Sunday, December 14, 2014

Transfer 8 Week 2 December 8 2014

Well, I had another really great week. with a lot of really cool experiences.
This week we had a Christmas conference for the missionaries. All of the missionaries here in Piedras Negras, Acuña, Allende and Zaragoza came to Piedras Negras for it. We started with a small devotional from the zone leaders and then we practiced some Christmas Hymns. My district leader Elder Ashby and I both brought our guitars. Then we went out to do some contacts! My district contacted about 70 people! We passed out cards, pamphlets, and Christmas videos. Then we went to the border to sings some hymns. Elder Ashby and I took out the guitars and quite a few people started to gather around. We sang Silent Night, Angels we have Heard on High, and Oh Come all ye Faithful. Many people ended up singing along with us as well! It was a really awesome experience!
After that we had a short message from the mission President and we then ate some food! It was really good! And we ended it all with a gift exchange! It was a really good time!
Last week we recieved a refferal from a member of the ward. We went and we had a really great lesson with them, and then invited them to go to stake conference this weekend. And they came! it was really cool. It is the Garcia Family, and I think that they are going to progress really well. We had a total of 4 investigadors go to the conference with us. Hopfully we will be able to get some baptisms this transfer.
The conference was really cool. Two young men from my ward who are about to send their mission papers spoke. They both did a really good job! Two people who recently returned from their missions also spoke and did a great job!
My new companion and I are getting along really well! We work well together. I am looking forward to the rest of this change.
Elder Earl

Transfer 8 Week 1 December 1 2014

Well I had another really good week this week. It was a great way to start a transfer for sure!

Anyway, my new area is called Cuauhtemoc and it is literally right next to the area that I was in a week ago Mundo Nuevo. At first I was a little bit confused about being swithced a road over after only having 6 weeks in my last area, but I am fine now. I really like my new area is actually really sweet and the ward is awesome as well! The best part of my new ward is that there are a lot of Young Adults. In most of my other wards there was at the most 8 young adults, but this ward has like 20 which is really cool. A lot of the young men are getting ready to serve missions as well! There is one that has reacenly recieved his call to Canada speaking French! 

I am getting along really well with my new companion Elder Martinez. He is from Mexico State and is really funny. Elder Porras my companion from two changes ago in saltillo came up to Piedras as well. So my last two companions as well as my current companion are all in my zone. Which is pretty sweet. This change is going to be fun.

We did a lot of stuff this week and we had a little bit of success as well. We had a ward activity on Friday, and three investigators went. Basically it was just food and music, but it was a lot of fun. The only bad thing is that the food was menudo which is one of the few foods that I absolutely hate here. 

Yesterday was good as well. We had one investigator go to church which was cool but we were expecting to have more but oh well. We just need to work a little harder I guess. Other than that the week was full of work.

Also I just want to invite everyone to visit the website christmas.mormon.org and to watch the video on the website. The Church is spending a lot of money this christmas season to help everyone recognize the gift that our Heavenly father gave to us. His Son Jesus Christ. 

Elder Earl

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Transfer 7 Week 6 November 24 2014

Well this transfer has officially ended, and I fell like I ended it pretty well. And I am excited for the next transfer as well.

We started the week with divisions. My district leader Elder Harris came to my area with me, and my companion Elder Martinez went to the other area for the day. The day actually went super well. I learned a lot of things from Elder Harris. He is a really good missionary. The day wasn´t perfect, but we got a lot done. And we contacted a few people that might end up progressing as well. At the end of the day we sat down and talked about what we did, and we gave eachother suggestions on how to improve with teaching and things like that. But he told me that overall he was really impressed with the way that I knew my area and the way that I taught. Which is always good news. 

The rest of the week went by really well and really fast. We had a really interesting day yesterday though. We started the day with the reagular Church Services. We had the confirmation of Amalia during sacrament meeting, the lady that was baptized last week. The Bishop of our ward performed the ordinace. It was really nice. After sacrament meeting we taught the Plan of Salvation to our investigator Roman. It went really well and he has decided to be baptized in two weeks! 

After the church services we spent most of the day visiting the members and recent converts in the area so Elder Martinez could say goodbye. And then he started to pack up his suitcases. Until we got a phone call at like 9:30. It was one of the assistants. He told us that Elder Martinez was going to stay here in Mundo Nuevo but that he had to go to Saltillo on Monday because he is going to train a new missionary, and that I was going to be changed to a different area. That was super surprising because I only have one transfer here. But they did not tell me where I was going.

Today I got all of my bags packed and everything in the morning and Elder Martinez got all ready to go to Saltillo untill we got my change. Tomorrow I am going to an area called Cualtemoc. It is in Piedras Negras, and is only a few roads away from my house here in Mundo Nuevo. Which is super strange because I am not even going to move to a different district. My companion is going to be Elder Martinez (Same name as my last companion but a different missionary) And I actually know him pretty well because we have been in the same district for the last 6 weeks. He is from Mexico City and does not know English. Which is fine. After being with another gringo for the last six weeks I know that it is a lot easier when one of you is a native spanish speaker.  

My change is kind of wierd, but I am glad that I get to stay in Piedras Negras. it is cool here. 

Elder Earl

Monday, November 17, 2014

Transfer 7 Week 5 November 17 2014

Well I actually had a really great week this week, because of the success that we were able to have.

We basically had a normal week up until Friday. We started the day with two baptismal interviews! One was our investigator named Concepción and the other with our investigator Amalia. Amalia is the mother of the woman that we baptized last week Sandra. We are also teaching her brothers Carlos and Julian so pretty soon the whole family will be members of the church, It was a really great feeling to see how much the whole family has progressed. When I first arrived here Amalia didn´t even want to be baptized. But slowly she was able to see how much the gospel could help her and her family and she finally accepted after seeing the baptism of her daughter and grandson last week. And now almost all the members of the family are taking the missionary lessons from us. 

Concepción was baptized on saturday by the bishop of the ward here, and on sunday Amalia was baptized by my companion Elder Martinez. On sunday we also had the confirmations of Concepción, Sandra, and Jonatan. The bishop performed the ordinance for Concepción, Elder Martinez for Jonatan, and I did it for Sandra. It was a really neat experience! It was actually my first time ever confirming and it was my companions first time as well. The Spirit was so strong! 

On Friday we also had a zone conference, which actually ended up being really cool! I always look forward to hearing my President speak! He is just such a knowledgable and spiritual guy! I learned a lot! and he motivated me to keep trying to improve everyday, as a missionary, and as a person in general. We had the conference with the zone called Nueva Rosita, so there was a bunch of missionaries who needed to stay with the missionaries here. Elder Burrell (Pronounced Burl) and Elder Torres (Not my old companion) slept over at our house. They are super cool guys! I was glad to get the chance to meet them. Elder Burrell only has 7 more weeks until he goes home!

This is the last week of the transfer, so we will get our changes next Monday. It is highly probable that I will stay here. My companion thinks that he is leaving, but I wouldn´t be surprised if we stay together for another transfer.

Hope you all have a great week

Elder Earl

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Transfer 7 Week 4 November 10 2014

Well this week was actually really great! We had a lot of success and I was able to have some really cool experiences.

On Tuesday after our district meeting we did divisions with some other Elders in our zone. There names are Elder McCann and Elder Murphy. Elder McCann is actually going home in like 2 weeks, and Elder Murphy is only in his second transfer here in Mexico. McCann came to my area with Elder Martinez, and I went to their area with Elder Murphy. It was actually a really great experience, because I have never done divisions with an american with less time than I have. Elder Murphy is a really smart guy, but he just doesnt know much Spanish yet because of how little time he has here. He is not any worse than I was when I had as much time as he has though. It was really fun being the one that could talk better.The people just seem to kind of respect you more. We had a really good day and I definitely learned a whole bunch.

