Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 34: Like an ironing of my life

What a week! On Saturday our golden investigator and her daughter were both baptized by her husband! Their daughter is 8 years old so she isn't officially a baptism by the missionaries, but she turns 9 tomorrow. If we would have just waited one week I could have had one more baptism ;) haha Just kidding, what matters is that she got baptized. It was really a beautiful baptism service with three other people from other missionaries. Afterwards all five of the people that got baptized shared their testimonies, Saori (the 8 year old) shared hers last and pretty much brought everyone to tears. The testimony of a child is so pure. She said that she was happy to be baptized a few days before her birthday, but that she knew that what was more important was that she was doing the Lords will. Sometimes we think that kids are to young to understand these types of things, but we should never assume. On Sunday I had the privilege of confirming Saori, I'll admit that it's still a little hard to give blessings mainly because I have to talk in Tu instead of Usted, which is just the way you address a person. But giving blessings is always such an amazing experience, especially when you get to say ¨receive the Holy Ghost¨.

On Friday we had splits with my district leader. He came to my area and worked with me, I really miss working hard. We packed in the the day and nearly did half of what we've been getting done in an entire week... I love that feeling after a long hard days work and just crashing in bed without a regret on your mind. I have learned a lot from the cycle though! I've really improved on my ability to teach and speak Spanish! I'm just excited to really apply what I've learned with hard work with my next companion. I was a bit surprised with Elder Harrison who speaks English that I was never really tempted to start talking in English with him, we made it through the whole day pretty much only speaking Spanish! 

So with some of the things that I've seen with the members in this area I've been studying why it is that we have trials even when we aren't doing anything wrong. I came across this scripture in Mosiah 23.

 20 And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city, which they called the city of Helam.
 21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
 22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.
 23 For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob.
 24 And it came to pass that he did deliver them, and he did show forth his mighty power unto them, and great were their rejoicings.

Sometimes the Lord see´s it fit to try our faith. But this only gives us the chance to put more trust in him so that he can ¨deliver¨ us. As it says in Ether 12.

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
When we teach people we promise them blessings, but that doesn't mean the trials won't exist. I've seen at times people abandon their testimony because they face a trail when they thought that they would receive blessings. But if they would only recognize that during the trial is when they most need the blessings. Why do people so readily abandon their greatest source of help and strength when they most need it? It's a question that I don't think I'll ever be able to find an answer. Only that Satan has his devices to deceive and fool man to believe that blessings cannot be present in life when there are trials. But on the contrary! Often we're eligible to receive more blessings as we endure holding strong to our faith. 

I can testify of this fact. This has been the most challenging cycle I've had in my mission, but I have clearly enjoyed more blessings in this time than any of my other time. I'm grateful that the Lord see´s this time fit to try my patience and my faith so that I can increase it. The mission really is like a ironing of my life, just taking out all of the wrinkles. Sometimes the heat burns a bit, but that's when it's able to take out the biggest of wrinkles. 

Thank you for all of your support! I love you all! Until next week. 

Love Elder Twede

The baptismal font. The hardest part is getting down inside.  Just kidding it's the water tank that wasn't pumping any water the day before the baptism... A bit stressful, but everything worked out

Cleaning the bathrooms right before the baptism. After the church not having running water for a week... let's just say they were horrible...

Jesus and I, he's a really good kid.

Baptism! This picture looks a bit squished for some reason... I swear I'm not that chubby!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 33: Days keep rolling by

Let's hope that this email doesn't get erased while I'm in the middle of writing it like last week. 

This week kind of flew by really fast! I don't really remember if anything very interesting happened. I saw a giant dead horse in the middle of the street.. that was a little bit unusual.

Oh! some great news is we're going to have a baptism this Saturday! Everyone pray that it all goes through! You never know what can happen right before a baptism. Her name is Beatriz, her husband is a member and he's going to baptize her! I've really enjoyed teaching her, she has such a strong testimony. It's really an amazing experience when you can watch a testimony grow in someone and then when they share it with you it helps your own personal testimony grow. I'm super excited for this Saturday!

