Called To Serve

Called To Serve
Mexico, Mexico City North

Monday, June 20, 2016

Letter #102 Last letter from the Mission Field

This week was great. We found 6 new people to teach and 2 of them came to church and are preparing to be baptized on July 24th! Patricia and Viridiana (the 2 people) went to the temple open house 9 months ago and have been waiting patiently for missionaries ever since. When we taught them, they were so happy when we invited them to be baptized saying, "I am convinced that this is what God wants me to do!" They came to church and LOVED it!

What will I miss most: The people that I have come to know and love.
What am I looking forward to when I get home: It will sound a little weird, but I am looking forward to the "disturbing the peace law". There won't be people shouting and weird sounds all the time. (I will explain later.)
Summarizing the mission: The best experience of my life up to this point, and the best experience to prepare me for the rest of my life. 

It still hasn't hit me that I am leaving. I delayed packing up to avoid all thoughts of going home until about an hour and a half ago. I have loved the mission and wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I know that it was God´s will for me to be here at this time.

Tomorrow morning we go to the offices, have a brief meeting, then eat with the new missionaries. Then we go to President´s house and we will do something, eat, have a devotional, and sleep. Then Wednesday at 9 we will be in the airport and at 3:30 we are in the air.

See you soon!

Love you,
Elder Finlinson
 The missionaries that will be coming home this week.
 Temple trip with missionaries that will be leaving.
At the beautiful Mexico City Temple

Monday, June 13, 2016

Letter #101

Fabiola didn't come to church this Sunday. I don't know if we will keep teaching her much longer. I wasn't able to go to Huehuetoca today, but I did go buy some shoes. I don't know what I would like to eat.(When he comes home.) I am not used to eating at 6:00/7:00 anymore and I can't fit much in my stomach anymore. I would say something Chinese to mix it up a bit.
I will go to the temple this Thursday morning. I will be on the same plane as Elder Huxford, Van Tassel, Black, and Stanger.
Best part of the week: We had a lesson with the Alegria family this week and in the end we invited them to be baptized. They have always told us no, but this time Gabriela (the mom) said yes. Then I didn't invite her to get baptized on a specific date like we need to do. The whole night I felt horrible and I asked God to give me a second chance to see them and invite them to be baptized. The next day we were walking in the street and we saw the Alegria family! They invited us in and we taught them about baptism and when we invited them to baptism in the end of July they all accepted! This Sunday they came to church and are very excited.

I loved that experience so much because it showed me that God wants me to repent and that if I have the desire to do what he wants me to do, He will do miracles to help me change. I have been able to see that God is a God of miracles many times this week. I hope you also recognize His hand in your lives too.

Funny experience: This morning I came to write and the electricity went out, went to cut my hair and the girl that cuts my hair wasn't there and the older lady that cut my hair..... well she cut it at least (it wasn't that great), then while we were eating the food slipped out of my hands and went ALL over my shirt. That has been my day so far. 
Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, June 6, 2016

Letter #100

I visited Alamedas today!! Also I will fast for Jordon this Sunday. Thanks for telling me so that I can be praying too.
If I could go back to teach someone... I don't know because they are either baptized or they don't listen to the missionaries. If there would be someone it would be the Gamboa Family in Huehuetoca. They are a great family, I don't know what happened. They were really excited to progress in the church.
 An area that I would have liked to serve in, maybe Tepotzoltlan. It is a cool area I have heard, but who knows. 
I would like to visit all my areas again! 

This week was stake conference. We also had 4 investigators there. Fabiola came and invited a friend. Angel (he always comes). Sister Alegria and her daughter Gabby (a different daughter than last week). It was great. The last talks were great...The Mexico area plan and the Family Proclamation. The family proclamation has a lot of great things in it. I love the 3rd paragraph the most. It teaches so clearly Gods plan. 

I have thought a lot about a scripture lately in Nehemias. (I know right! Almost nobody knows who he is!) anyways, Nehemias was called by God to complete his own "mission" to reconstruct the walls of Jerusalem. Many people wanted him to relax or do something different, get distracted. Nehemias replied "I am occupied in a great work and cannot come down". We are all embarked in the work and Glory of the Living God and We Cannot Come Down. We don't have time to lose our way or get distracted, to complain, relax. God has called each one of us to come in these last days to work in his vineyard and work for the salvation of men (D&C 138: 56). I hope that we can all realize what a great calling we all have from God and that there is nothing more important that we could possibly do. 

