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Monday, December 17, 2012

Mud, cookies, soap and hand sanitizer

This week was amazing!!!

We have been teaching George´s mom, her name is Raquel. She has always been super friendly and supportive of George getting baptized so we invited her to listen to us a couple weeks ago. She denied the first time and told us bluntly that "she was going to die catholic." We were kinda disappointed because we really thougt that she was going to want to listen. Then a week letter we felt like we should invite her again. She had come to church two weeks in a row and we could tell that she liked it alot. So we invited her again and this time she accepted, and we taught her the Restoration. She actually already knew alot about the church because her husband is a member but he passed away 3 years ago. We taught her and she said that she had actually wanted to start getting closer to god for a long time, but the catholic church hadnt ever helped her do that. (she never even went to church there.) But she said that she wanted lots of time to think about making the change. We invited her to be baptized on the 22 of december and she declined. We passed by later and she told us that she was starting to drink less coffee in the morning and she had read the book of mormon and prayed. She said that she had felt really peacfull but that she had a ton of doubts. So we answered alot of questions and that helped her alot. We continued teaching her and invited her to join the church several times, but she never accepted, but we felt like she was getting closer and closer every time. So this week on wednesday, we decided to use an object lesson to just kinda drive the nail home and help her have the desire to be a member of the church. Its something that I had done in district class before and we decided to use it with Raquel.

We brought mud, cookies, soap, and hand sanitizer to her house and taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ. (George was there too so we had him do the activity too) We told her to put mud all over her hands, and the mud represented sin. then we opened the package of cookies and told her that it was eternal life, but she couldnt "partake" of it because her hands were covered in mud. So we took her throught the steps of the gospel so she could clean her hands from the mud (or her life from the sins) With each step of the gospel, we read a scripture that explained the step and we testified and asked her lots of questions to get her thinking. We invited her to repent, or to starte to clean her hands, and we gave her a squirt of dish soap so she could start to wash. Then we invited her to be "baptized" in the sink, and we told her that as she washed her hands she had to think of all the sins that she had ever comitted, and how it felt to wash everything away. She washed everything off and after we gave her a few drops of hand sanitizer, (the holy ghost) because the holy ghost purifies us of sin. Then we invited her to eat a cookie, or partake of eternal life. The spirit was incredibly strong and the activity really helped her see the need to get baptized and clean our lives of sin. We sat down after that and talked a little bit about how she had felt, and she told us that she felt it was time that she needed to make the decision to be baptized. We were almost surprised when she told us, we tried not to show it too much or let our jaws hang open, haha. We invited her for the 22nd but she said she was going to be out of we invited her for the 15th, which was in 3 days... She said "the 15!!?" and then sat there for a second thinking about it. After a little pause, she accepted!!!! We could not believe our ears. We all just started crying. We told her that because of this decision, she was going to be able to see her husband again, and live with her family forever. She is such a special lady, and has had a ton of trials in her life. After getting to know her and so well, I was crying inthe lesson because I was so grateful for the chance that I have to see a change so drastic in the life of someone I have come to know and love, and to be able to work with the spirit to watch the change in her heart.

That morning, I had read a scripture that talks about how the Lord promises his misionaries that " the spirit and angels will be on your right hand and your left to bear you up". That morning we prayed so hard that we could have angels and the spirit to help us teach she we could touch Raquel´s heart. We didnt do anything, we just presented the message,but I know that the room was absolutely full of angels and of the spirit so Raquel could accept the gospel. I´m sure her husband was there, rooting for her the whole time.

We baptized her satuday, in a baptismal service together with the sisters from the district, it was amazing to watch her face as she came out the water crying. She was confirmed sunday and says that shes a little nervous to be a member of the church because its a big change but shes willing and shes sooo excited and happy. What and amazing experience. I cant even believe it, we were so grateful and so happy to be apart of her conversion.

Its pretty hot here, It doesnt feel like Christmas at all, haha. I got all of your packages, thank you so much, I will open them on christmas!! I will scype you guys on christmas at 6:00 pm!! (in your time, here it will be 7:00 but wait for my call at 6:00 over there! I cant wait to talk to you guys its gonna be fun!! I love you all so much!! thank you for all that you do!

Mucho amor y feliz navidad,

Elder Eastmond

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pictures Dec 10, 2012

El templo

Que tal familia!!!

Wow what a great week!! We went to the temple and had the Christmas conference on wednesday, and it was incredible!

We had the temple trip on Thursday at 8 in the morning, so we traveled to Veracruz wednesday night and stayed in the offices. The temple was amazing!! After a whole year without going it was nice to be able to feel the powerful spirit of the temple again. I dont think i have enver felt the spirit so strong before. To be right in the middle of this wonderful work and be able to go to the Lords house during Christmas time was an experience that I will never forget! The temple is truly the lords house, he visits there and you can feel it. :) It was cool to go through the temple in spanish too!

After we went through the temple, we ate lunch with president and his wife and half of the mission (the other half had gone to the temple and eaten the day before.) The food was delicious, we had pasta, bread, something kinda like funeral potatoes (I was pretty happy about that, haha) and pork. Then we ate a cake that said "misión méxico veracruz" it was really fun to be all together as a mission, I got to see lots of my old companions and they are all doing great. After we ate we had the Christmas conference, President and his wife spoke along with his conselors. The messages were amazing and I feel so grateful to be able to be a missionary during christmas! They also gave us all key chains )i sent a picture of it) that have the mission name and year, and they are stars because they represent the star that appeared in the sky the night Jesus was born so the people could find him. They made a comparason (i tried 5 times to spell that word and I have no idea how...haha Im losin it) of how we as missionaries are like the star that appeared in the sky because we lead the people to Christ, it was neat. After the conference my companion and I had to stay in the offices for the night because Elder Serrano is from Honduras and had to go to some building to sign his visa so he isnt illegal. I woke up that day and realized that I had completed a year in the mission... So we took a picture of me in front of the Mission office sign, which I also sent. The time has just FLOWN by...I really cant even believe it. There has been so many ups and downs and great experiences in this first year. Like mom and dad told me, sometimes there are alot of trials and hardships, but I hardly even remember them. I only remember the amazing people and experiences Ive had, words cant express how greatful I am to have know so many amazing people, to have been able to help children of god be baptized and become members of the true church of Jesus Christ. I still have soooooo much work to do here in the mission, and soooo much to learn. The first year was perfect for me, I feel like I really am where I need to be.

