Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Speedy Elder Bird (or Gonzalez)

It has Rained a Little
High Quality Roofing -- Not

Elder Holland!!!

Hola Familia!!! 

So it sounds like you guys have had a super fun week with all the family and having Kevin and Cortney in town! Hopefully Kevin gets the job in PISD so we can all party all the time! But that's great that you guys have all been able to hang out this week!

Oh man, so I'm just going to tell you guys right now that there's no way I will be able to explain how amazing Elder Holland was, but I will definitely do my best :)

So we were SOOO lucky to be able to have him come to our zone, so we only had to travel 15 minutes from our house to the church, but other missionaries had to travel up to 10 hours to get there! But we arrived at the church at about 8:00, and already all the missionaries from the whole mission were there outside talking. So I went and found Elders Keenan, Norseth, and Shaum, and it was super cool to talk to them all and see them again!! We realized that we were all 4 shades darker than we were when we left the MTC. Haha, so we talked for a little bit, and then President Swapp got us all organized by zone and we went into the chapel to get seated, and my zone got the front row seats. How lucky are we right? So we all sat down and sang some hymns while we were waiting for him to get there. And then President Swapp told us that he was in the church and so they went out to greet him and we all waited, and then he walked in!!  We all stood up and watched an apostle walk right by us. He instantly brought such a great spirit to the room. Then we all got the chance to go up to him and shake his hand. Soo cool! I was freaking out a little bit on the inside, haha. But I went up and shook his hand (needless to say I haven't washed that hand since:)) and said how great it was to meet him and he said "Great to meet you Elder Bird, thank you for your work". Cool huh? Also President Johnson was there with his wife, who is the area president in Mexico. So after we all got back in our seats we started the conference. First Hermana Swapp gave her testimony about faith, which was super strong. Then President Swapp got up and talked about the importance of inviting ALL to Christ, also very awesome. Then Sister and President Johnson got up and gave their talks about the importance of living the gospel, living what you preach. And the power of the spirit. All of them brought a really strong spirit into the meeting before Elder Holland spoke. Then, Elder Holland got up and spoke! Oh my goodness... if you thought his talks were strong through the t.v or computer... it was incredible. He is such an amazing speaker, it blew us all away. He started off talking about how his mission did more to change his life than any other young man who served a mission, and he bore his testimony right away about how much his mission meant to him, and why it meant so much to him. He told us that he wants us to love EVERY moment of the mission, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because you will never have better opportunities to learn and to grow than in these 2 years, or 18 months, on a mission. He said it's sad to him to see missionaries who stop progressing, who level off after their initial excitement, because the mission really is such an incredible opportunity. And he said the one thing that breaks his heart more than anything in the world, is to see a returned missionary go inactive. It was incredible to see how passionate he was about this, and he said if we go inactive he was going to hunt us down. Haha, so just keep that in mind returned missionaries :) He then started to talk about the importance of being your best convert, and if you can just convert that one person (yourself) then what a successful mission you have served. He taught us the importance of living the things you teach will all your heart, and that we can't teach an investigator anything that we aren't willing to live for the rest of our life. Then he started to talk about how much he loves the book of mormon and the importance of it in our faith. I honestly have never heard a more powerful testimony on the Book of Mormon than what he gave to us. He finished his talk bearing this testimony, along with his testimony of christ, and how he KNOWS without a doubt that Christ lives and is there for us. It was SOOOO powerful. And he ended with telling us how much he loves us and appreciates the sacrifice we are making to the Lord and how we will be blessed beyond what we can imagine if we serve a faithful mission. Ahh, guys I can't even tell you how incredible it was to  hear him speak in person. It's definitely safe to say that he motivated us ALL to be better missionaries.

So since he talked I have really been making more of an effort to be the best missionary I can be, and to talk to EVERYONE, no matter how uncomfortable it might be. And we have already seen the results! On Thursday we met a really really cool family who we were able to teach a little bit and they already have a desire to be baptized! So we are going to try to prepare them and get them ready to baptize in 2 sundays, the last week of the cambio. We also had G come with us to church yesterday and he is very excited to be baptized and we have a service for him on Sunday, so we are going to do everything to make sure we can baptize him next week. We're still also working with A a little bit but he hasn't been progressing as much as we hoped so we have had to make the decision of whether to keep teaching him or find someone else, which has been really hard. Because he's really cool! But, maybe he's just not ready. On Wednesday I went on splits with Elder Canul (the Zone Leader) in his area, which is the centro of Saltillo. It`s a pretty rough area and I encountered more drunks and druggies on Wednesday than i have in all my time in my area, But we met some cool people for him and his companion to teach after I left. On Saturday, Fundadores had a baptism for 2 people in their area that we had  been able to teach and prepare a little bit on Thursday with them, and that was way cool! 

