Called To Serve

Called To Serve
Mexico, Mexico City North

Monday, December 28, 2015

Letter #77 Short and sweet

This week was interesting. The lessons and "numbers" were down, but Elder Toledo and I worked hard with the little time we had. It was cool to see how God is preparing people to receive his gospel. We are teaching Juan Miranda. He is like 58, but he really wants to find the way to God. He is progressing to be baptized in January. We will have to help him to have faith in God. He was a heavy drinker before, but not anymore, and he doesn't really have a job so he is looking for something that allows him to keep the Sabbath day holy. Also we are teaching Eva 42 give or take and Janet 18. They like when we come, but lacked something. Sunday they didn't come to church after telling us that they would come. In the afternoon we finally got a hold of them and they said they were in the hospital. Eva´s dad is basically on his deathbed right now, she started crying about everything and I told her that we wanted to help them. That God has a plan and a purpose for us that includes where we come from, why we are here on earth, and what happens after death. She thanked us for thinking of them and we will visit them today. 

I am thankful for the restored gospel. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that only through obedience to Christ and love for God we can return to God and reach our potential. This is a marvelous work, the restoration is still going on, (we believe that He does now reveal and that He will Yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God). This is an amazing time. God has trusted us to come at this time to bring all our brothers and sisters to Christ. 

My favorite thing to teach investigators is the restoration. It is a different experience every time. Its always something new for them and its fundamental to help them. My favorite thing to teach missionaries is the challenge to become what God wants us to become. Not just work and that's it. We must be converted and love the gospel, only if we do will be able to remain firm in the gospel and be on track to return to God.

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

"All my family except my 'son' Elder Toro."

Tula Zone

"Always looking fresh."
 "You're in good hands." At a service project
"A stellar selfie...oh and some other missionaries are in the background. Ha Ha"
"Tepeji, where the horses run wild."

Monday, December 21, 2015

Letter #76 Merry Christmas!

I think we have found a way to Skype on Christmas. I will probably talk around 4:30 our time. We have a service project in the morning so I can't early. We will paint the gate of a person in San Lucas (the District leaders area). 

This week was a stellar week. We didn't have much time to work for extra things, we had a lot to do as zone leaders and interviews with President, but we saw miracles. It was for one reason. This week Elder Toledo and I were reading a short talk about how we should create our own circumstances, not be slaves of the circumstances. As many say, December is a hard month for missionaries. It sure will be if we have that mind set, But we decide what will happen. We worked with faith and contacted a ton of people because the ward doesn't help us much to find people. As we contacted we found many people that God was preparing. Its amazing how God works through faith. 

This week we have our Christmas devotional with the Tula stake and Atotonilco stake missionaries. Each district will sing. Our district prepared just one song, but Elder Toledo and I will also sing with another district. We are singing a mix of  Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Joy to the World in Spanish and English with our district and Carol of the Bells in Spanish with the other district.

To answer the question about how holidays feel here. To be completely honest almost everyday feels the same in the mission. Its like a Sunday everyday almost. I didn't even know Thanksgiving had passed until days after. It doesn't really feel like Christmas either. I don't know its kind of weird. I love the mission and everything, but holidays just don't feel like anything special right now.

This week I hope that you can ponder on why it is so important to have a Savior. I know that Jesus is the Son of God and that he came to save all that would follow him. His Gospel and example show us the way that leads to happiness and freedom. By him all people can have a second chance. My invitation is that you all can give a gift to Christ by sharing his gospel with one person before Christmas day. What he wants is that all men follow him and can receive eternal life. 

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

 Come on Vamanos, Everybody let's go! 
 Elder Hopkins (fellow Cache Valley guy) at a service project.
 Well fertilized toilet! Ha Ha
Elder Toledo studying Lehi's Dream. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Letter #75

Elder Toledo´s family said December 23 it's Wednesday. We are trying to find a member that has internet in their house to be able to talk by Skype. His family goes to their family ranch I think. IDK. I will call on Christmas in the afternoon. I still don't know when. Elder Toledo will call on the 23. We just have to find where. We will have 45 minutes to talk this time. On Christmas day we have a service project in the morning and then normal work. 

