Monday, November 24, 2014

Elder Hernandez‏ - November 24, 2014

Ay, ShayLynn! That doesn’t sound fun at all, sick for 3 days.... I’m sorry :( 

That is so weird! Luke is already married! Sounds like the wedding and reception turned out amazingly, I am happy for him. I want some homemade doughnuts now :) 

Yes, we were able to have a really great lesson with Lisle on Tuesday. She explained to us what she felt and thought of the experience when she was sober, and she felt the Holy Ghost super strong. For that reason she is very interest to hear what we have to say. It has been hard to find her again though. to me it looks she lives outside of our area, but comes to visit her in-laws here (we taught her in a relative’s house) so we will need to find out where she lives to get her in touch with the other missionaries. (And I was wrong, the drunk man I was talking with is her husband, and the other guy who I  thought was her husband was just a relative of hers :) They are much better people when they are sober. 

We were going to have a Family home evening with Martin in a member's house, the Ibarras, but Marin wasn’t home, so we just taught them instead. They are on older couple that live alone. We were able to have a spiritual lesson on the Atonement, using the blender activity. Afterwards they served us tostadas with beans and salsa, and we tried to help them learn to use a tablet that they bought, to read the scriptures on it :) 

On Thursday was a ward activity to celebrate the Mexican Revolution. It started super late. We helped a sister by carrying cupcakes that she had made to the chapel; she put them in nice heavy glass pans too, and it was a 20 minute walk. Our arms hurt a little bit. Elder Hernandez also sang in the activity, with the guitar he bought. He sang Los Hombres no Deben Llorar, Men shouldn’t cry. He dedicated it to the ward saying that he too would cry when he left. 

On Friday, as district leader, I had companion exchanges with my district. I worked with Elder Adamson, from Utah (who also played tennis in high school, and worked as a janitor!). We had a great day working hard, and even found a hot dog stand with some delicious hot dogs, (and Mountain Dew, something they don’t sell here) in a Market that we passed through :) We felt we deserved a little something after a hard day of work :) 

Yesterday in church was the Primary Program. There were a total of 8 kids that participated, so it was small and they didn’t sing too loud, but it made me happy. I was also really pleased to pass the sacrament to a congregation of about 50, double than normal, because they arrived on time. It is great that they paid attention to the talk on punctuality last week :) 

Well, Elder Hernandez picked a good song to sing, because he has Transfers. He is leaving tomorrow morning, and I will be getting a new companion. I think I might be training a new missionary. It’s a possibility at least. We won’t know specifics until the day of, or, tomorrow :) He was been packing and I have been cleaning the house. I won’t be able to tell you about my new companion until next week :) 

There are a lot of people here in Moderna that really love Elder Hernandez. We are going to say goodbye to everyone today. I hope that now I can gain everyone's confidence like he has. 

Elder Aguilar, an Elder in my district, whom I seem to always be following, as we are always in neighboring areas of each other, and who is a good friend, is also leaving. Just us two gringos, Elder Adamson and I, are staying in the district. It’s OK. Changes are good :) 

Well, I will have to update you all on what happens next week :) 

Love you all so much! 

Elder Hayden Redford

Friday, November 21, 2014

Punctuality :)‏ - November 17, 2014

That is an awesome story that happened with Kathy. You would think that more people would, it being Utah, the Mormon factory, would have talked to him. That was a great chain effect. I am sure that it made a couple of people very happy. Go Darren! 

I AM SO EXCITED TO HEAR ABOUT MANDA'S MISSION CALL!!!! Tell her congrats for me. That is awesome that she and Shelby will be in the same mission. I will have to tell her to look out for Hermana Fillingim in February. And that is awesome that Luke is getting married. Thanks for the pic, it made me happy to see them :) 

And Song Leader in the Primary Program, eh? I am sure you did a fantastic job, Megan!

I still have not received the package.... maybe maybe I will be able to see if it arrived tomorrow. 

It hasn’t rained, but it has gotten cold. Ok, I think it is like about 40-50, but it feels terrible after being so used to the heat :) My companion got sick, the flu. I am just hoping not to catch it being with him all day. I am drinking lots of water and taking multi-vitamins, trying to ward it off :) 

We had some great visits, and found a great young man to teach who has never been baptized (usually everyone here is baptized as a baby in the Catholic), and who is curious to read the Book of Mormon. His name is Dylan. 

