Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Week

Hello Family,

I hope that you all have an amazing Thanksgiving this week. It is a wonderful time of the year to remember all that you are thankful for, and to thank God for all of it. This week I invite you once a day to say a prayer of just thanks. Thank God for all that he has given you. I started today, and there is so much to thank him for. As you do this, it will be easier to see the miracles that happen in every moment of you life.

I'm going to miss Thanksgiving. Take a lot of pictures and videos:) And eat an extra piece of the $25 chocolate pie for me:)

Jenna, I am so happy that you had an amazing Birthday. You are so beautiful. And are growing up really fast!!! In just one year from now, you will be old enough to head out on your mission. I hope that you still want to serve. It will be the best thing you have ever done in your life. I Love You a ton and I hope that your Birthday was amazing. (A sister in our ward sent you birthday wishes from me on your Facebook:)) I'm glad that you are having a good time. How is Gilbert High, and being a senior?

That's awesome about your callings mom. Enjoy them...primary is the best:) When are your concerts? Take videos and pictures.

Elder Lopez was in the offices today, and the packages haven't arrived yet, but don't worry, they'll get here. What service did you send them with?
Service Project: Cutting tons of weeds with a machete:) Yes I have Blisters.
 This week has been another awesome week. It was a little slower, but full of wonderful experiences.

Last Sunday we were working with ward council to find and reactivate some more less-active families. The Elder's quorum president invited us to go visit a family about 30 minutes from Frontera. He took us out to visit them twice this week, and they are an awesome family. There only problem (like most of the less active families here) is that they have a lot to do and it is hard to get it all done. So they don't come to church on Sundays. We had two really nice lessons with them about the covenants that we have made as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...and the covenants that we can make. This family was baptized in January, so the time is coming up that they can go to the Temple and get sealed as a family. (It is a one year wait after baptism) We talked about when we were baptized, we made the promise to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, and to always keep his commandments. Then we talked about the Sacrament, and how it is a commandment that he gave us to participate every week, to remember his sacrifice for us. As we talked about the atonement and what it meant for their lives and their family, the Father and Mother began to cry. In that moment the Spirit touched them, and they remembered what it felt like to feel the Spirit. They shared with us how they wanted that back in their family and that they wanted to go to the Temple. The next visit we talked more about the Temple and eternal families. Once again, they were touched by the Spirit. They came to church on Sunday!!!! It was really awesome to find them.

When we make the effort to attend church and participate in the Sacrament every week, we will have an added measure of the Spirit in our lives, and this will help us in everything that we do. The Spirit knows everything, and he knows how to help us in any problem that we can/could/would/will have in our lives. If we live worthy of his companionship, and listen to him, we can come out on top of any problem that we are faced with in our lives. I know this is True.

This Family gave us a reference of their neighbors. They told us that they need the Gospel, but that they probably won't accept it. We went to visit them anyways. That was the first time I have ever been yelled at and attacked on my mission. We met him and asked if we could share a message about Jesus Christ with him. He started yelling at us and was angry because I am only nineteen and he is 64 and that I want to teach him. He also said that I was wasting my time...and that I needed to learn how to do real work. He said that I am a gringo and that I have never worked a day in my life. I thought he was going to hit me, so we got out of there as fast as we could. All in all, it was the first time that anyone has been that angry with me in the mission and all just because I am from the United States and young. It was very interesting. (He also told us that if we were Catholics he would have listened to us:))

This week we have been working with Lorena (Maria Estela's sister). On Thursday we read the Book of Mormon with her in Mosiah searching for how we can find more peace and joy in our lives. In this part of Mosiah, King Benjamin is talking and teaching all of his people how they can have that joy and peace. It is by keeping the Lord's commandments. We then were talking about this chapter with her, when she opened up to us. She shared with us some problems that she is having with her family. Crying she told us that she didn't know what to do or how to do it. We then talked with her about the Holy Ghost. Reading scriptures and asking questions, we taught her that the Holy Ghost can teach her what to do; can help her make decisions. We then asked if that night she would pray and ask God if she needs to get baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. She told us that she would.

