Monday, February 23, 2015

Hello Everyone, This week was a really good week for us! We found a new family to teach, had some wonderful lessons, and also a baptism! Weeks like this are what makes missionary work so worth all of the challenges. I wish every week of my mission could be like this week! Like I said we found a new family to teach, the Moya Cuebas Family. We talked to the parents in the street and asked if we could teach them and their family saomeday and they said "ya come tomorrow at 5:00''. That was the first time that I had ever gotten an appointment in the initial contact with someone in the street. This is a miracle to me because we had been praying to find someone to be able to teach with our investigators getting close to baptism. We went the next day and taught them the first part of the lesson of the Restoration. They are Catholic, but it seems like they are interested to learn more. We taught them about the Book of Mormon the next day and they said that they would read it. The family is the Mom and Dad and four boys ages 8-14, so I really hope that they sincerely search and seek for the truth of this message. They are a wonderful family with strong faith and a desire to serve God. We are still preparing for Luz Maria Arredando and her two grandsons to be baptized. As fare as we know she is going to be baptized this coming Saturday and the two grandsons further on, they still need more times at church. We are very excited for them. Last night we had a Family Home Evening with them, Victoria, and the Garcia Family (an older couple in our ward). We watched Legacy in the Garcia's home and then discussed what they noticed and liked about the movie. Many of the answers were about the Faith the pioneers had. I hope that I can develop as strong of faith as they had! Like I said earlier we also had a baptism yesterday. It was Victoria, and honestly it was a miracle to me because on Wednesday night on her interview with our District Leader for her baptism she didn't pass, and she was incredibly sad and felt like God had abandoned her. We assured her that it would all be okay and that God loved her and that some things simply take a bit more time to work through. The next morning we went and visited her and taught about God's love and the Atonement in our lives. I gave her a priesthood blessing of comfort and counsel and told her that God loved her and was aware of the things she was experiencing at that time. The day after we recieved word that she had a special interveiw with a counselor to our mission President to see if she could be baptized. We accompanied her to the chapel on Saturday for the interview and afterwards he told us that she was ready to be baptized. We decided to have her baptized on Sunday Morning at 8:00 so that she could be confirmed in Sacrament Meeting. President Muñoz, our stake president, was going to baptize her but with the change of plans he was unable to. We asked her Saturday night who she would like to baptize her and she asked me to do it. I was kind of surprised, but I gladly told her I could do that. I memorized the ordinance that night in Spanish and the next morning I performed my first baptism in the mission. She was incredibly happy and excited. I know that this was what was supposed to happen because from the beginning of last week until yesterday was the biggest change I have seen in her the entire time we have taught her. She grew so much through this trial and I am so excited for her to be a member of this church. We had many great experiences this past week and I am thankful for them! Today we had a special meeting with like half of the mission this morning. It was because we got to see Meet the Mormons as a mission. It is coming out in theaters on Friday here and the Church decided to allow all the missions to view it as a mission, and we are not allowed to go see it in the Theaters. I was excited to see it again. It was in Spanish so kind of hard to get everything but I think I understood it quite well. I always love that movie and it always makes me cry because it is inspired. I especially cried during the part about the missionary because it reminded me so much of home! After the movie we had a special training for all of the new missionaries because we are in our sixth week. I was excited that I got to see all of the members of my district from the CCM and honestly it was great to talk to them. This week was great and I hope that it was great for all of you! I love you all so much and am praying for everyone back home! I know that this gospel is true and I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to spread the good news of God to the people here in Mexico! I am so thankful for the blessing it is in my life and I am excited to see the great happiness of others as they recieve it in their lives! I love you all and hope you are doing well! Take care and have a good week! Love, Elder Mitchell J Condie

