Guided by the Spirit

Hey Everybody!

That’s pretty cool that you’re 6 ft tall Nathan! Good luck with tennis! That will be super awesome to see you play when I get home, I bet you’re getting pretty good now! Good job with speed Tanya! Are you still liking to play a lot of basketball? That’s awesome that you finished El Libro de Mormón! Don´t forget the most important part of the invitation to pray about it as well as read it. Let me know how that goes! Well, sorry about all the little annoyances Mom. I´m really glad you´re taking a little break every once in a while like stopping to get an ice cream or watching a movie a couple weeks ago to get rid of some stress. You are the most unselfish person I know and I really like it when you just do something just for you that doesn’t have any other purpose that relax and have some fun! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! That sounds like a good topic Dad (Loving Others and Living with Differences – Elder Oaks). I probably could have used that lesson actually because sometimes it is really frustrating when I contact someone and they say a bunch of dumb stuff that is obviously wrong, for example imagineering quotes from the Bible (most people don’t actually know what’s in the Bible but they sure make up a whole lot of stuff that they think it says haha). Sometimes I feel like those people just like to waste my time and it is really frustrating talking with them, but there are also a lot of really good people. In the area plan for Mexico there are some questions that we are supposed to ask ourselves, one of which is ¿What does the Lord want me to Do in order to develop more faith in Christ? That is the question I chose to focus on this week and I decided that He wanted me to talk with a ton of people this week, so that is what I did. I had a really cool miracle happen this week by acting on that prompting. I was on interchanges with one of the zone leaders, Elder Tapiero, and I stayed in my area which was super surprising because I don’t know it really well and almost always the person who just got to the area goes with the zone leaders to their area in the interchanges. We had an appointment that day, but I didn’t know where the apartment was where we had an appointment, only the address, so we said a prayer asking the Lord to guide our path that day. We talked with a ton of people asking them if they knew where the address was and after 2 hours of looking, we finally found it.. and they weren’t there. We knew there was a reason we were there, so we decided that we needed to knock every door in that apartment building and we talked to one person about the plan of salvation for a few minutes, but it turned out that he wasn’t really interested. We left and started walking to a different part of the area when a man walking past us on the sidewalk asked us if we had found the address we were looking for. We stopped to talk to him for a few minutes and he asked us what we were doing looking for that house and if it would be possible for us to come to his house and share our message with him and his family! Of course, we told him we would be there the next day, and in the appointment the next day him and his wife accepted everything. They told us they had been looking for the truth for a long time and they want to be baptized! We recognized a thousand little incidents that day that had guided us to that family and I know that the Spirit was really guiding us in our footsteps. That is just one example of how the Spirit can guide us without us even knowing it. I learned that sometimes people are going to reject us and turn us away, but that’s okay because there are also a ton of people who are looking for the truth and just don´t know where to find it. Since we have the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, it is our responsibility and privilege to find these people and we do that by simply listening to the Spirit and opening our mouth. To answer your questions, the food here is less spicy I think, or maybe I’m just more used to it I don’t know. We eat with the members every day except P-day when we usually go to a restaurant with another companionship of elders. The laundry here is awesome! We just drop it off at the laundry place and they give it back to us the next day all clean and neatly folded in a bag. No more clothes lines! It took us forever to do laundry in Conejos, so now I feel like I have a lot more time on P-day. We are like 20 minutes away from the offices. Yes, I cleaned up the apartment a lot and it is slowly improving. We mostly just walk in our area but it is really small so we hardly do any walking compared to what I was doing before. I’m getting to know a lot more people here and we are working with the members a lot. It is easier to do that here since everyone lives real close. I´m excited for tomorrow because it is the zone conference and we are going to watch Meet the Mormons! That should be really fun! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Con Amor,

Elder Black

Neat Missionary Experiences

Hey Everyone!

