. Which will be so beautiful with Elena and Alejo. I hope I will be able to go with them in one year from now.
I received an email from a family in my first area. So great to hear from them, too bad I can't write them back in email though. SO great to hear how their family is progressing and staying true to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I also received all of your emails! Sounds like things are going super great at home. I am so happy. I know that God answers our prayers. Well, now its time to go already. I love you all. Keep up the good work everyone. Keep moving forward.
With love, Elder Knight

Monday, October 17, 2011

Post on Reagan's birthday October 17th, 2011 Happy Birthday my youngest sister Reagan!

Querida familia mía,
Well, updates:
--The Family Chim Ko did not get baptized this week. Alejo, her husband, is still working on the oil platform and they want him to be here for their baptism. But this week he will for sure return.
--The weather has been crazy, so much rain! And they're saying a storm is coming in, but I'm not sure. We don't read newspapers or watch tv. For this reason, Alejo couldn't get off the platform, because of the weather =/
--This week I became a missionary. I was short one letter from home I guess, according to Hermano (brother) Heber. But now, I've got it. My 'Dear John' and everything to prove it! =D hahaha
--We spent all morning creating a pathway to Agustin's new house in the back of a marsh. His neighbors are crazy and block the pathway with old refrigerators and stuff, so we were working on clearing out trees and making a trail/bridge to his house with machetes, pallets, and stakes. I forgot to take pictures of us working, but I think Elder Ibarra has some.
 It was fun, but my shoes are filled with mud and who knows what else. I love Agustin so much, he was so happy to see us and work with us. Him and his wife are so strong, and have such great testimonies. It stinks that they're in another ward now.
Also, this week has been crazy fast. I can't even remember what happened. We ended yesterday with 20 lessons taught to inactives & less-actives. We've been focusing alot on reactivating those who are already members and cleaning up the branch directory. The Branch president, Pres Salazar and his counselors are all super willing to help us and do whatever they can to participate in the work here. Elder Ibarra and I have so much support right now, we're trying to figure out how to organize it all so that the branch missionaries and us can all work together often and effectively. We've started having meetings and training sessions every week with the members in which we train how to teach and share the gospel. Its going very well, and we've called 3 more couples to be missionaries too.
Oh my goodness, we have found too many escogidos to count these last two weeks! We've got many references of investigators from the branch that we are also working with, one from the Hna Domy. Their names are Lady and Roberto, and were neighbors with Hermana Domy and Hermano Ulises 4 years ago. We visited them this week, and got to know them so well. We started with a hymn, a prayer, and began to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Hermana Lady opened up to us, telling us how she is so happy we are here with them, that she feels so good and calmed to hear word we said. She said that they are looking for the thing that will help their family become united again, as their older daughter doesn't like talking with them, and their younger daughter is starting to follow.. In the end of the lesson, Hermano Roberto explained that everything sounded so familiar to him, and that he agrees with the message. We invited them to be baptized, and to bring their daughters to church with them. We're now doing all we can to help their daughters, and they are praying to know if they should be baptized. I know that God will answer their prayers, and help them to feel the importance and necessity of baptism in the true church of Jesus Christ.
There is so much evidence, it is impossible to deny once we come to familiarize ourselves with the gospel. ESPECIALLY the Book of Mormon. The greatest piece of evidence the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has to offer of its truthfulness. I have been reading the Liahona of October (Amazing by the way, everyone should have their own personal copy and read it ALL!) it helps me to understand the Book of Mormon more, and apply it in our teaching, contacts, and example every day.
Another escogido, Juan Carlos. Wow, I have never found an investigator so prepared. He's 19 years old, and is super good at soccer. When we contacted him in the street, he was walking away from the Obrera(where he lives). And we asked when we could visit him. He told us that we could follow him back to his house and teach him right then. So we did, and found out that he has been so well prepared by the Savior to receive this message. We taught him and his uncle, and gave Juan Carlos a Book of Mormon. We invited him to read 3 Nephi 27, and to pray. Upon returning two days later, he had read the chapter, and started reading from the beginning too. He was in 1 Nefi 5, and he retold us the story of Nephi returning to Jerusalem with his brothers for the plates and everything, with so much conviction and understanding! We focused on what the Book of Mormon teaches us, and left him with the invitation to be baptized. He accepted with no doubts. We asked him if he would like to see a baptismal service this week, and he said he had work,  but he would ask for time off to go. We returned two more days later, and he had already finished 1 Nephi, all of it. And received an answer that the Book of Mormon is true, that he is so animated when he reads it. And that he feels so much better every day at work and in home with this knowledge. I know the Lord prepares His children for the missionaries. He is preparing all of us to return in His presence.

