Heading to Tula and Training

Well, sounds like you all had a busy week! Sebastian still wants to get baptized but he still has a couple doubts he needs to resolve. I’m sure he’ll get baptized soon though. Angel is a super strong convert to the gospel, although he is unable to be baptized right now because there is a woman who lives in his house and even though she just lives there and sleeps on his couch, the area presidency has a policy that he can’t get baptized if they live under the same roof. He is working hard to resolve that situation though and he keeps reading and praying a lot. He has read almost 200 pages of the Book of Mormon now since we started teaching him and he always comes to church, so he’s doing great and he will be baptized as soon as that situation is resolved. Yesterday at church someone told me that some sisters were looking for me and I went out to see what they needed and I got quite a surprise! Marsela and Diana from Cuautitlán came to the church to visit me before changes because they knew I was here in Ciudad Labor and wanted to come visit haha! I had a good conversation with them and they told me that they haven´t missed a single day of church since their baptism and Marsela told me that in the last 4 months she has read the whole Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Miracle of Forgiveness!!! I was pretty amazed by that because she always said she wasn’t much of a reader haha! I guess she is now though! Anyway, I was really happy to see them and see how strong of converts they are. That was a good boost. We got the changes yesterday and I think I got the best change in the whole mission! I am going to train a new missionary, open area, and be a district leader up in Tula!!! I am super excited!! That is exactly what I was hoping to be able to do at the end of my mission! I’m determined to be the best trainer I can possibly be because a missionary’s trainer has the biggest influence out of everyone in a new missionary´s mission. Also it will be cool because Elder Huxford is going to be my zone leader, so I’ll be talking to him again and I’ll probably do exchanges in Tepeji del Río, where I started out as a zone leader! That’s going to be pretty cool I think! Anyway, I love you lots and I hope you have an awesome week! I’m sure I’ll have some good experiences to share next week about training and opening area! Also, don´t forget to prepare yourselves for General Conference and write down some questions so you can receive more personal revelation.

Love,

Elder Black

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La Avenida de las Torres, a really long steep hill in our area that we walk up and down every day!

 

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Service Project

Impromptu Speaking

Wow, that sounds like it was a pretty powerful temple dedication! I have had the opportunity to go to 2 temple dedications here and it is always a powerful spiritual experience. I really liked listening to their talks in Spanish too, because in the temple dedications they do live translations so you can hear it first in English and then again in Spanish. It´s kind of cool like that. That sounds like an awesome missionary experience Mom! I think I might end up doing the same thing and translating my Spanish scriptures when I get home too haha! I’ve gotten fairly attached to them after carrying them around and reading them all the time for nearly 2 years! I feel like it´s going to be more difficult to use the scriptures in English. Well, I had an interesting experience on Sunday. I was sitting in sacrament meeting and after the first 2 speakers, a sister from my ward, and my companion, there was still about 20 minutes left before we were supposed to sing the closing hymn. So I looked up at the stand and the second counselor looked at me and pointed at the pulpit haha! Well, I was more than happy to take up the whole rest of the time I guess, because I had been studying kind of a cool topic that week about “sleeping during the atonement”. I thought it was interesting to read the accounts of when Jesus went to pray and he came back three times to find that His disciples were sleeping during the most important moment in the history of the world. I think we can learn a good lesson from that. Also, the profet Lehi tells his rebellious sons to “wake up” 4 times in 2 Nefi 1. In Alma 5:7, the people of Limhi “woke up concerning the things of God”. Something to think about. One of my favorite moments during my talk is when I asked everyone to think of ways they might be sleeping during the atonement. I gave them a couple examples like playing on electronic devices during sacrament meeting. (When I said that one I noticed one young man who immediately turned of his cell phone and looked up haha!) Anyway, we had a good week. We did exchanges twice and found a ton of people to teach! Ismael, Fabiola, and Angel all went to church this week, so we had a few people there. On Sunday morning, we got ready for church super fast so that we could make it all the way over to Ismael’s house and take him to church with us, and we had a member go get Fabiola. Anyway, we had some really cool experiences and were able to find 12 new investigators and 4 more yesterday! We are super excited about them and I don’t really have time to tell you about all of them, but there have been some really cool people coming out of the wood works! There have been many miracles this week, and most of them have come from opening our mouths to talk to people. One in particular was a man named Pedro that we contacted in the street while going to contact a reference. We gave him a card and explained a bit about the Easter iniciative and then he looked at us for a second and started crying and said that God must have sent us because he was struggling with some severe financial problems and needed something to anchor him. We passed by to teach him and his family and showed them how to pray. A few days later we went back and he was a lot better and had been praying and reading his Book of Mormon. He said that he will be baptized when he knows that it´s true. On Sunday we had the opportunity to teach most of his immediate and extended family, so that was kind of cool! I love you lots, I love the work of salvation, and I’m very happy and excited to be a missionary! I hope you have an awesome week!

Love,

Elder Black

Enjoying Missionary Service

Hey everyone!

