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


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