The next evening we went back to visit her. She told us that she didn't pray the night before, but then she started to share this experience with us. She told us that she was up late doing a project for her son. When she finished she laid down for a second, and fell asleep. While she was sleeping she had a dream. In that dream she was talking with Heavenly Father. He told her that she needed to read the Book of Mormon…that the answers and the help that she needs are located in it. Then he told her that she needs to pray and ask about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She then woke up. It was 6:00 in the morning. She said that she got down on her knees and prayed. She shared everything with God (she told us that normally she doesn't pray) and was on her knees for 20 min. She then told us that she needed to get baptized!!! Talk about being happy as a missionary!!!! It was super awesome. We are planning her baptism for this Saturday.

On Friday, all of the Schools here marched. It's like a giant parade. It was super cool. Everyone marched...from the little first-graders to the High-Schoolers. The little kids were all in costumes and were super cute, and all the teenagers made some really cool pyramids. It was awesome, and they passed right in front of our house. Living on the second story we had a really good view. It was November 20th...the Revolution of Mexico.

School Parade
Anyways...everything is going really good here. I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving and remember all that you are really grateful for. I am praying for you all everyday.

I want to share with you what I have been studying this week.

I have been focusing on how I can become a better leader. How I can earn the respect and love of all the Elders in my district. I have been study the attributes of righteous leadership in D&C 121, Preach my Gospel, the Missionary Handbook, and the example of Jesus Christ.

The Keys to righteous leadership are persuasion, patience, kindness, and humility. I am learning how to lead by example and avoid conflict at all costs. In moments I need to correct, but it is always one on one, and with a lot of love. I am learning to apologize really fast and asking how I can improve in these situations. I am finding ways to serve and like you mentioned Dad...really getting to know the Elders. What they love, what they miss, who they are, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. We are all learning from one another and becoming better and more unified.

A leadership assignment is a sacred trust from the Lord and should be treated like that.

Everything is going super awesome.

I Love you all!!!

Elder Cavenee

Monday, November 16, 2015

District Unity

Hey Family,

I MISS YOU GUYS!!!! I hope that everything is going super awesome in all of your lives. Life is so sweet and sometimes we don't realize how sweet it is until those moments pass. Live every moment:)

Jackson and Vanessa!!!!! You guys are growing up!!!! WOW! You guys seriously look way older that you did 10 months ago:) That is really awesome that you got to share your testimony in Conference. And your pictures turned out really good.

That is awesome to hear about all that you guys are up too. ALA EVMCO, holiday parties and all:)

Jenna!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!! I know it's not until Saturday...but Happy Early Birthday. You are going to be 18! That is crazy. You guys are all growing up so fast.

Everything that happened last week, I cleared it up. Thank you for all of your advice. I talked to President and apologized to him. I also cleared everything up with the other Elder in my district. He still tries to find things to fight with me about, but like you said the moment I just agree with him. It is really helping to avoid contention. I am also looking for every opportunity to serve the Elders in my district to earn their love. I am really learning a lot about patience, humility and love. Sometimes...most of the time it's better to be wrong even if you're not. I have seen that really, in most of the moments when I want to say something or correct someone, it is over something that is not even important. By staying silent, or agreeing with them, it avoids contention and strengthens relationships. With a specific Elder, he always tries to find reasons to contend, so I have been focusing on eliminating all the possible reasons that he would want to contend. In this, we are all learning...and becoming more unified as a district. On Monday night I was praying for help to know what to do to unify us more, and a really good idea came to my mind. On Tuesday, in District Class, we did a district inventory. In weekly planning that is something that you do in companionships. You talk about your strengths and weaknesses as a companionships, then you share with your companion what strengths and weaknesses that they have. We did this on a district level, but focusing on the good things.

We all had so many things that we admired about the other Elders. We talked about how in the moments that we want to fight, or are angry one with another, we need to remember these good things. It has helped me a lot. When I get angry with some Elder, I remember these things, and the anger passes, and we avoid conflict. It is awesome.

