Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Companion!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

It is always super good to hear about all of you guys and how you are doing:)  Sounds like you guys are always keeping busy. That Family Watch thing that you guys did sounds really cool. (Note from Mary:  we sang at a Family Watch forum where 100 United Nations Ambassadors and local government officials met regarding the family, children's rights, etc.)

Congrats Jenna!!! What chair did you make? I loved Regionals so much. It was a highlight of highschool. Sounds like you are really busy right now. That's awesome.  Just remember to enjoy it all while you are in the moment.

How are Grandma and Grandpa doing right now. Are they still holding strong, or has something happened. Do you think they'll make it through the next year? I really want to see them again.

As for Nauvoo...I would love to do it again.  I loved Nauvoo.  It was one of the best experiences of my life, and I think that if I did it again,  I would have a whole new outlook on it. It would be amazing.  I should probably think more about that towards the end of this year.

As for birthday package....I don't really know. I need to buy some new shirts. and a pair of new pants, but those will be better to buy here. Maybe a watch:) One that I can use on Sundays and for meetings (an inexpensive one though).  I don't really know.

Dad...that event sounds super fun. I hope you enjoy it.

So...this week was super awesome. On Monday...Elder Stoddard got here. He is an amazing companion, and we work very well together. He is obedient, and he doesn't have any emotional problems.  He has 16 months in the mission and it is his first time as Zone Leader.  I find that still I am teaching him a lot of things.

We work really hard together. We have put some really high goals for this transfer and we have the faith and are going to put in the action to accomplish them.  He really helps me. We are both Zone Leaders, so we share the responsibility. He does his part completely even though he is still learning. (I had to do the majority of all the Zone Leader work in the past). Anyways....I think he might be my best companion.

On Wednesday, we had a worldwide missionary broadcast called Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts. It was the first worldwide conference for missionaries that they have had in over a decade. It was really good with talks from Elder Anderson, Elder Bednar, and several others. They talked about how important it is to teach repentance to our investigators. As they understand the Atonement, and repentance, their progress accelerates very fast. It helps them to become truly converted. Everything that they talked to us about, goes exactly along with what we have been doing here in the mission. Everything that President has been teaching us and that we have been applying in these past two months. It was awesome. I learned a ton, and I am already seeing a difference in how we teach, and help our investigators progress.

From Mary:  This may have been from the Devotional Ward Activity mentioned last week

This week we found like 20 new investigators. It was awesome. Everywhere we went people accepted us, and we taught them with the Spirit. It was a really good week. Everyday, we were finding new investigators and setting baptismal dates with them. We found a family of 5, another family of 3, and a bunch of other investigators.

One of the investigators that we found this week is Karla. She is 20 years old, and her boyfriend is a member. We taught her lesson one and she accepted baptism. We talked to her boyfriend Lorenzo afterwards, and he shared with us that they were living together without being married, and that he knew it was wrong. So we planned another lesson with them to teach the law of chastity.

On Saturday we taught them the Law of Chastity. That was such a spiritual lesson. Karla opened up to us and shared her personal story. We talked about the commandment, and about temples and eternal families. Afterwards we discussed with them, their options as a couple in order to live the law of chastity. Obviously they need to stop living together. He wanted to stop living together, but she was not so sure. We both shared our testimony about how living the commandments brings us the blessings of God in our lives, and If she would live it, she would have certain blessings that she needed. They promised to talk about it and let us know what they decide. Leaving that lesson my companion and I knew what they were going to decide. We have a lesson with them tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes.

We also found this girl named Jennifer who told us that she has been to the church before. In our first lesson with her, she told us that she new the church was true, has felt the Spirit, and wants to be baptized. It was awesome. The only thing is that she needs permission from her parents. Her dad said yes, but her mom is against all we have to do in convince the mom.

Today we went to a members ranch with a bunch of people and played volleyball, football, and frisbee. It was so much fun, but now I am super sunburnt. I hardly ever get sunburnt here, but it happened today.

