Hola mi familia y amigos!
Ok, so first things first. I am better. To clarify, we were never really sure if it was pneumonia, but I think it is safe to assume that it was. The infection was very small, and it was in the tube that connects the lungs to the mouth...so TECHNICALLY it wasn't the lungs. But yes, I'm pretty sure it was pneumonia. It is pretty much gone. Doing simple things was absolutely exhausting, and my breathing would be really heavy when I was outside. I rested for Monday, Tuesday, and much of Wednesday. On Tuesday, we had a class we needed to attend, so we went...and it really affected me...I was exhausted. During the beginning of this week, my throat hurt, head hurt, eyes hurt, chest hurt....everything hurt! But now, I am totally fine except for a little cough. Wednesday, I rested and worked because I went to the doctor again and he said I am so much better. I'm still not totally better, but I am back to full working hours and am fine. So Thursday was the first full day this week.
First, two weeks ago, I learned some more about this mission. Mexico is very, very unique. Here is what has happened. In the past, missionaries did their jobs...they baptized, and they baptized, and they baptized. And Mexico is just thriving with baptized persons. But, maybe less than 10 percent are active. This is very bad, because they are breaking their covenants they made at baptism. This is worse than not being baptized. So the focus here is threefold....rescue inactives, retain actives, and baptize investigators. We don't contact and tract because we are focusing on the inactives. We need to save them because the Second Coming is very close...and they aren't ready for it. So, no tracting and no contacting...this is only for Mexico, because of the greatness of the number of inactives. We did, however, receive word from the mission president that if our plans and our backup plans fail for a one hour block, and no members live close, we can contact in the street for 30 minutes...but absolutely no tracting....ever! We get new investigators from referrals from the ward. So that's pretty interesting!
Okay, here are updates on people:
Ian: Haven't met with him since, we might today. I will tell him that you are praying for him. He has broken the Law of Chastity and is not doing good. Ah! We need him to understand how important it is to follow Christ! We will keep working.
Ruben: Ruben is inactive. We had a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with him and his mother and wife, and others. It was very powerful and he is ready to be more active.
Julio Cesar: Active. His mother is Catholic. She is so sweet, and it is funny because she sees us all the time! We taught her once and she humbly accepted the offer to pray about this church. Then she saw us help her son move into her house. AND, she came to the Noche de Hogar, so we are basically drenching her in Mormonism.
Freddie and Junue: Oh the success here! We spent almost all of Saturday helping them move out of their house, and into the house of Freddie's mother and brother...his brother is Julio Cesar. We hauled things out of the house, into a pickup truck, drove to the new house, unloaded, and repeated 3 more times. It was very, very tiring, but we got it done and it was great. They thanked us with tacos....oh my gosh, I think I fell in love when I ate those tacos...they were absolutely incredible....oh my goodness, it was so good!! Man! We are going to convert the whole Cesar family! And you know what? Junue says she might want to be baptized...we didn't even ask, she just said it! Oh man, there is success in the future for this family!
Refugio: Brother of Martha, who is active. Refugio has arthritis and it is pretty severe. So we talked to him about the Book of Mormon and stuff like that, and we have given him a blessing.
Josue: New investigator! Met him today. He is very humble and has graciously accepted the invitation to pray about the Book of Mormon.
By the way, Martha has this awesome dog named Pochako!!!!! He is a Men In Black Dog and he is so funny! He has this massively chubby face and his eyes are huge!!! I love Pochako!
Victor: Still the man with tons of pointless questions. It is so frustrating when he says...OH, BUT THIS IS NOT IN THE BIBLE. OH, BUT I DON'T READ THIS IN THE BIBLE. OH, BUT THE BIBLE DOESNT HAVE THAT, OR IT DOESN'T TALK ABOUT THIS.... ah!!! Yes, it is because the Bible has been changed for a thousand years by men!!! Of course it is missing things!! It's why we have the Book of Mormon! Ah!! We have one more visit with him and we will invite him to be baptized again. If we don't see improvement, we might have to stop working with him.
Obispo (Bishop): We met with him again...once again, nice and easy! I don't know what the other missionaries are talking about...our bishop is great! He hardly ever lets missionaries attend ward council.... so, we came to his house to see if we could change that. I suggested we talk about unity. So my companion and I shared scriptures and then I asked the dreaded question: COULD WE ATTEND WARD COUNCIL? The Bishop said sure, and that there is no problem! Yes!!
On Sunday, I was so hungry after church!!! I wanted dad's roast beef and potatoes! Guess what we were fed for lunch at a members house???? Steak and potatoes!!!! Ya buddy! Steak and potatoes in mexico! Hahahaha!!!
I still continue to be fed absolutely incredible food. I have eaten, not this week but in the past here in Mexico, shrimp and mushrooms. My first time for both, I think. I will be honest, they weren't terrible...haha! Not my favorites though!!
The mission has changed my life. It has been, what, like 12 weeks? That's it. But I can say with absolute surety that the mission has turned me into a new man. My desires, my understanding, my views, my actions, and everything has absolutely changed. All I want to do when I get home is serve, make my family so happy, and be the missionary's best friend because I always invite them over and give them referrals. I am serious. I know it sounds cheesy and dramatic, but I am not the same. I now have a real sense of urgency to work and serve. The second coming is close. No time to lose! And I now look at life as a truly temporary state in the eternities. Video games, sports, and other stuff like that have become almost nothing in my view. People are what matter. People, obedience, and Jesus Christ. I am a new man, and will continue to become so. I have testified up and down about the gospel to other people, and I have promised God that I will never depart from it. I am locked in the gospel. This mission has sealed my destiny and it is impossible for me to turn back.
I do not have the words, nor the time or eternity or means to describe what God has done for me in this mission. He has prompted me to do things through His spirit that leave me standing all amazed. Helping a lady move stuff across the street. Visiting Refugio. Both of these were inspirations from God to me. I have been sent to my bed in tears, thinking of myself as nothing more than a stump of a tree. And then I would get up feeling like a man of God, having received His comfort. I have never been so close to Him. My tears almost begin to flow as I merely write about it. I cannot believe the things He has done. The miracles I have both seen and worked. I think that before my mission, I was converted. Now, there is no question. The gospel is my life and forever will be. I have changed.
To all young men in the stake. I testify that a mission is worth it. I testify that there is no "doubt" strong enough to keep you from a mission. A mission will change your life, and it will transform everything about you! It will work wonders for you, and you will work wonders yourself. I cannot tell you the mere fraction of what God has done for me. He has taught me things that I never thought I could learn from Him. He has given me so much peace and comfort, and I cannot deny He lives. He does live. And he is calling you now. Go and Serve! I promise, in the name of Jesus Christ, that if you go and serve with everything you have, He will bless you more than you can imagine right now, and you will find satisfaction and joy that is lasting and complete. I promise you this thing.
I learned a new word: PLANCHAR. This means "to scold". It also means to iron, like iron a shirt. So, when my companion and I say that we want to scold someone and tell them what's up (which by the way, we are wanting to do, in righteous indignation of course, to Julio y Vania! Oh, watch out! OK, no we won't scold. But we are going to be a bit more stern with them), we make a hand motion like we are ironing a shirt and say TTSSSSSS like the sound of the steam. Haha.
Language is still coming along. I understand a lot more. By Mother's Day, we can probably have a conversation in Spanish... haha.
I love you all. Words of wisdom for this week. There are two. First: NO TIRAR BASURA! I saw this on the sidewalk. It means DON'T THROW TRASH!! Haha. And second: DIOS VIVE.
I know that is true.
Love, Elder Anderson