March 21, 2016 – Week 76

THE GREAT TRAILMAKER

Hola familia, quiero escribir parte de mi reporte semanal en español. Si está bien con ustedes. Este semana fue bien suave y un poco triste con la perdida de MICHIGAN STATE. Los tenía en el campeonato. Pero ni modo.

That honestly sucks that Mich. St. lost. I had them going to the finals against Kansas! But oh well, I always get jipped on my brackets. I’ll send you the brackets that I did here later on. Me and Elder Whitt sat down last Monday night and we filled out brackets – it was really fun. We each did 3 and analyzed all the teams.  I was going to send it in to y’all so you could put it on ESPN, but I didn’t have time to do so.
This week has been pretty decent, I’ll give you guys a quick update on V*****, he’s not homeless, the homeless guy was someone else, he disappeared actually and we have no idea were he went, i honestly think he passed away but i have no idea! Hopefully he just went back to his family in Jalisco. Anyways we taught V***** this week and he started working again. He sells towels in the street to taxi drivers and to taco stands. We saw him one day this week and he said he sold about 2 packs of towels. He buys those yellow microfiber towels from Costco, his wife that recently left him only left him with a Costco card. He used that costco card to buy these 36 pack towel packages and he sells them in the street. He’s been doing pretty good.  Hopefully this week we can take him to the self reliance center to help him get a better job. He went to church with us yesterday and he even wore a suit to church!!!! I never in my mission had an investigator that put a white shirt and tie on to go to church, nevertheless he wore a full suit! It was great he even participated in the Elders Quorum and the Gospel Principles class; it was great to see his testimony grow. This week we are going to go with him to write to the First Presidency about allowing him to get baptized.  Hopefully we can have a response from them.
Seeing the testimony of the investigators grow and seeing their faith grow reminds me a lot of how I came to be. I’m sure I was talked about in Ward Council meetings right before i headed out on the mission. I was glad that I was just able to say call it ¨go with the flow¨ until I headed out. From when I first started and until this point I can see that my faith has grown a lot and im hoping that one day I can have the SURE KNOWLEDGE that Alma talks about when he talks concerning faith and how our faith will grow fruits and even sprout up into a tree of everlasting life! I was reading my Patriarchal Blessing about a week ago and I was promised to have that very same Exaltation. Hopefully my works can be good enough for the Lord. I don’t ever feel like they are, but I really try.
This week we found a single mother with 5 children. She crossed the border every day with her 5 kids ages 3 to 13. Her kids have been asking her about God, but she doesn’t know how to respond. We gave her a Book of Mormon and we invited her to read it with her children so that they can all learn in a better way about God. This week we are going to try to get the primary president to go with us to teach her kids and to teach her. I hope that they can be able to make it to church and I hope that they can get baptized. We are going to try to baptize them in the month of April so hopefully all goes well this time. It seems like every baptismal date that I have had it usually falls through which really sucks. But I got some good advice the other day from the assistants. They said we have an important job to do in the offices, but also we have our regular missionary life as well. We just need to put all the effort in just a few of the people we have and help them to progress and then they will get baptized. So we are going to put that in practice and hopefully it will all work out just fine and we can finally baptize. Baptizing for us is really hard and it has been really hard for me my whole mission.  I just want to baptize converts, but I guess it isn’t about what I want. I was also reading another part of my blessing and it said I will have a great effect in planting the gospel in my life. I really feel like I have done that. I have given out hundreds of Book of Mormons, thousands of pamphlets, tens of thousands of pass along cards, and have spoke about Jesus to someone hundreds of thousand of times. I really feel that God’s purpose of me on my mission is to prepare the path for other people so that in the future they can take their steps.
I think of myself as a trailmaker. Trailmakers are like the hikers that prepare the path for other hikers. They have to physically take branches out, cut trees, roots, and bushes. I physically have helped people battle their addictions, get closer to God, pray, get people to go to church, and read the Book of Mormon. Just because the trail is made, doesn’t mean that people are going to hike it right away. Maybe some will now, and maybe some later on, and maybe some people might do so in a week, month, or maybe 10 years! But the most important part is to have the trail made. When I think of this analogy (which I hope it makes sense) I think of one of the most powerful trailmakers of all time, Jesus Christ.  There is no scriptural documentation of Jesus Christ baptizing, but he taught, he was an example, he was perfect. Maybe people did not listen at first, but there were many people who did. Some people rejected him and ultimately they killed him, but he cleared the trail to eternal life. The trail was made, and through Joseph Smith the trail was restored.  More than 2,000 years later people are just now taking the trail and starting to walk. I will continue to try my hardest to clear this trail up a little bit so that other people can take it in their lives. Sometimes I get a little discouraged about thinking of how many people I have baptized. I have not had many when compared to other misisonaries, but I try not to think about it because it really doesn’t matter. The mission is really hard – it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I have 6 months left to help others. I’m sure I will have success. I love the work, I love what I do, I love helping people getting close to Jesus Christ. I feel like I am successful, V**** quit drinking, he’s trying to stop smoking, many others have given up bad habits and found Christ so I feel like I do have success. My job is to invite others to come to Christ, nothing else. So I will continue to invite others to repent and to Come unto Him. Anyways I hope you all have a great week! Love you ((((:
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March 14, 2016 – Week 75

