Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29th, 2011

I do not have many items I wish to share for this blog entry. But, I am happy :)
First, Saturday was such a special day. Anilu and Jordi were baptized in Ocosingo. They are both incredible, and are real converts...setting the stage so that their family members also join the church soon. They have read, prayed, and know the church is true. They have gone to church, had family home evenings, have learned so much, and are such special people. I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach them. Anilu (19 years old) said in the baptismal service that she felt clean, she felt so happy, she felt like she was born again, and that she wanted to follow this path for the rest of her life. Jordi too shared that he felt like as he was baptized he turned his will over to God`s, and felt so happy. There was a very tangible spirit there. Very few people...but all of us were moved. I know that Baptism truly is the door that we enter to follow our Savior.
Once again, the stake presidency called us on a Saturday night and told us the next day we would have to go to Ocosingo. The unexpected is now the expected, as I am used to difficult last minute moments like that...I cannot count the times they have asked us to do that. But hey, all of the members here are growing for it. We had a beautiful church service, and afterwords...talking with the stake president, he told us that he has talked to the Area President about our situation. And says that when Leyver and Luis receive the Priesthood de Melchizedek (sp in english?) we will be able to be a Branch.
We are so happy. Oh, but Elder Walker has a sinus infection. But he is a trooper. Working hard. I cannot express the gratitude I feel for this area, and for these people.
Elder Palmer
     Last week this river started flooding..imagine how much rain that would take, and that is how much rain we get. Oh, and so you know, it is still way hot here even though it rains. And it is way humid. Really.
  This was just a random truck passing that I thought I would take a picture of to give you an idea. I have seen them way more full than that, don't worry haha. When I go, I hold on safer than they are, don't worry.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 22, 2011

Well, the moment has come...transfers...after 6 months in Yajalon I....stay here with Elder Walker another transfer! Woohoo. Haha. I am not going to lie, I was expecting a little change, but hey...Gods ways are better than mine. However, Elder Hercules is leaving! He is going to the offices as the financial secretary, and others in our district are changing. Now, Elder Walker and I will be practically the only gringos in our Zone.

This morning Elder Walker and I had a wonderful talk. Truthfully, after 4 and a half months, we have gotten tired of each other every now and then. But we shared the little things we wanted to change, we shared our worries and every thing. I was so touched by how much we felt a love for each other. Sometimes, little things had made me forget how special he is. We are going to try really hard! 

Also, it is raining a ton! A year ago here the city flooded, killing a couple of people and knocking some buildings down, because a river runs through the middle of it. 
Two nights ago as we are planning, we looked out and saw a Red Cross Ambulance driving around anouncing on the megaphone that we should stand alert and have our important papers on hand. That was intense...but luckily our house is up high, so we werent worried. There was a bunch of water, but I didn`t get any good photos of it. Bad luck. 

Leyver, who got baptized recently, and Luis (whose wife Yadira got baptized recently) are preparing for the Melchizedek Priesthood in 15 days. They both struggly eliminating the last one percent of Coffee. But we are working hard on that. 

Anilu is the most converted investigator that I have taught. She loves it, and so believes the church is true. And is way smart. She is going to college in  San Cristobal, and went to church on sunday there...and loved it. If all goes well, she will get baptized with her brother (and maybe sister) this saturday. 

I love Jesus Christ and know that he can help us make it, even when we feel like we can`t. I think about what he wants from us...who he wants us to become...and I know that he won`t leave us hanging. He will help us, lift us, and wipe away our tears.

Okay. Love yall

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 15th 2011

I have been with Elder Walker for over 3000 hours now (we calculated it just a bit ago, while laughing). So, we are realizing that we are repeating so many conversations, haha. But, we have learned so much together--in the great and the hard times. And we do appreciate each other.

Well, we had a couple of "family home evenings" with members and with nonmembers there. We did one yesterday with three young people of 18, 19, and 22 (Brianda, Anilu, and Gordi) They are so stoked, have gone to church a couple of times...and are about ready for baptism. They all are studying at the university, some in different places. Anilu left today for San Cristobal to study, but says she will come back on the 27th of August for her baptism (with Gordi, and Brianda). They are reading so much, and have all received answers from God that it is what he wants them to do. Anilu is actually friends with another investigator (Neydr, another young man...they both speak English) and she told him that she is already Mormon. Haha, that made us smile. We are working with their family members, and see potential there.

Church yesterday was awesome. We had 39 people in our little chicken coop...a new record for Yajalon. (19 members, 2 visitors from Mexico D. F., and 16 non members, and us two elders). Us and about ten nonmembers went together in one of those trucks to church, and the men had to hang on back because it was so full. They aren`t afraid of hurting their bumpers in the back of trucks here, if they let 6 guys stand on it while traveling, ha. But it was very special.

After a questionable ground beef meal, we began to feel sick the other day. In the middle of the night, I was vomiting, and my companion. We didn`t really sleep. The next morning was so hard! We were contacting people, and I am pretty sure we did not look very happy. Oops. But what can you do...we feel better now. We eat Pepto bismol like candy.

Also, we went to try and find this one reference. She told us were it was, and we had no idea, so we went with a member. We drove out about 20 minutes, and then started asking around and walked. We went all through thick jungle, coffee trees, and corn rows, and mango tree, under barbed wire. It was kind of an adventure, and we got a little lost. We finally found a little wooden house. It was so far away (and we were sick so it felt even farther). But, she told us she didn`t think we would have come, and doesn`t really speak Spanish. But hey, we tried. Oh, and you know (according to my theory) when someone speaks Tseltal or Chol and almost no Spanish because they interrupt you every five seconds to say, "oh, bueno" to pretend like they are listening, but we can tell that they don`t understand a word we are saying.