Sorry, it’s going to be a quick one today. We went to the bowling in Valle Dorado and there were a ton of errors in their system, so it took twice as long as it should have and we’re just getting back. It was super fun though, I pretty much dominated haha! We also went and bought a couple Costco pizzas, which was really good! We didn’t know you have to have a membership to buy food because you don’t in Sam`s here, but you actually do. Luckily  though, there was  a nice lady right behind us that overheard and said she would lend us her card! So that was kind of  cool. This week was pretty busy with the monthly zone report and exchanges with the assistants. We both went over to their area which is super small, but it was cool. Me and Elder Andrus contacted a ton of people and I remembered a member who had a reference for the missionaries when I was there last time 5 months ago with Elder Huxford. So we were able to teach 3 appointments and find 2 new investigators even though we didn’t have any set appointments when we left the house in the morning. It was kind of funny because me and Elder Andrus are the same height, so there we were 2 big white guys walking around in Mexico intimidating everyone into hearing the gospel haha! (And probably also scaring a few people because we got several doors in a row slammed in our face haha!) We’re working hard to get people to come to church but sometimes it’s a bit frustrating because we had 10 investigators tell us that they were for sure coming to church and only  2 of them went. Hopefully we’ll have Angel’s baptism this Sunday though and Sebastian’s on Monday. Anyway, things are going well, and we’re having some good success. The members are helping us out a lot and we are going to try to work with them even more. Have you guys worked with the missionaries up there at all? I know it’s a bit harder because there’s a lot less of them up there, but maybe there would be some way to help them out. I love you lots and hope you all have an awesome week! 

Love,

Elder Black

Striving for Unity

Hey everyone,

Things are going well with my companion this week. We had the zone meeting this week and I didn’t know how I was going to teach it with my companion because we had been struggling with unity. On Tuesday morning during my study time, I was thinking about what to do. Interestingly, the teaching skill for the zone meeting was teaching with unity, and I read a lot about how to become more unified. It has a lot to do with developing Christlike attributes. That is why the Godhead is so united, because of their perfect attributes. Anyway, I was a bit annoyed with my companion, but instead of blowing up like I might have done in a different time in my life, I decided to talk to him sincerely about the problems we were having. I also came across a verse in Isaiah 58:12, where it is talking about the blessings of the fast. One of those blessings is “and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in”. Studying that and my patriarchal blessing, I decided that that was something we needed in our companionship, so I suggested the idea that we do a companionship fast. We did, and I saw a lot of changes in my companion, but also in myself. I stopped getting frustrated and angry so easily and I have made an effort to understand him a bit better. Things aren’t perfect yet, but we are improving a lot and we are getting to be better friends. Anyway, the zone meeting actually came out pretty well. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how we can become a living letter of Christ (2 Cor. 3:3). Our zone is doing awesome lately and everyone is working super hard, so we have been seeing some amazing results. We have at least 2 investigators coming to church every week now, Angel and Yasmin, but the others are still pretty hit and miss. We worked hard this week, but we didn’t have a ton of time to work in our area because of the leadership council, the zone meeting, and interviews with President Titensor. We went with Sister Titensor to do cleaning checks on all the houses, so that took a while too. This week should be a bit more normal though. I love you all lots and I hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

Striving for Excellence

Hey Everyone!

Well, sounds like a successful week! Wow Nathan, that`s some pretty impressive running! I’ve been doing a bunch of jump roping and ab workouts in the mornings to try to get in better shape before I get home. Yes Mom, they do use maple syrup here, but they also use a lot of jam and lechera, sweetened condensed milk. That stuff is super good! Don’t worry, I’m not getting trunky. (Here in Mexico it is trunky, I’ve never heard the Word baggy before). There are some missionaries who get toward the end and stop working hard, but if anything, realizing how little time I have left is motivating me to work even harder. I don’t think there has been a time in my whole misión that I have been working as hard and effectively as I am now. I still have a lot of room to improve though. We are working on achieving the standards of excellence to develop more faith. I was still with Elder Van Tassell when I contacted Ismael but I told that story a week later because I didn’t know he was going to turn into such a good investigator until later.

I actually did get a new companion this change, sorry I forgot to mention that last week. His name is Elder Servin and he is from Cuahuila. 

Our area is improving a lot though. We had a Ward family night yesterday in the church, and a few of our investigators came. It actually turned out really cool! We were in charge of it and we talked about faith in Christ. We did an activity where we separated everyone in two groups and one person was blindfolded and one was the guide and they had to lead them up the stairs and down the hall to the primary room. We had put a bunch of chairs and tables in the way and assigned 2 of the Young men to be tempters and give the people wrong instructions during the activity. It turned out super well and I really liked the conversation we had after about what we learned about faith. I especially liked one part I saw where Nefi’s 3 year old daughter Natalia saw that her dad was about to run into a table and she ran over and moved it out of his way haha! I thought that was super cool to think about how we can do the same thing with our loved ones if we see a potential obstacle in their way. Angel is going to get married in a month, and his family is starting to get curious about what he is learning so we might get to start teaching them soon. Angel has a ton of faith and he reads a ton the Book of Mormon. He is going to be a super strong convert! Anyway, that’s about it for this week. I hope you’re all doing well and have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black