Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30th 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!

WOOOOOOOW! I honestly can`t believe it. Sounds like the wedding was AMAZING! A truly paradisacal show of love and unity! We`re honestly so lucky in the U.S. We have so much more than we think we do.
I`m honestly at a loss of words. I just expect an EXACT replica of everything that happened when I get back. Hahaha, no, just kidding, but honestly super congratulations Than and Chi. I know I`ve been saying that in almost every mail since Christmas, but it`s true, CONGRATULATIONS! I cannot think of anything more appropriate to say than I`m so happy for you, and hope and pray the best for you. We even had a mini-party here for you guys on Thursday in the District.

Down here in Mexico, things are going fantastically. Javier`s baptism fell through because he smoked. He had been outside of the house all week long and didn`t go to church. We were super worried. We went by Sunday afternoon to check up on him, and he said that he really doesn`t have a problem dropping cigarretes, just that he felt like getting baptized again would be an offense against God. So we started to explain the Restoration again, Joseph Smith, the Priesthood, etc. He commited to praying to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet once more.
We`re kind of passing all of our investigators through lots of filters right now. Nobody has come to church almost since I`ve been here, and we are really desirous to find those that are honestly searching for the Gospel, even if they don`t know it, in their lives.

But this week has kind of brought lots of revelations to my mind. I renewed my determination to be more like my great example in the mission, Elder Peacock, and become even MORE focused on others and forget myself. I`m starting to see the work so differently. I honestly really love being here. These people are so hungry and thirsty for peace and aid in this hard time. They need support and know not where to find it. I`m beginning to realize so much more of what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ hope of me while I am here. I start to feel bad sometimes thinking about how I should have known all this before the mission. Be prepared before leaving to Mexico. Then I remember, we are ALWAYS going to be growing and changing and bettering ourselves. Even the prophet isn`t Jesus Christ. He especialy is learning in his calling. And I remember the parable in Jacob 5 and remember how hard the Lord works to nourish his trees so that they give fruit. I realized I`m that one that was behind all the rest that didn`t grow very much, but the Lord of the vineyard just kept working, and working, and working, and eventually, hey, it started to work! It made me really reflect on what is true hope. Life is such an amazing thing.
But now I`m really off track. I`m super happy that everyone is doing amazingly! I`m honestly hoping to see that movie they showed before the wedding. I finally could send the letters last week, so they might get there mid-june. I finished my collection of Thor mini-toys they are selling here in Mexico. They`re four different plastic doohickies that revolve around the hammer principally. Anyways, I`ll send picks next week, don`t have my camera on me right now, my bad.

We`re doing excellently out here and always have smiles on our faces!
Love you all so much!

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

Elder Newell

May 23rd 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
OH MY GOODNESS CONGRATULATIONS THAN AND CHI EEEEEEE!!!!!!! Sombreros and tacos are flying in the air here to congratulate you! Sounds like everyone is working super hard! Hope everything goes well and that there aren`t too many bombs that go off! If just getting a baptismal service organized and going, I cannot believe how hard a full wedding has to be.
I`m so jealous of our garden. There just isn`t much vegetation here and to see a real garden always makes me look like a deer ijn the headlights. I just have no idea what to do when I see one. I can`t imagine it when I get home!
This week was ana amazing week for us too. We had about 3-4 days to work in our area thanks to various conferences in everything, and when we got back into our area we worked as hard as we could, using all we could, and completed with almost all of our goals! We also saw a huge miracle with Javier Urbano. We found Javier several weeks ago, he had attended church several times since then, but never watned to really committ himself. He attended 2 churches at the same time. We told him that he needed to pray to know if he should be baptized. We went back on Friday, and he said, "I did what you said, and opened the book (the Book of Mormon), and God told me that I need to be baptized. So this Sunday right, just get it done with(I`m not sure that`s the right translation for the spanish phrase, but it`s all I can think of)?" I was stunned! It took me a couple of seconds to gather my senses and asked him about his experience. He said he focused really hard, then prayed and asked God if what we were teaching was true. He opened the Book and he said he recieved his answer. We told him he would have to stop smoking and drinking coffee and he said, I promise you that this is the last day in my life I will smoke or drink coffee! So he will be baptized next Friday.
Well, don`t have much time this week because of technical difficulties, but I wish everyone the best, and wish I could be there! It must be amazing to see the Newell clan draw together for such a special occasion!
Love you all,
Elder Newell

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16th 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MOM! IM SUCH AN AWFUL SON! I can`t BELIEVE I forgot to say that in the call! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

WOOOOOOH ANDREA! And Team Newell! Pretty sure that will be Marvel`s next movie. Team Newell and the Halloween party of DOOOOOOM!

Actually, nobody does anything at all here for cinco de mayo. I even checked with other missionaries this time around, and nothing. It is like it doesn`t even exist. People usually remember it, but they don`t celebrate it in any form. Anti-climactic, I know.

Well, the big news here is that, CONCEPCION GOT BAPTIZED ALONG WITH HER TWO GRANDCHILDREN! They`re so amazing, and their baptism had no opposition from their part. Concepcion is amazing. She told us the day of her baptism she wants to be forgiven of many things she`s done. We were stunned! We asked, What could you possibly have done that is so bad? I don`t know if I mentioned this before, but her daughter was killed by the husband in a murder-suicide in front of Concepcion and the children of her daughter. She said she was horribly angry with the "muchachita" (I am pretty sure it was a side-affair on part of the husband) for so much of her life. She said she couldn`t even see her. She felt bad for these feeligns she had had, and wanted to be forgiven of them now that she has learned how to control them and feel a sincere desire for the welfare of this woman. Her faith really inspires me. I don`t know if I would be able to recognize those thoughts are wrong. I would probably continue in my grudge all my life. I hope I never have to find out.

