Monday, September 26, 2011

It WAS a long week...

Before I forget, one more thing in my package that would be wonderful would be some more scripture marking pencils. I'm more than halfway through mine already...
Anyway, this week ended with a little bit of success. We had two and a half families that we found fail in coming to church on Sunday, but one investigator (the dad of the half family) did make it and accepted a baptismal date. We'd only taught half of the first lesson before that, so we'll see how things turn out. He seems really good, though. His name is Antonio, and we found him when we were supposed to be visiting his wife (we had an appointment, and she ditched us), so hopefully we can still make something come of that family. Other than that, the week was slow, and it's still pretty hard here to find people. As much as I'm trying not to focus on it, transfers are a week away, and one of us is going, and I'm more than ready for it. Elder Irigoyen is like my version of Brig's really difficult companion (Zazueta?...) except that he's my trainer and first companion here in Mexico. I don't know that Heavenly Father could've chosen anyone else to try my patience more to be completely honest...
All companionship problems aside, that's too bad that Tara got hurt like that. I know if I tore the equivalent of my ACL in my fingers, life would be just terrible (tara-ble, good one) if I were home and couldn't play guitar/piano/drums. Who knows, this may be a good break for her to let her focus and reflect and put everything in order. I was always glad that I, even being occupied with music, had a clear vision of where my future was heading, and maybe Tara can get the same thing now. I'll get the package at the same time I get letters from everyone, but I'd still appreciate cards and letters from anyone who wants to throw one in. Did you remember to get the missionary library? That will be very important in about less than a month when I finish the Old Testament. I'm currently at the beginning of Joshua, and glad to be out of Numbers and Deuteronomy. The law of Moses and numbering everything is maybe a little exhausting to read, but it started getting better towards the end of Deuteronomy, and I have high hopes for Joshua. But anyway, I'll be done soon, and hopefully I'll have received the package by then so I can get to work on those books. I feel fairly safe about the letters that I've sent so far. They may be a little delayed in coming because I do them 2 or 3 letters to the envelope (2 or 3 weeks in between receiving them) in order to save envelopes and money. I promise they're coming, just be patient. What do you mean since the first one? What's the date on it? By the way, thanks for selling my shoes!
That's fun that Emily blessed William yesterday. It's interesting that I have cousins younger than my nephew. I'm really excited for conference, and President Call said we can watch all of the sessions, which will be the first time in a few years I've been able to do that thanks to BMM, and I hope I can get some really good inspiration out of it. I feel like the Spirit has been in my life a lot more the last two weeks or so, and I really hope that I live worthy to keep that up. It's such a blessing that Heavenly Father has given us to have the Spirit as our constant companion.
I know that this church is true. I know that we have living prophets today that lead us, guide us, and receive revelation for us as members of the only true church of Christ. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and is very aware of everything we're going through. He is willing and ready to help if we will humble ourselves and submit to His will, understanding that His ways are not our ways, nor our thoughts His thoughts. He knows what we need and always fulfills His promises when we put forth our very best effort. It is only through His grace and the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we are saved, and because of that, all of us can receive all of the blessings that God has prepared for us, including the greatest of all His gifts, Eternal Life. The Book of Mormon is true, and will guide us and help us get closer to God if we will read it and follow it's precepts.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, September 19, 2011

Miracles and Failures

I could probably start every single letter with something like "what a crazy week this has been!", but for repetition's sake, I'll leave that out, and you can just start imagining it being there every time. Our two dates fell this week thanks to apathy, and we're essentially back to nothing again. We did however, find some people that may be good investigators, but have a lot of questions that don't relate to anything. When we tried to commit them to come to church, they asked "and what do you think of hell?" (a surprisingly popular question), which led to kingdoms of glory, which led to the second coming, which led to the rapture, and then we just said we're a half hour late for our food, so bye. Thankfully, we did have a miracle this week. We've been working with a less active family (as of Tuesday), and the situation was absolutely terrible. The dad is an alcoholic (and was drinking even when he was baptized... shame on those missionaries) and smokes, the mom has a serious language problem and is maybe one of the most self righteous people I've met here, and the kids are entirely disobedient and don't even notice their parents yelling at each other. Our first visit consisted of all kinds of ugly words, shouting, and accusations from the parents at one another. The second visit, we only met with the mom, because the dad was passed out, drunk, and we told her that if she wants to see changes in her family, she has to read and pray every day, individually and as a family, go to church, and have their family home evening and left it at that. We went back on Saturday, and it was an entirely new home. Both parents were there, talking extremely cordially with each other, working together to find out how they would get to church, and came up with a solution without a single accusation or raising of their voice. I actually felt the Spirit in the house with them. I have no doubt in my mind that the Lord is changing that family, and that He worked through us to help them. It was amazing. Then on Sunday, they did come to church, and we had the primary program, which I never thought I would miss so much. They had a surprise musical guest artist (me) that was asked as they were starting the program to play for them, but that turned out to be one of the sweetest experiences I've had so far. I never thought I would miss our ward primary and playing for them so much, but the Spirit was really strong, and I really enjoyed it. They ended with "If I Listen with my Heart", which I've played a lot with our primary, and the Spirit was so strong. Send my very best to our ward primary, and tell them I miss playing for them.

