Monday, October 22, 2012

President Cantu: Guide to the Elect 10-22-12

Elder Baltich is "studying" diligence
Photo 2: That's Nayarit over there! Not my mission
We started implementing what we refer to as the "Pres. Cantú Guide to the Elect" with great results this week. President Cantú wrote me last week and told me to ask our investigators, "If the Savior walked into your home
right now, what would you ask him?" If they ask "Which is the true church?" they're elect. If they ask "What do You want me to do?" they have desire to act and will progress. If they answer that they wouldn't ask anything, they
will not progress, and we should probably just leave. We had a lesson with a man named José Guadalupe. As we were getting to know him and beginning the lesson, my companion put the "Cantú Guide" in practice for the trial
run. Guadalupe answered, "Well, I would ask him to guide me, tell me which church is true and tell me what He wants me to do." Glory be! That's exactly what we were waiting for! We were able to teach a very powerful
lesson about the restoration of the Gospel. He was very interested in the organization of Christ's church and said that he was "intrigued" by what we had explained about Christ's visit to the American continent after his death and resurrection. He's continued to progress well in our other visits during the week.
 I experienced the adventure of getting to know the *other *limit of the mission, Teacapan. (The other limits are Comondú, where I went last month, and Choix, which I will likely never see). Teacapan is a little paradisiacal pueblo on the very edge of Sinaloa. I took the cliché picture next to the ocean inlet that separates Sinaloa from Nayarit. I worked for the day with Elder Gomez from the Distrito Federal, and we were able to have some really cool experiences. The branch of Teacapan is small, but the members are strong and well-organized, and it was great to work with some of them. The first night, we visited a less active member. He's been out of the church for a good fifteen years, and his kids aren't members. We had a spiritual lesson with him, and he accepted to formally receive the missionary lessons along with his kids and any other family members that accept.
Sometimes I am surprised at how the Lord guides missionary work. The following morning, we went to our first plan, which fell through. I felt impressed to contact a woman who was cleaning in her front yard across the street. She was a Catholic missionary, and fully disinterested in our message. So, I thought: why did I recieve that impression? I  turned around and a young woman was coming down the street carrying her baby and with her toddler following behind. Street contacted! The young woman, Margarita, was decidedly interested in the Gospel. I guess I was held up for a moment with the missionary lady so that I wouldn't miss Margarita. I know that we are instruments in the Lord's hands when we are properly prepared and willing to follow His guidance. We contacted Mario, a friend of a recent convert, while he was at his job in the "Ley" (It's like Mexican Smith's). When we went by his house in the
morning on Sunday, he was already getting ready to go to church. He and Julio - a coworker and another friend of ours - both came to church and stayed for the three hours. Woohoo! We had a cool discussion in the Gospel
Principles class which was about temple work. I'm still stressed about this Day of the Dead activity we've got coming up. Things are going well. The Gospel is true! Bye!

Plans A, B, C, D and Jose Luis 10-15-12

Hey! We had a great week last week. Lots of miracles. I'm feeling great. I have a strong sense of my purpose and how to fulfill it, and I've just felt pumped about sharing the Gospel. Elder Baltich and I were blessed to find a lot of new people this week that are progressing. 
We had a visit from our cool traveling assistants: Elder Frias and Elder Sanders. They spend four days in a different zone each week. My companion and I worked with them in our area, and it was awesome. It's kind of like opening a new area in the middle of our area. We have a system in our mission where we should put Plans A, B, C, and D for every hour of the day. It made nightly planning kind of rough because we had a to double all of those plans (that's eighty specific households of plans, whether they be investigators or less active members or whatever), but it turned out well. We ended up looking through the long lists of less actives, and a couple times when I couldn't think of anything, I would just put José Luís. If I run out of plans, I just ask the nearest guy were José Luís lives, and there are usually three or four on that block. Then we contact the guy that we asked, then we contact all of the José Luís houses. It was good working with them and we ate a lot of PB&Js.

We're teaching a cool family. We met Hermano Jorge on the bus ride back from Culiacán a few weeks ago. He's been inactive for a good amount of time, but he has a testimony and is super excited that we've started teaching the family. His wife, Magdalena, has gone to church a few times a while back with a ward member she's friends with. Their kids are way smart. We read and explained Ephesians 2:20 while teaching the message of the Restoration. About twenty minutes later, Jorge Jr. still remembered the verse and said, "Apostles and prophets!" when we asked what two of the foundations of Christ's church are. Everyone was impressed. 

So, we worked really hard to get everyone to church on Sunday. We had committed all of the investigators during the week, we had committed their member fellowshippers to pass by for them, we reminded them with texts the night before, woke them up in the morning, fasted, said specific prayers, etc. And... no one came. We just took the sacrament and went off on our bikes to go by for more people, and... nothing. Saturday night we had a list of over twenty possible investigators that seemed pretty sure. But, nope. I guess we're learning an important lesson about everyone's free agency. Nonetheless, we're pumped and have high hopes for next week. 
Also, New Fruit of the Week: carámbolo! I think it's called starfruit. 9/10. It's awesome. It's like a giant grape.  


Shrimp Season 10-8-12

Apple + tamarind coating + half kilo of Tajin

Hello! We've had sort of a complicated week. I felt like we didn't get a
whole lot of time to work in our area, and the time we did have didn't turn
out to be very effective. However, we have high sights for this coming week
and the rest of the transfer. We have a nice chapel here in Escuinapa (the
only one in the district, actually) so we had the general conference
broadcast right here in a our area. We spent a lot of time on Saturday and
Sunday trying to get all of the investigators to go. In the end I hardly
got to see much of it at all. And the part I did see was mostly spent
battling with some *really* rambunctious kids to keep the door of the
chapel closed. But I still love conference. Carmen and a friend came. Alma
did not come, and apparently hasn't been able to change her work schedule
around yet.

On the way back down from Culiacán last week, we stopped in Mazatlán for an
eye exam, so I finally got to know Mazatlán a bit. We took one of the
well-known "pulmonías" to get around. It's like a golf cart/taxi. I always
secretly wanted to work in Mazatlán.

So Alma and Carmen are still our strongest investigators. Elder Baltich is
still cool. We're really just focused on finding now to build a stronger
investigator pool.

It's shrimp season here in Escuinapa. I've eaten shrimp soup, shrimp tacos,
shrimp tortas, shrimp burritos, fried shrimp, breaded shrimp, and even
shrimp tamales (with the whole shrimp in there, feelers and head and
shell). I love it. Bye!

Zona Escuinapa: the littlest zone
Mazatlan's famous pulmonías.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Sorry. It's spelled Escuinapa, not Esquinapa.

We had a pretty good week. This is a very funny place. It's certainly got the Sinaloa mission feel to it. We have had some fun floods that led the walking around in fun wet shoes and socks. The branch is really small, but there are some really strong branch members that help keep everything move forward. The branch president was a missionary here a few years ago. 

We're teaching the Belmonte family. The two oldest of the kids are recent converts from last week and the week before that. On Sunday, one was called as Young Men's President! They're way cool. The most progressing investigator is the mom, Alma. She has a growing testimony of the Gospel and should be baptized soon as well.

We had a good experience with reactivation. We visited and fellow shipped a woman who was the Primary president years back. On Sunday, she came on her own and brought her two kids! Everyone received her well, and we were happy that she came. I was asked to speak, which was fun. We were also in charge of the third hour class at church, which was fifth Sunday. We ended up explaining our Day of the Dead activity that we're going to have in the graveyard in November to start to get all the members involved, and get them started on their genealogy. 

Elder Baltich in my first Escuinapa rain storm!