Miracles Are Happening

Well I`m glad everyone had a good week! Good job winning your basketball game Tanya! Well I got an email today asking me which airport I want to fly home to. Should I tell them Salt Lake City, or Honolulu, Hawaii? Haha. that makes me feel pretty old! I feel like I have finally figured out how to do good effective missionary work. I guess it’s about time after 20 months haha! This week has been really good! Things are going super well for us here. God has blessed us with a lot of miracles, and I don’t have time to tell you about the half of them, but we have been able to find a lot of prepared people. One new investigator, Ismael, we found because some less actives we were going to visit didn’t hear us knock. We left and I decided to contact everyone that was wearing a blue shirt between there and the next house. We turned the corner and there was a man with his wife and daughter, so I told Elder Van Tassell,  “This guy is wearing a blue shirt. Let’s contact him!” So I walked up to him and we started talking to him. He told us that he would love for us to come by and that he was looking for a Christian church to join!! He was very receptive and accepted a baptismal date! We had three investigators come to church on Sunday. Angel is the next to be baptized, which should happen in 2 weeks as long as he can get married quick. Sebastian also came for the 2nd week in a row, and he will be baptized on March 21st. Yasmin is progressing super well and she already knows a ton of stuff! As part of our teaching model we always tell our investigators what we are going to talk about next time and Yasmin takes it to the next level, like it was a college class. We got to her house on Friday to talk about temples and Family history and she pulled out a sheet of paper with a 4 generation chart of names! We hadn’t even asked her to do that, so she is doing very well! The only problem is that she needs to get married before she gets baptized. Hopefully that will be soon.

I had a bit of a difficult time for a few days this week because I almost completely lost my voice! It’s kind of hard to be a missionary when you can’t talk haha! But we kept working super hard anyway. On Thursday we did divisions with Helamàn and Nefi, 2 brothers that are former missionaries. We had 4 appointments that night, 2 at 6:30 and 2 at 8:00, so we split up to be able to go to all the appointments. That was the first time that I’ve ever done that to go teach a lesson, but it worked really well. We are trying a lot of different things like that here and the members are starting to help us out a ton and have more confidence in us. I am super excited to keep lifting my area and keep seeing miracles happen as we do our part! I love you lots and I hope you all have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

Ministering with Pancakes

Hey Everyone!

Sounds like everyone’s been busy! Good job winning your basketball game Tanya! I’m glad you’re having fun! That sounds like kind of an interesting project Dad. So you finally got it worked out then? That’s cool that Elder Flores and Sister Galbraith passed by. I had seen her a little bit in the mission but I never really talked to her. Yeah, they definitely have Valentines day in Mexico. They take advantage of just about every opportunity they get to have a party around here! Elder Van Tassell got asked to speak in church too haha! I was also a runner up for if the other speaker didn’t make it to church but luckily she came!  It was kind of funny because the only people in the street all day were either couples or drunk guys that were just super wasted and stumbling around the streets saying stupid stuff. I guess those must have been all the single guys haha! It was kind of pathetic though.

Well we got the changes yesterday and I am staying here in Ciudad Labor and getting a new companion, Elder Servín. This will be the 3rd time I have trained a new zone leader, so it should be fun to do it again. I’m excited to have a Latin companion again because I’ve spent the last 7 months with American companions and my Spanish has been suffering a little bit. It will be nice to get back to speaking Spanish better than I speak English haha! This week has been pretty cool. We taught a lot of lessons and we have 5 investigators come to church on Sunday, and they were from 4 different families, so it’s quite a bit of work! It was really fun getting so many of our investigators together in one class and teaching them all at once because they are all so different! They range from 19 to 60 years in age and they all have different levels of understanding and education but it was cool to have them ask questions and then see them teach each other! Also something cool happened with Jasmín. She has been progressing great lately, studying the pamphlets and the scriptures, praying. She has had a recurring dream where she gets baptized and she knows that she needs to do it but there has been one major obstacle: she was working every Sunday. They wouldn’t give her a schedule change, so she quit her job and decided to take a massage therapy course that is Tuesday to Friday, so she will be able to come to church every week now! We are really excited about that and she should be able to get baptized pretty soon!

We had a cool experience ministering to some missionaries in our zone this week. There were a couple of elders that had been struggling a bit and things hadn’t really been improving much, so we decided to go over there and help them out. We got up at 4:30 in the morning on Friday and cruised on over to Hacienda del Parque. We jumped the fences to get into their apartment complex and showed up in front of their house at 6:30 in the morning! They were super confused but we just told them not to worry about it, just keep doing their stuff, and we put ourselves to work making pancakes (we brought all the stuff with us). We ate, and then we did our studies. After the studies we split up to interview them individually and I found out that the problem that we had gone there to help them with wasn’t really the problem, so I wasn’t really sure why we were there. I was sure that we needed to be there though. Anyway, I just started talking to the Elder and pretty soon I figured out why I was there.

Who we are goes a lot deeper than just being children of God. I have been learning a lot about this lately and it has a lot to do with foreordination and our lineage. It is actually really interesting to study that and it is a doctrine that can change your perspective a lot.

Anyway, things are going very well here in Ciudad Labor and I´m excited to keep going! I love you all lots and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

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Ciudad Labor Zone

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With Elder Mendoza and President and Sister Titensor

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Surprise Pancakes for Some Missionaries in Our Zone

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A Big Elephant Tree in Our Area

Great Things in Ciudad Labor

Hey Everyone!

