Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekly Letter: June 28-July 4, 2011

Well, yeah, the last letter was very short, and I´m afraid this one won´t be much longer. But I´d better start writing about this week´s experiences.

So of the 7 miracles we were praying for this week, 6 of them were baptized this week. One was not able to go to church this week, but she already has decided to put her date for the next week. So thank so much for your prayers. They were answered.

This week of miracles all began with the interviews we had with Inés and her family on sunday night. She had forgotten her cell phone in the house, so she was worried when we took longer than we thought. Her husband was calling her the whole night to see where she was and everything, but she didn´t have the phone...and he doesn´t have a cell phone so they couldn´t call him.

We were a little worried how the husband was going to react about all that, but when we went over there on Tuesday, Inés told us that she tried to send a message to us that same night but wouldn´t send. She said that when she got there her husband was waiting for them and obviously asked where why they had taken so long. She told him that it was because all of them were getting baptized that Sunday. He answered "ALL of them?" She told him to ask her oldest son...who responded that they were ALL getting baptized.

He was a little surprised by this, and then, to the surprise of Inés, he asked "and could I get baptized with you guys?" She thought he was joking, but he said it was serious. When she told us this, we were shocked and decided to talk to him quickly before he lost the flame.

He never lost it. He was possibly one of the most golden investigators we´ve had. The second time we saw him, he understood completely what we had taught him the first time. The only problem that he has are some addictions to cigarrette and coffee....but he´s made some excellent progress this week...and made it to Church both for the worship and baptismal services! And he liked it! Wow! So that was a miracle that blew us away.

Another one was the Inés´s nephew, who lives like three doors away from their store. He´s never been interested in religion or anything, but one time Inés got to her store and her nephew was reading the Book of Mormon, and he was really enthusiastic about it...and asked her if she could ask us for another copy....and we obliged. So I think we´ve been blessed greatly in finding families that are accepting the church. The Family from Chiapas also got baptized, and the mom went to the baptismal service. Everybody in the family is starting to show more and more interest in what we have to say, so it´s pretty awesome.

The only bummer point was when we invited an inactive member to be baptized. He hadn´t told us that he was baptized, only that he had gone to church once. So we taught a great lesson with him, he looked golden, until when we invited him to be baptized he said "Umm...I´d like to, but I think I already did it." we asked for his full name and his birthdate, and then we checked that night in the system and, sure enough, he was baptized and confirmed....oops!

So yeah, I guess we´ll have to find some more people for this week. We have put 2 people with a baptismal date, but we´ll see if we can get a few well as find a bunch of new people, because if we don´t...I don´t know how things will go this change!

Oh, speaking about changes, there weren´t any between us. Elder Garcia and I are going to be in Tlalli for another 6 weeks. We were the only companionship that didn´t get changed in the Zone. So yeah, we´re pretty excited about another change here!

Well, that´s about everything. Thanks for all the support and prayers!


Elder Blackham

Weekly Letter: July 12-18, 2011

para todos uds:

It´s really fun baptizing every week....especially when you´re not baptizing. We´ve tried to make that our focus lately, because in Tlalli there a quite a few Priests that are hoping to serve a mission, and the Bishop likes it when they can baptize. President Villarreal has compared it to like a key to an investigator if he later goes inactive. The one that baptized him will always be able to many cases, he may be the only one. So the last thing we want is that people get baptized, confirmed here in Mexico, and then go inactive years later while the one that has the key is sitting on a couch watching tv in Sandy, Utah. So we´ve been trying to focus on that. It´s different not being in the font...and sometimes it´s complicated when neither the Baptizer nor the baptizee know how to do the ordinance...but I can see why it´s better that way.

The brother that baptized two of 6 last week also baptized the 2 baptisms we this week....because one was the cousin of the two he baptized last week(completing the seven miracles we wanted last week), and the other one was his mom. It was pretty special how it all happened. There isn´t near enough time to mention everything that happened so that this could come to pass, but it was a miracle.

The mom is named Mayra...and she met the missionaries a year ago when they knocked on her door. She and her children had been having many problems...including one in particular, Jonathan that was well into drugs and was struggling with that addiction. While the missionaries talked to her and her family, the miracles began to happen, and Mayra immediately knew the church to be true...and her kids did too. Jonathan went into therapy and was able to overcome the habit enough to enter into the waters of baptism with sister, brother, and cousin....but Mayra couldn´t. It was one of those conditions of the Law of Chastity, the Elders explained to her that she had to be married to her husband before getting baptized. So she waited patiently a year, going to church every week with her family. Jonathan eventually got the priesthood, and is beginning to prepare to go on a mission. But she still couldn´t be baptized, even though the references she´s been giving us have basically gotten baptized right away.

Then last week, we finally were able to talk well with her....and we found out that she was puzzled about one baptism we had done, because she was not married to the father of her children either. We explained that there were two options: get married, or separation. More puzzled than ever, she then told us that she and her husband had been separated for 5 years. He actually lives in another house with his legally wedded wife...that he only came during the day to see his children for like two or three hours every other day when he doesn´t work. So then we organized the interview with the Zone Leaders, and she is fine with all the she could get baptized...and she chose that Jonathan would baptize her.

