Monday, February 25, 2013

Small and Simple Things

Things are still a little slow here.  We're starting to get a lot more member participation, which is awesome, and I'm sure we'll start seeing results from that soon, but the transitions are always a little difficult.  We had several people that were going to come to church this week, but, as usual, they all cancelled last minute or just didn't show up.  We did have one cool experience with a less-active brother, though.  We visited them on Friday and invited him to come to church.  He said yes, but it really wasn't very sure or convincing.  He left to go do some work on his car, so we stayed to talk with his wife.  We shared a message and finished with a prayer.  She asked me to say the prayer, and I asked for her husband to have the desire to come to church.  Unbeknownst to me, he walked in right at that moment, and felt that he really needed to go to church.  He came Sunday, and I gave the Gospel Principles class about prayer.  He shared with everyone that it was because of that prayer that he decided to come.  It was a very sweet testimony-building experience about the power of doing small and simple things (D&C 64:33-34).

Aside from that, it was a pretty slow week.  We went to the offices today, and I got a letter from Emily and three letters from Alyssa, which was a very welcome surprise.  They came right when I needed them, so I really appreciate it.  It's a little (a lot) strange to think that I turned 20 months this week.  4 months just isn't very much time left.  I do feel good about what I'm doing, though, and I'm happy that I'll probably finish in this area.  There were 8 new missions created in Mexico, and they're taking the three Querétaro stakes from us as well as two in Hidalgo (Valle del Mesquital and Tezontepec) to contribute to the Querétaro and Pachuca missions.  Basically, everyone that's in those areas on July 1 (when the missions are officially created) will become a part of those missions.  Unfortunately, I finish the week before that, so I won't get to presence that.  I was really excited when I heard about it, though, and I'm just happy to be serving right now.

It sounds like everyone's still staying busy.  I wish the Joker would just decide if it's going to live or not.  This suspense is just killing me.  I was never into those school pageants.  Good work for participating, though, Tara.  I'm sure it was a hoot.  I'm sure there will be many more males to be checked off of her list before anything serious happens.  That's weird that Jeff's home.  I guess we're at the end of February, though, so it makes sense.  I thought I had heard that he lost weight, though.  Maybe it was somebody else.  Anyway, that's great that he's home and had what I imagine was a pretty successful mission.  That's great that Trent and Sally are engaged.  I can't say I'm surprised, but I'm glad I got to hear about it.  I got Ian Stepp's engagement pictures last week along with a little package, which was really nice.  He was lucky enough to have his girlfriend go on a mission when he was 6 months out (they got home the same week), and now they're hitched.  

Here's the ward letter:

Windsor 7th Ward,

D&C 88:73 is true.  The Lord is speeding along His work at a very swift pace.  How blessed we are to live in these days!  I feel especially blessed to be on the "front lines" serving as a missionary.  The Lord will not slow down, wait, or stop for us.  We've got to keep up with Him and His work until Christ is again on His earth.  Something that was impressed on me these last few days is the influence that my family has had on me in preparing to take part in this work.  A few months ago in the Ensign, there was an article about senior missionaries, and it said something to the effect that a blessing of senior couples serving is to set the example of "in this family, we serve missions".  I was fortunate enough to have a family that gave me a strong example of that.  I strongly encourage any of you who is of age and capable of serving a mission to do so, both youth and older couples.  Set the example for your future generations.  The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few, but they need not be few.  I would hope that every single young man would maintain himself worthy and prepare himself for full-time missionary service.  There is simply no greater blessing for an 18-year-old than what the Lord offers through our small sacrifice in serving Him.  Young women who have the desire to do so, I encourage the same.  Couples who are able to serve, don't doubt, just go and do.  I testify that missionary service brings more blessings than almost anything else that a person can do.  Being dedicated wholly to the Lord is the absolute greatest experience that one can have outside of having a family.  I wish I could impress upon each of you the seemingly infinite blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon me these last 20 months.  The fact is: I can't.  They are too great and too numerous to make any sort of effort at it.  I know that there are people who are waiting specifically for each one of us to come to them and teach them the restored gospel.  Let us all first convert ourselves, then do all we can to strengthen our brethren (Luke 22:32), including full-time service for those who qualify.  I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the whole world, and are all invited to come unto Him.

