Thursday, June 16, 2016

Singing on Doorsteps

Hello Family!!!!!!                                           (This is from Monday, June 13th, 2016)

Happy Week to all of you!!!! It is crazy that our family is all growing up!!!! We are entering into a new stage of life. It's crazy. It just blows my mind every time that I think how Jenna just graduated from High School!!! And how Jessica is married...and Jackson is going to turn fifteen this month, and how Vanessa looks so old and beautiful!!!! It's crazy....I've been gone from home now for 17 months!!! In just seven months I'll be home!!! Time is just flying by!!!

So...this last week was another amazing week here in Las Mercedes. On Monday....Elder Mendez got permission to visit one of his old areas that is really close to us, so we traveled to Villa so that he could visit some members and some of his converts. It was really cool so see the reactions of these people when they realized that it was him. They were all so happy, and he was just smiling the whole time. It was awesome to see him that happy!!!! We also went to some cool places in Villa....but....sadly I left my camera charging in the I don't have any pictures from Villa. Next time we go, I'll take pictures.

Tuesday we had a really awesome district class. we listened to a talk given by Neil L. Anderson in the worldwide missionary training conference entitled ''Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts''. It is so good. Elder Anderson talks about our purpose as missionaries. the importance to understand in order to teach the atonement and repentance to our investigators. He said ''be ready to testify at every moment with the power of the Spirit. Testify of Jesus Christ and invite all to come unto Him.'' He asked several questions that I have pondered on this week during my studies and free moments. I want to share them with you guys with the intention that you all think about it this week. What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ? How am I applying it in my life everyday? The Atonement is for every moment of our lives. Not just on Sundays when we take the sacrament, not just when we mess up big, or not just when we feel bad. We should always remember that sacrifice that He made for us, and in every moment strive to be better. Once we understand repentance, and the Atonement, we can then teach it to others. When our investigators really understand it, they take action and their lives begin to change. That is the truth!!! When they experience these changes, they have a personal conversion, and that leads to baptism. It all flows together like a river. It was a great class!!!

We found a bunch of new investigators this week that are all super great. On Tuesday we found this lady named Maria Ofelia. She is about 70 years old and is so sweet. She just loves talking to us. When we found her, we sang her a hymn....and she just loved it so much that she asked us to sing her we did...then another...then another. We sang her like five or six hymns, then we taught her about the Restoration. The Spirit was so strong, and she really felt it. It was awesome.

On Wednesday night we didn't have an appoinment so we were walking around looking for someone to teach. With the threatening rain...their was no-one outside, which made it a little difficult, and no-one was answering their doors. We decided to say a prayer. We asked Heavenly Father to send us to a house, and give us a way to get them to the door. After we prayed, we started walking again. In like 2 min, we passed a house, and without saying anything to each other, we both pulled out our hymnbooks. We both looked at each other like ''Hey...I was gonna tell you to do that!!!'' So with that we sang ''Lead Kindly Light''. And guess what....they answered the door!!!!! We finished the hymn then we asked if we could teach them for a couple minutes. They accepted and we taught them lesson 1. They accepted everything. It was awesome. Valentina is the mom, and she had three kids...Candi, Angel, and Itzel. They are an awesome family, and I know that the Lord led us to them and gave us the way to get them to come outside. It was great.

Since that worked so well, we started singing on doorsteps to get people to come out, and it has worked for majority of houses. It is a lot of fun. It reminds me of Christmas caroling.

On Thursday we went to visit a recient Convert named Roque. He is the one that makes the hammocks. He taught us several steps of how to make them. We caught on pretty quick. Who knows? Maybe I'll set up my hammock shop when I get home:)hahahaha.

On Sunday I was asked to play piano for the Choir of the Parilla ward. They had ward conference, so they asked me to play for the choir. It was fun. They sang ''Home can be a Heaven on Earth'', ''How Gentle God's Commands'', and a really cool hymn that I have never heard before ''Lord We Come Before Thee Now''. Their ward conference was really great.

On Sunday Lady and her daughters came to church!!!! It made our week!!! After almost two months of teaching them....they came!!!! It's a really cool story so keep reading...