So yeah, it was pretty special. Not everything went perfect, and we had to sort some things out before the baptism, and there isn´t time to mention everything....but one thing that happens on the mission: you really come to realize that just as the missionary work is real, so is the adversary who will do everything to deter it.

Well...that was the miracle of the week. I better go because there is no time left. Thanks for everything...especially the prayers. Keep praying for us!


Elder Blackham

Weekly Letter: June 28-July 4, 2011

para todos uds:

Sorry about not being able to write a lot. I have about 10 minutes to write...and a lot of news to share.

One of our baptisms that we had lined up fell through this week because she couldn´t get off work. It was a little bit of a disappointment, but everything is okay because she has a date for next week. Her cousin did get baptized Sunday, so that was way cool. However, one of the highlights of the week was the Petra miracle.

Petra is the mom of a recent convert who really is strong in the church despite being only 12 years old. He really takes everything really seriously in the church. He already has his Deacon´s duty to God almost finished and he´s only got four months of being baptized! Petra has always wanted to be baptized, but because she wasn´t married to the father of her children, she couldn´t. However, she showed up last Sunday at church out of nowhere(we had given up on them because their appointments always fell through) We went Sunday, and they weren´t there, then Monday, and they told us that they would be better organized the next day to receive us. Being the incredulous little elder that I am, I was tempted to think that this was more of the same...falling through on us. However, we decided to give them another chance...and how grateful I am that we did because the next day she was there. She told us that her husband/boyfriend had finally moved out(he was abusive towards her and the children), and we then invited her to be baptized. She was baptized on Saturday! So that was the Petra miracle.

We also experienced a lot of miracles this change. It´s safe to say that all baptisms are miracles, because they are. So yeah, we´re a little overwhelmed because we have 7 such miracles scheduled for this week. I don´t know how this all happened, but it´s very exciting! Six of these seven are parts of families that are going to be baptized, and the other one is Rosa, who is Maria Elena´s daughter. (Maria Elena was the first baptism we had together in this area). We are seeing how the Lord is blessing the families here in Tlalli. We just hope to be able to keep having these miracles in the future. We will have to dedicate our time this week in securing these baptismal dates, and finding new investigators. We´ve still got a few that look promising, but haven´t gone to we have to find more people that will be able to progress well.

Well, I don´t have any more time left. We´ve got to go because the Zone Leaders are going to come to do interviews for the remaining three of those who have a baptismal date for this week...the rest are interviewed and good! So yeah, we´re going to be praying and fasting for these miracles this week to end the change and to keep going strong in this week. Please pray for us so that we can have these 7 baptisms this week!

Love you guys lots. Thanks for the prayers and support.


Elder Blackham

Weekly Letter: June 21-27, 2011

para todos uds:

Okay, I´ve got to write double time, because I´ve got twenty minutes before P-day ends. This week...we weren´t able to baptize. When I went to do an interview for the missionaries in my district, another district leader went to my area to do the interviews for the people we were going to baptize...and they weren´t there. I don´t know exactly what happened, because the District Leader says one thing, my companion another, and the Sister says something completely different from the two. But yeah, we were pretty bummed about that because two baptisms that we had for this week fell through. And then the family didn´t go to church, which made things even weirder....but we´ll see what happens this week.

We do, however, have two investigators with a baptismal date this week. Their names are Rosa and Lesli. Rosa is the daughter of Maria Elena that got baptized my first week here, Lesli is her "niece," (but really it´s that she and the mom are just really close friends) It was way cool inviting them to get baptized, Rosa is already asking work off this Sunday, because she only can take it off every other Sunday...and Lesli was actually going to get baptized a while ago, but couldn´t because she was pregnant...but she gave birth in January, and she´s ready for this Sunday! So yeah, that was the miracle of the week.

Also, I gained a testimony of what the president of Area of Mexico has said. He has said "Mexico is ready to baptize every week." Or rather, that every companionship, every week must baptize. That´s something that really is a wake up call for us missionaries. Our president has stressed the "urgency to baptize every week." And this week we invited 6 different people to get baptized, and all six accepted. The question with many of them is getting them to church, teaching the Law of Chastity so that they get baptized, and helping them find jobs that allow them to go to church.

Actually Saturday we went with several people to Visitor´s Center by the Temple in Mexico City. It is always a great experience to be so close to such a sacred building. Unfortunately, we in the mission are not privileged to attend the temple until at the end of the mission, but it always is a great experience seeing it, and helping the investigators understand the sacredness of it.

Then yesterday, we also had some miracles....9 of church! 5 of them went for the first time...and one is another reference from Maria Elena. So yeah, we were pretty excited with that. The only thing is that a family that had told us that they were going to church weren´t able to go. We actually passed by for them, but they had to leave to pick up another family member in the terminal. It´s a family from Chiapas, Mexico, and they don´t have much time here, but they want to be baptized, only, they just starting working...and they work Sundays! It´s so frustrating, but we´ll see how we´ll work things out. I just found out that there is a sister in the ward that helps the people look for we´ll see if we can work out something for them because it would be about 4 or 5 in total that would be baptized.

Well, time is up. We have to go to an appointment at 6:30, and just began to rain. (yes! it started to finally rain this week!) So we have to go by for a coat and an umbrella first. So thanks for everything. Please keep praying for us here!


Elder Blackham