Monday, February 27, 2012

A Saint or a Nazi?

That was going to be a real clever reference to a picture I was going to send, but this computer doesn't seem to like my camera, so that'll be coming next week. Basically, we did a service project this week similar to when we cleaned out Grandpa Facer's garage and found hundrends of years worth of church manuals and ensigns and the like. A guy's wife died last week, so the branch is helping him clean up his house, including over 20 cats (27 if you count the kittens we found while cleaning), and our job was to burn all of the old stuff. That ended up being a lot of manuals, storybooks, music, and even bibles (I'm still unsure if that was ok) from many years ago. So yeah, Saint for doing servie, Nazi for a book burning. Aside from that, it was another slow week. Things certainly aren't easy right now, but I'm trying to press on.

One very good thing that happened this week was a meeting with the area president, Elder Daniel Johnson. First off, before the meeting, they gave every companionship cell phones, which is a huge help for us, then the meeting was excellent. He talked about the function of the spirit in the work, and about the elect that are being prepared for us. Also, he talked about the function of the Spirit in our testifying, and how the primary role of the Spirit is to testify of God the Father and Jesus Christ (3 Ne. 11:32,35,36), which is something I hadn't really thought of or totally understood before. Something he said that really impacted me comes from Alma 29:4 (I think...) that says that the Lord grants us according to all our desires. If we really want to be more Christ like, we will be. If we want to be partially obedient, we will be. If we want to be the best missionary the world's ever seen and do everything according to the Lord's will, it'll happen. I asked him how we can change our desires so we can become all that, and he said that the desire to change our desires is something the Lord can work within us. It was something I really needed to hear, and it was an excellent meeting.

It sounds like it was a pretty busy week for everyone at home. Tara, good work on driving the truck. I always enjoyed that, too. There's a member with a Lincoln Mark LT who gives us rides sometimes, and that is a powerful truck. You don't even feel how fast you're going. Anyway, that was fun. Also, that's great that you're finally cleared to play again. I expect more good news about victories in the very near future. Also, I'm glad you went to preference. I didn't know Breanna well, but just a little from band. Lys, I'm glad things are going great for your family. I'm maybe ok that Andrew isn't talking yet, because I want to hear it, too, but that's cute that he's still learning and growing up. Alicia, thanks for your letter this week, and Canyon, thanks for yours as well. It's just good to know that everyone's well at home. I am getting Emily's letters, and I though I had mentioned them... sorry. While we're on the subject, Emily, thanks for your letter that I got this week :) Also, letters from Alyssa came, which is always a nice thing as well.

The pills are working halfway. I'm definitely sleeping better, but I'm even more tired during the day. Who knows what's going on with me. Waiting upon the Lord was referred to me by Elder Stepp, and I've reviewed it a few times, so no worries there. I'm currently reading the Book of Mormon still (I read Jacob 2 today) and the Old Testament. Jacob is a great book, and Zenos knew what he was talking about, let me tell you. It would be pretty cool if we had his whole book as opposed to just references in the Book of Mormon. Also, who knew Deuteronomy was so good? I missed a lot the last time that I read it, and really enjoyed it this time around. It really explains the purpose of the law of Moses (to love the Lord) and does it quite well. Now I'm in Judges, so the Israelites have destroyed the Canaanites, Jebusites, and all manner of ites, but they turned wicked and sought after strange gods. Too bad for them. Gideon was also pretty cool, though. Too bad his son didn't turn out the same. You should've learned, Abimelech.

I know that God is our Father. He created us and gave us a perfect plan in order to become like Him. As His children, he loves us with an infinite, pure love that cannot fully be comprehended. To show His love, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for us. I know that Heavenly Father loves us. I know that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world. I know that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, if they so desire. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. I know that we speak directly to Him through Christ when we pray sincerely and with real intent. I know that the scriptures are the word of God given to us through His spokesmen, the prophets. I know that God has called Thomas S. Monson to lead us in this day so that we may progress in the pathway to Godhood. 2 Ne. 31:19-20

