Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"In Mexico there are almost always toys or things that you can get from food packages, and so I have gotten these cool things from these chip bags...go Adventure Time :)"

"A picture with our chosen family, the special investigator family we have."

January 27th, 2014 - Weekly Letter


Wow, so another week gone. Seriously, these weeks go by so fast!!! I literally feel like yesterday was Christmas, and now it's more than a month later. It's so weird to hear about a bunch of my friends that are preparing for missions, and leaving soon. As we've been having more success lately, I feel like we don't have much time, because in reality, there isn't enough time in the world to be able to convert everyone, but oh well. For that, I am working really hard right now! And my work has been paying off :)

On Tuesday I think, yeah Tuesday, me and Elder Hansgen were walking around, and we took a bus out to a super far away part in our area, and we did this because we felt like we needed to go to this one lady that lived out there. So we arrived there, and the lady wasn't there. It was kind of sad, and so since we didn't have anything else to do out there, we went to the bus stop again to take the bus out to a different area. At the bus stop there was this lady with her little boy, and she started talking to us. She was very receptive and told us to stop by her house the next day. So we did. The next day when we went, we had the normal first lesson, and she accepted a date for baptism!! Oh yeah!! So she accepted the date for the 22nd of February, and she also went to church yesterday, which was awesome because she doesn't have a car, but bishop went over to pick her up. She loved it.

 On top of that, we still have our special family! We still go to their house every day, and they actually made us food for 2 days this week. These meals really meant a lot to me because this family is pretty poor, yet they made us this amazing food, and it really was amazing! They also went to the church yesterday, well at least the mom and daughter, but they're still super excited for their baptism. Yesterday we were talking about who they wanted to baptize them, and I'm going to baptize the 2 teenagers, so that will be sweet! We're still in the process of preparing for their wedding, because we want it to be very special for them.

 Also this last week was just crazy....there were random transfers, and so Elder Conklin ended up getting transferred. In his spot came another elder, Elder Ante, who is from Mexico City. None of his family is LDS, so he has it a little hard. I realized from all of this though that I am truly blessed. You guys raised me in the church, and so for that I have been so blessed. A lot of the Mexican elders don't have too much to go back to....It makes me really give my thanks for the Lord for the amazing family that I have, and for the care and support they give me. Thank you family :) For everything! I also realized something though, that the Mexican elders are a Lot different then us, and that is because they joke way too much. I like joking, sure, but they always take it too far, and it bothers me sometimes. Elder Ruiz isn't that bad though, for that we are super tight.....but yeah, I'm super grateful for my companion I have right now!!!

But yeah, like I said, thanks for everything. Everything is good here with me....except for the weather.....goodness. It gets so hot during the day already. I have sweated a few days this week....luckily today there are a lot of clouds, and so it's not too bad. But yeah, thanks for everything, have a good week, and I love you all so much :)

-Elder Loveless

I got a letter from these people last week: Bishop, Aunt Tiff (but it wasn't about the baby), Ilene and Layne, Aunt Glenda, and Grandma Val. (the cards were actually Christmas cards :P haha)
Also I got one package, from the fam!! It was the January package!! Thanks so much :)


January 24th, 2014 - Training in Delicias

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Cool pic we took in Camargo...cool mountains."

"I remember having one of these when I was a kid :)"

"Bautismo pics!!!!!"

Letter - January 20th, 2014 - First Baptism!!

     Well, this last week wasn't too bad, well at least from the last time I wrote. Really right now not too much is different from day to day. Our one family, who we like to call the chosen family, went to church yesterday which was super cool. The hard thing about Camargo though that we've realized is this:

     So we have been talking to the bishop a little bit the last few weeks and we found out that the number of members in the ward is 286. Out of the 286 only about 50 come to church on a regular basis, as in every week. The reason for this is that the members of the ward just are not the nicest people. Like they don't befriend the investigators like they could, and so what happens is that a lot of investigators come to church and don't stay because of the members. When we brought our family to church yesterday, the father started talking to us later, after church ended. He was telling us how he had realized a lot of things about this ward like how they go out of  obligation and so because of that they aren't as friendly, and stuff like that. But he said something that impressed us missionaries. He told us that people should go to church because they want to, not out of obligation, and then he told us that he would continue to go with his family because he knew it was what God wanted, and he really wants to get baptized. That was pretty powerful to me. A father of about 45 years of age telling us the truth, and he really didn't even know much about the church before they came. That was very cool!!! It really shows that God works with the people that want to sincerely follow His way.