The rest of the week was just kind of normal. We had quite a few lessons and contacts, but nothing too spectacular until Friday when we had the Baptismal Interviews of our investigators Sandra and Jonatan. Jonatan is Sandra´s son and they are both just really good people. They were both baptized yesterday. My companion Elder Martinez baptized Sandra, and I baptized Jonatan. It was a really great experience. But there were a lot of dificulties with teaching them. Them and their whole family have never gone to school. None of them can read or write, and it usually would take a long time for them to understand the messages that we shared with them. But they never stopped trying to understand, and they have trully progressed a lot. Sandra and Jonatan were more than ready to be baptized yesterday, and Sandra´s mother Amalia is going to be baptized on Saturday along with another one of our investigators! So there is a lot of work to do here in Piedras Negras!

So in all we actually had 7 investigators in the Church yesterday! which is the most I have ever had!

In two weeks, two more missionaries are going to be put in my ward Mundo Nuevo. So we have to split my area in half as well as look for a house for the new elders. So far we have not found a house for them.

A couple of days ago we heard like a huge explosion type noise that was really weird, It made the windows in the house that we were in shake. but we had no idea what it was. We have heard a lot of people tell us that it was a meteorite that landed somewhere near Piedras Negras. Many people have claimed to see a green streak of light in the sky before hand. So I guess that I am fairly close to a meteroite. I thought that that was pretty interesting. You can go look it up.

Elder Earl

Monday, November 3, 2014

Transfer 7 Week 3 November 03 2014

Well we actually had a really great week this week and we had a lot of sucess. I cant believe that this transfer is already half way over!

We had a lot of success this last Tuesday and Wednesday. We did a lot of really good street contacts and we got 8 new investigators! all in just two days. On Tuesday in the morning we contacted a guy named Sergio. He seemed really cool and he said that we could go to his house to talk some day. He told us that he was from the state of Michoacan. Later we contacted another guy named Juan who is also from Michoacan. And it turns out that they are brothers! So that was pretty crazy.

Halloween was also this week. I would say that in most areas of Mexico the people do not celeberate it. But because I am so close to Texas, there were a lot of kids on the street knocking doors for candy. It is kind of funny because they say triki triki when they knock on the doors because they dont understand trick or treat. But holloween is definitely not as big as it is in the States. Not everyone celebrates it. 

Sunday was a pretty weird day. No one told us that it was daylight savings time here in Mexico so we arrived to church and nobody was there. We were really confused. The rest of the day went pretty well. 

There is a guy that is always walking around in our area that is literally crazy. He is super short and he has smoked so much that he talks in a whisper all the time. And he knows English. He looks just like Gollum from Lord of the Rings if Gollum was Mexican. On Sunday he found us and started to talk to us. Everytime he finds us he talks to us for about half an hour. But this time it was a little bit stranger. He was trying to talk me into getting a blood test. Because he was telling me that he is my long lost father. It was really uncomfortable. And my comp didnt help at all, because he was just laughing the whole time.

But I guess if nothing else good happens in the mission, at least I found my dad.

This week we are going to have at least two baptisms. Three if our other investigator decides that she is ready. I will talk about them next week.

Elder Earl

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Transfer 7 Week 2 October 27 2014

Well this week was pretty good. I am getting used to be here in my new area in Piedras Negras even though it was super hot this week. And I am really getting along really well with my companion so that is great too. It is really fun having an american companion! We teach well together as well. Everyone is always complimenting us on our Spanish. And the members are usually surprised that I have only been speaking Spanish for 8 months. So that feels pretty good.

The week started out super wierd, because my comp went to Saltillo on Monday and didn´t get back until tuesday night. So I was with my District Leader Elder Harris and his companion Elder Morales. It was cool, but I would just rather work in my own area.

That kind of ruined Wednesday as well because my companion had to do some things that he wasnt able to do on monday like wash his clothes and buy food and stuff. So we didnt get to have a full day of work in our area until Thursday.

We had a lot of work to do this week. We are going to have two baptisms for sure on the 9th of November. It is our investigator Sandra and her son Jonathan! And Sandra´s mom Emilia will probably be baptized as well, but she wants to think about it for a little while longer. They are super cool and humble people. They never went to school so they can not read. Our Ward Mission Leader is super cool, so he is actually teaching them to read. He has a class with them two times a week. They really want to learn how to read so that they can read the scriptures!

This week we recieved a refferral from one of the members, so we went to contact her. Her name is Brenda and it seems like she is going to progress very fast. We left her a pamphlet when we contcted her. And when we went back she had read the whole thing and she had a page full of questions that she wrote down. Which made the teaching a lot easier. She understands things very quickly, and she says that all of the things that we say just make sense to her. so we are going to have a good time teaching her, and hopfully the rest of her family will accept talking to us as well.

Elder Earl

Transfer 7 Week 1 October 20 2014

Well I actually had a really great week. It was a great way to start out a transfer!
 
So on Tuesday I got all ready in the morning and arrived at the bus station at like 7 in the morning. and then I got onto my bus. It was a good bus ride. I was with about 7 other missionaries all going to different áreas in the misión. And after a super boring 8 hour bus ride I arrived in Piedras Negras. There I met my companion. His name is Elder Martínez and he is from...Utah. I was pretty excited to see that I had an american companion. I was hoping that I would have at least one. He seems to be super cool and I think that we will get along very well. He has been here for like 14 months. And he did not know spanish before he came here. But he speaks spanish really well, he has a really good accent.
 
My área seems to be really cool. It is called Mundo Nuevo (New World) and it is the closest área in Piedras Negras to Texas. I could literally walk to Texas in 10 minutes from my house. Another thing that is kind of cool is that there is only two missionaries in my Ward here. I have always been in wards with 4 missionaries so far. So we have a lot of work. It is already clear that we are going to have baptisms this change.
 
The next day we had our first zone meeting. I like my zone, there are a lot of americans. there are only 3 latinos in my district. So that is kind of wierd as well.
 
The rest of the week was pretty normal. I was just getting to know the members and the área and the invetigators and everything. And we commited a family of three to be baptized on the 9th! So that is exciting. And they all went to church yesterday as well.
 
Last night we got a call saying that my companion has to go to Saltillo today. He is leaving in like an hour. So I am going to be with my district leader for the next two days.
 
Elder Earl

Transfer 6 Week 6 October 13 2014

Well another transfer has ended and we received our changes today! I will let you know what is gonna happen at the end of the email. I forgot to mention that like a week ago I hit the 8 month mark! Which means that I am already a third of the way done with my mission. Which is exciting but also kind of scary. There is still a lot of things that I want to do as a full-time missionary. I can´t waste any time!

This last week was super cool! A great way to end a trasfer. We have been planning  a missionary activity in the ward for the last couple of weeks. So we were preparing for that basically the whole week. What we did was collect a bunch of used Church magazines (Liahonas) from the members that live here. We took the ones that were in good shape and pasted a map showing where the church was on the back. Then on Saturday we went out to different parts of the area to contact people, give out liahonas, and invite them to listen to the missionaries. About 20 members came. Which was fine we would have liked to have more but we made do. I ended up being partnered with one of the Young Men in the ward. His name is Lalo, and his is 15. I was a little nervous at first because usually I have my native speaking companion with me to help me out when the going gets rough, but everything went very well. I had a really good time actually. We contacted a few crazy people which was bound to happen, but a few really good ones as well! And we even contacted a inactive member of the church. So all in all we had a lot of success with the activity.

Today was also a week of some pretty crazy contacts. First a lady who aparently fasted for 30 days straight and was trying to tell us that it is a sin for women to wear pants and that they should wear dresses all the time. She was talking for a good 30 minutes without letting us say anything. Then a man who aparently has a lunatic for a son. He told me that he thinks that i will be able to help him because I look like I have dealt with a lot of lunatics is my past. Whatever that means. And then another man who told me that he goes to heaven on a regular basis, and then told me that heaven doesnt exist. It was an interesting week.

