Monday, January 30, 2012

All Caught Up

Well this week we finally got Ofelia to church to be confirmed. She is a really old lady that had been baptized the day before I get here (Christmas) and for some reason kept having commitments on Sundays with her grandkids. She finally came, though, and said things should be calming down soon, so I sure hope they (mom and daughter both named Ofelia, both recently baptized and confirmed) can start being good, active members of the church. Other than that, it was a rough week. We did exchanges three times because an Elder in San Juan del Rio had decided that he wants to go home, but not anymore. It made for a rough week, switching areas every other day and not knowing what was really going on, but I tried to make the best of it. In spite of all that, I've felt pretty good this week.

Like I said before, I've been studying one chapter of the Book of Mormon a day, and then the New Testament. I'm in Hebrews, but really the best part is the one chapter of the Book of Mormon. It's becoming fairly difficult to just stop at one chapter. I read the beginning of 2 Nephi this week, and I think chapter 4 is maybe one of my favorites ever. Nephi was just a boss. Period. Now Jacob's about to explain the plan of salvation, and I'm stoked for my reading this week. Also, the New Testament is still really good. I'm learning a lot of new things there, too, and it's just great to be able to read the scriptures every day. It's amazing to see how much that has changed in me since before. Honestly, I almost never read scriptures before my mission, and when I did, it was very half-hearted (and only because I had to know what was going on for school), but now I just can't get enough of it. I don't know if you remember, but my patriarchal blessing mentions that, and it's really starting to happen.

Thanks everyone for your emails. It was good to hear from everyone (except Tara, oddly enough), and I'm glad everything's going well for everyone. Good work dad and Tara with stake conference talks. We have stake conference this week, and I'm pretty excited. Scott, I'm really happy for you for getting your CDL. It was a nice experience just to read your testimony of prayer and fasting, and I know it works, too. Heavenly Father has helped me so much through my prayers, and I know He does the same for all of you. I'm still missing all of the grandkids progress (not as much the grandfish, but I'm glad dad's happy about that). Speaking of Elder Holland's MTC talks, the mission gave us one on DVD that is excellent and I'm going to show it to you when I get home (in 16.5 months, can you believe it?).

Well I hope everything continues to go so well for you all at home. I'm growing so much here, and I'm just so blessed and happy to be doing what I'm doing. As hard as it was to leave everything behind, I know that this is infinitely more beneficial to me than getting really good at guitar and spending time with friends. Even though I know I still haven't gotten everything that I need to get out of this, I'm progressing so much, and Heavenly Father is helping me a lot. Mom, I'd appreciate if you could get up on Sunday for testimony meeting and tell the young men to just get on missions. If a stubborn, prideful guy like me can be changed by it as much as I have, it'll be the best thing in the world for even an averagely humble young man. I know that it's what the Lord wants for them, and there is no greater thing they could be doing with their lives than preparing to serve the Lord in His work.

I know this church is true. I know that Heavenly Father knows and loves us. He rejoices with us when we are happy, and laments with us when we are sad. He gave us the greatest gift that any being could ever give: His Son. Jesus Christ is our Savior, who atoned for our sins out of the pure love He feels for every one of us. I know that He suffered all things so we don't have to. He gave us the divine gift of repentance, allowing us to overcome the natural man and become even as God. I know that the Spirit guides us as we strive to follow Heavenly Father. Because of our baptismal covenants, we have the Lord's promise that if we are worthy, the Spirit will always be with us. The Lord will always do His part (D&C 58:31). Love Him with all your hearts and He will open the windows of heaven and distill the greatest blessings of this life upon you all. I know that our family can be eternal through Heavenly Father's divine plan for the redemption of all of His children

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, January 23, 2012


La Peña de Bernal
My precious...
This was a pretty good week. We had zone conference on Thursday, which included letters, and also means a really good spiritual experience. I didn't get the package yet, which I was maybe a little sad about, but I'm sure it's coming. Zone conference was really really good. President Call just knows how to teach by the spirit, and I always come away with a real desire to do better. Sunday, we finally got Nicolas confirmed, because he's been having some problems with his real mom, but things finally worked out, and he's all filled with the spirit now. I got a boatload of letters, and thanks to everyone for sending them. It was nice to get that letter from the Stake Presidency, although It wasn't at all what I was expecting (I really had no idea what to expect when a letter shows up from Pres. Hughes). I think the end of Christmas cards has come, but I really appreciate everyone so much for sending them. I decided to go through some of the letters from the beginning of my mission, and it's nice to see and feel everyone's support. It was a really nice experience, and I really appreciate so much all the things that everyone has done for me. Brett and Alyssa L., I'm writing letters today, don't you worry.

