Called To Serve

Called To Serve
Mexico, Mexico City North

Monday, June 20, 2016

Letter #102 Last letter from the Mission Field

This week was great. We found 6 new people to teach and 2 of them came to church and are preparing to be baptized on July 24th! Patricia and Viridiana (the 2 people) went to the temple open house 9 months ago and have been waiting patiently for missionaries ever since. When we taught them, they were so happy when we invited them to be baptized saying, "I am convinced that this is what God wants me to do!" They came to church and LOVED it!

What will I miss most: The people that I have come to know and love.
What am I looking forward to when I get home: It will sound a little weird, but I am looking forward to the "disturbing the peace law". There won't be people shouting and weird sounds all the time. (I will explain later.)
Summarizing the mission: The best experience of my life up to this point, and the best experience to prepare me for the rest of my life. 

It still hasn't hit me that I am leaving. I delayed packing up to avoid all thoughts of going home until about an hour and a half ago. I have loved the mission and wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I know that it was God´s will for me to be here at this time.

Tomorrow morning we go to the offices, have a brief meeting, then eat with the new missionaries. Then we go to President´s house and we will do something, eat, have a devotional, and sleep. Then Wednesday at 9 we will be in the airport and at 3:30 we are in the air.

See you soon!

Love you,
Elder Finlinson
 The missionaries that will be coming home this week.
 Temple trip with missionaries that will be leaving.
At the beautiful Mexico City Temple

Monday, June 13, 2016

Letter #101

Fabiola didn't come to church this Sunday. I don't know if we will keep teaching her much longer. I wasn't able to go to Huehuetoca today, but I did go buy some shoes. I don't know what I would like to eat.(When he comes home.) I am not used to eating at 6:00/7:00 anymore and I can't fit much in my stomach anymore. I would say something Chinese to mix it up a bit.
I will go to the temple this Thursday morning. I will be on the same plane as Elder Huxford, Van Tassel, Black, and Stanger.
Best part of the week: We had a lesson with the Alegria family this week and in the end we invited them to be baptized. They have always told us no, but this time Gabriela (the mom) said yes. Then I didn't invite her to get baptized on a specific date like we need to do. The whole night I felt horrible and I asked God to give me a second chance to see them and invite them to be baptized. The next day we were walking in the street and we saw the Alegria family! They invited us in and we taught them about baptism and when we invited them to baptism in the end of July they all accepted! This Sunday they came to church and are very excited.

I loved that experience so much because it showed me that God wants me to repent and that if I have the desire to do what he wants me to do, He will do miracles to help me change. I have been able to see that God is a God of miracles many times this week. I hope you also recognize His hand in your lives too.

Funny experience: This morning I came to write and the electricity went out, went to cut my hair and the girl that cuts my hair wasn't there and the older lady that cut my hair..... well she cut it at least (it wasn't that great), then while we were eating the food slipped out of my hands and went ALL over my shirt. That has been my day so far. 
Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, June 6, 2016

Letter #100

I visited Alamedas today!! Also I will fast for Jordon this Sunday. Thanks for telling me so that I can be praying too.
If I could go back to teach someone... I don't know because they are either baptized or they don't listen to the missionaries. If there would be someone it would be the Gamboa Family in Huehuetoca. They are a great family, I don't know what happened. They were really excited to progress in the church.
 An area that I would have liked to serve in, maybe Tepotzoltlan. It is a cool area I have heard, but who knows. 
I would like to visit all my areas again! 

This week was stake conference. We also had 4 investigators there. Fabiola came and invited a friend. Angel (he always comes). Sister Alegria and her daughter Gabby (a different daughter than last week). It was great. The last talks were great...The Mexico area plan and the Family Proclamation. The family proclamation has a lot of great things in it. I love the 3rd paragraph the most. It teaches so clearly Gods plan. 

I have thought a lot about a scripture lately in Nehemias. (I know right! Almost nobody knows who he is!) anyways, Nehemias was called by God to complete his own "mission" to reconstruct the walls of Jerusalem. Many people wanted him to relax or do something different, get distracted. Nehemias replied "I am occupied in a great work and cannot come down". We are all embarked in the work and Glory of the Living God and We Cannot Come Down. We don't have time to lose our way or get distracted, to complain, relax. God has called each one of us to come in these last days to work in his vineyard and work for the salvation of men (D&C 138: 56). I hope that we can all realize what a great calling we all have from God and that there is nothing more important that we could possibly do. 

I invite you to pray and ask God everyday, "What more can I do to help in your vineyard?" As you look for revelation the Holy Ghost will let you know what to do. Pray to be able to help someone to progress towards our Heavenly Father. Follow the impressions of the spirit. They are Commandments from God for YOU!

