Monday, April 29, 2013

D&C 88:73

                       Reyes Baeza family baptism
I'm running out of movie parody pictures

                       Happy day, all is well
Well this week we had a special stake conference for the division of the stake.  Elder De Hoyos was there as well as a new area seventy, but I didn't catch his name.  The meeting was pretty good, but Elder De Hoyos' talk was just all over the place.  It was fun that afterwards I had several people from Valle Dorado come up and say hi to me including Teresa, whom E. Turek and I baptized.  While I was there she thanked us, but just kind of casually.  Sunday, she made a big deal of how grateful she was that we helped her and made sure I had at least two of her business cards in case one gets lost so I can contact her later.  It was cool that it really did mean to her what I hoped it would.  There was also a member from Teoloyucan who moved to Atizapan (in the stake) who made a big deal out of coming to see me as well.  She was a recent convert, so we visited her somewhat frequently, but she made a big deal that she learned a lot from me and was really grateful for having known me and also gave me her phone number so I could keep her updated and come visit when I'm in Mexico again.  It was just fun to see what kind of influence I've had in several places and that I've been able to help at least a few of God's children. 

It sounds like everyone's had a pretty good week.  It's strange to me that Brig'll be gone when I'm back.  I always had the idea that he'd be there where I get home, but I guess I'll have to wait a little longer.  What's a couple of months more next to 3 and a half years anyway?  I sure love all the emphasis on missionary work that's going on.  I have several moments each week where I just realize how much I love what I'm doing and ask Heavenly Father to let me do it in some form for the rest of my life.  It's fun to hear about the differences in Alex and Avery.  Even having been born so close, they're just such different babies.  We're all different, but it's because that's how our spirit was before this life.  I know that God places us in the family where we are for a reason.  He knows us so perfectly. 

Tomorrow we're going to the temple as a district, so I'm way excited for that.  I've learned a lot about the temple and its ordinances from study, and I've been wanting to go for a long time to review the ordinances and learn again.  I knew it was important and special before, but I've come to understand so much more how much it really means to have temples on earth.  It's just an incomparable blessing.  More so because we have the keys of the priesthood needed to administer those ordinances in this church.  I sure love the gospel. 

I heard Trent and Sally got married this week.  Congratulations to the both of you.  If I'm totally honest, I saw it coming over two years ago.  Either way, I'm really happy for both of you and look forward to seeing you guys again in a couple of months. 

I know that God is our Father.  He loves us in a way that only a Divine Father can, and I have felt that so many times.  I know that His plan is perfect.  We have to live it if we want to be happy.  I know that our trials are for perfecting us and making us more like Him.  I love the example of Job, who knew that his trials would make him "as gold".  I know that as we endure well our trials, relying wholly upon the merits of Him who is mighty to save, we will become like our Father.  I know that this only happens through Jesus Christ.  His Atonement will save all mankind that will accept it.  His love is also perfect, and I know that He will sustain us even in our darkest moments if we turn to Him.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is a witness of Jesus Christ.  I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that the true Church of Jesus Christ was restored through Him. 

Elder Facer

Monday, April 22, 2013

22 months

It's just unbelievable how fast time has gone.  I've got 9 weeks left.  It's strange to think, but now it feels right.  I've always said that time means nothing when you're on a mission and it still doesn't, but it just feels like I've been here for almost the time that I needed to be here.  I'm still going very strong, and I'm not going to let myself get distracted or anything, even if everybody wants to talk about home and summer and all that jazz.  Anyway, this week, the Reyes family got confirmed and they're all going to be great converts to this great church.  They've been helping E. Gariety (district leader) with some of his investigators, and they're just solid.  It's been great to see the transformation that's happened with them and know that the Lord has worked through me to help them with that.  I sure love this gospel.

Today we had an international chess tournament in the district (we have Americans, Mexicans, and Peruvians) and I won.  That was pretty cool.  E. Smith was way into chess before and we've been practicing at nights, so I've gotten pretty good and it all paid off today.  I had to play E. Smith in the semi's, and I beat him.  He wants a rematch tonight, but I'm still the official champion. 

Aside from that, we had zone conferences this week, and it may well have been my last.  It was very uplifting, and I continue to learn a lot from President Call.  His leadership has helped me a lot in becoming a much better missionary.  After the zone conference, I renewed my temple recommend because it expired at the end of March.  It was incredible the difference that I felt just having a current temple recommend, even if we can't really go to the temple.  I've felt a new power and authority in my work now that I'm current again.  It's cool to see that fulfilling the Lord's expectations brings so many blessings. 

Tara, I don't know what you're feeling about soccer and your future, but just keep on keeping on.  I've learned a lot about how the Lord answers prayers and the way we receive revelation to make correct decisions.  Study D&C 6, 8, and 9.  You'll find lots of helps that will lead you to make the right decision.  Elder Scott says it really well when he says that we need to make decisions based on eternal truths, not on circumstance.  Remember what is most important and decide based on what will allow you to achieve that.  Trust in the Lord and counsel with Him.  You won't go wrong.  That's funny that Brian had a rough time getting started.  Things like that happen a lot from what I've heard.  At least he isn't somewhere where losing things isn't as big of an issue as having them stolen.  That's fun that Canyon's growing up so much.  He's passed a lot of developmental milestones while I've been gone, so it'll be fun to see how much more grown up he'll be as well as the other grandkids.  I'm sure everyone's happy that finals are over.  It's strange to me that I'm already registered as a student again.  I'll be living that life in another 4 months or so.   

