Called To Serve

Called To Serve
Mexico, Mexico City North

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Letter #10

List of possible things I need. 1. sweaters that are a solid color. I brought 5 but can only wear one because the others have stripes. And for songs I quite like Paul Crandall which I´ve heard lately and piano guys. Anything instrumental I love. ( This is in response to me asking if there is anything he would like us to send in the October package.)
First off, Happy birthday to Cole! I felt guilty all week because as soon as I logged off last week I remembered that I didn´t say anything. I even wrote it in my agenda to remember.
So this week we went back to the grind. Our apartment is out of gas and we don´t know where to get more or how to buy it. So we have cold showers again and can't use the stove. 
I don´t know why or how but there is a  ton of Jehova Witnesses here. I have seen them everywhere this week. The funny part is that the people don´t really like them coming. We got on a bus yesterday and the bus driver told me I needed to pay one more peso. I returned to give him it and then he asked if I was a Jehova Witness. I said no I am from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He said "good" and then I didn´t even have to pay the peso. Then today Jehova witnesses came to our house. That was interesting. We ate chinese food yesterday, that was cool. A lady in our ward loves learning languages and cultures and right now is obsessed with china. I was happy. It was funny because after a zone meeting we walked passed a bunch of school girls and they ran over and followed us for about 1/4 of a mile to ask Elder Fraser and I where we were from, then they giggled and left. It was kinda funny. Elder Candelario and Elder Mendez call us "guapo" because that kind of stuff happens fairly often. Well this week I have been marking up my scriptures because mine don´t have tabs and its hard for me to find stuff sometimes. I have a scripture for almost every point in preach my gospel lessons now. We had some people accept baptism dates but not attend church because one, it was his birthday and out of town, and the other had a late night party since yesterday, today, and tomorrow is their "independence day" Its pretty cool and we have received many mexico gifts. My favorite investigator that we have right now is a reference and a friend of a future missionary in our ward. His name is Daniel and is 16. He is super nice and accepted a baptism date on his friends birthday OCT 18. He has read the Book of Mormon chapter we assigned and said he has been praying, just not specifically. He says he feels good when he prays. He is literally of gold. The only problem is that he has been addicted to smoking for 3 years. He started when he was 13. I would have never thought that because he is so nice and perfect. He has even convinced his mom to let him join the church. He likes that the church has a program to help him quit smoking. Pray for Daniel.
Also this week we answered a prayer. An investigator that we have been trying to have a lesson with for 4 weeks finally had time randomly. We didn't even have a set time to teach we just stopped by. We taught lesson 1 to Alejandra 26ish, her dad Juan Manuel probably 55 and home bound( his diabetes took away all his strength and muscle, he can barely move), and her mom Guadalupe. After the lesson Guadalupe told us she had been praying that her husband could here the word of God because he cant go to church. Then she said we were the answer to this prayer! It was way cool.  I can only take pictures of investigators when they are baptized, so fingers crossed. 
Haven't been able to talk to Gerrardo because of work and the holiday stuff. The other family hasn´t responded to us and the family in the ward wasn´t here this Sunday. We will try again this week. They said yes (to baptism) but now they are embarrassed to see us because they think we´ll judge them. 

Companionships are usually anywhere from 3 months to 6, usually 4 and a half months. There is a "transfer" soon, but because I'm in training I won´t be changed I'm pretty sure. (I had asked how long a companionship usually was and about transfers. We really like Elder Candelario and are grateful Andrew has such a great trainer!)

I forgot the best part of the week!! We played basketball for contacts. If we win you have to listen to the message of the gospel. It was us 4 against 6 mexicans. Elder Fraser and I balled out and Demolished them. We even had a fan section start up which was pretty cool. We got those contacts and later some people from the stands came over and talked to us so we got them too. 8 contacts from playing basketball. That's the way to go!!!

Love you
Elder Finlinson

                                         Having Fun Celebrating Mexico's Independence Day!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Letter # 9

There is a a lot of flavor in some, and in others there isn´t much.( This was in answer to my question about the fruit water) Its crazy because literally everything that I had in the CCM for meals, I´ve had here too. Except here is better. Chicken cordon bleu, tons of "pan dulce" (different kinds of donuts, breads, and other stuff that I have no name for, flan, jello with other jello squares inside, soups, carne asade is really good, Cactus is good. I don´t like the candy with chili, and amazingly I still don´t like mayonaise even in Mexico. I´ve been able to choke down other sauces, but I think I almost died eating the corn with mayonaise and chili on it. Tuna fruit has a ton of seeds inside. It is really, really rich in flavor. It tastes like nothing I´ve had before. 