Well dont have much more to say except for the changes. a week ago I had an interview with the President. I told him that I wanted to stay in my area for a least another transfer. He told that he was pretty sure that I was staying in my area with the same companion but he was going to see what the Lord says. Aparently the Lord said otherwise, because tomorrow I am going to take an 8 hour bus ride to Piedras Negras. I was a little sad at first, but I do know that my President does recieve revelation directly from the Lord when he does the changes. And I know that if i am going to Piedras Negras it is because that is where He needs me right now. I am a little excited. Piedras Negras isnt as big as Saltillo but it is still really big. And it is on the border of Mexico and Texas, so i will be really close to the United States and all. Everyone says that Piedras Negras is basically the United States so it should be fun. But it is still like super hot there. But Whatever.

Elder Earl

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Transfer 6 Week 5 October 6 2014

This week was another really good week. And it was even better because I got to see General Conference.

Unfortunately I was having some problems with the computer I was using. So I dont have like any time to write today. But this week was good. We had a lot of good contacts, and I think that a few of them are actually going to progress! Other than that we also had one investigador go to general conferece. As well as a few less active members that we are teaching.

General Conference was super cool this week! It was great that the added the talks in different languages. The people here were all pretty excited about the two talks that were in Spanish! I know that I was hoping to be able to watch it in English, but that didnt happen. But the good part is that I basically understood everything! So it turned out being really great for learning, as well as for my confidence with understanding Spanish.

I noticed that almost every talk mentioned the Prophet. Many talked about the Prophet Joseph Smith, and almost every one mentioned President Monson. I just want to say that there is no doubt in my mind that Jospeh Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet today! Its funny how much I thought I knew before coming on a mission. And it is amazing how much I have learned and how much my testimony has been strengthened since coming here! 

Elder Earl

transfer 6 Week 4 September 29 2014

Well it was another great week.
 
I ate something really kind of discusting this week. it was pig skin soaked in vinegar. I dont understand why anyone would even think about inventing that. It basically just tastes like vinegar, but the consistensy is super gross. And the fact that you are eating raw pig skin is kind of super gross as well.
 
We had kind of a tough time with one of our investigators this week. Because he was put in prison for a few days. That was the bad part, but the good thing is that I think that it really opened his eyes. I think that it was exactly what he needed to be able to give up drinking. He is a really good guy, and he really likes to talk to us, but it is really hard for him to quit drinking. We had a really good talk with him the day that he was released. We talked about the Word of Wisdom and all of the blessings he will recieve if he is obedient. He talked about how he really wants to change, and I believe him. And I know that with the help of Jesus Christ and His Atonement all people can change for the better.
 
Yesterday was good as well. Beatriz came to church again! She has gone to church 5 times now, and she has the desire to be baptized, all she needs to do know is decide that she wants to do it soon, and we will have another baptism this change. I am super exciting for her, and her family.
 
I am super excited to watch General Conference this weekend! There is nothing quite like listening to the Prophet, Apostles, and other church leaders. In my studies this week I came across D&C section 21. It talks about the Prophet, and I challenge everyone to read it before the conference this weekend.
 
Elder Earl

transfer 6 Week 3 September 22 2014

Man I cant beleive that this change is already halfway over! The time in the mission really goes by super fast! This week was another really good week.

This week I got to do divisions again. Elder Gonzalez my district leader came to my area with Elder Porras. And I went to the other area with Elder Vargas. It was a lot of fun. Elder Vargas is a brand new Elder. This is his first change, so it was a lot of fun being the ¨experienced¨ one. I could tell that he was pretty nervous. We contacted this guy, Elder Vargas introduced himself, and then he introduced me as Elder Gonzalez! The guy was just staring at me like ¨there is no way that guy is named Gonzalez. So I introduced myself and we finished the contact, while I was fighting the laughs. The rest of the day went well. 

Wednesday we had a really good day! We had a lesson with our investigator Beatriz. She is married to a member named Javier. They are both super awesome and are literally one of the coolest families that I have met. Javier has been inactive for about 10 years, but ever since the missionaries have started to come to church he has been super excited about the Church and always wants to learn more. And he always comes to Church now if he doesnt have to work. Beatriz has been Catholic her whole life, and it has taken her a long time to really accept the Gospel and it´s teachings. But on Wednesday she finally told us that she wants to be baptized! 

On Friday there was a stake activity that I got to go to. It is called La Noche Mexicana and it is to celebrate the Mexican independence day. It was pretty cool. I got to see a few traditional mexican dances. In one of them, the dancers all had candles on top of their heads! that was wierd. And in another one, all of them had a pineapple that they held on top of their shoulder. Also kind of wierd, but cool. The best part is that two of our investigators were also there! We didnt get to stay for too long because we had to be home by 9:30

Sunday was good as well. One of our investigators came, but we had like 6 say that they would come. 

Elder Earl

Monday, September 15, 2014

Transfer 6 Week 2 September 15, 2014

We had a really good week this week. I am really getting along with my new companion, and we work well together. I like it a lot because he olny has like 4 months more than I do. So he doesn´t think that he knows everything like some other missionaries that I know.

One of the most exciting things that happened this week is that one of our investigators decided that she wants to be baptised! Her name is Yolanda. She is an old investigator. So she took the missionary lessons a while ago with other missionaries but was never baptised. But now she decided that she is ready. She runs a store in her house. Something really common in Mexico. 

Yesterday was a pretty good day in the church. Enrique blessed the Sacrament for the first time! and he asked me to do it with him. It went really well! It was my first time blessing the Sacrament in this ward as well. 

The weather was really weird this week. All week it was super hot! but then it would rain everyday as well for a couple hours. But then on Saturday and Sunday it rained for two days straight and a lot of the streets were partially flooded. There was also a whole bunch of fog! And it was super cold! Aparently it gets really cold here in Saltillo. Like down into the 30´s. And it will get to the point where there is so much fog that you cant see something right in front of you! So that will be super cool!

Yesterday we contacted a Clown. Clowns are super popular here in Mexico. All of the kids love them! And a lot of people perform on the street as clowns. It is cool. Actually the clown contacted us! He basically asked us what it is that we teach. So we told him a very short version of the Restoration. And he seems really interested! He juggles while he rides a really tall unicycle. It is cool. And he has all of the nesesities as well! Big shoes, red nose, big flower, makeup. 

So ya

Elder Earl

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Transfer 6 Week 1 September 8 2014

This week was pretty sweet and all. But I dont have much time. I met my new companion. Elder Porras. He is from Hidalgo Mexico, and he seems pretty cool. I definitely think that we are going to get along. We had a good week this week. We had the confirmation of Enrique yesterday. And both him and Darío were ordained in the Arronic Priesthood. That was super cool. And both of them bore their testimonies in Sacrament meeting yesterday as well.

I was a little worried about leading my comp around in our area. Because I have only been here for one transfer and our area is one of the biggest in the mission. But it has actually gone by really smoothly. I know a lot more than I think I know. And that can apply to a lot of things. 

One thing that I am kind of bummed about is that I am the only gringo in my district now. Which is fine because I know that I will be able to learn a lot with of these Spanish speakers. But it is nice to have at least one English speaker with me. There are two brand new missionaries in my district though. So at least I am not the newest missionary in my district anymore!

Elder Earl

Transfer 5 Week 6 September 1 2014

Well another week and another change has ended! This week was super great as well. A great way to end a change!

The main reason why this week was so great was because we had two baptisms! Dario and Enrique. They are both super cool guys, they have both become really great friend of me. 

