Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Week


It was so great to see all of you last week and talk to you all. It was awesome to see how all of you are doing. You all have changed so much!!

Anyways...this week was pretty awesome with Christmas and everything. Last Tuesday we Baptized Romario. He asked me to baptize him, and that was really cool. On Sunday he received the Holy Ghost, and next Sunday he'll get the priesthood. He is so awesome and is so excited to be a member of the church.

On Thursday and Friday we ate so much food. We were invited to 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 10 dinners over the course of two days. It was really great, but really hard at the same time. We ate everything that the sisters prepared for us because it is very rude to not accept food when it is offered. We ate mole, turkey, spagetti, ham, potatoes, hamburgers, tacos, tortas, pozole....and a whole lot more. It was amazing. I think I've put on a few pounds though:) Our fridge is also full of a ton of food that members brought us.

On Christmas Eve, we had our last dinner with a family in the ward. They prepared a piñata for us...that was awesome. When we got home we set off floating lanterns. There is a sister in the ward that sells fireworks, so she gave us floating lanterns for free. We all wrote wishes on them and sent them off flying. That was really cool. Then we sat on the roof watching fireworks and drinking Martinelli's. (We found them here.) I missed watching ''It's a Wonderful Life''....first Christmas without that movie.....but oh well.

Christmas Even breaking a pinata.
Christmas Eve setting off floating lanterns!
On Christmas, we got up and opened all of our presents, and ate pie for breakfast! Thank you all for the presents. It was really fun. Then I got to talk to you all! That was the greatest present of all.

This week were are going to be doing a lot of divisions. One of the areas in the zone is not doing so well, so we are going out there this week to see what's up. We are trying to find out how to help them out.

I am in the process of writing/creating a devotional/fireside for Agua Dulce about the Restoration. It is coming together really well. I am writing several talks about the different principles and am planning musical numbers. We are going to do it on the 15th of January. Yesterday I invited President, and he said that he would come. I am super excited! I'm just hoping that I can get all the details in my head to work out! The goal is find a ton of new investigators from the people that members bring. We are trying to make it a big thing. There is still a lot to do....but I'll let you know how it goes.

Sorry if my letter this week seems a little scattered. I have a lot of things on my mind and things to do, and my companion is sick so I don't have a lot of help. No worries though...everything will work out:)

I Love you all and wish you all a wonderful New Years!!!!!


Elder Cavenee


Floating Lantern

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

O Holy Night

Hello Family,

Sorry I am writing so late. The missionary mail service wasn't working until a few minutes ago.

So...first off....don't worry. That recording of me singing was at a ward activity. That was not during sacrament meeting. Here, the cultural hall and the chapels are the same room. It was an awesome Christmas party with piñatas, food, and a lot of dancing. (Of course we didn't dance....but it was so much fun!!!).

As for facetiming...we have permission to facetime on the 24th, 25th, 31st or the 1st. So....whenever you guys want to and can do it. I will get on tomorrow to finalize the details with you guys:) I'm going to need the factime account that I have to call!! I am so excited to see you all too!!!!

So...this week has been crazy awesome. We have been so busy. This past week, as zone leaders we were put in charge of finding a service project to do as a zone. We found an investigator that was going to paint his house, so we offered to help and made plans to do it. We worked out all the details of travel and tools, and had everything ready Thursday night to start early Friday morning. Friday morning, we woke up to pouring rain, and a text from our investigator canceling our activity. We went crazy calling people trying to put together a back-up service activity because all of the Elders in the zone were planning on arriving in our area at 8:00 in the morning. We were not finding anything so we decided to pray. We asked our Heavenly Father to help us find someone to serve. Someone who needed something big enough for 8 missionaries. As soon as we said amen, a brother called us and asked us if we could come and help him cut a bunch of grass. We told him of course and that actually we were going to come with 8 elders to help him. He was so happy and so grateful. I am so glad that we did that as a zone and not just me and my companion because I felt like we were chopping through the jungle. It wasn't just grass....it was weeds, trees, bushes, vines...everything. It was super cool.
Zone Service Project

