Monday, June 25, 2012

Mi querida familia,

I just feel so much love for you all today. I don't know why, probably because I love you all so much! This morning I woke up and just haven't been able to stop thinking about all you and hoping you are all doing alright. I'm sorry to hear about the water heater, I never have to worry about stuff like that seeing as we don't have one haha. Tell Reagan I love her so much, I hope she enjoys herself at EFY. 

Yesterday, we were in the office after church, and Pres Silva and the Young Woman's president were talking about which youth are going to the youth conference this coming month. They had a list of 11 from our branch, some members and non-members. They were doublechecking the names and mentioned that Horacio, a youth who doesn't really get along with everyone in church, wasn't going anymore because he was going somewhere else that week. He lives right at the bottom of the hill where the church is. After the meeting, we walked down and I felt the need to stop by. We asked Horacio why he wasn't going, and he told us the truth is that he doesn't have the money to go (they have to pay for it here), and its $300 pesos. I thought it was a bit dumb not to go for $300, but I talked with his mom, and we came to an agreement. Well I still have that suitcase that Dad sent me, so Horacio is going to get a key made for it, and sell it. They didn't want to accept it at first, but then I explained how I was just going to give it away or leave it in the missionaries home, they did. So thanks for the suitcase Dad! (But don't send anymore haha) Horacio is going to EFY now, too!

This week has been a bit of a bummer to be completely honest. Working working and more working. Elder Williams and I went on the buses contacting people from Tlacuilolapa to Cuichapa to see if we could find any new investigators on Saturday. It was a great experience, we taught lesson One in 5 minutes to the whole bus while standing at the front, and then went down the aisles offering cards, pamphlets, Books of Mormon, and asking if we could teach them in their homes. We counted and contacted about 150 people that day, and got 5 peoples' directions (addresses). We were talking to Elder Pack about it on the phone, and he said "Well thats not effective then, way to go!" and I got a bit bummed, but then Elder Cottrel took the phone from him and told us(well, in Spanish) "If I contact 200 people and find only one chosen person to teach, I would be content with it." So Elder Williams and I are going to go look for all 5 of these people.

It seems like its always a big fight here in Cuichapa, but I'm sure it will change. There are a lot of people who we teach who are changing, they just don't change as fast as we'd like them to. That is, they don't progress. Also, the branch is always a little tipsy. So we put some realistic goals with Pres Silva yesterday to help them out. We are now 100% willing to help the ward with whatever it may be. I've never really liked the idea of being a home-teacher on the mission, but we told the members that if they want help we are willing to help them all. Also, I told Pres that we're going to reorganize the whole office this week, he's pretty tipsy about it. But I can't wait, the disorder gets me crazy.

I really do hope you are all doing so well. I wish I could have more time to write you all and tell you how much I love you and miss you, and appreciate your influences in my life. But let this be enough please. I am trying to put everything we possibly can into helping these people. I love you all. Don't you ever forget. I am so grateful for my family, especially my parents. I have the best Dad and Mom in the world. I love you both to death and would do anything for our family.

Love, Elder Knight

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mi querida famila,
Man, what a great week. I am so pumped! This week started out all normal, but then got better almost every day. Wednesday, we had a zone conference together with the other two zones here in Coatzacoalcos. So rad. We all just had a huge council, with like 50+ missionaries, and the zone leaders. We ended up talking alot about covenants. And decided to all make one right there to be better missionaries. We talked alot about how we need to be 100% dedicated in the work, NO distractions or idleness(it just took me like 5 minutes to find that word. in spanish its 'ociosidad' haha) whatsoever. I included a picture here, it says:
COATZA - 200 Contacts weekly, 40 lessons weekly, 15 new investigators weekly, Baptismal Invitations in EVERY lesson, NO EXCUSES.

