Called To Serve

Called To Serve
Mexico, Mexico City North

Monday, December 29, 2014

Letter #25

I found the debit card. It was at Galerias, they saved it for me. When we study with the assitants they come to our apartment. This week we studied with the zone leaders. They don't bring stuff (packages or letters). I get the letters from Grandpa and Grandma from dear Elder. Sadly I already have a resistance band. I cant do much with it. It does a little more but it's not the same as weights in the gym for sure. 
Wow Connor that's awesome, 30 is way good. (Comment for his brother Connor who received a 30 on the ACT first try.)
Well this week we contacted a dude from Romania. That was cool. I studied with the zone leaders. They are way cool. On Sunday us 4 missionaries (Elders Mendez, McInnes, Toro and Andrew)gave talks. It was actually way cool. I didn't even read anything except 2 quotes from General Conference and it was a talk for like 9 minutes in Spanish. I talked about hastening the work of salvation by going to the rescue of others. It was really cool. I used the talk from Chi Hong Wong in General Conference with a little bit different spin, Matthew 7:21 and said that just because we go to church, scriptures, pray, have a good calling, doesn't mean we are doing all the will of the Father. To do His will we need to bring others to Christ. When you rescue others you can be rescued. It was about the need of home teachers and vistiting teachers, and preaching the gospel. Then I said we will one day stand before God and He will tell us that He put a lot of people in our path to help and lead to Christ and then will ask us if we helped them. We will "Rendir Cuentas" (which I have no idea how to say in English).(Layne says it means held accountable.)
Then today we ate with the stake president and his family for the 3rd time this week. This time we went to a restaurant called comicX.  It is so cool. There are superhero statues everywhere. I forgot my camera but I will see If I can get the photos from the other elders later so you can see them. It was so cool, but also a huge temptation because they played lots of my favorite songs there and they had tv`s with Avengers and then Dark Knight... so yeah.
Oh and we invited the daughter of Jose Luis to church and she actually went which was way cool. We also passed by a person that has always told us "some other day" and this time he let us enter. He told us of all his problems physically and temporally, we gave him a blessing and then talked briefly about Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost. Then he accepted to be baptized on February 8. Hopefully he will actually progess and learn more. His name is Javier Ramos.

It was cool to see you guys
Love Elder Finlinson
                                                     Andrew's Preach To All Pictures :)

                             The Stake President's Family at the ComicX Restaurant with the Elders.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Letter #24

Interview was good. (With the Mission President) We have them every 3 months. The Christmas Devotional was really good, our songs were really good. I have them recorded, but can't send videos so you´ll have to wait a couple months to see. We sang a combination of the First Noel and Away in a Manger, and after Silent Night (in Spanish obviously). For Christmas I don't know what we will do. We have a lot of invitations to member houses so we´ll see. Haha its all good, I dont need the gifts from home.(His Christmas package still hasn't arrived.) I honestly keep forgetting that its even Christmas soon. It's hot and every day feels regular. I have accidently almost put half our appointments on Christmas, but then I get reminded. I can skype for 40 minutes. Hopefully all goes well! According to the mission rules I can only call family. Sacrament was completely normal (started late and not many people (less and less every week)). 
That has got to be the coolest nursery lesson ever!! I actually teared up with that. 
 Connor pull it together, just take your braces off already, I don't know why you like them so much! Oh well I guess Cole likes braces too, so you two can be little twins. Hopefully Katie can be more tough than me, I babied my finger to the end of the earth haha. What happened to Grandpa? Tell all the grandparents I love them and I hope they´re ok.  Sweet for USU!!

Brief summary.

We did a service activity with the ward for the illegal immigrants headed for the United States from other countries, I felt very conflicted. We were doing service, but for people who were cast out of their country for being criminals and are headed to the US.
We had a ward party and Jose Luis went with one of his daughters that we invited. They said it was really fun. There was karaoke, dinner and a dance from 7-11:00 at night.
The we rocked the Christmas Devotional with our songs. 
Jose Luis story-
We felt the spirit really strongly in the lesson with him because we asked a lot more questions and in general followed the spirit completely. In the end we  invited him to baptism which he accepted saying "yes, I think I will be convinced by January 18." I responded "We dont want that, we want God to answer you so that you know." I invited him to pray asking specifically if this date he should be baptized in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He prayed with all his heart and the spirit filled the room even more, which I didn´t know was possible. At the end of the prayer he just sat there. I asked him how he felt and he just started to cry. He received his answer from God. The spirit really will guide you to what needs to be said and done. 
We also studied with the Assistants to the President. 

Solid week, Love you

Elder Finlinson
               Elder Candelario (Andrew's trainer), Andrew and Elder Toro (Andrew's trainee)
                                   A Christmas card from the First Presidency of the Church.
Alamedas, Prados and Valle Dorado zones at the Christmas Devotional.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Letter #23

 They will have a Christmas dinner party and Dance. It starts at 7 and ends at 11. So we won't be able to do much if anything. ( I asked if they were going to any ward parties.)