Love you,
Elder Finlinson
 Service Project
 Zone Tepalcapa Este
 Michelle and Her Mom (Andrew taught her and her Father)
 Andrew visiting his old area Alamedas and some of the people he taught who were baptized.
 Andrew and Elder Servin at the Mission Offices
Andrew and Elder Servin

Monday, May 30, 2016

Letter #99

The zone conference went well. I directed it and the training went well. I didn't have a ton of time to teach, but it turned out well. I don't think I have a ton of extra things to fit in my suitcase. President Titensor did not give me permission to go to the place where a member would give me a shoe discount because 2 other companionship's were going to be I don't know if I will be able to buy shoes.

My favorite book of scripture would be Mosiah 2-5 King Benjamin's speech and Alma 34-42 when Alma and Amulek teach a bunch of people... and parts of 3 Nephi.

I have only been separated from my companion in the mission offices, so it wasn't a big deal. Elder Urrutia hid himself one time while I was waiting and watching for the local transport. I was confused at the start until a nearby store sign (Elder Urrutia's hiding spot) started laughing.

Part of the Alegria family came to church this Sunday. From what I saw they enjoyed it! We are really excited for them!

I feel good about the work right now, we are working hard and looking for more new people. The members little by little seem to be more excited to work. The Relief Society went and visited the Alegría family. That was a big motivating factor to have them come to church.

Something that I loved this week was that I have learned a lot from the lessons that we have had because the spirit was the teacher. I learned about my baptismal covenant a lot. We promise to remember Christ always, to take his name upon us, and to keep his commandments. To be short, we promise to perfect ourselves in Christ or become more like him. As we keep our baptismal covenant we always should be looking for what we can do better and as we do so Christ will show us our weaknesses so that our weaknesses can become strengths.

I invite you to think more about your baptismal covenant and to perfect yourself in Christ

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

P.S. I might be going to visit old areas. Alamedas and Huehuetoca. I will see. I will go with Elder Fraser to Alamedas and then to Huehuetoca my companion will come with me. I will see how things go as far as writing on those days. I have to go in these next 2 Mondays. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Letter # 98

Fabiola is the same, but we have other families and investigators that are progressing. I will teach in zone conference explaining what each one is (doctrine, principle and application) and why we should study them. Then have two practices one looking for the doctrine in the scriptures and then the second practice I will hand them a paper describing an investigator and a situation and they will put what doctrine principle and application this person could need.
That is great for Jordon, let's hope that they're looking towards the temple. ( A cousin that got engaged.)

One of the greatest things I have learned in the mission is that all this is true. I grew up almost the whole time with a borrowed testimony, going through the motions, but now I love the church and the gospel!
One talent or skill that I have developed. Talking in public. I still am not a super crazy social guy, but by teaching meetings, contacting in the streets, and contacting entire buses, I am getting over my fear of speaking in public.
A couple of great things this week. The church attendance went up by 17 this week because a ton of less active members came to church. Not all of them came because we taught and invited them, but some (about 12) did. I am convinced that if the active members did their part in home teaching and visiting teaching many (not all) less active members would be active. 

Also we are teaching a family. The Alegria family. The dad is a member inactive and his wife and 3 daughters are not members. We had taught the wife and daughters and they have said many times that their family is falling apart. This week we met the Dad for the first time. He was drunk, but as we were teaching, his daughters started to testify to their dad that this is the chance God is giving them to have a happy family and to change. His heart was softened and in the end he said the prayer and asked forgiveness for all the horrible things he had done to his family. We felt the spirit a lot! They are starting to progress little by little. 
Thinking about the priesthood. I think that many times we overlook how big of a responsibility that it is to have the priesthood. The impact of a good wife (as with Elder Nelson) is huge for a priesthood holder. We must always be ready and worthy to use the priesthood. Also the priesthood is more than just giving blessings or performing ordinances. It is the power and authority of God for the salvation of his children. We must visit and help others to participate in the blessings of the gospel. That is our call.
Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, May 16, 2016

Letter #97

We will have a zone conference on May 24. It will be with a couple other zones. I will teach one part alone. The conference will have different topics. I will teach about Doctrine, Principle, Application. 

Fabiola talked with her mom about getting baptized. The situation still has not gotten resolved. Her mom got mad and called her ex husband to come and talk with Fabiola about her decision. Her dad did not show up and her mom is still ticked off. We will visit Fabiola today to see what all is going on. 

The rest of the investigators have not been progressing much. We can only see them once a week for their schedules and sometimes they aren't there when we go by. So basically we are looking for new investigators always.

My favorite part of this week was, yesterday we had an appointment with a family of less active members. They have not been sealed in the temple. We did an activity about preparing ourselves for the temple (a puzzle) then listened to a video of Thomas S. Monson talking about the temples. After that they started talking about the great experiences they had when they went to church and the spirit was felt very strongly. They now have a desire to work towards the temple as a family.

I´m enjoying the mission and we are working hard. We have found some people that can progress, but it will require time. 