I know without a doubt that going on my mission is the best decision I have ever made. I feel so much joy just being here in the service of the Lord. When I feel tired or spiritually drained, my Savior replaces these feelings with love, charity, and a burning passion to share these feelings with all others. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is evidence given to us that Joseph Smith was chosen by God to restore His true church on the Earth in these latter-days. I know without a doubt that He loves us, and is preparing us to be better persons with every moment that takes place in our lives. I feel tranquilidad and peace to know that He is guiding me always, and that I can receive power and spirituality when I am obedient, work hard, and love everyone. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet called of God. That his counselors and the 12 Apostles are also called of God, to guide us and help us understand His word and will for us, His beloved children. I know that I have the best family in the world (a little biased, I know) and that we will be together forever because of the ordinances performed in the holy temple. Most of all, I know that Christ loves me, that He lives, and that He wants every single one of His children to know of the true gospel. For we cannot be saved without it. Feast on the scriptures, live the gospel, love thy neighbor, and share this sweet message with all. This is the path to happiness. This is the path to eternal life.
I Love You All, Elder Knight

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mi querido familia,
   You are all amazing. I can´t tell you how much you mean to me. Everything I have ever learned in life, from experiences and memories I will never forget, some bad and some good haha. I am so grateful to have been placed with such a loving, amzing family. I have news for you all. I will be seeing you on Thursday. I'm coming home.
   Hahahahaha no way. I'm totally kidding. Not about how awesome you all are, of course. But about coming home. You already know that's never happening. =P
   Anyways, on a more serious note, it has been a great week here in Carmen. Our branch is growing, and we're experiencing miracles left and right. We've been working with a few investigators this week, as well as many inactives and less-actives. I'm not sure if I've told you, but here in the island of Carmen, we're only a district and ramas. And since I've got here everyones always talked about becoming a stake, but it's never really been very serious or real. But President Castañeda is coming to sign some papers and fill stuff out next week to begin making Carmen into a stake! It's way rad, and everyone is super excited. But he has given us alot of goals to accomplish before anything happens. The district needs 8 more active, worthy high priests, and higher church assistance these next few months. Well, we've been visiting lots of people this week. And the normal 80 people in church turned into 110 yesterday! The chapel felt so full, and not to mention it was Fast and Testimony meeting. It was one of the most spiritual Testimony meetings I've seen here. There's a new elderly couple who just moved into our branch from the one right next to us, and they are legit. The husband only speaks english, but his wife translates for him. I talked to him for a while yesterday after church, and he told me about how much work he's been doing here in Mexico, even though he can't speak the language very well. But that the Spirit teaches to all in the same language. Anyways, he bore his testimony, and his wife translated. Everyone was talking to us about it later, about how they all felt the spirit even though he didn't speak their language. And, the family Chim Ko, has their baptismal date set for this coming saturday. Elena was a bit shaky about it at first, but we set the date with her and invited her to pray about it too. She did. The next day we went to see the family, and she told us about how she prayed, and afterwards, she just stayed on her knees and waited, and felt drops of water hitting her head. In the house, when it wasn't raining, with no possible explanation. She said that she felt so good and so sure, that she went into her daughters' room and told them all to make sure they wake up early because they were going to church no matter what! That she felt she needed to go, and nothing was going to stop them. And then her 7 year old daughter, Tania, just stood up and walked to the podium in the testimony meeting without telling Elena anything. And she went and said "Hello Brothers and sisters, I just want to share my feeling with you. I feel that this is the true church of Jesus. I know that He loves me and takes care of me and my family. Also, I feel that the Book of Mormon is true, and when I read it I feel happy. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Oh, it was so powerful, and everyone was stunned at how blessed this little girl is to have a testimony so strong already. She later told us how a girl on the bus said that God doesn't exist, and Tania just went off on her I guess haha.
  Also, there is so much more. But my hour is already up, and I don't want to lengthen out our P-Day. We might go to a mail center today. Elder Ibarra has to send off a package, and I'm going to try and resend some letters that got returned to me. I'm sorry if you think I haven't written some of you, I don't know what goes on with the mail down here. I just drop it in the box, and pray that it somehow gets to the States haha. I guess my faith isn't strong enough for some of your letters haha. Anyways, thats whats up today. Elder Ibarra and I are going to the doctor too, because he has a cough that wont go away. We get along well, and help eachother out. I am so grateful for him, and his desires to work with me. It has been a good change this week. And too many spiritual experiences to count. Too many miracles to tell about. Too much evidence of God's hand in this work to deny it. I know this church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is word inspired of God. I know that there is no better cause in this world, than to work in the service of our fellow-men. When you are in the service of your fellow being, you are only in the service of your God. Keep up the service, keep up the examples, and never forget that you are loved. And you have the obligation to share this love with everyone you meet. Take care of yourselves everyone.
Love, Elder Knight

