Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Feb 23 - Heat Wave!

Hey all!

So first of all I feel like there is a heat wave going on...My comp keeps telling me that we are max in the high 70s but I am dying! I think I got way too used to the mountain life in Topilejo, and the heat is just wearing me out! But, I guess I will get used to it eventually!

This week went super well! First of all, we had some awesome intercambios with Elder Galindo and Elder Noguerra in their area. I got to sleep in a hammock because they didn’t have 4 beds, but it was awesome! Like the best night of sleep, I have had in my whole mission. Elder Penrod and I both life the intercambios still feeling a little iffy, not knowing if we really helped them. That is until the night time when they called us super excited to report on the progress of the people that we had contacted with them, and the people that we had visited, so that was a super cool phone call. Their district leader called us after that too, and was like, what did you guys do in the intercambios?? I have never seen them this excited to work, so that was a cool phone call to hear, really an answer to our prayers because we were just trying to jumpstart the work in a hard area.

The rest of this week was a blur because well it was a week of only 6 days...But, we saw a lot of progression in two of our investigators this last week. Tamara and Rubi and doing so well!! They just love the gospel, they just want to learn about it as much as possible, and that is so fun to see as a missionary. They can’t wait to be baptized, and Rubi is even talking about serving a mission someday! They also told us this last week that Rubi used to have some problems, like not being able to sleep at night and stuff like that, but that ever since we started coming all of that has changed! So that’s awesome! Also, Azul Morales has got to be the smartest 9-year-old girl that I have ever met! She learns faster than the majority of our 40-year-old investigators, but she as well cannot wait to get baptized, a sad note on that family to respond to Dad is that their Father isn’t present in their life:/ so that would be awesome to have a family member do it, but it looks like it won’t work out.

A cool activity we did this week was on Saturday night we took Tamara and Rubi to the Ortiz Muñoz family’s house to watch the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie, and it was an incredible experience. I have seen that movie multiple times in my mission with investigators, but the spirit was just so strong this time. It really strengthened my personal testimony that Joseph Smith was called of our loving Heavenly Father to restore the same gospel that was established by Jesus Christ, and this work cannot be stopped! I hope that you all have a great week,

Elder Stout

Friday, February 19, 2016

Feb 17 - 17 months!

Wow, so I finished up 17 months here on the 17th of February, what a coincidence! The time is absolutely flying, I can’t believe how fast this last month has gone. I feel like I just got here to Churubusco but I have been here for 6 weeks already! The weeks are just flying by too!!

So yesterday the stress all was over because we had the zone conference! It was a huge success; I feel like the Spirit was really there to bless us. All of the people who spoke had the spirit very strong and gave exactly the messages that the missionaries in our zone were needing. President talked a lot about how obedience is the first law of everything. The Sister Training Leaders of the mission gave a cool training about how to get along better with our companions and why it is so important that we always look for a way to get along. Then Elder Penrod and I focused on how to have better studies. We talked about how the Lord gives us three hours every morning to prepare us for the work that He has called us to do, and how the focus of our studies should not be on us, but should be on the people that we are teaching because for two years they are our priority. In preparing it and applying it I have learned so much and changed the way that I personally study as well, but it is helping us so much in the lessons that we teach! Elder Penrod and I are learning so much every morning that we use that day as we teach these people and that is the vision that we have for the zone as well.
We had a good week with our investigators as well!! The Olivares Puebla family came to church this week and also put a date to be baptized! One super successful thing that we have been doing since the conference that we had with Elder Peiper is that we are having the investigators put their own baptismal dates, because then it is a goal that they really want to get, and it has been so successful to just explain to them why it so important and let them set their own goal with God, because it’s between Him and them, not us. So we were super excited about that!

We also found a new part member family the family Morales, they are awesome! They all know so much about the gospel because it is a huge part of their home life, but for some reason they haven’t gone to church in two years...So we will have to find out why exactly and help them to overcome it. But, Azul, one of the daughters never got baptized, and when we got there she was just super excited and asked her sister if this means that she can finally get baptized because she’s been waiting for a long time!

Another family that we found was Tamara and Ruby. They are such a cool story because we asked the Pedraza (other investigators) family if they knew anyone who lived close by who could benefit from hearing a message about God and they told us, you NEED to go visit Tamara, she will never accept you because she wants nothing to do with God or religion, but she needs it. So, we went and knocked on her door and well we found out that just that day she was praying that God would help her, she didn’t even know if he existed but she wanted help, and then we knocked on the door. They are progressing SO fast! They told us the 2nd time that we went back that they had already received a testimony from God that the Book of Mormon was true, and when we invited them to go to church, they were about ready to cancel a trip that they had planned because they wanted to go so bad, but we told them not to worry about it and that we have church every week, so it was all good! But, they are an incredible family, and we are so excited to be working with them! The Lord is blessing us so much, there is just nothing else I could ask Him for, I am so grateful to be a missionary, and to have been blessed to be here in this area right now, I just want to keep looking for ways to do His will here.
Last but not least, we had an awesome Valentine’s day haha our Valentines were Alexa, Zoe, and Alison Olivares. We made them little cards with chocolate, and they brought us they big chocolate hearts. I love their family so much, I find myself praying for them multiple times throughout the day because I just want what’s best for them.

