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Monday, July 30, 2012

New companion: Elder Escarcega

Que tal familia?

This week was awesome. My new companion, Elder Escarcega, is from Mexico City, like 20 minutes from the temple. He has only two years as a convert to the church but decided to come on a mission! How cool is that! He has a strong testimony and is really excited to be here. He is excited to baptize and help the inactives return. He has only two changes on the mission but already knows a ton! He teaches amazing, really simple and eficient, we are working really eficient together, and I feel like we have had more time to do everything because of that. He is obedient and has a great sense of humor. We worked hard this first week and he was a little tired but he will get used to it, haha. He kept telling me that he had never worked so hard on his mission and I told him that´s what it takes to make things happen in Baxcaxbaltepec. But its nice to have a mexican companion again, it just makes things easier.

This week we prayed that we could find someone to baptize for the 4 of August, and then we searched for some old investigators that had been to church a couple of times. We found one named Rene, and showed up to his house and he told us, "I´m busy right now but I can come to church with you guys on sunday, ya?" We told him of course and passed by on Saturday, talked a little bit about baptism, and put a date for the 4th of August. He came to church with us and loved it and afterwards we showed him the baptismal font, and asked him if he was ready to be baptized on saturday. He told us yes and was really excited. Pray hard for him because we are going to teach him the comandments that he has to follow this week and satan is going to work hard on him.But wow, every single week, without fail, I grow to love more and more the power of prayer. I have learned that praying for specific things, and then working like there is no tomorrow, will bring results. Its great :)
On monday, I was still with Elder Herron, and we found a new investigador named Benito. He didn´t seem too interested or like he was paying attention during the lesson, so we just left him with a pamplet and told him to read it and that we would pass by later to visit. But during the prayer he crossed his arms and bowed his head and everything....nobody does that. And he told us that he was going to read the pamphlet and after the prayer we asked him if he wanted to go to church and he told us yes. So we left and Elder Herron told me that during the prayer, he heard a voice in his head that said "El es mi hijo también..." or "He is my son too." We thought about all the good things that Benito had done in the lesson and how we had ended kinda early and not taught him as much as we could have (sometimes we go into a lesson and if we can tell the people don´t want it or arent paying attention, we invite them to church and ask them if we can pass by, and then end a little early, because we can´t waste time with the people who really don´t want anything) So Elder Herron told me to pass by the next day and see if he really was interested. So two days later we passed by with Elder Escarcega and invited him to be baptized on the 11 of August, and he wants to do it. He came to church with us and asked it we were going to do the baptism this saturday. We told him that we still had to teach him some more stuff. It will be a bit of a challenge because he is living with his girlfriend and they´re not married, so we will have to work to get them married if he is to be baptized, but we are going to do it!

Lots of the members are super super excited to reactivate the inactives. We went and visted a bunch of less actives yesterday and want to have a week with 60 people in church. I don´t know what´s different about Elder Escarcega, if it´s because he´s new to the area and excited or what. But we feel something really special here, and we know if we pray and work hard and do everything we can to be obedient, good things are going to happen here.
I´m glad to here that John is doing good! It´s so crazy to think that he´s home... He was amazing on his mission, did so much to serve the Lord and his companions, and I´m glad to hear that although he´s grown and matured and changed, he hasn´t changed too much, haha.
Well, I love you all tons!! Thank you for your support and prayers, and send some prayers our way for Benito and Rene this week!! Thank you!! I love being a missionary, it´s the hardest thing in the world but at the same time the funnest and the most rewarding :)

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another crazy and interesting week

First of all, we had cambios (changes) this week, and we were sure that Elder Herron was going to stay because he only has three changes here in the Tuxtlas but it turns out that he is going to Veracruz centro, and I am going to stay here and get another Mexican companion. I will be his second companion...I´m a little nervous because I have a lot of responsibility with someone really young but I´m ready for the challenge, we are going to do good things here. I´m excited again to have a mexican compañion, it helps the spanish and the accent soooo much. There was only 5 companiionships in all of the mission who diden´t have a change of some sort this week. Tommorrow we are going to Veracruz at 5 in the morning to have a mission conference. We are all super excited and from there we will all return to our areas with our new companions. I learned tons of great stuff from Elder Herron, I will miss him lots. He reminds me a lot of John in some ways. He truly loves and cares about all the members and all the people we teach, and he helped me realize the importance of visiting inactives as well as doing all the other missionary stuff. It was a great experience with him because it wasn´t easy at all as far as the work goes in our time together, but we always tried to look for the little things that we could improve and if something wasn´t working, we learned how to do something different. I feel like I have learned sooooo much stuff with him that will bless me the rest of my mission, I´m so grateful to the Lord for all the companions I have had, I have been truly blessed with each one of them.
I have recovered completely from the Typhoid this week, I haven´t had any problems at all, Elder Herron on the other hand has been more or less, on of the days we had to stay in the house all day because he had a headache so bad he couldn´t even move his head. And as soon as he gets over a symptom it seems like something else goes wrong, we have been calling Hermana Treviño all week long. I´m convinced that she moved Elder Herron to Veracruz so he could be closer to the offices because he gets sick alot, haha. But as of late he has felt better.

