Friday, April 25, 2014

 Elder Redford, Ward Mission Leader, Victorino, Elder Bautista 

We hiked the Cerro de la Silla!‏

Last P day we hiked the Cerro de la Silla, ..... Chair Hill, more or less? 

I still say that it is NOT a hill, but a mountain, but everyone calls it the Cerro, the Hill.  It was a pretty great hike; we went as a zone and got the halfway point where there is a big concrete platform overlook. Without any rails!

The view was beautiful! You could see the entire city of Monterrey and the surrounding mountains. 

Jehovah´s Witnesses, Splits, and Victorino's Baptism! - April 21, 2014

This last Saturday, Victorino was finally baptized! He was super ready. He is a super humble man with a great amount of Faith, Elder Bautista and I talked to him in the Street near the beginning of my mission, and now we baptized him together! He is defiantly one of the Lord´s Chosen. 

Even though he has bad knees, he has tried to walk to church on his own on two occasions (it’s pretty far, luckily he was picked up by members!), and he is already in Mosiah! We have never had an investigator so excited about the Gospel. And now he is a member! 
HIs family that came with him the service could feel it too. They hadn’t been interested before, but I hope that after attending the baptism and church when he was confirmed a member will help change their mind. His wife was starting to tear up with his testimony. She just says she is happy that Victorino is happy, but I hope that the way will be opened to help her learn the Gospel as well. 

I feel blessed to have been able to help Victorino find the truth, and am so grateful for the Spirit that was able to touch his heart and bear testimony that this message is true.

Best Easter birthday / Easter gift ever!  

The Baptismal Service was super awesome! There was a really strong spirit there. Our Ward mission leader was the one to baptize him, so he asked me to conduct the baptismal service! You know me, I was super nervous, and apparently red the whole time... and I almost forgot to announce the musical number, and I DID forget to announce the closing prayers and went straight to the closing prayer after Victorino shared his testimony. But it turned out to be super spiritual. His testimony was so strong when he shore it. I know that he is a convert and not just a baptism. 

This last Monday night (14) instead of having family home evening, we attended the Jehovahs Witness annual meeting where they bless the sacrament. Our Mission President has authorized that we should try to form friendships and offer service the minsters of other religions in our areas, for the which Elder Bautista is super excited, so we and another companionship attended this meeting. It super sad to the Apostasy in action. We didn’t hardly do anything but attend, but it was supposed to be a gesture of friendship. I don’t know it if helped anything that we were there. It made me so glad that I know the truth, and helped me see that need to preach the Gospel. I realized how much Hope is offered by this message, and by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, through which every single person on earth can inherit the Celestial kingdom if they will just put their part in. 

On Friday, we had splits with our district leader. It turned out that he went with Elder Bautista in our area, and I went to his area with his companion, who is being trained. Which meant that he didn’t speak very much Spanish. Which meant that we would be relying wholeheartedly in my own ability to speak the language for a day! It turned out to be a super good day though. I took charge of all the lessons, as was able to understand almost everything. It is great to be able to see how far I have come in the language, and also in being a good missionary. I still have a lot to learn though :)  At the beginning of May I will have 6 months in my mission! That is crazy! 

We have been challenged to invite people to baptism when we contact them for the first time in the street. It felt super weird at first; we would start a conversation with someone, talk about the example of Jesus Christ and baptism, and ask them if they would follow his example and be baptized. Few people actually accept; I think that they are a little shocked to hear the question too so soon, but our leaders promise us that it will help us find the Lord's Chosen, and it really does help us to have better and more meaningful contacts with people in the street. And now we have the goal to contact 20 people a day. We have not yet reached that goal, but I really want to, and I am going to do what I can to do it this week! 

But yes, Victorino, our chosen investigator, was baptized this last Saturday! I have written more about in it the other email with the picture attached. It was so wonderful! 

He scared us a little when he didn’t arrive at the chapel for church on Sunday, until after sacrament meeting. Thankfully the Bishop allowed him to be confirmed just before the speakers gave their talks. It is official; Victorino is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints!
The Church is so true!

Thank you so much for your e mails and prayers! 
I send all my Love,
Elder Redford

Birthday, and Baptism - April 14, 2014

 When we ate with the members on my Birthday they bought me a chocolate cake for my birthday! 
I can no longer say I am a 18 year-old missionary.... :P

 Birthday pineapple from my Zone. They sang me a birthday song with a Ukulele, and have me a pineapple dressed in a grass skirt. The word for Pineapple is Spanish is Piña, which is another word that they use to say girl, as in a girlfriend. Therefore, the sang about my ´Mexican Pineapple´ or my ´Piña Mexicana´. It was clever.