What kinds of changes are happening in your job? That's so great that you were able to get to the temple, though. There is really just nothing in the world that compares to the Spirit you can feel in the temples, and I'm really excited, because we get to go right after transfers (beginning of October). I've really missed being able to go to the temple often, and it's something I absolutely plan on doing when I'm back. I'm glad you heard a lot from Alyssa Shirley. Is she still doing good? I haven't gotten letters in a while, but I'm sure they're just waiting in the offices. Don't worry, I didn't love my biology class, either.

The Spirit is so essential in this work. There's a really good quote from Ezra Taft Benson about it in PMG that basically says no matter how good of a teacher we are, it doesn't mean anything at all unless we let the Spirit teach, and it's so true. I hope Brian is getting ready to serve a mission. This is a life changing experience, and I know that if he would prepare and do his best to serve that he would see amazing changes for the better, and it would be such a blessing to his family as well.

Congrats to Scott on his calling. You have a great chance to make an impact in those boys' lives, so I hope you take advantage of that. My priest quorum leaders really helped me to set my view where it needs to be, and they helped me to be excited to want to be here right now. Do your best, Scott, to do the same for your priests and to help them be faithful servants of the Lord for the rest of their lives. Alyssa and Manuel, you're job is just as important. You have the chance to help kids learn their first lessons in the gospel that will stay with them forever (hopefully), and their parents will appreciate your help as well.

Well we're off to Tequix to eat tacos and play Turista Mundial (Chilango Monopoly) with the Elders there, so I'll wrap things up. I know that this church is the only true church with the power and authority to bring souls worthily before the judgment bar in the last day. We have the truth, directly from God through His chosen servants, the prophets. The Lord looks out for us, and is willing to bless us always. Do your best to follow Him, and you will always have His Spirit to be with you. This is an invaluable gift from our Father to help us continue in the straight and narrow path that leads to exaltation. Keep the faith, and you will be blessed.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, September 12, 2011


Well this week we finally had investigators in sacrament meeting, but after probably our worst week number wise in the mission. It was a rough week, with essentially all of our appointments falling through, and none of our contacts being home when they say they'll be home. Fortunately, our two investigators that we've been teaching for two weeks without them coming to church, and almost didn't this week, came through for us. The mom's name is Liz, and the daughter (11) is Ariana. Liz works in Tequix (20 minutes away) Saturday nights until early Sunday morning, and was going to meet up with the missionaries in Tequix to come to church, because we're the same branch. We called Sunday morning to make sure everything was good, and her daughter picked up her cell phone, which Liz had left at home. We ran by at about 8:50, and found them changing clothes and made it just as the meeting started. Talk about being guided by the spirit. Now they're preparing for the 25 for baptism, and the 9 for confirmation (conference in between), which means they'll be confirmed after transfers, and one of us will most likely be gone. It's ok, though, I'm just glad they finally made it. They are such good investigators, and really keep their commitments (minus church), and I think they are really developing a good testimony. We did exchanges on Thursday, and I stayed here with Elder Messner (who was in the MTC with me. We were probably the youngest companionship ever at the moment) and we went with Liz. We had a really good experience, and I'm getting a lot better at teaching based on what the spirit tells me they need. Also my Spanish is pretty darn good, so I'm really excited about that. I wonder if I'll be able to understand Manuel after listening to all these Mexicans... We do have a Peruvian Elder in our district, though. He's from Lima, but has a very different accent from Manuel.
I did end up hearing from Tara this week, and just wrote her back, so I am aware of everything going on with her. I'm glad everything's going well with her, though. I'm glad Alyssa Shirley finally came to visit you. I told her not to be shy about it, and included a map of how to find you in one of my letters (which I don't know if it was in one that she got...). I don't include news in my letters to her, because it's all in here, and I know she's reading these letters. When you read this Alyssa: keep sending letters the way you are. They get here in about 10 days, the only problem is that I only get them when someone from the district goes to the offices. I've gotten four or five letters from you, the last one being dated August 18, so just keep doing what you're doing (not parcel post), and hopefully we'll hear more from each other soon.
Speaking of letters, mom, send them to the apartado postal address. That is just a PO box that the mission has, and I found out we're apparently not supposed to send things directly to the mission address (the miralirio one), so send it to the Apartado Postal 98 or we may have problems.
I did get the pictures dad sent, and that was fun to hear about Canyon. How did his talk go? Maybe he can give another one when we talk at Christmas so I can hear it, too. That's fun that Savanna is growing up so much. I'm sure she'll have plenty to say to me, too, with or without her "r"s. Happy birthday to Dad and Andrew last week. I meant to put it last week, but I always forget birthdays until after they've happened. I did think about them, though, and wrote about Dad turning 50 in my journal (how's that feel?), and you now have no excuse: you're old. That's fun that Andrew carried the balloons around everywhere. I'd imagine they'd be quite a hassle for someone who is still just crawling. Hopefully he'll be talking before Christmas so I can hear how his Spanish is coming. I think mine will be better than his then. I'm glad you had that experience in the temple, mom. I've noticed hat it's always the small things that get you the most. I'm sure that person is rejoicing for the work you did for her, and Heavenly Father is so happy that you are willing to help those who weren't able to receive those sacred ordinances in this life. I haven't gotten anything from Betsy so far. I only get family emails, letters from Alyssa Shirley, and I got one letter from Becca, too. Other than that, nothing. Thanks for the pants. With my plan, I'm only using one pair of each color until they're totally worn out. If things keep going well, I'll have basically new clothes when I get home that will just need a dry cleaning after being in a suitcase for 2 years. Thanks, Sharon for getting those books. I really appreciate it, and I'm sure you'll hear a lot of inspiring things from them. I'm almost done with D&C right now (section 134), then it's Pearl of Great Price, then Old Testament. I'm hoping to be done with all of those before our next interviews with President. Speaking of that, D&C 127 and 128 are good temple work sections if you were wondering, especially for Tara and Alyssa Shirley. My apartment address really doesn't exist, so you couldn't send it to me here even if you tried.