Elder Facer

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Refiner's Fire

That's where I'd say I am right now. It was another rough week, we didn't see a whole lot of success. I'm sure trying hard to work and do everything that I know I need to, but it sure isn't easy right now. The Lord is definitely testing us right now to see how we'll respond. We had 3 people that were absolutely sure to come to church, and 2 of them didn't answer their door when we passed, and a member was supposed to pick up the 3rd one because she lives 30 minutes away in a car (if you go really fast), but he didn't, even after we made sure he was going to. As far as that is concerned, it wasn't a great week. Thankfully, on Sunday, I reminded myself why I love the hymns so much. We were waiting for the mission leader to pick us up from the chapel to go eat with him (and his family), so I just sat down and played some of my favorite hymns. I was a little frustrated after the week, and it was a much needed relief from what I was feeling. I'm so grateful that I've been blessed with a love of music. I feel like I've already lost a lot of skill, not having practiced in 8 months, but I love it even more than I did before. The hymns really do bring the spirit into our lives, and it was a nice reminder as I sat down and played through some of my favorites.

I finally made it through Isaiah in 2 Nephi, and will finish 2 Nephi this week. Those last chapters are some of my favorites. I also started compiling 40 pages worth of scriptures that I wrote down when I read all of the standard works and am now putting them into subjects. It's something I've meant to do for a while, and am glad that I'm doing it for real now. I also started the Old Testament again. I didn't think I would really want to get back into that and read it all again, but I felt like I should after I finished Doctrine and Covenants last week. I'm learning a lot more, but I feel that there's a lot more to come. I have to get through the Law of Moses first, though. Leviticus is a tough read when you're looking for spiritual guidance. Anyway, that's been nice, and I'm sure I'll find some more good stuff in there (it is scripture, after all).

As far as the pills go, I started just doing 4 of the Nutrasleep, and it's worked ok. Really what it means is that I sleep deeper, but not any longer. That just makes it a little harder to wake up. I've had a couple almost good night's sleeps, so maybe it's just going to take a little time for my body to get used to it. I've started to feel a little sick this week, but not too much. Just normal missionary stomach problems. Thankfully, it's nothing compared to what I had my first month here.

I'm glad you had a good time in DC. I thought you had been there before, though. Anyway, I think that would be really fun to go see all of that history. Since coming here, I've just missed going to school. I never realized really how much I love learning, and not just about music. Everything I can learn is just really interesting, and I'm excited to be able to come back to school. Reading has also become a lot more interesting again. I have a lot that I want to come home and read. That was a long tangent to respond to your trip, but that's ok. Also, good work Jodi for getting accepted to BYU. I'll probably see you there, but in Fall 2013 or later. I didn't get letters from anyone this week except you, but I'll respond to whatever I get that I can. That's funny that Alan used lyrics in his talk. It's something I've thought about a lot, and there are some good ones, but I don't know that I'd ever do that. I'd be thinking it and maybe tell some people after, but never during. That's so great that he went on his mission, though. It's so great that there are so many of my age group and below that are serving. To be honest, I wasn't sure about a lot of them, but here we are, with almost everyone out. It makes me happy to know that they were able to figure things out and turn themselves over to the Lord.

Well I hope everything continues to go well at home. Soon you'll have Brigham to deal with again. I think he leaves a month from yesterday. I wonder how much things will change with him back home. I read a really good talk by Elder Christofferson in the January Liahona called "Recognizing God's Hand in our Daily Blessings" talking about the phrase "give us this day our daily bread" that Jesus used while praying. It was really good, and a great reminder that I don't need to be a perfect missionary now. I just have to take things one day at a time. Seeing how the Lord did the same with the Israelites and their manna was a good reminder as well. It was a really good talk, though, and you should read it sometime.

I know that Heavenly Father is our Father. He understands us and our needs. His hand is stretched out to us in every moment. All it takes to receive His help is to reach out to Him. Mormon teaches the same in Ether 12:41 "buscad a Dios" (look for God) and we will find Him. I know that as long as we have faith in Him and are willing to exercise that faith, He can bring to pass miracles in our lives. Even when times are hard, He has not forgotten us. He will always extend his tender mercies to all those who ask in faith. I know that He sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ to suffer and die and resurrect for us. This supreme act of love makes it possible for all of us to overcome our faults and weaknesses and overcome the natural man within us. His Atonement makes it possible for our family to be together forever. I know that Christ overcame all things so that we never have to ask "Father, why hast thou forsaken me?" He is always there for us. His love for us knows no bounds, nor does His willingness to help us. He is our Savior and Redeemer. I think my favorite name for Him is the Master. He is in control, and will not let us fall if we do all that we can to follow Him. I know that through Christ, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father, leaving behind all of our earthly cares and sorrows, living with a fulness of joy and love. This is our unique message to the world, and can only be brought to pass through this, the only true, restored church of Jesus Christ. I know that the have the sacred priesthood in order to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of all of the children of men. We have been entrusted with the keys to manage the kingdom of God on the earth. I know that Christ directs this church and the work done therein. I know that it was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, and that President Monson and the quorum of the 12 are men inspired of God to deliver to us His will.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cold and rainy

