Monday, April 27, 2015

2015-4-27 One Day (Week, Transfer) More‏

Ahhhhh, where to begin...

So, the work's going here. It hasn't exactly been fruitful recently with baptisms, so we've been upping the work we've been doing with less active members. Like, "upping" a lot. As a mission, actually. We have an investigator named Edgar who we're hoping will get baptized in a few weeks, and he pretty much fell out of the sky as a miracle from God. He's progressing extremely well, although there's still a long way to go. 

This week's been one of the most intense weeks of my mission so far, I think. Talking with drunk people is pretty normal here, as we encounter a lot of "borrachos" in the street that want to talk with us, but arriving at a house because we felt prompted to plan to visit a less active family and finding them fighting about the father's alcohol problem is never an easy situation. But, when we get involved, we do so with power and authority. There are many things that we can't do as missionaries, but helping families is the point, so we do what we can. We started working with them much more closely, and it was extremely gratifying when they came to church with us on Sunday. It wasn't without help, but still... 

Actually, funny story... We talked with them on Saturday very seriously, and helped them to understand they if they wanted a change, they needed to fight for it. That fight needs to include God, and so to come together as a family, the way to do it was through the church. We committed them to attend with us on Sunday, and ask them if they want us to call them in the morning to wake them up. "Oh, no, elder, we'll be ready." So we told them we'd pass by for them in the morning so we could all walk down together. It's all good, everybody's happy. Fast forward to Sunday morning: We pass by, knock on the gate, and no one answers. We call the house and hear the phone ringing. Rinse, repeat. So we enter in the gate and knock on the window (kind of hard to explain how the house is structured, but it sounds weirder than it was. It makes sense when you see the house). A few times. The dad then sticks his head out, and it's obvious he was dead asleep moments earlier, along with his entire family. "Oh," he says sleepily, and a little sheepishly, "I don't think we're going to make it." "Don't worry," I tell him, "We'll make it together." And I smile. Not a cruel smile, a smile with power and authority. To let him know that we mean business. And that we weren't leaving that house without them. He looks at me for a sec, and then says, "Ok," and sticks his head back inside. Within fifteen minutes, we're all walking to the chapel together, and we actually meet along the way another less active family that we've been teaching. We haven't been baptizing much, but that really doesn't matter. My heart was light that morning. But it gets better... at least, it made me laugh a little inside. The family decided to attend the class for new members (it's been a LONG time since they've been to church), and while they were there, the bishop told them how happy he was to see them. The lesson was actually on work and personal responsibility, and as an example, he said, "And you, Brother E, I remember passing by a couple of days ago to invite you to the ward conference, and here you are! It gives me a lot of pleasure to see you all here. And you came of your own free will, which is exactly what we're talking about today." 
"Actually, bishop, the elders have been working with us pretty closely, and have fortunately been rather insistent with us--if not for them, we wouldn't be here."
"That's great that the elders have been working with you all, but it's not like they brought you here at gunpoint! If, when they passed by, you'd have yawned [here he mimed for comic effect] and said you couldn't, you were too sleepy, they'd have turned around and kept on going! But you wanted to come, and so you did."
I understand the point the bishop was trying to make, and he's right in the sense that if the family really didn't want to come, they wouldn't have come. But, the fact that he said almost exactly the same words that left Brother E's mouth made me have to hide a smile. At times, we need to be a little more insistent than the bishop thinks. Always within the bounds of reason. But, the family understood that they needed to push, so we gave it to them. And, after forming that habit, they'll be able to keep on progressing, seeing the help and blessings in their life. We've been through some extremely difficult moments with them recently... I'm not going to go into too many details, but we've seen part of the father's problem up close and personal, and with their extended family that lives in the same housing complex it gets even more complicated (illegal drug abuse), so we have our hands full. But, with the Lord's help, we can help His children here, and be His voice and His hands.

One night, after meeting with them, my companion was feeling a little depressed, so I talked with him a little bit about our calling. It's a literal one. It's not something we've "taken upon ourselves," it's not something we're doing because we wanted to and no one else; the Lord has permitted us to be here because it was expedient in him for the salvation of souls. We've been set apart by His servants who directly have His authority, to do this work in this area. No one else in this area has that authority. If I sugarcoated that, if I said something different, I'd be lying. Right now, Elder Weatherford and Elder González are the Lord's representatives as the missionaries assigned to the area called 5 de Mayo. No one else can do this work. So, we've got to. Yeah, we're young. Yeah, maybe we've never encountered this kind of situation before. But, we have the right to revelation for this area, to receive revelation to be able to help the people we teach, and we need to trust that.

This church is true, and the priesthood is real. Jesus Christ is the head of this church, and the head of this work. He watches over His servants, and over their families. An elder who's going home tomorrow (honorably--finished his "dos añitos") shared something with us in a special meeting yesterday. He said that the wife of the previous mission president said something a couple of Christmases ago. She said, "Maybe a few of you feel like there's an empty space in your family right now, a hole where you used to be, especially right now during the holiday season. That's not true. There's no hole. Jesus Christ is there, taking your spot, because right now you're here, taking His." I'm not there right now with my family, but I trust that they're in good hands, and that I'm where I need to be. Two years are a paltry offering when compared with all that He's given me, and still has in store.

