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Monday, April 30, 2012

New companion from Mexico

Que dice Familia?

Saben que? Voy a recibir un compañero Mexicano!

I´m so excited! We got called at 11:00 at night with all the information for the changes. Elder Thomson is going to be a District Leader in Xalapa, and I´m going to stay here with Elder Carmona. The crazy thing is that he only has 5 months in the mission. We have the same amount of time in total, but he has more time in the field because he didn´t have to have two months in the MTC learning spanish. So we are going to be "co-mayores" which means we are both senior companion, there isn´t a junior or senior. So even though we are young, I´m really excited to improve my spanish, and I know that if we work super hard we are going to receive lots of blessings from the Lord, because we won´t have any idea what we´re doing but the Lord will help us out. This week I went on divisiones with Elder Chavez from my district, I feel super comfortable with the area and I didn´t have any trouble with a mexican Companion, it was really fun.

Elder Carmona is going to arrive here tommorrow in the afternoon, and Elder Thomson and I are going to the bus station at 5 in the morning tommorrow so he can leave for Xalapa. Pray for us...we are going to be super tired, haha.

This week has been really hard. We had nobody in church, and found a couple new investigators who seemed really good and then they kicked us to the curb the next day... Elder Thomson said he has never had so much trouble getting people to chuch before in all of his mission. It feels like we try and try and do all we can to get them there, they commit realy good, and then stuff just happens on Sunday morning. I have felt really discouraged at times, because I feel like all we are doing is "planting seeds." Which is a good thing but I really just want to help people through the whole process because I know it´s possible I just feel like maybe I don´t understand how to do it yet. I know the Lord wants me to learn alot from this though, Its just a matter of being patient, doing everything that is possible and in our power, and being diligent even when we can´t see the blessings right away.

There is a scripture in Alma that talks about missionary work, I can´t remember off the top of my head who it is but he says that "after we had worked diligently among the people, we began to have success." Its easy to be happy and work hard when things are going your way, when life is easy an you don´t have any problems. Not so much when the going gets a little tougher. So I know that as we keep working hard, try to put in even more effort each and every day, we will be start to be able to help people.

I have loved reading all the emails from everyone, I am constantly sending prayers from Mexico and I love you all so much! Sorry there are no pictures, I haven´t talken any new ones this week!

Cant wait to talk to you all on skype in two weeks!

Cuidense! Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond Jr.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pictures 4/23/2012


Hola Familia!

The first word that I can think of to describe this week would be... HOT!! Its been around 105 and they say in Mayo its even worse. The last couple days we have come home and we have mineral stains on our clothing from all the sweat. Kinda gross huh?? I really do love it though, its so much better than being somewhere cold. Poza Rica (the city i´m in) Is one of the hottest cities in the mission. May, June, and July are the hottest months, and it starts to rain alot in August and September. We are in the last week of the change, I can´t believe it!  Im not going to be a trainee anymore, and Elder Thomson has seven months here so we´re pretty sure that he´s going and I will be staying, we found out our new companions and everything this saturday! Also, I dont know if I even ever told you guys, but they are going to split the mission in july, the Mission Mexico Veracruz, and the Mission Mexico, Xalapa. Veracruz is all the cities in the south and Xalapa is the cities in the North, so wherever we are in July, that´s where we will stay for the rest of our misions. I would be happy to go to either. I love presidente Treviño and would love to go south to the port, but it would be way cool to open up a new mision and everything, too. We will see what happens.

This week we have been working really hard with Jorge, we found him like a week ago  (cant remember if I told you about him or not.) He has only been here a couple of weeks for work, he used to be a drug addict but wants to turn his life around, so we have been helping him do it. When we told him the story of the Restoration, his eyes just lit up, and at the end of the lesson he told us that he never had felt so good before as when he was talking with us. We couldnt get him to church on sunday, which was kinda frustrating, we comitted him and then he had to go check on something for a piece of land that he is going to buy... but  he is super cool and has a desire to learn and change his life, so we will work hard to get him to church this week.

This girl (18 yrs old) named Itzel that we have been teaching for about a week has been to church twice and is already in Jacob in the book of mormon... She actually lives out of our area, but is here working all day everyday, and basically only sleeps at her house. She lives so far out of town that the missionaries there would never have time to make it to her house from the time she gets home until 9:00, so we are tryin to get permission to baptize her in our ward and then transfer the records to her ward, but she can just come to church at 9 here before she has to work at ten. She is way cool, she said that she feels like Joseph Smith because she has finally found the truth after lots of searching.

Tania is loving her calling, we went to visit her at her house the other day and she has all her pamphlets we gave her and her baptism pictures hanging up on the wall, and Kasteny´s family is happy and doing good too.

