Elder Tingey's letters as he serves an LDS mission in Culiacàn, Mexico
Monday, August 13, 2012
Come closer to God.
Hello! I wrote a cool list of things to write about and then left it at home. Maybe next week I'll send some anachromatic stories. Today was nuts. We had a ton of changes in the zone, so I woke up at 4 and have been riding around in a van all day getting everyone to their new areas or with their new companions. And now my companion is Elder Allen! I'm so pumped. I've known him for pretty much the whole mission, and we're already really good friends. So things should go really well.
We had David's baptism on Saturday. It was awesome, and investigators Estevan, father, and Estevan, son, came. The bishop baptized David and it he was confirmed in sacrament meeting on Sunday. We had a lesson with David on Friday. We taught him about the priesthood and about missionary work. Towards the end of the lesson, as Elder Ovando challenged him to prepare to serve a mission, I flipped to a picture of missionaries in my gospel art book that I hardly ever get to use. And then I started just flipping to other pictures and Elder Ovando kept the theme of the lesson going according to whatever picture I pulled out. Picture of missionaries: "Through missionary work, you can help other people recieve blessings from the gospel..." Kids weeding a garden with an old lady: "...and they'll continue to serve other people and help them as well..." Picture of a temple: "...which will help them prepare to recieve temple blessings..." Flip to the disciple Steven seeing God and Jesus "...which will allow them to have testimony-strengthening spiritual manifestations..." Flip to Elijah praying a tower of fire down from heaven, and then Jesus holding a lamb. ...I'm worried that this makes no sense, but it's probably because I only slept for three hours.
We had a really powerful and spiritual lesson with a cool investigator named Thalía. Her son, David (different David), is one of the neighbor kids that Alma brought to church last week. When we first met Thalía, we had a conversation with her through her curtain trying to convince her to just come out to greet us, and she eventually did. We brought Alma over to her apartment, and sat down, and essentially the first thing Thalía said was that she follows common cultural beliefs of the area, and therefore worships idols. I asked her what she thought about David going to church, how she had seen him that week since he had gone. She said it was all great, but when we invited her, she basically said she lives a sinful life and can't go to church. I started teaching her about free agency, and her divine nature. God wants her to choose the right and gives her the means to do it. My companion lovingly chewed her out and told her she was putting a terrible example for her kids. And then I explained how the Atonement allows her to repent, and the importance of truly repenting. I asked her, "What do you think you have to do?" She said, quietly, "Come closer to God." "How do you think you can do it?" "Going to mass." "How about you join us at church on Sunday?" "I'm going to go." (As in, to church.) It was simple, but the Spirit was very strong in that moment, and Thalía made a large and important step in the right direction.