Tuesday, October 30, 2012

D&C 18:10

Now That's a torta!

                                                     my baby coconut
Well I'm writing late this week because of a near crisis with my companion.  It turns out he came out with a lot of pre-mission baggage and has been talking with President Call for a while but still couldn't get over it and was on the verge on heading home multiple times.  I knew a little bit of what was going on, and did what I could to help, but obviously that wasn't much.  Anyway, today we wet to the offices and after several long interviews and phone calls with general authorities, all is well.  Elder Gaytan is staying (so far as I'm aware) and we can move on from all of that.  Thank goodness.  Anyway, this week was a little rough because he got discouraged a lot for the same that he was in that situation, but hopefully now things go smoother and we can have more success.  Knowing that he could possibly go home, I focused more of our lessons and study specifically on him instead of the investigators, and I feel like that made at least a little difference in him feeling better, so that was good.  I'm not just here to find and teach investigators.  The Lord uses me in whatever ways He sees fit, and I'm very ok with that.

We had zone conferences on Friday, and that brought with it some pretty big changes for missionary work in Mexico.  First off, we are no longer allowed to knock doors uness we have contacted that person, it is a referral, or a former investigator.  Second, we no longer contact unless directed to do so by the Spirit.  Third, with the new MTC shortened training period, I'll be returning home on my original return date, June 26, 2013.  In my mind, these are all good things, and I'm pretty excited.  Really what it means is that we need to start working how we should've been for a long long time.  The members are absolutely critical now, and the area presidency is doing special trainings with all the ward and stake leaders.  Our ward has shown a lot of apathy thus far to missionary work, but hopefully we can turn that around and make this a successful ward.  

Lys, I can sympathize with having a large jicama inside you.  I've eaten a large jicama by myself before, so that's a little similar, right?  I'm glad things are going well with you and your family, even if you are a little sensitive to children and families lately (secretly, I am, too).  I hope everything went well with Tara's ACT.  That sounds like fun with the all night tournament, too.  Brig, I hope you recover soon.  I couldn't imagine having one hand out of comission.  Remember that if the Lord will's it and if you have faith, your recovery can be faster.  I've heard a lot of stories of that from members, and the same thing happened with Tara.  God does have power on earth and in heaven.  I certainly don't feel like I know it all, so I don't think I'll become that type of 16 month missionary.  I continue to learn so much every day, but that just makes me realize how much I really don't know.  That's great that PJ got his eagle.  I've come to realize that scouting had a much bigger influence on me than I realized before, and I'm so grateful I could do it.  Good work PJ, I'm proud of you.  

Mom, I gave Elder Lewis your phone number (assuming it hasn't changed at work) so his parents can talk to you about transferring from USU.  I also needed to ask about details for international admissions.  Where does one go to find such information?  Lastly, I would be very grateful if you could send me a 4-generation chart for me, or at least the needed information so I can fill one out.  I've been meditating a lot one D&C 128, family history, and temples, and I need to find a way to be involved in that, even while I'm out here.  My mind has been opened up so much to that subject, and I'm super excited to be able to come home and do more of that.

Dear Windsor 7th ward:
These last few weeks, I've been pondering on the sealing power and the work done in the temples.  The Spirit has borne witness to me of the importance of this work, and of the part it plays in our Heavenly Father's plan.  Our kindred dead are in spirit prison waiting for us to act so that they, too, may enjoy a fulness of the blessings of the gospel.  The responsibility we have to find them is not one to be taken lightly.  We must be anxiously engaged in this work of family history and vicarious ordinance work.  I would encourage you to read and meditate on D&C 128:1-18.  I know that the temple is the House of the Lord, and that His Spirit resides within its holy walls.  I know that God's plan provides for the salvation of all of His children, but we have to do our part.  As we do so, we become Saviors on Mount Zion (Obadiah 1:16... I think), and participate in God's work and glory.  The greatest blessings of the gospel only come to us as we lose our lives in service to others, living and dead.  I know that doing so will bring us closer to, and make us more like the Savior, Jesus Christ.  Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Elder Facer

