Soldier in God's Army

Soldier in God's Army
Soldier in God's Army

Monday, September 24, 2012

Transfers and a Ton of Baptisms!

24 de Septiembre, 2012

We had transfers! Elder Macedo left, and I am gonna stay here in
Industrial. My new companion is Elder Olvera, who is from Veracruz and
has 21 months in the mission. So far he gets along pretty good with
me. He has been companions with Elder Wensel, Elder Seare, and now
me..... all of the Americans in my generation.

So 5 of our 7 baptismal dates were accomplished! Isabel and Gaby fell
through. They passed the interview and everything, but due to a few
problems, ended up not going to the actual baptism. We're gonna work
crazy hard to get them baptized this Saturday, along with Chuyin,
Jesus's son.

The Rios family and Arturo all got baptized. 2 of them asked me to
baptize them, so I did! The mom chose me mainly because she is kinda
really heavy and because I'm stronger than Elder Macedo haha! When she
went down in the water, her feet slipped out from under her and I had
to lift her entire body and weight up and out of the water and plant
her back on her feet. Luckily, the ordinance passed the first time
haha. Good thing she picked me, because I'm pretty sure Elder Macedo
would have dunked himself along with her in the water lol. Rene (a
teenager in the Rios Family) had a broken leg, so we baptized his with
his cast on, but wrapped up in a giant garbage bag. Leaving the
baptismal font, he slipped and landed on his broken leg, and rebroke
the bone. We called an ambulance and he is going to get operated on
tomorrow. That turned out to be a blessing for him, as they should
have operated the first time. Before his baptism, the bone didn't heal
right. Luckily, he rebroke it. If he wouldn't have rebroken it, they
would have never known that it hadn't healed right. God works in
mysterious ways, huh? Unfortunately, we weren't able to take a
picture..... but we have pictures of the signed and ready baptismal
forms (after they passed their interviews).

Just as a running total, I have lost 30 pounds so far. Pretty good, eh?

So far, I've saved 9 souls through baptism and confirmation. I'm
expecting to have another 3 this week, if we work hard, and if I work
off another 5 pounds.

So, another detail. I couldn't speak English to save my life. At least
not fluently. I can read it and write it, and I understand it when it
is spoken, but I myself can't speak it. I think I'm gonna have to
start practicing English at night to get used to it again.

Well I gotta go. Letters are always welcome, people.

Monday, September 17, 2012


17 de Septiembre, 2012

So this last week has been crazy! We ended the week with a baptism,
and we set a ton of baptismal dates. Jesus has been tough, and he was
like a wave, sure about it baptism and then unsure - repeating the
sequence many times over. But now he's baptized and he had a crazy
power experience during his confirmation. This Saturday, we're going
to baptize 7! All in one session! And 2 of them asked me to do it! I
finally have the chance to try out my church-approved white suspenders
for the ordinance! This week we worked our butts off getting these
baptisms (literally, I lost 11 pounds).

One of the investigators who is gonna get baptized this Saturday is
Arturo. He is golden. He accepts everything we say, and puts it into
action. He is pretty excited.
Another soon-to-be member is Isabel and her daughter Gaby. They have a
pile a problems, but Isabel never loses her faith. They have been
waiting (for various reasons) to get baptized for over 3 months.
The other 4 are investigators of the same family, Familia Rios. They
are all pretty much golden, and are all excited for their baptisms.
Working hard pays off!

So in my birthday package (which arrived early and I couldn't resist
opening), I got a man/missionary bib! Thanks mom! It pretty much saves
my ties and white shirts, as I spill all over every time we eat
something red. Proof that Satan is working against us haha. I love it,
and it even has a tie and a pocket where I can put my plaque, so you
can barely notice it. In this picture I am about to eat a crazy
delicious Mollete. Also, thanks for all the cow tails! You have no
idea how much I have missed them - almost as much as Mt. Dew!

This area is pretty green. There's a lot of pastures and fields, and
we get to cross them a lot of times, traveling from colony to colony.
The clouds here are in all shapes and sized, and it's a pretty
beautiful sight at times.

