Sunday, September 22, 2013

July in La Venta...

Email from 7-1-3
Hey Family!!

It was another pretty good week! We have had some pretty good lessons this past week! And some pretty funny ones! Haha So we started out the week on Tuesday going to visit this family that we have had one lesson with before. So we got to the house and stood outside of the gate and yelled to see if anyone was home and a older lady came to the gate to talk to us. So we asked if the lady that we were teaching was home. She then just looked at us and didn't say anything!! haha. We thought that maybe she couldn't talk or something. So we talked again and she then responded that her daughter wasn't here and to not come back. So we asked her why and she said that she has to follow the catholic religion that her family is in! Then I asked her,  "dont you think that she should be able to choose for herself?" haha. Nope she says!! Then she goes off on the scriptures from the bible acting like she knows what she is talking about! haha. Then says that there is only 2 true churches in the world!! haha. She says that the Catholic and the Apostolica are the only true churches!! I was done with it after I got done listening to that! So we just kept going and we just started to contact people.
      So we saw a guy working out in his yard and so we went up to him and asked if we could help him out. He let us right in like we have been visiting him for months! He called his wife out and sat right down at the table like he knew exactly why we were here! We started to talk to them and it turned out that they had just moved here and were accepting the missionaries where they were used to live. But it had been like 3 years since they had practice with us. We were super excited about that!! So we started to teach them and it went really well!! Hopefully we will be able to put them on date for this month! So Thursday night we got a call from our zone leaders around 10. haha. My heart was pounding because that usually means one of the two missionaries is getting transferred! So my comp answered the phone, haha, and I saw his face drop! haha. So I knew it wasnt' me!! He got transferred out that next day!! Kinda sucked! I liked serving with him. He is a really good Elder and will be a great missionary throughout his mission. So my new comp is Elder Anderson. He has been out about a year in the mission. He is pretty cool, haha... just kinda on the weird side....but he is a good Elder. We had a good rest of the week.
      Saturday we had the baptism of Ulicces!! It went so good! His whole family was able to come! The best part was that he was really excited about it! At the end ,he bore his testimony, and he said that he hopes that his mom will follow the example of him and his brothers and be baptized!! I was so pumped when he said that!!! Sunday was a really good day at church too!! So our members are pretty much the laziest people in the world!!! Having ward counsel with them is just like having group therapy and they just complain about how they don't want to do anything! So this Sunday we watched the talk that President Monson gave to the missionaries with them and then our branch President went off on all of them!! haha. It was so good! They needed it!! He passed around papers to everyone and said write down a reference for the missionaries to go see!! We got 17 references!! Finally!! Hopefully we will see some more progress with them!! Everything is going good here!! Crazy that it's July! Time is flying! I love and miss all of you guys!!

Elder Liljenquist
 Ulicces's baptism:)

Email from 7-15-13
Hey Everyone!

Don't think that this past week could have gone by faster! Even though the days sometimes feel so long, the weeks seem to fly by! It has been another good week here. We have worked really hard this past week! I have been completely dead by the time that we get back to our house! But I guess that it is a good thing! So Tuesday we had a really good day! We had a appointment in almost every hour... and not one of them fell through! I love teaching like that! But we had a lesson with the family that was listening to the missionaries a couple years ago. Their names are Lady and Wilbert! haha (great names!) but they are really good people! We had a lesson with the husband and taught him the Restoration, It went really well! It is so crazy that we can find the answer to  almost any religious question inside the message of the restoration of our gospel through Joseph Smith! But he is really progressing well. We  were able to meet with them 1 other time during the week and we taught the plan of salvation, haha.. again we gave him all of the answers that he was looking for! This lesson has been kind of hard for me to teach here in the mission! I have studied it really hard for the past couple of weeks! But when we taught it to them everything just went really smooth. I didn't feel nervous and it all just flowed really well! It was the best feeling walking out of that lesson! Me and my comp have run into some ruff patches this past week. He is a good Elder! haha He just has like a wall that I'm trying to tear down! He hardly ever talks! So that has been something that I have been trying to work on with him! But we have been doing some contacting this past week, just some door approaches. I actually like doing those! In the first few minutes of talking to people for the first time and hearing their background on religion, church and things like that, you can usually tell that they still have questions! And most of the time, haha they just cant help but to set themselves up to some point in one of our messages. We were able to find one new this past week from doing door contacts! so I guess that's pretty good! So yesterday we had a pretty good turn out at church! We usually sit around 32 members every Sunday, and yesterday we got 40! haha .We were so happy! The people are shocked when we tell them in our wards back home we are somewhere around 400 haha, But we have been seeing some inactives show back up and starting to come again! We have been working with our branch and we are still really trying to find things to better it and make sure that everyone has a calling so we can have all the help that we can to build this branch back up! I have kind of put that as my goal before I leave here! We still have a long ways to go! But if we can just get everyone in the branch to start working! I know that we could easily do it!
After church we went to a Birthday party of one of the recently baptized members. It was really fun, haha. All the kids broke pin-yotas(?) and there was a ton of food! it was really nice to just be around a lot of people! Later that night we went to a less active house that I have become really good friends with! They are really good people and are really funny! But we have been teaching the kids english! It has been really fun to be able to do that! I gave one of the girls this little book of Mormon in english, and she has started to read it little by little! So this morning we left our house to go and buy food, and my comp has been wanting to go and buy a hammock and we heard that they make the best hammocks inside the jail. Haha. So we went over to the jail and we were like what should we do? haha. and I asked him you really want to go inside of this Jail? and he said yeah, So we walked inside of this jail here in La Venta. Wow! haha. It was a pretty intense place! haha But my comp and I were able to talk to one of the convicts in the jail and he said that he would make him one! So looks like he's gonna get one soon enough! But it has been a good week for the most part! Still looking forward to see what changes our new president has for us! We should be finding out this week sometime! I love and miss all of you!

