Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Learning Through Teaching

Hola familia!!!

I'm sorry this is coming in so late, today's been a pretty crazy day. We got a call last night at about 11:00 that I had to be at the bus station at 6:00 in the morning to go to Monterrey to do some stuff for my visa. So we had to wake up at 4 this morning to get ready and then travel to the bus station. And then I was there all day in the immigration and mission offices. But it was cool because I got to see the missionaries in the Monterrey Mission who i'm never going to see again! kinda sad:( But then I just got back to my area about 30 minutes ago which is why this is coming in later than normal.  I also don't have a whole lot of time so sorry if I have to cut this short.

But.. i got some good news. The family got baptized yesterday!!!!:)) ahh it was soooo cool. Hermano J, his wife E, and D and A all got baptized. I had the opportunity to baptize E and A. And it is definitely something I will never forget. Practically the whole ward came to the baptism and the service was really really special. I was able to play a song on the piano for the service and the relief society sang a song as well. But the service was incredible and it's amazing to me the changes that they were able to make to come to Christ. From the first time we met them, they kept telling us how they didn't want to change religion or anything, but after that we have gotten so so close with all of them and i'm so grateful that they were able to make the decision to get baptized. Now we are just working on the two twins:)  But in teaching them I felt like they taught me so much more than I taught them. I feel like I learned so much through their example and willingness to strengthen their faith in Christ.That has been the case in almost everyone that we have taught, every person that we are able to find and teach, even just a little bit, I am able to learn something new from every single one of them. It strengthens my testimony every time i'm able to see the impact it has on other people's lives.

Well i'm sorry this letter is so short. And i'm sorry i can't reply to most of the emails this week either because i got a ton but only had time to skim through them. So i'm gonna print some off and hopefully be able to respond better next week!!! But I love you alll! Thanks for all the support! And there was a question about which address to send stuff too. And as of now all i know is that if you want to send me anything (and i know all of you do:)) to send it to the mission office address that i sent you guys last week. Have a great week everyone!!!!
Elder Bird
P.S... send me stuff!!!:)

Gonzales Vazquez Family.JPG


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

High on Hope, Not Dope :)

Hey guys!!!

So sounds like this week has been super fun for all you guys! Grandpa's definitely the best for taking all the cousins out for the little vacation, sounds like a lot of fun! And i'm glad you guys got your free bowling passes again for the summer, that was always super fun too. Also, I know there's a bajillion birthdays in June so i just want to say one giant happy birthday to everyone who has a birthday this month:) and also happy anniversary to grandma and grandpa!!!!!! And happy father's day Dad! And I can't believe Taylor is coming home this week. I'm excited for him and for all of you guys to see him and to see how much a mission has blessed his life!

Well this week has definitely had it's ups and downs. All of our baptismal dates were either postponed or fell through. Y, who we were planning to baptize this week got back together with her old boyfriend and are living together again and so now she can't get baptized, and the family that we are teaching continues to be super awesome but they have asked for a little more time, which is all good! So we pushed back their date to this Sunday the 23rd, so we'll see what happens there. But they all went to church again yesterday and really enjoyed it once again. They also have received their answer this week that the book of mormon is true, we had some really cool experiences with them in receiving their answers with them. Also this week was the first week in over 3 years for Hermano Jose where he hasn't drunk.. dranken.. dranked (I don't remember how to conjugate drink in the past tense.. haha) ...hasn't consumed alcohol! So we celebrated on Saturday night with a Carne Asada, soooo good. And this weekend (with the assumption that he won't drink again) we are going to celebrate with Discada, which is super super good. We're also hoping it will be a celebration for their baptism which they should be having this weekend!  As of right now for sure D and A (the 2 younger ones) and E, the mom, are for sure to be baptized. And the other 3 still have a little bit of doubt, or fears about getting baptized so we will work with them this week.So we got lots of work to do with them this week. We also will be baptizing Isai this Sunday, who is the son of a less active family in the ward that we found this week. So that's pretty awesome! 

Also now that I know I will be in the Saltillo mission I have the address to the mission offices where everyone can send me lots of letters and packages and stuff. :)

ESQUINA CON TRIGO, Col. Las Praderas,

But we got the news yesterday that President Rodriguez will be here on Sunday to introduce himself to everyone so we're super excited about that! It's sad to leave President Swapp but i'm still excited to meet President Rodriguez. All I know about him so far is that he is from Pachuca, Hidalgo here in Mexico (same place as Elder Islas) and... that's about it! Haha, but it will be great to get to know him.

We are continuing to work hard and find new people to teach, and my testimony and love for the gospel grows with every person we talk to. It's easy a lot of the time to take the gospel for granted as members our whole lives, but I invite you all to take a second just to think about what the gospel has done for you in your life, and where you would be without it, and I think you'll be able to feel a little more appreciative and grateful for the blessings that we have from having the full gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Well I love you all, and i hope you guys have a great week! Say hi to Taylor for me:) 

Elder Bird

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Changing Missions

We just came back on for a quick second to let you know the news! We just got the call from the zone leaders about cambios and I am officially going to stay here in the Saltillo Mexico Mission! So no longer in Mexico Monterrey West . . .  just letting you guys know!!! love you!

Editorial note from Dad:  The Mexico Monterrey West mission was split and a new mission was created-- the Mexico Saltillo Mission.  Austin will complete his mission in the Mexico Saltillo Mission barring any unforeseen changes. 

Summer Time

Hola Familia!!

I can't believe everyone is all out of school now! And even less that Kendall is going to be a senior and Caden will be in Middle School! You guys gotta stop growing up without me! Haha, but i hope finals went alright and now you can enjoy a couple months of relaxing!! Also I would like to wish Dad a happy father's day!! I'm pretty sure it was yesterday in the U.S too but i can't remember.. haha. 