I know that this is God's work and that He directs it personally.  This is the work of salvation, and we can only do it with His help.  I know that all of us can participate in it, and have to if we are to obtain Eternal Life.  I know that Heavenly Father loves us.  His love surpasses all understanding.  I know that we can overcome our weaknesses and fears as we trust in God and live in accordance with His gospel.  No trial is too great for us if we will just trust in Him.  Quite the contrary, He promises us that they will all be for our good.  I know this is true.  I know that as we wait upon the Lord, he will carry our burdens and carry us on eagle's wings.  His angels are round about us always.  We never need to fear.  I know that God knows us and is very aware of our needs.  He places us where we are to be instruments in His hands to save the souls of His children.  I know that we were prepared from before the foundation of this world to come forth in this last dispensation.  We were taught and prepared, and fulfilling what the Lord wants us to do will bring us true happiness in this life and eternally.  I know that the work of the temples is the very same work of salvation.  I know that the powers to seal on earth and in heaven were restored by the prophet Elijah and given to Joseph Smith.  They exist today, and President Monson holds those keys.  I know that our family can be eternal through the great and eternal plan of God.

Elder Facer

Monday, October 22, 2012

16 Months

Shoot, that just doesn't seem right.  I still feel like I'm at 9 or 10, but those are the hard facts I guess.  Well this week Carol got confirmed and is going to be just a great little convert, so that's exciting.  Unfortunately, that's all that really happened this week.  We've started working more with members (and they're cooperating a little more, more than anything), but there's still a lot to be done.  We got to find a few opportunities to serve them as well, which was really nice.  I'm still been praying hard for more chances to serve, so it was nice to see a little bit of results.
We did exchanges this week, so I went with Elder Jenson, who is still in training, in his area.  He's been out the same time as my companion, but has less time in the field because of the MTC, but he's just something else.  He's one that was definitely a lot more prepared than probably the vast majority of missionaries I know, and I know he'll be just a stellar missionary.  I really liked a talk by President Eyring about preparation in the priesthood, and realized how much most missionaries lack any real preparation before coming out.  They may have speed read the Book of Mormon once, but that's about it.  I felt like I came in pretty prepared, having read the Book of Mormon 4 times in the year before leaving and most of Preach My Gospel, but I certainly have had my own struggles due to a lack of more preparation.  Anyway, it was just cool to see how much a little effort before can make so much difference starting out your mission.  Tara, keep that in mind.
It sounds like everyone's staying busy.  That's too bad that Brig has to get surgery.  I was all looking forward to the Facer family version of the 5 Browns or something like that.  Lys, I'm sure you do write every week, but they really don't always show up on time.  It's ok, though, I'm just glad you do write (but I never did get last week's update).  It's fun to hear more about the grandkids.  I love that they're all just so quirky and what not.  It makes me excited to have my own weird little kids someday, because I just know they'll be more than a little different, but hopefully well-behaved.  That's my goal, anyway.
This week in church, a recent convert got ordained to the priesthood, and during the ordination, I was thinking of what more I could do to serve the Lord, and I had the impression "use your priesthood", but in my head it was like that voice of thunder and of great tumultuous noise that the scriptures mention.  It's something I've been studying and pondering for a long time, and I feel like I have a little clearer of a direction of how to do so.  Interesting how the Lord prepared me beforehand to fulfill His commandments.  It's like Nephi really knew what he was talking about or something.  Later, I gave a sister a blessing that she had asked for, and I felt pretty inspired in giving it.  I feel like when I give blessings is when I'm most guided by the Spirit, and I think I usually say what the Lord wanted that person to hear.  Anyway, she cried, and I felt good, so that was a nice experience.
I also found two things in the Book of Mormon that I hadn't noticed before.  In Alma 15, after Alma and Amulek watch all the righteous get burned, heal and convert Zoram and baptize a whole bunch of people, then it mentions that Amulek had been rejected by all his family and kinsmen and he was a little down about that.  In verse 18, Alma takes him back to Zarahemla to his own house and administers to him.  I thought that was just a tender moment in that history that I liked a lot.  Later, in Alma 17, it talks about how before Ammon and his brethren split up, Ammon, being their leader, gave them counsel, training, and testimony.  That made me think of a little MTC experience for them, and I just know that we are involved today in the same great work.
I would've sent pictures this week, but we went to an internet place that's lame, so I have no way to upload pictures.  Let's shoot for next week.
I know that this is the Lord's work and that His Almighty hand is in it.  I know that the Lord calls the humble and weak so that He can convince the people of all nations through the power of His Spirit.  I know that Heavenly Father loves every one of His children, and has given them all the chance to return to live with Him.  I know that His plan is perfect, and will grant us the greatest degree of happiness in this life and the eternities.  I know that Jesus Christ is central to God's plan, and that the Atonement allows us to put off the natural man and become a saint.  I know that as we strive to live the Gospel, the Lord will help us overcome our weaknesses.  There is nothing out of His loving reach.  As we come unto Him in every sense of the phrase, He will take us in the loving arms of His embrace.  I know that it's true because I have felt it, and I know that He stands waiting for all of God's children with open arms if we will but come unto Him.