We visited another guy this week that we just barely found, when we came back the second time, he told us that he felt really good talking to us last time, and felt good for the rest of day. He is really really really smart and has some different beliefs, so we are just gonna take it slow with him and get him reading in the Book of Mormon.

The pictures are good this week. One of them is from the top of our area, we went looking for a contact over this random hill and discovered this random colonia and road that went clear up to the top of our area that we never had know existed. (The picture shows the whole city of Poza Rica, but our Area is a big part of it) The picture of the group of houses is cool, it shows how much they love all the bright colors here, all the houses are like that. I thought Parker and Devin would like that one. And the last ones are pictures of the blister I got yesterday. I took my sock off last night and kinda freaked out when I saw this... Thought my foot had felt weird all day... You should have been there when we drained the pus... The last picture is in Wal Mart, we went with our district today for P-day, it´s like 30  minutes away from our area.

We are going to work really hard this week, our last week together as companions. It has been kinda hard lately... Satan has been working really really hard to keep people from coming to church and just working hard in general on alot of people here in Poza Rica. We feel like we are teaching as good, efectively, and by the spirit more than any other time as a companisionship, but its been a struggle to find people who are open and ready and a struggle to help people have the courage to make sacrifices in their lives and make changes in their lives. It´s coming down to crunch time, family. I dont know how much time this world has left, but we all feel like its getting close. Time to buckle up and do everything as members of the church to sacrifice our time and efforts to help others every day, and to constantly improve ourselves so we can be instruments in the Lord´s hands.

I love you all sooooooooooooo much! Thank you for the prayers, good to hear the temple walk was fun and that you guys are all doing good!

Mucho amor, que esten bien!

Elder Eastmond Jr.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hola Familia!

This week was really weird but really good! It sounds like you all had a good week. Easter, rain, and finishing the basement, sounds like you guys are keeping busy and happy! Its good to hear! Thank you for the pictures dad, they were great! I loved the fro egg, I was laughing pretty hard about that and the picture of parker pushing Devin. Im so proud...sniff, sniff.

This week we were with one of our zone leaders for a day, and I went on splits with Elder DeFrees again, he came here again. Splits are always fun because you can learn lots from how the other misionaries do things and how they work.

Tania asked bishop for a calling already and he called her to be a primary teacher. She is perfect for all of the kids  and absolutely loves working with them. Its so great to see she already is working in the church and loving it!

We baptized Kasteny this week!! The picture is kinda blurry, lo siento, our mission leader isnt the best at taking pictures, haha. Satan did not want the baptism to happen, but we won the battle! First, there was hardly anybody there, we tried to get the word out to everyone but not that many people showed up. I forgot the pants for kasteny, so we had to run back to the house super quick to get them, turns out a friend of our ward mission leader was driving by in taxi and gave us a free ride (tender mercy, there sure are a lot of those on a mission) Then, when Kasteny was getting in the water, which was FREEZING, the railing broke and she almost fell, but I caught her. Then when I finished the prayer and she could feel that I was about to put her in, she got really scared and went as stiff as a board and wouldnt bend her knees. So I thought, either we can do everything over and she can stiill be just as scared, or I just dunk her now... So I just put her under and brought her back up, everything turned out fine. I think she was mostly just scared because the water was so cold. Then I went in to change and when I came back out, the Clima (air conditioning thing) Was RAINING water out of the celing, so we moved all of the chairs and sat in the back, sang the closing song and did the prayer, and had to stay after to fix it and clean everything up. But we baptized and confirmed her, even if it wasnt pretty, haha. After her baptized, her grandma came up to us and gave us a hug out of nowhere...we didnt hug back of course. She is old and doesn´t know, she was just so happy. She told us, ya, ya venimos a la Capilla cada semana. Which means, we are coming to the chapel every sunday. She has been inactive for more than five years, but this process with Kasteny has changed their whole family. They showed up to church 30 minutes early to be ready for the confirmation. It was amazing. I will never forget it.

We also found this girl (she has 18 years) and she lives out of our area. But she works every single day here in our area, so she basically lives here. We only talked to her for 5 minutes in our contact, left her with a book of mormon. The next day, we went to visit her at her work just to set invite her to church on Sunday. She told us she had read 11 chapters from the book of Mormon the first night. WHAT??? It was amazing, she came to church on sunday and loved it, and we have yet to even teach her... so we are meeting with her to teach her on Tuesday. We are going to talk to the zone leaders to see what we should do if she decideds to get baptized, because she lives outside of the area but she is literally her all day every day, she just sleeps there. So we might be able to baptize her in our area, we are going to see what happens. But she is golden, I dont think I have ever read 11 chapters in a day...

