Monday, September 29, 2014

A Pizzeria, Blisters, and Isaiah

This week, I had two different guys come up to me that used to live in the US! While there, they both met with the missionaries and really enjoyed visiting with them, but for some reason never got baptized. As we were walking to appointments, they came up, stopped me, and told me they really wanted us to come teach them again! They gave us their phone numbers, haven't picked up yet, but I really don't want to give up on them. I've only called once, so I'm gonna try again a bit this week.

On Saturday, we had this awesome lesson with an Hermana Angela. She has three kids who all live far away, one of her daughters owns a pizzeria in New York. Her kids are members, but she isn't. We went to talk with her, and she has a Book of Mormon that she reads from regularly, and she prays too! She's really nice, a little stiff at first, she didn't smile very much. But I made her laugh once, don't remember what I said, but knowing me, it was probably pretty darn hilarious. So that was a score.

After meeting with her, we saw a guy across the street shoveling some dirt and decided to help him out. Turns out, he was the same guy we'd helped a few weeks previous! He hadn't wanted us to teach him last time, but when we asked this time, he said he'd like that! He doesn't live in our area, but he works here all day everyday, so we're gonna set something up during work hours. He's really cool, and says I speak really good Spanish (wow, really?), so I like him already haha. 

On Thursday, we played basketball with some of the church youth, and I got my jaw relocated. Not really, but one of the other players got me pretty good haha. The next day, we did some service at a less active's hair cuttery, tearing up her tile floor, and I got some nasty blisters. Love service haha. (Seriously though, love service)

On Sunday, I went on splits with Elder Brewer. We knocked on a bunch of doors and no one was ever home, but we got some good contacts, and it was fun. 

This week, I want to share a scripture from 2 Nephi 8:22-23. 'But Elder Connor, that's an Isaiah chapter!' Yes. It is. And I actually get it! Here are the verses: 

'Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord and thy God pleadeth the cause of his people; behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again. But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; who have said to thy soul: Bow down, that we may go over—and thou hast laid thy body as the ground and as the street to them that went over.'

'Now what the heck does that mean Elder Connor?' I really like these verses. Here's the thing; the cup that Isaiah mentions in these verses is the same cup as the one Christ 'drank' in Gethsemane: 'Father, if it be possible, remove this cup from me.' This cup represents all the pain, sorrow, affliction, temptations, etc. of everyone in the world ever. Throughout our lives, we take little sips from this cup as we are tempted, afflicted, and punished by those who 'say to our soul, bow down.' But here's the beautiful part; Christ has drunk that cup. He has tasted my sorrows, and your sorrows, and everyone else's. And so, as a result, we don't have to drink it anymore during the eternities. If we choose the better part, choose to live as He would have us, and seek to be as He is - that is, perfect - that cup WILL be removed from us, when it was not for Him. We have the blessed opportunity to repent of any sin we may commit and to feel his love and comfort in any trial we experience, because He has already experienced it all. 

Things are great here in Mexico, lots of work to be done! I love you all! 

Elder Connor

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mama's Boy, Eagles, and a Frisbee....ish

First and most important: This Wednesday, we celebrate THE BEST woman in history, my Mom! It's her birthday on the 24th, and I'm gonna take a couple minutes to tell you why she's THE BEST. 
  • She's loving: I don't think I know anyone on this earth who loves people more than my mom. Really, this could describe everything about her, so here's how she's loving
  • She's service oriented: My mom loves to serve! She is always one of the first to put her name down to feed the missionaries, to show up to Eagle Projects, to sacrifice her time to help out others
  • She's a great missionary!: My mom isn't afraid to share the Gospel with people, because she knows it's true, and she loves it! And she loves them, so she's going to share as much as possible! 
  • She's patient: My mom is very long-suffering, with seven rowdy kids, you kinda have to be. But she does it with a smile on her face and love in her heart! When we're giving her a hard time, she's very patient in helping us understand what's really up. 
And much much more! She's just the best, if you've met her, you know what I'm talking about. And if you've met me, you know I always tell the truth.

This week, to celebrate Mexico's bday, our district partied with some other elders. Pizza, non-caffeinated soda, mormon church music. Rock on. 

On Wednesday, we had a Multi-zone meeting, which was awesome (Even though I couldn't understand about half of it...) I still learned tons and felt the Spirit, and got to talk with President and his wife! I love them so much.

We visited a family this week for a Family Home Evening. The dad isn't super active, but tjey're all really nice and love having us over! The mom also speaks English really well, so they had me sing the opening song in English! It was so fun! We had a really good lesson about repentance and faith, and the dad is coming to activities more often, which is awesome! 

On Friday, I found a frisbee. A ring actually, and it was plastic, so not that great, but it was nice...for a day. We had another ward party this Saturday (for my mom's bday, obviously) and I made the mistake of bringing it. Some kids grabbed it and it didn't survive the night. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted haha. 

So remember that talk I was supposed to give last Sunday and never did? Well, I found out on Thursday that E. Jimenez and I were gonna speak this past Sunday (yesterday), so I got to give it! I think it went well, I got lots of nice compliments afterwards, and I think they could mostly understand me haha. 

This week, I was reading in 1 Nephi 18:12-13, which says: 'And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work. Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me.' 

I love these verses! Notice how the first thing taken from them was their direction: When they started sinning, they no longer knew where to go. 'The compass...did cease to work.' Our lives are very much the same. When we step off the path of righteousness, and stop heeding the words of the prophets, we too become lost. When we cross over to that path of wickedness, we no longer know where to go. A little later, Laman and Lemuel, who had bound Nephi, repent and free him. When this happens, Nephi picks up the compass and PRAISES God, not complaining over the fact that he's been tied up for 4 days. When this happens, the compass starts working again and they can find their way. As we obey the commandments, we too will be led out of the storm of sin and brought to our promised land. 