As for the was super. Our baptism fell through, but that is okay. We are going to keep working with Felipe. Hopefully we can get him ready sooner than later:) He was progressing so well and was ready for his baptism this Saturday, but when the Zone Leaders showed up to do the interview...he didn't want to get baptized. He asked for more time. He is really progressing though. He stopped drinking coffee and is coming to church every's just a matter of time:) 

Right now we don't have any baptisms planned for this weekend, but we are going to see if we can get one planned this week. We have several investigators that are super close. We are planning on several lessons this week with the goal of inviting the Spirit and giving these investigators the push that they need to take that step.

We have an investigator named Lorena. She is Marie Estela's sister (one of my converts). She is progressing and is almost ready. We had an awesome lesson the other day about the Plan of Salvation. We talked about eternal families and exaltation. The opportunity that we have to live with our Heavenly Father again. The Spirit was really strong in that lesson. She was crying as we were talking about how she really wants to be with her family for Eternity.

We also taught a really powerful Plan of Salvation to William's mom. She is so close to taking that step of Baptism. She keeps saying that she just needs more time, but she is completing all of the commitments that we leave her, and she comes to church every Sunday. We talked with her about how she feels being separated from her son. She obviously misses him. We talked about how she would feel if she could never see him again. Then we asked how she would feel if she could be with him forever. She really wants to be with her son was a really Spiritual lesson.

This week Elder Lopez and I started working in the outskirts of our area. We have this little town (Four Streets) called Francisco Madero about 30min from Frontera. We didn't have any money, so we hitch-hiked to the little pueblito. It was really fun trying to get a ride. Elder Lopez didn't want to do it, so he told me that I could get one faster because my eyes change colors. He bothers me all the time with that. contact because your eyes change do it because your eyes change colors. I guess they do. Sometimes they are brown, other times green, and sometimes grey. This day was really hot, and Elder Lopez kept telling me that I looked like a tomato trying to get a ride. I'll attach a picture. After about 10min, I finally got a ride, and it was a car with air-conditioning. This guy was on his way to Villa so he gave us a lift to Madero. He was listening to this talk therapy (''You can do anything'' type talk therapy) so when we got to Madero, we felt like we were going to conquer the world. We had a really nice lesson with a woman named Maria Bertha. She has a family of six, but none else was home. She accepted baptism and is going to invite the rest of her family to our next visit. Elder Lopez is going back tomorrow with one of our Zone Leaders.

Tomorrow I am going into Villa to do divisions with the Zone Leaders. That should be fun to work in another area, but I don't want to leave my area. I love Frontera...but Elder Lopez has all of the plans and I trust in him.

 As for studying....I Love Studying everyday. Elder Lopez has a ton of knowledge and he is teaching me a ton. It is so awesome and feels so good to learn about these eternal principles.

Elder Lopez and I are working really well together. He feels like a brother to me. We have such a great time. That is something I have been blessed with in my mission so far. I get along really well with my companions:) He told me that I have a different way of teaching than any other missionary he has met. He told me that I am able to connect with people in a way that he has never seen in his 16 months in the mission. He told me the other day that he can see that I really love the people. It's true...I really love the people here. It's a kind of love that is really special. I feel like I really knew them before and that I was sent to help them learn the Gospel. It is really special for me, and Elder Lopez told me that he is learning to have that same love too. We are learning a ton from one another.

Question....When is Thanksgiving? I have lost track of dates.

Everything is going really well here, and I can feel all of your prayers for me. Thank you all for everything, and know that I am praying for all of you too.

Love Elder Cavenee

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dia De Los Muertos

Hello Family,

How are you all doing? I hope that everything is going amazing back in Arizona!

I am still doing really good. Sometimes I have bad moments, but they pass, and I forget them really quickly because there is so much good happening everywhere!!!