Also, we had a member of the Stake Presidency come and set the ward straight. When we begin sacrament meeting, there are only like 9 members there, and everyone gets their late, the majority after the sacrament, which does last very long, as there aren’t many people to take it :). So when he gave his talk, he talked on the importance and sacredness of Sacrament meeting. He taught that not even the Temple transcends the importance of Sacrament meeting, and that it is THE most important meeting in the church. And then he went strait the point and gave his talk on Punctuality. I never thought of that as a principle of the Gospel, but now I have a testimony that it is. He taught that time is a renewable resource, one that we cannot get back, and that arriving late is a great disrespect to everyone present as it interrupts the Spirit of this sacred reunion. Wow. And he also taught the phrase: No Pasa Nada. Nothing Passes or Nothing Happens. In Spanish, it also means It`s OK. He taught that if we do not arrive on time, nothing happens. If we do not participate in the activities nothing happens. Our lives keep moving on just the same. Nothing Happens; the spirit doesn’t happen, the blessings don’t happen. If we want something to happen, if he want the Spirit and we want the blessings, we have to come to church and participate of the sacrament, and arrive on time. Wow. I was blown away by his talk :) It was exactly what the ward needed. I want to be that in-tune with the Spirit as well. :) 

Even though we had that awesome talk, it was sad because we did not have a single investigator come to church... I need to do something about that. I was really happy that the other Elders were able to bring 3. They were also impacted by the talk, and promised that they would arrive on time, as they too arrived late :) 

After church we had to rest a little in the house for Elder Hernandez, and when he was ready we went out to visit a family that we had contacted the night before. Wow. what an experience. I will have to tell you about it. 

So, we entered the house like normal.. We started talking with one young man, and starting teaching the plan of salvation when he told us that a few family members had passed away. Suddenly a drunk guy walked in, and the young man left, and the man started asking us questions..... then another woman entered the house, and also started asking us a bunch of questions. The house was so full of people going in out, and then there was loud music playing outside... it was not a spiritual environment. As the people filed out and we found ourselves alone with the woman and her husband, I realized that she had begun to cry. In all the craziness while I had been trying to answer the questions of one side of the room, my companion had been talking with the woman on the other side, Listen, and invited her to baptism. And she felt the spirit. Just in that moment, we were each offered a hamburger, as the lady who lives there (another who was listening in the background) sells them outside her house (it was super uncomfortable). We tried to explain the Holy Ghost to Listen, and quickly ate the hamburgers as she tried to compose herself. Confused at what had happened, she then told her husband to sit down in front of us, and told us to say the same thing to him that he had told her, because she was confused at the feeling and wanted him to feel it too. So we ended up testifying of the Spirit, of God`s love, and of the Savior. Then the drunk guy came back in and they left, and after saying goodbye to the drunk guy, we left. It was a weird experience. Somehow in the tumultuous noise this woman had felt the spirit as we talked. As she left she invited us to come to her house the next day, or today. we are going to see what happens from there. But whatever happened there, it wasn’t us, it was the spirit. We honestly had no idea how to take control of the situation, but our prayers were answered in the end. I learned that the Spirit so strong that it can be felt in situations such as this. Wow. As well as Listen, the woman, I too felt a little confused at what happened after the lesson :) 

We didn’t have anyone to eat with today, so we went to the Pizza Buffet again ;P 

I also wrote a letter to a family in my last letter asking about my converts, and the letter that they sent me made me feel super happy :) 

Here it is with the help of Google Translate : 

Hi Elder Redford. Hermano Salazar, Victorino and Guera / Edgar, are very excited. This Sunday (yesterday) was the primary presentation in Sacrament Meeting, and  Edgar and the son of the family Salazar participated and advanced to the Young Men, and Bro. Victorino continues to attend faithfully every meeting. Last week we had stake conference and Saturday was the Priesthood meeting and then the meeting of adults, and there he was; Like other hnos. That's how it is Elder, by their fruits you shall know them, they are good fruits of your labor. Congratulations on that, and go ahead with that humility and sincere smile that characterizes you. Congratulations.
Continue enjoying the fruits of the Spirit, and find the elect, those who do not harden their hearts, and joyfully receive the good news of the restored gospel and truth, through his servants. With love.
Flores Serna Family

So, I hope to have a great last week with Elder Hernandez (as I am sure that we are going to be separated this Transfer, we have 4 together!) and I hope to be able to get some investigators to come to church next week :) 

Thank you SO much for our letters and keeping me updated. 

I love you!

Elder Redford

Rain, District Leader Training - November 10, 2014

Sounds like a great talk from Pres. Bell. He sent me an email with the talk attached, I will have to read it. That is a pretty awesome experience! In the email he said it was in Japan :) 

Congrats to Amanda! I hope she enjoyed. That is great that she had so much support from the family and friends! I bet it made the experience that much better. It made it better for me :)  

Thanks Haylee for your persistence in wanting to go to Chuck a Rama. I hope the food was really good! I am glad that you were able to go. I have good memories in Chuck a Rama, especially the Temple trips with Grandpa and Grandma Fillingim. 