The weather here is really weird. During the day it is hot, but at night it has gotten really cold. By cold I mean 60 degrees....but for here, that is so cold. Everyone here....including me....are using sweaters in the mornings and at night. We can see our breath!!!!! This morning we all four woke up at 5:30 because of the cold. It was freezing. I like it though because now we are not always dying of heat. Showers in the mornings have gotten really interesting though. It's like taking a ice cold bath, and then walking into a refrigerator.

Anyways, I am doing super well. I love the mission and everything that I am doing. I love you all and hope that you have an amazing week.

Love you tons,

Elder Cavenee


Hello Family and Friends,

How are all of you guys doing? I am super jealous of all of you family right now up there in Lakeside....skiing... I would love to do that right now. But no worries, I love what I am doing right now. It has been a crazy week. Really crazy. That is so cool that Elder Holland came and visited you all!!!!

Last Monday was the birthday of Elder Velaquez. So....after we finished writing, we went and had cake with a member and her family. It was a really good day for him.

Wednesday we milked cows!!!! It reminded me so much of home. Really...I miss it. After he gave us milk, and I am the only one that drinks it. Its not as good as Mona/s....but its better than the milk flavored water that we normally use:) (Note from Mary:  Mona was the name of the cow we had for 4 years.)

This week we spent a lot of time with getting everything prepared for our ward activity that we had on Friday.  Making programs, making the desserts with the relief society,  inviting people, and practicing. It really has been super crazy. this week feels like one really long day. I cant remember what happened on what day. It is all jumbled together.

On Thursday, during our practice....our ward mission leader showed up with a new pair of shoes for me. That was really cool. He said that he saw me the week before with my broken shoes, and so he bought me a new pair. He is awesome. So now I have two new pairs of shoes.

On Friday morning, Elder Barrientos and I went to Los Chuapas to do a baptismal interview. We ended up getting home at 1:00, went and ate lunch, and then went to the church to set everything up. We had so much to do and so little time to do it. We set up the projector, the seats, and sound system and the contacting table. Then we ran to the house, and showered, and then ran back for a final practice. Everything was going good, until 15 minutes before we started. The sound system went out!  It was very stressful!!!  We finally got everything ready, and all turned out really well.  Not very many people came, but the Spirit was super strong. We had investigators and members crying.  I almost cried at one point.  It was amazing.  Best ward activity I have ever been to.  President wasn't able to come because of an emergency that came up...but it still turned out really well.  A sister in our ward showed up in the last five minutes, but said that entering the room was like getting punched in the face with the Spirit.  That was really cool.

Saturday we had a special conference with President Morales. We talked more about the 12 week program, that I told you all about last week, and then we did some practices. It was really cool. We got to teach an investigator that some sisters brought, and we committed him to be baptized. The Spirit was super strong, with all of those missionaries practicing.  It was awesome.

After the conference, I went and stayed two days with Elder Elder in our Zone, because his companion finished his mission and went home.  I worked in his area until today because he didn't have a companion.  Today, I was in the bus station all day long because of transfers. I was in charge of directing all of the transfers of both the Zones in Coatza. I was there from 7:00 this morning until 5:00 this afternoon. My companion got transferred.  It is a little bitter-sweet. He taught me a lot, but at the same time there were some challenges. 

Now I am with Elder Stoddard.  He is from Idaho, and it is his first time being a zone leader. He has 16 months in the mission, and from what I can see....he is a hard worker. I am very excited for the transfer that we have ahead of us.

Sorry, that my letter is short this week...we just got back from Coatza and we have a lot of work to do. I will write more next week.

I Love you all so much!!! Have wonderful week:)


Elder Cavenee

Milkiing Cows
Baby Cows

First Week Counting Down

Hello Family,

How are all of you doing? Second week of the year has past:) How are you all feeling? I hope that you are all still on track with your new years resolutions.

This is the El Viejo (Old Man) tradition that they do on New Year's...they burn it at midnight.