Alexis, one of the children of her daughter that was baptized, will be the ward`s only deacon in two months when he turns 12, and will serve as the deacon`s quorum president! They are all so ready to serve, and desire to truly follow Christ. I love them so much.

The work is going great here as well, and we are working forward with more excitement and love for the peple than ever! I love this place, these people, and this incredible time I have to serve as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Well, my times getting short, but know that I love you all, I`m praying for you, and continually desire your well being.

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

Elder Newell

PS: Thanks for money parents, I bought some new shoes for sundays/conferences, and lots of medicine for sicknesses I am now getting over.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May 2nd 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
OK! First thing first! The call will be on SATURDAY at 5 PM. If there are any news flashes or anything, we`ll find a way to let you all know.

Haha, sorry about last week, honestly. We were going to write, but the next day there was a conference in Zamora, and later something else came up, and it was just one thing after another.
Wow, I cannot believe it. What happened to my brother? First he started getting a fashion sense, then started working out, then getting married, and now skydiving? Sounds (and looks) like he had lots of fun. By the way! I got your invitation in the mail the other day! Thanks SO MUCH for sending me an invitation! Expect something in the mail in about...a month or so...sorry, them`s the breaks down here...

Mango is pretty good. There`s tons of it down here. It`s the candy that they give to their kids. Sounds like things are still going great for Andrea, congratulations!

Things are amazing here as well! I feel like I just left the MTC again, it`s like Mission part 2! We have a family of such amazing people make it to church the last couple of weeks. Concepcion. She is a grandmother with two little grandchildren, 10 and 9 years old. The mother of these kids was killed in a murder-suicide done by her husband. Concepcion really wants to see her daughter again, and has such a strong faith. She is so humble and is willing to do whatever the Lord commands her to do. She made it to church last time, walking. She lives about an hour away from the church at the speed of a missionary walk. For a grandma and two little ones, I imagine at least hour and a half. She made it both times by herself. We even went by to pick her up with a member this time, but the members needed lots of time to get ready and we arrived late. The daughter said, "She`s not here, she went on an errand!" I was crushed! "OH NO! I remember now, she left for church!" YES! She has a baptismal date with her grandchildren for the 13th of this month.

Also Rosa is progressing very well. We found her in the bus and she told us to go by her house rather quickly and left. We went by an found out she feels guilty in her life because her sons are in drug problems. We talked about how the Atonement makes up for everything, and explained that the Book of Mormon helps us to learn how He can heal all wounds, and make all things right. She loves the Book of Mormon. She can feel her faith growing. She said, I need to put the example for my sons so that they can find Christ!

I also got a call from Elder Rojas today, my companion from Uruapan! We talked about old times, and I figured out that Jorge is preparing to go on a mission! I`m so excited for him, because I was told that he went inactive for a bit, but Elder Rojas said that he heard a testimony of how the Book of Mormon changed their life, and he decided it could change his, and now wants to help others as well!

I love you all bunches, time is going by so fast! Can you all believe that Alex has almost 18 months? I`m going for 16...yikes this goes by really fast. Before you know it, we`ll be in the call of December, and then I`ll be home in two weeks! Seeing our calendar in the house is a daily reminder that I don`t have that much time left, and I need to always work harder and smarter, and with more faith!

I love this work, I love this church, I love my Savior and my God for having blessed me to come into the earth with this amazing family and have the incredible opportunity to not have to wait for some punk in a shirt and tie to find me to know the gospel!

I love you all so much, and hope that all stays well and on course for the two weddings!

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

April 18th 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
Excellent! Love how charitable you are Mom. How many other people would just throw the plants away, but instead you thought of others. That is something I really admire about you.
It`s kinda strange but also great seeing those engagement pictures of Than. They look so great together. I thought, wow, Than got pretty lucky, and then thought, I`m sure he would say the exact same thing. And that is why he has permission from little brother to get married, because he does feel like that.
Thyroid tests came back all normal, so nothing to worry about with that. Well, May is coming up. Which means, PHONE CALL NUMBER 3! Yep, it`s that time of the year again, and Skype has been approved once more. The call will be on Saturday, the 7th. Let me know what hour is best for you all, preferribly in the morning, but we can make any hour work.
Things have been going great for us here in La Piedad. I really do love this city and the ward. There is so much potential here it`s scary. We have a family ready to be baptized, but they had to go to Guadalajara to a hospital to take care of the diabetes of the grandfather. Diabetes is such a rampant problem here.
Not much happened in the week that I remember. It has been a long week of introspection for me. Meditating in who I am now, who I was arriving into the mission, and who I want to be. It`s quite an interesting exercise. I`ve realized there`s been a lot of change, but I want much more change! I love life. It`s full of so many opportunities, and chances to grow, and change and be better. This life truly is the time to prepare to meet God. We`ll all have to do it some day, the difference is in how prepared to do it we are.
Not much to write home about, but I`m happy all is well. I hope you all have a great week, and we will talk next Munday. I love you all,
¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

April 11th 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!

Happy birthday Aunt Lou Ann! Sounds like life is progressing amazingly over there. I`m so happy that there`s still snow. I hope there`s plenty in January. Can you believe that? 9 more months. And Alex only has 7. What?! We just started!
I actually was just barely able to take it out today, it was about 50 bucks. The results will be here at about 5, then I`ll send that to Sis. Jesperson, and she`ll send it to the doctor to get it taken care of. I think Mexican needles hurt more than good old fashioned American needles.
Geez, Japan got hit again? Some members have described a little about what`s going on in the world. I`m so happy I have the gospel in my life. This life would be very scary and horrible indeed without the guide of a loving Father in Heaven, and the promises of an eternal rest for all those who are faithful afterwards.
I actually don`t know how they will celebrate Semana Santa (muy bien madre!) this time around. Last year I really just remember a lot of reenactments of the cross. They get pretty real. Like, criminally real. We`ll see what happens this time around. I`m in an even smaller town, in the booneys, and there are two cathedrals in the same relative area. Should be fun.

