Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July 26 - Elder McClure!

Hey all!

Well the big news is that I got so blessed with my last companion! My new comp is Elder McClure from Denver Colorado. He has 3months less than me in the mission. But, the super cool thing is that when I was in the branch of Topilejo he was right next to me in the branch of Ajusco. We got to know each other really well talking about all of the trials of being in hard areas, and I always knew that he was going to be a zone leader, and every time there were changes, I was just waiting for him to be pulled up, and always hoping that wed get the opportunity to be comps. Well, last Monday when they read off our changes I got the very pleasant suprise of seeing my buddy Elder McClure´s name. Wow,what a blessing! I am so excited to be able to work with him my last few weeks in the mission!

well i am really sorry for a couple things; first of all because this is going to be a super short email because we just got a call that there is a problem in our zone that we have to go fix today; so happy pday!! aLso; this keyboard has like a broken shift key i think so sometiMes The capitaLs come through weird or the symbols so just live witH it!:)

this week was quite the week of runninG aroUNd; wE had a toN of succesS; we had a lot that we had to do for it being the first weeK of the chaNGes aND eVerythiNG buT we stIll were ablE to teacH (i think) the mOst lessONS that i have taught iN my entire missiON; every night we got back to the house; and we wOuld just be complEtely ExhAustED: but it feels rEaLlY good to be worKinG tHiS hard; i waNT tO fiNisH my missiOn wOrkING super suPER HaRD, aND This weeK was a REaLly good sTArt to it!

WELL I HAVE tO rUN! MaN, THIS KEYboard is reAlly bothering me! BuT tHAnks for everything thaT you guys do for me!

Elder STout

July 18 - See ya later Elder Crandall

Hey all!

So first of all the scripture of the week is found in Revlation 3:11 and says,
´´Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, 
that no man take thy crown.´´

Today is the farewell of Elder Crandall. I can´t believe how fast it came! Especially these last few weeks have been just an absolute blur! Wow, he is such a great missionary, I was so happy to be with him his last 12 weeks because I learned so much of how a missionary should finish their mission. He finished sprinting through the finish line!

As I said this week was honestly just a blur, and even more because it was only 6 days! I will get my new companion today in the afternoon, and I am excited to meet him and see who will be...the last! Please be praying for him this week because he is going to need to learn the area super fast! He is only going ot have 4.5 weeks so we will see how it will go!

The big updates on our investigators is that they are all hitting walls of trial right now! We have like 6 really really good investigators right now. Valeria is still progressing well towards her baptismal date, but she is struggling to just but behind her some bad habits, and its really hard to see her use her agency in this way, but I have a lot of hope that she will be ready by her date! Jorge and Jose Alfredo pretty much have the same problem! They are both progressing like super super good, but neither one of them feels quite ready for baptism yet, they both feel like they need to know more. This is one of the hardest things that I have found on my mission. I know that this is an important, even life changing desicion, but I just dont understand how anyone can procrastinate it! I feel like it has so much to do with Boyd K. Packer´s famous quote on how understanding the doctrine can change our behavior, because I feel like if I were to understand baptism truly (and I weren´t a member) I would want to do it the frist chance that I could because it just raises us up to a new level of spiritual progression. We dont have to be perfect, and we dont have to know everything. We just have to be repentant and willing to try our best afterwards. It is all so much easier after, especially on a standpoint of being perfect and knowing a lot. Then, Ema, Cristian and Ruperto are all having the opposite problem, they love the gospel, they want to be baptized so bad but everytime that Sunday rolls around their seats are empty. Every week when we talk to them, they say I will be there next week for sure, and then they aren´t! Another frustrating thing about agency! But, I know they will come around as well.
The pictures are: Cristian cut my hair and put so much gel in it that I looked like a hen! But after a shower it came down. Pictures with Ema Cristian and all of their extended family who have all started to listen to us! A picture of like half our zone. And 2 of the 11 free tacos that some random nice stranger bought us in the street! (they were so good!!)

Paz, amor, y tranquilidad desde Valle de Luces,

Elder Stout

July 12 - Easy come, Easy go

Hey all!

Well, the first big news is that we had special changes twice since I last wrote you! We started training ELder Gamiño on Wednesday, and it was awesome! But, he was a temporary missionary while he waited for his visa to go serve his mission in Brazil and it got here on Friday so yesterday we dropped him off with President to go down to his mission, but it was fun training for those 4 days haha.

So to keep the scriptures going, this week we take a look into the bible in 2 John 1:12 

Having many things to write unto you, I would not write 
with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speakface to face, that our joy may be full.

I hopethat you are enjoying this new chain of scriptures!

As the scripture says, well not a lot happened this week actually so this will be a short email. I felt like this was liek the fastest week of my entire mission, so that was pretty scary!

