Thursday, May 12, 2016

Transfer to Pueblos Villahermosa/Macuspana

Hello Family (Note from Mary:  This is from Monday, May 9th),

It was such a pleasure to be able to talk to you all yesterday even though it was only for a short while. I want you all to know that I love you all so very much and it is such a blessing to have all of you in my life.

Last week as I was waiting for my transfer in Villa, I was placed temporarily with Elder Strong, who had been hospitalized for a surgery that they performed. He is an awesome Elder from California and has only been in the mission for 12 weeks. I got to stay with him and be his personal nurse for almost an entire week. It was a lot of fun, but...we didn't ever get to leave the house, so that was a bummer.

This week has been pretty crazy. I am now in Las Mercedes, with Elder Velazquez. My new area is a bunch of little pueblos that stretch along the freeway in between Villahermosa and Macuspana Tabasco. It is really different from any other area that I have had before as it is not a city. It is such a great area though. Elder Velazquez is from North Carolina, and he is on of my best friends here in the mission. We lived together before in Frontera and in Agua Dulce. Him and I get along so well and when we found out that we were companions, we were so happy. We have seen the blessings of being able to get along as we are already, in like five days, finding a lot of success.

We had a baptism on Saturday of this young man named Victor. He came to church last week, and the other missionaries before me were teaching him, but he wasn´t really progressing. He had a baptismal date for the 21st but it was falling. On Thursday we had an appointment on Wednesday with him, and shared a church video ''Because of Him''. We talked about the blessings that he has in his life because of Jesus Christ. That led to talking and teaching about the Holy Ghost. This young man started crying, explaining to us why he needs the Holy Ghost in his life. We invited him to receive it through repentance and baptism, and he accepted. Then we felt inspired to invite him for that Saturday, and he accepted. Saturday he was baptized, and he was soooo happy. We have an appointment with him tonight to see how he is doing.

We are also teaching this other family of three. Hermana Lady is a single mom of two daughters. She works a lot to take care of them, and she has to take care of her dad that is in the hospital. On Friday we had an amazing lesson with them. They have accepted baptism, but have not yet come to church. We played a game with them the Elder Velazquez made up, that has to do with the Holy Ghost. It is a really good analogy to how the Holy Ghost works in our lives. We talked with Lady and her daughters about the Holy Ghost, and the blessings it brings to our lives. We then taught about repentance, and the sacrament as a part of that. In 3rd Nephi Jesus promises us that if we partake of the sacrament, remebering Him and His sacrifice, we will always have His Spirit with us. We talked about the blessings of partaking of the sacrament, and invited them to come with us on Sunday. Lady started crying, she told us that she really wanted to, but that she couldn't because she just got a new job, nad she has to work on Sunday mornings. She then shared with us everything she is going through trying to just take care of her daughters. We testified to her that her Heavenly Father was proud of the work that she has done so far, and that her being able to partake of the sacrament with her children is so important to Him, that He would provide a way. She promised us that she would pray for that help, and then ask for some hours off next Sunday in order to come to church with us. They have baptismal dates for the 21st of this month. It was a wonderful lesson.

We are also teaching the daughter of a less-active member named Celida. She is 11 years old, and should be getting baptized this Wednesday.

We have this really cool village in our area called Teapa. It is about an hour away from where we live but is really beautiful. It is at the base of a mountain. I didn't know there were mountains in Tabasco. On the way we pass thousands of banana trees. It's like cornfields at home, but banana trees. There we are teaching Fricia, who is the daughter in law of a family of members that live out there. She is also progressing, came to church on Sunday and now has a baptismal date for the 21st of this month.

Today we spent the day with this family in Teapa. We left at 8:00 this morning to get on the bus that traveles out there. When we got there, we ate breakfast and washed our clothes. Then the brother took us to the grutas (caves) where we went spulunking for a couple hours. At some points they didn't have lights and it was so dark. All you could see was what fell into the small beam of your flashlight. It was really cool. One part, Elder Velaqzquez and I were crawling on our hands and knees to pass through this small passagway for like 10 min. It got really small and really scary because on either side of us was pitch black. When we came out on the other side, there was a huge room, full of bats, with a giant lake in the middle. It was really cool. The pictures didn't come out super good because of the lighting, but it was so beautiful. Always in life we have to pass through something hard or scary. But if we keep going, and don't turn back, at the end we will be given blessings, and we will have learned a lot.

