Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This Week - August 25, 2014

There is a scripture in the New Testament that I am trying to emulate in Acts 5:41, 
When Paul and other apostles were brought before a council and commanded not to preach in the name of Christ, but were freed from incardination when a God fearing judge spoke up for them. Even though they were not cast into prison in this event, they were still beaten and then thrown out. But their response is remarkable. 

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

It says it a little differently in Spanish, but the point is that they rejoiced and found joy in being rejected for Christ’s sake. I find that amazing. 

It is great that Megan and Haylee are excited about school. There is a lot of fun ahead of them! Sounds like ShayLynn has a heavy load though. Wish I could be there to help her with her math homework! But it is just like mom said; she is a lot smarter than she gives herself credit for :) 

So it sounds like Mom is getting to talk at the pulpit more often :) She got to talk for Girls Camp, and then has another talk as well? It is funny how needing to use the bathroom at night while camping relates so well to the gospel. I need to try and be more creative when teaching I guess to be able to come up with these simple and awesome analogies :) I too got to give a talk this Sunday. My talk was called ´Do we understand what we have?’ and I tried to help the members see the worth of the gospel. Of course the people that I wanted to hear it did not come to church. This ward is so small and needs so much help, and I don’t know where to begin! Yesterday I started by organizing the ward directory by streets so that we can go and visit them. 

The Zone conference with President turned out really good. He helped us talk about how to find those who are ready for the gospel, the importance of Unity in our companionships, and the Importance of the Book of Mormon. It helped strengthen my own testimony of the Book of Mormon, and helped he remember how important it is to exhort my investigators, and the members, to read it :) We also learned the importance of setting good goals and then making plans to reach them. Sometimes we just made plans and then set goals after :) which doesn’t work as well. The Conference lasted almost the whole day, and sadly, with the time that we had to work, we didn’t find anyone to teach, but were able to talk with some great people in the street :) 

On Thursday we found Jose, an investigator that we hadn’t been able to find in a long time, and like in the conference, we invited him to Read the Book of Mormon and talked about baptism, and near the end of the lesson, we invited him to read 3 Nephi 11 when Christ visits the Nephites and teaches Baptism. We meant for it to be like homework for him to read it on his own, but he just started reading it while we were there, out loud. I thought about and even tried to interrupt him to invite him to read it after we left, but he just kept on reading, until the end of the chapter. The spirit was strong and we could feel the power of the Book of Mormon, and afterwards he said that it was beautiful. We invited him to keep reading it. I was sad when he told us to come back in another week and not sooner, but it was a great lesson. 

On Friday we had Splits with our Zone Leaders. I worked with Elder Decker in his area, and we had a really successful day. He helped me see what I needed to do to be a better leader, as in Senior Companion. Together, with the Zone Leaders and my companion we made some goals, focusing on finding new people to teach, which is what we REALLY need. 

After I got back with my companion, we taught a lesson with a youth who is more or less progressing, and then got ready for the Ward activity that we put together as the Missionaries in the ward. For lack of participation, the ward has not had activities in a long time¨. There is hardly mutual, with the 5 young women in the ward, and 1 young man. 

We had hopes, though, that we could get people to come, but we were disappointed. The Bishop, the X Bishop and his wife, and one other member showed up. 4 people, 8 with us missionaries, showed up. We canceled it and cleaned the chapel instead. The activity made us lose about three hours in total that day (of preparing, waiting around for people to come, and then cleaning). Then we left to work for the night and invite Martin, our promising investigator to church, when he saw him afar off sitting outside his house with a few friends with a bottle of beer. NO! He had expressed how badly he wanted to change, start over, and make thing up with his family, and he is drinking again! He just said to us `The Temptation`. Needless to say he was not at church the next day. Right after that we went to look for an investigator and his mom answered the door, and basically told us not to come back. We spent 10 minutes trying to convince her to listen to us or let her son listen to us, but stayed firm that they are catholic; it is the same God, so why does it matter anyway? We really did try to exhort her to listen, but she chose not to. The rest of the night no one else opened the door, and all our contacts were rejections. It was a hard night. I was trying to bury the anger I felt for seeing Martin drinking so that we could keep working, but I felt that by letting it stay there, I didn’t have the faith that I needed to have success. It was hard. 