That's some flipping amazing weather I`m missing right now! I would love to see the temple lights. I have only seen them once maybe twice,and I was young when that happened so I don't remember much. I would also love to go to the temple. That is one thing I have wanted to do a lot. That's crazy that Connor(Geslin) left. My area right now is the area closest to the CCM in Mexico. Its like 40-50 minutes. Haha it looks like you probably should write to him every once in a while. I hope I was a good influence and a good friend... I really like that idea of who is Christ to you. It's a way to personalize Christ for each person. I should be able to get the package on Friday. On Friday we will have a Christmas devotional and my zone will sing 2 songs. Things I have eaten that I love is Guava Juice here. It is the best. I also like the carne asada and chorizo, it's tasty. There is also a type of spaghetti that is really simple with no sauce that I like. Also Tacos al Pastor. I can't describe it, but it's good. 

Mexico traditions are the Guadalupe day. One of the 12 days of December they celebrate the virgin with fireworks and other stuff. We had to be in casa at 5:00 that day. In December they have like 5 small holidays instead of Christmas. And also Christmas Eve is the biggest holiday in December, not the actual Christmas day. 

I had splits with Elder MacInnes this week. He barely speaks any spanish, but it went well. I was able to understand the people and communicate what was needed. I have actually been told like 4 times this week that my spanish is good. I still have an accent though apparently, that's one thing I want to change. The work this week was a bit harder because we had almost no time. We had meetings every morning this week. We worked with members though in the time we had. Even though almost all of our appointments fell, we were able to find other people to visit. The members are the key to mission work. Also we went to visit the less actives and inactives and we found some new people. Some of these people we don't know if they are baptized so we can maybe work on that. 

The highlight of this week was the whole zone went to Villa del Carbon. It's a little pueblo with a little branch there. All the wards went with missionaries to knock doors and sing songs to the people that answered. It's way up in the mountains and it reminded me a lot of Utah in the mountains which was awesome. Also where me and my companion went we hiked up the mountain to another part of the pueblo. It was sweet to go hiking too. The funniest and cutest thing happened though when the missionaries there brought over a little girl like 8 years old and they told me that she wanted to meet all the American missionaries. She was really shy about it, but it was cute.

Well talk to you next week.
Love you
Elder Finlinson
                                                               Andrew's district
                                     Some of the missionaries in Andrew's zone that went to Villa del Carbon.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Letter #22

Training is going pretty well. It's not too hard. He already speaks spanish, it's really the part that he is a seminary teacher and because of that he knows a lot. He just needs to know to be brief and clear instead of telling people the whole thing at once. Really it's just refinement. The investigators are difficult. We haven't had a lesson with José Luis in almost a month (even though he comes to church). Alejandra keeps saying "little by little I´ll be ready, but right now I´m not ready to be baptized." and she doesn't want to change her job either which is hard. Nobody went to church. The rest are really hard to find. We are working really hard to find new people right now. 
Zone Conference was cool. It was 2 zones with President Titensor. We get instruction for basically 6 hours on how to be better missionaries. We also eat food cooked by the President's wife, which is flipping good. The General Authority is Hno Tenorio. He is like 79.( The one they ate with last week.) I have only worn sweaters honestly. The thing is that it will be around 45 in the mornings (freezing) and then it gets up to around 80 in the day, so I never know what to wear. Elder Mendez is from Ecuador. I haven't been doing much on P-day. Really it's hard to do anything. Since we live in a rich area, we don't have money to do all the stuff. I am hoping that my package will arrive this week because I will be going to the offices tomorrow and I have an interview with President on Thursday. So this week I would have 2 chances to pick it up before Christmas, but If not, I don't know when I could do it. 

Wow Katie, nice hustle. That's the way to break a finger. Playing sports and keep playing through the pain!  

I dont know if you all have seen the "He is the Gift" or not, but I would think so. The mission has hit this system full on. We have to hand out 10 pass-along cards everyday to non-members. We will be doing this until Christmas, I think. The video is pretty cool and if you analyze the scripture John 3:16 you can get a lot out of it about the love of God for us. Right now we are trying to get the members excited to share the Gospel and this," He is the Gift" thing is really helping. It's a really easy way to share your testimony with friends, because you are talking about Christmas! Through this we have been contacting everyone, in the streets, others in houses of investigators that don't listen to us (they usually answer the door and then say that the person is there or not and then close the door), taxi drivers, pizza delivery guys, everyone. And if the socially awkward me can talk to random people about it, then you guys can certainly do it with your friends ;) 

Also this week I did splits with Elder Santiago  because Elder Toro went to the consolate. We went to his area and at the end I found out he was trained by Elder Jessop!! He said that Elder Jessop was his best companion in the mission and he still writes him every week. I also found out this week that I will have splits with Elder Mendez and Elder MacInnes tomorrow. I will be with Elder MacInnes ( two new white guys) so we will see how that goes. I´m not too worried though, I dont speak perfectly, but I speak well enough to get around and the people understand me. And fun fact about tomorrow, I complete 5 months of my mission!

Thats all for now. 

