Called To Serve

Called To Serve
Mexico, Mexico City North

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