Monday, April 30, 2012

                                          my official new calling (read the thing on the cake)
                                                                new mission dress code
It's a Small World...

Well I've been transferred.  I'm now in Jurica in Querétaro México.  I'm in the same state, which is excellent, because I just love Querétaro, but a different zone.  My new companion is Alex Lewis, with whom I went to high school, though we didn't know each other very well.  We hit it right off, though, and I can tell that this is going to be a great companionship.  In short, I'm stoked.  Also, I'm sure when Becca finds out, she will probably freak out.  Anyway, that was an unexpected, but not unappreciated change.

Yesterday, we had a funeral for Hno. Nuñez, who died shortly after we reactivated him.  It was really sad, because he's a great guy, and was the very first member in Tequis, but at the same time it was good.  His wife died two months ago, which inspired our visits to him and his son who is also inactive, and he's been really sad since then.  I'm sad he's gone, but I doubt he is.  Anyway, I got to play piano at his funeral, and afterwards, I guess it's not uncommon to "sing to the person who died".  We sang probably half of the hymnbook and were there 2 hours afterwards.  We had stayed at the chapel after church to help with preparations and to watch the body (apparently super important), so I played the piano for a while as we waited.  Later finding out that they wanted me to play for another 2 hours was, honestly, annoying, as much as I love playing the piano.  6 hours is really just too much.  Anyway, at about hour 5, I was sore from sitting so long, my fingers were tired (unbelievable, I know), and I was getting really stiff.  I was ready to be done.  I had the thought that "it's what he wanted" and realized just how selfish I was being by not wanting to keep going.  It was a nice opportunity to literally forget about my own problems and do something for someone else (even if they're dead).  That was really nice for me, and I feel like I do have at least a little bit of charity in me.

I'm glad to hear Alyssa's doing spring semester.  I was curious about that and knew that any letters would come probably by about the time the semester's over.  I'll be looking forward to the ASL.  I still remember a little bit from what we learned when I went to EFY with the deaf kids, but not much.  Lys, great work on being amazing at your job.  I can't say I'm surprised that they think you're the best.  Tara, good work on prom queen.  En serio ya eres una reinita.  Also, keep up the good soccer work.  I still plan on beating you when I get back, though.  Also, do you know Steinia Dort from Celtic Storm?  She's my age, and she went to Orem.  I'm just asking because she's Elder Lewis's girlfriend, and she looks super familiar, but who knows why.  I've come up with a great reharmonization from How Firm a Foundation that will be excellent in addition to the crescendo, so you'll have that to look forward to.  Tara, thanks for keeping my legacy alive, and expect improvements on it when I'm back.  Mom, I'm proud of you for knowing that it's called a crescendo pedal.  I'm glad to hear my sobrinitos are doing well, even if Andrew has a bit of a temper.  He'll grow out of it, but only if you teach him to.  Remember, encouragement is infinitely more effective than punishment.  Ignore the bad behavior and praise excessively the good.  Mom, if you want to make Brigham happy with food, just put chile in everything and call it "a-la-mexicana".  I haven't grown extremely attached to the food here.  I'll miss a good torta and some good tacos, but that's mostly it.  Also sesina.  Sesina is heaven in meat form.  Dad, good work on your Spanish.  Are you still studying it?  You told me a while ago that you were starting some kind of course.  As far as not responding to people, I really don't usually have time.  I have to write President, read everyone's letters, then write this one, all in 45 minutes, and I really just don't have time.  I can try to make it happen, but I can't guarantee anything.

I finished the Old Testament this week, and will now move on to an extensive study of Preach My Gospel in addition to a chapter a day of the Book of Mormon (it keeps the doctor away, also the Jehova's Witnesses).  In Spanish, I'm in Alma 18, and in English, Alma 26.  Basically language study has been a review of my last few days of personal study, but it's good.

Mom, I have a huge favor to ask.  I need you to have Brigham translate the recipes for the chocolate chip pudding cookies and german chocolate cake and send them to....  I promised an hermana to ask for them, then I got transferred, and she wants them really bad.  Thank you in advance.

