A Solid Week

Hey everyone,

Happy birthday last Thursday Dad!! Looks like it was a pretty good one! We went to Sam’s Club on Monday and bought an apple pie and vanilla ice cream for my birthday!! That is the only place in Mexico where they sell pie! It was super good, although probably doesn’t match up with Mom´s homemade pie! Other than that, this week was just a pretty normal average week for me. We are still having trouble getting people to wake up early enough to go to church at 8:00, although we did have one investigator go, María, with her daughters that are already members but hadn’t come for a while. 

We are working hard to pick up the area though, and it actually is a lot better than it was a couple months ago as far as investigators go. We have really awesome investigators, it’s just hard for them to get up on Sunday morning. We will see what we can do about that this week though. Well I guess I don’t really know what else to write. We walked a lot, taught some appointments and got some good future investigators for this coming week. It was a pretty solid week. Thanks for the pictures, I really enjoyed seeing you all! I hope you have a good week!

Love,

Elder Black

Happy in Mexico

Hey everyone!

Well, I had a pretty good birthday! Thanks for the package! I especially enjoyed reading the family history stories and everything, thanks for sending that! Haha I was actually in bed when I opened the package because we had been so busy all day long and then some missionaries in my zone called me at night to get some help and I only had time to just get ready for bed before 10:30. It was good though, we taught a few lessons, found some new investigators and I did some reports, so it was a pretty full day!  I probably would have forgotten about my birthday too if I hadn’t written the day before, because that is when I noticed that it was going to be my birthday the next day haha! This week was super good except for Sunday. We were teaching lessons pretty much all week, went to the temple, and found 8 new investigators. But nobody came to church on Sunday. I think that mostly has to do with the fact that church starts at 8:00 in the morning and we’re in Mexico. Not the greatest combination, especially since Sunday is most people’s only day off.  We have been making an extra effort to work with the members lately though, and we are seeing a good response from them. They are even more willing to help now that we are the only companionship in the ward. I think they feel a little bit more urgency and a bigger sense of responsibility now, which is super awesome! One cool thing that did happen on Sunday though. We were just sitting in the ward council meeting when we got a knock on the door and a man came in and said that there was a new person in the hall. We went out to meet him and it was an inactive guy that had just moved here came to church on Sunday and brought his nonmember girlfriend! He went to the other ward though because he didn’t know what ward he was in, but we got an appointment to go visit them tonight! He even asked us where he could pay his tithing! Anyway, I’m super happy right now! I learned a ton in the temple and things are going well in our area and in our zone! If it has been a while since you have attended the temple, make it a priority to go often and regularly worship in the temple. It is a huge blessing, both before, during, and after a trip to the temple! I love you lots and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

Temple Trip and Finding People to Teach

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for the birthday wishes!! It’s kind of crazy to think that I turn 21 tomorrow, that makes me feel kind of old haha!!! I must look old too I guess because one of our new investigators this week guessed that I was 25 or 26!! I think the mission kind of does that to you, but in a good way. Well, it has been a while since last P-Day, so I’ll try to get you updated between today and Monday. Sorry I forgot to tell you, but yeah everything stayed the same for me this transfer except for that my area is twice as big now because they took out the other companionship that was in our ward. That is kind of an adventure getting to know the other part of the ward now. The only bad part is that we have to move all the stuff from their house into ours to store it, so we’ve been working on that a little bit lately. Well we have had a ton of stuff going on lately in our area. Remember Diego, the guy that had an epileptic attack and we helped him get home after? Well we had contacted a man named Daniel to see if he knew who the guy was and he invited us to come by sometime. When we went his grandson Ramses came over to listen and really liked it. We had been trying to visit him with his family for the last few weeks and we finally got to go teach them on Monday morning! It is a family of 5 and they are very good, people! We’re super excited to be teaching them! It’s kind of interesting the sequence of events that led to us finding them. We were walking down the street on Sunday afternoon and someone flagged us down from all the way down the street. It was a member from another ward who gave us a reference of a sister named Berenicia who is super prepared to hear the gospel. It was kind of funny because she actually lives directly across the street from us! Now she is reading and progressing super well, and the brother who gave us the reference is coming to all the appointments to help us out! On last week Tuesday, January 5, we had something kind of cool happen. All of our appointments had fallen that day and at the very end of the day we realized that Elder Van Tassell and I had a little discrepancy in our agendas about if an appointment we had was the next day or in 2 days. So we decided to head over to the person´s house and get that figured out. While we were on the way over there we had to pass through a tianguis (open air market) that was super packed with people buying toys for King’s day. We were pushing our way through huge crowds of people when someone called out to us and said “Hey remember me?” We turned around and there was Valentín, our investigator we were teaching while he was in an addiction recovery facility! He had escaped from the facility a couple weeks before and we hadn’t been able to contact him since, but there he was with his wife and kids!! He had stopped smoking and drinking and doing drugs and was starting in on a new life!!! We were so happy to see him! So, we got his phone number and everything. It turns out that he lives just outside our area now, which is in a different mission, but we are just working on getting his address from his parents so we can send over the reference. It was really cool to see the huge change he made in his life because of what he learned about the gospel! We congratulated him and said goodbye, then took 2 steps and this lady asked us if we had a card or something we could give her. She said that her and her husband were looking for a religion and they had just felt like they should talk to us and she asked us what we believed in. We explained briefly about the Restoration and some of our basic beliefs and they asked if we could come by and teach them! The best part is that they even live in our area, in the new part that we had just acquired when they took the other elders out. It is interesting to see how God puts us where we need to be to find those who are prepared to hear the gospel. I will let you know what happens with those people (their names are César y Thelma). Today we had the opportunity to attend the temple! For me that was the first time I had been in about a year and a half and it was incredible! I learned so much and would like to be able to go all the time! It was a great reminder of the temple covenants that have a lot deeper meaning for me than they did last time because my understanding has deepened a bit in the last little while. I remember that Dad told me that you can learn something new every time you go to the temple, but back then I didn’t really understand how that could happen since it was the same thing every time. Now I get it a little better though, and I was able to receive some really cool personal revelation! I encourage you all to worship in the temple often. It is such a huge blessing to be able to do that so easily. There is a really good talk from Elder Bednar called “Holding a name and a standing” that talks about the difference between temple worship and just going to the temple every once in a while. Also from Elder Ballard there is a cool one from the March 2002 Liahona called “the law of sacrifice” that I read to prepare for the temple. Maybe you could check those out. Well I’m out of time but I love you lots and I guess I’ll write a little more on Monday!