Nancy is back? I feel bad, I think I only wrote her once on her mission... oops :)

That is great that you have been able to see Kent and Erika, and also Thomas. I hope he is doing well. Grandma tells me he is smart, but sometimes has a hard time applying himself. I hope he can pull through!

Ok. Let’s see what has happened since Thursday :) 

Well, it rained for two days straight, Thursday and Friday. It made it a little hard to work, no one wanted to talk to us in the rain. I ended up buying an umbrella. Thankfully it is sunny again :) 
Oh, yeah, and my companion Elder Hernandez bought a guitar... he was been playing it whenever we are in the house :) He had a band before leaving on the mission, and he missed playing. For Ward activities he chased all around the ward looking for a guitar that worked, and now he won’t need to :) 

On Saturday morning I had a training meeting for District Leaders with President Bird. I am very thankful for it. I was able to receive a lot of answers to my fast this month, which was to be a better leader. I learned a LOT. 

On Sunday we had a depressing turnout at church, by way of investigators and recent converts. Our investigator David came, a least! We are still waiting for Jorge, with whom I had my first baptismal interview, to come to church again after his baptism. He still hasn’t been confirmed! 

Then yesterday we had some strange experiences.... we basically walked into 2 fights. Well, ok, arguments. And not like fist fights, one was just an argument between a member and non-member over a grandchild that moved away, for example. And then an interesting young man contacted us in the street, and it just felt like one strange experience after another. But don’t worry. My well-being was not put in danger :) 

Then today I deep cleaned the house, including the bathroom (what fun!) but it feels a lot better now. We also just finished a quick service project with a member and the hope is that we are going to go play a little soccer before P day ends :) 

And a tip from President Bird:
 As a reminder to US Missionaries, remember your parents when they send packages for Christmas, that they should use US Priority Mail and the boxes they provide. It is the fastest and cheapest and safest way your packages will be able to arrive. 

Love you, and hope that you are all doing great! 

Love you all! 

Elder Hayden Redford

Thursday, November 6, 2014

One Year Mark! - November 6, 2014

Sorry I couldn’t be there to wish Grandpa a Happy Birthday! I am sure the food and pie were DELICIOUS :) Felcidades Abuelo! 

Looks like Megan and Haylee´s costumes turned out awesome! I loved the pic of the two of them on the porch. Megan looks great as Maleficent and Haylee too as a cute little Hermione. Homemade costumes are the best! 

And ShayLynn and Luis made a great couple as well as Rapunzel and Flynn. It is great that she was able to have fun through the stress of planning and driving and all :) 

Congratulations Whitney! That is great that you were able to go to her baptism. Hope that Mac and Laurie are doing well. It is also exciting to hear that Amanda was able to go to the temple! Wow! That means that her time to leave is getting close :) 

Thanks for the One-Year-Mark wishes! The time feels like it has gone by fast, but at the same time, if I look back, I feel like a lot has happened.... That is good I guess. I hope to be able to keep chugging along, becoming a better and better missionary =) I bought myself a piece of chocolate cake to celebrate :) It is better than burning a shirt in my opinion :)

I don’t feel like I have a lot to tell this week... 
On Friday, Halloween, we had a Zone Conference with President Bird. We talked a lot about faith and the acting part of it. We also learned about Personal Revelation and how we can look for it better. The Zone Leaders taught us a cycle we can use. Fist we need to be worthy to receive revelation. Then, we need to Pray, then read, then think or meditate on what we learned, write down what we learned, and then do the cycle again, asking further knowledge. Pray, Read, Think, Write. And then the most important: act on it. We also learned how we can follow the spirit better while teaching lessons. 
We were not able to have a lot of success that night with Halloween though... 
While were in the street, we even saw a protest against Halloween by a Christian church, a truck driving down the street with a man in the pickup with a megaphone, and a crowd of kids dressed up as angels following, with signs that said If You Love God, Say No To Halloween! It is interesting how big of a controversy it is here. Many really like the holiday and others do not, even among the members. It is interesting :) 

For my district meeting this week, I also trained on how teaching the Atonement can answer almost any doubt that our investigators have, and it is true. We really need to constantly be studying and thinking about the Atonement. There is always something to learn about it. The prophets even admit to not understanding it fully still. But it is real. And it is powerful. Alejandro is still going strong, going to church and everything, but doesn’t want to set a baptismal date... I think that he needs, also, to understand better the Atonement.  

On Tuesday we had companion exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and I worked here with Elder Arizmendi for the day. It was great. We walked a lot though, looking for fake addresses... We got to knock a few doors though. We can do that now. Not like all the houses in a row on the same street, but at random, and if we feel like we should. So that is something new we can try. I was able to learn a few things from him too :) 

And then today to celebrate my 1 year mark, we went to the Temple, and saw the new video. It is very different. Some things I like better and other things not as much. It did help me though to learn a little more about the Atonement though, and for that I am very grateful. The Lord´s sacrifice for us is something we can never set aside. It is amazing that He took our place, to suffer the punishment of our sins, even though he had nothing to do with it. And even after all of that pain, he doesn’t blame anyone for it either. He just wants everyone that will do what he asks, so that that sacrifice isn’t in vain. It testifies of His great love for all of us. 