I love you all, have a great week! 
Elder Connor

Monday, September 15, 2014

That one time Joseph almost killed a Family Pet....And Happy Birthday, Mexico

Today is the birthday of Mexico! Yay! 

Shoutout to Sister Nicole Connor, who I received letters from this past week! She's the best sister missionary! 

This week was great, on Monday we had a zone conference, so I got to meet the rest of my zone! All Elders, all awesome. They're all really helpful and nice, super hard workers who know when and how to have fun! I'm talking a lot more in lessons and such, the language is still giving me trouble, but I'm learning everyday! Elder Jimenez and I have also started running a lot more, which surprisingly, I missed a lot haha. Things are good here.

left to right: Me, my trainer, and my grandpa! (his trainer)
On Thursday, we met a guy who had just come back from the US after living there for work for 3 years. Apparently, he had met with the missionaries while there, so he asked if we could meet with him! We're gonna find him again this week, I'm super excited for those lessons.

I also used my four generation pedigree chart this week! I honestly never thought I'd need it, but one of our recent converts asked about family history, so I showed him mine! It was a really cool experience, family history is such an important part of the Gospel. Do it! 

Funny story, on Friday we went to teach Sergio about the Book of Mormon (which turned out really well) and afterwards, I asked to hold his parakeet. It was in a cage outside, but he said it wouldn't fly away, so I went to pick it up. As soon as I had it out of the cage, it wiggled its way out of my hands and was gone! Turns out it was his mom's bird, another investigator...needless to say, I felt awful about it. Could things get worse? Well they almost did. As we were leaving, we found the parakeet...IN A DOG'S MOUTH. I ran up to the dog, yelling and kicking at it, and it dropped the bird. Amazingl, it was not only alive, but generally uninjured! Minus all the trauma we'd caused it. Elder Jimenez and I are still laughing about that story.

Saturday, the ward had a party to celebrate Mexico's birthday! It was so fun! Tons of food, lots of pretty legit cultural acts (dances, singing, machetes), and lots of Elders! About ten other elders from my zone had been there for a baptism, so we got to chat with them, which was super fun. I got tons of pictures, I'll send them.

The youth of our ward performed some dances, it was really cool! 
A couple weeks ago, the Elders (including me) were asked to give talks this past Sunday, on missionary work. I started mine this past Thursday, so I could get it all corrected by the other elders in my district, and spent a lot of time on it. When we arrived to church on Sunday, we found out that only Elders Roura and Brewer were giving I didn't have to give mine! It was a relief, but at the same time kind of a bummer...ah well, I'll save it for later. 

This week, I was reading in 1 Nephi 13:35, which says, 'For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thybrethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.'

I love this scripture! As members of the church, we believe the Bible to be the word of God. But since there have been so many translations, many of those words, those 'plain and precious' truths have been lost. But Heavenly Father and Christ knew that would happen, so Christ came to the Americas to teach those things to the Nephites. I often wondered why He taught the same things there that He did in the Bible, but now I get it. It wasn't just for them, it was also for us! For our time, to restore those lost truths to the world in a perfect form. 

The Book of Mormon was written for us, so we could know more perfectly the Word and Will of God. As we read it and follow the principles taught, we will become more like Him, which is always the goal.

I love you all! Pictures to come. Until next week! 

Elder Connor

I got a minion (they're speakers)! Despicable Me 2 is huge down here, I love it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Swearing, Bearded Ladies, and Fried Chicken

The weeks for me seem to fly by, it's crazy. Just so you all know, the mailing system here is awful, so anything sent or received will take a while...

This week was pretty great! Tuesday, I went on transfers with E. Roura again, and we had some...interesting contacts. We ran into the bearded lady again, and a super drunk guy. He came up to us and started cursing God out in Spanish, and when he realized I didn't understand, he switched to English! We left as soon as we could, after giving him a card. 

There was also this lady from LA who has been living here for four years. She saw me across the street and yelled, 'Do you speak English??' It was pretty surprising, but she was nice, and we set up an appointment for a couple days later! She isn't in my area, but that's ok, it was cool. Before we returned home that night, we got some legit Mexican burritos. They were amazing. 

On Wednesday, some of the other new elders and I took a day trip up to the Mexico City North Mission to work out some Visa stuff. While there, we stopped by the store that sold all American stuff. I almost cried when I saw the Reese's Puffs. You better believe they didn't last very long. I didn't get back until around 5, so I hadn't gotten to eat much all day. We went to visit this old member couple, when they learned that, they started freaking out and making tons of really good food haha. It was really nice.

Thursday night, we played soccer with some members and I discovered that I'm actually not terrible at it! But I still way prefer frisbee. 

Friday, we had lunch with this super rich family, who owned tons of birds, including four turkeys!! I got to hold one of their parrots, which didn't peck at all! I felt so cool. For lunch, they fed us fried chicken and fries. It was kinda weird to see such an American meal, but also pretty great. 

We had a lot of lessons this week, and I've started speaking more and even leading some! The language is still challenging, but I'm getting better and learning to listen to the Spirit more. I started over the Book of Mormon this week (in Spanish) and I want to share a verse that I really like. 1 Nephi 2:20 says, 'And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a  land which is choice above all other lands.'

The same goes for all of us: So long as we keep the commandments, we will be blessed and receive our own land of promise, being Heaven. If we are obedient, we will receive a celestial glory, and have the joy and peace that comes when we are in the presence of our Heavenly Father and brother, Jesus Christ. 

I know the church is true, and I love being a part of it! I love being here, doing the Lord's work, even though it's tough, because I know the joy the Gospel can bring to those who accept it into their own lives. 

Love you all! 
Elder Connor