Monday, August 27, 2012

"I'm Trying to be like Jesus"

We had an interesting week this week. The good news is that we finally had an investigator in church (Cecilia), and she loved it. She wants her whole family to come next week, so we're hoping for some more improvements. The only bad news is that we can only meet with them on Saturdays because they basically aren't there during the week. We also got to speak this week, and it went well. I spoke on the importance of members in the work, and it wasn't chastisement. I taught them the doctrine using the words of the living prophets and the scriptures and invited them to act. That's all we can do, right? Things are still pretty slow, but we're working hard, and I feel like there are good things coming up. I really hope I don't get transferred, because I really do love this area and the ward. Whatever happens, happens, I guess, and it'll be the Lord's will.

We had a couple of really interesting experiences this week. First was a referral we got from another ward of a family in Jurica (really rich area) with one of their sons in a coma. That was about all the detail we got, so I expected the situation would be pretty bad and they'd be all broken up, but it turns out the son has actually been in a coma for 2 years, and they're just living life as normal. On Tuesday when we got the referral, I had this huge impression that I needed to fast so that I could perform a miracle with them. Wednesday when we went, everything just went normal. We went with the ward mission leader and mostly just got to know them and their situation. I'm not sure exactly what miracle I was supposed to do, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. Second was yesterday as we were heading to the bus stop to go to the food. There was a guy sitting in the middle of the street that shouted, "ustedes son mormones?" I told him yes and he said, "yo también soy mormón!" even though we soon found out it wasn't really true. I was going to just keep walking, because drunks shout at us all the time, but I felt I should stop and see what he wanted. It turned out he had been run over a while ago and broke both of his ankles, but they never healed, so he couldn't walk well or even get up from the middle of the street. We helped him up and helped him get to the bus stop to go to Querétaro. We helped him on the bus, which was the same one we were going in, and went to sit down. All of the people around him started getting up and moving to the back of the bus because he smelled pretty bad, making rude gestures and saying some mean things. Eventually, the bus driver told him to just get off. I felt so bad for him, and it really made me reflect on the decision I made to stop to talk to him. I was so glad that I had helped him, even if everyone else was going to reject him. It strengthened my testimony that we are all children of God, regardless of our circumstances. Christ would love us all and treat us all kindly no matter who we are, and I was glad I did what He would have done. I read a talk on Tuesday by President Eyring about Christ's love and following His example. In the talk, he quotes the primary song "I'm Trying to be like Jesus", and I've been singing that in my head all week long. Making a real effort to be like Jesus and love as He does has made a big difference in my thoughts and attitude this week, and I'm glad that I wasn't like the other people that rejected and scorned.

Quick question: was Bro. Hawks called as a mission president in Hong Kong? I was reading in the Liahona and it had all the new mission presidents and it said Val Hawks in Hong Kong. Just curious.

That's rough that dad got laid off again. I can imagine how difficult that must be, but the Lord has His purposes. One thing I feel like I'm learning pretty well is patience and long-suffering, and it's helped me to understand that our trials are for our good and that the Lord is always aware of us and our circumstances. I have been learning to use the Spirit in all that I do. It's been one of my main focuses these last two transfers, and I've been making a lot of progress. Following promptings has become fairly easy now, and I constantly seek and follow revelation. I know I don't express my love for the people or my companion in my letters, but that doesn't mean it isn't there. That's fun that Brig has started school. It's weird to think that Tara, Brig, and I will all be at BYU when I get back. You may never get any work done, mom. Brig's schedule sounds pretty relaxed, though. I'm glad Tara's doing well also, even if soccer isn't going super great. That's good that Canyon's evaluation went well, and I hope Scott can work things out to get back into school. Then you'll have four kids at BYU. I never heard what gender Lys's baby is, just a head's up. Things sound pretty normal at home, though. Also, mom: next package you send, could you see if you can get me more refills of the Pentel pencil you sent me? I've only read the Book of Mormon, and I've essentially run out of some colors only marking references to the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel.