Well this was a bit of a rough week as far as finding people. It's been super cold (for Mexico) and raining every day, which means there aren't people in the streets to contact, and people who are home don't want to open their doors because that lets the cold air in. The combination means we had a rough week. Thankfully, we did find one person to come to church with us. An 8 year old son of a less-active member that isn't baptized decided to come even though his three siblings didn't want to and he got bored after sacrament meeting. If not for that, I may have called this week a failure. Don't get me wrong, we worked hard, and I'm trying to stay positive, but there just wasn't much success this week.

One good thing was that we had interviews this week, which is always a good thing, but even better is that it meant that letters came! I got several from ward members, a couple from Alyssa, and your package. Thanks especially to Bro. Cox. Your letter was much needed this week, and I'm grateful that you shared those experiences with me. In the package, the cookies were still good (really they were excellent. You just don't find cookies like that here) only they got crushed up in transit. I had a great time eating cookie chunks and crumbs, though. As far as the medicine, I assume it's just one of the different kinds at a time, so I've been starting with the Nutrisleep. It says 2-4, so I started with 2, but it hasn't helped at all yet. Really it means I sleep deeper, but not any longer, which just makes waking up harder. I'll try 4, and if that doesn't work, I'll try the other pills. Other than that, though, I much appreciate the package. It was a much needed consolation prize to the week.

Thanks to everyone for your updates. Lys, don't think you bore me with news about Andrew. that's really about what I want to hear the most of. I'm sorry, but I just don't like your new car. I've never liked hatchbacks, and the only Ford I've ever dug a little is the Fusion. I'm sure you'll get over that, though. I'm glad you love it. That's great that Scott has started working. I didn't know it was so soon. I also haven't heard from them in a few weeks, so that probably shouldn't suprise me. Also, Lys, I was aware of the Star Wars 3D deal. That's old news, as in before I left. The bigger news is that it came out on Blu-ray, which I saw in a wal-mart here. Either way, I plan on owning both of them. A while ago you asked me about the different organ volume pedals. The left is swell volume, the middle is great/pedals volume, and the right is the crescendo pedal (adds stop in a pre-determined order). Typically for normal organ playing, you'll have the swell and great volume pedals open (all the way up) and the crescendo all the way closed (down). It really all depends on what you want to do, though. Have Tara teach you how all that works. I left her my workbook from Music 115, and I sure hope she's been using it.

This week, I also read D&C all the way through in addition to my continued Book of Mormon reading. Isaiah is just telling us about the gathering of Israel, which is good. I also read an ensign from a few months ago. There was a really good quote in there from Pres. Monson. Something along the lines of "the Lord bends the back to fit the burden placed upon it". A good reminder that I'm not the one in control here. I've always been fairly stubborn, but I've felt that happening to me. The Lord really does help us to bear our burdens, but only if we allow him to help and change us.

I know that this church is true. I know that Heavenly Father knows us and loves us. As our Father, He wants to help us and give us only the very best. As His children, and children of Christ through baptism, we become joint-heirs with Christ of all that the Father has. I know that the covenants we make are real. The Lord has promised us many things, including Eternal Life, if we only live in conformity with those sacred promises we make through baptism, receiving the priesthood, and in the temple. I know that the Lord fulfills His promises, and that our part of those covenants is small in comparison to the reward we receive. I know that the Lord blesses us when we are obedient, and tests us to prove our faith and diligence. When we complete those tests successfully, we grow and improve ourselves. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Master. He is the Son of God who gave His life to save us from sin. Only through his merits, mercy, and grace can we, the fragile beings we are, return to live with our loving Father in Heaven.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, February 6, 2012

