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

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