So I'm super glad that I have those piano books from my seminary teacher! I use them so much! Every time we have a meeting with the mission I get to play for the whole mission, the president really likes the If You Could Hie to Kolob song. I've actually gotten a lot better at the piano in the mission, which I wouldn't have expected. But I have to sight read a lot more because everyone asks me to play things on the spot, so it's probably a result of that. 

At the start of this week I did a leg workout... I've been super sore since. We have to cross this bridge pretty much everyday, those stairs have become my arch enemy. just a note to self, remember that as a missionary I have to walk a whole lot. No more extreme leg workouts. I'm also finally getting over having some sort of fungus on my hands. I basically lost a whole layer of skin on both of my hands. When people asked what I had I just told them that I was a leper, it looked pretty fitting. 

That's about it for this week. Days keep rolling by super fast. I can't believe that I'm almost 1/3 done with my mission! I have a lot of work to get done before these two years end! Thank you for all of your love and support! I love you all!

Elder Twede

Tianguis. The street market that they set up every Friday in my street. 

The hamburgers that a member family sells right outside our door. They feed us for free every now and then. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 32: I'm starting to figure it out

Ok... so I was just about to send the email and.. well.. It's gone... I don't know what happened... So sorry if this week is a bit short... man.. I don't want to start over...

Well.. as for my area, I'm starting to figure it out a bit more. The directions that people give us are a bit difficult at times "go straight for three streets and then turn left and go straight four more streets and then turn left. It's the house with the green door." When we get there there are usually about three or four green doors. About half of the streets are dirt and I'm pretty sure that I'm going to have to buy new shoes.

We have some amazing investigators! Sister Beatriz is super golden! In our last lesson with her we taught the Book of Mormon and we asked if she could close with the prayer and ask in the prayer in the Book of Mormon is true. When she prayed she said "I don't really need to ask if this book is true because I already know."... Those are the moments that all missionaries dream for! The spirit was super strong and the conviction in her voice made it clear that she really does have a testimony. 

I am getting a lot better at speaking Spanish with my companion and I'm getting a lot better at teaching. There are some people that think that I have more time here than six months because my accent. But if they really have a full on conversation with me they usually figure out pretty quick that I've only been in Mexico for six months.

It is crazy that yesterday I hit six months in Mexico! It still seems weird to me that I'm in a different country. But to say I've lived here for six months seems even more weird, it is flying by thought! There are times when two years seems really short. 

I had more things written before I know it... but I can't remember... I hope everything back home is going well. I love the pictures that you send me! Tell grandpa I love him and he'll be in my prayers. That operation looked pretty nasty. 
Adrie. You look like a young women. I hope you make it into the play! that would be super awesome! and Connor good luck! you guys are awesome! 

I love you all so much! Thank you for all your support and letters, they're pretty much the best things ever. 

Elder Twede

A member sells burgurs right outside our door at night and sometimes gives us each one for free. Being a missionary really does have it's perks.

Here's my house. It's one big room with the bathroom in the corner.

Playing soccer at the church

Bryce mentioned in one of his letters that everyone is saying that I'm super tan. I thought I'd show you my beautiful missionary tan line. My arms are equally as bad.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 31: "All these things shall give [me] experience"

Well I'm in a new area and I have no clue where anything is... The streets are all organized differently that my last area and it's a lot harder to navigate. But the ward is pretty awesome from what I've seen! The ward is split into two areas so there are four missionaries here, the other two are the zone leaders. There aren't a whole lot of members in our area, most of them live where the zone leaders are. 

But don't worry! I am happy :) No one can ever take my smile away from me! I'm still working hard and have really felt the support of the Lord this week! Sometimes I feel grateful for some difficulties because I really have felt an outpouring of his spirit.  We do get up early to go to the gym every morning! That's one thing that I wouldn't mind keeping after my new companion leaves. 

I don't really have a whole lot to write about other than that. It has kind of occupied my mind this whole week. But it really is a great learning opportunity and I'm just going to make the most of it. Sometimes that's all we can do. 

I really like that poem you sent me mom from Lyle. 

