Elder San Diego's Address

Explanation on Sending Packages and Letters

If you would like to send a letter:
Elder Eric San Diego
Apartado Postal 118-184
Gustavo A. Madero
Mexico, D.F. C.P 07051

If you want to send a package:

You write this exactly, including Elder Jose Luis Escobar Maya (They don't like more than one name coming to the same PO Box when dealing with packages).

Elder Jose Luis Escobar Maya
Apartado Postal 118-184
Gustavo A. Madero
Mexico, D.F. C.P 07051

To make sure Elder San Diego gets the package just make sure his last name is in the return address (or next to the return address).

December 26, 2011

¡Feliz Navidad! - Merry Christmas!

 ¡Feliz Navidad!

What a work-filled week it has been! Elder Valdovinos and I worked hard this past week, doing all we could to find and teach more people before the end of the change. Although we didn´t have too much success with teaching lots of people, we were blessed to find some really fantastic people who want to talk after they get back from vacations. We were also very blessed to baptize one of our investigators on Christmas Day! Whoo! Her name is Itzayana, she is 18, her family is the one that gives us free huaraches, and she is just super. I had the privilege of baptizing her and it was a fantastic baptismal service on a fantastic Christmas afternoon. Today, I got transferred to the other side of the mission to another area and my new companion is Elder Lozano. He is a really cool kid and is from Monterrey. Being that he is from north Mexico, he speaks really fast so it has been a little strange adjusting to his speed and accent today, but all is well. I like how my companions so far have been natives from Mexico, so I can practice my Spanish and get that much better!

Well, everything is going well here. Just gearing up to do work in this new area! Hope you all are doing well and having a good time enjoying the holidays! I love you all!

¡Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

Elder Lozano
Compañero y Yo 
Itzayana´s Baptism!
Itzayana´s Family

December 19, 2011

Trust In The Lord With All Thy Heart


This was a pretty tough week. Pretty much every appointment for every day fell through, leaving us pretty disappointed. But it´s ok! Everything is always alright because we just keep working away and inviting people to come unto Christ and take part in their salvation. We knocked a bunch more this week and found some more new investigators including this cool family of four. Not too much more to report this week other than that. We worked and had a great time doing it. On Thursday we had our mission Christmas party and had a fun time. Sunday was the birthday of that wonderful woman who gave birth to me, whom I lovingly call my mother! I still keep getting older but she always just stays 34 years old. I don´t know how she does it! 

On a spiritual note, I want to share my favorite scripture. In Proverbs 3:5-6 we read,"Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths." It is such an easy thing to follow the counsel this scripture gives us, but sometimes we just make it so hard. That is one of the challenges of ourselves that we all have to conquer in order to truly find peace and that pure happiness that comes from following the counsel of the Lord. We are like rebellious teenagers. We think we know it all, that we have all the power and capabilities to do what we want and that our way is the best way. What we must learn from this scripture, however, is that we must first trust with all of our heart and lean not unto our own understanding. As we truly trust in the Lord with all the faculties of our heart, and not worry about what we know or what we think is best, we come to find that the Lord´s way truly is the best way we can possibly take in our lives. From my own personal mortal experience, I know that my parents have always suggested the best possible route for me to take. In the end, however, it was always my decision to make and my consequences to suffer and pain to experience if I decided to try my own way which turned out to not be the best. I also know that when I followed their counsel, it was always much easier to do something and there were no difficulties to face. This is the same with our Heavenly Father. He will always let us know what is the best way because He already knows through experience what really is the best way. But, He will never make us follow with His suggestions. The decision is ours to make. We can choose pain and misery from trying to rely on ourselves and try figure it out on our own, or we can simply humble ourselves and take the advice of a loving Father in Heaven and make it easier for ourselves and cause ourselves less pain. So, once we have trusted in the Lord with all our heart and have put aside our pride and imperfect understanding so we can better follow the perfect love and understanding of God, we must acknowledge Him in all things, giving thanks for our blessings and for our trials, which refine us, and asking humbly for His guidance and direction in our lives. Then, if we do all this, we are promised that He shall direct us in all that we do and that, above all, we will have His help, love, and Spirit to be with us.

Well, as we near this time of Christmas, my wish is that we all can reflect on the love of Christ for each and every one of us. He came to us of humble birth. We can come to Him in humble spirits. He taught. We can listen and believe. He was perfectly obedient. We too can be perfectly obedient. He showed us the way. We can walk in it. He sacrificed all for us. We can gain all through Him. Merry Christmas everybody. May you all love one another and may we all strive to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. Remember all that Christ came for, and all He promises us hereafter. I love you all!

¡Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

Torta, yum.  This is a torta cubana which has hot dog, ham, egg, white cheese, yellow cheese, and another type of meat that I can´t remember the name with tomato, avocado, and chipotle sauce.  To say the least, tortas here are pretty good.

December 12, 2011

Faith Precedes The Miracle

Hey hey hey!

What a great week it has been here in Mexico! Lots of success, lots of failure, but all throughout, lots of happiness.

Last Tuesday Elder Valdovinos and I knocked for the most part of the day and had a good time. We also found out that our investigator Monica and her daughters moved away so we were very disappointed with that.

On Wednesday, we had a very full day of appointments because of the tremendous amount of knocking we did the day before. We met with part of a family who we are really excited for. We talked with the mom, Rosa, and her two daughters, Eli and Anateli. They are super ready to listen to the message that we have to share. The daughter Anateli is a great example of faith to me and so I want to share her story real quick with you. Anateli is 21 years old. In July of the year, she and her family were involved in a car crash. The others came away fine, but she was left paralyzed from below the shoulders. The doctors told her that it would be a long time before she would be able to move her body again. To their surprise, she proved them wrong. She has movement in her arms now and is working day by day to regain all movement. I feel she is such a great example of faith and we can all learn from her. She has never in her head questioned why this happened to her, but has only relied even more on her Father in Heaven and her Savior, Jesus Christ. Sometimes, this happens to us in a different sense. We get paralyzed by the challenges of life and the hardships that we must face. We get paralyzed by the worldliness all around us and lose our sense of who we are. But, no matter the struggles we have, we can always be healed. Both spiritually and physically. We must turn to our Lord with full purpose of heart, which means that we must rely on Him and give Him our total trust and follow what He wants for us instead of what we think we want. By using the principle of faith, which means we have a belief in God and His ability to help and heal us and that we also ACT according to what He wants, we come to find that we are free from what paralyzes us and can move forward with Him. So, what we must do is use our faith by praying for help, reading His council to us in the scriptures, and do His will and act how He would have us act. Then, and only then, can we truly come to know God and Jesus Christ more in our lives and feel of their love for us.

Well, on Thursday we met with one new investigator, Iris, and had a great lesson with her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She felt the Spirit as we taught about the cleansing effect of a baptism and she committed to be baptized! Yeah! 