After the activity we showered, changed and rushed into Coatza for our Christmas dinner with President. That was a lot of fun. They catered food from a restaurant. It was super good. It was an all you can eat buffet with shrimp, steak, crab...and best of all....potato wedges. By far the best meal I have had here in Mexico. I was asked by the assistant Elder Johnson to prepare a special musical number for the dinner. That is where I first sang the Oh Holy Night. It was really cool. I got to perform for like 40 missionaries, and President and his family. Then later the stake president in Coatza came, and presidente asked me to sing it again. President and Sister Morales were blown away, and they told me that I should never ever again travel without singing on the bus. So now whenever I travel, I carry my speaker, and sing....then we contact. It's awesome. Sister Morales is planning with the restaurant that fed us that night, to have me come and perform this week before Christmas and to contact everyone there. They were a little mad that they didn't know I could sing for almost an entire year, but they now want to use my voice. They also asked me to prepare a solo for the mission leadership council in January. We are now also planning a Night of Hymns...it'll be like a devotional put on by us missionaries here in Agua Dulce. It should be really good.

On Saturday we had our Ward Christmas party, and I sang again in that for the ward. It was a lot of fun. We also had a baptism on Saturday!!!! We baptized Hermana Mari. She shared her testimony after her baptism, and it was so sweet. It was really cool to get to hear such a strong testimony from a recent convert. We also have another baptism tomorrow of Romario. I am very excited for him too.
Christmas baptism of Hermana Mari

We are so proud of our Zone right now. In the first two weeks of the transfer, we are only two baptisms short of what the zone had in the entire last transfer. We are the smallest zone in the mission, and we are only one baptism short of being the highest baptizing zone in the mission. (The highest baptizing zone is twice our size and only has one more than us!!!). Our Elders are working very hard and we are very proud of what they are doing. It is making my job as a zone leader a lot easier. The assistants still get mad at me for numbers, but they are very happy with the changes we are making in this zone. (Elder Johnson, the assistant that I always report to, told me that our zone was the worst zone in the mission and has been for a long time. We are working really hard to get it up and going, and Elder Barrientos and I have the goal to be the best zone in the mission by the end of the transfer.). All of the Elders in our zone are awesome and we are helping all of them keep up their desires to work hard!
Christmas presents with President and Sister Morales

I am learning to be very organized. As a zone leader I have to know everything about almost every investigator in the zone. Their doubts and their goals. It is a lot of information that we have to keep very organized because the assistants want information fast and accurate. I am learning a lot. Life is crazy, but I am loving every moment of it:)

I am going to go shopping tomorrow for the shoes. Thanks for the help with that.

I can't wait to see you all this week and talk to ya'll. I Love you a ton and want to wish you all a Merry Christmas.


Elder Cavenee

Service Activity and Christmas Presents with President

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Agua Dulce/Tijuana Temple Dedication

Hello Friends and Family,

How is everyone doing?  It is  so great to hear that your're all up to so much and that you're all finding time to enjoy the holidays:)  Really, I miss you guys and all the traditions, concerts, and commitments that we have always had for Christmas. But being here in the mission, it has helped me see this whole Holiday Season in a new way.

Here I have been able to focus completely on the Birth of the Savior Jesus Christ. It is really amazing. Contacting people, we ask them what it means to them that a Savior was born....or how their life is blessed because he was born. These people that don't even have the Gospel, recognize the blessings of a Savior in this world. It is amazing to hear some of the responses that these people give us. We are then able to testify to them, that really all that we have is thanks to Him and that He came to this world.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. That He came here to save us. Because of Him, it is possible to make it through this life and be happy. Because of him, we can make it through hard situations. We can deal with a little pain. We can become clean of our faults. And we can return to live with our Father in Heaven.  Remember what that means in your life, and what blessings you have because ''Ha nacido aun Salvador''....''A Savior is Born''.