I also did divisions this week. It was my first time being companions with someone from the United States. He is super cool. His name is Elder Townsend and is from Utah. He has been in the mission for about 14 months so his Spanish is a lot better than mine. But not perfect. So it was a little bit harder. It was super cool though, because I could feel myself using Spanish that I have never used before. I difinitely have have faith that the Gift of Tongues is real, and that The Lord really does help us. There is no way I could do this without Him.

We finished the week with the baptism of Dario on Saturday. It was really cool because his wife and her mom came to the baptism! They are inactive members, and he was kind of worried about telling them that he decided to be baptized. But they were very supportive of him, and the baptism went really well!

Sunday was also really sweet! We had the confirmation of Dario, and then he gave his talk afterwards! He gave it on Faith, and it was really good!

We thought that we were going to have the baptism of Enrique on Sunday, but it turns out that his Dad who is not a member wanted to come. So we had it this morning actually! It also went really well! After the baptism, after we changed out of our wet clothes, Enrique told me that he decided that he wants to serve a mission! That was some pretty good news! I told him that after about a year of preparation he could difinitely be ready to serve! 

We also recieved the changes today. I am staying here in Obregon, but my companion is going to a different area here in Saltillo. My new companion is going to be Elder Porras. I dont know him. But i am gonna meet him tomorrow. The worst part is that both of the other missionaries in my ward are going to leave as well. So I have to teach the area to my companion, and the other missionaries will have a lot of questions about their area as well. And I just barely got comfortable with my own area! Hopefully I can at least show them where their house is...



The missionaries from Obregon. Yo, Elder Townsend, Garcia, and Brown
 Elder Sierra from Honduras
 our zone

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Transfer 5 Week 5 August 25 2014

Well I dont have much time to write this week. One of our investigators invited us over to eat, and we were there for longer than we thought!

This week was super good! I did splits this week with a missionary from Honduras! he is super swee! Already one of my best friends in the mission. I learned a lot. He is a Greenie still, and I am a Gringo, so it was ineresing, but I had a great time, and I really did feel the Spirit really strong the whole day.

This weekend was Stake Conference. The Mission President, The Temple President and The Stake Presidency all spoke! As well as 3 recently returned missionaries. It was super good! And we had 5 investigators come as well! So that made it even better! 

I am getting super excited for this weekend. Dario and Enrique are going to be baptized. And Dario asked me to baptize him! And after his confirmation on Sunday he is going to give a talk in Sacrament meeting! 

Well that is all of the important stuff I guess. I am doing great!
Elder Earl

Transfer 5 Week 4 August 18 2014

This week was a little bit tougher for me than usual. I just had a lot of expectations that ended up not working out.
Luckily our investigators Dario and Enrique are both progressing very well! both of them came to church, and we had great lessons with both of them this week as well! We have a date set for Dario on the 30th for his baptism, and for Enrique on the 31st! So I am getting really excited for them! I can really see the Gospel helping them change for the better, and it makes me happy just to see them happy!
Other than that we had a lot of appointments this week that didnt work out. We showed up and nobody was home. The thing about Mexico is that NOBODY wants to say no. We ask if we can come to share a message with them , they say yes, but they actually aren't interested at all. I actually don't mind when people tell me that they arent interested. That way I can focus my time on the people who really want to listen.
Another thing that kind of sucks is that my companion is having problems with his back. We actually had to go to the doctor everyday in the morning for the first two weeks of the transfer. But it didnt help him at all. So it is getting hard for him. We are gonna have to go to the doctor again sometime this week I think so he can get another analysis or somtething.



 
But overall this week was a good week. Someone told me before my mission that "In the mission more dissapointments happen than good things, but the good things make all of the dissapointments worth it". This week I could definitely see that that is true. And I am trully about all of the wonderful things that are happening here!

Elder Earl
 
 
A little bit of Washington I found in Mexico!!
 
 
 
A little bit of Mexico I found in Mexico!!!  Ya it's a Donkey!

Transfer 5 Week 3 August 11 2014

I can´t believe that this change is already half over! I am pretty sure that my companion is leaving in like 3 weeks, and I still get lost all the time here! I better learn it soon or who knows what is going to happen!

This week was good. We still have a lot of work, and if everything goes like I hope it will, we could have up to 6 baptisms in the next 3 weeks! so that is super exciting! 

There were a few day that I was just super hot though! But I know that I shouldn´t complain, because if it is hot in Saltillo I dont want to know how hot it is in all of the other towns around here. I definitely feel bad for all of the missionaries in Monclova, Piedras Negras, and Torreón. We did have one day where it rained, but we were in a lesson for the whole time. 

We got a new investigator this week. His name is Mario. He is super cool! His wife is also taking the lessons, but their work scheduldes are so rough, we almost never find them together. The lesson that we had with him was super great! The Spirit was super strong! We were talking about the blessing of having families, and I asked him how important his family is to him. He told us that he quit drugs and he quit drinking so he could better take care of his son who is about 1 year old. I could really feel just how much he cared for his family. He is really prepared to receive the gospel, but he has some problems because his work schedule is so rough.

Church was really good this week again, we had 2 non-members in the church with us. And there was also a ward baptism. An 8 year old named Daniel was baptized by Elder Brown. I am doing great!

Elder Earl
 
Moths should never be as big as my hand. Almost peed my pants!

These are the 3 other missionaries in Obregon in Saltillo. My comp elder Garcia. Elder Brown from California and Elder Townsend from Utah! That building is a gigantic catholic church!

SMURFS!...and graffiti.

Transfer 5 Week 2 August 4 2014

This week was super sweet! I will let you know why later. But I have some crazy news! Tomorrow I am going to compete 6 months in the mission! that means that I am already a quaarter of the way done! It went by so fast!

This week we had our zone conference. It was really cool because it was the first time that I got to meet all of the missionaries in my zone. I had met a few of them before, but most of them were brand new to me. Also it is always super sweet to hear our Mission President speak to us. Especially now that I can understand almost everything he says! He really is an amazing guy. He teaches with the Spirit, and I can tell that he really follows the Spirit when he is teaching. I can really learn a lot from him in the next 18 months!

Something really cool that my stake is doing is that the visiting teachers and home teachers are teaching the missionary lessons to the less active members. And we go along to help them out. It is really great for the less active members, as well as the members teaching, because they are studying the missionary lessons and strengthening their faith!

This Friday was one of the best days we have had so far! We had a lesson with a new investigator named Enrique. He is 18 and has family members in our ward. He has already commited to be baptized and went to Church with us and his family members yesterday! He is a really spiritual person, and has an amazing amount of Faith in Jesus Christ! Later on Friday we had another lesson with Dario. I talked a little about him last week. He too commited to a baptism date and came to church with us again! 

Church this week went really well. There were many really beautiful testimonies. Near the end of the meeting Dario leaned over to me and asked ¨Only members can share their testimonies right?¨ I said ¨No everyone can¨. ¨Can I?¨. ¨If you want to¨. ¨Is there enough time?¨ Yes. And he got up and bore a wonderful testimony of the Book of Mormon. And told of his first experience reading the Book of Mormon. I don´t think that I could have felt happier!