It looks like this computer doesn't want to accept my SD card, so pictures are still on the backburner for now.   

I know that this is the Lord's work and that He helps us as we do our very best.  I know that His plan for our happiness is perfect and that we will only be happy as we do what He has asked us.  I know that repentance brings about this plan and its blessings for all of us.  I know that we can only repent because of Jesus Christ and His perfect, infinite Atonement.  I know that every one of us has those blessings available if we will only live the gospel.  People here make their lives very complicated many times, not realizing that the gospel is simple and if we live it our lives are much better.  I know that we are all children of God and that He loves us all perfectly and infinitely.  I know that we can become like Him and enjoy all of the blessings that He enjoys if we are obedient and endure to the end. 

Elder Facer

Monday, April 15, 2013

2 Ne. 31:10-12

This week brought very good news in the form of the whole Reyes Baeza family getting baptized. Baptisms are great, but there's just something even better when it's a whole family. Knowing that they're  now on the same path towards exaltation is just really special. That was the biggest news of this week, so I'll expound a little more. The parents asked me to baptize them, which was nice. They said they really like how "correct" I am and the sense of serenity they get from me. It was a really nice compliment, and also one that I've gotten just about everywhere I've gone. Diana (the mom) found out the day of her interview that her period came a week early, so was really nervous about being in the water. In the end, she asked that we close the font doors and just have us and the witnesses in there. It was a little strange, but all went well and there were no embarassing moments.

Today we went to Teotihuacan (for my second time), and it was pretty fun. This is probaby one of my favorite districts that I've been in, so we had a good time. The only problem was that Hna. Medina (who took my place in Valle Dorado) also happened to be on her period. Sweet. That meant me and E. Smith had to run down the pyramid of the sun and across the whole avenue of the dead to get to the only store in Teotihuacan to buy some feminine relief medicine and then run all the way back to the top of the pyramid. Luckily, everything turned out just fine, and we had a good day. I definitely got more red than I was yesterday. Our district leader, E. Gariety, is also super outgoing and crazy, so he got us into lots of fun situations and took fun pictures and all that jazz. Unfortunately, this computer is incapable of letting me send pictures, so those will have to come later.

I didn't think the family email was that short last week. I took the same amount of time as ever on it. It sounds like everyone at least made it out of school alive this semester, so that's all we can hope for. I can't believe I'm already registered as a student. That's just a weird thought. Even weirder that Lys reviewed my re-entrance stuff. I'm definitely almost finished. Mom, good work on being more social and missionary minded. I'm very proud of you. Dad, I don't know what yard work there will be when I'm home, but I'm strangely excited to help you out this year. I read a talk by Pres. Uchtdorf a while ago, and ever since then I've been excited about the idea of yard work and gardening.

Happy Birthday Canyon! I hope you have a very great day. It's not everyday you turn 6 years old, right? Don't you dare pass another birthday without me in the United States, ok?

I know that this is the only true and living church on the face of the world. I know that Jesus Christ Himself directs it, and that we have His priesthood authority to administer the ordinances of salvation. I know that as we live the covenants we make through those ordinances, we can receive the blessings of exaltation. I know that there is absolutely nothing worth trading those blessings for, no matter how enticing it may seem. I know that we are led by prophets and apostles who are special witnesses of Jesus Christ. I know that their words are His words. If we follow them, we will be greatly blessed. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. We are simply helpless and hopeless without Him. The more I learn about Him, the more I love Him, and the more I realize how much I need Him. I know that His love for us is perfect and infinite because He knows us perfectly and the divine potential in each of us. I know that turning our whole soul over to Him will not only bring us closer to Him and our Father, but it will also bring us real, lasting happiness and joy.

