Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mi querida familia,

Today, could possibly be the 2nd best day in the history of the world. Today, is the day of the birthday of the daughter of my cousin's mom's brother-in-law's wife... mmhmm ...Haley... Happy Birthday Haley!!! I hope you are having the best day of your life! I am so happy for you and for the progress you are making in these last couple of months. You are such a great example to me. I hope you know that we have been celebrating your birthday since we woke up this morning. We ran to seminary at 5:00 this morning, then played soccer afterwards for about an hour. Washed clothes, ate breakfast, cleaned the house real good (including scrubbing down the entire bathroom with "Fabuloso"), ate lunch, and now we're writing to our fabulous families.

This week has been pretty incredible! We had 2 baptisms this week. Martha and Suri. So great, they were so happy! Martha (the mom) had a pretty gnarly experience haha.. Presidente Stenny baptized her, because she wanted him to, and she didn't close her mouth for some reason, and kind of choked on the water the first time and freaked out. So we had to explain suuuuper clearly to close her mouth and everything of course, and then she got baptized real good. Suri was super excited the whole time. But what excites them most is the change in their dad/husband. Marco Antonio is a concrete mason, and therefore he drinks. Its almost certain for al albañiles, they almost always drink. And this is what is so hard for their family. But as they have been active in the church activities and having Family Home Evening and learning so much, they have really grown so much. I'm sure Marco Antonio is struggling alot, but we must not ever forget that there is a Heavenly Father who loves us, and wants us all to succeed in this life.

I know that this is the truth. I know it with all my heart and cannot wait to return to my Heavenly Father's presence knowing that I have served Him sharing this beautiful gospel of His beloved son, Jesus Christ, with this part of the world. I love Mexico! And I love the church.

Well, times up. I love you all so much. Keep up the great work at home. Thank you for your emails. I pray for you all every day. Don't ever forget that we are all children of our loving Heavenly Father. Everyone is, so why don't we just treat everyone as He would, eh?
With love,
Elder Knight
P.S.  .I.O.U. a good letter. Next week, I promise ;-)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Querida familia,
Love you all so much!
We went to Palenque today. It was so cool! It's in our zone, so we invited all the missionaries to go with us. Some couldn't go because they live pretty far away, and didn't have dough. I'm not sure if I have dough either, but I went hahaha.
This week has been great. I love being a missionary. Helping so many people, members, non-members, other missionaries, man- its so great! I love it. I don't think I ever want to stop being a missionary. The other day I was studying in personal study, and just felt this inspiration to take my notebook out and I started writing down all these responsibilities and functions and how the missionary work in a ward can be so effective. I love it. I'm going to use it for sure to apply it when I get home too, so the ward I'm in can experience this same happiness from working in the Lord's fields.

I love you all so much! Write you next week!
Elder Knight

Palenque (Bàak' in Modern Maya) was a Maya city state in southern Mexico that flourished in the 7th century. The Palenque ruins date back to 226 BC to its fall around 1123 AD. After its decline it was absorbed into the jungle, which is made up of cedar, mahogany, and sapodilla trees, but has been excavated and restored and is now a famous archaeological site attracting thousands of visitors. It is located near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican State of Chiapas, located about 130 km (81 mi) south of Ciudad del Carmen about 150 m (164 yd) above sea level.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"el hermoso rio usamacinta"
taken from the window, looking out behind our house at 6:30 in the morning (after excersises)

