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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

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pictures Sept 3, 2012

Que pasó familia?

Wow this is going to be really hard to fit all of the stuff that happened to us this week in this letter, but I will do my best!! Haha first of all mom, those are indeed my shoes. We walk alot as missionaries... My other pair is about the same. Don´t worry about sending me money, I had enough on my card and there are plenty of good places to buy shoes here...well, not in my area but in the city there are, and we went on monday to but new shoes. They are comfortable and seem to be durable, I just hope they last.... :)

So I have some bad news. My emails might not be quite as exciting from now on...because we have changes and I´m leaving the area. I´m going to be a district leader (I´m really nervous) in the zone Orizaba. It is the last zone of the mission before you get to the Mision Xalapa. My are is called Huilango. Elder Escarcega was in the zone and says that its not hot there! He said the weather is perfect and that at night it even gets a little cold. It´s gonna be weird after being in Poza Rica and the Tuxtlas. My new companion is Elder Espinosa. I haven´t met him yet, we are leaving tomorrow at 6:00 in the morning. Elder Espinosa has 5 months in the mission and I hear that he´s really cool. Elder Escarcega told me that I have a ward! I´m really excited for that because we will have a bishop and everything. Altough I have to admit, I¨m going to miss this area sooooooo much. It´s really hard here but I absolutely love it. This change was the best of the whole mision so far. I´m going to miss Elder Escarcega alot, we got along really well, he likes to joke around alot like me but at the same time knows how to work really hard. We had one of the hermanas just absolutely dying of laughter the other day during lunch cracking jokes and teasing the kids and stuff. But I´m really excited to change at the same time, It´s always fun to go to a new area and meet new members, investigators, companions, etc. Elder Escarcega is going to train a new misionary here in Cerro. Shows you how good of a misionary he is, because he only has 5 months and he is going to train in one of the hardest areas in the mission. He is really nervous but he will be amazing.

This saturday, we baptized Selso!!! It was INCREDIBLE!! We had a bautistrito (everyone in our district baptized) So we all went to the church in San Andreas and did our baptisms together. Each one of the Elders got to baptized once, because the Hermanas don´t baptize and they had a family. Elder Escarcega baptized Selso and I got to baptize a 9 year old girl that was part of the family the Hermanas taught. In the baptismal service, we baptized 6 people (and the zone leaders baptized two more in the morning). It was such an incredible experience to watch all of these children of our Heavenly Father make this sacred covenant to change their lives. The spirit was soooooo strong, it is something I am going  to remember for the rest of my life. Selso was so happy afterwards, he gave his testimony and put his hands of above his head like Samuel the Lamanite, and said "we are going to be with the Lord every day!!" (it sounds better in Spanish, haha) I got to confirm him on sunday in church, it was really special. He never had any problems with anything, just one of those people who was super prepared by the Lord but the missionaries hadn{t found him yet. It´s really hard to leave after we are starting to see sucess here, but Elder Escarcega and his new companion are going to baptize two kids named Pedro and Adrian this week, and the week after that, an amazing lady named Juana. So that will be good for the new missionary to start things off  on a good note.

The pictures are of the baptism, the big one where we are all in white in unreal!!! I can´t describe how strong to spirit was during that baptismal service! The others are some pictures with members from the branch.

Parker, I´m really glad you like high school, it´s really fun! Enjoy every minute of it! And Devin, you are one talented kid! Way to make the Jazz band! I have been praying for that one every night, haha.

This week I got a weird rash on my wrist that was a perfect circle and red. And it was growing every day....I talked to a guy in our ward who is a doctor and he gave me some cream. The rash looks better today. I{m sure you all wanted to hear that so much.

I love you all so much, thank you for the emails and prayers!! Have a great week!!!

Con mucho Amor,

Elder Eastmond