Monday, January 30, 2017

Hola amigos.

This week was kind of interesting. We went on exchanges and I was with the District leader, Elder Bay. Him and I get along really well. We went to a members house for dinner and it was a fun time. His name is Brother Asper. He is like 80 years old.  After we ate, he invited us to go downstairs so he could show us all of his harmonicas that he plays. He played a couple songs for us and he was actually really good. I didn't know that and 80 year-old man could play the harmonica like that without hurting himself. After he gave us a little private concert, he went to a closet and came back with two new harmonicas. He gave Elder Bay and me a harmonica and began to teach us how to play them. It is actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. He taught us how to play "Oh Susanna". We got pretty good at it. He also has a nice piano, a couple guitars, and a bunch of music recording stuff. He started to play the guitar and I asked if I could play his piano and he said yes. Elder bay just kept playing his harmonica and we ended up writing our own little version of "Oh Susanna" with all of us on different instruments. It was really fun. Brother Asper said after our missions he wants to start a band with us and name it "The Harmonicats". I think it sounds like a great idea.

That was a pretty fun night, but then the rest of the week wasn't quite as fun. We had 6 baptisms schedule for the weekend and all of them cancelled. We were super sad for them. We are trying to still meet with them but they aren't even answering our phone calls anymore. It is sad, but keep them in your prayers!

The Florez family is still doing well though. They came to sacrament meeting this week. The Mom didn't come though, so it was just the dad and the 11 kids. We thought we would sit by them to help keep them reverent. It didn't work. The whole meeting the were climbing all over us and taking stuff out of our bags. It was pretty crazy. The Dad ended up sitting on a different bench by himself and basically left us to watch his kids. It was good that they came to church, but we are going to have to work on some things there. I never want 11 kids.

Oh yeah, I also got my visa! I am flying to Mexico City on the 13. I am super excited to finally go to my original mission. I will definitely miss the people here though. The small branch we go to has been amazing. All of the members are so loving and kind and I will really miss them. I know that my time in Atlanta was not just a coincidence. Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us. As long as we are living righteously and trying our best, we can be confident that anything that comes into our lives-- good or bad-- is according to God's plan for us. I have come to know that that is true. I love you all, have a great week.

Elder May

Me and Bro. Asper on our harmonicas

Thursday, January 26, 2017

This week had some interesting stories. We met a lady who is less active and we have been trying to get here to come back to church. She said she works at a taco shop so if we ever wanted some free tacos she could hook us up. We thought we go though with that offer, so one day for lunch we started walking towards this taco shop she worked at. We didn't know where it was so we asked this guy on the street if he knew how to get there. He gave us directions and then he asked who we were, and what we were about. He was asking some really good questions and it really seemed like he was genuinely interested in our message. After a few minutes of talking, that started to change. He claimed that he personally was God himself, and that he made us come talk to him. He told us how the world was going to end and that he was going to send angels to whoop our "bums". He didn't speak Spanish, but all I had with me was a Spanish pass-along card to give him. I gave it to him and it helped us end the conversation and we went on our way. Pretty weird. And we never did find that taco shop.

On thursday, all of our appointments fell through and we weren't having any luck finding people. We got a call from some of the other elders in our district and they said they were at Plaza Fiesta (the mexican mall) for lunch and asked if wanted to join. We were right nearby so we said yes. We had lunch and it was fun and everything, but then the other elders wanted us to give them a spanish Book of Mormon because they wanted to try giving it away. We did a quick little exchange and my companion and I each went with one of the other elders to help them give a Book of Mormon away in Spanish. They actually did pretty well and it helped me feel better about my Spanish.

At church, the Elder's quorum president, brother Soriano, brought one of his non-member friends with him. His name is Luis. That was pretty exciting. I sat next time him during gospel Principles to try to get to know him better. Sister Bernal was teaching and I don't think she knew that Luis was a non-member and had never been to church before, so she called on Luis to answer a question. She said "What does it mean to you to know that you have a Heavenly Father?" I thought he was going to be all shy and uncertain about it since it was his first experience at church. But he stood up and asked if he could stand in front of everybody and share his answer. He told his that he was an orphan and has never known his parents. To have a Heavenly Father, who has a body like ours, meant that for him, He was loved. That he had an example in his life of who he wanted to become. I always thought that being a missionary meant that we teach non-members and invite them to come to Christ. Which is true. But I think it was the other way around yesterday. I really learned a lot from Luis about how special it is for each of us to have a loving Father in Heaven. It took a non-member to help me realize just how important and amazing it is. Since then I have been really trying to say more meaningful prayers, and show gratitude for all that I have. We have an appointment with the Sorianos today and he is planning on bringing Luis with him, so hopefully we can start teaching him. I hope we can all remember how amazing it is to have a Father in Heaven who understand us and knows what we are going through.