Love you all!
Elder Stout

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Feb 9 - On top of the world

Hey all,

This week was a great week as always! Not that much happened it seemed like, even though it was an 8 day week from the last time I wrote, (Side Note: NEXT WEEK MY PDAY WILL BE WEDNESDAY, I am sorry for all of the changes but we have a zone conference next Tuesday, and so the Assistants told Elder Penrod and I that we could change our pday to Wednesday so that we have more than like 2 hours to do everything). So first of all, please be praying for me, because I am pretty nervous to give the zone training, we are going to be there for 6 hours, and we are in charge of all of it. We asked President and the Assistants to teach as well, but the majority of the time we are going to be teaching, and well it’ll be a lot different than giving a one hour district meeting to 4 people, so please be praying for me, especially next Tuesday so that the Spirit can be with us, and we can give the message that the missionaries in the Churubusco zone need.

So the coolest part of this last week for work was Sunday. Elder Penrod and I have talked about how pretty much the whole mission Sunday has been one of the hardest days for us, because there are always so many people who say that they are going to come to church, and well so many of those promises are empty because we just sit there in church waiting and waiting and well the majority never come (that’s how we know who the Lords elect are, but it’s still hard). But this week, we had a ton of investigators there at church! America and her daughters (in the picture) came and actually beat us to the chapel. Also, Alejandro’s son, Alex came with us, and his parents wanted to be there so bad, but they were dealing with sick kids at home. Valeria was there (and also told us that she feels like she is almost ready for baptism). And a new investigator was there named Jaqueline!

Jacqueline was a miracle this week. We have been teaching her family forever, they are all less active members, well her in laws and her husband. And they came this week to get their new baby blessed, and it was the first time they had come in years. Afterwards, they commented to us, the powerful spirit that they had felt to hear the words of a blessing from the Lord, and her family said they won’t miss another Sunday, and she, with tears in her eyes, asked us when is the soonest that she can get baptized. Please pray for the Heredia family so that they can keep these feelings with them and keep coming to church.

A cool thing at the end of church, America comes up to us with a tithing envelope and asked us, “what do I do with this?” We started explaining to her what tithing is and stuff like that, but she said, no no no I already know that, after the testimonies, I looked it up in the scriptures. This IS my tithing, I want to pay it. What an incredible testimony building experience for me, to see how the spirit is touching her heart and converting her to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Another cool thing that Elder Penrod and I did, was one morning we got up super early, and instead of our normal exercise we ran up to the top of the Cerro de la Estrella, one of the best known hills in Mexico City, its right behind our area, and took us almost an hour to get up, but it was so worth it!

Well that’s a wrap!
Have a great week,
Elder Stout

Monday, February 1, 2016

Feb 1 - THe Mexico City Water Crisis


So the first two big things from tis week are that well there are two big announcements for Mexico City. So first f all it used to be like Washington DC where it was a district that wasn’t officially like a city or a state or part of a state. It was called the distrito federal or the DF but apparently this last week there was a vote here and the DF officially became a state, called La Ciudad de Mexico. Which for us is pretty funny because our mission call says that we are serving in Mexico City but I have literally never heard that my entire time here, but now that’s our official name.

Also, on another unrelated note, the Mexico City government decided to just shut off water to the entire city for a week to do repairs. So Elder Penrod and I are living out of buckets to shower and wash dishes from water theat we stored up last week. Reminds me of living back in Topilejo haha but it’s all good.

Also, we got the changes last night and Elder Penrod and I are staying together here in Churubusco. Our zone is going to go down from 29 missionaries to 27 and we will be getting 7 missionaries new to the zone, so I am excited to see who they will be tomorrow when we go to the changes to help President with everything! Elder Penrod and I realized too that he is entering into his last two changes in the mission so that freaked him out like a ton!

So this week wasn’t nearly as exciting as the last two weeks but we had an awesome week. One thing that we have been focusing on as mission is truly uniting together with the members and having more lessons with member present to the investigators because having that friend, and that extra testimony just helps SO much when someone is just beginning to know the gospel of Jesus Christ. This week was the most successful I have had in my entire life working with members here. We worked with 11 different members this week and reached the mission goal of having 20 lessons with member present this week. We also had more lessons this week than I have had in my whole mission with 46 (and that with the fact that we had a lot of things to do to help President this week like go to every session of stake conference even when all the other missionaries only go to one...) So there was a lot of success in all of that this week. We saw the fruits too! America and her daughters got picked up for church by one of our recent convert families and came to stake conference and had an awesome time, the girls are so excited to go to primary next week! We have a lot left to do to be able to help Adan but with time the Lord can change his heart. Also, with Alejandro and Mirna, we brought a member who is very very wealthy with us and he just bore to them the strongest testimony about how his family depends on him, how 15 employees depend on him, but he closes every Sunday because he knows that without the blessings of the Lord for his obedience it would be impossible to provide for them. We didn’t even have to say anything afterwards, they just said, well next week we are going to close the store! WOOHOO! I love this. Finally, Valeria received a lot of help from her sisters this week to be able to put a baptismal date. We had some super powerful lessons with her about repentance and the atonement that really strengthened every person in the lesson (I think especially Elder Penrod and I). It was a work filled week, and a hard one, but a rewarding one.
The zone had a great week as well. We had the opportunity to work with a district leader from Espartaco this week. I went with his companion named Elder Sanchez and it was super cool. He is newer to the mission, but is super excited to be here and get the work done as the Lord wants. Yesterday we had a special meeting where Elder Penrod and I trained all of the district leaders from the zone about how to give better district meetings to really make them an environment of learning through the spirit. We focused on the difference between teaching like a school teacher, and teaching like we should as missionaries, it was a spiritual experience for us, I am so glad that the Spirit directed us to do that, we didn’t know how it was going to turn out but it was definitely worth it.

Well that’s all from here this week,

Elder Stout