Mi querida familia,
Wow, this week has been so busy. Let me just tell you how much I enjoy being a missionary though.
-Tuesday, Elder Callejas and I went to Palenque to work with the elders there. We went on divisions with Elder Evans and Elder Lope, which was inspired because Elder Lope turned out getting sick and couldn't work. Fortunately, we had one elder to go to the doctor with him, while the other went with Elder Evans to keep working in the area. Literally running back to Zapata for our own appointments, we arrived to teach a lesson to an amazing family(Marco Antonio, Marta, and their kids Sureima and Marcos) about the Book of Mormon. This family is incredible, but I will tell you more later..
-Then Wednesday we went to Long Beach to visit the area over there and help the Branch President organize appointments with members and recent converts to receive the priesthood so they can become a branch too. Again, running back in the evening to go to an appointment with a young man, cousin of a part member family. Great lesson, focused on the Atonement and the Book of Mormon (Because the Book of Mormon teaches us so much about the Atonement, its amazing!).
-Thursday, we trained the youth how to wash cars (Thanks for teaching ME Dad hehe), and they loved it. They all learned. Then we went to see Kim, the cousin of a recent activated sister in our branch. She had gone to church a few times, but has trouble understanding everything, because its hard for her to apply everything to her life (like changing things that are wrong sometimes). Then we went running to eat, and then on our way to Triunfo. Two combi rides and two hours later we arrive and had two baptismal interviews awaiting with little time. We met the investigators, enjoyed the interviews, and went on our way. Now another hour on a combi to Balancan. 6 people there ready to get baptized just waiting to be interviewed. We run in, and almost make lines to two rooms in which we held the interviews. Ahh it can be so spiritually tiring interviewing people. I love it, and I love the people, I love the duty, and I love the feeling. But it is so draining at the same time haha. Its hard to explain. So then like 2 1/2 hours later, we get on the road again. No combis or buses, but we shared a taxi with some Elders from Candelaria back to Zapata.
-Friday, we wake up early for Zone Class and interviews with the President. Awesome. But also tiring. Not to mention Elder Callejas and I have been working out everyday waking up at 5:45(normally, if not earlier) in the morning. Crazy seshes from the famous Elder Price's workouts.(Elder Price is crazy, in a good exercising way). Then to be surprised with a member who passed away(Raul). And then we had to change alot of our plans in the night to direct a devotional for his family.

-Saturday, waking up earlier again, to set up for the youth car wash. While they washed cars for free, we were going to give people tours around the church building and teach a bit about the gospel. Well two hours passed by and only one active member came with his car. And only let the youth wash outside, and then he left. So we had a little devotional, Elder Callejas and I talked with the youth about what is the faith. And then we said a prayer on our knees with them. And they went out with signs on the corners to invite more people. Few minutes later, Elder Callejas and I both think of the idea of knocking on doors to invite people to the car wash. So we walk out of the church and into the colonia nearby and start inviting every person who has a car in front of their house. Upon returning, we find a car of one of those people already there being washed, and we run in to give them the tour. Then two more men pull in (one from nowhere, and the other from our door knocking) and we give them both tours too, and teach alot while talking with them. The youth cleaned out their cars really well too, inside and out. It was awesome. I loved being able to help everyone, haha, being like an almost expert in washing cars haha. Then we continued running to appointments, because district conference started at 4:00. And so we did, and after conference, we went with a less-active marriage to visit the family of the man who passed away on Friday. We talked about eternal families, and the less-active family got alot out of it too. It was like killing two birds with one stone haha. We taught a family in need, and those who accompanied us to teach were edified too, how great!
-Sunday, conference again, and lots of visits in the afternoon. Articles of Faith training meeting at night with the ward. And then we went to go see Marco Antonio to help his family with a big problem they have right now. They are thinking about leaving eachother. Please pray for them.

Man, I wasted all my time writing our week down. Regret that haha.
But I want you to know how much I love all of you. I am so happy we can have an eternal family. That is something I cherish so much, and pray for every day. A forever family. There is no problem too big, or trial too long, that compare with the hapiness of an eternal family. I have faith that our Heavenly Father has put His priesthood on the earth so that we can form this family unit that will bring us eternal hapiness in the life to come. Please, don't ever give up. No matter what happens, there is nothing worth more than this eternal hapiness. We must be willing to give everything necessary. Leave everything necessary. Do everything necessary.
What I have seen in my mission has truly changed my life. And I am so grateful for it. I am eternally in debt to my Heavenly Father for this opportunity that He has given me to grow SO MUCH. When I was younger (so long ago, right? haha) and I thought that I was alright, and that I knew everything necesarry. Boy was I wrong. So many things I have learned through diligent study in the Lord's scriptures. In the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and the beautiful words of our Heavenly Father's prophets that He continues sending to guide us in this very day. There is so obviously much more that He has waiting for us in His presence, in His mansions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is so obviously the Kingdom of God here on the Earth, lead by a prophet, and governed by the holy Priesthood to prepare us to return to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father. Wanna be happy? Be a mormon, and LIVE the gospel.
Take care, and write me always ;) I LOVE your letters! I always read them, even if I don't reply. I do love them and appreciate them so much. Thank you!
With lots of love, Elder Knight