Speaking of Christmas and everything, We are allowed to talk with the family for 45 minutes on the 24th or 25 of december. I can talk to you guys on Scype again, we just have to put a time and everything. I think around 6 or 7pm would be perfect, I dont know what day you want to do it. If you will let me know in your next emails it would be perfect!

We are teaching Georges mom, her name is Raquel. The first time we tried to teach her she told us she was going to die Catholic but we felt like we should talk to her again to we invited her to listen and she has just opened up completely. She has come to church 3 times, she has started to drink less coffee without us even asking her, and she is reading and praying. Her husband passed away three years ago so we have focused alot in the plan of salvacion. She says that seeing George change so much made her want to learn more. She hasnt accepted a date but we are getting her ready for the 22 of December. She is loving what she is learning and really has a desire to be baptized, just has some doubts and questions. We are excited to continue teaching her.

We have found some other great people this week, we worked a ton with the members, got lots of references, and did divisions with some priests to be able to teach more, it was a great week!!

I love you all soooo much!! Thank you for all of the emails, I am praying for you all and hope everything is going well!!

Mucho amor, Elder Eastmond

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pictures Dec. 3, 2012

Gloria and Blanca Esther

Wow this week was craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy!!! But sooooooo good!!!

First of all, my companion was still a little sick this week, we checked his blood and he says he feels completely fine but the tests say that he had some problems... so he had to stay in the house all week long, poor thing. He has been dying to get out and work and see the sun and everything. He should be able to leave the house this week, he says he feels well rested and great. I was worried for him because he felt fine but supposedly he was really sick, but I gave him a blessing and we know that the lord protects his missionaries. The challange was that we had two baptism dates, Blanca Esther and Gloria. So we had to see them this week to help them be prepared and do their interviews and everthing. There are some recents converts in one of the other wards who we know really well and they are AMAZING!! They helped us sooo much this week. They have 3 priesthood holders in the family and so they did divisiones with us a ton this week. One of them stayed in the house with Elder Serrano and the other left with me. Some days we even brought my companion to their house with one of them and they put on church movies and church music and everything. We called their house "Hospital Moncada" (thats their last name) So turns out that we were able to visit everyone that we needed to and we had the most incredible baptismal service that Ive had in my mission!! Gloria, the lady who got married this last week, and Blanca Esther were able to get baptized and it was amazing! Soooo many people from the ward showed up and the members were so great to Blanca and Gloria, they made them feel so welcome and everything, it was awesome. The members helped us so much this week with divisions and stuff, we were really really blessed. I baptized both because Elder Serrano wasnt even supposed to leave the house but he had to come to the baptism, of course.

The baptismal service was amazing because I was sitting in the back and watching everthing and I noticed that there were a ton of converts there in the baptism. Some of them are ones that I had taught, others had know other missionaries but It was so cool to see and it really touched my heart that the Lord has given me the chance to be apart of this important work. To see everyone there that we had been able to find and teach and baptize, and that they were now there as members supporting the new converts was a special feeling that I will never forget.

Also, George was confirmed this sunday. His mom bought him a bunch of clip-on ties that he excited showed us when we went to his house this week, and he came to church with a white shirt and tie and shiny shoes, it was awesome! He is just happy as can be and already has a part in the primary program. His grandma continues to bring him to church, and is starting to be active again. And his mom has actually come two weeks in a row. She came the week of his baptism and also came this week. She is sooooo friendly but has told us serveral times that shes catholic and shes going to die catholic, but she doesnt even go to the catholic church. This week we are going to ask her what she likes about church and why she has been coming every week. :) I feel like something good is going to come from Georges example :)

This week we are going to the Temple!!! We are going to go on thursday and i am really excited. I am going to go with lots of questions and goals so I can receive answers to everything and receive lots of guidance for this coming year. Its been almost a full year since Ive been so I cant wait!

To answer a question from dad... a saying that I have picked up that I say without thinking now?? Like a frase in spanish? I always say, "no me diga" y "órdale pues" y "hijole!" and my companion is teaching me how to talk in "vos". It doesnt exist here but in honduras they use it all the time.

Stay off the sidewalks now that parker is driving!! I love you all and thank you for the prayers!!

Elder Eastmond

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pictures Nov 26, 2012

Mawwaige! That bwessed awwangement!

Que dice familia??

I´m gonna try to fit everything in the letter, but I dont know that ill be able to! We had the craziest week in all of my mission...I think it even beats some of the crazy weeks I had in the Tuxtlas. So here we go....

So on Tuesday, we went to visit a less active member. Shes really cool and loves the church but she works alot and so she can only go every once in a while. We went to her house but her daughter in law came out and told us that she wasnt home. Her name is Gloria. So I asked her if she had every talked with missionaries before and she told us that she had, and then came right out and said "in fact, the only thing that keeps me from getting baptized is that i´m not married with my husband." So we asked her if we could come in and share her a message. Turns out that her husband got baptized forever ago and they got together with plans to get married, but he was always so busy with his job that they never had time to get married. (soooo many people here in Mexico just "get together", its really sad) And she said that some of the previous misionaries had tried to get them married, they had put a date and everything but the day before the wedding her husband had to go out of town for months. I asked her if her husband was in town right now and she told me that he would be in town until saturday. So we explained to her that there is a place in Orizaba where you can set a date to get married and have the wedding the next day. So we invited her to talk to her husband and decide if they wanted to get married on friday, in 3 days, haha. We took down all of her information to get birth certificates and she called us in the morning and told us that they wanted to get married, haha. We could not believe it. So we cancelled like all of our plans on wednesday, went to Orizaba, and got their birth certificates and set up appointments and everything for the wedding. It was the craziest day, because I obviously have no experience with marriage and weddings and what not cuz I havent married anyone on my mission. But the zone leaders helped us out the whole day, we were running around like crazies trying to get everything set up for friday, but we set up the date and everything and they ended up getting married on Friday at 5:00!!! It was so sweet!!!!!! She said that she has wanted to get married and baptized for like 9 years but they just hadn´t been able to, but now she can and we invited her to be baptized this weekend, she has a testimony and everything and has been to church a bunch, but for not being married she could never join the church. We are soooo excited and are so blessed to be able to find Gloria and be able to help her join the church and get married.

