Tuesday, July 28, 2015

1,000 lives in 100 days

July 26, 2015

Keith started a program in our mission called 1,000 lives in 100 days.  He felt the need for the missionaries to not only work towards new converts, but to spend a little time helping those who were already members of our church.  He challenged each companionship to pick 10 names of members who were in the wards where they served.  They had 100 days to help make a difference in their life.  Hence the name: 100 companionships times 10 people to help = 1,000 lives.  It’s been rewarding hearing about some of the experiences:

Elder K: I’d like to share one story that we had from the 100 days 1000 lives.  There is a family of 3 that recently had a daughter die. Their daughter was 14 and had an accident in school and ended up passing away a few days later. That all happened on my first day I had moved to this new area. The family started to blame God for what happened and stopped going to church because of that experience. The husband also started trying to kill the pain with an addiction to marijuana. They wouldn’t even accept a message from us for months. But one day when I was with Elder T., we knocked and she opened the door and told us they were busy.  We asked if we could simply stay for 1 minute or 2 and say a prayer. She said “yes” and we had a really powerful prayer. When we finished she said she would be home the following night and asked if we could pass by. We did and had a great lesson about the plan of salvation. (Where we came from, why we are here,  and where we are going) We've been progressing great with this family lately and they're all coming back to church, doing family home evenings, and starting a repentance process to be sealed together in the temple. It's amazing the change that I've seen in this family, and I’m so glad to have been a part of it.

And a fun letter from a sister missionary: Sister L. and I had our first baptism yesterday! It was so wonderful, Jocelin our soon to be convert once she receives the Holy Ghost, is such an amazing young lady. She has a solid strong testimony and is a walking miracle with all the changes we’ve seen since we started teaching her. I love the gospel; it’s incredible to see the power it has in the life of people, even when we testify of it every day.  I had never seen it happen so "up close". I feel so blessed and thankful to have been a part in that change in Jocelin's life.

Yesterday while we were out working with a member, we bump into a family he knew.  Apparently this family was investigating the church some time ago, Family Huerta. They had just lost the father an hour before! We offered a hymn and a prayer. I didn’t know how we could help them, but I prayed that they might feel the Spirit and that they might open their hearts to the truth.  They agreed to meet with us this Wednesday.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Heavenly Good byes

July 23, 2015

In the last 3 months we have sent home almost a third of our mission.  Of course we have received “replacements”, but this third that went home were missionaries that we had served with for a year.  These were young men and women that we loved and trusted (except for a couple of rascals).  We have laughed, cried, and enjoyed them for a year and they have become part of us.

Since our mission office is just 15 minutes away from the airport, we usually have the pleasure of taking them to the airport to send them on their way.  As we stand and give final hugs and handshakes, we usually have tears running down our faces.  Sometimes we can’t talk as we try and maintain composure.  We stand there and watch such strength walk away with big smiles.  We are putting them on a plane to take them back to family that we know loves them more than we do – if love can be measured.  As we cry here, we know that the family will be crying there in just a few hours.  Our tears are for one reason, their tears for another.

Even though that day of saying good bye usually starts at 3AM, I often stay awake a little later into the evening looking for pictures on Facebook.  I want to see that they have arrived.  I zoom each picture and see the expressions on their parent’s faces as they hold their children again.  If there is a video, I play it over and over.  It brings me some peace.

As I hugged an Elder good by yesterday (okay, it doesn’t follow “mission” rules, but I can’t say good bye with a handshake!), I had an interesting thought.  I wondered how it was in Heaven before we came to earth.  Did we stand at the “airport” with big smiles and excitement?  Did we look forward to our new adventures?  Did we nervously pace as we waited for the time to “take off” to Earth?  And finally, did our Heavenly parents hug us good bye, not saying too much as they tried to keep their composure?  Did tears run down their faces as they looked at the strength and potential they were sending to earth?  My heart tells me it is so.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


July 2, 2015

We were traveling with the Assistants today – these are three of our very best here in Mexico City.  We passed several funeral homes which are not like the lavish ones we enjoy in the states.  These were small store fronts with little decoration.  I asked the Assistants about funerals here such as where they hold the service.  They told me that funerals are held in these small store fronts, with everyone standing around an open casket.  There are a few chairs for the “older folks.”  They also said that funerals are held in homes.  They clear out some of the furniture, place the open casket in the middle of the room, and hold a service.

Elder S. started to laugh as he recalled an incident he had during the first part of his mission.  He and his companion were friends with a family in their ward.  This family had a grandfather who was not well.  One day they received a call asking them to come and give a blessing to the grandfather.  They asked how he was doing and the caller replied, “Not so well.”

They hurried themselves to the family home.  When they walked in, there was the open casket with grandfather inside.  The family expected a blessing for their deceased grandfather.  The two Elders had to respectfully tell the family that they could not do that, offered a prayer, and excused themselves as quickly as possible.

I sat by an angel today.

July 5, 2015

We headed out towards La Perla (the Pearl) to attend church today.  As we entered the building, we were greeted by a young man – probably about 17 years old.  One of his hands was pointed backwards, and his feet pointed towards each other.  With a mouth that didn’t quite work correctly, he asked me a question.  Not knowing what he said, I answered “yes.”  I was taken into a tight embrace by this young man.  He had asked me if he could give me an abrazo (hug) and I had replied in the affirmative.

This young man obviously was affected by cerebral palsy.  Walking and talking were difficult and yet this did not slow him down.  When it was time to pass the sacrament, he was there to help.  Since I was sitting on the stand, he had to deliberately and carefully make it up the stairs in order to give us the sacrament.  He couldn’t take a “gentle” turn, but would stop and steady himself, and then do a perfect 90 degree turn.  His stronger arm carried the sacrament tray.

When it was time for testimonies, up this young man came again to the stand.  As he sat down by me, he reached out his hand for a handshake.  When it was his turn, He stood, and in difficult speech, spoke of his love of Jesus Christ.  I could feel the power even when the words were not discernable. 

I believe that most of us come to earth to learn lessons.  Others however, are sent to earth to teach us lessons.  I sat by an angel today.