Monday, January 28, 2013

Bienvenidos a Valle Dorado

Well that title obviously means I've been transferred.  I'm now in the Valle Dorado ward of the Valle Dorado stake.  My new companion is Elder Turek.  He's from Layton, and has one transfer more than me in the mission.  Judging by our first few hours together, we have a whole lot in common, but more on that in a minute.  This week we finally made a little more progress with E. Vicente.  We had a much better week, and even got investigators to church.  Naturally, I got transferred just in time to not take further part in their conversion.  The Lord knows best.  I've gained what I feel like is the correct perception of being transferred and working in an area, and I feel like I applied it well in Teoloyucan.  It isn't important that the members or investigators remember us.  It isn't a big deal that the members are remembering "oh remember that Elder Facer?  He did this and that and was it was just a hoot to have him here" (nobody in Mexico would say that, but you get what I mean).  What should happen is people think "do you remember that one elder that was here?  He really helped us progress and learn, and he was a great example of Christlike service.  Lets try to be like he was".  I'm not saying I was excellent in Teolo, but I feel like my influence was more far-reaching than I may have previously thought.  The comments I got from members weren't so much "we'll miss you.  We had a great time together", it was more "thanks for all that you taught us.  It meant a lot to us that you came when you did".  I feel like that was real success.  Sitting in Relief Society (I gave a lesson there) yesterday, I looked around at all the sisters and saw some 5 or 6 that have reactivated through our efforts and the Lord's help, and I realized that my work in that area was more to rescue those that have already known the gospel and fallen away.  It's something I struggled with before because I think it's just illogical for people to fall away from the church, but I worked on it and saw many fruits.

That was a long paragraph.  Anyway, Elder Turek is my new companion.  He's about 6 feet tall, blonde, and blue-eyed.  He's possibly more of a nerd than I am, which is awesome.  He's really positive, and has had a similar mission experience to mine.  Both of us feel like right now is the time for us to put our strengths together and have a lot of success.  We get along really well together, think alike, and are really on the same page as far as missionary work.  In short, I'm really excited to be here with him, and I'm hoping and praying that we'll have a lot of sucess.

It sounds like a pretty full week for everyone at home.  First off, thanks to the Day family for your card.  That's good that Dad got a new job.  As much as I'm sure he likes driving all across Utah again, I couldn't see that being too profitable.  I know at least as well as Dad that appointments can fall through frequently, so the change is good.  That's cool that Brig has been able to have opportunities with what he learned on his mission.  As much as I know he wants to date and get married, maybe now just isn't the time.  Something I've tried to focus on lately is that faith in God includes faith in His timing.  We have to be patient and trust in His will and His infinite love for us and we move on, striving to do our best.  It sounds like Tara's staying busy as well.  Good work on the soccer tournament.  I know Alyssa didn't like Bro. Frost, but I really liked him.  Maybe every day wasn't the most spiritual, but for who I was at the time and what I needed spiritually, he was really good for me and helped me a lot.  That's so great that Mom and Dad got to do so many sealings.  One thing I most look forward to is frequent temple attendance when I get home.  The Lord has impressed upon me a very clear understanding of the importance of temple and family history work, and I want to do as much of it as I can as soon as I'm done.  Alyssa, I'll try to ask you on dates that aren't indexing or going to the temple (although there may be some of those as well), so don't worry about that.  We'd have a good time doing it anyway.  It sounds like stake conference was really good.  I think I'll get home just in time to miss the next one.  Darn.  I've come to realize that it's always the greatest among us who know how to be the most humble.  The little that I know of Pres. Hughes has certainly demonstrated that.  I'm loving all these nutty grandkid antics.  I love hearing the funny things they do, and am excited to participate in that.  No knocking doors is world-wide as far as I'm aware.  They've now lifted that in Mexico with the 2013 area plan saying missionaries "generally" won't knock doors or contact and that "practically" all of their investigators will come from member referrals.  Really the only times we'll ever knock will be when expressly indicated by the Spirit.