Sofia and Isaac, and their parents, my companion and I, and Bro Duque and his son Javier who baptized them (Bro Duque: Isaac, and Javier: Sofia) 

Birthday - April 14, 2014

My birthday was great. I ended up with 3 cakes (sort) and a pineapple! When we ate with the members that day, they bought me a delicious chocolate cake. I also got a pie of sorts from the Sister Missionaries, and two Hostess cupcakes with a candle when I went to help a member with an English Assignment.

And for the pineapple... I received that on Tuesday as a gift from my Zone. They sang me a birthday song with a Ukulele, and have me a pineapple dressed in a grass skirt. The word for Pineapple is Spanish
is Piña, which is another word that they use to say girl, as in a girlfriend. Therefore, the sang about my ´Mexican Pineapple´ or my ´Piña Mexicana´. It was clever, and of course, my face turned red!

This Saturday we had a Baptism! Sofia Benavides, a 15 year old form a less active family that we reactivated, and her brother Isaac, were baptized Saturday. I have to say, it was super hard to get everything organized, because we weren’t able to meet as a ward conference on the Sunday before because of General Conference. To have a Convert baptism, we need a lot of support from the ward for the talks, prayers, musical numbers, etc. But everything turned out well! They were both baptized by members in the ward, and confirmed this Sunday. They only problem was that we found out Isaac was 9, when we thought we was 8! Converts of 9 or more go through the missionaries, and children who are 8 go through the Bishop. Isaac should have gone through all the steps of an investigator to be baptized, but didn’t, because we thought that he was 8, and therefore went through the Bishop. And his parents never corrected us! He turned 9 in March, so we are still waiting for the word of the Mission President to see what is going to happen with that... I think everything will go ok as is. If worst comes to worst, he will have to be rebaptized, but I doubt it.

So, we had two convert baptisms this week when we only thought that it was one! This definitely helped us to realize the importance of checking records. Well, we learned a lot from the last baptism, so our baptismal service for Victorino this week will be much more organized! He is super ready for baptism. He has learned thing, attended 8 times at church, and is already in Mosiah in the book of Mormon even though he is a slow reader! I am super excited, because he is someone that Elder Baptista and I found in the Street together, and whom we are going to baptize together!

Thank you so much for your birthday wishes!

I send all my Love,
Elder Redford

Sunday, April 13, 2014

 Elder Redford - My new house 04/07/2014

The washbasin where we do our laundry

Street in our area

General Conference was great, wasn’t it?‏ - April 7, 2014

Thankfully, I was able to see conference in English :) On Saturday, we gathered together as a group of ´gringos´ (Americans) to watch the session in the stake center. It was a lot of fun to see it is English and be with a group of Missionaries who are super excited for it. I feel like those who watch conference in another language end up losing elements that we enjoy in English, like the words not matching the lips, the songs that the choir sings are in English still, and just merely hearing the unique voices of the speakers (especially Elder Holland). We are blessed! 

I really liked Elder Quentin L Cooks talk about temples and family History Work, because he mentioned and used the exact phrase ´Information Technology´, the major that I was considering to study. He said that we as the rising generation need to use this technology to bring about the Spirit of Elijah. As for now, I feel that is the way I need to  go. I wasn´t even worried about that question during the conference, but I received an answer. I am going to study Information Technology. I hope it will come in useful in the Millennium too, when we are doing all that temple work :) 

I was also a fan of Elder Uchtdorf´s talk on Gratitude in our circumstances, and President Monson´s words on showing and Expressing Love for everyone, or family, and God. Those are things that I want to put in practice. 

I kind of internally snickered when Elder Bednar talked about the husband wanting to buy the 4 wheel drive truck. I thought ´Hey, that reminds me of Mom and Dad´ :) I also thought of Grandpa Fillingim during L Tom Perry´s talk, when he used the example of the Horses. 

Yep, this was a good week. Victorino and Sofia Benavides, a young woman from a used to be less active family, are both preparing for baptism this Saturday! If nothing changes I will have two pretty great Birthday presents! 

The members that we are going to eat with on Wednesday, my birthday, told me that they are going to make carne asada and a chocolate cake. It should be good!  

Sadly, Karla did not attend this Sunday, and her baptismal date fell.. She is not showing a lot of commitment in attending church.. we are going to have to keep working with her. Elder Bautista is a little sad, because he was hoping to be able to baptize her before he left, but now that her date fell through, he will probably leave before she is ready with her 5 Sundays. No one actually knows if they will stay or leave each transfer, but he will have been here for 9 months, so we are pretty certain he will be leaving the area.