The people here in Agua Dulce are super awesome. When we contact here, almost everyone accepts us. I am super happy to be here. It reminds me so much of my first área. So...we are more in the jungle than in my past two areas, and I think that is why it rained a lot. That was crazy.  Everything was wet. And it was really cold. We used sweaters for a couple days. Showers were the worst. Imagine taking an ice bath inside a freezer...then getting out and having to stay in a refrigerator soaking wet. That was us for several days. It rained so hard that water leaked into the house and got all of our stuff wet. In the mornings we had to iron everything to try and get them dry enough to wear. Our shoes.... we were putting them in front of a fan, but they would take a couple days to dry, so we started putting them in the microwave!!!!  Can you believe that.?  It Works:)  But...the sun came back, and it is super hot again so now we don't have to worry about that. It's crazy to think that back at home, you'll all be using sweaters soon, and here I am still wanting to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt. But I love it:) There are also a ton of hills here. I mean a ton. Walking is up and down....up and down. It's crazy, but I get a leg workout everyday.

There are two zones based in Coatzacoalcos. One is all in Coatza, and our zone is all of the surrounding pueblitos. We really have to travel a lot, but that's okay. I'm getting to know a lot of places. We are really excited as Zone Leaders right now because every area in our Zone is looking to baptize this next week. (We almost did it this last weekend but our baptism fell through. She got really sick and had to travel to see a doctor in Villahermosa). The assistants told me that our zone has not done that in a very long time.
It is a whole new level being a zone leader. The other night the assistants lit into me really hard. Our Zone was doing really bad in the key indicators. We were not where we were supposed to be in the middle of the week. They told me that President sent me here with my companion because he believes that we have the ability and the desire to change the Zone. (It was one of the worst zones in the mission).  He told me that it was our responsibility to make sure all of the Elders were doing what they were supposed to be doing.  My companion and I are making a bunch of changes and planes to help our zone really grow. I am focusing on winning the confidence of each Elder in our zone so that when I ask them to do something, they'll do it. It is starting to work. I love being able to get to know so many Elders on a personal level. I am learning the names of the members of their families, and what is going on with each one of them. I feel like we have the best missionaries here in my zone. (Here in this mission, the Elders don't have contact with the Sisters. Things happened in the past). Our Sisters are doing really well too. They baptized last week.

Dedication of the Tijuana Temple

I am doing really good now health-wise. My fever was gone by the middle of Tuesday, and by Wednesday I was out working again. We lost a lot of time with me being sick, so now we are trying to recuperate all of that lost time.

Yesterday we got to see the dedication of the Tijuana Temple. That temple is super beautiful. The dedication was so wonderful. Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Oaks were there. Elder Uchtdorf gave a wonderful talk and one of my favorite parts was when he taught that the greatest commandment is love God with all of your heart, and the second is, love your neighbor as yourself.  As disciples of Jesus Christ we should always ask ourselves two questions... "Do I Love God and my Neighbor?"...and "How have I shown that love in my life?"  Really we should think about these questions every moment of every day. What am I doing to show God and others that I Love them?  What more can I do?  In this time of year especially...think about what each of you can do more to show your love. Show and share your love with everyone. There are a lot of people that need it:)

We have two baptisms this weekend. One is for sure and the other is almost for sure. The first is Mari. She is so awesome. We found her my first day here, and she told us that she used to be Mormon when she was a kid, but stopped going at a young age and forgot about the church. We taught her the Restoration and invited her to baptism. She was soooo excited to have the chance to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. It was amazing. We then had to search for any records of her baptism (she didn't remember if she had been baptized) and she hasn't been baptized before:)  She is super excited for Saturday...as are we!!!!!
The other baptism is Yara. Yara is a reference that we received from a member, and she has been progressing really fast. She comes to all of the Ward activites, and really wants to be baptized. She is just not sure if now is the time. We are working with her to help her feel ready to make the covenant with God.
We are also teaching a young man named Romario. He also has a baptismal date for the 23rd of December. He is just waiting for his girlfriend to come back from México to be at his baptism.
Really...the field is ripe already to harvest.