We also got to baptized George on sunday, after stake conference!! His baptism was amazing! There was a ton of people there because we had 4 wards there and each ward had a baptism, so it was really special. His mom and his sister (Itzel) came, and so we are hoping that they could feel the spirit and will have more of a desire to follow the example of George. He was so happy afterwards, he came up to us and gave us a big hug, it was great. I have learned alot from teaching George, like I said he reminds me alot of John, he ALWAYS read the chapters in the book of Mormon that we left him, his prayers are always different, he never repeats anything and gives thanks for everything, and he has alot of faith. Im so happy that my Heavenly Father let us find and teach George. :)

Elder Serrano got sick the morning of the baptism, he had a fever and said that his whole body hurt, so sunday after the baptism we had to go the doctor and we waited for like a good two hours, all the chairs were taken so I took a picture of him sitting on the floor exausted, haha. He has some medicine and says that he feels completely better today.

We found 3 more awesome people this week. One of them lives in Yanga, he was a reference from an Hermana. When we taught him about Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon he told us he felt surprised, like it was all too good to be true. We left him the chapter when Jesus comes to the Americas and he was almost giddy to read it, he couldnt believe that Christ had come to this continent. We always found a guy named Jorge who lives with his mom. He has a bunch of tatoos and stuff and has made alot of mistakes in his life but trust me when i tell you that he wants to repent from everything. When we taught him about baptism he said that he wanted to get baptized, and we hadn´t even invited him yet, haha. We taught him and his mom together and she wants to follow too, we left them a Book of Mormon and he said that he was going to read way more than the chapter we left him. Also, we hadn´t been able to contact Blanca Esther all week long, everytime we called her it sent us to voice mail. We couldnt figure out what was going on so we prayed that we could contact her soon and she came to the church after stake conference, (she thought it was at the normal time) and said that she had lost her phone and got a new one. So we are going to be teaching her again this week.

We also did an acitivity with the youth in the ward. We split everybody up in companisionships and we all went to knock doors for an hour, and the youth just set up appointments and stuff and said a prayer in the houses that let them in. We received over 20 references :) It was awesome to see all of the youth so excited about the missionary work.

It has been the most incredible week!! We were soooooo blessed and we are so excited to continue teaching all of the new people we found!! Thank you for your prayers and support!! I love you all so much!!!

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pictures Nov 19, 2012

Yes, he ate this-- But he won't eat my Hawaiin Haystacks... Hmmmmmm 
Maybe if I substitute worms for the Chinese noodles... Bon apetit!

George, Esther and Elder Serrano

Hola Familia!!

We had a great week, and we are even more excited for this upcoming weekend! We have been teaching George and he came to church with us this sunday, and everything is all set for his baptism this sunday. (Its stake conference so we are going to do his baptism after conference) This week we watched the restoration video with him and he had the whole thing memorized by the time we walked out of the door, haha. Just like John! We also had more lessons with a member present this week than Ive had in all of my mission, close to every lesson we taught we had a member and we hope to continue with that, the members have helped us a ton this week. We also found a neat girl named Blanca Esther, who moved here in our area. She had gone to church 5 times and had listened to the Elders for a couple of months. She said that she loves the church and she has always wanted to get baptized but her mom never let her. But she just turned 18 so she can decide what she wants to do and she told us that she wants to be baptized, so we put a date with her for this sunday also, along with George. She is really neat and has read alot from the Book of Mormon, so we are really excited to teach her and get her ready for her baptism this week.

It has been a little colder here lately, especially in the mornings, but other than that I have even noticed anything that would suggest Christmas is around the corner. But we are all excited because we will all be going to the temple right before Christmas!! And I will get to talk to everyone! Im really excited. Thank you all for the packages, I will wait until Christmas to open them if they get here before hand! :)

So to answer some questions that dad had, Elder Serrano is 18 years old and lives in the Capital of Honduras. He has been a member all of his life, and everyone in his family is a member except for his dad. His dad wasnt ever interested in the church and was murdered about 4 years ago. Elder Serrano is really strong and has a strong testimony of the plan of salvacion, he knows that he will see his dad again and it drives him to work really hard and love other people. He has a twin brother who is serving a mision in Puebla. And he has two older sisters, both married. He loves to sing, dance, play sports, and goof off. He spends about 95 percent of his time laughing... not joking, haha. Its great, we get along really good and he is learning soooooo fast. He also looooves english and so he is working really hard to try and learn it, hes always asking me how to translate stuff into english, haha.

As far as Yanga goes, dad, we also go to Yanga on Tuesdays and thursdays after lunch. Its kinda hard to work there, the people have really really weird ideas, dont know why, but thats how it is. So we always do visits with some members, because we have to knock about 20 doors before they will let us into one house. We havent had much success getting past the 2nd lesson there, but we know that eventually we will be able to find someone who is looking for the gospel. On sundays, we go to the ward in Huilango at 10, and then at 2 we always go to Yanga for the Family group, they have church for only 2 hours on sunday.

Today some members took us to this sweet place in the mountains. There is a trail that passes through a bunch of tunnels and then a huge bridge that has train tracks, and then we passed by a river and a waterfall, i dunno, a bunch of cool stuff like that. So these pictures are from that adventure. And believe it or not, the Yankee house was there hidden in the Jungle, and I had to take a picture, haha. Mom, you sound super busy with all of the relief society stuff... thank you for being such an amazing example to me of serving others. I know there are so many people in the ward who love you and are so grateful for all you do! Parker, I cannot believe you are going to be driving soon!! Thats crazy. When I get back you will have to teach me how to drive again, because I forget how :) This week you should all send me some pictures of you guys because I havent seen you all since Mothers day!!