Senior Companion

Mexican snowman made of hail
The District
Well today we had transfers, and I'm staying here with Elder Garcia from Oaxaca. I'm the senior companion, even though he has 1 transfer less than me in the mission, but I'm really excited. This week was ok, and we did a lot of exchanges again, which makes working in two areas even more difficult. Even so, I feel really good. We had stake conference this week, which was excellent, and the president of the Mexico City Temple was there as well as President Call. Also, it's been raining almost every day this week as well as a bunch of lightning and even some hail yesterday afternoon. Pretty crazy, but I'm loving it. This week we have interviews, and soon every companionship will be getting a cell phone which will be a huge help. I'm assuming they'll come with interviews, but we'll have to see.

I've been reading the conference ensign lately, and it's been amazing. There are some really really excellent talks in this conference, and I've just been really inspired from them. Probably my favorite was President Eyring's talk about priesthood preparation. Wow. Really they were all just amazing and I found inspiration in every one, even from the relief society session (even though I'm male, not because relief society session isn't as good). Every missionary here gets "the 4th missionary", and I've read it several times. It's really an excellent talk, and you should look it up if you can. It was given by Lawrence E. Corbridge when he was a mission president in 2002. Basically, I'm just seeing the fulfillment of another part of my patriarchal blessing in all this, and feeling much more guidance and instruction from the Holy Ghost every day.

Elder Tuttle was a really great Elder, that's fun that you got to meet him. He was a really funny guy, too. Anyway, that's fun that he met you. Good work deciding to drop the math class. Really Alyssa can probably teach you better anyway. I haven't gotten the package yet, but with interviews on Friday, I imagine it'll come. No worries there. That's so great that you got a bunch of sealings done. I've really felt strongly about temples and the work we do there lately. By the way, me and Brig may get to see each other at the temple this month. I'll let you know how that goes. Dad told me about Bro. Scoubes. That's so great for him, and I'm really excited that he got that calling. It'll be fun to come home to be in that quorum again. Tell him I'm really proud of him, and that he'll do a great job with the Lord's help. Also, tell him I'm terribly sorry, but I had to retire his tie. It was just in bad shape, and if I keep using it, I know it'll get destroyed. I'm still going to keep it, just in my suitcase.

That's fun that Andrew is still growing up so much. Too bad he isn't talking more, but that will come. It would be fun to see all the cute things he does, though. That's one thing I've missed a lot while I've been here. It's ok, though. Just plan it so there are more when I get back.

I had thought about my future admissions essay and what I would say, and I think it would be pretty good. I really just continue to learn so much every day. The Lord is really blessing me so much that I can hardly keep up with all the blessings. I keep praying every day for more charity. It's sure taking time in coming, but I'm still trying hard to develop it, and I'm definitely praying a whole lot for it. Maybe I should pray for a little more patience while I'm at it. Thanks for fasting for me mom. I really did feel it, though I didn't know why at the time. Yesterday I just felt happier than normal, and I felt the spirit a lot, especially with stake conference. The Lord is sure quick to bless us when we follow Him.

We also had a really cool experience this week. In San Juan, we taught a lesson to a deaf woman. There just happened to be a member with a deaf daughter that could translate for us, and it was amazing. It was just a really strong testimony to me that the Lord knows us and prepares us to be able to accept His gospel. He really does love all of His children, and is always willing to bless us.

I feel like I had a lot more to say, but I can't think of anything else. I know that this church is true. I know that we have a living prophet who guides this church and speaks with God in order to communicate His will to us. President Monson truly is a prophet of God with the keys necessary to direct His church. I know that the scriptures are the word of God. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. He knows our needs, and will bless us beyond what we can imagine if we will humbly plead for the things that He knows we need. I know that as we seek His will before our own, we are blessed. We become more like our Savior and are able to overcome our trials. I know that the Lord prepares the way for each one of us to be able to return to His presence if we are willing to follow Him. Jesus Christ is our Savior, and He gave His life and took it up again so that we, too, might do the same. He makes it possible for us to be Eternal Families and to live with Heavenly Father again. May He bless you all in your efforts to follow Him always.

Elder Joseph Facer