Both Great and Painful Experiences

Well, we got some cool news today. They told us that we will be able to go to the open house of the Mexico City temple with our investigators after all! That will be pretty cool! I’m really excited to see it! When they announced a while back that we weren’t going to be able to go, I remember that I decided to just accept that and not get mad or anything, and now that they’ve changed their mind, I’m even more glad that I decided not to get mad or complain about that. I have felt really busy this week. We have been working super hard. I’m in charge of our area and our whole zone now so I’m feeling all the weight of those responsibilities. I have pretty much been working 16 hours days and then going to bed, waking up and doing the same thing all over again every day this week. It’s actually pretty amazing that I have so much energy every day. I think that if I was doing anything else I might not be able to handle working so much! We have been trying to involve the members a lot and this week we have been able to have a member in every lesson with all our investigators! The best thing is that we have been able to find people that can actually be their friends. On Saturday, I was a little worried because we had an appointment with Luz and we hadn’t been able to find a man that could come with us. She lives alone so we needed a man to come with us or we weren’t going to be able to teach her. When I had called everyone I could think of and there was only about an hour and a half left before the appointment, a sister called to ask if it was going to be our turn to eat at her house on Sunday. I told us that it wasn’t, that we were going to eat with another family, but also it occurred to me to ask if her and her husband could come with us to the appointment because they are about the same age as Luz. It worked out awesome because they were able to be friends with Luz and Luz came to church on Sunday! Luz is really awesome! She keeps telling us that she’s only read a little bit of the Book of Mormon, but she read 19 chapters in just 1 week and she has been praying to know that it´s true! Haha I don’t think I’d better tell her that most people we teach have a hard time reading even 1 chapter a week in the Book of Mormon! I hope she keeps reading like that! She is super prepared for the gospel!  

One thing I learned this week is that a lot of times it´s harder and a lot more stressful to work so hard to involve the members but they are a really important part of the missionary work. I encourage all of you to be agents and not to wait for the missionaries to prompt you to do the missionary work. Just always be thinking about who you can share the gospel with and go look for the missionaries to teach them. If every member did that, our life would be a lot easier haha! My new companion Elder Huxford is from Cedar City Utah, and he is really awesome! It’s kind of nice to have a companion that wants to be diligent and obedient. We work really well together. We mostly talk in Spanglish, so it´s kind of just whatever word comes out easier. It´s cool though. My Spanish might get a little worse, but not too bad I think. My English is definitely getting better though haha! Well, we have had a lot of great experiences this week, but also a couple painful ones. Beatriz didn’t come to church this week, and a new investigator named Karla, who also accepted a baptismal date, couldn’t come because her boyfriend wouldn’t let her. I get kind of annoyed when there´s people like that who don´t let their friends and family members accept the gospel because of old traditions or superstitions. I think the hardest part of the mission is seeing so many people choose the wrong when we know that they are always going to be miserable because of the choices they are making. I sometimes imagine how God must feel when He sees so many of His children using their agency to choose captivity and misery instead of joy and eternal life. I think I´m starting to understand that to some small degree. But that just motivates me even more to keep looking and looking until we find people that want to accept and life the gospel. I know they´re out there, we just have to find them.

I had an experience with seeking revelation this week. On Sunday night after the reports Elder Huxford and I were a little disappointed with the goals of our zone for the month of August. We felt like everyone had pretty much just thrown out a random number depending on how many people they are teaching right now instead of setting their goals by revelation. We did a companionship study to try to figure out how we could minister to the zone about their goals, but for about 45 minutes we were just looking for something to help us in the scriptures and preach my gospel, but none of my go-to scriptures were working for the situation and I felt like I was just completely drawing a blank. I finally realized that I was just trying to rely too much on my knowledge and experience instead of asking the Lord. I told my companion, I think maybe we should pray. We knelt down and I started explaining the situation to God and what we were trying to do and why we were doing it. We finished praying and I started pondering about some of the words I had said in the prayer and all of a sudden a story in the scriptures came to my mind in Alma 26. I opened to that chapter and found three verses that applied specifically to what was going on! I know that God answers our prayers and gives us revelation if we ask and seek. I am constantly reminded of the need I have to rely on God more that on myself. I love you all lots and you are in my prayers. Have an excellent week!