Love you
Elder Finlinson

 Just in time for Family Home Evening...Click on the picture and you will have an instant Family Home Evening lesson. Great way to focus on our Savior, especially during this season.
Funny fortune cookie Andrew received. Translated it says," Kiss the person sitting next to you." A bit awkward for a missionary! ;)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Letter #21

I think that I will be able to skype on Christmas but I´m not sure. I dont know anything about what will happen. 
With Jose Luis we can't have an appointment with him for anything, he is always gone. The last 10 appointments with him have fallen. Even though he attends church, he can't get baptized without the lessons. In the church he said he doesn't have the testimony that this is the correct church. He also told us that he thought that someone was pressuring us to baptize him, so that doesn't sound like a good sign. Alejandra is doing great. She couldn't go to church this Sunday, but she does have the testimony and experiences to back it up. I think she will be the first baptism honestly in my mission. We also committed another person named Lilia Gonzalez Espinosa. She has already read almost all the Book of Mormon. We´ll see how that turns out. 
That´s crazy that Connor's (Geslin) farewell already passed! when he read his call it seemed like forever away, but now he is almost ready to go, Chandler too! Thats crazy to me how fast time goes by. Thanksgiving sounds like it was fun. Here thanksgiving was just a regular work day. Nothing special. I hope that Logan gets in to Dixie and can play some football. That would be amazing!! I also love the quote from sacrament meeting of "Never let an earthly experience disable you spiritually". ( I heard that in a sacrament meeting I attended this past Sunday and sent it on to Andrew) That's way cool, and I can share that with a lot of people here. 

This week we ate with a former General Authority in our ward. He was a 70 and has had basically every high up position there is in the church. He gave us a lot of insight in the mission work. We also had a meeting with the Mission President and he said something really cool. "The Keys to mission work reside with the ward and their leaders, the keys of the Mission President are for the missionaries." He stressed the importance of the members in mission work, which I am seeing now more than ever. This week it has also started getting cold in the nights and mornings. Overnight it will get to about 40 degrees and we wake up and get out of bed at about 50 degrees. I think I might write earlier next week, so FYI.

One thing I would like to stress is the importance of a testimony. In the definition of a testimony it is knowledge and then a spiritual confirmation. We need to read the words of the prophets and go to church, etc... and then pray to receive a confirmation of what we learned and God will send the Holy Ghost upon us to bear witness of the things we learn. Everyone needs to get their own testimony, so that is an invitation for everyone. 

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, November 24, 2014

Letter #20

I email from an internet cafe. Actually Elder Toro knows about as much English as I know Spanish. He lived in Texas with his cousins for 4 months and he has studied for almost all his life. Elder Mendez is still around. He's a solid dude.
This week we didn't teach many people either, we did teach Alejandra, her mom Guadalupe, and her sons Juan Manuel (8) and Valentine (5). We didn't teach Jose Luis, but he still went to church, his fecha bautismal is 14 de diciembre. Alejandra and her family also went to church!!! After being taught for 4 months this was the first time. It was perfect to, Elder Toro spoke and it was the homecoming of a missionary in the ward. Then in the class our mission leader taught it. I felt the spirit so strong in the church. The strongest I have ever felt in the church. After church we had a lesson with the brother of our mission leader who is inactive and his wife who isn't a member. He cried almost the whole time. At the end he asked us for a blessing and said he would return to church. I hope he does and that he brings his wife and son.
This week we contacted more in the streets. Little by little I´m not quite as shy. I can feel myself gaining confidence which is crazy. You really can grow in the mission if you try. Some cool things of this week, besides the investigators in the Church, I gave a blessing in English for the first time in 4 months to Elder MacInnes (newbie from Canada).  It was one of the hardest things I have done. I felt what to say by the spirit, but the problem was that it was in Spanish... I had to translate from flipping Spanish to English to talk, and I still had to give some of the blessing in Spanish because I forgot some of the English for it. I can only imagine how my English will be after 2 years. I can still talk in English just fine, just when I feel the spirit its in Spanish. 
I contacted a daughter in law of a person that we have been trying to teach, the other day and found out 2 interesting things. 1st she didn't want to hear us at the start, but we talked about her family and God and what she believed, and at the end she said we could come back some other time and she´d love to hear from us. The other thing is that her 2 daughters 8 and 13 saw Elder Candelario and I one day and told their mom that they wanted a picture with the "white guy and the mexican in white", that was funny. 

That's basically all for right now. Thanks for sending the package!
Love you
Elder Finlinson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Short & Sweet letter #19

My new companions name is Elder Toro. In Latin America they have 2 last names. Elder Toro es de Santiago, Chile. I prayed for a companion who was already ready to work and I got it. He is 24 years old and was a seminary teacher for 2 years. He and his mom are the only members in his family. He likes pokemon. He said he likes candy canes. They don't have those in Chile.

Alejandra returns today. She will be the first person that we visit. The baptismal date of Jose Luis fell because he didn't go to church 2 Sundays ago. He went to stake conference this Sunday and loved it. He said he wants to pay tithing. I think he will be baptized soon. He needs some more lessons and 2 more times in church.

Ha ha the Court of Honor sounds good. I couldn't give up on Riley he is one of my best friends. I still send him my emails. Elder Candelario is Brandon Candelario. Yes he liked the straws. I have heard from Chris. He's doing well too.