The devotional is December 22. We will go to Atotonilco (the stake building when I was in Huehuetoca) and we will sing songs that we prepared as a district and have a gift exchange. Just the missionaries from Tula and Atotonilco will go there. I don't know what else will happen.  I haven't done interchanges with Elder Hopkins. We don't have a ball to be able to play basketball or soccer. 

My favorite experience on an interchange recently was this week. I went to Jilotepec with some elders to do 2 baptismal interviews. In one of the interviews it was normal and stuff and in the end I asked her if she had prepared herself to be baptized and if she felt ready. She thought a second and then said yes. I felt the spirit so strong in that moment and I remembered one of the functions of the spirit. The spirit testifies of truth. It was a great experience.

Tepeji is decorated a bit. Not a ton, but yeah some people decorated (for Christmas). I think they do 12 days of Christmas December 25 to January 6. The special thing they do this time of the year is celebrate the Day of the Virgin. December 12. Everyone brings their virgin statues to the catholic church to bless them and "pray" a BUNCH of memorized prayers. I woke up to the sound of fireworks and cannons and a mob of 40-50 people chanting a memorized prayer in front of a virgin statue. Everyone gets drunk and has a party. It feels a bit like Moses when he came down with the 10 commandments and saw the people worshiping a golden calf. It is that dumb.

This week was the Tijuana temple dedication. It was cool. I understood more about the temple and how it is a process to sanctify us. How we act in the temple reminds us of how to act "at all times and in all things and in all places". We are here on earth to prepare us to become like our Father in heaven. The temple is key. Also someone said that the 2 most important things are 1) the atonement of Christ which allows us to return to God and reach our potential and 2) when we make sacred covenants in the temple and by doing so we accept the sacrifice the Christ made so that we can return to God. 
Do all you can to receive the temple blessings. 

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

"I'm in the hood." 
 Andrew went on interchanges and this was the light in the Elder's apartment. He said it is their real light. They don't use it very often. (It would give me a headache!)
Have a 'Mario'Christmas!
A Sister in their ward sells Nike and Air Jordan shoes that weren't sold in the U.S.. In the end of this batch of shoes she said she would give them some. These are the shoes Andrew received. Air Jordan's. Pretty sweet. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Letter #74

This week I had interchanges with Elder Gage from Washington. I will not have an interchange with Elder Candelario, we only do them with District Leaders and their companions, but one day we will go to study with them I think. Honestly we don't do anything with the youth. Also I don't know if we will talk on Christmas day because Elder Toledo says his family isn't home that day. I think it will be the 27th, but I´m not sure. 

The zone meeting was weird. The President´s assistants told us to teach the missionaries how to teach. So that's what we did. We taught about the Book of Mormon with everyone, but the idea is that everyone teaches, not just "the teacher". D&C says that we teach each other the Doctrine of the Kingdom that all may be edified of all. That was the idea. We used the example of the nails to show that the Book of Mormon is the key to our religion and if we take it out it all falls down.

So this week has been COLD. We wake up everyday freezing. During the day it warms up a bit and then at night it is cold again. The people here say that we are just getting started. It's about 15 degrees celsius when we get up in the morning, but all the houses are made of cement so it traps the cold air in.

My favorite Christmas tradition... Well in the mission we have a devotional... I dont know. We´re kind of like a platypus "we don´t do much you know" hahaha. My favorite moment of the week is when we have meetings. I actually like to train and teach in meetings. It is cool to feel like all of a sudden I don't know anything, but God teaches me things right there on the spot. 

Well thinking about what I have been told, I feel that now would be a great time to focus the family home evenings and other teaching opportunities on the restoration. The knowledge that God exists, he loves us and knows us. The gospel blesses the family if we choose to follow it. We may not see all the results here on the earth, but God has great things in store for us. God wants us to return to him and will never leave us alone. We  have prophets and the priesthood to guide us safely home. Christ has suffered for all of us. We never have to lose hope in ourself or in our family and friends who have strayed. Even though the church of Christ was lost for years, God loved us still. He has called a prophet. We have His church and His power on the earth. There is nothing that can change that now. The Book of Mormon testifies of these marvelous truths and as we read, ponder, and pray God himself will let us know the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Ghost. 
Please Trust in the promises of God. 

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

So COLD but looking Hot! Ha ha

 Elder Toledo
Tula Zone