Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Missed the parade, just headed to Mexico instead

You'll never guess where I am...

Well it's been another crazy week in SLC and now... in Mexico! I flew out this morning at 10, arrived around 3, met with President Call, had dinner, and now I'm at the mission office, where I'll be spending the night with the APs. However, I'll start at the beginning...

This week we found a new family (Still in SLC), and they seem really solid. Their mom died and their dad left at a young age, so now it's just a 22 year old girl named Yarida and a 16 year old boy named Rolando. We taught the plan of salvation, and they were very receptive. We comitted them to be baptized on August 6, but they didn't show up to sacrament because of an unexpected emergency that they wouldn't explain, so it will have to be the 13. Other than that, we've had a crazy week because we decided to drop a lot of our investigators because no one was really progressing. Because of that, we went out contacting all the referrals, formers, and doing a lot of tracting to try and find new investigators. We did find a few, including that other family. One was a couple that we got married, but I don't think they're really interested in the church, but that still means, in the words of Elder Freitas, "one less pair of fornicators in the world". The best part of the week, though, was with a girl named Larisa. We'd been trying to contact her without much success, though she did show up to church last week. Finally, we talked to her on Friday, and something really touched her, and she broke down crying and told us she wanted to be baptized tomorrow (Saturday). It was an absolute miracle, so we arranged everything, and she got baptized. Unfortunately, Marco didn't get baptized because a member that he is close with talked him out of it for the time being. We definitely chastised the member (the right way, not just angrily), and have been teaching Marco more, and he will probably be baptized either the 30, or Aug. 6. I barely missed marching in the Pioneer day parade (because, you know, I'm in Mexico...), but it's all good.

I'm glad everything is going well at home. It's good to hear that everyone's keeping busy, especially dad, getting drunkards arrested and what not. Good work. It takes me back to that time we got those other two guys arrested for shining a laser pen in your rearview mirror on the freeway. Good times. I'm glad Tara's enjoying her job. That'll be a really good thing for her, especially if she's going to be dating as much as she is, she'll need money eventually. I'm glad she's also getting used to driving stick. That means you're finally taking good care of my car, and I may stop mentioning it in every single letter. It sounds like things are busy in the Sevilla residence as well. I'm glad Lys is getting to spend more time with Andrew and at home. I'm sorry he's being difficult with his new teeth, but you'll be happy he has them later in life, I promise. Mom, thanks for covering for me with Sister Pearl, I'm sure she appreciates it. That's great that you were able to wrangle the kids and have a good lesson/singing time. It's important that they learn early to behave themselves, or they'll end up like, well, most of my age group (I can only say that because they're all on missions and can't read this). That's funny that dad and Tara were so close to me Saturday. I knew that you were always close in the back of my mind, but it never really seemed like you were really that close... but now you're not. For everyone asking if I got what they sent, yes, I did to the best of my knowledge. To Sharon, I wasn't quite in Rose Park, but I imagine it's very similar to where I was (Riverside).

My new address is

Elder Joseph Facer
Apartado Postal 98
Cuautitlan Izcalli, Edo. de Mexico 54740

and anyone outside of immediate family has to write by hand as per the rules in my mission. I guess Salt Lake doesn't have as high of standards as Mexico... I still hope to hear from people, though. I don't hear from friends as much, but that's probably because I forgot to put my SLC address in my last letter. Now, nobody has an excuse.

I hope all continues to go well in Utah. I'm glad that the church is having a big part in your lives, and hope that it always will. The gospel brings so much joy into our lives that we literally can't live without it. This is the Lord's church and His work. Me, Brigham, and all the other missionaries throughout the world are helping Heavenly Father in His purpose (Moses 1:39), and the work we do can't be measured by wordly means. Heavenly Father loves you, and is willing to bless you as long as you keep His commandments and live up to your covenants.

Que tengan una semana buena

Elder Joseph Facer

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SLC Missionary

Here is the first letter and picture we got from Joseph while he's serving in SLC!

