Merry Christmas

Dear Family,

Happy New Years! Well I’m glad I got to talk to you on Christmas! It is hard to believe that four months have already gone by since I last saw you guys. This week has been a little bit of a different one with Christmas, but it was a good week. I am looking forward to getting back to normal though. Our schedule didn’t really change, but there were tons of fireworks over the last few nights. On Christmas, people were lighting off fireworks until 2 or 3 in the morning. I’m really excited to get some sleep now. Haha. It’s going to be another super loud night on New Years though. Well not much has changed since I talked to you guys on Skype, so I’ll keep this pretty short. It was super good to talk to you guys. Love you lots! Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

 

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Aaron’s Missionary Zone

Keeping a Great Perspective while Serving

Dear Family,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope Tanya gets feeling better quickly and recovery from her surgery fast. I’m sorry to hear about that! She is a tough girl though so I know she’ll get through it. Get her some a card and some balloons or something from me and Jared. You can take the money out of my account to get it for her. That is awesome that there are so many members of the church there in the hospital that were able to give her a blessing. I am glad that she has good doctors and surgeons there in the USA. We went to the hospital a week ago or so to give a blessing to a members daughter who was there. We had to go through all sorts of security to get in and it was kind of a heartbreaking sight to see the hospital there. When we got to her room, there were 5 or 6 other kids all crammed into the same room. They were all sick with one thing or another and I’m sure it wasn’t helping that they were all in one room. When we left, I felt sad because of their situation and there wasn’t really much I could do about the conditions they had in the hospital. I am extremely grateful for what we have at home.

Well there really wasn’t a whole lot that happened this week. I worked hard and invited just about everyone that I came across to be baptized. We only had one investigator make it to church this last Sunday, but I am working as hard as I can, so it’s just a matter of time before we are able to have a baptism. We have a Christmas multizone tomorrow and I am super excited about it! The assistants to the president told me that it is going to be awesome and that we are going to love it. I always love multizones because I learn a lot, and I can always feel the spirit when I go. Well I really don’t really have much else to say about this week about what I did. I did learn a lot though. Last week, Jared sent me a talk about being a consecrated missionary. I read it and have been trying my best to be a consecrated missionary everyday. I am trying to be more diligent and work harder and be 100% obedient. I have a laminated quote that I always carry in my shirt pocket that says, “obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles.” I am trying super hard to apply that to my mission and become not just a good missionary, but a consecrated one. As I have been doing that, I find myself truly desiring to learn more from the scriptures every day and am becoming more and more converted to the gospel. I have seen a huge change in myself over the last few months. My goals and actions involve having a lot more of an eternal perspective on things and it has changed me for the better. I still have tons and tons to go with my spiritual growth, but I have noticed a big difference.

Well I hope you all have an amazing Christmas holiday and remember the true meaning behind the Christmas season. Love you lots!

Love,

Elder Black

Just Working Hard

Dear Family,

If you guys can figure out the time between here, the U.S., and Mexico that would be great. Then we could all talk at the same time. You guys can pick the hour, then just tell me what time I need to be on Skype and I will get on. I would like to try and call you guys and Jared at the same time, but if that doesn’t work, Jared and I could probably talk too.

This week we got to go to the temple with all of our investigators for a mission activity. It was fun having the whole mission there with a ton of investigators and less active members. Our mission president talked for a little while with everyone, then we had different stations around the temple where we took groups of people and there were missionaries there to teach them about a specific topic. There were a ton of people there and it was a pretty successful activity.

Mario is doing fairly well. It has been awhile since we have been able to teach him a lesson, but we have talked to him on the phone quite a bit. He has been reading in the Book of Mormon and is progressing very well. He still doesn’t feel ready to be baptized, but he is praying to get an answer. One of his best friends is a returned missionary, so she helps us out a ton. They have a lot of gospel discussions and she helps out a lot in lessons too. I don’t think it will be too much longer before he gets baptized.

