At the Half Way Point

Mostly I feel just about the same, but when I compare myself with when I got here, I guess I’ve changed a whole lot. I’m excited to have a whole other year to keep learning and changing. The good thing is that now I know how to learn and change a lot better than I did before. To answer your question Mom, being a zone leader mostly just means that we have to do a lot more reports and be pendent (estar pendiente?) of a lot more people. I think my favorite part though is ministering to people in my zone and helping them one on one. 

This week we are preparing to go to the leadership council on Wednesday and teach the zone meeting on Thursday. I think I will have a lot to learn this week. I hope you all have an awesome time at the reunion!

I just realized that my letter sounds a little depressing haha, but I’m doing pretty well in spite of all the challenges. I’m still really excited to work hard and I love being a missionary! love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

A Good Week in the New ARea

Hey Everyone,

Well, it has been a pretty good week. We have been super busy rushing around all over the place. One day when we were rushing to an appointment we saw an old lady that was really struggling to pull a little handcart. She was heading in the other direction and we were going to be late to the appointment if we stopped to help her, but a verse of scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants came to my mind that says something like – It is not necessary that my elders hurry while there are people perishing on both sides, so we stopped and helped her. When we got to her apartment, we noticed that her yard was really overgrown, so we offered to come one day to cut the grass and trim the trees and clean things up a bit. She accepted and we went over and fixed up her yard on Friday. We used a machete and a pair of yard scissors to do everything, so it took a while but we finally got it done. I’m really grateful for lawnmowers haha! Here they don{t exist, everyone just uses scissors to cut the grass. Also, going back to the day we met her, we went to the house where the appointment was and the person we had an appointment with wasn’t even there, so it didn’t matter that we got there a little late. But we started talking a little bit with her son, who is 25 years old and he invited us in after several minutes talking on the doorstep. He hadn’t wanted to listen the first time that we went there because he had had some bad experiences with a preacher lady that comes to talk with his mom and spends like 5 hours going on and on about how she has been saved and that she’s starting a new church and a bunch of stuff like that. So he thought we were also going to be like that. He is really interested in learning more about the church though. Also, we had a cool miracle happen on Sunday. We were in the chapel talking with one of the counselors in the bishopric about how we can help the missionary work grow here in our ward when someone interrupted us and said that there was an investigator in the hall that wanted to talk to us. We went to see who it was and it was a man we had never seen before. His name was Jorge and we asked him a little bit about what had motivated him to come to the church. He started telling us that he had a religion, but he didn’t feel like it was filling him. He felt like his life was empty and he had ruined his family because of his rough character. He wanted to change but he didn’t know how and finally he decided to come to our church. We went in an empty classroom and started teaching him about the doctrine of Christ and the Restoration and he understood really well and wants to be baptized! He accepted a baptismal date and we are really excited to help him prepare for it! Love you lots!

Love,

Elder Black

A Tough Week

Well, this week has been a little bit rough. I’m going to have to take out some money because I lost my camera in the taxi during transfers. Well, at least I didn’t lose that many pictures because I had just changed the memory card about a week before. I’m back in the big city in the ghetto again. My new companion is Elder Noesi from the Dominican Republic. He is pretty serious usually, but sometimes he likes to joke around a little bit. This week we had stake conference and all the missionaries sang in the choir on Saturday night. That was pretty fun. On Wednesday we had interviews with the mission president and my companion and I went with Sister Titensor to do cleaning checks of the houses in our zone, then we had a meeting with the stake president, mission president and the zone leaders of the other zone. So we almost didn’t have any time to work this week. But it was fun to see some of my friends from the Aurora and some of the missionaries in the other zone. Well anyway, I hope you are all doing good.

