Friday, August 1, 2014

Week 51: What a week!

I feel like I always start out my letters by saying "what a week". But man... What a week! Overall I feel like it flew by, but there are moments that I think back on that seem like an eternity ago, I get brain cramps if I think about it too much because the time just doesn't make sense. 

I've felt somewhat a lot of weight this week. People have a lot of problems in their lives and they all seem to confide all of their problems with the missionaries. Sometimes I find it somewhat crazy that so many people put so much confidence in a 20 year old. But then again, they aren't really putting their confidence in me but in who we represent. But I still feel like me and sometimes I start to feel a bit burdened. After one day this week I especially felt a lot of weight from all the problems that people have in their lives. So many people that I love and want to help, but I can't make everyone that we teach live the gospel. If only they knew... but anyways. We returned home after a particulary hard day and I'll admit.. I was on the verge shedding a few tears. The scripture in Matthew 11 came to my mind that says,

"28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek andlowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

I prayed a lot that night that I would be able to keep pressing forward and more than anything be able to feel his love and then got in bed. The next morning I felt a peaceful relief and was able to work normally all day, and it was actaully a pretty good day! We had 11 investigators come to church! But that night we went to teach one of the investigators that came to church for her first time. She asked why she felt like crying in church and I feel like my prayer was answered in this very moment. I can also say that I really feel like I recieved the promise in D&C 84,

 85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

I started talking without thinking beforehand of what I was going to say, but I was being taught in the very same moment. I gave an example of how when we don't see a loved one for a long time, but when we finally reunite we feel like crying. It's the same with our Heavenly Father, we feel far from him at times in this life, our spirits long to be in his presence again, when we feel the spirit it's like that reuniting.

I felt the spirit so strong as I bore my testimony, but I feel like that moment was meant more for me than for anyone else. I felt the love of God and it was exactly what I needed. I feel so blessed to be able to be in his service and I'm constantly learning so much every day. 

As for other things in the daily life of a missionary in Chalco. We have little worms growing in the water tank so when we shower we are constantly flicking them off our bodies, well have to get that cleaned. I found another bed bug, who knows how many more there are. The cockroaches have come out to play. That's about it :) Vive la vida en Mexico!!! 

I love you all! Keep up the great work in familysearch! That's awesome that you're all so active in that now! I can't wait to join in the fun when I get back :) 

Elder Twede

Next week I'll be going to Teotihuacan! So I don't know how much time I'll have to write... 

Week 50: The most eventful year of my life

I don't really feel like I have a whole lot to say this week. I think the mission life is just seeming super normal now and it's hard to remember what happened in the week because nothing sticks out in my mind. But that's also a bit of a worry of mine. I don't want the mission to just become a routine that I just live day in and day out. 

I've been thinking back a lot now that I'm nearing the middle of my mission on all the things that I've learned and how much my life has changed in one year, and I still have a whole year ahead of me. I'll admit that it still intimidates me at times, but I'm also super grateful for a whole year more of experiences and memories that I'll have. There has been so much that has happened in this past year I can hardly believe it, definately the most eventful year of my life. 

One thing that I have learned in the mission, and that I still have a load to learn about it, is how the spirit works in our lives. It's a lot more subtle than I always thought it was. I have had very spiritual experiences before the mission where I have felt the influence of the spirit, but I always kind of took for granted the gift of his constant companionship that we receive after we're baptized. In the sacrament prayer it ends with "that they may always have his spirit to be with them." This is the promise we recieve if we partake of the sacrament worthily every week, we will have his constant companionship. 

I've really started to think about that promise and question "how am I recognizing the constant guidance of the spirit in my life?" As I have focused more on this question, I have come to realize how truly the spirit is a still small voiceThe truth is, I can't say that they spirit has ever tried getting my attention by yelling, or hitting me across the head with a 2x4, it has most occasionally come by thought or feeling. Thoughts and feelings can be pretty powerful at times, but never overpowering, the spirit will always respect our agency. Our capacity to act on the promptings of the spirit shows our level of faith. We must learn to pay heed to every prompting no matter how large or small, important or seemingly insignificant it may seem, He will always lead us in a better path. 

If there is one large change that has taken place in me during my mission, it would be that I have come to better understand what the spirit is in my life and how it truly is my constant companion. Not just in moments of need or urgence, but an unfailing friend that guides constantly. 

I love you all! The boating trip looks like it was a blast! Thanks for all the pictures! 

Until next week,
Elder Twede

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 49: Ankle deep water didn't bother us

Sometimes things don't always go perfect. It has been a good week, just people don't want to commit themselves to anything, in specific a baptism date... We've tried with several people but they reject. But they really like everything that we teach, they come to church, they read the Book of Mormon, they pray, I guess we just haven't found their real needs because they're all great investigators. We normally have about 8 investigators in the church each Sunday, but none of them have baptism dates, they're all starting to turn into eternal investigators... But this morning we had our zone conference and they talked about setting dates, hopefully we'll be able to change a few things this week. 