So, Lady is a single mom with two daughters. Suari is 15 and Yahaira is 12. They are super happy and nice and cool with us and really enjoy the lessons. We have been trying to get them to come to church for a long time now, but Lady works everyday of the week, including Sundays from 7:00 to 3:00. Our services are at 8:00 am, so she hasn't been able to come. On Monday night Elder Mendez and I were talking about this family and how we could get them to church. we prayed and asked that the Lord would provide a way. All week, we prayed with this family praying that her boss would give her permission to come to work late, in order to come to church. Everyday she would ask, and her boss told her no. By Friday we were all a little sad....but.....when we showed up at their house on Friday night, Lady was very happy. More than normal, so we asked her why. She told us that she got permission to go to work late in order to come to church!!!!! We freaked out (in a missionary appropriate way)!!! She told us, that they had fired her old boss, and the new one, gave her permission!!!! The girls made jokes that God got her old boss fired for standing in the way. I believe it's true though. Don't mess with Him. We knelt down in that moment and said a prayer of thanks. They came to church on Sunday and participated in the sacrament, and felt the Spirit. It was really special, and they loved it. Her daughters are going to mutual on Wednesday.

Maria Ofelia also came to church on Sunday, and Loved it as well.

All in all it was a great week.

Pretty flowers we found
I find joy everyday speaking and testifying of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. He is the reason for everything good in our lives, and the reason to change all the bad. Through Him, we can repent and change....from anything. I know He loves me inspite of the wrong things that I do, and He is always willing to forgive...if I do my part. I Love Him, and I love the chance that I have to serve Him everyday.

I Love you all, and hope that you can feel that.

I wish you all the best week that you can have.

With much love,

Elder Cavenee

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Happy Mango Season!!!

Hello Family,

Happy Mango Season!!!!!! Mangos are growing on trees everywhere and everyone is going crazy! We are eating tons of mangos and drinking mango juice all the time. It is amazing. Everyone is giving us mangos, and we are giving everyone mangos!!!

I hope that everything is okay with you guys.  I miss you all and love you guys so much!!!! You guys had trek last week....right? How'd that go? I imagine that you guys are all really tired. I have so many great memories of when we went on trek as a family. It was awesome!!!!

Everything here in the mission is going awesome. Everyone feels the change that is coming....and we are all excited and sad at the same time. I am really going to miss President Morales, but I am also excited to meet our new president....President Haws. President Morales is leaving in three weeks!!! His three years are almost up, and really him and Sister Morales are very sad. We are going to have a conference with him on Friday. I think it will be the last time that I get to see him:( I am really going to miss him.

Elder Cavenee says that thousands and thousands of people live in these apartments.

It has cooled down here. The beginning of the week was horrible. There is so much dirt in the streets here because it is just so hot. That dirt makes you cough all day long, I've had a cough since I got here. It's not the coolest situation , but it's alright. Friday night it started to rain....and it rained hard!!!!! It was the best. Friday night I used my blanket for the first time in a while. Saturday morning, it was even hotter than before. Everything was super wet, and so when the sun came got so humid because of all of the evaporation. It was a very sticky day. Later in the afternoon the storms came back and it has been raining on and off since. It is a lot cooler here now!!!! All the streets are covered in mud and flooding. It's awesome.

So....this week was great. Last Monday we went to the church early with about half the zone to play volleyball. It was a ton of fun. We played 6 on 6 for several hours. We went home sunburned, but it was a ton of fun.

Our baptism last Saturday fell through. Everything was going right as planned all week long. Anuar was very excited and everything. He passed his interview, and we went and visited him on Friday night to make sure he was ready for Saturday. He told us everything was good. On Saturday morning, he texted us and told us that he couldn't get baptized. We were devestated. He is alright....just something happened and he has to wait a week. We had a really good lesson with him on Saturday night, and he got down on his knees and asked for forgiveness. You could feel the spirit so strong. We are working with him this week, to see if he can make it this weekend. Anuar is a really good guy. We teach him in his store by the side of the road, and he always invites everyone that walks by to listen to us. He wants to be a misionary. He has a really big heart and is such a great guy.

