Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016-09-21 Home again!

Kathy:  This is long overdue, but I feel the need to add a little closing to this blog of Rob's mission.  He returned home to us safely, and we are so very grateful for his years of loving service to the good people in Mexico.  We have been blessed by his mission in so many ways, and though I missed him every day he was gone, I recognize our blessings from his service!  I'm thankful for his mission president and the wonderful teacher and leader he is.  I'm grateful that he made friends there who will be friends for eternity.  But most of all, I'm grateful for the boy he was, the man he is, and the journey that helped him get there.  Welcome home, Rob!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2016-09-19 He aquí, os digo que no puedo expresar ni la más mínima parte de lo que siento...‏

(Note from Kathy:  my heart!!)

Well, I guess this is it. Two years. It's been a lot of time, and at the same time, it's not been a lot of time at all. I hope I've really changed... I feel different, and I feel the same, and I act differently, and I act the same... 

More than anything, I'm grateful that the Lord allowed me this time to be able to serve him, albeit imperfectly, in the way that He asked of me. It's been a privilege. That service doesn't end now, can't end now. It's just begun. I understand that a little better now. I guess here I learned more about what "unprofitable servant" really means. He doesn't send us here so we can pay a kind of debt. There are some debts that can't be paid. He sends us so that we can be the means by which perhaps he brings some soul to repentance, but also he sends us so that we can be blessed, and so that we can be changed. 

God knows us, and He loves us. Both of which are miraculous taken apart, and when considered together, absolutely astounding. He asks of us is that we give willingly, of our time, talents, whatever we possess, whatever resources he's given us, to do His work. 

Here, I've felt God's love and guidance, and expectations, more than any other moment in my life. One of the greatest gifts I've received here is the gift of understanding, understanding many things I didn't understand before. Also, of understanding how little I understand. 

Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He suffered for us, and he sends His Church and His missionaries to teach us about it so that we can receive that gift and apply it in our life. I love the Lord, I'm grateful to Him for the gift of His Church in modern times, with the authority and guidance of the priesthood and those who hold it. 

I've seen lives changed here. I've felt that my life's changed, as well. When a person applies the restored Gospel in their life, the Spirit is felt so strongly that those around them can feel it, too. And, the end result of witnessing that kind of experience, of being allowed to be a part of it, is love. Love for the people here, love for the Gospel, love for Christ, and a desire for those feelings to be part of one's life forever. And it's that kind of love, the pure love of Christ, that casteth out fear. 

I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. 

I bear my final testimony to you all as a missionary that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom once again established on the earth. I stand as a witness of that, a witness granted me by the Spirit of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

With love,
Élder Rob Weatherford

Sunday, September 18, 2016

2016-09-12 Sorry...

Sorry, I ran out of time to write the group email answering everybody... hehe... but I'll try to send a bigger, better one next Monday. Here's a picture of Brayan. Yeah, I know, he's really short... but he's fifteen. Don't tell him I said that about his height :D
Love you lots!

Élder Rob Weatherford

Monday, September 5, 2016

2016-09-05 O'er crag and torrent till the night is gone...

Stake conference yesterday, and a recent convert (Pedro) got the Melchizedek priesthood afterwards. He and his family got confirmed the day before I got here, so even though I wasn't here for the first part of their teaching, I feel like we've gotten pretty close in these few weeks, because we still pass by often to keep on teaching them (to help them continue progressing, to reteach the five lessons, to help them continue keeping the commandments and coping with the change of being members, and helping them put and complete goals like going to the temple), so it was pretty exciting that that happened. Bryan went (alone, unfortunately) to the conference as well, and passed his baptismal interview, so if everything goes well he should get baptized this week... prayers, and faith! And, a new family we found this week went to the conference as well. Aracely, Jenny (16), and Roberta (6). Irving (13) wasn't able to go, and his dad, whom we still haven't met, didn't go either (although from from Aracely says, he wasn't that interested anyway... let's hope we get an opportunity to teach him a little). Roberta was sitting next to me, and she got kind of bored within the first fifteen minutes... of a two-hour conference. So, we made origami and played tic-tac-toe and connect-the-dots, etc. for about an hour and a half. I actually had a good time, Aracely and Jenny were able to concentrate on the conference, and I think Roberta didn't have an awful time either... I hope... Aracely sent us a message afterwards, thanking us and saying that they really liked the conference, so I hope everything went well. They're a really good family, although Aracely and her husband (also named Robert, hehe) need to get married... and he's apparently an inactive JW, and hasn't shown the greatest interest (or liking) toward the "Mormons." We hope we can teach him too and help him to be a help (and not a hindrance) to his family's spiritual progress. Román and Norma weren't able to go because of Román's work, but we saw them afterward and they're trying really hard to progress; Román's going to try to look for a new job that helps him to keep the Sabbath day holy and keep the Word of Wisdom, although it's going to be difficult... but there's a really good self-reliance center here--if I were to trust one self-reliance center in the mission, it'd be this stake's. It's sometimes (often) really nice to be here in this ward! 