Short summary of this week because there isn't a computer in all of Alamedas and Elder Mendez can't write his family. 
This week was really rough. All of our citas fell this week. All. It really broke my heart until Elder Mendez said that this sadness that I'm feeling is only a little of what Jesus felt when he suffered. I got my new companion and he is great. He is just like a seminary teacher. Always happy. 

This week was stake conference and two 70´s spoke and Elder Anderson. It was really good. I was so glad that Jose Luis could attend. Well that's about all I have time for. 

Love you,
Elder Finlinson
                                                       Last day with Elder Candelario
               Andrew with his new companion Elder Toro and Elder Mendez with his new companion.
                                        All the missionaries in the Mexico City North Mission

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Letter from Mission President on Andrew being called as a Trainer

MISIÓN MÉXICO CIUDAD DE MÉXICO NORTECalle Mira Lirio # 69 Col. CumbriaCuautitlán Izcalli, Edo. de México 54740

13 November 2014

Dear Family,

This letter is to inform you that your son, Elder Andrew Layne Finlinson, has been called to fill the assignment of Trainer in the Mexico Mexico City North Mission. He will have the responsibility to train, lift, inspire and elevate his new companion, Elder Toro Lecaros, to a level acceptable to the Lord.

“And if any man among you be strong…let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also.” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:106 emphasis added)

I cannot over emphasize the impact a Trainer has on his companion. We congratulate you on having such a fine son and thank you for having helped prepare such an excellent missionary. Please continue to pray fervently for him so that he will continue to seek, find and follow the guiding influence of the Lord.


President Todd Titensor Mexico Mexico City North Mission

Monday, November 10, 2014

Trainer!!! Letter# 18

For starters, the group will be breaking up. Elder Fraser is going to Tula, Elder Mendez will stay and train again and be district leader, Elder Candelario will be zone leader in Prados, and I will stay here and train a greenie even though I just finished training. I'm nervous to do it, but if God has trust in me to do it, obviously I can. I will really need some prayers though. I won't meet my companion until tomorrow morning.

Juan Manuel died on Tuesday. Alejandra and her family left to Mechoacan a state in Mexico for his funeral so we haven't seen them. (I asked if he was ever able to receive a blessing.)No we asked 2 people to go and give a blessing and nobody went. We couldn't because of the security issue. I don't know why they didn't go. We finally taught Gerrardo yesterday, but they cancel on us a lot and don't get back til late. Daniel we taught again and he accepted a baptismal date, but he doesn't have the desire to stop smoking so we`ll see what happens. Ward problems haven`t gotten better. Our new Mission leader is better (our old one went inactive). I havent got a picture of the boys. The dog was a pet. ( The one that kept jumping on him and ruined his tie.)
I really love the Christmas music. We eat with members for "lunch" everyday except Monday. For breakfast we eat cereal almost everyday. We made eggs like 3 times though.

 The amount of people writing me changes every week. I receive letters from both grandparents and you guys.

Well this week we sang 3 songs at the baptism for the son of the stake president. We sang Child's Prayer, and two others songs I don't remember. Juan Manuel died. We as missionaries are going around with the youth usually 3 times a week now. Because we had some this week we were able to have 4 more lessons than we would have! Work missionaries and members and you're much more effective. I joined the group of young leaders in the ward. Elders Quorum President-21, Young Men's President- 19 and working on mission papers, and me, young white kid in Mexico who will be training...

This week I have been studying the "questions of the soul"-preach my gospel, chapters in the Book of Mormon. I have really enjoyed this. If you read with a focus in mind you can get so much more out of the scriptures. I challenge you guys to do that. Every time you read the scriptures, have a focus or a question and look for an answer. God answers through the scriptures.

Thats all for me,

Love you,
Elder Finlinson
                                    Last picture of this District, they are separation tomorrow.
Christmas decorations in Mexico.

P.S. Layne shared a talk on missionary work with Andrew and this is what his reply was: I have really seen how the whole mission thing is work. But you have to stretch yourself to grow sometimes to the very limit. Just like these coming months. I'm in the hardest area of the mission and I will be training. It will teach me a lot about seeking the spirit and trusting in God because I sure can`t do this without divine help. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Letter #17

I haven't given my testimony in Sacrament meeting, the crowd of people always runs up and it last's until 15 minutes after the hour every time. 
I actually didnt even realize that it was Spanish until I saw that you put that. (I wrote a few words to him in Spanish in the letter I sent this week.) Words like that are kinda blending in my mind. If an investigator misses a week their date just gets put back a week. I figured out why they didn't go. Jose Luis´s car battery died and he didn't have money for a taxi. Alejandra and Juan manuel is a bit more serious. Juan Manuel had a bit of a cold the last time we taught him. We passed by Alejandra many times until we finally found her. Her dad Juan Manuel is in the hospital almost dead. He can barely breath and right now he is unconscious. The doctors said there is little hope. We gave Alejandra a blessing of comfort but we can't give one to Juan Manuel. Only one person can enter. We are trying to get a person in the ward to go and give a blessing (Elders quorum president who is 21 years old).
I will try to get a picture of them if I can.(The cute little boys he tells us about). It depends if I stay in the area or not. Cambios (Transfers) are in a week. The only fun candy I like here is the kinder eggs with a surprise inside. Everything else is gross. Speaking of gross I had to choke down a cup of corn with mayonnaise and chili powder the other day. 
Exchanges are one day and night. 