Friday, we talked with a big family about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. We have great hopes for some of them to accept a baptismal invitation. Cool story: one of the uncles (his name is Manuel) in the family is great friends with Jonathan. They run a puesto (like a little restaurant) of huaraches (words can´t describe it. it is delicious! look it up) as a family and he told us to stop by and eat one. So, we stopped by in the night and were surprised when he said that it was all free for us! Whoa! So we ate and were happily filled with Mexican goodness. Now here comes the cool part. They also told us that we can stop by once a day and eat another free huarache!! One for each! Can you say benefits?

Saturday was crazy. All our appointments fell through so we turned to plan B. Knocking! We got a few lessons and some return appointments out of it so it was pretty good. Later in the night, our ward had a talent show. So we went and had a good time with the members and some investigators who came also. Funny story: while they were trying to get the sound to work, I was just chillin like a villain with strawberry fillin when all of a sudden everybody got up and started going outside. I was confused for a little bit, as I thought they were doing some sort of game or something. I again relaxed and leaned against the wall only to feel it move like a wave. Not good. So, I thought to myself: Hmm, people are leaving, the wall feels like a wave, so, I must be in an earthquake. So, I followed everyone outside. Come to find out, it was a 6.5 earthquake but the epicenter was somewhere south of the city, so it felt pretty weak over here. Cool stuff. Later, some members challenged us to basketball. So what did we do? Accepted and beat them of course! Good stuff. 

Sunday was really good and there was a great Spirit there. Felipe and Jimena came to church and enjoyed it so we are excited to see them tomorrow. Later Sunday night, we met with a cool investigator, Hector, and had a great talk with him. He even accepted to be baptized! Woohoo!

Today was p-day again and we played soccer in the morning and now here I am writing my e-mail.

Good stuff happening here in good ol Mexico City!  I love you all!  Do great in all you do!

¡Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

December 5, 2011

What Are Your Righteous Desires?

Hey hey everyone!

Sorry about no update last week; we were pretty busy the whole day and I didn´t have time to write. Excuses aside, you just get to read two weeks worth of stuff!

Last week was pretty much a blur of the same thing. We knocked and knocked and taught and taught and contacted and contacted and came away with a few successes. We found this one lady, Rosalinda, through contacting. She was really cool and receptive to the Spirit. We taught her all the lessons and had invited her to be baptized numerous times, but in the end, she told us this week that she doesn´t want to be baptized. But, a cool story from last week is that we ran into one of our former investigators last week, Gilberto, in the street. We talked for about a minute and he told us to come back to his house so we could talk a little more. We were excited about that opportunity and returned and taught his two kids Daniella (19) and Christian (10) because he was a bit preoccupied. We invited them to be baptized and Christian came through and said yes to baptism. He then came to church the next day and loved it! All we are waiting on now is for his mom to agree with Gilberto and let him be baptized. So, that was a pretty cool little miracle from last week. Funny story from last week: On p-day we went to a sort-of mall place and wandered around for a bit. After a good time of wandering, we had hunger, so we went to the food court in search of scrumptious cooked things to satisfy our stomachs. You know what we ate? Chinese food. Yup, even here in Mexico City. No matter where you are in the world, they will hunt you down and try to sell you some of their Chinese goodness. What was even stranger was hearing them speak Spanish. Weird.

Anyway, as far as this week goes, we did a lot of knocking. Lots and lots of knocking. But! Good news! While knocking, we found this one man named Felipe. He invited us in and we taught him about the Restoration of the true church of Jesus Christ. He was very receptive and we had good hopes for him. When we passed by the next day to teach him again, we were very suprised. We gave him 3 Nephi 11 to read and also the pamphlet about the Restoration. He read them both and even read further than what we gave him to read and he even started to read from the beginning of the Book of Mormon! Wow! He said that he feels peaceful when he reads the Book of Mormon and that he likes it because it is direct and simple. We told him that his feelings were the Holy Spirit confirming to him that the Book of Mormon is true. We then taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited him to be baptized. He had a few questions and we solved those pretty quick and again invited him to be baptized. He said he wants to talk with his wife about it first so they can be a family about it in making this decision. So we are excited and praying for him and his family and preparing to talk with the rest of them soon and inviting them all to be baptized.

Okay, time for some sad news. None of our investigators came to church so that means no baptisms happened that happy 3rd of December. But, we haven´t doubted yet so we are just working harder to get them all to church so we can baptize them! Now it´s time for my funny stories this week. On Wednesday, I ate something called pescueso. Now I know what you are thinking, what is pescueso? Well, pescueso is a good ol thing we know as chicken neck! Yum! It was good and there was just enough meat to satisfy the mid-day munchies. Then, on Friday we got offered marijuana! Crazy kid, offering us marijuana. At least he had a sharing attitude?

Well, time for me to go. But! Some faith inspiring thoughts I need to share first. In Alma 29:4 we read about how God will grant us that which we desire, whether it be unto eternal life or unto death. All that we desire, we will receive. However, if we are not receiving what we desire, it is because we are not working hard enough for it. Thus, if we work hard for what we desire and align our will with God´s so we are both desiring the same thing, then we will receive tremendous miracles in our lives. Now go and ponder that and let God grant you blessings according to righteous desires! 

I love you all!

¡Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

November 21, 2011

Mark Your Calendars for December 3rd!


Lots of good work this week and lots of people progressing!

This week Elder Valdovinos and I finished knocking in our area, so we started on round two of knocking and had great success!  We met a lady named Patricia and taught her about the Plan of Salvation.  She loved it and we are making plans for her to be baptized.  We also met with a woman named Andrea who had talked with the missionaries ten years before, but the missionaries were transferred and none ever came back.  We taught her a little about the Restoration again and she loves talking with us.  We hope to commit her to a baptismal date this week and have her baptized on the 3rd of December!

For the most part, this week was pretty calm as we knocked and contacted a bunch of people.  We finally met back up with one of our investigators, Sanjuana, on Friday and taught her and her grand-daughters about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Spirit was storng in the lesson.  They loved listening to us and learning more about the gospel. Sanjuana came to church this week and knows that she needs to get baptized in the correct form by Jesus Christ's example, so we are setting her up to also be baptized on the 3rd of December.  We promised her that as she obeys these commandments from God, that she will be blessed in her life and will have more peace in all she does.  I know this to be true!  When we have faith and are obedient to God´s commandments, He is able to open the windows of heaven and work miracles in our lives.

On Saturday, one of the wards in our stake had a youth missionary activity.  They were paired up to go out with the missionaries and spend the whole day with us doing awesome missionary stuff!  It was a neat activity and we had a lot of fun knocking and teaching with our assigned youth.  We taught Patricia about the Restoration of the true church of Christ and she was very receptive.  We extended a baptismal invitation which she accepted, so we are working on making that commitment firm, resolving all her questions and preparing her for baptism on the 3rd of December!

On Sunday, Sanjuana came to church with us; which was really awesome!  Jonathan also came to church on his own!  He is doing great!  He's continuing to read the Book of Mormon and praying daily!  What a great guy!  I know that he will be so good and firm in following the gospel.  Later, we met Sanjuana´s daughter and taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she accepted to be baptized.  She says that her daughters can continue talking with us and also be baptized, so we hope to baptize all of them on December 3rd!