That's weird to think that Wyatt got home. I guess it's time, but still strange to imagine that. Even stranger is that Brigham will be home in a little over a transfer. I won't be able to tell people that I have a brother in Cuernavaca anymore, darn it. That's good that Camron's having a good time. He sure has a lot of potential to be a great missionary. I hope he can realize everything he's capable of. Jeff Lewis also mentioned the mission being the best 2 years for your life in the letter he wrote me before I left. I definitely won't argue with that conjecture. I continue to learn so much every day, and I've really developed a lot as a person. There's also a lot more to go for the next 17 months (seeing as I turned 7 months yesterday).

It was fun to hear from Alicia, and I'm glad everything's going so well with you. I sure hope Scott gets the hang of driving a semi. That would be great for your family if he gets that job. Just pray all you can with all your faith, and the Lord will send what He wants to happen. I'm still a little sad that I'm missing so much with Canyon and Savanna, but I guess they'll still be cute when I get back. Also, thanks Lys for your generic letter. I'll take them however I get them.

So I've been reading the New Testament and 1 chapter of the Book of Mormon. It's a new way of reading scriptures that I've never done before, but it's actually really cool to focus on just 1 chapter of the Book of Mormon at a time. It helps me to concentrate more and digest a little bit of information a lot better than if I read 50 pages in one study session. Also, I did an intense study of my patriarchal blessing this week. I had always considered it to be fairly generic, but after this, not at all. It's amazing to see how much the Lord knew what was going to happen with me and gave me that blessing for times just like these when I need a little boost. Anyway, it's been a really great experience.

I decided to mix things up this week, so here's a Spanish testimony. Se que esta iglesia es la iglesia verdadera de Jesucristo. Se que él es nuestro salvador y redentor, y que él nos ama. él dió su vida para que nosotros podamos vivir. Se que su sacrificio expiatorio aplica a cada persona, no importa lo que han hecho en su vida. Fue una Expiación infinito en todo aspecto, y no hay fin a su amor de él y de nuestro Padre Celestial. Se que las escrituras son verdaderas y que fueron escritos por hombres inspirados por Dios que nos vieron y conocieron nuestros días. Dios las preparó para ayudarnos a poder vencer la maldad y todas nuestras desafíos. Se que la obediencia es la primer ley de los cielos y de este mundo. Por medio de ella, ponemos en práctica las enseñanzas y el evangelio de Cristo que nos perfecte y nos da la oportunidad de mejorarnos. Dios les ama, y les está cuidando.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, January 16, 2012

La Peña de Bernal

Well today we went to the Peña de Bernal, the 3rd largest monolith in the world. Pretty impressive, right? Anyway, it was some good exercise, and I've always loved hiking and rock scrambling and the like, so it was really fun. Pictures will be coming next week because we came directly from there to write, and I don't have my cable. I actually climbed it all in missionary clothes because we didn't find a place to change, so it's that much more impressive.

As far as missionary work is concerned, it was a mixed week. We had one investigator come, which was really nice, but 2 confirmations fell for the 2nd week. I feel like I know why, and it didn't surprise me, but I plan on making sure they happen this week. Other than that, it was a pretty strange week. We had a leadership counsel on Tuesday, which meant we were in Querètaro all day, then on Thursday and Saturday we had interviews in San Juan del Rio (as in Elder Nuñez interviewed people for baptisms), so we lost a lot of working time there, too. It's kind of stressful to have to leave the area so much and not be working, but at the same time, it's fun to see different places. This upcoming week should be pretty good, though.

So we didn't get letters Tuesday like I thought, but they should be coming this week on Thursday because we have zone conferences. It's still not too late for a Dear Elder. Also, Scott and Lys, I'm ashamed of you again. After promises last week of more faithfulness in writing, I get nothing. Really it's not that big of a deal, though, but I do enjoy hearing from you, and pictures are always nice.

Dad, as far as your Book of Mormon talk, I don't really know that I have ideas for stories to tell you, but something I realized a few months ago is just how important it is in this church. We can convince other people why their religions don't have the fulness of the gospel, but if they don't accept the Book of Mormon, then nothing else matters. It really is the keystone of our religion, and it's just the greatest, really. There's an excellent quote from Elder Wirthlin in PMG chapter 5 about praying to know how we can use it in everything we do. That applies to members as well, it's not just us out here that need to share the gospel.

That's fun about Tara going to bargain ball. Haydn seems like a good kid, so that's good that he asked her. Mom, she probably dressed up more than I would. I wouldn't have done the masks unless we were being Spiderman and I got a legit costume. Probably I would've just gone normal and been a superhero's secret identity. Also, mom, remember when I told you about the one time in Bro. Bott's class where I did talk to someone and it actually went well? That's what you should do, too. You have two sons on missions, what more of a conversation starter could you need in a mission prep class?

