Monday, November 28, 2011


Well this was a rough week. All of our investigators couldn't come because of dying relatives or other problems, so we hope everything will end up ok. Although nobody could come to church, it was a pretty good Sunday. I'm so happy that I get to play the piano every week. Music is just such a healing, comforting thing for me that I really don't know what I'd do without it. I especially look forward to getting home to be able to play the organ. There's just something even more special about playing organ as opposed to piano in sacrament meeting.

We did exchanges this week on Friday night until Sunday morning, so I stayed here with Elder Stepp. I wish I could even explain the difference I felt in being with him and working with him all day. There is really just some kind of special bond there, and I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father sent me here to meet him, especially after Elder Hernandez in Utah told me that if I ever see Elder Stepp, I should say hi to him (Elder Stepp was in Utah for 3 months). With his help, though, we finally got Veronica to commit to marrying Aurelio so they can both be baptized. We got to go with them Friday and Saturday night because of the timing of the exchange, and it was just amazing seeing the way that we were able to be the mouthpieces of the Lord and tell her exactly what she needed to hear. The difference between that and the lessons we teach with Elder Sotelo is just indescribable. The Spirit was just so strong even though that was our only success in the exchange.

I'm glad to hear things are going well for Tara, and I hope that she'll be diligent in doing everything necessary to be able to play again. It's hard work, but those kinds of things always pay off. That's a lesson I learned from music. I never understood why mom made us practice so much until I stopped doing it. When I decided it was something I really love and want to get better at, I realized that the fundamentals (like your muscles right around the injury) are the most important things you can ever work on. Even though it's tedious, you do it and you will see results. It's that simple, so make sure you just do it.

It was fun to hear from Lys about Andrew and the things he's doing now. I can imagine you just have a little chuckle everytime you find a random object where it doesn't belong, but that's too bad about the business watch... why do kids have to be so cute and yet so devious? I'm glad that even though mom was alone this week that she still got things done. That would've just been the ultimate excuse for me to play guitar for 8 hours, watch house for 4 hours, then go to a friend's house until I go to bed. I'm glad you went to the temple and learned from your time alone, though. The temple really is just such an incredible blessing, and I hope I'll have some opportunities to go in the mission and absolutely afterwards. President Call told me that it would be possible for me to go to the temple when Brigham comes home, and we could meet up there, but that would depend on both mission presidents, so we'll have to see.

Someone else was talking about names, but I don't remember who, and I read that chapter in Helaman this week. It really is something interesting to think about, and all of the incredible examples that I get to remember when I remember my name. Reading that inspired me to learn more about the different Josephs and find out just why I was deserving of such a great name (or that you wished I were more like them...). Speaking of my reading, I'm now in 3 Nephi 6, so Jesus is just about to come. There's just so much to be learned from the Book of Mormon. It really does contain "The fulness of the everlasting Gospel". I've been absolutely astounded at how much I continue to learn from that or how much my testimony is strengthened as I read it every day. I decided that after I finish it this time (which according to my calculations will be my 9th time reading it including once in Spanish) I want to read a chapter every day in addition to whatever else I study. I hope you are all taking advantage of this incredible blessing that we have and that was meant for our day.

Thanks again for sending that package off. I'm really really excited for it, and I really think that will be something very meaningful for me. I've saved all the letters I've received, and it's a nice reminder that people are supporting me and thinking of me. This will be a welcome addition to that. Thanks to Emily and Sharon for being so generous and helping me out with my mission fund. It really is appreciated, and I hope to be able to pay you both back one day. Speaking of that, mom, I need you to check my account because I had to take some money out of it, and I need a minimum of $500 balance or I get charged, so please keep an eye on that to avoid any unnecessary loss.

I would never have guessed that there are many people who follow my blog aside from our immediate family and Alyssa Shirley, so that's nice to hear. I really hope that my experiences and the lessons I learn will be able to help someone strengthen their testimony of Jesus Christ. I feel like this is just an amazing opportunity for my personal growth, it's strange to think that it could possibly benefit anyone else.

Well we're out of time. I know that this church is true. I just know it, and, like one of my namesakes, I cannot deny it. To the end of my days, I will be faithful to this wonderful gospel that our Savior so graciously gave us. He is the way, the truth, and the life. His Atoning sacrifice allows every one of us to change according to our will and faith. I know that there is incredible power in faith. With even a tiny bit of real faith, we can do all things that are necessary for us to do. Heavenly Father really is our Father. He loves and watches over us so that even when we aren't perfect, because we never will be, He sends His spirit to those who diligently seek to do all things that He commands them. Lift up your heads and be of good cheer, as Jesus would say. There's a lot to be happy about.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, November 21, 2011

A family that reminds me of Lys and Manuel in the branch
Luis's baptism
Mexico City temple at night
Me and Jesus

A week of refining...

