Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 7 - Kevin LOVES LOVES LOVES Tuxtlas!

Well, this certainly was just amazing week. This new area is absolutely amazing. I walk out myback door and I have a waterfall. There is ever color green imaginable, andI ma just absolutely in love with this place. Mycompanion´s name is Elder Killpack, this is his last transfer, although this is his first area since being in the offices, so I think he is happy to be out(if you get called to the offices, you are there for a minnimum of 6 months, he was there 8). The branch here is chicito! There are about 20 people who go to church, but a Branch President that is simply divine. He works like no one I´ve ever seen before, and is quite the example to me. He speaks quite good English and lived in the States for about 10 years. Anyways, because the branch is so small, it´s hard to baptize here, but there are also inactives galore, so we may be focusing more intensely with them.

This week something interesting happened. You have to understand the attitude of this Mission, everywhere you went under Presidente TreviƱo, the focus was baptize every week. Now that was a great focus to have, it got everyone motivated to work and was very results orriented. I must admit it was very hard for me to gte behind that idea, I have and still do believe that the onlynumbers that matters are the number of families that are sealed togteher in the temple, and how many people are progressing home to Father in Heaven. So Presidente Cordova comes in to speak to all ofthe people arriving (my generation finally arrived from the MTC) and he said I do not care how many people you baptize, we are tryingto bring people home to Father in HEaven, and that is all that matters. Not gonna lie, I was about ready to cry for joy (never actually done that, so big deal). Anyways, it will be intersting to see how this changes the mission, but I am very happy.

I came to a couple of realizations this week that have really had a great effect on me. First off, there are 20 member of this branch that are active (most of whom in this area I am pretty sure make less than I did as a BYU gardener) and yet somehow I am still fed pretty well here. If we ask for references, they give us all of their friends theycan think of, and will go with us to the meetings if they are able. How is it that these people can be so excited to help out in the missionary work, and yet so many of us (and yes I include myself in us, because I never helped out in missionary work) do not even consider it most of the time. The missionaries in our wards should never want for references or for food or for anything becasue we have the ability to provide for them, and because we have that ability we have the duty to provide for them. This leads me into my second realization, in Matthew 7, Jesus talks about how people will say have we not done these works in thy name, and he will respond depart I never knew thee. Those people never learned to care about other people or to want to help them, and for that reason they never knew Jesus Christ and who he was. This is confirmed in 1 Corinthians 13, if you have not charity you are as a tinkling cymbal (useless). When I speak of charity in this instance we have to realize that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the biggest source of comfort in the world. It changs lives and brings people hope comfort and support when they need it most. Why is it then that we never want to share it with our friends. If we honestly share it, truly, and for the right reasons (not to bring people into the church, but in order to help them in their lives) then they will be able to see it. Never fear what our friends may think, because when we act out of love, that is never a bad thing. Often we interpret that scripture in 2 Nephi (I believe it is 9) that says ´´some will say all is well in Zion´´ to mean that some people just wont see theyre doing wrong. I think that in this case we could see it more in terms of how things are right now. This is the last great time that we have, as members to bring people into the church. President Hinkley built all of the temples so people could go to them, now it is our turn to fill them up. When we are all together with those at the time of Moses or Abraham and we can say that we lived in the time of the Prophet Thomas Monson, and were in charge of missionary work, I want to be able to say that I did everything I could to help out, and that I did not sleep through the restoration. Anyways, that whole blurb has been going through my mind this week, and I really feel a compulsive need to work hard at the moment. (In the tuxtlas because you have minnimal member support, it is all about your own hard work (the hills do not help), and so its pretty low baptizing area)

Anyways, as far as investigators and all of that, we dont have a whole lot of nuevos, but we are working as hard as we can to try and find some (we just got a ton of references). Reactivation is tough here, becasue sunday work is nearly a must to survive, and you have to take what you can get, plus no one has cars, and the church is far away from the center of town. Overall however, I love my little Santiago. Luckily we found someone who can get baptized anytime last night, becasue we were gonna be the only area in the zone that did not baptize someone this week, so thats good. With any luck we should be able to get a good number of baptisms this exchange. Oh btw my companion seems to believe that I will be here for at least 4.5 months, and I cannot send pictures in this area because the internet is too slow (sorry mom). So we will just have to wait for my 6 month anniversary to send some. I lvoe you all more than you can imagine, and I really do miss you guys a ton. So many of you occupy my thoughts and prayers. 

Elder Standridge
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