Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekly Letter: July 6-12

Wow, what a week! I didn´t realize how fast it went until it was Saturday! We were able to find a lot of new investigators this week, and I don´t have time or means to describe every single one, but Plateros is looking pretty good. We´re pretty busy here. We´ve also been working hard on several people to help them, sometimes our efforts have been rewarded, sometimes not yet, but we have faith that our efforts are being recorded and will not be in vain.

The mission is literally a twenty-four hour business. I read a scripture this week that made me realized that. In Alma 37: 36-37 it reads: "Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.

"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day." (from didn´t expect me to type the whole reference, did you?)

I realized, even in our thoughts before sleeping, we need to direct our minds to the Lord. I´m still working hard on that, because it´s easy for a mind to wander after a long day....luckily after a good night-time lesson with an investigator and a planning session, it´s much easier. But wow, I literally felt that that scripture was written for missionaries. Truly, as missionaries we need him to "direct[us] for good" how else can we find his children that are ready for the truth.

My family has asked about my language skills. I literally cannot say that I feel like I´m speaking like a Mexican. But, I think it´s more important that I´m seeing progress. More, I think I´m seeing a deterioration of my English skills, especially spoken. I don´t know if this email sounds awkward, I don´t think so, because I have much more time to think about what I´m writing than when I speak. But there are several gringo missionaries that only speak English with others. I usually try to speak Spanish with them when I´m with them, but one time I decided to humor myself and spoke English with this guy, and it came out so weird, I could tell that it sounded weird, but, for the life of me, I couldn´t think of how it should be.

With a gringo comp, I have the luxury to ask him "¿Cómo se dice....?" (something I never could do with Javier, because he didn´t know the english word I was saying). However, some times I start to say "How do you say....." and then realize that I don´t even know the English word for the concept I have in my head. So basically, my language skills right now are both Spanish and English.

Anyway, right now I need to talk more about the investigators and other experiences of this week. We had another baptism this last Saturday. Once again, I was the one that realized the ordinance(my companion said I needed more practice). The name of the investigator is Antonio Sandoval. In finding him, at first, I had very little faith in him. His son had gotten baptized before, but had troubles with drugs and stuff like that and right now is in rehab or something like that, and the father had problems with cigarettes too. But this last week, I don´t know what Elder Childers did, but he suddenly started moving in warp speed toward baptism. He was baptized this Saturday and confirmed yesterday.

The bishop commented to us that this is a greater miracle than we know. When Antonio Jr. was listening to the gospel, no one else in his family wanted to listen, especially his father, who was Catholic, but was listening to the Jehovah´s witnesses(his wife is a JW), and actually identified himself as JW, and was completely closed off to listen to anything about the Mormons. But about a month and a half ago, he contacted Elder Javier and me in the street, and we began teaching him, but we didn´t think of him as a progressing investigator, only a link to hear how his son was doing.

But, yeah, he got baptized (twice, because I forgot to say a word in the prayer, and the bishop didn´t stop me before trying to baptize him) And his testimony was one of the most simplest, but beautiful things I´ve ever heard. He is a pretty aged man, he will turn 71 this August, and his mind isn´t always easily focused on the things at hand. But his testimony was....complete, I don´t know how else to put it. It was special.

Well, I have like no time, but I would like to put something in about Bety Ábrego and the family Orea Zavaleta. Bety, we haven´t been able to contact this last week because she only had Sunday and Monday off work, and her husband didn´t let her go to church, because he isn´t in agreement with her baptism. So it´s been a while, but Irene Sanchez has been keeping in contact by phone,(the two of them met and are pretty good friends, because they both work in the same thing...more or less). She´s continued reading in the Book of Mormon, and probably is in Mosiah right now, we´ll see tomorrow when we have an appointment with her and her husband. But she keeps going strong. I have no doubt that she will get baptized, it´s only a question of when.

The family Orea Zavaleta has also been harder to contact these last weeks. Due to a misunderstanding that is very detailed and difficult to explain (and understand), both of them were about to stop listening to us. He was because of the misunderstanding and his concerns about the Virgin Mary. She was, mostly because she didn´t want to harm their marriage. However, two Saturdays ago, we contacted them. They had a great deal of doubts, and we were there in their house for a long time, but I think we helped them out a ton. However, as we know that the adversary always works on people when they´re about to take a good decision, we had no idea how they would feel the next day.

We actually didn´t get the opportunity to talk with them until after the baptism on Saturday. To our surprise, they had both been keeping strong. He had been reading more in the Book of Mormon, which helped him, and she had been relying more on her prayers(due to her heavy work schedule, it´s hard to read much in the Book of Mormon). Elder Childers and I both felt impressed to challenge them to baptism this Saturday. They both accepted! (he did first, which really surprised us). What a tender mercy to have had this opportunity to enjoy this journey with this family. I hope and pray that all will go as the Lord wants, and will enter the waters of baptism this week!

Anyway, I better go! Thanks for your prayers and support!

Elder Blackham

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