Monday, April 20, 2015

Another week in Victoria‏ - April 19, 2015

Living in a house with 4 missionaries is a lot of fun, especially with the deep doctrinal questions and discussions we have during companion studies and at night. My Guatemalan Companion knows a ton of scriptures too, so the debates, well, discussions, are kind of fun. We have also found a lot of interesting people here as well with deep questions, like a member that we found who got baptized, went to church for a month, and has never gone again for over 20 years (because he didn’t feel fellow-shipped, and never developed a testimony). He is really confused, and has lots of questions (like if Jesus is really the name of our Savior, since it is a Greek name and it should be Hebrew, and things like that.) Questions that make you think. We always arrive at the same conclusion thought; the church is true. 

We have been trying to help out a recent convert in our area who was baptized but whose record was lost. We finally arrived at the conclusion with the bishop that with the signatures of a few who witnessed the ordinance, we could make the record again and get him on the records of the church at last. He, Luis, is a very interesting person. He has a burning testimony, but does go to church very often for his health. He has cancer in his arm that is spreading, and they have already had to amputate his left hand. Now he needs another surgery as well, so he is in bad shape, but is a saint through it all. We are almost done with figuring all his paperwork out , so that is good. I will have done something good here in this area after all :) 

It is still hard finding people... only two new people this week. One has potential to keep progressing. Eugenia recently had her father pass away, and feels that there is now emptiness. We were able to introduce the Plan of Salvation and make plans to explain it to her more fully in the next visit, and we invited her to pray. I hope that she can feel the Spirit and the Hope of this message and have a desire to learn more. 

Friday was hard without a single lesson. We were losing hope. We went to the house to drop something off, and offered a prayer, asking for help to find those who would accept us. We found the hour and a half that he had left to work that day were much more successful, the people were more receptive, and I could feel the spirit more. So, I know that God answers our prayers. 

I got to give another talk on Sunday too. It was fun. On repentance. I read a part of Alma's conversion to show the contrast of a sinners sorrow and a sinner’s repentant joy. Alma 36 is a great chapter, I invite you to study it :) Also Alma 26 : 18-20, and Mosiah 2: 23 - 24. God really is merciful. 
Also, Antonio, a recent convert who always is with the missionaries, was able to be interviewed for the Melchizedek Priesthood, and passed, and will be ordained in a few weeks. We are excited for him :) 

This week we are going to have our Zone Conference with President Bird. We will be talking about the Gospel and Baptism, and about loving others, I feel, as that is the topic of all the things he has given us to study. It should be good.

Well, those are the eventful things that happened in the week. 

Hope all is well at home!

Thanks so much the emails, Love you all ! 

Elder Redford

Friday, April 17, 2015

La lucha es real‏ - April 13, 2015

Hello dear friends and family, 

Thanks for the birthday wishes! Yes, I was able to have cake, and it was delicious, thanks to my new `roommates' :) They came back to the house with a big yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and then the delivery guy came with the Gringas (tacos) that I ordered for everyone, so we were able to have an enjoyable dinner, and president Bird even called to say Happy Birthday. 

The only real success that we had in the work this week was finding an old couple, named Maria and Jesus (quite the names for a couple, at least he isn’t Josè :). They cannot read nor write, and don’t have a solid background in a certain religion, but have a lot of faith in God. I think that she might be the baptism we`ll have in the area. She really liked the lesson where we taught the first Vision, and is excited to go to church. We hope the best, and we might have to spend a little extra time explaining things, as we won’t be able to leave reading assignments. A lot of the people that we have found and taught have gotten offended when we have invited them to baptism as of late... we will need to find a better way to do it, or we will forever be without investigators :) 

We have also ran into a couple of strange people, who basically don’t believe in Faith, the see it to believe it type. These two instances where very smart people, who professed to study everything, from the bible to the Koran to the Buddhists, and even the Book of Mormon (parts). One of these people, as he saw all the confusion and differences, decide to stop believing in God, while the other kept believe in a God, but just refused to decide on one religion. They were experiences that made me think a lot, and that reasurrred me that we are in the truth. 

On Friday, the day after my birthday, we went to a market in the morning to talk to people, and while there, I went to look for a watch, as the battery in mine was dying. I bought one, and as I went to put it on, realized it was too small, so I went back to return it, and, wanting me to buy another, the guy started showing me a whole much of watches, until he offered a really nice Calvin Klein watch for 200 pesos (14$ because the hands didn’t line up quite right, but he fixed it for me anyway), which I considered a great deal, and got it as a Happy Birthday to Me kind of thing :) Then afterward we visited Maria and Jesus again, which was really great :)