This week I strengthened my testimony that God answers prayers if we look for answers. I was praying and studying to find an answer and a confirmation from God about some things. At the end of my study I found a big answer in a talk from General Conference from last April, then I received a call from a missionary in my zone that said he felt to tell me something. It was the answer I was looking for. ( I asked him if he wanted to share what he had been praying for, this was his answer: I was just feeling a little sad because I didn't feel like I was progressing or that I was seeing results. The talk was truly good and without guile. And the missionary called to tell me thanks for being there to help him and support him.)

God knows and loves us because we are his children. Ask and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. That is a sure promise from a loving Heavenly Father. Try it!

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, May 9, 2016

Letter #96

TRANSFERS!!!! We stay the same here in Ciudad Labor. I stay here with Elder Servin. The elders from Chilpa are from Oaxaca, Mexico, and Chandler, Arizona (look up "barney bites" on youtube and you will find him)
I wrote one letter to Alma Ramos from Tepeji. (She got baptized a few weeks ago). I sometimes talk with Elder Huxford to check up on things in Tepeji.
In these Last 6 weeks. I want to help someone get baptized and leave the area with lots of people to get baptized after I go. I also really want to have a more unconditional love for the people and see the worth of every soul like how God sees them. I also want to help the members to work and that the attendance can go up.

The time is flying, so we will have to pray that these last couple weeks go a bit slower haha. 
The mission is preparing me to serve all my life with all my heart. That choice isn't just a two year choice, its forever!

One of the most special things that happened this week was that we watched "Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration" with Fabiola. I had been reading Joseph Smith History and praying to strengthen my testimony of the restoration. I felt the spirit so strongly as I watched the movie. One part that really impacted me was when people had kidnapped and handcuffed Joseph and some other members. They started saying a bunch of bad stuff. Joseph stood up repremanded (I hope thats a word in English) them and then everything went quiet. They stopped saying bad things and Joseph said, "The worth of every soul is great in the sight of God". 
Two thoughts about that scene: 
1) In D&C 121:43 I think it says that we admonish and correct with the spirit and then show greater love to him who you have corrected so that he does not think you his enemy. We must invite people to repent because they are worth much for God, but we must show greater love after. 
2) Even with the way they were treating Joseph and the members he showed greater love towards them. He saw the worth their souls had and Loved them unconditionally. That is the pure love of Christ- Charity. Something we must all develop, because without it we are nothing (Moroni 7)
I invite you to show greater love to those who surround you and look to see the worth of every soul. I promise you that as you do, you will see the worth that you have for God. 
Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Tepalcapa Este Zone 
Sportin' their sombreo's!
 Alma Ramos' baptism. She was a lady that Elder Huxford and Andrew taught. She was baptized 2 weeks after Andrew was transferred. Elder Urrutia (another of Andrew's favorite companions is also in this picture.)
Pres. & Sis. Titensor with Alma Ramos

Monday, May 2, 2016

Letter #95

This week Fabiola was going to come to church, but as we know satan works in many ways. If he can't attack her, he will attack her family. Fabiola was with her sister and her sister started to drink a lot! Fabiola couldn't move her sister and had to take care of her all Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Some thoughts that I had as I read the talk, The Will of the Father in All Things, by Elder Holland are:
The story of Nephi. He had made a promise with God to obey him in all things. Not long after his declaration to obey God put him to the test by asking him to kill Laban. God gives us opportunities to prove ourselves worthy of being with him and to show how much we really love him. Also something I thought was interesting was that it is obedience to God and nothing else. If Nephi were to only obey the commandments he wouldn't have killed Laban, but he knew that what God requires is that we obey HIM, not just a structured system. 
I also thought of how Nephi´s decision to obey and kill Laban allowed us to be members of the church today. It led the way for the restoration and the Book of Mormon. My ancestors´ faith in crossing the plains and obeying God allowed me to have the gospel and serve in Mexico. Every decision that we make will affect generations.
Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, April 25, 2016

Letter #94

* Story behind the picture I received in my email this week from a member in Mexico. We were walking in the street to visit someone with Brother Lopez when we saw the car. I said "I need a picture with this car, but I don't have my camera." So he took the picture and I told him to send it to you. 

I have had dogs try and attack, but that haven't had success. *When asked about any animal encounters.

Elder Servin does everything from his heart, and tries his best. *Favorite thing about his companion.

The Best and Worst of each of the areas he has served in:
Alamedas: Best- They fed us very well and we lived 4 missionaries together. Worst: Pride and a tiny area.
Xahuento: Best- more humble. Worst- NO Members.
Huehuetoca: Best- The ward, and area were great. Worst- Washing clothes by hand.
Xalpa : Best- We lived really close to the church. Worst- House problems and we couldn't wash clothes much.
Tepeji: Best- The view, small town feel, people are very receptive. Worst- Not much member support.
Ciudad Labor :Best- The house. Worst- We never eat with the members.