Elder Facer

Monday, April 8, 2013

Last Conference In Mexico

I sure love conference. More so when I get to see a certain special girl singing in the choir. I had gotten her letter this week telling me she'd be singing in the Saturday afternoon session, so I paid careful attention to the musical numbers in that session. Really I was focused the whole time, but that was just really great to see her.
Conference was excellent. I think it's absolutely inspired of God to give us the opportunity to meet throughout the world twice a year to listen to the messages that He prepares for us through His chosen servants. I don't think I had any one talk that really stuck out, but there was just a strong Spirit the whole time, and I came away very uplifted. It's hard to believe that this is my last conference, but I think it'll be a welcome change to be home for the next one. I love what I'm doing, and I know I'm where I need to be right now, but I also understand why we only serve two years. We ate Mcmuffins at Mcdonalds on Friday and it reminded me how much better they are at home.
This week we'll be having three baptisms: a family of five, three of whom are of baptismal age. Their names are Efren, Diana, and Melany (two younger daughters are Melissa and Polette). They've given up both tobacco and cocaine in the last month, so I got here just in time to do the final steps and help them receive the ordinances of salvation. It's always fun to get to an area at a time like this.
Seeing Salt Lake has never made me homesick. We didn't go to Salt Lake enough for it to really mean anything to me. I probably went there more as a missionary than as a normal person in my week and a half in SLC. Tara, that's great that you got to go to so many temples. I'll be happy to join you in future temple ventures when I'm back. I'm planning on going as often as possible (daily), so I'm sure we can coordinate both of our college schedules. That's great that our babies are all blessed now. Mom, you should work on your Spanish so you can join the fun.
Just so everyone knows, we got news this week that we now have 1.5 hours to write and we can write whoever we want, so anyone who wants me to write them will need to send me an email so I can write back.
I know that this is the only true church. I know with all of my heart that we are guided by living prophets and apostles. As I heard the words and music, the Spirit confirmed to my heart that everything said was true. I know that if we will go and apply the counsel we have received, then we will be greatly blessed. I noticed a strong emphasis (aside from missionary work) on going back to the basics, especially obedience. The simple, basic truths of the gospel are really the foundation for a happy life. I know that as we live every principle, ordinance, and covenant of the gospel, God will fill our lives with peace and everlasting joy even despite our trials. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that only through His perfect Atonement can we be together as families for all eternity. I'm so grateful for these divine truths, and I know that God will give us the promised blessings as we live for them.
Elder Facer

Monday, April 1, 2013

D&C 100:5

Well I've been unexpectedly transferred. They decided to put sisters in my area, so now I got moved to the next area over, Tequexquináhuac. I'm with Elder Smith, a Navajo from Arizona who I already knew from the district, so I'm pretty excited for that. The area isn't nearly as nice as Valle Dorado, but it's still good, and I'm excited for the change.
This week was mostly just the normal to do. We had a few more lessons than in weeks past, but still not as many as I'd like to be having. I had to get after E. Timoteo because he liked to lose time with the members. After talking to him, he made it clear that he wasn't really interested in changing, so I just had to take total control if we were going to do anything useful with our time. Anyway, that's about how we finished up. I made a concerted effort to testify a lot more of the Atonement this week (being Easter and what not), and I felt a very special spirit doing so. Essentially any visit that wasn't with an investigator was a message about some aspect of the Atonement. I could tell the members could feel the Spirit strong, and I did, too, so maybe I'll just have to keep that up.

It sounds like Easter at home has changed a whole lot since I was there. I guess the dynamic has just changed without the farm and now that basically everyone's older. That's great that Brian will have a good start to his mission. I still haven't been told where he's going, though, and if I'm going to write him I'll need an address. As far as the story of John 8, Christ couldn't forgive the woman not because He hadn't yet performed the Atonement, but because she hadn't yet repented. People's sins could be forgiven and cleansed from the beginning because the Atonement is infinite, but they still had to live the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. That story demonstrates more the principle taught in John 3:17 that Christ came to save, not to condemn. As far as classes, Dr. Call (Jazz History teacher) told me I shouldn't have to take Music 221, and that I can test out of it. He said if I can play the hymns without any problem, then there's no reason to take that class. If you can, please get me in 251 instead. I didn't know I was supposed to go to advisement before I left, but I guess I'll have to when I get back. Well until I'm back and can look into the MTC job, I'll be very happy to go work with Wendy again. I guess I won't ever get to sleep in again. Elder Hurst is pretty good. He's been assistant since January, I think. I don't know him super well, though. I just met him when he first got here with Elder Tuttle (with whom you also spoke) and then when he went to Jurica after I left and just before becoming assistant.

As far as your Sunday School lesson, I'm glad the topic is being addressed at home. Here there's almost no emphasis on the doctrines or practices of member missionary work. It's sad, but we have to deal with it. I actually read a cool talk by Elder Scott called "Why Member-Missionary Work?" from October 1997 I think. It'd be worth looking into if you want to learn more about the whats and whys and hows of member missionary work. It's something so important and most people, missionaries included, just don't get it. I've made lots of goals and plans to be an excellent member missionary when I'm back, so while I'm at home, we can do it together.

Mostly that's it for this week. I still can't believe how fast time's going. March is now behind us and I seem to have missed it all somehow. All that's left is April, May, and then June. I'll be here with Elder Smith until Mother's Day, then he'll probably go, and I'll have one more transfer. I sure wish I knew where the time has gone.

I know that this is the Lord's work. There are many things that I simply don't understand, but I know that He is guiding it, and that the opportunity to participate is very important. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and is the only way that we can be saved. I know that the Atonement is central to God's plan for our happiness, and that we can't get to the Father without going there with His Son. I know that as we live the gospel and apply the Atonement, we can live at peace with ourselves and the world around us. We can be cleansed from sin and guilt and overcome our weaknesses. We can daily become more Christlike until the future day when "we will see him as he is, for we will be like him". I know that God hears our prayers. We have to pray sincerely and with real intent in order to receive the blessings that He's willing to give us. There is no superficiality that can produce the same results. I know that as we talk with our Father, He will respond, and we will be encircled about in the arms of His love.

Elder Facer