Called To Serve

Called To Serve
Mexico, Mexico City North

Monday, June 29, 2015

Letter #51

This week we didn't have splits. The district meeting was about lesson plans. It went well. I focused on the doctrine of the Atonement to help them to have the motivation to really plan for their lessons instead of winging it. In District meeting we have a devotional, we share how we applied the last meeting and the results we saw, then I teach them something, then we do a demo practice in front of everyone and then the others do a practice with another companionship. That part is an hour and a half ish. Then I interview them all to see how they are doing. We have a zone meeting this week.

My favorite thing to teach is the Atonement of Christ. When you feel the power of the Atonement in your life you want to share it with everyone. I love to testify about how Christ can strengthen people and how they can be forgiven of their sins if they act with faith and repent.

Viridiana and her boyfriend were going to go and see about marriage, but now they are having a lot of problems with each other and they don't know what they are going to do... Viridiana didn't go to church because nobody would go with her from her less active family. Guadalupe didn't go either because she had to drop off her son to take a school test on Sunday morning. Only Justino, Rosa, and Shari went to church, but they are still waiting on their divorce and can't be baptized even though they are more active than almost every member in the ward. 

This week was interesting. I went to the DF (its like the DC of Mexico) to sign my visa. While there I saw my first companion from the MTC (the one that faked a hernia and went home) he came back out aparently. Then we also had a ward talent night. The 6 missionaries did a theater describing a normal day in the life of a missionary. Elder Hansen and I were the main characters/actors. The others were in the background doing things or were investigators that we taught, etc. It went well. 

This week we were able to have 6 lessons where members acompanied us. That is a ton, especially when Xahuento only had 17 members at church on Sunday. It is super hard here, but we are doing everything possible and trying to do the impossible to work here. I can tell you that the members are the key to mission work. In preach my gospel it says that the success of the missionaries depends a lot on the work of the members. 

I would like to invite you to read a talk from Elder David A. Bednar called something like "And there is no offense for them". Then share it with some less actives. 

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, June 22, 2015

Letter # 50. A Year from today he will be home!!!

*Questions I asked are starred. (*So as far as the food thing goes if the ward members give you money where are you supposed to go to buy food?) When they give us money we usually go to Tultepec Centro, or this week we found a great sandwich place in a weird spot in our area. It is the only "restaurant" in Xahuento. We eat rice about 3 times a week, actually we don't eat beans a ton. Those insights on the scriptures are super cool! ( I sent him some things from my own reading.)

The district meetings are every Wednesday unless we have a zone meeting (once a month). We meet in our chapel in Tultepec.(*How do splits work with the sister missionaries in your district?) Ha ha, well with the sisters I don't have exchanges. In the mission there are "Training Sisters" they are basically super powerful sister missionaries that help train other sister missionaries.

I knew Matthew was going to Florida!!! I called it! ( A friend from our ward.)

A scripture that has helped me recently is a classic. 1 Nefi 3:7. I had always heard that God would prepare a way to complete his commandments, lately as I have put my faith in Christ and my Trust in God, I have seen more miracles than ever! Elder Morfin and I are visiting members so that we can work in the Way of the Lord and not in our way. We have found 7 new investigators just from visiting members and there are more to come! We don't get down in the challenges we have faced (which we have faced a lot recently), we press forward trusting in the strength of God. It reminds me also of Ether 12:27. We are overcoming our pride. Instead of seeing challenges we are seeing opportunities to improve, and I have felt the enabling power of the atonement to help me be more than I can be. 

Some little highlights. In exchanges this week we had an appointment with a new investigator named Guadalupe. She doesn't understand very easily because she hasn't had much religion in her life. We taught her the restoration and invited her to be baptized. She accepted and so we set the date of July 19 to be baptized. She said she wanted to be baptized sooner! Too bad she can't for the rule of 5 church attendances. She came to church on Sunday and loved it. Also the investigator Viridiana (17 year old mom) blows me away. She has the biggest desire to obey God. We taught her and her "husband" about the importance of families for God and invited them to pray and ask if they should get married so that she can get baptized. They did and decided marriage is what God wants. She told her "husband" (inactive) that if they were to get married he has to go to church and never leave it. She learns about things and makes the changes immediately! (*I asked who he went on exchanges with this week and if they came to his area or he went to their area. His answer: Elder Gamez from El Paso, Texas. (The border) He came to Xahuento.) *Side note Viridiana has a baptismal date of June 28th however she needs to get married first and finish the lessons. But it sounds promising.

