So there’s this GREAT family we’re teaching, the Akala family. They are one of the coolest families I have ever taught in the mission. I haven’t sent a message in a while to everybody, but this family we found at the begining of the past, cycle 6 weeks, and now thay’re getting baptized this coming week. My comp and I have been talking about it, and we have felt very blessed to be able to find a family the first day we got here, and see their conversion. The Lord truly has prepared this family.
Due to not having enough time to write all that I would love too, I have taken pictures of my entries that will give you a better idea of the happenings and goings on that I’m experiencing on my mission here in Chihuahua, Mexico. Sorry if my handwriting is a little small, if you need translational help, just leave a comment and mi padre will be happy to translate/transcribe them for you! 😀
Con Amor, Elder Arnold
The mission is great as always! I love it here in Mexico… the people, the food, everything!
There are miracles that happen everyday here. This past Wednesday we went with a “not as progressing” investigator named Javier Chavria. We showed up with Hermano Perez, but anyways, we got there and he started talking to us. He didn’t want to continue with the messge at all, he told us he was born Catholic and that was the way he was going to stay and that we should just leave. Well … my companion didn’t want to, he told Javier, please just give us 15 mins of your time so we can talk with you and your family. Grudgingly he let us in, saying, “That there’s no point because he’s never going to change his mind.” Anyway, he let us in; and, Elder Conklin began to teach the restoration, starting with the ministry of Christ. We then switched off, and in my broken Spanish, explained about the great apostasy and the restoration of the gospel. One more moment passed and I know I was not speaking … the explanation was not my own (it was the Spirit teaching). I then testified of what I had said. Then hermano Perez who was also a converted Christian bore his testimony. One of the most, if not, the best lessons I have ever had. We didn’t set a return date with him, he set one with us. In spanish he told us to come back Friday at 5:00pm. Miracles happen.
One thing I learned that is really cool and semi-annoying about the mission and life itself is that your habits, way of teaching, way of thinking, EVERYTHING changes, or at least should. Almost every week I learn something new, a way to improve myself, something I’m not doing right. WELL, I was talking about this with my companion, and we both find it a good thing, we’re both trying to improve as missionaries and as sons of God. One thing that he told me is that we can serve our mission for 24 months, or we can serve the same mission 24 times. In essence, saying we can serve one month and gain that experience then use it for the next 24 months and never change, or we can serve 24 months continually changing. Every month finding new things and gaining more knowledge, what works and what doesn’t. God can’t mold us if we refuse to change. He can’t help us become the people we were meant to be without change. Just something to think about.
Work, it seems just like such a simple thing, and it really is. But as a missionary, and in life itself, it means the world. There’s just a certain feeling of happiness and sense of completion when we know we’ve worked hard and succeded.
As missionary how diligent we are in the work determines a couple of things. How much we love God. “If you love me keep my commndments”. We are commnded to come here and serve the lord with all our might, heart, mind, and strength. When we do these things we re blessed. We also show to our God that we love him and care for His work.
I personally have seen this happen. My companion and I work hard, we do our best to invite people to come unto Christ and quite literally, be happy. There is however always room for improvement. We are not the best contactors. One, my companion is sometimes a bit shy, and while I don’t think I am, I don’t exctly speak the best spanish. This Friday and Saturday however we just decided to go a little bit crazy in the area of contacting. If we at all felt as though we maybe should contact somebody. We did it.
How amazing it was too. I have never been so excited to work while I’ve been here. Yeah I’ve had some success as a missionary through the Lord, but honestly I haven’t been the most successful missionary, if that even makes sense to you people haha.
To me a successful missionary is somebody who knows they are trying their hardest, doing their best to share and invite in all circumstances. While I’m not perfect at it, I am trying my hardest to do so. That makes me feel successful. Whether we’re in a bus, in a taxi, anywhere!
One thing it says in preach my gospel, I don’t remember it 100 percent, but it goes like “The secret to missionry work is work.”
I know and testify that it’s true. The most joy we can have is when we are serving our fellow men, and in turn, serving God. This is the Lord’s work, I wouldn’t be this happy and excited working quite honestly 24/7 if it weren’t. And though at time it’s difficult, the result is worth it.
I can truly say I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here. There are trying times, times where you wish you were speaking english, moments where you are completly physically exhausted, and I could go on. It’s so worth it, the amount of things I have learned, people I’ve seen change their lives, EVERYTHING! I love this lifestyle, completly focusing my life on the Savior and trying to be more like Him, the life I wish I could continually live, and hopefully always will.
Things that are new:
I am now in the Mission choir, pretty cool stuff.