Elder May

Plaza Fiesta

Learning to play the guitar

Florez family. They have 11 kids, 2 are missing

Florez family

FHE with Mami and Papi and some less actives

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I hate to admit it, but this week was a lot less exciting. I didn't even eat anything super weird this week. I did get food poisoning again but that is starting to become kind of a usual occurrence as my body has been adjusting to the food. That doesn't make it any less miserable though. Good times. I have decided that people here are either super good cooks, or the have no idea what they're doing. There really is no in-between. On Thursday we went on exchanges. I was with an Elder named Elder Misustin. He is a really fun guy and it was a good time. We stayed in the Spanish area, while Elder Castillo went with Elder Parke in the English area... So for the whole day I was doing all of the talking and teaching. It actually went really well and I learned that I know more Spanish than I give myself credit for. We ate lunch at a members house and she asked us if we wanted "enchiladas, sopes, or tacos?" We both said enchiladas, so she brought us some enchiladas and they were super good. But then, she brought out some sopes and, then later, a big plate of tacos. I quickly learned that her question wasn't a choice between enchiladas, sopes, or tacos, but rather "which do you want first?" It was kind of funny, but I felt so fat afterwards. I have gained about 10 pounds out here. Even when you tell people you aren't hungry, they feed you anyways, so there is really nothing you can do.

On sunday we had the awesome experience to have Elder Uceda from the 70 come to visit and speak to our branch. (He just spoke in the most recent general conference.) I understood everything that he was saying in his talk, but the thing with learning Spanish right now is that I can understand and recognize almost every word, but it doesn't quite stick and I forget it in about 5 minutes. It's kind of weird. For our Priesthood and Relief society portion of church, we all met back in the chapel and it was like a Q/A kind of thing, it was really cool. Someone asked "We are commanded to love our neighbors, and love our enemies, but how do we love people who are hard to love?" Elder Uceda immediately went to Moroni 7:48 which talks about charity. It says to pray with all of the energy in our hearts to be filled with Christ-like love. If we can be filled with this love, we can really become more like Christ. I'm sure it was hard for the Savior to love everybody, but he did. It also says in verse 48 that his love is bestowed upon all those who are true followers of Jesus Christ. As we do our best to constantly try to love everybody and be the best disciples of Christ that we can be, we can be feeling with this same love. We can feel of that hope, and become pure, just as Christ was. I hope you all have a great week!

Elder May

Monday, January 9, 2017

Well first off, I would like to let you all know that I received an email about my visa... But it basically just said "we still don't know where your visa is so keep waiting in Atlanta". So looks like I'm staying here for another transfer, but that is okay. I like it here. My area is like Mexico without parasites, so it's great.

On Friday there were a lot of people talking about this big snowstorm that was going to come during the weekend. It sounded like it was going to be pretty gnarly and I wasn't sure if I should be worried or not. It seemed a little silly to me because back in Utah snow really isn't that big of a deal. But oh well. We got a call from Sister Bernal Friday morning and she said she wanted to take us grocery shopping just in case we got snowed-in and couldn't leave the apartment for a few days. We thought that sounded a little bit exaggerated, but she insisted (and we needed some groceries) so we went with her. The Grocery store was crazy. Everybody was in there for the same reason. I felt like it was the end of the world or something. She bought us some sandwich meat from the meat department. While we were there, they were letting us try different slices of the wide variety of sandwich meats that they had. Well there was this one particular sandwich meat that looked like salami, with little blobs of fat inside in random places. I tried it and it was disgusting. She later told me that it was pig-face. And that those fatty parts were the eyes. I said no to that, and we went with some turkey. We were able to talk to a lot of people in the grocery store. We were just walking and one older lady looked at us and said "When are you boys coming over to eat?" We had no idea who she was so we talked to her and found out that she isn't a member, but she loves missionaries. She said that she has been feeding the missionaries in this area for the last 20 years, but recently lost contact with us, until she saw us in the store. We plan on seeing her and hopefully start working with her.