So just know that I am doing great! And there is no need to worry about anything at al!
Elder Earl

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Transfer 5 Week 1 July 28, 2014

They have a big Christ statue like the one in Rio Brasil. Not quite as big as the one in Rio though. You can also see a little of the city
 BE HAPPY. BE MORMON. this is in the window of a member here
 Elder Garcia and Water
Well I am officially in Saltillo! And it is completely different from Zaragoza.
On Monday, we said goodbye to a few more families and then slept in our house for the last time. Then on Tuesday I was traveling for most of the day, and arrived in Saltillo at like 6. There I met my new companion. His name is Elder Garcia. He is really cool, and he is my district leader. It was a little harder to really click with him at first because we are a different, but the last few days have been really cool.
It was my first time switching areas in the mission, so it was a little wierd at first. Because the people that we are teaching were being taught by someone else like a week ago, and then all of a sudden some 6 foot 4 gringo comes to their door saying that he is teaching them now. But I have already come to love a lot of the people that we teach and a lot of the members too.
The area is really cool! It is a lot bigger than my last area that is for sure, and the weather is much nicer! But when it rains it is crazy! I would call it mild flooding. We have to cross streets with the water up to our ankles. But other than that it is super cool.
My first day here, my companion told me that I had to give a talk on Sunday. AGAIN. So I did that. I do better every time, but I would still rather give a talk in English.
One of our investigators is extremely cool! his name is Dario and he is from Venezuela. Who would have guessed that I would be sent to Mexico to teach a Venezuelan! He studies the scriptures like nobody else I know! and he always has questions for us! some of them are really profound like Where is Kolob? He is reading the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants! He came to Church with us as well! And he had the best questions and best comments in the class for sure! and he wants to give a talk in Sacrament meeting! He is also really good at music. He plays guitar and he is learning piano as well! He loves the Hymns in church. He says that he wants to make me a Guitar!
The members here are really cool. They are a lot like the members back at home. But the best part is that we get food with the members ever day! sometimes more than once!
Speaking of food, my first meal in Saltillo was really quite wierd. Cow intestines. It didnt taste horrible! but not really good either. But I really didnt like how chewy it was. I also found out that I have eaten sheep stomach as well. I just didnt know because I didnt know the Spanish word for it. I didnt really like that either.
Elder Earl

Transfer 4 Week 6 July 21, 2014

Well another transfer has ended, and I know that I say it every week but this week went by super fast!

Every last week of every transfer we meet together as a zone. The offices were having troubles bying our bus tickets to Acuña, so they told us that we were going to have the meeting on Wednesday or Thurday instead of Tuesday. But then Monday night at 10:00 as we were getting ready to go to bed, We got a call saying that we were able to buy our tickets for 6:00 the next morning, so we had to pack super fast and take a taxi to Allende. We slept there, woke up at 4 and headed to Piedras Negras. We got there late, so we missed our next bus to Acuña. So we had to wait there for 2 more hours until we could go to Acuña and finally have the meeting. And afterwards we took a bus back to Allende and a taxi to Zaragoza. It was a super long day. 

The rest of the week was really great though. The last week of the transfer always feels wierd but it was even more so because it was my companions last week in the mission! We didn´t let it get to us though, so we had a lot of good lessons and some good times as well! 

Anyway, Sunday was really good as well. We had about 40 people in church so that was really cool. The Elders had to talk again, mine wasn´t horrible I think. Elder Vera did a really good job. It was his last sunday as a missionary, so it was a little emotional for everybody. Nobody was crying or anything. Later Elder Vera and I went to Allende with Hermano Sarabia a member in our brach with all of Elder Vera´s stuff to drop him off. I said goodbye to him there, and I have been with Elder Hutchins and Elder Lopez ever since. It was a little hard to say goodbye, but it´s not like I wont ever see him again. 

Later that day we got the changes for this transfer. I am going to Saltillo! Actually 5 missionaries in my zone are all going to Saltillo. My area is called Odregon and apparently it is like the downtown area of Saltillo. There is a lot of stuff there as well as 3 museums. I am excited. My companion is going to be Elder Garcia. He is also from Mexico City. My zone leader Elder Lopez knows him, and he said that he is really cool and a really good missionary as well, so I am super excited! 

But something kind of wierd is that there are only going to be two missionaries in Zaragoza next change. Elder Hutchins and I are both going to Saltillo, and Elder Lopez is going to be here with an Elder named Elder Harrington. I met him once before and he is super cool. He is actually from Ephrata Washington, so we know people who know eachother, but I had never met him before the mission.

So after church yesterday we went to a bunch of members houses and investigators houses just to share a short message and say goodbye. It was pretty hard to say goodbye to all of the people who I have gotten to know so well that last 4 and a half months. The people who have fed me, the people who I have taught, and the people who I baptized as well. But it gives me great joy to know for a fact that I can see all of them again whether it is in this life or after.

And today we are going to finish up with saying goodbye to some more families, and then tomorrow morning I leave to Saltillo!
Elder Earl

Monday, July 21, 2014

Transfer 4 Week 5 July 14 2014

Another week has gone by, and it is super hard to believe that I only have one more week until the next transfer. What is even more hard to believe is that my companion Elder Vera is going to go home in one week! that must be super weird for him.
We had a really good week this week. The weather wasn´t super bad and we had a couple of big rain storms as well that were really cool. But today it is super hot. today is the day that the Canícula starts. Or the hottest 40 days of the year. So this next week is going to be super got and then we have another transfer. And if I don´t get transferred to Saltillo I will have like 33 more days of it, because Saltillo doesn´t have a Canícula.
The highlight of the week was definitely Sunday! We had a lot of people come to Church this week which was super nice because we weren´t really expecting it. We were also able to finnaly confirm Lourdes! she was baptized a few weeks ago, but she has just been having a lot of opposition lately so she hasn´t been able to come the last few weeks. The other missionaries had a confirmation as well this week. So we had two confirmations and both companionships had an investigator come to church as well! Elder Vera and I taught the Primary again. The lesson was on the Restoration, and it went very well!
Our zone actually had a really great week! we had 3 baptisms and 2 confirmations. It is great to see all of these people coming unto Christ by deciding to take part in these sacred ordinances and making covenants with our Heavenly Father! 
Today was way to hot to fish, so we haven´t really done much. But the mission offices sent me a bag of candy for my Birthday so that was cool. There were some really good ones, but some strange ones as well.
Elder Earl

Transfer 4 week 4 July 7 2014

This week was definitely one of the fastest weeks that I have had here on the mission. We had quite a few lessons this week, and I can feel myself getting more and more comfortable with speaking Spanish. It is hard to believe that there is only two more weeks in this transfer! And what is even harder to believe is that I actually hit the 5 month mark this last week. That was super crazy!

The other Elders in Zaragoza had a baptism this week. Her name is Yolanda, and she is a very sweet lady, but one side of her body is completely paralyzed. She had a lot of doubts about whether or not she could be baptized becuse of that, but she ended up making the decision to be baptized. Elder Hutchins asked me to give an impromtu talk on the Holy Ghost. It wasn´t perfect. But I think that it was good enough. It was much better than my last impromtu talk I gave in my first transfer. But the most amazing thing was how happy she looked after the baptism! She said that she had some doubts beforehand, but that now she is sure that she did the right thing.

The Fourth of July was also this week. Happy Fourth of July Everyone! My day was pretty sweet on the Fourth! It was exactly like every other day. I actually forgot all about the holiday. But today when I found out after reading my sisters email, I said the Pledge of Allegiance in my head so don´t worry I am still American. 

Today was pretty fun! We got to go back to the ranch of Hermano De la Cruz. They fed us a whole bunch, and then we went to the river and skipped rocks and fished for a while. I had a really good time. 

Elder Earl

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Transfer 4 Week 3 June 30 2014

This week ended up being pretty good. A little bit dissapointing as well though. My Birthday was this week, and it was great! Elder Vera, Elder Lopez, and Elder Hutchins surprised me with a cake in the morning, and sang me Happy Birthday. And when I say in the morning I mean in the morning. It was at 6:30 a.m. And then when I got home, we made the cake that my parents sent me, and it was super good!

We also did another activity on my Birthday that ended up being really sweet! All four of us went to the Plaza of Zaragoza at 6 for the sole purpose of placing Book of Mormons. I have to admit that I was super nervous at first, but it ended up being a really good experience. All together we gave out about 10 books. I personally did two of them. My spanish wasn´t perfect, but both of them understood me and they both accepted the Book and said that they would read it. And I was able to share my testimony with them about the truthfullness of the Book of Mormon. And how it is one of the ways that God has shown his love for us, His children. It really was a great experience.

