Monday, September 20, 2010

Sept 20th 2010

That`s super exciting about the book! Congratulations Dad! Family reunion? Without squirt guns? I thought Utah had everything at every second if it had something to do with families. Hahaha, I`m sure Merlin loves that combo. Elder Rojas haaaaaaaates peanut butter, and every time I eat a sandwich or something he wants to through a bunch of guacamole on it...OH! I sent that email again, it said it was still a draft, so we`ll see if it works better this time. The other one in that picture is Elder Barnes, one of our Zone Leaders here. I`m going to be travelling with him and the other leaders in Uruapan to Guadalajara for the week, where we will be recieving MORE TRAINING YAAAAA! WOOOOOOH! Yep, another week where I will be seperated by half a country from my investigators...speaking of which, I`m still in Uruapan! Apparently their still looking for the house, and said I might be here another 3-4 weeks. Also that I`ll be going to Guadalajara probably, next to a really big lake.
If a zone got closed down in Guadalajara well...usually that means not good stuff happened there, but I`m going to hope we just didn`t have enough missionaries to cover it all. It`ll be a huge change of pace from quite little Uruapan. Guadalajara is one of the biggest cities in the world. They have gas stations. Do you know how huge that is? There`s maybe 3-4 gas stations in this entire city. camera doesn`t like this computer or something, I`m going to try and send some photos, but we`ll see. Mostly because, we had another baptism yesterday! Wooooooh! Eraclio, we contacted him in the street a couple of months ago, and told us he leaves in a place that is really far away and we never go there, but one day we went by, and he was there. We started to teach him, and everything was going well. Eventually we found out that he goes to another church, Spiritual Doctrine or something like that. It`s a locally made church in his neighborhood has some weird ideas. The problem was that he always visited the other church after our meetings, and didn`t want to give it up. We started talking to him about the First Vision and Joseph Smith, and he says, I believe Jesus Christ restored a branch of his truth through Joseph. We started to try and explain everything in the world to him, but it didn`t matter. We told him to pray, and the next day brought over the DVD of the Joseph Smith movie. We watched it, he prayed, and the next day felt like he received an answer that the church was truly restored through Joseph Smith. It was such an amazing shock to us. He was pretty deep into this other church, and he just straight up told us, it`s true. Thanks God! Honestly, people do NOT change like this! I am so amazingly humbeled to be able to see God working such miracles among his children. I know that God loves each and every one of us. He knows us individually, and desires the salvation of us all.
I have been thinking a lot about that. Every single person we see is a son or daughter of God. He worries for them. He wants them to be happy. He loves them just as he loves them. It is something that has really changed how I view this work. We`re not here just to help people be happy, to feel closer to God, whatever. We are here to invite this precious souls, brothers and sisters, to come unto Christ. To know their true father in heaven who is desperate to reach out to them, according to their faith. It is something amazing to think about walking down the street.
Things are going well though, I finished my food that I bought a while ago, so it`s time for another trip to WAL MART. Which apparently doesn`t exist in Peru, according to Elder Briceño. By the way, when I get to Guadalajara, I will probably be training again...wooooooh. Three children in 5 months is not natural! Oh well. We push on and do what we need to do in our lives.
Sounds like Elder Peacock is doing awesome, and future Elder Newell 2! CONGRATULATIONS! I hope he can really study like crazy this next bit that he has. I wish frequently that I studied more effectively in my time I had at home. Not just the scriptures, but also Preach My Gospel.
I hope all the siblings are doing good, I haven`t heard from any for a while. Effie every now and then, thanks Euf. Em? Than? Ben? How are you doing all? How`s Thor coming along? I dreamed you entered into a competition for best new combat system and you were pretty confident you would win. What? I`m still a Newell.
Anyways, that`s all I got this week family. I know this church is true. I know God lives. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, a tool in his hands, and that God truly does loves us.

Sept 13th 2010


Cooler? No. More hot if anything. I`m jealous. Thanks for the pictures Mom! It`s always good to see the family, even if it`s just simple pictures. You can learn a lot from a picture. Like how Rowan has apparently turned Mexican. That is what all the woman do down here for some reason. Everyone dyes their hair red. Nobody knows why.

