Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Week of Revelation

Norma and Luis's puppies (they're both chihuahuas, who's surprised?)

I'm like the cabbage patch kid that nobody wanted

Jorge and Aldo's baptism (with mom and sister)

killed Elder Peña

This has been a pretty great week. We didn't have anyone in church besides Alberto, who can't be baptized because he isn't married and his wife lives in DF. He still likes coming and says we've helped him a lot, and I feel like one day he'll be baptized. What I'd really like is a miracle so it can happen while I'm here, but if not I'll just have to deal with that. Our other couple, Carmelo and Hortencia, weren't able to come, and Carmelo is a little unsure now about baptism, thinking he needs to know a whole lot of stuff first. We're going to see them tonight and talk a lot about faith, so we're hoping that will help him out. They're just too good to not be members. Anyway, that made for a not so great week as far as progressing investigators, but the rest of the week was pretty good. We had ward conference, which was really good. I don't remember who, but some general authority gave a talk on the spirit of conferences, and I've learned more and more how true that is. I got to give the gospel principles class with no notice on "The covenant people of the Lord", and I feel like it turned out really well. Luis and Norma said it was really good, so that was nice. We've started going to ward council every week (now that they do it every week instead of maybe once a month) and it's been a good learning experience as well.

The best part of this week is how much personal revelation I've had and answers to prayers that I've gotten. I've prayed so much to have charity and to love Elder Cox and not criticize him, and the Lord has blessed me so much in that. He's a good missionary, but he has a lot to learn. With the Lord's help, I'm not letting that bother me, and I'm really trying hard to know how to help him and our companionship be better. I received some revelation about James 5:20, that charity, apart from being important in helping us receive forgiveness, covers our sins in that it enables us to resist temptations in the first place. I love proactive prevention instead of retroactive correction (I totally just came up with that). Also, in Ether 12:34-36, it talks about charity being requisite for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom, and 36 talks about how charity is given to the gentiles through the grace of Christ, wrought by His Atonement. Having read Elder Bednar's article in the April Liahona about the power of grace opened up all kinds of new revelations and understanding for me. I've also started watching the district videos at nights before bed, and it's been a huge help. I'm watching trying to find new ways to improve myself, my teaching, and our companionship. The Lord has opened my mind to new concepts and more revelation, and it's also helped me to have the Spirit a lot stronger in my nightly prayers. Revelation is the bomb.

Well it sounds like everyone had a good week. Lys, I am getting your emails, but sometimes I'm rushed and forget to comment on things you said. I do appreciate you writing (especially seeing as nobody else has for the last two or three weeks), but time is limited. That's fun that camp was at Aspen Lakes. I really like it up there. Dad, that's cool about your Jessica Wood story. I think that's the greatest feeling in the world, when you follow a prompting and it's an answer to someone else's prayer or needs. President Monson is always talking about that, and the few times it's happened to me make me wish it happened more often. That's fun that you got to work concessions at the Neil Diamond concert. I feel like he came like two years ago, though. Anyway, I hope Tara has learned that old people music is way better than anything coming out nowadays (aside from the Roy Hargrove Quintet and some other cool jazzers, but that's another story because nobody knows who they are). That's fun that the grandkids are doing well. They're just growing up so much, and it's hard to be missing it. Good thing there'll be more when I get back. I'm not surprised Brig isn't interested much in high school people anymore. I can tell he changed a whole lot on his mission, and he needs a higher plane of associates (I don't know if using that idiom works in that sense, but I did it anyway). Also, congrats on getting that job! Also cool that your convert's son got baptized. I hope that happens with Alfredo's family soon. Summer sure has flown by. August starts in two days, and in seven, I'll only have 10 months left in the mission. That's just nuts. I still feel like I got here maybe a transfer or two ago.

I know that Heavenly Father is aware of our situations. He knows us perfectly, and loves us equally perfectly. I know that He hears and answers our prayers. I know that He will speak to us and give us answers if we will simply ask for them with faith. I know that He fulfills all of His promises, and that we can be instruments in His hands as we seek for opportunities to be such. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. His Atonement made possible our salvation, gives meaning to all that we do, and has power to make us so much more than we could ever have been without Him. I know that the grace of God is sufficient unto the salvation and perfection of all mankind. If we humbly seek His saving grace, He will turn us into all that He knows we can be. I know that Christ's true church has been established on the earth in these days. Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and His Son. Through Him, they restored the Gospel and the power of the priesthood to grant us eternal life. I know that the plan of salvation is a perfect plan that makes possible the redemption of every single one of God's children. No one is ever too far out of reach of the power of the Atonement. No matter how dark our life may seem, we can always find relief, comfort, and forgiveness through our Master, Jesus Christ.