Well, this week has been an incredible testimony builder to me. We met one of the most amazing families ever on Tuesday, the G family. They were a reference from an hermano from a different ward but we went to visit them and at first they were really hesitant to let us in and seemed pretty nervous, but once we started teaching them the spirit was sooo strong and their faith has grown exponentially since we met. There are 6 of them, the parents, 3 daughters and a son. And we have met with them everyday since Tuesday, they went to an activity in the church on Friday and then church on Sunday and already they all believe everything and have been so willing to change everything to come closer to Christ. It's been such a testimony builder to me to see what just 5 days with the gospel has done to their life, it really has fixed almost every problem they were having and they tell us all the time how much happier they have been. Honestly I can't imagine meeting a better family to teach. But tonight are cambios, and we don't know if we will be able to be here to baptize them or not... ahh. We're super nervous because we wanna stay to continue teaching them! Our plan right now is to baptize all 6 of them this Sunday, along with another sister we are teaching. So if everything works out like we hope, we will have 7 baptisms this Sunday! It's so cool! We're so excited to continue working with everyone this week (if we don't get changed) and to hopefully baptize them this Sunday. But through these people that we have met it has been able to help my testimony grow so much to see the changes and the happiness it has brought them. So, this week has been super cool to say the least:) 

Today was another fun P-day, because we went to the church to play basketball and soccer and then to Peter Piper Pizza because Elder Angeles is leaving tomorrow! Also, Taylor is coming home in a week!!! I seriously can't believe it, I feel like he just left yesterday! But his example in serving a faithful full 2 year mission has been such an example to me and a motivation to be better, along with all the other RM´s in the family:) 

Well, also as of this very moment i still have no clue what mission i will be in! But tonight we will be getting the calls to let us now. It's pretty nerve wracking and either way it'll be a little bittersweet to either leave my area and everyone here, or all the missionaries in the Mission Monterrey west and President and Sister Swapp. But who knows what will happen! I will probably be able to get on later this week to let you guys know.

Well, this week I have found that there are few things that can bring you greater happiness than service. We have really made an effort this week to look for every opportunity to serve, and we have been so blessed because of it to find people to teach. So I invite you guys to look for ways to serve the people around you, even if it seems like something little, you never know the effect it might have on them. Lose yourself in service!!!:)

I love you guys!!! And i'm excited for the Bakers that they will be able to see Taylor in just a few days! Hope everyone has a great week:)

Elder Bird

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lots of Surprises

Hola Familia!!!

First off, congratulations Amy and Andy!!!!!!! I have seen the pictures and she is so cute!!! Super happy for you guys! Second off, I can't believe that Taylor is coming home in a few weeks, how crazy is that! But i bet you guys are super super excited to see him:)

Well, So as far as me.. oiy. This week has been crazy. It's felt like a month long. We've had soo omuch to do. And there cambios within cambios so I now have a new companion! Elder Peralta from Peru. He's got 20 months in the mission and is really cool. But the changes were out of nowhere and we didn't know until Tuesday night when the Presidents called. So Elder Islas had to pack all of his stuff that night and then Wednesday morning we left from the Bus station at 7 in the morning to travel to Nueva Rosita, which is about 6 hours away. So we traveled there, and then we got there and got off the bus and almost immediately i had to leave again to return. So Elder Islas and I said goodbye and we were back in the bus back to Saltillo for 6 hours. It was really hard to leave Elder Islas! we had become really good friends, but, the mission is full of goodbyes. So i guess i gotta get used to it. Haha,but i was in the bus ALLLL day and the movie `The Smurfs`literally played 5 times straight. I think i can quote the entire thing now. But this week we've taught sooo many lessons and talked to sooo many people, i'm exhausted. But it's been good. unfortunately G has disappeared and we haven't been able to find him all week, which is a huge bummer :/ But we had a super powerful experience this week on Saturday night. We had a reference from another ward of a guy who lives in our area, but the only time he was available was at 9:00 at night. So we went to his house but he wasn't there, but outside his neighbors house were a bunch of drunk people, and they started talking to us. It was pretty funny, they could barely talk at all. But we talked to them for a little bit and then the other guy got to his house. So we knocked on his door and he answered shirtless and invited us in. So we went in and there was trash everywhere and there was barely any light at all. But we started talking to him and right away we could tell something was wrong. Then about 3 minutes into the conversation he started telling us alllll of his problems, all of his mistakes. He told us he suffers from depression and he often doesn't want to be alive. But we were able to calm him down and have a super super powerful lesson with him and explain to him the importance of the atonement and repentance. And at the end and he started to cry and thanked us for coming and that he knows that we were sent by God because he had plans to kill himself that night. It was such a powerful experience! Probably the most powerful i've had on my mission so far. It definitely has made all the hard times worth it just for this one experience. We are actually going to go visit him again tonight, so hopefully we have some luck. Umm, I've also been pretty sick this week, everything i eat makes my stomach hurt and i've had problems with that all week. So i was telling my ward mission leader about it while we were eating at his house and he told me about this member who could help me. so we went with her the next day and it was kinda weird. Haha, she says she can see all the sickness and problems through the eye, so she took a picture of my eye with this special camera and then started telling me alll these things i had, not just physical, but emotional and mental stuff too. It was like she was looking into my soul! Haha, it was so weird Half the stuff wasn't really true what she said i had but oh well. She gave me some medicine and today i feel a lot better, which is good. 

Well, i don't have too much time but i heard about the news that Kevin took a job at Beverly!!! That's sooooo cool!!!!! He'll be there with Audrey! So that means he'll be living in Plano. wooh!! congrats Kevin! But anyways, i love you guys! and i can't believe you will all be finishing school this week and starting your summer, but good luck on finals and have a great week:)

Elder Bird