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

PS
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!

Love,
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!

Love
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. 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Week 44: Loving my mission!

Hey I'm still alive no worries! I just didn't have a chance to write earlier today because we went on a trip as a zone on a hike to some waterfalls. It was super pretty and it was really nice to get away from the noisy city for a bit. I don't have much time to write today... But I'll try getting something written really quick. 

This week was great! We finally had over 100 contacts and we keep finding people that are super prepared to be baptized! At this point everyone we find can't have a baptism date until after the changes, so I don't know if I'll even be here. I would really love to stay in this area for another cycle because one more cycle here and we would probably have a ton of baptisms! But I know that that's not what's important that I'm the one that gets to baptize them, but I gotta admit, I sure would like to. It's interesting how all of my friends now are adults that have kids, but they all come to 19 and 20 year old kids for advice. Sometimes people ask us such personal questions that I start wondering if I'm really qualified to give advise in the subject. But then again I'm not really the one that's giving the advise, it's amazing how the spirit can bring thoughts to the mind right in the moment when it's needed. 

I know that a ton of things happened this week.. but I can't remember it all right now... I don't like being rushed when I write...

Today was a great P-day! We hiked up to some waterfalls and it was super pretty. I got a ton of great pictures! It reminded me a ton of when we went on our Oregon trip as a family and we took a ton of pictures on our hikes. My funny picture side even came back out and the whole hike I was scheming up goofy pictures that I could take. I had forgotten how beautiful the world can be.. I really miss trees! It was pretty funny because when we were on our way up the mountains in the bus, there started to be trees on one side of the road. All of the missionaries jumped to the one side of the bus and started taking pictures of the trees through the windows. Yep. It's a bit sad. But it just reminded me of how beautiful Utah is and how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful place. 

Well I'm going to try uploaded some of the pictures now. I love you so much! and sorry that I don't really have a message in this letter, it's more just of a report... But everything is great and I'm really loving my mission! It's really flying by! 

I love you all so much! I look forward to reading your letters tonight!
Love Elder Twede

We've pretty much contacted all of the people in my area. We've resorted to this now. 

You know that you're in Mexico when the pizza has beans and chilies 

It starts



It was a really cool hike. We followed this canal all the way up to the falls!

AHH I miss green! It just doesn't exist in the city. 

Super companions

My feet got wet here...

Let's make this waterfall a bit bigger!

Rest break. Good thing this dog followed us.

Just plain beautiful


Father son photo



Week 43: I continue to learn every day!

The mission can really be a roller coaster, but hey I love roller coasters :) This week has been great! But there is always opposition in all things, so when things are at there best, there always tends to be the worst. I can't say that I have felt down in anyway this week, but it was a bit rough for my companion. We have been really excited about our baptism date this 7th of June, but his last Sunday he didn't make it to church, so we have to put it off another week. Not the end of the world, but I think it kind of started to stress my companion out. 

But this week really was great! We found 8 new investigators and a lot of them have a lot of potential! We had a lot of opportunities to teach the restoration this week and I really really love teaching that lesson to people that are prepared by the Lord. You can see the spirit working in them the whole lesson, and when we invite them to get baptized at the end of the lesson many of them eagerly accept. The hardest thing here is getting them to understand the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. But when they really have a testimony of the restoration, everything else seems to come easily.

Mexico can be pretty noisy sometimes. Sunday morning people started shooting off fireworks in the road in front of our house. They weren't just any fireworks either, they were those bright flash bombs that are super loud... They started at 5:00 in the morning and went until 7:00... It's always sad to lose precious time to sleep on the mission, especially an hour and a half. 

We've been getting a lot of rain this week, and Elder Sanchez and I both lost our umbrellas... So we've gotten a bit wet. But hey, wife point huh? ;) yep Bryce, there are wife points in Mexico too. Whenever we get wet in the rain we gain more. If we drop our scriptures... well it's bad.. haha I actually don't know a whole lot about the wife point dealio. But I'm pretty sure I'll have it fine afterwards. :)

Oh the mission is just wonderful. I love it so much! I've learned so much and I continue to learn every day! Another month has slipped by and.. I really have no clue how it passed by so quick. I almost feel like every week when I write I say a month has passed by! 

I love you all so much! Thank you all for your email! They're my favorite! 
Love Elder Twede

Went and got my haircut today with Elder Sanchez. We think we're funny when the haircuter walks out for a few seconds. 