So, this week was super awesome. I feel like I say that about every week, but it is true. They are so awesome. On Monday, after writing, we went to the cemetery to contact people and teach them about the Plan of Salvation. When we got there, there were only a couple people there. That surprised me because everyone had told me that all the people gather in the cemetery all night long for Dia de los Muertos. It turns out that everyone was in the cemetery Sunday night:( We went on the wrong night!!! We were pretty bummed, but we made the best of it and contacted everyone we could find. It was really cool. In a moment when these people were thinking and missing their loved ones, we were able to teach about the Plan of Salvation. We shared with them, where there loved ones are, and that it is possible to see them again. Then we would sing hymns for the dead people. We got some pretty awesome contacts, but none of them lived in our area. Then we took pictures!!!

On Tuesday we went to visit an old investigator. His name is Felipe. I was teaching him when I first got to Frontera, but he wasn't progressing so we had to stop visiting him. One of our appointments fell through, and we were nearby, so I told my companion that we were going to stop by and see how he was doing. Felipe is an older man...he's 81, and has problems with his back...but is very nice. He lives alone so he loves when we visit him. We taught him a very simple, but spiritual lesson and invited him to be baptized. He accepted and is now preparing for this Saturday. We met with him two other times last week, and have several appointments planned with him for this week.

Wednesday, I did divisions with Elder Piña. A new rule for the district leaders is that we have to bring every elder in our district to our area at least once a month in divisions. That way, they can see how their leaders work and have success, then go back to their areas and apply what they learned. I brought Elder Piña to come work with me for the day, and we had a blast. We taught some really good lessons to less actives, and new converts. Elder Piña has only been in the mission for only two weeks, so he is still learning a lot, but he teaches so powerfully. I focused on baptismal invitations with him. In a baptismal invitation, you need to help the investigator realize why they need to be baptized and what blessings they are going to receive from doing so. Then when you invite them, you have to be super direct. Lot's of missionaries say things like, ''Would you be willing to be baptized?'' or ''Do you think you should be baptized?'' in order to receive these blessings. I have learned that the most effective way is ''Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized in order to receive this blessing?''. Then I invite for a specific date....normally two or three weeks later. I always do this in the first lesson so that I can find their doubts and fear in being baptized. It is very effective, and most of the time, they accept a baptismal date. Elder Piña learned a lot, and at the end of the day, his baptismal invitation was really good and strong.

Thursday was another normal day. Working super hard, finding new people and Weekly planning. I Love weekly planning!!! We plan everything that we are going to do in the next week. Everything....from baptismal services, to every lesson that we are going to have with every investigator, and how we are going to help them progress towards baptism. Every lesson we are going to have with recent converts and less actives and how we are going to help them progress towards the Temple. It is awesome!!! I LOVE IT!!! It is a way that we can give an accounting to Heavenly Father that really these people mean something to us. We care about them, and we desire the best for them.

Friday we had zone conference. That was one of the best zone conferences I have had in my entire mission. At the beginning, President told us that in the past week, he had to send home two missionaries for disobedience. He talked to us about how sad he was to do that...Sister Morales was crying. We talked about how during the mission we are supposed to become the best person we have ever been....and that these two missionaries were going home worse then when they arrived in the mission. We then talked about being the missionaries that our families and parents think that we really are. He then had us ''call home'' using our missionary handbook, and share with Mom or Dad, everything that we were doing wrong, or the things that we weren't doing, so that they could know really what kind of missionaries we are.

Afterwards President asked us how each of our calls went, and what our parents said. We then talked about becoming these powerful missionaries. Then he invited us to stand one at a time and make a covenant with him and with God, that we would be 100% obedient to the commandments and the mission rules. That was one of the best things that President Morales has done for the mission. I stood and made a covenant with God and with President, that I would be 100%, and as a result of that, baptize every week.

I left from that conference filled with the Spirit and with a determination to become 100%. To become the missionary you all think I am. Could you send me a description of what kind of missionary you all think I am, or want me to be? Be specific and honest so that I can complete that and be that kind of missionary.
Baptism Picture with Norma and her family
Saturday we had another baptism!!! Norma is a convert that was baptized two weeks ago. On Saturday her mom, sister and brother were baptized!!!! They were a little hesitant at the beginning of the week, but with more visits, we conquered their fears, and helped them to be prepared. They were all super excited and happy Saturday morning before the service. Saturday night, they had to travel to Carmen for a family emergency so they haven’t been confirmed yet. They will be confirmed this Sunday. I am so happy for this family!!! They have progressed a ton. When we taught them about the law of chastity, the mom kicked her boyfriend out of her house…in that moment. It was really cool. We finished the lesson and she went inside, packed his stuff and told him he needed to leave...and he left. That was amazing.