Well, we're continuing to work hard in our area, I'm continuing to get tanner, I'm continuing to forget english, haha. Just kidding. But only kinda. It really is getting hard for me now to only speak in English, which is a super good sign! The few times a week i get to speak in english i find myself speaking in spanish half the time just out of habit, which is pretty cool! But this week has been incredible because of the spirit that Elder Holland brought to us. And as far as the new mission, I still know nothing. I'm guessing at this point that we won't know which mission we will be in until the night of cambios. But anyways, i'll keep you guys in the loop. Love you guys!!!! Study hard and finish out the school year strong!! Miss you! Have a great week :)

Elder Bird

Monday, May 27, 2013

Work, Work, Work

Hey guys!!!! So first off... Happy Anniversary mom and dad!!!!!!! Are you surprised that i actually remembered? Because I am too... haha.  But anyways, love you guys. happy 21st anniversary;) and congratulations to the newlyweds!!!! I heard it was a party in Arizona! Wish i coulda been there!

So this week we have been allllll over the place. It's been super busy. On Tuesday we took a kid out from our ward who is preparing for a mission and he was with us all day, which was way cool! We had a lot of cool experiences with him and were able to get him excited to put in his papers to serve a mission. It was also my worst experience with diarrhea on the mission... hahaaa. it was awful. as soon as we got into the house of the investigator it hit me and we had to leave and then run from store to store looking for a bathroom. So Elder Islas and Isaac (the kid in our ward) were laughing at me the entire time, but it was awful!!!!!! (you don't have to put that in the blog if you don't want to. haha, or you can if you want. whatever's fine with me;) Also it rained all night Monday and then all day Tuesday, which was HORRIBLE. I would much rather have it be sunny then rainy and wet. All the streets turned into rivers and we were soaking wet all day, which was super dumb! But then on Wednesday we had our interviews with President Swapp! Which was superrrrrr great. He has such a strong spirit and he was able to give me a lot of great advice to help me become a better missionary. It also might be the only interview I have with him depending on what mission I end up in since the mission is changing this cambio. Then on Wednesday night and Thursday we went on splits with the Elders in Fundadores, so I was with Elder Chable in my area. Which was kinda fun, he has a really unique teaching style so it was cool to learn from him. And we were able to meet Guillermo, who is a 14 year old cousin of some members in the ward of Elder Chable. And he wants to be baptized! So we are working with him and are planning to baptize him this Sunday. Way exciting.Yesterday was missionary Sunday in our ward and so they asked me to play a song for sacrament meeting, so i played I know my Redeemer Lives (the really cool EFY version) and that was way cool! I was pretty nervous I was going to mess up or the pages were going to fall or something, but nope! all good;) Today was way fun too, we went to Peter Piper Pizza for Elder Watt's birthday, all you can eat Pizza! Soo good. ALMOST as good as Cicis:) 

Funny story of the week, we went to the church to practice my song on Saturday night and there were people in there cleaning it. And we have keys to the church so we weren't worried but they left and locked up the church and we didn't finish until about an hour later so we went to leave.. and we were locked in! and our keys wouldn't work! And the doors are different here so if it's locked, then you can't leave or get in. So we were locked in the church! Haha, ahh so we called the other Elders and had to wait almost 2 hours to have them come save us.... embarassing right? 

So guess who comes tomorrow... Jeffrey R. Holland!!! wooh! we're soooooo excited! The whole mission is coming down to Saltillo to see him speak tomorrow, and some missionaries have to leave at midnight or 1 in the morning to make it but luckily we are only 20 minutes away from the church by Taxi. So we're super excited, i'll also get to see the Elders from my MTC district too which will be sweet!!! 

Well, that's all i got for you guys this week! Love you all! hope you have a great week! i'll be sure to take lots of notes tomorrow so i can tell you guys all about Elder Holland. Love you:)

Elder Bird

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Excited for Mother's Day

Hola familia!!!!