The invitation this week is to pick a scripture and study it. What blessings are promised and how can you have those blessings. Then put it in practice! I promise you will see God work through you to become who you can become.

Love you
Elder Finlinson

                                       A year from today I will get to hug this guy in person!!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Letter # 49

Really my feet don't hurt, they are wet in the rain, but they don't hurt.(* I asked him if his feet hurt walking around that much being soaking wet.)  President just sends the changes to the zone leaders unless you are changing to go to the offices (secretary or assistant). (*I asked him how he hears about the new callings. If the President calls or sends an email etc...) Right now we eat in all the ward. We have to travel to other areas in our ward to eat. President wants to take that away. Also we won't be able to eat with the other Elders (that basically means we wont be able to enter the house to eat with the family because normally there isn't an adult male in the house. In that case we either take the food to our house and return the dishes or they give us money to buy food.) We eat chicken almost every day....(*I asked him who fed them each day and how that works because they have so few members in his area.)

Well the first week as District leader was solid. The District training went Amazingly. I have never received so much revelation in my life. It even was coming to me in dreams this week to help my district. It really is a blessing being a leader. I`m more focused and more motivated, really I am feeling the Spirit more every day. The District meeting was about how to begin teaching from chapter 10 in Preach My Gospel. I asked questions to the district so they could personalize it and used an example. As missionaries the first moments with a person are super important. We have to get to know them and get them to trust in us. I used the lock that I have. The lock represented an investigator and we have to ask the questions to find out what they need specifically from our message so that they open their heart and accept the message. (That represented the 3 digit code on the lock). The Zone leaders were there and they said the meeting was stellar because the Spirit was present. Nobody you know is in my district. It's the Zone leaders; Elder Hansen and Elder Buitrago, Elder Gamez and Elder Pizarro, Elder Payne and Elder Lopez, and Hermana Gonzalez and Hermana Myers.

This week was decent. We are working a lot more with the members. All this time here I had seen the challenges and thought, this area is super hard and we can't change anything. Well I was right, WE can't change anything, but if we work in the way of the Lord, He can change things. This week we went to visit members and get them animated to work in the Work of the Lord. In visiting members and others we found 5 new investigators. We hope that they continue, also we are trying to have a member accompany us in every visit because it strengthens the members, the investigators, and it helps us as missionaries. 
The work of Salvation is also known as the work of the members. I know that if we work together, members and missionaries miracles will happen. My faith is strengthening every day in the promises of the Lord.

The invitation is to seek revelation with Faith. God knows all things, things that we can't comprehend. Make a list of challenges that are facing you and pray to set goals and plans of what YOU will do to change these things. I promise that as you think and ponder on these things, God will let you know what you can do to find more happiness and blessings.

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Letter from Pres. Titensor on Andrew becoming District Leader

Carta de AsignaciĆ³n-LD

   9 June 2015 

 Dear Family, 

 This letter is to inform you that your son, Elder Andrew Layne Finlinson, has been assigned to fill the position of District Leader in our mission. Elder Finlinson has the responsibility to train, lift, inspire, and motivate the missionaries in the Prados District. 

 District Leaders carry a special charge as leaders. They must show by their example, in every way, that they know the Master and follow Him. They must inspire their district to follow their lead and to rise to the high expectations and standards that the Lord has of them as His representatives.

 I 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 be able to fulfill his responsibilities in a manner pleasing to the Lord. Know that your son has my full confidence, love, and support as he continues to grow and develop as a servant of the Lord.


 President Todd TitensorMexico Mexico City North Mission

Monday, June 8, 2015

Letter #48

***(These are answers to questions I asked this week.) This time 5 inactive and 4 investigators with a baptismal date.( Asked if all of the people that came last week to church came again.) I have used that dictionary every once in a while to help my vocab.( A book we sent a while ago.) It was cool. The son thought it was cool because I knew the words to the English songs from Shakira.( I had asked him if he sang along to the Shakira songs that were playing while they were cleaning at someone's house last week.)The teenage rebels, we saw them in the street and talked with them. They showed off their new piercings so we stopped by later that day to planch them. They then took out the piercings.

