Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 8

Hola todos!!!! Wow, I am loving Santiago Tuxtlas and my Companion Elder Killpack (I still love that his name sounds like a killstreak in Halo), they are simply beautiful rays of sunshine in my life. So anyways, I told yall about the small branch here, well this weak we actually had 30 people at Church! While to most of you, that may sound like nothing at all, to me, that was absolutely awesome, twice the normal amount. Sure we should have had 50 with all the people that comitted to go to church, but hey, pickers can´t be choosers (why is that a saying). Anyways, a quick note to Davis Garner, get ready for a quite hot next 2 years, by the end of it, most peoples collars are black and shirts are closer to yellowish brown than white. Luckily Monterrey is a significantly richer state than Veracruz, that being said, to anyone that goes to Mexico, say goodbye ot any and all fitness that you had before the mission. I am trying to out run getting fat (you can only run maybe 15 minutes by the time you pray get dressed and get your companion downstairs, if he is willing to walk down and wait for you to run). 

Anyways, we have a lot more nuevos here, and we are working with them to try and get them ready for baptism, but honestly it is pretty darn hard when no one wants to go to Church. One of the biggest things that you have to watch yourself on a missionary is baptizing for the numbers because boy could you baptize if you wanted to. I honestly could sit with someone for 30 minutes, while my companion has the font filling, and baptize them that day if I wanted to. It really is not that hard to convince someone that the Church is true down here, what is hard, is to get someone to logically take an answer that they feel they have received from their prayer, and change their life. We are not here to baptize, we are here to bring people home to Father, and honestly that is no where near as easy. I just have so many random things to say, so here goes, this week we are going to be having a festival, so fun letters to come. Divisions are great in the mission, you can cover twice the ground that way, and your key indicators are twice as good. Peace with your companion is really important, but we also have to keep the rules, that´s really important, Elder Killpack has been a blessing to me, because he taught me a lot of the rules that I did not know before. I did not actually do divisions with the Zone Leaders because their baptism fell through, so unfortunately I did not get to do that. Although we did spend a night over at their house, and honestly Elder Lehikainen (zone leader) is awesome. He´s such a fun guy, and a great missionary, so that was fun. Wow having a really active family member who is a member, especially like someone´s brother helps so much because they can testify, but they can also put pressure on investigators in ways we cannot, which helps them to progress more quickly. Oh we had zone conference this week, and wow that was just like a ton of fun. President Cordova really talked to us about the importance of family history work in missionary work (we think of them as separate, but really they are one in the same). When you do that, people will have a reason to strive for the temple, but it is also a good way to help people catch the spirit of the gospel, and to give references. Honestly, the mission is a lot more enjoyable than it used to be, and though we spend all day walking around in the hot sun and talking with many people who are just random strangers (and occasionally get grabbed on by drunks/jumped by dogs), every second of it is absolutely worth it because we are helping people to come unto Christ. IF we are looking from the position of Lehi´s dream, we are the Holy Ghost who guides people to the path home. Ultimately however, our role as missionaries is to guide people all the way to the temple, and from there they walk alone (if the stray after we help them back). Presidente Cordova said something interesting, he looked us in the eye as he way talking and he said these are not your converts, they are not your baptisms, they are not your investigators, so quit thinking of them like that, they are the Lord´s. Sure you helped guide them, but at the end of the day, they are the Lord´s and that is so true. I love all the people who helped me find this church and brought me to it, but at the end of the day, I do not belong to them, nor to I belong to the missionaries who taught me, I belong to Heavenly Father.

I just want you all to know how powerful my testimony is of this Gospel. It is true, one hundred percent true. There is no mistake, the 14 year old boy with no education (I´ve met quite a few of those here) could not write the book of Mormon. I could not write the book of Mormon. I do not know anyone who is talented enough writer to do so either. When you sit and close your eyes, if you are anything like me, you cannot imagine not existing. Sure you can think of a ¨point in time¨ when you did not exist, but you cannot honestly cannot conceive of it. The reason for that, is because we have always existed, and always will exist. Sure there are holes in our memory, but one fact rings true in my mind more surely than any other, that I am a Son of God, and the people that I am here to save are my brothers and sisters. I have always existed and always will exist, and so have all of you (you did not always have a body, but you always had a spirit). This earth life is short, and a time of trial, the mission is shorter, and a time of bigger trial. But all of this rests on on fact that I know to be true, The Book of Mormon is the word of God, translated for us today to testify of Jesus Christ, that he lived and died for each and every one of us. I have seen this book change lives already. A man sat and prayed immediately after we gave him the Book of Mormon, he looked up, stared me in the eye, and said, I know for myself that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, just like the bible, thank you. I want to echo that man´s words.

I love you all so much, and want you to know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers, I cannot describe how much I miss you all. I enjoy your letters and your emails, and I try my best to respond, I am a fast typer, but not that fast :). (emails are better, letters take forever)

Elder Standridge

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