I know that this is the Lord's work and that He directs it. I know that this Gospel is the only true one on the face of the earth, and that no other church or religion has the priesthood authority necessary to effect the ordinances of salvation. I know that Joseph Smith was called as the prophet of the restoration to bring to the earth that authority and Christ's church that had been lost. I know that President Monson is the prophet today, and that he guides us through revelation from God. I know that God has provided the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bless us in all that we do. The blessings from the Gospel and the Atonement are infinite and eternal, and we can receive them in no other way. I know that the Book of Mormon is in true and that it contains the fulness of the everlasting Gospel. Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Master. He gave His life and suffered for us to bring to pass the conditions of repentance. If we exercise our faith in Him and repent, we can be clean and return to the presence of our Heavenly Father as families. That is His plan, and He has made it possible for us to do so through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Elder Facer

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Rainy Season for Real

Not bad for Mexican pizza

This week has been rainy about every day, but it's ok, because I like the rain. This week was a little rough for missionary work. We had two investigators that were absolutely sure that they were going to come to church and we had checked with them every day this week, then they had just woken up when we came on Sunday. Dang it. Finding is still difficult, as well. I still really feel like we won't see any real success until the members start working with us to find the elect. Mom, the question "Are you interested in doing missionary work?" is really just "Do you want to reach exaltation?" George Albert Smith taught that unless we share the Gospel, we will not be able to be exalted. I'm going to speak about that on Sunday, but with love. It always comes off sounding like chastisement, but "the wicked taketh the truth to be hard" (not that I'm calling you wicked, but it's the same principle). A good missionary will invite the members to do what they should already be doing because he is concerned for their well-being and that of those who aren't members and need the help of those members to find the blessings of the Gospel. Missionary work is essential for the salvation of every one of God's children, not just those who don't have the Gospel already.

So I forgot to mention it last week, but happy birthday to Grandpa Sumner, and happy anniversary to Grandma and Grandpa.

So this week, we took a wrong bus and ended up going to a prison and being lost for a little before finding our way back into Querétaro. The ward mission leader said I look like Luke Skywalker, which makes three completely unrelated occurrences of people telling me that. The first was in the MTC, the second was in Salt Lake, and now here. I'm an international Mark Hammil look-alike.

We did have a good experience this week, though. While planning on Wednesday night, I felt like we needed to visit a member that we don't see very often and whose husband is usually not home at the time that I felt like we should see them. We decided to go with them after seeing some members close by who had already told us about a referral they had. That family apparently went to Pachuca (Hidalgo) this week, so we didn't find them and went with this other family. Upon arriving, it turns out the husband was just finishing his lunch break and had about 10 minutes before he had to leave. I shared the beginning of Moroni 6:7 with them about how the people strived to not sin and how much we are blessed for doing the same. We asked them for a referral, and they started telling us about their neighbor whom they don't know. In the house where they live, there have been members for the last 10 years, including the bishop and relief society president, but with those same neighbors. The Spirit testified to me that this person was now ready and needed this specific member's help to finally accept the Gospel. I told them that and they committed to talk to their neighbor. I know that the Lord guided us to that family so that their neighbor could accept the Gospel. Unfortunately, they still haven't talked to their neighbor yet. Hopefully we'll get results this week.

Also, there are some twins in the ward that are recent converts without a mom and a very threatening older brother who has just showed up to take their house essentially. We visit them because they love the elders and to help them feel a little better and get ready to serve a mission (they turn 18 in November and finish high school in July. You can leave on a mission at 18 in Mexico if you've finished high school). I had printed off the talk "Sunday Will Come" by Elder Wirthlin because I felt inspired to, and it was good for me, but I think it was really preparation to know what to share to help them out. It talks about both the resurrection and overcoming trials, which is just what they need. It was another good way that the Lord used me as an instrument in His hands this week.

That's fun that Manuel went to Peru again and that the grandparents are helping you guys out. Mexican parents aren't the same way, Lys, just so you know. It sounds like all the grandkids are still quite entertaining and learning new tricks and what not. That's crazy that Canyon's starting kindergarten, but funny that he's all nervous about his evaluation test. Mom, that's fun that you got to talk to Ashley. I'm glad to hear she's doing well. A family just moved into our ward from Topeka and their last name is Taylor, but he said they don't have relatives in Utah. Alyssa had told me that Callie was dating someone, so that's fun that they're going to get married. I actually dreamed last night that everyone started get married all of a sudden and it was really weird. Was it a dream or a prophetic vision?! Helaman 6:3 is a good member-missionary scripture, and there are plenty of others, but it really all springs from a personal desire to do missionary work and be exalted. That's fun that Brig is finally going to college. Also it's funny that Jodi is starting at the same time as him. Good work, bro. Also, a family in the ward told me that their uncle talked with Elder Lewis in his area in Valle Dorado (edo. de Mexico), and they knew you from Cuernavaca. It's the Flores Chabarrilla family, and they said they gave you food at least once.

