Friday, March 11, 2016

Cardenas - Week of Travels

Hello Family, (Note from Mary:  This is from March 7th...I love this letter!!)

How is everyone doing? I am glad to hear that everything is going so well back at home despite the situation you're all passing through.

First of all, I am now at 14 months!!!! That means in ten months I'll be home again with you all.

This week has been super crazy. Like I told you all last Monday, I woke up early and traveled to me new area. I got transferred to the Zone Cardenas. My area is in Comalcalco. I am zone leader here, and I am in charge of 18 Elders and 2 Sisters. This zone is huge!!!! I love it though. I know several of the missionaries that are here, and I am getting to know the rest of them.

On Tuesday, I had a nice day of hard work with my companion. We found a ton of new investigators, and I got home super tired. Then we started the phone calls. We have to call 9 areas every night to follow up on their day. It takes a lot of time. By the time we went to bed, we were dead tired and I slept super well.

On Wednesday we got up early to travel to Villahermosa for mission leadership council. It was an awesome council where we created the doctrine of the Standards of Excellance of our mission. We also spent a lot of time talking about and coming up with solutions for the problems in the mission. It was a great council. I played the hymns and I also played the piano for a special musical number the the assistants did. President also shared with us that our mission is now Number one in México for baptisms. That is crazy!!!

On Thursday we woke up early and traveled to Cañales. I went on divisions with Elder Enriquez!!!! My second companion. He is one of our district leaders, and so I went and worked with him for the day, and did a baptismal interview for him. It was so fun, and very interesting to see how much each one of us has changed in the year that we haven't seen each other. We got to talk about a lot of the memories that we made together almost a year ago. His area is really cool. Cañales is Spanish for canes. There is a sugar refinery in his area, and fields of sugar cane. It is pretty cool.

On Friday we woke up early and traveled back to Comalcalco for our zone class. I was super nervous because this zone is twice as big as my last one, and I wanted to give a spiritual and really fun class. Elder de los Cobos and I prepared a ton of stuff and activities, we were just praying that it would all come out well. Then we found out that President and his wife, along with one of the assistants would be coming to our zone class. That made me even more nervous!!

Our class went very well though. We had a nice study of the doctrine of our missions Standards of Excellence (what we created in mission leadership council). We had really good participation, and we could all really feel the Spirit. We then committed all of the missionaries in our zone to keeping and living these standards. Then we had another activity focusing on the follow up we give on every investigator with baptismal dates (which is basically every investigator). Elder de los Cobos and I printed out giant posters for all of our district leaders, and one even bigger for us, with the names of all of the areas that they are in charge of. We had all of the missionaries write on post-its the names and information of their investigators, and then put them in the spots for their areas. Every night we call them and ask about these people, and we have to add to it according to the new dates they put that day. It is crazy. Right now, the zone has 48 investigators with baptismal dates within the next 6 weeks. That is a lot of names to give follow up on, but we are doing it. After everyone put up their names, we committed them to baptize those people this transfer. President really liked the table that we made, and he asked me to send it to him. He is going to send it to everyone in the mission. Next we had a practice planned to help our missionaries know what to do when the invite to baptism, and the investigator says that they have already been baptized. My companion and I gave an example, and then had all of the missionaries practice. We went around listening to different lessons and corrected teaching, and gave advice to make the lessons better.

After the practice, my companion and I had a special musical number planned. I sang, and he played the piano. We did Come thou Fount. It was awesome, and we could all feel the Spirit very strong. We then invited those that felt like it, it share their testimonies and what they were thinking and feeling. Some Elderes cried sharing their testimonies, others shared how it was one of the most Spirit filled zone classes they have been a part of. We then invited everyone to write in their notebooks what they are going to do this month to become a better missionary. We then committed everyone to complete with what they wrote down. We finished with an activity to commit everyone to do everything that we talked about in the class. Everyone passed and cut off a piece of President's tie, and then signed it. We had to do something to him for coming to our class:) (Really we just had him change into a tie we had for him when he got there). Next month, we are going to take all the pieces of those that completed their commitments, and try to put his tie back together. He told us, that if everyone completes, and we put the tie together, he will wear it in the next mission council. It was great class:)

After the zone class, I traveled with President, his wife, and Elder Johnson (assistant) to Villahermosa. I was going on divisions with Elder Johnson. In the car ride, all three of them told me that it was one of the best zone classes that they've been to in their mission. President told me that I have grown a lot, and that he really loved the Spirit that was felt in the class. That was awesome to hear from them.