This week went really well for us. We got to know the ward on Sunday. I love them all. Every single one is full of a life and energy so unique and strong that I have not seen for quite a long time. I truly do love this town. We also have two families looking to be baptized in these next couple of weeks. Martha and Concepcion. Martha is amazing, we discovered she only hasn`t joined the church because they live on a block where every single house is a super catholic in law. That makes it kind of hard. But she knows it`s true, and knows it will help her and her children have the life that God wants for them, we just have to keep strengthening her faith in Christ until she can make the firm decision.
Concepcion is actually the wife of the cousin of Enrique who has by now crossed the border. Her and her husband, Ignacio, listened to the missionaries years ago in Wisconsen, and were almost baptized. They told us they still want to be baptized, so we are just teaching them what they have forgotten over the years, and giving them time to get to know the ward a bit, and they`ll get baptized the 22nd.

I hope Than can keep up with Chi for the wedding preperations. I still can`t believe he`s getting married, hahahaha, good times. It still feels like yesterday he was heading out to California, and talked to me the night before while I played Deus Ex. I beat it the day afterwards, and I remember being so proud when he came back to be able to tell him I beat it and he hadn`t yet. Time goes by so quickly.

I hope all stays well this week, and that your joy and peace abound upon each one of you. You`re in my prayers, and in those of Elder Cervera as well. I love you all so much, and know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that he truly was called to restore His great church to the world so we find solace in times of hardship, and comfort and counsel when things are their bleakest, to be able to have a perfect hope that we might erupt forth in the resurrection in all brightness and glory.

I love you all,

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

Elder Newell

April 5th 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!

First off, let me say that I`m sorry for missing yesterday! We
had a zone wide activity, and I stayed behind with the Zone Leaders
for transportation to get back home. We all went looking for an
internet cafe but we looked for hours and didn`t find a one. We
humbly resigned to come today in the mornnig in our own areas. The
activity? We played soccer, I scored two goals thank you very much to
help win on team America, and later went to a Chinese Buffett.

Life here is great. Elder Cervera is a champ. We almost haven`t
even worked in our area though. With a day long capacitation in
Zamora, and two days of General Conference, and arriving late into the
week, we really didn`t get much done. However, we found someone
amazing, Enrique. This poor guy has a very sick wife, and he can`t
pay for the bills. He says he is going to go to the US to find work,
because he can`t provide for his family here.
He asked who should we blame for the earthquakes, sufferings,
etc. in the world. We explained that we dont blame anyone, but that
God has placed a prophet in our days to warn us and aid us to overcome
the challenges that we DO favce in this life, and invited him to see
these men speak in conference. His response was, I want to see the
prophet speak. However, we don`t know if he made it to church or not
because we were in Zamora with the rest of the zone. So that was fun.
Our area is called Cavadas by the way, in the town of La Piedad.
It`s such an amazing place. Rolling green fields on the outskirts of
town, very nice people, and their ready. This place is soooooo ready
for the gospel. I love this town so much.

Seeing that picture of the school dance reminded me of the
schools here. Imagine one of those houses in the background, with
another story on top, and surrounded by dirt and graffiti. That is
how the schools are here. Their almost all done by the state, and are
very poorly taken care of. I`ve realized that maybe I won`t change a
nation while I`m here, but I sure can at least help the people
discover the tools that their father in Heaven has given to them to be
able to change things. v I see so much hope here in Mexico. There are
many, many people that desire to be better, to leave behind the
foolish and frail things of the world, and find true comfort and
security in their savior, but they only do not know where to find it!
v

Yes Mom, I did take a picture, but it is almost all on video.
I`ll try and see if I can find a way to ship out a dvd home with a
collection of movies Ive taken here.

I love youall, I hope that all can accept Elder Peacocks
vexcellent invitation to pray, and discover. It is something that I
have been putting into practice a lot this week, and it has given me
much needed aid. I know this is true. There is not one fiber in my
being that can deny it. I have seen, felt, and experienced too much
to deny that there is a God, and that he loves us so very much. I
hvope one day to be able to portray a thousandth part of that love to
you all, but until then let me say that I truly do love you. It is a
love that has grown so much over the last year, and I hope to be able
to repay you all, at least in part, for the incredible, and powerful
effect you`ve all had in my life.

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

Elder Newell

Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28th 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!

Thanks! I didn`t even remember until my companion told me in the week. Hahaha, thanks so much Mom for the birthday celebration, but it`s going to have to wait until tomorrow I`m afraid. I actually had changes! Only 6 weeks in one area, it`s a record for my mission! I`m now in the area of Cadabas (?). What`s happening is that I have not gotten there yet. It`s about an hour outside of the city of Zamora in a town called Patria, so I`m with the Zone Leaders in Zamora until my companion gets in from Guadalajara so we can go explore our new area. Yep, my comp is coming in from Guadalajara because we are opening up a new area. Kind of. This area had sister missionaries, and now they are putting myself and someone else in there to work. So we will be getting everything started practically from scratch.

This last week we baptized a lady by the name of Ernestina! We contacted her husband about 4 weeks ago, and they are such an amazing middle aged couple. They made their own beautiful house, her husband Arturo makes modifications to their pickup to make it practically into a van, and they just are always happy and taking care of their grandkids. We planned their baptism for this week, and the both of them could have done it, but Arturo will have to wait a bit. However Ernestina decided she wanted to go on ahead! We had a spiritual service where I performed the ordinance. She said that she felt someting very special. Like when she prayed and recieved an answer that the Book of Mormon is true. The great thing is that the Relief Society has really taken her into the organization very well, and all are very happy it seems like.