Today was the usual p-day except we played football today as a zone against another zone.  Pretty fun.  I threw for two touchdowns and got one pick (interception), so it was a good day.

We are working really hard and I know that through our efforts, we will be blessed by God with families to baptize.  Fun stuff!  Lots and lots of hope and anticipation for December 3rd and the rest of this year!

I love you all!

¡Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

November 14, 2011

En Primer Lugar mi Bautismo - My First Baptism

Hey hey!

Wow, another week gone already! I don`t know how it`s possible, but this week has been even faster than all the others.

On Tuesday, we met with this cool couple, Benjamin and Jimena. They have two small girls and are strong Christians. Good start. So we taught them a little bit and are going to keep meeting with them. I know that as they keep being open and receptive to our message, they will be open and receptive to the Spirit which will tell them that this is the only true church of Jesus Christ and that they need to follow their response. 

On Wednesday, we had a multi-zone meeting at 8am and had some great instruction from President Tervort and one of the area seventies. They talked a little bit about Mosiah 12-16 which are some great chapters of when Abinadi is teaching King Noah and his priests. So, naturally, I encourage you all to read those chapters! They are great and full of the Spirit. Later in the night, Jonathan had his interview! Yay! He is way excited and so are we.

On Thursday, we had a great day of knocking and contacting. We met with a family and feel they are really great so we are going to focus on them. Later, we met with Jonathan and gave him a blessing to help him feel calm and peaceful since he was really stressed out with a job he had to get done. In the afternoon, we received a nice cold downpour to walk in, so that was cool. 

Friday was a great day. We started off visiting a contact named Sanjuana. We taught her and her grand-daughter about the Restoration and they felt the Spirit very strong. We invited them to be baptized and they are going to pray about it and read the Book of Mormon. I know they will receive an even stronger confirmation of the truth through the Spirit as they do this. So, as you can imagine, we are excited to meet with them again. We visited Jonathan again and an amazing thing happened! He is an industrial mechanic, so he makes different parts for businesses and hospitals. He felt stressed on Thursday because he had a project to complete, but the business called him and wanted it finished earlier or they would cut a big chunk of his pay. So he was pretty stressed out and that`s why we gave him a blessing. I know that priesthood blessings are from our loving Father in Heaven given directly to us through a worthy priesthood holder. When we met with Jonathan, he told us that he got all the work done super fast and a few hours earlier than expected! Wow! I know that as we show our faith in God and are obedient to His commandments, He blesses us with miracles in our lives.  Later, we met with the family we had contacted on Thursday. The mom is Cecilia and she has three sons: Angel Gael (8), Angel Gabriel (6), and Angel Ariel (2). (I call them "Los Angeles" hehe.) We watched the Restoration movie with them. They are really cool, and we are going to work on getting them to church and being baptized. Cool story from Friday: I ate tacos made with cow brain! Yeah! Funny thing is, they were really good. 

Saturday was great! We finally had some success! Jonathan was baptized! Woohoo! I can`t describe how happy it made me feel, and I was the one that got to baptize him! Way cool experience!

On Sunday, Jonathan was confirmed! We are so happy for him and he feels so happy. I know this true and lasting happiness comes in and through the gospel of Jesus Christ and by following His example in our lives. Later, God gave us a gift! A lady named Andrea walked up to us and said she wanted to meet with us. She had talking with missionaries about 10 years ago, but they got transferred and she didn`t know how to get in touch with them. We are really excited to meet with her and hopefully commit her to baptism! 

Today was another good p-day. We went to downtown Mexico City and I bought a few cool bags and a jacket. Cool story is that I bought two tamales, two bags, a jacket, a suit pin, and lunch for all about the equivalent of twenty-three American dollars. Cool stuff. Oh! Shout-out to Cole Patterson! Today we were walking and two women introduced themselves to us as members of the church from Germany! Cool.

Well, that`s about it for this week. Keep doing great in all you do! I love you all!

¡Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

Jonathan's Baptism
Elder Valdovinos, Jonathan & Elder San Diego

November 7, 2011

"Luiz Offers You His Protection!"

Hey everyone!

Yet another week has gone by and boy was it fast!

Last Tuesday and Wednesday was Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It was fun learning a little more about it and seeing the people here participating in that traditional holiday. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were pretty similar. We had some investigators who told us they didn´t want to keep following with the lessons or be baptized so we had to drop them. So, in light of that, we knocked and knocked and knocked some more trying to find some new people who are interested and want to listen to this message. Funny story from Thursday: while I was knocking doors, I found a drunk guy sleeping on his patio. I called Elder Valdovinos over to take a look and join me in trying to wake him up. Like anyone else would do, Elder Valdovinos and I got little pebbles and pieces of vegetation to throw at him. We yelled and knocked on his gate and tried everything in the book, but he was out cold! He didn´t even move as we did all of this. Crazy. Elder Valdovinos and I had a good laugh at that.

Friday we knocked some more and met with some of our investigators. We met with a lady named Rosalia who is really cool. She likes talking with us and listening and wants to come to church with us. She is interested, so we are going to work hard to teach her all she needs to know and have her feel the Spirit to know this church is true so she can make the decision to be baptized. Her son is also interested, but we have yet to meet him.  From what she says, he sounds cool and willing to listen and is excited about it too. We also met the uncle of one of our investigators, Jonathan. His name is Luiz and he thanked us for all we have done for Jonathan and said he would like to talk with us one day. He also said that if anyone messes with us to just tell him and he will go beat them up. Yeah, we roll with security down here.

On Saturday we met with a young couple that another missionary gave to us as a reference. They are great. Their names are Mitchel and Brenda and together they have a little baby girl who is one month old. They have met with the missionaries before so they have been taught about half the lessons and love it. Elder Valdovinos and I taught them a little more and invited them to be baptized and they accepted! Woohoo! We haven´t set a specific date for them to be baptized yet since we have to get them married first, but it will be really soon.

Sunday was long but so good. Jonathan came to church this week and liked it and has his baptismal interview this Wednesday and his baptism on Saturday. Needless to say, we are all pretty excited. Just a little fact about Jonathan: before, he used to drink 50 liters of cerveza every week. Yes, 50. Last week he was down to only 2 liters and having no problem. We suggested for him to quit and abandon it forever and he agreed! I know that all things are possible as we turn to the Lord and ask for his help in our lives and rely on him. Such a truly amazing experience. Later, we met with some investigators, Gregorio and his two daughters Liliana and Ariadna. We invited Gregorio and Liliana to be baptized, but Gregorio said no, he wants to take more time to decide. However, Liliana said she wants to be baptized. She first needs the permission of her dad so we are praying that he will let her be baptized. When we were walking home, a drunk joven (youth) told us "Saca para una cahuama (a cahuama is a big bottle of cerveza)." (Give me your money so I can buy a cerveza) We just told him we had nothing and kept walking. Pretty funny.

Today we played soccer as a zone again and my team did pretty good. We all wore our Mexico jerseys and had a great time. I am getting pretty good at the good ol ball handling skills and scoring goals. Today I scored two goals! Yeah. I even tried a Chilena (bicycle kick) today and it almost went in but the goalie just had to be there to stop it and take away my glory.

