I got to Mexico and made it through immigration without any trouble. The first day in the mission they like to have you go and do street contacting to let you get used to it...Little did they know I had already been serving a mission in Utah :) We grabbed some dinner and went back to the mission offices to sleep. The next day we met with the (He was in a meeting with Elder Bednar and so couldn't meet us in the airport) and had interviews. He's completely different from my last mission president. He pays strict heed to the rules, for one thing, which makes the Mexico City South mission have a completely different feel than the Utah Ogden mission. Furthermore, after he interviewed us he had an idea of who our companions and what our areas were going to be, but he said that he "fears doing anything without the authorization of the Spirit." It wasn't until after he felt certain about the areas that he told us where we were going. For these reasons, and many more, I know I'm in the right mission for me. I fit this mission. The other one just didn't quite fit right ;). Plus now I'm back to the motherland ;). (Curtis and his sisters kid about this because their grandmother was born in Mexico)
I've been assigned to the San Juan area in the Volcanes zone, well outside Mexico City. We've done a LOT of contacting (last week, from Tuesday through Saturday, we contacted about 160 people on the street and tracting) and I've even grown to love it ;) It makes me laugh every time one of the missionaries tells us we have a dead area. In one week we gained ten investigators and one accepted a conditional baptismal date (the condition being she finds out it's true). I've come to the firm conviction that, if there was no work to be done in an area, that is, if every member was striving to live the gospel and every non-member had heard and rejected the gospel, that the righteous would be taken up to Zion and the wicked would be kicked out of the city or destroyed. We'll know we're getting close because the city will start to glow ;). Until that point, there is a LOT of to be done and all it takes is faith in God and a lot of work to bring the Spirit which helps us find people and do the work. We've already seen our share of miracles here. We happen to run into people on the street that are very excited to hear about the gospel, people accept the gospel and are willing to pray about it on the first visit, and our share of spiritual experiences that simply cannot be written to be spread widely. My companion's name is Elder Montalvo. His family is from Arizona (poor guy) and he has 21 months in the mission :). He's a very kind and hard working missionary and I'm very blessed to have him as a companion.
Such is life in the Mexico City South Mission. I've come to realize a few things this last week. The first is that we must comply with the rules and commandments completely and then the Lord is bound to send His Spirit to be with us as a member of our companionship. I've learned that if you don't have the Spirit, it is impossible to teach. I've learned that, when I'm tired and want to just stop walking and sleep, I just have to say to myself, "forget yourself and go to work." This is the Lord's time, not mine. He's the one that directs my words, the words are not my own. I'm learning to forget myself and go to work. It's not that hard, you just keep going and forget about your own fears and desires and put yourself in God's hands. That's when miracles happen on a mission.
I love being on a mission. Yes it's hard work, but it's a time when you can, quite literally, walk with God. It's a blessing, hard as it may be.
I'm feeling much better than I was before. Ironically I have felt better since getting to Mexico than I ever did in Utah. :P God is blessing me with health, the language, lessons, investigators, the Spirit, and so much more. I know that very little of what we get done, if anything, is done by me. works through us, and that's everything to me.
On the business side of things, I gave Davis hospital as well as instacare (I went there right before I left) my insurance information. They should have taken care of it :P. Mondays are now my Preparation Days, plan your emails accordingly. I'm not sure what the policy is on writing multiple family members by email every week. I've read in some materials that the mission gave me that I should only write one general email. I feel that it's okay to still write Ryan, as he has no way of communicating otherwise, but if I want to write individual letters I might have to do it by hand. I'm going to check on this soon. It's vital to me to keep the rules as strictly as possible, otherwise the Lord is not bound to send us the Spirit. I still can read all the emails that you send me, that was specifically stated, so please keep writing and keeping me up to date. :)
I talked a lot about binding the Lord. That's important to me. That phrase comes from D&C 82:10, "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." Basically, if we fulfill our side of the promise we can have a perfect hope that the Lord will complete his side as well. I hadn't thought of it in that manner, especially for having the Spirit with us, until just recently and thought I would share it with you. The other thing that has been impressed upon me recently has been the power of prayer. Near the end of Alma it talks about how all the people were saved by the prayers of the righteous. I have seen the power of prayer in a mission and have felt the power of the many, many prayers that are offered for us. Thank you for praying for me and the missionaries around the world, you make a significant difference in our lives. :)
I've talked sufficiently, I think, so here is my testimony. I know God is there and answers my prayers. He doesn't always give me what I want, but an "answer" is not always what you ask for, it's just that, an answer. I know God lives. I know Jesus is my Savior and the Savior of the whole earth. I know we have living prophets again on the earth that God uses to guide and direct His church. I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. I know that, more than anything, that God Loves us and wants the best for us in all things. He is my Father and I Love Him. :) This is the only path that leads all the way to Eternal Life. It is my privilege to be a medium for the Spirit to guide people back to that path.
I love you all dearly and hope all is well :)
All my love,