So...this week was crazy. On Tuesday, my companion and I went to Villahermosa for the mission leadership council.  It was an awesome meeting where we talked about all that we need to do in order to improve as a mission. We set some new goals and standards of excellence. Our new mission saying is: In this mission we teach the doctrine of repentance in order to baptize new converts every week. We realized that as a mission we were focusing a lot on baptism, and with that, we found a lot more success. But, if we focus more on teaching and inviting people to repent, their progress accelerates and their conversion is greater. It is really amazing to see how the spirit in our lessons have changed, and how the progress of our investigators have changed. In the first lesson, when we teach them about the Holy Ghost, we teach them that in order to feel the Holy Ghost more in their lives, they need to repent of their faults.  I like using a scripture in Mosiah 4:2-3.  It talks about how the people repented of their sins, and were filled with the Spirit. We then invite them to pray to their Heavenly Father, and ask forgiveness for all of their sins.  We then teach about baptism and how they can receive the Holy Ghost forever.  It is really amazing to see our investigators in the second lesson. They feel different, and they want more. 

We also set a new standard of finding 20 new investigators every week. That is a lot of news a week, but we are giving everything we can to be able reach these goals and set the example for the zone.

I sang for that council and it turned out really well.  I think that when I sang for the ward party turned out the best, but it was good.  Several Sisters (and Elders) were crying.  It was cool.  I wasn't able to record it thought.  My companion was going to, but he didn't press the right button....oh well:)

I don't have my visa right now because the mission is getting it renewed for my second year. It is very risky to travel without your visa, because is the government officials ask for it, nad you don't have it...they take you to jail.  I was on my way back to Agua Dulce that night, and the officials stopped the bus and were checking for visas. They asked me for mine, but I didn't have it.  I explained the situation, but they weren't accepting my excuse. One of them finally said to the other ''Wait a second, those are the Mormons. We can't mess with them!'' The other then asked us if we were Mormons. We told him yes, and they told me not to worry. Then they just left us. That was super cool:)  I almost got arrested, but was saved because I am a missionary. Makes me super proud of my nametag:)

Wednesday we had a difficult day. All of our appointments in the morning fell through, so we spent the morning walking around in the rain trying to find some new investigators. We spent 3 hours walking in the rain. Nobody wanted to listen to us.  My companion was super frustrated.  He wanted to go and visit members to get out of the rain, but I told him that there was someone waiting for us.  I felt it.  About half an hour before lunch, we were walking past a really nice house, and I decided to contact it.  From the gate we yelled ''buenas tardes'' and waited for someone to come...but nobody did at first. We waited ten minutes and just as we were about to leave, someone came out of the house.  She was leaving, but she told us that we could come back in the afternoon. We went back, and ended up putting a baptismal date with her and her daughter. It was really cool.

In the afternoon we several lessons and some really good contacts. At seven, we went to the house of a member to participate in the tradition of the los Reyes Magos. They make a special cake, with little dolls inside. Everyone cuts their own piece, and if you end up with a doll, then you have to bring tamales to the party on February 4th.  Luckily I didn't get a doll, but it was really good.  We ate it with hot chocolate:)  The sister also gave us new ties. The tradition is that on the 6th of January, the three Kings come at night and leave presents for children. So...the kids here get presents on Christmas, and then again two weeks later:)

Thursday we had zone class. It went really well. Several of the Elders in my zone told me afterward that it was one of the best zone classes that they have been in during their mission....and they all had more time than me. That was cool.  As a mission we are all going through the 12 week program again.  New missionaries and old ones. The 12 week program is what new missionaries study in their first 12 weeks.  It's the basics of missionary work.  So...we are all being trained again:)

After zone class, Elder Barrientos went to Villa to work with the Assitants in divisions, and I stayed in 4 Caminos and worked with Elder Najera. One of the secretaries.  He is really cool.  He is from Buckeye, but his parents are from Chiuaua.  Friday night we went into Villa to drop off Elder Najera and pick up my companion.  We stayed the night, and headed back on Saturday morning.

Saturday we had a practice for our devotional, and it went really well. We came up with new ideas that are going to make it so much better.  On Sunday we had another practice with our nararators. It is really cool. I am so excited for Friday when we are having the devotional. It is going to be super awesome!
Elder Cavenee and his Zone practicing for the Devotional

I finally bought shoes on Saturday!

Today is Elder Valazquez'z birthday!!! We ate cake and tortas:) Tonight we are going to go and eat more cake.