Love,

Elder Black

A New Companion

Well, we got the changes this week. My companion, Elder Noesi is leaving and I will be training a new zone leader and 3 brand new district leaders! Should be fun haha! I’m going to have my first American companion, Elder Huxford. He is also from Utah and got here to the mission at the same time as me. We are already friends, so I think we’ll get along pretty well. I have learned a lot from my companion in this change and we have gotten to be pretty good friends. There were a few rough spots when we got kind of annoyed with each other, but we got that all worked out and these last couple weeks have been pretty cool. I feel pretty good here in Cuautitlán 1, although there are a ton of water restrictions by the government, so there is only water for about 3 hours a day now, only in the morning. The good thing is that we keep finding people to teach! Last Sunday we received a message from the zone leaders in Atotonilco saying that there was a woman named Luz del Carmen who had gone to church in Atotonilco and wanted to be baptized and go to the temple. We contacted her immediately by phone and set an appointment, but we were mostly just going to see where she lived because we didn’t know what area she lived in. We got to her house and it turns out that it’s in our area! It was just in a part that we didn’t know about, and we think the missionaries haven’t really ever gone there because it is in a little neighborhood in the middle of the industrial zone and we thought there were only factories there. She is really prepared and has been looking for the truth. She accepted a baptismal date, but was going on vacation that week so she couldn’t come to church. She said that maybe she would be able to go with her friend while she was on vacation though. We are going to visit her again probably tomorrow. That same day (Tuesday) we went with Beatriz and taught her about the Restoration. She also accepted a baptismal date and came to church on Sunday! To answer your questions Tanya, on p-days we mostly just eat, sometimes with another companionship of elders, clean the house, buy food, and pretty much that´s about it. There isn’t much fun stuff we can do without spending a ton of money, so we mostly just relax. We don´t ever go to mutual, and last week was my first time going to the temple, but it´s closed right now, we just took a group of people to the visitors center that is right by the temple. We might get to go the temple to attend a session after it’s opened though, maybe.. We aren’t going to be able to go to the open house or the temple celebration, we can only send investigators with the members. That’s all right though. I think there are a lot of missionaries, so they just want us to keep working and keep out of the way so there is room for everyone else to go haha! Sounds like a good mission prep class Dad, I´m excited to come to it in a year or so haha! That’s pretty cool information about Boyd K. Packer Mom! I didn’t know that he was Grandpa’s seminary teacher! Well I about have to get going but I love you all lots and hope you have a good week!

Love,

Elder Black

A Great Week in Cuautitlán

I’m glad everyone had a good time at the reunion! Sorry about your knee Tanya, sounds like that was pretty painful. I didn’t know that Tiffany was already home from her mission, tell her hi for me. I guess it’s about that time that most of my friends are starting to get home. Yeah, I got a new camara, a Nikon Coolpix 20 megapixel 8X zoom that costed 1,300 pesos. It was one of the cheapest ones they had, but it seems to work alright. Yeah that is our apartment. It is pretty nice for the most part, at least downstairs anyway. The only bad thing is that we only have running water for a few hours a day, a few in the morning and a few at night, but it shuts off at about 10:00 pm. So be grateful for running water haha! Also, I’ll have to send you a picture of one of the doors we have upstairs, it’s pretty small. I have to duck down and turn sideways to get through the door where the sink is haha!