I know that this is the Lord's work. I know that God is our Father in Heaven and that He is always watching over us. He knows us perfectly and knows how to succor us in times of trial. He hears and answers our sincere prayers, and will grant all of our righteous desires as we pray with faith according to His will. I know that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and ensure our salvation based on obedience to the Gospel. I know that this is the only true church on the face of the earth. No other organization has the fulness of the Gospel nor the priesthood authority necessary to administer it. Without this church and the restored Gospel, no man can be saved in the kingdom of God. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he restored to earth the fulness of the everlasting Gospel. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and contains that Gospel. I know that as we obey and live the Gospel, the Lord blesses us and all of those around us. It is the only way to happiness, and "the power of God unto salvation".

Elder Facer

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Weigh-in: Part 3

This week didn't end up so well as far as numbers are concerned. We had two people that were sure they were going to come to church, and both cancelled on us while we were waiting for the ward mission leader to come for us to go for them. Dang it. We had a new monthly zone training meeting, which was good, as well as interviews, which were also good. President said the thing that we need to work on most in our companionship is just being open with each other. I've been trying and succeeding, but we still aren't seeing much difference. We don't have any real problems in the companionship, but we're certainly not doing as well as we need to be. I've never had a really good interview with President, and in every one that I've had he always gets at least one long phone call. This time was no exception. It was still good, though. Sunday meetings were probably the best part of the week. The patriarch (an 80 something year old man from Idaho) spoke about adversity, and then two sisters in the ward spoke about the Spirit, and it was really powerful. I received a lot of promptings and inspiration during that meeting.

We weighed ourselves again this week, and I've improved myself somehow. I've lost a little bit of weight (149 down to 144.5), lowered my BMI, body fat %, body age, and visceral fat, and raised back up my skeletal muscle %. Basically my body is a miracle, because we don't eat super healthy with what the members give us (usually really fatty foods or a lot of meat), and I really only do the 30 minutes of exercise in the morning. Aside from that, it's just the normal day's walking and what not. Anyway, that was a fun discovery to find out that I can be super healthy with very little real effort (but I guess I always knew that). It feels good to know that a machine thinks I'm 19 years old when I'm really 20. I sure fooled it, didn't I?

I'm glad to hear that things went well with Lys's baby. We did kind of all just jump to the worst conclusion, but the Lord's hand is in this, of that there is no doubt. Lately, the weather has been a little back and forth between cloudy and windy and super sunny. Supposedly we're still in the rainy season, but there really hasn't been very much rain. It's interesting how the Lord just knows exactly what we need and when we need it. My testimony of that has grown a lot this week. That's kind of weird that Ryan is already home. Is Trevor home as well? That's great that he made so much progress and learned so much. That's also great that Brian is making so much progress. Any one of us really can change in the instant that we decide to. The Atonement makes that possible for us. I did share my revelation with the ward, and this week we had four or five people come up and ask us for materials to share with people. We also are putting the ward mission plan in action with the ward council, and I'm hoping to revolutionize the member work in this area. There is so much potential in working with them, and I want to help them reach that. While watching the District videos one night, I was watching a video about finding, and it really stuck out when I saw that it quotes PMG saying that the Lord is preparing people for you to teach. I don't feel like I've ever found anyone just for me, but there are people that will need my specific help to accept the gospel. That doesn't just apply to missionaries, either. The Lord is preparing people that each one of us will be the only person who can make the difference in their lives. What a blessing and a responsibility.

I finished Preach My Gospel in Spanish this week and started again in English this morning. Studying chapter 13 really helped a lot in knowing how the work really happens with the members. In the introduction (to the book), when I read the very last paragraph, I had the impression that although Preach My Gospel is for the missionaries, any member who studies it will increase their personal testimony of this work, and will be more capable of doing it. I don't know if you're still studying it at home, but you should be. It is a tool from the Lord to allow us to bring to pass His great and eternal purposes. I've also continued in the Book of Mormon in English and Spanish, and I'm actually in Ether 12 in both of them right now (Spanish finally caught up), so when I finish them both, I'll have read the Book of Mormon 10 times in English and 2 in Spanish. In the New Testament, I finished Titus today. It's amazing to see the remnants of the true Gospel that have been changed or lost and what remains of that. Having a knowledge of the truth and having the Book of Mormon helps us to understand the true Gospel of Christ that the apostles wrote about originally. Everything is there, but not everyone knows it.