Tomorrow morning we are going to milk cows!!!! I will send pictures of that next week. It is going to be super fun!!!

I love you all and hope that you all have an amazing week.


Elder Cavenee

Pictures: Reyes Cake
Devotional Practice

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hello 2016!!

Hello Family and Friends,

How are all of you? So....this week marks one year since I left home! That is crazy. So much has happened and I have had more change in this year than I have had in my entire life. It was an amazing year that I spent in the best way ever. I feel so grateful to have been able to spend all of 2015 in the mission, serving the people here in Mexico. I am also looking forward to spending all of 2016 in that same service. I can't believe all of the things I have accomplished. But with everything that I've done....comes a desire to do better and accomplish more this next year. I've set some goals that I know are going to be hard to complete, but I have a whole year to do it. Biggest goal....make this year better than the last!!

Tell Shaliah congratulations!!! She is going to have the time of her life. Nauvoo is amazing and will always have a part of my heart. (From Mary:  Shaliah Speakman is Elder Cavenee's first cousin.  She just made Nauvoo performing missionaries for this summer.  Brett was able to do that the summer before he left to Mexico.)

It sounds like you guys had a great New Years! I was missing the waffles. Here we did something that I've never done before. In Mexico for New Years, everyone makes a año viejo. It's a stuffed old man...and at midnight, they burn it to represent the old year leaving and the new one coming. Burning away the things of last year and starting over again. We made one that looks like a missionary. To celebrate also my one year birthday and my companions 6 month birthday. Every six months in your mission you have to burn something. Elder Barrientos contributed a tie, and I contributed the shirt. We found a pair of old pants in the house, and stuffed him with newspaper. He turned out pretty good. We then gave it to our neighbors and they burned it because we couldn't leave to burn it. We played Skip-bo and Uno all night, and at midnight we drank Martinellis and ate grapes. It was a nice and simple New Years. Outside it sounded like we were in a war zone though. The fireworks here are literally explosives. All night long we heard things exploding all around us. It was crazy.

Here in the mission we are all focusing on New Year. All of the messages that we get from President are all about starting new and fresh, and all that we can accomplish this next year. It's great.

So....Sam sounds like a cool guy. I like him:) You guys sound like you are having a great time back at home. Keep enjoying every moment of your lives.

This week was the worst week that we've had as a Zone. I was super disappointed by the work of every area, even mine. We met hardly any goals, and I got destroyed by the Assistants and I'm pretty sure I will be by President tomorrow. But that just comes with the job. My companion and I are coming up with plans so that a week like this never happens again. I'm spending a lot more time in prayer, seeking revelation as to how we can better the zone.

I finished writing the devotional. I'll send a copy. It's in Spanish though. We are practicing it the next two weeks, and are performing it on the 15th. It should be really good. The goal is to have a lot of people there in order to find new investigators. I am really excited for it. It should be really good. I wanted to do something on the cello....but no one has a cello here.
This is the invitation for the Devotional Elder Cavenee wrote and is putting on next week.

Yesterday we went to a funeral for the Dad of one of our investigators. Yara...her dad died last week. There was a preacher at the funeral that yelled at everyone about how they need to have faith in Jesus, or they would burn. That faith was all they needed. It was pretty funny because he was yelling at everyone. We are going to visit her on Wednesday to talk to her about the plan of salvation. She is a really good investigator, that wants to get baptized, just not yet. We are hoping that we can help her feel the spirit and help her with whatever she fears.

We are teaching family of five right now. La Familia Esparza. We haven't gotten them to come to church yet, but we are working on that. We also met a really cool family this week, that we have an appointment with on Wednesday. They seem like a really cool family of four. We'll see how that goes.

Last week we went with a recent convert to visit a reference. His name is Juan. We taught him lesson 1 and he accepted baptism. Now we just have to prepare him and teach him the rest of the lessons. He came to church and loved it. He told us that he felt different than he has felt in any other place he has ever been in. We are so happy for him, and I enjoy seeing his progress. last baptism....bore his testimony in Church yesterday. That made me so happy. He only has one week as a member, and he got up all on his own and shared his testimony. Those are the best moments here. Seeing these peoples lives changed and their testimony beaming from their bodies. It's the best.