On Sunday, a member from Miguel Aleman, my last area, asked me to bless one of their twins, and since it is in the same building, we just went to church early at 9 and attended both sacrament meetings. It would have been really great, but he was crying the whole time. I tried to calm him down before I gave it, but he wouldn’t, so I just gave it with him crying for the first half. It was something that I never expected to do on my mission, bless an infant in church (and in Spanish). It is that the sister`s husband isn’t a member, and she wanted them, her twins, to be blessed, so she asked that I bless one, and that Elder Weiss bless the other. After I blessed Sebastian, they went to Elder Weiss`s ward so that he could bless Alesandro at 12. An interesting experience :) 
In our own sacrament meeting, an investigator, Olga, whom, I had met, was confirmed, and she honored my by asking if I could stand in, and of course I accepted :) 

So I am getting a lot better at soccer now :) We play it a lot. Well, I am not really that good, but I can contribute, and I made a goal today, so I am getting there :) We played this afternoon as a zone activity, and now am hot and sunburned :) but it was fun :)  

Well, thanks so much for everything, I love you all!


Elder Redford

Strange Transfers - April 6, 2015

So, these were from pretty strange transfers.
So, like I said, both Elder Weiss and I left. I was sitting in the transfers meeting so sure that I was going to the train, but then I got called to serve in Ward Victoria, with Elder Monterroso. Victoria is the neighboring ward of Miguel Aleman, where I just was. It is the same building that I was attending now I just go at 11 instead of 9! So that is super weird. I go to church with the same people that I said goodbye to the day before transfers. So, I have left, and yet I haven’t left. I will be able to get to know every person who goes to church in that ward building :) 

Also, we are now living with 4 missionaries in the same house. The house is big enough, so that is good, it just don’t have any beds, so we spent the first day together, first, helping the sister missionaries move into their new house, and then, trying to get ahold of a member with a truck, and then go to the offices to pick up a bunk bed. Not a very successful proselyting day, but we now have beds to sleep in. We are living with 2 other missionaries, Elder Bravo, who is now the new District Leader, and Elder Bresee. It is a little different to get used to, living with other missionaries, but it is all good. 

There are a lot of missionaries that are going to leave in a few months, so instead of finding new houses when opening new areas, they are just having companionships live with another temporarily. We think that we will only be here for one transfer, or 6 weeks. The ward members were surprised, and now have to prepare food for 6 instead of 4..... Everything is being figured out though. Just kind of a weird Transfer :)

This week wasn’t the most successful.... the area that we have been given to work in doesn’t have anyone that is receiving the lessons, so we have to find them. We have only found a few, but we are working on it. 

The Conference was really good, as always. Lots and lots about families. We felt weird as missionaries, as they kept telling the young adults to get married :)  I really like the talk by Holland on the Atonement overcoming the fall. Please watch it, and if you haven’t, watch it again. 
Those that I really like personally were the two seventies that talked about feeling the Gospel, and not just living it. That we need not stop feeling amazement for the gospel, and that we need to hear music of it. I don’t remember their names, but I really liked them. What they said was very true. Sometimes I have felt kind of routine in my missionary work, as I have been doing it for a while, but I need to remember to look for the Spirit always and really feel what I am doing and feel a love for the people. Feel like that applies to members as well, that have been living the gospel for a long time, but then stop feeling it, and just go through the motions. We need to look for the spirit so that we can hear the music. 

I also felt something special with the talk about the Neilson family, who had a sister turn away from the church for 15 years, and that all they could do was wait and keep loving her. God really does work in our lives, if we look for him. 

I also loved the talk about Grace by Uchtdorf, and together with another one on doing good for good´s sake, I have decided that I need to avoid doing things just to get praise, and just do it because I am indebted to God. It is just a new perspective. 

Well, I hope that all is well at home and that Easter was a good. 

Love you all, Thanks for the birthday wishes! 

Love, Elder Redford

Friday, April 3, 2015

Transfers, Comp B-day‏ - March 30, 2015

So, as I reported on Thursday, this was a long week with lots of exchanges and talking to lots of people on the street. 

This week my companion also had his Birthday on Friday, march 27. A sister in the ward, Veronica Flores gave him a special birthday lunch, a super yummy meatloaf and spaghetti, and a giant sheet cake. That was really good. 

Then a different family, the Flores family, gave him ANOTHER cake to take home, as long as a hamburger for each of us. So our stomachs were very happy that day and the next. 

On Saturday we found Israel again. He hadn’t contacted us since he didn’t come to church a week ago. We spent the entire day looking for   appointments that we had made. And only one of the 11 appointments were home! That was frustrating. So then we went to look for Israel, who was embarrassed to talk to us because he started drinking again, because he learned that his mom, who loves in the states, is sick and in the hospital. We were about encourage him, and introduce him the the Plan of Salvation. We has super set on going to church, but after 20 minutes of knocking his door Sunday morning, he didn’t come......