There were a bunch of changes in the mission. Remember Elder Tibbitts? My MTC comp? Well now he`s the new assistant. Crazy right? I still remember waiting in the MTC nervously thinking I wouldn`t get a companion because he was late. But it should be an excellent opportunity for him, we`re really happy for him.

I actually couldn`t test the Thyroid. We went to the clinic and it was closed for holidays. But don`t worry, Sister Jesperson is making sure it all gets done. Awesome job John! You`re way braver than I was at your age! Emily as well, sounds like your just doing great.

I hope all is well over there, things should be really interesting over here. Strawberries are really cheap, it is the strawberry farm of the country supposedly. Can`t wait to go discover what`s awaiting in my area. Sounds like the sister missionaries had someone that will be baptized this Saturday, so, we should probably go find him.

Have an excellent week, I love you all!

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

Elder Newell

March 21st 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
Once again it sounds like things are going well. Yes, I`ve been getting my levothyroxine just fune. I have been getting really, really tired again though, so Sister Jesperson told me to go get some blood tests done. The only problem is that today is a holiday here and the clinic was closed. Oh well, until next time. The retainer is also doing just great. When the Orthodontist made another, I am pretty sure there was a BYU simbol on it, so he put a picture of a martian in a UFO.
It has been a good week though. I had some stomach sickness, but my comp was able to keep me going. Life as a missionary is such a bizzare thing. You`re thrown into sooooo many situations that are sooooo unfamiliar, especially if you`re someone like me, and you`re really just flying by the seat of your pants all the time. One day you`ll meet someone that has a major drug problem that wants to quit, another day a guy with a slight drug problem that doesn`t want to quit, another day a young couple that try and do what`s right but have no idea how to guide their newborn baby girl in a good direction, another day someone who killed somebody in self defense, another day another, and another, and another. I feel so amazingly priviliged to be someone who has the amazing opportunity to show them a light in their lifes. A light that completely changes how we view God, the world, and ourselves. The transformative process of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Recieving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End is something more powerful than words of mine can describe. Even more so when we apply that cycle in our own lives.
I have seen people change their lives, leave behind the world, and decide to follow their Savior in this great work, but the greatest thing I have seen happen, is the change in myself! I can be a personal witness to those that desire to know if these things are true. A living proof of the Word. And yet, despite any sort of strength or temporal independence I might have attained, it is only the Spirit of the Lord that penetrates to the heart of the people that has any power to change or save. To see someone truly accept that saving influence has been the great privilege of my life. I know and understand this time draws to a close in the future, but while I AM here, I hope to always strengthen my faith in my Saviour to have some hope of bringing just one soul truly back to the presence of God.
It is my prayer and my hope that the Spirit of the Lord always strives with each and every one of you my beloved family, and that you will be strengthened as well, and that you might grow firmer and firmer in your faith, and stronger and stronger in your humility. May the blessings of the Lord always abound upon us, and I know that they will if we are obedient to His commandments, and protect us in these days that are so difficult.
I love you all so much. Thank you all for the sustaining and powerful influence you have all had in my life. I would not be who I am right now without my incredible family always guiding me in a firm and safe path. I know I could not have progressed to where I am now without each and every single one of you. Know that I love you. Know that I am so grateful for you. And please know that the Spirit testifies to me that He is always watching over you.
¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!
Elder Newell

March 14th 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA Y STORYTELLER ARIANE!

Hahaha, that`s a great poster, congratulations Mom! Can`t believe that picture from Effies wedding...wow, that was a while ago wasn`t it?

I haven`t heard much about the Japan thing, just bits and pieces from people in the street. It reminds me of a quote from President Hinckley, While the church has resources, it will always extend them to the poor and needy. We are actually teaching a lady named Maria de Los Angeles. She reminds me a lot of Mom. She has a huuuuuuge garden in her house, something extremely unnatural here, and of course worries a lot about her son. She is amazing. She really inspires me with her faith and desire to serve God.

So sorry to be a little rushed today, it was one of those late p-days. We got together and played soccer with the other zones in Guadalajara and I got to meet up with Elder Tah and the zone of Reforma again, so that was fun. I didn`t take my camera though, so next week I will have gathered all the photos I need.

Anyways, I hope all is going well back home, because things are going amazingly over here. It has been a week where the Holy Ghost is the true senior companion, and it has been a week of miracles.

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

Love you all,
Elder Newell

March 7th 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
Actually I didn`t cook anything...everybody in the ward has found out I cooked Chilis rellenos con queso and have then been astonished when I tell them I haven`t been able to cook anything in the mission. Like Alex says, just no time. But wow, sounds like things are still going excellently at home! Love the shirt Em. Way to go Uncle Rog on remembering your sister. Sounds like all are doing really well. Way to go John! You`re way smarter than I was when I was your age!