We only have two weeks left in the change, and then Elder Thomson is probably goint to leave. He has been here almost 7 months... that is a looooong time! Im really going to miss him, we get along super good, but It will be fun to have a new companion at the same time, I hope I get a mexican.

We were going to baptized Rogelio this week, but he hasnt received some papers that he needs to get married, (Its a long story) so we will most likely do it on the 28. Jalil hasnt been talking to his mom, come to find out he hadnt been reading in his book of mormon, we should have been verifying alot better, but we are trying to help him read everyday so his mom can see the change in him.

Tell Trevor and Tanner congratulations on their mision calls, that is so cool! One more going to mexico and Tanner is going to be speaking dutch, how cool is that!!

I love you guys and hope all is going well!!            

Elder Eastmond

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pictures 4/9/2012 with actual commentary!!

This is the biggest spider I've seen so far... it's decent but not too big.

These are little chiles from a sister in the ward, she gave us a couple to take home. It's funny because they are so tiny, but they sure bite back.

We found this lizard in our soapy dish water that we used the night before. There are lizards everywhere but they usually have more sense than to dive into the soap water and die.

These are traffic cones for the wet cement. Mom, which would you prefer, the orange barrells everywhere or the branches? haha

When it rains, it pours

Hola Familia!

This week was really good! We confirmed Tania in church (I got to do it, my first one) and it went really well. She is as happy as can be and already wants a calling in the ward, so she is going to talk to bishop next week about that. Not wasteing any time at all! Church was kind of rough, we were going to have like 6 or 7 people in church, we wake up, and its absolutely pouring outside... And when I say pouring, it means harder than anything Ive ever seen in Utah. The streets were just rivers, literally. So we didnt end up having anybody in church, it was kind of frustrating but what do ya do?

We found a couple of new people this week, got a really good reference, and started teaching an old investigator again (I had never taught him) who was super good but worked two jobs and had school and could just never make it to church. But he got a different job, so he has sundays available. We were teaching him the other day and he told us that he knows that church and the Book of Mormon are true, so we just have to help him strengthen that testimony and realize the importance of baptism. His name is Jesus. The reference that we got is named Osiel, he is 22. We have taught him twice, and the second time we came, he had read the chapter we left with him and said a prayer, and he says he also feels like its true already. He wants to get baptized but just wants to learn more and get an answer specifically about that, so we will help him understand more, and if he prayers sincerally to know he will get baptized because he will receive an answer from God.

This week we are going to baptize Kasteny (the nine year old). She just keeps opening up more and more each time we come, it has been cool to see the change in her. Their family has seemed alot more happy since we have been coming (her grandma was inactive but has been coming). Her grandma used to never smile and was just kinda stiff but she is always laughing and smiling whenever we come over now, its great. We always have to leave Kasteny with interesting comitments because she cant read, so on saturday we told her to do a drawing of her baptism. We are going to teach her later today. She learns fast though, we have taught her alot and she has remembered everything, we just have to keep it really simple.

The saturday after that (the twenty first) we are going to baptize Rogelio, he is getting married to his girlfriend the day before. He is solid, he has a strong testimony and has had a lot of good experiences with prayer. This week we are going to teach him the lesson about priorities, that dad would always do in family home evening. The one where you take a bottle, dirt and rocks, and if you put the rocks in first (which represent scriptures, prayers, service, church) then the dirt fits too (work, play, sports). So thank you dad for the idea for the object lesson, its going to be really cool! I will let you know how it goes.

Then, on the 28, we have Osiel, Jesus, and Gerardo. We have taught them all about 2 times so we just have to help them keep progressing and get a testimony of the small and simple things. The book of mormon, prayer, and church. We call it the tri bomb!

Today we are in a trio with Elder Ioane, one of our Zone leaders. His companion, Elder Harmon (I went on splits with him two weeks ago) got called up to be assistent to the president, so we are working with Elder Ioane until his companion gets here on Tuesday.

The end of the week was kinda hard because the kids are out of school for two weeks, and it was the semana santa, so everyone had work off. Poza Rica (the city im in) is kind of a dirty, work centered area, and theres not alot to do here as far as recreation goes. So friday, saturday, and sunday, EVERYONE went to the beach, it was ridiculous, there was absolutely nobody in town! So this week should be better because work is back in session!

Well, Elder Thomson and I are excited about the next three weeks. We are going to keep working hard and hopefully help all these people take the next step of baptism in their lives!!

I love you all more than you know!! Have an amazing week!

Elder Eastmond

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pictures 4/2/2012

This must be Tania

And Tania's friends

Conference and Tania's Baptism

Hola Familia!

This has been the most amazing week ever!!

Conference was absolutely incredible!! We has our English room, which was in the Institute building just outside of the Chapel. It was me, Elder Thomson, and Elder DeFreese, (our district leader) because our zone was split up into two different chapels, and we were the only gringos in our half of the zone.