Elder Liljenquist
 Bryton's new Mission President! President and Sister Morales:)

Email from 7-22-13
Hey Everyone!
Well another week down! I know that I say this all of the time but time here just seems to fly by! We had somewhat of a better week this week! We were actually able to find some of our investigators in their houses! Almost everyone here is sick! This town of La Venta is getting hit hard with the dangey (west nile virus) The mosquitos here are terrible! Everyone here has it!
 So this past week we were able to actually do some teaching! We had some references from our branch that we had to go and contact and were able to pick up some new people to teach! So we had our meeting with our ward mission leader and we had been talking about the way we are working here in this branch. We started to talk about all of the inactives and less actives that we have in this branch. So I asked him if we have an updated list of all of the members in the area, haha and he said that the last time that it was updated was around 10 years ago... if that!! So we printed out the branch directory and and there is a good 10 pages!! haha. and our assistance is usually around 35 people! So this past week we have been going around the whole town and trying to actualize the list and get a definite number, and most of all, to try and get these people back to church! I know that doesn't really sound like a missionaries job to have to do all that, but there really is no one else that is going to do it! Me and my comp talked about it and we thought that maybe it is something that we need to do while we are here.
 So we have 2 really good investigators that are progressing pretty well! One of them has come to church like 5 weeks in a row. She could be baptized in the next week. The only problem is is that she is living with her boyfriend who is also a member, haha. So in order for her to be able to be baptized, she needs to get married! But because she is 16 we need to have the permission of her mom to be able to do that! Our branch president is in the process of that! haha. And the other one is from a  family that we have in the branch! They are less actives and have a daughter that is around 12 years old, and the mom and dad want us to start teaching her and they want to start to come back to church! So we are really excited about that! Especially if we can reactivate this family again! So Sunday morning we left the house a little big early and went around to gather as many investigators and members as we could to bring them to church! So we passed by this less active family and reminded them about church. haha. Turns out her husband was passed out on the floor drunk and she said that she would be coming!. So we got to church and everyone was waiting outside of the building, It was like 9:05 and our branch president was not there yet! Turns out that he was sick and wasnt going to be able to come! And it just happened to be the Sunday that people from the stake came to sit in on our meetings! So some keys finally showed up and we were able to start! The last hour of our meetings, the husband of this family that was passed out dunk on the floor showed up at the church looking for his family! He came into priesthood and was still so drunk! I couldn't believe it! So after church we had somewhat of a talk, haha its not like he is going to remember anything that we said to him! But later that day we had a lesson with a new family that we got from a reference. It went really good! We taught them the Book of Mormon. It really well. At the end of the lesson, I had the chance to invite them to be baptized, and they accepted! So we put them on date and we are really excited to be able to work with them! This week we will be having another zone meeting with our new president to hopefully find out what his plans are for us! Crazy that July is almost done! Everyday I feel that I am learning so much. The language has gotten so much better! I miss and love all of you guys! Keep praying that we stay healthy here! Love you all!
Elder Liljenquist

 His hammock might be he favorite thing ever:)

Email from 7-29-13
Hey family!!!

  Well this week kinda blew! haha. Not much happened other than we got basically got put on lock down to our house because almost everyone here in La Venta is sick with the West Nile Virus!! The mosquitos are so bad!! So last Tuesday, I wasn't feeling that great either so we went to the doctors and got checked out! Turns out that I had all of the symptoms! Don't freak out. Everything is fine! We just took this week and rested, haha... because I guess that is the only way to get rid of the sickness! They gave me some medicine for the headache that I had and that was about it! I'm sure that my mom right now is about to have a heart attack but dont worry everything is fine! haha. I feel great! I mostly think that it was just a little bit of a sun stroke. We have had a lot of sun here in the last couple of weeks! It has been crazy here though. Our branch President had to go to Villahermosa be checked out. I guess that this time every year here it gets like this! haha crazy!!
      So Thursday we went to have a zone meeting with our mission President and his wife. One of the changes that he is making is that he wants us to start Baptizing a lot more! He says that the Apostles talk about this in all of the meetings that he was in. I'm excited to see all the other things that he has planned for us! So after the meeting, he asked me and my companion if we would like to go with him and his family for the rest of the day and help out with some things that he had to do. It was really cool to be able to be with him and his family all day. He took us out to eat and everything.  We were able to talk about the work that we have going and recieve some help that I think is going to help us out alot! It was really nice to be able to be with him!
     But I am really excited to get back out and start working again this week! We have a ton of references to go see and start teaching! Hopefully the next letter I'll be talking about all the baptism dates that we have! haha. During this past week, I have had a lot of extra time to study and read from the scriptures. I love the scriptures and being able to learn and grow in the knowledge of this Gospel. I am so thankful for it and all the blessings that it brings to our lives! Love and miss you all!

Elder Liljenquist

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