The first week on the job

Sounds like it was quite a busy week for you all. Mine was, too, and not just because it's been about a week and a half since I've written. My last few days at the MTC were good, but my companions were definitely having a hard time focusing and finishing strong, which made it hard for me, but I did my best. We had some good devotionals about repentance and the Savior, and then Wednesday, I headed out. It was interesting just being driven a half an hour to the mission as opposed to flying 2000 miles, but we still made it safe, and I'm fairly well settled. The first day was just what you'd expect: orientation, get to know people, then go out and work. I'm in yet another threesome with Elders Freitas and Espinoza. Elder Freitas is from Brazil and has been out for about 14 1/2 months, and Elder Espinoza is from Michoacan/LA and has been out about 2 months. Both are very strong, hardworking missionaries, and are setting a good example for me. We're serving just West of downtown SLC in the Rose Park/Riverside area. I'm enjoying it here, but I'm very excited to go to Mexico. We live in the basement of a Tongan home, which has its benefits as far as feeding us is concerned, and the apartment is actually not that bad. Sorry again for not having pictures, but I promise they'll come next week.
Our first few days have been fairly interesting. They've been filled with lots of teaching appointments and teaching appointments falling through. One big thing that happened is on Thursday, I went on splits with a senior missionary who didn't speak any Spanish, and we went to teach a woman named Maria who knows almost no English. She has been fairly difficult in the past and has already fell through on one baptismal date, but I comitted her to be baptized on the 6 of Aug, because she'll be gone from this Thursday until the end of the month. Other than that, I've been fairly quiet for the most part (who's surprised...), but I still talk sometimes. We've also been working with a 9 year old boy named Marco who, after much struggling, has decided to be baptized this Saturday. We took him and his family to temple square to see the "God's plan for families" presentation in the visitor's center, and I think that really got him; I know it got me. Sunday was also interesting to say the least. The Spanish branch we attended was fairly chaotic, with the pianist being unable to play the simplified hymns, the speakers only speaking English and bad translation, and our only investigator that followed through with the comittment to come having a screaming baby. We're going to meet with the Branch President to see if we can make sacrament meetings more spiritual so our investigators don't get scared off.
We have a few other investigators, but nobody seems to be following through with comittments. We're going to try to put two other people on date this week, Larisa and Roberto, so pray for them if you would.
I'm glad to hear things are going well at home and that everyone's staying busy. Best of luck with YW camp to everyone, and tell Tara to take care of my car. We drive a 2010 Fusion, but I miss my joker, and expect it to be in full working condition when I come home. That means Brigham can't drive it when he gets back either. Good work Tara on getting a job, and good luck at BYU soccer camp. I hope this Carson fellow is decent enough, otherwise I may have to write him a strongly worded letter. I'm glad mom and dad got to the temple. The blessings that come from temple attendance can't be replaced by anything. Speaking of that, we get to go to SLC temple once a month in this mission. Thanks to Scott and Alyssa Sevilla for your packages and letters, and to the Valoras for their letters. I may have left my address back at the apartment, but the rules for email in this mission are a lot more lenient, so whoever wants to email me can, and I'll send my address next week if you feel more inclined to write hand-written letters.
The church is true and Heavenly Father is proud of all the good things you're all doing. I know that He will continue to bless you as you stay faithful and obedient.

-Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, July 11, 2011

Even More Changes

Well this week has been another odd week. I don't think there has been a day in the MTC where our schedule followed everything we were supposed to do. First off, me and Elder Belchior got another companion named Elder Christensen from LA. He helped me to know how Brigham felt with his last companion (Zazueta? I don't remember...). Anyway, I think this is the Lord's way of testing my patience for the remainder of my time here. It's ok, though, I'm pushing through and doing just fine. I forgot to tell you that we got to host last week, and that was a really fun experience. I think the new way of doing it is so much more effective than what they did with Scott, and it's so much more organized, too. I also saw Elder Oaks, Dallin H. just walking by, which was also really cool. I didn't shake his hand or anything, because he was obviously going somewhere and I didn't want to hold him up. Then on Saturday night, we had a big 4th of July fireside/celebration. We heard from a general authority who had been a direct advisor to three different presidents, so that was cool. Then they did a little slide show of every single mission with "Hark All Ye Nations" playing behind it. Then we closed with Praise to the Man, and I understood a little bit why you liked that so much when I played it. The spirit was so strong, and it really testified that Joseph Smith really was and is a prophet of God and that he restored the fullness of the Gospel in these latter days. Then they let us go and watch the stadium of fire firework show, but I couldn't see too much because there are trees all around the MTC, and I'm not tall enough to see over a big group of missionaries all in the same place. Sunday night we had a fireside by Jenny Oaks Baker (Dallin H. Oaks's daughter who is a professional violinist) which was good. She played a lot of music and spoke a little, which I think is a good way to do a fireside. They finished with "This Is The Christ", which has been one of my favorite songs since we sang it in choir a while back. It was nice to be able to just enjoy the spirit that comes with sacred music. Other than that, it's been mostly just class and studying.