Things are still going well as far as trying to improve myself. We had a change in the branch presidency after apparently 8 years with the same president, but it was just a really good meeting. I had a lot of promptings that I've already started putting into practice, and I hope the Lord will continue to help me as I continue to develop into the person that He needs me to be. I still pray every day for help, and all of your prayers are much appreciated as well.

I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He gave His son as a perfect sacrifice so that we would have a chance to overcome all things. I read today in John 16:33, where Jesus is giving His last discourse to the disciples, and it's the last verse. The last things He tells them is that He has overcome the world. What an incredible blessing it is to know that He did that, and that with His help, we, too, can overcome the world. That's just such a beautiful promise. I know that the Lord extends His tender mercies over all those who will be obedient and follow Him. Through Him, we can all be clean and change ourselves. There is an infinite capability given to us to change and improve because Christ suffered an infinite Atonement. I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. He answers us anytime we ask for something righteous. May we, together, continue to improve ourselves, and become all that God wants us to be, even as He is.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, January 9, 2012

It Just Took a Little Encouragement...

Well thanks to everyone for writing me this week! I got emails from Scott, Lys, Tara, and Mom, after two weeks of just mom. Good work team.

So this week was pretty rough as far as numbers go, but I feel like we're making some good progress in our companionship. We had 1 of 3 confirmations happen, but I feel confident that the other 2 will happen this week. We're just doing really great here in Tequis (did I tell you that people shorten it or did you just know? If so, good work, mom), and I feel like I've really started to make some progress on becoming a missionary as opposed to just being here. I've started praying every single time I pray for more love of the work and the people, and it's really starting to show. Heavenly Father has just helped me so much. Also, it's been good that in my personal study, I finished Jesus the Christ (I think last week, I don't remember), and now I'm reading 1 chapter of the Book of Mormon every day followed by the New Testament (because of my newfound knowledge of the years 0-96 AD). It's been really great to see how much more I understand the New Testament, and everything just means so much more with that understanding. I'm making timelines of each of the gospels to compare them and have a better idea of the timeline of Jesus's ministry. Also, I'm doing a timeline of the Book of Mormon just for fun. I don't know if I told you, but I also did a timeline of the Old Testament when I read it. I'm maybe a little obsessed with timelines, but I think it's fun, and it helps me understand. Also, I know that the fall of Adam was between 4251-3975 BC, which is just fun to know. Essentially, things have been going well.

We played soccer as a district today (and last week) which is really fun. I'm still fairly decent, but I've lost a lot of ball-handling skills. Anyway, watch out Tara, because I'll be ready in 17.5 months. Also, Elder Shumway (in the district) played high school soccer and is really good, and he plays with an ankle brace. The moral is that you can still play well with an ankle brace, so don't worry about it.

Mom, I'm glad you're taking classes again. It just makes me happy that everyone is finding different ways to progress back home. What class are you taking from Bro. Bott? I'd imagine mission prep if Alyssa was talking about it. I hope you really enjoy it, though. I really learned so much in there, and I would maybe consider myself a gospel scholar after having taken that class and studied like I have been. Anyway, it'll be really good. Also, that's really fun that you invited Elder Miller over. I didn't quite understand why you invited those two girls over (especially when Elder Miller brought his girlfriend), but that's fun, as well. I'm glad you're still managing to fill the house. It'll be easier in 2 months when Brigham gets home. We just have the one branch here in Tequis, but the area is probably the biggest in the mission. We actually cover about half of the state of Querétaro, and part of Hidalgo (Tecozautla, where Nicolas is from). We mostly work in Tequis because it's easier and more effective, we have member support, etc., but the area in and of itself is enormous.

Concerning service, I've actually been trying to be better at that as well. I'm starting out small, but I feel it helps. I'm trying to smile more and be more affable (I'm using that right, aren't I?) when I'm talking with people. It's not something I'm accustumed to, but when I do it, I feel better, and I think the people do, too. It's great to see how small things can bring about bigger changes. I'm sure Tara's talk will go just great, especially after having a great experience with service. Things really are going a lot better here, and I'm so grateful for everyone's support. I've really felt strengthened by your prayers, and I know the Lord is blessing you for your service towards me.

I should be getting letters tomorrow, so if anyone wants to send a dear elder today, go on ahead.