With the sacrament talk I would read those talks. I would also look at the one where the girl said that it is like Christ holding out his hand and asking you to take a part of his atonement. I really don't know. you could talk about the covenant we remember of  the name of Christ, or about the repentance and improving every week aspect. I don't know there's a couple directions to take. (Asked him for ideas of the topic of the Sacrament.)

This week a huge dog kept jumping on me. I knocked it down a couple times until I finally got it good enough to go away. It did scratch up my tie pretty well though. Dia de los muertos is really different. They "trick or treat on November first but they say " mi caleverita tiene hombre, mucho mucho hombre, hay un dulce por allí? no se escondan, ya los vi! or in other words... "My little skull is hungry, very hungry, is there candy there? Don't hide, I already saw you." I don't understand it at all, but yeah they chant a little song. We had to be in casa a las 7:00 Nov 1 and 2. Also we talked to the suicide guy again. Really he is just negative, he reads the bible but only looks at the negatives and punishments of God. We told him to look for the blessings of God and look for how they received those blessings. Also yesterday we gave a blessing to Elder Fraser. Elder Mendez did the anointing in English then I did the blessing in Spanish. That was really cool. (He was sick.)

P- days we go to the huge mall, or the other huge mall, or bowl, but today we just bought our stuff, returned to the house, ordered a pizza each (which I finished in one sitting) and then relaxed. It was nice.

(These are answers to some questions his Dad asked him): Exercise- right now Elder Candelario has a little crossfit schedule for 6 weeks that we use every morning.

We are not allowed to tract. If we feel a spiritual impression to knock though, we do so. We are to contact in the streets and ask people for references. (Do you know anyone who would like to hear a message of Jesus, or Do you know anyone who is going through a hard time right now) stuff like that.

The investigators have to go 30 days without breaking the word of wisdom or law of chastity before we can baptize. If they fall into temptation, we have to start the 30 days over again.

Thank you for the thought about Heavenly Father´s love. I really liked that. 

I received the package. Thank you so so much for that. I have already worn a sweater, ate a bag of sour watermelons, and Elder Mendez is addicted to Mary Did You Know by Clay Aiken. I have it memorized and I translated it for him. I won´t have to use the umbrella for a while I hope. Right now it isn't the rainy season. It's cold in the morning and night and blazing hot in the day. 

Thats about it this week 
Love you 
Elder Finlinson

P.S. I wrote to him about a sweet lady in our ward bearing her testimony and part of what she said which was...  how much she loved partaking of the sacrament and how she loves coming to church early to watch the young men prepare the sacrament. She then mentioned how she hopes all the young men will be just like Andrew. How she watched him from when he was first blessed as a baby and then she watched while he prepared and passed the sacrament and now serving a mission. This is Andrew's response to that; "Yes she is a darling lady. I love how even after I've gone she still tells that same story of me growing up.Ha ha glad that my legacy lives on. I am popular even in Mexico. Ha ha just kidding. "

                                                            Elder Fraser in one of the houses.

Two very different houses in Andrew's area.

The older lady lives in a shack in Rancho Blanco so we went with the Relief Society President and her kids to her house for her birthday. She is really, really humble and nice. It brought a new meaning to give everything you have to the Lord. She literally does. Her name is Sister Simona Vargas

Monday, October 27, 2014

Letter # 16 Great lessons on Christ.

Oh thank you for having me included in the magazine, that's very kind of you. (We will be featured in a local magazine on Christmas traditions. I told him we hold a picture of him so he would be included.)  Sounds like it was a good week! I kid you not the weeks fly by. It seems like it is Monday every 3 days. I did the math and I`m already 1/7 of the way done with my mission which is crazy. And when we talk at Christmas I will be almost 1/4 done! Basically that is crazy stuff. 

Well this week I had intercambios (exchanges) again. That day we had not set appointments, but somehow we had two lessons with members that day and put a baptismal date for a man named Sandro Hernandez. His family is all members, but he isn't. His date fell on Sunday though because he had work. The next day we had a lesson with Jose Luis and put another fecha,(date) his didn't fall. Then the next day Alejandra and Juan Manuel accepted a fecha bautismal. (Baptismal date) Their's fell on Sunday too because they didn't go. We are going to talk  with all these people later today to find out what happened. On Saturday I studied with an AP and a zone leader. It was way cool. In a one on one conversation Elder Bautista told me that I have been called of God specifically to work in this area. I have been prepared for this for a long time and now I`m here. That was way cool to hear. He also said that this is the hardest area in the whole mission. To have one lesson a week here is normal, but to have as many as we are (even though it isn't a ton) is amazing.

Seeing Ferrari's and stuff is just getting normal.