We didn´t have anyone in church. 3 of the 4 brothers left for 2 months to work, so we are still teaching the mom (Thomasa) one of the brothers (Celedonio) and one of the wives of one of the brothers (Mónica). It has been a little tricky because Thomasa and her son can´t read, so they can´t read the book of mormon. Monica can read, and we want to try to have her read to her family members. But they all prayed about Jose Smith and said that they all received answers, each one in a different way, it was really cool. (I of course wasn´t there to hear the stories because I was on divisiones working in another area, haha) so they know its all true, but they don´t want to accept a date for baptism for different reasons. I know we can resolve their doubts but they need to come to church. They told us they weren´t going to come this week because they were going to wait a call from the husband of Mónica, but after some testimony bearing and scriptures the mom told us that she wanted to come, and that she was going to walk down to her sisters house (her sister is a member) and come to church with her, but didn´t end up coming. It is a tough situation because they live super super far from the church and we brought them the first week but after that we want them to show their faith. Becuase if we just pay for them every week they don´t grow at all and when we leave the area they don´t come to church anymore because they don´t have a testimony about sacrifice. Their sister lives close enough that they can walk like 30 mintues to her house and take a taxi with her, so we are going to work on all of that this week.

We also found a lady named Alicia, she is really neat. She accepted baptism really easy and also the invitaciton to come to church but when we passed by on sunday she said that her grandma had surgery and lives in Veracruz and they wanted to go visit her... haha there is ALWAYS something. She lives in the town with lots of members so we are going to bring a bunch this week to visit with us to help her feel comfortable with the members and it will be easier to come to church.

We had the most lessons we have ever had as a companiionship this week, and we lost a full day. We never had a baptism in these 8 weeks together but we really felt like we improved alot each week, each week we were really blessed to be able to improve and get better. I´m excited to get working with my new companion and serve the Lord with all we´ve got!

I´m glad to hear that everyone had such a good time this week, sounds like Dad and Parker had a good time on the trek, I hope dad wasn´t too bossy.

Mucho amor!!!

Elder Eastmond

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pictures 07162012


Well, this week we returned to normal, as in, a lot of weird things happened to us. Usually when weirds things happen, it´s a normal day. When we have a normal day...we feel weird. So I will start with the first of the week. Starting on Monday, my companion and I decided to pray to have ONE person in the church this sunday, one person, nothing more. We prayed for this every day, en every pray this past week.

Tuesday night rolls around, and Elder Herron is sicker than a dog. We had to return home to the house two hours earlier and he was throwing up and everthing, it was bad. So I wake up on wednesday, and my body had all these pains and aches, like what you feel when you are coming down with a fever... but I didnt have a temperature so we left to work for the day. We worked close to all the day on wednesday, and had an AMAZING DAY. We found 9 new people to teach (12 is the goal for every week) and we very very very blessed, because we were both sick but had enough energy to do everything. We found so many news because we found a family of 7, with these four brothers (they are all grown up, in their mid 20s) who are really really cool. We invited them to church and everything but they said they were going to be working in the morning. So I will come back to them in a little bit. That night (Wednesday at like 6:00) We were teaching a lesson and I noticed that my face was basically on fire. You could have cooked a tortilla on my forehead, not kidding. So after the lesson, we went to the house to check my temperature... 103 degrees. Not good. We called Hna Treviño and she sent us to the doctor to get something to drop my fever. We stayed in the house the rest of the night but my fever didn´t want to go down. So we called one of two hermanos in the branch who has the melkesidec priesthood and he and my compañion gave me a blessing. The next day Hna. Treviño told us to go to San Andres to get a blood test to see what we both had. Turns out we had Typhoid... Elder Herron had 5 types, but never had symptons other than vomiting, I had one type. We didn´t have very much typhoid in us, but enough to make us sick. The next day I had a fever again of 102 all day long and we couldnt leave to work all day, it was a hard day, I hate sitting in the house and taking breaks because Im sick, mom, you know that better than anyone ,) Elder Herron recovered quick from his symptoms, and I feel better know, we are taking antibiotics, we are both a little tired but be were blessed to have recovered so quick.

