First off I want to apologize for how awfully this letter is going to be typed wise because I got the unlucky computer with the spanish keyboard and it doesn't have the same punctuation.
Thanks so much for the package!! I got it at our zone conference that we had and it was really fun to get music and special k bars and all. So thanks. I can't figure out how to put a smiley face on this computer so know that I am smiling as I am typing this and that everything isn't super super serious haha. But Elder Vargus is obsessed with the special k bars so if you could send the recipe next week that would be fantastic! And I love all the music that you sent me also!! Its been really fun to have it on shuffle and have a song come up that I didn't realize was on there. The only complaint that there has been is after we had it playing for a while Elder Vargas said "no tiene musica de navidad?" hahaha. I'm not sure why he wanted christmas music in abril but we are both enjoying it lots so thanks!
This last week was both really good and really tiring for several reasons. I felt like I hardly had time to study or anything because constantly had meetings or appointments in the morning and it was just kinda crazy. We had last minute exchanges last thursday so I ended up in Libertad, and became so so grateful for our area. Everyone had always said that our area was super flat and had zero hills for Tijuana but I figured everyone was just talking to talk but I was proved wrong on Thursday. Lets just say I got in a really good work out all day thursday walking up and down hills. I was with Elder Barretts companion, who is also a trainee and has less time than I do in the mission cause he was only in the MTC for 2 weeks down here in Mex. Elder Tellez is awesome though and it was really fun to know that even though both of us were really inexperienced, we were still able to teach some really good lessons and be able to teach with the spirit. So that was a fun experience. Then on Friday we had a zone conference and it was really really good. President Carreon and Hermana Carreon both gave really good lesson dealeos and I learned alot. The mission has a tradition that at the first zone conference that new missionaries are at with the president, they stand up in front of everyone to bear their testimony. Elder George and Elder Johnson from my district in the MTC were there also and it was really fun to listen to them bear there testimonies in spanish. I'm constantly amazed that as I turn to the Lord for help through prayer, that almost instantly I can notice a difference. With the whole mini testimony meeting, I was kinda nervous to get up and speak in spanish because Elder George and Elder Johnson had gone before and hadn't done too hot with their spanish. So I said a little prayer and it was really cool to feel the spirit and have that help with the language that I asked. Also later me and Elder Vargas were called up to do some demonstrations and I guess my spanish is coming along cause later in the conference when we had a kind of break out work in groups President Carreon came over and said that my spanish was really good so everybody was giving me a hard time that I'm going to "subir" cause President complimented me.
Also General Conference was really really good. It was kinda hard to understand the stories that the speakers would start with but I was able to understand pretty much all of the doctrine stuff. It was really weird in the Saturday afternoon session that the choir was from BYU and that it was mens chorus and womens chorus combined, so I recognized like all of the guys. But it was fun to be able to lean over to Elder Vargas and be like hey I was in that choir haha. We were really excited that some of the speakers were really straightforward about the need for members to start putting in more effort in regards to missionary work so hopefully we can see some results from that. The sunday before, a youth about my age in Palmeras brought her friend and we taught the first lesson to her, se llama Byanca. She had a bunch of really good questions but said that wasn't sure that she really believed in God. We gave her a Book of Mormon and challenged her to pray about it and figured it out that we would meet again thursday morning. We really didn't know what we should teach her for the second time but we prayed about it and prepared a lesson about the atonement and went to go teach. We started talking with her and it turned out that she had read up to 2 Nep. 31 in 3 days and had prayed and recieved an answer that the Book of Mormon is true so we were super excited about that and it was perfect because chp 31 talks about baptism and we just read that chapter together and talked about it. She accepted a baptismal date a week out, but she was really hesitant because her mom told her that she didn't like that she was going to come to our church, but that if she really wanted to join and be baptized she needed to wait 6 months. So we told her to pray about it and talk to us when she came with her friend to conference. She came to all 4 sessions of general conference and loved it. She also told us that because of some of the things that speakers said, she knows she needs to get baptized on May 4th so that she has a little bit more time to learn and prepare. So Byanca is awesome and has a lot of potential so we are excited to teach her more this week.
We don't have a lot of other investigators that are progressing and sometimes its frustrating because we will have a really good lesson with someone only to have them bail on our next appointment and then not answer the door since. So we are really praying and trying to work more with the members that we will be able to find some more investigators that will progress and that we can teach more than just the first lesson. Also we have lots of investigators that have been taught all of the lessons and really like the church but they aren't married so they can't get baptized and they don't have the desire to do something about it to fix their problems so that is always a little frustrating that sometimes we can't do anything more to help them progress other than keep loving them and give them more opportunities to feel the spirit and to know they need to change.
I really enjoyed all of conference but there were a couple of talks that stuck out to me. I really really really loved President Monson's talk about obedience, and how that as we are obedient we can recieve all of the blessings that we could ever want simply from being obedient. I also really enjoyed how there were several talks about the Priesthood, and how important it is in everything we do. In our zone conference last friday Hermana Carreon asked us that if we needed to paint a door frame blue, but wanted all of the walls to stay white, would we leave a bucket of paint and a brush to a 5 year old to do the job? Of course we all answered no, and then she told us well this is what God has done. We have so much divine potential that we don't recognize and because of it we are going to mess things us in this life, but God trusts us with His great work nonetheless. He not only trusts us with ourselves, but also as missionaries He trusts us with the salvacion of all of those around us are we are responsible to teach and share the gospel. This analogy coupled with the analogy used in conference by Elder Uchdorf about how when a child falls down while learning to walk, the parent doesn't yell at the child for falling down, but instead applaudes and is extremely happy when they get back up. I love both of these example in regards to how our Heavenly Father sees us and sees our divine potential to really grow and become perfect and we are admonished to do. Even though I couldn't understand everything said in conference, the spirit was so strong and I was able to learn so much. It was really neat to hear the translators choking up during talks because it was touching them so much. Super super cool stuff.
Its so much fun to read your emails and to hear about the things that are going on in your lives. If I have any word of advice for Benjamin, Jacqueline and Daniel preparing for missions, don't wait to start really really studying the gospel. The quicker you learn to really love the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, you will be able to grow so much. It wasn't really until I left for BYU that I started really loving the read the Book of Mormon, and no matter what language it is in, it is a truly powerful book that can teach us so much about the life of Christ and can bring the spirit into our lives more powerfully than any other book. Also, don't hesitate to share the gospel with anyone. The most they can do is say no, and really everytime somebody says no is one step closer to them saying yes. Our investigator Byanca, had been invited to church by her friend for some 5 years and finally she said yes and now is just eating up everything we teach her. So don't ever hesitate to invite someone to church or to invite a friend to listen to the missionaries.
I love all of you and are so grateful for the examples that you are to me. I am so blessed to have the family that I have and thank our Father in Heaven everyday for each one of you.