Wow, I feel like time is going by really fast! This week was really awesome! We had a lot of cool things happen. We were planning a ward trip to the Mexico city visitors center on Saturday, so we spent a lot of time this week inviting people, asking for references and walking around all over our area. I think that is a really good way to work because we were able to see a lot of people, find new investigators and see a lot of miracles. On Wednesday we went to an appointment with a less active family and right when we got there at 6:00 a lady came by to drop off her son because they were going to watch him for a while. She started to leave but stopped about 10 meters away from the door and was staring at us while we were talking with the member at the door. I was wondering what she was doing and I thought she was mad at us or something, but finally she made little signal like she wanted to say something and we immediately went over and started talking to her. Her name is Beatriz and she has been feeling lately like there´s something missing in her life and she needed to look for God.  She was talking to a friend that is a member of the church one day and he told her that when she saw the missionaries in the street she should stop and talk to us. It turns out that she really wants to learn about the gospel and progress! We started visiting her with the less active sister and her daughter, who have actually passed through really similar circumstances as Beatriz, so they are going to be good friends. Beatriz came to church on Sunday and the less active sisters also started coming back to church so they can be there with her! Before this experience I had been praying that we could just please find someone who wanted to progress in the gospel and this was an answer to my prayers! Also, that was a good lesson in punctuality for me because if we would have gotten there late we would never have met Beatriz. Also we found another family to teach this week. It is a big family and 5 of them came to the visitors center on Saturday! They weren’t able to make it to church on Sunday, but I think they will come next week. Also we had a really cool experience when we were getting ready to go the visitor’s center. We invited a ton of investigators and less active members to come and way more people arrived to the chapel than what we were expecting, almost 40, so they didn’t fit in the van that we had. We were trying to decide what to do but none of the members were available that had cars that would circulate that day. (They can only drive on certain days here, depending on the date and the numbers on their license plate, so they aren’t allowed to use their cars every day). Finally we decided to hire a combi, so we went out to the street in front of the chapel and started flagging down combies and asking if they could take us to the visitors center. All the drivers were saying no and we started to leave to just call the combi base and ask for one, but we decided to go back and try a couple more or at least get the phone number of the combi base. The second driver we asked said yes and when we got to the visitors center we invited him to come in. His name is Eric and he was one of the ones who was most participating and he felt the Spirit really strongly. He really loved that experience and now he wants to listen to the missionaries with all his family! Those were my favorite experiences of the week, and we are starting to have a lot of success here in Cuautitlán! Also, I think I forgot to mention that when I saw Elder Alvarez in the leadership council he told me that Theresa, our investigator from Tepeji that attended church for the first time the Sunday before I left received her answer that the church is true and is really excited to be baptized! So anyway I was really happy to hear that! I am doing really good down here in Mexico and I hope you all have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

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At the Mexico City Temple Visitors Center

4th of July in Mexico

Looks like everyone had a really good time at the reunion! Tia and Luana sent me a bunch of pictures and the video of when Nathan and Hunter ate the toothpaste oreos haha! so I got to see a little bit. The 4th of July here was just a normal day pretty much. It was actually a really slow day and there wasn’t much work because our appointments fell through and everyone was having parties (but not for the 4th, just because they are always partying on Saturdays here). The zone meeting went really well! We taught about the Restoration and I saw in from a little bit different perspective this time. I was thinking about the blessings we have thanks to that amazing event. I read a couple verses in 3rd Nefi where Jesus comes to visit the people of the Americas after the resurrection. He makes a declaration of his purpose and says to them that they repent and come unto Him. I was thinking that it is only thanks to the Restoration that we know how to fulfill that command to come unto Christ. There are all kinds of diverse beliefs about what it means to come unto Him. Many Christians believe that you just have to say that you believe and that you want to be saved and that’s good enough. But thanks to the Restoration we know that we can come unto Christ by living his Restored Gospel that consists in faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and persevering to the end. I thought that would be something good to think about. The work here has been really challenging. Accepting and living the gospel is not something easy to do. Some of the people we have taught lately don’t want to put in the effort to change their lives, but we are going to keep looking until we find someone who does. Today we are going to go teach a reference that we contacted on the 4th of July who is really interested in learning about the gospel. I really hope her and her family progress. Also, we talked with the ward council and they are getting better and we asked if we could help participate in the home teaching program and go with the brothers from the elders quorum to see if we can help them start doing their visits. So anyway, we are trying to do things a little differently to see if we can get some different results. One of our duties as missionaries is to strengthen the unit where we serve, so we are going to try to make that more of a priority and then I think the missionary work in this ward will start taking off. I love you lots and I’m really excited to see all the rest of the pictures from the family reunion! Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

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Having a root beer float on the 4th of July in Mexico

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Cuautitlan South Zone

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tacos dorados. We eat these a lot. Its a tortilla filled with mashed potatoes, rolled up and fried in oil.

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Well, we´re not quite ministering angels, but we do our best haha!

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some flowers at a members house