This week was... Incredible. With each day that passes my love for the mission and this work deepens a little more.
We are working really hard with our investigators right now. Each one is struggling quite a bit. Araceli is having a hard time. She struggles with the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity, but is progressing slowly. Her work is taking care of an older gentleman who is your classic grouchy old guy, which keeps her busy and on her toes almost 24/7. As such, keeping the commitments that she accepts is made very difficult. ... She has an incredible, incredible potential, but just doesn't quite realize it yet. José Alfredo and Maria Isabel are doing pretty well. José Alfredo has started coming to church, which as really helped his progression, but now Maria Isabel is really struggling. She still needs a testimony of the existence of her Heavenly Father and her own divine nature. She is really trapped by her past experiences with life's struggles and how she reacts to trials.
We have also been really busy getting everything ready for transfers the next week. There is always a lot for us to do, but especially when changes roll around. There are about five or six missionaries finishing their missions now. One of them is an hermana that was in my first district in my mission (Hermana Jackson, I don't know if I ever mentioned her...?).
The best experience of this week was, without a doubt, was this last Sunday. I had forgotten to mention in my email last week a little event that was called Aguas de Culturas, that was put together by the missionaries from the zone Culturas. We had fourteen people get baptized that day in the zone, and they had one gigantic baptismal service in the stake center. True to the fact that I cannot get enough of Chamapa and Culturas, I was asked to participate in the baptismal service and stake conference they had that day. :) Haha. I got to play an arrangement of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" that Elder Lowe and I did. I used the little violin I bought in Toluca and he was on piano.
The best part of that whole trip, however, was seeing Gabriel and Maria Ines. ... I didn't realize just how incredible they were going to be. Since their baptism and confirmation they have:
-Reactivated Maria Ines' dad who swore 30 years ago he would never come back to church
-Started her brother taking the missionary lessons
-Set the date that they are going to enter the temple to get sealed (7th of June, 2016. ... I will still be in the mission. :):):) )
And on top of all that her mom and niece both got baptized in the Aguas de Culturas. The outpouring of love that they showed me when they saw me again was overwhelming. ... I was just about tackled by the whole ward when I got there before the services... :) Haha.
I never imagined before my mission just how much I would grow to love these people, and how much they would mean to me. And that feeling just grows every single day. These people have changed my life, and they continue to do so. The baptism itself was beautiful. Very well done; it was organized enough that it moved quickly, and disorganized enough that it felt natural. :) Short and sweet.
That about covers it for this last week. Things are going really well here in the mission. I cannot believe that we are now in July.
I love you all!
Church is true.
Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q: What was happening with missionaries almost getting deported this past week?
A: Haha. Their visas were expiring and I had to pull some strings with my friends at migration and around the mission to get the visas through. It is a problem when our programs that track the expiration dates of our green cards aren't working. .. :)
Q: Do missionaries to Mexico have to renew their visas yearly?
A: Yep. And lemme tell you, it is quite the process... Haha. I just finished up the batch of visas for Elder Medina's generation. ... My generation is next... O.o
Q: What is the school system there like for children?
A: It is good. They are still in school right now. they don't get out till mid July. And they enter August. Woo! Unfortunately there are also many many children that don't ever enter school. Many here work, selling things in the street and the like. :/ It is sometimes very disheartening.
Q: Tell me more about Elder Lowe?
A: He is an elder that now has about 14 months in his mission, He plays the piano, is super quiet. He sings great harmony. He is a lot of fun to be with. :)
Loads o' pics this week, starting with...
|A returning missionary, Elder Kennington, Elder Lowe in the office|
|Football helmets strung above Elder Lowe's desk. Just because.|
|No friends, this is not a sunny-side up egg. It's dessert: a peach in a pool of sweetened condensed milk|
|Crazy missionary photo moments: taking a picture of taking a picture of Elder Goodrich.|
|Elder Kennington says the church building they meet in is beautiful all over. Here's an example.|
|The church building where Elder Kennington attends church.|
|"This is how I keep myself entertained when my companion has a big project and can't get away. Practicing juggling is a party .... Ha ha :)|
|Somebody got his package!!! Phew.|
|Sister Whitehead, the mission president's wife, sent home these two pics of Elders enjoying ping pong.|
|Obviously not all hard work and no play! Elders Lowe, Medina, Goodrich, and Kennington.|
|One of Owen's former companions knows him so well! Elder Thompson found this goodie for Owen and sent it to him.|
Aguas de Culturas!!!
|President Whitehead and Elder Kennington|
|The baptizers and the baptizees. Such an exciting day.|
|Elder Kennington and his Culturas compadres|
|Elder Kennington and Elder Fjerstad -- they were in the same MTC district and knew each other before the mission|