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).
September 29, 2011
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,
September 25, 2011
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,
September 17, 2011
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,
September 11, 2011
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
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,