Lots of good stuff happening here in Mexico! I know without a shadow of a doubt that this Church and gospel are true. There would be no reason to be out here if it wasn´t that way. I have people all day try to tell me that I am wrong and have been deceived, but I know deep within the truthfulness of all that I know and teach to others. I have received my witness from God and there is no way for me to deny what I know. I love this gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the fulness of the truth which God has to offer us. I know this with all my heart and soul. I bear testimony that it is true and invite anyone who is curious about it to learn more and test God to ask him if it is true and see by their own experience if it is indeed good. I know anyone who does this will receive from God their answer and his love and presence in their life.

I love you all! Keep doing great in all you do!

¡Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Wow. One month in the field already and it still feels like I arrived earlier this week. Crazy!

Last Tuesday we had a great day teaching people and meeting with some of our contacts. Jonathan is doing great with cutting back on his drinking and is almost completely off of it. I know that as he keeps relying on the Lord, he will have the power to resist evil and temptations like never before. We also met with a really cool girl of about 28 years of age whose name is Karina. She has cousins and an uncle and aunt who are all members so she knew a little bit and that her cousins all served missions, but nothing more than that. We taught her and the Spirit was really strong, so we set her for a baptismal date on November 12 and she accepted! We also met with a real cool family Gilberto, his wife Natalia, and their son (one of three kids) named Christian. They are awesome and love hearing what we have to offer, so we will extend a baptismal date soon to them. The cool thing is that Gilberto and Christian are learning English so it is fun talking with them in both languages.

Wednesday started off with us going to the immigration office for me to sign some papers. We moved Jonathan`s baptismal date to the 5th of November to give him a little more time to prepare. We also taught Karina the commandments and she accepted to live all of them, which she had no problem doing before, which is great! Later, Josè Manuel and Andrea had their baptismal interviews, but they aren`t prepared. Elder Valdovinos and I have done almost all we can to teach Josè Manuel that it is important to be baptized in the correct form like Jesus Christ, but he doesn`t want to accept it even though he knows perfectly that he should. Andrea wants to be baptized, but doesn`t want to keep a certain commandment. We are going back to them to teach a little more and extend the offer to live all the commandments and be baptized. If they don`t accept, we are just going to have to move on and visit them only like once a month just to see how they are and if they want to make that covenant with God. That`s the thing, too. We can`t pick and choose which commandments work for us and which don`t. God doesn`t work that way. We need to obey all of His commandments for Him to be able to bless us.

Thursday, we knocked a bunch and made a bunch of return appointments that we hope go well. On Friday, we had a lot of success! We knocked and taught a bunch of lessons and have a bunch of new investigators now! I am excited to return to them all because they can really feel the Spirit, which is the most important part in conversion! We talked to Jonathan tonight and it was amazing. He said that although he has been off of drugs for two years now, he has never been able to quit drinking cerveza until he met us and started talking with us! He had tried everything in the book to try quitting, but it wasn`t until he started relying on God that he has been able to stop. Wow. He said we were like angels to him and that he is so grateful for us bringing this into his life. Wow x2. It is truly amazing having a front row seat in seeing God work miracles in His children`s lives.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much the same, a lot of knocking and contacting with a little success. Crazy thing is that Elder Valdovinos and I have almost knocked our entire area, so we will finish in the next few weeks and start round 2 of knocking again!

Today has been a relaxing p-day. We played some soccer this morning and are going to finish our day with washing clothes and having our district meeting. Whew! What a week!

We have a bunch of people who are in line to be baptized, so hopefully November will be really successful!

Take care and love you all!

¡Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

Preaching to...
...a Large City

October 25, 2011

"But of You It Is Required to Forgive All Men!"

¡Hola everyone!

What a crazy week it has been here in Mexico!

Ok, so on on Tuesday we met with Jose Manuel and Jonathan. Jose Manuel is doing good and we put a goal date for him to be baptized on the 29th of October. He just needs to come to church now and pray for his response which I know will come if he just asks. Jonathan accepted a baptismal date today for the 29th of October! It is really exciting. He just needs to come to church now.

Wednesday, we taught Jonathan about the commandments and he has committed to live all the commandments and accepted to live the law of chastity, law of tithing, and word of wisdom! He said that he used to be a drug addict but he is on his second year now drug free. He said all he needs to change is that he drink a little bit of cerveza but said it is something he is willing to give up to be baptized and said he would gladly follow through with that. Yeah!

Thursday, we headed down to the mission office for me to sign some papers because there were conflicts with my name. Then, we met with our investigators, returned to our contacts, and knocked some more doors.

On Friday we knocked almost all day and found a really cool family and taught them the first lesson. The mom´s name is Laura and she has two kids, Mariana who is 12 and Benjamin who is 9. Benjamin loves us and likes to listen to the message we have. We know they are really good and that we can baptize them with a little hard work and faith. Funny story: Benjamin loves to listen to me beat-box and he and all his cousins are enthralled with it. Another funny story: Last week Elder Valdovinos and I were walking and I stepped in some wet cement, leaving my footprint. So now, I can really say I left my footprint in this first area of mine!

Saturday was more or less a somewhat disappointing day. We had all our appointments fall so we knocked and contacted a bunch and had a little bit of success. What makes up for it all is knowing I am doing the Lord's work and he is with me through it all!

Sunday was great and crazy at the same time. Andrea came to church and had such a powerful confirmation from the Spirit that this church is true. We talked to her for a little bit and are going to set her for a baptismal date this weekend! Hurray for the Spirit and prayers being answered! In other news, my camera, umbrella, and flashlight got stolen. They were all deep in my bag so I know that the only time someone could have taken my stuff was when I didn´t have my bag in my sight, which was only once during the day when we were helping one of our investigators with something and we were on the roof with him and his mom was downstairs. She does not like us and said our church is just one big lie. Anyway, I know she took my stuff, but she won´t admit it. So, I have just followed through with what Christ taught to love our enemies and it has given me such peace to do that. I just hope I can get it all back!

Today was another good p-day. We went to downtown Mexico City and saw all the cool buildings and later we have some interviews. Busy busy, but so great!

Well, I have to go. I love you all!

Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

Me in front of a Catholic Cathedral
The Mexican Flag

October 18, 2011

Predicad Mi Evangelio - Preach My Gospel

A great week it has been here in Mexico! The time seems to just fly by so quickly here!
Tuesday was a pretty good day. We contacted a bunch and knocked doors like crazy and ended up with quite a few appointments. Other than that, not too much else happened...but! It is just dandy!
On Wednesday we had some success! We found a lady named Denise and taught a great lesson and the Spirit was very strong. We invited her to be baptized and she agreed! Yeah!
Thursday, we started out with no appointments, so we went to work knocking doors and contacting! We even found some people that we taught lessons to and they were very receptive. Yay! Elder Valdovinos and I are praying to find a great family to teach and baptize. I know that as we keep working hard in this area, we will receive a family in answer to our prayers! On another note, the members here are great! They are so nice and we have a meal appointment every day! Hurrah for not starving! Here in Mexico there is only really one meal of the day at about 3pm and that`s pretty much all I need or even feel like eating, which is great!
On Friday we had a bunch of appointments. For the most part, a lot fell through. But the ones who we got to were great! We have one investigator named Jose Manuel who is an older man and drives a taxi. We found him on Thursday and returned today and he read 3 Nephi 11, the Restoration pamphlet we gave him and took it upon himself and started reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning! Wow! We have taught him a bit and invited him to be baptized and he is going to pray and think about it this week and come to church and says when he feels it is right he will be baptized. I know as we pray to know the truth, we will always come to know it!
Saturday was good. We have 5 people we are really going to focus on: Jaime, Jonathan, Jose Manuel, Adreana, Denise, and Joselyn. I do not have time to expound on all of them, but they are all great and we are setting them all up for baptisms as they progress! I know that this gospel blesses lives. I have seen it in my own life and I see it even more in the lives of those we teach! So amazing!
Sunday was okay. Church was good and after, Elder Valdovinos and I knocked and contacted some more and had a little bit of success. And, as we keep working, we will have even more!
Today was p-day yet again, so that meant soccer with the zone! My team pretty much dominated all day long. We had a great offense (I scored a goal!) and a killer defense (me and our goalie Elder Brimhall!) and went 15-2 today with an 8 game win streak. After I finish this e-mail, Elder Valdovinos and I are going to get some tacos! Yay!
Everything is just amazing here. I wish I had more time to tell more! Anyway, I love you all! Take care!
¡Ten fe y se obediente!
Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

Lots and Lots of Houses!!

October 12, 2011

Bienvenido a la Ciudad de México (Welcome to Mexico City)

Hola and many greetings from Mexico!

Wow! What a week it has been here in Mexico! Everything is just amazing. The people, the food, serving the Lord, and a bunch of other things! Family, you would have a hay day here because there are SO many VW´s driving around up in this piece!

So last Thursday and Friday weren´t much of anything. Just a bunch of meetings and things for the missionaries leaving the MTC. Saturday and Sunday were spectacular and very spiritually uplifting from General Conference. I highly recommend reading over the talks again or going onto lds.org and watching videos of the talks. They were so good!

So. Monday. My first day in MEXICO! As I was flying in to the city, I looked out the window and what did I see? Houses. And I mean a lot and a lot of houses and buildings. They went as far as I could see! And I´m looking out of an airplane! President Tervort and his secretaries came and picked us up from the airport and drove us to the mission home. It is so crazy when you drive around here! There are basically no lines and people are merging whenever they want and driving super fast. So fun! Crazy thing is even with all the crazy driving, I have yet to see anyone hit another car. Mexico City is just great. I really feel at home here. I also feel unusually tall. That makes me happy. So we went to the mission home, had dinner (Pizza Hut and lasagna), and had a great meeting with President Tervort talking about what we ought to expect out of ourselves and how to help people know this gospel is true through a witness of the Spirit. Really great. Then we met our trainers! My trainer is Elder Valdovinos. He is from here in Mexico City except a different part. He is bien chito (really cool) and is great. Fun fact! Elder Valdovinos was also the trainer of one of my friends and basically roommates Elder Quirante! Crazy.

Tuesday was my first day in the field and boy was it crazy! Elder Valdovinos and I are opening a new area so we were starting from scratch so that means a bunch of knocking doors and contacting for a while which is very fun. I was getting so lost trying to understand everyone here. They speak so fast! But we had a few contacts and I ended the day with some lovely blisters on my feet. (good news now is my feet are like rocks! yeah! no more pain for me!)

Wednesday was great. I started contacting and knocking doors by myself! Yeah! All our appointments for today fell through, but it´s ok! It just means we get to work even harder to find the people God has prepared!

Thursday was pretty similar in that basically all our appointments fell through so we got to do a bunch more knocking and contacting! Elder Valdovinos said we need to try get up to 25 contacts each. Yay for motivation!

On Friday it poured on us! So much rain. Oh how I love it. Whether my books like it is another story for another time. We did more contacting and knocking and found a great lady named Blanca. She invited us in as we were knocking our last street for the day and we taught her about the Restoration and Book of Mormon. I felt the Spirit strongly and know she did too. We got her to even commit to read part of the Book of Mormon and pray about it and about Joseph Smith! God is always so gracious towards us in our lives. His Spirit and words in the scriptures always touch my heart.

Saturday. All of our appointments fell through so we knocked and contacted for most of the day. And guess what? I ended the day with 28 contacts! Whether or not they fall through doesn´t matter too much, just the fact that I can hold my own in conversations and understand people is great and also that Elder Valdovinos and I are talking to more people and about to find some investigators! It rained again also so he and I were nice and wet for a good part of the day.

Church was way good yesterday. There was such a great spirit there as we had a testimony meeting. I even got up and shared my testimony in Spanish! Thanks to Heavenly Father for the gift of tongues, I am doing pretty good in the language. We taught a great guy named Jaime also. He is great and I know that as he reads the Book of Mormon and prays, he will receive his witness of the truth and receive direction from on high in all he does as we promised him, just as I know we all can receive the same in our own lives!

Today was P-day so we played soccer as a zone. It was way fun. Elder Valdovinos and I also went and got tacos at a local stand. They were AMAZING. Street vendors here are superb and I would eat from them every day if I had the dinero to. These three things you will always find on the streets: tacos, chicharrones, and gelatin. Isn´t Mexico City amazing?

Well that´s all for now. I love you all!

Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

New Arriving Missionaries at the Mexico City Northwest Mission Home
Training Session for the new missionaries & meeting their Trainers
"Meet & Greet" at the mission home

September 29, 2011

Adios, Estados Unidos--Hello Mexico!


Guess what?! This is the last e-mail I will send in the United States for the next 22 months! Crazy! The MTC has been so great but I am so excited to finally get out to the mission field!

But! This past week has been great. Friday was a good day. Elder Ridd and I taught some good lessons today to Beny and Ernesto who both are doing great. The Spirit is such a blessing! I can feel it everytime I teach and I know that the Spirit is the true converter of people's hearts.

On Saturday Elder Ridd and I taught a great lesson in the TRC about the gift of the Spirit and the blessings it brings in our lives and how we can receive answers through the Spirit. 1 Nephi 15:11 is an amazing verse all about the Spirit and what we do before we receive answers from the Spirit. Go search it! It's so great!

Sunday was Fast Sunday so we had Mission Conference again. I love the amazing spiritual boost that Sunday always brings. Here are some points from the mission conference!
  • Matthew 28:19-20
  • Missionaries must have faith, be worthy, and have the spirit
  • Don't accept anything less than being your best
Those are just a few points, but it was just an amazing conference! It just makes me so much more excited for General Conference this weekend! Yeah!

On Monday Elder Ridd and I taught Ernesto for the last time before we leave. Even though it was our teacher acting as one of his investigators from his mission, I still felt so connected to him and it hurt to tell him we were getting transferred and that other missionaries would come after us and keep teaching him. I just can't wait to get out to the field and teach others what I know and just love them and help them in their lives!