I invite you to pray and ask God everyday, "What more can I do to help in your vineyard?" As you look for revelation the Holy Ghost will let you know what to do. Pray to be able to help someone to progress towards our Heavenly Father. Follow the impressions of the spirit. They are Commandments from God for YOU!

Love you,
Elder Finlinson
 Service Project
 Zone Tepalcapa Este
 Michelle and Her Mom (Andrew taught her and her Father)
 Andrew visiting his old area Alamedas and some of the people he taught who were baptized.
 Andrew and Elder Servin at the Mission Offices
Andrew and Elder Servin

Monday, May 30, 2016

Letter #99

The zone conference went well. I directed it and the training went well. I didn't have a ton of time to teach, but it turned out well. I don't think I have a ton of extra things to fit in my suitcase. President Titensor did not give me permission to go to the place where a member would give me a shoe discount because 2 other companionship's were going to be I don't know if I will be able to buy shoes.

My favorite book of scripture would be Mosiah 2-5 King Benjamin's speech and Alma 34-42 when Alma and Amulek teach a bunch of people... and parts of 3 Nephi.

I have only been separated from my companion in the mission offices, so it wasn't a big deal. Elder Urrutia hid himself one time while I was waiting and watching for the local transport. I was confused at the start until a nearby store sign (Elder Urrutia's hiding spot) started laughing.

Part of the Alegria family came to church this Sunday. From what I saw they enjoyed it! We are really excited for them!

I feel good about the work right now, we are working hard and looking for more new people. The members little by little seem to be more excited to work. The Relief Society went and visited the Alegría family. That was a big motivating factor to have them come to church.

Something that I loved this week was that I have learned a lot from the lessons that we have had because the spirit was the teacher. I learned about my baptismal covenant a lot. We promise to remember Christ always, to take his name upon us, and to keep his commandments. To be short, we promise to perfect ourselves in Christ or become more like him. As we keep our baptismal covenant we always should be looking for what we can do better and as we do so Christ will show us our weaknesses so that our weaknesses can become strengths.

I invite you to think more about your baptismal covenant and to perfect yourself in Christ

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

P.S. I might be going to visit old areas. Alamedas and Huehuetoca. I will see. I will go with Elder Fraser to Alamedas and then to Huehuetoca my companion will come with me. I will see how things go as far as writing on those days. I have to go in these next 2 Mondays. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Letter # 98

Fabiola is the same, but we have other families and investigators that are progressing. I will teach in zone conference explaining what each one is (doctrine, principle and application) and why we should study them. Then have two practices one looking for the doctrine in the scriptures and then the second practice I will hand them a paper describing an investigator and a situation and they will put what doctrine principle and application this person could need.
That is great for Jordon, let's hope that they're looking towards the temple. ( A cousin that got engaged.)

One of the greatest things I have learned in the mission is that all this is true. I grew up almost the whole time with a borrowed testimony, going through the motions, but now I love the church and the gospel!
One talent or skill that I have developed. Talking in public. I still am not a super crazy social guy, but by teaching meetings, contacting in the streets, and contacting entire buses, I am getting over my fear of speaking in public.
A couple of great things this week. The church attendance went up by 17 this week because a ton of less active members came to church. Not all of them came because we taught and invited them, but some (about 12) did. I am convinced that if the active members did their part in home teaching and visiting teaching many (not all) less active members would be active. 

Also we are teaching a family. The Alegria family. The dad is a member inactive and his wife and 3 daughters are not members. We had taught the wife and daughters and they have said many times that their family is falling apart. This week we met the Dad for the first time. He was drunk, but as we were teaching, his daughters started to testify to their dad that this is the chance God is giving them to have a happy family and to change. His heart was softened and in the end he said the prayer and asked forgiveness for all the horrible things he had done to his family. We felt the spirit a lot! They are starting to progress little by little. 
Thinking about the priesthood. I think that many times we overlook how big of a responsibility that it is to have the priesthood. The impact of a good wife (as with Elder Nelson) is huge for a priesthood holder. We must always be ready and worthy to use the priesthood. Also the priesthood is more than just giving blessings or performing ordinances. It is the power and authority of God for the salvation of his children. We must visit and help others to participate in the blessings of the gospel. That is our call.
Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, May 16, 2016

Letter #97

We will have a zone conference on May 24. It will be with a couple other zones. I will teach one part alone. The conference will have different topics. I will teach about Doctrine, Principle, Application. 