Elder Facer

Monday, October 15, 2012

D&C 29:7

Carol's baptism
American-made brownies in Jurica.  Can life get any better?  I submit that it cannot
Well Carol got baptized this week.  Sweet.  She said the closing prayer at the service and started crying.  She'll just be a great little convert if you ask me.  She was one who the Lord definitely prepared to hear the Gospel.  I also bore my testimony this week (fast sunday was this week for us), and I think that'll probably be a more regular thing.  I just don't think there's anything I love more than sharing the Gospel, whether it's with members, non-members, or anywhere inbetween.  Probably also expect monthly testimonies when I get home as well.  The rest of the week was fairly uneventful, though.  Mostly we're just spending our time trying to find new investigators, but to no avail.  In the last three weeks, we've only found 2 new investigators (easily the worst 3 weeks in my mission).  That's frustrating, but I'm not letting myself get frustrated over it.  I know we have to just keep working as hard as we can, and the Lord will do the rest.  One goal I put after conference was to acknowledge more the Lord's will instead of mine and ask that it be done when I pray.  Accepting it is probably the hardest part, but I'm working on it.
Good news: we went to the offices today and Alyssa's letters were there.  9/2 is missing, so please send that one again, but I got 9/9-9/23.  I'll explain a little more about why that worked out great that you didn't have stamps in my letter to you today.  9/9 was a real winner.  Thanks a million!
Well about this area, essentially the only thing the members do is give us meals, and that's not always.  This ward needs a lot, and I mean a lot of help as far as missionary work goes.  Basically the only real contact I've been able to have with the bishop was him telling me I should be disobedient because the end justifies the means (I didn't agree with that for one minute), the mission leader doesn't want to help us, and the only members who even try to give us referrals have their rights suspended, and can't really help in the lessons, which essentially defeats the purpose.  We finally figured out when ward council is, so we're going this week and we'll see if we can't make some changes.  I'm certainly trying to find opportunities to serve others, but I must not be paying very close attention, because I'm not finding very many.  I did wash the dishes at a house because the sister wasn't there (otherwise she wouldn't have let us).  I know very few of the missionaries in the mission because all the ones I did know are mostly home now.  
It sounds like everyone's staying busy, so that's good.  Tara, I'm sorry you lost your game, but I'm glad you're still focused on preparing for a mission.  I just can't think of anything that should take priority over that (unless it were getting married, but maybe don't do that quite yet).  That's great that Scott got into BYU.  I can tell you from experience that working 40 hours and having a full schedule is very do-able, even if it does mean you'll be really busy.  Granted, 20 of my hours were from 4-7 in the morning every day, but still, it counts.  Thanks, Alicia for the pictures.  Canyon looks like just a taller version of his 4 year old self, but I think Savanna looks a lot more grown up now.  I didn't hear from Lys this week, so I hope everything's swell there.  I almost don't hear from Brig anymore, either (only when mom tells me about him) but I guess I asked for that when I didn't write him when he was out.  I forgot to mention last week, I did see Tori in the choir, but almost didn't recognize her.  It took 3 or 4 times of seeing her to be sure, but that was fun.  
I know that this is the Lord's work.  I know that we all play an important part in it, and that the Lord expects us to do what He has called us to do.  I know that doing so will bring us true joy in this life.  I know that God is our Father.  He loves us more than we can imagine.  I know that He hears and answers our humble prayers of faith.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  His Atonement makes it possible for us to overcome sin, death, and all of our human frailties.  I know that as we strive to become like Him, He will make our weaknesses become strengths.  I know that His Gospel is the only way to happiness in this life.  Nothing else will fill us with the Holy Ghost and the love of God like living the Gospel and loving it.  I know that Joseph Smith restored this, the only true and living church, to the earth in these days.  I know that we were among the noble and great ones that Abraham saw, and that God has saved us for these last days in order to bring about the most good that has been known in this world.  He expects us to be exactly what we were when we were in His presence.  I know that President Monson is the Lord's anointed on the earth, and that only he is authorized to use all of the priesthood keys necessary for the ordinances of salvation.  I know that temple work is essential, and that we all must take part in it in order to receive a fulness of joy.
Elder Facer

