So, I decided that today, I´m going to tell you a little bit about my week before I read all of the emails, because I haven't told you many of the details lately. :)
First of all, this week my companion turned a year old in the mission (on Thursday), so we had a great pachanga (Mexican word for "fiesta"). We bought him pizza for surprise and Elder Finn and Elder Escobedo pulled a cake out of nowhere (I didn´t even collaborate on that one--those guys are good). They´re getting pretty good at that since they did it on my birthday too. That explains the first picture that I attached. Also in the picture I´m wearing the Real Madrid soccer jersey that I bought in honor or Adam.
Now a little bit about the work. Things here in Juárez are awesome. Honestly it´s been a lot harder for me to work with the ward council here than it was in San Cris or Chahuites. We've had to be creative to make things happen. But that´s ok because we haven´t let it be a barrier. We´ve worked with the individual families and there are a couple of families here that I love a lot. We´re going to have a baptism on the 22nd. I think I´ve mentioned Laura before but if I haven´t she´s the cousin/niece of a recently reactivated family and she came to church for the 4th time yesterday. We already taught her everything and she's ready to be baptized already, but we´re waiting for her to have her 5 times at church first. She's amazing and we´re grateful that the Lord put us in the right place at the right time to find her. We´re also going to have another baptism the 1st of March. It´s going to be a 28 year old man that we´re teaching. He´s one of those people that reads and researches a ton so he´s already read a lot of the Book of Mormon. With the research that he´s done he´s had a lot of doubts (you know what kind of stuff about the church there is online), but he´s not like a lot of people that get really hung up on the doubts. When we explain him how it really is, then it makes sense to him. So we´re really excited for that as well.
This week has been a pretty awesome week working with less actives as well. We discoved on Friday that there´s a 19-year-old young man who´s been inactive since he was a teacher who wants to serve a mission. He says that his mom doesn´t want him to go because she´s afraid that he´s not going to want to keep studying in college when he gets back. We talked with him and explained that he needs to go back to church and to prepare himself, and that we´re willing to do whatever we can to help him prepare himself to serve. Then we talked with his mom (who´s also a semi-active member--more active than him) about the example of King Mosiah letting his children go risk their lives to preach among the Lamanites. That made her think a lot and she told us that she´s going to do the same thing that King Mosiah did--ask the Lord. So then the next day we took Daniel (that´s the young man´s name) with us to a couple of appointments. He participated a lot and it was awesome. He told us when we dropped him off at his house afterwards that his mom had already bought him slacks to go to church (he hadn´t been to church for so long that he didn´t have dress clothes that fit him). So we were super pysched. Unfortunately, on Sunday nobody from their family came to church :( but we´re going to see them tonight because we know that the Lord put us there in the right time to help him change his life and go on a mission.
On that note, I´d like to address any young man who´s reading this who´s hesitating or isn't sure that he should serve a mission. I know I sound like a broken record repeating the same thing as everyone else, but for me this is personal. Serving a mission has changed my life. Without doing what I´ve been doing for the last two years I probably already would have flunked out of college and be working at McDonalds without too much direction in my life. I´ve learned here that as I put the Lord first and above all things, keep the commandments, that I can turn my weaknesses over to Him and that He will strengthen me to reach my worthy goals. I´ve learned to be able to focus on more than just me and my temporary wants and needs. I´ve learned to discipline myself to be able to see long term and put other people before myself. I couldn´t do that before. I invite you to put the Lord first and to keep the commandment of serving a full-time mission. Dedicate your life to Him for two years and watch the change in yourself. He will change you from a boy to a man. It´s not just cliché--it´s real.
I hope you all have a great week! Put the Lord first :) I love you all.
Con mucho amor,Elder Andrew Nickerl
We did exchanges this week with our DL. Their area is all up in the hills on the side of Tuxtla. It never turns out as cool in pictures but you can see ALL of Tuxtla from there.
Here´s another panoramic one that my comp took (I did not know that I was going to be in this picture) from a place in our area where you can see almost all of Tuxtla, too.
There is a "plaza de toros" right in front of our house. I don´t know what it´s called in English but it´s where they do the Spanish sport of bull-killing (I don´t remember what it´s actually called but it´s with the matadors). Aparently they had one in December. We know the owner. He´s really old now but he was a torero (matador) for a reallllly long time and he´s a really cool person.
Our district this change.
Happy Mission Birthday to my companion!
This was the night of my companions mission birthday. We were serving the cake and mine almost fell so I thought it would be better to catch it in my hand than let it fall on the floor. And it was. Also that´s a better look at my awesome Real Madrid jersey.