Bus ride to Agua Dulce

My companion is 25 years old. He has a really cool conversion story. He secretly got baptized;) I am learning a lot from him. He is also learning a lot. He is a lot like Elder Lopez from my last area. I am teaching him and helping him to work with others and not to get angry really fast. (There is a bit of tension between the members and missionaries because of him that I am trying to work out). Really though, he is an awesome companion and is really helping me to keep working on gaining and using Christlike attributes.

This weekend we are going to have our Christmas Dinner with President Morales. I am super excited. All day Friday we are going to be doing a Zone Service Project that we planned, then we are going to Coatza at 4:00 for a devotional and dinner with President and his wife. For our service project, we are going to paint the house of a family of investigators that we have. The Esparza Family. There are five of them, and we are hoping that they some to church this week.

We cleaned the house super well today and now it feels super amazing. (I always have to motivate the Elders to clean the house when I get to a new area).

I Love you all and I hope that you all keep enjoying the Holidays:)

Elder Cavenee
Pictures: Dedication of the Tijuana Temple
Bus Ride to Agua Dulce

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Zone Leader Adventures

Hey Family,

Today I hit 11 months!!!!!! Almost got that first year done, and I feel like there is so much to do before I finish my first year.

Sorry, this is going to be short this week, I can barely sit up to write. Today I woke up really sick with a fever and vomiting. Getting out of bed, I passed out. The mission doctor came and checked me out this afternoon, and I am now taking a bunch of medicine. (With all of the travel and the medicine, I had to take out some money. Sorry!) If I still have a fever tomorrow, I have to go get my blood tested every three days..:(. Please pray for me because right now I don't have time to be sick. I think it is from all of the traveling that I did this week, mixed with the stress of a new assignment, and not to mention it has been raining non-stop since we got here. The river flooded the other day and we were walking knee deep in water.
Elder Cavenee and Elder Barrientos "The Rain came and Floods Came UP!"

So...I am Zone Leader in Cuotza. My companion is Elder Barrientos and we are in charge of 10 elders and sisters. It is crazy being a Zone Leader. Apart from worrying about you own area, we are responsible for making sure all of the others areas are completing  their goals. Our zone is a bunch of areas spread out with about an hour commute in between each area. We are constantly on the phone with the assistants or with our district leaders to see what's going on in every area and to give reports. It is very stressful.

Normally when it is an Elder's first time being a zone leader, they are put as junior companion, so that they can learn from their companion how to be a zone leader. Elder Barrientos only has 6 months in the mission, I only have 11and it is the first time being zone leader for the both of us. They called me as Zone Leader 1, that's senior companion, so we have no-one teaching us how to be zone leaders. It is very exciting. As zone leaders we are going to be traveling a lot to do baptismal interviews for our district leaders and divisions with the rest of the Elders.

Elder Cavenee and Elder Barrientos Zone Leaders of this Zone
Elder Barrientos and I are like twins. We have the same ideas, like the same things, and work in the same way. He is an awesome companion, and I feel that we are going to have a lot of success together. He really wants to work, fast and hard...which I love:)

My new area is 4 Caminos in Agua Dulce Veracruz. It is an awesome area. I don't know if it is better than Frontera yet, but it might be. The difference is that here it is always raining and there are so many hills. The people here are so nice. They almost always accept to listen to us. It is amazing. We were going to have a baptism this last Saturday, but the nerves got to her, so we have to work with her a lot this week to get her to feel the Spirit and help her be confident. We also have several other investigators working towards baptism too. Right now though, we are praying and working to find a family, or several families to teach. We set a goal to baptize 15 this transfer, and I think that we can do that. Pray for us and for all the people that we meet…that they might be willing to listen to us, and that the Spirit will be able to touch their hearts.

We decorated the house with the lights that you sent, and my companion bought a little Christmas tree. It is so fun getting ready for Christmas. We are helping the ward plan several activities. My companion and I are also planning a Christmas dinner for the bishopric and their wives in our ward. This month is going to be super fun.

