Monday, July 21, 2014

Photo of Elder Hernandez - 7-21-2014

A photo of my companion Elder Hernandez in front of the house of Damian and his family, a family of Investigators.

Moderna Ward‏ - July 21, 2014

Wow, you are all super busy this week! Not a day wasted. I hope that everything is in line with Girls camp and all; I know that it will turn out great! 
Sorry I couldn’t be there to help, and to load up the trailers :) 

Wow, those sound like some awesome cookies, Megan and Haylee! I think that mom is right; it would be hard to judge. I never would have thought about adding pringles to cookies :) Glad to hear that the girls are having a lot of fun this summer, baking, swimming, and swatting spiders off their teacher´s back! :) 
All the youths that I have talked to here all say that they are bored to death for summer vacation. What’s up with that? It might be because it is so hot here that no one wants to do anything, My companion told me that if it was this hot at his house he wouldn’t leave even to go to 'tienda' (shop, as in almost every corner there is a little shop of sorts :). It really is hot here though. We have entered the Canicula, the hottest part of the year. Everyone dreads it. I am thankful for sun screen. And oh yeah our house is on the second story and doesn’t have working AC. just fans and, to sleep, I get a washcloth wet and freeze it, and then put it on my forehead to cool down to sleep. It works! 

And my toes want to let me know that even though I am in Mexico, nothing has changed. Two more in grown toenails! One on each big toe! I need to call the president’s wife to see if I can see the Doc this week. One is infected a little, but we keep moving on!

I am also enjoying me decision to buy pancake mix to make pancakes every day for breakfast (ok, only three times this week :). I had to experiment a little, being without a cup measurer and with an electric stove whose lowest setting is too hot for pancakes (for the heat?) but by the third time they turned out pretty darn good :) I still miss the chocolate chip cookies and brownies from home, though :) I think I will bake a lot for the first little while when I get home :) 

But just like at home, I am spending my mornings on P day to do a little bit of house cleaning, and it feels so good to some manual labor, even with the heat and sweat dripping off my face :)

Yesterday they anounced the Changes for the Transfer, but everyone in my ward is staying the same. Which means that Elder Hernandez and I will be here to baptize Damian and his family! (if they will just come to church!) Maybe we are going to baptize two of their daughters this Saturday, but they didn’t come to church this week because they had a birthday party.... priorities priorities :) 

My Companion and I focused a lot on strengthening the ward this week. Bring members with us to visit other members, so that they feel comfortable with each other and with us. This ward is sooo small! And many are very new and lack experience, and don’t feel capable to help with missionary work. So we have been visiting them and asking what we can do to strengthen the ward. We got some good ideas. the bad thing is that we didn’t get to see a lot of investigators... Damian and his family, who are the closest to baptism, have been hard to find lately. 

I got to participate in Church a lot today. Saturday night the Bishop asked me to give a talk on covenants, so I did and took up like 20 minutes. I was able to see my flaws still in my Spanish, and is was a little unorganized, but I did ok for it being in my second language and with short notice. Before I spoke, I also got to bless the sacrament in Spanish too. after Sacrament meeting, my companion and I were also asked to teach the Gospel Principles class. The topic was Missionary work. I am not a very good teacher, by way of being up in front of a class, but my companion is thank goodness ;) 

things really are going good here, I am being the Chocolate Chip and resisting the Heat of the Oven ;) 

Thanks for all the support, and I wish you the best in prep for Girls Camp (as I know that the entire family is involved :)

Love ya lots, :) 

Elder Redford

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! - July 14, 2014

Happy Anniversary! Mom and Dad!

And thank you so much for writing my Dad. It really means a lot. It is really important to me to hear your testimony. Thanks for the encouragement. Don’t think that I forget about you, either :) Keep up the good work with helping Mom with Girls camp. Teaching primary kids, and being a great dad :) 

It was great to hear that Allen is back from his mission! I have to say that I was surprised at that. Time is going by fast. I have 8 months! A third of my Mission!

And the package! Thanks so much for the cards and the treats :) and the Bottle of Sunshine :) 

And thank you so much, Mom, for your letter. Thank You.
Your Testimony is so powerful. 

Well this is my week:
My companion is walking! He used the boot for the first part of the week, and now his just using his shoe. He still walks slowly, but at least he can walk now! If he wants to believe it or not, I really do feel like it was a fast recovery. I had to tell him that we were NOT going to go play soccer today :)

This week I have been able to see Revelation through Living Prophets in action; from the first presidency, we now are required to teach Lesson 5, Laws and Ordinances (Priesthood, Missionary Work, Temples, Eternal Marriage, Service/Callings and topics like that) before baptism now. It used to be that we taught it after, but now, it is before. Meaning, that the baptism that we had planned for this Saturday, we had to change to the next, so that we have enough time to teach all the new principles required. Oh well :) It just means that Converts will understand better how the church works and is organized :) 

This week my companion we battled with teaching the law of Chastity to Damian and his three daughters. We ended up teaching three separate lessons; one to Damian and his wife Belem, one to their Daughter Reina who is 13, and one with his other two daughters, Ailin 11 and Itzel 8, each time simpler and simpler according to their age; We tried to help them see that their bodies and gifts from God and that they need to take care of them in every was that we can, and we need to always be thinking about good things :) We were really struggling with it, but I feel it turned out well :)

And on Thurday we had a family home evening with this Wonderful family with another member family, about Tithing. We were worried because currently the Dad doesn’t have a job, but it turned out well and were able to bring the spirit as we bore testimony and sang '' Because I have been given much''. 