Elder Facer

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another New Beginning

Well today was transfers, and I'm now here with Elder Cox from Emery, Utah. He doesn't know if the Cox's we know are family, but he imagines they are. Elder Peña and I had a great last week together, though. We almost got all of our goals, and we had two baptisms (Jorge and Aldo). I feel like together we made it a great week for him to finish on, and he's now in Teotihuacan and heads home on Wednesday. Our baptisms went great, and both boys seem like they'll be really good young men. Their sister also got reactivated with their baptisms, and I think this is going to be a great little member family. We also had Luis and Emmanuel get ordained to the Priesthood, so it was a really successful Sunday. I can't send pictures because the connection on my camera broke, which means I can only use an SD insert, which not all computers have. It also means I can't charge my camera, so I may be needing a new one... dang it.

That's fun that Scott and Alicia are moving. I hope everything goes well with that. Lys, I don't know how big a turnip is, but It has to be bigger that an avocado (Mexican, Peruvian, or American is still to be determined). It sounds like Tara's staying really busy, so that's good. Just remember not to overbook yourself and get too worn out. Also, don't even worry about your tan lines. Missionary ones are probably worse than with a brace. Brig, good work on speaking in church. We also spoke on Sunday, but with no notice. It was supposed to be ward conference, but I guess it got cancelled last minute, and 4th Sunday is usually missionary Sunday, so we got the shaft. It turned out really well, though. I felt to speak on Luke 15 and the three parables that Christ gives there. It turned out really well, and we got lots of comments, so that was fun.

Mostly this week was just normal working, though. We just did it a lot better, more with the Spirit, and more like Heavenly Father would want. That's really just a recipe for success, it turns out.

I know that Heavenly Father loves us and knows us. He really is our Father. He loved us enough to sacrifice His son to save us all. Christ's merits, mercy, and grace are the only way that we can be saved in the celestial kingdom. All that Heavenly Father and Christ do for us are to take us to a higher sphere of living. Their purpose is to exalt us so that we can be as they are, with the chance to have an eternal family that can grow and progress for eternity. I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. As long as we ask, we will receive. If we seek, we will find. I know that is true. I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer who loosed the bands of death. His church has been restored in these latter days for the perfecting of the saints through the gifts of the Spirit. I know that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restauration, and that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's anointed oracle on the earth today. As we follow the Gospel, our lives will be better here and forever. It is the road to salvation and eternal lives.

Elder Facer

Monday, July 16, 2012

Elder Peña's last week

Things went just swell this week. We had the Osorio Valdez family get confirmed and had 5 people in church. Definitely not a bad week by any accounts. Jorge and Aldo are basically all set for their baptism next Sunday, they just need to be interviewed, but I don't feel like there's anything to be worried about. Our other investigators that came are an older couple named Carmelo and Hortencia, and a middle-aged guy named Alberto. Carmelo and Hortencia are awesome, and I feel like they'll absolutely be baptized the 29. Hortencia was going to get baptized with the Jehova's Witnesses, but the week of the baptism, something just told her that it wasn't right, so she didn't. The night before we contacted her, I had this huge impression that we had to find some "Francisco" tomorrow, but we didn't know any, and there was one former investigator named Fransisco, but the Spirit said it wasn't that one. When we contacted her and she gave us her address, she said she lived on Fransisco Javier Mina. Nobody ever calls that street by its full name. We knew that she was the one that we were supposed to find, and they're progressing wonderfully. Alberto has a lot of family problems and money problems, but he likes the church. He doesn't understand things very well, but he's made a lot of progress. He actually works with Norma, so they said hi when they saw each other at church. We're really hoping and praying that he'll also be ready for the 29.
We meet fairly often with the ward mission leader, and he's a good help for us. He really wants to help move the work along, and is almost always available to help us when we need him even though he shows up late to almost everything. We're just happy he's willing to help. The members have been giving us more referrals lately, so that's also been a nice help. We ate with the bishop on Saturday and talked with him a lot about the work we're doing and where he needs help in the ward, so he's getting a lot more confidence in us. Before we never saw him, so we didn't really have any real opportunities to get that. That's great that Arthur's going on his mission. I don't think I ever heard where he's going, though. Something President Call has been stressing lately is that the investigators need to know about proper dress for sacrament meeting. Even though Tara's friend says that they just show up in shorts and nobody cares, it really does affect a lot of things, especially the Spirit of the person going like that. There's a reason that we dress differently for Sunday, and it isn't just to look nice. Youth conference sounds like it was a cool experience. I've strengthened my testimony of service a lot being here. That is one of the two best ways to live a Christ-like life. Brig, good work on being closer to getting that job. Maybe you'll have to help me out when I get home and buy me a Macbook, because my mac knowledge is fairly limited. Mom, that's fun that you met Jeff's convert. There's a good chance you won't meet any of mine unless you come down here, but you may run into a few transcripts of members down here that want to go to BYU. Really not because you don't work in international, but that's ok. Grandma Sumner, happy birthday on Wednesday. I don't remember how old you are, but that's ok. Thanks for all your support.
Study this week has brought us into 3 Ne. 23 (study Isaiah!), PMG 7 in Spanish, half of conference, and into Acts 10. Things are going really well, and I'm learning a whole lot. I've been focusing lately on learning more by revelation instead of just by what I read and understand, and it's made a huge difference. "ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you".
I know that we are all children of God, our loving Heavenly Father, and that He has given us His Gospel plan so that we can return to His presence. He sent His Son to suffer and die for us, and because He did, we can all achieve that goal. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that the power of God has been restored to the earth, and that the saving power of Christ is manifest in the priesthood ordinances for the living and the dead. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's oracle today to guide us on the path to Eternal Life. As we live the Gospel every day, we will become more like Christ and prepare ourselves to be a family for eternity.
Elder Facer

