Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 44 ~~

Hi mom, 

Well it sounds like to me that you guys are really working hard back there, its awesome how much you are working for this mpre. I actually do not know what the mpre is to tell you the truth mom. Is it like an end of year test or is it like a test to graduate from law school? I dunno.

This week I was really focusing on some less active work. It is honestly crazy mom how many people go inactive because someone does something stupid or because they do not like the bishop. Its honestly so sad how people can be driven away from their father in heaven because they do not like what someone given a certain church calling does.

 Hahaha, mom you could start running too ;) I bet you could get good at it before I got back and we could go running together. Anyways, everyone here dis activates either because they hate how someone acted, or because they didn't have a testimony of the book of Mormon. I have learned some really cool stuff though mom. Like the relief society can honestly do so much good by simply raising money. Like they can sell baked goods and all kinds of stuff. By so doing they can help out so many of its members. I also have just seen how fathers are essential to their homes. Like I can usually tell you how faithful a family is as a whole (assuming all are members) by the faithfulness of the father. That could just be in part Mexican culture. But its kind of weird. Anyways, something else super cool that I noticed this week is just how God blesses us when we try and listen to his spirit. My first week here in cosamoalapan I worked hard, like so hard I came home and just collapsed every night. This week I tried just saying God guide me and show me where to go, and I pondered and listened to the spirit so much more. The first week we had no investigators at church, this week we had 5. It just goes to show the effectiveness of doing things my way instead of the Lords. In total we brought about 10 menos activos to church and 5 investigators and the total assistance was 81 so we are working hard.
Now I am super duper pumped for general conference this week. Honestly it is incredible mom, when they speak it is as if God is speaking to us, I honestly cannot believe though how fast this conference came. I will be so close to finishing out at the next one. 
Anyways, one of the menos activos that we met this week was an ex-misisonary named Francisco. He is honestly going to be the leaven that is gonna lift this word. He´s a worker and has just fought with the bishop. Honestly I have come to realize just how important that man´s position is, and how prudent a bishop needs to be in order to be successful. Its honestly so much responsibility. 
One of the things that really popped out to me this week during my study of the book of Mormon this week was on the difference between the two different kinds of people when Jacob speaks in his book. There are those who are healed by the pleasing word of god, and there are those who need to be just shown how bad their situation is. A missionary is so much like a doctor. If a doctor cuts improperly during surgery he will kill the patient. Equally if we tell someone they are bad when they need to be comforted, or if we comfort someone when they need to be told that what they are doing is wrong, we can kill someones spiritual progress. 
Mom please tell my Grandma just how much I love her, I was just thinking about her today, and I want her to know just how special she is to me, and how excited I will be to see her when I come back. Thats all for this week mom.

Love you!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 43 - New Area

Kevin is answering my multitude of questions, so the letter is a little choppy, I hope you are able to follow!!!.  Thank you for reading!!

Hi mom!

Well so far there is no package here, and I wont get it I don't think until at least the start of April because that is when zone conference is going to be. Well I will pray for your success on the MPRE, I know that you will do great mom, you honestly have been working so hard. It makes me happy to hear about how you've been doing. How goes the scripture study, what have you gotten to read lately?

I find it a little funny that they are doing a thanks for Brother Jones, not because he doesn't deserve it, just because its well you know, about 3 years after he served in the bishopric. BTW, can you believe that he got released 3 years ago!!! Wow, I still remember it!

Wow mom, can you believe how fast that happened, it feels to me like Meg just barely got home at Christmas and is already engaged, It makes me feel like you get home from your mission, get released, pick up a wife in freshman biology and stop by the ER to pick up your first kid, it just all happens so incredibly fast I cannot believe it anymore.

Its really interesting mom that you mentioned that about the strength of every member because my new area is way different from my last one, I am in a city that I can actually walk the whole thing (it takes me about an hour from one side to the other but I can do it) so I mean its a lot smaller. Anyways, I am  a little sad because the members are a lot weaker in terms of their testimonies compared to how people were in my previous ward. I mean I could ask someone to do something in that ward, and I had a 50% chance of getting it done. I asked the Elders quorum President this week to the guy who just got baptized (btw I baptized two people this week) so that he knew someone at church and he started throwing up a bunch of excuses like I don't know where he lives (mind you he lives with the relief society president) and stuff like that, so I really need to help the people to fortify their individual testimonies of the book of Mormon.

