Monday, March 26, 2012

Escogidos? Vamos a ver...

Well we finally got some investigators to church this week! They live in Tecozautla, which is about an hour away (40 minutes the way our mission leader drives) and so it's been something a little difficult to have good contact with them more than once a week. I've felt very good about them, and I feel that they are being prepared for baptism. They've accepted a date for the 8 (which will require them to come to Querétaro for general conference, about 2-2.5 hours), but I have faith that this will work out. The dad's name is Cornelio, the mom is Gloria, and the daughter that came with them is Berenice. They have a son who's a member (Gilberto), but he studies in Morelia (Michoacan), but he was less-active and also came with us to church. We need lots of prayers for them and for us to be able to help them out. They aren't married, and Gloria has a drinking problem (darn pulque...), so we have to find the way to help them to live the commandments.

This week I've just felt great. I guess I have to be as happy as two Facer missionaries now that I'm the only one. I've just felt happier, less critical (which is a huge development for me), and more of the Spirit in everything I'm doing. It's so strange to think that Brigham is home. I don't think about it a whole lot until mom sends me a letter with a paragraph as long as D&C 132:19 about all the details. It's just strange to think that normal life goes on after all of this. In the talk, The 4th Missionary, it talks about how things can never really be the same after you return home, and that just kind of hit me while I read that paragraph. Anyway, I'm glad he's doing great and has seen such an amazing change in his life. The living the Gospel has been something that I've been able to strengthen as well (as opposed to just having a testimony). We really do have to be witnesses of God in all times, things, and places. Nothing less is good enough.

I'm super excited for general conference this week. I don't think I've ever looked forward to conference more in my life than I have this week. I'll almost definitely be hearing in Spanish, but Elder Scott (my fave) translates his own talks and reads them because he speaks Spanish. Also, I don't know if I said this already, but read the story on Pres. Monson in the March Ensign. It's excellent. I've finished reading Abinadi and started Alma's story. That's a very cool one, and Lys, I decided I really want to go on that trip that you went on. Having only been to Teotihuacan (a city built when the Nephites started going downhill) you can relate so much and learn so much about the history and the Gospel given in the Book of Mormon. To see more of that would be just amazing. Also, I just finished Psalms today. That is a great book.

I'm glad everyone's doing so well. I'm sure you're all seeing the blessings now of having a missionary back in the house. I've realized that, although we're blessed during our service, the greatest blessings (eternal life, for example) only come after the faithful service is completed. 2 Tim. 4:7 anybody? (I think... that's the "fought the good fight, kept the faith" one, right?). Anyway, how great that must be for you all to have such a powerful light back in the home and to have those blessings that I'm sure Brigham is radiating.

I know that this is the only true church with the only true doctring and Gospel on this earth. Heavenly Father loves us and wants so much for us to return to Him, but it all depends on our willingness to humble ourselves and do what He asks. The blessings we receive for so doing will always outweigh the necessary sacrifices. I know that Heavenly Father loves us all and He knows our every thought and action. His greatest desire and His purpose as a divine being is only to help us to become as He is. I know that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. How truly wonderful the Atonement is. It is infinite in scope, in coverage, and in love. It is always available to all those who need it for whatever reason. I know that lives can change when we accept Christ as our Savior and King and allow Him to make of us all that we can be. Not only is this the only true Gospel, it's also the one that gives us the most potential to be happy for eternity. I know that this is true, and I know that Christ will never let His sheep away unless they themselves choose to flee. Even then, His mercy and grace are sufficient to bring them back into His fold. He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. If we open, He will pour out blessings upon our heads that we can't even imagine. I know He loves us and will guide us as we put all of our faith in Him and Him alone.

Elder Facer

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Benito Juarez, Goodbye Brigham