This week would have been stupendous, if Mexico didn´t have a game in the World Cup yesterday during Church. Not many people showed up. But I understand that it is not easy to look at things in the Eternal Perspective. But when we do, we can see what is really important in this life. Which is Family, Church, and giving service to others.

Mexico lost in the Super Bowl yesterday, so it just kind of feels sad today. I didn´t really think that that was possible, but the environment just feels sad. But we talked to someone today who said that the President of Fifa might have Mexico and The Netherlands play again. I don´t understand why, but that is what he said. It might have just been wishful thinking.

Today we went Fishing again. I caught one fish. And my companion caught Three Turtles! luckily we didn´t kill any of the turtles this time. So we took a picture and then let them go free. 

So I guess all in all this week was good. 
Elder Earl

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Transfer 4 Week 3 June 23 2014

This week was really quite good! Last P-day I went fishing with my companion and the other two missionaries in Zaragoza with us. We used Hot Dogs for bait, and it worked surprisingly well! Elder Vera started to fish, and he litterally caught a fish is like 30 seconds. Then it was my turn, and I caught one in about a minute. We got super excited and we thought that we were going to catch hundreds of fish! But then we handed the pole to Elder Hutchins, and he didn't catch anything for about an hour. Poor guy. Later, Elder Lopez caught a turtle. It was cool at first, but the hook was stuck and we couldnt get it out. so we cut the line and let it go. We decided to stop fishing for the day. Me and my comp went fishing again today, but we didn't catch anything. On the way home, we ran into one of our investigators. He is 17 and is named Arnoldo. He told us a better place where we can catch more fish. We are probably going to go next week.
This week we met a Sister from a town called Nueva Rosita. She was just kind of scouring the town looking for us, because she wanted to introduce us to some of her friends that live here. So on Thursday morning we went with her, and now we have 3 new investigators! One of them was Arnoldo that I mentioned earlier. That was super exciting! It amazing what can happen when missionaries and members work together.

I also learned more about the weather here in my area. Aparently, in january and feburary it gets pretty cold. Not freezing, but cold. Then it gradually gets warmer until June. And in June there is like one week or two where it is super humid and it rains a lot, and then after that, The Canícula starts. They actually have a name for the hottest 40 days here. It is going to be like 120 degrees everyday for 40 days! And it is super dry. Then it will gradually get colder until January. Luckily, we were given permission to buy a small air conditioner this last week. I might have died without it!

This week there was one day where it just dumped rain on us! I have never seen it rain harder! And when it rains here, all of the flying ants leave their nests. It was really weird, because there were literally millions of them everywhere! there were almost as many flying ants as rain drops! My companion told me that they bit if they land on you, and he wasn't joking! It was wierd because I have never seen a flying ant before. Except for in "A Bug's Life". Luckily we were able to take shelter from them in an investigators house.

Also, a member asked us if they could store some couches in our house this week while there daughter is looking for a house. We were super excited, but unfortunately, they also raised the population of our house to about 50, maybe more. Because they are filled with Cockroaches. Giant Cockroaches! Some of them could probably eat a dog if they wanted to. Waking up in the middle of the night because there is a cockroach crawling on you is not a pleasant experience.

But I am doing great! 
Elder Earl

June 16 2014 Transfer 4 Week 1

This week we started a new transfer, so it was super busy! On Tuesday, Elder Vera and I were in Allende with the other missionaries in our district. One of them was changed to Monclova, so we were there with Elder Hernandez so he would not be alone. Then his new companion Elder Tello arrived from Piedras Negras. And then later that day another missionary named Elder Lopez arrived. He will be serving in the other companionship that is in Zaragoza with me and my companion. All 6 of us spent the night in Allende because on Wednesday we had to go to Acuña so we could all be together as a zone for the first meeting of the transfer. Unfortunately things didn´t exactly go as planned....

On The bus ride from Piedras Negras to Acuña, the bus was stopped by the police. That actually happens all the time here. They usually just ask to see some form of I.D. and sometimes they check your bags and stuff. But this time there were two other guys with different uniforms. I heard them ask Elder Hutchins for his passport, and I got scared. Because all of our passports are in Saltillo with the mission offices. So I did the only thing that I could do and pretended to be asleep. Unfortunately the guy "woke me up" and asked to see my I.D. He actually thought that I was Mexican at first, but somehow he figured out that I was a gringo when I stared talking to him, 

Because we didn´t have our passports, they basically threw us in a prison bus. It was pretty nice, but the windows had bars. they took us to an office. And we waited there forever! like 5 hours or something. We had to answer some questions and sign some papers. And they had to take us to a hospital as well, I guess a doctor had to "clear" us or something. Then we were waiting in the office again for another hour or so, until they finally let us leave.

But they told us that we had to go get our papers. So I am pretty sure that Elder Hutchins might be going to Saltillo this week. I might have to go to, but hopefully not.

Other than that, this week was good. Well actually, that experience wasn´t that bad. They gave us two sandwhiches, fruit, chips, cookies and water, and we handed out like 5 pamphlets throughout the whole ordeal. 

Other than that, it was a normal week in Zaragoza. The World Cup started this week. So there is soccer stuff like crazy everywhere.

Elder Earl 

Transfer 3 Week 6 June 9 2014

This last week went by super super fast. I guess I will start with my adventure to Saltillo. Really, it wasn´t all that cool. I was on a bus for ever, and then I took a taxi to the mission offices. The coolest thing is that I got to eat Subway and Dairyqueen while I was in Saltillo, in a mall. Almost every other town in my mission, that has missionaries, has a bunch of American stores and Restaurants. Zaragoza has nothing. Saltillo has a bunch of really cool stuff. It is one of the largest cities in Mexico. Not anywhere close to Mexico City, but large. The other Elders from my district in the MTC went to Saltillo as well! That was super awesome! we have only been here for 3 months, but we already had so many stories to share with one another! We slept in Saltillo that night, and the next day we went to some place. I signed two papers, and they took my fingerprints. Then I took another taxi and then another super long bus ride to Allende, and then another to Zaragoza afterwards with my companion.

Also, this week we had another baptism! Her name is Lourdes. She is super nice. Something interesting about her is that she actually was going to be baptized a few years ago by some other missionaries. She had her baptism date set, but then a member said something that confused her, so she backed out of it. Elder Torres and I started teaching her again my second week I was here. We helped her resolve all of her doubts and we answered her questions. Luckily, the result was a strengthening of her faith in The Lord Jesus Christ and she finally agreed to be baptized a few weeks ago! Her baptism went really well. Her sons were super sad, because they wanted to be baptized with their mom. Rosendo is 6, so he isn´t old enough yet, but her other son named Emiliano is 10, and he really wants to be baptized. Unfortanutely, his dad wont give him permission. But we are working really hard to try and help him understand. But he doesn´t seem to really like to talk to us all that much. We will see what happens.

We also have Transfers this week. I have to say that I really had no idea what was going to happen this change. Last week, we got a call from one of the office secretaries that made me think for sure that I was going to be changed. But then, on Saturday my zone leader told me that I was staying in Zaragoza. He also told me that my two brothers in our zone, (Brothers are the missionaries who entered the mission field the same day as you) Elder Bradley and Elder Chablé were staying as well. But then, on Sunday night we got another call saying that the President was doing more last minute changes. So agian, I wasn´t sure what my fate was going to be. Then we found out that Elder Bradley was actually being changed to Saltillo, and that Elder Chablé was being changed to Piedras Negras. And finally today, we found out that I am being changed to...nowhere. Yep, I am staying in Zaragoza for another six weeks, maybe more. 