Hey everyone, this week was a pretty good week and we had it rough as well. It just seems like we cannot find anyone to teach and its really difficult, but I feel like a lot of time is being put forth in a different work with the financial part of the mission and the church. I really like it here in the offices and being around the president all the time and with the assistants, its really cool and quite fun at times. But this past week was pretty rough. There are a lot of references that need to be taken care of, so we have been helping a lot with the references( referrals) from all parts of the mission and we are giving conferences all week long to all the zones about how and what they need to do with the references.

I feel like we get our success in a different way than other missionaries. When the misison does really well with its baptisms and all of that, I feel like we helped them achieve that, and also apart from that we can baptize as well. We still haven’t and its been really hard, but we are trying. The president keeps reminding me of how important my role in the misison is, with all the stuff I have to do with the church’s money. I honestly feel that the money of the church is probably one of the most sacred objects on the earth today. I feel privileged to work with it. This week V***** went to church with us!!  It was really great to see him there, we had been visiting with them all week long  and they have been in pretty rough shape. It’s also really sad as well because he has been COMPLETLY WASTED every time we have seen him. The only sober time he had was when he went to church. When he is drunk it litteraly looks like he was about to fall over.  It was actually kind of funny seeing him come outside to try to unlock his door, he couldn’t do it, he had to give us the keys through the gate to open it for him. It was funny. Him and M**** are pretty upset, because he really doesn’t know how to stop his addiction, he literally lives off of alcohol (tequila) he drinks a liter of tequila everyday, if not 2 or 3 liters. It’s really sad actually to see people so addicted becasue they literally have no control of themselves because they have been fully completly taken control by the powers of the devil. I promised him if he reads the Book of Mormon every day he will never have the urge to drink. He’s been getting a lot better his drinking issue is diminishing, and now it will for sure becasue he won’t have any money to do so!
Also this week I talked to a really cool lady from the Chula Vista ward in CA. She’s an author and owns a factory here in Tijuana, her name is Mary Hill she has a book called Paper Dolls you can look it up, she was really really cool! I talked to her for about an hour in the migration place waiting for my companion to finish renewing all the visas for the missionaries that are coming up on about a year.  She gave me a lot of good tips about college and how it really isn’t necessary to go, she just graduated from college from BYU and shes got 4 grown kids and some grand children. I talked to her about my dream of having my own fishing reel company and she said that the marketing part is the hard part, but I’m pretty good at that because I’m good at selling things! SO HOPEFULLY everything will work out just fine, and honestly this is probably the longest letter I have written to y’all here in the mission. Anyways thanks for the messages Grandma and Pawpaw and everyone else. I love all of you and hope that your week goes well! Les Quiero! (:
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March 7, 2016 – Week 74

This week was awesome! We didn’t really have any success in our finding investigators and finding new people to teach but we had a fairly decent week this week. We had a lot of fun. We were going to baptize yesterday the homeless guy that we have been helping, but it was raining yesterday so he never came to church. It was a real bummer, but hopefully next week we can be able to baptize him.