     So on top of that, on Saturday we had our first baptism. Antonio, but he likes us to call him Arturo, was our friend who got baptized. He is a very special guy to us. He has been coming to our church for 2 years, and he always has felt that it is right, but he thought that the baptism he had when he was younger was valid, so he never really thought about it until we talked to him. We have been teaching him for about 2 months, and whenever we set up a baptismal date with him he was never sure. Even on Saturday, he didn't feel ready. He wanted to push the date back again, as he already had done. But he did it, he got baptized. I had the privilege to baptize him, because out of all the missionaries I have been here the longest and have been teaching him the longest, so he had a trust with me. After he rose out of the water he just started laughing, and said that the feeling he felt was amazing....he felt new. He knew at that point that the decision to be baptized was a good decision.

      So yeah, not much more was too special this last week! Tomorrow our investigator family invited us to eat, so that will be fun! I learn stuff every week, and thanks to every one of you for continuing to support me!! I love you all :)

-Elder Loveless

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"These are pics of us elders playing with bubbles!!!! Haha!"

"Me and Elder Conklin with a bunny."

"Elder Ruiz and Elder Conklin"

"Christ Transformer.....what???"

Zac's pic to Emily.

January 15th Letter

My wonderful family :)

Well first of all I'd just like to say if you guys were worried or what not that I didn't write on Monday, it's okay, cuz I'm writing now! So there's a lot, and I mean a lot, of crazy stuff that's happened this last week, and so we have been pretty busy. On Monday we had to go to Delicias really early, and didn't have time to write, or buy food, or wash our clothes. It was still a good day and all, but we didn't really get a p-day. So then we told ourselves we would de everything yesterday, but we only had time to buy food late in the night because they wanted us to go to Delicias again.....cool story behind this all though, here it goes:

So last Monday Elder Conklin's companion, Elder Norris, had transfers, so we went through the whole day like normal, and then met the new elder later in the night. His name is Elder Ruiz. Elder Ruiz is from Leon, Mexico which is pretty cool. I'm a little curious if maybe dad somehow knew his family, but who knows. But yeah, so let's just say that Elder Ruiz changed Camargo....and definitely for the better, because I don't think it could have gotten any worse. Elder Ruiz came to Camargo, and by the next day almost instantly found out how hard this area really was. The members don't help us, we have only a few investigators, and they're all ones that really aren't going to be baptized, and so just everything was going so bad. Elder Ruiz started thinking about this, as our new district leader, and he came up with something. Talk with everyone. Literally everyone, not just the ones that randomly we feel inclined to talk to.  So they started that, Elder Ruiz and Elder Conklin. I remember we got to the food one day about 2 p.m. At that point we have worked for 3 and half hours. When they talked to us they already had I think 8 visits with people, 6 of which were lessons. I was blown away, but it worked. Camargo has always been the way it was, and so a lot of people have never heard of the missionaries nor seen them......and that's where the story all began.

So we started to do this too....we talked to everyone, and the numbers in Camargo extremely rose. Instead of having almost 30 visits a week, we are having like almost 60 visits. Instead of 7 lessons, almost 30. Instead of 0 baptismal dates, 10. So yeah, when Elder Ruiz reported our numbers to the zone leaders on Monday, they couldn't believe it...how could this be possible, but it was. The reason for this success is this. If we can have about 30 people in enseƱanza, or people that we are constantly going to and teaching lessons, we can have about 15 of those people baptized. So the more people we have to teach, the more baptisms. Seems too simple, but so effective. And it has helped a LOT!!!! I really don't have a fear to talk to people anymore. This is one of our many miracles that has come from this way of working.

So Elder Conklin and Elder Ruiz were just talking to everyone like normal, and they saw this guy sweeping over by his house, and so Elder Ruiz went over and took the broom and started sweeping for him. During this, Elder Conklin was talking to the guy about who we are and what not, and so they got his name, address, and set a date when we could come visit him....also sweet thing is he lives in mine and Elder Hansgen's area. So we visited him and his wife two days later, the 4 of us, and we just began to teach basic doctrine.....faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. They are the coolest family ever. When we talked about baptism the dad was super curious, and so I asked the question, will you follow the example.......yeah, the baptismal question, and they accepted....just like that!!! Later we asked about their kids, and they have 3 kids, 14, 10, and 8...all baptismal age. So we have a date with this family the 15th of February, and they are going to get baptized, I've never been more sure!!! Also she told us to visit them every day, so we visit them every day!!! Coolest people ever. But the next time we visited them, we asked them if they were married, and so we found out they're not married...but the cool thing about that is that Christ really does make things work out for the people that really want to follow His path. The day before their baptism, the 14th of February, the city marries people for free. Yep!!! So the day before their baptism we have a wedding set up for the fam. We are going to bring soda, food, cake, it's going to be sweet!!! But yeah, this is just one of the many cool stories we have. We also found a family of 14 people, who are very interested!!! And, first baptism for me and Elder Hansgen is on Saturday! The guy that we put a date with that I told you guys over skype is getting baptized this Saturday!!! So that is going to be sweet also!!