On Tuesday we taught Beny for the last time also. He is also preparing for baptism soon and he is doing very well with his goal to quit smoking! I am so proud of him and his huge efforts he is making to follow Christ in his life. Later that night, we had our Tuesday Devotional! Elder Don R. Clarke from the Seventy came and spoke to us and it was great! Here are a few of his points:
  • Don't go through the mission, let the mission go through you.
  • There is no time for discouragement AND faith. You need to choose which one you will have.
  • Missionaries must: follow the Spirit, search the scriptures, keep the commandments and be obedient, and apply what you learn
  • Your mission will change you for eternity
I loved Elder Clarke's talk. It was truly inspired and the Spirit was very strong. One of my favorite parts of his talk was the end when he recited this poem:

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile:
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar"; then, "Two!" "Only two?
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three--" But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone!" said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth." Swift came the reply:
"The touch of a master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine,
A game—and he travels on.
He's "going" once, and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.

Wow. So great. And that's what I get to do for the next two years! Help people obtain the touch of the Master's hand in their life.

Wednesday was great! I had the chance to be a host elder again which means I helped new elders get all settled in and ready to start their MTC experience! I also got called down to the Travel Office and was told my visa came in! So, today (Thursday) I get to go down to the consulate and sign my visa! Holla!

Today is preparation day once again so I have the day to prepare and start packing, attend the temple, and sign my visa!

Great stuff is happening here! I love the Lord with all my heart and I love the gospel with all my soul. I know this church is true and that the Book of Mormon is a true record and testament of Jesus Christ!

I love you all and pray for you!

Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

Elder May & I being "BAUSS"
THE DISTRICT! - looking sharp Elders!
Elder Williams - a fellow BYU 185ther

September 25, 2011

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Hola everyone!

Not a whole lot to report this week since one of our teachers was out of town, but here it goes!

Friday was alright. One of our teachers, Hermano Ackerson, was out of town this weekend because his sister was getting married. So, we enjoyed the presence of our 14th substitute! Yeah. Her name was Hermana Lucero and she was very helpful! She is from Mexico originally and does not speak too much English, as she is learning the language, but it was fun learning from her and listening to her talk. It's pretty amazing how far I have come in my language skills these past 7 weeks. I feel that when I speak to native speakers, I understand fully about 98% of what they are saying! Wow! Power of the gift of tongues right there for you. As far as speaking goes, I am still improving! I know all my grammar concepts and can communicate pretty well, but I need to study some more vocabulary so I won't have to keep talking my way around things like I do now. But! I know that as I keep working hard at the language, great blessings will come and I will be able to communicate as well as I want to!

Saturday! Today was really good. We taught at the TRC (teaching resource center; a place here where volunteers come to be taught to give us practice) and taught a man about how the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses our lives and how it has changed his life. The Spirit was really strong and the member we were talking to had some amazing experiences with the Spirit and knowing for himself that the gospel was true. Elder Ridd and I taught Ernesto again today and to our astonishment he told us that he knows it is important to be baptized and that he wants to. We told him that we would love to help him get to that point of baptism but that there were certain requirements needing to be met before being baptized (receiving all the lessons, living the laws of the gospel, interviews, etc.). So, I know we have a really good path with him and we will continue to help grow his faith in Jesus Christ!

Sunday was another good day. The sacrament is such a blessing and it is that sacred time during the week where we can truly reflect on the Savior and partake of the emblems of His sacrifice. We had our weekly Sunday Fireside and got to hear from a district president here at the MTC, Brother Wilkins. He gave a fantastic fireside that lifted me up and gave me some more confidence to press forward with faith.

Monday was good, lots of class time, planning and goal setting so it was a very productive day!

Tuesday, again, was an amazing day. So, this week we each received the special copy of the Ensign magazine for the month of October. I highly recommend that you find one and read it. It is fantastic! It is all about the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ and it's changing power in the lives of everyone. So, guess who we had the opportunity to hear from this week in the devotional? Elder Russell M. Nelson! Wow! I was told it is rare to hear from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles every couple months but we have had three members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles come and speak to us all in the last month! What a tremendous blessing! He talked about the Book of Mormon and how it truly does testify of Christ and gave his testimony of all the truths that we learn in it. I, alongside with Elder Nelson, bear testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. It bears testimony of Christ. It is another set of holy scripture that is a companion to the Bible. It is the word of God. It contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is evidence to us in these last days that God does love us. I know it is true and know that whoever reads it with an open heart and mind, with true intent to know the truth of the things of God our Father, that they will receive the confirmation from the Holy Spirit that it is indeed true.

On Wednesday I got to be a host missionary for the new missionaries who came in! Fun stuff. After helping the new Elders, I returned to class and had some more good instruction from Hermana Lucero.

Today was another good preparation day. It was great to go to the temple again and take a small break from learning for a few hours.

Well, my time is up and I have to get back to the work!

I know the Gospel is true! I love you all!

Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

Elder McLean - a member of my BYU ward and one I home taught!
Provo Temple
New favorite pasttime - "PHOTOBOMBING"

September 17, 2011

Round Up Your Shoulders!

Hola once again!

Life here at the MTC has been pretty good and it is just rolling by! Time goes so fast here, so I'm sort of scared to see how fast my time in the field goes by. But! Being a missionary is super great and such a blessing!

On Friday we had class and the usual things of the day. We taught Ernesto today and it went really well. We taught about the Plan of Salvation and I feel him getting more excited as we teach him concepts of the gospel.

Saturday was a great day full of lesson after lesson. My companions and I are really coming together in our teaching and is flowing out in a good way for our investigators. I feel myself getting a better handle on the language day by day. I still feel like it is far from good though which just gives motivation for getting better! Yeah! I know that whatever we do with the help of God through the power of His spirit becomes so much better and we improve so much more!

Sunday was awesome. Being the 10th Anniversary of September 11th, we watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir special of Music and the Spoken Word in which they commemorated those who suffered on that September day ten years ago. It is humbling to remember people's sacrifices for others when they are in need and to remember those who gave their lives to insure our freedoms. Still, it is sad to know that such evil can and does exist in the world today. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ changes people and that it is the gospel of peace and will change the hearts of so many who decide to listen to the message I have to share as a disciple of  Him.

Monday was good. We had lessons with both Ernesto and Beny today and both are doing really well. As a companionship, we need to work on helping Ernesto apply the lessons into his life. It was good to remember the needs of my investigators and how I need to teach more with the Spirit or the lessons will not have the power that they could to change their hearts. Other than the lessons, class!

Tuesday was a special day. The day felt pretty normal for a Tuesday until the devotional at night. To our pleasant surprise, we had a visit from Elder M. Russell Ballard who gave that evening's devotional! It was really good and there was definitely a strong spirit of love in the room. Here are some of my notes:

- Let Christ know how reliable, righteous, and trustworthy you are.
- "No matter what may come upon you, round up your shoulders and bear it and always sustain and defend          the interests of the church."
                                     ~The Prophet Joseph Smith to Wilford Woodruff
- Keep focused on the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, especially when you are feeling down.
- Pray with faith and determination.
- Praying is the most important thing your investigator (and you) can do.
- Make sure to help those you teach FEEL the message of Jesus Christ that you are carrying.
- Jesus is the Christ!
- Your mission is preparation for the rest of your life.
- Love the Lord and do what he wants you to do.