Well this was a very rough week. As far as numbers go, it was probably one of the worst I've had, but I don't think it was the very worst. One of our families didn't show up, so Luis didn't get confirmed, and the baptism we were supposed to have fell because the kid had lied to us about reading the Book of Mormon and having an answer, which all came out in the interview. We did, thankfully, find one new person this week, who is the son-in-law of a less active, whose wife (the investigator's wife) is also a less active. All three came to church, as well as Aurelio and Veronica Acevedo, but it was a hard week for finding. Hopefully things will start looking up this week.

Elder Sotelo is just as hard as I thought he would be, and I could go on about all the things I would change, but that's just not going to do anybody any good, so I won't. Satan has been working really hard at me this week, and it's just hard right now. I know that things will get better because I'm doing my best to be obedient and put away all the negative thoughts that come, but for now I just have to stick it out. I don't know if I told you, but Elder Stepp is our new district leader, which is really fun. He and I plan on being good friends when I get home (he gets home in July of 2012), and I've been so grateful for the chance to be with him in this district for 4 transfers. He also left a girlfriend, but she left on a mission 6 months after he did, so they get home within a week of eachother (lucky guy...).

I got to go the the temple again with investigators and the branch on Tuesday, which was nice, and it was fun to see more of the visitor's center. I'm sending a picture of a family that reminds me a lot of Lys and Manuel in every way except that the husband talks more than Manuel (and their child is a girl, but what does that matter? She even acts like Andrew). That was a neat experience to see how the families we brought could feel the Spirit that is at the temple, even just being on the grounds. I'm glad that you had that impression, mom, about how great of a blessing it is to be temple worthy. I know that the temples are so important for us as well as those whose work we do. I know for a fact that we are blessed just as much as they are for helping them in that way. I did actually enjoy the session in Spanish, but it was a little more difficult than I was expecting to understand. Don't worry, though, I did get it, and I did my part just fine, as well.

That's fun that you had a little surprise party. I meant to tell you happy anniversary last week, but I was a little upset that you didn't write me, so it slipped my mind, and I had no idea it was 29 already. It seems like last year or two years ago that you had your 25. But happy anniversary and happy birthday this week. I do remember what number corresponds to this one, as I'm sure you do as well. The big 5-0... how does that feel? That's maybe a good thing that Elder Miller (Adam?) couldn't come to dinner this week. That would probably be a little overwhelming.

Well I'm about out of time. I know that this church is true and that we are all children of our Heavenly Father. He loves us, and prepared the way for us to be happy in this life, and have Eternal Life in the world to come. That is one of the greatest gospel truths we have, and we so often take it for granted. Never forget your divine potential, and that you have the all-powerful, all-loving creator of the universe on your side in all of your righteous endeavors. I know that He sent His son to die for us. This blessing is truly the greatest of all the gifts of God, allowing every one of us to overcome the natural human faults we all have and be perfected in Him to be able to return to His presence. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel. Through it's pages, we are taught by true prophets and messengers of God who saw our day and knew the trials we would face. Their writings give me strength and power as I strive to do my very best as their fellowservant in the vineyard of the Lord. I know that as we strive to keep all of the Lord's commandments, He blesses us with exactly what we need, because, as our Father, He knows us and wants only the very best for all of His children.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, November 14, 2011

Temple Trip

Well mom I'm glad I got a letter from you for this week since you're only out of the office until 4 days ago... But we had a good week this week. We had 6 come to church (the same two families), Miriam got confirmed, and Luis got baptized (I forgot my camera cable at home, so pictures come next week). Other than that, things are just looking good. Elder Irigoyen left today, and Elder Sotelo came. He's from Guerrero, but not anywhere Brigham's been. I can already tell it's going to be another difficult transfer, but I hope everything turns out ok. I know the Lord can help me if I earn it, so that's my goal.

The highlight of the week was an amazing temple trip on Thursday (pictures next week as well). We just did an endowment session, but the best part was when we were in the chapel waiting for the session to start. I had just the most amazing spiritual experience I've probably ever had that is too personal for a blog, so it'll have to wait 19.5 months. The session was also really good. It was hard to stay awake because we were fasting and we literally didn't sleep at all the night before, but I made it through most of it. At the end, I was able to do everything on my own except for one part (yes, the part you're probably thinking of if you know what I'm talking about). I was really happy, and it was just an incredible experience. I'm so grateful for all the chances I had to go to the temple before my mission to be familiar with the wonderful work that is done there. I think it was President Kimball or Benson that said missionary work and temple work are just the same: the work of saving God's children. I think I might rather just go to the temple all day every day for two years, though.