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hello Everyone, I hope you all had a Happy Valentine's Day! This week was a pretty good week for us. We had some wonderful lessons with investigators and overall it was just enjoyable for me! It rained almost every single day the past week which has been different than what I am used to here, but mostly I liked it! One night when we were headed back to our house it was a downpour and we didn't have our umbrellas because when we left the house it was nice. An member we were visiting gave us some plastic bags to use as ponchos, but by the time we got home we were still soaked. In some areas in the streets the water was like 5 or 6 inches deep and we couldn't go around so we just had to go through, it was quite an adventure, but we were fine! I hope that all of you have had an enjoyable week and that you are all doing well! First of all I will answer the big question of how was the Baptism? Well we didn't end up having it because of a change of plans. Luz Maria Arredando was going to be baptized on Saturday by Brother Garcia but she decided that she wanted her brother to baptize her instead. He is a Bishop in Morelia (which is another semi-big city in our mission) and he said he wouldn't be able to come until the 28th, so we are planning on that day for her baptism! I was kind of sad, but honestly I would have wanted my brother to do it and my family to be there, so hopefully it proves to be worthwhile for her and her family! Well although that baptism didn't happen it is okay because this week we have another one! This Saturday Victoria Comparan is getting baptized. I don't remember what I have told you about her so I will tell you a bit about her. She is also in her sixties. Her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend live with her and her two grandaughters, Lupita (9) and Maria Jose (4). We have been teaching her a lot lately and her and her two grandaughters have been coming to church regularly. It was cool because in church yesterday it was ward conference so all of the Relief Society and Priesthood were combined for the last meeting and we had them announce her baptism and she got all teary-eyed; I think because she didn't expect that; along with that and all of the welcoming and excitement of the members I think she felt very loved yesterday, which I believe is very important for our investigators when attending church! It was also cool because last night I told her many of the members are very excited for her baptism and that I was also excited for her, and she got teary-eyed again. I know that it was the Spirit testifying to here that she is making the right decision in being baptized! It is things like this that I love most about being a missionary! I am learning little by little every single day that I am here! I am slowly getting better at both understanding and speaking Spanish, but still there are often times when I do not understand what people are saying! It is difficult at times because I just want to be able to understand so that I can better teach and share my testimony with them about the gospel! I know that it will still take me quite a while to feel like I understand everything and can do this without the help of my companion in every single lesson, but it is okay! Last week I felt like I was actually better able to share some things in our lessons that I hadn't been able to before which was cool! Today was my first zone activity. We went and played volleyball and had a huge water balloon fight, which was lots of fun! It felt nice to just play around for a bit instead of doing the regular stuff we do. Sometimes I miss just being able to waste time because we are so tightly scheduled every single day here, but I know that is the only way we should be because we get more accomplished that way! We cooked hamburgers which was nice, but honestly burgers are better in America! Haha it was lots of fun and I am enjoying my zone there are some wonderful people around me which I appreciate a lot! Besides that we cleaned our house and not much else because the zone activity took most of the day! I am so thankful to be here serving the Lord. I know that I was called here for these people and I am growing to love them more and more every single day that I am here! I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I know that it blesses lives and families! I am so thankful that I have this wonderful happiness in my life and I am so excited to share this message with others! I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and God's love for me. I know that he loves every single one of his children and always wants the best for them in everything! I feel his love often and I am so grateful for is in my life! I love all of you guys and I am so thankful for your support! I hope you all have a great week! Love, Elder Mitchell J Condie

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I'm getting a little more adjusted to my area and routine

Hello Everyone,

Well this week was a pretty good week. It was definitely easier than last week was. I think I am finally starting to adjust a bit more to this areaq and our routine here. I m starting to grow to love my rea more each and every day. I am starting to learn the area better and I now know how to get to most of the houses or our investigators without help. It is still going to take me quite some time to learn the roads and addresses better, but I know that will come with time.

I think my first week here was hard because it was all brand new to me. In the CCM it was in many ways just like America, with big houses, well-manicured lawns, American food, Americans (and blonde people ;) ), classrooms, and English. Well here it is much different than that; the houses are all squished together and much, much smaller than our house. Most of the houses have one main room that acts like a dining room, living room, and includes their kitchen/cooking area. Then usually one or two other rooms (usually bedrooms) nd a small bathroom. Most houses don't have a bathtub, just  small shower, and many people don't have toilet seats. I have definitely had my eyes opened to the blessing it is to live in the U.S.A. nd specifically Utah.

Our area is very big and covers a lot of different colonias (they are like  small community of 10-20 blocks). Many days we only end up working in one or two areas depending on our appointments. It has one fairly large hill and some days it is hart to want to walk up it, but it is okay, because it is fun to visit the poeple that live up there. Our ward is the Buenos Aires Ward, and we are one of three sets of missionaries in it. Our area is very dusty so my shoes seem like they are always dirty.

I feel like in the two weeks that I have been here I have learned a lot bout both missionary work and the Spanish language. The first week I could hardly understand anything that anyone was saying to me and that was really hard. Now I still cannot understand very much, but I understand a lot more than I did. In the lessons I try to listen and understand, sometimes I do and at times I do not. I know that listening helps me learn, but it is a challenge to listen when I do not understand what is being said. Ususally I get to at least talk a bit in the lesson and share a testimony on what I do understand. I am getting better at the language everyday and many of the other missionaries and members have told me that I speak very well, which is nice to hear, but I still have a ton to learn!

The hardest thing for me in the missionary aspect is talking to people in the street. This is because of two things: is is scary to randomly go up to people and talk to them and many people are apprehensive about talking to us; and two is I still struggle to communicate with people in Spanish. Other than this I feel pretty confident as a missionary, but there will always be things I hve to work on to be a better teacher and better learn the gospel.

On Tuesday after our studies, Elder Ventura and I went and met Elder Laver (my district leader) and his companion Elder Ramos for my first exhcange. I went with Elder Lavery to his area. I taught with him that day and stayed at their house that night and worked with him all day Wednesday. He is from Draper and i talked to him a lot bout the language and he gave me some good tips. It was fun to go with him, but I was very thankful to get back to my area, because his area is one big mountain and my body was exhausted from walking up and down hill all day long. It took me like until Sunday to get bck to normal again and I sill have blisters.

Yesterday was fast sunday and I was super thirsty because of all of our walking, but it was good. I hve always loved Fast and Testimony Meeting th most out of all of the Sundays, and I loved the meetin yesterday because I felt the Spirt strongly. We had one investigator in Church, Hermana Victoria, she is about 65, she brough her two grand-daughters wth her. I was glad she came and I felt like she had a good experience. I was bummed though because the Arredando Family, who was supposed to be baptized this Saturday didn't come, which means they won't be baptized for at least another week. I just hope they come next week!

Overall this week was good. It went quickly and I feel much better than last week. Today we cleaned our house well and went to Walmart to go shopping, the Walmarts here are different too! It just feels weird being in a different country!

I love all of you and hope you are all doing well and that you have a good week!

Elder Mitchell J Condie