It's so cool to see how excited the people that just got baptized are! Juan and Jaime both received the priesthood and are super gung-ho about magnifying their priesthood. I can still remember perfectly the moments that we contacted them, and I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to remember the rest of my life! I really can't express the joy that I have felt seeing them change their lives and live the gospel. 

It has started to rain a lot again, and we had lost our umbrellas (don't worry, I finally got another one today!) But we have gotten pretty wet a lot lately. One day this week it started raining super super hard while we were teaching a lesson, we finished the lesson but decided to wait just a bit to see if it would let up at all. It didn't so we decided to go for it. After we left suddenly all of our last three appointments for the day fell through and we were soaking wet, but somehow these moments seem to be my favorites in the mission. We started walking around helping random people sweep water out from their patios before their houses flooded. People at first are always a bit hesitant to accept help from us and say that we'll get wet in our nice clothes, but then they´d see that we were already soaking wet and walking in ankle deep water didn't seem to bother us, so they couldn't really say no. 

It has been another fun week in the mission and I'm ready to take on another one! Thanks for all of your support and emails! I love being able to sit for just a bit and read from all of you. You might think that you don't have a whole lot to say and that your lives are dull, but it's just about one of the most interesting things for a missionary to read about cleaning out the garage or that mom cut someones hair. Dead serious. I could read it over and over again all day, but don't worry I don't! I do have plenty of other things to keep me busy :) I love you all so much!

Elder Twede

Just a little bit of water.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 48: Changes

Yesterday was stressful as we waited for the call about the changes. It has been such a great two cycles and we have so many great investigators that I really didn't want to leave... And being companions with Elder Sanchez has been great. But the call yesterday never came... I started packing my bags while we waited because I was pretty sure that I would be the one leaving because I have more time here and all. Early this morning the call came and... WE DON'T HAVE CHANGES!!! Elder Sanchez and I get to be with each other for another cycle in San Isidro! I'm super excited! I couldn't have asked for anything better, these next six weeks are going to fly by!

As for this week, we had another baptism! Juan finally got baptized! He put it off for a bit because he wanted the support of his family. His whole entire family ended up coming to his baptism service! It was super spiritual and the most powerful baptismal service that I've attended. I really can't describe the joy that I felt that night, it's the moments like that that really make me love the mission. 

We've started teaching two preachers of another church and it's really interesting in the lessons as we really have to use the bible a lot. But what really gets me excited is that they're actually reading and praying about the Book of Mormon! I've really come to have a lot of confidence in that book! When someone really reads it and prays about it with real intent, I have no doubt that they'll be able to recieve an answer that it's true. The last time that we were teaching I felt impressed to ask what they do to help someone in their church with someone that has serious addictions, because we had taught a few people in the week with serious serious addictions. Turns out that they worked in a rehabilitation center for years and we were able to talk for a bit about it. I must admit, that it's one of the hardest things for me to see in the mission. A lot of these people have lost all sense of purpose in their lives and they're completely engulfed in their addiction. 

On Sunday Juan who just got baptized and Jaime who got baptized last week both recieved the priesthood! They're super excited to be involved in the church and are always studying a ton to understand things better. It's been so cool to see their progression from the start when we contacted them in the street to where they're at right now. It's seeing being change like that that makes the mission so rewarding. The mission is so full of ups and downs, but the good moments sure do outweigh the hard. I've met so many amazing people that I'm sure I´ll have connections with them for the rest of my life! 

I hit 11 months today, that seems like so much! I can't believe that I'm at this point already, it just keeps slipping by! I've got a lot I want to do before it all comes to an end! 

I love you all so much! Thank you for your letters and support! 

Elder Twede

Monday, June 30, 2014

Week 47: A great feeling

This week. Let's see. Where to start. Well we baptized that family that we have been teaching for about three months! They were the first people that I was able to see from the very start! It's a great feeling when you can see all the changes that the people make in their lives and in their families so that they can get baptized and follow the gospel. I've felt so blessed in these past three months! They have flown by and I can't believe that Elder Sanchez and I only have one more week together! But we're going to make the most of it!

We've really started to have a ton of success in these past few weeks! We have so many people to teach that are super prepared to hear the gospel! At the end of every day we get back to our house and crash into bed, but super happy because we have so much to do to keep us super busy! I've really started to love the work now, before I enjoyed it, but now I have a passion for going out and teaching people. It probably helps that I almost speak Spanish more easily than English... I actually don't have a lot of confidence when I write home, I just assume that the majority of my English and writing is horrible. 

I've learned a lot about the faith in these few weeks. It's so much more than just a belief in something that we can't see. Ether 12 holds so much in the teaching of the doctrine of faith. The one thing that has really caught my attention in the chapter is verse 14
14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

Part of my responsibility and our responsibility as members is to have faith to help other come unto Christ. If I work without faith, not as many people will be brought to the truth. So much depends on our ability to act in faith to bring others unto Christ and have the sufficient faith that they'll be able to be converted. When we have that belief that it will be possible for someone, we act so that it will actually happen. Putting full confidence in the Lord, not doubting, we will see miracles. I can testify of that!