So yeah, it's been a sweet week, but because of it we have had to go to Delicias a lot to talk to the other missionaries and do practices with them about how we do the work in Camargo...cool, but not cool at the same time, because we haven't been in our area as much! So that has been my week last week, and the legend still continues!!!

Thanks for all the love and support from all of you! I love you and mention every one of you in my every prayer!!! Stay strong, and let's hasten this work :)
-Elder Loveless

Monday, January 6, 2014

"Yeah, I've collected a lot of these things now (called tazos)."

"Us with Cesar, who leaves tomorrow for his mission."

"Me playing the piano I bought for less then 10 bucks (100 pesos) :)"

"My packages!"

January 6th, 2014 - Letter

Family :)

    So let's just say that this last week has been one of the best in the mission so far!  Ah, it's been so crazy, so here's the breakdown.

   First of all, we had a meeting in Delicias last Tuesday, New Year's Eve, and since it was with the zone, they brought all of the packages, and I literally had just about half of the packages....haha.  The meeting was a really good meeting too, like all of them are!  I got 3 packages from Grandma Barbara, a package from Aunt Denise, one from the fam, and one from Em!!! So yeah, I had like another Christmas over again :) But yeah, so that was a good day, and then later that day we had to come in at 7 because supposedly it was going to get crazy that night, and so yeah, we celebrated our new year by playing chess, and then sleeping! Yeah, sleeping is like the best thing for missionaries.  But yeah, it's super funny. Elder Conklin has a chess set and that is what we use a lot to play.  But yeah.

    So then this last week I also had quite a few special spiritual experiences.  I was able to give my first blessing for the sick, and then a few days later, another one!  This week has been a lot of firsts....and then multiples of the firsts. But these blessings were so special, and it helps my testimony not only grow of the power of priesthood, but of how God works with His servants.  My first blessing was on Tuesday, and the lady was feeling a little sick, but it could worsen she said, and so eventually after asking her who she wanted to say the prayer, she picked me, because I am one of the two that have been in Camargo for some time now.  First time, I hadn't really practiced the blessings or anything, but well, I had to do it.....so Elder Norris did the oil part, and then it was my turn, I didn't know what to say, (and on top of that the names in Mexico are SO hard and long)  so Elder Norris whispered the words into my ear, and then I gave the blessing. Once I started saying the blessing the words just came...in Spanish. Something that is interesting is that there are two forms of 'you' in spanish. Usted, which is informal, and Tu, which is formal, and we are required to use the usted form always....except for blessings. We don't really practice tu form, so it's not really perfected with me yet, but the words came.....and now this lady is perfectly fine.

    The next experience was Friday, two days before Sunday.  One of the sisters of the ward called us and told us that she would like a blessing, for health. This lady is a little old and she has had multiple times where her health has almost killed her, but her faith is OH so strong, so this time I practice the blessing in my head before we went.  When we went to her house, Elder Hansgen did the oil, and then I did the blessing again. And not only did the Lord put the words in my mouth, but because of that I said things that I wouldn't have thought of saying. After the prayer I looked up and the sister was crying, and then her daughter who was also there, and very inactive, was crying so much as well......yeah it made me cry a little too. The priesthood is real, and on top of that the Lord really works in our lives, and as servants of Him, we are always helped when we need it as long as we are doing what we should and need to be doing. After the blessing the sister told me, I sincerely have faith, and I know that on Sunday I will be able to go the church and partake of the sacrament......and she did :)

    So yeah, also a little more on the light side, I had menudo for the first time, or cow stomach, and not only once, two days in a row :P ewe........menudo is so gross...the second time wasn't as bad though, because the first time there was a hairy pig foot....HAIRY PIG FOOT.....like what is that?!  Like imagine a guy not shaving for a little while, and then a pig foot, and then put that hair on the pig foot, and then stick it in your soup, with cow stomach.....yeah we almost puked. Poor Elder Conklin, I looked over, and I'm pretty sure he almost threw up right there, he was like gagging it down. But yeah, super gross. The menudo is also just so weird, like it's kind of hairy too...oh man, worst thing ever. YUCK!!! And the smell is super weird, like it smells like wet dog or wet horse or something....like I don't even know how to describe it.