Fabiola talked with her mom about getting baptized. The situation still has not gotten resolved. Her mom got mad and called her ex husband to come and talk with Fabiola about her decision. Her dad did not show up and her mom is still ticked off. We will visit Fabiola today to see what all is going on. 

The rest of the investigators have not been progressing much. We can only see them once a week for their schedules and sometimes they aren't there when we go by. So basically we are looking for new investigators always.

My favorite part of this week was, yesterday we had an appointment with a family of less active members. They have not been sealed in the temple. We did an activity about preparing ourselves for the temple (a puzzle) then listened to a video of Thomas S. Monson talking about the temples. After that they started talking about the great experiences they had when they went to church and the spirit was felt very strongly. They now have a desire to work towards the temple as a family.

I´m enjoying the mission and we are working hard. We have found some people that can progress, but it will require time. 

This week I strengthened my testimony that God answers prayers if we look for answers. I was praying and studying to find an answer and a confirmation from God about some things. At the end of my study I found a big answer in a talk from General Conference from last April, then I received a call from a missionary in my zone that said he felt to tell me something. It was the answer I was looking for. ( I asked him if he wanted to share what he had been praying for, this was his answer: I was just feeling a little sad because I didn't feel like I was progressing or that I was seeing results. The talk was truly good and without guile. And the missionary called to tell me thanks for being there to help him and support him.)

God knows and loves us because we are his children. Ask and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. That is a sure promise from a loving Heavenly Father. Try it!

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, May 9, 2016

Letter #96

TRANSFERS!!!! We stay the same here in Ciudad Labor. I stay here with Elder Servin. The elders from Chilpa are from Oaxaca, Mexico, and Chandler, Arizona (look up "barney bites" on youtube and you will find him)
I wrote one letter to Alma Ramos from Tepeji. (She got baptized a few weeks ago). I sometimes talk with Elder Huxford to check up on things in Tepeji.
In these Last 6 weeks. I want to help someone get baptized and leave the area with lots of people to get baptized after I go. I also really want to have a more unconditional love for the people and see the worth of every soul like how God sees them. I also want to help the members to work and that the attendance can go up.

The time is flying, so we will have to pray that these last couple weeks go a bit slower haha. 
The mission is preparing me to serve all my life with all my heart. That choice isn't just a two year choice, its forever!

One of the most special things that happened this week was that we watched "Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration" with Fabiola. I had been reading Joseph Smith History and praying to strengthen my testimony of the restoration. I felt the spirit so strongly as I watched the movie. One part that really impacted me was when people had kidnapped and handcuffed Joseph and some other members. They started saying a bunch of bad stuff. Joseph stood up repremanded (I hope thats a word in English) them and then everything went quiet. They stopped saying bad things and Joseph said, "The worth of every soul is great in the sight of God". 
Two thoughts about that scene: 
1) In D&C 121:43 I think it says that we admonish and correct with the spirit and then show greater love to him who you have corrected so that he does not think you his enemy. We must invite people to repent because they are worth much for God, but we must show greater love after. 
2) Even with the way they were treating Joseph and the members he showed greater love towards them. He saw the worth their souls had and Loved them unconditionally. That is the pure love of Christ- Charity. Something we must all develop, because without it we are nothing (Moroni 7)
I invite you to show greater love to those who surround you and look to see the worth of every soul. I promise you that as you do, you will see the worth that you have for God. 
Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Tepalcapa Este Zone 
Sportin' their sombreo's!
 Alma Ramos' baptism. She was a lady that Elder Huxford and Andrew taught. She was baptized 2 weeks after Andrew was transferred. Elder Urrutia (another of Andrew's favorite companions is also in this picture.)
Pres. & Sis. Titensor with Alma Ramos