We took a small trip to paradise today.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Week 42: So Many Great Stories

Another week has slipped by! We had stake conference this weekend and I was able to enjoy it a lot more than the last one because I was actually able to understand what was being said. It was a super powerful conference and some very interesting this were said. The stake president at the end got up and talked about how Elder Holland said the spiritualness in the church among the saints is declining. I don't know if he meant the entire church or just here in Mexico. But then the president presented a plan for the stake to help the members have the spirit present. As a missionary is great because he basically laid out a lesson plan that we can use with all the members when we visit them. During the conference a bird got into the chapel and was flying around the whole time. I was nervous that it was going to fly into one of the fans and... well you can imagine why. 

Contacting people in the streets can be really fun! The best ones that I'll probably always remember are when we're actually able to talk for a bit and they don't just walk away. I contacted a lady with her little son and she didn't seem very interested and she was just about to walk away when her little boy screamed and ran and hid behind her. She asked what happened and then he pointed at me and asked "why are his eyes blue?" I started talking with him and told how I was born this way and then I asked him if he would like if we came to his house to visit. He asked if my eyes would still be blue and I told him that we would just have to find out. He looked up at his mom and she asked him "well?" He nodded and we ended up getting their home address. 

We made another contact where the guy went off on how we're a cult and all that fun stuff. I've never really studdied this topic exactly, but suddenly I had a scripture in the bilbe for everything he said. It got to the point were he nothing to come back with and finally just made up a scrpiture and said "in the bible Jesus said that man will never see God again" we asked him where it says that and... well he had read it once. I decided that it was useless to try showing him scriptures when he was just going to make up his own. He did give us his address for a visit, but he told us that we can only talk about truths from the bible. I think that would be great. 

Contacts really are one of my favorite things in the mission! At first they were really hard, and I still have to try really hard to do 20 every day, but so many great stories come out of them! Just imagine how many people I will have talked to after two years of this!

In stake conference they showed a video of a guy that randomely served other people but didn't really get anything in return except that he felt good. It was a beautiful message about how we should seek to serve others, and the scrpiture came to my mind from Ether 12

 4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in goodworks, being led to glorify God.

This one guy in the video was making the world a better place by doing small acts of service. Later in the same chapter in Ether, Moroni goes on to teach about faith and how it's this perfect hope that we have for this better world. As it says in James 2

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Therefore if we truly hope for a better world, we better get up and do something about it. And if we truly have faith, we'll be out "always abounding in goodworks" being that change in the world. Faith is more than simply a passive belief in Christ. True faith brings about goodworks. 

We're already half way done with training Elder Sanchez! I can't believe that we've already been companions for six weeks! But I'm excited to have six more with him! It's nice knowing that I don't have to go to the transfer meetings tomorrow. 

I love you all so much! Thank you for all of your support and letters! 
Que Dios les bendiga. 

Elder Twede

I thought Bryce's and my scaffolding was a bit sketchy in our work. This takes the cake.

Week 41: Faith in the Mission

This week seemed really long for some reason, but at least it was a good week so I guess that it isn't really a bad thing that it was long. We're still finding new investigators and we're starting to teach more people. Right now we have 5 baptism dates! The 7th and 28 of June! Pray that everything goes well for the investigators to prepare for their days!

So I've been learning a whole lot about faith in the mission. It has seemed to be the main thing talked about when we have zone conferences or anything like that. We can work super hard, but without faith we're not going to see a whole lot of success. But when we really have faith, we will see miracles, like those great stories in the Book of Mormon.

Ether 12
"13 Behold, it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth.
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.
15 Behold, it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites."

What really jumps out to me is that their faith was able to bring about a change in the Lamanites. Without Faith Nephi and Lehi wouldn't have been able to convert so many people to the truth. But what is it that we have faith in that brings about these miracles. For me lately it has been faith that the Lord really can change a persons heart. I've seen that it would be possible to convince someone to come to church long enough to get baptized, but convincing will never bring about a lasting conversion in someone. I have to put my faith in the Lord to convert those that we're teaching, and rely less on my own words and ability to teach. The more that I've gained this perspective, the more blessed I have felt with opportunities to teach people that the Lord is preparing. It really is the most exciting thing when we find someone that is prepared by the Lord, I sometimes almost feel like we don't have to do anything because they just accept everything we teach. It's super fun though.

The mission simply put. It's hard. But oh so rewarding! Everyday bring it's own set of challenges, but also it's own set of blessings. Packeges being one of them ;) but really. The package was great :) Elder Sanchez loves the granola.

