Mi querida familia,
Wow, well these two weeks have been crazy! We are super stoked right now, because Elder Russell M. Nelson is coming this Saturday to talk to us, the missionaries, and Sunday he is going to address all of the members here in Tabasco! They rented out a conference center in Villahermosa that holds like 5,000 people. Its going to be crazy cool. Everyone's going! As missionaries, we are all preparing ourselves by reading ALL of Preach My Gospel before he comes. Yup, all 13 chapters in one week. We started on Friday, and it is amazing! It is helping us so much. Elder Randolph and I have only gotten through the first 3 chapters so far, but it is so helpful studying it fast, because it gives us broader vision of what we should be doing and how we should be working and teaching. I invite everyone to do it, whether its in Preach My Gospel, or a leaders manual, or a Strength for the Youth, Personal Progress, Duty to God. Just a quick read through and we get a better perspective of what to do every day. Our vision is increased, and the Spirit is more able to guide us because our minds are conditioned to understand His "dialect".
Last thursday Elder Randolph and I accompanied Pres. Rosales, from Church Maintenance in Villahermosa, to visit and revise the houses of prayer in Candelaria, Triunfo, and Playa Larga (Long Beach haha). We went, looked at what improvements could be made, according to the growth potential in the area. It was way cool going with him, I learned alot. He had never seen the hosue of prayer in Playa Larga, so we went to show it to him. And we told him about an idea of renting out the house of a sister who used to live there, but now lives in Carmen, and converting it to a bigger house of prayer than the one they have now. We took the hermana Francisca with us when we got there, and she was so excited! She called her husband Lorenzo, because he was working, and asked him for the sisters number to contact her about the property. The members are so excited! We should see some progress in the new house of prayer in the next few months. Maybe before I leave, hopefully! That would be so cool to see it.
Our attendance at church is growing. We are focusing on strengthening the members alot, and it is awesome to see how we can still do missionary work while doing "home teaching"(Almost). We find family members who aren't members, friends in the less-actives' homes who are interested. And we have more investigators, and members in church every week. Working with the members is inspired, not just working with them (along their side) but working with them (ON them) so that they are more converted members, and faithful to their covenants made. It is wonderful to see how great it all works.
We as missionaries just love seeing people happy and changed by the gospel. It is a wonderful feeling, that you have been a useful tool in the Lord's hands to bless His loved children. Just like that quote I shared with you a few weeks ago from Pres. Monson, about being on the Lord's errand. There is no greater joy in life, really. I plan to continue looking for these opportunities forever, even without a nametag on my front pocket that says so.
Elder Randolph and I have been arguing a bit lately (not seriously) about whats alright to take home from the missionary(not that we're trunky, but planners). I loved this talk I found a few months ago in a Liahona: "Gifts to Bring Home from the Mission Field" (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley)
I was telling him how I plan on giving my scriptures to a young man here, who could use them to prepare himself for the mission. And Elder Randolph freaked out saying I need to keep them. I'm not sure what's right, but I'm pretty set on giving them to him. Elder Randolph argued that my scriptures could come in handy if I got called to serve in a spanish position or something.. "Well I'll buy another pair of scriptures then, or download it on an iphone I'm sure," I replied. We'll see what happens... Haha
I'm loving being here, we are helping the branch grow, and the leaders to be more united. Instead of everyone pulling in different directions and not getting anywhere, why don't we all just work towards the same goal?! The members are starting to feel more love here, and beginning to share it with others who come too. Its good stuff.
How's Elder Stevenson? I met some guys the other day who speak Tzotzil, and were trying to teach me a few words in the mechanic shop of a member. We came to the conclusion that it seems kind of similar to Spanish, but then not at all really haha, because I still couldn't speak it I don't think. But then I heard that Elders in Chiapas are certified translators in Tzotzil, is it true? That would be cool. I don't speak any dialects, just "Castallano" haha (Central-American Spanish)
Hope you are all loving life right now. Its way cold here in Tabasco, freezing to death somedays. But I bet its nothing compared to Utah haha, I'm just accustomed to the heat here now. We're hoping the heat comes back, (1) so that we don't have to take ice showers anymoreee, and (2) so that Elias can have more business in his ice cream store. He's the ice cream guy who lives on the corner like 3 blocks from our house. We always say hi to him when we pass by, and we talk with him about the gospel. He went to a way in depth Catholic Seminary for 4 years when he was younger, and understands alot about Jesus Christ and His life. It was amazing, yesterday he came to church for the first time (he usually always stays in his business to work), and just by the work of God, Pres. Vasquez came to visit our branch by surprise. He's the second counselor in the mission presidency, and used to be in the CES presidency in Mexico or something cool. Well he came and gave an incredibly inspiring talk about the life of Christ and the miracles He performed. Elias loved it, and I presented them to eachother after and Elias said he wants to keep coming and learn more. He likes listening to us and our message. I guess some TJ's went to his store the other day and left a pamphlet, but he didn't like what they taught because they told him that Satan governs the world. Elias understood that its not true, and that even though there are temptations, we are not subject to obey them, or even expected to. We are our own free agents, and we choose our actions, whether for good or bad. He is basically an awesome investigator. He's about 50 or so years old, has a son who past away when he had 16 years old, and he has faith! We're just trying to get him to close the store on Sunday, but like everyone he says that "Sunday is the best sales day" (P.s. DO NOT BUY ON THE SABBATH DAY!) If he does, the young woman that works with him Yajaira could attend church too. She is interested, we found her studying her Book of Mormon that we left her the other day at work, and she has gone to church before with a young man from the branch too! Miracles. They are the only two progressing investigators that I think we have right now, who we found alone. The rest are all references(better.)
Got to go!
Love, Elder Knight
"Errar es humano; perdonar divino." -Alexander Pope (To commit errors is human; but to forgive is divine)
(Beautiful part of Mexico-not! Notice the corn growing around the garbage lol)