Well this week was excellent! Another week of crazy growth. I feel like the Lord is trying to teach me as much as he possibly can in this next year so that I don`t come back home and fail miserably. Anyways, it was a great week in the end. We got 5 people in church! That`s five more than our tiny ward has had in a month! The ward was very excited to recieve new people. And the best part is, they`re two families! The ward is in desperate need of a lot of stuff, but more especially priesthood! EXCLAMATION POINTS! We had about 8 potential priesthood holders planned out for church, but only two arrived. It`s so great to see how people become closer to each other through church worship.
For example: We are teaching this family by the names of Maria Elena (mom), Daniel (son), and Natali (granddaughter) that came to church this week. They have always been kind of luke warm in regards ot the church, weren`t very consistent in keeping their commitments, etc. But we got them to church yesterday, and went and visited them in the day. They said they felt good, but very generally speaking. They almost never participate. We talked and read about Moroni 7 and how he tells us how we can judge if something is good or not. They realized church is what helps them grow their faith in Christ, and it is something that God has placed to help them as individuals. We then talked about the ultimate goal of all this, eternal families. They started to really reflect on what we had been saying, and committed to baptism. Their such a cool family.
We also talked to this guy Alfredo yesterday. He lived in the US for 28 years and came back to Mexico about 8 years ago. He`s got a
buuunch of tatoos. He said he dedicated his life to Christ 12 years ago and since that his whole life is better. He said he is in worse shape financially and all that, doesn`t have chairs, never anything to eat, etc., but he thanks God every day for what he has. He mentioned he wanted to keep growing his faith, and leave behind some things he has in his life, and we told him he could do that through the gospel of Jesus Christ. He had lots of objections to baptism, saying he was already baptized in the United States. He didn`t really want to listen to that, and just wanted us to help him get out of the stuff hes in. We knew that this really is the only way he can do that, and so we kept talking about it. Eventually we got to the Holy Ghost and how it helps us to overcome trials, comforts us, purifies us, and is necessary for our salvation. He said that in his baptism he was expecting to feel something powerful and strong, some type of peace, but he didn`t really feel anything. He said he didn`t feel like he had the gift of the Holy Ghost. We read Acts 19 where Paul rebaptizes a group of people that were baptized but did not recieve the Holy Ghost, and when he left he was very excited for his baptism! He is such a precious soul that has been "kept from the truth only because (he) knows not where to find it."
The mission is amazing. I know I say it every week but it`s really true. I was reflecting on who I was before, and seeing how the Lord has helped me to grow. To still be the same person let`s say, but magnified. The good traits improved, and the bad ones diminished. Truly the Lord has many ways of preparing us, every one. I hope and pray the Holy Ghost accompanies you all in the week, and that God guides and protects you. I love you all and know you are truly sons and daughters of God.
¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!
Elder Newell
1 - 2. A special needs daughter of some members. She gave me a "hat" and we looked through the gospel art book.


Monday, February 28, 2011

February 21st 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
Wow, sounds like everyone is doing good still, and at least the only true constant, change, hasn`t changed with crazy government business. Good job Grandma for venturing into relatively unknown territory! Well it sounds like everything is going great still for everybody. Please keep sending me information on even the mundane things in life, it`s always great to hear about home.
Well, this week, I learned how people start to not like going to church. The missionaries before us got here in Tapatio and had baptized the kids of a family, a 10, 9, and 8 year old. Their parents can`t get baptized, or practically go to church. We had to bring them so they could get confirmed. They were good for the first bit of the program, but afterwards in the talks and all that, they started getting restless. Then some members started saying, shhh! "Sorry." A couple minutes later, SHHH!! "Sorry, I`m giving the art book, letting them draw on my agenda, I`m trying to get them to calm down more." Then a couple minutes later, SSSSSHHHUUUUUUSSSSHHHH!!!! "SO SORRY, THEY`RE NOT MY KIDS, THEY`RE THE NEW MEMBERS OF THE WARD! YOU CALM THEM DOWN!" So that was a fun growing experience for me. At the end of Sacrament I thought, Yes! Now they`re off to Primary! I have so much more respect for those teachers. Anyone that goes to the Primary gains their ticket to the Celestial Kingdom in my book.
But anyways, times are good here in Tapatio. We are working hard trying to get the area memorized the both of us. It`s not quite as large as my last area. It`s really weird to have...limits...to the area. We`re working really hard though, really excited the both of us. Elder Winegar is from Sandy, Utah, and I got with him when he had 3 weeks in Mexico. We`ve been striving really hard, and the Lord is blessing us amazingly with people to teach and baptize in a few weeks.
Now, I was filling out the forms of baptism/confirmation yesterday and I needed the full name of Elder Selee, who is the companion of Elder Tah in Tonala now. I called them up and talked to Elder Tah, and he told me that Elena got baptized yesterday! OK, so, remember Marcela? And how I mentioned we contacted her aunt? That`s Elena. Pretty sure I mentioned her before. She is amazing. The most prepared person I have met on my mission, and she didn`t even need some kind of tragedy in her life or anything to prepare her. She is just amazingly humble, and with immense desires to serve the Lord. She faced sooooooo much opposition, but took it all in stride. She knew this was true, and did everything she needed to in order to get baptized, and embark in the path that ensures us "that (we) will not be cast off forever." Also, her and Marcela got confirmed yesterday at the same time, and the both are very, very happy. It`s amazing the joy that comes from seeing people truly accept the gospel of Christ. It is surely that joy and peace that Christ promised to His Apostles that would not be peace of the world, but the peace that only He could give. I see the Lord`s hand working here. Quicker than any man can keep up with. He truly loves His children, and desires them to return to His presence.
I`m so amazed by the strength of the women here of Mexico. So many times I have heard men say that they only joined the church because their wife was the strength they needed. They are the pulling force behind everything that happens here. If all the women were taken away, Mexico would be destroyed in the matter of a week. Pretty sure we could declare that as a global constant, but I`m only here in Tlaquepaque for right now, we`ll need correspondence from Alex Peacock and Newell to be sure.
I hope all stays well there, let me know what happens througout the week! I love you all so much, and I will talk to you all next week!
¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!




1. We had a conference with all the missionaries in Guadalajara, and guess who I found in the buffet line!
2. Some kids of recent converts playing with my camera. I like how Elder Winegar came out especially.