I found out that I'll most likely have a temporary assignment before I head down to Mexico, but they'll still send me out probably Wednesday, maybe Thursday at the latest. I think they said that once they know, then I can call you and let you know, so depending on what time it is, I'll either call home or mom's work. I'm really excited to get out, though. I love the MTC, but I'm really ready to go out and do this for real. My Spanish continues to improve, and I feel confident enough speaking and understanding that I could head out anytime and do just fine. We had a substitute teacher from Hidalgo (one of the states where I'll be serving), and he was impressed with my Spanish, and also said that in Hidalgo, the missionaries that were there when he left were baptizing about 1200 people a month. That isn't a typo, it's one thousand two hundred people in one month. I'm really excited to get to go and be a part of that work.

I heard a little bit from Brigham, just a two-liner in which he demonstrated his use of Mexican slang, but I'm glad he still took the time to write me. Thanks to everyone that wrote and sent packages this week including Emily, Heather, and I think there was one more, but I'm having a hard time remembering right now. Know that even though I can't remember, I'm really grateful to you all. I was especially happy with Tara's package/letter, and I think the mint brownies may not last until tonight. I'm glad Tara is doing well and staying busy. It's good that you got to do the cash register and Rio Tinto. It's good to have a varied skill set when you're this age and trying to a job. Dad has certainly taught us how to do hard manual-type labor, so anything else you can get will only help. I had to do all kinds of different things at Bert Murdock, and knowing how to work really helped. Of course, it helps here, too, but this is a lot more mental labor at this point. I know that will change fairly soon. But I hope Tara continues to work and to prepare for the life that lies ahead. You don't want me to come home and totally show you up when we're at BYU together. Oh, and don't destroy my car! Keep working on driving so you can maintain my excellent gas mileage (my last tank that I filled up was 34 mpg). Otherwise, I'm making you pay for gas when I get home.

So how was everyone's 4th? I assume we just had the normal celebrations. Did Manuel get to use his bbq? I wish i could've enjoyed some of dad's hamburgers. The food here is ok, but it's definitely not like home, and it maybe is taking it's toll on me. I'm still about as healthy as I was when I left (not that that's anything to brag about), but I can just feel the food doing things to my insides that I'm quite sure normal food wouldn't do. It's all good, though. I probably have enough food from packages to sustain me until I leave. Anyway, I hope everyone is staying busy and not feeling the void of my absence too much. I'm sorry I haven't sent pictures, these computers aren't very accessible as far as external plug-ins go, so they may have to wait until I get in the field, but I have taken some, so don't worry.

Well I'm about out of time and things to talk about. I know that this church is true, and that it was restored through Joseph Smith. I know he translated the Book of Mormon, and that everything in the introduction to the book is absolutely true, and that Heavenly Father will keep the promises contained therein. I know that Heavenly Father sent His son to suffer for all of our pains, sorrows, hardships, and sins, and that through His Atonement, we can find peace, comfort, and joy in this life. I know that if we live righteously according to the covenants we have made, that Heavenly Father will bless us with all the things we need in this life and Eternal Life after we are ressurected. I know that this is His work, and that He has called me here to do a great and marvelous work. May the Lord bless you all in everything you do if you will do it unto Him (2 Ne. 32:8-9)

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, July 4, 2011

I have been looking for Joseph at the MTC and I finally found him today! The most amazing part is that he is with a missionary that I taught! Elder Belchior is one of the most incredible Elders I have seen come through as is Joseph. I really consider them the best companionship in the MTC and it was amazing to talk to them. I just love Joseph he has become a powerful representative of Christ! Thanks for all your family has done for me! And here is a picture, its not real great quality or anything but I thought you might enjoy it!
Dan (Dan Snyder was Brigham's trainer and teaches Spanish at the MTC)