This week it was really hard for us to find new people to teach. In our sector there are so many wierd people and it is becoming really difficult to find people. But we are trying to knock on a lot of doors and then contact a lot of people. There hasn’t been much success in our sector for a long period of time, but I am hoping to change that!!!
The other day we were able to find two people to teach, his name is V***** and her name is M****. So V****** contacted us actually he yelled at us in the street in really broken English right after we had left the food appointment. He was really really really drunk, but he had said something really really interesting. He said he believes in God and he said that he was visited by the Jehovahs Witnesses a long time ago and they told him that there are no more miracles. He was shocked when they told him that, but he asked us if there are miracles today, and we told him yes there are and they exist. He said can you guys put your hands on my wife and heal her like Peter and John and we told him that yes we could. We went into thier house and his wife is in really bad shape. He can’t do anything because he has been an alcoholic for about 19 years. Both of her kidneys have failed and she has to pay for dialysis every week. She has to do it 3 times a week and she is living off of the money that the goverment gives her. and she has her dialisis down here because it is waaaaaayyyyy cheaper. but its a really sad situation because of her kidneys she has become really over weight and she can barely walk. and as well she gets a lot of blod clots (for lack of dialysis).  But her husband is a drunkard and he wants to quit because he is always drunk and cannot take care of his wife.  He has to wash her and bathe her and do everything for her, its a really sad situation and its great to see the gospel of Jesus Christ come into their lives. They have the desire to go to church and to be baptized!!! I told them that the church is 2 blocks from their house and they were shocked and were very happy that it is so close by. They said they were going to go to church on Sunday but we have no idea how we are going to do so becasue our church is a worship house and you have to go upstairs. She doesn’t really walk so we are going to see what we have to do! We ended up giving them blessings and it was really awesome and a really spititual experience!! Hopefully they can progress and be baptized.
Also this week about nightfall we were walking outside by Mexico-US border and we saw this guy walking right next to it which is a federal offense because there is federal ground between the two countries and all of a sudden this guy hopped on top of the fence. and he started climbing his way up top!! this guy literallly jumped the border and crossed into the United States. It was absolutely hilarious because there was a bunch of barbed wire and I think he was cutting it and he ended up crossing after being on the fence for about 10 minutes. anyways attatched is apicture of him!!! Love you guys Bonita Semana 😀[?]
Mexican Border Crossing
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February 29, 2016 – Week 73

Hey Mom, this week has been pretty good! I’m really happy that you were able to go to Lauren’s cheer compettion in Tampa and thats pretty sweet that they ended up getting 1st place! That’s awesome and hopefully as well she is 1st place in the seminary class as well!🙇 Anyways, this week was pretty hard we have had a lot of stuff to do in the offices. and getting ready for the transfers that were coming up, but everything went pretty well. Today as well we received the new missionaries that came into the mission and now I’m offically by myself. Elder Larsen left this morning to Mexicali and I’m here in the offices. Dad asked me about how long I’m going to be here and it is quite possible that I can finish out my mission here, but i doubt it. I am probably going to be here for about another 4 months or  more I honestly have no idea, but the secretary jobs are usually for 6 months. Elder larsen had 9 months as a secretary!! So we will see how everything goes! I have learned a lot and it’s pretty sweet.

It’s pretty cool being a secretary in the mission. I like it, but it is also really hard because we only have half the time to find investigators because half the time we are working in the offices, we work here from 9am to 2:30pm and then after we eat with the members (sometimes) and then afterwards we are off to proselyte from about 4 to 9 o clock so sometimes its really hard to find people to teach in those hours. On Saturday and Sunday are normal working hours! We were going to baptize L***** this past week but he was sick so he really never came out of the salvation army. He pretty much lives there now, but he’s doing a little bit better. He’s trying to save up money to go back to his home town.
Hopefully we can be able to baptize him this week! He has been coming to church every Sunday now! It’s pretty cool. I have a goal to baptize 10 people as a secretary. Mostly all of the secretaries have only baptized like 1 or 2 in their whole time as missionaries, 6 to 9 months, but I have set a goal to baptize 10 people and I really hope I can be able to do so. It’s going to be really really hard, but I know I can and I will do so!
There was a cool section of scripture that I was reading in the Book of Mormon when the Anti-Nephi-Lehites buried thier weapons. It was a symbol to follow God and to never sin again. Later in the chapter we read about how they perferred to die before they would sin. I feel like we need to do the same. All of us have bad habits, why cant we just bury those weapons and serve God? Maybe we are a little bit angry or maybe we shout at people or get mad really easy. Or maybe other things or bigger things. It’s something I’m doing right now as a missoinary and I’m just going to work really really hard with the time I have left and here in the offices so I can be able to baptize and reach my goals! I haven’t really been able to baptize my mission, I know it really doesn’t matter, but I want more converts and to really start getting a lot better at teaching.  I told Elder Larsen to tell his brother to put his papers in the 1st of August! Hopefully Jordan can be able to do the same! Elder Larsen was probably my favorite companion that I have had! His mom sent me a tie this week too! Tell her that I really like it and thank you for it and that it was really nice of her. Also this week well today we received a new asistant to the president and his name is Elder Peñaloza from Mexico City. I forgot to tell you that the secretaries share a house with the assistants, so there is me, Montes de Oca from Mexico City and Peñaloza from Mexico City and this is Elder Whitt’s last transfer from North Carolina!
Anyways, love you guys so much! Have a great week! (((: 😎
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February 22, 2016 – Week 72

That’s great about that sweet Daytona 500 finish! I’m not a really big fan of either one of the drivers.  I think my new favorite driver is Kevin Harvick now that Jeff is gone, but I’ll always been a fan of Hendrick motorsports. Anyway, that’s great that Lauren had her cheer competition in Dallas and how the heck is she getting to all of them? Are y’all flying all over the place? If so, hopefully you can rack up some frequent flyer points so we can have a sweet trip to some different country when I come back home. That’s awesome that she is dedicated to that. Hopefully she is just as much dedicated to her scripture and seminary reading and doing as well!!!  And Jordan also!