So yes, quite a great devotional filled with the Spirit and encouragement.

Wednesday was a great day. I had lots of time to study today and there is so much gold you can find in the scriptures and apply in your life! The word of God has such a profound power to help everyone and lift them up in their lives and change them for the better. I testify that as you come closer to God through the scriptures, you will receive His peace and assistance more in your life and you will be guided in you choices.

Today was very good. Just lots to prepare for this next week! I had the opportunity to go to the temple today and perform a session. What a blessing to have temples in our lives! There was an amazing peace there and I was happy as can be!

Well, that's all for this week! I love you all! I know this church to be true and this gospel to be true with all my heart!

Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

This is Elder Garrett.  This Elder can REALLY sing!  
He and I would always sing together in the dorms.
The District & Hermana Bauserman
Me, Elder Liberna & Elder Dennis

September 11, 2011

Stairway to Heaven

Hello again my family and friends!

This week has been pretty mellow but pretty good all around.

Last Friday and Saturday we received two new investigators, Ernesto and Beny. Both are really great guys and are interested in what we have to say. Ernesto is from Honduras and living in Connecticut right now where he works in construction. He has a family of two children and his wife and he loves to spend time with them. He has heard about the Church, since his sister and in-laws are members, and thinks well of us and what we have to say. Beny lives in the Dominican Republic. He is studying at college right now and also plays baseball for the school. He has a good heart and we got to know him through his girlfriend who is a member. So, I think we will have a good experience teaching them throughout the next few weeks. (p.s. My teachers are the investigators. They are acting out people they taught on their missions)

Sunday was so great! Since it was Fast Sunday, we had our monthly mission conference and heard some great talks from our MTC Mission Presidency. Here is the main point that I took away from the whole conference: Faith, obedience, and repentance are the three factors that help us to progress up the eternal staircase and return to our Father's presence. Faith causes you to come to the stairs of life. Obedience allows you to move up the vertical part of the stair while repentance allows you to move the horizontal part of the stair to move forward to reach obedience again in a continual process of climbing the stairs. Faith, obedience, and repentance are not just one-time events that stop after they have happened, but instead are renewed by us every single day through our diligence in submitting to the will of God every day of our lives.
I know these things to be so true! I testify of them and the power that they have in each of our lives!

Monday was pretty relaxed. We had class and had the opportunity to meet with our investigators again. They are understanding everything and coming along in their commitments that we set for them to read the Book of Mormon.

Tuesday was a very full day. In the early hours of the morning the other two elders who were in my room (Elder Llerena from Peru and Elder Aho from Tonga) left for their mission in Sacramento so it was fun to see them excited to get out to their mission. Later in the day my companions and I went down to the BYU Student Health Center to get some drugs for Elder Ridd since he is sick and has been for a while now. So it was nice to walk outside the MTC gates again. The devotional was great tonight. We heard from Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy and here are some notes: Submissiveness. This is one of Christ's very greatest attributes that we all should strive to develop. As you submit your will to God's will, you will be greatly blessed and be guided in all you do. Decisions do determine destiny! You need to love vertically before you love horizontally.

Wednesday I got a notice that told me I would go to the consulate in Salt Lake to sign my visa, but later in the day I was called in to the travel office and told that there was a mistake on my visa that needed to be fixed so I have to wait until it is fixed to go down to the consulate. So, a little bit of a disappointment but not much. But it was a pretty good day all around.

Today Elder Ridd felt terrible so we stayed home from the temple and just rested and wrote letters and studied so it has been a really relaxed day so far.

Well, that's all for this week! I know this gospel to be true and that it is given to us so we can be even happier in our lives!

Ten fe y se obediente!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

Best Story Ever:
Elder May said when he played football his friend picked up the paper and saw the all-state players.  He said, "When I am All-State, this is the smile I am gonna make!" Thus, this is that smile, "the All-Stater"
Elder Griffin - one of my BYU roomates
Elder Dennis - "opening my understanding"

September 3, 2011

I Know That My Redeemer Lives!

Hola everyone!

What a fantastic week it has been! I have learned so much and have been so inspired and touched by the Spirit in all that I did.

Friday was a great day full of enlightening thoughts and tender feelings. Here is my journal entry from Friday:

Wow! I learned so much today! I love this gospel so much. And the best thing is it is so simple! We were not sent to Earth to start on the straight and narrow path, but instead, to finish on it. We have already been faithful leading up to this life and now we just have to prove ourselves to be worthy of eternal life. Our purpose for coming to Earth is to obtain a body, make covenants in it, keep our covenants, and return to our Father in Heaven. We must follow Jesus and His doctrine which is faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring until the end. What a marvelous plan we have, given us by our Heavenly Father! I know this gospel and doctrine to be true with all my heart. It is the greatest truth I know and I know it is the way we need to follow to receive eternal life with our Father in Heaven.
So many great things happening!

On Saturday, my companions and I taught some more and are really coming together in working as a three-some. The Spirit is so amazing and powerful when you bear sincere testimony of what you know to be true.

Sunday was a very peaceful day all throughout. There was just a certain calm about the campus that was very refreshing. The talks and testimonies in church and also in our MTC fireside were fabulous and very powerful. My favorite part of the day came at night when it was film time. My companions and I decided to watch one of the Joseph Smith movies and it was a great choice. Every time I watch those movies I can't help but choke up because I know of the truth they are portraying. Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God and it was through the power of God that Joseph Smith obtained the gold plates and translated it into what is now The Book of Mormon. He suffered hardships so that the world may benefit from knowing the truth and come back unto the God that gave them life.

On Monday we found out that our teacher, Hermano Arnold, got switched to a new district because of his school schedule so now my district has two new teachers. (including all the substitutes we have had, we are now up to 11 teachers!) Their names are Hermano Clayton and Hermano Ackerson. Both great guys and pretty good teachers so I think the last 5 weeks here will still be pretty good.

Wow! Tuesday! Such an amazing day. The highlight of the day came at the very end when we had our weekly Tuesday Devotional. Guess who came? Elder Jeffrey R. Holland! He is such an amazing servant of our Lord. I will be sending a copy of my notes back home soon so you can know what he talked about a little. But oh my goodness the Spirit was strong. It was even more overwhelming during my district devotional review and testimony meeting after the devotional. All the words spoken and all the testimonies given were so powerful and penetrated and touched my soul so deeply. I love this gospel with all my heart. I love my Father in Heaven. He loves me and loves you too. I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives. I love Him with all my might and I know all these are true.

Wednesday was alright, lots and lots of class and study but it was all good and well worth it. I feel the language coming more naturally to me now but I still have a long way to go! Keep praying for me!

Today was another restful preparation day so not too much to report on. I had the chance to again attend the temple and this time my companions and I decided to perform sealings. Great experiences! Later today we are going to the doctor again for Elder Dennis' return check up. Other than that, it has just been a good week and day and it will only get better!