Love,

Elder Black

SAM_3040

Temple Trip (January 15th)

DSCN0625

Sister Roa from our ward and her family brought us a ton of food on New year´s Eve!!!

DSCN0621

New Year´s Eve Party at 10:00!!!! (with Elder Van Tassell)

DSCN0572

Merry Christmas!

DSCN0581

Christmas Morning

DSCN0593

DSCN0596

Christmas Day Service Project

DSCN0598

Having fun with his companion (Elder Van Tassell) after the project.

Fireworks and the Importance of the Book of Mormon

Hey everyone!

I’m glad the new years celebrations went well! We just had to be home at 7:00, but a family in our ward brought us a sweet dinner and dessert!! I’ll try to send pictures next week because the computer is being really slow right now and it´s taking way to long to load. This week was super crazy for us. On Thursday we taught the leadership council meeting, and it went pretty well we feel like. We taught about how to help an investigator receive and recognize a testimony of the Book of Mormon. While I was preparing to teach I decided to renew my testimony of the Book of Mormon and ask God again if it is true. I learned something very important. It is not so much just the knowledge that the book is true that is important. The most important thing is a testimony that the teachings found in the Book of Mormon are true. There is so much there that we would just not know without the Restoration. Anyway, this week I renewed my testimony of the converting power of the Book of Mormon combined with the Spirit. I was able to recognize the book’s influence in the person I have become and I know that it comes from God. Well, on New Year´s we just went to bed early so we didn’t even hear the fireworks at midnight. The next day we heard that things went pretty crazy though. I’ve never seen so many fireworks in my life as I have here during December and January. I guess that´s what happens when you live right next to one of the world´s largest firework factories! They have a cool tradition here that they listen to the church bells ring 12 times at midnight and they eat a grape on every ring and make a wish each time for the new year. I thought that was kind of interesting. I didn’t really make any New Year´s resolutions for the year. I do make resolutions on a regular basis though. Actually, during the sacrament is a great time to think about what we lack to be a better disciple of Christ and resolve to be better. So I think that every week we should make resolutions to come closer to Christ. I couldn’t really think of any other huge resolutions for the year though. I think it’s interesting how the Spirit works with us gradually and I’m actually grateful that he doesn’t tell us everything we need to change for the whole year all at once. He gives us a small portion every time we make progress in something and then report back to God, he then gives us the next step (Jacob 4:13 and 2 Nephi 28:30). On Friday we taught the zone meeting. That was the first time that I taught a big meeting like that without having anything planned about what to teach. There are 2 teaching segments and we taught about giving accounts of your stewardship and then about the Book of Mormon like in the Leadership council. It was really cool how the first part about stewardship went after taking only 5 seconds to get on the same page before we started talking. In one moment I felt impressed to share a quote from Preach my Gospel that I hadn’t thought of before and I know that that quote impacted deeply 2 specific elders and actually  changed the way they were acting a little bit. I’m glad we decided to just teach the meeting like that. I wasn’t nervous at all because I felt like I had the doctrine inside me and a lot of scriptures and Preach my Gospel quotes kind of stored up in my brain, so the Spirit was able to guide us in teaching and bringing to our remembrance the things we needed to say. It was a pretty cool experience, I just really like teaching zone meetings and ministering to the missionaries. On Sunday I ate the hottest pepper I’ve ever tasted. It’s called the Mira Cielo pepper, maybe you can look it up on one of those chile ranking scales. It made me cry a lot though, it had a pretty good kick! They videoed me though so I´m sure that will be on Facebook eventually. I guess this family always gives one of these peppers to every missionary that passes through here, so it´s a pretty funny tradition haha! Anyway, I love  you all lots. I hope you get better soon Tanya, get some good rest .

Love,

Elder Black

image

image

Christmas time with Elder Van Tassell at an investigator’s plant store.