Our area has had a bunch of baptismal dates fall through, but we are still working hard and I know that success will come our way if we keep working. Dad, I really liked what you said about success not being measured by the number of baptisms, or by any other similar thing, but that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ define success in terms of the changes that takes place in people’s lives for the better, both the missionaries and the people that they work with. That is the perfect definition of success for me. I am going to work extremely hard to find people to baptize, but if I don’t baptize tons of people, that doesn’t matter. What I will know and that no one will be able to tell me otherwise is that I worked extremely hard during my mission and tried my best to always have the spirit with me.

On Sunday, I found a bunch of phone numbers of old investigators. I made about 40 phone calls before church, inviting anyone that I could get ahold of. None of them came to church, but I did find 5 people that said we could come and visit them on another day. That was pretty cool, but the even better part was that we had three people we didn’t know show up to church with their friends that are members. I know that was a blessing that came from trying to do my part of bringing people to church. Sometimes God blesses us in ways that we do not expect. We also had a Christmas dinner in our ward this week and were able to find a few investigators from that too. Hopefully we find a few that are ready to progress and be baptized from those people.

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Black

A Trip to the Temple

Dear Family, This week has been a pretty crazy one with some big ups and downs. On Wednesday, we got to go to the temple. I think it is the most spiritual temple experience I have ever had. It was really nice to be able to leave the normal mission stresses behind at the temple doors and feel completely relaxed as I was in there. I wish we could go more often, but I will have plenty of time to go to the temple as much as I want in a year from now. I think today marks the day that makes it so I have exactly one year left in the mission. It’s crazy that I have already been out here back on my mission for three months. I haven’t felt the time at all. We were going to be baptizing Blanca and Edwardo yesterday, but it ended up falling through and didn’t happen. I guess on Saturday night, her husband changed his mind about letting her get baptized and was yelling at her about it. He told her she was going to wake up and go to church at his church the next day, because he was the boss of the house and she has to do what he says. I feel really bad for them, but we are going to keep working with them to help her husband change a little bit. I wish he realized that all the decisions for the family can’t just be made by him. It should be him and his wife working together to make the decisions that are best for the both of them. The lack of respect that men have for women here is kind of sad. I’m glad you guys taught me to always respect women. Mario is doing really well. Yesterday he came to church and then to the Christmas devotional again by himself. He was a little hesitant to accept a baptismal date, but he is reading the Book of Mormon and really likes what he has found in the church so far. I think he will get baptized soon. It helps a lot that one of his best friends is a member and helps him out a lot with reading and understanding everything in the church. This is a pretty tough area for baptisms. There has not been a missionary baptism here in my area for about a year, so I am feeling really optimistic about what is happening here in our area. I think Blanca, Edwardo, and Mario will all get baptized soon. They all have the desire to get baptized, but just have small things that are holding them back a little bit. I know they will eventually get past those challenges and get baptized. Whether that happens while I am here or not doesn’t matter so much. I just really want them to be able to get baptized to make it back to Heavenly Fathers presence. Last night we got to watch the Christmas Devotional. If you didn’t get the chance to watch it, you should definitely take the time to watch it. I really liked it a lot and it made me think a lot about the true meaning of Christmas. After learning some Spanish out here and thinking about the word Christmas in English, I realized something really cool. The word “mas” in Spanish means more. If you speak a little spangish and switch the words around it becomes “more Christ.” In the Christmas holiday, we should remember more of Jesus Christ. The presents and family traditions are a lot of fun and help bring the family closer together, but we should always remember Christ as we have fun with all of those other traditions. Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, especially out here on the mission. It is much easier to focus just on Christ out here. Well I love you all and hope you have a great week! Love, Elder Black   IMG_0768   IMG_0766   IMG_0771 Aaron and his New Companion, Elder Guillen   IMG_0781

With one of the AP’s, Elder Bingham   IMG_0775