Matching Ties....Brett's request for Christmas.  These are Christmas ties.
Right now we are using the new Christmas video that the Church put out called ''Ha Nacido un Salvador'' or ''A Savior is Born''. It is a really awesome video and my favorite kid is the little black one. He talks with a ton of emotion and excitement.

During this season, remember the true reason that we celebrate Christmas. Yeah...it's fun to get and give presents, or decorate every inch of the house, but the true meaning is that Christ was born. Think about what our lives would be like without Him. Remember Him.

I Love you all and hope you have an amazing week. Any of you can use any of the things that I sent home:) Enjoy them.


Elder Cavenee


Zone Coatza
The rains came down and the floods came up
Matching Ties

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


On Dec 1, 2015, at 4:21 PM, Brett Cavenee  wrote:

 Hello Family,

 I Hope that all is well with you, and I was pleased to hear that Thanksgiving was super exciting for all of you. I miss all of that food and family time together. This week Thursday came and went and I totally forgot about Thanksgiving. It is not celebrated here, and I didn't realize until Saturday, that it had passed.

Sorry for not writing yesterday. I got transferred!!! They called me Sunday night and I went into Villahermosa on Monday morning. We were in training meetings all morning, then I worked the rest of the day as a secretary in the offices, helping them with all the stuff they have to do for the end of the year. I got called as a Zone Leader:) My new area is far away...in Coatza Veracruz, and there is a meeting on Wednesday that I have to be at in Villahermosa, so...President just had me stay here in the offices until then. I still don't know what zone or who is my companion. I will find out tomorrow.

 I got the packages:) Could you send me the music files in emails? Just put them as an attachment from iTunes:) The package that I sent home has several things in it for you guys. You can open it:)

So this week has been super awesome. On Tuesday we had divisions with the Zone Leaders. I had the opportunity to go and work in Las Rosas, the area of the Zone Leaders, with Elder Thaller for a day. That was super awesome, and we worked really hard. I don't know why, but during divisions, almost always all the plans fall through, so we prayed that when that happened we would be able to find someone that was ready to receive the Gospel. At the end of the day, after lots of walking, and very few lessons, we were on our way to visit an old investigator. On the way, we passed by a less active youth in the ward that was with one of his friends and we stopped to offer them a lesson. They accepted and we had a really awesome lesson with the Spirit. This young man was ready to accept the gospel. He accepted baptism and felt the Spirit really strong. I hope that he keeps progressing with the zone leaders and that he will be able to be baptized.

 Elder Lopez and I have been working really hard trying to find more people to teach. One thing that we are really focusing on right now are references from members, and having members in lessons with us. This has really helped find new investigators and get investigators progressing. When an investigator has a friend in the church, their progression speeds up two or three times as fast. We went with our Young Women's President to visit a reference that she had. When we got there, this lady....Mayra....was so surprised. It turns out that she was baptized when she was 12 years old, and after 2 years, she went inactive. Now....20 years later she has her family and had completely forgot about the church. We taught them lesson 1, The Restoration, and it was really cool to see her reaction as she remembered this wonderful message. She was really interested to learn more about Eternal Families and Temples. Her husband is getting home from work this week and were had plans to go back and visit them. They should be a really cool family, and I hope they keep progressing with the Elders that are still in Frontera.

On Friday we had a really awesome Zone Conference. President had us bring members, Less-actives and investigators, and we practiced teaching all of the lessons for like three hours. It was really cool to practice with people other than missionaries. I learned a lot and I will be applying it to my teaching.

Afterwards Sister Morales had us decorate the offices for Christmas. That was super fun, and It reminded me a little bit of Christmas at home.

So, like I mentioned earlier, transfers came. I was really sad at first because I had a baptism planned this Saturday, and I didn't want to leave that area. By far it has been my favorite area in the mission. On Monday, saying by to several members and investigators before I left was super hard. The majority of them were crying. It's crazy in how short of a time you can come to love people. I'm going to miss them.

Anyways....sorry it's not that long this week, I gotta go, but I'll fill ya'll in more next week.

 I Love You All So Much!!!

Elder Cavenee
  P.S. Goodbyes Christmas Decorations