Hola Familia! Como estan? Estoy muy agradecido por esta oportunidad a hablar con ustedes!
This is my last week here in the CCM, which is still crazy to think about, but also very exciting!
I will miss my time in the CCM and especially the amazing friends I have made.
Here are a few pictures of some of my friends that have left this week.
Here are a few pictures of some of my friends that have left this week.
|Me with Elder Lebaron, the Elder we saw at the Chicago airport the morning I left. |
He is from the Northwest Suburbs and is one of my roommates. He is a super funny guy!!
|On our P-day we went on a parrot safari.|
|It was a great adventure!!|
We got our travel plans the other night and it looks like Monday will be a long day. I leave the CCM at about noon to catch a 4:40 flight to Lima (I get to share a little bit of Theo´s mission experience after all haha), which arrives at 10:30 Monday night. Then at 11:59 (thank goodness it’s not midnight) I have a 2 hour flight to La Paz Bolivia. Assuming the altitude and my asthma don´t kill me during my 45 minute layover there, I will then fly to Santa Cruz and get there just before 5 in the morning. There are 4 other missionaries from another district going with me, so it should be a good time!
To get ready for our departure we have a lot of packing and other stuff to take care of today, so our P-day probably won’t be as fun as usual, but we are playing ultimate against another district this afternoon and there has been a lot of trash talk so I am very excited for that haha. The rest of the time before we leave we will continue studying, practicing, and preparing for the field!This week Elder Hale had some problems with his ankle so we had to go to the hospital to get X-rays (I should say “got to” because we were both really excited for a trip outside the walls).
Another Elder who had knee problems and his companion came with us so it was actually pretty fun at first! One of them is from Ecuador and one is from Chihuahua Mexico and they were both super nice! We had about a 20 minute ride over to the hospital and then for some reason the x-rays and MRIs took about 3 hours, so we got a lot of good Spanish practice in with these missionaries. We taught the elder from Ecuador the names of facial features and body parts in English which was really fun because we are always the ones doing the learning here, haha. We taught him the word shoulders, but it was tough for him to remember this one so he kept pointing to his shoulders and saying “throats” and Elder Hale and I would just crack up every time. We probably shouldn´t laugh considering how many times a day we make mistakes in Spanish, but it was really funny in the moment.
The comedor was closing by the time we got back from the hospital so it was just the four of us eating in a huge cafeteria and they had so much food left over so we ate pretty well that night, haha. It was an interesting experience and I really enjoy joking around with the Latinos here. It’s always a party with them because there is so much to be happy about.
Ok so I know I talk a lot about food in these emails and I apologize for that, but for those of you keeping up with my pizza night performances I have something big to report. Last night I PR-ed with a total of 8 pieces of Costco pizza, which was really difficult but with faith and some 2% milk, all things are possible. I was happy to go out on a high note on my last pizza night and I´m grateful for everyone who has supported me throughout this journey. I´m feeling pretty sick today but it was entirely worth it.
Just a quick little story from this week:
So on Saturday we were trying to figure out whose turn it was to teach one of our investigators and I was trying to say “we taught Thursday” in Spanish, which is “Enseñamos jueves”. I messed up on my pronunciation a little bit and ended up saying “Enseñamos huevos”, which means “we taught eggs”. I immediately realized and we all started laughing, and from now on I´m going to focus on the difference between Thursday and eggs, haha.
Last night we had a really great devotional from Elder Helaman Montejo, an Area Seventy here in Mexico. He told a story from his childhood, where he was at a hardware store with his brother. He was only 7 years old and he found a chain on the floor inside the store while his brother was shopping. He told us at the time he had really wanted his very own chain and it was something he always dreamed of, haha. Anyway, he picked up the chain and brought it home, swinging it around the whole way home. When his father saw him, he asked Elder Montejo what he had in his hand. Elder Montejo replied, “It´s my chain” His father asked if he had bought it or if someone had given it to him, to which elder Montejo replied no. His father then told him to return to the store, go to the store owner, and return the chain. His father told his brother that he would go with him to make sure he returned the chain. When they arrived at the store, Elder Montejo went into the owner´s office and told him that he had taken this chain from the store without permission. The owner replied, “Are you Antonio Montejo´s son?, to which he replied yes. He was allowed to keep the chain and return home.
Now to be honest I don´t understand completely how this story relates to the gospel, but there are a few correlations I really love. First of all, Elder Montejo´s older brother was with him the whole time. He returned to the store with him and was there to make sure he accomplished what his father had asked him to. Our older brother Jesus Christ is here with us, in every moment, making sure we do that which Heavenly Father has asked of us. He will not let us return without accomplishing this. The second thing I liked is that the store owner recognized that this was a son of Antonio Montejo just because of his actions. All it took to realize that this 7 year old boy was a son of Antonio Montejo was to see him returning something worthless that he had taken. Similarly, people should be able to recognize us as children of God and disciples of Christ purely based on what we do. We shouldn´t need nametags in order for people to recognize that we are representatives of Christ - all of our actions should make this clear.
On Sunday we watched a video about the life of John Tanner. John Tanner was a really wealthy man living in the 1830s who had an infection in his leg that no doctor could diagnose or heal. He was told that unless they amputated it, he would die, but he refused to have his leg amputated. Because of this he only had a few months left to live. He was a methodist minister and because he wanted to disprove the mormon religion, he attended a sermon given by two missionaries. He believed their words and wanted to be baptized soon after finding the church. When the missionaries asked him to be baptized, however, he told them he could not because of his leg. He would not be able to get in the water with his infected leg. The missionary asked if he had faith in the power of God to heal, and then commanded John Tanner to rise up and walk. Soon after he got up, he leg was completely healed. That night he walked a quarter mile to the nearest lake to be baptized. John gave everything he had to the Church in the years following. He donated nearly 50,000 dollars to help build the temple and pay the Church´s debts. He lost his entire fortune and has family was forced to beg for food. John was asked to serve a mission, and before departing, he brought to Joseph Smith the prophet a note for money he had loaned to Joseph - thousands of dollars. John ripped up the note and said “The only debt is one of gratitude, and that is mine!”
I love this quote because it is how all of us should approach service in the Church and how we give to build the kingdom of God. There is NOTHING we can do to even come close to repaying our Heavenly Father for all He has blessed us with. No matter how much time or money we give, we simply cannot. He has blessed us with knowledge, families, and the ability to progress and return to him. The ability to overcome death and all of the effects of the Fall in order to have a more joy than we can ever imagine. Serving a mission is easy as long as long as we keep this perspective. I know the next few weeks are probably going to be very tough for me. I am going to be in an entirely new country with problems that I have never faced before. I may have a companion that doesn´t speak any English, and for a while its going to be nearly impossible for me to understand the people I am talking to. Yes I am a little bit scared, but this is something easy I can do for God. Our Savior is with us every step of the way to help us accomplish what the Father has asked of us, and He will not let us fail. I´m so grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission, and most importantly for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, through which all things are possible.
I love you all and hope you have a great week! I´ll talk to you soon!