We are working really hard, and being obedient and seeing the blessings. I am so grateful to be able to be here in the mission. It has taken a completely new meaning in my life, and I am determined not to waste any moment that I have left.

I Love you all, and will talk to you again next week.


Elder Cavenee

P.S. Happy Graduation Jenna!!!!

Pictures: Banana trees without end
Baptism of Victor

Happy Birthday Mom!

Hello Family (Note from Mary:  This is from Monday, April 25th),

How is everyone doing? It's awesome to hear how great all of you week was. It was great to see all of those pictures. It's good to see Brycen in the pictures.  Jenna, do you talk to him a lot at school? Or see him? I am so happy for those friend experiences that you guys had Jackson and Vanessa. Jenna...seems like you are just enjoying life right now. Your boyfriend is cool. Were you guys praying together in that picture?

Say hi to all of my aunts, uncles and cousins. I miss them all. Congratulations Alicia for the baby, and Audrey for the wedding. I love you guys!!!

Mom.....HAPPY BIRTHDAY on Wednesday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy for you!!! What plans do you have? I love you so much and hope that your birthday is a very special day for you. If I was there I would give you a big hug, and kiss. And probably make you a big breakfast. YOU are the BEST MOM in the WORLD. Sorry for all of the other moms in the world, mine is the BEST. You have been there for me in every moment of my life. Without you, I don't know where I would be. It is thanks to your love for me, that I'm here serving a mission. It seems like your love never ends. You are always giving your all to help your children. You have given me all of you as my Mom. So...I'm wishing and hoping that everyone makes you feel super special for your birthday because that is what you are for and to me. I LOVE YOU MOM!!!!!

To answer your am I? I am fantastic. I don't think I've ever been happier in my life. Yes it is really hot. Really really really hot. But that's okay because it gives us motivation to be in lessons all day so that we can be out of the sun. Sometimes it gets discouraging, but I always get over it. I am doing very well. In spite of a couple discouraging things, this week was amazing.

Tuesday we traveled to Cardenas to visit the district class there. It was a really good class where we talked a lot about the work that each companionship is doing in there areas. We analyzed a talk given by Mervyn B. Arnold ''To the Rescue: We can do it''. He makes several important points regarding missionary work. 1. We must not delay going for the rescue. We need to act in the moment and every moment to help everyone we know and meet to be saved. 2. We must never give up. Many times it seems just like too much, or that people will never change. Everything is possible with the Lord, and if we are diligent and patient, we will see miracles. 3. How great shall be your joy if you bring save it be one soul unto Christ. Even if it is just one person you save, that person has an effect on hundreds of others, and because of you, they will be saved as well. 4. No matter your age, we are all called to go to the rescue. Everyone is called to the rescue. We can all make a difference in the lives of others, and we need to do it.  We discussed as a district how we can change what we are doing to become more effective in our calling to save, and how to encourage members to have the same desire to do there part. It was a great class.

On Wednesday we went with Jose Antonio. He was a contact that we made the week before. He is a really cool guy. He lives with his mom and two nieces and he is like 35 years old. He has a ton of tattoos and has a super deep crackly voice. We went and taught him Lesson 1, the Restoration. When we shared the first vision with him, he began to cry. The spirit was super strong. We finished the lesson and he accepted to be baptized, and to come to church on Sunday. He was just ready to receive us.

On Thursday we had our interviews with president. My last interview with him before he leaves in July:(  It was a really nice interview. He told me how much he trusts in me, and loves me. He also told me that he is very proud of the progress that I have made in my 15 months here. He told me that as a zone we needed to step it up (we're not doing very good right now) but that he is confident that I could bring them up to level. I am really going to miss him, he is such a great guy.

I stayed with Elder Chavesta on Thursday in divisions and helped him out in his area. We found a family of seven that accepted baptism, so him and his companion are going to work hard with them to make that happen. It was fun to get to be with Chavesta. He is from Peru and is probably the shortest Elder in the mission. He is awesome.

On Friday, my companion and I found a family of five!!!! They are so great. we taught them lesson 1 and the all accepted baptism. It was so cool. They will be my first full family!!! They have a baptismal date for the 7th of May. They are all so excited. We also went and visited Jose Antonio again. He is on fire....he read the chapter we left him in the Book of Mormon and had a bunch of questions. We helped him out with his questions and invited him to church again. He was so excited to go. He told us that during the week other missionaries from another church came to visit him and he turned them away because ''he found the right church''. He said that to other missionaries. It was awesome.