Sorry I couldn't write yesterday. Apparently when dead politicians have their birthdays, nobody works (kind of like President's Day) so there weren't any internet places open. It was mostly a slow week. We've started working outside of the center of Tequis because it's really just dead. That means we've been visiting a lot of places that I've never been before and knocking a whole lot of doors and searching for a lot of contacts. Sometimes it's a little monotonous, but it's ok. We're just trying to find the elect is all. Anyway, it's been good to be in new places instead of the same two colonies in Tequis.
We had a good church meeting on Sunday. I'm coming to appreciate more and more Sunday meetings, and I think the only thing that would make them better is if we had an organ. Unfortunately, I don't think they exist in Mexico. When I tell people I play the organ, they think I mean an electric piano. It's ok, though. Anyway, we talked about temples and family history work, and I think it's something I want to get into upon returning. I can give dad a break and take over (if he'll let me). I loved being able to go to the temple and do the ordinances, but I think it will be even better to find their names and do the work (the whole she-bang, as some would say).
Brigham, I'm so grateful for the honorable service you've rendered. You were and are such a great example to me, and I feel strongly that the Lord is very pleased with your service. If I'm right, then you have qualified for a whole lot of blessings for your service, including a complete remission of your sins (lucky! D&C 62:3, D&C 4:2). I hope I can be as good of a missionary as you are as I continue to work with the Mexican people. Thank you so much for your wonderful example to me. Good luck being back in real life.
It sounds like things are going great at home. Alicia, thanks for those pictures. Savanna is super cute with the Rapunzel dress. As difficult as I'm sure it was to get good pictures, the good ones will certainly do the trick. Lys, I'm not sure what you meant when you told me I would be a good help with this new business venture. Are you basing that on my expertise of Disney princesses, my excellent fashion sense, or just my Spanish? Also, if there were typos in my last letter, they were not because of a lack of understanding of grammar/conventions, it's because I'm a super fast typer and these keyboards aren't always very good. Trust me, I'm a bilingual master of grammar principles.
Lately, I've continued reading in the Book of Mormon, and right now Abinadi is showing King Noah and his wicked priests what's up. "You think you're saved by the Law of Moses? Yeah, right. I'll show these clowns where salvation really comes from." He also qualifies as a boss, along with Nephi, Jacob, Benjamin, and others. I also finally got through Chronicles and am now about done with Job (thank goodness, Chronicles is just tough for me). I've also been reading Jesus the Christ at night after planning, which is just as excellent as ever. Elder Talmage is a modern-day boss. The March Liahona has an excellent article about President Monson, and I would reccommend you all study that. As President Packer says "He's just more christ-like than the rest of us". In essence, things are going well in the study department.
I know that God is our Heavenly Father. He loves us and knows us all perfectly. He has prepared the way for us to return to live in His presence along with our families if we will just live worthily and perform all the necessary ordinances. I know that His plan is perfect, and provides redemption for all who will believe in Him and His Son. I know that the Atonement of Christ is real. Through His redeeming love and grace, we can all qualify for Eternal Life. I know that only through His merits, mercy, and grace can we all relieve the pains and sorrows we feel and become literally "at one" with Him and our Heavenly Father. I know that this divine gift of repentance is available to all to the cleansing and relieving of the troubled soul. I know that President Monson is a true prophet of God who leads us in the path to live with Him again. He is the only man on earth authorized to use all the keys of the power of God for the salvation of man, and I know that He is inspired in that responsibility. I know that God lifts us when we ask for His help. He hears our prayers and He answers them. I know this is true, and I know that He loves us.

Elder Facer (the Elder formerly known as Elder Joseph Facer. I should come up with a symbol or something to replace all of that. Oh wait, someone has done that already...)

Monday, March 12, 2012

La Peña, part II

Me qualifying for Gideon's army of 300
:(not featured) I saw a bunch of Dos Equis beer bottles in the street one day and thought of the guy from the commercial saying "I don't usually drink beer, but when I do, I get totally wasted"

Me and my good friends San Judas Tadeo and La Virgen de Guadalupe (the two most common idols of Mexican Catholocism)

Who's that? Spider-man?! Oh wait, that's just me
Just a sneak peak at my soccer jersey collection (Querétaro Gallos Blancos)

Well we went to Bernal again this week which was fun, and I even got to hike it in normal clothes this time. We had a good time, and I took some decent pictures, so feel free to enjoy those. This week was another rough one as far as missionary labors are concerned, but I'm trying to stay positive. Finding is somewhat difficult right now, and retaining investigators is even harder. We just can't seem to find the elect right now, but we'll keep trying. We got to speak in church this week, which was actually really fun, and I now officially like giving talks. It's fun to be able to share a chain of cohesive thought without being interrupted by unrelated stories (as normally happens in many teaching situations). I spoke on the relation between the baptismal covenant and our duty to be missionaries. I feel it went over fairly well.

So this week I started compiling all the scriptures I have written down about the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel and marking them in my Spanish scriptures. I feel like I'm just starting to understand the importance of all of this, even though I thought I had it pretty well before. Learning is just such a fickle experience. First you feel great and empowered, then you realize you really don't know anything. Anyway, I'm sure happy to continue doing it for the time being, but no guarantees as to the future of such endeavors. Also, I read King Benjamin's final discourse this week. I had never really realized why everyone says that it's so great until this time, and wow. What a talk that was. That's one that I plan on studying very much in depth in the forseeable future. Also, I'm now in 2 Chronicles in the OT. I've started reading Jesus the Christ at night before bed, and I'm getting a lot more out of that, too, and it's been another good experience.

It sounds like things are going well for everyone at home. Brigham will be coming home next week, and I'll more than likely stay here in Tequis. It's strange to think that I'm almost at 9 months, when it seems like I just passed 8. Anyway, Tara, excellent work on finally getting back into soccer, and you can expect a scrimmage from me when I'm back. Lys, I'm sorry that Andrew failed his checkup (I almost called it an inspection... weird). I'm sure there's really not that much to worry about, and I don't know how much I'd trust that shifty practitioner. Also, Tara, good work on last-minute organ playing. That's essentially my life here in the mission every Sunday/Wednesday (District Meetings), and it's an excellent skill to be able to play any given hymn when asked to do so. I actually thought of Kolton this week, thinking I'd like to make a soccer team with him when we're both back. I'm sure he's doing a great job. Good job on your temple work, mom. I've felt the Spirit a lot when I read about or think about temples, and I'm excited to go all the time upon my return. I'm glad you had that experience when I played the organ. I feel if there's one thing that I do understand fairly well, it's the power that can be brought through music, and I really try to do that every chance I get.

