Thursday, October 23, 2014

 Martin's Baptism
Elder Hernandez, Bishop, Martin & Elder Redford

District Leader - October 20, 2014

Hope you had fun at Vernon Reservoir! 

I have heard that some Bishops here are against Halloween. It really depends on the person... I too am not a fan of Halloween, but I thought that the whole Church-anti-Halloween thing was only here in Mexico, because they also celebrate Day of the Dead and leave offerings on their ancestor's graves. But is at home too :) I don’t know, it is a controversy I guess :) 

That is great that Mary is interested again in the Restored Gospel. She was always in my prayers at the beginning of my mission. I will keep praying for her. 

Sister Loos's nephew, huh? Elder Groll?  

This has felt like a very long week. A lot of surprises that have kept me on my toes. 
With Transfers, our District Leader left, and an Elder Adamson arrived from Utah. We were thinking that maybe he would be called as the District Leader, but I was instead! That means I am the leader of the 4 missionaries in our District, that I check up on them and make reports to the Zone Leaders, and that I also give trainings every Tuesday in District Meetings. I guess I now have a little added responsibility :) 

The next day after receiving the position, I had to give a training, so I prepared a training the night before on Contacting. I was able to see that I needed that training more than my District did :)  
With checking up on the other companionships in my district, I have been amazed at how high their numbers have been. The new missionary that arrived has hit the ground running, and transformed their area, contacting over 120 people in the week and finding 10 new investigators. That is more than I we have been able to do. My Zone Leaders tell me it is a question of faith. I guess I need more faith. I feel a little guilty or unworthy for being the leader when our numbers are so much lower... but I guess I really shouldn’t be comparing. I am learning humility and also how to give praise for a job well done :) And that I need more faith :) 

We are doing a lot better in our companionship now. We were able to have a good, though a little heated, talk about how we feel, and things are going better. We have a greater motivation to work with the example of our other companions :) 

Martin and Alejandro had their baptismal interviews and both passed. But because of having to get permission from his parents (he is 17), we were not able to have Alejandro's baptism. His parents are not against, but they do want Alejandro to really think about it before he gets baptized, because it something very serious. Now he is a little unsure about it. 

Martín, though, had the attitude of full steam ahead. He had had the goal to get baptized for a long time, and just felt like he had waited long enough. 
We spent all of Thursday inviting the members to come to the baptism, and then we went and cleaned up the church and the font. Then on Friday morning, the day of the baptism, we went early to fill the font, but had problems with the pump, so we were there all day until 4 trying to empty the dirty water in the font left over from cleaning it, and then filling it. 

A little after 4, the other Elders, one member, Martín, and then the Bishop showed up. The Bishop was supposed to perform the ordinance, but showed up without clothes! Se he drove us to our house to borrow my companion's white pants and tie, and by the time we got back, one more member had showed up, and we started the service. It turned out great, even with the lack of attendance. Everything went well, and at the end of the service, Martin shared his testimony, and it was a very spiritual experience. (Even though the bishop's phone rang during it, and left to answer it in the hall, and he could hear him talking. Our Bishop is a little inexperienced. But nevertheless, the Spirit was so strong during his testimony.) 

Because of Stake Conference, Martin needs to wait another week to be confirmed in sacrament meeting.

The Stake conference was great though, I really like it. The Patriarch who had served for 29 years spoke, and then the newly called Patriarch followed. After some testimonies from the members, The Mission President Pres. Bird spoke about the members helping the missionaries, and the Temple President followed.  Taught that missionary work and temple and family history work are all connected... that we don’t just invite our neighbors to listen to the gospel to be baptized, but so that they can make covenants in the Temple and participate in Exaltation and Eternal life.

Then each of the Stake Presidency talked, the Stake President talked about Happiness and living after the manner of happiness. That if we seek for Happiness we will not find it, but if we work and live the gospel, that happiness will find us, He also described what he saw in happy people; that they are always appreciate and grateful, that they are cordial or good mannered, that they never complain, and that they never criticize others. I really liked it and took some good notes. 