So anyways, back to the family with the four brothers, we passed by on saturday to invite them to the church again, we had a little more time this time. When we invited them they accepted super easy and were really excited to come on sunday. We could tell that Heavenly Father had worked on them a little bit since the time we had last visited them. We also found some inactives in a big town like 10 minutes in taxi from where we live that wanted to come to church for the first time in years. (one of them has a wife who isnt a member and we are teaching her, she is really good) but point is we had to do divisions sunday morning to be able to pass by for our investigators and the inactives because they live in towns that are in opposite sides of our area, and are really really far so we didn{t have time to go together. So we took a couple of youth from the ward. I went to pick up the four brothers, when we showed up they were all ready to go! We had four people in church this week (investigators)!!! I was soooooooo happy, God answered our prayers and more by helping us not only find one person, but 4! It felt so good to finally have people in the church. The funny thing was that they were going to leave after sacrament meeting but they liked it so much that they came to sunday school and they were participating in the lesson and everything, it was amazing. We are excited to continue with them, I think two are actually leaving for two months to work but the others are going to be there and their mom is really good too, I hope we can help all of the there in their family.

This week was such a great experience. We prayed so hard to be able to find people and bring somebody to church, and then had all these complications with our health and everything and were worried because we couldn{t do a whole lot during the week. But Heavenly Father helped us out where we were too weak to do anything ourselves, and too sick to have anytime to work. Again, the power of prayer is a beautiful thing. And in total, we had 49 people in church. Presidente Treviño is excited and told us now to shoot for a week with 60. I can´t believe how blessed we were this week, I{m so grateful for the Lord´s hands in everything we do as missionaries. Thank you all for you prayers, they help us so much, and I hope you guys have a good week! Tell dad to not be too bossy on the treck, and tell parker to wear sunscreen....haha ya right. :)

Mucho amor de los Tuxtlas!

Elder Eastmond

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tough week but working hard

Well, this was a tough week. We went on divisions with the zone leaders one of the days, that was awesome. I learned a ton of great stuff from Elder Milnicawicz (From Argentina). We worked in his area and had a good day. I love going on divisions with the leaders because I always learn a ton from them, and it is fun to apply everything and watch how well it works, and then think, "Why was I not doing this before?"

We had a lot of people in church again, not like the past week but a good amount of people, almost 40. We spoke in church, I spoke on the importance of Family home Evening, and shared how mom and dad always told me that monday was family night, and that I was never allowed to leave with my friends on monday. I talked about how I realized the importance of family night and how much I appreciate that my parents ALWAYS set aside time for this special night every week.

We visited Teodoro a lot this week, ended up putting a date with him for the 14th. He was super excited to get baptized, he was reading, keeping all his comittments. He was willing to get married to his wife, (tons of people here just pair up and never get married, so if somebody wants to get baptized we have to help them get married) and then they didn´t come to church on sunday. The members who were supposed to pass by for him told us that they went but his daughter had all these weird rashes so they had to take her to the doctor. We passed by after church to make sure everything was ok, their daugther was a little sick but doing ok. But Teodoro wasn´t there and when we asked his wife where he was, she told us that he got asigned to leave for his work (military) and won´t be back for 2 months...He had already left by the time we had got to his house. I know it´s harder for their family, its a tough job to have to leave your wife and kids for months at a time, but wow that was tough. He´s the first person who has really progressed a lot since I´ve been here. I wanted so bad to help him get baptized because that means he could get sealed to his wife and baby girl in a year, and they have another baby on the way. I love the family a ton, they are great, I hope that he will be able to get baptized when he comes back...

We had a couple of other good investigators who we sent members to pass by for them so they could come to chuch but they didn´t end up coming... It´s been tough. We feel like we are improving so much in our teaching and techiniques and everything but come sunday nobody wants to come.

It´s been raining all week long, it´s funny because it comes out of no where and 5 minutes later it stops, and then 5 mintues later it´s raining again.

Well, that´s pretty much the week, haha I want to write more but not much more has happened, haha. Pray for us that we can find at least one person to bring to church this sunday!