Sounds like everyone had a relitavely calm week, which is good. Everybody needs those kinds of weeks. Mom you have always been so awesome at telling stories. You seem to just have a natural gift with talking with people and spinning a tale. I have no doubt those kids were enthralled.

Merl will survive...probably. Sleeping alone won`t kill him at least. Sounds like everyone`s pets are kicking the bucket unfortunately.

Well, this week was interesting. I got a call on Saturday from the Zone Leaders saying I have transfers! Yep, I`m going to go to the state of Guanajuato, the most catholic, party time state there is in Mexico, and Im going to open up a new area. *tear*. There just looking for the house right now, as soon as they find one, I`m out of Uruapan for good. Maybe. This Sunday Bishop Martinez (Phew, four capitols in a row), asked me to say goodbye in the sacrament service. All day during church people were coming up to me, don`t go Elder Newell! Others gave me their email and everything, and all in all it was a fairly sad experience, but good to be moving on. I got a call from the Zone Leaders yesterday at 11 at night saying, Packed your bags? No. Well, go pack them, your leaving at 5 in the morning. I heard some shouts in the background, and he said laughingly, no no, don`t worry you still have some time. Apparently they were going to not tell me until 5 in the morning that it was a joke. HAH. BUT! I do have probably at least another Sunday is going to be awkward. Hi everyone! Remember how I said I was leaving and everything? Surprise!

But oh well, life goes on. We have something that Dad would love down here. It`s called, caldo de pollo, or chicken soup. But not just chicken soup! This soup is: 1. Water 2. A carrot 3. A squash 4. Chicken leg. Yep. Delicious. We had the most watery version this week and I remembered Dad.

We had a family home evening with a family here, and the Dad started it out with, well, welcome to the family home evening and....we`re going to see what happens. I thought, huh, that sounds like something that would happen in my family...

We had a Noche Mexicana this week in the stake. This week Mexico celebrates 200 years of independence and 100 years of something else. I sported a super stylish sombrero, and tried to imitate having a moustache for a bit. While we were there, I saw my first baptism from Morelia! She moved over here in another ward, but is still active in the church. We talked for a little, and she didn`t believe that I remembered her, but I DID! I was so happy to see her, it was amazing. To see that someone was still active, despite all her challenges, I was filled with joy and the Holy Ghost. I felt like, in part, Ammon when he found his brothers and Alma after their missions, and fainted from the happiness that he felt. Honestly, this work is so much MORE than just faith in God! It is the portal to everlasting life! The waters of life that will never leave us thirsty! I have felt the amazing mercy of God and the Atonement in my life more strongly than I have ever felt them in my life in my mission, and it is my everlasting pride and joy to be able to invite others to come unto Christ in this same way!

I`ve been thinking a lot. I have 8 months in the mission today, I can`t say I`m new anymore. This time goes by so fast. To see the changes I have seen in myself these last 8 fast it all went by, everything that has has truly been a miracle. All of it.

Well, speaking of miracles, I`ll try and finish, THE MARRIAGE!!!!!!

So, we got to the capilla, and President was there and everything. We decided to call the judge again to see if there was ANYTHING we could do. We called and he said he might be able to get the birth cirtificate online through their system if he had the information, so we passed it all along and waited. About 20 minutes later we got a call, They can get married, YA! We waited 20 more minutes for him to finish his papers, and got another call. They can`t get married, NO! What happened!? Apparently the government worker filled out the papers wrong for something, instead of putting Maria Jesus, he put the more common Maria de Jesus, and with that they can`t get married until it was fixed. Elder Rojas stayed on the phone trying to find something that we could do, and the judge said, OK, well I can marry them, but this needs to get fixed first thing on Monday. If someone else gets married that day before you fix it, the marriage is invalid. YAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!! After a couple more hours of waiting, stress, and prayer, the judge arrived, performed the cerimony, and directly afterwards the kids were married and baptized. The next Monday we went to get everthing fixed up and they are now legally married. At the end, we could breath again after about 3 days of pure suspense. We were happy to have it done.

And so, basically, that`s the story of Maria and Mauricio. I have it a little more detailed in my journal at home, but I think that will have to suffice for now. I hope you all have an excellent week, maybe I`ll be writing you from Guanajuato next week. Talk to you all in a couple months! Thank you all so much for your love and support, maybe I don`t get to it, or remember very good, but know that I love you all and hope that everything goes well!