It was pretty rad, we all felt so great. I know the Lord will bless us, just as He blesses all those who are willing to make covenants with Him. We should never be afraid to make covenants, because they closen us to Him through our obedience. To not accept a covenant with Him, would deter us from being able to do so. It surprised me to see that not all of the Elders signed it... But then I was reading a talk that the Abuelo gave me, and I found this scripture: Alma 13:2
"And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren."
Alma explains here how all those who receive the Priesthood here on the Earth, were called and chosen to posess it even before this life. There were many who were called  to hold the priesthood in the mortal life, and they accepted the duty. While there were many who REJECTED the privilege of holding such authority. Its true that with more power, comes more responsibility, and this is why they didn't accept the priesthood calling, because they were afraid of the responsibilities. They were afraid of being condemned if they erred.. So sad. Because maybe they have less responsibilities here on the Earth, but it will be impossible to be exalted without the priesthood. We need to make sure we are not like that. We need to be ready and willing to make covenants and promises with our Savior, with God. He always promises us blessing based on our obedience. If we don't accept the terms, we cannot receive the blessings.
And this goes with everything in the church. If it be a calling to be an apostle, a bishop, a counselor in relief society, secretary in deacons quorum, music director, home/visiting teacher. If it be going to the temple, if it be getting baptized, going on a mission, or even committing yourself to pray every day, read the Book of Mormon, go to church EVERY week(without fault). I testify that God blesses us in accordance with our obedience. All these things I have stated are commandments when given by Him. We must be obedient to the commandments to fully receive His blessings. Everyone should be willing and ready when the Lord calls, and fulfill the promises we have made to Him. There is no other way to gain eternal life. We must play by His rules.
I love you all so much, hope the closet dries out good. I leave these thoughts with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Love, Elder Knight

P.s. the Hermana Lucresia says hi =)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tarantula Week!

Querida famila,

Straight up tarantula week, I swear. Since we first found that tarantula in our closet last week, I made a joke to Elder Williams that night that it had eggs, and now its children will be out to get us. Little did I know I could predict the future! Another one came out while we were cleaning the church the other day, then another one in the bishops office while we were using the phone, then another one outside while we were talking with some members. And get this, we were in a lesson on Saturday, Elder Williams and I were teaching Manuel and Leticia. So we're in the lesson, I'm talking and I take a pause, Elder Williams leans over to me super casually and in english says "Look at your right leg.." I look down at my foot and I don't see anything. But then I look at my knee and underneath is a huge tarantula just chilling there crawled up in a little ball in the fold of my pant by my knee. I immediately stood up, my scriptures fell to the ground and the tarantula fell off and ran. Ahh, totally got my blood running quite a bit, to say the least. I'm starting to really hate these tarantulas, I think they're starting to come out now because of the heat, its so hot not, I'm sweating non-stop all day.

Well, this week has been all kinds of interesting. Elder Williams and I have been working, like always, looking for new people and dropping the old ones. Sometimes it seems like the same old thing every day, but I know we will be blessed for our diligence. We're trying to work even more with the ward now, in taking members with us to alot of lessons. It changes the spirit of the lesson SO much. Its crazy. For example, we met Manuel and Leticia in the street, and set an appointment to visit them in their home. That day we had divisiones (splits), I went with the Abuelo Román, and Elder Williams went with Chivi to an FHE.  Abuelo and I went to Manuel and Leticia to the appointment, and it was great, he was their neighbor and understood them in alot of ways, was able to answer alot of their questions in a way that they trusted having known him for a long time and all. 

So the next appointment, we did divisions again, and Abuelo went with me again, and we taught the Restoration, and Manuel said he didn't even want to pray to know if it was true because he was already convinced. Then, the next appointment, Abuelo couldn't go, and just Elder Williams and I went. Wow what a difference now, they acted totally different not having Abuelo there with us. They didn't want to accept as much as we were saying, and doubted us.. Upon leaving, I really comprehended how great of an effect the members can have on the people who we teach. Members can make the whole difference in the teaching period. Maybe we have found so many chosen people, but we just didn't realize it because we never had members to accompany us to visit them. They really come out of their shell with members in the lessons. Because they don't feel like we (the missionaries) are the only ones. They feel more loved when the members come.

My invitation is for everyone to call your missionaries today (whatever day it is that you are reading this) and ask them if you can accompany them in a visit this week. You will see miracles, and you will feel the love of the Lord just wrap around you in His thankfulness for your willingness to edify His kingdom. Do work, I know these things are true.
I love you!