The time is going by soooooo fast!! We are really excited for this week and we are working hard and happy! The more time Im out here, the more I realize just how true this church is. I love being a missionary, its the hardest thing Ive ever done in my life but the best at the same time. My relationship with my father in Heaven is improving every single day, and I am ever grateful for the atonement in my life!!

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Monday, November 12, 2012

"He loves to sing Himns"

Hola Familia!

We had a pretty good week, we found a really sweet family that we are super excited to teach. Its a mom and dad and they have two girls. One of their daughters is 15 and the other is 7. We havent found the dad at home yet because he has been working but we are hoping to meet him soon. (They didnt come to church but we are going to have a family home evening with them and a family in the ward and talk about the atonement and the sacrament and stuff) The family was a reference from some recent converts, and it was kinda funny how we got the reference. We were teaching a lesson to the family who joined the church a couple of months ago, after the lesson they wanted to know my first name. So I wasnt gonna give it to them but I told them that if they gave us 4 references I would give it to them. They whipped out a piece of paper and had the names written down within 3 minutes. Do you know how long we`ve been trying to get a reference from this family?? And all it took was my first name, haha it was funny. One of the references was the aunt of the mom of this family, so we visited her and she and her daughters are really nice and want to learn more.

Mom, Im gonna answer the questions you sent me:

Who and what was your favorite thing you taught this past week?

We had an activity this week that we did in the ward where we did "The iron rod" and we made a tree and had a rope that was the rod and blindfolded our investigators. We had 4 investigators come and they loved it. We taught about the book of mormon and what everything means, it turned out really great! I have pictures but we are in a not so great computer lab and it wont accept my card so I will send pictures next week!

Did you and your companion having any funny moments?

Something funny that happened was that we had been planning the activity for the "Iron rod" and when we finished planning it, we talked about EVERYTHING that could go wrong. We found a couple loopholes and then fixed them so that everything was perfect, and we decided that nothing could possible go wrong. When we showed up on saturday, there was a big truck in the parking lot where we were going to do the activity, and they were unpacking new chairs for the church. OF COURSE, how did we not see that one coming...that ones a classic, a big truck with chairs shows up when you want to start the activity. Haha it was funny and we helped them unpack the chairs and started an hour late :)

Who is the most interesting person you taught this week?

We were in Yanga, the little town were we have the family group, and we were looking for a contact. We knocked the door and the neighbor came out and told us that the person wasnt home. So we presented ourselves to the neighbor and told him that we wanted to share him the same message. We taught him outside and when we taught him about Joseph Smith he got kinda rebelious and just couldn´t believe it. we invited him to pray but he told us that if Joseph Smith was standing right there in front of him he would believe it. I asked him if he could see Jesus Christ and he said "of course not!" And then I asked him why in the world would he believe in a man that he had never seen. He answered and told me that he knew Jesus existed because of his faith....We explained it was the same with Joseph Smith but he wastnt buying it, haha. So we invited him to read and pray and I invited him to say the closing prayer. He accepted but invited us into his house to do the prayer and we had to pass through this dark alley way. My companion whispered to me "were going to die" because Im teaching him english , haha. We sat down and the man said about a ten minute prayer, it was pretty intense. He was kinda shouting with all the energy he had and at the end it look like he had even broken a sweat. We thanked him for the prayer and left almos running, haha. :)

Who is the most enjoyable person you taught this week?

We found this week a kid named George who is 9 years old and guess what?? He has aspergers!!! He`s so cool! And he reminds me of John so much because he likes to quote movies and he memorizes EVERYTHING that we teach him. He was quoting toy story the other day but it was funny because it was all in spanish, haha. He is actually the little brother of Itzel, who was going to get baptized a couple weeks ago but at the last minute didnt want to. We asked permission from his mom to teach him and baptize him if he wanted to do it, and she said if he wants to thats fine. We invited him to get baptized and he said yes, and he came to church with his Grandmother on sunday. His grandma is inactive but we have taught her a couple of times and we just asked her for her support and she brought George to church on sunday and really enjoyed herself. So we are gonna kill two birds with one stone, we are going to help george get baptized, reactivate his grandma, aaaand we are hoping that Itzel will have more of a desire to follow if she sees her little brothers example. George was singing at the top of his lungs in church, and even has a part in the primary program, haha I have looooved teaching him cuz he reminds me so much of John. He has lots of faith in Jesus Christ, hes super smart, and he loves to sing himns. It is really special to be able to teach him :)

Well, that was our week! Elder Serrano and I are getting to be better and better friends everyday. We are having a lot of dificulties with the work right now but were grateful for the advice, prayers, and support of you all! Elder Serrano is learning so fast its scary!! I love you all tons and hope you have a great week!!!

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pictures Oct 15 and Nov 5

How to eat fried worms

Hola que dice familia!!

We had a better week this week. We have continued growing closer as companions through some of the hardships that we have had and I am really grateful for this chance I have to train. Its hard sometimes because if I dont know how to do something I cant just look at my companion and wait for him to solve it, but It makes me learn that much quicker. I feel like Im learning just as much as he is in this whole training process.

Well I will start off with what we ate this week. We ate in the house of one of our investigators on friday (Maria de los angeles). She gave us some meat and beans and little bits of green something and rice wrapped in tinfoil. We were eating it and my companion asked what the little green pieces were... she told us it was "nopal" which translates to "cactus" in english. :) Haha I thought it was some sort of bean or something but no it was cactus. But it tasted delicious, we ate a ton, haha. (Dont worry, she took off the spines) After we ate that she showed us some worms that she had in a jar. (See the picture of the red worm in my hand) and told us that they were super good if you cook them in a frying pan and put salt on them. We were like, "really, you can eat that? and it wont kill us?" she just laughed and then I told her I wanted to try it, (Im going crazy I know) so she fried up two worms and we salted them and ate them... It actually tasted really good. It was crunchy and just tasted like some type of meat or something. Then she told us that you could eat them raw...I wasnt going to eat it but my companion decided to try it and then i had too. I´ll just say that it tasted better cooked... But I´m not dead or sick or anything so dont worry. :) I took a video and I will show you all when I get home.