And then Sunday no one came to church. No investigators and few members. Our numbers for the week were pathetic. 

But! With our training on how to set goals and make plans, I have hope for this week to come. It will be my last with Elder Hernandez I feel like, as Transfers are next week. 

Well, things have been hard. But there have also been some good things that happened this week. Like on Sunday we cheered up a member who got run over by a bus (well, sorta, nothing is broken) and passed by to say happy birthday to Hermana Paty and gave her a card. She blew out the candles and shared a piece of cake with us, but there was only a part of her family and a few relatives present to celebrate it with her, who didn’t stay 20 minutes. We shared a scripture with her in Romans 8 (last verse) that says that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ. She then went through and listed all the things she was grateful for in respect to her birthday, and I feel that it helped her feel better. 

I am lacking a little bit of excitement these days, but I am trying :) I hope to be able to make this last week if the Transfer a good one :) 

I love what ShayLynn said in her letter to me. 
     ``I hope you and your companion can have the desire to be diligent, and get out there and change lives, and help complete our eternal family. :) Have faith and everything will turn out ok.'' 
I love the reminder that I am here working amongst my eternal family. That is so true. Thank you so much for the confidence that you have in me. 

Thank you so much for your emails and your support!!!!!!!!! 

Love you all, 

Elder Redford
2 more pics, my companion and I wearing the hat from my friend Mandy and a better photo (without my eyes being closed :) of the baptism of Reyna, Aylin and Itzel

Painting - August 18, 2014

Wow, it looks good and colorful upstairs :) That's awesome! 
You are still cleaning up from girl’s camp? Sound like it really was a lot of work! 

Sounds like every week there’s a missionary home coming! That's pretty cool though. It is fun to hear about who is coming and going form the ward.

I am also glad to hear that you were all able to get together as a family and visit with Donna and Randy. I agree with ShayLynn when she says that we have ``such a great family!`` that is a very amazing story that happened with Travis. Hopefully three really is something great for him to do here. It is a testimony that we live by God`s timing, and that he will protect us from danger so that we can fulfill our callings here in this life. I really liked something that I read in the Liahona this week about that ( have discovered how much I love Liahonas/Ensigns!) . He said that he finds it odd that we, who wear a wristwatch, try to consult the being who manages cosmic clocks and calenders. It is true that even though we do not see it at the time that the Lord's time is always best :) 

What I am craving I do not feel that you can send. I think that almost daily I remember and miss camping out in the woods, the trees, the plants, the dirt. Here everything is concrete! And thankfully, they sell Peanut Butter here :) Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Toast with Peanut Butter and Jelly are a large part of my diet :) I can even get a bottle made in Texas with Texas grown Peanuts every now and then:) And I don’t have an oven to bake cake.... and if I did, I don’t want to pay the gas bill :) I am learning a lot, now paying rent for my house, paying my energy and water bills and all :) 

And it is a great relief to know that there is progress in the basement. I will not lose hope in a room down there, but don’t kill yourselves in the process. 

I hope that the girls can have a great first day of school tomorrow, and make some good friends and good memories! This year! 