I love you all tons! This work and the chuch is so true, we are so blessed to be members of the church with great leaders, the Book of Mormon, and families that are sealed together forever!

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

(Ps this morning there was a dead lizard in the shower, that doesn´t happen every day...)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pictures July 2, 2012

Don't drink the pineapple water!

Well, if you thought last week was good, it gets better. Wow we were super blessed this week I can´t even believe it. We will start with church asistence. I realized that I always start with this, don´t know why, but why break the tradition? We went to visit a lot of inactives this week with the members, and we had almost 50 people in the church on sunday! (it was like 45 or 46, something like that) We were just happy as we could be, it was so great to see lots of families and what not. A couple of people who haven´t come for a long long time came too, it was great. We will have to continue to help them come every week, because lots of times somebody comes for the first time in a while y then they don´t come again, so we will be working on that this week.

We found some really good people who I really think will start progressing good. Thank you for your prayers to help us find people. We have been teaching a guy name Teodoro, he has a wife and an adorable little girl (year and a couple of months) and his wife is an inactive member. We have been teaching him for two weeks, when we first got there (it was a reference from a hermana) he was really closed and seemed like he wanted absolutely nothing to do with us. But now we are really good friends and he has changed so much, he has opened up alot to new ideas and all of the teachings of the gospel. A family in the branch is helping us alot, because we have had a few family home evening with them and everything. But heres the thing. Teodoro works in the military and was going to leave today to start working again for a couple of months. So it was tough because he is progressing a ton (he went to chuch last week, not in our ward because he was visting family members) but he still isn´t ready to be baptized. He told us that there was a posiblilty that he would be able to stay for a little bit longer but he was going to find out on sunday. So we did a fast on sunday that he could stay for a nothing couple weeks, because in this time he could get baptized. Yesterday in the afternoon we found out that he will be here for another month! We still don´t have details, and we don´t think he will be in his home like every day, but we should be able to teach him still. Pray really hard for this one, the family is really really special and this could help the wife and husband get sealed with their girl later on.

We had a weird weird weird experience on Wednesday... Tuesday we found a family with lots of people. One of the ladies there was pregnant, and told us that she was due anyday. They didn´t seem super interested but comitted to pray about Joseph Smith. But we talked to the wife of the guy who owns the house and she told us to be careful if we came back because her husband (he wasn´t there when we taught them) was really catholic and kinda hates the missionaries. So the next day we were contacting people in the street when a 9 year old girl comes up to us and tells us "my sister really wants to talk to you guys again, come to my house!" It was the sister of the girl who was pregnant, we thought it was weird but we went because maybe she got an answer to her prayer or something. We got there and found out that the lady had had her baby 3 hours the house... but eveything went well. The guy who owns the house came out and started talking to us, he was super friendy and it was weird becuase they had told us to watch out for him... So we sat down and they gave us immediately some pineapple water, we took a couple of sips tasted super weird. I thought wow it´s like its fermented or something. We both got the feeling that we shouldn´t drink it and looked at eachother with that look, and put the glasses under our chairs. So we taught this guy who was supposedly super catholic and rude and he accepted EVERYTHING, baptism, and a date for his baptism. At the end of the lesson, we asked them if there was something that we could do to help them because their daughter had just had a baby. Immediately, one of his other daughters came out and said, "actually, there is something you can do. We are kinda low on money after my sister had her baby, could you guys help us out with that??" Yup...set the whole stinkin thing up to get money from the missionaries. We explained that we actually don´t have money, we actual pay alot to be here in Mexico. We left and were talking about everthing and then remembered about the pinapple water. Elder Herron asked me, was there something weird about that water, or is it just me. I said, ya it was weird, almost like there was alcohol in it or something....Then we realized that it was true. They had in fact, put alcohol in our drinks. We talked about it how it kinda tingled and smelled kinda weird. And they had given us pineapple water the day before but it was way different. They had set everything up to try to get money. All we could do was laugh a little bit and pray that god could help them with their situation, but I doubt he´s too happy with them giving his missionaries alcohol. Good thing the spirit could help us know something was up after a little sip.

This pictures are of me in a place in the Tuxtlas. It is rumored to be where the hill cumora is, where the jaredites battled and the lamanites and nefites too, it was super cool. Everything was so green and it was a special moment when we got to top (we went with the zone) and read a few verses out of our Books of Mormon. (I totally wrote that right, thanks to best two years)

I hope everything is going well!! I love you all soooooooooooo much!! Pray for us that we can help lots of people progress this week!!

Mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond