Baptisms and Confirmations

Well, we had a very busy week, although we didn’t get to teach a ton of lessons. I have been doing a lot of baptismal interviews, and we had a district service project on Saturday washing the chairs at the church. Everything went well in the baptisms and confirmations of Yitzhak, Demian, and Valentina on Saturday and Sunday! We will be working hard to help them keep progressing now. José has almost finished the Book of Mormon and we bought him a Bible and a Triple that we are going to give him as a surprise when he finishes! We had a family history class on Thursday and quite a few members went, so we are going to keep going with that class and see if we can get some references out of it. We were finally able to talk with the bishop for a while on Sunday with the sister missionaries and the ward mission leader and I think we´re going to start making some better progress with the ward leaders. Today we went to the lake in Tepeji with Elder Huxford and Urrutia and we cleaned and cooked fish by the lake side! That was pretty relaxing! Well, I don´t really know what else to say. I’ll send pictures next week because I can’t send them in this ciber and the other one we use is closed. Love you lots!

Love,

Elder Black

Teaching at the Zone Conference

Things are going well here. Yitzhak, Demian, and Valentina will have their baptism on Saturday! We’re pretty excited about that. Demian and Yitzhak went to church in white shirts and ties for the first time and we went over to their house before church to give them each a tie and show them how to tie it! They looked pretty good and they are excited to go on missions in a year! On Wednesday we had the zone conference. I was in charge of on of the workshops which was a new experience for me because I had to teach the same thing 4 times in 1 hour. It turned out very differently each time. I was glad I had studied so much to prepare myself because it helped me a lot to respond to the different comments that were made. I taught about vision, goals, and plans and did an activity where they had 2 minutes at the beginning to build a temple using Styrofoam cups and then we repeated the activity after showing them a vision, making a goal, and then I gave them specific instructions about how to work together to build a temple. It was really fun to see what happened with each group and it turned out really well! José will be going back to Veracruz to visit his family in a couple of weeks to get married because he wasn’t able to this time since it was so short notice. He is doing awesome though. Wendy still isn’t spiritually self sufficient and we want her to go to church every week without anyone going to pick her up so she doesn’t go inactive after her baptism, so we decided to wait a little bit longer and keep teaching her. The primary president asked us to share the reverent message in primary on Sunday and the bishop asked us to help him teach the priests class. I think I was more nervous in front of the primary kids haha! But it was fun! And with the priests the bishop asked us to help them understand how they can prepare themselves spiritually before and during the mission. I really love answering questions like that and we had a great experience talking with them! Anyway, we’re excited about this coming week, it should be a great one! I hope you all have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

Studying the Gospel and Finding Success

Lately, I have been studying a lot about vision, goals, and plans because I was assigned to teach a workshop about that this coming Wednesday in the zone conference. Also, President Titensor sent us 7 talks to prepare for the zone conference. Also, I think a lot about the missionaries and make plans for training meetings. One cool study topic I had recently was about the relationship between persevering to the end and the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have learned some incredible study patterns that have helped me acquire spiritual knowledge during my mission. Sorry I don´t have time to share everything with you right now, but after I get home, hopefully I’ll get the chance to teach a few family home evening lessons! One of the most valuable things I have learned in my mission is learning how to learn and I’m excited to share a bit of that with you. My companion a couple weeks ago told me that he had never been able to get that excited about studying the scriptures before his mission but now he has found that spark that makes him love learning about spiritual things. Anyway, this week was pretty good. Demian and Yitzhak went on the priesthood campout this weekend. By the way, happy 187th anniversary of the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood yesterday! They are progressing well, but we are kind of worried because the young men don’t really include them. It kind of seems like the young men in our ward are more interested in being cool than in befriending the new converts in their quorums. We started passing by with some of the priests to make sure they are aware of their responsibility. We had a pretty cool experience in one of the lessons this week. We went with some members Alfonso and Barbara to visit Wendy and her family. The family was baptized a couple months ago but Wendy didn’t feel ready and would not get baptized with them. We asked her what a baptism meant to her and she said that she didn’t remember. We felt the impression to teach the doctrine of baptism and confirmation using the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon. She was able to understand and she committed herself to a baptismal date for May 28th! We didn’t even ask her, one of the members had just mentioned that there would be a baptismal service on the 28th and after reading the scripture she thought for a minute and then said, “Well I will be getting baptized on the 28th then.” Then she and her family came to church on Sunday! Also, me and Elder Ayala have taken it upon ourselves to be the guards at the church doors because people here in Mexico have the bad habit of going to sacrament meeting and then just leaving and not going to the classes. So, we stand in the doorway now after sacrament meeting is over and everyone who tries to leave we nicely ask them if they will pass into the classes haha! We’ve convinced quite a few people to stay actually, although it’s kind of like trying to hold water in your hands. José went home to get married this weekend, so hopefully that went well and he was able to get married. We will see him soon. He is super excited to be baptized so hopefully he was able to get married. Anyway, this week should be pretty fun. We are going to Huichápan tomorrow to do another baptismal interview and on Wednesday is the zone conference! I love you lots and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