Then that night I had my first chance to Interview an Investigator for Baptism. Everything went well until he admitted to a serious sin, one of the which we need to talk to our Mission President about. Nevertheless, I finished the interview, and thanked him for everything that he had done to follow Christ in his life, and excused myself to call my Zone Leaders for guidance, who told me that I had to call President, who didn’t answer. I then had to explain to Jorge (the investigator) that this is a serious sin, and that I needed to talk with someone of greater experience to authorize that we could go through with the baptism, but then testified of the Atonement and expressed my appreciation for his efforts to turn his life around and follow Christ, and told him we would continue working together, it felt terrible to have to say that to someone.

I was finally able to talk with President and explain the situation this morning, and together we decided that he was ready and had really repented. Whew! That was a huge worry that I carried around with me all night and all morning, and I am glad that everything is ok and that he can move towards baptism. 

I hope I am doing this whole District Leader thing right! I have received zero instruction... just a Monkey See Monkey Do kind of thing, doing what I have seen previous District Leaders do... Luckily no one's died yet, so it’s all good ! :) 

Well, it's a new week and I have high hopes for success. 

It is great to hear that all is well at home! 

I'll let you know what happens, 

Elder Redford

Transfers....:) - October 13, 2014

Wow, a lot of surgeries this week. It’s great to hear that they are doing well though. 

That is cool that you guys were able to see a celebrity (well, almost) in Smiths :) 

Haylee baptism is next after Emma here in December, right?

Well, this week we have transfers. I had been with my companion Elder Hernandez for 3 transfers (4.5 months) already, and was looking forward to a change. But what always happens in the Transfers is what I least expect.... we are staying the same. We will be together in the same area for 4 Transfers, or 6 months, a fourth of my mission!

Elder Cruz, our District Leader, is leaving though. I thought for sure that the two of them would leave together, but just him. I was looking forward to a change. And even more so when I have really been losing my patience with him. But that is ok. I will learn more. Maybe the Lord is teaching me that it is not so easy to just 'run away' from our problems, but that we have to figure them out first. My goal is to grow so close to my companion this Transfer that I DONT want him to leave. :) 
The beginning of the week was a little hard, but it was gotten better. 

On Tuesday we offered some service to a member family. We carried packages of floor tile from their porch to their roof... 3 floors in all. I don’t even know how many times I climbed those stairs, but it was exhausting. On the way there, my companion fell in a sewer.... there was a square hole in the sidewalk covered with like a wood pallet, and when he stepped on it, his entire leg fell in! He had to go back and shower and change before we actually were able to get over there and help :) 

After that experience, we had a pre-interview with Alejandro at 6:00, and his Interview at 7:00 with our District Leader in the Chapel. During the pre-interview, some things came up that told me that he wasn’t ready for baptism. But Elder Hernandez INSISTED he was. I felt sick while he was being interviewed for real, knowing that we hadn’t prepared him all the way yet. I was relieved that when they came out that  Elder Cruz told us that we needed to wait another week and gave us and him some assignments. So far everything is going good with him. I tried to have a serious talk with my companion that night, but instead of helping, it just put the both of us in a bad mood for a few days.... we are a lot better now though, so don’t worry :)

We then had another pre-interview with Martin on Friday, and he is ready :) I don’t know why he didn’t come to church though.... and then we also painted Michel's bedroom (a recent convert/youth). We gave a lot of service this week :)  

Things are looking up though. We have been able to find some awesome new people to teach, and I have some goals for this new Transfer. 

Oh yeah! And a sister in the Ward, Hermana Patty, wants to start a cupcake shop out of her house. She needs a little help, so I might have to teach her how to make frosting, thanks to the recipes that mom sent me :). It makes me want to cook something again, but my kitchen/ingredients are limited. Hope I can help her out and have some fun at the same time. We will see how it goes :)

We are excited for our baptisms at the end of the week! Alejandro and Martin!  The other elders have one too, so three in all. I will have to send pictures next week. It will be awesome to help this ward grow little by little. 

Hope all is well at home. I send my love, 

Elder Hayden Redford

Sunday, October 12, 2014

General Conference - October 6, 2014

He he :) I found another mouse in the house thanks to a spare mouse trap, and then I could hear another one the other night. I am going to buy more traps :) This time I threw the cinderblock too hard, as it broke :) I think we have another one for the next mouse :) 

We tried to focus on inviting people to come to General Conference this week, but we weren’t able to get around to all, and few came from the ward, to tell you the truth. I feel that they really need to hear those talks though, as did I! 