I am super sad that Elder Gamiño is gone! we got along super well, we have a lot of the same likes, and it was just really fun being in a trio with him! The work has gotten a little bit harder because we are in charge of the entire ward now, and President made it sound like its pretty unlikely that new missionaries come in next week in the changes so we will see how it goes! But, we have two new super good investigators from their side! We have started teaching Jose Alfredo who is 14 years old and his older brother was a less active member, we havent been with him much, so I will give more updates in the coming weeks! Also, we started teaching Ruperto who is one of the elect if I have ever seen one. He has told us since the first lesson that he knows that the Book Of Mormon is true, and that he wants to be baptized, it honestly almost seems too good to be true!

Last week we did intercambios with Estrella and Elder Gamiño and I worked with Elder Bojorquez, it was fun being with him again and seeing how much he has been progressing recently! He is doing awesome right now! I am starting to get ready for changes, this will be a crazy week getting to know the new area and then with Elder Crandall going home next week! So next week I will have a new companion, be starting my 6th change in Churubusco, and my pday willl be Monday! Have an amazing week!

Elder Stout

July 5 - Happy July

Hey all!!

Well, I am going to try to make this fast because we have a crazy half p day today because of...well this is my first announcemtne, tomorrow we are going to have special changes and...I am going to be training!!!:) Haha I am still going to be here with Elder Crandall and everything but Elder Da Silva from the other side of the ward has finished his mission, and they are sending his companion, Elder Gamiño to finish his training with us so we will be in a trio for these next two weeks, i am super excited!!

The big thing from my last week were our interviews with President. It involved Eldre Crandall and I running around all day because we were in charge of the interviews from the whole zone and we just had a lot of chores we had to do the whole day. But, I was the last interview and it was all worth it for what President said to me! We had a super spiritual interview about what the Lord wants of me these last 6 weeks. I have never felt an approval stronger from the Spirit than when President said, ´´Elder Stout, if you just keep doing exactly what you are doing, you will be able to walk onto the plane and feel the approval of our Lord Jesus Christ because you have faithfully and dutifully served Him. If this were the mile, now would be the time to kick, run hard through the tape, don´t stop for a second and that´s what He needs of you, but thank you for all that you have done, you just need to finish what you have started.´´ i am so ready to do just that these last few weeks.
We had a cool experience of finding a family on Saturday! The jimenez family. We have been buckling down and trying to look for all o fthe less active members of our ward, and they were one of the families that we had on our list. We had to be a little persuasive to get in, but they finally let us in! Then, we applied what President has taught us of putting outsleves in their shoes, we really tried to imagine what it would be like to have missionaries visiting them after so much time, and we just tried to be their friends and let them feel our love. I dont know why I wanted to talk about htem, but I was just really excited by al lof that!

Ema and Cristian and Jorge all came to church this week (Valeria too) and they are all progressing really well towards baptismal dates and are also introducing us to the entire world!

Yesterday our 4th of July was pretty calm! After our leadership council in the morning, President and Sister Mecham invited us to a bbq which was cool! Then Elder Crandall and I found rootbeer so that made our day! Also we found nervios that day too and so I included a picture of me with our friendly neighborhood crazy hermit.

As I promised the scripture of the week is from D&C 50:45-46 to start off my new chain!

And the day cometh that you shall hear my voice and see me, and know that I am. Watch, therefore, that ye may be  ready. Even so. Amen

Lov you all, Elder Stout

June 28 - I am John F. Kennedy and people want my autograph

Hey all!!

So first of all I was thinking a lot about what I could title my email today and I finally got it. It doesn`t have much to do about the things that happened this week but I thought it was funny. So first of all, there is a crazy old guy in our area who is super famous because he honestly seems like a zombie. He had some drug addiction problems in his youth and completely fried his brain and now he just walks around mumbling and chasing people and yelling swear words at them. Haha, and well he likes to give people names, the name that he has chosen for me is John F. Kennedy, and everytime we see him he yells ``I will learn English to talk to you John F. Kennedy because in my past life I killed you!`` Haha he`s just a harmless old guy, but its funny! Then, this week Elder Crandall and I were just walking through the apartment buildings in our area, and all these little kids started yelling, "gueritos!" which is the equivalant f white boys and pretty much everyone yells us that here. But, when we passed by them they came running up to us and stopped us, and said "Can we please have your autograph, so we got to give them all our autograph and they ran away super excited. That was a cool moment of the mission.
So the coolest thing from last week was with the Paniagua family (yes their name means bread and water). The hermano is our ward mission leader and a recent convert of like a year and a half, and they went and got sealed int he temple this last week and then on Saturday evening, he got to baptize his grandson, Yamil! We have had a long battle there, because Hermano Paniagua`s daughter wants nothing to do with the church and has not wanted to give him permission to be baptized, but she finally gave it to him after much prayers on our part and the part of that family, what a miracle that shows how the Lord can truly soften hearts.

