Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekly Letter: May 3-9, 2011

para todos uds:

So another week has gone by. I cannot believe how time has gone so fast. Already I have 15 months in the mission. It´s pretty crazy.

But to not waste time in thinking about time, I guess I better start writing updates on our investigators. First of all, Miguel Torres. Miguel really has been golden. He went to church again yesterday, and i think the only thing that is keeping him being baptized is his family. He´s already well into 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, in a matter of three weeks! He actually talked about how he loves visiting the site, and how he feels like he´s part of a world-wide family.

He also has realized that missionary work is really important and he isn´t even baptized yet! Actually, during the week, we challenged him to be baptized again, and he said he wanted to be baptized, but he´s got a situation with his family. He said that his family has told him that if he gets baptized they will stop talking to him. However he said "I realize that I can do what Jesus asked of his apostles: to leave behind all his family and follow him." however, the problem is that he fears this will affect his wife. His wife actually likes what she´s read in the Book of Mormon, and what we´ve shared with Miguel (because he shares everything with her after we share it with him.), however, she fears about what her family will do if Miguel gets baptized or if she simply goes to church with us...let alone if she gets baptized too....sigh....however, we are working hard and we´re hoping to get him baptized this week, and invite her to his baptism....and maybe we can break through that wall.

Also, we´ve been witnessing miracles with some of the people we have in teaching. One of them is Guadalupe. Her daughter got married about a month ago, right before Perez went home. We thought she wouldn´t ever accept baptism because she´s so Catholic...however, the last few times we´ve talked to her she´s changed a ton. We actually invited her last week, and she said she´d think about it....when we passed by Saturday, she said she still needed some time, but that in the moment least expected she would tell us "Now." Actually, we tried to get her to get baptized yesterday, but her only reason why she didn´t was because she had to leave Sunday to see some papers for her grandson.

So that´s good. Aracely is working hard so that she can live the law of chastity so she can be baptized too. She actually asked us if there was any other way easier to get baptized (because she´s had some complications with the divorce so she can marry Israfil), and we told there were only two options (get married or separate)...and she then asked if there wasn´t any other way for someone who really really really wanted to be baptized, and would get married when she could (I believe she was talking about herself).

Also, we´re finally looking to have the opportunity to talk to Enrique Guerra´s family this Thursday, which would be the first time since we´ve talked to him. We´re actually planning to invite all of them to church Sunday, and then the special conference with Elder Oaks the next Sunday, and then be baptized after the conference.....but that would require several miracles.

Wow, I never thought time could go by so fast writing about people, I still haven´t been able to mention other experiences we´ve had. For the last three weeks, we´ve found at least 10 new investigators, and several of them are really good ones....we just have to work on them to get to Church...and then they too will be in the scopes for baptism.

Anyway, thanks for everything. Keep praying for us! Love you all!


Elder Blackham

Weekly Letter: April 26-May 2, 2011

para todos uds:

Well, this week went pretty well. We had another miracle this week,
but it has it´s complications. Still, it´s not everyday in the mission
that at 6:30 in the morning a sister calls you guys (because they know
you´re awake), to say that a brother wants to be baptized this
Sunday....but that happened Wednesday.

We then went that same day in the morning and we met Brother Francisco
Teodocio. He knows the church really well because his wife has been
member for a long time, but he´s never wanted to go to church or be
baptized. However, because of his health problems, he has finally
softened his heart, and wants to be baptized.

He has diabetes really bad. Actually, parts of his extremeties are
dying off. We got to see his feet this week and it was really bad.
However, he can walk a little bit. We will have to see how we get him
baptized this week(we couldn´t baptize him last week because he didn´t
go to church until this week) However, the situation in his home is
really complicated, so complicated that the president actually isn´t
sure how we can get things sorted out....but I think we can get it
sorted out this week.

Miguel Torres also was going to get baptized this week, but he didn´t
show up to church. I think it was because he wants his wife to accept
the church too, and she didn´t want to go yesterday....oh well, we
just have to encourage him to get baptized this next week.