You know mom that Jeremy gave that talk really interests me. There are so many different talks and books that I want to read that previously I simply didn't get the chance to. It would be so interesting to read some of the journals and thoughts of the early saints. Hey by the way, how goes the family history work? Have you ever gotten a chance to put in some family stories, or update it more than I already had? I dunno, I just don't want to lose all of those stories while we still have contact with our family.

Anyways, as far as my week went, all I can say was that it was hot, there were like no investigators or anything when I got here other than 2 that got baptized this week. That being said, we had the hardest working week of my mission, really it was just a pure effort on our part, so I am feeling really good about myself in regards to that. 

The new house is not as nice (or clean) as the old one, but we live with members which is nice, and I mean its in a cool spot, plus my companion gets right up and runs with me in the mornings which is great and so I am enjoying all of that. Its super cool because the most helpful members here in the ward are a pair of converts from Elder Bennett, which just makes me think to myself, wow how I hope to go back to some of my old areas and see people different like that, like honestly I love how many peoples lives I get to see changed out here. 

Anyways, I love you lots mom, I miss you so very much. I want you to know how much I love being out here on the mission and serving. Its not easy by any means, but I get the chance to learn and grow so much, and I know that one day soon I will get to see you guys again. 

Love, Kevin

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 42 - We are blessed with LOTS OF PICTURES

Kevin was not able to write everyone last week because one of the missionaries was in the hospital and was diagnosed with Crones disease.  I thought it was Kevin's companion but I was wrong.  He works with a small district of four of them, and it was one of the other missionaries.  This week he is including lots of pictures and a very broken letter in parts.  I will try to put it together so it makes sense.  Thank you for keeping Elder Standridge in your prayers!! Here is a picture of where Kevin moved from Reforma to his new area of Cosomalapan.

HI Mom,

So you will get a ton of pictures this week i promise mom.  So I have so very many things to tell you. I have been finally moved out of my old area, and am now in cosomalapan. I am going to send this email in parts so that i can keep writing you will I send pictures. 

This has elder Mckgannon when he got dengay and something published in the paper. Anyways, so my companion was not who got sick, but instead Elder Sleight. We traded out in the hospital, so I slept there for two days. Wow mom, you would not believe this member family that took care of us, it was incredible. They brought us breakfast and lunch everyday, they're the family Velazquez and you have no idea how much i grew to love the entire family. The last night before I left, we worked super hard and did them up a full meal, they were very impressed by our food making abilities ;). We had peach cobbler on pi day, and I said it was good enough. I honestly will miss them more than just about anything.

Convert stories: Rafael, the best convert I have ever had just told this story to us about how he had always had this girl that he just had the biggest crush on since elementary school, and she did a bunch of modeling for different magazines, and she never had any interest in him. Anyways, after he gets baptized she decided that suddenly she was super interested, and came to his house right before his interview to receive the Melchezideck priesthood to invite him to do something he shouldn't. He straight up turned her down, and didn't let her in the door, and I was honestly so proud of him that it was not even funny. I often wonder if I would have the strength to do something so hard.

Another story, so remember that family of Hindus that we baptized, well this past fast Sunday, the dad got up and bore a powerful testimony on the necessity of priesthood authority, and how he knew that the Mormons were the ones who had it, because he had prayed to God to know if they had it. Super cool. Also, this past week my companion and I were working hard one morning, and we decided to keep knocking doors tell we found one. 8 houses in, we find a woman who during the second lesson later explains to us, I believe everything that you are telling me because right before you knocked on my door I had been praying that God would send me someone to help me know what the truth was. Super Awesome, the gospel is true!