Next on the list, after a tough week last week with finding new investigators, we really got it moving again. Some of the tender mercies that we saw this week: 1 we are teaching Tomy`s niece and her husband right now and the third time that we went there, we asked them, do you have any questions for us? Cristian and Ema looked at each other, and then Cristian said, "What do we have to do to be baptized?" wow, thats a really cool question! 2 we are right now visiting a recovering drug addict named Johnathon and as we taught him the Gospel of Jeus Christ, even before we extended the invitation, he said, "I think I would like to be baptized in one month, how does that sound to you guys?" President has told us so many times, when the people that we teach truly understand the magnitude of the doctrine that we teach, they wont be able to wait, how true it is! Our message is true and is changing lives. 3 We recieved a reference where a sister chased us down on the street and told us, I am from another ward but I want you to teach my friend who lives here. We obviously consented with much enthusiasm! Her name is Sandra, and she was pretty hesistant the first time that we met her in her doorstep, but by the end of the first visit she was anxious to learn more of the restored gospel. I loved seeing how much the spirit worked on these people that we are teaching! He is the real teacher, not us! then number 4 isn`t with a newer investigator, but on Sunday our bishop called me out of the Gospel Principles class and he told me, Elder Stout you have to come and see this, so I went with him to his office and he showed me on his whiteboard that it was written "Valeria, 6 of August, 6 pm" and he told me that Valeria Ortiz Muñoz who we dropped a little bit ago because she seemed to have lost intest in the things came and talekd with him and set her own baptismal date. What a blessing this week was, the Lord is always behind us, it is just learning how to be patient!
I hope you all recognize His hand in your week as well,

Elder Stout

June 21 - To the Rescue

Hey all so this is going to be a little bit of a shorter email because I have been trying to get some more stuff organized for classes, and its pretty frustrating! Haha but its all good!

We had a great week this last week. But one of the things that we are really struggling with is finding the Lord´s elect. We have been blessed with the success of quite a few baptisms in this area, but the more we baptize it just seems like the less people that we have in our teaching pool. We are finding a lot of people, but they just aren´t the elect that we are looking for, they aren´t the people that the lord has been preparing, so that has been a little tough on us. We had to make th etough desicion this last week to stop visiting the hermana Dulce for a while because she just hasn´t been putting forth her part to come to church. I know the Lord has a lot o fpeople prpared for us, and that I just need to be more patient and they will come, so I am just going to keep on working hard in that!

Today we had a zone training in the morning, and Elder Crandall and I had the opportunity to share with everyone what I wrote last week about searching out those who have lost their way and helping them come back. We actually planned out three different zone trainings and we did not know at all what we were going to teach until we got up there. Then it came to us! We talked to everyone about how we are representatives of Jesus Christ and how he always goes after the lost sheep, he goes and rescues them. We challenged the zone to find even more less actives and help them to come back to the fold of our Savior. It turned out great, I am so happy for the Spirit that guides us as we teach.

Well, that was the rundown of the week, I hope that you all have a great one. With much love,

Elder Stout

June 14 - Enduring to the End

Hey all!!

Well I was super excited to see all of the aweseom photos from the last week, especially seeing that Sam is finally done with high school!!! WOOOOHOOOO Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tats so awesome bud!!

So this week the big event was Tomy´s baptism! I was so excited for her, it was such an incredible day! She has been waiting a long time and been ready for a long time ot be able to be baptized but it has just been moved around for various things, but finally this last Saturday it was her day! It was a very spiritual service. America who gave us the reference in the beginning gave an incredible talk where she just shared her feelings with Tomy. It was one of the most heartfelt talks that I have ever heard. After the baptismal ordinance the hermana Tomi shared her feelings with everyone and it was super spiritual, she just talked to us about how clean she felt and her emotions really took over, but the spirit was felt in the entire room.

This week we had some pretty cool oportunities to hear some trainings from President Mecham. He really focused in on two things. One was the importantce of strengthening the church area where we serve. He said we do this by baptizing converted people and by helping bring back the lost sheep that have fallen away from the path. Then, he talked about how to finish our missions!:) Haha in these next two changes President will lose what he calls the nucleus of the mission. He will lose 10 Zone Leaders and 2 Assistents. But, he said all that we have done in our entire missions means nothing now in a certain frame of mind. He said: If you play hard for 50 minutes in the Super Bowl and then decide to sit out the last 10 minutes you will be remembered forever as a failure and the same goes in the mission. He said that in our mission, missionaries DO NOT die! I have included as my scripture of the week as 2 Nephi 31:15-16 along with my promise that I will not be dying. I have spent 22 months preparing to be this missionary that I am now. As I now understand even so much better how to do the Lords work, He needs all I have, and he will get it these last 2 months. I am going to be leaving it all out here, and am going to finish with the sure confidence that there was nothing else I could have given in Mexico!!  