Also, regarding Mother's Day, we need to figure out a new plan now.  I'll talk to members this week and let you know for sure next week, but it'll still be Sunday, probably around the same time, so it's not a huge deal.  I'll let you know.  Also, did you get that package sent off?  Just curious...

I know that this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He is our Master and our King, and I know that He will come again to rule and reign over all the inhabitants of the earth.  He is the Son of God who paid the price for our sins in order to bring about mercy for all those that will repent.  I know that God's plan for us is perfect, and that He has given us all that we need in order to return to live with Him as families.  I know that families can be eternal based on obedience to covenants made.  As we keep them, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and the Lord blesses us now and for eternity.  I know that Christ lives.  He died for us, but He lives.  Because He lives, we will all live again and stand before God to be judged according to our works.  I know that the Gospel was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.  He was called of God by prophecy and by the laying on of hands to effect this great work, and President Monson is his authorized successor in our day.  He is a prophet, seer, and revelator, as are his counselors and the 12 apostles.  I know that Heavenly Father loves us.  He hears and answers us as we pray in faith in the name of His Beloved Son, even our Savior Jesus Christ.

Elder Facer


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Couple of Days in Querétaro Does a Man Some Good

Elder Facer's Fantastic tie collection (minus a few I've retired and one that I'm wearing)
Who says I don't know how to make my bed? Well this week was a little different in that we did some extended divisions with our district and zone leaders. I went with the zone leaders in Querétaro from Tuesday through Thursday, and my companion was with our district leader. Basically that was just really nice. Our zone leaders are really great, and I learned a whole lot from the experience. Really it just felt like a whole different level of missionary work with them in their area. Every day we worked with members, the teaching is better than what I usually see, and it was just better, I don't know. The really nice thing was that both of them separately commented on how good they think I'm doing and that they were impressed with me as a missionary. It was a really nice confidence boost for me to know that even if I'm not seeing results right now, I'm still doing good work and doing things well. Elder Neves goes home next week, and lives over by Cascade (golf, not elementary), and I may send him over to the house to meet you. Brig, talk with him about Rusty. He was in the marines and had a really tough situation before leaving, but he's just a stalwart. Maybe he can help.

I realized today that I've made a lot of hobo friends here in Tequis. Walking down the street to come here, we saw three that never ever fail to say hi in their own unique way. There's one lady that can spot me from a mile away and starts shouting "GUERO!!!" until I shake her hand, another one that, every time we see him, says "you feeneesh wurkeen tooday?" Anyway, just a fun fact about all the new friends I'm making here.

 Regarding the Sr. Johnson situation, there must be a reason that it all happened. Even though the kids are difficult, remember that you're helping her fulfill her duties as a member by letting her go to the temple. You don't know what I would give to take a break from the day to day and go to the temple even once a month, more so once a week. Good work Brigham on your talk. I'm really excited to come home and get to give a bunch of talks to be honest. I just love talking about the gospel. Mom, don't let missionaries touch my guitars. I could've told you that would happen. Anyway, it was good that you did get to feed them and that Brig is helping them out. I haven't really had any language difficulties when it comes to explaining concepts, but there have been a few times where it comes out a little weird, but it would've been amazing in English. Really it's no big deal. It doesn't matter what I say, just that the Spirit is there to tell them it's all true. As far as the books, the Callister one is ok. Miracle of Forgiveness, as much as I wish it were, is not on the list, and I'm not sure why you thought it was. Anyway, I asked President, and he's ok with it, so please send that, and bag the Wilcox one. He'll have to wait until 2013. Alyssa, excellent work on finals! I knew you would do great despite your one bad score in 313. Also, your missing 3 letters showed up this week (thank goodness) and thank you very much for those. I am one of the luckiest people alive.

Regarding Mother's Day, I don't remember what church schedule you're on. For us, it would be best if we could Skype around 4:00 my time (3:00 your time). If that works, let me know and I'll make sure it happens this time. Unless I get transferred, then no guarantees, but I'll try. Really, I wrote this a week too soon, but I'll let you know if I'm still here next week, and we'll make it happen.

