|Zone Leaders, APs and Presidente Hicken|
Sorry about last week. We had some new missionaries come in on Monday who had been waiting for their visas and we had a missionary get sent home so we had to train the new missionary, train the new trainers and help President with the special changes. I have never missed a week before...but I guess one out of 104 isn’t that bad.
Well, last week President was gone all week at a conference so we got all the emergency and permission to do things calls. Tuesday...about a half an hour after president had gotten on the plane to leave we got a phone call from some zone leaders in one of the more dangerous parts of the mission. They told us that two missionaries had gotten arrested and were being held in the delegation. What a way to start off a week. We made some calls and got a hold of the number of Elder Tenorio, one of the members of the 70 in charge of Mexico and the number of the church legal department in Mexico. We called up the legal department and they sent a lawyer over to the delegation to bail them out. I guess they had been putting up flyers for an English class where they shouldn’t have...luckily the church got them out without too much trouble...but it kind of scared us a little bit.
It is starting to get a little colder....by colder I mean I have to use blankets at night and sometimes I wear a sweater to study in. But you know you’ve been in Mexico when 70 is cold. I have been using the socks Grandma Anderson sent last Christmas to sleep in and I still have my slippers...so I think I’m pretty good. I got your package!!! Thanks so much. I love the Starbursts (they are gone now because Elder Bringhurst likes them too) and I have been enjoying hot oatmeal and hot chocolate in the mornings. Thank you for the EFY disc I love it...you get kind of sick of the same songs over and over again so it is nice to hear something new. Thank you for the pictures, I put them up on my desk. Kolby is wearing my old shirt and Melissa looks way different. I also noticed that I look way different from my homecoming picture...that was almost 2 years ago and things change a lot in 2 years.
This computer doesn’t have a picture port so I couldn’t send pictures of the baptism of Esthèr. She was so excited to be clean from her sins and it was really cool to see how the ward rallied around her to support her. We have been focusing a lot of working with members (bringing members to lessons and using them to answer questions and doubts and pick them up for church) and we have seen a huge difference in the investigators. Esthèr has come every single week to mutual, (the RS always gets together to learn some sort of recipe or sewing thing) and she just really is loving everything. Her home situation is hard because her whole family is Presbyterian and they are not supportive at all of her decision to be baptized. But she overcame that and an addiction to coffee (we gave her a box of herbal tea (which is not against the word of wisdom here) at her baptism). Our bishop got emergency released last week. He had been out of work for about a year and was unable to find anything because he was too busy being bishop...so right now we don’t have a bishop for a couple weeks.
I’ve been thinking a lot about a couple things. First of all the obra misional is really different in Mexico. Our ward doesn’t have a ward council because no one gets there on time, our ward mission leader doesn’t ever have meetings with us because he works (and because he knows we can baptize without him and thus feels less of a responsibility) and the whole culture here is different. When baptisms flow like water a lot of missionaries start losing sight of what it really is, a saving ordinance that will change the eternities of these people. They start looking at them as personal achievements and start worrying more about numbers of baptisms than people. Then there is the other extreme where they just say that baptisms don’t matter at all. They say we are here to help people and baptism is a plus...the result being that they go weeks without baptizing. The doctrine of Christ is as stated in D&C 33:11 He wants every single person to be baptized...but it is also as stated in D&C 4....everything has to do with our motives. Are we motivated to baptize by love of God and of all mankind? Are we no longer motivated to help others come unto Christ (and the only way they can do that is by have faith, repenting and be baptized)? It has to be a fire in your belly, a hunger, but motivated purely. I have been reading Acts...they obviously had the motivation to help others come unto Christ and baptized whole pueblitos...but only because the Spirit was with them. The Spirit cannot testify of impurely motivated missionaries...if baptized by impurely motivated missionaries the people are simply convinced...not converted. We are here to baptize every last person who lives within the boundaries of MME, but we are only to baptized converted, not convinced, people. I wish I could help the missionaries understand that. I wish I could be better at that. I know that the natural man attacks us everyday and it is a constant battle to keep our motives pure. But we are commanded to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him...our very salvation depends on the results of that battle. If we are not purely motivated...it’s not worth doing it. I love my Savior and I am so grateful that He can accept me as I am, as imperfect as I am. But He accepts me not as I am....but as I can be. He accepts not my sins...but knows that I, Elder Nelson, can be clean and pure with His help and He never gives up on me. I love the atonement because it is exactly that.
Grandma, thank you for your note in the package. Don`t worry about not writing me...we`ll have plenty of time to talk when I get back. I pray for you everyday ad I hope you are finding joy in the journey and happiness in the little things.
I love you all so much, I pray for you every day.