I know that this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that living it and applying it to ourselves is the only way that we can obtain true happiness in this life and eternal life in the next. I know that God the Father prepared the plan of salvation for us, and that we can live up to His divine expectations and achieve our divine potential as we live the Gospel. Heavenly Father knows us each perfectly. His aid is available anytime that we seek, knock, and ask. I know that He sends His Holy Spirit to comfort us in our times of trials, and that all things will work together for our good. I know that exercising faith unto repentance and being obedient is the pathway to peace in our lives. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can overcome any obstacle that is in our way. As we apply the gospel and become worthy of the Spirit, we can put off the natural man and become saints through the Atonement. God restored this church through the prophet, Joseph Smith, fulfilling all the prophecies of the ancient prophets. We live in the dispensation of the fulness of times with the fulness of the everlasting Gospel available to obtain a fulness of blessings from our loving Father in Heaven. I know that this church is the only true church upon the face of the earth, and only in this church can we access this fulness of blessings.

Elder Facer

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fasting works, who would've thought

Well this week wasn't so great in finding, teaching, and other missionary stuff. We did find one couple that looked super good, then wouldn't open the door to come to church and turned their phone off. I love morning church, but it sure makes bringing people difficult. Other than that, our only other prospect was a woman who seems really interested, but her husband is super against us, so we'll just make a teaching record for her so missionaries find her again someday. Really the best part of the week was fasting. I think this was really the first time I've had a powerful experience with fasting and recognized that it was the cause of it. I was working and praying hard to be ready to receive revelation for our September goal in the fast, and it sure payed off. Saturday night, I understood what it means in Doctrine and Covenants when it says we receive "revelation upon revelation". I decided to watch Joseph Smith:Prophet of the Restauration because I love that movie, and the Spirit just started flowing like I couldn't have imagined. Some especially significant thoughts I had were 1)our goal for September, 2)there are 100s of elect people that are ready to receive the gospel in our area right now, 3)we need to work with the members if we want to find those people, and 4)a strong desire to live up to my namesake, the prophet. The Spirit that night was just so strong with me, and it was awesome. I even bore my testimony on Sunday, but partly to exhort the members to help us out because there won't be real growth without them.
Elder Cox has about 9 months in the mission and is from Orangeville, UT (by Price). His family is all active. I have been talking a lot with President about my improvements, and we have interviews on Wednesday, so we'll get to chat it up a little more. Happy birthday to Manuel, John and Betsy. I was going to tell you last week, but I totally forgot when it came time to write. We were in a bit of a hurry. So what's going on with Brig and Brenda? As far as the musical number, I prefer "hark all ye nations". I've made my own arrangement of it that makes it awesome, but I guess I can't really send that to you. If not, "called to serve" is really fine. We almost never sing it here, at least. Mom, tell Bro. Wilkerson hi for me and thanks for thinking about me. Tara, good work on making the soccer team again (but really, who's surprised?). Remember the promise you got in your setting apart. I know the Lord will fulfill that promise. When you're on the Lord's errand, you are entitled to His help, guidance, and protection. I think it's always weirdest thinking about where Tara's at, because I'll finish my mission along with her senior year. My senior year went by way too fast.
Lys, I don't know exactly what's going on with your baby; I haven't heard from you and mom only gave me a little detail, but just remember that the Lord's hand is in this. His plan is absolutely perfect, even if we don't understand it. Also remember that this church is a church of miracles wrought by the priesthood, the very power of God. I'd encourage you to read John 9, and pay attention to the attitudes shown by the people and Jesus's responses to their questions. Whatever happens, I know that Heavenly Father loves you and your baby. Sometimes the Lord humbles us so that he can raise us up. Pray for strength and understanding. "All these things will work together for your good".
President Call asked us to come up with 3 personal goals to help us be better instruments in the Lord's hands to talk about with interviews. My goals are to obtain the gift of charity, start a study journal, and mark a new copy of the Book of Mormon with all the references to Christ. I put the goals more specifically, don't worry, but that's just the general run-down. I feel like those goals also came through revelation with the fast.
I know that this is the Lord's work and that His hand is in it. I know that as we all thrust in our sickles with our might, we can be instruments in His hands in this great and last harvest of the souls of men. Like I said before, when we are on the Lord's errand, we are entitled to His help. I know that all things are possible to those that believe. As we exercise our faith, repenting of our sins, we will receive grace upon grace, gift upon gift, and become more like our Savior. Doing so, we will one day be exalted and return to live with our Heavenly Father and our families. I know that the grace of Christ's Atonement is infinite and can turn us into gods. I know that we are never out of reach of God's love and Christ's Atonement. Their hands are always outstretched, waiting to receive us when we will turn to them and repent. This is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God unto salvation. Only through this Gospel can we obtain all the promised blessings of the Lord and fulfill His eternal purposes for us and our families.
Elder Facer