This week it was hardish. Margarita and Alberto were telling us that they don't want to get baptized and continue in the church. We listened to them and felt that we needed to talk about the genealogy work for the dead. Their expressions changed and they were very intrigued. They decided they wanted to know more. Fabiola and Berenice didn't come to church. Fabiola had a rash and Berenice let all her work of the year add up and now she is in crunch time with doing the year totals in her work. 
I did give a talk this week it was about something that Thomas S. Monson said. "We know where we want to go and our choices matter." Pres. Eyring said that Gods purpose and our purpose should affect every decision we make. Our purpose in in Moroni 10:32-33. Be perfected in Christ. We do that through covenants and his Atonement. We go to church, read the scriptures, and pray, etc. to be perfected in Christ. It's not just a checklist of requirements to enter into heaven. 

I invite you to do those small things, thinking of Your purpose and Gods purpose.

Funny experience: My companion and I were walking by and saw a group of women about 30 years old with their kids. As we passed by they all stared. Later in the day we stopped on a street to look at our agenda. As we were standing there one of those same ladies passed by us and says, "I`m Denise! I am 29 years old and I live in that red house!" Then her 9 year old kid starts yelling Spanish pick-up lines.... it was weird.

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Brother Lopez sent this picture of Andrew and Herbie the Love Bug!

 The Mauricio Family was baptized!!! This is a family Andrew taught in Xahuento but they couldn't get baptized because they were not divorced from former spouses. They were able to get divorced, married and baptized! So happy for them. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Letter #93

My favorite thing about Ciudad Labor is the view, the house, and the members want to work.
The main employment-... there isn't one, but the majority work in Mexico City and get back about 7:30 at night.

Best thing I ate this week- Dominos pizza. The worst- I don't know, the thing I don't like much is that we never eat with the members. They are never home at that time so they just give us a bit of money to go buy something.

I have not had any animal encounters here in Ciudad Labor.

This week we have been pretty busy with a lot of visits. I actually taught a lesson in English to someone who just got here from Chicago. She did not want anything the 2nd time we went because she looked up the comments on Joseph Smith on the internet. 

We did see a miracle though. This Sunday no one that we were teaching came to church for a lot of different excuses and reasons. I was feeling pretty bad for a bit, but then as we were walking in the street 3 different people contacted us and said that they wanted to learn more about Christ and find out how to get closer to God. That experience helped me to know that God has a plan and that he knows what is happening in our lives. If we trust in him he will put things in order and lead us to success. 

Hope everyone is doing well and I just want to remind you all that you are children of God. You have divine priviledges as you follow the counsel of a loving Heavenly Father. He is always there to help us. It may be hard to do all that he asks us to do, or to make changes in our lives to align our lives with Gods will, but it is always what will bring us happiness in the end. 
I invite you to think of your blessings as a child of god. Romans 8:16-17

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

 Cleaning his 'favorite' wall. 
The finished product!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Letter #92

We get the Liahona. We get it normally about 2 months later.

The area (Ciudad Labor) is just congested.  We have a washing machine here!!!!!!! ( This is a big deal!)

Today for p-day we played soccer with the Elders from Chilpa (Elder Lopez and Elder Barney) and another member and Fabiola. It was fun. I actually killed it. (I scored many goals).

Fabiola and Berenice are not smoking and are really happy with all the changes they are making in their lives. They are loving the church and enjoying all the new things they are learning. Also this week we found two new investigators named Margarita and Alberto. They are an older couple and have been married for 51 years. They came to church this week and they loved it. They want to help their granddaughter who is struggling in her life right now. 

One happy moment of the week is that Fabiola, Berenice, Margarita, and Alberto could come to church! They really liked the class we taught too about Our Heavenly Father in Gospel principles. 

Today I would like to talk a little bit more about the Atonement of Christ and the blessings that come as we use it. Matthew 11:28-30 says that we must come unto him because we are burdened and heavy laden. What does the phrase burdened and heavy laden mean to you? To me it has meant many things. Sadness, sorrow, fatigue, sins, and much more. What I do know is that whatever burden you may have, Christ has suffered it and much more. He overcame it. Many times we get stuck in the suffering part, but through Christ WE TOO OVERCOME IT. That is the spirit of the Atonement. We all have our own struggles and weaknesses, but as we look to Christ we can have hope. One invitation I would like to extend you is to read and or listen to the talk by Elder Holland from Last April. Christ helps us overcome our own falls and is the only one on which we can hold on to.

Love you,
Elder Finlinson
 Elder Servin, my companion 
The view out of my window at night.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Letter #91

Elder Fraser is a district leader in my zone, he is the only one you would know, and maybe Hermana Delgado. (I was in the same ward as her for 6 weeks in Tultepec). 
I am outside the DF right now. But I think Alamedas is the area most south. We are on the mission borderline though.

April Fools was normal, we taught a zone meeting and then worked. The daylight savings time thing isn't my favorite in the morning, but I love that it isn't pitch black at night now while I am in the streets.