Elías and Lupe haven't been around... and neither has Lucía. We haven't seen them in a while. The Cano family (or, more accurately, their parents) also haven't been trying really hard... they're been making a lot of excuses instead. We'll have to see if it's worth keeping on working with them, or if we move on. 

I'm healthy, content, sunburned, often sweaty, but feeling good. Read your scriptures, and don't forget to pray!


NecktieRob Weatherford

2016-08-29 Hmmmmmm...

Another hot week in Veracruz...

Let's see... New promising investigators:

Román and Norma. Román stopped his truck in the street to talk to us last week--he's a former investigator from a different area and has been to church before, he really liked how he felt when he went and we wanted us to go teach his wife (although they're not married yet), who's passing through some difficult times. We went by to teach them on Saturday, and yesterday they went to church by themselves. Román's work often takes him away for days at a time, and he smokes, and like I said, they need to get married (Norma actually needs to get divorced first), so it might take a little bit of time. But they had a really good experience on Sunday, and they seem like they're going to progress well.

We also had contacted a less-active family that recently moved here. We went by to teach them on Saturday, and it turns out that they have two kids who haven't been baptized that could be. The dad works on Sundays, but we're going to work on reactivating the family, and then their kids can get baptized. They didn't go to church yesterday, but we'll see how they're doing this week--they're a really good family, and really cute kids. Israel and Sonia are the parents, and their kids Yarith (10), Valentín (8), and Camila (6). 

Brayan went to church, and is progressing well, but his mom couldn't go. Carmen also didn't go, and she wasn't home yesterday when we visited her, so we hope everything's all right with her... Also, we've officially dropped Vianey, unfortunately. 

Yesterday, a member introduced us to his friend, Elías, and Elías's fiancée Lupe. Elías does groundskeeping for the temple and for the majority of the chapels in the port, so he knows a lot of members, but he's never attended a Sunday service before, and Lupe has no experience with the church. Kyp, the member, and his wife Saira invited them to a FHE the week before and they really liked the experience, and accepted a visit from us with Kyp yesterday. We actually just had a really short lesson and invited them to accompany us to a self-reliance devotional (the self-reliance courses kick-off) in the chapel that was about to start. Elías at least really liked it, and I think Lupe did, too, and that also let them see the church from the inside. We have another appointment with them later in the week... we'll see how it goes! They also need to get married, but they've already talked about it and do want to--it's just a matter of planning it and saving up the money. 

Lucía: a former investigator from sisters in another area, that visited her where she works, but she never went to church there because it's really far away and she's here during the weekends. Single, mom, two kids, Kenia (10) and Bernardo (8). She really liked the lessons the sisters gave, but she's never gone to church, and so that's going to be the biggest difficulty right now--she works a lot, and Sunday is her day of rest, as it should be, but it ends up being her "sleep-in day," which makes making an 8:00am service a little difficult. But she says that now she understands why, and that she really wants to go--we just have to help her do it so she can receive the blessings and continue progressing in the gospel.

OK, I think that's all for right now as far as the work goes... We're trying to talk with everybody we can (while at the same time finding the people that God's preparing for us and also not spending so much time in the street that we miss or arrive late to appointments). We made eighty-one street or door contacts this last week, and we hope to make more this week. The "normal number" changes depending on the mission, but for this mission that's respectable. No fear, just open your mouth... and hope something intelligible comes out :)

Love you all! Don't forget to read your scriptures, and invite people to Church activities!   

Élder Rob Weatherford

P.D. Photos...
¿Cansado de caminar? ...Sí. (Rob's Mom:  Translation:  Tired of Walking?  Yes.)

Dragonfly (libélula) on the tackboard in the church.

I think they made a mistake with our weekly reporting page... those aren't our names...

Neither are those...

Photo from Tres Valles, me and the branch president (Presidente Morfín) and his family.

2016-08-22 Leviticus 13:41

SO, I think I only mentioned this to my family before, I'm in a new area ("trunky transferred," as I think it is colloquially referred to); I'm in the port again, in a new ward (around five months old) called "Torrentes." It's actually really big, definitely the biggest ward/area I've been in so far. We have to take buses almost every day to give good follow-up to our investigators, or get rides with members when possible. We also walk a lot, as usual. The ward sacrament meeting attendance averages around 160 a week and we go to the Veracruz stake center for our meetings, which is quite possibly the nicest church building in the mission. It hascarpet in the chapel! And pews (well, kind of)! 