Mom, I know we're still a little ways away, but if you could talk to Alyssa about Mother's Day and the possibility of being there for the Skype, I'd appreciate that. Her mom likes to think things over, and it's never to early to ask permission and make plans.

I know that this is the Lord's work. I know that what I am doing is a part of bringing to pass His eternal purposes and plan of salvation. I know that we are His children and that He loves us. I know that He hears our prayers, and when we ask in faith, He answers them as well. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that He paid the price of our sins so that we can repent and be whole. I know that we can be forgiven of our sins when we turn our hearts back to the Lord and have the faith that He can heal us. I know that the covenants that we have made prepare us to return to Heavenly Father's presence. As we faithfully keep them, the Lord will shower blessings upon us and we will see His hand in our lives. I know that as we faithfully endure to the end, we can qualify for the life that Heavenly Father has. We are recipients for Godhood, eternal increase, and all that the Father hath.

Elder Joseph Facer (the 2nd to last time you'll see two names)

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Wrestle Before the Lord

Picture 1:the book burning (see last week's letter)

Well this week was typical as of late. We found a few pretty good people, and nobody came to church. It's a little frustrating, but I'm working past it. We did have really good Sunday meetings, though. We sang "I Believe in Christ" (a personal favorite), "I Stand all Amazed" (it took about 10 seconds to think of the title in English), and "I Know that my Redeemer Lives" and had testimonies. I decided to be brave and bear my testimony in church for the first time in several years. It was nice that when I got up and started testifying, I could feel how much my testimony has grown. It's also nice to share my testimony in a general way as opposed to "I know that the Lord will answer your prayers if you read the Book of Mormon and pray about it". That's the majority of the testifying we do, because the investigators need that. Anyway, it all made for a very nice Sacrament meeting.

Well lately, like I said, I've been learning how to really pray. Rarely do I ever offer a personal prayer less than 15-20 minutes because I feel like anything less just isn't that great of a prayer and I'm missing a lot of things. It's been nice to be strengthening my relationship with my Heavenly Father in that way. I even passed an entire personal study (1 hour 20 minutes because I like to get a head start) just praying. I never ever thought I'd be able to do that, but now it's easy. Don't get me wrong, this isn't to brag, I'm just sharing my progress, and that's been a big part of it this week. Speaking of personal study, I just happened to read Enos that same day that I did the really long one, so it was cool to relate that to me. I'm now in Omni, and the one a day is still going strong. In the Old Testament, I'm now in 1 Kings. Solomon is just showing everyone how wise the Lord made him while offering to cut babies in half. Not really, but he really did do that. Anyway, things are going well there, as well. Also, in the nights, I've started reading the missionary library, so I read "Our Search for Happiness" (excellent) and I'm in the middle of "Our Legacy" (more historical, but still excellent).

Today we played soccer as a zone, and that meant we had letters. I got one from Emily, Betsy, and Alyssa, and thanks to you all for the letters. Also, I'm getting pretty darn good at soccer. I'm sure Canyon will follow suite now that he's starting itty bitty classes. That just sounds strange for some reason. Anyway, that'll be fun for him, and that's great that Savanna's starting dance. I want to start my kids really young so they can be professionals before their missions. Not necessarily in dance, but in whatever it may be. That's too bad about what happened to Bro. Bott. I would probably say the same thing in the situation (based on hardcore scriptural evidence), but I'd rather just avoid that situation. That's strange that the reporter got through to him, though. Lys, thanks for all the Andrew pics. He's sure growing up, isn't he? It's really no big deal that he isn't talking yet. If he gets to 2 years without much progress, then you can worry. The good thing is that he understands and is communicating in his own way, even if that isn't "socially acceptable". That's all just part of his developing personality.

Well I hope you all know that I'm trying really hard. Success has been hard to come by, but I'm working as best as I know how, and the Lord will do the rest (D&C 123:17). I'm making a lot of progress personally and the Lord is truly making me much better than I would ever be without Him. My testimony has grown so much, and the truths that I teach every day are becoming more and more firm and ingrained in my person. I'm so grateful to everyone who supports me so much, and I hope that the work I do here will be payment enough (because I might come home broke).

I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He really can communicate directly to us if we have the faith that He will do so. Revelation is real. Each of us has the right to receive personal revelation from our Father when we humbly seek it. He loves us. I know He does. Even when things are hard, He has greater purposes in mind. All of our afflictions will work together for our good if we let them. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, who gave His life on the cross and took it up again for us. He conquered death to take away it's sting from our lives. I know that God's plan for us is perfect, and allows us all the opportunity to return to His presence. I know that without Christ, this plan wouldn't work. We are all imperfect, but through Christ we can take away that imperfection and become what God knows we are capable of. As in Adam, all men die, so in Christ are all made alive (thanks Paul). I know that there is comfort and peace to be found in this knowledge. I know that if we ask, we shall receive.
God loves you, and will help you when you follow Him.

Elder Joseph Facer (2 more weeks and I can just put Elder Facer)