Love,

Elder Black

A Transfer Back to the City

Well, this week has been a little bit crazy. We had the mission leadership council on Wednesday and then we taught the zone meeting on Thursday. I was super nervous! At the start of every meeting in the mission we have a devotional and there is always a part where someone recites D&C 4 or the missionary purpose and shares a thought about it. About 5 minutes before the leadership council started I looked up on the board and my name was there under D&C section 4. Haha I had to do the same thing when I got to the mission, but I think I was even more nervous this time because I was the newest zone leader in the mission and I had to do it in front of all the leaders of the mission! It went good though. Also in the zone meeting the assistants came to judge us haha! It was a pretty cool meeting because all the missionaries in the zone were participating a lot and sharing a lot of ideas and experiences. It was a good growing experience but I’m pretty glad its over! At least for another month. Well, we got the transfers on Sunday, and I’m a little bit disappointed because I’m going to be leaving Tepeji after just a little more than 2 weeks here. I really liked this area and this zone a lot, but I guess one of the assistants also liked the zone a lot in the zone meeting because he decided to come take my place here in Tula. They are sending me back to Cuautitlan, but this time to be zone leader of the other zone in the stake, Cuautitlan South. I will be there with Elder Noesi, a zone leader with quite a bit more experience, so hopefully I’ll be able to learn some good things from him. I think these 2 weeks in Tepeji have been some of the busiest and most fun weeks of my mission so far. We worked really hard and had some good results even though we had to take up a lot of time with meetings, interviews, stake activities, and reports. This week we had a miracle happen. We have been visiting an older widow named Sirina that hasn’t been able to come to church for one reason or another the whole time the missionaries have been teaching her. Her husband died several years ago and she has had a lot of sorrow in her life because of the deaths of several of her children when they were small. She also has a daughter with some mental disabilities who has a really special spirit. But we had left her just 3 or 4 verses to read that talked about following Jesus Christ by being baptized and she was really able to understand why she needs to get baptized. She accepted a baptismal date and came to church with her daughter on Sunday! I’m really sad I’m not going to get to teach them anymore. Also we have an investigator named Nancy that is going to get baptized soon. She grew up in a less active family and never got baptized. Now she is married and in her 20s and her family got reactivated and she is progressing really well. Also we have worked really hard to get references from the members and go visit people with them and we have found a lot of new investigators that I’m really excited about. I think Tepeji is probably the best area in the whole mission. There are a ton of super prepared people here and it is in the countryside, but there are a lot of stores and places to eat, the people are nice, and we eat with the members in their houses a lot more often. I’m going to miss that a lot.

Cuautitlan Norte

Cuautitlan North Zone (from a few weeks ago)

Having an Awesome Time

We haven’t had to walk through the floods too much yet but the rainy season is just getting started. I don’t know how bad the floods are here in Tepeji though. The assistants came to study with us on Friday. It was just a 2 hour question and answer session but basically they told us that they weren’t going to tell us how to lead the zone, that was for us to seek revelation and find out for ourselves. I think that President Titensor is maybe trying to get rid of some of the old traditions in the mission so that the leaders don’t just do what they have always done. It has been really cool though. I am enjoying my mission more than ever because I feel like I have been able to grow a lot and focus completely on other people. There have been some times in my mission that I have been a little discouraged because we have so many more rules than other missionaries, like not being able to get together and play on preparation days, but I have been a lot less focused on that lately and more focused on how I can help the people in my area and the missionaries in my zone. We have a couple investigators that the elders before left us, but we are trying to find a lot and work with the members. We are going to try a few new things here in this area in order to get different results. We really want to work with the members because it is really important that they participate in the missionary work. This week is going to be super busy. We have the mission leadership council meeting on Wednesday, and then the zone meeting on Thursday, so we are going to have to work really hard to get prepared for that and also take care of our area. I’m pretty excited but also kind of nervous, so hopefully everything goes well. Well that’s pretty much everything. Other than that, we have pretty much been running around all over the zone (it’s pretty big, we have 28 missionaries and about 45 minutes by bus to get to most of the places we need to go), doing interviews, and taking care of business. Its a little stressful, but really satisfying and a lot of fun! Also, I went to the first district meeting in 7 months that I didn’t teach! That was pretty fun to see how the other district leaders teach and I learned a lot from that! I really love this area and this is an awesome time in my mission! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black