Called To Serve

Called To Serve
Mexico, Mexico City North

Monday, August 31, 2015

Letter #60

I write to the Mission President in Spanish. The sign Elder Urrutia made the week before so that we could take pictures with it. Haha it was fun last week, but now I had to wash 2 weeks worth of clothes.
 And I have to pack still. 

Transfers this week and I am leaving Huehuetoca. I will be super close though. I´m going to Xalpa which shares the same chapel. I´m District leader of the same people and in the same zone. The only difference is that Elder Urrutia is going to train in Huehuetoca. He will do great training. My new companion will be Elder Ramirez. He is from Peru. He is in the pictures from the mountain that I sent last week.

But anyway here is a summary of my last week here.
All 7 of our investigators with baptismal dates came to the temple and 4 others came by invitation from members. Also lots of less actives came. It was amazing we went in a bus with 60+ people we filled it and more. We had to put more chairs to sit on and in the end we went the whole way standing. In the temple the Gamboa family and Carlos and Kariana left saying that they want to get married there so that was amazing that they could feel the spirit like that.

The zone meeting went well. Elder Mendez and I didn't have much time to plan, but we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, and Endure to the end). We did it in different rooms. Faith was an activity of finding investigators because that is a challenge for the zone. Then in repentance we watched a little video of D Todd Christofferson and The Gardener and a Conversation. Baptism and the Holy Ghost we did an activity that is hard to describe and then we practiced inviting to baptism by following the spirit. Endure to the end was a short conversation with everyone. It was basically all by the spirit because we didn't have time to go over many things. 
Also on Saturday in the afternoon the bishop called us and told us that we were going to talk in church on Sunday. We tried the advice of Elder Bednar. We didn't write a talk. We received the topic. Meditated on it for a bit and gave a talk. It was an amazing experience. It was the first time I gave a talk that wasn't prepared by Me, it was prepared and delivered by the Spirit. We must do all things according to the spirit, not by our own knowledge.

I learned a lot this week. One thing I wanted to share with you was this. 
Repentance is a change of heart, not a change in what we do. 
Example: If my parents tell me to clean my room I won't want to do it. They will tell me I have to or else I won't be able to do the things I want. I clean my room, but the whole time I am sad or even mad. 
On the other hand if I walk into my room and see that it is dirty and decided to clean it for myself. I do it and feel joy seeing the changes in my room. 
In the two examples I did the same action, I cleaned my room, but how I do it is different. 
To repent we need to change our heart. When we do that we will not only live the gospel, but we will feel the happiness that comes. It won't be something that we Have to do, it will be a constant desire.

The invitation is this, every night when you repent. Don't ask God "What did I do wrong today?" ask God "Why did I do it wrong?" He will help us change our desires and our nature so that we can become what we can be. Mosiah 3:19

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, August 24, 2015

Letter #59

We will go in a bus with our ward and investigators.( To the temple open house on Thursday.) They found the waffles in a little town.( The investigators that brought them waffles.) Who knows how they know what waffles are.( They don't really have anything like waffles in Mexico.) Yeah they combined the conference because our zone is super small. I was able to talk to him, (Elder Hoskins a guy he knew from Logan) actually he is also a district leader. Elder Mendez still has about 7-8 months left in his mission. I don't think they sell nativity sets in September... but I will look. ( I asked him to keep an eye out for nativity sets, because I collect them.)

( I asked him if there was something he wished he would have done or known before his mission to better prepare.) If there was something I wish I had known it would be the importance of the mission. I didn't fully understand before why I needed to prepare myself. I had thought, "Well I will be studying 24/7 over there so why would I need to do it all now". God can only work with what we have. We are instruments in his hands. It depends on our preparation whether we are a tool he can use or not. That is something that I love about the mission. It prepares you for life. You get to experience many different things and you get to see how the Lord really does bless those who obey. It brings a motivation that will last.

Well our investigators are doing really good right now. This week 3 new investigators went to church with a baptismal date so now we have 7 that are progressing towards baptism. It is amazing talking to them and hearing the changes that they are making in their lives. Also the 7 are making plans to go to the temple open house too! 