On Saturday we made cinnamon rolls with Hermano Orlando and his family. They turned out really good. That really surprised me because Jessica is the expert...not me. Now all of the sisters in the ward want me to teach them how to make cinnamon rolls. I think we might plan an activity to make them with the Relief Society. It was so good to eat cinnamon rolls again!!!!

On Sunday we had 7 Investigators in church!!!!! Our family of five, Jose Antonio, and Cindel. That was just a cherry on top for an awesome week.

Tomorrow is the baptism of Cindel, so we are hopping everything goes well.

Anyways....I am super happy, super busy and super tired, but that is how a missionary should be.

I love you all and wish you the best week ever!!!


Elder Cavenee

Another Week!

Hello Family (Note from Mary:  this is from Monday, April 18th)
Zone Picture


I am alive and very well. And yes.....we are keeping very busy. There isn't enough time to get everything done!!! As for my baptisms...I don't have a running count. The number is not that important.

It's good to hear that you guys are keeping so busy. Being focused on good things. Jenna, good luck at prom!!!! Are you going with Sam? Send me a lot of pictures!!!

I want teriyaki chicken!!! The other day my companion and I ate Chinese food  But it is not that great here in Mexico.

Anyways...this week was very exciting. On Tuesday we had our district class, and then we went out for pizza after because on Tuesday they are 2x1. We went all 8 of us and bought four pizzas for the price of two. It was a lot of fun. We then spent the entire day looking for people to teach. It was a very hard and long day. Last week in weekly planning we decided to leave a lot of investigators behind, soooo, it's time to do some serious finding. Really, I think that the hardest part of missionary work is finding. We spent all of Tuesday contacting and talking to people. It was very hot...and we were sweating, but we kept up our excitement and made it through the day. We did more than 40 contacts...and now have a the next week full of appointments. That night I barely had energy to shower before crawling into bed.

Wednesday were interviews with President. He and his wife came. They gave us a lesson about money management. It really reminded me of our family financial meetings. They talked about how we should be spending our money, and told us how it applies in our future lives. They also talked about the rent money...because some elders in the mission have not been paying rent, and using that money. They told us that some Elders are using money to buy phones and psp and stuff that they shouldn't have. We talked a lot about obedience to the mission rules, and Sister Morales had us make paper chains with the things that we are going to do better in the mission. I guess that there is a lot of disobedience going on in the mission right now. My companion and I were last in line to be interviewed because we are the zone leaders, and president ran out of time so we didn't get interviewed. But we have interviews this Thursday with the other part of the zone.

After the interviews we went to a shoe store where one of our investigators works. We went in to see how she was doing and to set an appoinment with her for later in the week. When she saw us, she told us ''Elders, I have good news'' se we asked what it was. She told us ''I am going to get baptized next Friday between 4:00 and 5:00, do I need an interview or something before?'' We were shocked. It was so out of the blue, and after a moment of silence we regained our senses and planned everything out with her. She has her interview tomorrow and her baptism on Friday. We are so excited for her.

Thursday Elder Dimas got sick, so I stayed in the house all day taking care of him. My companion went out with him to work and go to our appoinments. He was throwing up all day long. I took him to the doctor (our bishop) and then to buy medicine. He was not very good. In the evening I went out with Elder Gardner to teach a few lessons in his area. We taught a really awesome investigator. It was a college student that is studying nursing. During the lesson she asked so many awesome questions, and was so happy when we explained everything. She came to church this week and they are going to baptize her next week. We also found a really awesome family of 6.

Friday and Saturday it was more finding, and a couple lessons. Saturday afternoon we found some really awesome families that we have appointments with this week. We met with one of these families on Sunday after church, and they are amazing. It is a family of four, and they accepted everything we taught them. We have another appointment with them tomorrow, and we are going to put a baptismal date with them.

Sunday night, we had a nacho party in the house. One of the converts of Elder Gardner works in the movie theater, and she gave us a ton of tortilla chips that they were just going to throw out. A huge box. We bought cheese on Saturday, and Sunday night we had a nacho party.

It was a great week...very tiring...especially with the sun, but it was great.

I love you all and wish you an amazing week.


Elder Cavenee