Visiting Teotihuacan

Well, it was great talking to you yesterday! I have had a super busy week this week. We were travelling all over the place. On Monday we went to Teotihuacán, on Tuesday to the offices and back for the new missionary training meeting, on Wednesday to Tepeji for exchanges with Elder Huxford, on Thursday back to my area, on Friday to Huichápan to do exchanges with Elder Marquez and Elder Sandoval, and on Saturday I did the baptismal interviews up there and we came back (a 3 hour trip). Anyway, that was pretty much my week. Very very busy, but really good. We had some cool experiences on Wednesday. I was on exchanges with Elder Huxford and we contacted a man who was kind of talking a lot and thought he knew a lot about the Bible. We politely took control of the conversation and asked if he would like to know how we have the correct authority to baptize. He thought for a second and then his whole demeanor changed and he suddenly became very interested in our message. The Elders went back 2 days later and he accepted a baptismal date! I know that the Spirit gave us exactly the portion that that man needed to hear during that contact. Also, that day during the district meeting I had taught about the relationship between the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. That night we went to an appointment with a new convert in which we had planned to teach about family history. At the beginning of the lesson, she asked the member who had come with us what he did to stay close to God and not fall away. I looked at Elder Huxford and both of us knew that we needed to talk to her about what I had taught during the district meeting. We followed that prompting and had one of the most powerful lessons I have been in lately. At the end she thanked us for sharing that with her because she had been struggling with a decision for some time and now she knew what to do. Other than that, José and the Urive family are progressing very well toward their baptismal dates, so we’re pretty excited for them. I love you lots and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

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Jared with his district.

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Temple of the Sun

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With Elder Van Tassell and Elder Stanger

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Teotihuacán means “the city whose purpose is to make men into gods”

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Pyramid of the Moon

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It is pretty interesting to note that the walls in between the staircases used to have creation scenes painted on them.

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They are called frescos because the paint was applied to the plaster when it was fresh (fresco in Spanish) before it dried all the way.

Super Busy As Always

Hey Everyone,

Well, I have been very busy lately, and I will have another super busy week this week. Five of our investigators came to church this week, so we were pretty excited about that. The best thing this week was on Sunday morning. We were fasting so that we could find the people that God was preparing in our area and that we could find them or they could find us. Most of the people we had contacted during the week rejected us but a half hour before sacrament meeting, a man named Josè arrived. The missionaries in Veracruz had contacted him a while back and given him a Book of Mormon. He told us he had read a little bit of it and he showed us where he was and he had started from the beginning and was almost halfway through Alma! He has felt a lot of peace reading the Book of Mormon and his ex-girlfriend was Mormon and told him a little bit about the church, so he finally decided to come to church and he lives in the center of Tula! We have an appointment with him in a few hours! Also this week I have been thinking of ways to make the sacrament more meaningful. All week I was thinking about that and I had a really good experience on Sunday morning studying and praying about how I can improve. A chapter in the Bible came to mind and I studied it and got my ponderizing scriptures from there. I decided that from now on the scriptures I ponderize will be related to what I am going to work on during the week so that it is something a bit more meaningful. The baptism for this coming Sunday will have to be postponed until the 28th of May because Valentina drank coffee this week, so we were a bit disappointed about that. We were finally able to teach Alan though and he is super awesome! He accepted a baptismal date for May 29th and agreed to live the word of wisdom as soon as he found out about it. Also, on Saturday we did a service project with our district and we cleaned a piece of land and trimmed back the bushes with a machete. It was pretty fun and we cleaned up the investigator`s property a ton! Also, today I went to Teotihuacàn with Elder Van Tassell, Elder Stanger, and Elder Montini, one of my old companions. It was super cool and the member that was with us, Ivàn, explained the whole temple to us. Well, things are going well, life is busy and pretty stressful but I`m doing fine. I love you lots and I`m excited to talk next week!

Love,

Elder Black