We had a really interesting week with Lady and her daughters. On Tuesday we went for a lesson with them, but Suari and Yahaira weren't we started talking with their mom. She really opened up to us and shared with us some problems that she is going through...that we didn't know about. She was very stressed out and shared with us that she didn't believe in God anymore because of all the suffering she has gone through. We tried to comfort her and explain that Christ has felt everything she is feeling, but she was just so distraught. She told us that she didn't want to listen to us anymore. It was very sad. Her daughters came home and we were teaching a lesson....Lady groaned...stood up and just left. It was very hard to see how heartbroken she was. We prayed with her daughters, and left. (didn't want to be alone with them in the house)

Tuesday night, Elder Mendez and I knelt in prayer asking God how we could touch the heart of Lady. How we could invite the Spirit in to touch her and help her understand. After praying, we both thought of a video ''Touch of the Masters Hand''. Niether of us had seen this video in some time, so we put it into our DVD and checked it out. It was perfect. We planned a lesson with this video, and on Wednesday we went by to share it. Lady was still very cold with us, but she listened and watched the video. At the end, she was participating and things seemed a little better.

On Thursday when we showed up, there was a complete change!!! She and her daughters greeted us with cookies!!!!! (I have not eaten cookies in months.) She was so happy, and participated in the lesson. Same thing on Friday and Saturday. She promised us that this week they will go to church with us. We are very excited for that!!!!

Storm rolling in
On Thursday we had zone class (it was really weird not teaching it) and it went pretty good. We talked a lot about the doctrine of Christ. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. Basically if we really understand the doctrine of Christ we will baptize more. The mission is pushing really hard to have a ton of baptisms before President heads out. We should be baptizing a lot this month.

We've been struggling this week finding news, but we are heading out with some members this week that hopefully will be taking us to visit non members that they know. We also have a lot of contacts to visit that we did last week.

Anyways...the work is going good. I am walking my shoes off. They are getting pretty close to wearing through. I think they'll last a little longer though. Elder Mendez and I are just putting our faith in the Lord, and our shoulder to the wheel and just having a good time!!!

I Love you all, and hope that you all have the most amazing week!!!


Elder Cavenee

This is a little bunny that a family bought

New Companion/ Baptism/ Sabastian

Dear Family, (Note from Mary:  This is from Monday, May 30th)

I am glad you are all enjoying the beginning of your vacations!!!! I had no idea that today was Memorial Day. (You kind of forget about those holidays here). I want to go swimming so bad!!! But I'll just have to wait for next summer.

It is still super hot here. Sweating a ton, and drinking liters and liters of water everyday. It was supposed to rain, but it didn't:( I think thats a blessing...because when it stops raining, if it hasn't rained hard for several days, it's even worse because it becomes super humid. It's only going to get hotter though.

This week was awesome. First off, I have a new companion. I think I told you about him last week. Elder Mendez is awesome and we get along really well. He is a great guy and a great misisonary. We had a ton of success in just our first week together, so we are really excited for the rest of the transfer. We are going to have a lot of success. We hope to baptize every week!!!

First off, Maria del Rosario got baptized on Saturday and Confirmed on Sunday!!! It was awesome! She cried after coming out of the font. She was baptized by her brother-in-law. The ward helped us put together a wonderful baptismal program. Our relief society president spoke, and you could really feel the love that she had for Maria. Everyone in the ward knows Maria because missionaries have been trying to get her baptized for years, so everyone showed up for the service. It was awesome.

Elder Mendez's birthday was on Tuesday. I called some members on Monday night, and the young men and young women put together a surprise party for him. It was great. We also bought him a cake in district class. He loved it. He told me that he thought he wasn't going to get any cake because no one knows him here. He was so happy.

On Wednesday we found a mom duck and her little ducklings. They were so cute.

This week we found a bunch of knew investigators, and almost all of them accepted baptism! We have a lot of people that we are teaching that are progressing towards that goal. It makes us very happy. We found this guy named Emanuel. He is 23 and is a storekeeper. One day as we were waiting for a bus next to his store, he walked out and gave us water. It was cool. So....we started talking to him. He told us how he has always been very happy and content with his life until recently. He has been feeling like he's been missing something, and he thinks that something is God. We taught him the Restoration and he was very excited. He was going to come to church on Sunday, but he had to travel early in the morning to Villa to get more merchandise for his store. We'll see if he comes this week.

We are continuing to work with Anuar. (I can't remeber if I've told you about him) His baptism is this weekend, and he came to church last Sunday. We teach him in his store, so on Sunday when we went to go pick him up from his house, we couldn't find it!!! We looked all around, but could not find the house he described to us...and He wasn't answering his phone. We didn't know what to do, so we prayed. Right when we said amen, we see him walking up the road. When he got to us he said ''I had a feeling that I needed to come look for you guys.'' He showed us his house, and then we went to church. He is very excited about everything we have taught him. He is going to have his interview either tomorrow or Wednesday. We are excitied for him.