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mi querida familia (my dear family),
This week has been loaded with learning! I love it! This week Elder Callejas and I went to Villahermosa for the Council meeting, and boy was it a great experience. Not to mention it was the birthday of Elder Callejas, and his dad gave him money to take us to dinner. We went to Chili's! I have not eaten a good hamburger in over 17 months, until this last week hahaha. But seriously, it was delicious. I never knew how much I missed good hamburgers...
Oh, and I got your package! I'm pretty sure it got robbed though. Elder Callejas's too. It was all retaped shut when I got it. I guess you need to be more specific about what you put in the package when you fill the package description slip. Because what you wrote on there was the only thing left. 3 shirts and church magazines. Haha. Well now we know for the next time, if there is one. A good load of tape might scare them away from opening too, I suppose. Who knows. God bless Correos de Mexico. Post service that I love. =)

And 'Canicular' season has come in. Where it is super hot all day, and rains in the afternoons for a bit, and then gets super hot again. Its pretty fun, because Elder Callejas and I use it as a conversation starter alot haha "Hey how are you? Yeah its hot right? This Canicular, its crazy right? Well we're missionaries..." haha

Also this week, we stopped teaching Jesus, a 12 year old boy who is best friends with a member. The other day we went over with his mom and talked with her about our purpose as missionaries, and how her son wanted to follow the example of Jesus Christ. She understood and consented permission for her son to get baptized this week. The next day, we went by and got ran out by his grandma who kepy telling us that their family is Catholic, and always will be. Afterwards, I guess his dad got mad and now nobody in the house even listens to us. Jesus's mom told us that there are a lot of problems in their family since Jesus started listening to us. We tried to explain to her why, because of the differences in what we teach obviously, but then she wouldn't even listen to us. In the end, I came to truly understand what Christ meant to say, as told in the gospel of Lucas (12:51-53)
"Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division"
Christ came onto the earth when there were already alot of different religions and beliefs existing. And of course, when He came and began to teach what was really THE TRUTH, the people were stubborn and didn't want to accept his "new" (yet existant since before the world began) gospel and commandments. He brought a fresh way of viewing the world, and taught those who themselves were mangled in the trenches of sin. His message is one of light and life. The path to the eternal life. He taught, preached, and invited all to come unto Him. But He did never force them to, for He respects the free-agency of the people. Quite frankly, He did bring a lot of disharmony and division with His message to the world. If we only choose to accept the message, we can then find the peace that He offered us.
Imagine if somebody is in a dark room for a long time, and then someone else enters and turns the lights on. Sometimes, the person who was in the dark room gets mad that they turned the lights on, because they were accustomed to the dark. But they fail to understand the blessing of having light so that they can REALLY see.
This is somewhat what Jesus Christ did, and does, with His gospel. When He came, the whole world was in the dark. Sure, they had the scriptures and knowledge of what the ancient prophets had taught before; but they could not come to a full understanding without the help of the light that Jesus offers.
And the message that Christ had shared with them, not entirely a message of peace, is the SAME message that we share TODAY. Sure, the message brings peace to those who look and search for it, those who accept and live according to the principles of the gospel. But to those who do not accept it, well of course they will have to see the other side of things. That is when we see the division of which Christ spoke.
But that shouldn't keep us from sharing this message of the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone we can. NEVER let the fear of this 'division' keep you (or others) from receiving the blessings of the Lord. I know that He lives. I know that He loves us. And His promises extend to all those who are willing to receive and live His true gospel, such as it has been restored by His hands on the earth today.
Keep moving forward family!
Love, Elder Knight
My companion Elder Callejas at Chili's for his birthday