The rest of Friday I stayed in Villa with Elder Johnson, and we worked super hard. He walks very fast. It was a lot of fun. It was like the fifth time that I've done divisions with him. He is from Idaho, and he is one of my favorite missionaries. He is the only other missionary that I have met, that knows how to sing, so we had a lot of fun singing in every lesson. At night we stayed up late singing hymns together. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday we got up really early to travel back to my area, and I got to work with my companion in my area again. I now have a week here, but I've only worked in my area for 2 days!!!

Sunday we had an investigator come to church. His name is Roberto and he is 18. He has a baptismal date for this Saturday. We are working with him to get him ready!!! My ward is huge. We had 127 people at church!!! It was awesome. And, we have a ward choir!!!! It was super fun to practice with them on Sunday night. The sister in charge asked me to do sectionals for the tenors. We separated for 20 minutes and came back super powerful. The sister was very excited.

Anyways...this week has been crazy. My companion and I barely have time to be together. We are doing a lot of divisions to help out every area in our zone, but we are seeing results, so that's good. I have so much to do, but I feel really peaceful. Not stressed at all. We are always able to get everything done that needs to be done. Being a missionary is the best!!!

I Love you all so much!!!

Elder Cavenee

My Zone
Cutting Presidents Tie 

Birthday Week!

Family, (Note from Mary:  This is from March 1st, 2 days after Elder Cavenee's birthday)

How are you all doing? I hope that things are going better there back at home. It is wonderful to hear how much Jackson is progressing. I feel like everything is going to be okay.

Everything is going great here. This past week was super awesome. On Wednesday we had a special conference with President Morales. We all had to bring someone from our areas to practice with. It was a lot of fun. we practiced all 5 lessons from preach my gospel to members, less actives, and investigators that were brought by the missionaries. We brought a less active sister, and at first she didn't want to come. We convinced her to come, and afterwards, she thanked us a ton. She is going through some trials right now, and during that meeting/practices she found a lot of answers that she was looking for. She said that she really wished her family would have come too. It was a great experience to practice our lessons, but at the same time, feel the Spirit a ton.

After the practices we had a sports activity. We played volleyball with President Morales. It was super fun. We set up three teams and palyed King of the Court. It was so fun to play against President because he gets really competitive. He started making fun of all of us, and when we would score on him, he threatened to transfer us. At the end we played a tournament. It ended up with our team against his, and they beat us. So...we talked him into another game, and we won. He couldn't end like that, so we played another game, and his team won again. It was a lot of fun.

Last week, we had a less active family that came to church and they brought their neighbor with them, Ofelia. On Tuesday we went and taught her with this family, and she accpeted baptism for that Saturday. We worked really hard with her this week, and on Saturday, she was baptized. That was the greatest Birthday Present that I could have, and did receive. It felt really good to baptize again.

Saturday was my Birthday. I'm now 20 years old!!!! That is to crazy to think about. It was a great day. Elder Stoddard, Velazquez and Gonzalez woke me up super early and sang me las Mañanitas (Happy Birthday in Spanish). They bought me a little cake and had me blow out a match:) After the baptism we went to Hermana Niki's house. She bought Pizza, and made me a Nutella cake. It was super good!!! There is a crazy cake tradition here. First they sing to you, then you blow out your candles, and then you have to take a bite of the cake. But when you take a bite, they always shove your face in it. I was prepared though, and Elder Velazquez had to put all his weight on me to smash my face, and he succeeded. Then I learned how to dance Salsa and Bachata (latino dances). Elder Gonzalez, and Adrian (Niki's brother) taught me how. It was super fun. Hermana Niki gave me cologne, and Areli (Niki's sister) made me a scarf. It was a lot of fun.

On Sunday, Ofelia was confirmed. It was really special. We also had another investigator at church. It is the dad of an active family, that just had never accepted the gospel. He came to church on Sunday, and he has a baptismal date for the 12 of March.

