Thursday, January 26, 2012

                                                              My seat broke while studying.
                                                 I tried to teach Elder Sanchez to juggle eggs
One of the kids in our ward.

Well, a couple of people mentioned that they heard about our 6.5 earthquake that happened this week and, yes, the epicenter was in Mapastepec (I think...thats what some people said) which is quite close to here. We were just walking in the street when we felt the shaking a bit. To us it didn´t seem like much, I suppose because we must have had a little bounce in our step and we were outdoors. However, everyone left their houses and were looking around a little nervously and scared, and afterwards we heard from people that were indoors that it did cause a good little shaking on the houses etc. So that was kind of cool for me...I think that was my first earthquake. But, no, there isn´t any damage that I saw.

Well, it has been a good week. Last week, we were all stoked to talk to everyone this week, and we were able to talk to more than a 100 contacts in that was good to set a goal and get pretty close to it. Also, we found a lot of blessings from talking to people, because this week we have found many people that want to progress, attend church, and make a promise with God through Baptism.

The Díaz Gómez family: Last Sunday, we visited a family that we had contacted while walking in the street. They are two parents, five kids, and a bunch of relatives that live nearby. We arrived to the lesson we had set with them, and it was great to see them with two extra seats pulled out ready to listen to us. We visited them a couple times this week, and they are progressing well. Also, yesterday, the mom, 5 kids, and a cousin came to church (the dad--named Gamaliel--couldn´t come for his work, but he is excited to come later). They live in one of the neighborhoods a good bit far away, but we are excited for them. They said that if they receive an answer to their prayers that they will be baptized on February 18th. 

The García Girón couple: We found a couple who have had kids that are active in the church, ex-missionaries, they have attended church, but never been baptized. They are really special people, and want to get legally married in the upcoming weeks and be baptized once they do that. 

We are teaching a number of other people, and truly I am so grateful that we have that opportunity. There are always times with few people or a ton of people progressing. But I am finally learning how these people that we get to teach, or these families that want to progress are children of God that He has entrusted with us to help them grow. I am learning how these blessings are not because we are such amazing people or things like that, simply that we tried a little harder and God, in turn, blessed us with the opportunity to help others. That might not have made any sense...but I tried, and if I had time I would revise it better. Haha. 

Elder Sánchez is really a good guy, and we are both expecting (and good with the idea) a third transfer together. Its interesting, because we are sooooo different, but we get along well. His birthday is this thursday...but, shh don´t tell anyone! 

A lot of times drunk people tell me how much they hate Americans and how racist they think I am...and I love surprising them by telling them that I love Chiapanecos! The people here are naturally just very good people.

Hasta luego familia y amigos,


Monday, January 16, 2012

January 15th, 2012


What a week! I remember in the Christmas call to the house Jasmine told me to look for the ways God works in our life every day, and seriously there have been so many little blessings from this week that I am grateful for!

First off, Isai got baptized and confirmed a member of the church! It was way special, and the baptismal service was short, sweet, and certainly what he needed. Even with his broken leg, he was able to get baptized standing up. President Jimenez, of the Stake Presidency here, was able to baptize him, and Mauricio Soliz Mendez, 1st counselor of the ward and the person that gave him as a reference, was able to confirm him. Now, we will try to work with our Ward Missionaries (2 young men preparing for the mission) to review all of the principles and lessons.

Also, during the Baptismal service, my companion got a call...from Presidente Cardenas (our Mission President). He stepped outside and came back in to tell me that President, with the Assistants were on their way to our church building. So that was a surprise, as the mission office is more than 6 hours than here. However, unfortunately, they didn´t arrive until 20 minutes after the baptism, and we were the only people left. We had interviews and talked with the assistants. They were very short, but brought a lot of excitement. They have a desire that we work hard and deserve to baptize people that are truly converted every week, so that we can use our time the most effectively in the salvation of souls. They shared many suggestions in ways to work with the ward and everything, but--as they were leaving--they said, "Now even if the results don´t show what you want, don´t let it affect your excitement for the work!". How true that principle should be for whatever facet of life.

The Mission President says that unless our Ward is functioning perfectly with the Mission Plan and Mission Leader, etc...then we should be contacting 140 people in the week. 20 people every day, apart from our planned lessons. Elder Sánchez and I hope to be talking with everyone in this weeks that come. We get along really every companionship inventory we talk about everything, but we are always so surprised because we still haven´t had any argument or anything in 9 weeks.

Yesterday, we also had a spiritual experience, we prayed to know where to contact...and afterwards Elder Sanchez and I said ok after 3 we will say the street we are thinking...1...2...3...and we both said "chicharras". A street nearby. Then, Elder Sánchez prayed that we would find a family prepared to listen to the gospel and accept the ordinances. The first house we knocked ran us out, but the second house we went to we found a special family that didn´t even live there, but were visiting. We could see that God had put them in our way as they shared that they are legally married, don´t attend any church, etc...What a blessing...if we ask God specifically, He will answer specifically.

Also, yesterday in Church, the secretary of our Ward brought one of his students (he teaches in the university to become a veterinarian) to church. Her name is Alicia, and she is so prepared for the Gospel. She already can feel that the church is true. She said that she doesn´t really understand the Bible yet, but that the Book of Mormon has come alive for her. We are excited to teach her this week, and help her move (she will be moving from another city to our area).

I am super grateful to be a missionary. And I am grateful that God is strengthening us to overcome the difficulties.