To tell you the truth, I am struggling a little bit right now. We had to relax in our proselyting when my companion hurt his ankle, and now that it is almost better and he is just fine, I feel that we are still stuck in the same rut, feeling like we still need to take it slow, when really we don’t..... I have been trying to push us a little more this week, and be more diligent this week:) We even were asked to give training on being diligent on Tuesday during our Zone meeting, and I am trying to apply what I learned. We have a Zone Conference tomorrow with President Bird, and I am hoping to be able to find direction and encouragement in how I can work better, and encourage my companion to do the same. I am learning patience :) 

We didn’t have a single investigator come to church, again. It has been hard since our prime investigators moved away :) And another promising Investigator, who only needs two more Sundays before his baptism, has to take sleeping pills, and the last two Sundays hasn’t been able to wake up on time to attend (it is at 9:00 in the morning) But we are trying. We spent an hour before church knocking doors, trying to help get people to church, but they were all asleep! It is also hard because at times we are a little... embarrassed? to bring investigators to church because there are so few members that attend the True Church of God. It is a hard area, but I know that complaining about it won’t help, I am still trying to carry my positive attitude :) 

Friday they asked us to help clean the church, thanks to the small amount of members :) I enjoyed it though, and put to use my good Janitor skills, and it was fun to offer a little ´service´. 

I don’t have much to report this week, to tell you the truth. But I am doing well, and trying to see how I can do better here in this little ward. Thanks for your emails and the pictures. it is so fun to see you all and the doors and the basement and everything. 

And I know that Mom will be able to do a great job on her talk, as she has a lot of experience in that topic. Thanks for the times that you took the opportunity to teach me in the home :) 

Thank you and I love you all so much! 

Elder Hayden Redford


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Letter from Hayden - August 11, 2014

Sounds like it has been a really busy week, and well, summer all together :) 
That is nice of Grandma and Grandpa to help us out with the machine for the sheetrock. I hope that I can keep my hopes up for having a room in the basement when I get back :) One good thing about living in Mexico is that I don’t mind the basement as much anymore. I mean, at least there are no cockroaches :) 

Sounds like the house will be pretty colorful when I get back. I want to see a picture of these doors :) 

It is good that you were able to visit with Grandpa and Grandma Redford as well. Grandma wrote me about what was going on over there, and said that she is using sour cherry juice to help with arthritis. Hope it is working :) 

This week the hat that Mandy promised me from her trip to Spain arrived. It is really small on me :) I am not sure when I can use it, but I am grateful that she thought of me :) Derek is also in the process of his Mission Papers as well! 

This week in Thursday an investigator, Blanca, who is super catholic, invited us to lunch, and we ate with her instead of the members. She made cheesy spaghetti :) We ended up talking about hymns, sang a few, and showed her some videos on her Tablet of Hymns, and she likes them a lot. I am not sure if we should drop her though, because she likes that we visit, but says every time ''you’re not going to convert me¨ and even asked us ``would you two like to be catholic?'' My companion still wants to keep visiting though. Her hold up is that she does not believe that there is a need for a Prophet in these days. She says that there is God and doesn’t need anyone else. For that reason I have really been studying a lot about prophets this week, and I have found/remembered some great conference talks. I don’t know if she will open up her heart enough to believe in prophets in these last days, but it has helped strengthen my own testimony of them. 

We also found an investigator that used to live here, left, and that has now come back to live here in our area. Turns out he was taking lessons from the missionaries where moved to, and now has come back here and is super ready for baptism. He has a drinking problem, but I can see that this Gospel really has changed him a lot, and he is set on being baptized. It is a blessing for us as we are not having much success here in Moderna, but I feel bad for the other missionaries that were teaching him, but also extremely grateful for their work. 

I also had splits with the companion of our district leader. It was my first time directing the area here, and it turned out to be a good day. My district leader Elder Cruz told me that Splits should have a reason, and this one was to see if I knew the Area enough to be able to train a new missionary. I have no idea if this is his own idea, form the Zone Leaders or what, but everyone in the District says that this next Transfer (in 3 weeks) I will be the District Leader and a Trainer.... We will see what happens. I feel I could take it :) 

We are also a little stressed, because the Zone Leaders asked my comp and I to give a small training on Being Diligent as Missionaries tomorrow in the Zone meeting. We will see how that goes :) 

This week was really the same old, same old, visiting investigators and a lot of members. We have to strengthen this ward in order to bring new members in! 