  Then on Sunday it was my turn to give a talk. I spoke on Repentance, for 8 minutes. Super short. It turned out well. Then after the services, everyone that could stayed after and Isaac, a young man, 17, who is best friends with the bishop's son (Marcos), was baptized! It was a wonderful service, super full, very spiritual, and his parents were there to watch and had a great experience. Elder Weiss and I got to sing a special musical number with the sister missionaries, whose investigator it was, I’m trying to be like Jesus but in Spanish. It was a great experience. 

That night, however, wasn’t a pleasant experience. A family invited us to come to their house to give Elder Weiss another cake, and we found the husband drunk, and talking bad about his wife, a faithful recent convert. It was not fun. He was trying to convince us how one of Teachings of Modern Day Prophets books was wrong, about how the leaders were corrupt, and was just critizing the members.   His wife, Sister Sandra Noriega, is in need of a lot of help. Things had elevated and she is looking for a divorce... and he was mad that the bishopric was supporting her in her decision. We angry at him and sad for her and the kids..... I will be doing a lot of prayers for   the Noriega family. 

And then, like Mom was thinking about, we heard about transfers. Bum Bum Bum!  
Both Elder Weiss and I are leaving! 

So, we got almost everything packed up in the house, we have said goodbye to a few members, and we are going to say good bye to a few more by the end of the night, and we will see from there. 

It is exciting that this weekend is general conference! I hope that everyone can get ready for it and enjoy it. And also, HAPPY EASTER!

I love you all and will let you know where I am next week! 

Love Elder Redford

Oh  yeah! and I got my birthday package, on Elder Weiss's Birthday, actually :)   Thanks for the treats and the cards! Those are really cool! 

Went to the Temple again!‏ - March 26, 2015

So this was a really long week. First off, I had 3 days of companion exchanges. 
The first one was on Tuesday, where my Zone Leader E Ramirez came to work with me, the second one on the next Monday I went to work with my other Zone Leader, Elder Pendleton, and the third, the day after on Tuesday, I went to work with E Rupp in my district. So, I basically spent two days and two nights without even seeing my area, with companion exchanges back to back! 

This was a long week, like I said, with lots of ups and downs. 

We have helped twice this week in the offices, putting directions that the missionaries have gotten, and putting them in the computer. It is fun but draining. :) 

Sooo, we aren’t having much more success in finding people. With the people that we have found though, we were 100 percent sure that they would go to church, but once two called us in the morning to cancel, and the other wouldn’t answer his phone or his door, our hopes were bashed. 
After church though. I was able to interview a young man, Isaac for baptism. He passed. That was really cool :) 

And then we left to go eat at a member’s house, who had found an apostate video attacking the Mormons, and showed it to us because it was in English and they wanted us to translate it. we told them it wasn’t anything good that they should pay attention to videos like that... so that didn’t help out the mood much. 

Ronulfo, and old man, and also Diana and Hidai, two young women whom I had the opportunity to interview, were baptized! I heard that it was super good, but we weren’t able to go because our investigators would not answer our calls.. (we can’t got to a baptism unless we bring investigators) It was bitter-sweet, we really really wanted to go, and the two of them were really sad that we couldn’t stay to watch (because we at least went to say congratulations beforehand, as I had to drop off their Baptismal records), but it is super sweet that they are now baptized! So I guess we shouldn’t be so selfish and just be happy that at last they have been able to take upon them the name of Christ. and have taken their first step toward entering into the kingdom of Heaven.

So after that somewhat sad day, we were able to boost our amino with the Exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I went to their area, and we had the goal to contact 200 people that day, super high. But, we got to 110! That is a ton! As many as an average companionship gets in a week! It was a lot of fun and it made me excited to the same in my area. 

We also did a ton of contacts in my other exchange as well, it was a lot of fun. But now, I am SUPER tired, with working hard and being outside of my area for 2 and a half days :) So, today going to the temple was a good break, even though we got up at five in the morning to go :)

I am learning a lot about how I need to work as a missionary to be more effective, and about being a better leader. It has been a good week, overall, with a few difficulties. 

Oh yeah, and I get to give a talk on Repentance in church this next Sunday. That will be fun. Elder Weiss was able to chew out the ward as we talked on Tithing, no, just kidding :) . It will be fun :) Its only 8 minutes, so it is really short.  

We are anxious to hear about Transfers in a week, we both get the feeling that the two of us are going to leave. We will see what happens. We are now about to go to a Zone Barbecue and play soccer for the rest of our P day, so it should be fun and yummy! 

By the way here are some pictures of my zone,  and me and my companion at the temple. 

I hope that all is well at home, I got a lot of emails today and I don’t have time to read them all, so I am going to print them off and read them, and them respond on Monday. 

General Conference is coming up! Yay! Get ready for it,  because it’s gunna be good!

Temple Visit - March 26, 2015

 Zone at the Monterrey Mexico Temple
 Elder Redford & Elder Weiss at the Monterrey Mexico Temple
Elder Redford & Elder Weiss at the Monterrey Mexico Temple