I am learning how to cook pretty well, I make some of the best breakfast burritos ever. Sorry for the pridefulness.
I figured out pig skin and cow stomach are not foods I like too well. Although cow intestine tastes really good.
We also had three baptisms! Isabel, Eduardo, and Elizbet. All amazing people!
The most amazing story was Isabel. So this lady has been investigating the church for the past 20 years. She’s had problems with smoking, she has family problems, she’s had many baptismal dates, she’s even touched the waters of baptism, and in general she is just an exceptionally difficult lady. But anyways we dropped by her house a little while ago, and she had been free of smoking for about 2 weeks. Anyways we dropped and through the window we could see she was smoking. She let us in, went into another room, and started crying. To be honest, we had no clue what to do. We kind of just looked at each other for a bit. Eventually we started talking about what was going on. She told us that this day had been a really hectic day, her ex-son-in-law came over and apparently her husband and him got into in argument and eventully her spouse pulled a knife out on him and told him to leave. Afterwrds her daughter, who lives in her house left and they didn’t know where she went. So with all this happening she was very sad and with that she started to smoke. Right when that happened we showed up! She said she had never felt so guilty. We then explained to her that she shouldn’t feel guilty with us, we were just there to help. In fact I’ve never felt so wanting to help somebody in my life I think. Anyways we then explained the atonement of Jesus Christ and asked if she would accept a baptismal date. She said yes and was baptized this past Friday.
This work is beautiful. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. I know this church is truly the Lord’s church. I know He loves each and every single one of us.
The mission is such a rewarding and fun experience. I get to learn more fully how to study, work hard, budget, cook, communicate with others, and communicte with others in spanish. It’s a very worthwhile use of 2 years.
What I truly love most is what I have learned. I have learned so much about God and Jesus Christ, more than I would have otherwise thought I could have. How I’m able to see Christ’s love for a person through my own person. How I am able to invite others to change their lives to become more of what our Father in Heaven wants them to be. How through me God can work miracles and can bless the lives of his children.
There’s an older lady, named Isabell, who we’ve been teaching, and that has been investigating for close to 20 years. Well, my companion and I went to their house the other day and wanted to know how everything has been going. We ended up talking about baptism and what she thought about it. She didn’t want to give up some of her habits, and that was what was keeping her from it. I then asked her what she wanted more … Eternal happiness or her habits keeping her from bapism. She then responded eternal happiness. Due to her change of heart, and all the work others have put into teaching her she’s now going to be baptized this Wednesday, and her husband is wanting to one day do the same.
I know that his church is true, I know i with all my heart, mind, might, and strengh. It has changed my life for the better, and I have been able to see it make a change in theirs. I love this work with all my heart.
So this week I finally had my first normal study day!!! It wasn’t even with my normal companion … kind of frustrating, but at least it happened. YAY!!
We had two more baptisms though this week! Kevin Picharlo and Javier Chivarier, pretty exciting especially since the latter of the two didn’t want to be baptized and wasn’t seeming interested at all, and then somebody in our zone said a few things to him and he said he wanted to now! He had been investigating for several months at this time too. All in the Lord’s time I guess.
I also got to be senior companion in my area for about 5-6 hours, because my companion and another trainer in our house had to go to the offices for some immigration things. It was very entertaining I must say.
We also had a Christmas party this past Saturday. There was so much food, it was insane! There were about 8 people per table, and each table had 2 turkeys, mashed potatoes, salad, noodles, and soda. It was insane! It was funny because soda isn’t allowed here at all, and they just decided to let us drink it. A lot of elders kinda flipped out because they hadn’t had it in so long.
Work is getting more and more entertaining. I love it here. I love the people, and I love the mission in general.
Also my comp was Santa Clause!! Such a great combination. Although he looks a lot more like Santa than I look like Jesus.
This week was just a really cool week, and also difficult. It was really cool in that I was able to baptize somebody, physicaly, not just have a baptism. There’s also probrably going to be 4 more baptisms this month, which is amazing, because this area has only had 2 baptisms in the past 2 months. Not a terrible thing to start off with. The only thing that bothers me is that yes, they are being baptized, and I’ll be there for it, but they’re not from my work and diligence. I’m exceptionally grateful to be in an are that’s prospering, but I really want to see the fruits of my own labors. I know that’s all based on how hard I work and am obedient, but I can’t wait for that time.
Before I left the CCM I was really praying and fasting and praying for a good and obedient trainer. God heard my prayers. His name is Elder Conklin and he’s a very obedient missionary, which is amazing cause that’s the biggest thing I wanted to be on my mission! Great three months to learn. We also get along exceptionally well, we work hard and joke around quite a bit, great combintion.