Well I wouldn’t say it’s quite like the states Dad, but there are a few cool stores. Today I went to Waldo’s which is pretty much the only store in Mexico that sells root beer. It was a brand called American Star and it was the absolute worst root beer I’ve ever tried but it tasted pretty good to me after so much time! That’s awesome that you’re going to be on the tennis team Nathan! keep me updated on how that’s going for you and send me some pictures!  I am still practicing good with my Spanish and trying to help my companion learn English also. I am fluent in Spanish now but I know I can always get better. They have other frases they say here in the city and I am also learning some slang haha! The only bad thing is that now I can understand what the gangsters yell at us, but it doesn’t really bother me and sometimes it’s kind of funny what they say. Adolfo has had the desire to get baptized for a while, it’s just that he has some problems with the divorce taking a really long time because his ex wife kind of ran away or something and they couldn’t find her for a while. He’s a really good guy that has had a lot of bad luck in his life, but hopefully everything gets finalized in the next few months and then he can get baptized. This week we found out that we are going to be able to see Meet the Mormons in the zone conference before it premiers here in Mexico! Elder Valenzuela talked to us mainly about how we need to work with the members because it is a way better way to bring people into the church. It was mostly just an explanation with a lot of statistics about how to put into practice the area plan for Mexico, so I don’t know if it would really be that relevant or interesting to you. Honestly it was a little long because we were sitting there for 5 hours without food haha, but I learned some good things about how to work with the members. This week was a little slow going but we were able to have a baptism on Saturday. I didn’t bring my camera to the internet today, so I’ll send a picture next week. The man that got baptized is an older man named Adán who is really cool, and he is kind of like a grandpa for us. He loves taking the sacrament and always gets to church early so he can feel the spirit better and never misses that opportunity. I hope the hearts of his wife and 3 children will be softened so that he can have the support of his family in the gospel. We had a pretty cool experience this week with one of our investigators. Our appointments and backup plans had all fallen through one night and we were thinking about what to do when we got the impression to go visit an investigator that we hadn’t seen for a couple of weeks. We got there and she told us that she had been praying that day for God to tell her what to do, then she opened the Bible and read a passage that told her what she needed to change. Later that day, someone told her the same thing she had read in the Bible, and then that night we gave her the same direction. She knew that was an answer from God and accepted to be baptized. It is really cool sometimes how we are guided by the Spirit to where we need to be even when we are not expecting it.Well, have a great week everyone!  Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

A New Area and Companion

Hola!

Wow! This place is so different! My first area in Conejos was like the movie Nacho Libre, but I feel like I’ve stepped into a whole different world! In my new area in Aurora 1, there are 2 Domino’s, a Subway, a Walmart, and a Home Depot. That’s a long way away from Conejos where the biggest store we had was La Tienda Vargus, haha! It’s super small area here but it feels really big to me because there are sooo many people here! I’m pretty much walking around with my mouth hanging open all the time because it’s so different here than what I’m used to. Also, there are a bunch of tianguis all the time (open air markets). My new companion is Elder Montini. He is from Cancun, Mexico, right next to the beach. He has grown up in the church, and he speaks English fairly well so usually our conversations are with him talking in English and me talking in Spanish. His family is Italian, so he looks like a white guy even though he is Mexican. He played football in college at Minnesota before the mission and he is pretty big. We get along super well and it is a pretty fun companionship! My new ward here is pretty cool! There are a lot of awesome people here! The elder’s quorum lesson was really awesome and we talked about prayer. I studied the Lord’s prayer in Mathew 5 I think, a couple weeks ago and the explanations that come in Jesus the Christ, and it is really cool how Jesus gave us that pattern to use to pray. Also, I got to speak again in church this week, but it wasn’t too big of a deal. They just asked me to speak for a few minutes right before sacrament meeting started, but I’m pretty much used to that by now haha! Mom, in Mosiah 18 it talks more about what it means to take upon us the name of Christ. I didn’t have any problems fitting my stuff into my suitcases because I left some of the stuff I never use like Preach my Gospel in English, and the water bottles they gave us in the MTC. The filter bottle never really worked that well I think, because as soon as I stopped using it is when the diarrhea stopped haha! The food here in the big city is quite a bit different. There is a lot more variety, because over in Conejos everyone has the same family recipes haha! I met my first vegetarian yesterday where we ate avocados cut in half and stuffed with more vegetables over a bed of lettuce. It was.. interesting.  There are some weird people here too. We taught a lesson to a guy who is completely obsessed with something called Herbal Life that basically controls his whole life philosophy. It basically consists in living off of smoothies from what I understand haha! He owns a franchise and they gave us some and it’s not really that good I think, but that’s cool I guess. Well I’m the relief society president again. My district is 3 companionships of sisters. It’s kind of weird because now that I think about it, there has never been another companionship of elders in my district in my whole mission not even in the MTC. I have one of the same zone leaders I had when I got to the mission, so that’s pretty cool. My apartment is a little worse than my one in Conejos, but its not too bad at all, I can’t complain. It is actually a 2 story house, so its pretty big. It’s just really dirty but I’m going to be working on getting it cleaned up a bit. Well, this has been a pretty crazy week trying to get adjusted to the big city life, and meet all new people, but It’s going good I think. I hope everyone has a good week and finishes up getting over the sicknesses. Love you all!