We didn’t have a single investigator that was able to go... Alejandro was going to go, but got grounded, and so wasn’t allowed to leave..... a pretty ironic punishment, because as it says in the book of Mormon, there is no more effective way to improve the behavior of the people than by the Word of God. Oh, well, we will have to help him be able to read them. 

Today we had another service projects, where we helped a sister in the ward (Karla) clean her roof! We took down a bunch of old wood and a patch of weeds that were growing in a patch of dirt up on her roof ( in Spanish it is called Sabela).

And yes, I got to watch the conference in English. But when we saw the 2 General Authorities that spoke Spanish, we changed the channel on the TV to hear their voice in Spanish :) that is awesome to thing that I can do that now :)

This General Conference was great. I can literally say that I had one of those experiences where you fell like the talks are directed directly at you. I especially felt how personal the talks were to me in the Saturday Morning session, Know which way You Face, as well as the talks on personal responsibility. 

I felt that the theme for this conference was this: Which voice do I follow? There were many talks on Personal Revelation, that we must seek answers from our Heavenly Father; on Agency and choice making, that we must be wise in our choices; talks on the authority of the Prophets of God, who serve as God´s mouthpiece; and talks on the Sacrament, that allows us to live the gospel all our life and have the Spirit to be with us, so that we can have the Spirit's voice to guide us; and also teachings on Priorities, that we must always put God first, and not listen the twisted voice of the advisary, who tempts us to do maybe good things in place of the Best things.

I feel that Heavenly Father sees that his children have a great need to harken to His voice and the voice of His servants rather than the voice of the adversary, and inspired the speakers in the conference to remind us of that. 

I really want to look at my priorities, and do what I can to stand firm and not be ''tossed to and fro'' when I hear the opinions of others. What God says is truth, absolute truth, as Elder Bednar taught, and no matter how much we justify or rationalize, wrong is wrong. 

I really have been able to learn a lot from this Conference, and it has strengthened my faith in Living Prophets and Revelation, both through them and personal. I know that this is Christ's church! 

That is amazing that Makaila and Thomas are so OLD! That is great that the family could get together to celebrate Kaila's Birthday.

But, I must say, that I felt an immense sadness to hear that a Mission is not amongst Thomas's plans for the future. Thomas, you are too good a young man NOT to take ahold of this great opportunity. A mission is to serve your Redeemer who lived, suffered and died for YOU; it is to find out WHO you really are, and to fulfill your duty to God and at least TRY and pay him back for all that he has given you. Elder Richard G Scott called out the Great Lie that we do not have time to study the scriptures. There is always time. School, Work, Sleep, Sports, and things Just For Fun, such as TV and Video Games should ALWAYS be second to scripture reading. And this applies to all things pertaining to our personal Salvation. A Mission will not only help YOU to walk the path that Jesus walked, as Pres. Monson taught, but it will allow you to help many, many others to do the same. After the Conference was over, I found myself standing in the lobby, scanning over the crowd, watching the people leave the Conference. I was marveled as I realized how many of the people I knew in the crowd and how much I loved them, and then realized, that If I had not come and accepted the Prophet's call to serve, I would not know a single one of them. There are experiences that you need to have and people you need to meet. You cannot allow the voice of the Adversary, as Elder Uchtdorf taught, blur your perception of the Greatness of God and His Work- If you want success in your future, in Sports or whatever it may be, I testify to you in the name of Christ, that you MUST take hold of this opportunity to serve an Honorable Full Time Mission. Just as we learned in the Conference, we have our Free Agency, and are responsible to make our own choices and to suffer their consequences, which not only affect ourselves, but many others. I can only invite you, I cannot obligate you. But I invite you STRONGLY. And let it be known that these are not my words, but the words of the Spirit that is in me. I am not the only one who wants you to serve. HE does too. And it is because He, as well as I, LOVE YOU. 

The Prophets are real. They are Men of God. I more sure that this is the true Church of God than I have ever have been from listening to this conference. Christ leads this Church. It is True, all True. And if it is True, we must do ALL in our power to live it and qualify for our passport to Life Eternal. 