On Friday, Sister Monzón (the sister that we ate with) made us tortilla's rellenos. They are tortillas filled with shrimp, cheese, tomatoes and cilantro. They were soooo good. One of the best meals that I have eaten here in México.

Last Sunday, our bishop asked us to help him out with taking food to Sabastian. Sabastian was in a motorcycle accident a year ago and suffered brain damage. He lives alone. Ward members go every other day to wash him, but the bishop asked us to take him food everyday (an extra plate from the sisters). It is pretty far away, but we told him yes because we want to help out in every way we can. Sabastian is really cool, and feel bad for him. He can't walk, and he struggles to eat, but he has a lot of courage. We visit him every day, wash his dishes, serve his food, and then sit and sing him hymns and read from the Book of Mormon. He is such a great guy. We are working with the ward to get him a speaker and some church music so that he can listen to it when he is alone.

Us visiting Sabastian
Lady and her family are doing really well. Lady doesn't have the member boss anymore, because she got changed. Now she says that her new boss is very rude. She asked for permission to come in a little late in order to go to church, but he told her no. That's not stopping her though...she is now trying to change work hours with another co-worker in order to be able to come on Sunday. We are praying for her because she really wants to go. She told us that if she can't get her shift covered, she might just show up late anyways. They are an awesome family. is awesome here. I love being a missionary and I am really grateful for all of the success that we are finding right now.

I praying for and love you all. Enjoy the swim party and all that you're doing this week.

Elder Cavenee

Karina Baptism/ Transfers

Dear Family, (Note from Mary:  This is from Monday, May 23rd)
It is so good to hear how all of you are doing. The period key on this computer doesn´t work very well, so sorry if there are a few missing periods. Sounds like you guys had an amazing last week. I have never been to Universal Studios, but it looks amazingly fun. And it sounds like you had some other interesting moments in that trip. I'm sorry mom that you are feeling sick...I hope you get better. Here in Mexico, whenever you get doesn't matter what you have, they give you a shot in the butt. I know how you feel. Congratulations Jenna on graduating I am very proud of you!!! You are super old now. Good luck everyone in the ALA show tomorrow, and with trek!!!! How Fun!!!!

Here it just gets hotter and hotter. This week has been horrible as far as the heat goes. It is brutal!!! It is so hot here that I sweat while I am sleeping, even with a fan on me. My companion and I have not slept very well the past week because we keep waking up super hot and sweating. We moved our beds in front of our front door (biggest window in the house) and sleep with the windows on the door open to try to cool down. I'll send a picture next week of that. I tried showering the other night to cool off, but the water is hot too!!! It is just crazy hot!! But I'm sweating off weight:) That's good. There are literally no people in the streets. Everyone is in their houses with clima (air conditioning). In the afternoon, it looks like a ghost town here!!

Roque (recent convert) making a hammock
So, Elder Velazquez got transfers today:(  I was only with him for three weeks:(  I'm going to miss him, but I got my new companion....Elder Mendez. He has 21 months in the mission and as far as I can tell, is a really good missionary. I'm excited to work with him.

This week was really awesome as far a missionary work goes. Karina got baptized!!!! It was so sweet. On Sunday, after she was confirmed, she came up to Elder Velazquez and I and started crying as she thanked us for everything we had done for her. For teaching her and inviting her. She said that she really felt different and that she is never going to forget how she felt in that moment. She also told us that she wants to serve a mission!!!! That was super cool to hear. We are working with her to get an interview with the bishop for her temple recommend so that she can go very soon.
Karina's Baptism

