As the title of my email indicates, this week was above average, especially for Tecámac. Here in the Mission Mexico Pachuca, our standard of excellence in lessons for the week is 40. Depending on the area and how receptive the people are, there are certain areas/zones where it is relatively easy to hit said standard. In my 6 months Mixquiahuala, I hit it almost every week without relative difficulty. In my 3 months in Venta de Carpio (before Mixquiahuala), we fought every week to try to get 30, and we didn't even hit that very constantly. You can see why I was slightly dismayed when we received the changes 3 weeks ago and found I would be returning to Tecámac right next door to Venta de Carpio.
I'm really not sure what happened this week, but we hit the ground running with our missionary work here. We committed various members to come out with us, and started contacting various references given to us. We actually found quite a few receptive people (who were unable to come to church yesterday for reasons we will soon find out) who we think can progress. At the end of the week, we nailed exactly 40 lessons. Needless to say, I was rather excited. The best part is that the entire zone had a similar kind of success; everything in terms of numbers went better this week. The hard part was coming up with zone goals for things to improve upon in the following week.
The bad thing is that this week we all start from zero again... Oh well, that's how the mission goes. We do some neat stuff, then we get to do it all over again. We already have some pretty crazy stuff planned for this week, so we'll see how it goes.
I had some good pictures I took this week, but my camera doesn't seem to want to connect to the computer. We'll see if next week it wants to cooperate... Next week we're actually planning on going to the temples of Teotihuacán (you can look them up; they're pretty neat), so my time to write may be shortened (you have been warned!) Have a great week, everyone! Tell someone you love that they're in your thoughts! :)
Iré y haré,
This week we had our first round of interviews with President Kimball, and they were probably the most interesting interviews I've had. With President Egbert, I would usually go with some deep doctrinal questions about the gospel prepared to ask him, but this time I simply decided to go and see what happened. I thought maybe President Kimball would just ask me some questions to get to know me and my story. Elder Mena and I had our interview together as the zone leaders to talk about the needs of each member of the zone, and then Elder Mena left for my interview. President Kimball simply asked how much time I had in the mission (perhaps to make me trunky...), and when I answered with 18 months, he told me how excited he was to see what I'll be able to accomplish in these last 6 months. Hearing that from him actually changed my perspective on the time left I have out here. I've been saying for a while that "6 months is a long time to do lots of things... I still have time!" not wanting to admit how much time I really have left. President Kimball helped me to realize that it really isn't a whole lot of time in the grand scheme of things and that I have to put it into high gear to accomplish everything I can now. I turned 19 months on Sunday, so now I've got 5 left to crank it out (or as President Kimball says, "rip it up").
The rest of the interview went a little something like this:
President Kimball explains the story of Christ washing his disciples feet and the grand example of service that was. He then says, "Elder Groesbeck, I have a question for you."
"I have an answer for you."
"Can I, right now, shine your shoes?"
Taken slightly aback, I wanted to tell him no, but then I thought of Christ's response to Peter when he said Christ couldn't wash his feet: "Then ye shall have no place with me." So I told him yes.
President kimball pulled out of a bag a shoe shining kit with a foot stand and everything. He lifted my foot up to it and began to shine my shoes. When he finished two minutes later, I looked at him with tears in my eyes as he said, "Elder Groesbeck. As you are here to serve the people of this mission, I am here to serve you. That is my purpose as your mission president. I want to give you something." He then pulled out of his bag a small booklet. "This is for you to fill with any spiritual experience you've ever had. The hope is that someday when the chips are down, you'll be able to open this book and read it. My words may not be able to help you much, but your own words will be able to do wonders in your life. Will you fill the book?"
I answered that I would, and just like that, the interview was over...
The following day, Elder Mena and I had four baptismal interviews to do at the two different ends of our zone (about 2 hours of travelling between them), so we busted out some divisions and set out to get all of them. The good part was that everyone passed, but the bad side was that we lost pretty much our entire day of proselyting. Oh well. If we can't have all the success we want, I'm glad the rest of our zone can.
Iré y haré,
P.S. I didn't really take any pictures this week, but Sister Kimball took one of us when we swung by our house during the other interviews. We never had time to eat, so we made some sandwhiches. See, mom? We do eat!
That's right! The Aguilar Benitez family got baptized! I'm a little sad I couldn't be there for the baptism, but Elder Espinoza just sent me the photos with the big news.
We had a lesson on Saturday with a family of recent converts (they were baptized about 3 months ago), and we found out that one of the daughters isn't baptized. I'll paraphrase the conversation:
"I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and I feel bad because the entire family is baptized and I'm not."
"Hmmm... When were ou thinking ou wanted to be baptized?"
"I don't know, you guys can tell me the date."
"How about next Saturday?"
"Woah, what? I'm sure I want to do it... but I'm not THAT sure..."