We were going to baptize Josué this sunday, (hes the son of Maria de los angeles) but they went out of town, and so we are hoping to be able to baptize them both this sunday. We are excited because Maria and her boyfriend are willing to get married, we might have some complications with some of the papers but we are hoping that everything goes smoothly. Maria and he kids and soooo great. She has two little girls that are just adorable and she has come to church two time and has loved it. She even put her name down twice on the list of food that the hermanas pass around for the month. We will be praying and fasting so everything turns out good with her boyfriend.

We had a meeting with the zone leaders yesterday and it went really well. We talked about what we can improve as a zone and came up with some good ideas to work with the members and be better missionaries. President also showed up on a surprise visit for district class this tuesday and taught us some good stuff. It was really neat because It was president and like 4 companionships, so we got to do practices with president and he taught us a bunch of great stuff.

It has been a little colder here lately, it hasnt rained as much but everyone is walking around in coats, but its like 60 degrees and perfect, its funny. They had dia de los muertos here instead of halloween. They dont make such a big deal out of going around and asking for candy like we do, kinda boring, haha.

The pictures are of the worm I ate and today we went to a sweet bridge with the district and with some members.

Well, I appreciate so much your emails and prayers, my time is up but I love you all soooooo much and hope that you all have a great week!!

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Pictures: Oct 22 and 29

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Hola familia!

We had a tough week. We are getting along great and Elder Serrano is learning really quickly, but it´s been tough here. We are working with only references now, so if we dont get them, there is nobody to teach. We got alot this week but nobody really wanted to listen, only half of the references accepted another appointment. Its hard because I feel like alot more depends on the members and their efforts to help us, we have to put our faith in them and do everything we can to help them see the importance of all this and the joy that they will receive by sharing the gospel with their friends and family.

Isai has had a lot of doubts and I feel like we cant help him. It hurts but I don´t know what more we can do to help him progress. The other day he had some scripture from the bible that says "Jesus is a high priest forever" and he says that it means that he can´t transfer his power to a prophet in these days because he would lose his power and wouldnt be a high priest anymore. We tried to explain to him everything and try to tell him that the scripture doesnt mean that but he wouldnt listen. We explained to him that if he is looking to match everything up perfectly from the bible and the book of mormon, he is never going to find what hes looking for. We told him to make the decision with his faith but he says that he has to have backround info before he can have faith. Hes too focused in little things that he finds in the bible that he wont listen to the spirit or to his heart.

We have also been teaching a sweet lady named Guiermina who wants to get baptized and is really excited. She was going to come to church yesterday and we were waiting for her to bring her but last minute her niece came up to us and gave us a note that said she was going out of town and wouldnt be able to go. Something always happens, every single sunday morning, haha. We never know what but there is always an excuse not to come to church.

We are teaching a neat family right now. The mom is named Maria de los Angeles and she has two little girls and a boy named Josuè. She isnt married with her husband but wants to get baptized on the tenth, so we are going to try to help them get married. She came to church this week (two weeks in a row, woooo!!!) and really likes how the church teaches her kids good things. We are planning on having some family home evenings with the members to help them get ready for everything. The trick is going to be talking with her husband because he is always working.

We had a leadership meeting in Veracruz this week, it was great. They talked to all the district and zone leaders to help us improve and be better leaders. They talked about district classes (what we can do to make them better) This week I have a fun activity planned that should make the class pretty fun. We also talked about putting a good example for the other missionaries in the district. That is hard to do in our district because the Hermanas are incredible, haha. We learn alot more from them than they from us I think.

I´ve been struggling a little bit lately, I havent felt like I know how to train and be a district leader and baptize all at the same time but I have faith that the Lord wants me to learn something and improve as a missionary. I feel like Im in some of the hardest/most stressful times in my mission right now, there is alot of pressure on our zone and the district and more now that I am training but Im hoping that Ï will be able to figure it all out soon. Pray for us that we can juggle everything thing and work hard but at the same time enjoy what we are doing. We know that if we keep searching and looking we will find the people that god wants us to find. I love you all tons and thank you for your prayers and emails!!

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Monday, October 15, 2012

Greenie coming

Hola Familia!!

This week was a little bit hard. Everything was going all good, we interviewed Itzel for her baptism and she passed and felt ready and everything, and so we were going to baptized her sunday after church. We went to her house to bring her to church on sunday, and she came out in sweats and a t-shirt and we were like oh no somethings wrong. She told us that she had some news and that she wasnt going to get baptized. She said that she didnt have the desire yet and that she didnt feel prepared. She said that we had taught her everything well but she didnt want to do it yet. Lots of times the people here are scared because its a big decision and they dont want to mess up after being baptized, so we tried to help her and find her doubts and everything but she didnt want to do it. She ended up coming to church with us and our mission leader gave a crazy powerful class on faith and we invited her right there to be baptized after church but she has doubts that she hasnt told us and didnt want to do it yet. So we are going to pass by this week and see what we can do to help her.

The picture is of a baptism from 2 of the Elders in our district. This lady is really neat and her name is Pilar. Her whole family had gotten baptized but she didnt want to yet, she had some problems and doubts. Elder Espinosa had been teaching her forever but they divided the area and the other misionaries started to come. They put a bunch of dates with her but they have all fallen through for one reason or another. But she finally got baptized on friday, she wanted Elder Espinosa to baptize her because he had taught her for so long, so we got to go to the baptism. It was really special because it had been a team effort with everyone, Elder Espinosa and I had both taught her a bunch on divisions and stuff and I had to do two interviews with her for some problems that she was having, but she finally made the decision and it was really special with her family there and everything.

So I have some crazy news! This week we have changes, and I am going to train a new misionary!! I´m sooooooooooooooooooo excited!! I´m going to stay here in this area and still be district leader, but I´m going to get a brand new missionary as a companion!! I still don´t know if he´s going to be American or mexican or from central america, but I do know that Im really really excited. Im so greateful for this chance that I get, it really is an oportunity really sacred, and I´m really nervous but greatful because everytime I start getting comfortable with something the Lord changes something up so I have to learn and improve as a missionary. Elder Espinosa is going to Veracruz to be a district leader, we have enjoyed our time together. We are going to Veracruz tomorrow to pick up the news and do changes and everything.