On Friday we had our Interviews with President Bird. It was really good. It was nothing more than a chat to see how we were doing and to give us encouragement one on one. He said something that I really like. He told my companion and I that we were the only ones in our half of the colony Moderna that are set apart and have the authority to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and Invite them to come unto him. It gave me a better perspective of my responsibility as a Missionary. He also in his letter talked about the worth of souls, which helped me remember that even the drunks that bug us in the streets, are children of God, that the universe was made for them, and us, so that we could be exalted. All the things in this Universe were made for us, the children of God, and our immortality and Eternal Joy. It is amazing that he entrusts such a work to us, 19 year old boys.

I don’t feel like I have a whole lot of great stories this week though, sorry about that :) But things are going. Thanks so much for your letters! 

I am running out of time to write more..... 

I send my love! 

Elder Redford

Friday, July 11, 2014

Baptism - June 21, 2014

Attached is a photo of the family that Elder Harper and I Baptized on June 21 2014. They are super Awesome, Valente, Betty, and Valent Jr, the Salazar family. It was a privilege to know them and teach them! 

I was able to baptize the sister and her son, and Elder Harper the brother.

Wearing wet Baptismal clothes is the best! 

Happy 4th of July! - July 7, 2014

I am glad that you were able to celebrate the 4th and have a little fun; I honestly had nothing by way of celebration.... just Exchanges with my Zone Leaders :) 

Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you  for your prays for my companion... I too have been praying a lot for him. in fact he was the subject of my fast :) I am afraid because I have heard down the line (Zone Leaders) that President was starting to consider sending him home... so yah, many prayers! But he really is doing better. No more days in the house! we are leaving to work every day now. The rubber bottoms on his crutches are wearing out quickly with all the walking he´s doing. A member found us a new rubber foot (what are they called?) to put on his crutches, and he wore through the rubber in one day, with all the heat and walking! He has two new ones on his crutches right now, we will see how long they last!  We are also going to try a walking boot soon, we will see if it helps. 

So like I said my last email, we went on Monday to eat hamburgers with a family whom we are teaching. It turned out good, and then we went and panted a door and a window on a member's house. I painted the top of the door. imagine that :) 

Not much to report Tuesday, other than I tried to cut up a jalepeƱo pepper in order to make a tuna salad that night, and ended up, as they say here, enchilado. It was so hot I couldn’t stand it, and I only ate a small piece! Then it spread to my lips which started to burn. Then to get ready for bed, I washed my face. Bad Idea. I spread the burning sensation to my entre face and my eyes! Once I could see again, I then made another stupid decision and used the bathroom. Yep, it spread. I layed in bed waiting for the burning to go away, and thankfully, it did, and I was able to go to sleep :). Ok, so I guess I am not as Mexican as I thought it was. I will be more careful with peppers from here on. after eating a lot of spicy food I thought that I would be ok, but not yet :) 

On Wednesday my companion was having a lot of troubles. We had to rest in the house for a little while. I was singing hymns in English while he rested. I love hymns in English!  Next thing I knew, he walked out wearing the walking boot. He said that he said a prayer of faith, and was ready to leave walking. So we went and visited someone, him walking the whole way. He went painfully slow, but I was super happy to see his faith show and we were of good cheer :) And then, like always, someone in the street commented and told him he would get a hernia from walking like that with the limp all day, and now he is scared to use the boot, even when President sent another, even better one for him to use... he doesn’t want to use it, but I really think that he should.... 
Thursday were back to crutches, and a Jehovah´s Witness (who are like our rivals here on the mission) came and talked to us for 10 minutes straight about how Elder Hernandez had to rest and how God wants his servant to be healthy and was using a ton of, only slightly related scriptures to try and make her point. She left, and Elder Hernandez was again super discouraged. So I tried to cheer him up, and we talked about the nobility and faith that we show when we keep moving forward fighting the fight even when we have a difficulty or weakness, and that sacrifices bring forth blessings. It was interesting that it took 10 minutes of twisted truth to discourage him, and only 2 minutes of pure truth to lift him back up again. There is power in the truth of the Gospel. 

And on Friday, like I said, I had Exchanges with our Zone Leader, and I went to work in their area for a day. I am super glad for the Exchanges that we had with them, because I was able to express how  felt and receive a lot of good counsel from my Zone Leader. They also helped us put a lot of good goals as a companionship, mostly about being more united and about serving each other. At first I was a little offended to tell you the truth when they started talking about how I needed to serve Elder Hernandez more and asked me what more I could do for him, because I felt like I was already doing everything for him AND around the house, but as we talked, I realized the importance of charity and saw that I really could help him more and help him feel better and more excited for the work. We were able to have a really good chat after they left, and we put a lot of good goals to help us be a better companionship. 