Speaking of interviews/President Call, we did have a special training on Wednesday. It was really good. The assistants talked about preparing investigators for baptism, which was more just telling us that we need to do things better, but President shared a really good message. He talked about a talk that Elder Bednar gave while I was in the MTC about being a preach my gospel missionary. It was really good, and I got a lot of things I can work on. He especially emphasized that If we're obedient and worthy, then we bind the Lord, and the Lord will never not fulfill His promise that we can baptize every week (D&C 82:10 and 58:somewhere in the 30s I think). We're doing our best to fulfill that so the Lord will bless us.

So where is Brigham? He hasn't answered any of my emails to him in the last few weeks, so I never heard where he ended up after Acapulco or who he's with or how things are going. I'd appreciate an update there if you don't mind.

Well to wrap things up, here's another testimony. I know that this church is true. I know that we are guided by the Spirit in this, the Lord's work, and that if we do everything we can, the Lord will always bless us in our trials. Just like Joseph Smith (D&C 122/123), we go through so many different trials and afflictions, but everything will work together for our good, and we always have the Savior to turn to. He descended below everything so that He can help us in every problem we have, no matter how insignificant. He loves every single one of you, and as you keep the sacred covenants you have made, you will receive specific blessings that the Lord has prepared for every one of you. The Lord continues to talk to His children through revelation, and each one of you can receive revelation as you study, ponder, and pray that will bless your lives immensely.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gastritis, Appendicitis, or Gastroenteritis...

Sorry about last week's letter. We were not only running very late, but I was pretty sick, and it resulted in an emergency room visit all day Saturday, but that story comes in a minute. This week was looking really good. We had 5 new baptismal dates, all of them were positive that they were going to be able to come to church, were accepting perfectly everything we were teaching, and everything just looked great. Then Sunday happened. We went to pick up three people and they had a relative get sick, so they had to go to the hospital. The other two (a mom and daughter) were sure that the mom could be an hour late to work so she could come to sacrament meeting, but her boss had a change of heart for the worse, and she couldn't come. Our last hope is a less active and her husband (Marcos, whom I've written about before), and her husband was gone, but she was "getting ready" when we stopped by and then never showed up. I decided that Sundays are the best and worst days of the week. The best because It's nice to go to church and take the sacrament, feel the spirit, and have a little rest from our normal work, and the worst because we always lose everyone on Sundays and basically have to start the week out with nothing. Weekends were a lot better before the mission...