Elder Joseph Facer

I know that God is aware of all of us.  He knows all of our specific needs, desires, and difficulties.  I testify that He will help freely all who come to Him and seek Him out.  I know that Jesus Christ suffered for every single person who will every live on this earth and countless others created by our loving Heavenly Father.  I know that we are children of God, and can be heirs to all that He has.  I know that the Atonement is central to God's plan for our eternal happiness, and that we can only obtain a fulness of blessings as we live the gospel in order to unlock those special blessings.  I testify that none of you ever need be alone.  Because of the Atonement, the Spirit of Christ permeates every corner of the universe, and we can all feel His divine love, no matter who, where, or what we are.  God makes no exceptions for anybody, either for justice or for mercy.  I testify that as we strive to live the gospel, the windows of heaven will be opened in our lives, and the richest blessings of a loving Father will be ours.

Elder Facer

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Special Witnesses

This week was all right.  Mostly just more striving and striving to find people.  Thankfully, we did, but nobody came to church.  It's ok, though.  I still feel like we worked hard, and we at least didn't have a terrible week.  One good thing was a surprise investigator coming to church who was referred to the church by her Peruvian friend.  Awesome.  She had to leave before we could talk to her, so all we have is an appointment for tomorrow.  Here I was hoping to put a baptismal date...  oh well.  We'll do it tomorrow.  Aside from that, the big news this week was a visit from Elder José L. Alonso of the 70 and area presidency.  We had a really good meeting, and I feel like it was just what I needed.  He talked a lot about conversion and baptism, but mostly about who we are and what we're capable of.  It's interesting that Elder Nelson and Elder Alonso made that a big focus point.  I've been studying a little more to figure out just what they're going for, and it's been going good.
We got to speak yesterday in church, and I had been pondering all week on what to speak on.  By Sunday morning, I still wasn't really sure.  It wasn't until the sacrament that I really knew what topic to speak on, but it still went over really well.  I felt that I needed to talk about repentance.  I shared the parables from Luke 15 and Alma's conversion story (Alma 36).  It was all based on Luke 22:32 and how before we strengthen our brethren, we need to be converted and repent.  I think half the ward complimented both the talk and my Spanish, which was really nice.  I had several people tell me that the talk was just what they needed to hear, and one of them even invited us to go get Costco pizza today (but Costco's out of the mission... dang it).  Anyway, it was cool to see how even without knowing what to say beforehand, the Lord can use me as an instrument to touch people's hearts right where they need it.
I didn't know Lys and Manuel were going to Peru again, but that's fun that they got another trip.  I imagine they're just raking it in, so that's sure nice.  Too bad Andrew's all sick and diarrhea-ish.  That's something any missionary in Mexico can relate to.  I can, however, assure you that it will pass before you know it.  The only advice we get is "drink plenty of water and wait it out".  That's fun that Alex is growing a lot.  He'll just be a little chunk by the time I'm back (which is coming surprisingly quickly).  I'm glad everything ended up ok with Avery, too.  That's fun that Tara's going for Miss T.  I was always glad I never got nominated for things like that precisely so I wouldn't have to make videos and do talents and dances and what not.  That was just never my thing. 
Thanks Alyssa and Gonzalez family for letters this week.  Alyssa, there is no longer a post office in my area, so letters may be a little more sparse up until the end.  The closest one is out of the mission, but some elders in the district said they know a sister that takes their mail for them.  It's probably a lot riskier, but it's our only hope.  Thanks for your constant love and support.
I know that this is the Lord's work.  He can and does perform miracles based on our faith.  I know that we are in the only true church of Jesus Christ on the earth.  There is no other, and there is no other gospel that can produce salvation.  I know that God loves us so much.  He hears our prayers, and always answers in the way that helps us most, especially when it isn't how we are expecting.  I know that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to perform a perfect Atonement to save all men that will hearken unto His voice.  I know that we can repent and be completely clean and pure if we comply with the conditions that He has given us.  I know that we are never too far gone to repent, and not a single one of us is without need to do so.  I know that He awaits us with open arms as we effect this mighty change in our hearts.  No blessings will be withheld to the repentant sinner.  I know that repentance is the key to experiencing the greatest joys of this life, and consequently, eternal life.

Elder Facer

Monday, February 11, 2013

Faith Precedes the Miracle

Well we also had an interesting week here.  Unfortunately, we're having a hard time finding here as well.  We're certainly working hard, and I feel good about the effort we put in, but there were just so few results.  We had several days that were full of appointments with referrals and everything looked great, then everyone cancels on us an hour before.  That can happen about once a week and be normal, but it happened four days this week.  To top things off, we got a call from Javier on Saturday that his whole family suddenly got sick and didn't think they could come to church for his confirmation.  We headed over with 1 Ne. 4:6 plastered on our faces.  When we showed up, I felt that we just needed to teach what we had planned and give him a blessing, leaving it in the Lord's hands. In the blessing, I was inspired to promise him to feel well enough to go to his confirmation and we left.  They called us Sunday morning to say "can we come pick you up and go together?"  Needless to say, we were extremely relieved.  I know that God provided us that miracle because we had the faith that He could and would.