Expect good pictures and maybe a video next week. I'm going to do an
experiment with a few investigators today.

Monica is progressing really well. She is ready for baptism, but first
she and her member-boyfriend need to get married.....and he needs to
get divorced. Her daughter, Mariam, went to Jesus's baptism, a stake
activity, and all 3 hours of church on Sunday! She is starting to
progress a ton!

It's a completely different experience being a white guy here. The
girls go crazy, and a few times even try to grab me while walking the
streets - one actually succeeded in grabbing my bicep before I ripped
my arm away and ran. The drunks shout cursings and throw their beer
bottles from the rooftops, but luckily they have terrible aim haha.
For the most part though, aside from a few occasional things, I'm
pretty safe, and I know I'm protected by the Lord.

My companion, Elder Macedo, is from Pachuca (close to Mexico City). He
has 2 transfers left before he ends his mission. He told me that I
need to open up a little more, and I'm finding that a lot of the
council one of my uncles gave me (hint: Risky Business) is true. It's
hard to open up the emotional barriers I have. Since I was a kid, for
things that have affected me emotionally, I unconsciously distance
myself from others to protect myself. I never really realized how much
I do it until now, and I'm working on putting my shields down. God
will help me.

The church is true, Christ lives, and I'm in his work. Gotta go!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Receiving Answers

10 de Septiembre, 2012

This has been a great week! Monica (one of our investigators) said she
received an answer to her prayers and knows that the church is true,
and we're just waiting for her and her boyfriend to get married before
we can baptize her... which means they need to get divorced from their
previous spouses. Her boyfriend, who is a member, has been exercising
with us early in the morning. We've been going to a park, running,
using the playground as a workout gym, and playing a little basketball.
Today, after exercising, we went over to his (Alejandro's) house and
he served us a fruit mix with carrots, plain yogurt, and granola.
Crazy tasty, crazy healthy.

Familia Limones was a family of less-actives that we reactivated back
when I was in Guadalupe. While walking the streets here, I thought I
saw the grandson of Hna. Limones. I took a second look.... and it was
him! He and his mother got baptized a few years ago, but stopped going
because of anti-mormon literature they found on the internet. Elder
Macedo and I visited them in the instant I saw him (Ricardo, the
grandson) and we explained the reality of things to him and his
mother, Carmen. They both feel a ton better about the church now. Even
to the extent that they went to a ward activity as a family that very
night and had a great time.

This area is HUGE! We seriously need bikes here, just for the sake of
time. I attached a picture underlooking a mountain/big hill. From
where I was standing up until partway up the mountain/hill is only
about a fourth of our area. It's enormous, just imagine.

This Saturday we've got a definite baptism comin up! The other two
fell through, so we'll continue working with them. His name is Jesus,
and he's golden. He has completely changed his life around, from being
a drunk drug addict to leaving everything behind to follow Christ.

We have a sister here who always gives us tamales free, whenever we
ask. Pretty awesome. Pretty savory.

Mia, the 3 year old daughter of one of our investigators, was pretty
scared of me when I first got here. Then I gave her a Spanish CTR ring
and now she absolutely loves me. She pretty much uses me as a human
jungle-gym. It's a little overbearing at times haha.

Look at the photos. I'm not lying when I said we have a problem with
cockroaches. We find at least 10 a day in our house.