 I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Savior. He suffered and died for every sin and sorrow we will ever have. He lives, and I know that He still loves us and cares for us in our daily lives. I know that because He was resurrected, we, too, will be raised from the dust, our imperfection putting on immortality and perfection, and we will be able to be with Christ and our Heavenly Father again. I know that because of the Atonement, we can repent and change ourselves into so much more than we could be without Christ. He is our Redeemer from our own carnal natures, and through Him we can become clean and free of burdens. I know that the family is central in Heavenly Father's plan, and that only through the sacred sealing ordinance can we become as He is. Creating a family is a Godly characteristic, and can only be used in the hereafter by those who are worthy of becoming as He is. I know that if we live faithful in keeping all of our covenants, we will have this blessing, and our increase will be Eternal. Heavenly Father loves us

 Elder Facer

Monday, April 16, 2012

Zone Conferences

Well this week was a little odd. It isn't semana santa anymore, so most of the tourists are gone, but it's still break for school, so nobody is here. That made finding people a little difficult, but we still had some good lessons. The real highlight was zone conference on Wednesday. We were in Quèretaro almost literally all day, but it was just so good. We talked the first half about PMG ch. 1 (the missionary purpose) and the second half about using the spirit. That was all just fine and dandy, but the part that really made the difference for me was when we had the zone meeting. One of our zone leaders, Elder Neves (went to Lakeridge, knows Craig) gave an excellent lesson about the Atonement. I feel like there have been few moments in my life where I learn something incredibly spiritually significant, but this was one of those times. There's a quote in PMG pg. 2 that says something along the lines of "the more we understand the Atonement, the greater our desire to share the gospel will be", and I finally understood it for real. Understanding is the source of power in a teacher. As we grow to understand the Atonement, we exercise it or apply it. As we apply it, we become more capable of applying it and thus our understanding increases, giving us more power and causing us to apply it more. I've always loved thinking about how the Atonement is infinite, and this was just one more way. Also, we talked about character, based on Elder Scott's talk from Fall 2010. Read it. It's amazing.

Along those lines, I hope you haven't sent my package yet, because I have one more thing to ask for. There are two books that I'm dying to have: The Infinite Atonement by Tad R. Callister, and The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox. If you could include those, I'll just be so grateful. Also, I don't know if you remember, but I was going to send a package home on Christmas. I left it in the hands of another Elder, and it never happened. After being in Tequixquiac, then the offices, it's back in my hands, and I'll probably send it next week.

I'll be on the lookout for some excellent scenery. Also, Canyon, Happy Birthday!!! When I read that you're turning 5, I didn't even believe it for a minute. You're just growing up so fast, and I hope you have a great birthday. Mom, thanks for updates on everyone's majors and what not. Brigham, that may be the first (and probably the last) time that a date doesn't work out for you. Just don't go getting yourself married before I get back. Unless the Spirit says to, then by all means, go right ahead. Tara, good work on prom royalty and on soccer. I'm glad things are going well. Alyssa, I've gotten letters from Feb. 24, then March 23. Something's missing in there. It might be a good idea to re-send those (assuming you're still copying them before sending them like you told me). Also, by "it might be a good idea", I mean "please send them because I feel like the month between those dates no longer exists". Mom, when I said "we", I was actually referring to the district. Honestly, this companionship isn't going that great, because my companion is quite disobedient, but I'm trying not to focus on it. Thus, I haven't written you much about it. Mitch, excellent work on your Eagle. Scouting was a really important part of my growing up, and I hope it continues to be a good experience for you and that you can learn a lot.

Mom, regarding Sr. Johnson, that's super cool. I wish we found investigators like that. Just remember that if you confide in the Spirit, there's no need to be worried. Read PMG ch. 4 and study the references in there. "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear".