First off I want to say how excited I am to talk to you guys this week!!! I can not wait! I just got the newsletter from the mission offices and they said we can either talk the 10th (which is Mother's day in Mexico) or the 12th, which is Mothers day there. So i'm not exactly sure what Elder Islas wants to do but I'm guessing that the 12th, or Sunday, would be best for all of us, but let me know which day and at what time will work best for you guys to have everyone there and i will be able to check my email again in a couple days just to verify when will work best, and we are going  to do it through skype because that is way better than just over the phone so let me know in an email as soon as possible! and we have permission to check the email once again before then just to make sure everything is set and we know what time we can do it and all that stuff. so, yep! i'm way excited:)

Hmm, so this week has been another crazy one. So much has happened, so i will try to remember everything, but if not   I can just tell you when we talk this week right? :) So first off, just like you guys, the weather has been crazy here. We seriously had to switch from sweaters to short sleeves almost everyday. Elder Islas is a little sick because of all the changes in temperature. but as far as i know, from now on it's just going to be super hot all the time. yayyyy... haha, well  this week was the beginning of the new cambio, and i'm still with Elder Islas, so that didn't change, but he got called as District Leader! wooh! it's way cool, he's been doing a great job. And i've actually had the chance to do a lot of the work, like 3 or 4 nights of the week i will be the one calling all the elders in the district and the zone leaders to pass all the numbers for the day, which is cool! it gives me chances to see what the leaders have to do. So that's been pretty cool. Elder Hernandez finished his mission this week and Elder Vargas left so we have 2 new elders in the district, Elder Angeles, who finishes his mission after this cambio, and the Elder he is training, another Elder Vargas. And they actually moved in with us because their house was in horrible condition so now we have 4 elders in our house, which is kinda cool.

So this weekend the Stake had a mission conference. So we were there almost all Friday and Saturday. But it was wayyyy cool! All the prospective missionaries in the Stake came, along with any other member that wanted to come. And each one of the Elders in the stake (10 of us) had the chance to train them in a part of PMG, which was pretty cool. Friday night we had an old mission president come and speak with everyone, and there were some videos and a few other speakers and then all the Elders sang a song, and they asked me to play the piano. Right before we sang... haha. It was to the tune of 'If you could Hie to kolob´ which i have never played, but it went pretty well! And now the members in the ward are asking me to play during sacrament meeting, so who knows! Then Saturday we each trained all the members there and then we each went out with a group of prospective Elders to contact in the street for about 30 minutes, at first everyone was really hesitant to talk to people but at the end my group didn't want to stop talking to people! It was kinda weird to think that that was me a few months ago. But it was really cool to get people excited to serve a mission and it made me realize how great serving a mission really is. Then on Saturday night we had to do Divisions because Elder Islas had to do a baptismal interview, so i went with Elder Knight in my area. So i was the senior companion! I was pretty nervous at first, because both of us aren't too great in Spanish yet (he only has one more cambio than i do), but we went to visit A, the kid who we are teaching. And it was amazing how comfortable i felt doing  all the talking and teaching! I was so nervous when we got there but everything came so much easier than i expected and we were able to have a really powerful lesson. It was incredible to me to feel the spirit work through me to testify the truth to him. Now we have a fecha meta for his baptism for the 19th. So we're going to see him a lot this week and next to make sure everything works out! 

Being a missionary has helped me realize how important the gospel is to me. It seems like every time i am able to testify or bear my testimony to someone, i realize just how much it means to me to have a testimony. And i have been able to understand the principle of faith so much more. With A on Saturday we talked about Alma 32  because he is struggling with the concept of Faith, and why we need to believe in God. But it says how to have faith you don't need to have a perfect knowledge, but rather it is a hope for things that we can't see, and how that little by little our faith will grow into a knowledge. My faith in the gospel and in the Savior have grown so much in these past few months and it is such a blessing to be able to testify to people that I believe that the gospel is true, and that Christ is our savior. It brings a kind of happiness and peace that only comes through the gospel.

Also congratulations Mark and Stevie on the baby! She's way cute! Crazy to think she'll already be walking and talking by the time i meet her. Umm, i also forgot to congratulate Caden last week for his championship in soccer, glad you could learn from the best:) and Grant too on his cross country meet! That is something you did NOT learn from me, i can't remember the last time i was actually in shape. haha, also that's way cool that Elder Christofferson was able to come talk to you guys. I'm sure the spirit was super strong and what a blessing it is to be able to listen to apostles in person, i am SUPER stoked to have Elder Holland talk to us in a few weeks. 

Well, I am beyond excited to talk to you guys this week, it's great to hear that everything is going well with everyone. i love you all and miss you!!

Elder Bird