I watched conference in English, but as always the first session just never works well. They get there at 10 to start setting it up and then don't do it well. I barely heard any of the first 3 talks. 

My companion, Elder Servin is great! He`s from Cuahila. He helps me to be better and better. My impressions of the area: It's a lot of hills, but it's a good area. The members accompany us to appointments even though there aren't many active members (about 50). We don't have a ton of investigators and we haven't found any new ones even though we have contacted a ton and asked everyone for referrals. We`ll keep looking. 

This week 2 investigators came to General Conference with us. Fabiola (about 20-21) and Berenice (about 26). They both smoke, but now have desires to be baptized. They loved General Conference and want to be baptized. We are really hoping to help them.

I didn't have a favorite talk. Elder Holland's talk actually hit me really hard though. I did want to share 3 things that I felt strongly this week. 
1) Christ is our Savior.  I can talk about eternal families, the blessings of God, repentance etc., but all of this is only possible by and through Christ. 
2) God knows and loves each one of us. It hit in 2 occasions. The first was after the talk by Elder Kearon about refugees, President Uchtdorf stood up crying. He was a refugee and God knew he (even an apostle) needed that message at that time. And when Elder Holland said something like "even when you think the Gospel standards are too high. Do Not Give Up!" He doesn't ask us to be perfect, all he asks is a consecrated "Almost".
3) Christ directs this church through his chosen servants. 

Loving the work.
Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, March 28, 2016

Letter #90

I will be leaving Tepeji... I´m headed to Ciudad Labor with Elder Servin. The elder who will take my place here in Tepeji is  ELDER URRUTIA!! (My old companion.) I feel a lot better knowing that he will be here to keep the work going! I am still a zone leader. My new zone will be half the size as my zone right now. Elder Servin arrived the same day I did in the mission field. It is the Tepalcapa Este zone.

The things I will miss most from Tepeji. I love the small town feeling here. Everyone is really friendly and its really nice here. I have come to love a lot of the people here so that is always hard. 

My favorite experience of the week was this Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we had an appointment with Marisela (an investigator that loves the church and wants the blessings). We hadn't been able to see her for 2 weeks, but when we arrived for the appointment she had invited a friend named Marissa with her son Pedro (11). They listened to missionaries in the USA for a couple years, but she couldn't get baptized. She said that she was going to live inTepeji, but that this Sunday she wouldn't be able to come to church because she was going to go to Mexico City. On Sunday we were in church and Alma and Juan Miranda had already arrived. A couple minutes later we saw Marisela, Marissa, and Pedro walk in the doors. In the end she moved the day that she would go to Mexico City so that she could come to Church! (We also found out the Marissa is the mom of the chicks that yelled, "I want to be Mormon!!" from their car) haha

We are working hard. Alma is progressing really well and will be baptized on April 16 and Marisela on the 23 of April!

This week I want to invite you all to prepare yourselves for General Conference. It is a privilege to know that we have a prophet on the earth today to guide us. God has always guided his children in their journey home through prophets and we can listen to one today! I invite you to think about your life and to write down questions. I promise that as you listen to the words spoken you will receive answers and you will feel as if God is speaking right to you!

Love you,
Elder Finlinson
 The sisters made the hearts and the Elders couldn't say no to a picture with them.
 Andrew and Elder Huxford visiting Elder Toro's district.
La Butaka (All you can eat wings.)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Letter #89

My favorite thing about the Mexican culture is that they are sooo nice. You can just barely get to know someone and they offer you a glass of water and a plate of food. They really do give all they have. Also it's cool that almost everyone can dance here.

Well this week is the start of a 2 week vacation here in Mexico, the holiday is their spring break and holy week. So lots of people are not home at all so that's just dandy. The week was a bit slower. A couple of interesting experiences. I don't know if you have seen the "Follow Him" video on the church website. It also has some pass-a-long cards that say, "Follow Him and find a new life #Hallelujah". The picture on the card just looks a lot like the catholic paintings and images that they worship here and being completely honest I am not a huge fan. I decided that I needed a testimony that the initiative was inspired by God so I contacted a person and gave her a card. I asked her what came to her mind when she sees that card. She paused for a second and then looked up at us confused and says, "Are you guys Catholics??" I about had a face-palm moment right there. 

Great experience. Alma went to church again this week. She is great!! As we were there singing a hymn she felt the spirit very strong and started to cry. Then as we taught about the life of Christ and we talked about stories of Christ that have had a significant meaning in our life, she also felt the spirit. She is loving everything and wants to be baptized. 

