Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28th 2011


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!


Elder Newell

March 21st 2011

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.
Elder Newell

March 14th 2011


Hahaha, that`s a great poster, congratulations Mom! Can`t believe that picture from Effies, 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.


Love you all,
Elder Newell

March 7th 2011

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.
Elder Newell
1 - 2. A special needs daughter of some members. She gave me a "hat" and we looked through the gospel art book.