The other thing is that they changed the district up. Hermanas are going to arrive in one of the wards, and it is only going to be them and my companion and I in the district. The other two companionships of Elders are going to be a separate district. Its going to be really different but im excited because the Hermanas are all amazing and they work really hard.

To answer some questions

1. What is the funniest thing that happened to you this week?

That I´m always soooooooo cold in the mornings! We shower with cold water and I always have to wrap myself in a blanket in the morning, and my MEXICAN companion makes fun of me because hes not cold. And i bought my first pillow that ive had in all of my mission, haha

2. What is the weirdest thing you ate?

A sucker with chile powder

3. What are the houses like in your area? Is your area poor or middle classish? (Your apt looks pretty nice from the pix)

The houses are all middle classish , a little different than my other area. We live above an Hermana in the ward, and the house is sweet!!

4. Do you mostly walk in this area or do you take taxis or buses? Are the buses there crazy where every seat is full and then they pack you in like sardines with standing room only so that it takes you 30 minutes to make your way to the front when you need to get off if you're in the back?)

We walk alot but we also take taxi, because with interviews and stuff we are short on time sometimes, so we have to hurry. The busses usually aren{t too packed but there have been a couple of times where we had to stand.

Well, I love you all and hope you have a great week!! Thank you for the emails and the prayers!!!

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pictures Oct 1 and 8, 2012

Conference in Spanish

Que dice familia!!

Wow what a great conference!! We watched it from the chapel in one of the areas in the district. We didnt have an english room this time but it didnt matter because I could understand it all in spanish this time. We watched the priesthoold session in english because we had to go to a different chapel and they had it all set up there. I have to say its better in English, haha, because you can hear they voices and everything. I loved Elder Nelson´s talk, ask the misioneries, they can help you. Haha that was such a great talk. Also I loved the announcement about the misioneries. I totally agree that lots of the guys get lost in that year after high school and before the mission, and Im so excited for the young women who all want to serve, they will help the work progress so much faster! It´s going to get crazy pretty soon! I also liked both of President Uchdorf´s talks and there was one about 5 things that we can do in the sacrament that I liked too. Also, it was cool because Elder Scott speaks spanish and so beforehand, he recorded himself reading the talk in spanish and they put that in the conference Instead of someone translating, it was really neat.

We only had one investigator come to the conference. He loved it but we were kinda bummed that no one else came. We are teaching almost only references right now and we assigned all the members to pass by for the references and investigators. Half of the members that we had assigned didnt even show up...haha if the members dont come, the investigators arent gonna come either. We were kinda frustrated, we have yet to check with everyone to see what happened. But all of our converts were in the conference and loved it, that was really special. And a lady that we are teaching (Maria) watched it from her house with her husband who is a member, so that is good and we are going to visit her todayand see how she liked it. We had two baptism dates for this week, Maria and Itzel, both are 20 years old and have at least one familiy member who is a member of the church. We werent able to baptize them this week becuase they were really busy with school and everything and we werent able to teach them very much this week. But they both have dates this week and we are going to focus alot in their answer to the Book of Mormon. Pray for them so they can get answers! They´re really good, Itzel is trying to stop drinking coffee and had a headache today when we went to visit her in the morning, but we gave her a blessing and that is going to help her alot.

This week we have changes! Elder Espinosa has been in this area for almost 6 months and so we are almost sure that he is leaving. This change will be interesting because we are getting 25 new missioneries, and there are already a ton in the process being trained right now. Alot of us feel like we are going to be training this change, but we will see what happens. I have been adjusting alot to new things in the mission and some problems in the district. We have basically stopped knocking on doors completely and we are totally focused in working with the members. It has been I little hard because we cant always get the references we need, we have to be really patient and try to be creative in the activites and things we do to find new people to teach. I am really trying to rely onthe Lord alot and ask for his guidance for how we can have even more sucess here in the area and in the district.

the pictures are of my companion and I with some friends after the conference, the one of me in the blanket is in the morning when I was really cold. I have completely adjusted to the Mexican sun and weather and it has been a little colder here in the mornings, nothing compared to Utah but I have been a little cold in the mornings, haha. Im going to die when I get back in December. And the other picture is of the zone...We were trying to take pictures of the zone in baptismal clothing with the timers on our cameras, and we had everything all set up, but every time we set the timers everyone started jumping on eachother and trying to get in the front to make the best pose/face posible. We took about 5 and they all turned out like these. We may be missioneries but we still have little kids inside, haha.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed the conference, I feel so greateful for all the messages and I feel alot closer to my Heavenly Father. I know that the key now is to apply everything! And we can start today, we should never wait to apply the consels and words of the apostles and profets. I know that as we put what we learned in to action we will be better people and have more happiness in our lives, and be able to touch the lives of other people!

Les amo mucho, a cada uno de ustedes!!

Elder Eastmond

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tough Week

Hola familia!

It was a tough week this week. We had alot of roadblocks and challenges but we worked hard. We had a zone conference with President, his wife, and the assistents, it was soooooo good. We learned alot about references and how we can be more effective with the members. We learned a ton of great stuff and we are excited to apply everthing these coming weeks.

We did all we could to help Jorgina and Francisco get baptized this week but they decided they didnt want to do it. Francisco didnt want to get married and says that he wants to wait because it is hard for him right now that he has cancer. It was hard because we tried to help him understand that making this covenant with the Lord would help him in his trials, but he wasnt seeing it. We taught them one day and we were going to pass by the day after but when we got there, there were kids runnig around out side, and they saw us and ran into the house and then came back out and told us that Francisco had left... but Elder Espinosa saw Francisco close the door. Kinda sad but maybe in the future he will be more prepared to accept the missionaries again.

To answer some of dad´s questions : Yes I now dream in spanish, in fact I have been dreaming in spanish for a while... haha I hardly ever dream but when I do it´s in Spanish. And yes I´m to the point where I can say anything I want, it´s pretty fun :)
I do alot of interviews because the district is awesome and they are teaching and baptizing alot of people. The average has been about 3 per week. Its true dad, the interviews are really special, it´s really neat to be able to talk to the investigadors about the changes they have seen in their lives and see how excited they are to be baptized. The interviews in Huatusco are an hour and a half away from our area so we have gotten home pretty late some of these days, haha.
For district class we have a book that helps us prepare weekly classes with scriptures and quotes from Preach my Gospel. We also talk about what we are doing well, what we can do to improve as a district, and we talk about the investigators that we are teaching and their challenges that they have. Then we do an hour of practices in different teaching situations.
The new program that President organized is working great! We have received a bunch of references, to the point where the members have set up appointments for us and we go to the houses with them. Close to all of our investigators right now are references from the members.

