Monday, April 30, 2012

Mi Familia

[ oh, and I ate a whole chile habanero at lunch the other day, everything up to the seeds. Yeah, its spicy I'll tell ya =) ]

Querido familia,

I hope all is well back at home this week. Keep up the good work preparing for Caitlynn's wedding, it should turn out awesome!

Chelsea, Danny, Haley, Reagan, and Connor: ¡Pórtense bien! (be good) Since you're all in the same household right now, do your best to make it just like how our Celestial household will be one day. What a wonderful opportunity our Heavenly Father has granted you all to experience such a loving environment in our very own home. I just want you all to know I am so jealous of you all. I miss you all so much, can't wait for the day to be with you all again. But I know this work is serious, and we'll have to wait it out a few more months. I too am learning so much here, even with the pains and suffering at times, I know it is all in God's plan for me.

Mimi, I want you to know that I love and respect you so much. It takes alot to be able to put up with the annoying teenager I was. You have always been a great example for me, and really have taught me so much. Up to the point when you would order me food in the drive-thru and force me to eat it even if I said no: I learned my lesson to accept things when people offer them to me, and I can't tell you how inspired that was, as I am in my mission in Mexico. Where if you don't accept even a glass of water the people can get offended. You are so awesome.

This week has taught me alot. Maybe more than I have learned in any week of my mission. I can't even begin to tell you how much Elder Rodríguez and I have been working this past transfer. So many people we have contacted more than 700 people in the streets, homes, buses, taxis, everywhere. We have found and taught more than 60 people accepting commitments, over 200 lessons, and put over 15 baptismal dates. And not one person has made it to the water in this entire transfer. Who knows why, but it seems like something crazy always happens to our investigators. There's always somebody, a friend, family member, or someone against us who influences the people to stop progressing. Up to the point where Pablo, one of the many, was interviewed and passed on Friday, had his baptismal service planned for Saturday, and the same day thought twice and changed his mind, deciding to go to a 15años with his cousins and friends. Drinking. We're almost up to the point where we do now know what to do.

It seems like there is so much controversy working against us, so much iniquity. I have come to realize just how strong the adversary's influences can be upon the hearts of the children of men.

...But there is a stronger force. I know that whether or not the people accept, we are preparing the world for His second coming. Christ will return to this Earth, and reign upon the face of the Earth in peace and harmony. We, equally, need to be preparing ourselves. The battle is hard, but the reward is the eternal life. I know that what I am doing is true. The Holy Spirit has testified to my soul that the very things I am teaching every day is the word of God. Through living His gospel, we can receive the peace and hapiness in this life, as well as the salvation in the life to come.

“The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calamity may defame. But the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and dependent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah will say, ‘The work is done.”

My beloved family, I know that this work is true. There is no greater cause in which we shall go on working for. No struggle, no pain, no suffering, no sacrifice goes in vain. Let us work for Him. I love you all so much. I pray for you all every day. Don't you ever give up, don't lose hope. God is at work in our lives, always.

Love, Elder Knight
(Elder Noche)

Scripture of the week: from Cuichapaaaaa =)
"O Lord God, how long wilt thou suffer that such wickedness and infidelity shall be among this people? O Lord, wilt thou give me strength, that I may abear with mine infirmities. For I am infirm, and such wickedness among this people doth pain my soul."
"O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul ain Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me, because of the iniquity of this people."
"O Lord, wilt thou comfort my soul, and give unto me success, and also my fellow laborers who are with me—yea, Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, and also my two sons—yea, even all these wilt thou comfort, O Lord. Yea, wilt thou comfort their souls in Christ."
"Wilt thou grant unto them that they may have strength, that they may bear their afflictions which shall come upon them because of the iniquities of this people."
"O Lord, wilt thou grant aunto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ."
"Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee."

P.S.Oh and did I tell you that I'm training this next transfer? Elder Rodríguez is going to Coatza, and a new missionary is coming from the MTC in his place. I'm way excited! "It's a boy!" A greenpea  hahaha

-me preparing myself for the day, gotta wear your pants right

-Pablo and I, him wearing one of my shirts and tie

-we ate armadillo this week SOOO GOOD

...and finally -thats my box kite I made out of palm fronds, above Elder Rodriguez's head, oh yeah

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dear family,

I love you all so much.
You have no idea how much I love to hear that you are all making so much changes in your lives. Repentance requires change, and allows us to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.

This week we are expecting the baptism of Pablo. He's the grandson of  a less-active member who we just reactivated. He is 18 years old and we found him one day when I offered to help him with his English homework (haha). We helped him while he had to write sentences about his life, we got to know him pretty well just by helping with his homework! So we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ to him and he accepted to be baptized. His whole family is so excited, even his older cousin, who has been inactive forever, came with all of us to church yesterday. I feel like this is the way Cuichapa is going to grow, through reactivating those who already have had testimonies, but have felt forgotten. Nobody is forgotten.... never. Don't forget about those who stray away from the path as they need you. Christ needs you to be His hands, and help those lost sheep return to His fold. You can do it in the ward, in your work, in your own family. There are millions of opportunities that pass by us every day.

