Dearest Mother and Father,
First off, in response to Mom`s letter. I like when you attach mission letter`s of my friends. I had time today, so I read it all. That is something good…thanks! As far as my stuff that you all will be moving…just leave it there with the new Mission President and I´ll live with him for a couple of months. Nah, I`m just kidding, haha, if you all want you can take it to Texas, although knowing that I will certainly be going to BYU maybe it would be better there in a storage unit. But I trust that Mom will make a good decision. Oh, and please keep my trumpet in a safe place. I get cravings to play it a bunch haha. But, I trust your decisions.
I hope you both have the best month of your mission in this month that is coming up! I love you both so much, and am honored to be your son :)
Monday: We played a bunch of soccer last Monday...getting out a lot of energy. Que bueno, eh!
Tuesday: We had a meeting with our District Leaders. We were focusing more than anything on the Church Attendance. Also, Elder Covington shared the example of the stripling warriors and it was a pretty spiritual moment. Cool experience with that...we had been planning on bringing two of our investigators who had problems with attending church to the meeting to see the District Leaders practice teaching them, but unfortunately at last minute they cancelled on us. We were praying in our heart to find 2 people to bring to the meeting. We pretty much gave up as everyone was busy, and went to the meeting. After teaching all that we planned, and just as we were about to start the practice, Elder Covington got the spiritual impression that we should go outside real fast and find two people. We told them to wait a second, and then we left and contacted the people that we could really fast. We saw two people sitting down, we went and contacted them...and then we found out that they were members, but it didn`t matter. God wanted them to practice with the missionaries. The missionaries were surprised as we brought 2 people in and told them that we would be practicing with them...they didn`t know that they were members. We could learn a lot to see them teaching in a real situation, and God answered our little prayer.
Also, on Tuesday, Isabel and Angel decided that they would get baptized. Angel is the nephew of Isabel, and his Mom moved back with them and gave him permission to get baptized. She called her ex-husband, his dad, to tell him and it took us way off guard...she told him that his son was going to get baptized, she invited him to the baptism, and she said that she would probably get baptized soon. We have only taught her one time.
Wednesday: We visited the Bosque District in their District Meeting...actually its our district, but we change around every week. That was fun, and we also had a meeting with the Stake Missionary Director--Hno. Madrigal, who recently finished being a mission President in Panama in 2010. He is such a humble guy and I enjoy working with him. Every month we go to the meeting of the Bishoprics and Stake Presidency to give a report of the Zone and to plan activities. Next week, we will do a trimester training to all the ward missionaries and mission leaders. He will give a half hour to me to teach about The Attention that a Ward Missionary should give to an Investigator...I don`t know if that makes sense in English but in Spanish it does, and then Elder Covington will train on something else.
Thursday: Weekly Planning-- We visited Nayeli and Lulu, a family that went to a church activity in Mexico D.F. and loved it. And Nayeli is preparing for Baptism June 9th.
Friday: ZONE CONFERENCE. It was pretty sweet. Just our Zone, the assistants and president for the first part. Then, he had previously assigned us to invite a member from our Ward to come a little later. Our Bishop came, and we practiced in front of everyone how we can work with him, planning "Noches Familiares" Family Nights...something different to FHE, to teach about how to be a happy family with references, and stuff like that. It was pretty cool. I like our Bishop a lot. Then, in the evening we had a movie activity where we watched The Testaments with the investigators...like 12 came, and really enjoyed it. I love the spirit at the end of that movie.
Saturday: ANA AND ANGEL`S BAPTISM. It was a way special baptismal service. We totally felt the Spirit, and as Ana Isabel left the water, she mentioned that she felt like a trembling feeling inside of happiness as she left. She has changed a ton since we first began teaching her. Oh, and we found another cool family that is really interested. They committed to come to church the next day.
Domingo: Ana and Angel got confirmed. 15 visitors came, seven of which-Alicia, Evelyn, and 5 from the Hernandez family, are going to get baptized this Saturday. I hope all goes well with that. It was soo cool teaching Alicia and Evelyn afterwards. Alicia in like 40 years old and Evelyn like 15. They are both really smart, and Alicia is a teacher. Evelyn was set on getting baptized because she prayed before going to church last Sunday to know if its true, and felt an answer in the church. Alicia was a little less sure. She was attending a Christian Church when we found her, and she had been there like 3 or more years. But she never got baptized, because she didn`t feel ready or secure. She decided with the Spirit yesterday that this Saturday she would get baptized with Evelyn.
Pres. Cardenas asked me to prepare 10 minutes for the ZL Council tomorrow about how to overcome pride. I recognize more and more the importance of giving the Lord the credit for any good that happens. I am learning well that the blessings on my mission - are just blessings from the Lord. I want to always remember that.
Mom and Dad,
Might I say that this week has been one of my favorite weeks in my mission. It was awesome. Not just for the great things that happened, but because I felt the Spirit a bunch too. I felt the Spirit sooo much as we taught the restoration various times, and as we heard about the progress of many investigators. Also, it was a classic moment when the Bishop was reading the list of names to give a welcome to the visitors and various members were caught way off guard and started looking around to find the new faces.
The Hernandez Family (9 people just from that family) is a very big family and they came to church. We are growing to love them and seeing great progress in them. There is a single Mom that lives with about 5 of her 8 kids, and we are teaching some of the other kids and their spouses too. I would send photos, but for some reason it isn't letting me. A couple of the kids are set on baptism, and the mom is working it through...worried about falling away after getting baptized.