I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God that gave His life for us. He truly is the Savior of mankind. I know that every person in every situation can apply His Atonement in their lives to make it better. Repentance is real. As we come unto Christ and lay our burdens at His feet, He will make them disappear. We truly can take His yoke upon us and leave our burdens behind. I know that He lives. Because He lives, we will all live again. I know that Heavenly Father sent Him as the ultimate show of His perfect, eternal love for us. He truly is our Father, and He knows each of us. I know that He hears and answers our prayers when we pray with faith. As we exercise that faith, we grow in hope and charity until that faith becomes truly unbreakable, and we can do all things that the Father asks of us. We can say, as Nephi, "I will go and do".

Elder Facer

Monday, April 9, 2012

My own Passover Feast

My excellent bowling form from bowling last week

Some pretty classy bowling shoes from bowling last week
Well Easter has come and gone, and nobody sent me emails this week. We had a pretty slow week, being Semana Santa (the biggest excuse for vacations in Mexico). That meant that everyone who lives in Tequis was out of town, but Tequis was packed with out-of-towners. Probably 80% of the people we contacted this week were just visiting. Anyway, it means we didn't get a whole lot done this week. We did have a really good Sunday, though. The stake president invited an area 70 to come to our branch, which was interesting. He was from a different area presidency, but nobody knows where. It was pretty cool, though. That's probably the first time that I've seen a general authority in a sacrament meeting. I played the piano really well and bore my testimony about the resurrection (like the 1st presidency asked us to, not that anyone else did...), and it was just a good meeting. We also had the first baby blessing that I've seen in Mexico, as well as a couple priesthood ordinations: one who received the Aaronic Priesthood (and thus ordained to the office of Deacon), one ordained to the office of Teacher, and one ordained to the office of High Priest and called to the high council. All in all, it was a good Sunday.

On Friday, we visited Cornelio and his family and showed up right after they had killed a sheep and were peeling and cleaning it to make barbacoa. I didn't make the connection until later that night, but I realized that Friday is the day that the Paschal lamb was killed according to Jewish tradition and was the actual night of the Passover feast, and we just happened to be killing a sheep on that same day. To me, that was just hilarious, and even though we didn't stay to eat (barbacoa is an overnight cooking thing), it was still fun to be part of my own little Passover feast. We certainly didn't meet the Mosaic requirements, though. The sheep was female, most likely had some kind of blemish, was pregnant, and we didn't spread the blood on the doorposts. There was also no unleavened bread or bitter herbs. We're kind of like the selectively obedient Jews, opposite to the Pharisees. That was also my first time seeing a sheep fetus (can you believe it took me almost 20 years?).

I've just been informed that the Sunday missionary writing tradition has been abolished, and that my emails are on the way. Thank goodness. That will, however, throw a wrench in my 45 minutes of approved writing time. Anyway, I got a package from Brigham today, which was cool. When I started opening it, all I saw was the box of Choco-krispis and thought "well, I guess I should've seen that coming", then I found out that it wasn't really cereal. Thanks, Brig. Lys, thanks for getting me an email. Short is better than nothing, and I'm glad Andrew had a happy one-candy-Easter. He looks like a natural in his little car. I bet Manuel practices with him. As far as Mexican/Catholic celebrations, there are a lot of quirky things. It begins at the end of February with the Cuaresma, a 40 day preparation for the crucifixion in which they do parades almost every day including chants and making giant paper-machete (?) Jesus figures and don't eat meat besides fish on Fridays. On Friday, we saw a bunch of people at the bottom of a hill where they had put some giant crosses up top, and they may have later held a mock-crucifixion (I'm not sure, we didn't stick around). There are also all kinds of migrations where people walk from one part of Mexico to another for no reason but to go to the services at a different church, then get wasted. Sounds like fun, right? Thank goodness we're LDS.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. 1982 years ago, on Thursday, he suffered for our sins and was betrayed into the hands of sinners, on Friday, he was tried and crucified, on Saturday, he established the preaching of the gospel to the dead, and on Sunday, the greatest day in the history of this earth, He resurrected, breaking the bands of death that came upon all men through the fall. I know that only through Christ's merits, mercy, and grace can we be saved. He made possible Heavenly Father's perfect plan of salvation, allowing us all to return to live with Him and our families for eternity. I know that Christ truly knows us and loves us. He has suffered every pain, sorrow, affliction, and disease that we will ever have, and he overcame it all. He suffered all things so that we don't have to suffer. The Atonement is the only way that we can ever find true, lasting peace and happiness. He did it all willingly, "he opened not his mouth", and, in that supreme act of love and humility, saved all who would turn to Him. I know that this is true. I know that we will live again after this life. I know that the family can be eternal, and God's greatest desire is to bring that to pass. Heavenly Father and His Son love us. And, thanks to the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, we all have the opportunity to become even as they are.