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Conference Just for Me

Wow.  I don't know that I've ever felt the Spirit so much and received so much revelation in one weekend. I don't think there was a single moment where I wasn't on the edge of bawling or in the midst of it (I've become quite soft out here...), but it was just so great.  When President Monson made that announcement, I thought of Tara, and just knew she'd be wanting to go.  I'm so glad that she feels the desire and is thinking about it now.  This was a really excellent opportunity for me to think about how far I've come in these last 15 1/2 months and how much I still lack.  I loved the focus on discipleship because I've been focusing on that myself for a long time, and everything was just so good.  I'm still just freaking out about it.  Lys told me how Mom was just giddy over the announcement, and I feel the same, but about everything.  I really loved Sister Dibb's talk and her t-shirt slogan "I'm a Mormon.  I know it, I live it, I love it".  I think that's about how I feel about the gospel.  I just love it so much and I can't get enough of it.  Carol also came and really enjoyed conference, and so everything's looking good for her baptism this Sunday.

I had been praying already for opportunities to serve, but I realized I need to recognize the opportunities that come.  God always prepares opportunities for us to serve, to share the gospel, etc., but we have to be constantly looking for them and then act when they come.  Like Sister Burton said, we have to "observe and serve".  Since about March, I've wanted to be able to live a life like President Monson in serving and answering so many people's prayers, and I feel like this is a key part in being able to do that.  Also, Priesthood Session was the best.  All three of the first presidency's talks were just so powerful.  The cool part was that we got to see that in English at the stake center.  That just made it even more so being able to hear their real voices with their real intonation and such.  It makes a big difference.  Also, Elder Holland's talk is like one that we have on DVD that I've mentioned a few times before that I wanted to show you when I get home.  He tells the same story, but it's a little different, but super good.

Well I just feel like there wasn't much else going on this week besides conference.  Thanks for stories of grandkids and future grandkids, I always enjoy those.  Probably I imagine them a lot funnier than they really were, but I still really enjoy them.  Thanks for the update on Alyssa as well.  At our zone meeting on Wednesday, I didn't get a single letter, so the only options were that they got lost (unlikely), that she isn't writing (unthinkable), or that they just forgot to put it in the Cuautitlán mailbox and it went to Querétaro (bearable but undesirable).  That's fun that she'll be in Mexico for Christmas, and even better that she'll be back Christmas day.  It's weird, though, because she wrote me a while ago saying basically it's a Christmas Skype, a semester, and then I'm done, and it's true.  

I know that this is the only true church of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth today.  I know that it was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.  The Priesthood power is on the earth once more, and God continues to labor among His children through His Priesthood holders.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and gave a perfect sacrifice for all.  I know that just as He gave His life for us, He wants us to give our lives for His cause, dedicating all of our heart, might, mind, and strength to the building up of His kingdom.  I know that nothing will bring us greater joy than the Gospel.  Nothing can fill us with the Holy Ghost, nothing can guide us to our Heavenly Home except the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that there is no sacrifice too big to make for this cause.  God will always bless us infinitely more than what we give up.  He is our Father.  He loves us.  I know that His plan is absolutely perfect, and brings us the greatest joy we will ever experience in the eternities, but we must follow Him.  I know that Christ's commandment to "Feed My Sheep" is in full force today and that we are all participants in this great work.  We cannot pretend to have taken upon us the name of Christ at baptism, calling ourselves "Christians" unless we are willing to live up to the title of the very Son of God.  We must follow His example.  We must live His Gospel.  I know that doing so will bring us and our family the blessings of eternal life as an eternal family.  It is nothing extraordinary, it is doing exactly what God expects of us.