With changes next week I am almost sure that one of us will leaveHuehuetoca. It is a stellar area and it will be interesting to see what happens. 

This week we climbed up Mount Cincoc. It was cool because the trail got steep and the view was good (except the pollution). We had some fun up there. I also had exchanges with Elder Mendez. It was awesome being with him again. We had fun and taught really well. Actually something really strange will happen this week. I guess I will be training/ teaching the Zone meeting with Elder Mendez. Even though I am just a district leader President told the Zone leaders that Elder Mendez and I were going to do it and not Elder Mendez and his companion. I have never heard of that happening, so we will see how that goes. 

Something I have learned in the mission is the importance of the spiritual preparation. I would like to share with you the teaching method that Elder Bednar taught us so that you can apply it in Family home evening, teaching classes/people, etc. 
1. Spiritual preparation. Prepare yourself by studying the topic and also prepare those you will be teaching by leaving them an assignment of something to study beforehand. 

2. Interact to edify. "Teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom of God" .Ask questions and help those you are teaching to share the revelation that they received and their experiences with the topic. 

3. Invite to act. We must act after we learn because if we don´t whatever we learned doesn't matter. 

I invite you to apply this from now on in teaching assignments, family home evening (assign the topic before Monday), and other teaching opportunities and I promise that the spirit will be felt in abundance, and it will be a time to receive and share revelation from God. You will be converted.

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

                                                         Andrew with Elder Mendez
                                             Going to hike up that mountain with Elder Urrutia
                                                                       "The Squad"
                                        "The truth is like a lion. When released (freed or shared) it defends itself...We testify that the Book of Mormon is true."         

Monday, August 17, 2015

Letter #58 Super Busy

We didn't walk to stake conference. It was a 45 minute bus ride... the shoes are decent quality. Haha well supposedly the others were stellar quality, but they didn't last too well haha. These shoes will do. Yes Elder Milne is the other district leader. We will be able to go to the open house (of the Mexico City Temple) one time if we bring at least 2 investigators. We are going as a stake August 27. It is about 2 hours from Huehuetoca. We will go to the rededication at the stake building, but after that I don't think we can go (to the temple).

We normally eat with the members. The favorite thing I have eaten here was waffles. They don't have anything like that in Mexico. My companion was super confused when some investigators brought us waffles. (They are different, but they were waffles.) That or a french toast that a girl in our ward made. It was french toast with strawberries and cream inside and cinamon and sugar on the outside.

My favorite thing about my companion is how happy he always is. I have never seen a person so happy at 6:30 in the morning. He waits for the alarm at 6:25, 6:27, 6:29 and then when it is finally 6:30 he yells "treinta!" and slams the phone on a chair by his bed, jumps out of his bed and says his prayer. He always has a smile. (Apparently treinta means 30, so he is counting down the minutes until the alarm goes off.)

So it's super crazy. We have so much work that it is kind of like a bucket filling with water, it reaches the top and begins to overflow. We right now are overflowing with work and it's almost stressing me out that we can't retain all the people we are finding to teach. I began to think about it. We are 2 missionaries in Huehuetoca that want to help all these people here and we are finding it hard. Imagine Christ. He was 1 person out to save the world. I can only imagine how he felt trying to help and serve everyone in his path. 

This week we had zone conference. I learned a lot of cool things, but this was one thing that called my attention. We have leaders in the church, but why? These leaders are chosen of God to help us. Through our church leaders God tells us what he expects of us, he counsels us, and helps us to become what we can be. As we see our leaders like people called of God we will realize what a priviledge it is to have them in this time on earth. 

My invitation to you is to learn humbly from your church leaders and Act with faith according to their counsel. They are here to help us on our way to become like Christ.

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

The Atotonilco North and South Zones

                                                 A "friend" they found in their apartment.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Letter #57

I am the only American in my district. I got new shoes. In the zone there is Hermana Gonzalez from my old ward in Tultepec, that is the only one that you would know. My favorite smell here is when we walk past the panaderias (the bread places). We got things done today. We had 20 minutes of a break like in Xahuento. The whole washing by hand thing talks a long time.*These are all answers to the questions I had for him this week.