That is a cool opportunity to go to the temple open house! I saw the pictures on the church website and it looks pretty amazing! Dad I did what you said about studying the verses that talk about Sam and I thought that it was really interesting the difference between Sam and Lemuel in the Book of Mormon. Basically Laman and Nefi were the leaders among the brothers, but Nefi chose righteousness and Laman chose wickedness. For whatever reason, Lemuel decided to follow Laman, but Sam was humble enough to follow his younger brother Nefi and let himself be influenced for righteousness. I think there are some good lessons to be learned there. This past Wednesday we had the blessing of receiving a visit from Elder Mendoza, an area seventy here in Mexico. He talked to us a lot about the standards of excellence our president had set. They are really high and there was a lot of doubt as to whether or not we could even achieve them. But he talked about a similar experience when he was a mission president and he raised the expectations and a lot of the missionaries like Laman and Lemuel started murmuring and telling him that it was impossible. But there were others that had a positive mental attitude like Nefi and decided to go out and do what the Lord, through their mission president, had asked them to do and they had a lot of success. Then the missionaries who before had doubted, repented and did everything they could to fulfill. He also talked a lot about foreordination and the blessings of the birthright. We have been foreordained to be here and be doing this work, but like Esau,  we could sell our birthright blessings for a figurative plate of lentils. Also, we had a special leadership meeting with him afterward, so we ended up being at the stake center for 9 or 10 hours on Wednesday! But it was well worth it because I learned so much! I wish I could tell you a lot more about it than I have time for right now, but I guess that will have to wait for a bit. Ángel came to church for the first time yesterday and it was really good. We had been trying and trying to think of someone to come with us to the lessons with him and be his friend, but we couldn’t think of anyone who wasn’t working in the mornings, and we had asked before in priesthood meeting but no one was available. Yesterday though, Brother Mora came up to him and started talking to him and he mentioned that his work schedule had changed so he’s free in the mornings now! That may not seem like much but having a member friend is super critical to a strong convert. We saw that in Cuautitlán with Marsela and Diana. We got the Mendez family involved and they stepped up and did a great job helping them in their conversion process. I don’t know if I told you or not but they are doing great. Marsela is a counselor in the relief society and Diana is a counselor in the primary! They write me occasionally to tell me how things are going and how grateful they are for finding the gospel! Anyway, great things are happening here in Ciudad Labor and I’m really excited to be here as a missionary of Jesus Christ! I can’t think of anything better I could possibly be doing right now! I love you and I hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

Teaching Faith, Repentance, and Baptism

Hey everyone,

Well, I feel like my week was about like Aaron’s. We were super busy all week but didn’t really have that much time to work in our area. We had the leadership council and the zone meeting and then we just did divisions with some elders from our zone after the meeting because we were going to do a baptismal interview for one of their investigators in a few hours and it didn’t really make sense to travel all the way back to our own area. That baptismal interview was super cool! I hadn’t realized this before, but the investigator, Jonatan, was someone that Elder Almanza and I had found a month and a half ago on an exchange we did! I was super happy for Jonatan! I got to do his baptismal interview and he is a super good convert! We also went to his baptism on Saturday because one of our investigators, Viviana, really wanted to see a baptism. She actually didn’t show up though right after she said she would be there, and she wasn’t answering her phone when we called her, so we were kind of disappointed with that. (We would have liked to have just gone with her but we can’t because of the mission rules, so we just went over in public transport and waited for her). It was cool to see the baptism though. Also, we had to finish moving all the stuff out of the other elders house and into ours. That was quite the project. We ended up throwing away a ton of stuff but we still had to make a bunch of trips carrying furniture and books and stuff up a big hill to get to our house. We’re all finished now though, so that’s nice to have out of the way.

Also, sorry I forgot to mention last week about the worldwide transmission (broadcast) for missionaries. It was pretty cool to learn  and relearn a few things about how to do missionary work. I had always kind of imagined I would pretty much be an expert by the time I had this much experience in the mission, but there are still so many things I need to work on and improve. I have changed my teaching a bit since that transmission and have started inviting people to repent and putting a lot more emphasis in that. One thing that was said is that we sometimes get so excited about having a baptism that we forget that faith in Christ and repentance have to come first. We are putting that into practice a lot with our investigators to help them have meaningful spiritual experiences with the atonement, and we are seeing really good results. Quite a few of our investigators right now have problems with the word of wisdom, but they are willing to give up what they are doing for something better. One investigator, Berenicia accepted a baptismal date for March 6 and stopped drinking coffee and has almost completely given up smoking this week! We are also teaching a couple named Jasmín and Lisandro who are super cool. Both of them speak Spanish and English and Lisandro also speaks French, so our lessons are kind of interesting because Lisandro just randomly switches back and forth between English and Spanish haha! They came to church on Sunday and we are hoping that Jasmín can get a schedule change at work so she can come to church every Sunday. If she gets that schedule change its very likely that she gets baptized soon.

This Wednesday will be pretty exciting because Elder Mendoza, an area 70, is coming to give a special training as a follow up to the worldwide missionary broadcast. Afterward, we are going to have a special leadership training meeting where we will get to eat and then he will teach the leaders of the mission a bit about how we can improve. I feel like that is something we really need and I’m excited for all the revelation that I will have the opportunity to receive! I love you lots and hope you all have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black