Thanks for your emails, luv ya lots! 

Elder Redford

I will try to send photos, if the computer will let me!

Baptism de Reyna, Aylin & Itzel‏ - August 4, 2014

This Saturday we had the baptism of Reyna (13) Aylin (11) and Itzel (8), the daughters of Damian and Belen, two investigators. The Baptismal service turned out super well, and we were afraid that not many people would come because our ward is so small, but almost every seat was filled. 
My companion Elder Hernandez was able to baptize the three of them, and I confirmed two of them, the oldest and the youngest (the bishop confirmed Aylin). 

The sad part is that they were baptized Saturday, confirmed Sunday, and then left Sunday night because they moved! We spent the majority of the day Sunday helping them move and get everything ready, and then said goodbye. 

Some other members in the ward are going to go to church with them on Sunday to make sure that the new ward gets involved. We are super grateful for them. 

We will miss this great family! But we know that they will be ok, and that their parents will soon follow :) 
 Elder Hernandez is ecstatic, as it is his first baptism; though the moment is a little bitter-sweet, but we have faith that out loving Heavenly Father will take care of them. 

Now were are anxious to find more people and invite them to participate in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

Take care, and never forget the joy found in this Gospel! 

Elder Redford

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sounds like a long, busy, but successful week :) I am glad that Girls camp turned out well, and that the girls enjoyed it, you put a lot of work into it. 

That is awesome that Dad was a great help at camp :) I know that his work was extremely appreciated. I am sure that he enjoyed some quite time alone when the girls were with Kathy. 
Ouch! I am sorry to hear that you bruised your leg and rib! I am sure that that hurts. Hopefully you can rest a little, even with the Andres over :) 

I found the nephew of the Loos’ in the ward! He came up to me after the temple and introduced himself. The Mormon world is so small! 

And I am getting skinnier! I had to adjust my temple pants with the buttons on the sides because they were too big :) That’s good though, because a lot of elder put on weight here for the food (really greasy); I feel good though, and hope to avoid gaining too much! I have learning that being full does not mean feeling stuffed :)

I am not sure what there is to write about since Thursday and today, other than the baptism, in the other email. 
Well, I guess I can say that I successfully had my ingrown toenails taken care of this morning :) hopefully they don’t bug me too bad :) but I was finally able to get tem taken care, so one less thing to worry about. 
The baptism itself was a great experience; Elder Hernandez did the honors of doing the baptizing. It was his first on the mission, and he was beaming the whole time while in the font. We had some great help from a recent convert, named Carla, who is like 20, who helped us out a ton with the girls; she got them ready, and helped them out of the font when they got baptized, and everything. We are very grateful to her :) 

I was also really glad to see the turnout; all the seats were filled :) 

The whole experience this weekend was a little bitter sweet, because they moved away, though. We spent the good part of the day helping them pack, and then said goodbye. Both Damian and Belem started to cry as they were about to get in the truck, and thanked us. I KNOW that they will follow their daughters soon, and I pray that they will find the missionaries there and that they will be able to take this decision as well, and be an eternal family, as we have stressed the whole way through as we have taught them. 

I tried to console my companion by quoting Elder Uchtdorf, who said in the last conference that there are no real endings, only interruptions, and that we have the opportunity to endless beginnings. That was my favorite part of his talk on Gratitude :) 

But yeah, now we are excited to ¨start over again'' it feels like, and find new people to teach. It does feel different without them (the lived around the corner, and we always saw them passing in the street :D), but changes are good, and they help us to grow and move on and learn new things. What would life be without changes, if everything was the same forever? I am glad that Heavenly Father has given us this opportunity to grow and progress, and I hope to be able to help others to the same, and help myself to do so in the process :) 

 I love you all and send my love, I hope to be able to write of many successes this next week :) 