This week was filled with a lot of rejection in our sector and it has been pretty hard.  We knocked on a lot of doors and contacted a crap ton of people this week and we honestly have nothing. The secrataries hardly ever baptize. And the sector where the secretaries is located is always really tough.

Our sector is filled with a whole bunch of weird people, like over the top….. Like this week this guy came up to us I’m pretty sure he was on meth or something and then he started talking to us in English and started giving us thanks and saying how greatful he was to see Americans in Mexico and he had a really whiny high pitched voice. We started talking to him about Jesus Christ and then he started saying stuff about the Pope and how he was coming to Mexico and then that there was some people that killed a tamales guy who was selling tamales, and they shot him 4 times (in our sector like 8 days ago) and he told us and then he started crying for him in the moment he was talking to us, and then he started cussing in English like A LOT. He started cussing out the Pope and some other stuff and Mexico and it was really funny because it is honestly hard to take people seriously like that.
This week the homeless guy came to church again. He’s been coming to church for about a month now and we are going to baptize him this Saturday if everything turns out well. I kinda feel bad for the guy he came up here to Tijuana to find his 15 year old son, but he never found him and he has been stuck here for 6 months without any money and he has been living in the Salvation Army when he can and when he has money, because it costs to stay there even though it is pretty cheap. If he can’t make it there he sleeps in the street in his sleeping bag. The last Sunday he came to church I gave him money so that he can stay in the Salvation Army all week long. He really appreciated it, but the whole week he was in the hospital for some problems he has with his legs. He can’t work becasue of his health problems. He has his family in Jalisco, Mexico and his house down there but he doesn’t have any money any clothes, nothing! But it is great to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ touch him and that he can get baptized, hopefully whenever he goes back to his home in Jalisco his family can also get baptized. Anyways I’m doing great with health and stuff like that. The misisonary thaat got switched out was because there was a series of events where a missionary got sent home. But all is good no one got a gun up to their head. All is good! I love you guys!!!!
Border Hopping - Darin
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February 15, 2016 – Week 71

Yes mom that was me who sent that book to you!! jajajaja That’s kinda funny you didn’t know where the book came from. I don’t know if you liked it or anything, but I heard it referenced in a talk I was listening to and I thought it would be something that you would be interested in so I had it ordered for you. Anyway, Mom this week was really good! I hope you got those pics from when I was at Pampas. We also went today with the mission president and his wife and with some other missionaries as well. It was really dank! I really love cow intestines, sooo freaking good to eat. They also had lamb leg today as well and it was also good.

This has been a great time in the offices. I have alot of stuff to do and a lot I have to organize but things are going really really well and I like it in here. I think pretty soon they are going to put me in charge of the baptism records as well, but we’ll see what happens! That’s dope that Madie wacked a deer with the Tahoe. She should have just thrown it in the trunk, that’s what I would have done!! And then I would have cooked that sucker up!! Thanks for all the birthday wishes and I hope you you guys have had a great Valentine’s Day. Love you ! (:
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February 8, 2016 – Week 70

Thank y’all for the Birthday wishes. I am soooo freaking happy that Denver won the Superbowl! That’s so dank. Anyway, I honestly can’t believe that I’m 21 years old and I couldn’t have been turning the big year at any other better place because if I was still home I would probably be going out to do some dumb stuff.  But I already got an invitation from Jordan to also do some stupid stuff jajaja. This week has been pretty cool actually and also pretty stressful. This week we had to go to Guerrero Negro, which was a 12 hour bus ride which honestly sucked …… but it was a good place to go to and there are missionaries there as well but only 2 of them and we had to go to the branch there to do some audits. It was a cool experience. I’ll send some picas!

     Also this week we are just trying to do all we can to baptize our investigators and to get them freaking married but it’s honestly like pulling teeth. It didn’t happen this week and we are also trying to get a guy divorced but it is so darn expensive for Mexicans and it takes way to long to do so. That would be sweet if you could do it Mom!!! Also we have been stressed out with that and with everything in the offices and just with a lot of ridiculous stuff.  I have been pretty happy lately. I realized at all the things I’m blessed with and with my mission and especially my companions and the atonement and I honestly have nothing to worry about! God will bless me ever so greatly!! I challenge y’all to do the same, think about your blessings!! Just like the hymn – count your many blessings see what God hath done!
     I’m glad y’all liked the talk by Maxwell, it’s a great talk. And dad NASCAR is coming up and the Daytona 500 is with it and I’m gonna need some of those updates! (:
Love you guys and thanks Grandma and Pawpaw for everything! Hope you guys have a blessed week!
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