Let's see, investigators... There's a 15-year-old named Brayan who's really cool... he went to EFY a few weeks ago because a friend invited him, and the Sunday before I got here he showed up to church by himself with a white shirt and a tie in his hand because he didn't know how to tie it. The bishop actually thought he was a member! The missionaries put an appointment to go visit him during the week, and that became me, because the other missionary left. So we started to teach him and his family, and his mom, who sells fruits and vegetables during the week, including Sunday mornings, started to put plans to stop working on Sundays so she should go to church. Last Sunday she couldn't go, because she had to notify her clients of the change, but this Sunday she and Brian were there over a half-hour early in the chapel! We hope that Brian's little brother goes next week. Brayan's goal for baptism in the 10th of September, and his mom's (Juana) is the 17th, although Brayan's a little more sure than she is right now. Brayan's really enthusiastic about everything he's learning--and I really like when he prays. We told him that prayer was a conversation with God, and so he always starts, "Buenas tardes, Padre Celestial,..." I always smile when I hear him--his prayers are really sincere. Juana understands that her family needs the Gospel, and she's progressing, if a little more slowly--she just feels like she needs a lot more time to make the kind of changes in her life she needs to make.

Carmen was also there the Sunday before I came; a friend invited her, and she went, and accepted an appointment with the missionaries... again, me and Elder Howard. She's gone every Sunday since, is progressing great, has great fellowshipping from the Relief Society, and is progressing towards getting baptized on the 10th of September. She just needs a little help leaving coffee...

We also found another good new investigator on Saturday named Stefanie, a college student who has a lot of good questions. She was a reference from a member friend who lives in another ward. We just taught her once, and she didn't make it to church, but we'll stop by soon to see how's she's going.

Vianey is another investigator we have; she's 19, went to an overnight YSA activity and really liked it, and has a while (over a month) going to church, but her parents are very active in another Christian church and haven't exactly been supportive. She has friends among the YSA group in the ward that are helping, but she hasn't been really constant lately, not keeping her commitments, and so we might have to drop her from the teaching pool for a little while. 

There are some other people as well, but these are those that have been progressing the most lately. There are a lot of people in this area. The photo below where you can see lines of houses (this is the residential part of Veracruz where they build whole neighborhoods of the exact same model of house, I suppose to save money and space--it makes it really easy for me to get lost... and the street names aren't numbers, just random names, or occasionally groups of things, like "bird names," but not in alphabetical order, unfortunately) is just one of thirteen "colonias," or residential group areas, of roughly the same size, that our area covers, many of which are far away. 

Love you all, I'm happy, and healthy, and trying to make the most of every moment. 

Élder Rob Weatherford

P.S. "Yet is he clean."

(Rob's Mom:  P. S. S. for those of you who do not have your Bible handy, here is what my silly son was referring to in the subject scripture:  "41 And he that hath his hair fallen off from the part of his head toward his face, he is forehead bald: yet is he clean."  Forehead bald...)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

2016-07-19: Carolina's Baptism

This computer is taking a long time to load photos, and we don't have a whole lot of time to write. I'm writing today because we had a zone conference yesterday in Tuxtepec, so we didn't have a P-day... and today they just gave us a little bit of time to write, but it's coming out of our proselyting time... and as we have appointments today, there's not really much of an option here... hehe. Sorry. But just wanted to send a couple of things.

First of all, Carolina got baptized on Sunday!! 

A contact who turned out to be a former investigator whose sister is a member who studies in Hidalgo. Wasn't sure about baptism before, but had been to church before. Because of a few miracles her work situation had temporarily changed, which meant she was actually home that day (which was very uncommon), and she received us well, and accepted the challenge to prepare herself for baptism. From the moment we met her, she's picked everything up so fast... and, we learned that her sister would get back the 16th of July. So, we invited her to get baptized the 17th. This was about three weeks ago. And, that's what happened! She has a young son, Derek, who's three years old. Here's a photo of him helping to clean up after Primary. 

This other one is the only photo Derek wanted to take with us... a little squirmy that day. But that's okay!

Zone conference--
Office buddies--President Córdova's kids

Some friends, and an old companion, Elder Dawson!

Me and Elder Lewis. Airport buddy/companion, almost two years ago!

Me, Jesús, and José (Jesús' cousin).