Around the apartment I speak both English and Spanish. I try to speak Spanish when I can, but it is hard sometimes because I don't know how to say everything. The package was amazing. I loved everything. Especially the sour watermelons, they don't have them here. The music has been amazing. We have been able to play Elder Frasers ipod on it because he didn't have anything to listen to his ipod with. The army of helaman in English and Spanish wasn´t on there for some reason. 

Well this week we had an investigator attend church. We haven´t even taught him a lesson, just bore testimony because he is always busy, its Gerrardo. We said we´d come over and get him from his house and show him where the church is. We were locked outside his street because its a private road. I said a prayer that a person would come outside and sure enough, immediately his dad walked out. His dad doesn´t really like us, but he opened the gate for us without us asking! Heavenly Father sure answers prayers. I really hope things work out with him. He is amazing. He is 23, has a wife, and a 3 year old daughter, and a 1 year old son. They are all amazing and need to be an eternal family. 
More cool stories. We had a lesson with a family of some members in our ward here. They drink a ton. We had the lesson and invited them to be baptized. They accepted at the time. On the way home the little son of the member family told me, "thank you, Elder Finlinson, for inviting them to be baptized." Then His dad told us, "Elders, I have been praying to God for a long time for missionaries to help this family. Now finally you are here, thank you for answering my prayers." Its amazing to be a part of this work. Especially when you get told things like this. 
In church it was testimony meeting and  people just flooded the pulpit to share testimonies. It was amazing to see, I have never seen anything like it. At 15 minutes over the sacrament meeting limit the bishop had some young men serve as bouncers so that no one else could go up haha! 
This week we visited Rancho Blanco which is a very very poor part of our area. People aren´t educated and they live in tiny concrete shacks with only one room for a kitchen and beds and everything. It was amazing to see these people still happy as ever. I felt so sad for them and their conditions, but they were still so happy and grateful for everything.
And it was funny because we were outside one house and a little kid was outside. We asked if his parents were home.Then he ran in yelling, "Los hombres raros están afuera!" It was pretty funny. (I guess that means the men that are undercooked or rare are here.)

I´ll admit sometimes I get a little homesick here, missing, family, friends, music, movies, etc. but then I get to share my testimony with someone and all that melts away. The harder you work the better the experience is. 

Love you
Elder Finlinson
                                          Mexican Holiday is coming up so they are getting ready.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Letter #8

Well I ended up not having to give a talk after I had prepared one. My companion had to, I don´t know why.  I´ve eaten lots of spaghetti (varied types) and  lots of chicken. I've had all sorts of "water" with fruit in it. My favorite is either the guava, cantaloupe, or tuna (the fruit not the fish). My companion and I get along great, we are both pretty alike. We haven´t been able to get a hold of Alan. In fact this week all of our appointments except one fell. We had like 20 to begin with. We now have Angelica who doesn´t want to go to church, but has "faith" and I hope that Gerrardo and his family will work out. Cool story with Gerrardo. We haven´t even taught him a lesson. We just talked to him yesterday and then bore testimony. In my not so great spanish I felt like I should ask "Que piensa que le falta in su vida" he then told us that his mom died and he wants to feel peace with it and that he want´s to know what church is right. We then bore testimony and he asked us where the church is. We met them and he is the perfect investigator except that he smokes. He has the same desire as Joseph Smith, what church is right. I haven´t heard anything about an ipad, that would be really nice though, because my area is freaking rich. I have had rides in 2 Audis this week and we ate a 5 star 5 course meal in a MANSION overlooking the city this week. A soup (similar to your shrimp bisque), spaghetti (fancy kind), vegetable medley, chicken, and a special mexican bread with a heavenly sauce. And they make you have at least seconds of everything here in Mexico. If I don´t gain weight here it will be a miracle.
I think that the USU Wake Forrest game is a legit excuse. Dear Connor, you do what you want, don´t let them force you into going. Stay strong! ( This is in response to me writing about my son Connor not wanting to go to Homecoming because of the USU/Wake Forest game.)

This week quick summary:
We blessed 2 homes
I have seen like 3 cars with BYU stuff on them, they really do have fans everywhere.
1 peter 1:7
I was sick with a cold most of the week and still am a bit.
In the Latino culture, the girls kiss on the cheek when they greet you, I have actually had to dodge kisses here from teenage girls (good thing it is a natural response for me).
I guess I look like woody (from Toy Story) to some of the family of the ward mission leader.
I have never seen more tricked out cars, with lights and crap that glow.
And lastly today we had singing lessons with a guy who was baptized 6 years ago, but never confirmed. He has to get rebaptized and is taking the lessons from the other missionaries.

Love you
Elder Finlinson
                                         Elder Finlinson and his companion Elder Candelario
Elder Fraser catching some z's on the floor!