Hello :) Just wanted to let you know that I´m on and report the changes real quick...
So, I now have three subsequent changes that I have been thrown violently out of my comfort zone. Now, looking back on the first one, just getting transferred out of an area isn’t nerve-wracking at all, nor does being told that I´m going to be training and senior comp, in light of this current change. I´m actually pretty at peace now (the Lord has helped me a lot to manage that), but last night after the zone leaders called with the changes I was freaking out. When I entered the field, I was pretty convinced that for my first 6 changes at least I was going to be doddling around in San José as a junior comp without a care in the world (not really without a care in the world, or doddling around, but basically with just the responsibility of being a missionary, without any added leadership positions). Turns out I miscalculated slightly. This change, Elder Esparza and I are both staying here in Huixtla (which I´m very grateful for), but the only difference is that I´m now the district leader. And I can just say that I did NOT see that one coming.
Anyway, that´s the news on the changes :) although I´m pretty nervous still, I have a strong testimony that the Lord calls us in our weakness, and as we strive to rely wholly upon Him and work hard, He qualifies us to do the work to which He has called us.
So, a brief update on our area:
In our area this week, we´ve been very blessed. We will be having a baptism this week (although Sunday, not Saturday, because the branch will be gone in Tuxtla going to the temple on Saturday). We found Ana a couple weeks ago, she´s the youngest of 8 children (she´s 18), and she comes from a VERY humble home. It´s been really tough teaching her, because she learns really slowly (I sometimes feel like I´m beating my head against a brick wall trying to explain things, but it has helped me a lot to become more clear and easy to understand as a teacher), and she hasn´t done super well in keeping her commitments of reading what we leave. But, she has very quickly identified the Spirit, come to church each week since we started teaching her, and she knows our message is true, and recognizes that baptism will help her to start making lasting changes in her life. We´re hoping we´ll be able to start teaching her family as well (she brought her mom to the activity that we had on Saturday, and we´ve also invited them all to her baptism on Sunday, and I think that will open the door to be able to teach the rest of her family).
The other success we´ve had this week has ben with a man named Antonio. He´s a teacher (which like I may or may not have mentioned before, is a super high powered job here), and is much easier to teach because he understands things very quickly and keeps his commitments as far as reading and praying and coming to church. The missionaries actually started teaching him more than two years ago, but stopped visiting him because he wasn´t progressing. We found his teaching record in the area book, went to look for him, found him, and started teaching him again. We had our first two lessons with him this week, and he told us he´s tried to change his life so many times, but hasn´t been able to. I felt prompted to teach him about covenants, and I told him that the covenants of baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost is what he is missing in his life to be able to make a lasting change. We invited him to prepare to be baptized the 3rd of November, and he accepted. I was able to bear my testimony to him that as he follows the Gospel of Jesus Christ and uses His Atonement, he will be able to make lasting changes in his life.
As far as your questions go, that new rule about not door knocking or street contacting must be only for KJ´s mission or the areas around there, because we don´t have anything like that. We knock doors only until about 7:30 at night, and only until then because afterwards it´s just not effective and people never let us in that late, so we always make sure that we have appointments between then and 9. I do know, though, that the majority of Mexico is way more dangerous that here. La verdad Chiapas es bien tranquilo. No pasa nada acá. Since I´ve been here, I´ve never been mugged or threatened in any way. Chiapas is just pretty chill :)
And, that is awesome about your missionary opportunity :) I will be praying for you. We have the Lord´s promise that as we open our mouths, they will be filled (DyC 33), and that the Spirit will testify through us.
I love you all very much :) cuídense mucho.
Elder Andrew Nickerl
P.S. Thank you very much for the addresses :) I get a kick out of being able to write my buddies in Spanish.
A few photos:
It rains here sometimes. Like every day. And when I say "las calles se ponen ríos", I´m not joking, as you can see in this picture. This specific picture was this Saturday, and I got more soaked that I´ve been on my whole mission. And, about an hour and a half after this picture was taken, we had a branch activity. I was still dripping water as we gave the spiritual thought.
A nice view of Huixtla from the roof of our "casa de oración" (our church building). Also with a nice view of the massive orange Catholic church a few blocks away.
You know you´re a gringo living in Mexico when you´re eating peanut butter and jelly tacos. For the record, I had bread, but I ate it all (I´ve been seriously going to town on the peanut butter and jelly lately, that was a huge fave), so I only had flour tortilla left. For the record, while the picture is still loading, this isn´t like the tortilla we eat with every meal. Those are a lot smaller, and they´re corn tortillas, and you buy them by the kilogram in a tortillería (there are tortillerías all over the place here; I think I´m going to open one in the States when I get home because I´m not going to be able to eat without tortilla anymore).