Something that I was thinking this Sunday as we learned about the Atonement was how we can come to understand better the Atonement in a personal way. Many times we think we have to repent or to get strengthened during a sickness to feel the power of the Atonement of Christ, but there is more. We are imperfect and need a lot of help from Christ and in those ways we can see it from the point of view of an imperfect person, but we are to be perfected in Christ. Become as he is. To do so we must see things through his point of view also. 
What motivated Christ to suffer and die for all of our sicknesses, weaknesses, sins, and afflictions was his love for all. To understand the Atonement and his sacrifice completely we must understand His Love for all and feel that love for others. We gain that love as we go about serving others always and obeying the commandments. 

I invite you to look for that unconditional love of Christ. Look at things from His point of view and act in a way that He may help you to become more like Him and bless the lives of others. 

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, March 14, 2016

Letter #88

This week we did do exchanges with Elder Toro and his 'son', Elder Dotson from Shelly, Idaho. It was also Elder Toro´s birthday so we bought a pizza. 

They just put chicken and cream and cheese I think on the enchiladas. I also like salpicón y al hambre. (He said he would explain that at a later time?)

This week was AMAZING!!! God did miracles here. We were able to teach 27 lessons this week, which is a lot more than normal here and we keep finding a lot of great people to teach. 10 people came to church this week and for 7 of them it was their first time. Juan Miranda (the investigator that can't get baptized but is more converted than most members) accompanies us and shares his testimony. He also contacts in the street! The people that came to church were:
Juan Miranda, Ariel Herrera, Alma (she is preparing to get baptized April 3 and is doing great) the next few went for the first time: The Jimenez Roperto family (Edgar, Yanely, her son Gael 11 and Sait 3) Axel and his mom Estela, Marisela and her daughter Diana (they also accepted baptism for April 16).

The majority loved the church and are really looking forward to coming back, with others we need to help them a bit because the son loved Primary, but the parents didn't understand much. 

It's really fun being here with Elder Huxford. It's funny because sometimes we will be walking in the street and people will whistle at us and tell us that we are "guapos". (Handsome) And groups of teenage girls or college girls will yell, "I want to be Mormon!!!! AAAAHHHH"  to which we start laughing and say, "We can help you with that!". 

I would LOVE to stay in Tepeji one more transfer if I could, but it isn't very likely that they give me more time here. I am really excited for the scholarship! It shows how much better God´s plan is than any other plan. An area that I might like. I would like to go to Apaxco. I like being up in the north and outside the main city.

I have been thinking more about Gods plan. He really loves us and wants the best for each one of us. He called us to do many important things while here on earth and we promised him before coming here that we would complete our mission. I can testify that true joy and happiness only come when we are living how God wants us to live. Every time I see the changes in other peoples lives and the blessings they receive I think about all that God has done for me. I invite you to evaluate your relationship with God and look for ways to come closer to him. I can promise you that you will find real happiness.

Elder Finlinson

Monday, March 7, 2016

Letter #87

 I did get the package and I handed out some Warheads (candy) to the zone this week. I loved the happy birthday photos! It was awesome to see some familiar faces!

Funniest thing this week doesn't make much sense in English, but for Elder Huxford and I it is funny. Its like a spanglish joke about echando ganas. (we are echin some serious ganas here in Tepeji   (spanglish for we´re giving it our all here in Tepeji)

The best thing I ate this week... I loved the enchiladas verdes. I could tell you the worst thing I ate too! There is a food here called chicharron en salsa verde. Chicharron is pig skin and pig fat that has been fried and then boiled then they just put it in a bowl of salsa. I call it the pig jacket soup.

Spiritual highlight: First off this week was hard working with the members. They would say they were going to accompany us and then never show up or they would never answer their phone. We found another 14 new investigators this week all by contacting in the street and referrals from non-members. To make a long story short we were working alone. Sunday we were fasting so that the members could have a change of heart. In ward council we shared what we had done this week alone and helped them see that things are not all good here in Tepeji as they always think. Then in the 3rd hour of church the Bishopric, Elders Quorum Pres., High Priest group leader, and Stake President stood up and started reprimanding them with power and authority. Then all of a sudden the members started coming over to us and apologized and then offered to accompany us this week. And the same with the sister missionaries. Then after church people said they were going to share the gospel with some friends and that they would tell us how it went next time. Our prayers and fast were answered. 

Other highlight was with an investigator named Alma. We contacted her a few weeks ago in the street. She is so ready for the gospel. She accepted baptism! We showed her around the church Saturday night and showed her the baptismal font. She said that she felt weird. We asked why and she said, "Because I have a lot of sins." We then testified of the promise of baptism. On Sunday she came to church with her kids and she said that she has asked God if this is true and she said she received an answer that it is!!

Its great to hear from you guys!
échenle ganas! (echarle ganas is kind of like "work hard" "give it your best". Literally it is basically throw out great desires.)

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

 I'll go where you want me to go..."

 The view of Tepeji from Taxhido
 The view of Tepeji from San Mateo

Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Letter #86

Elder Huxford was in my first district in Alamedas for 6 months. He did come from the Provo MTC. We work really well together. 