I love you all so much! Thank you for you letters! Time is really flying and before we know it we'll be sharing these stories in person!... That almost scares me.. ;) Gosh I love the mission!

Elder Twede

let's just say... I haven't had pizza in a while...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 46: It all turned out perfectly

Incredible week! We had so much work cut out for us, but it all turned out perfectly! We have been planning to go to the temple visitors center with the ward and bring some investigators. We first presented it to the ward as just a few people, but then it started to explode and they rented a bus with 40 spots! We ended up having 14 investigators and 19 members, most of them being recent converts. It was super powerful, but the best part of it all was Miguel!

To give a bit of background on the story. Earlier this week Elder Sanchez and I had decided to fast because we felt like there was someone that we could find that is prepared for the gospel. We decided that we would fast at the end of the week and also fast for our temple trip so that everything would go well. Saturday we started the fast and that night we received a text from a number we don't know asking what time church was at. We called the number and asked who it was. It was Miguel, a contact we made in the street at night right before we went home about two months ago. 

Right before church started he actually showed up! I didn't get to talk to him much before because I was playing the piano. But in the gospel principles class he shared why he was there and it suddenly hit me that he was the one that we were fasting for! I had almost forgotten that we had planned to find someone with our fast, I was to focused on the whole temple trip. We hadn't invited him to go to the temple with us, but right before church ended I asked him if he was doing anything after and he said that he was free. We invited him and he said that he nothing better to do and hopped onto the bus. 

It was amazing having so many investigators at the temple visitors center. When we arrived the front desk called in the whole force of sister missionaries to help out. They split us into groups and they all headed off. Elder Sanchez and I didn't get to join as we tended to one of our investigators that didn't want to enter, but that's a story for another time. 

The tour ended at the children's area and we stood outside with Miguel talking. The sister missionaries came out to talk with him, when they questioned how much time he had been learning from the missionaries I told him that just today. Their eyes got really wide and they looked at one another as if scheming something up and communicating it to each other without words (I'll never understand how girls can do that) then they said that they wanted to show him something special and walked off with him leaving us behind. 

Afterwards we were gathering everyone up to go see the Joseph Smith video and when we found the sisters they told us that Miguel has a baptism date for the 20th of July! I can't remember what I responded... I don't think I said anything... I was a little bit awestruck. But this morning we went out to eat with him and he's really excited! I now really have a strong testimony about fasting!

I'm super tired, but super happy! The mission is super fun, but super stressful but I'm loving every moment of it! I just want to say after these two years that I gave it my all! But man.. There's a lot of work to do between now and when I'll be able to say that. I love you all so much! Thank you for your letters! I look forward to reading them every week! 

Elder Twede

Getting off the bus at the visitors center

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Week 45: What a privilege

Can I just say that I really love the mission! It's absolutely the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but the most rewarding! I always knew that the mission was important before I came, but I've learned so much here about what it is that I'm really doing! In Sunday I got to speak in church about *drum roll* Missionary work! I used the talk by President Uchtdorf titled "are you sleeping through the restoration?" I prepared a nice long talk and ran out of time in church to give it all... I actually only gave about a fourth of it. So I'll share a bit with you guys to make up for it :) 

There are so many things that I love about this talk! He starts out to talk about how today we are living in the restoration and that it didn't end with Joseph Smith. We will continue to prepare the world for the second coming of Christ. He said 
"This is one of the most remarkable periods of the world’s history! Ancient prophets yearned to see our day."
What a privilege we have to be living at this time. I believe that we were prepared in the life before to come to this earth in this specific time to fulfill a specific purpose. We must have anticipated for our moment to come here, but as we passed through the veil that purpose suddenly wasn't as clear and now we easily get distracted. I love the self reflecting question that President Uchtdorf asked
"When our time in mortality is complete, what experiences will we be able to share about our own contribution to this significant period of our lives and to the furthering of the Lord’s work? Will we be able to say that we rolled up our sleeves and labored with all our heart, might, mind, and strength? Or will we have to admit that our role was mostly that of an observer?"
I know what I want to be able to say. Especially when I'll be able to remember how I was prepared before I passed through the veil and if I fulfilled my purpose. I don't want to have to admit that I just sat on the sidelines watching. 

OH there's so much more that I want to write about this talk., but once again like in church... Time restrictions ;) I invite you to all read it again! I especially like the part when he talks about the first and great commandment. 

This next Sunday we're planning a trip to the temple visiting center and we hope to bring about 40 recent converts and investigators! I really hope that it all works out! Extra prayers would be appreciated for everything to run smoothly and for everyone to show up. 

I only have three more weeks of training Elder Sanchez... It's going to be a sad day when we have to part ways. I've really enjoyed these last nine weeks with him! I'm sure that I'll make a lot of lifelong friends out here. 

I love you all so much. And happy fathers day dad! All the family trips look like so much fun! I look forward to being able to go on those again with you guys! 

Elder Twede

The truth is... I don't know what's going on either... so don't ask.