So last Saturday (when we were still in August), I started having a stomachache after we ate with some members. Both me and Elder Irigoyen were feeling sick, so I figured I would have some diarrhea and get better. He did, but I didn't. I started having some pretty bad stomach pains, and I could hardly eat at all before feeling completely full and bloated, but I figured it would just pass, because I lived my first 12 years of my life like that, and I didn't think it was anything serious because the stomachache was really my only symptom. Then it got worse. I started having some pretty bad aches in my whole body, I could hardly stay awake all day, but I didn't feel any nauseau or have diarrhea (or anything for that matter), so Thursday morning, I decided to call Hna. Call to let her know what was going on and see what needed to happen. She had me call the mission doctor who diagnosed gastritis and told me to go buy some medicine. So I did. Thursday I still didn't feel good, but Friday I felt better. Then Saturday happened. I woke up at about 5 and had to take a giant dump (pardon my language), then went back to sleep. I woke up to the alarm at 6:30 with a terrible pain on my right side. It was so bad that I couldn't move, talk, or essentially do anything but sit there and cry. I eventually was able to ask for a blessing, and then it calmed down a little. I called the doctor again, and he told me it's probably appendicitis and that I needed to get to DF right away and go to the emergency room. We got there in a few hours and got to the hospital, where I had blood and urine tests, an ultrasound, and some radiographs done only to find out that I'm perfectly fine. The doctor said it's probably just getting used to "the flora" (?) here in Mexico, and that I should be just fine. So after 6 hours in the hospital, she told me to go buy more medicine to treat for gastroenteritis and sent me on my way. So after 3 different diagnoses, I still don't know what's going on, but I do feel better today. Where's Dr. House when I need him?

Anyway, that was my week. I'm glad things are staying busy at home and that everyone's doing good things. I heard from Alicia and Canyon, which was a fun surprise because it included some pictures. So far I haven't gathered any recipes because we eat almost the same thing every day. Basically every meal has chicken, either soup or rice (and occasionally spaghetti), and tortillas. We have enchiladas probably 3 times a week, sopes (flat enchiladas) maybe once, and various forms of chicken the rest. If not, there's a really good little taco place that we like to eat at. Sorry I didn't answer you about the RS lesson last week, but I've already given my excuses. I think you may have misunderstood me a little bit, though. After this transfer, I CAN train. That doesn't mean I WILL train. there's a really good chance I'll just get sent somewhere else as a junior companion, but anything is possible, I guess. We do get to have a special training with President Call this Wednesday, though, so that will be exciting. I can buy more pants possibly in a different area, but they won't be as nice, and they won't be free. Everyone here is telling me that Mr. Mac will replace them for free (they're black with green paint that won't come out), so I'm hoping we can work that out, because I'd rather not only have one pair of black pants my entire mission. It would upset my strategy to have wearable clothes when I come home. As far as other things for the package, any LDS CD would be greatly appreciated (I decided I'd like to own every MOTAB CD one day), American candies, especially chocolate, and the missionary library (the four books I told you about earlier). I'm really not in Mexico City right now. I'm on the border of the state of Mexico and the state of Hidalgo, and it's rural, to say the least. Why do you need to send it with Bro. Pinckney? President Call assured us that if you send it through USPS, it is assured to get here in less than 3 weeks. If you do send it with Bro. Pinckney, he can either just send it to that address or also to

Miralirio 69
Col. Cumbria, Cuatitlan Izcalli
Edo. de Mexico 54740 (or whatever the zip code is in that address)

Which is the actual address of the mission offices. I would really enjoy that if you can make it happen, but if not, I decided that for a Christmas/birthday/any other gift giving holiday present, you can start my macbook/protools savings account for when I get home :)

I hope you all continue to be involved in good things. I finished reading the New Testament, and am now in D&C 65, and should have D&C finished by the end of this week. Then the daunting task of the Old Testament... Even when things are hard, I know I can still be happy because I'm involved in the greatest cause that there is. The Lord is blessing me so much for my service, and I hope I can be humble enough to let this experience change me for the better. Continue to study the scriptures and pray every day; that is how we are perfected and receive answers to our questions. Keep all the commandments, no matter how hard it is, and the Lord will bless you in your sacrifices. This is His only true church, and the only church on this earth with the priesthood authority of God to effect all of the ordinances of salvation. Joseph Smith restored this church through the power of God, and we are led by a living prophet today who holds the exact same keys of the kingdom that were given to Peter, James, and John. President Monson receives revelation directly from God on a daily basis to direct this church. As we strive to endure to the end in righteousness, we will receive a crown of glory, and we will have the privilege on being on the right hand of Christ in the day of judgment and inherit the greatest gift of God, even eternal life. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and He watches over us as His sons and daughters. He loves us so much that He suffered every single pain, sorrow, and affliction that we do. I came to appreciate that more fully with my experience on Saturday when I thought I was suffering more pain that a person can withstand. He loves us and He gave His precious blood and life for us so that we can find comfort in Him, and the third day, He rose again so that we can all overcome physical death, have a perfect resurrected body, and be able to stand in the presence of God at the last day. As you study the scriptures and pray, every one of you can know the same through the power of the Holy Ghost. I testify of the truth of all these things in the name of Him whom I represent, even Jesus Christ

Elder Joseph Facer