And I don’t know if it is a law around here or what.... but a drunk started talking to us about how he was going to report us for walking around in the streets with crutches, and took a photo of us... in which we are smiling with a thumbs up :) I think he had a mind to send it to the police or something, but I doubt that anything will come of a picture of two smiling missionaries :) 

Fast and Testimony meeting is a little slow hire in the small ward. There were a few longish moments of silence waiting for one of the few members to share their testimony. Unlike in my last ward when the missionaries hardly had time, all four of us were able to share. I feel bad though... we came to church with our investigators but got there late, and we weren’t able to partake of the sacrament..... But by the end of the meeting I felt super happy to be there and it was great to see the members come and befriend out investigators. I really have been trying to develop my love for this ward and area, so during sacrament meeting I was saying a silent prayer for each member, one by one, as I saw them in the chapel. It really helped me to feel a great deal of love for the members here.  

And then this morning for P day I deep cleaned our bathroom. I think that if had been a really long time since it was cleaned. The phrase that Dad says came to my mind: ''you'll make a great wife for someone someday'' :) I kind of got into a cleaning mode and took an entire hour to clean the little bathroom, but at least I feel clean now! I wasnt able to mop the house though, and it really needs it... but oh well! Time is a missionary's enemy. Especially on P-day :P

Well that is the goings of my week. We are teaching a family, Damian, who are excited and getting close to baptism. We might baptize his three daughters first, and then him and his wife the next week, since they have come to church more. We'll  see how it plays out. 

I love you! 

Elder Redford

Slow and Steady - June 30, 2014

Hey Thanks I loved the pictures and I am glad that you were able to have a great trip! Glad to hear that your efforts to get back in time for church/the home coming were worth it. It is amazing that Ethan is already back from his mission! 

I hope that Dad is getting a little time to hang out with his buddies/brothers/someone with all the girls around.  I hear he is crimping feathers or s--omething like that :) 

This week we have been going slow and steady, ish. My companion still complains a lot about his foot, and I can see that it is exhausting to go around on crutches all day. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday actually went on Companion exchanges so that I could work with the other Elders in our ward for part of the day, and I am glad too, because I was starting to get really bored/distracted from the work with all the free time. Since Wednesday night, he has started working again. We even went all the way across our area one day (Friday) to visit a non-active member, and he wasn’t there! My companion was exhausted by the end of that day. We have only had 1-3 lessons every day this week, which is discouraging with all the effort that my companion is putting in. Almost all of our contacts are started with people asking what happened to his foot :) the majority tell him to go back home and rest, but we keep going, slowly. 

One day he was super exhausted and had to sit down on sidewalk and rest, so we sat there, him looking like he was dying and me trying to fix up his crutches (the rubber on the bottom had all worn off, so I am stuffing grocery bags in the bottom of the crutches to give him a little traction. It is better than the pure metal), I am sure that we just looked so pathetic (because I FELT pathetic, and I am laughing now at the scene), and a man actually ended up offering us two free Mangonados, or Mango Popsicle. It just added to the whole experience. But I am very grateful for his kindness. I promise that there are some very good people down here :) 
The bad thing is that my companion is sleeping in, using his foot as an excuse, and it interrupts our studies.... I am trying to still get up myself, but sometimes I am torn between being super strict and seemingly un-empathetic about his foot, or letting him get the little extra rest that he needs for his foot. 

This week we also vested a non-active member, Guadalupe, who told us about his x girlfriend Rosario and daughter Joana who live in our area and are also members. So we visited them too. We did not have a single investigator go to church this Sunday, (Not even Damian and his family, a family of six who are super interested) but Guadalupe, Rosario, and Joana, as well as Joana´s boyfriend (also a non-active member) and his sister ended up coming to church after forever! We also had another youth, Carlos, come with us too. Even though we did not have success with our investigators this week, we had success in reactivating a few members (6 in total)!

Today we just ate an awesome meal with a super active family, (there aren’t many here, sadly), family Galabiz, I say awesome because not only did we have fruit, but vegetables! I have been craving them lately. Most of the food here is tortilla, meat, rice and beans. It was a nice change, steamed vegetables and Watermelon as well :) Now I am super full, and we are going to make hamburgers with a few investigators, Damian and his family, and I don’t know if it will fit! My companion bought everything, the patties, buns, cheese, avocados (yes, they are delicious on hamburgers), and ham (they actually put a slice of ham in their hamburgers here, hence ''ham''burgers). He wouldn’t let me pay for anything, and I was blown away by his generosity. He said that it’s something his father would do, whom he really looks up to. Damina recently lost his job, too, so it means that much more. I hope that it turns out :) as well as our service project planned tonight; painting another house ;) 
Thanks for all the support and love from home. I am at least trying to be the missionary that you paint me to be. 

I love you all, and hope that you have a great week :) 

Elder Hayden Redford