In the zone there are 3 greenies and the rest are new to the area. 

We taught Ariel Herrera 2 times. One time we felt to pass by his local store when an appointment fell and he was all alone with nothing to do. The other time we taught the word of wisdom to Ariel with Juan Miranda (they used to be old drinking pals we just found out).

My birthday went well. We did interchanges and had a lot of appointments then at night we ate a piece of cake that we had bought.

These past few weeks we have found about 30 new people to teach and they are SUPER!!They complete every invitation except one; Going to Church!! We were expecting 13 people in church and only Juan and Ariel (who can't get baptized right now for the law of chastity and word of wisdom) came. We are trying a ton of things to get the investigators to church. Yesterday after church we took Juan Miranda around to present him to some investigators that don't come to church. He testified of how the church has changed him and promised them that it would help them too! We hope his testimony helps those investigators. Then in the end Juan said that there was a lady who saw the change he made in his life and he took us to her house to meet her. We arrived and she let us in her house. We got to know her and her 4 children. They are great! We hope to help them come unto the gospel too. 

This week was stake conference and I thought I would share something I liked.

Once a man found a pearl of great price. He loved the pearl and wanted to show it off to everyone. He had a fancy showing box made to put the pearl in. To his surprise and sadness, the people who passed by and saw his pearl paid more attention to the beauty of the fancy box than to his much more valuable pearl. 
Many times we do this. We pay attention to other things instead of the real reason for which it was made. 
Example. What would be the pearl of going to church. Many say we go to church for the good feeling, to learn, because our parents say we need to, because its a commandment, or for the sacrament. Actually none of those are the pearl. They are great things (the fancy box) but isn't the reason why we go. We go to church for Christ and his atonement (the pearl). The Sabbath day, sacrament, great feeling, etc. come because Christ came and suffered for us. 
If Christ had not come (if the pearl had never been found) everything we do in the church would have no point (the box would have no purpose).

I invite you to think about the "pearls" that God had given you. You will feel the love of our Father in Heaven.

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

"When they asked me which airport I would like to come home to..." I told him I would gladly meet him there! :)

Andrew with his new companion Elder Huxford

Monday, February 22, 2016

Letter #85

Elder Huxford is from Cedar City. He played basketball in high school and football. He is really fun to be with. The zone changed a ton. Of 28 missionaries, 24 had changes. There are 13 new missionaries in the zone. 

This week was really cool, but with a kind of sadder ending. Last week we had contacted a lot and they were really great people that God has been preparing. We taught 8 new people this week and they all loved what we shared and commited to come to church. We had also been trying really hard to work with the members here because all our investigators are contacts in the street. We looked and called a ton of members to accompany us. When the members came and accompanied us the investigators weren't there. When the members canceled on us the investigators were there, so that was cool... ha ha NOT. We are working on that one still. But anyway, Sunday came around and nobody was in church except Juan Miranda who is always there. All the people that said they would come didn't come. Then one investigator walked in who we hadn't taught in 2 weeks. He´s named Ariel Herrera. After church he said that he loved it and found it very interesting. We are hoping to teach him. 

This week I was thinking about the importance of prayer. I am so thankful that growing up my family did family prayers. It may seem like something so small, but seeing the families that don't do it and all the difficulties that they have it makes me that much more grateful for the gospel and that much more determined to invite them to pray. When we pray sincerely God Listens and answers. I know it. He is always there to help us when we seek him. I invite you to really think about who you are talking to when you pray and to converse with him. I promise that you will feel the difference in your day and in your prayers. 

Love you, 
Elder Finlinson

Letter #84

Juan couldn't get married. His wife is hard hearted. We will keep working with him. That's awesome for Katelyn. That will be an amazing experience for her! (A family friend who received her mission call to Texas.)

They have "the day of friendship and love" in Mexico on February 14. 

This week went pretty well. It was fun being in a trio. We did interchanges almost everyday so that was really hard with different people in the area every day. But we were able to visit a lot of people. We are finding a ton of new investigators. The problem is that all of them are from contacts and asking the contacts for referrals. The members don't do anything to share the gospel. We are working on that right now. We are looking for the way to incoorporate the members with the lessons and investigators. The investigators aren't coming to church and I think its because they don't know anyone there. 

I will be staying here in Tepeji again. Elder Toledo is going to Lomas Lindas (the same zone where I started my mission). My next companion will be Elder Huxford from Cedar City. Acually I think he will be going to SUU also. He was the former assistant to the President. It should be really fun with him. I did interchanges with him this week here in Tepeji so it will be great to keep working with him here. After the day of interchanges he said, " If president changes me I want to come here." What do you know!