Februrary 14th, 2011

Hey, like I said, sorry, I actually did send a letter last week, the mail just had a problem. Don`t worry about the news too much, President Jersperson told us that if we had been watching the news we would probably think nobody livedin Michoacan anymore. We hadn`t even noticed. Even still we use every precaucion, and the airport is in the other mission.
Sorry, don`t have much time to write today, kind of long story, I`m in the area Tapatio in the Municipal Tlaquepaque, still in Guadalajara, and I`m training. Probably will be training the rest of my mission. Baptized a young girl by the name of Marcela, think I mentioned her before. Her mom is listening to the missionaries in Florida and will be baptized as well when she gets married. Blergh, no time, more next week!
LOVE YOU ALL!
Elder Newell

February 7th, 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
So happy to hear all is well. I´ll be sure to send something off to Ben. Wow, 4 months. I honestly can´t believe it. I´m super happy for them but...still...wow. It´s just really weird to think Than is getting married.
Yes, I´m healthy, thanks. I´ve just been having to take a fair amount of money out of the card. We have been traveling to all the areas in the zone to inspect their houses and do interviews, but it´s almost all in reimbursments. I also put in an order to finish replacing all the stuff that was robbed. Alex is such a good missionary. He´s going to be so awesome in these last months, and also for all his life in the Church. I´m so proud of him. His analogy of the boat applies alot to what we are seeing in the zone right now. Every missionary enters thinking they will baptize many here in Mexico, they get out into the waters, and then comes the times without sight of the island. They get tired, which leads to discouragement for not seeing the fruits of their labors, and that weakens their faith. It´s what has happened in the zone, and even a bit in me as well. Alright, a lot. But wow, his letter really inspired me to start working even harder. To trust more in God and develop my faith. That is the focus in the mission right now. Faith. Right before reading his letter, I had been talking with Elder Tah about how we can help the zone start functioning, and we decided it all comes back to faith. We decided we need to teach them that, but we need it in ourselves first. Then I read his letter. Everything started to click. I´m super excited now to get to work.
In terms of the area, we have a baptismal date for this Sunday, a young women by the name of Marcela. She is 19, and her Mom is recieving the missionaries in Florida with her soon to be husband. We found her contacting a woman in the street, and she told us her niece was looking for missionaries. We went by about a month ago and started teaching her. The only problem is that she is starting to go to school to be a nurse, and her grandma hates that we go to her house, and we haven´t been able to find her. We found her recently and started talking about her Mom, who is getting married so she can get baptized, and has gone to church every single week since the missionaries found her. Marsela also committed to getting baptized this sunday. She is super cool. The bells for misa started ringing yesterday while we were talking outside of her house and everyone was running to church, and she looked a little uncomfortable, but didn´t shut off at all, or say that she had to go. She stayed outside even while all these people passing by looked at her badly. It really impressed me.
Also, we have a new investigator that I don´t even know his name. We just call him, CAMPEON! Campeon is a guy that I always saw on the corner of the church really, really drunk. Every day. One day we were walking down a back road and he starts talking to us, and comments he wants to change his life, enter our church, and get with his family again. We told him we would see him tuesday, but sober! We left not thinking much. We went back on Sunday to try and bring his wife and family to church, as they showed interest, but we only found him, fresh out of a hangover. He was depressed. He had a huge fight with his family I guess the night before and he looked like he was at the bottom of the barrel so to say. We told him the only way he could overcome this problem he has is by following the gospel of Jesus Christ. (he had mentioned before he has gone to rehab centers, but they didn´t help at all. They´re really honestly awful over here.) We started going to church and he started saying, I´m just going to drink a little bit, I have a hidden bottle and I´m just going to drink a little bit to calm down. He ran over to a semi truck and started pulling out a bottle from the hubcap of the car, and we told him that that wouldn´t help him. I just put my arm around him and started walking to church, explaining to him and promising him that God is the only one that is able to help him overcome this addiction that he wants to get rid of. He said, Ya, ya you´re right! We kept walking and he started saying things like, ESTA BIEN! Estoy bien! Hahahaha, esta biiiieeeeennnnn! I told him, now aren´t you so much happier that you didn´t drink? Ya! I could do it! I could not drink! We entered the church and it was fast and testimony meeting, we explained the sacrament quickly, and entered. When we left, we explained how the only way he could overcome all this is to be baptized in the church of Jesus Christ, recieve the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end, and he accepted a baptismal date for the 20th of this month. He was a man I saw every day for the past 3 months, and never talked to him. I assumed, eh, he´s drunk, he doesn´t want anything. How very wrong I was. I am so sad that I had to wait until his life became so much worse to talk with him about the gospel. But how happy I am now that he is starting to recieve the blessings of the gospel of Christ. We didn´t see him in his drinking store all day yesterday, or today.
The world is amazing. God has everything planned out so well. He knows exactly what we need and has placed his chosen servants, the prophets, to help us to understand what that thing is. I have seen that so much in my mission up until now. I love you all, I hope all stays well and that everyone is healthy.
¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!
Elder NEwell

Friday, February 4, 2011

January 31st 2011









¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!


So happy to hear about everything back home! Hahaha, I can`t even believe you made it to a party. Good work! Sounds like we`re all taking steps, haha! CONGRATULATIONS ALEX! Remember! Be obedient, follow the Spirit, and do all you can to learn from everything that happens! Everything! This is a RULE! If you do it you will be able to become exactly what Heavenly Father wants for you!

Way to go Em, sounds like you`re putting a lot of effort into school! Learning is another rule that applies to all of us! I love to learn, and love to see others learn as well. It`s such an amazing thing to see someone start to really understand something. To change what was in their heads before, and see them grow, increase their capabilities to do, and become more than they thought they were. Or less. Depends on how we thought I suppose. Even Moses had that situation when he saw God. He said that now he knew that Man was nothing, which he had never before supposed. Learning is such a fascinating process.

