Here are the answers to the questions...
1. I am in the Zaragoza Ward, Montezuma Stake.
2. Elder Loveland is the senior companion, partly because he has office experience and is teaching me. By the way, I learned that the mission office DOES pay the rent. I never knew, because Elder Cardona would always give money to the sister that owns the house. So I simply assumed that the money was his in the first place. But I have learned that that money came from the offices, and was put onto his card in order to pay the rent.
3. Yes, I realize that my mission is 1/4 done. This fact scares me a little.
4. The offices are extremely close to the temple. I could walk there in maybe 6 or 7 minutes. There are 3 elders in the offices. Me, my companion, and Elder Hicken. Elder Hicken and his wife are a senior couple that you all in Arizona would love. They work here as well, but will leave in September.
And yes, our mission is almost all in the major city. After the division, our mission is incredibly small. Do you remember that map that I received when I got my missionary call? You could probably put your two thumbs on the map, and you would have probably easily covered the scale of our mission, as it is now in the present. It is small, but filled with thousands of people.
Freddie: Freddie is the wife of Junue. He is opening up quite a bit, and I can see excitement building in his character. I taught him once with a member from the ward. My companion was in another appointment with another member. We did these divisions because the appointments were at the same time. In this lesson, I invited Freddie to be baptized. He refused, unfortunately, but helped us understand that that could be an option after he has felt the joy and peace that we are promising him. He hasn't felt these feelings to the degree he would like, so wants to feel those feelings first.
By the way Mom, Junue is looking for you on Facebook. Keep an eye out for her! Her name might be spelled Yunuen.
Aaron: Aaron is doing well, but I am worried. He continues to go to church every Sunday, but I feel that his progress has leveled off, and the next step is probably baptism. But he is hesitant about accepting the invitation. He wants to be absolutely sure, and wants to feel that he is ready.
Maximo: Maximo is the father of Leonor. He is a new investigator.
The parents of Junue: These people are some of the nicest people you could ever meet. They are the parents of Junue. We have visited them 3 times, I believe. We face a few obstacles with trying to convert these people. First, the mother is Jehovah Witness. Like us, the people in this religion are often very firm in their beliefs. The other obstacle is their love for talking. They love to talk so much. But my companion and I both felt that we should keep visiting them, and try to help them feel the power of this message of the gospel.
The ward here is really starting to do missionary work. Really, missionary work can be very, very hard when the ward doesn't help. I love it when people come to us and tell us that they have family home evenings planned that they want us to attend. When the ward works, lives are touched, and missionaries have their agendas filled a lot more.
The past two days of my life have been some of the best that I have ever had. Our lessons are filled with the Spirit. I would like to emphasize again the power of a mission. Young men, if you truly want to learn how the Spirit works, GO ON A MISSION. I have learned incredible things from God, especially about how the Spirit works. My companion has helped me a lot to understand these things.
The mission is a lot of work. Looking back, I see that I have been gliding on Gods guiding hand the entire time. There have been times on my mission when I have looked back at a trial and have thought something like, HOW DID I GET THROUGH THAT? I think about the things that could have gone wrong, and I marvel at the fact that God was there the whole time so that most, and sometimes none, of those things really would go wrong. I have learned about the Spirit. I have learned about the plan of salvation. I have learned about peace. I have learned about true joy. I am discovering that joy. Why do we feel certain ways? Why do certain people cross our paths? How can we truly be happy forever? These are questions that I am finding answers to.
I learned some new phrases...
Ni Modo = it doesn't matter
De vez en cuando = every once in a while
en cuanto a = As for...
I will be honest, Nacho Libre is very accurate. There is a part when he gets smacked and is called a "Guero" (There is supposed to be two dots above the U but I dont know how to put them there on the computer...this word is pronounced like this...WERO). This word means White Boy. This word is extremely common here in Mexico, and I am called it all the time. I do not think that it is rude. Sometimes, I think it could be. But more often than not, I feel that this word is just an indication that I am white, but not in a rude way. Also, in Nacho Libre he is always eating corn with a lot of spice and sauce and cream on it. That is very common here as well, and it is delicious.
I can't imagine my life without the mission. It has been hard, but it has been worth it. I am convinced that if a young man is worthy, but does not choose to go on a mission, that man is making one of the worst decisions of his life. The progression I have experienced is phenomenal. God has taught me many things. He has taught me how to prepare to be a father. He has taught me how to be a friend. Many of the lessons I have learned were not without trials. The mission is not a walk in the park. But it is worth it. The mission changes lives. I stand all amazed at the things that happen here.
Work in the offices is going well. We have so many things to do, but we are getting it done.
Work in Zaragoza is progressing. We had a 24 people jump in attendance at the chapel last Sunday, if I remember right. The ward members are helping us.
One of the most incredible things that I have taught is this...IT IS POSSIBLE TO BE HAPPY. Every day can be the greatest. I don't know how He did it, but God has opened my mind and eyes to things that are incredible to me.
Yo testifico que esta vida es una vida de felicidad. Nunca olviden que Dios nos ama, porque es verdad. No importan los desafíos que tengamos. Dios nos ama y nos ayuda. Si nos enfocamos en las cosas más importantes, esforzándonos con todo que tenemos, con una sonrisa siempre, podemos ser felices. Yo lo sé. De hecho, este es el propósito de Dios....hacernos felices. La oración no sólo es un grupo de palabras que tiramos en el aire. Es comunicación con Dios. Y Él nos escucha. Las escrituras no sólo son buenas historias. Son testamentos de Jesucristo. Yo espero que todos nosotros podamos encontrar la felicidad que Dios tiene para nosotros todos los días. En la vida preterrenal, Él quería que estáramos felices y fuertes. Por eso nos envió aqui. Como dice el himno, Soy un hijo de Dios, Él me envió aquí. Me ha dado un hogar y padres buenos para mi. Guíenme, enseñenme la senda a seguir. Para que algun día yo con Él pueda vivir. Yo sé que este es verdadero. Ahora es la prueba. Hoy. Haga este día el mejor día.
TRANSLATION. I testify that this life is a life of happiness. Never forget that God loves us, because it is true. It doesn't matter what challenges we have. God loves us and helps us. If we focus on the most important things, putting forth effort with all that we have, always with a smile, we can be happy. I know it. In fact, this is the purpose of God...to make us happy. Prayer isn't just a group of words that we throw into the air. It is communication with God. And He listens to us. The scriptures aren't just good stories. They are witnesses of Christ. I hope that all of us can find the happiness that God has for us every day. In the premortal life, He wanted us to be happy and strong. That is why He sent us here. Like the hymn says, I am a child of God, and he has sent me here. Has given me an earthy home, with parents kind and dear. Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must know to live with Him someday. I know this is true. Right now is the test. Today. Make today the best day.
Love, Elder Anderson