I love you all to pieces! Talking with you guys on Sunday was such a treat, I'm excited for when I'll be able to share my stories with you in person without a time limit :) But until then I'll just keep working hard so that I can have plenty of stories to tell :)


Love Elder Twede

CAAAANNNDDYY! 

It was no match for that nail...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 40: Skype was the best!

I love you guys! Skype was the best! It did feel a bit weird right after as I was walking across a bridge and could see across Mexico and it hit me again that I'm not in Utah. But I'm still happy to be here :) Seeing everyone was great though! The kids all look and sound like they're growing up so fast! It's only been 9 months and Jaicee sounds a ton different! 

I don't really know what I'm going to write today, I kind of talked about everything yesterday.... And it's kind of hard to think right now because there's a fair in the street right outside the internet cafe and the really like to blast music. And I mean BLAST. It sounds horrible too because all the speakers are blown out. 

On Saturday I went on exchanges with my district leader in his area. It was weird after having trained for the last four weeks and making most of the decisions, and then going to someone else's area and just following them around all day because I didn't know where anything was. I realized how much more tiring it really is to be training after seeing the contrast for a day, but I'm loving training! 

So I read the scripture in Alma 37:6-7 this week that says,

 "6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

 7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."

I started thinking about Joseph Smith and how he was a simple farm boy that didn't have a whole lot of education. But through a simple young boy the Lord brought forth his marvelous work. The faith of 14 year old Joseph to put himself as an instrument in the Lords hands brought forth the restored church that even the most "wise" cannot confound. 

In applying this scripture to myself I realized that I don't have to have a degree in biblical studies to be able to teach well. I feel like a pretty "small and simple" thing in this big world. Just one little Elder trying to communicate in Spanish in an unfamiliar culture. But I know that if I rely on the Lord, through "small and simple things" (me) He'll be able to work great and marvelous things. 

It's been an amazing 40 weeks of my life, I only have 64 more... I have a lot I want to learn before that day comes! Better get to work :) 

Love you all :)
Elder Twede

This is what my street has looked like all week long

The electrical shower head. Everything I was taught as a child is a lie!

The volcano!

Facebook profile pic please :)

Week 39: One of Those Tender Mercies

Great week! We have really started seeing the fruits of our efforts to contact a lot of people. We found 7 new investigators this week and have other contacts that are big potential that we just haven't been able to visit yet. In church on Sunday we had a family of five come and Juan who was that contact that I mentioned in last weeks letter. Juan is one of those tender mercies of the Lord to be present to teach him. He's originally Catholic but said that he has been searching for a new church recently. He started talking with his neighbor who is a Jehovah's Witness but said that he just feels different with us. He's excited to share the little that he has learned with his family too, hopefully this one contact can branch out into an entire family!

In my daily studies it continues to be evident to me that everything in the message of the gospel is central in the atonement of Christ. I came across a scripture in Moroni 7:24 that really added to my understanding of the importance of the atonement.

"24 And behold, there were divers ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them."

It hit me that every good thing we have, every little tender mercy we enjoy in our lives, all comes as a result of the sacrifice that Christ made for us. Because of our fallen state we are incapable of being worthy of even the smallest of blessings, but as it says in the verse "all things which are good cometh of Christ" he made it possible for God to have mercy on us in our fallen state. As it says in Alma 42:15

"15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth forth the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God,and a merciful God also."

This plan is perfect. We are the ones that just have to choose to follow it. If we want his blessings, we have to follow his rules, or commandments. The mission truly has helped me gain a testimony of the love that our father in heaven has for us, his perfect plan is the greatest testimony of that love. 

As hard as the mission can be (Anyone that has served one can relate to the difficulty) The things that I have experienced and learned I wouldn't trade for anything! It really has been one of the greatest blessings in my life to be able to serve a mission! I can't believe how fast it is all flying by! I remember when I got here and talking to other elders that had 9 months and thinking that they were so old, in mission years that is ;) I can't say that I feel very "old", but I have learned a whole lot since the day I arrived in Mexico. 

I can't wait to talk to everyone on skype! I can't believe that 5 months has already passed since we last skyped! We're already almost halfway through this year! But don't worry mom, you will be getting your private time on the phone :)

I love you all! Talk to you next week :)

Love Elder Twede

I think we had a visitor while we were out working. 

We helped paint someones patio in our district leaders area for some service

The buildings just never end!

Crashing in bed after a hard days work

Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 38: The fruits of our efforts

Weeks fly by when you're having fun! This week we really started to see the fruits of our efforts in contacting. We found some great people to teach and we're hoping that we'll end this cycle with some baptisms! Every day when we get home and finish planning we crash in bed, but it feels so wonderful to return home without a single regret in the day. 