We got home and put away all of our groceries and went about the rest of our day. Still, everybody we talked to was telling us to be safe in the snowstorm the next day. Well, Saturday came around and as predicted, it snowed.... Kind of. There was barely any snow on the ground. I just laughed to myself because that was not what everybody made it seem to be. It made me miss Utah's snow a little bit. We ended up getting texts from the stake president saying that church was going to be cancelled because of the snow. I thought that was a little overkill but oh well. We ended up getting permission to hold our own sacrament meeting in a members house with some other members who lived nearby. It was actually really spiritual. After that, my companion and I went with the branch mission leader to bring the sacrament to the rest of the families in the ward. It was really neat to be able to do that for all of them. At one house, my companion put me on the spot and said that I had a message prepared for them... So I just pulled out my scriptures and winged it. I was really guided by the spirit though and I just kind of opened my mouth and words came out. I shared about how in Alma 7:11 it says that Christ went forth and suffered pains, afflictions, and temptations of every kind. He was willing to suffer more pain than any human being could ever experience. I can't even imagine how painful that must have been. In the sacrament prayers it says that "We are willing to take upon ourselves the name of thy son." Christ was willing to suffer for all of us. Because of him we can become clean every week through the sacrament. We don't have to suffer as Christ did to be forgiven. All that Heavenly Father asks of us is to be willing to take his name upon ourselves and to remember him. Remember what he did for all of us, and keep his commandments. I have really come to develop a stronger relationship with my savior while I have been out here in my mission. But we don't need to be on a mission to develop a relationship with Christ. We can all strengthen our faith in Christ every day. I love you all, have a great week!

Elder May

The little bit of "snow" we got that cancelled church and put the city in chaos.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy new year everybody, I hope you all set some new goals... and actually plan on keeping them for longer than a month or so. For our new year's celebration we grilled steaks for lunch. It sounded like a great idea but then it started to pour rain. I suggested just cooking them inside our apartment but the other elders were determined to cook them in the rain. We brought some umbrellas outside and ended up beating the rain. We had to leave for an appointment though, so our steaks were super under-cooked. It was quite the party. I am kind of glad that the holidays are over because it has been especially hard to find people who want to listen to us lately.

I made a goal this week to really try to talk to more people and practice my Spanish and develop relationships with the members and investigators. We had an appointment with an investigator named Roberto and he was wearing this nice poncho that a friend made for him in Mexico. I was just being friendly and I said "I like your poncho". When I said that, he looked at me and said "really?!" and like ripped it off of his body so fast and gave it to me, saying "is for you". That was a little weird and he refused to take it back. So I got a cool poncho. Roberto is awesome though. He loves Christ and wants to come to church. He isn't able to come though because he doesn't have a car so we have been trying to find somebody to give him a ride.

Yesterday was full of eventual things. I got in my first car accident. It was pretty fun. I always had this weird desire to be involved in a car accident, so now I can cross that off the bucket list. Nobody got hurt and the car wasn't damaged too bad. We were still able to drive it for the rest of the day, but today we need to find a shop that will fix it. Last night we had an appointment with the Mendosa family. They are awesome. They have a little boy named Max that has autism. He is so fun and so happy, I love that little guy. We pulled up to their house and it was pouring rain again. I got out of the car and saw that a big puddle. I felt determined to jump across the whole thing. So i jumped. But next thing I knew I hit my head on something and I ended up landing in the middle of the puddle getting my feet all wet. I looked at what I had hit my head on and saw a 2X4 sticking out of the bed of a truck. It put a big cut in my head. We didn't have a first aid kit in the car so we just knocked on the door with me all wet and blood coming down my forehead. They gave me a nice bandage to wear for the night and they all teased me and it was a good time.

I finished the Book of Mormon this morning in my personal study and I want you all to know that I know without a doubt that it is true. There are so many people out there trying to prove that it is false and that Joseph Smith was never a prophet and didn't really see the Father and Jesus Christ. These people go to such great lengths and try to find any little thing they can that might give them a chance of proving that it is false. I can say that I know that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly father and Jesus Christ, and that he really did restore this church. There is no way that an un-educated farm boy could have made up the Book of Mormon and this church.

Have a great week!

Elder May