At lunch on Sunday, for my birthday, the sisters made Carlote. It is a really good dessert. It is a layer of crackers, then a layer of some creamy yo-gurht type stuff, and then a layer of peaches. It is super good. Then later, we went to another sister's house for more birthday cake:) And yes, I got my face smashed again. I ate a ton of cake, but it was all super good.

Transfers came on Sunday night, and I got a call. I spent all night packing. This morning I got up super early to head into Coatza for transfers. I got transfered to Comoacalco, zone Cardenas. My new companion is Elder de los Cobos from México. He has six months in the mission, and we are the Zone leaders here. It is going to be am awesome area!!! This zone is twice as big as my last zone. I'm so excited.

Anyways, I am doing super good, and just loving life. I Love you all so much and am thankful for all of you. Thanks for all the Birthday wishes:)


Elder Cavenee


Practicing piano for Leadership Council on Wedesday
Birthday Cake with exploding Candle

Tree Selfie/Speaking in Church

Hey Family, (Note from Mary:  This is from Monday, Feb. 22nd)

I hope that everything is going super awesome for all of you. I am so happy to hear that Jackson opened his eyes! That is amazing. Really it is a miracle that he is recovering so fast. How is he doing now? Has he talked yet?

This week flew by really fast. It's hard to even remember what we did. On Monday after we finished writing we ran to the house to receive a new washing machine that came all the way from México City. Elder Stoddard and I had to lift it up to the third floor of the building using a giant rope. It was super heavy, and we almost dropped it. We finally got it up. It is a really nice washing machine. Now we can wash in the house!!!!

It was a pretty normal week. Not very much happened. We just are working really hard to try and get some people baptized. We are teaching a bunch of people, but none of them are progressing. It's a little diff
icult, but that's okay because the reward is even better at the end.

On Wednesday, I went to Nan-Chital to do divisions. It was really fun. Elder Stoddard went to Las Chuapas to be with Elder Engamenn and Elder Hernandez. I was with Elder Lezama and Elder Augilar. It was super fun. I stayed with them on Wednesday and Thursday. Came back on Thursday night.I like doing divisions and getting to work with other Elders in other areas. I learn a lot every time we do them. Our zone is getting so much better. We are nolonger the worste zone in the mission. We are in like number 9 out of 11. That's not to bad for being the smallest zone in the mission. It is a lot of fun being a zone leader, but stressful as well. I now have the hang of it it is a lot eaiser.

Tuesday night we had a family home evening with a part member family. It was a lot of fun. We ate hamburgers...I made brownies, and we ate them with ice cream. It was great....and the best part is that one of the girls commited to be baptized on my birthday!!! That is the best present that I could get. If every area in the zone can baptize this Saturday.

On Friday, my companion and I decided to check out a part of our area where we have never been. A little pueblo outisde of Agua Dulce. We walked for like 2 hours on a dirt road, and got lost. I guess it was a lot farther than we thought. But we found this really cool tree, so we took some pictures:) We then found our way back. My companions legs were killing him on Saturday:)

On Sunday I gave a talk in church about the Holy Ghost. I shared this experience that we are going through as a family (not with all the details). I shared how the comfort of the Holy Ghost is real, and helps people through hard trials. He brings comfort and helps us to pass through those moments and come out stronger. I shared my testimony of this. Afterwards I had a sister come up to me that hasn't been to church in 2 years. She shared with me that during my talk, she felt the Spirit. She felt something that she had been missing the past two years. I talked to her for like ten minutes about the Holy Ghost and how we can feel it more in our lives through our obedience to God's commandments. Going to church and participating in the sacrament is a Spiritual recharge for every week. It is something that we need in order to function and face the trials of our lives. If we faithfully do everything that we know is right, and repent everyday for our faults, we can feel the Spirit more in our lives. He becomes a real friend, with us in every moment that we need Him. He has become a close friend of mine.

Sunday we had a record of 56 people that came to church. Two less active families that we have been working with came!!!! And....they brought their neighbor. We have a lesson with them tomorrow. Our ward is starting to grow, and members are starting to bring friends and neighbors to church. It is awesome.

Anyways...I love you all and hope that you have an amazing week. Jackson...keep up the good work. I'll be talking to you in a couple weeks:).


Elder Cavenee

The road that we followed to the little Pueblo
Selfie in a Tree