Love,

Elder Black

Hey, I had an interesting experience this week. We went to teach an investigator named Adolfo and he was telling us how he first had contact with the church and the missionaries and he mentioned an Elder John Pincock from southern Utah that he met 4 or 5 years ago in Hueuetoca, another area in our mission. Call Grandma and Grandpa Black and ask them if they know John Pincock. I would like to talk to him because Adolfo is finally going to get baptized after all that time! Thanks!

I almost forgot to mention that this week I got to meet another general authority, Elder Valenzuela! He came to teach us about the area plan for Mexico and how to put it into practice. I ran out of time right now, so I’ll tell you more about that next week.

Another Surprise and Transfers

Sounds like everyone had fun skiing! Congrats on the merit badge! Keep going in scouting Nathan, it is a great program and make sure you apply yourself to actually learn the stuff and not just check off boxes on the list. Always remember that more important than what we do is who we are and who we become. I don’t know who the general authority was that came a week ago, but 2 more came to the stake conference this week. Haha a picky missionary huh? Well he should have come here! He would probably starve to death. I love the food here though, it is super amazing! I think I might have to keep eating all my food with corn tortillas after my mission! I’m going to miss the food here, its a lot different in the big city I’ve heard. I guess country food is better no matter where you are in the world! Haha yeah, my district meetings went really well. I accidently picked the assistants favorite hymn Brightly Beams our Fathers Mercy and taught about the meaning of the lyrics. That hymn has a really cool message. He told me it was a really cool district meeting though. Well this week was pretty fun! I got quite a surprise on Saturday night in the stake conference! Right before the meeting started, President Titensor, the mission president, came up to me and told me “We’re probably going to have you come up and speak!” And then he went up on the stand and the meeting started and I had absolutely no idea what he wanted me to say. Some members of the stake presidency were the first speakers, and then the 2 Seventy’s that came, Elder Salinas and Elder Piper. Elder Piper asked President Titensor to talk about how members and missionaries should be working together. President talked for a few minutes then announced, “We’re going to have some elders come up to talk a little bit more about this, Elder Black and your companion, would you come up and talk about that for a couple minutes?” Well I got pretty nervous being called up to talk on the spot in front of 2 general authorities and a huge congregation haha! After I finished speaking, my comp didn’t even have to talk, so he managed to get out of it! But then Elder Piper had us be part of a demonstration of how to bring about a council between members and missionaries. It was really good. Also, Elder Salinas talked about how to do a family council. He talked about how everyone needs to talk and contribute to arrive at a decision so that all are edified. If I can find the verse he used in D&C, I’ll give you the reference. On Saturday morning, we went to the chapel to teach an English class and while we were outside waiting for an investigator to get there there was a break in the leadership meetings and the 2 Seventy’s came over and talked to us for a few minutes. Elder Piper is from Pocatello and I told him I was from Tremonton and he knew that it was Bear River high school, so he knows that area pretty well. It was pretty cool because I’ve gotten to meet 3 general authorities in 1 week and this week I will get to meet some more! Also, thanks everyone for the Birthday wishes, I got the letters this week with all your notes! Also, I finally got the first package you sent on October 10th haha! It only took almost 4 months to get here haha! But thanks, I love G2 pens and they are impossible to find here! Also, I had just run out of pens when I got the package, so I was even happier! Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that I’m getting transferred. It’s hard to believe I have 6 months in Conejos. I have learned so much while I’ve been here! My next area is called Aurora 1, in Cuautitlan. From what I’ve heard it’s about the exact opposite of Conejos! I’m heading to the big city. I’m sure going to miss this little town. The people here are great. they are always very kind and give us food all the time! It’s a miracle that I’ve lost so much weight because we eat a ton! Elder Medina was just sick for a couple of days but he’s fine now. I haven’t hardly even gotten sick in my mission, but I’ve gotten lucky because pretty much everyone else I’ve known here has gotten sick. Well have a great week and I’ll let you know how my new area is next week! Oh, and my new companion, Elder Montini was the companion of Elder Medina in the MTC, so that’s interesting!

Love you!

Elder Black