Ok, maybe I did have things to tell :) 

Thanks for all your love and the news from home! And the pictures! 

 And yes, I think that my clothes are holding up. I just have a few little stains here and there on my shirts, nothing to worry about. I bought a few pairs of garments today at the temple as well. 

Enjoy Chuck O Rama!

Love, Elder Hayden Redford 

News from Monterrey! - October 27, 2014

It is great that the camping trip turned out well, that you found our spot, and that you were almost bug free :) And it is good to hear that you didn’t have any problems with flat tires either. I loved to see the pictures :)

I hope that Haylee was able to have a blast on her mini 4 wheeler (has she named it). I love you Haylee! 

And it made me laugh to hear that Megan wanted to try out Dad's Big Guns. Mom's right, have to keep an eye on her ;)

That is great that Milo's work is all done. I hope that it is of relief to Mary. 

That is awesome that Amanda is putting in her papers for a mission!

This has been a good and bad week :) 

Let’s start off with the good. The first part of the week was pretty normal.
Usually I email home telling about cutting down trees for service projects; well this week we planted one :) we helped Karla, a member, dig a hole and plant a tree in front of her house :) it was pretty tough actually got a couple blisters :) 

On Friday I went on splits with the other missionaries in my District, and it turned out great. I went to work in their area for a day, and I was able to meet a few awesome investigators see how good they are at contacting (talking with people in the street). That day we didn’t have anyone to eat with, so we went and bought a Little Caesar’s Pizza (yep, they are here in Mexico too!), a pizza for each one of us. I was so hungry I ate the entire pizza! They turned out great, and I even helped Elder Aguilar Clean and fill up the font for their baptism! 
On Saturday the other Elders had a baptism. Jorge, who was my first experience interviewing an investigator that I mentioned before, got baptized this Saturday! We went to help out, and again, there was very little attendance of ward members... but it turned out well! Sorry I don’t have pictures... 

Saturday was a good day, because we ate Chinese Food and had the baptism, but also a bad day, because we received some bad news. Remember the baptism we had, with the three sisters. Who got baptized and moved away? Well, he found out that their dad passed away on Saturday. We were teaching him along with his wife and daughters, but because he hadn’t attended enough times, we weren’t able to baptize him. It was sad news because we knew him really well. My companion was super sad because of it. 

On Sunday Morning his family came back to our area because they have relatives living here, and we found them and talked with them a good while. The mom was super sad, and, crying, kept saying she didn’t understand why this had happened. He was in the hospital a good while, but was getting better, and the day before they talked with him and were making plans to take him home. Then suddenly, he passed away. It was unexpected. We had already basically taught her all the missionary lessons, but had lost contact with the missionaries in their new home. We helped her remember the plan of salvation, and taught her about the Temple where she could be sealed with Damian and be an eternal family, and that they could see each other again. But first that she needs to get baptized :) so we told her to get in touch with the bishop who could help them work with the Missionaries.

It might sound weird, but through this experience I have been able to see better God's Wisdom. The Wife, Belen, told us that while we was in the hospital, Damian was reading the Book of Mormon and was really thinking about going back to church and getting baptized. But then he passed away. What I can see, is that maybe God's plan for this family is that Damian, the dad, will be able to accept the gospel in the Spirit World, and that his wife can accept the gospel so that she can do his work and be sealed with him in the temple. It is a little weird, but that is how I see it. When things like this happen, I find myself feeling/realizing how close the Spirit World is to us and how real the Plan is. I hope that Belen can feel that way too, and grow closer to God instead of distance herself. This whole experience has tested our own testimonies of the Plan of Salvation, but like it says in the Book of Mormon, 'The Sting of Death' is 'swallowed up' in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and in a testimony of the Plan of Salvation. We are feeling a lot better now :)

We ended up getting to church late for talking with this family, and we missed Martin's Confirmation. I was really happy to see that the ward did such a good job fellowshipping him afterwards, though. He is now like one of their own :) 

Just so that you know, I took out about $40 from my card. There is a problem with the gas bill that I need to resolve... I will get reimbursed for part of it, thankfully.... 

Also to mix things up we remodeled ( or moved around the furniture :) our house, for something new :) 

And just a heads up, I won’t be able to write next Monday. Our P Day is going to be changed to Thursday, as we are going to the temple Nov 6. I will write you then. ( In like.. 10 days?)

And HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! I hope your costumes turn out great and you eat lots of candy :)  Send me pictures! 

Love ya! 

Elder Hayden Redford