I know that Heavenly Father loves us. He really does know us, and He knows what we need in every situation so that we can grow and progress and humans and with the divine potential that everyone of us has. He allows us to be tried, knowing we might fail, because He loves us and provided the way that we can overcome our challenges. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Through His Atonement, we have the opportunity to change and improve as long as we are humble and willing to do so. No matter how much we fail, there is hope because of a loving Savior. How truly marvelous it is that we chose Heavenly Father's plan. Had Satan's plan been elected, we would have lost that opportunity. I know that this is Christ's church, and that we have His doctrine. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. That is really the foundation of my testimony, and without it, I would be nothing compared to the person I'm becoming. I'm so thankful for the opportunity we have to study the words of prophets that saw our day and our trials and gave us everything we need to overcome them. Through it, we can know that Christ still lives and still loves us, and will never be out of our reach when we need His help.

Elder Joseph Facer

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Maternal Instincts

an excellent steak that we ate for free at a member's restaurant. Dad, look out for this guy
Nicolas's baptism
Well this week was a good one. Things are going great here in Tequis, and I really love it. The area is a lot nicer, and Elder Nuñez is good, too. This is a place that would be really fun to come back and visit. Anyway, we had a baptism this week of a 9 year old boy whose parents basically kicked him out of the house, so he lives with another family. He's really fun, though, and has done well with that challenge. New years was fairly normal. We just hung out with some other Elders (including Elder Irigoyen) and played monopoly (I'm professional, don't worry). It was fun to see Elder Irigoyen again, and to see that he's doing good. He goes home in a few months, and is hoping to train another elder before then. Other than that, it was a pretty normal week, just in a different area.

I titled this maternal instincts, because mine are kicking in. I've had a strong desire to clean our apartment all week, because it was fairly dirty, and we did it today. I felt like mom, because I just wanted everything to be really clean, and I made it happen. I literally scrubbed almost the entire house, swept, mopped, cleaned the bathroom, and organized everything. Maybe I'll even help you with it all when I get home. But no promises.

I'm glad to hear that everyone had a good time for Christmas and new years. I'm glad Disneyland was a good time, and that you got to remember some of our good memories. Also fun that you maybe saw the Shirleys. I'm glad Alyssa would at least talk to you and see what's going on. She's good for that. Also, that's excellent that Tara introduced you to Brian Regan. I hope you can finally understand a little more of where I'm coming from when I do his voice. Also, thanks for sending that package. I was going to ask for a few things that I remembered, but it's too late now. Anyway, for the next one, it would be great if you could send a sudoku or other puzzle book and more CDs. Elder Stepp gave me a sudoku book because he had one and doesn't really like doing them, and it's been great for a) when I'm sick and on the toilet for a long time, b)waking up when my brain doesn't want to, and c) before going to bed. The only problem is that I'm too good at sudoku and I've almost finished all 320 puzzles...

I really enjoyed that conference talk. I started doing that literally. Usually when I walk, I look down to see what's in front of me, but I've started looking up more, and it actually makes a difference. There's a lot of figurative lessons that you can learn from that, or you can just do it in every aspect, and you'll be blessed. Also, I had a good experience the other week that I forgot to write about while reading Jesus the Christ. I was reading about the parable of the sower, and how even though some seeds get into good ground, some produce 30X, some 60X, and some 100X. It was an interesting lesson that made a lot more sense because of the things Dad has taught me about gardening. Even though tilling and watering and fertilizing aren't my favorite things, they prepare the soil so that when the seeds come, the soil is fertile and can produce the best fruit (or vegetables, even squash...) possible. It's all based on our diligence in preparing the soil for when the seed comes. Thanks Dad, for that unexpected spiritual lesson.

I know that love of service and helping the people is something I still lack. I've had a few times where I've felt it really strongly, but it's not something that's always there. I love missionary work, but I need to translate that to the people more than just my part of it. It was hard to do when I felt so negative before, but now I feel like Heavenly Father is giving me another chance to succeed and develop at least a little bit of charity. I just hope I'll figure it out this time.

I hope all continues to go well this year. Dad, I'm so happy that you're learning Spanish, and Mom, I hope you can catch the spirit, too. Learning gives us so many opportunities, even when you're 50. Brigham, I know you'll finish your mission great, and I hope you can make the best of post-mission life. Lys and Manuel, I wish you would've written me this week so I'd have something to say. Scott and Alicia, I wish you'd write me. I know this church is true. There's just no doubt of that. I know that Heavenly Father knows and loves us. He sent us here knowing that not all of us would make it back, but giving us all the means and every opportunity to do so. I hope we all recognize those opportunities and take full advantage of them. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, our Redeemer, and our Master. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only name given under heaven whereby salvation comes to the children of men. Strive to keep His commandments, and you will be blessed with the ability to keep them and be blessed more for having done so. The Lord loves you, and hears and answers your prayers.

Elder Joseph Facer