Elder Facer

Monday, October 1, 2012

D&C 103:28

Good news this week.  We have an investigator who came to church with a baptismal date and is really excited about the church.  Her name's Carol, and her dad is a member (baptized about 2 years ago).  She's 20, goes to college, and does whatever 20 year old girls do, I guess.  Anyway, she's really liking church and the gospel, so we should be having a baptism on the 14.  Aside from that, it was a bit of a rough week.  If you ask me, either Elder Gaytan didn't learn much from training for the first 9 weeks, or his trainer didn't do a very good job.  I imagine it's a combination of both, but it means I have a whole lot of work to do with him, and not much time to do it.  Anyway, I'm seeking the Lord's help, and I think everything will end up ok.  I don't really feel like a real trainer because it's only three weeks, but at the same time, it's probably better that way.  I think I'd be ok with training if I got to do it from the start, but being the adoptive father isn't the best.

Elder Gaytan is from Monterrey, but lived for 6 years in Austin,TX, so he speaks English well.  He likes guitar as well, but plays only metal.  He was born in the church, and is probably just like all the other Mexicans that are born in the church.  He likes to talk a lot.

The area is ok here.  We're in Teoloyucan and Coyotepec if Dad wants to google earth that.  The ward is pretty small, and from what I've heard, they've been on the decline lately as far as church attendance goes.  The members are nice, but nobody tells me their names when I introduce myself.  It's always "soy Elder Facer, mucho gusto" "ah, mucho gusto" and then they'll go on in whatever they were doing.  It's ok, though.  They were grateful that I play the piano, so for the duration of my time here, I'll get to play, which is nice, but the piano is outside of the sacrament room, so it's kind of weird.  That also means that we aren't in a real church, just a second story apartment-type building where we get to hear everything going on in the main street of Teolo during church.  Sweet.  Also, we sang "Master, the Tempest is Raging" for the sacrament hymn... I'll need to talk to someone about choosing hymns.  At least in Spanish it's called "Paz, Cálmense" which sounds a little more sacramental until you start singing it.  The work right now is pretty slow, but we'll see what happens.

That's interesting that Dad's having so many experiences of potential jobs.  I don't remember that this happened the last time, but it's nice to know that the Lord is watching out for you.  Something interesting in PMG ch. 8 on Accountability is that it says we're judged for how we used the opportunities the Lord gives us.  He's always watching out for us, but we have to take the opportunities He sends our way when it's the right one.  Brigham, take it easy on the sports and on the taking advantage of being injured to get people's phone numbers.  Not really, though.  Maybe something will come out of that.  Did Brenda ever come up to Utah or is that still future?  Good work, Tara on telling Brian to step off.  Just keep on keepin on, doing what you tell me you're doing, and things will go well.  The Lord watches over us.  It sounds like the grandkids are still just great, which is fun to hear. 

Here's my monthly letter for the ward:

Dear Windsor 7th Ward,
In studying this week, I came across D&C 103:28: "And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple."  Normally, I'd have taken that as giving your life as in dying, but I think the Lord was referring to it in several ways.  In many instances in the scriptures, the Lord asks that we serve Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.  We must literally lay down "our lives" at His feet so that our life becomes His.  True discipleship isn't just going through the  motions, it is giving all that we have willingly to the Lord.  It isn't just good advice, we are under covenant to do so.  One of the greatest desires I've developed as a missionary is to be a true disciple of Christ.  I know that this is an essential part of that.  I know that only those who lose their lives for Christ's sake will find it in the eternities.  Giving all of ourselves to the Lord is essential for our temporal and eternal happiness.  I know that as you seek the Lord early, placing His will first in every case, He will shed the blessings of heaven on your lives, and will make instruments of you in His hands.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ.  Nowhere else can we find the fulness of His everlasting Gospel.  Nowhere else can we see the full fruits of living that Gospel, and in no other way can we return to the presence of God.  I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal us, comfort us, and lift us to a higher plane of living.  He is the way, the truth and the life.  Only by trusting in His redeeming love can we obtain the blessings of exaltation.  I know that the family is central to God's plan for our happiness.  He has given to us the privilege, formerly reserved only for Himself, of creating a family.  He loves us and wants us to become like Him.  I know that through the Atonement, we can become an eternal family by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.  That is His promise, and the Lord always keeps His promises.

Elder Facer