15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, thewords of my Beloved are true and faithful. He thatendureth to the end, the same shall be saved.
 16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following theexample of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.

The last cool thing of the week was Sunday. First of all, our bishop gave an incredible talk on Sunday about going to the rescue of the less actives in our ward. He talked about how every member of the church joined the church at some point because someone; members, family, bishops, or missionaries; prayed over them and then they became a member. Every person has a story behind them, and we need to go and save these people. It was super cool combined with what President had taught us and I am going to give an even greater effort to find and activate these people!

Well, thats all from CDMX! Have a great first week of Summer up there! I love you all!

Elder Stout

Jun 6 - The week of Paco

Hey everyone,

Well the first big news is that I will be staying here in Churubusco one more change with Elder Crandall, I am so excited. This will now be my 5th change here but it will be such a cool opportunity. Usually after 4 changes I have wanted to leave from an area but I am so pumped to be staying here, in this ward, in this area and in this zone! I will also be ´´killing´´ Elder Crandall because I will be his last comp so thatll be pretty fun!

So this week, pretty much everything had to do with Paco! So, Tomi didnt get baptized on Saturday because she left town for a family emergency but all is well and she will be baptized when she gets back! But, this Friday we got to accompany Paco and Mari and their family out to the Estado de Mexico so that they could get married. It was a really cool experience to see that after 5 years they made this desicion. Pretty much everything went wrong in the process but the only important thing is that after all was said and done, they got married, phew! We also got to experience Uber for the first time which is pretty cool! After the marriage we all celebrated with a super fancy pizza lunch from Lil Ceasers haha they are the best family ever, I love them so much and it was so much fun to spend the day with them!

Then Saturday was the big day! Paco asked me to baptize him which was a huge honor. It was really nice baptizing a man because I got to give him a big hug in the font when he came up, and it was amzing even though the water was ice cold. His wife Mari and his daughter Azul gave amazing talks. Azul got up there and just expressed her feeling on the Holy Ghost but nothing will stick with me as when she said ´´Today is a special day because my dad is getting baptized. Today our forever family starts.´´ She had the whole room in tears! After the baptism Elder Crandall and I gave them a picture of the temple and made the goal with them that we would all be back here together in one year for when they enter the temploe to be sealed. It was an incredible expereience that we all lived together, what a huge change that has come over this family. There truly is hope for everyone, Mary stopped coming to church for years because she felt like no one supported her because her family is inactive and her husband wasnt a member. 4 months after we talked to them for the first time in the street they are active, everyone in the family is members of the church and they are going to be sealed in the temple in one year!:) I love missionary work!
Well thats all from CDMX this week! Cant wait for another change in Churubusco!

Con amor,

Elder Stout

May 31 - I am NOT dying

Hey all,

So first of all, I am not dying, contrary to popular belief! I have been visiting a doctor this week, and I am going to survive! To make a long story short, sorry for including too much info in the last email that might have worried some people, I was just kind of freaked out too, but honestly I am happy and healthy! I just think my body is about done with Mexican food! But it can last three more months! I will keep you updated if there is anything else we find out, but if not! Dont worry about me!

This last week was occupied pretty much all by running around the city on different assignements and companin exchanges and things like that, so its really hard to remember it all! But I dont think we had one normal day to just work in the area!

One thing I do remember is we had the pportunity to do companion exchanges with the elders in Estrella who are on fire right now! They are awesome, two super funny guys, and some of the most motivated missionaries in the mission. They are honestrly the talk of the mission right now. I got to go work in Estrella with Elder Rivera and we had an awesome day, a long and hot day, but awesome!

Our investigators are going great! This week Tomi and Paco have their baptismal dates, so please pray that everything can go well with them. We are going to get to go with Paco when they get married which will be so exciting! Tomi has also been introducing us to all of her friends and we have found a bunch of good investigators from her, we are just hoping they can all come feel the spirit in her baptismal service this Saturday.

Speaking of that, Elder Crandall and I did a special zone training on Saturday, focusing on helping the zone to prepare our baptismal services better so that it is truly a memorabl spiritual experience for everyone who goes. It was a really cool training! Afterwards we had the idea to do an area attack, so we split everyone up in groups and we all went to one part of teh zone to just contact everyone that we can, and it was super successful! I got to be with Elder Jarrett adn it was inspirational to talk with him, he is going to be such a great leader someday, I really look up to him!

Well thats all from Churubusco, with the reminder that for changes next week will be a Monday Pday!! Love yall!!

Elder Stout