Here's the ward letter:

Windsor 7th Ward,
I've been particularly impressed lately by President Packer's talk from this last conference.  How many of us are like the two elders on the shore that, having lost faith or hope, have fallen asleep on duty while helpless mariners struggle amidst the torments of life?  We can't be passive participants in the work of the Lord.  Such a person doesn't even exist.  We are fully invested, or we need to ask ourselves "who's on the Lord's side, who?"  As the hymn, Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy, says, "But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore".  We have a great work to do.  We have been sent to earth in the end of the last dispensation before Christ's second coming because the Father knows that we will be the most effective disciples in the history of this world.  The Church of Jesus Christ has spread farther than it ever has, and the work must go on.  Review hymn #335 and your personal duties as disciples of your Savior.  Review your efforts in bringing souls to Him.  Repent if you need to, and go save those lost mariners.  They can't make it to the shore without the light that we shine across the towering waves of despair that rage in the lives of "those who know not God".  "Let the lower lights be burning, send a gleam across the wave.  Some poor fainting, struggling seaman you may rescue, you may save".  Let us save those who are lost, going to the rescue to all who stand in need of it, before they ask our help.  As was said a few conferences ago, if we see someone drowning, are we going to ask if they need help?  Don't ask, just go and do.  The Lord will prepare the way.  I testify of the sacred comission we have as member's of the only true church to preach the gospel and administer the ordinances thereof.  I testify that the greatest blessings in this life and eternity come as we bring others unto Christ, beginning with our family and moving outward from there (D&C 18:15-16).

Elder Facer

Tomorrow Elder Nelson and Elder Ballard will be coming to the MTC here in Mexico, so we're going to go see them and I'm stoked.  Later in February, Elder Alonso (of the 70, 2nd counselor in the Mexico area presidency) will be coming to our mission as well.  There's certainly much to be learned in these next few months.  I'm just really excited with the way things are going right now.  I've made so much progress, but I know I still have a long way to go before June. 

I know that this is the Lord's work and He directs it.  I know that God knows us perfectly and loves us infinitely.  I know that He will do all things for us if we will simply obey Him and show our love in return.  We like to complicate life sometimes, but really just simply living the gospel will bring us all the happiness and blessings we need.  We don't need to worry about what we'll wear, eat, etc.  When we are doing the Lord's will, we will be sustained by His Almighty hand.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  All things are possible to those who trust in Him and wait on Him.  I testify that His Atonement can heal us physically and spiritually.  There is no limit to His love, and thus to His power to heal and save us.  I know that the Church has been restored in these latter days.  Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's mouthpiece today.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I testify that ministering to others in the Lord's way will shower the greatest and richest blessings of heaven upon us.

Elder Facer

Monday, January 21, 2013

2nd to Last Zone Conference (probably)

This was something of a difficult week. We're still having a hard time finding, and now even the members are beginning to bail on appointments.   Fortunately, we had zone conferences on Friday, so I got to ask President for a little help. I'm hoping we can work out a good resolution so everything can function as it should. I just realized that tomorrow I turn 19 months and I may only have one more zone conference. That's just nuts. Anyway, that was the only real highlight of the week. Other than that it's just business as usual. Also, good news from zone conference included several letters from Alyssa and pictures and letters from Alyssa L., Mike and Lisa, the stake presidency, and two from Emily.

Dad, if you think the American government is causing problems, don't look into Mexico. I don't know anything that's going on, but I don't hear very many people that like anything about their leaders here. I try to just tell them that we should be supportive because the Lord knows why He allowed these people to be in charge. It usually doesn't go over well, but that's ok I guess. Congratulations to Scott and Alicia on your third child. I'd love to hear stats (length, weight, APGAR score, etc... it is called APGAR, right? Human Development was so long ago...). It's strange to think that there'll be two new babies when I get back. I don't feel like I talk down to the members here. Even if I do, lots of people tell me that it's usually just what they needed to hear. The sister we wash our clothes with told me today I always say just what Teoloyucan needs, so that was a nice compliment. Mom, I'm glad you got to play the piano in primary. I've come to realize that the primary songs are really the best. As much as I want to play the organ in sacrament meeting, I just wouldn't choose anything over primary pianist if I were given the choice.