This shows the sunset we got to see daily, so beautiful. Anyways, a new companion for me is Elder Romero. He is going to be here with me in Cosompalapan. The new house is not as nice as the old one, and this area is a little bit hotter, but everything seems find, everyone seems nice, there is lots of fruit down here, so I am happy about that. I am just here getting excited to work. Something cool that President has asked us to do lately is to take a book of Mormon and to highlight in blue when we see something about Christ and highlight in red when we see something about the atonement. The idea is that it will help to fortify our testimonies of the book of Mormon and knowledge of the atonement. We read 2 chapters a day, and honestly it is the perfect amount! Anyways, getting down here was nuts. I took all of my luggage plus that giant package you sent me, I used the box, plus my weight (my precious as I call it) and so that was awesome. I still haven't gotten the package, which means it will be at least 2 weeks before I do, but with cambios I am happy I didn't because I really would have struggled to get it down here if not!

Anyways, in this past ward, I had a couple people that I got super close to, the Lunas, who were a family that lived right in front of the house, I really loved them, they were so nice to us. Their daughter almost got kidnapped at one point (super scary, but don't worry no missionaries get messed with, they only prey on single girls and the elderly), and also got engaged to the bishops son, but for a December wedding!!! That is not how they do things in Provo at all! Hahaha, anyways, the ward mission leader was super chill, and took us bowling and other fun stuff, and the family Velazquez who are in a ton of my fotos.

Anyways, I am super excited to hear that things are warming up and pretty soon dad will be able to go to the beach again to enjoy the water. I am also super proud of all that you are doing with law school mom, you work so hard, and I know that it will bring blessings to you and to the family. I am also super proud of Dad, he always seems to be working. So many people provide excuses not to do things, but I am very proud to have a dad that really is always finding an excuse to help and sacrifice for others. In regards to Skype, I really do not know the new ward well enough to tell you, but I would imagine so, its about a ward of 100 from what I have heard. Can you believe mom that I will be at my year mark when you talk to me next, isn't that just nuts. I love you very much, and I miss you a ton. If there is anything else you want to know or that I could help you with, let me know. These are the last fotos, one is me bowling :) Take care!



(The last photos are of Kevin's companions and the sites)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 40~~

I honestly just want to tell you just how much I love you and how proud of you i am. we are honestly running super late, so i am going to do the best I can.   I am super happy for Bishop Barrus, I know that he is doing an awesome job, what is Wayne called to now. what movie did yall go see, where are you with the shamrocks. everything should be fine, I don't ask for a lot because i honestly don't have time to use a lot there has been no leader pressure as of late, everyone is happy with me, i have a family that i love down here. Google empanadas, they are great, i designed a business plan with them that should basically pay for my college, so we will see if i can get this down. one of my converts got the melchezideck priesthood and is now elders quorum secretary, the others have gone to the temple for baptisms. I am going to be honest mom, i worry about where you will work to be a lawyer after wards, I encourage you to pray a lot, and look for guidance.  I am excited about how fast the time is moving, two more weeks left in progreso, I wonder if they will send me off as a district leader or trainer, i hope so. I am honestly working my butt off, having good success, and there is not much else to say. I love you more than I can describe mother, you have no idea how proud i am about the temple and especially the tea, i know that as you keep that commandment you will be blessed more than you know. 

A couple of notes of experience just from observing members.
1. tithing and sabbath day observance are the two most important keys to activity in the church, if we keep those two things holy everything else follows.
2. the ability to help others is based on conversion, the degree to which we read the scriptures and pray determines our conversion.
3. we know we have faith when we do things like what you did with tea, you are showing you trust that God can give your more happiness than the tea..
4. Everyone can make an excuse, but there is always a way to accomplish everything if we want to.

That last point is something that i am so thankful to you and dad for. you honestly taught me how to problem solve, you didn't always do things for me, one of your most common phrases was well Kevin problem solve. That is so true, like I've realized when we want to do something, we can do it, although it may not be easy. In regards to what i need mom, like honestly just saving money is what is most important when i get back. I think an ipad and a small cheap car are going to be vital when I get back, so don't worry so much about right now, i am honestly fine, if I really lack anything i will give you a heads up. You really learn to live on less here.

my computer honestly has the wires popping out where I would send photos, so unfortunately I think that is an impossibility right now. I will be in a different area soon, so we will see what i can do in the weeks to come.

I love you very much, I pray for you every day.