    So yeah, and then another cool experience this week to end this letter off. So I went on splits with Elder Conklin in his area, the north part of Camargo, and we went to this guy who is hard core Catholic. Like nothing will change his beliefs like no matter what. When we were in this lesson with him he just bashed on us, and started throwing out this stuff in the Book of Mormon and how it can't be true and all of this stuff, and it was so horrible, I just couldn't stand it, it was messing with my brain. After the lesson I just didn't talk really....and then I went to bed....thinking. This guy rejected our message with stuff that I didn't know the answer to. But it made me think about my testimony, and how simple it is......and this is how my testimony goes:

   I know that this church is the church restored through Joseph Smith.  I know that I don't know the scriptures inside and out, I've only read the Book of Mormon once, and I don't really know the stories very well, but I have received an answer that it is true, and so it is, it is true, the word of God. I don't know a lot of details about the church, like a lot of the things that take a lot of study to learn, but I do know this church is true, because through living these standards I have been blessed in my life, and I wouldn't be here in my life without this gospel.  Testimonies don't have to be complex....just our beliefs, and I believe this church is true because I have been blessed, and that is all the proof I need, along with my faith!

   So yeah, good week and very interesting week! Earlier when I was getting ready I just started to think, wow, the mission is actually a lot funner than I thought. Like it's just an adventure all of the time...and I don't have to go to school ;) haha, but yeah!!! I love you all, and have a good week :)

-Elder Loveless





Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"These little coins are worth less than a penny!!! haha

"The tamales :) Well, some of them."

"Me wearing my new Christmas Eve pajamas."

Letter - December 30th, 2013

      Christmas week :) Wow, personally going into this last week I was a little bit sad, not too much, but I went into the day thinking, awe man, we don't get a break or anything this day, but it turned out a lot better! It really made me so happy! On Christmas pretty much everyone didn't have work, so we were able to visit with a LOT of people, and on top of that a ton of people gave us a lot of food and candy and hot chocolate and stuff like that, so it ended up being a super good day!!! Christmas' in the mission really are special, especially because I got to talk with the fam and Em!!!! It was great to see all of your faces again, and to see Jon's random weird humor :P haha. But yeah, so Christmas was really good, and it was super funny, we had SO many tamales, we had tamales for lunch, and then members gave us more, I guess tamales are something like everyone eats on holidays!!! And it was interesting......tamales are like the stuff that are wrapped up in the corn stuff, and normally they're filled with meat and whatever else is in them, but we had like these sweet ones, like dessert tamales, they were good :)
     So about the work, it's been good, and something that has been helping is that missionary book that I got for Christmas, the Highly Effective Missionary. From that book I have received so much revelation for our area Camargo. And that is........the members. We have always known that we need the help of members, but now we're finally putting that to work. Something that has been said over and over is that the work won't succeed without the help of the members, so we started to put that to work...yesterday. In the 3rd hour of church we were to have about 30 minutes to talk about whatever, and so we decided that we need to talk about the missionary work, and how the members can help us. Elder Norris came from an area where he had so much success and had the help from the members all the time, and so he didn't want to say anything that would offend anyone, cuz he was just mad, so he didn't want to say anything, and my companion doesn't know the ward or the situation as well, so that left me and Elder Conklin.....and Elder Conklin already doesn't talk very much. ----deep breath in, deep breath out---- I was about to get in front of the ward and pretty much tell them that they aren't real members because they're not helping in the missionary work. So I got up there, me and Elder Conklin, not knowing what to say....and so I started.....I just started talking about the work and how part of the work is the members, and then after I explained that, we started talking about ideas, what the members can do to help. And we weren't getting to far in our conversation, when I just felt Elder Conklin needed to say something. And he did, he asked them a question, "how many of you really believe this church is true?" Of course all of them raised their hands. And then he talked about if you really believed in this church, and you were really converted, you would help in the missionary work. After that we got an idea, and we're going to implement it in the work this week.......it was just a super cool experience though. The spirit took me and Elder Conklin over, and we figured everything out. Afterwards Elder Norris told us that we did a good job!! It's just what was needed!!!
     So yeah, that was the highlight of my week! I felt so spiritually strong that day!!! So yeah, we're excited to implement these strategies in the work this week. I'm kind of a weird guy, but I like to compare the work to a game....board game. This board game is very tricky, but there's a way to win, we just have to use the best strategy!!! But yeah, you guys are awesome, and thanks for all the love and support, it was great talking to you all this last week!!! Love you all!!

-Elder Loveless