Holy cow Laurel is growing up. I thought that picture was Andrea. It`s amazing what only one year can do.

As far as us here in Tonala, we finally saw some fruits of our labors! Alma and Abel were baptized yesterday! They are such an amazing family. Abel can`t read, we had to teach with pure pictures, but it really showed me how we need to give the Lord every opportunity we can to make a miracle. We were showing him pictures of Christ, because they didn`t really have any true faith in Christ as far as who he is, etc. Abel mentioned to us afterwards that one of those pictures hit him really hard, and that he wanted to cry during the lesson, but held it back. When he knelt down to ask God if this was true, he felt the same feelings, and knew it was true. His wife as well was always asleep with the kids when we arrived, so we went early in the morning Thursday, taught her the Restoration, came back the next day and she had prayed, and knew it was true. We taught the rest in two days, and they were baptized after an interview with the District Leader Elder Perry, and assisting church once more. They are so special. They have testimonies so strong, and I know the Lord loves them so much. I love them as well. They are like my other family here. A new light has entered into their lives. They are...I don`t know how to describe it. Happier.

We also found Elena. We contacted her and she gave us a referrence of her niece who`s Mom is listening to the missionaries in Florida. We taught her for a bit, but went looking for Elena last week. We found out where she lived, and started to teach. She has such strong desires to follow God. We came back the second time and we asked her how her prayer went, and she said, I feel like I need to go on Sunday to know this is true. Tears started to well into her eyes, and I knew that God had answered her prayers in giving her the desires to attend and see for herself. We explained more about what happened on Sunday, and she arrived without us even going for her in the morning with her husband, daughter, and niece. She is such an amazing person. She loved Church, and is for sure going to be baptized in another week or two.

After the trials we have had the last three weeks, the Lord is blessing us so much. He has wrought mighty changes in our hearts, and we have seen Him do the same in others. I love this church. I love our God and His blessings. I love these people, and love how they accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I hope all stays well this week, you will all be in my prayers.

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

Elder Newell

January 24th, 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
Hahahaha, sounds good. Sounds like not a lot happened this week back home. A newly arrived Elder in the zone, Elder Wallace, told me that when he was in the MTC it was snowing. I thought...snowing? What? It should be super hot. Then somebody reminded me it was January, and I remembered I have a year already and that it`s not summer anymore up there. It was really weird feeling.
This week was good for us. We had a lot of trials. Every single thing we had planned for two/three days fell through. We just had to keep working and find something the Lord wanted us to do, but He blessed us to be able to complete our goals again. We brought two people to Church, Alma and Abel. This is the son and daughter-in-law of a recent convert that moved into their house recently. They are really good people, but really, really humble. They don`t even have money to take a bus. Their food is tortillas and beans every day. They`re both looking for work, but haven`t found anything right now. They have true desires to know God, and have Him in their lives. They attended the Regional Conference this week and loved it. Elder Holland spoke in Spanish. It was really weird.
All in all it has been a very large week of growth for me. As a person, a missionary, and as a brother to the people here, I have learned alot. I love it here. I feel myself progressing and growing every single day, and I`m so grateful to God for this chance I have to serve His children here.
I have seen for myself just how much God is willing to help us if we strive to find Him. Sorry I don`t have much to write this week, but we are having an activity in the zone and I don`t really have a lot of time today.
I love you all, I`m praying for you, and I know God is blessing you,
Elder Newell
¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

January 17th, 2011


¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
Haha, I assumed people would like it. I told my comp, I gotta take a picture of that! He said, why? I said, You just don`t get it. Elder Tah is great though, but the other great thing is that I don`t really walk around in places that are super dangerous. The worst would be some ant hills that are kinda big in some fields we cross. I guess they can kind of itch. But it`s good to know more, just in case.
Wow, so the one year mark is officially gone. It is going to go by so much faster. I was talking with Elder Miller, another Elder from the generacion and he says that all the RMs in his ward are saying things like, well hold on Elder because the next year is going to go by even faster! I JUST BARELY STARTED! It honestly goes by so fast. In just a little more time I`ll just miss 6 months, then I`ll be home super fast. Weird.
I laughed really, really hard at the snow. Everyone looked at me weird. Elder Tah easked what is so funny and I just said...I have no idea how to say that in Spanish.
Poor nieces being sick and all. So fun to travel with sick children, I`m sure. And Than jumping out of a plane...that`s a sin my brother. Because you`re making me super worried and I`m all the way over here in Mexico! I`m seperated by miles and miles and miles from that plane but I`ve still got a sweat going on! Good luck, you`ve got more courage than I do.
Yes! I DID get the package! I actually took a movie, but it was too big. I don`t know what I have to do to send movies again. I put it on VGA, which I think is the lowest quality. It takes HD, WVGA, VGA, and QVGA. For those of you that have more abilities to know that stuff if you could tell me what is the lowest please? I try to winzip it but it barely shrinks the size at all.
Wow, well this week has been really good. We had a series of conferences with President Johnson, the Area Authority, and we learned much. He was supposed to talk about the Holy Ghost and it`s function, but I learned almost nothing about that. I learned about how to teach, and how to learn. It was very, very interesting. Elder Tah and myself have changed our teaching completely to help people understand better what is the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how it can help them in their lives. This week we saw 5 companionships in the zone complete the Standard of Excellence out of 7, and so we are very, very, excited for them.
As well, our investigators are doing great. We had 6 investigators at church this week, and we have started to really work with the Ward ans are starting to see them get excited to work in the vineyard of the Lord. Times running short, but we have the possibility to see 2 complete families recieve the gospel into their lives through baptism this week. I love this work, I love Mexico, I love my Heavenly Father for having sent me here, and I love you all. Thank you all for your letters, support, prayers, etc. Even if I am insensitive enough to not respond to you all, I do appreciate everything that comes.
Love you all,
¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!
Elder Joseph Neil Newell

January 10th, 2011



¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
Wow, sounds like things are going great over there! Congratulations again Than and Chi! Still can`t believe it! Effie! You`re so good at doing stuff! I`m so super jealous!
Of course we`re not surprised that they can`t get rid of Em, she`s the vital part of everything she does! Way to go Sis. And don`t worry Mom, now it`s the downward slope. This is the fastest part of them all. It`s honestly kinda scary, it feels like it`s already ending. It honestly feels like in just a little bit, I`m coming home. I`m sure that`s the Holy Ghost trying to tell me, HEY! Things go by fast, work HARD!
So me and Elder Tah have been working very hard this week. By the way he is from Cancun, Quintanarroh. He worked in turism and even had a class about it. I discovered he`s actually almost a licensed bartender. He is always pointing things out about animals as we go through the streets and about how you should treat them so that they don`t try and eat you. He`s Elder Jungle Man. But as I said, we have been working very hard and have received many blessings.
We found two new people this week that just blow me away.
First was Nancy,
We contacted her outside of the church and invited her in, and she accepted. In the tour we gave she said that she has a son that had an accident as a child and now cannot talk, and is mildly mentally retarded. They were watching TV one day and saw one of the Mormon Messages and her 11 year old son started making lots of signs that his mom understood as, "When I grow up, I`m going to be Mormon!" She came back the next day with her son, and he was just the happiest little guy I have ever seen. He was pointing at everything in the church and just smiling more than a face can hold for the whole hour. We invited her to baptism and she agreed, and we said if she would like us to come to her house next time to teach her some more if it was too inconvenient to come to the church, the son started saying, "PLEASE! Please let us come back!" I love kids. It is honestly a family so special. They don`t drink, smoke, nothing, they live right in front of the church, and are searching for God to help their two sons.
Second was Aurelio,
While we were showing Nancy the baptismal font, a man entered the church and wanted to talk with us. The Sister Salas, wife of the Bishop, was with us at the time and left to go talk to him. We ended the lesson with Nancy and went to go talk to Aurelio. I thought he was just looking for money or something, but he just asked that we say a prayer for him. We invited him inside to talk for a bit, and he mentioned that his life was going bad, and started to cry explaining all that had happened. He had lost his family, his job, almost everything, and was just searching for a way to get things straight again. He wasked someone in the street where a church was that wasn`t Catholic, and this person pointed him here, he came running to see us. Sister Salas told him about how she was before and how the gospel helped her, we showed him the baptismal font and he asked us how he could follow Jesus Christ. We taught him about baptism and his face completely changed. He left being incredibly happy. Every time afterwards we met with him his face was entirely happy. He has a giant desire to learn more of God and came to church this week. He will be baptized next Sunday after the church services. He is one of those rare people that Realize how dependent they are on the Atonement. I love him bunches, he is going to be an amazing member of the Church and will be blessed highly by God.
Those are the biggest stories of this week Family, hope everything stays well and prosperous,
¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!
Elder Newell
1. Spending New Years with the family of the Bishop
2. Shampoo, and an unfortunate difference in languages meet

video

January 3rd 2011

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
Sounds like Merl had a good last day. Happy you could all be there to help him out as he went to the other side.
But this is supposed to be a HAPPY OCCASION! CONGRATULATIONS THAN AND CHI!!!! WOOOOOOOOHHHH!!!!! Honestly, super happy congratulations. As one thing ends, another always begins! Life is so great like that. WHen we think that we´ve hit a wall, there´s always a door provided to us to find even greener pastures. By the way, those pictures of home are super green. Nothing here even gets close to the majesty of Mom´s Garden.
Yes I have been buying what I need thank you all so much. I got a new shirt, pants, and two ties. They were from a kind of upscale store but it was all 70% off. Thanks so much for the support you all send me.
Not a whole lot to report right now. We couldn´t work much last week because Elder Flores was sick, and we moved. The new house is awesome. It is actually like a house, not just a bunch of walls taht were slapped together like the old place. However, Elder Flores had changes to a place called Tzitacuaro, and now I am with Elder Tah. Elder Tah was also trained by Elder Tyler, making us brothers! SHould be an interesting companionship, but we´re both ready and willign to work hard!
I hope all is well over there and that things stay well,
Elder Joseph Newell

December 27th 2010

HOLA MI FAMILIA!
It was so great to talk with you all! Don`t we just love technology?
Sounds like everyone had a merry Christmas. Haha, I thought when you said they got frozen that you left something in the freezer or something. I didn`t even remember that it gets really cold over there in Christmas.
I didn`t get some of the pictures that you said you sent, like the one of you and Dad in the carport.
I don`t have much to report this week. I was sick almost the whole week with naseau and knee pains. We`re getting it all taken care of though. Today I plan on going and buying some clothes to replace what is dead right now.
This week marks the beginning of 2011. How strange, right? This time next year I`ll be packing my bags. It has been a time of much reflection for me. To remember how things were at home, and how I was as a person. And who I am now as well. It`s something very interesting to see how a person grows on the mission. I have seen people embrace their calling and become amazing people for it. I have also seen people deny why they are here, and never strive to magnify their calling and how they return basically the same person. It`s something very weird to think about how I personally have grown on my mission. I can only imagine the opportunities of growth that await me in this next year, and more importantly, the opportunities that many more people are going to have to accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and better their lives here, and gain eternal salvation. I love this work. I love seeing people change who they are and become true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I hope we all end this Christmas season happilly and with true joy, and that we all go back home safely. See you all next year.
¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!
Elder Newell