It is raining again. Wet everyday...and it is cold. The wind blows really hard here. But, we make the best of it.

The other night we were in Las Chuapas doing an interview, and we missed the last bus to return to Agua Dulce. So...we took a taxi to the entrance to Agua Dulce (the taxi wouldn't take us all the way). So....we walked along the highway through the jungle for about an hour before arriving in Agua Dulce. It was really cool. The moon was really bright and we walked in the middle of the two-lane highway with jungle on either side. Mexican Adventures. My companion was freaking was kind of funny. We arrived safely and just in time to get invited to dinner. So that was awesome.

Tomorrow we are travelling to Villahermosa at 4:00 in the morning for our mission leadership council. I'm singing again. It'll be in front of about 60 missionaries, all of the leaders in the mission:) I'm excited.

I hope that you are all doing super well. I Love you all, and hope that you all have an amazing 2016. I'll see ya'll in 2017:)

Much Love,

Elder Cavenee
I'll send pictures tomorrow because I forgot my adapter:\
(From Mary:  For those of you who read Spanish:  here is the outline and script for the devotional Elder Cavenee is putting on next week:)

La Restauración
Devocional Misional 15 de Enero 2016
Barrios Cuatro Caminos y Agua Dulce
Primer Himno: 10 ''Te Damos Señor Nuestras Gracias''
Primer Oración: Por Invitación
Bienvenida: Presidente Morales
1. Dios es Nuestro Padre: 196 ''Soy un Hijo de Dios'' Elder Barrientos
2. El Evangelio Bendice las Familias: 195 ''Las Familias Pueden ser Eternas'' Elder
3. Dios a Llamado Profetas: 176 ''Palabras de Amor'' Elderes
4. La Ministerio Terrenal de Jesucristo: ''Salvador Redentor de mi Alma Es’’ Elder Cavenee
5: La Gran Apostasía: 98 ''Conmigo Quédate Señor'' Elderes Solo Elder Velázquez
6: Restauración: 14 ''Oración del Profeta'' Elder Cavenee
7: El Libro De Mormón: 9 ''Un Ángel del Señor'' Elderes
8: Orar para Saber: 77 ''Deja que el Espíritu te Enseñe'' Elderes
Ultimo Comentarios: Hermana Morales
Ultimo Himno: 161 ''Llamados a Servir''
Ultimo Oración: Por Invitación