Really, everyday I have the blessing to experience things like that. People feel the Spirit and are willing to do anything in order to feel it more. It really is one of the best gifts that our Heavenly Father has given us. Listen to Him....He will guide and comfort you.

Saturday I completed 10 months!!!!! How fast the time has past!!! Christmas is right around the corner, and then I hit my year mark. I feel like I haven't done enough this year!!! I am working super hard to try to make up for time I lost and I am setting goals so that I don't lose any more time. These two years are nothing and if you blink....a year is gone.

Anyways....I am doing super well and having an amazing time with Elder Lopez. He is really funny, and when he talks in English (he knows a lot) he sounds like Gru from Despicable Me. He has a Russian-ish accent:) It's awesome.
Motorcycle Races (No worries, we didn't really drive them. Just turned on the lights)
I know that there is no other place that the Lord needs me right now. I know that when we put our full trust in Him, He uses us to do His miracles. I am eternally grateful to be His instrument. I Love my Heavenly Father. I Love my Savior Jesus Christ. I Love the Gospel. I Love the truth and light we have in our lives. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I know that today we have a prophet called by God to lead and guide us. He wants us to be happy, and He wants us to return to Him. He is Good.

I Love You all sooooo much.


Elder Cavenee

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Temporal Blessings

Dear Family,

I was very happy to hear about the proceedings of this week, and to see all of the pictures and videos. Seems like you guys are really enjoying life:) Life is so sweet, and really it is something that we can enjoy fully when we apply the principles of the gospel to our lives. Many people in the world try to make you believe that you have to sin in order to enjoy and experience fully life. It is not like that. We can come to find more joy when living the gospel and dedicating our lives to serving God and others.

So this week has been another crazy week filled with awesome experiences. In the scriptures God promises us that if we obey him, he will bless us physically and spiritually. After two weeks of spiritual blessings, this week was of physical blessings. For me they are spiritual as well.

Starting Monday after I wrote home. The whole day on Monday William was with us because he was set apart as a missionary so he couldn't do anything else. After writing we went to eat dinner with his family. We ate pancakes for dinner!!!!!! I love pancakes!! We then had a really nice lesson with them, and then headed out. As we were leaving, I got a call from President Morales. When President Morales calls you, it's either really good news, or your in trouble, so it surprised me that he was calling. I answered it and he told me why we needed to be in Villahermosa the next day. My companion had transfers. So we went home, and Elder Reyes packed up all his stuff. The next morning, we said goodbye to William, then went into Villahermosa. I ended up staying in Villahermosa for the rest of the day waiting for my new companion, but that was super cool. I got to be with all of the new Elders and Sisters. The ones straight from the MTC. I got to practice teaching with them and share advice on how to be an awesome missionary.

I then got to be present in the trainer meeting. President had me translate for the new missionaries. I CAN TRANSLATE!!!! Let me tell you that translating is super hard. You hear what is being said in Spanish, then you have to translate into English in your head, and then you have to say it in English. All three steps happen at the same time because the speaker doesn't stop talking. it was way cool, but my brain hurt afterwards. That meeting is when the new missionaries get put with their trainers. It is so Spirit filled and it caused me to remember when I was in that same meeting nine months ago. President and Sister Morales give talks about missionary work and obedience. Then the new missionaries pass in front to read the letters they wrote to their trainers. Things that they expect, things that they need help with, and express their love for their trainer. The trainers all listen, then by the Spirit, one stands up. With the confirmation of President, they the receive their new missionary. This is done one at a time. It is so amazing to see the Spirit speak to these trainers and tell them who they are going to train. All of them make perfect sense too. I want to train!! I know I have a lot to do before that, but I hope I can have that blessing during my mission.

