Friday, November 4, 2011

Weekly Letter: October 11-17, 2011

para solo mi familia:

So, as requested by my mission president. I am sending you a calendar that he sent to us at the beginning of the change. In these two changes we are going to be reading the Book of Mormon as a Mission. And he wants you to have the opportunity to do so as well. President Villarreal is really into this unity as a mission thing. That´s why he´s doing all this stuff, and that´s why he´s trying to include you guys too. The DVD he sent, the Book of Mormon reading schedule (notice it is LibEro de Mormón and no Libro de Mormón. I still haven´t found the Libero de Mormón in my missionary resource Library, so I´ll read the Libro de Mormón instead.) I´m truly blessed to be serving under such a visionary man called of God. He has the goal for this month of 400 baptisms. Literally he has scooped the mission from the dumps and apostasy to being the best baptizing mission in Mexico, and usually the world.

The mission in December last year had a whole 98 baptisms in the whole month. And ever since, things have been changing. May we had 5 sundays in the month, and for the first time in mission history we broke the 300 mark with 319. In less than 6 months he´s turned everything around. Another two months later we hit the same 319 mark in July which also was a month with 5 Sundays. Then came last month, september, a regular four week month. We reached 303 baptisms...baptizing 98 on the last week of the month! It is a stark contrast from what we have ever seen before in the mission. So when he speaks of October and baptizing 400...I look at the calendar, and I´m like...."another 5 sunday month" and I say "Let´s do it!"

The President has said that he acclaims our success to the new-found focus on obedience, diligence, and desire. My companion and I are trying really hard to achieve the last two attributes. To do so, we have decided to do a santification challenge. You may have heard of it because it seems to be quite popular in the mission. It includes fasting and while in the attitude of fasting, writing a list of activities or distractions that impede you from being 100% focused in the work. We decided to do so, because we literally have the promised land under our hoz(what´s the English word for that? Scythe?), and we´re not reaping what we should be doing. In Mexico it is quite a challenge because of several distraccions that we see everyday.

One, the busses and combies(little vans that are public transport) always have music playing, and many times you get to here cool songs from artists that you knew before the mission. You later have incomplete families in the church, or inactive families who give you food and they leave the television running with a pirated version of a movie that just came out in Theaters. You have several distractions that will kill the spirit and you in your missionary desires, if you don´t do anything about. Then you have a missionary companion from the same state as you, and of course, it is so easy to get distracted when you´re talking because you relate to much. (If anyone has said that you get along too well with someone, has not gone foreign on a mission where most of your companions come from a completely different culture, and very rarely you find yourself with a companion that is basically what your best friend would have been before the mission.)

So let´s just say that the Santification challenge is really hard....but I´m doing it with the hope the my desires will change. The missionary that first did the "fast" of forty days of such distractions said that at first he had such an ache for those distractions, and there were so many temptations that he could not even bare it. However, every night, applying the repentance process he would ask for more strength to go on. He then later says that about the last week of his "fast" he had found that he no longer had the desire to say those things. So that is my hope, that even though it kills me having plug my ears in the bus and sing a hymn, when really I´d rather listen to it, because I love the song and/or group that sings the son, eventually I´ll get to the point that I will no longer even want to listen to that stuff. I will be even happier than I am now because I will enjoy this fast, and I won´t feel guilty about it afterwards.

Well, I wrote about all that fast, so I hope it makes sense. Anyway, so we started that on Saturday, and so far, we´re working really hard. We fall a lot, but we keep picking ourselves up. I realize that the Lord doesn´t ask for perfection because he expects us to achieve it, he asks it of us expecting us to be repentant; and it is then that he blesses us. I wish I had more of chance to explain about the miracle famiy we found the very Saturday that we starting this Santification Challenge. I also wish I could tell you about Jorge, and how he worked so hard to be able to get baptized yesterday...even putting his job at stake...and being in the military, that´s a pretty big deal. It was such a beautiful miracle...and I know it is only the start if we keep work at this. I´m looking at this week, we don´t have anyone in teaching to get baptized this week. But I´m strangely calm. I know that if I am obedient, diligent, and keep trying to mold my desires to His desires, we will find someone to baptize this week.

Please pray for us. We need the support.

Thank you all. Love you all.


Elder Blackham

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