The most delicious food I have eaten... hmmmm that´s a tough one. Probably the cow stomach... haha no there are these taquitos that they do here, they put meat in a tortilla, roll it up and fry it, and then put salsa and lettuce on it. Tostados are good too, I dunno I absolutely love all of the food here!

This week we have a goal to baptize 3 people. All of them are referencias and they have been coming to church. One of them is the wife of an ex misionary (Maria), the other is the wife of a member less active (Nilley), and the other is the daugther of a member less active (Itzel). They are all really great, we are focusing alot in receiving an answer about the Book of Mormon, they all have told us that it they get answers this week they will get baptized conference weekend. Nillely, we have to help her get married, she told us yesterday that she is going to talk to her husband (technically her boyfriend) so they can decide what to do. We are really excited for these people, they are all really neat and we have had some special lessons with them. We are going to be praying really really hard this week so they can get answers to their prayers.

The pictures are from today, we climbed a mountain here in Orizaba, it was way cool and a little bit cold at the top, it felt really good, haha. Good to here that you´re all enjoying yourselves back home!! I got my birthday package and I absolutely love the ties!!! They are so cool, and the pictures are all colored so perfectely inside the lines, haha well done family! Tell camile thank you for the 20 bucks!!

Have a great week!!

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Monday, September 24, 2012

"I have twenty years"

Tengo veinte años!!

Haha I feel really old! We had a another great week, and the best was that I got a sweet present for my birthday...we baptized Griselda!!! Best birthday present ever! Griselda is really really special. She was a reference from a hermano and does everything on her own. She shows up to church and reads alot from the Book of Mormon without us having to ask her. We did the baptism at 8 in the morning on saturday, it was really early but a ton of members showed up and it was really spiritual. Griselda had a bunch of stuff to do this weekend but she was super ready to get baptized, so we had the baptismal service at 8 in the morning. She lives in a little town called Yanga, where we have the family group because it is too small to be a branch. She is going to be a strong member of the church, she has a lot of faith in her Heavenly Father and is willing to do what he asks of her.

This birthday was really really special. I woke up and didn´t even remember until I changed the Argyle Sweater calender that mom sent me and thought, hey, I turn 20 today! It rained for 5 hours straight that day and we were walking in the rain alot, we got home absolutely soaked to the bone and freezing cold, but I was just happy as could be because we had a pretty good day and I dunno, I was just happy to be a missionary on my birthday. :) I thanked my Heavenly Father for letting me grow up in an amazing family with good parents so I had the chance to serve a mission.

So mom, the truth is I don´t really know what´s wrong with the sentences that I wrote...the english is getting worse and worse, haha. The other day we went to do an interview and while we were walking to the house with two other Elders from our district, this big group came up to us, like 10 from mexico with one american lady leading the pack. They came up to us and started speaking to us in English, and the american lady told us that she was their teacher and they were learning English. They spoke pretty good, but I was finding it really really hard to talk to the lady in English, (Elder Westhoff too, he´s from St. George.) Haha we had a fun converstion with all of them, talking about what we do as misionaries and the lady was telling us that it was good for her students to hear native speakers, so we talked to them all for a while. But we are so used to talking about the gospel in spanish, that we almost having to translate everything from spanish back to english, haha it was great. The best part was that Elder Westhoff wrote down a bunch of the adresses and is going to try to visit all of them.

So there is a new program that President Treviño has explained to the members where they are going to give us 12 references every week. So this week in church the bishop gave us an hour after sacrament meeting and we taught the members how to share pamphlets with their friends and then set up an apointment when they can bring us to talk to their friends. My companion and I showed them good example and bad examples, and the members were laughing and really into everything. Everyone was super excited and we had them do a couple of practices, and then at the end we did an activity to get references and got like 15. And in Yanga during the week, the ward organized a movie night and we watched the Testaments, and talked about how Jesus came to America. We had 10 people come who weren´t members, (a bunch of them are super interested in the church) and we wrote down their directions and everything so we are going to visit them all this week. I am super excited because we have a lot of work to do and it is all going to be through the members.

This week we are going to baptized Francisco and Jorgina. They are living together but aren´t married, so we are going to help them get married this week and do the baptism afterwards. Francisco has cancer and is going through treatments. They are really special and want to get married in the temple a year after their baptism. We are praying and fasting alot that everything can work out for them this week, and that Francisco can respond well to all his treatments and everything. They will apreciate all the prayers that you can sen them this week!!
This week we are going to have a zone conference with president and his wife, we are all really excited for that! The pictures are of the baptism and some pictures that we took after a counsel of leaders that we had sunday after church. We have a crazy group of misioneries in the zone as you can tell, its really fun here in this area.

I love you all sooooo much!! thank you for the birthday wishes and for your prayers!!!

Mucho amor,
Elder Eastmond

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Drinken coffee"

Que dice famila??

Another great week! The mission is so perfect, I just have to say. I feel so focused in the work, more and more every day. Especially with the new calling of District Leader becuase I´m not only thinking about what is happening in our area but in the other areas too, it´s great.

Thank you all so much for your prayers, because Lucrecia was able to get baptized this week!!! Woooo! She is such a great convert, she will be in the church with her grandaughter every week without fail. It was a rough week for her though, haha. We taught her on Tuesday and she had the worst headache. She has drinken coffee ("Drinken coffee??" Really? Ok, this is Tyler's mother-- just want everyone to know that I taught him gooder grammer than that. Honestly.) her entire life so it was really hard for her to leave it. She even had to go to the doctor on Wednesday, only two days after leaving coffee, because she felt a ton of pressure and her body wasn´t responding very well to the change. So we gave her a blessing on Wednesday and also a specific chapter of scripture every day until Saturday so when she felt like she wanted to drink coffee, she could read the chapter and pray for the strength to break her adiction. She did it and was just excited as can be to be baptized on Saturday, it was really really special. I love when our investigators can overcome their challenges with the help of the Lord, they are always so happy and thankful for the power of prayer afterwards.