I studied Jesus this week and it was amazing. I did 4 studies. The first was when Christ was suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. Even in His circumstance (betrayed by his own, suffering all, rejected by his own, and later killed) he still did the will of the Father. Then I looked at the ministry of Christ. The first word he said was "repent". I looked into why he would say this and I found that that was the best way he could have shown his love. Repent is a change to the will of God, to have hope, be filled with the love of God. Then I looked at John 21:15-17 (feed my sheep) we should all feed the sheep of Christ. "¿Pedro, me amas?" "Si Señor, tu sabes que te amo." "Apacienta mis ovejas." He said this 3 times. It's not an invitation or suggestion, he made it clear that if we say we love Christ there is only one option and that is feed His sheep. Then I looked at the birth of Christ. The shepherds and the wise men. The shepherds heard the good tidings (footnote says gospel) of great joy, that is for all people. Then they followed this. They made haste and saw the Christ child, then told everyone about Christ. The WISE men followed the star (light of Christ) in a dark sky (world). They said that they rejoiced when they saw the star.  Until they finally came to Christ and gave gifts. It is a little spin on it that I really liked. Its not doctrine, but I liked the relations in that story. 

They have Halloween on the 31st, 1st, and I think 2nd. I don't understand the holiday here. Everyone says its something different. It seems fairly similar. I don't know what we do on this day, hopefully get candy. I have to wait for zone conferences which we have once every three months I think.(in response to question of when they can get their packages.) We have one soon I think. 

Thats all folks
Love you,
Elder Finlinson 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Letter #15

I see that everyone is doing well at the moment. That's good. That sucks about the package! I`m so sorry because that is a ton of money wasted.(The package we sent wasn't able to be delivered because we had jerky in it..long story short, it was "abandoned", lesson learned! We sent another one out this morning minus the jerky.) Well week by week the investigators are different including who is progressing and who isn't. On Monday we visited some inactives that will be in our area with the stake president. We didnt know who we were going to visit beforehand but turns out she had been praying a lot because her husband is sick (he doesnt want a blessing though) Elder Candelario talked about the atonement and I told her about the power of prayer. She then started crying and President Centeno gave her a blessing of comfort and a blessing on the house, that was way cool. We then met a new member, we went to visit her and found out she was inactive and smoked all the way through her baptism. We talked about Christ and the atonement and watched the talk from President Monson from General Conference, she cried and then said that she wanted to come back to the church. She did attend church on Sunday, and we taught her sons on Saturday too. 
This week I hit day 100 of the mission so basically time is flying. I also saw a lamborghini and 2 ferraris.... in MEXICO!
We had a very powerful lesson this week with Alejandra (single mother of 2, and works in a bar) and Juan Manuel (Alejandra`s dad and is bed ridden because his diabetes took all of his strength in his legs, arms, and well basically everything. After not being able to find them the first month here, we have had 4 lessons with them. Juan has read a bit of the Book of Mormon and likes it, Alejandra didn't start until just barely (after we taught her more about the Book of Mormon) She actually wrote down questions and has been praying with her kids. She wants to receive an answer if its true or not really bad. We taught a lesson on the holy ghost and how receiving an answer can be a process. I cried in the freaking lesson because I`m a baby. I shared my story of having a prayer answered. At the end of the lesson she said she could feel something different this time. Usually she had been a bit tired during the lessons, but this time was very awake and had a lot of questions. We asked her if there was anything we could do for her. She said "Yes, pray for me that I wont have to work, and will be able to go to church this Sunday" She wanted to go to church and learned the power of prayer at the same time. We prayed, but then she got sick. So next time we have to pray for salud (I am guessing this means health) and work. We still had Jose Luis in the church even though we can never teach him, with his work schedule. 
This week was the primary program and there was a little girl a lot like Elsa in our ward. She was dressed as a princess and yelled the songs with all her might. 
Then to end off this week we ate with the Zeron Family. (we call them the swag family because they have a ton, I can't even describe the amount of swag they eminate) I talked with their 4 year old son who loves spiderman, he now really likes me and he kept calling me "Señor". I would reach for some food and he would tell me "Adelante Señor" (I think this means go forward or go ahead mister) every time. It was really cute, and he has the chubbiest cheeks I have ever seen in my life, even though he isn't chubby.

Also an invitation to all. At the end of each day count the blessings that you saw. You are more positive and you feel so much better at the end of the day knowing that God has blessed you.

Love you
Elder Finlinson
                              Andrew got a kick out of the sign..Asgard is where THOR lives.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Letter #14 Elder Flintstone

Language is pretty decent. I`m definitely not fluent, but I have now given a few blessings in Spanish. I like to see when other people have the confidence in me to choose me to give blessings. I sang “I Want It That Way” (Backstreet Boys) for them, and we talked about genealogy with them to hopefully spark an interest. Right now they just want to be friends. Elsi left for Veracruz for 2 weeks, so yeah, haven’t seen her. Lilia we can’t see much either because she takes care of her mom most of the day somewhere else. This week was rough we only had 2 lessons. which we found out is the usual for this area. We had been getting more, not a ton, but more.

Double date sounds fun! (Finlinson and Lambs) Glad the dads didn’t hurt themselves.

Not everyone has a native looking companion, but most do. They just need to have someone who is fluent in Spanish.