I am staying with Elder Vera. This is his last transfer in the mission and then he is going home, so next transfer either we are both going to leave Zaragoza, or I am going to be here for a total of 6 months! We will see what happens. Every companionship in my zone except for mine is changing this transfer. So it is going to be really different. I am glad that I am staying another change because I really do love the people here, and I really like my companion a lot. But I do want to serve somewhere else sooner or later.

Elder Earl

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cambio Tres, Semana Cinco June 2 2014

This week ended up being pretty great. But really eye-opening. We travelled quite a bit this week because we had a conference in Piedras Negras. The conference was with Elder Johnson. He is in one of The Seventy, and he is the area President here. The whole time, he was basically scolding us. Something that I didn't realize is that my mission is actually really bad at getting baptisms. We average about 8 a week for the entire area. Which is almost an entire state! The whole thing really motivated me to become the best missionary that I can be.

This last Sunday was good. We had one investigator come with us. That was great! And two of the inactive families in our area came as well. I taught Primary. I have taught the whole primary lesson two weeks in a row now. Which is really great for practice. And it feels great to see all of the progress that I have made with the language.

Yesterday, I was told that I am going to Saltillo tomorrow. But just barely, while I was writing this letter, I learned that I am going today! Its something for my visa. So I need to go pack now. 

Elder Earl

Transfer 3 Week 4 May 26

This week went by super fast. And it was a little wierd as well.

On Tuesday we went on splits. So, my companion was in Allende all day with an Elder named Elder Jacinto. And I was with an Elder named Elder Herdandez in Zaragoza. It was the second time that I have been on Splits with Elder Hernandez. I had a great time. He is really funny, and he is learning English. So all day he speaks to me in English, and I speak to him in Spanish. And we help eachother with the grammar and pronunciation. We had quite a few lessons. And they were all very good. 

Then on Thursday Elder Vera and I went to Allede and spent the night there. And then on Friday in the morning we went to Piedras Negras because we had interviews with the Mission President. I was a little nervous, because I had never really talked to him before, because I couldn´t. And I wanted him to see how much my Spanish has improved. And, thankfully, it went really well. I understood everything he said to me. There was only one time where I didn´t know what he was saying. He was trying to explain to me that the interview was over. But I got it after not too long. And I finally got back to Zaragoza on Saturday. 

Because of all the traveling this week. We didn´t get to work quite as much in our area as usual. But we still had some good lessons. And we had one more investigator commit to baptism! Unfortunately, it probably won´t happen until the next transfer, so I may not be here to see it.

I also found out that within the next two weeks I have to go to Saltillo to get my visa extended. Which means an 8 hour bus ride. Which means an 8 hour nap. 

Now I am going to go fishing

Elder Earl

Transfer 3 Week 3 May 19

This last week actually went really well. Except for one thing. I made the mistake of touching a nopal this week. It is a type of cactus. There are a few large spikes on them, so I thought I would be fine if I just grabbed it around the spikes. But aparently, there are like millions of little tiny spikes that you can´t see covering the whole thing. I was taking them out of my hand all day! And I kept finding more. You would think that someone would tell you that beforehand. But I guess you would also think that most people are smart enough to know that you shouldn´t touch a cactus.

We had a lot of lessons this week. And me new companion and I are becoming really good friends. 

Something kind of funny about Mexico are things called Mexicanadas. They are the things that people make that are super smart and useful out of stuff that they already have, so you don´t have to buy something new. Like a satelite made from a bike tire. This is the Mexicanada that I made this week. I am pretty proud of it.
 

It is a cockroach killer...

A new restaurant opened up this week in Zaragoza. Every other town here has everything you would ever need. McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut. But, there is absolutely nothing in Zaragoza. So I was super excited when I saw this.




 

But then I looked a little closer...I really did think that it was a Church´s at first.

This Sunday was great! The President of the Branch, President Casas, confirmed the two boys that were baptised two weeks ago, Ángel and Erik. And we finally got another one of our investigators to go to church with us. She told us that if she could feel the Spirit in the chapel, she would agree to be baptized. But the past three weeks she something had always come up so she couldn´t go. But she was there, and aparently she felt the spirit, because after Sacrament meeting she told us that she would be baptized! So we have two more baptisms coming up. Her and her son. 

So, all in all, I am having a great time. My tetimony grows everday. I understand more Spanish everday. My companion is great, but I think he is getting a little nervous. Because he only has one more transfer in the mission after this one. I think that he doesn´t know what he is going to do when he gets home. I am just glad that he still wants to work, even though he is almost done. 

Elder Earl

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Transfer 3 Week 2 May 12

I don´t really know what to talk about this week. I don´t even really know how to describe this week. Part of me wants to say that is was Great! But another part of me wants to say that is was less than satisfactory...I guess you can say that I am a little bit overwhelmed with the respnsibilities of a missionary. But then I think about all of the support and love that am recieving from my family and friends. And the amazing amount of love and help that I recieve from God everyday. It helps me to see the blessings of missionary work. It reminds me of a quote that I really like, ¨There is not one thing two people can´t do if one of them is The Lord¨. And I know that that is true. Because there is no way that I could be doing what I am doing without Him.

I don´t want to talk a lot about what I did this week. Rather, what I thought and felt this week. Something that I have been thinking about a lot is why missionary work is hard. There is not a missionary in the world who would say that his mission was easy. But when you think about it, missionaries literally have the Lord on their side. The Holy Ghost is always with them if they are obedient, and there are hundreds of thousands of people praying for them every day. You´d think that we should baptise everyday, and that we would never get sick, or injured. But, I don´t baptise everyday, and I could get sick or injured any day. Why?

It is because missionaries are working for the salvation of souls. I am here helping people understand who they were, who they are, and who they can become. I am here helping people to understand that they can live with their families for eternity. And I am here to help people learn how much God loves us, and wants us to return to him. 

What I am trying to say is that missionary work was never supposed to be easy. Because Salvation was never supposed to be easy. The reason we are on this Earth, is to progress and to learn how to return and live with our Father in Heaven. We live here by faith. This life would have no purpose, no meaning, if it were easy. Missions would have no purpose if they were easy. 

Yesterday, I got to talk to my family on Skype. I am so thankful for that opportunity, and I am so happy to see how well everyone is doing. I love you all!

And I would also like to congratulate my cousin Kendall who is entering the MTC this week.

Elder Earl

May 5 2014

Well, This week was pretty great.

Tuesday my new companion arrived into Zaragoza. His name is Elder Vera and he is from Mexico City. But, he speaks English. We basically only speak in Spanish, but it is really helpful when I don´t understand a work he says, or if I can´t get out what I want to say in Spanish. And, he is extremely hilarious. We get along really well. 

On Wednesday, we were travelling all day, because we had to go to Acuña for a zone meeting. I actually don´t mind travelling all that much here. We travel by bus, but all of the busses are really nice. Really large and comfy. I am like the tallest person in Mexico, and even I have more that enough leg room. So that is nice.

This Friday, we had a big activity at the church here. We had a movie, a dance, games, and food. We made Tostadas. That morning, my companion and I made salsa. It was really fun. Except for cutting onions. That sucked. This is a picture of my companion working.
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The activity was great! we had quite a few people there. And everyone had a good time.

This week, we spent a lot of time with the Morales Duque family, in order to prepare Erik and Ángel for baptism on Sunday. They are really smart kids, and they learned everything that they needed to really fast. Then on Sunday after Church, we held the baptism. Luckily, it went really smooth. Except for me slipping on the way in, and the water heater being broken, everthing was great! This is a picture of me and my companion with Erik, Ángel and the fam. 
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All in all, the mission is great. I am learning Spanish slowly but surely, and I am getting better at teaching every day. 