Elder Joseph Facer

Monday, April 2, 2012

Conference #2 of 4

Well thank goodness we had conference this week, because we really didn't have much else going on for us. We're working a lot and trying really hard, but we still just aren't finding people. My allergies have started acting up this week, and even Zyrtec, which usually suppressed them, isn't being totally helpful (it also makes me drowsy, but only during the day), and I've started feeling a little sick. I think I may have something similar to the flu, but it hasn't gotten worse than a sore throat and a little nausea, so I'm not going to worry about it for now. Aside from all that, things are going just great!

What an excellent conference we had. We watched it in San Juan instead of going to the stake center in Querétaro, which saved us a boat load of money and time, but it also made it difficult to understand. They amplified the sound with a mic through the church speaker system, which amplified the English as well as the Spanish, making it very hard to distinguish the different words and sentences. It did mean that if I concentrated really hard, I could pick out the English and hear conference with original voices and words. Sometimes that was just too hard and I listened in Spanish, but when I could, it was pretty cool. The best talk was probably Elder Eyring in Saturday afternoon "Building a Foundation of Faith" as I've titled it, and the best music was "Carry On" in the priesthood session, although Come Thou Fount was a very close second despite several obvious mistakes. If you get the chance, listen to Carry On. It was excellent.

You mentioned that a package may be coming soon. If such is the case, I would love some new music. All the missionaries have the exact same really bad music, and I need something new because apparently studying with silence is just too hard for every companion I've had. Any Motab CD you might send would be much appreciated. Other than that, anything homemade. The cookies last time came all crumbled, but they were still just so good. You don't realize how great real homemade cookies are until you've been without them for 6 months. Thus, I would love anything homemade that you can send. Have Alyssa ask friends if they want to send letters, and if not, that's ok, I'll just start thinning my already thin list of friends (but not really, that's a little harsh). Also Mentos. I've depleted the last supply you sent. Thank you very much.

Studies this week have consisted of finishing the May 2011 Ensign, the stories of King Limhi and Alma the elder, and Isaiah. Things are moving right along, and I'll be finishing Mosiah this week (and hopefully Isaiah). I'm super looking forward to getting the conference ensign to make a serious study of it.

Well it sounds like everything is just swell at home. It's strange to think that Brigham is back in real life, and I can no longer brag to people that my brother's in the Cuernavaca mission (I almost did on Saturday, then remembered "oh wait, he's not"). Anyway, it sounds like everyone's staying busy and doing good things. Thanks for sending that message from Bro. Cox. He always has good stories and messages to send, and I really appreciate that. Also, thanks to Bishop Williams, Betsy, Sharon, Becca, and Alyssa for letters this week. Becca, I'll get one off to you as soon as I can, I promise.

I know that this is the only true Gospel of Jesus Christ, established by Him. He truly is our Savior and Redeemer who gave His perfect life on Calvary so that He could take it up again and give us all life, even Life Eternal. I know that His love for us is infinite, and He has commanded us to have that same love. Being so, I know that His Hand will guide us as we seek to fulfill this commandment. I know that He made possible our repentance and resurrection: without which we could never return to live with Heavenly Father. As we come to Easter Sunday, let us take time to ponder, study, pray, and give thanks for this infinite and eternal sacrifice for us. I know that as we do, will we gain a greater understanding of what He did for us and feel more of His love from Him and for other people. He is our Master, and will come to rule and reign over all the earth in His glorious future advent to the earth. I know that we have heard His voice through the prophets that have spoken to us, and that He continues to guide His children through His true church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Elder Facer