I heard from Riley this week. He’s doing well, money is tight for him too it seems.

Hello siblings. Glad to hear that football is doing well...(USU and Sky View) oh and I guess it’s cool to hear from you guys too. Hope your lives are all good and stuff. Watch some Harry Potter for me. 

Well this week. We had a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) that fell through, but we found a new potential investigator named Adea. We talked with Lilia who has read a bit of the book of Mormon.  Then came the crazy part; we were walking to a house when a guy saw us, we talked to him, he said that his life was miserable and he had planned on committing suicide this week. We talked about the love of god and the plan of salvation just in the street. At the end he gave us both a hug in tears and then he walked off. That was amazing to see, I guess everything happens for a reason. There is a reason that the Family Home Evening didn’t work out.

One person called me Elder Flintstone, which is a bit closer. They`ll get there one day. I saw an Audi r8 yesterday which was dope! I got sick on Wednesday, but still worked. I found out why the next day. My filter on my water bottle was unscrewed a bit somehow and I had been drinking crappy Mexican water for a whole day and a half.  I saw the stray horses again and had my camera this time. We also taught the son of the Stake President (which is a tradition in their family to have the missionaries teach their kids before baptism) I didn’t feel ok with it unless we asked for referrals, even though we already have before. I asked after the lesson and they told us about a little pueblito (town) that isn`t even in our records. We drove through it with them and we will go and work there. Nobody there has talked with missionaries before so hopefully we can have some success even though it’s way off the beaten path. 

That’s basically me right now

Love y’all

Elder Finlinson

Update: Gerrardo and his wife, well their baptismal dates fell because they didnt attend church, and we can`t ever get lessons with them because they work a ton. daniel got frustrated and a bit depressed that his baptismal date fell and he couldnt get baptized on his friends birthday, so he isn`t motivated at all right now to do anything. We cant even find him right now because he is always gone with other friends.

PS quote of the week. A little kid we see in our ward (the same one that sat by me the first week with a tag) always says "Aunque soy pequeño, soy un misionero!" (Even though I’m little, I’m a missionary!). I think that’s so cool to remember. He wants to be a missionary now and he´s only 5 maybe.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Another great week! Letter #13

District Leader is  Elder Tapiero. One person that we had a family home evening with came to general conference. His wife is less active and he isn´t a member, but their daughters are active. They all came. The other investigators couldnt come. For conference we went to the church 10 minutes early and found no one there. We had to set up everything in spanish until halfway through the first talk. Out of 4 wards in the iglesia only 15-30 people were there the whole time. Then we went into the secretary´s office to watch in English. I wasn´t able to watch Packer´s talk or Eyring in the last session, because the computer wasn't working. I also loved the first and last session. Elder Bednar killed it. I just want to show it to all of our investigators. I listened to the spanish ones in spanish and actually understood so that was really nice! I haven't heard from Riley in weeks actually. Daniel-No lesson this week, Jose Luis-No lesson this week, but we talked with his son a bit.  Alejandra- had a lesson on Leer Orar, Iglesia with her, her dad, and kids, Fam Cerrano- canceled because of a surprise interview, and Fam Cerrano- the kid decided to go a different route to overcome his drinking problem rather than with us. I hope that they can all come back to the church too. 
Elder Candelario said he likes sour punch straws, whatever those are.

Well Week in review
Wettest day of my whole time in the mission. I had to change my clothes because It looked like I had jumped in a pool. I literally poured water out of my shoes. Had a lesson with an investigator named Elsi and we brought a couple in our ward. When we arrived there the husband was inactive, but he returned. They both bore testimony and then we found out Elsi hadn't heard from her son in 3 years. She didn't know where he was or how he was. She broke down in tears and then Hermano Nuñez just bore his testimony on faith. It was so powerful! He promised her that if she sincerely prayed that night she would know something of her son. She started crying and said thanks. It was amazing to see him bear testimony like that. I gave my first blessing in Spanish to Hermana Nunez. That was sure fun. We also met a woman named Lilia. We just shared an abreviated version of the 1 lesson with her and after we explained a little about the restoration she said she wanted to know more and that she knew Joseph Smith had authority. Then we talked about the Book of Mormon which she immediately wanted to read. So hopefully she progresses even more. Cool story. The "fancy cheese" here is squeeky cheese and string cheese.
The craziest part of the week. We were talking with a family and they asked what we liked to do before our missions. I said music, to which Elder Candelario immediately said that I sing well. (Sometimes I sing to the songs in the house, or sing songs as we walk.) They then proceeded to force me to sing for them. They named off bands they liked and the first one they said was Backstreet Boys. They made me sing them a Backstreet Boys song in the middle of a panaderia... people started watching me which I didn't like, but they all clapped after. Who knew that the Backstreet Boys would come in handy. They invited us to their house to talk more about the gospel because of it.
All in all. Good week again. Crazy its already been 3 months! I´m 1/8 done! time sure flies

 Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, September 29, 2014

Things are great in Mexico! Letter #12

Mom, we have pop-tarts. I´m doing just fine with eating. I can survive. People in Africa and stuff are a lot worse off. We can't scramble eggs anymore because we can´t use the stove, but we bought peanut butter even though its freaking expensive. Right now I'm just using my belt. I´ll try to sew them sometime. (In response to the buttons falling off his pants during laundry). I handed out a lizard to a kid with autism this week. He loved it until he found out he could undo it. Then he just threw, rolled the beads around... we didn´t have a lesson with Daniel or Jose Luis. They were never "ready for a lesson" or weren´t there. Really all I am missing or really desiring is sour watermelons/grapefruits and Christmas music.