This week was CRAZY. I know for a fact that the Lord guides his work. We are the instruments in his hands. This week we put baptismal dates with a bunch of people. One funny experience this week. A teenager named Francisco was accompaning us for some appointments when we passed by a house. We knocked on the door and a 3 year old stepped out on the balcony. The kid started talking to another kid across the street playing in the grass with his Mom's supervision. All of a sudden I hear the kid on the balcony yell, "Hey look! There´s your Dad!!" while pointing at Francisco. Francisco immediately went red and I busted up laughing!!

This week was stake conference which normally means that not even 20% of the "active ward members" goes to church that day. Elder Urrutia and I wanted to change that this week. We invited a ton of people and got a group. We left at 7:50 in the morning with 2 investigators with a new baptismal date, 2 families of inactives, and a family of recent converts that weren't going to attend. We set out on the hour journey and arrived to find that 2 other investigators with new baptismal dates arrived with some members and that other investigators with baptismal dates arrived by themselves. It was a miracle. We had 7 Investigators with baptismal dates at stake conference and 2 inactive families. It was amazing.

After the conference we had to hurry back to prepare Angela's baptism! More investigators arrived at her baptism and said that they felt something they couldn't describe. The best they could say was a great peace. 

We are seeing miracles daily, thank you for your prayers!

The invitation is that you can put your faith and trust in the Lord at all times and look for the miracles and blessings that he provides.

Love you
Elder Finlinson

                                              "The new Nike 5.0 Mission shoe with air flow"
                                                           "Stake Conference Crew"
                                                      Picture before Angela's Baptism

Monday, August 3, 2015

Letter #56

uu-rr-uu-t-ia. (*I had asked him how to pronounce his companion's name. Still not 100% sure how.) I am eating the same, chicken and tortillas.(*Asked if any different foods in the new area.) I only know that before the missionaries were disobedient. (He said some of the members didn't trust the missionaries because of behavior in the past. I asked if he knew what they did.)The only problem is that some members like that the missionaries break some rules because some have gotten mad because we won't enter their house if there isn't an adult male 18 or older. The people in my district now are Elder Ramirez, Elder Gomez, My comp and I and the zone leaders.(*I asked how his clothes and shoes were holding up.) My other shoes died about 2 weeks ago. The hole goes all the way through to my foot, the sole is barely hanging on and there are other holes in the two. I was going to buy shoes this week, but we don't have any time. I didn't even finish washing my clothes. Hand washing takes out almost all the time here. We couldn't even finish the things we needed to do.
The thing I love most is that people are super friendly here. This week we found a ton of new people to teach. 11 new people this week and we are almost sure that at least 4 of these people will be baptized. They are super prepared. We have been trying to obey with exactness. For that we are seeing miracles. We are finding people like crazy, people are contacting us in the streets. If all goes well this week we will have a baptism on Sunday. We also have one planned for the following week. 
This week I had a leadership counsel. It was awesome. I learned a lot of things. I wanted to share some things I learned with you. 1st off D&C 4:5 Faith, Hope, Charity, and Love, with an eye single to the glory of god QUALIFY HIM for the work. I love how it doesn't say how much you know, your past experiences, training, etc qualify you. Those are things that help and all, but what really counts is who you are and who you can become. If you are like Christ, act with faith, have hope, are charitable, and love the people, you are qualified.... not only for mission work, but in all things. 
Also I learned about giving counts to God in prayer. Tell him what you did, what results you saw and what you learned from him today. I applied this this week and had an experience. I started saying the usual "Thank you for this day..." and a thought came to me, "WHY?" "Why am I thankful for this day?" Prayer is a conversation with your Father, tell him why you are thankful for what He has given you, what you did with these blessings. I felt much better doing this because I felt for real that He was listening.
My invitation for you is to do the same. Converse with your Heavenly Father. Count your blessings, and give thanks from your heart.
Love you,
Elder Finlinson