I hope everything goes well for everyone this week. January's about over and time is just flying. Jeff's home, Trent gets home soon (or is home... I don't remember exactly when he left), then it's just Paul and me. Also, Alyssa updated me that several more friends are engaged. As great as the pre-mission days were, I feel like things will just keep getting better. I'm sure grateful for progress in life. Being the same just isn't as fulfilling as moving onward, forward, and upward.

I just got Alicia's email with Avery pics and stats. Thanks.

I know that God is our Father. What precious knowledge that is. I know that He knows us perfectly, and loves us equally perfectly. I know that the gospel will bring us happiness if we will just strive to live it. There is absolutely no other way. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He is our Shepherd, and will lead us safely back to our Father's presence with our families. I know that because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He fills us with joy and peace so there's no room for any wickedness. I know that the trials we pass through are for our good. I know that as we are humble and meek, the Lord will carve out room in our souls, removing sins and sorrows, to make room for even greater joy. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It along with the Bible give us a fulness of truth to help us know our Father more fully and follow Him with greater purpose of heart. I know that President Monson is a true prophet of God. He is the only man on earth authorized to exercise all the keys of God's priesthood. His words are the words that God would have us hear.

Elder Facer

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mosiah 23:21

Things are still slow.  All the progress we made last week with E. Vicente has now reversed, and he's going back to everything he was doing before.  The good news is we had a good sacrament meeting and not just because I spoke.  I got several compliments first of all on the hymns this week.  I felt like I put a special effort to making them extra good this week.  Also, I got several compliments on my talk, which I felt went over well.  The bishop's wife is just sure I'll be a general authority one day and had to ask what calling dad has to see if leadership runs in the family.  I don't see it, but it was a nice compliment.  Other than that, I spent the week toiling to not waste time.  It seems like right now anything more is just a little too much to ask.

We had the assistants come over on Friday for our companion study just to see how things are going.  We did lots of practices so they could see how we are with teaching.  We got some really good suggestions and feedback, and it's helping me improve.  Unfortunately, as soon as they were gone, my companion forgot everything they said.  E. Jimenez (one of the assistants) gave me a really nice compliment as well, saying that the mission needs more missionaries like me.  He said right now there aren't many strong leaders or teachers, and it would be great if more missionaries had my ability.  I've never considered myself that good, but it was a very nice, and more importantly sincere, compliment.

It sounds like everything's going well at home.  Mom, good luck with PhySci.  It's never been one of my favorite subjects either, but I'll have to take it, too.  I love the material, but have never enjoyed the classes.  That's good that you and Lys are exercising again.  Brigham had a pretty busy weekend.  Too bad Brenda isn't quite what he was hoping for.  There are lots of returned missionaries here that aren't married and don't really want to, so I'm just proud of you for being anxiously engaged in a very good cause.  Even with the small chance that mine and Alyssa's relationship doesn't work out, the chance that it might sure makes me feel fortunate. Also, I finally got letters from Alyssa this week.  I sure wish you would've told me you sent three at a time.  I'm all current up to 12/5, and we may get more this week with zone conferences.  It sounds like all the grandkids (minus the newest ones) are just growing right up.  There are lots of kids like Andrew here, but I can usually find a way to calm them down.  I'm excited to see pictures of Alicia's baby, so be sure to send them with all the details (the relevant ones, anyway, I know how birth works.  Don't send those details.).  Scott, which class is art history?  I took Music 202, which was music civ, and we had to learn about art history as well, and I can sympathize with you on that one.  I think I'd appreciate it more now, but when I took it, that was almost comparable to political science.  Dad, keep up the good work with Spanish, but maybe try to learn more than asking for beer.  Será más útil si aprendes a decir las cosas que realmente vas a decir en la vida.  Cerveza no cae en esa categoría, para que sepas.  Congrats to Brian on your mission call!  Make sure you prepare yourself well.  I've found out that pre-mission preparation plays a very big role in your ability to catch on and get in the swing of things right off the bat (that was an unintentional baseball pun).

Thanks to the former Edgar Peña for writing me.  It was great to hear from you, and I'm glad to hear things are going well.  It means a lot that you've kept up with me still.  I can safely say you've been my favorite companion thus far, and had the most far-reaching influence.  Thanks again, and good luck with school, friends, family, church, life, etc.