Actually we had a lesson with Gerrardo and his wife yesterday and both accepted baptism! David Josúe (the drinker in the family that was scared) came to church and we have a lesson with him Tuesday. David Josue is the son. It is the familia Cerrano. As of right now (the baptism for Gerrardo and his wife) it's either November 9th or 12th . I don't remember. In Mexico they have to go to church 5 times before baptism because of the horrible retention here. Thank you, the prayers are really working! 

This week I had splits for the first time. I went over with the district leader in his area. Their people are actually there for their appointments which was a new one for sure. We taught 3 lessons and I liked it a lot. Then it was way cool on Thursday. We have a person in our ward that is a branch president in the CCM. He said that he had new missionaries coming in this week and wanted to know if we knew any. I thought that was a long shot, but then I saw someone that I recognized... ELDER DORITY! 

This week I have really noticed the importance of marrying a member and in the temple. Most of the inactives are a part family. It's too easy to fall away. 

We were challenged to read Preach My Gospel and in one section about working with members it says that the members are the key and there is a way cool quote from President Hinckley if you can find it. It reminded me of Romans 1:16 

Also this week we had a lesson with an inactive family that had some inside problems with the ward and that's why they're not going to church. We did the atonement with push ups, if you have heard that story. I did 20 push ups for each person to "get a ticket to Heaven" kind of thing and it was really powerful. After that, they invited us over to their sons birthday party who was turning 30. We went, had cake,  met their family and we might be able to teach one of their relatives!

All in all, good stuff this week

Love you, 
Elder Finlinson
                                                  Andrew's Halloween Costume this year....

                                                            A view from his apartment.

Monday, September 22, 2014

New update...letter #11

We can only go to the temple if one of our investigators go, so probably won´t have that chance. Finally got gas, but we always have to pay extra expenses for something so we have to budget very carefully. I can´t try out recipes because there isn't time or money. We don't get back until 9 and aren't finished working until 10 at night. We don´t eat dinner ever which sucks. The weather isn't as rainy anymore. I heard the rain goes away in the winter, but it gets cold. That's why I asked for sweaters. I also need another pair of shorts. I somehow lost mine when a member washed the clothes. I have lost a sock, garment top and shorts, and my clothes half the time come back dirtier than before. We just walk around the water the best we can. ( I had asked him what he does when the water is high in the streets.) The real problem is that my umbrella is a little broken. 

Interesting things of Mexico: they sell gallon size hair gel, but don´t sell regular size deodorant (priority issues) and they use a ton of cologne.
I saw 3 stray horses walking in the streets.
I ate a fruit tamale which was amazing. 
Nobody can say my name. It's always either "the elder whose name I cant pronounce" or it sounds like a Chinese person is saying it.
Airplanes flew over on their Independence Day just like on the 4 of July in Delta.

We aren´t supposed to eat on the streets and we wouldn't have the money to eat that much. In the mission they give you just enough money to scrape by. ( I asked Andrew if he was able to buy anything off the street before he got home at night.) Black champion shorts are gone, and 3 buttons on my pants have popped off. 2 in the first week in the CCM just for future reference for Connor. Also we have an investigator, Diego who does origami and has some interesting views of God. He is very scientific and is a pro skateboarder I think. We haven´t sang, but my comp says I have a good voice and should sing more. (in response to asking if he had had any more singing lessons. I totally agree with his companion!)

Cool scripture proverbs 22:6 with the stripling warriors comparision. Doubt not for their mothers (parents) knew it.
Serve a mission = no other Gods before me.

Daniel committed to live the word of wisdom, as far as I know he is still going with it. We had an investigator Jose Luis attend church with us this Sunday. We still haven't seen Gerrardo since then. 

For family home evening you could teach the restoration, just like we are doing. (I asked him for different ideas for Family Home Evenings this is what he came up with.)

-Heavenly Father wants whats best for us just like a regular parent, but we need to obey to get what we want.
-Gospel blesses families
-Prophets ex: use your fist and have a little kid use their fist and try to follow the same pattern as you are with your fist. Then tell them to close their eyes and try. They cant follow, just like we cant follow god without a prophet. With their eyes still closed hold a pen and have them hold it too. They can now follow. Pen = Prophet
-Apostasy many different activities I´m sure you can think of one
-Book of Mormon is a letter directly from your father in heaven telling you exactly what you need to do to receive hapiness. obviously you´d open a letter from your parents and read it. Its the same here. 
-end with prayer

Hope that helps.

P.S. Pray for the Alamedas Ward. I don´t want to tell you what's wrong, but it's not good. They need help.

Love you
Elder Finlinson