I can't believe the week that you had at home.  I'm so glad everything ended up ok with Avery.  I suppose the problem with only hearing from you once a week is not being able to pray for things like that when they come.  The good news is that I've learned a whole lot about trusting in the Lord's purposes, so I'm sure it's for something.  I'm glad that things are going well with Lys and Manuel in Peru.  I wish I had some kind of business plan like theirs so I can make some good money when I get back.  Every time I hear about their business, I just realize how blessed they are for having done that, and I'm sure I'll need some additional income when I get home.  The same problem with the youth exists here, and I imagine it's even worse than there.  We had a meeting with the bishop to start planning real missionary work, and he told us that he doesn't know who ward missionaries could be because essentially all of the youth and young single adults are in disciplinary action and the adults that aren't work literally all day.  Satan is just attacking so hard right now.  If we aren't firmly planted on the Rock of Christ, we won't be able to stand when he sends forth his torments and fiery darts.  

I forgot to mention that last week all the Mexico City missions had a meeting with Elder Nelson in the MTC in DF.  He talked about our lineage and what it means to be of the Abrahamic Covenant.  It was pretty cool, but not what any of us were expecting.  This week we'll have a meeting with Elder Alonso (counselor in the area presidency), so that should be good as well.

I know that this is the only true gospel on the earth. God is our Father and He loves us so much.  I know that He is always mindful of us, our circumstances, and our needs.  I testify of the power of pure, sincere prayer, and I know that God hears and answers our prayers.  Even when His timing and will are different than ours, He answers with our progress and happiness in mind every time.  I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.  His Atonement is the only way that we can be saved and exalted.  I know that as we come unto Him, He will take away our sorrows and pains, making our burdens light.  I testify of the comfort that we can receive as we do so.  There is absolutely nothing that is beyond His ability and desire to help, heal, and save us.


Elder Facer

Monday, February 4, 2013

Part Member families=gold mines

                                                              Javier's baptism
great sunrise in Teolo
Well good news this week: we had a baptism!  An 11-year-old boy named Javier whose parents have recently reactivated got baptized this week, and it was pretty cool.  Apparently, he took a while to get a testimony, but the week I got here, he had just got it, so we just taught all the lessons and he got baptized yesterday.  That just made the day/week even better.  Being fast Sunday, I also bore my testimony and heard several good ones.  We got to the meetings and nobody was playing the piano, so I decided to just get up and do it.  Sr. Call once told a story and the moral was "all you have to do is help without being asked".  So I did.  Anyway, it was just a good week even though we didn't have anyone else in church.  Also, during weekly planning, I was checking the area book for recent converts and found about 30 or more kids from the membership records that aren't members.  Sweet.  That means we'll be working a lot with the recent converts that are less active to reactivate them and complete their families.

 Valle Dorado is probably my richest area in general.  In Jurica, there were nicer parts, but there was also the less-nice parts (where we lived and beyond).  Here, everything's just nice.  The members are great, and they need a lot of help figuring out how to do missionary work.  It seems like the elders before haven't done much as far as working with them, so now that we are, they're just starting to make it happen.  That's ok, though.  I hope I can leave this area with a bunch of members that know how to be missionaries and want to be missionaries.  That's my goal here.  The only downside to this area is that it's basically a bunch of hills.  I'm not talking like Windsor Park hills; these are huge inclines that would prepare a person to hike Everest or something.  Anyway, I'll just be in better shape when I come home, then.  

 Mom, good work on your test.  I learned all about sound waves in my acoustics class, and I do think it's really interesting.  I had forgotten that Lys and Manuel were going to Peru, but it sounds like it'll be a pretty good trip.  Lys, I know what you mean about relatives or family never leaving.  It's the same way here, too.  Tunas are from Mexico, and they grow on the Nopal plant (cactus species).  They're pretty good, but I don't know if they exist in the states.  I'll be happy to run the business so mom, dad, and Tara can rest, but only if I can't go to Peru with you guys.   Brig, you're completely trained to help Rusty out now.  Do what you can, and know that the Lord will help you out.  Have you ever considered inviting the missionaries to go see him with you?  I know what you mean, Mom, about controlling your thoughts.  That's really one of the keys to having the Spirit with you, and even though it's hard, it's so worth it.  I do know Michael Rife as well as Hillary Bodine, so that's fun that they'll be getting married.

 I'm short on time so I've got to wrap it up.  I know that God is our Father and that He loves us.  Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and as we apply His Atonement, our life improves without fail.  I know that obedience and love are the keys to finding happiness as we strive to live the Gospel.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that we are guided today by a living prophet.

 Elder Facer