I have no time, and I gotta cut this letter short. Sorry! More next week.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Emergency Transfers

3 de Septiembre, 2012

There is a lot of big news for this week. We had emergency transfers,
and I got moved from Guadalupe. Thursday night, Elder Garfias, Elder
Ragland (we had exchanges for 3 days with our District Leader) and I
were in the house talking. Around 11 at night, our zone leaders called
us and said that we had emergency transfers, and that I was leaving to
the other stake here in Durango. They told me to pack up my things
cause I would leave in the morning. I pretty much didn't sleep much
that night as I was packing up everything I owned and deciding which
things to leave behind because I didn't have much room. So I arrived
here in the ward Industrial in stake Durango de Valle. My companion is
Elder Macedo. He's crazy tall, and we get along pretty good. We had a
baptism Saturday, name's Victor. We've been working crazy hard and
have set a lot of baptismal dates in the last week. This week we have
two coming up. Next week we have another two. The following week we
will have at least 5, maybe more. I can't wait. I feel like we´re
having a lot of success here. The area is huge! It takes at least an
hour and a half to cross the entire area, but that's walking fast (our
definition of walking fast is basically a good paced job for most

So I finally posted sent a picture of how we do laundry here. You have
a bucket, water, soap, and a broom handle with half a coke bottle
attached. It's actually pretty effective. After washing in one bucket,
you wring out each article of clothing one by one and soak it in a
bucket of soapless water. After thoroughly rinsing the clothes out,
you wring out each article again, and you hang it up to dry in the

Before leaving Guadalupe and before finding out that I was going to
leave, we ate dinner with Hna. Mejia, who is like our mom. Our
District Leader, Elder Ragland was with us on exchanges. After eating,
he went to use the bathroom. When he came out, he said he needed a
plunger..... I thought he was kidding but he was pretty serious. He
was to shy to ask Hna. Mejia for a plunger and asked me to do it. I
told him that it would be better if he asked, as I'm usually too
direct and don't use tactics at all. He insisted, so I went over to
Hna. Mejia in the kitchen and said loudly with my hands stretched
forth "Hermana, we've got a problem!!! Elder Ragland needs a plunger."
Elder Ragland (normally afro-american brown) turned straight red,
Elder Garfias burst out laughing, and Hna. Mejia's son stared with his
jaw dropped, forkfull of food almost in his mouth and asked "uh... for
the bathroom?". I said yes, and he came back with a plunger. While
Elder Ragland was unclogging the toilet, we didn't realize what Hna.
Mejia was doing. After he fixed his problem, she came running in the
house with a bucket full of soapy water and a towel (we're not exactly
sure why, to be honest). Elder Garfias and I just burst out laughing
and Elder Ragland tried to explain to her that it wasn't necessary.
She left the bucket there and we were about to leave when we
remembered another thing that we were going to ask for. A week or so
before, Hna. Mejia's daughter showed us that she makes homemade,
special ordered stuffed animals (and other stuffed things). She showed
us an awesome Jigglypuff (from Pokemon) and it was so real! So after
fixing Elder Ragland's problems, he and Elder Garfias asked for a
pillow in the form of a Book of Mormon. Elder Conde asked for a Taz
(from the Looney Toones). I asked for a Blastoise (also from Pokemon)
with it's mouth open and it's tongue hanging out. I'm gonna have to
retrieve it from Guadalupe one way or another.

As far as this transfer goes, neither of us knows is one of us is
going to stay for the next transfer, or if both of us will stay, or if
we will both leave. Who knows but God and the President.

The nice thing about our house here is that we have a microwave!
Pretty awesome. We also have to working fans. In Guadalupe, our house
was on the second floor, so we rarely found cockroaches. Here in
Industrial, my second day here I was ironing my shirt. After
finishing, I started to put it on when I found a monster-daddy of a
coachroach in the sleeve and shouted "¡¡No manches!!" and whipped it.
Unfortunately, I launched the cockroach directly into my open suitcase
full of clothes. It scuttled away, burying itself in my garments. I
then had to search for the cockroach, throw it out of my suitcase,
chase it down into the next room and splatter it across the floor. The
next day I found 3 more. Pretty exciting, huh?

I should receive all my letters this sunday. I haven't been able to
receive any for about 2 months because the Leaders haven't gone to
Torreón and our mission president hasen't come to visit us for a long

Well, I gotta go. Hope to hear from you all soon!

Chastisements and References

27 de Agosto, 2012

Sorry for last week. I spent my time on the computer translating an
Ensign article (not available in Spanish) and typing it up to post in
the church. Hopeful it will be worth it and will compel the members to
start working and giving us references.