As I mentioned last week, the dreaded bed bugs have returned. They haven't infested to the extent that they had in my last area, but still annoying. I think that we'll be able to handle them, but for all the red itchy spots on my legs I'll just have to endure that until they fade away. 

Every day this week we seem to see or experience something very unique or different. Just little things, but things that don't happen every day. While we were walking down the street one day a bird flew into a window right in front of us and fell to the ground. 5 seconds had not passed before dogs came running from every direction. Another day we saw about 15 drunks passed out on the sidewalks, I don't know what the big event was, but they looked like they had quite a fun night *insert sarcasm*. Among other things that I'll save for the stories to tell in person after I return :) Don't worry, nothing dangerous, just things that I want to tell in person :)

My mind is all kind of a blur right now, I don't really know what to write. A lot has happened, but I don't know what I should write. 

My spiritual moment this week (there are many, but here's one) We were walking down a street that we have never walked down on our way to an appointment. When I felt like I should contact an older man standing outside on the sidewalk in front of his house. I pulled out a card of Christ and did the normal spiel, he listened intently and excepted a visit. Normally we put an appointment for another day to return, but I felt the need to ask if we could visit in 30 minutes. We had an appointment right then and they never are only 30 minutes with investigators. But we put the appointment and then heading on our way to our next investigator. Turns out she wasn't there, so we ran back and were able to teach the restoration. He's super humble and probably one of the most prepared people to hear the gospel that I've taught in my mission! He accepted the baptism challenge and is excited to start coming to church this next Sunday! It's such a privilege to be able to teach people like that in the mission! 

I really am enjoying my mission so much right now! It's hard work and all, but I'm super happy! Thank you for all of you emails! They really are super fun to read! Until next week! I love you all!

Love,
Elder Twede

Reading emails from home.

Father and son!

¨Is it any coincidence that the Oxford Dictionary recently proclaimed “selfie” as the word of the year?¨  
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

My shoes that I finally took in to get new soles. About time. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 37: I love training!

What a week! Possibly the best week of my mission yet! I love training so much! Especially training my companion elder Sanchez! He's super super awesome and we're working super hard! He's pretty much the perfect missionary and is super obedient. We get along super well and have had a bunch of great moments this week. You're all probably interested to hear about the earthquake. Yes. We did feel it. It was the most bizarre feeling in the world. We were sitting there studying in the morning when suddenly I felt like I got really dizzy because the whole room started swaying back and forth. But once I saw my companions face I realized that I wasn't the only feeling seeing it. I grabbed my camera and we ran outside the house. You can't really see how much it was moving in the video I took, but it felt like we were on a boat rocking back and forth. They reported that it was a 7.2, I expected that a 7.2 would feel a lot bigger... But I can now say that I experienced my first earthquake, I must admit that it felt way cool. The rest of the day my companion and I were saying that we wished we could feel it again. But it's probably better that it doesn't happen again, it shook up some of the people here pretty bad.

So I've talked about how making contacts has been something hard for me to do in my mission, well not anymore! We have practically talked to every person we see all this week! It's so wonderful! Now we just hope that we can find where some of the people live this week so that we can start teaching them! It's taking a bit of work to get the area up and running, but we're already seeing differences in the ward and we have a lot of potential investigators. Elder Sanchez is super humble and ready to serve the people here. He's constantly asking me what I think we can do to help specific people and it's clear that he already has developed love for the people in the mission.

We've discovered that we've been sleeping with our little friends again. At this point I almost don't even care that there are bed bugs in my bed, when we get home I'm so ready to sleep that it's the last thing on my mind. But my companion was a bit squeamish so we ended up putting chairs by my bed and both sleeping on my bed with our legs out on the chairs. It's wasn't the most comfortable night, but like I said, sleep is sleep and that's all that really mattered ;)

I've learned a lot about how to follow the promptings of the spirit this week. A lot of the time we try to express how we feel when we feel the spirit with our five physical senses. But the more that I've come to recognize the spirit, the less it's associated with how I physically feel. In Doctrine and Covenants 9:8 it says:
"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right."

The way that it says that we will receive an answer or feel the spirit is that our bosom will burn, but more importantly, we will "feel" that it is right. First it compares it to what we physically feel, but then that it's a feeling of truth within us.