Elder Hayden Redford

Giving Service, and a Baptism coming up!‏ - August 1, 2014

Giving Service, and a Baptism coming up!‏

What!? Skylar Johnson is going to serve a Mission!??!! That is amazing! I have always carried around a little guilt for never reaching out to him as much as I should have, especially as 1st assistant. That is amazing to see that his testimony has grown so much. Tell him Congrats for me :) 

I also hear that Megan is a great Missionary :) ShayLynn wrote me that she was teaching Haylee like she was a missionary. Keep up the good work Megan! That made me really happy to hear. My sisters are such great, strong, powerful examples :) 

It is still hot. This hot period lasts until like the 21 of August, so, about 20 das more :) It is about 40 degrees Celsius (I think that that is like 104 or something), but the humidity is the thing. We are always wet :) 

Well, I wasn’t able to get in with the doctor this week. I showed up to his office, but he wasn’t there... we are going to go back on Monday.

This week we were able to find Gloria. Apparently, her husband is a member that we didn’t know about. She is passing through a lot of problems and has a lot of questions about her mother who passed away a year or two ago. A lot of really good questions. We were able to give her a priesthood blessing, and she said that she felt 'an energy' as we gave her the blessing. I feel that she is ready for the gospel. It is just hard for her to find time for lessons. As our focus for this week was to give service, we also helped her to sweep her patio when she was running around trying to clean her house when family was coming over :) 

Also in our efforts to give service, we were able to find another investigator, Visenta, who completely doubts that we can know with certainty that there is life after death. We never would have been able to talk with her if we hadn’t insisted on pulling her weeds :)

Also, another 'service project' that we did was cook Pancakes for Damina and his Family for breakfast. I thought they turned out great, and we had a lesson with them as well. That night we saw them in the street (as they literally live around the corner) and they told me that the pancakes (or Hot Cakes, as they call them here) had made them sick because they were 'crudo' or raw. Apparently because I don’t like my pancakes almost black, I am weird :) Oh well, I guess we won’t be doing that again :)  

We also did a few Family Home Evenings. The first was with members and Investigators, and we did the 'Bitter Cup' activity to teach the Atonement, where you throw a whole bunch of garbage (or rotten vegetables, in this case) in a blender was a representation of a person’s sins, and then tell them that they have to drink it, because justice will be served. Then we explain that there is also mercy, and that we can find mercy through repentance and the Atonement, and we read DC 19, where it talks about Christ’s suffering for us, and that Glory be to the Father, he drank the dregs of the bitter cup. 

We also had an activity with another family, where two of their children had to put together a puzzle blindfolded, and the parents could only help them and guide them to put it together with their voices. We used this to teach the roles of parents, the guides, who have more experience and want the best for their children, and the role of the children, who needed to pay attention the couple of their parents even when it is hard to understand. It also teaches the importance of patience and clarity of communication. 
The two of them turned out really well :) 

This week we were able to go to the temple, and that is why I wasn’t able to write Monday. I understand more and more each time I go (by means of the language, and the gospel as well :) It'll be cool to have it down in English and in Spanish :)

This week we really have been focusing on Reyna, Itzel and Aylin, the daughters of Damian. The three daughters are going to be baptized this Saturday, tomorrow! Their parents still need a little more time it looks like. But we are busy getting everything put together so that it is a wonderful experience for them. The sad part is that they are moving! We learned that they are leaving this Sunday! They are going to be baptized, confirmed in church on Sunday, and that night are leaving. We have made arrangements that they will be able to find their new ward, and that the missionaries over there can work with the parents, Damian and Belem. 

Well, that`s about the goings on here in Moderna. We are excited for our baptism, but sad that they are moving away so soon. Hopefully this can help them keep contact with the church so that they can all be baptized as a family! 
I hope to be able to tell you about it on Monday and send pictures too. 

I hope Girls Camp turned out well! I am sure that it did, but I hope you were able to enjoy it, and that Dad was able to handle the girls while mom and ShayLynn were gone ;) jk 

I love you all so much! 

Until Monday, 

Elder Hayden Redford