La Restauración

196 Soy un Hijo de Dios: Solo por Elder Barrientos
Primer Narrador: Así es…..somos hijos de Dios. Él es nuestro Padre Celestial y nos ama tanto. Él conoce cada uno de nosotros personalmente. Él quiere que seamos feliz y por eso nos ha dado esta experiencia en la tierra. Dios nos ha proporcionado una manera de tener éxito en esta vida y de regresar a vivir en Su presencia. Por medio de nuestra obediencia al evangelio de Jesucristo, y a los mandamientos de Dios, podemos lograr la felicidad en esta vida y en la vida por venir.
Segundo Narrador: El evangelio de Jesucristo nos ayuda a cambiar nuestras vidas y llegar a ser nuevos personas. Las bendiciones que vienen de su evangelio son muchas y son grandes, especialmente en el hogar. Las familias son muy importante a nuestro Padre Celestial. Dios ha establecido familias para dar felicidad a sus hijos, para permitirles aprender principios correctos en un ambiente lleno de amor, y para prepararlos para la vida eterna. Si….es posible. Estar con nuestras familias para siempre. Si obedezcamos los mandamientos de Dios y vivimos su evangelio en esta vida, podemos recibir la bendición de una familia eterna para siempre.
195 Las Familias Pueden ser Eternas: Solo por Elder Córdova
Primer Narrador: Las familias son muy importante para Dios. Entonces, como padres, ¿Cómo sabemos que hacer para asegurar este fin para nuestras familias? En Hebreos 1:1 dice ‘’Dios,  habiendo hablado muchas veces y de muchas maneras en otro tiempo a los padres por medio de profetas’’ eso es la clave. Dios ha llamado profetas como Moisés y Noé. Ellos reciban revelación por cada uno de nosotros y nos dicen que tenemos que hacer. Nos ayudan, nos guíen, y siempre nos hablan con palabras de amor.
176 Palabras de Amor: Los Elderes
Segundo Narrador: Esos profetas son esencial para nosotros. Todos predicaron de un evento muy especial. El nacimiento de nuestro Salvador, Jesucristo. Él vino para salvarnos.
Elder Cavenee: El Salvador es la luz y la vida del mundo. Una luz que es infinita, que nunca se puede extinguir;  y una vida que es infinita, para que no hayas más muerte. Él, herido fue por nuestras transgresiones, molido por nuestras iniquidades, y por sus heridas fuimos nosotros sanados. Cuando realmente pensamos en estas enseñanzas de las escrituras, y sus significancias, ¿Cómo no podemos alegrarnos y cantar la canción de amor redentor…y orar con más fervor que podemos caminar en el camino que Él nos mostró?
Salvador, Redentor de mi Alma Es: Solo por Elder Cavenee
Segundo Narrador: Regresar a vivir con Él. Es lo que espera y quiera por cada uno de nosotros. Jesucristo nos mostró el camino. Durante su vida, nos dio el ejemplo y las ordenanzas que necesitamos para lograr eso. Pero…no duro mucho.
Primero Narrador: Él dio su vida para nosotros. Cuando Él y sus apóstoles murieron, todo lo que Él estableció se fue por un tiempo. El mundo entro la gran apostasía. Por casi do mil años, el mundo estaba sin la verdad, sin el evangelio de Jesucristo.
98 Conmigo Quédate Señor: Los Elderes con solo por Elder Velázquez
Segundo Narrador: Después este tiempo del mundo sin el evangelio de Jesucristo, Él lo restauro por medio de un profeta. En el año 1820 hubo un joven de 14 años se llama José Smith. Él estaba buscando la verdad como muchos otros pero la diferencia es Él hizo una pregunta. Después de que leo en Santiago Él se fue para preguntar a Dios a una arboleda.
14 La Oración del Profeta: Solo Elder Cavenee
Primer Narrador: Él vio el Padre y Él Hijo…Dios y Jesucristo. Por medio de José Smith, Jesucristo restauro su iglesia y su evangelio otra vez en la tierra. Se restauró todas las enseñanzas y ordenanzas que existieron durante la vida de Jesucristo. José Smith fue llamado como profeta de Dios.
Segunda Narrador: Con la restauración de muchas verdades, también muchas cosas nuevas fueron reveladas a este profeta. Uno de ellos es El Libro de Mormón…Otra Testamento de Jesucristo. Este libro es otro libro de escritura sagrada semejante a la Biblia, escrito por profetas para nosotros. La única diferencia es que fue escrito por profetas aquí en las Américas. Este historio fue conservado por más de dos mil años. Un ángel lo dio a José Smith y él lo tradujo por el poder de Dios. Es otro testamento de Jesucristo, y por medio del Libro de Mormón, podemos encontrar respuestas a nuestras vidas.
9 Un Ángel del Señor: Los Elderes
Primer Narrador: Eso es como el Evangelio de Jesucristo fue restaurado. Hoy en día tenemos un profeta llamado por Dios que nos guía y nos ayuda a saber qué hacer. Ahora saben de esta verdad….pero no saben por sí mismo sí es verdad. Un profeta nos enseñó que para saber la verdad de todas cosas, tenemos que preguntar a nuestro Padre Celestial en oración.
77 Deja que El Espíritu te Enseñe: Los Elderes

Segunda Narrador: Esta noche eso es nuestra invitación por cada uno de ustedes. Que hoy antes que duermen, pueden meditar en lo que sintieron aquí. En lo aprendieron. Luego les invitamos a arrodearse y ofrecer una oración preguntando su Padre si estas cosas son verdaderos. Y les prometemos que van a recibir una respuesta por medio del Espíritu Santo. Porque el Espíritu Santo nos testifica la verdad de todas las cosas.