Thats all for right now. Our mission president told all of his missionaries to expect to be in every area 9 months, so I am expecting to stick around even longer in my lovely home of Yajalon.

Mucho amor y animo,
Elder Palmer

Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 8th, 2011

Bueno! Well, I think I have gray hairs from some of this week, but nevertheless, it was a wonderful week. We have been cleaning up some area (very jungly) near our little gazebo thing to make a space and perhaps a little later build a small gazebo for a place to teach the kids when we have church. We will be meeting in that area until we are an official branch, so we want to make it nice.

Imagine that you are a missionary. It is saturday, and on sunday you have more than 15  people that are not members committed to go and help pay a little bit (50 pesos each) for a rented truck to go to Ocosingo for church. You organize the activities, like eating food while returning. You lie down to go to sleep, and the driver (which you have reminded and checked in with daily during the week before) calls you at 1 in the morning to tell you that he is in another city and has to cancel. Well, that happened. I don´t know if my little scenario made sense, but that was kind of a let down. However, God helped us out, and we were able to call all of the members and tell all the investigators to squish more people into their cars, one that wasn´t going to go to give a ride to some of us, etc. Elder Walker and I were in the back storage part of one car...We got way car sick. However, 10 people that aren´t members were able to get there. We had a beautiful church service, and ate afterwards between all of us at the building.

Funny story. Elder Walker is better than me at doing that little kid trick (really common in the US) pretending like you are taking part of your index finger off, when you use your thumb. So, to one group of people we are teaching...very smart, nice, and many over the age of 18 people...right as we were leaving, we showed that trick and they flipped out! The adults and kids alike. It was hilarious. But one girl got scared and started to cry, so we had to apologize. I never had thought that trick was that believeable.

A quick update on three kids of a family we are teaching. Jordi (18 years old, awesome guy), Anilu (19 years old, speaks english, and is way intelligent), and Brianda (22 years old, pretty funny). They are all studying in different cities for school, but are here for the vacations. They are reading the book of mormon, and have all received firm sweet answers from God that it is true. They had been praying to be able to find the money to go to Ocosingo with us, and it all worked out great! They loved church, and want to get baptized. So we will see if they end up getting baptized here or in their different areas for school (they all study where the church is way more established). With Jordi, we are already telling him about what it is like being a missionary, and that after he is baptized he should go on one. Also, we are teaching their family.

They are a great example of how the Book of Mormon is a foundation to know if our message is true. A foundation for a testimony. That is my message today, I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true. It has brought me such peace and comfort and excitement in my life. As I have prayed to know if it is true, my doubts have been diminished and my happiness and peace increased. I trust that whoever asks God if it is true with faith will receive an answer.

*To my buddies who are reading this and have not read the Book of Mormon...I invite you to find one, read it (or part of it), to think about what your reading, and ask God if it is true. I promise you it will help you in whatever situation you find yourself in.

Much love,
Elder Palmer

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1st, 2011

         The baptism of Yadira. We went in transport for a couple of hours to have the baptism in Ocosingo.
       Here we are with Yadira, Luis, and the parents of Luis...who are now all active members of the
                                            church, and a couple of months ago none of them were.
This is a photo of normal occasions. We often take group rides to places like this. 16 people in a rickety old truck. But everyone (with the exception of Elder Walker and I) are way used to it.

This week was fantastic. I was burnt to a crisp playing soccer, and shed my outer layer on my face. Ha. But now I dont have that problem. Also, we traveled a bunch this week (more than 25 hours in different times). We had Zone Conference with the new mission president, and he is so excited to work hard.

Also, we have found a number of people who are preparing for baptism. A lot, so we are excited about that. And we had a wonderful church service in our upgraded chicken coop with 31 people (2 of the 3 active families were out of town too!).

2 really cool stories this week:
 1) Baptism of Yadira- Yadira has had a lot of opposition from her family, but now has finally taken the step of making a promise to follow God through Baptism. We had a very small service with her, her husband, and her parents in law, with us and some of the other missionaries (have I mentioned that Elder Hercules is STILL in my District...what a blessing in my whole mission, I have only spent 4 weeks away from him). We traveled all the way to Ocosingo with them for the baptism. After the ordinance, while I was changing, I felt the spirit strongly as I heard "the spirit of god" faintly being sung in the background. Yadira bore her testimony afterwards saying that she can´t express how she feels, she just knows that she took a beautiful step closer to her Heavenly Father. Her husband shared how much this meant for him and his family, and how to him he feels like it is a restart...rebirth for him too.

 2) Coolest experience I´ve had with doing service: While traveling to a lesson, we walked by one of our investigators who is preparing for baptism. He was carrying big rocks from a huge pile to the other side of his little house. We decided to help even though he said he didnt need any, knowing that there was absolutely no way we would be able to finish the pile anytime soon. Before we knew it, a couple of other people we had taught (that didn´t even really know the guy we were helping) started to carry rocks with us. After a while, I counted and about 10 people over the age of 18 helping us, and another 10 little kids helping (carrying the little rocks). We finished the huge pile in about 20 minutes. It was awesome! And Victor (the guy we helped who actually has back problems) was quite overwhelmed and grateful. A bunch of people from the neighborhood came out of their houses and started just watching us work.

God lives, Jesus Christ is our Savior, and this church is their´s. I know that is true because I can feel it and see how it just makes sense.

Elder Palmer