Elder Earl

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28 2014

This was the last week of my first transfer in the mission field. It went by so fast! The beginning of the week, we had our last meeting as a zone. So we got to take a bus to Piedras Negras early in the morning. And, even better, I got to see my brothers from the MTC. Elder Gibb who is serving in Piedras Negras, and Elder Bradley who is in my zone serving in Acuña.  That is me and Elder Gibb. The missionary in the back that kind of looks like a James Bond villain is my companion Elder Torres. He is talking to another Elder.

 
This week was a little better than last week. We had a lot of people in the chapel. Here in Zaragoza, the Elders are in charge of just about everything. Mutual, Family Home Evening, and we teach the Primary and the Young adults as well. And we were able to get a lot of our investigators in the chapel for the activites. And yesterday, we had three investigators in the chapel for church. That was exciting! We jumped back up to over 50 people in the chapel this week. But I still just don´t understand what happened on Easter with only 14. 

Another thing that is pretty exciting is that this next Sunday we have two baptisms! They are brothers. One is 10 years old and the other is 9. And, they asked me to baptise them! so I have been practicing the Spanish that I need for that. It is also possible that we will need to push the baptism back one week because this week is going to be a little crazy.  The boy next to me is Ángel. He is going to be baptized. His 10 year old brother, Eric, who is also going to be baptized was with his dad when we were taking pictures. Their family is really nice.

The reason that this week is going to be really busy is because my companion is actually being trasferred this week. He is leaving tomorrow. It is going to be wierd because it is my first time changing companions in the field. I am still in my weeks of training, so I am still the junior companion, but it will be a little different because for now I am the one that knows the investigators and how to get around the town. So I do have a little more responsibility. But I can do it.

I have a lot of really great investigators. The only thing stopping them from progressing even more is that they don´t want to go to the church. They love listening to us, but none of them like to go to church. Because none of them have been to the true church of God yet. But I know that if we can get them in the chapel for Sunday, I can have 5 or more baptisms this transfer. 

But I am doing well. I am growing a lot. In Testimony. Luckily I don´t feel like I am getting fat yet. 

Elder Earl

April 21 2014 Easter

This week was pretty difficult, but it was good for the most part. A lot of working, and a whole lot of walking. Which is fine.

Our lessons this week went really well. We had one really good lesson with a woman that we have been teaching since the first week. She likes to listen to us, but we have not been able to talk her into going to the chapel on Sunday. But we finally did, and she said that if she felt good there, that she would be baptized along with her 10 year old son who already has expressed his desire to be baptised. We also had a few lessons with an inactive family this week. We got them to commit to going to the chapel as well, and set a baptismal date for two of the boys in the family that have since come of age. 

But, something that I have learned about the people here is that it is really easy to get people to agree to things. But whether they will actually do it or not we have no idea. Almost always, people agree to scheldule a lesson with us or to read something or to attend the church with us. But the day will come around, and they wont be home, or they will be sleeping. It is really frustrating. So yesterday, Easter, we spent all morning trying to round up our inverstigators for church, but nobody came. Before we came to Zaragoza there were 14 members in the church every sunday, but every week it has grown. Last week we had 54 people in the chapel! but this week it went down to 20. 

Which is pretty sad, especially on Easter. The day where we celebrate the miraculous ressurection of The Messiah, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Which made it possible for all of us to be ressurected after this life and live in Eternal Happiness with our Heavenly Father and our families forever! 

I also had to give a talk yesterday. Apparently, every third Sunday of the month the missionaries give talks. This isn´t just for my mission, it is everywhere in Mexico. I ws super excited when I found that out Saturday night right before I went to sleep. But it went fine. The Spanish wasn´t great, but I got through it. 

For some reason, I thought that in Mexico, Easter would be really Spiritual and not very commercialized. But at least in the part where I am, it is just like the U.S. The Easter Bunny hides eggs for the kids, but they are filled with confetti instead of candy. And they have a big fiesta! Some of you may be thinking ¨What´s the point of Eggs if there is no candy?¨ but don´t worry. They also have a Piñata filled with candy for the kids durring the Fiesta.

One thing that I was able to do this week which was pretty cool was help paint a house! It was a lot of fun! I was with my companion, and one of the sons of the family who lives there. She is a single mom, and we eat at her house every Friday. Her son is really funny. He is 11 years old and his name is Eric. He wasn´t too happy with the color of the house though. He told me that his favorite color is Black! I think it looks pretty good!

I have talked about how the food is always really similar here, so I won´t get into that again. But this last Tuesday, we ate with a family who makes the best food in Zaragoza! I can not begin to describe my joy when I saw that we were eating Espaguetis, Spaghetti! So that was cool.

Today has been pretty good. I definitely needed this P day. But I am also ready to start working hard this week. It is the last week of my first Change in the mission! It went by so fast!

Elder Earl

Some questions Jordan aswered...

Ok son.....I have asked you so many questions and am not getting them answered so hit forward and answer the questions then send to me.....please!!!

1) Where do you shop for your food? Take a picture of the store.
 
There are two stores. Oxxo, and Farmacia Guadalajara. I will take a picture of them this week

2) What is the strangest thing you have eaten?

Tortillas. Seriously everything is normal. But the strangest thing is that we eat tortillas with everything. I don´t really like it.

3) Do you have an inside working bathroom?  Take a picture of your bathroom and each room of you apartment.

Ya. The shower is cold with no water pressure. But the toilet works.

4) Have you found anything food wise or treat wise or little Mexican cart wise that you love?

I love those chocolate eggs with the toys inside. Like the one i got in Ensenada. And there is this thing called Agua de Frutas that is pretty good. Water of fruit.


5) What are the homes like of those investigating right now?

All are really small and humble. I have a picture of one in my email this week. It is pretty standard. A few have bigger houses.

6)  What type of work do the men do to support their families?

The same in Moses Lake. More ranches though.

7)  Did you get your box we sent?

Nope. It will be a while. I will let you know. It is also possible that I will never get it. Did you tape pictures of Jesus on the box?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16 2014

This week was pretty good for me. We had a lot of lessons, and a lot of contacts, and I was able to make a lot of progress in my ability to talk to people in Spanish that I don´t know. One of the days this week for our companionship study, My companion and I studied the things that I want to say when I first contact someone. Then we went outside and contacted every person that passed us on the street. We were really successful. We now have 22 progressing investigators. And we got two Baptismal Dates set as well. And by the end of the day, I was able to do an entire contact while my companion was buying water in the store. That really helped my confidence a lot.

Also yesterday was the Confirmation of Ximena! The girl that was Baptised this last week. It was great to see how excited and happy she was to have the Holy Ghost with her. And, the other missionaries in Zaragoza had a Baptism yesterday as well! A 10 year old boy named Brayan. Yesterday was a really good day for the most part.

I say for the most part because yesterday one of the missionaries in my district found out that his cousin died in a car crash. He is a gringo like me, but has been here for a year. Two of his family members have died while he has been gone. It is amazing how strong he was about it and how happy he was for the rest of the day. It got me thinking a lot about my own family. I also have been having a lot of dreams about my family this week. So, I have been thinking a lot about familes this week, and how much I love my family. Even if I am not great at showing it all of the time, I do really love every single member of my family immediate and extended. Last night the Elder that lost his cousin asked me to write out the lyrics to ¨Families can be Together Forever¨ because he couldn´t remember them in English. I want to say, that I do know that our families can live together in Eternal Happiness with our Heavenly Father after this life if we are obedient to the commandments that God has given us. 

I also want to say congratulations to my cousin Bryan who recei

ved his mission call to Torreón Mexico! We are going to be really close! Torreón is in the same state as me!

Elder Earl

Oh ya! I forgot to mention. I am also teaching English every Saturday with Elder Hutchins the other Gringo in Zaragoza. It is pretty tough. I never thought that I would ever be teaching English to anyone in my life. And this week my companiona and I are going to start teaching Seminary as well! Every day at 6:30... No doubt he will be doing most of that because he can actually speak Spanish. But I will do what I can.