We had a spiritual experience with Ana (who will get baptized this Saturday). The Gospel Principles class was about Obedience, and she told us that after church she felt an impression from the Spirit that to be obedient she needed to box up and put away all of the Saints in her house (even though she had already stopped believing in it). The Spirit entered the room so strong as she shared that experience. She is very excited for her baptism, but her 7 year old daughter was pouting all day yesterday when she understood that she won´t be able to get baptized for another year.
Also, Sunday morning we leave early to go for investigators (and as a bonus the woman that you talked to, Mom, when you called makes us breakfast on Sundays and invites us without us asking anything! She is a great member, and she came with us to that lesson with Ana). As we were walking to the first house a drunk man started talking to us in the street. We were really short on time, and it crossed my mind to ignore him. But we stopped, talked a little, took his address, gave him a pamphlet, and then invited him to church--which would begin in like 1 hour. He said, in a drunk way, that he would wash himself and meet us at the church (pretty far away...20 minutes walking, 10 minutes in car more or less). We didn´t think much of it, but as we walking in the Sacrament Meeting there he was, sitting towards the back! He said that he accidentally went to the Catholic church in front, but they told him that he wasn´t invited there and directed him to the church. So we will try to find him this evening. I hope he can progress.
I think I mentioned about Alicia, Evelyn, and Yazmín last week. But they are also pretty excited, and Evelyn said that before she entered church last week she prayed to have guidance if this church is true, and she feels like God answered her prayer by the Spirit in Sacrament Meeting.
Elder Covington is such a good guy. I look up to him a ton, and am finding it easy to become very good friends. I am also trying to persuade him to room with me at BYU afterwards (but he has a future Mrs. Covington that maybe will have more influence than me haha). We are always laughing a lot, and I am certain will not have any problems together.
As far as Spanish goes, I have realized that I have a bunch of room for improvement, and Elder Covington puts a lot of effort into it and is helping me to get better too. I feel good in a lot of ways, but I am 1-expanding my vocabulary and 2-trying to kill the words here and there that I still say "Americanly".
I am really grateful for the blessings that God is giving us. I just pray and hope that we can help these people not just get baptized, but become converted to the gospel too. I know that God will continue blessing our area a lot, if we stay humble and keep working hard. The other areas in the Zone are having some difficulties--especially with helping investigators come to church. Various areas didn´t have any investigators this week in church. Maybe next week you could write some suggestions for me on how to TEACH missionaries how to help their investigators take that step so important.
Ooooh...and I have my first divisions and my first baptismal interview. I almost forgot. I went to an area called Reforma with ELDER GÜERECA. He is really young in the mission, and is a good happy big guy. His companion is the District Leader--Elder Gabbitas (I got to know him well, as he was in my district for three transfers in Tapachula). It was good to be with Elder Guereca and to try and excite them a lot about the work. Their investigator, Hugo, is very prepared and just got married the same day as his baptism. They told me beforehand that there possibly could be problems with question number 4, but all went well, and he was very ready for baptism. I got little emotional as he offered a very heartfelt prayer and shared in it his testimony and love for the Gospel.
I talked in church on Sunday. I really enjoyed doing it. I shared three contacting experiences that gave me an opportunity to share a pure testimony, and shared how we develop a testimony, what it is, and why we should share it.
I think that is about all for this week. I think I will be writing more frequently like this. A letter for Mom and Dad together, unless there are other things to say only to one. Oh and please tell Chelsea or someone to enter facebook and accept the friends and put a note that it is her, not me...if thats all good.
ELDER GEOFFREY PALMER
Mom and Dad,
It really was great to talk to you both. I am really excited about the work. And truly, I am loving it.
So you want details....I will give details. TODAY IS ELDER COVINGTONS BIRTHDAY. And so, we were pretty excited. We are going to go down town to eat in a China buffet, and buy ties. Then we have a lesson with Ana Isabel (an aunt of a recent convert that will get baptized on the 26th), and she will give us cake. Afterwards, we will go with Tania Ana belli and their family and we will invite them to get baptized on June 2nd today, and then they will give us more cake. Then we will go and stop by for a little bit more cake and dinner from another Sister haha.
Yesterday was pretty cool. Nearly 100 people were at church. 12 of them were investigating. Three especially just loved it (They have been attending another Christian church). One of the15 year old kids asked the mom, "Hey...I like this church a lot more and it is closer...can we start coming here now?" And the mom is reading everything we leave with them. On the second lesson, the Mom asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon before we could ask if she read the pamphlet we left with her. We just got to know them on Thursday.
Um...what else. Ya, I told you both a little bit about when I ran into Marco Antonio, a less active 18 year old from Yajalon. We baptized his sister in law, Yadira. Unfortunately, he has a bunch of family problems, but he is going to church here in Tuxtla, is finishing up high school, and preparing for the mission. My whole time in Yajalon, he didn´t ever enter the church, in spite of a couple of really spiritual experiences that we had together. But he has changed, and we both had a tender moment when we saw each other. He started crying, and I almost did too.
Our house is sooo hot. I did not sleep my first couple of days in this area. And I have a personal fan going the whole night. But now it isn´t so bad, but I am always sweating. I am used to it.
Our Zone is pretty small, truthfully. Just 16 missionaries, but 4 sisters. Almost all of the Elders are gringos, which is way different...I have almost always been the only American.
Well...I have pretty much gotta go now...BYYYYYE love you both a ton.
I am very grateful for the friendship I have with both of you, and I look forward to hearing about your excitement in the last transfer of your mission!