Saturday, June 26, 2010
Speaking of Irene, she´s still going strong. Her brother lives in Orange County, CA, close to the Newport Beach Temple. He was already baptized and is really strong in the gospel When we ate with her this last Sunday, he called her, and talked to each of us individually. He thanked both of us for helping his sister take a baptism. We also took her and Bety Ábrego to Visitor´s Center by the Mexico City Temple. Both of them really enjoyed the experience. Irene is already talking about going again to buy more stuff from the Distribution Center.
Her daughter really really wants to hear the message....which is one of the biggest miracles I´ve ever seen. I´ve never seen someone change like this. She wanted to come with us to the Visitor´s Center, but couldn´t because she already had family commitments. But we´re planning another trip in the coming weeks. She has to work slowly so that her husband doesn´t cut her off. He is Cristiano(I have no idea what that means other than another type of sect of Christian), and he doesn´t want her to change religions. We don´t know exactly to do, but we´re going to work little by little until her husband will allow the missionaries to visit them in their house in Puerta Grande(the neighboring area), but right now we´re just teaching her in the house of her mother, Irene.
The family Orea Zavaleta. Due to a misunderstanding between them, we weren´t able to visit them as much as we wanted to. He was a little more than annoyed with her, and wanted to put the blame on the church. We did visit him alone on Thursday, and he was really polite, he looked for opportunities to avoid listening to us, but when he actually sat down and listened to our message, he was really attentive and still wanted to be baptized. Also his grandmother´s health is improving dramatically. She actually sat in on our message, she told us she wanted to be baptized too, but wanted to learn more about our Church first. We were going to have Family night with them and the ward mission leader, but we weren´t able to pass by. I think he´s afraid of the members of the ward, but we´re working with Jorge Montes, his long-time friend who is a member of this ward, to set-up a family night with them this week. I just hope that we can work with them little by little until they can both be baptized. Unfortunately due to this difficulty, we may have to postpone their baptisms, but if all goes as previously planned, they will be baptized this Sunday with Bety Ábrego and Rebeca Sánchez.
Rebeca is the daughter of an eternal investigator. Her mother wants to get baptized but has something against this ward...and the bishop. She loves listening to us and always says she will get baptized in Mixcoac or in Las Aguilas, but in Plateros no. We´ve already taught her about the doctrine about why she needs to attend the ward that she lives in, that the bishop in Mixcoac, even though is a bishop called of God, doesn´t have the right to receive revelation for her and her family. However, she doesn´t seem to be progressing. We hope that her daughter Rebeca(who already has made friends in Plateros and wants to be baptized there) will be a help for her, and also be a stepping stone for Graciela(the mother) and Mauricio(the son of Graciela) to also take this step.
Jesús Islas also is turning out to be quite the golden investigator. He has told us that his life has visibly improved upon starting to listen to us. At first, when we started teaching him, he was uncomfortable praying, but right now his prayers our powerful. It really is something specially to hear an investigator thanking God for the missionaries. He really is feasting on the introduction and the witnesses of the Book of Mormon. At first he was a little concerned about it because it wasn´t the Bible. He told us that he felt it was good, but felt that without the Bible, something was missing. We explained that the Book of Mormon was merely another testament of Jesus Christ a complement to the Bible, not a substitute. He seemed to understand really well, and I think it resolved his concerns.
We were going to plan on having the Assistants bring their van to Plateros this Saturday or Sunday, so that Jesús, los Orea Zavalet, Graciela and her children, and Marí-Tere(the daughter of Irene) could go to the Visitors Center. But with the Changes this Tuesday, the Assistants are going to be busy, especially since one of them goes home this Monday. So, hopefully we will be able to do it, if not this week, in the weeks to come. All of them really want to make the trip, it´s just a matter of transportation. We can´t pay for the bus fare for all of them(and we don´t want them to pay for themselves), and we can´t all fit in the Hno. Zepeda´s SUV like we did this other time. But the Assistants aren´t going to be able to do it, I don´t think, so it looks like we´re going to have to wait....but I´m way excited!
I haven´t come even close to doing justice to this week, but everything has its time, and this time is almost done! Thank you, like always for your prayers and support. I hope that you all will receive the blessings that the Lord has in store for you by living His gospel!
Elder Thomas Blackham
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Wow! What happened? It´s Monday again, and here I am! I can´t believe how fast this week went. Already, I´m in the third week of this transfer....which means I´m already halfway done. It certainly doesn´t feel like that at all! I realized that I´m going to complete my fourth month in the mission this week! To me, that´s just crazy! But, at the same time, when I allow myself to think about the day I entered the MTC, it feels like I was a different person.
As far as this week went, I felt pretty good by the end of it....(mostly because we had two investigators come to church, one with her family!) We really worked hard on getting these people to go to church. It was difficult because one of them, Irene, works at home and was swamped with her work the last two weeks. Each time, we committed her to go to church, and she said she would, but she wasn't able to because of her work. When we passed by, we thought we were going to have to teach about keeping the Sabbath day, but she told us already that she felt bad that she worked on the Lord´s day, and she would work harder the next week. Unfortunately, that next week the same thing happened. This last week, as a companionship, Elder Javier and I prayed and fasted to know what we could do. We promised her that this week she could finish her work early, the Saturday, in order to worship appropriately that Sunday. After promising this, she nodded solemnly and promised us she would come this Sunday.......which she did!
What´s even better is that she was able to talk with the bishop personally and make quite a few friends in the Relief society. After the meetings, the bishop talked to us privately and told us that he felt Irene was ready to be baptized. I think we already knew that as companionship before, but hearing the bishop say that really confirmed that. We have an appointment with her tomorrow, and we´re going to challenge her to be baptized! What a tender mercy it was to find her!
The other investigator, Gabriela Orea, was also able to attend all of the meetings this Sunday. This was great because she sometimes works Sundays and so we had been preparing her to go to the chapel for a couple weeks with her family. Her husband had to stay with his grandmother, who is ill, although he also wanted to go, but both of her young children were able to go! In fact, she told before Sunday School started that her children actually asked her to allow them to go with her to church! They´re really small, the oldest is six, and the other is only two, but both of them are learning already from the parents, a lot of what we´ve taught them. Hermana Orea also told me, if I understood her right (it seemed almost too good to be true) that she was going to start asking all the Sundays off of work! The only struggle both she and her husband have is the Word of Wisdom. But we taught them earlier this week about the word of wisdom, we helped them make a some goals for the next appointment on Friday on how many cigarettes they were going to smoke....both of them were able lower the amount of cigarettes this week and meet that goal! However, they both told us that it was difficult and that they felt something was lacking. Luckily we have a brother from the church who worked with addicts as his career coming to our stake to give a discourse about how to overcome these addictions.
Well, it´s already late. This P-day was quite the busy day. My companion had to go to the hospital to get an eye infection checked out. We arrived about 7 in the morning, and we didn´t get back home until about 4:30 in the afternoon. By that time, it was all we could do to eat something really quick, grab our stuff and head to the district meeting in Mixcoac at 6:00 (which we were still late for). After being up since about 5:00 this morning I´m dead tired, so I´m going to call it a day and head to bed, in order to be refreshed for this next week of missionary work!
Love you all, thank you so much for your prayers and support. It really does help. Please continue praying for my behalf, and I will update you all next week.