This week I was convinced that it had lost my charger for my shaver. I forgot to pack it when we changed houses. The sister Missionaries that live in our old house told me they would bring it to me, but it was the wrong one, and claimed that they couldn’t find another one. I was trying to figure out what to do all week. Then one day they handed it to me and told me that it had fallen behind the fridge. I was super relieved! It was an answer to a prayer. 

Also, to get around from place to place we use taxis. Last Monday we took a taxi to get to a member's house to eat, and the taxi driver was very distraught, spouting all his problems in life, and the problems with his brother and wife and everything. He drove super slow, and talked the entire time. I only had time at the very end, to invite him to accept a visit from the missionaries. It was an interesting experience. As I was paying the driver, my camera fell, and I thought Elder Bautista pick it up. As we were walking away from the taxi  I asked for it, but he claimed not to have had it. After letting meet feel terrible for a few minutes, he finally gave it to me. I thought that it had been left in the taxi, never to be seen again! A few days later, I heard someone shout ¡hey GRINGO! At first I wanted to ignore it, but then turned around and saw the same taxi drive. ´you never came´ he said. The problem is that he doesn’t live in our area, so we had to explain to him that other Elders would come to visit him soon. As soon as we left, we took out the cell phone so that we could pass on his address to the other Elders, because we still hadn’t. He was expecting our visit though, and I think it helped me to understand that I shouldn’t judge who or who will not actually want us to visit, and that we should pass on our references for other Missionaries faster! Still don´t know what has happened since. 

Also this week I went on splits with the district leader, Elder Erekson. We were working in his area for the day. We were teaching a lesson, but it wasn’t going well. The Investigator wasn’t understanding our message. I was praying that something could change so that she could understand the importance of our message, when suddenly a Sister from the ward showed up to invite her to activity (they are friends). While there with us, she bore her testimony to the Investigator, and helped her understand how important the Gospel was. At the end of the lesson we asked her who else she knew that we could visit, and she responded saying that she didn´t know very many people, but everyone that she did know was from this church! I hope all goes well with this investigator for them. It was a neat experience too :) 

We also came across a n X-Member of the church who now worships the Santa Muerte (Death Saint, or worships Death more or less). That was ugly. Not because anything bad happened in lesson, he accepted us very well, but because I saw how far one can stray, what was apostasy... but onto a more happy note!  We are rejoicing in our Investigators who are so close to baptism! It is really is wonderful. We hope to continue working so that we can find others who are ready for the Gospel in their lives. I am feeling great, and learning every day!  

Remember that I am always praying for you. 

I send my Love , 

Elder Redford

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hola - March 31, 2014

Well, I don't really have a lot to write about since my last letter on Thursday :) 
This last Saturday and Sunday my companion and I fasted for our investigators, and specifically for an investigator named Karla. She and he daughter Fatima had had baptismal dates in the past, but Karla has had a super hard time attending church, and only has 1 out of 5 times that she needs to attend. Elder Baptista is really wants to baptize her before he leaves the area (he believes he will leave this next transfer, because he will have been here 9 months, and it is his first area, too!). So we visited her and hit the importance of baptism hard in our lesson, and they accepted new dates and our invitation to attend church. we were super anxious Sunday waiting for her to arrive. Then they shut the doors for the sacrament, and we almost lost all hope. When the doors opened up, she and her daughters filed into the chappel. We were super relieved. If she misses a single Sunday, Elder Bautista won't be around for her baptism, maybe. We are going to work really hard with them to help them prepare for baptism! 

Tonight we are going to have family home evening with them and another member family, and we are going to teach the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy and the importance of the sacrament. We hope that the members can help us out with their testimonies, so that Karla can fell the importance of coming to church.  

This last Sunday they didn't have very good themes for our investigators though... the importance of Home teaching, reactivation, and our combined class was on the importance of records. 

Oh! and I recived the package yesterday! Thanks for the sweets and the recipes. Sadly, I have nothing that serves as an oven to bake any of the recipes, but maybe I can make some no bake cookies soon! Thanks for the photos, and I loved the quotes. And the baptism certificate was a great idea. It came really crumpled on the edges though. And the Title of Liberty flag is super cool! I will definitely have people sign it. Tell the Flewallen's thanks for me! 

A lot of Megan´s cards made me fell sad though.. I hope she is doing ok. It is great to hear that Haylee is helping around the house! And congrats ShayLynn on your project! that is super cool! I hope ypu can feel good about the trip to Texas. 

I send my Love, 

Elder Redford