Thank you Thank you Thank you. 
I Love you all!!!!!
Never forget what you have learned in the Conference. and Most importantly is to APPLY it. 

With my all my heart, 

Elder Redford
 Elias (in the middle) was a youth who joined us on a mini-mission - he wants to be a Chef
 These kittens were left for us in a backpack to find a home for them
Mouse in the house

Cats, mice, and chefs - September 29, 2014

Thanks for the pic from family home evening. It is great to see everyone! 

It is great to hear that Grandma and Grandpa are doing well. Always busy :) that is great :) 

It is great that you were able to enjoy the Women's Conference :) 

I hope that ShayLynn isn't drowning with all her homework and FCCLA and ACT prep :) You can do it !!!

There are a lot of interesting things that have happened this week :) 

I organized and started teaching English classes this week, Every Wednesday at 7:30. Like Sister Flewallen (Shelby) I too am forgetting my English. It is crazy, but it is true. I will have to plan better for the class this week, and invite more people, as we only had 3, and by the end 5 who showed up. 

On Thursday we had Interviews with President Bird. I am amazed at his wisdom. When he asked me how I was, he saw some unsurety in my answer. It is that my companion struggles with remembering that he is a missionary sometimes and struggles with his obedience, and as a result, it keeps me from being exactly obedient as well.  After asking some other questions about my obedience as a missionary, president had a very serious talk with me about not 'hiding' because I didn’t want to 'tattle tale' on my companion, and then about the blessings of obedience. I had been tempted to think that it wasn’t fair that I got chewed out, when I myself am trying hard to be obedient and he isn’t, but I realized that I am Senior companion, and as President said, I should not tolerate it. It is partly my fault that he isn’t more obedient, because I have gotten tired of reminding him, and I have been tolerating it. So I am trying harder to help keep him in line too. :) It sound like Sister Flewallen is having similar troubles with her companion, and she said that her solution is to be obedient no matter what and to be more bold, following the example of Nephi.

On Friday our dear investigator Martin committed himself to be baptized. He said that he has delayed it too long and needs the change in his life. After his struggles with depression, trying to stop drinking and family problems, seeking help from us and a psychologist, she is finally strong enough to keep firm and take this step. He came to church on Sunday to fulfill his word. 

That day a kid in the street also gave us a red backpack, and told us to take it with us where we were going. We were like, What!? and find out that it was full of three kittens that he wanted to get rid of! We tried to give them away to members, but no one wanted them. The other missionaries in the ward were able to find a home for them :) 

We also found out that we had a mouse in the house. We chased it around the house one night but could find it. The rat trap that we had in the house didn't work, every morning we found that the peanut butter, then the cracker, then the piece of a hot dog were missing, but no mouse. We were able to catch it with one of those sticky mouse traps. I wanted to be humane, so I used a grocery bag and a cinderblock. :) 

And then on Saturday we had a mini mission, where all the missionaries in the stake and the youth got together in the stake center, and each companionship took as youth with them to work with us for the day. They were with us from 12 on Saturday to 4 on Sunday, and slept over. Our Companion for the day was Elias. He is 16, is studying to be a chef, and is huge! he was almost as tall as me :) All of your appointments and plans fell through that day, but we were able to visit a couple less actives, and then he was able to come to church with us.

Church was an interesting story. We had a counselor for the stake presidency come and talk, but more like reproach. he said a lot of things that the ward needed to hear, and I was totally for it, but he lacked the love that one should show forth afterwards, and he didn't do it quite with the spirit, so of course, the members, and Martin our investigator, got offended. And Ward counsel hot super-heated. Thank goodness our youths sat outside during the counsel. Our ward is so small and it is not progressing! I need to find my role in strengthening the ward to help them out. It is falling to pieces, and it is hard for me personally to invite people to participate in it.... The Gospel is true and the organization is perfect, but when there is no action in that organization, nothing happens. Sigh. 

And we are still waiting for money to arrive, as we have nothing nor food. :) 

Things are going good though, and thanks for your emails. It is so  fun to hear from you, and tell the family Hi for me! 

Elder Redford