Elder Joseph Neil Newell

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6th, 2010

HAHAHA, OK, I get it, thanks Mom and Dad. Just for good measure, I never missed a meal, you don´t have to worry about that ever. Even if we don´t have food in the house, Mexican people are so generous with what they have it´s ridiculous. If we really needed to, we could go knocking doors and we would find food in like 5 minutes. BUT DONT WORRY THAT WILL NEVER HAVE TO HAPPEN.

AH! I just noticed this computer is really bad, and doesn´t let me upload photos...I´ll try and slip them in today, but if not, expect a LOT next week!
Hah, sounds like everyone is doing really well back home. Socializing, graudating, campaigning, truthinesizing, everything sounds like it´s good. I´m super jealous of those pictures of the back yard. Grass doesn´t really exist here, and it is raining like crazy.

This week has been awesome. We had 3, count ´em, three baptisms. The mom of those kids that got married (sorry, I forgot the next part of the story last week, ahorita viene), and Rogelio and his nephew Jorge.

I don´t know if I´ve mentioned Rogelio and Jorge or not...we found them knocking doors, and started talking to Rogelio that explained he had had a lot of problems with drugs and everything, and that he is searching God. Later his nephew came into the lesson, but sat a far ways away. At the end of the lesson he came a little closer. The next lesson we gave them each a copy of the Book of Mormon, and Jorge stole it out of my hands, and imediately started reading it. After that, Jorge always had questions of what he had read of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We found out about a week ago that before that, he had never read the scriptures. We were absolutely dumbfounded, this kid was pulling stuff that we hadn´t even heard of! In his baptismal interview he taught about idolatry to Elder Barnes, and he requested the scriptures he used in the Bible so he could teach others. We had a scary moment with them though, when Jorge told us he talked with his mom, but she said he couldn´t get baptized. We said we would talk with her and help her see that this is a good thing, not bad, that we don´t sacrifice goats, etc. We came by the next day, and she was very kind with us and gave permission rather freely. This last fast and testimony meeting, Jorge got up to give his testimony, this guy has 16 years and is super nervous, and stood up in front of everyone, and said, "I know this church is true. After my mom told me no, I told God, Lord, if this is thine true church, let me be baptized. And it happened." Afterwards, Rogelio gave his testimony, and it was so super special. Rogelio brought his family that I talked about, and they looooved the church and his baptism. We think they will get baptized this next sunday. If that happens, we will have 4 more baptisms this next sunday!

The Lord is blessing us so amazingly. Truly, this is his work, the gospel that Jesus Christ himself has placed in the Earth. I am so privileged to be here in Uruapan and see miracles happen.

Oh! I have another kid! Elder Briceño, an Elder from Peru is now with me and Elder Rojas. So now I have two sons in the mission. That is what it is called when a new missionary arrives, kid and dad. The leaders told me that in 5 weeks I´m going to leave to open up a new Uruapan. I´m also going to be training an American. So if that happens, I will probably have something like a year here in Uruapan, and have 3 kids. Yikes. But at this point in the transfer it is nothing more than rumors.

Alright, so, part 2 of THE MARRIAGE!!!!!
So, Mauricio arrived to the presidencia, and we got their papers all ready. The next day, we went to their house to get the papers they needed and deliver them to the judge. They went into their house, and came out about 5 minutes later...emptyhanded. Apparently the papers had been left in the presidencia, BUT IT DOESN¨T OPEN ON SATURDAYS!!!!! They just had the birth certificate of Mauricio, and some other miscellanious papers. All the day we were calling the Judge´s secretary, the Judge, the hermano that has these connections, trying to work something out while praying our hearts out and serarching the home of this couple. It got to be at about 5, and we couldn´t do anything more, since the judge never answered our calls. The baptisms were at 7, but we needed to be there at 6:30, and start traveling at 6. We said, well, you´re going to go to the capilla, the Lord can still work a miracle. Have faith, everything will work out, we have seen too many miracles to say that this is NOT the will of the Lord that you are not married today! We then left to bring some investigators to the baptisms. We arrived and...and...AAAAND! YOULL HAVE TO FIND OUT NEXT WEEK!
Yep, time´s up, but know that I love you all, I miss you, and I will see you in a year and 4 months! BYYYYEEEE!!!!!

Elder Joseph Neil Newell