Monday, July 9, 2012


the real highlight of the week

this was my first failed attempt... I'm ashamed (and I got elf'd, apparently)

just putting those Skittles to good use

We had a pretty good week this week. Luis, Norma, Emmanuel, and Mariana all got baptized and have set a goal to go to the temple in a year. That was just such a cool experience to bring together the whole family like that. It's a lot different than just individuals or even Aurelio and Veronica where it was just the parents. This is a whole family (minus the 4 year old daughter, but she'll have her time). This is fulfilling God's plan, and it feels great. We also had some new investigators come to church. There's a recent convert mom, and only she and a daughter were baptized, and she just talked to us one night in the street and said, "why don't you come visit me anymore?" Me, not knowing who she was, said, "well sure, where the heck do you live?" She gave us her address, and we show up and she tells us she has two sons that want to be baptized. "Do you think you could help prepare them for that?" Excellent. Unfortunately, only one of the sons, Jorge, actually came to church, but he's stoked for his baptism on the 22nd. He told us that He was listening to other churches, but just didn't like it and they couldn't answer his questions, so he just picked up his mom's Book of Mormon and Gospel Principles book and started reading and knew it was true. That was super cool to see how even a 16 year old lad in these days would have the desire and the initiative to find the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hopefully his brother, Aldo, catches on soon, as well.

We basically ran out of rain this week, so we had a week-long rainy season for the time being. I'm not complaining, I love that it's 90-100 degrees every day. I'm definitely getting more tan, and have some pretty awesome missionary tan lines. Did Brig get any of those? Time is sure flying, though. We had zone conference this week, which was amazing. We atlked a little more about PMG ch. 1 and why we do the things that we do. It was just really good, and the Spirit was extremely strong. I got letters from Alyssa and Emily, so thanks to you two. I also got conference Liahona, which rocks because I've been dying waiting for that. I signed my visa renewal, so I'm legal until I'm done, and bought a set of Doctrine and Covenants DVDs that look pretty swell. I also got some super good bread for having had a birthday.

Mom, I'm glad you had a good week in Chicago. I'm jealous that you could've seen Buddy Guy, who really is extremely famous among jazzers like me. I think it would be really fun to go to places like that, even though I'm not a huge traveling fan (I just can't move enough air. Good one, right?). We're working a lot lately with the ward because we got a new ward mission leader a little bit before Elder Lewis left, and he's just super awesome. He's working a lot and setting a great example for the ward. He's also super rich, so he supplies any resources we need in the way of rides or for activites etc. The bishop is good as well, but we don't see him very much because he apparently works a whole lot. We didn't do much for the 4th, but we did remember that it was a holiday or something. Grandma and Grandpa, thank you so much for helping me out for the next couple of months. Thanks to everyone who is contributing to my mission, whether financially or even just morally. I really appreciate your support, and I can feel your prayers in my behalf. It sounds like Canyon and Savanna are growing up a whole lot. They're just going to be so different by the time I get home, but at least there'll be a couple of other little rascals running (more likely crawling if they're lucky) around. I didn't know there was a woman's voice on the Iphones. I'm not exactly super updated on technology over here. I'm glad I could still be the source of a "chuckle", though. I'm sure it was a little heartier than that, but it's all good. Tara, Happy Birthday tomorrow! You're just going to be a big old 17 year old. Really turning 17 doesn't mean a whole lot to be honest, but I still hope you have a fun birthday. It sounds like you'll be having a fun and very busy summer, as well. I had already told you that Elder Peña is going home normally, mom.

Thanks to everyone for emails this week. This was the most I'd gotten in a while, but Lys, you maybe sent me a virus...

I know that this is the Lord's work. His hand is made visible every day in the work we do, and I know He sustains and supports us in our righteous labors. He truly is our loving Father in Heaven, and following His commandments brings forth the blessings of heaven. Only through our righteousness do we become worthy of the blessings that He so desires to give us. I know that Heavenly Father knows us all perfectly, and is always willing to help us in any struggle, trial, or difficulty. I know that The Atonement is real. Christ suffered and paid the price for all of our sins, and gave us all the opportunity to be saved in the kingdome of God. As we repent and strive to live the Gospel, we are refined and cleansed from our sins and imperfections. Through this great and last sacrifice, all the cares and pains of this world can be overcome. He descended below all things. There is nothing that He didn't experience for us. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and contains the fulness of the everlasting Gospel. It is an evidence of God's love for all of His children, past, present, and future. As we live this Gospel, our lives will be enriched and infinitely blessed until we measure up to the fulness of the stature of Christ. Our families can be eternal through obedience to this Gospel plan.

Elder Facer