I am completely convinced of the message and doctrine that we share...because I know for myself that it is true and has brought me closer to God.


P.S. It is hotter than ever down here. I met a guy that lived in Houston, Texas here and he was saying how cold he was when he lived there. Ha!

Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9th, 2012

                                         I just sent this cause I know mom would want to see it
                                      A Family Home Evening with Isaí and his son and a few members

                                                           Some of the zone eating Roscas!                   
          Elder Sanchez gave me a Book of Mormon in Tzotzil---awesome! I would love to learn Tzotzil

Roscas...I am sending a photo of some missionaries in our zone with a roscas. For January 6, everyone buys one of these cake things to part (translation by mom=share) it. Inside, there are little plastic men, and if you end up with one of the little plastic men it is imperative that you buy tamales for everyone else. Of course, for beginner´s luck (bad luck) I ended up with two plastic boys! So I´ll be buying tamales for one of the families in our ward.

Well, the mission president has been sending trainings and instructions through the leaders in the mission of the grand importance of working well with the leaders in our Wards. It was inspiring...and very helpful. If I remember right, in Alma 16 (somewhere around verse 15 and 16...I don´t remember perfectly) it refers to Alma and Amulek and there missionary labors. I love how it mentions that they, with the ordained people (or in other words leaders) of the church worked together in faith and unity. And I love the scripture in Hebrews 11:3...God created the world and US with a vision of faith. As we see with the eye of faith what we could create and do...surely we can pierce the barriers of unbelief and work miracles.

Isaí has been through so much in his life...really hard things. We hope that all goes well, and that he can fulfill his goal to get baptized this saturday. President Jimenez (of the Stake Presidency) will baptize him if all goes well. We really are grateful for the chance to teach him, and hope that the spirit will continue working in him. The wonderful thing about Isaí is he wants to learn soo much. Even though he doesn´t have much education, he loves to read and so he is learning a lot.

My companion, Elder Sanchez, is a good guy. We are really working on building unity, and I hope that God can use us for good in the Ward. Also, our Bishop has been bishop for 8 years now...but he is excited, and we went on divisions with him this week.

Yesterday night everything had fallen...our plans were worn out. So we began knocking doors. The first door we knocked we found a woman moving from a house to another down the street with her little kid. We helped her carry the last belongings, and began to talk to her. She has had soo many difficulties this year, and said that she has always wanted a place to just go and learn about Jesus Christ. It was pretty cool to explain to her that that is what we do in Church...we just go and learn about Jesus Christ and God; we learn about how we can follow them. Also, I am certain that God prepared her for us to find, whether or not she decides to get baptized.

I testify that God answers our prayers. This week, I have asked many things that I have felt important...that could seem insignificant, and he has helped me, our companionship, and our area. Also, in Church yesterday, I felt the spirit fill me with just a simple desire to be better. That is what the Gospel makes us better people. With more love. More obedience. More happiness.

I know Christ just makes sense! He made the way to fill the gap between what we can do and what we can´t do. Also, as we learn about Him, we can just feel that it is true.

Elder Palmer

                                                              Need to use the restroom?
                                    Everyone here has parrots as their pets. It is pretty awesome...
                                  But I always have bad luck as they let their waste go on my finger

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2nd, 2012

Where to begin....¡¡¡FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!  ¡¡¡FELIZ AÑO NUEVO!!! I always love new beginnings. A new month, week, areas, new companions...and certainly a new year!

Christmas was pretty neat. We worked hard, ate great, and then went with a family (Jimenez family) to deliver a bunch of gift baskets that they had made. It was special to see how much love and desires this family had to share with everyone.

I must make the side comment that our neighbors like to throw parties with beer and very loud music. So I´m lucky that I sleep like a rock, because as we woke up and the music and laughter was still going. And in the place chirping crickets, there were a bunch of fireworks these days.

As far as the missionary work goes, we are pretty excited. We had a Christmas activity this Tuesday, and like all of our investigators came. Maybe we should bring barbacoa to the church services to help them have as good attendance there i´m just kidding. But from that, the Bishopric is excited, and say that they are going to go on divisions with us every week to start getting to know all of our investigators.

Isaí is the man who has his leg completely broken in a bunch of parts (I don´t know if I mentioned him...) but we have been working with him, and all of the members know him and are visiting him apart from us too. He is progressing well, and knows that what we share is true. It was neat to see him go to church (the first time he left his bed apart from bathing or going to the hospital in 3 months). These past two Sundays he went, and is preparing to have a special baptism on the 14th of January.

To finish, I want to share how much I love these people here in Chiapas. Of course, I am making sweeping generalizations, but based on the people I have known, there is a very sweet and sincere faith and connection that they have with God. They don´t demand signs to believe, they just believe. They are very sensitive to the Spirit. And it has always impressed me how much they are willing to give, when so often they have so little. I am so grateful for their example to me. I see blatant evidence in their lives that money is not the source of happiness, but finding the way to live in agreement with what you believe.

Much love,
Elder Palmer

P.S.Here are some photos of some seafood that we were eating. That is the way that they eat it here...and it is really tasty. However, I remember my first time that they gave me the fish like that and I was thinking, "they forgot to cook it!" Because it just looked like a fish flopped on my plate. But as I began to ate I realized that it had been fried, and that it tasted pretty normal.

                        Oh, and by the way, I had to work way hard to keep the skeleton so pretty as it is...
                                                        so that is a piece of art really...ha