Sounds like Camp Helaman was solid. ( A Young Men's camp about preparing for missions that Connor went attended.)

Favorite thing or something funny about each companion. Elder Candelario sang "I am walking on sunshine" everytime it poured rain. Elder Toro can't dance, but pretends he can. Elder Espinoza would sneeze, but when he did, it was like 8 continuous sneezes. Elder Morfin taught me that instead of saying "bless you" when someone sneezes you can say "sancho" and it means basically "someone just took your girl". So it always cracks me up when someone sneezes.

Well I will not be changing areas. I am staying in Xahuento with Elder Morfin, but I am now the District Leader. In my district there are 5 companionships including the zone leaders. I will be trained tomorrow (I think) and will have to train the district on Wednesday. I am a little nervous for the whole thing. I don't see myself as a Leader. 
This week we had a huge rain storm on Saturday. The rivers in the streets were almost at mid shin. Elder Morfin and I GOT SOAKED. We also had to go back early on Saturday at 7:00 and we couldn't work on Sunday for the Elections. (Apparently things go nuts here during elections.) Also Elder Morfin and I had studies with Elder Candelario (assitant) and Elder Hansen (zone leader) it was great to hear their advice and to be with them. 

Something that I was thinking a lot about this week was the Sacrament. I had been praying all week to feel that God was really with me. During the sacrament I had a feeling to really focus on what was being said. I listened carefully to every word and said a prayer while waiting for the bread. I felt the spirit so strongly and felt really for the first time the Power of the ordinance of the Sacrament. 

I know that the Sacrament is of God and is something that we need. We can feel its power by repenting and keeping our convenants. The invitation is that you can really focus during the Sacrament next Sunday and feel the power of the Sacrament.

Love you
Elder Finlinson

                                                                   Prados Zone
                 Andrew with Elder Candelario (his former trainer), Elder Morfin and Elder Hansen
                                                                   Barrio Tultepec

Monday, June 1, 2015

Letter #47

Happy Birthday MOTHER!...last week. Sorry I forgot.
There are a ton of less actives that move to other places and don't have contact with anyone for a long time. We have found 3 families like that by contacting. This family that I told you about has lived in the same home and nobody visited them ever... The boys (19,23) are now drug addicts. It's a mom and 2 sons.

The school system here is weird. They have two sessions. One in the morning until about 2 and then an afternoon session for other students. (Like the kindergarten in Utah.) They have school until July because they have so many dumb holidays and vacations here (to celebrate the catholic holidays). They start at age 3. They have kindergarten 1,2, and 3. I am not sure if I will be transferred. It is possible. I kind of hope so because I am running out of ideas to help out in Xahuento.

Well this weeks highlights;

I started memorizing scripture mastery in Spanish because I don't know what to do in my hour of Spanish study. On Tuesday we went to the house of a recent convert, because an appointment had fallen the day before. Inside her kids were cleaning the house. She had gotten burned by a motorcycle and so we gave her a blessing, then we helped clean a bit. Her oldest son loves Shakira and was playing songs from her the whole time we cleaned.
We have learned a lot about doctrine, always teach with doctrine. We hit that hard this week and we saw the results big time. The unity in the teaching was much much better with Elder Morfin. We felt the spirit a lot more and the people understood and acted. We had inactives from 4 different homes attend church this week. There were 13 people that came to church from Xahuento this week. Some inactives that haven't come for 10 years, others 5 years, others once a year. ) 9 inactives, 4 investigators. Also we had a lesson with 2 teenage "rebels" in the ward. One had a gauge in his ear that he refused to take out, and his girlfriend (13 years old) had pierced her tongue this week. We taught doctrine and it was so cool because they felt so much guilt that we almost felt guilty for "Planching" them so hard.

Invitation. Look for someone with whom to share the gospel and Work in the work of Salvation (what is also known as the work of the members)

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

                                                          Andrew at Zone Conference