President Treviño just barely had a meeting with every ward council in the stake and he put in a new plan that is going to help us work more closely with the members and be able to have more sucess in the missionary work here. The ward councils are going to get together every week and get 12 references from the ward and the quorums. They are also going to  make a list of 30 families inactives that we can visit. So basically all of our news are going to come from references and from inactive families, and they are going to be more likely to get baptized and more than anything, reamain active in the  church, because their friends and family will be with them every step of the way. We are really excited to work with the members even more, I love the members here, they are absolutely amazing!

This week we should baptize a lady named Gricelda. She is super special. She showed up to church on her own the first week and has been reading way more from the Book of Mormon than we had asigned her. She is really really smart, really fun to teach. She told a member that she accepted to be baptized and was super excited, and that she can feel through the Book of Mormon and the misioneries that the church is true. We also are teaching a guy named Francisco who has cancer and is going through treatments, he lives with his girlfriend and can´t get baptized until he gets married but they want to get married and join the church and everything, it´s just a hard situacion because he gets kinda sick with the treatments and has a crazy schedule. But we are going to do all that we can this week so they can get married and get baptized either this week or the week after.}

Being District Leader is really fun. I feel alot more intune with the spirit, especially during the Baptismal interviews and in the District Classes. It´s hard sometimes becuase the other missionaries ask for advice and stuff and I feel like I hardley have the experience that some of them do but I just tell them what I have seen work so far on my mission. I did splits with Elder Castro on Friday. He is from the Domincan Repulic and has three months on the mission. it was really cool. I love the experiences that we have associating with other Elders from all around the world, it´s great. (another elder in the district is from Honduras) But we did splits and we hadn´t really known eachother that well before, but after divisions we had a sweet day and he was all excited about all the stuff we had done. We are super good friends now and he is always joking around with me and stuff. I have gotten to know everyone in the district alot better lately and we have alot of unity.

I still haven´t gotten the package yet but I am excited and I will let you know when it comes, thank you!! And mom, I have new shoes don´t worry, I got some blisters trying to break them in but now they´re comfortable and a little bit better than my others, haha.

I love you all sooooooo much!! Thank you for the prayers and emails, I hope you all have a great week!! The BYU UTAH game sounded crazy!! Should have sent someone from mexico to do the field goal, they kick pretty good here.

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pictures Sept 9, 2012

I love my new area!

Alright, I was thinking that it was going to be really hard to change and everything, I was really nervous to be District leader, we were starting to have sucess in Baxcaxbaltepec, and I absolutely love the branch and all the members. But I got to my new area on tuesday, (the area is called Huilango) and my companion is sooooo cool! the Members here are incredible and my district and zone are sweet! The area is huge, and we have a ward of about 90 members, a BISHOP AND COUNSELORS, (imagine that one) we just barely got a new ward mision leader who is fresh off his mission (literally, like one week) who is super excited to help us and do visits with us and everything. We are in a city, which is kinda different from my last area but I like it, there are a ton of people here. Part of our area is another little city that is about 20 minutes away (called Yanga) in a bus and out there they have a family group (it is a step below a branch) and about 15 people go. The members out there are awesome too, they do visits on their own and we have a TON of work to do out there to help the family group become a branch.

The climate is different than what I have had all of my mission. It is alot cooler here and it rains every day without fail. We live literaly on the side of a bunch of train tracks so every night we always here the train pass, haha. The house is really nice, we rent from an Hermana from the ward. The area was even bigger before I got here, my companion told me that we had another ward and a huge section of the city but they took it and gave it to another companionship in the district. There are two other companionships in the district.

We couldn´t have started the week off better, we had a bautistrito (everyone in the district baptized) and we have a date for this saturday too, we just have to help our investigator (Lucrecia) stop drinking coffee. I was really happy because my companion and the elder before me (Elder Fox, he was actually my district leader in the Tuxtlas) worked really hard so I got here and the baptism was basically ready to go and they had baptized for 5 weeks straight before I got here. The baptism was another miracle. Because the girl we baptized (Yacqueline) is only 13 years old and lives with her grandma and her dad. She is really neat and wanted to get baptized really bad, but when we were filling out her papers we told her that she had to get them signed by her guardian. We thought her grandma (who is Lucrecia and can get baptized this week) was her guardian and could sign the papers, but she told us that it was her dad and that he wouldnt want to sign the papers. So we were kinda worried but we prayed really hard, and the first time she asked her dad for permission he told her absolutely no. So we kept praying and told her to go with her grandma the next day to ask him, and he ended up signing them. Its unreal how often the Lord answers our prayers! We have to pray really hard and work as hard as we can, and if we do that he always answers us. So she ended up getting baptized and her grandma came to the baptism and loved it. She wants to get baptized too, but it´s really hard for her to leave the coffee. Pray for her this week so she can have the faith and the strenghth to stop drinking coffee, it will help her a ton!

Being district leader is different, but I like it. It´s cool because Im not only focused on what we´re doing here but in what the other companionships in the district are doing as well. Im alot more busy because we have to get all the numbers every day and pass them to the zone leaders, and every tuesday I prepare district class with a lesson and practices. We also go to the other areas to do interviews. I did three this week and I was really nervous the first time but Its not as scary as I thought it would be. I am loving life her after only one week, my companion has helped me alot, he has had alot of trials in his life and wasn´t going to come on the mission but decided to come and it changed his life. He has 5 months so far and has spent all of his time here in this area, which is kinda hard but he works like he just barely got here, hes really excited, obedient and teaches good. He is an amazing example to me and has a great sense of humor, we are having alot of fun here!

The Lord has really blessed me alot and has helped me so much to adjust to the changes and get used to the area quickly. Good to hear that you´re all doing good, I love reading your emails and look forward to them every week! The pictures are from the baptism, the whole zone, and the others are pictures from when I said goodbye to some of the members in my other area! I love you all so much and you´re always in my prayers!!!

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond