Monday, February 28, 2011

February 21st 2011

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 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!

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!
Elder Newell

February 7th, 2011

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 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.
Elder NEwell

Friday, February 4, 2011

January 31st 2011


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.


Elder Newell

January 24th, 2011

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

January 17th, 2011

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,
Elder Joseph Neil Newell

January 10th, 2011

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,
Elder Newell
1. Spending New Years with the family of the Bishop
2. Shampoo, and an unfortunate difference in languages meet

January 3rd 2011

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

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.
Elder Newell