I know that God is our Father.  He truly knows us individually.  I know that His love for us extends far beyond what we will every comprehend as mortals.  I know that His plan is perfect, and that if we follow it, it will bring us true happiness.  I know that the family is ordained of God, and the fulness of happiness that He promises is based on our returning to His presence as families, or at the very least, husband and wife sealed together.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  I know that His Atonement is perfect, and is the central component of God's plan.  I know that as we live the gospel, the Atonement takes effect in our lives, and we can be healed of all physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual maladies.  His power to heal us is only surpassed by His desire to do so, and there is nothing we will ever suffer that He can't empathize with and heal if it is His will.  I know that meek submission to God's will makes us more like Christ, and more capable of handling our trials.  I know that the Lord tries our patience and faith because He loves us and knows that only in this way can we become more like Him and prepared to return to live with Him eternally.

Elder Facer

Monday, January 7, 2013

"Come, Let Us Anew"

                           Christmas dinner! I couldn't have been happier
                                                        I wrapped that

            This is a tlayuda.  It's pretty big and really good
                                                 This dog is huge!
Well here we are at the beginning of another new year.  It's starting to dawn on me how little time I have left.  As of today, I've got 5 1/2 months left.  That's nuts.  Things are still a little rough here, but they're at least improving.  I had to have a very stern talk with E. Vicente, but the good news is he's being more obedient.  Not completely, mind you, but's it's a step in the right direction, and that's perfectly fine with me.  E. Maxwell talks a lot about the important thing is being pointed in the right direction, not the velocity with which we advance.  I've decided to make a book of his best quotes now that I've printed off all of his conference talks.  It'll be pretty good.  Anyway, we still aren't finding at all, but we're working more with the less-actives, and had 2 families come back to church this week.  One is a couple that was sealed a while ago but just stopped coming because they found easier things to do than travel by combi for a half hour to get to church on Sundays.  The other is the mom and daughter to whom we took groceries on the 30.  I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting and gave the lesson in Relief Society about the work of salvation.  I was given little notice, but it turned out quite well if you ask me.  

I sure hope you can save the joker.  If not, I still want in on the decision for the "new" car.  That's interesting that so much has been happening as far as house problems lately.  I know we've had colder temperatures than that, so who knows why it all happened this year.  I like the gift you gave to grandma and grandpa.  Plan on my help with expanding that when I get home.  By the way, thanks grandpa and grandma Sumner and the Lesser family for your Christmas cards that I received this week.  It sounds like Dad's new job is a little rough, but at least he's working.  Regarding Bishop William's comments, I've always felt that a missionary doesn't need an obedient companion to help him be obedient, even if he's new.  Obedience is something that needs to be learned long before coming on a mission, especially with all that has been changing and improving for missionary work.   I certainly understand your point of view, and I agree that it's very important, but I wouldn't apply it to obedience.  Everywhere else, though, I agree.  Why is it bad news that we got changed to the 1-4 schedule?  That would just mean we have more time in the morning to study, prepare ourselves, and invite the Spirit.  I'm totally fine with that.  Happy birthday Brigham.  I remembered your birthday last week, but forgot to mention it.  Happy birthday Alyssa S. this week.  You'll finally be as old as I am for a few months.

I know that this is the Lord's work.  We can only do it in His way, or we won't have His blessings.  I testify that we are all part of it, and we are all entitled to the blessings that He promises us when we do things His way.  I know that Heavenly Father loves us.  His love, mercy, and grace are infinite, as are His justice, fairness, and patience.  Thank goodness, because we all need those at some point or another.  I know that the trials we pass through are for a reason.  Very seldom do we understand the why while we're in them, but God always has a wise purpose in putting us through tough times.  I know that the fact that He tests us is a manifestation of His love and His desire to help us become like Him.  I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of all those who accept that fact and live the gospel.  No one is exempt or uncapable of receiving those blessings.  I know that the Atonement can heal us, lift us, and strengthen us.  I testify that only by living the gospel of Jesus Christ can we attain to those blessings and receive all that the Father hath.  There is no serendipity when it comes to receiving blessings, everything is deliberate.  I know that this is Jesus Christ's true church, and that His power, even the priesthood of God, is on the earth once more and can only be found in this church.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and contains a fulness of the everlasting gospel.

Elder Facer