Mosiah
21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?

Alma 26
11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.

Saludos, y todo mi amor,
Élder Rob Weatherford

Thursday, April 23, 2015

2015-4-20 Missionary Adventures, Chapter 2

(Rob and Elder G. must be having fun with this!)

Translation for my gringo friends:
All of our appointments fell through, Elder! What are we going to do?
 
Let's go rest elder, how does that sound?
 
 
Continued...
Really? Are you being serious? (Excitedly)
 
 
 
 
 
*Note: Typo... "chabear" should read "chambear," Mexican slang for "to work."
No, elder! Let's get to work! Missionary step! (Long, quick strides)

Continued in next email...
 
 

2015-4-13 From Rob and his Mom Missionary Adventures, Chapter 1

The last few weeks, he's been posting silly things rather than posts.  Don't know why...maybe he's just in a mood.  In any case, I have only a small part of my letter I will share on the blog, just because. 

Rob says, "If she sent it by snail mail, I wouldn't be too sure, haha... In fact, I just got a letter from... myself! That I sent to you all, about four to five months ago. It just got "returned to sender" about a week ago. But I have gotten a few cards from people. I was going to try to write letters to respond, but after receiving my own letter, I think it's better to do it through you :) I'll organize all the letters I've gotten, and write better responses next week."

So, here's what he's been doing.  Apparently, his companion Elder Gonzalez, has been working with him on this.  Here's what he says:

"Missionary Adventures: Chapter 1
By Élder Gonzalez

Special thanks goes to my Aunt Karen (Tante Bear) who gifted me the mini missionaries, and my mother, who sent me the Plan of Salvation teaching aid felt set.



Translation:
Elder, are you sure it's this way?
 
 
Sure, elder, I've done this loads of times!


Oh, ok. (Disappointed)

Monday, April 13, 2015

2015-4-6 Conferencia General


General Conference! I'm not going to talk too much about it, because really to get the point you'd have to listen to those talks, but in reality it was really great. I did find it a little funny hearing all of those talks about marriage and families on Saturday, though. I was picturing all of those missionaries who just got home recently looking for inspiration in General Conference, and BAM! WHAM! Get married! Glad I don't have to think about that for AT LEAST another year and a half. 

The truth is, I really loved this General Conference, but I always find it much more valuable (my spelling's shot... I think that's right, but I honestly can't tell anymore) to go through the talks afterward, so I'm also looking forward to when they finally get around to handing out the Ensign from this month to the missionaries. Before the next Conference comes around, I hope :)

I laughed a bit at myself when Elder Soares started to speak. The Conference is translated into Spanish, with the exception of the speakers that are actually speaking in Spanish, of course (speaking of which, Paul, I loved listening to Elder Zeballos. I can't wait to chat with you in Spanish and hear that accent when we both get back). When Elder Soares started speaking, I thought, "Why does he sound so funny? Where could he be from?" And then the translator cut in, and I realized that Elder Soares was from Brazil. And had been speaking in Portuguese. Oops. I think I'm going to have to take some Portuguese when I get back. 

Another week in the beautiful port city of Veracruz. It's getting hotter. And hotter. We don't have hot water, but we're starting to have hot water. How, you ask? No boiler. Just the heat. The refreshing cold showers are becoming slightly less refreshing lukewarm showers. And this is just the beginning! Ah well. I knew what I was getting into. Tie tan, here I come.
 
(Kathy:  Here is, according to Rob, the traditional photo of the companions by the big letters, just like the previous photo of Rob and Elder Dawson)
 

The work's coming. We don't have too many people that are progressing, but we're talking with everybody and we know that the Lord's preparing and has been preparing people for us to teach, we just need to develop the faith to find them. So, we keep searching. At times it gets a little weird, though. For example: a few days ago, we knocked on a gate and a dog ran out to greet us. Don't worry, not a bear-dog, just a medium-sized, yappy dog. A short while later, a woman exited to see what we wanted. We introduced ourselves as missionaries, but she interrupted and told us that she didn't want to talk to us. Why, you ask? So did we. She told us, "It's that the evangelical christians passed by once and they told me that my dog was Satan." We tried to clear that up, but she told us, "No, better not, thank you, good-bye," and stuck her head back inside. So yeah. Stuff like that. But like I said, we keep looking.

For those of you that haven't seen it, and those that already have, go to the webpage helives.mormon.org. We all need to remember and learn more about Jesus Christ and the Atonement. Watch the video. Then, go read Mosiah 3. Then, go and act. Go and look for Him. Go and help someone else. Go and share the Gospel with someone. And don't forget to feed the missionaries. I mean, don't forget to read your scriptures.

Con amor,

Élder Rob Weatherford

2015-3-30

(Kathy) Rob didn't have time to send a blog post this week, but he DID send us a "comp selfie" of his new companion, Élder González. They seem to be having a good time together!