After that meeting I got my new companion. His name is Elder Lopez, and he is from Columbia. He has been in the mission for 15 months. He is super awesome and we get along super well. President also called me over to talk to him. He asked me how my area is doing, and what baptisms we have planned. I told him that we are looking at baptizing every week in November, as is the standard in this mission. He then told me ''Elder, we have very little missionaries, so you have three weeks.'' I thought three weeks for what? I thought that maybe they are going to close one area in Frontera, so I have three weeks to prove I want to stay, or something like that. Anyways, I was called a district leader in Frontera, and then Elder Lopez and I were sent out to our area.

On Wednesday, I got a call from President. He gave me a special invite to the mission leadership council on Thursday. This is the meeting once a month where all the zone leaders and the assistants gather with President to have a council about the mission...and I got invited. That was super cool. Thursday morning I traveled to Villahermosa, again.

For this council, we started in the Temple. That was so amazing to be in the Temple again. I haven't been since April. The Temple is so peaceful and is an amazing place to receive revelation. I sat in the Celestial room for half an hour just being filled with the feelings of the Spirit. It was amazing. Then we had the council. We talked about how our vision as a mission is to baptize. How everything we do as missionaries, is to help people make this covenant with our Heavenly Father. We discussed about the ways we can help all the members of our zones (I applied all of this at a district level because I am not a zone leader) baptize every week. It was super cool to be a part of this council. President at the beginning introduced me and said ''Elder Cavenee is here so that we can see if he is ready to be a zone leader''. So....we'll see what happens with all of that. To be honest though...I would rather stay in Frontera working as a normal missionary. I don't feel ready for more responsibility yet. But, it is all up to the Lord. I'll go and do what the Lord asks of me and he will help me with my weakness. President also told us that our mission is #3 (unofficially) in all of México. He also challenged us to be #1. ''It's not a competition Elders and Sisters, but can we be number one?'' We all answered yes, of course. At the end of the council, we had a BBQ!!!! That food was so good!

On Friday we traveled to Villahermosa again for Zone class. It was really awesome too. We have a new zone leader named Elder Alverado. He is very powerful and teaches very well. We learned the same things that were discussed during the leadership council, but I learned even more because our zone leaders teach in a different way then President. I learned different things.

Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference, so we had to travel too and from Villahermosa those days too. The Conference was really good, and I was invited to sing in the stake choir. That was really fun, to sing with a choir...sing in parts. I've really missed that. Sister Morales gave a really good talk about working hand in hand. Missionaries and members for the work of salvation. Sunday night, a sister (inspired by that talk) called me up and we planned for the whole month to have a member accompany us every day, and to have set aside a few hours to visit references of those members. It is really cool to see how much a ward really can help in missionary work.

Sunday was the first day that I saw a lot of members this week because we were in Villa so much. But everyone, when they saw me told me ''It's good that you're still here'' or ''We are so happy that you didn't leave.''. It is so awesome to have the support of ward members. Whenever I need something, the ward members are so willing to help. I am so grateful for every single one of them.

This week we have a baptism planned for Norma's family, but they are a little hesitant right now. We are meeting with them tomorrow to try to help them overcome their doubts and fears. They are an awesome family.

Yesterday and today is Dia de los Muertos. Tonight we are going to the cemetery to contact, sing hymns for the dead, and teach about the Plan of Salvation. Everyone goes to the cemetery on this holiday to visit their loved ones that have died. That should be super fun. For Halloween (they don't really celebrate that here) Elder Lopez and I changed nametags!!!

So...I am doing super well and just enjoying life as it is. Working like crazy, and sleeping like a rock every night. Being a missionary is the best thing I have ever done my entire life!!!!

Sorry my letter is a little short this week. I sent a huge letter to President with the progress of all my investigators and less active members, so I didn't have a lot of time.

I Love you all so much and I wish you the best week ever!!!!!!

Elder Cavenee

P.S. Ward Family

Little Kids are the best!!! They all want to come back to the United States with me.