At the end of the lesson, she did accept the date, but we'll probably change it to the 23rd just so we can check the commandments and stuff we need to. Either way, it was one of those really unexpected miracles after a week of hard work and seemingly little success.
I'll finish my email for this week with some pictures:
Here's my new zone
In our house, there's only one place where the signal reaches, so if we need to take reports and are desperate, things get pretty interesting...
And that's everything for this week. We'll see what sorts of adventures this next week holds for me here in Tecámac.
Iré y haré,
That's right folks, the changes are in! Elder Espinoza and I anxiously signed into my email to get the changes list, hoping the entire time that President Egbert was very merciful in allowing me to remain in Mixquiahuala for another cycle. Upon opening said changes list, I found that no, he wasn't so merciful, and I have been changed. I'm back in Tecamac! The difference is that this time I'm in Tecamac 2, but it still has all the same elements. Simply going grocery shopping today made me want to cry due to the shear size of the store; back in Mixquiahuala, there was pretty much nothing out there. Tecamac is the big city part of our mission, and it certainly isn't for the faint of heart. It was back in Tecamac where I got assaulted and learned to ride a bike like a Mexican. We'll see what adventures hold for me this time around. My new companion is Elder Mena, and he has the same amount of time as Elder Espinoza. Thus far he seems like a really good missionary. He says the zone got scared when they learned I was coming because they said that I'm really crazy, and Elder Mena is as well. I think this'll be a fun cycle with the zone.
Sunday night, Elder Espinoza and I planned a big ward Family Home Evening; seriously, we planned everything in about a week and were pretty darn proud of said plan. The theme was based on a story/song called "Te Hallaré mi querido amigo" (I will find you, my dear friend). It's an incredibly touching story about two friends in the pre-existence and how one promises the other that she'll find her friend to share the gospel with her. We based the activity on said story in the hopes that everyone would invite a friend to the activity. There were some that did, but the majority came with just their families. Exactly what we expected... and somewhat hoped for in order to bring the hammer down.
In the activity, we had various testimonies from some of the recent converts that had been found through referrals or efforts of the members. Karla and Melani shared about how Karla had been baptized 6 years ago but never confirmed and how Melani found her. President Lozano shared about how he gave Emanuel as a referral to us when he had been working side by side with him for some time. Even the Aguilar Benitez family (the purple door) shared the story of Lalo finding their house and their testimonies. In that moment, they shared with everyone how completely sure they felt about their baptism this Saturday (a tear was shed for not being able to be there). The Spirit was actually very strong in that meeting, but then we hit them with the video...
We worked with the bishop's daughter to create an amazing video filled with a mixture of powerful clips from general apostles (Elder Holland mainly) and photos of the members, either their baptisms, their missions, church activities, and whatever other photos we could collect from them. When the video finished, a rather large portion of the members were crying from the grand mixtuers of memories, music, and exhortations of the apostles. Elder Espinoza and I then stepped down to the center of the room, all eyes on us. It was then that I told the ward that the changes were in and that I was leaving the following morning. Gasps of a mixture of shock and depression echoed through the room, and as I began to express my appreciation for the members of Mixquiahuala, tears filled my eyes. For the first time in some 18 months, I cried in front of other people. And cried a lot... It took all my energy to keep it together to simply finish with my testimony.
Then it was Elder Espinoza's turn to talk. Tears filled his eyes as well as he testified of the things we had both learned in our cycle together and the miracles we had seen. After we finished with a prayer, they told the members that there were some refreshments in the kitchen, but not a single member left the room. Instead, they all stormed around me, congratulating me, saying goodbye, begging me to take photos with them. It was absolutely beautiful.
Then Adriana (purple door) made my heart melt. She came up and said, "at first, when you told us that in these next weeks you might be changed, I decided that I wouldn't accept it. I now realize that you're being changed because there are more people like us that need you in another place. Go find them. We'll be here, but you have to come back to see us." I promised I would (they made me pinky promise as we had done to them for a variety of their commitments) and we all took pictures together.
Unfortunately I was so caught up in the moment that I completely forgot to take out my camera so I could take photos... Sorry... I think I have some from this past week here...
Here's Elder Espinoza when he gets bored of the Elders' rambling as we take reports.
We went to help the Aguilar Benitez family cut some grass, and the family they work for has this huge dog. The ironic part is that it's name is Pequeño. For those who are so white they don't recognize that word, it means small... All of the children were extremely afraid of him, but we helped them gain some trust. He's rather comfortable, so I took a nap on him... for like 5 seconds. Then I realized that he's also very dirty...
And that's the big news for now. We'll see what sorts of cool stuff happens here in Tecamac this next week. I think I'll start carrying Veronica (my flashlight tazer) with me more in case I get assaulted again... Yay, self defense! :D
Iré y haré,
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This blog is edited by Elder Groesbeck's amazing, beautiful, younger sister Aubrie. I will post any update I get. Enjoy :)