In what ways has the mission changed me. It gave me a real testimony. I have learned to trust in God and to love his work. I know that He lives and knows me. I know now that he has a perfect plan for me and that He is always there to guide me. I have also been able to change a lot of who I was (with my natural man) I have gained a love for my Savior and know that he also lives. In my opinion the biggest way that the mission has changed me is in my relationship with God. Before I didn't have a testimony that strong. I believed in a God and what they told me in church and in my family, but now that belief has become a clear certainty. The best part is that this blessing is available to everyone! When we pray sincerely God hears and answers us. We will feel his presence. 

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

Monday, February 8, 2016

Letter #83

In Mexico the religious leaders have no legal power. They cannot marry a person. His  wife is very catholic and so far still has not wanted to hear our message. Their house is small so she hears the most of it anyways even though she isn't present in the room we are in. He has 2 or 3 sons. They don't listen either. (This is one of his investigators that wants to be baptized, but needs to get married first.)

They are going to use the wood frame for book shelves. ( I asked him why they took the arcade game machines apart for the person they were serving.)

I have eaten chiles rellenos. They are great!! 

Yesterday a lizard got into our house somehow. My comp Elder Toledo hates lizards and so he grabbed a match and an Axe body spray can trying to use it as a flamethrower to get the thing out. It just started chasing him and he ran around the house screaming like a little school girl. I then got the  lizard out by using a broom and a dustpan. 

This week was full of surprises. 

We had some mission meetings with a local area 70. It was to help us to grow our faith to be able to visit and help more people. In other words to save more sons and daughters of God. We worked super hard this week even though we weren't even in our area almost 2 full days for those meetings and also one time because we went to the temple!! We were able to visit about 8 families more than usual because we always asked ourselves, "Who else can we help?" God provided the way from there, always providing a way to visit people. We hope to keep going like that. We just have to work better with the members. We are working on how to do that. 

Thursday night a convert from Elder Toledo´s first area called us and said that she was going to get sealed to her husband this Saturday. We went early Saturday morning to the temple for the sealing. We went in a fancy bus that had TV´s (I was trying not to watch Divergent for an hour and a half, but it was hard because I was hearing the whole thing). Then we went in the Subway system. It was way cool. We went In the temple and the sealing ordinance was AWESOME! I have never felt so much power from the spirit in one moment. 

We fasted with Juan this week so that his wife softens her heart so that He can get married legally and get baptized. We have an appointment today.

Saturday night we received interesting news. We would become a trio. I am now here with my companion Elder Toledo and with Elder Hopkins from Logan (his comp was sent home). We will be together until the transfers next week. Its weird teaching with 3, but it's a blast being together.

I invite you to think about this question this week, "Who else can I help?" and see in how many ways God will be present in your life.

Love you,
Elder Finlinson

 Elder Toledo and Andrew with the couple that Elder Toledo taught and baptized that are now sealed!
 A new eternal family! 
Andrew with Elder Hopkins and Elder Toledo now a trio companionship...until transfers next Monday.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Letter #82


The world wide meeting was about the fundamentals of being a missionary and the doctrine of Christ. In the meetings with the stake president and mission president we talk about the wards and missionaries if they are progressing or not. 

I loved the humor of Great Grandpa Evans. His Christmas gifts of the magical white crew socks that made me run faster and jump higher were always the best. I could always outrun any girl. ha ha. 

This week was harder. Nobody was home for our appointments. Almost literally nobody. The good thing is that my health is good because we were walking a lot! We had the Zone meeting this week. We talked about the atonement and the plan of salvation. It was really good. I loved preparing by reading the talks from Bruce C. Hafen "The Atonement: All for All" or everything for everything (who knows what it is in English) The assistants came to the zone so we were a group of 31 missionaries.  I really do like teaching meetings like that. I don't like to do talks in church because I can't interact with the people, I just talk. I like to interact as I teach, it's better. 

Funniest thing... idk... Funnest thing Elder Toledo and I took apart 5 old video game machines for a service project. It was crazy!

One great story. Saturday after a day full of fallen appointments, members that said they would accompany us but didn't ever show up and wouldn't answer their phone, and a meeting that didn't have a point, we had an appointment with Juan Miranda. He has had doubts about the restoration and all his family says that he should go to different churches. He always goes to church and is living the commandments (but he has to get married legally still) when we arrived for the appointment a little tired, his first words were, "I understand the restoration!" He has read a lot of the Book of Mormon and he read Lehi´s dream (a dream he also had) and he kept reading and reading and he learned and understood why this is the church of Christ. He is scheduled to be baptized on Feb 14 if he can get married. 

An invitation is that you can analyze what you do on the Sabbath day. The focus of the church right now is that. They say that if we can really understand that commandment our faith will increase and we will be able to keep the other commandments. The Sabbath day is a sign between God and Us. I know that it can be a special day for all of us if we put the Lord first.

Elder Finlinson

 Part of my 'family': My brother, my son and a grandson. (I know his son is Elder Toro. The others not so sure.)
The video game machines he and Elder Toledo took apart.
A member in San Lucas has 6 pet peacocks and apparently lots of roosters too.