-Elder Knight

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012 My parent's 29th Wedding Anniversary!

Our pet that we found the other night upon returning home. Just a tarantula in our closet, no big deal (yeah we killed it alright)

Hello family!
       Well we've got a lot going on this week. Lots of work to be done here in Cuichapa, really. Elder Williams and I are looking for new people every day, and finding quite a few. But it seems so hard lately here. Seems like we work and work and work, and nothing changes. We're not doing the same thing either, we keep trying new things, looking in PMG (Preach My Gospel) for new techniques all the time. I've actually just stopped reading straight through the scriptures like I used to, or studying subjects, and I'm reading PMG from front to back again, but with way more deep-studying. I love it, but we're still struggling to find the right way to do everything here. It's tough. It doesn't get me down, I just keep looking for another way every time something fails, but Elder Williams gets pretty down sometimes. I understand, as this is his first area here in Mexico, and its not the easiest to say the least.. I don't know why, but it seems so tough lately. It's such a small little town, we pretty much know everybody already, but they all are so confused. Half of them dont want to hear from us, and those who let us teach them don't want to change. We have been looking for ways to bring the Spirit more into our lessons so that they can feel the spirit so strong they can't deny it. We feel succesful as far as it goes teaching-wise, and spirit-wise, but it doesn't shake them. Then I found a simple sentence in PMG that just broke my heart, because it rang so true to me in the moment I read it. Like I was living it:

       "Your responsibility is to teach clearly and powerfully so they can make a correct choice. Some may not accept your message even when they have received a spiritual witness that it is true. You will be saddened because you love them and desire their salvation." (page 10, Preach My Gospel)

       Well, we can't obligate the people to accept the gospel. This week, we went to an appointment with Pola, a lady that we talked with a few days prior, she was so nice and open with us, and accepted that we come back to share the gospel with her family. Well when we got to her house a few days later to talk with them, we came to the door; knocked, shouted "buenas tardes", everything. We even saw her neighbor and she told us that she should be home, that she was just sweeping the porch a few minutes ago. Then I thought maybe she was in her sisters house (behind her house) so we walked to the side of the house to approach her sisters front door. As we walked towards her house, I turned back and saw Pola with her young daughter run into their home, and the little girl had such a scared face running with her mom. I just stood and was perplexed by the sight. At first, I was scared thinking that something was happening, but then I realized, "...they're running from ME..?.." I thought "What did I do to deserve such behavior? What reason do they have to be scared of us, I haven't done anything to them.." I walked back to the door, and tried talking to her, but to no end. I was talking into an 'empty' home, as nobody was responding to me.. We then apologized to the 'empty' home for whatever we might have done, offered our help with anything, listened for a response, and still nothing. Walking away from the home, I felt so weird. I felt so rejected, misunderstood, saddened, and frightened by the girls face all at the same time. And then I felt a warm comforting, a voice telling me "You didn't do anything. They might treat you in such a manner, but you know you are innocent of such things." I felt that really, even this time, I was standing shoulder to shoulder with the Savior. Sure, we may have dissapointments in the mission, not everyone will accept us, some may treat us like criminals, and we may be bad-mouthed, etc. All these things, the Savior suffered too. It reminds me of a talk I heard from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 16 then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life. 
I know its hard sometimes but it will always be worth it. We are learning not only about the Atonement from reading the scriptures, but through our very own experiences.
Even with all the hard trials, I know that the message we are sharing is true, I know that Jesus Christ lives, and directs this church. Even with all the persecusion and trials and whatever it might be that happens to us, the truth will always press on, forward and forever.
May we all strive to share just a little more of the gospel in our lives. Let us not be afraid of rejection, for it is truly these types of experiences that strengthen ourselves.

"Dare to be a mormon
 Dare to stand alone
 Dare to have a purpose firm
 Dare to make it known."

This is my prayer for you all, and I so share it with you in the humble name of my Lord, even Jesus Christ. Amen.
With love,
Elder Knight