Today is a great day! I am really flying to Mexico in less than 48 hours. Que wow! Eso es loco, ¿no? I'm so psyched!!!! So, I just sent a package home about an hour ago. Hopefully it gets to you soon. It has the hymnals, the three red books we use kind of for our curriculum here, and a crazy conjugation card. Sorry, kind of boring, but I realized that you can't send packages on Saturday after 1:30, so I had to throw it together really fast. I wanted to put a little bit more stuff in it, but I didn't have time. So that's kind of sad, but I hope you guys like the hymn books (I think they're pretty sweet, but we get joy out of very simple things here in the MTC, it's pretty great), and get a little glimpse of what learning Spanish in the MTC is like. The books are AWESOME, especially the littlest one, and with three boys left to serve missions, the odds of at least one more Spanish speaker (especially with everyone having/will have taken three years of Spanish) are pretty dang good.
So, after having a very yo-yo like weekend, Elder Rhodes has a visa and travel plans! Thank you so much for your prayers in his behalf. Thursday afternoon he got called down to the travel office about 1:15 and was told he would be going to the consolate at 1:45 that same day. So that was great. He came back a few hours later with travel plans to Veracruz flying out just a couple hours after Elders Turner, Bastian, and I. Here's the catch: Wednesday he hurt his foot pretty bad playing soccer, but he didn't want to go into the health clinic and risk having to stay here. So, his dad is a foot surgeon, and he emailed home to get some help of what he could do. Understandably, his mom was concerned, and called the MTC to have them check it out. So, Friday Elder Rhodes got called down the the health clinic and then we went down the the BYU Health Center and he had to get some x-rays. The doctor here told him he had a fracture, so he probably wouldn't be able to leave on time. But just to make sure, he wanted to get someone's opinion who was a foot specialist. So, Elder Rhodes ended up driving with his mom that afternoon (because it was too short notice for him to get a shuttle) to go see his dad to check out his foot. How cool is that??? Anyway, his dad told him that he could still go. So! Long story short, Elder Rhodes is still going to Mexico on Monday.
Monday we're leaving the MTC at 6am, so we should be all checked in and everything by 8:15ish... I'm not sure how accurate that will be, but hopefully somewhere around that time. Here are my two addressed for Tuxtla:
Elder Andrew Jason Nickerl
Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission
Apartado Postal 278
29000 Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas
Elder Andrew Jason Nickerl
Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission
Calle Jasmine #210
Fracc. Los Laureles
29020 Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas
Phone: 52 961-671-9761
That is all :)
So thank you for the TWO packages this week! That was a total score. I especially appreciate the little monkey. He is perched on the end of my pen that I use to write in my journal with, and will there remain until that pen goes dry.
Thank you so much for sharing your missionary experience with me! Great job for following the Spirit and being in the right place at the right time :) I am also very glad that Reni opened up and followed the Spirit to tell you what she did. You definitely feel like a safe person, and you definitely have the Spirit with you. Our ability to bless the lives of others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so incredibly great. The Lord has certainly blessed you with the oportunity to do this, and I hope He continues to do so to both of us!
A few spiritual insights from the week:
One thing I loved in my personal study (I think last Friday) is something that I found in Helaman 15. "The Lord chasteneth His people because He loveth them." This goes along so well with President Eyring's talk in conference. When we realize that the Lord sometimes allows us to go through pain so that we can be better, our whole outlook changes. Our teachers have actually been praying this last week for us to have trials in the field. One thing Herman Barnard said was, "If your mission is hard, you need to figure out what you aren't doing right, because it means the Lord isn't trusting you with trials." Or something like that. He said it in Spanish, so it's not exact. But, I know that if we put our trust in God through our trials, He will help us through every step of His refining fire, and we will come through just that much better, just that much more His faithful servant.
Something that we talked a lot about in In-Field Orientation yesterday is that attitude/faith is so incredibly important. President Monson told this story (in a video):
When he was a mission president in Canada, there was one area that just did not baptize. In her reading one night, Sister Monson read that Brigham Young once went through this town/area and baptized 45 people in 3 days. So, President Monson shut down the area for about 6 months. When he reopened it, he told his AP's that they were opening an area that Brigham Young had once had such great success. Word spread, and everyone wanted to go to this area. When it reopened, this same area that had not had any baptisms in a year 6 months earlier became the highest baptizing area in the mission.
This is how I'm going to work during my mission. That area that no one baptizes in? That doesn't mean a thing. Another thing that we were told was this (even all the missionaries going to Russia/Europe/all the other really tough missions): the Lord has prepared people for you to baptize in EVERY area you go to. So don't worry about stereotypes. Have faith in the Lord that He will soften the hearts of the people, get to work, teach, and baptize. That was so powerful for me.
I can't wait to get to the field. To teach by the Spirit, and to find by the Spirit those who need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that as I put my trust in the Lord and work my heart out to serve among His children and invite them to come unto Him, He will bless me in ways that I have not yet experienced. I can't wait to see the Gospel change the lives of those around me.
I love you so much, and miss you. I can't wait to talk to you on Monday!
Elder Andrew Nickerl