The best part (of the week and of the mission so far) was baptizing Tania in between the sessions on Sunday. It was INCREDIBLE!! She has been amazing to teach and watch grow and learn and gain a desire to follow her savior and repent of all her sins and be willing to change. To watch that all become completed (minus getting confirmed, we are going to do that next week) was the greatest feeling in the world. Elder Thomson baptized her, and to watch her face as she came out of the water, just with the biggest smile that she could muster was indescribable. Conference started at 11 in the morning, but we were there waiting at nine to get the keys and fill up the font, and Tania showed up at like 9:10, two hours early, because she was so excited for Conference and for her baptism.

She had a bunch of friends come from Tuxpan to watch the baptism, and it just made it that much more special because they are all members, and they were all hugging her and crying. We talked to her afterwards and asked her how she felt, she said that she couldnt put it into words how happy she was! She has yet to receive the Holy Ghost... cant wait to see how she feels after next week. This week had been really cool teaching her, because I guess she has really been feeling  guilty about some stuff that she has done in her past, so we had a really special lesson on repentance and how baptism was just going to take all of the burdens off of her shoulders, while we were talking about it her eyes just lit up. And after he baptism she was grinning ear to ear, because she was clean as can be, it is something I will never forget.

And then, there was the actual Conference talks, which were amazing. The theme to me (especially on Saturday) seemed to be service. Everybody talked about how the way to find true and lasting happiness is to serve others, and to serve God. When we are serving others, we forget about our own selfish needs and problems, and they just kind of take care of themselves or dont seem as big of a deal when we are helping other people.

I love when Dallin H. Oaks said, the symbol of the Catholic church is the cross... The symbol of our church is the lives of the people. So many people out here have their religions, but they dont really understand that a religion shoud be a way of life, not just calling yourself catholic or christian. I cant remember who said it, but someone said if your religion doesnt require you to sacrifice alot of you time efforts, and basically your life, is it really a true religion. Elder Bednars talk in priesthood session was incredible, that was one of my favorites. How men who hold the priesthood should be different than other men. I loved Elder Uchtdorfs talk about not judging other people. His bumper sticker quote was awesome: "Dont judge me because I sin differently than you." We were laughing pretty good about that one.

Another thing that I really noticed this time that I never really realized before was how simple all of the testimonies of the Apostles, the Prophet, and his counselors were. They never made their testimonies really wordy or complicated, they never do. But when you look at their eyes and listen to their testimonies, you can just feel the power and truth in their words, and when they say something like "I know that Jesus Christ lives, and loves every single one of us" you cant help but think to yourself, "yes, I know it too." It was so spiritually strengthening to be able to listen to the testimonies and words of all the servants of God this weekend. Pretty much every talk just felt like it was for me, Its pretty special to watch conference from a mission perspective.

We had a good number of investigators come to the conference, that was incredible to have them be able to feel that spirit and listen to the prophet. One family that came has been inactive for a while and they have a 9 year old girl named kasteny who hasnt been baptized, so we are worked with them right now, they have been coming to church again the last couple weeks and Kasteny (who cant read) is really excited everytime we come over to teach her. We give her home work to read with her little sister (who can read) so she can have the Book of Mormon help her build her testimony. She has a baptism date for the 14 of April.

We also found a really cool 21 year old named Gerardo last friday. The cool thing about it was that we prayed that morning that we could find someone really special and ready to take to conference with us (apart from our other investigators) that morning we went out, knocked 3 doors, and found him. He is married and has a one year old son, his wife wasnt home. We passed by his house to take him to Conference on Sunday and he wasnt there... we were kinda disapointed but it was a miracle that we found him and he is sooooo accepting and ready for this message. When we taught him on Friday, he kept telling us stuff like: I believe god has a plan for each one of us and wont ever give us any trials or challenges in this life that he wont help us overcome... Ya. Hes pretty ready to start taking the discussions, haha. We taught him the first lesson and comitted him to reading and praying about the Book of Mormon, so I will keep you updated on his progress for this week next monday!

We also have a date for Jalíl this week, but he hasnt been able to get permission from his mom. We are praying for a miracle and trying to work with him and his mom to get permission.

I am loving life here, the mission is amazing! Its so hard but so much fun at the same time. I have never been so frustrated at times in my entire life, and at the same time I have never been so happy. I know with all of my heart that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, the only true church. I know that The prophet and apostles are called of God and are inspired to give us the direction that god wants us to hear. Jesus Christ lives, he suffered and died for us, and we only have to go to him for help when we need it!

I love you all so much!! Hope you enjoyed Conference weekend!!

Hasta Luego, con mucho amor!

Elder Eastmond