Thank you for your emails. I love reading them as well. I hope everyone is doing very well.  I'll write you all personal emails next week, promise! (But remind me haha)
Can't talk much today, we spent our whole P-Day making kites out of palm fronds and twine, pretty fun stuff. But I'll send pics and more spiritual experiences next week! Love you!

Elder Knight

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mi querida familia,
Wow what a crazy week! Just let me tell you a few stories this week..
1. First, you'd have to understand how things feel here in Cuichapa. Its pretty tough at times. I think it was Dad who said he looked it up, and found pretty much nothing about Cuichapa. Well its because its super small, but funny thing is that there are about literally 30+ different churches here in this tiny little town. Lots of controversy at times, lots of people too tired of listening to everyone else to even give us the time of day sometimes. And about all the people who are willing to listen to us, we've already met, taught, invited, verified, and dropped. We're literally saying hi to everyone all day, by their names. And almost everyone knows us, or me as the 'gringo misionero.' We're literally talking all the time, and getting to know everyone. So long story short, there are days where we spend all day looking for new investigators, and we don't find much. We even went to a pueblito (small village) called San Martin the other day(we totally got played by a taxi driver Adrian, who charged us 100 pesos for the ride) and talked with everyone there, and nobody wanted to accept our message, or even accept to pray to know if what we taught was true. Pretty hard in the head. hmmm I know we can find people still though, it just takes faith.
2. So Wednesday we were on divisions, Elder Kimble came and worked with me here in Cuichapa. As I was looking for a less-active members home that we had never knew existed, we approached a home where a woman came out telling us to enter and brought out chairs for us to sit down. Her name is Irene, and we taught her and her neighbor who was there about the Restoration. Super awesome lesson, a bit long, but powerful. We left them each Books of Mormon, and put a return-appointment to verify their prayers to know if the Book of Mormon is true. Longer story shorter, Irene has been reading, praying, loves it, and asks us the greatest questions. Out of all the investigators we invited to church and had received firm confimation that they were going to come, Irene was the only one who came. We passed by her home in the morning and she was already dressed and ready to go. Her husband was there too, but said he had to go to work at 9:30, but he wanted to come next week because his wife looked very excited to go. Irene came, and  what do you know, she and Lourdes are friends! How cool, Lourdes is a recent-convert, and I know we were sent in Irene's home for a reason. Irene needs the gospel, and Lourdes really needs a good friend with her in the church. Miracles happen. End of story (for now).
3. Yesterday, after church we stopped by the house to drop off our class' books, (and Elder Rodríguez feels a bit sick and was in the bathroom). Meanwhile, I continued where I left off in the Book of Mormon in the morning, and I felt the impression to look in our ward directory for some reason. I didn't know what I was looking for, but started looking at all the birthdays, and I found a name I didn't recognize, and it was her birthday! Yazareth, and she lived pretty close to our house too! I went in the fridge and found a Hersheys chocholate bar that you sent me, and we took it to her (in the blazing heat, who knows how it didn't melt). Upon arriving, an older woman came out, and went back into the house, we imagined to get Yazareth. But turns out Yazareth's sister, Mari, is a member too. The woman told us that Mari wasn't home, and we replied that we came to visit Yazareth. She asked, "Yazareth? You came to visit Yazareth?" And we were like "Yyyyeah, is she home?" And then she told us she would ask her if she wanted to come down. Weirded us out, but anyways.... Yazareth came out, and we started talking to her. It was her 41st birthday, and told us that she hadn't gone to church in 10 years! And she shared a thought with us, that I found so dang true. I don't remember exactly what she said, but I will share with you my thoughts after the lesson with her.
     Everybody wants to feel like the one, who the Great Shepherd goes looking for. When you miss a Sunday in church, or stop going to the activities, you'd like to know that somebody is missing you and looking for you. You think or wait for somebody to call you, "Hey, where were you today? We missed you. Are you okay? Is there something we can do to help you? How's the family? ..etc." But sometimes, even as members, we lose ourselves in the distractions of the world, and we don't pay as much attention to others as we should. We don't go by the house of a sister who didn't come to church today because we're hungry and want to get home to eat. There are plenty of excuses, even more than there are for those who don't go to church (I slept in, I have homework, I feel sick{sometimes acceptable}, I don't have gas, etc.). But we shouldn't let ANYTHING get in the way of us caring for our brothers and sisters. If your son/daughter/sibling didn't come home one day, you would go looking for them or call them or something, wouldn't you? I don't see why our minds don't think this way about the church. When we go to church, we are returning home to renew our covenants, and learn from Spirit-inspired leaders, and see our brothers and sisters. I feel that we all can put a bit more effort into taking care of those we love (everyone), so that we can REALLY be tools in the Lord's hands to bring His children in return to His loving arms...
Do everything you can. You know I believe in you, and am always praying for you all. I am so grateful for the inspiration and revelation that our Father offers us to guide us back to Him, even in this crazy world. It's never too late to invite the Spirit in our lives, there is no limit to returning to His presence. Take care of yourselves, and everyone else too! =)

Elder Knight

Just a little look of our p-day today. We went with Horacio and Nefi to fly kites that they made.
We went to a hill way out in the middle of nowhere, it was awesome!
So beautiful here, and then Horacio was thirsty and we went to go drink out of a well
I filtered the water with my shirt, no worries though
I'll let you know if I get sick, until next week =D
Love you all!
-Elder Knight
P.s. ...We found this baby tied to a dump truck

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mi querida familia

¡Holaaaaa de Cuichapaaaa!

I hope everybodys had a great week this week, I know I have. This week has been a bit crazy, but we´ve enjoyed it. I can´t believe my mission is flying by so fast. It makes me want to work harder and even harder every day.

I received a letter from Presidente that he sent to all the missionaries this week, talking about how everyone in Heaven is working so busy and preparing everything as fast as they can. Faster than ever before. Think about it, 3000 years ago there wasn't such a big rush, nor a lot of work to do, to prepare for the Second Coming. But now, think about it. How many billions of people have come into this earth these past 3000 years, and how many of them still haven't received the ordinances of salvation? How many people are there who need this work to be done NOW so that we can prepare all of God's children for the Second Coming.

We know our Savior Jesus Christ will return soon, we don't know exactly when, but we do know He is coming, and we must be prepared in the very day. What are we doing to prepare ourselves? Do we love our brotheren? Are we doing everything possible so that everyone else is preparing themselves as well? There is a lot of work to do, and not all of it can be done in Heaven. WE, those here on the earth, need to be building the Kingdom of God here on the earth TODAY. Not tomorrow, not in one hour, but right now. I know God blesses those who serve Him, in miraculous and innumerable ways. Do not lose the blessings that He offers us. With every moment, I know we can be helping somebody else. Edifying the church, fulfilling our church assignments and callings. Magnifying our Priesthood, exercising it righteously in all moments. Caring for the needy, afllicted, spiritually sick.

As much as I love being a missionary, I envy you all at home. Even though you have work, school, and other needs to fulfill, you can all do so much good with that little bit of free time left. A few visits to less-actives, a bit more study for the Sunday School class, service to the needy, work with the missionaries. I know we all can do it!

This week we found a family in a house that wasn't theirs. The husband was doing a job painting the inside, and his wife and kids went to accompany him. We talked with his wife who didn't seem too interested in what we had to share, but we kept talking with her, without knowing why. We just felt like we should keep talking with her, then her husband (who we didn't know was there) came out, and presented himself. "Ismael", the father, then asked us a few questions, and explained that he and his family live in Cuichapa Viejo, a colony a bit far from our main area, but we've gone there before. We put an appointment with them, and went on Saturday. Wow, Ismael is such a great guy, and he really does love his family. While we talked with him about baptism and the gospel, he agreed with everything, and as we taught his wife and him about the Book of Mormon, they understood clearly. Elder Rodríguez and I felt so great after this lesson, we found another family 3 houses down while we contracted the street on our way out. It was a great way to end our night. I know that Heavenly Father is preparing people, and families, to listen to our message. Thank you for your prayers, I know He answers them. I love you!

"Keep Moving Forward"
-Elder Knight-

Someone's pet racoon (or what is it?)....not Trevor's lol

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dear family,

Well this week has been pretty dang crazy. Elder Rodríguez and I had 3 baptismal dates in the beginning of the week all lined up. 3 in our area, and 3 also in Las Choapas, the other area in our district. With all the work we were putting into trying to help these sweet people prepare themselves for baptism, it seemed like all week the adversary was after us. With every investigator, they had some type of problem happen to them. It was devastating. As we expected 3 baptisms, we ended up with none. 'twas pretty rough...

But WOW. This conference was amazing. I sure hope everybody could listen to all of it! I can't remember who it was who talked about this, but I LOVED when they said that we should prepare our families to live in the Celestial Kingdom. Imagine it, we need to make our homes as they would be if we were living in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We should have good relationships between our children, parents, brothers, sisters, everyone! How can we expect to live in the Celestial Kingdom if we cannot even keep our relationships staight in our own family? Ahhh it was soo good this conference, let me tell ya. We all should refocus ourselves to forgive each other, be more obedient to every commandment, be true to our covenants we have made, and by far LOVE all as Christ would.

I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for having sent His servants to this earth, His prophet and apostles, so that we can be more well-directed by His spirit. I love my Savior, I feel His love. And it is my prayer that we all may feel such love, not only from Him, but from each other as we seek to give this love to others. I love you all, and I know that this gospel is true. I know that this is the true and restored church of Jesus Christ on the Earth, led by His prophet Thomas S. Monson. I know those follow His words will be eternally blessed and prepared in the day of His second coming. Take care my beloved family.

With love, Elder Knight

P.S. Fotos

-Elder Rodríguez and I found these glasses during lunch one day, fit well

                              -A parade the other day, from all the elementary schools!

-And our district in McDonalds this morning =D (There's a casino on the other side of the street with a super rare statue... You don't see stuff like this in the states haha)