Israfil and Aracely, the couple I mentioned a few weeks ago are
rapidly getting the divorce papers filed for Aracely´s previous
marriage, and then are going to get married as soon as they can so she
can get baptized. We´re working really hard so that we can also get
some other people in church this next week to have a baptismal date
the next Sunday...but work is really complicating things. However, we
continue to pray and fast so that things can resolve themselves, so we
can have the fruits that we are working for.

So yeah, this week our lessons were a little low...we still haven´t
had the 30. We´ve gotten fairly close every week. This week we
finished up with 24, which would have been quite the accomplishment a
few weeks ago. But for the last two weeks, our numbers have only gone
up, so we were hoping to reach the goal this week...but we didn´t
quite get it. However, I think this week we´re going to get a pretty
good start today.

Well, I don´t know what else to say. I´m counting down the days until
our conference with Elder Oaks on the 22nd. I´m really excited, and I
can´t wait to see why he chose to talk specifically to Toluca!

Keep praying for us here! Thank you so much for your support!


Elder Blackham

Weekly Letter: April 19-25, 2011

para todos uds:

Okay...I realized that I didn´t tell you guys that last week we had transfers, but they didn´t change either one of us. I´m glad because we´ve been starting to see better success. Yesterday we had three people at Church...which was way cool. Especially since we didn´t even know one of them until he showed up (I think we´re going to need to pass him as a reference, but the thing is nobody in our zone knows where it is where this guy lives!)

However, we had a really great sacrament meeting. The Toluca Stake is going to have pleasure of receiving Elder Oaks here in the Stake Conference...and the members are going crazy about an apostle coming here for the first time in the history of the church in Toluca. So the speaker from the stake high council spoke today about what it meant to have an apostle come here in Toluca. We were pretty stoked because I think it helped Miguel and Guadalupe see that what we were teaching about the Restoration is true!

Miguel actually had a really excellent day in Church yesterday. Guadalupe had to go after Sacrament meeting because she needed to visit family, but I think she enjoyed it too. However, Miguel, I think invited himself to baptism yesterday. We had planned to do it yesterday in an appointment after church, but he told us that he had to leave to visit family in the we set an appointment Wednesday...and we´re going to invite him in that appointment to be baptized this Sunday. But yeah, he totally understood everything in church and was really excited afterward...and we were too!

Leaving Church, we then went to an appointment we had made knocking on doors. The family that we were going to eat with changed the time of the food appointment, so we had 20 minutes to talk with them. It´s a couple that received us really well. When we talked about baptism, they understood really well the characteristics of a valid baptism. Actually the husband said afterward "I think I will need to be baptized again...because my baptism wasn´t like that!"(that was when I looked at my companion and said "Today is going to be a good day"). Literally, I felt like I couldn´t keep myself from smiling the whole day. Even when we knocked on the door of a Jehovah´s Witness who wanted to Bible bash, I think was still smiling...which I think frustrated him.

Basically, this week, we have been able to see that the fruits of our labors are starting to emerge. We also taught a great lesson with Enrique Guerra, who was going to go to church this week, but couldn´t (just like last week) because of work. We taught the Word of Wisdom. At first he was asking a whole bunch of "whys," but at the end of the lesson he started to calm down and actually was smiling for the last ten minutes of the lesson. When we asked him if he would obey this commandment, he smiled, and said "Yes, and I´ll tell you why I´ll do it on Saturday." (He´s going invite us to eat some "pambazos" a Toluqueño specialty. My companion knows what they are, but hasn´t tried them. He tried something similar in Guadalajara, but Enrique says that these are better here.) Earlier this past week we also invited him to get baptized, and he accepted....but he didn´t go to church.

Anyway, I am really grateful that we are again having the success that we want. The only thing is that we have to maintain the rhythm of our work here, so that we don´t have a whole bunch of baptisms and then a fallout afterward. However, I think Elder Rosales and I have learned how to work well with this rhythm, and we´re loving it!

Thanks for the prayers and the support. We will need more of your prayers this week as well! I feel like the Lord is preparing this Land of Toluca in order to receive one of his Twelve Apostles in four weeks. Just keep praying for us!


Elder Blackham