What realy stinks is I haven’t had a full study time. Most days I haven’t had any study time. There’s always something that pops up, usually it’s a meeting. Also because of this we loose a lot of time in the day, that mixed with Christmas makes it kinda difficult to get a hold of people.
I also showered using a bucket this morning, That was exciting.
Also the mailing adress if you want to send me stuff is this. The address is in the U.S. and then he brings it over to Chihuahua every once in a while. It’s safe and it’s cheaper.
Julio Velazquez/ (Nombre del Misionero)
P.O. Box 1486
Well I´m glad that Thanksgiving went well, even without me! Thanksgiving here was actually pretty cool, we had a devotional given by Elder David A Bednar, and it was a Q&A, granted he only answered 5 or so questions in an hour and a half, and it was a broadcast, it was pretty dang amazing. The staff also got pretty dang fancy too, we got actual silverware!!! The food was turkey with mashed potatoes so that was pretty cool. The best part was that we got pie though!!! I like pie. Then to top it all off we had chicken bakes for dinner that were from cosco, so it all not a spectacular thanksgiving, but a pretty good one.
I emailed Tim a bit, hopefully that´ll help him out.
Becky said the games weren’t the same without me haha. She said the werewolf game wouldn’t have been fun cause William and I couldn’t be together ;). Made me chuckle inside.
So my first companion, Elder Simon got pretty mad at me and Elder Bangeter today. I like to wake up really early, 4:30 to get my laundry done and then put it in the drier at 5:30. So Elder Simon really likes his sleep and I tried to be nice and make it possible to not wake him up, which I did cause at 4:15 I woke up and just decided to get my laundry done then, but at 5:30 I needed my alarm and when it went off he started kicking my bed to get it to shut off, which granted was pretty funny haha. I didn’t think it was a big deal, you wake up by alarm and fall back asleep, but he was pretty mad about it and still is pretty mad. I feel kinda bad, but if I don’t do it in the morning everybody is trying to do it at the same time and it gets hectic. I can’t help it if he´s gonna be mad about this, I love the guy, but he’s very hard to get along with.
Thankfully I´m getting out of here though, 2 in the morning on Monday, WOOP!!!! I love the people here and the sports and everything, but I absolutely can´t wait until I can finally do the Lord´s work and maybe bring about some miracles. The two hermanas that are in the district before us that have already left have a total of 4 baptisms already, it´s cool to see how much the Lord´s work is progressing in other´s missions. I can only hope the same will happen to me. I know that it depends on my work and focus, but even still, sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
Hope you like the email, and possibly the next time I email you I´ll be in Chihuahua.
Haha sounds like typical Christmas decorating. You know if I were there I´d prolly be the same way too. (His response to Tim not helping with Christmas decorating and Kathy and I doing most of it 🙂
The game sounds fun though, wish I were able to play it dangit. (Kathy wrote about a Turkey Shoot Scripture Mastery game she played as an activity with her Seminary class)
I´m glad Tim finally got asked to hang out though!!! (Tim was invited to go see Interstellar with some of his new friends from Church/Scouts). I know he still doesn´t really hang out with people yet, but does he at least talk to his quorum any more than he used to? And what movie did he see?
I´m really quite depressed I won´t be able to see the new Hobbit or the new Hunger Games. We talk about Lord of the Rings quite a bit in our classroom. We decided who was what character in our zone, I guess I´m Gandalf, haha. Quite depressed though, I will be having a Lord of the Rings marathon when I get back though!
Anyways, life at the CCM: Today we went to the temple and that was great. I bought some cool Mexican stuff that I´ll take a picture of and send it later. But we took a lot of pictures and went through the visitors center. Which is just like all the other ones, so basically we just took pictures and bought stuff. Not much else happened though.
We did our first TRC lesson. TRC is with people from the outside world, not just with volunteer teachers people. It was quite entertaining though, we taught 4 little girls of ages 8, 7, and two of 10. Really cute little girls though. Basically we just talked with them for 20 mins and then taught a lesson on prayer for the last 10. I don´t think we´ll be able to do this again until the last Saturday before we leave which is a bummer to say the least.
I also gave a talk this Sunday on the Attributes of Christ, and everybody says I´m fluent in Spanish. Especially since I didn´t have a written down testimony and it went on for about a min. It was quite the cool experience.
I also met some volleyball guys and we might get the chance to play some doubles, I would absolutely love that .
Idk what else to talk about, everything is just same old same old still.
Love you all so very much, I´ll be getting on later to send pics and whatnot if you want to write me back.