In Heleman 5:30 it says:
"And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—"

The people in this story first relate it to something that they heard like a voice (Physical) but then go on to say that it pierced "even to the soul". To really learn how to listen to the spirit we must learn to listen with our spiritual ears more than with our physical. When we really learn how to recognize the spirit that is how we can truly be converted as it says in D&C 6:23
23 Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?

When we pray for an answer or seek the guidance of the spirit, it may not be some grand vision that we receive as an answer. More likely it will be peace that we feel, this is what we need to learn to recognize as the spirit working in our lives. Once we're able to learn to recognize that simple peace we will find the guidance to do great things. As it say in D&C 2-3
"2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.

 3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground."

Moses in these moments most likely didn't have some sort of grand revelation. He had learned how to recognize and listen to that simple peace by which the spirit speaks and was able to free the children of Israel. 

If we learn how the spirit speaks to each one of us individually and that most likely it isn't some grand manifestation, we'll be able to find that perfect guide in our lives. I have greatly felt the influence in my life this week. I'm excited to see where it will lead me through my life :)

Love you all!
Elder Twede

Changes

The things the sisters make us elders do ;)




Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 36: A Pretty Incredible Experience

Well this cycle comes to an end. Tomorrow are the transfers and I'll be senior companion and training! Yep! I'm gonna be a father! I still don't know who I'll be training, if he's a Mexican or an American. But I'm just excited to be training! Of course there are a bit of nerves... He'll be looking to me to know everything, and the fact is I still don't know a lot of things. But I'm excited because I know that I'll be learning a ton this next cycle. All I hope is that my new companion has the desire to work hard and everything will be great :)

This week we had a pretty incredible experience with our recent convert Beatris who just barely got baptized. They didn't go to any of the conference sessions and we were concerned why, so we dropped by on Tuesday to find out. Omar (husband of Beatris) came out to greet us and when we asked how things were going he said "mas o menos" and told us that they were having some issues at the moment. We asked if we could talk with his wife and when she came out she was pretty emotional. Turns out that they are having financial issues. My companion invited them to pray and study the scriptures, and if they did so with faith they would find their answer. 

The next day came and we started the visit out by watching the talk by David A. Bednar in this last conference. It lead to a great discussion and the spirit was super strong. Elder Reyes extended the invitation that they could share their testimonies in church the following Sunday, and then Beatris said something that made my heart drop. "I won't be able to come to church this Sunday."... What? We just had a super powerful discussion about relying on the Lord and keeping his commandments, and you're telling us that you don't plan on coming to church? We asked her why and she told us that the night before she had read a scripture and felt that she received an answer, the following morning she received a phone call with a work offer over the weekend. We asked her to share the scripture and she opened to D&C 59. When she opened to that section I got a bit confused as to what kind of answer she had received. She read verse 13 "And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full." and then told us that she believed she needed to fast. We both sat there just kind of smiling and told her to read from verse 9.

"9 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;

 10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;

 11 Nevertheless thy avows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;

 12 But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High,confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord."

She sat there for a while and then said " I know what I need to do" 

On Sunday they all came to church. She had turned down this job opportunity so that she would be able to keep the Lords commandments. I learned a lot of different things from this experience. 

1. We can always rely on the scriptures to help answer questions. I'll admit that I doubted a bit when my companion said that if she prayed and then opened the scriptures she would find an answer. I will never doubt that again. If we truly seek an answer from our Heavenly Father with faith, all things are possible. 

2. Satan can even tempt us with what appears to be a blessing from God. If anything requires us to do something contrary to the commandments of God, it simply is not from him. He will never bless us in a manner that will require us to break one of his commandments. Beatris believed that she had received a blessing with this job offer, but her blessings are yet to come. She first had to make the sacrifice, but because she chose to turn down the job offer in order to keep one of Gods commandments, I have complete confidence that the true blessings will come now. 

3. That my faith still lacks a lot. I have so much to learn in relying on the Lord in all things. This whole experience has helped me strengthen my faith! We really can rely on the Lord to fulfill all of his promises, if first we do our part.  

I'm excited to go into this next cycle with a new companion. Especially someone that is new in the mission! I hope that we can see more miracles like this one. 

I love you all so much! Thank you for your love and support! I chuckled to hear the family is finally going on a trip with the Simpsons while I'm on the mission. I hope that you all have a wonderful time! Take lots of pictures for me! The play looked like quite a success from the pictures! That sure would have been a fun one to be in. I definitely plan on continuing theater when I get back! 

Love Elder Twede
My hero pose when I found out that I'm going to be a dad! (going to train)