It really is a beautiful way that the Lord helps us learn and grow in this life. Sometimes it may seem impossible in the moment, but with the knowledge of the Savior and his atoning sacrifice, we know that we can rise above it all. I have always love the example of Joseph Smith and how he alwas endured. As he suffered in damp and cold conditions in the ironically titled Liberty Jail. He supplicated to the father in humble prayer seeking his comfort. The Lords response is nothing less than humbling and inspiring. 

"7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" 

We all will face trial and adversity in this life. But from Gods perspective it is but a small moment that will have it's eternal rewards. I can honestly say that this has been one of the most difficult weeks of my mission. But I also haven't felt the support of my Heavenly Father so much in my life before, and I am grateful for that experience to increase my faith and strengthen my testimony.  I know that the coming weeks aren't going to be any easier than this past one, but the truth is I'm excited for the things that I'm going to learn. I came into the mission knowing that I would have some difficult companions, I just continually pray that I will be able to have the Lords perspective in all these experiences that "all these things shall give (me) experience, and shall be for [my] good."

The Lord has a perfect plan for all of us, we just need to stick to it. In the end the Lord will unroll the canvas and it wouldn't be complete if we weren't given the opportunities that are only found in trails.  

I love you all so much! Thank you for your love and support! 
Love Elder Twede

My last district in my last area. They are all amazing!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 30: The end of another cycle

Week 30 and the end of another cycle! I can't really believe how fast it's slipping by! It seems like just yesterday that I hit six months. This week is all just a blur in my memory right now... and I have my new agenda so I can't look back on what I did or what happened... oh wait. I remember what I wanted to write. 

So this week we set a really high goal for contacts in the street. We were determined to have more than we've had in the past. The first few days of the week we did well with our energy and excitement in this goal, but one day we started to fall behind, and then the next day we fell more behind, and then our energy and excitement started to die. There's something about the mission when you know that you aren't doing everything you can to have more success that you start getting really down on yourself. Well, we weren't making contacts like we knew we could, and I started to get down on myself and when that happens it's hard to feel the spirit. At one point we left a lesson that was just that.. a lesson and nothing special.. We were walking down the street and I just asked the Lord in my heart "What do I need to do to be happier and feel the spirit more". I had a clear prompting that I need to contact the two ladies walking towards us, so I did. They rejected us. For a bit I was confused because I really felt like we needed to make that contact, but it soon all became clear why. 

As we continued on our way a guy in the back of a truck called out to me and asked where I was from (happens a lot because I kind of stand our) I told him and tried contacting him, but he didn't want to hear anything more than where I was from. But because we were there at that exact time for that guy to stop us to talk, a mother and daughter we able to catch up to us. They stopped us and told us that they really wanted to learn more about our church and asked "would it be a problem if you could come visit us and teach us?"........ MISSIONARY DREAM COME TRUE!!! We told them that it wouldn't be a problem at all and set an appointmet to visit them the next week. (Sadly I won't be in this area for the lesson...) After that event took place I felt wonderful, walking on cloud 9! But the Lord wasn't done blessing us. No more had we walked 100 feet another guy stopped us and told us his situation about how his wife and children left him because he drank. He was a really sweet well mannered man pleading for help. We wrote down his address and when we shook hands to say bye he said "please don't forget about me." later that night he called us to make sure that we hadn't forgotten about him. It's amazing how one act of faith can bring about so many miracles. 

I know my changed now. Tomorrow I'll be going to Valle de Chalco with my new companion Elder Reyes. I don't know anything about the place or the companion. So I'll e able to tell you more ext week :) But I'm excited to finally be able to meet some new people. I've been in this same ward for 5 1/2 months now. My current companion Elder C├árdenas is staying in this area and will be the new district leader! He's nervous but I know that he'll be great. 

This week I don't think I had any crazy things happen to me, or maybe I just don't remember them because I'm getting used to crazy things happening and it all just seems normal now. I ate soggy pig skin in salsa... but that's pretty normal here.. I've just been lucky to avoid it until now. 

Les amo
Love Elder Twede

This ice cream is amazing. They hollow out the fruit, make ice cream out of the insides, and then fill it back up with the deliciousness!

My favorite little lady here! She has such a strong testimony

An awesome family that we helped reactivate and are now preparing to go to the temple together!

La familia De Anda

This family is great! They wash our clothes, they give us lots of food, what more could a missionary want ;)