This week was AWESOME! So much better than the previous week. For starters, we set a new record for the number of lessons I've ever taught in a week with a whopping 46. Elder Gonzalez is learning super fast, and I'm able to let him take the initiative for more lessons now. We've also gotten a lot better at asking "the question" (which I believe I explained in my last week's email), so we've gotten a lot more references and investigators. We found 14 new people last week, so we have a week full of appointments right now and a service project on Friday where we're going to basically paint a whole house with a bunch of jovens.
We've also found some investigators that really want to progress, one of which is named Emily. Her husband Giovani is a less active who came to church yesterday (YES!), but her work schedule changes every week, so she'll only be able to come every two weeks. Normally the rule is 5 church attendances before baptism, but we talked to President Egbert, and he said that he can make an acception for this situation and only require 3 attendances, so she'll be baptised in like 6 weeks (instead of 10)! We've also got a few who I feel can really go far and seem to really want to know our message is true. We'll see what happens with them in this coming week.
I also received the interesting news that Elder Bednar will be coming down to our mission next month to give a devotional to us missionaries, and I'll be playing about 20 minutes of prelude music on the piano beforehand. Talk about pressure, but I'm not super worried. I'm just really excited to hear Elder Bednar speak to us! I think he's coming on the 18th of May, so there will certainly be more on that after it happens.
I actually have a funny experience of the week this week, and it happened during a lesson. We knocked on this door in the new area we acquired 4 weeks ago, and an older lady answered. We contacted her and set an appointment for another day, and we then asked her "the question". She told us her sister lives right around the corner and that she's "super Catholic", which is usually a bad sign for us. Either way, it was a reference, so we went and contacted her. She's actually the least Catholic lady I've ever met. The only thing Catholic about her was that she worships the virgin. She doesn't read the Bible and knows hardly anything about it, and she thinks that death is the end of everything. Like, we die, and... yeah. It's for that reason that she showed a lot of interest in the Plan of Salvation when we mentioned it. We explained a little bit, but we left her with the Plan of Salvation pamphlet, and we'll be going back tomorrow to teach it for real. None of that was the funny part, though. After just about everything I said, she responded with, "Si, güero". Güero means "white guy" in Spanish, so she was basically saying, "Yes, white guy" after everything I said... Including the baptismal invitation. I was a little surprised and of course happy she said yes in the first place, but at the same time, I couldn't help but think, "...really?" Elder Gonzalez and I left her house and just started laughing as we walked to our next appointment.
I also was paid a really nice compliment this week. We taught a lesson to a less-active family in our ward who had some other family from out of town visiting them. Some of them weren't members, so we decided to go with something pretty universal: The Atonement. We taught the lesson, it was awesome, and then they invited us to eat with them for a little bit afterwards. One of them asked Elder Gonzalez where he was from and how much time he had in the mission, and then they turned to me and said, "You're about to finish your mission, right?" When I responded by telling them I only had 4 months in the mission, they didn't believe me. "But you handle Spanish so well!" I told them thank you, of course, but I attributed my success to the gift of tongues that the Lord has given me, and I always will.
As I said, throughout this week I've been Elder Gonzalez take the initiative in some of our lessons, so we've been switching off sharing the spiritual thought during the food every day. Most of the time, Elder Gonzalez would share Mosiah 2:49 which talks about how the people who keep the commandments of God will be blessed spiritually and temporally and they'll reach a state of... "interminable felicidad". I'm not sure how that translates into English. Anyways, he'd been sharing that scripture all week, and we would pretty much say the same things to the members. Last night, however, we taught a less active family a quick lesson, and when Elder Gonzalez busted out that scripture, a different part caught my attention, and I finally realized something very important that is said very often in the scriptures. At the end of the scripture, it says, "Oh, remember remember that these things are true, for the Lord your God hath declared them." I've heard this statement made in the scriptures plenty of times and I had usually just thought, "Oh yeah, that's just what the scriptures say." For whatever reason, this time when Elder Gonzalez read that verse, this last part caught my attention, more specifically when it says, "remember remember". The word remember is so important when talking about the things of the gospel. If we can remember the things that we've learned, the covenants we've made, and the way we've felt as we've studied the gospel, enduring to the end will not be any problem for us. We can easily continue doing the things we shoudl and following the example of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, Satan wants us to forget, and it is for that reason that it is so easy to do so. That's why it says the word "remember" twice in this verse and in many other scriptures in the Book of Mormon; because it's so important that we remember. The fact that after having heard/read this scripture so many times but that this time it was different only reinforces my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Dad always taught me that it didn't matter how many times he read the Book of Mormon; he always learned something new every time he opened it and started reading. I'm reading in 3rd Nephi right now, and it's so awesome! Jesus Christ is teaching, so you know it has to be pretty sweet. The Book of Mormon is a really special book, and I know it's true beyond a shadow of a doubt. It's the key to everything we believe and everything I share with investigators. If we can obtain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, we can obtain a testimony of anything and everything else. Of that I have testified, do testify, and will always testify.
Iré y haré,
Q&A with Elder Groesbeck (questions by Mark Groesbeck)
1. do you teach english classes to the members?
I actually do teach an English class for anyone who wants to go every Wednesday night at 7:30.
2. do you have an magic tricks or things you do to make kids like you? (wilting tie, etc)
Please, I don't need magic tricks to make children like me. I just try to speak Spanish and they all think it's hilarious.
3. how many missionaries in your mission come from Mexico?
I have no idea... Elder Guerra, the third member of my trio, came from Mexico, but Elder Gonzalez is from Costa Rica. I really have no clue what the percentage is.
4. When you say you want to have grandsons one day does that mean you think of your trainer as a dad and when you train a new missionary he is your son and when your son trains you gain a grandson?
Yep. Mission terminology. Everyone is related in the big family of the mission in some way. I supposedly have one brother (Elder Hixon trained someone else) and a nephew (he trained when I was being trained), and Elder Hixon now has two grandsons.
5. How frequently do you teach English to other missionaries or is this just done by companionships
Every evening, Elder Gonzalez and I try to speak English in the house to help him learn, and he actually already knows a lot. Just a few minors things to fix in his grammar, and he'll be just fine.
6. what has been the coolest place you have visited on P day?
We haven't really gone anywhere on P day yet. We're a little far away from Teotihuacan and any of the cool pueblos, so unless we have members that can take us, it's not really worth it to go out anywhere.
7. Are their lots of mopeds on the streets or just bicycles?
They have cars here in Mexico... But people do ride motorcycles and mopeds as well.
8. Do you see people balancing stuff on their heads - like taking food to market?
I feel like that's more Idian than Mexican. Maybe they do that in the pueblos, but I'm more towards the city.
9. What is the weirdest pet you have seen in a home?
I haven't seen very many weird pets in homes, but there's a pet store in our area that has a decent-sized crocodile sitting in a tank. I have yet to see one in someone's home, though.
10. Do you miss mom's cinnamon rolls?
Is that even a question?
11. what kind of jobs do members hold?
They do just about everything. Selling things on the streets, cutting hair, owning an internet cafe, paper shops, you name it. There are actually quite a few of them that work on Sundays as well... the Sabbath Day is a huge problem down here in Mexico. It's so bad that in our ward conference this past sunday, every single talk was about the Sabbath Day, the songs were about the Sabbath Day, and I gave the lesson in Gospel Principles class where the subject was (you guessed it) the Sabbath Day.
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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 :)