Since I haven't written in 2 weeks, there's a good amount to talk
about this week.

We're still a Trio, haven't had any changes. Now we're thinking we'll
probably be a Trio for the rest of this transfer. We'll see how it
goes. My companions' names are Elder Garfias and Elder Conde.

So I started up a new work-out in the mornings. Every day I do 125
push-ups in 4 sets, with my perfect-push-ups (makes it harder). We
have a barbell made out of a steel bar with big ol' concrete blocks on
both ends. So I use it to do 125 barbell bicep curls in 4 sets as well. Then
I have this crazy ab-workout where I do 2250 crunches (in 3 sets),
mixing up straight crunches and side-twist crunches to work my obliques.
Pretty crazy. I've been doing this for the last 3 weeks. Next week
I'll make it harder.

So far I have lost about 25 pounds here. I only weigh 205 lbs. I'm the
lightest I have been since Junior year in high school.

Remember Memo and Vicky? Elder Lopez and I dropped them about 8 weeks
ago. We just picked Memo back up. Turns out, during the entire time
that we weren't teaching him, he was still reading the Book of Mormon.
He read it in about 2 months, the last half in less than a week. We're
just waiting for him to start coming to church again so he can get

Antonio went to church this last Sunday! We are working with him and
are getting him ready for baptism.

Francisco got baptized the 11th of August, and the picture is
attached. I also took a few pictures with the families here including
Families Medina, Moncada, and Ruiz. Also, Oscarín and Oscar's crazy
powerfully modded "Sustang" are attached, along with pictures from the
last district and zone meeting, with pictures of the Zone and

Last Sunday was awesome! we got 5 new investigators in one day!
Chayito (reference de Hna. Moncada) and a few others were references.
Something else awesome happened. Eusebia is one of the new
investigators. She felt like she wasn't alright with God, and she was
walking in the street when she saw the chapel. She felt like, for some
reason she didn't know, she needed to attend the church. She found out
when the services were and went the next Sunday, and now we're
teaching her and she is progressing pretty well.

I have had the privilege of seeing the complete conversion process for
2 of my investigators. Juan and Francisco both started off with me
teaching them the first lesson, until they had all the lessons,
completed every commitment without failing once, got baptized and
confirmed, and just recently had the Aaronic Priesthood conferred upon
them. I have seen them both bless the sacrament now. It has been a
pretty powerful experience with them.

We had to drop Thalia again. She wasn't progressing. In the last
lesson, we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We explained every step
thoroughly, with a little extra focus on repentance. I invited her to
be baptized, and she said yes. And it was totally normal. Then I gave
her the date and invited her to prepare herself for that date, when
she said no and suddenly burst into tears and cried for about 10
minutes. After that we tried to figure out what was going on, waiting
in silence, asking questions, but she just sat there in silence. So we
ended with a prayer and left, saying that she can tell us when she
wants to continue. We didn't think she was going to go to church last
Sunday, but to our surprise she went. More than that, she said the
closing prayer in the Gospel Principles class without hesitating! We
have no idea what's going on in her head. Any ideas? My other
missionary friends: Elders Hawkins, Eppich, Andersen, Morris, Denney -
any suggestions or ideas for what we can do?

Last Friday we had a Ward Family Home Evening, in the which we
received another 6 references, 5 of which have turned out to be new
investigators. I can't wait for the success we're going to have with

I got to give a talk again this last Sunday. I didn't find out until
late the night before, so I pretty much had to wing it. Luckily, I'm
now speaking Spanish fluently, even enough to improvise an entire
talk. It actually turned out pretty good, and pretty powerful, and
lasted about 12 minutes. First our ward mission leader gave a talk and
pretty much chastised the entire congregation for not working and
giving references. Next I talked, then Elder Conde, then Elder
Garfias. Hopefully after all that, the members will start helping us
out a bit more.

Well I gotta go again, but I'm pretty sure this next week will bring
success. Until Next week!