Well I'm glad to hear Tara's progressing and that things are improving with Lys's finger. Keep up the good work, both of you. Also, Lys, I'm glad that Andrew's growing up, but I do wish I could've enjoyed him a little more as a baby, as well. That's ok, though. Just work it out so there's a baby there when I'm back (that means you get started in November 2012, por las dudas). It's fun to hear about him growing and becoming a little person instead of just a baby, though. That's one of my favorite things about little kids, is when they look like a little person instead of a baby.

Also, I got a letter from Alyssa and Sharon this week, so thanks to both of you for your constant support. Believe it or not, the things you tell me really do help, and I take your advice very seriously.

Well because I have nothing to respond to, I'll wrap up. I know that this church is true. I know that the work we are doing here is the only way that many of these people will have the chance to live with Heavenly Father again and enjoy Eternal Life, the greatest of all of God's gifts. I know that it is through Joseph Smith that we have this wonderful blessing available to us again, and that he, through the power of God restored the same church that Jesus Christ established. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel, and presents it in a manner clear enough for all of us to understand and to be able to feel the Spirit. I know that the temple is the house of God and that the work being done there is invaluable and incomparable. Those who will attend and serve in the temples regularly will receive the same, if not more blessing than we do as missionaries. I know that obedience produces the faith necessary to have the willingness and ability to do what's right, have the Spirit with us, and effect this wonderful work all throughout the world, not only as full-time missionaries, but as those who have taken upon us the name of Christ by means of the covenants we have made with Him.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, November 7, 2011

Success Postponed (with more substitute success)

So this week Beatriz's dad got sick so they couldn't come to church, which was just fine, because they're set to come next week so Luis can be baptized and Miriam confirmed, then Enrique and Beatriz the next week (as long as transfers don't take me out of here on the 14...). I'm really actually looking forward to more time in Apaxco. The substitute success was that Fam. Acevedo (a reference from the Fam. Acevedo in our branch that we reactivated and saved them) came for their second week and are super solid about baptism this week. They just need to be married, but they are completely willing. Things are still looking really good, and I see good things to come. It's just amazing how much Heavenly Father really knows all of His children and prepares them to enter into His Gospel. The manner in which we were able to help Enrique was entirely different than helping the Acevedo family, but they are both coming to the same, straight and narrow path that comes after the door of baptism. How great that Jesus showed us the way so that we all know where we need to be.

Concerning the concern of being in one place for a long time, that comes from President Monson. According to President Call, President Monson said that missionaries should be changed as seldomly as possible, being in each area a minimum of 5-8 months (which means I may just get my wish of staying here for everyone's baptisms and confirmations AND ordinations to at least the Aaronic priesthood!). Really all of those complaints are just a lack of understanding that this is not about us. When I realized that I'm really not that important as an individual at this time and in this work (I still have self-esteem, don't worry, I just mean that we aren't the ones that make the difference), then the change will come. Remember that "obedience is the first law of, well, everything" (Elder Holland) also gives us pretty good reason to just do the things the Lord commands.

Speaking of doing things the Lord commands, I started reading the Book of Mormon again this week after finishing the Old Testament, Our Heritage, and Our Search for Happiness. What a huge difference I have seen in my morning since then! First off, I'm seeing an unbelievable amount of new things that I just somehow missed before. I've read the first 16 chapters, and there is just SO MUCH in there that is just amazing. I can't even imagine how much I'll learning reading 15 books! I demand that you all read the Book of Mormon every day and I know that it will make a difference in your life.

I usually just play the piano in church meetings. They've never asked us to speak, and I've taught a class one time (the young men/women). They really don't seem too interested in having us help with things like that, and at the same time, aren't really willing to help us with much of anything. It's difficult, and I know we'd see more success if they did, but it's a challenge we have to work with here. Tara, I hope you have the chance to be a leader. As much as I'm not looking forward to the responsibility, many missionaries are telling me that there's a good chance I'll be a leader someday. It's something I know I'd be good at with the Lord's help, but I don't particularly love it.

Thanks a million to Alyssa for her double letter this week. I hope everyone will continue to see the Lord's hand in their lives, as I know it's there. Continue to do all that you can to endure to the end, and "thus saith the Father, ye shall have eternal life"

Elder Joseph Facer