Monday, October 3, 2011

To: My family and friends...

Hello my wonderful family.

Have I told you lately that I love you? Hahaha Conference was AMAZING! Super awesome. I watched the first session in Spanish, and then one of the counselors told me that there is a room in english for two of the elders who just arrived this month, and that I was invited to join them if I wanted. I am so glad I did haha. The spanish was still the same, and I understood everything. But its a bit bothersome when your accostumed to the voices of the apostles and prophet, and you hear some other voice. And the translator just about butchered some of President Monson´s jokes. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the English language. The language of the Restauration, as President Castañeda says (and I think in Preach My Gospel too).

Well, transfers came, and Elder Alvarado went. It was pretty odd. He left on friday, 4 days before normal tranfers. So I have been with our Branch Mission Leader, who is a STUD. His name is Alexis and he´s 18 years old, preparing to go on a mission. He leaves December 1st for Argentina! So legit, so he has been my companion for the last few days, as well as another preparing to go to Chile, Edgar. They are both studs, super prepared, better missionaries than I am already. And are super fun. They are so excited to learn about everything, and totally prepared to give everything to the Lord. I couldn't be happier for them, and more grateful for the opportunity that I have to be with them.

In other news, we´re trying to find new investigators, as the ones that Elder Alvarado and I were working on aren´t progressing very well, and don't want to come to church. But we're finding miracles all over Carmen. Also, we got a new (used) fridge from one of the members. Its way bigger than our old one, smaller than yours at home, but so awesome haha. We cleaned out the apartment really well and got everything ready for my new companion to arrive tomorrow. Elder Ibarra. Apparently from what I have heard so far from other elders: He's Mexican, and he was a zone leader in his last area. So that's all I know, and I am super excited.

I want to learn everything all over again, and do things in the way the Lord has commanded. I love all of you. I can feel your prayers. Last night, we ate dinner with a Sister in the other branch, and I saw a picture frame with the story of the footsteps on the sand. Of how a man asked Jesus, "What happened in my difficult times and trials? There are only one set of footprints, why did you leave me when I needed you most?" And the Lord replied, "In those moments, there are only one set of footprints because I was carrying you.."
What a sweet way to look at our most trying and difficult times in our life. We should never forget that our Savior Jesus Christ will ALWAYS be there for us, especially in our times of trials. You are all loved, and never forgotten. You are never alone.

I love you, Elder Knight