So, happy new year, everyone! This begins my full year in the mission, and I'm excited! This week's been kind of crazy, with a lot of emotions, but everything turned out ok, if not perfect. Our investigator that was going to get baptized didn't, but we're still working with her and everything's going to be ok. And, we had two baptisms in our district! One of them especially, Alma, is really special. I unfortunately wasn't able to be there at her baptism (she's part of Nogales), but she's a great example of what the Gospel does, of the power it has to change lives. She could literally feel its positive influence in her life, how different she was becoming, and although she's the first in her family to be baptized, the missionaries there are keeping on working with her family, and her example is going to help them a lot.
Alma (hehe. It's actually a little funny, in Spanish "alma" (soul) is not an uncommon name, but it's feminine. A few times we've had to clarify that Alma from the Book of Mormon was a guy) 31:5:
"And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just--yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them--therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God."
The Book of Mormon really can work miracles, really can change lives. That's because it's more than just a book--Harry Potter's a great read, and I suppose it too could change lives (I don't see how, but let's just go with it), but the Book of Mormon is special because it's backed up by the Spirit. The writers were inspired by God, and their words have been preserved especially for us, and the Spirit guides our minds and helps us to learn from them what we need to.
Photo... We spent the night of New Year's Eve in the apartment of our zone leaders (the elders in Nogales), Elder Suarez and Elder Charlton. Elder Charlton was actually really sick (you can see his Bane-mask/respirator/I'm-not-sure-what-they're-called in his lap), but we had a really good time, and were able to take the 2015 photo when the clock struck midnight. Then we listened to (we couldn't see any) the fireworks, and watched a viejo burn in the street. Like I mentioned, it was stuffed with fireworks, and every so often there would be a small explosion and it would burn brighter.
Today, we went with the zone leaders again, this time for sushi. I will admit, it's a little weird eating Japanese food in Mexico. I don't know why, but it was. Really good, though. My companion and I have also enjoyed immensely the toffee and peanut butter that my wonderful family sent me in a Christmas package.
Oh, yeah! Also, one night as we were heading to contact a family referral my companion saw a coin in the street and stopped to pick it up. A really small denomination, but really shiny. I saw another, and picked it up, too. That's when we noticed that that section of the street was covered in small coins. So, of course we picked them up. ALL OF THEM. We ended up with sixteen pesos and sixty cents, in coins of ten, twenty, and fifty cents. That's like finding a buck twenty-five in nickels and pennies. Really weird, but it made us oddly happy.
And there it is, another week in the life of a missionary in Veracruz, Mexico. Stay strong, keep on keeping on, and read your scriptures. And don't forget to write!
Elder Rob Weatherford