Ten fe y se obediente!   <--- Familiar "you" usage!

Todo mi amor,
Elder San Diego

The Trio - Me, Elder Dennis & Elder Ridd
Another beautiful day at the Temple
Elder Liberna - my Peruvian roomate

August 27, 2011

“And Who Is My Neighbour?”

Came across a copy of Elder San Diego's farewell talk and thought I'd post it for those who were not able to attend.  ENJOY!!

It may very well have been a beautiful day like this.  The Savior was sitting, teaching some of His disciples, when a man identified only as “a certain lawyer” stood and asked Him, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus knew the man’s heart and understood the question was a thinly veiled attempt to get Him to say something contrary to the Law of Moses.

The Savior responded to the question with two questions of His own: “What is written in the law?  How readest thou?”

As you might expect, the lawyer was able to recite the law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
“Thou hast answered right,” the Savior said. “This do, and thou shalt live.”

But the lawyer wasn’t satisfied with that.  Knowing that there were strict rules and beliefs among the Jews regarding association with those not of the faith, he pressed the Lord for more information, hoping to trap Him in controversy: “And who is my neighbour?” he asked.

It was time, once again, to teach.  Jesus drew upon one of His favorite and most effective teaching techniques: a parable.

You know the parable, how a man from Jerusalem was on his way to Jericho and fell among thieves and was left half dead.  A certain priest passed by on the other side; neither did a Levite stop to help.  Then Jesus taught: “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, “And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”

Then Jesus asked the lawyer one more question: “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among thieves?”  And the lawyer replied: “He that shewed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus delivered His final instruction to the lawyer—and to all who have read the parable of the Good Samaritan: “Go, and do thou likewise.”

In his October 2001 address, Elder Ballard expounds on this story saying:

"Every time I read this parable I am impressed with its power and its simplicity.  But have you ever wondered why the Savior chose to make the hero of this story a Samaritan?  There was considerable antipathy between the Jews and the Samaritans at the time of Christ.  Under normal circumstances, these two groups avoided association with each other.  It would still be a good, instructive parable if the man who fell among thieves had been rescued by a brother Jew.

His deliberate use of Jews and Samaritans clearly teaches that we are all neighbors and that we should love, esteem, respect, and serve one another despite our deepest differences—including religious, political, and cultural differences."

I like that.  We have about 6.7 billion people who are our neighbors, all whom we can and ought to help.  I feel, however, that for you to love those far from you or even someone you will never meet, that you should start with those who are closest to you.

I can think of no closer neighbor than those crazy people I share a roof with and who I call family.

So, what should we do to be a good neighbor?
We can:
·         LOVE
·         SERVE
·         SHARE

As Mother Teresa once said: "If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

To fully love someone, you must look past all that is different about them and accept them for who they are.
Does loving a person solely mean you give them hugs and kisses every time you see them?  No.
Do you always need to buy them things to express your love and gratitude?  Of course not.
One of the greatest ways to show you love someone is by listening.  If you listen, they feel appreciated.  They feel secure.  They know you are there for them.  They trust you.  They feel loved.

One question that always permeates our culture, though, is if we ought to love our enemies.

"Should I love that person who just cut me off?"
"Should I love that guy who just cursed at me?"
"Should I love the drunk driver who killed my whole family in an accident?"
The answer:  YES!

The Lord Jesus Christ, during his Sermon on the Mount, taught:

"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; THAT YE MAY BE THE CHILDREN OF YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN..."

D&C 64:10 states: "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."

As we are commanded to forgive, we are also commanded to love.
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

The next thing we can do for others is serve them.  King Benjamin of the Book of Mormon taught us that when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God.  Whatever we can do for those around us that will lighten their burden, it will be greatly appreciated and well with us.  Just as we ought to love and serve God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, so should we love and serve our earthly neighbors with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.  When we lose ourselves in the service of others, not only are they helped, but you truly find yourself in the service and grow in your testimony and capacity to love.

            Back in my previous ward, I had a unique and very special opportunity to serve and the love and lessons I learned from it still touch me today.  We had a very small youth group in which I was 1 of maybe 3 teachers in the Young Men.  One Sunday we received word of an elderly lady in our ward boundaries who was in a care home and wanted for us to bring her the sacrament.  I volunteered to go to prepare the sacrament for her while our one priest in the ward came to bless, while we had the supervision of our leaders.

We took the sacrament to her for a few weeks and always talked with her for a little while afterwards.  We all thought she was a little off her rocker because she would always tell us how she hated it there and how she wanted to escape.  Sometimes, she would even ask us to take her out of there so she could go back home!  She was wheelchair bound, so there was no plausible way for her to leave, and we always told her that we could not take her home or we all would get in trouble.

One Sunday, after administering the sacrament to her, she told us that she was going home.  We took no thought of it, thinking it was just another one of her dreams of escape.  We continued to talk and then it was finally time for us to leave.  The next Sunday, we found out that the elderly lady had passed through to the other side of the veil.  It touched me so much when I realized what we had done for her and what service we offered.

This old lady felt her time coming and desired the cleansing power of the atonement through the renewing of her covenants by partaking of the sacrament.  It was such a blessing to see the desire and necessity for the sacrament in each of our lives and what a true blessing it is to have it.
The service you can do for others is incomprehensible.  It is such an amazing opportunity to serve someone.  I love it so much and there is no better feeling than when you serve so selflessly.  As I said, when you serve others, not only are they helped, you also grow in your testimony and capacity to love others.

Finally, we can share with our neighbors.  As is commonly said, "Sharing is caring."  Sharing is the outcome of trust and love.  As we come to serve, trust, and love those around us, we are able to open up and are glad to share with them what is ours.  You could share a family meal, a tender moment, a smile, a talent, a testimony, and yes, even a cup of sugar. Sharing, also defined as charity, is the pure love of Christ.  What a joy to be able to share with anyone, and hopefully everyone, the pure love of Christ!  Just as we are asked by our earthly parents to share with one another, we are also asked by our Father in Heaven to share what we have.


Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.
There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.


I love this work and gospel.  And know of the truthfulness and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith, through the power and grace of God, translated the ancient record of the American people.  The stories and testimonies in this book not only are real, but are of such great worth and benefit to us.  The appearance of Jesus Christ to the inhabitants of the American lands happened!  I know this to be the truest thing ever!  Jesus Christ lives!  He suffered for our sins and paid the ultimate price for us.  His love and mercy is stretched out to us through the power of the atonement if we but have faith in him, repent and become as little children, are baptized in his name, receive the Holy Spirit, and endure to the end.  After our best efforts, we will receive the ultimate reward of resurrection and eternal life and be able to stand before God in the last day and declare that our works have been good.  I love my God with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.  I love the joy this gospel brings me in my life. I am so excited to love and serve our neighbors to the south in Mexico City and teach them of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to share with them the knowledge and joy I have, that I may leave their lives a little better.

May we all draw near unto God by drawing near unto each other and may we love each other as the brothers and sisters that we are is my prayer in the sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.