Last Sunday in Stake Conference a sister in the ward brought her sister. Last week we went and visited her. Her name is Maria de Rosario, and she is a single mom of two little kids. When we set up the appointment with her sister, she told us that a lot of missionaries had taught her before, but that none have been able to baptize her...but if we wanted, we could visit her, so we gave it a shot. It was kind of a crazy lesson. We taught her outside of her house, and her kids, nieces and nephews, and the neighbor kids were all running around, playing, and screaming. It seemed that every time we could feel the Spirit strongly, we were interrupted by something else going on, but we kept going with the lesson. We got to the first vision, and she was feeling the Spirit really strong, so we started preparing the baptismal invitation. The second we invited her, her nephew started screaming. He had gotten ran over by a tri-cycle, and cut his hand open...really deep (blood everywhere)!!! It totally killed the moment. So, we stopped the lesson, helped get him cleaned up and I wrapped up his hand. We were just going to end the lesson there, and come back another time to invite her to be baptized, but we felt prompted to invite her there, in that moment. So...we did, and she accepted!!!! It was soooo cool! We learned that we can't be the judge of when others feel the Spirit or not, because when we thought that the Spirit had gone, it was still there and still really strong. We also learned that you always have to be aware of Spiritual promptings, or you will miss special opportunities. She came to Karina's baptism on Saturday and is super excited for hers.

This week we also found a new investigator named Añuar. He is really cool, and he actually contacted us. He stopped us as we were passing by his house and asked us about the Book of Mormon. We sat and talked to him answering his questions. He had a lot. Later in the week we went back to teach him lesson one, and he accepted baptism. He was going to come to church on Sunday, but he had a problem with his family. We are going to visit him tomorrow to see how he is and if we can get him to come to church this week.

Lady and her daughters had a hard week this week. We weren't able to find them at the beginning of the week. On Thursday we found them at last in their house and they told us what was going on that week. Lady's father died...and it was very hard on all of them. They were all crying and looking for comfort. We taught about the Plan of Salvation and how they will be able to see him again, if they do everything required of them in this life. It was an amazing Spirit filled lesson, and they all felt better at the end. Lady had to work on Sunday because she took off work at the beginning of the week, so she couldn't come to church. She gave her daughters permission to come, but when we went to pick them up, they had lost permission because one of them was in trouble. (We couldn't convince the mom because she was working) but we are planning on getting them to church this week. They all really want to go, they just have to figure out how. We are praying really hard for them.

We keep looking for news everyday. Trying to find those people that are waiting to hear the message of the Restoration. It's not easy...especially with this heat, but it is where I want to be and I'm doing what I want to be doing.

I Love you all so much and I'll talk to you all next week.


Elder Cavenee

Roque (recent convert) making a hammock
Karina's Baptism (Bishop is standing next to me. We are really good friends)

River and Stake Conference

Hello Family!!!!  (Note from  Mary:  this is from Monday, May 16th)

I hope that you have all had a wonderful week, because I sure did. Jenna, I am so excited for your graduation this week. I´m so proud of you!!! I wish I could be there. Your anouncement is awesome! 
You´re going to study dentistry? I didn´t know that....I´ve been thinking about maybe studying that too.

Going to California again? Have tons of fun and swim a ton for me....I really miss swimming. Take lots of pictures!!!

Dad, that fathers and sons sounds like it was a blast. I have so many memories from those with you. Thanks for being such an amazing dad. I Love you. I don´t think I´ve told you enough. You rock. All of you rock, and I miss you guys:( But hey, only 8 months left and in reality, the time is going to fly by.

So this week was wonderful. We found a ton of new investigators, several of them are amazing. We are also continuing with a couple others, that are progressing and really experiencing the changes that come with living the Gospel. Elder Velasquez and I get along really well, and teaching together is so natural because we get along so well. It´s awesome. The ward here is one of my favorite wards that I have been in. The members are so nice and they are always looking for ways to help us out. I love it....missionary work is so much easier with the help of members.

On Tuesday morning we had district class. We focused a lot on contacting people. How we should talk with everyone that we see, and always from the start, share with them about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then we had practices. My companion and I practiced with one of the assistants, teaching lesson 1. It was a really good lesson, and everything flowed together really nicely. After we finished, we asked the Elder what we needed to do to improve, he told us that the only thing was to include more questions for the investigator. But other than that, he said that we have it down. That was really cool coming from an assistant.

Later that day we traveled out to a little pueblo to eat lunch with a less active family. They made some really good tacos, and mole. It was delicious. While we were eating, one of their neighbors came in. So we invited her to eat with us (here, you always invite others to eat if you are eating). Her name is Karina and she is friends with Christina (the member). As we were eating, we started talking a little about what we do, and she was very interested. We shared a video with her, and invited her to an activity of the relief society the next day, and she accepted.

The next day we met her and Christina in the church and taught Karina lesson 1. She totally accepted the Book of Mormon, coming to church, and Baptism. We set her date for the 21st. She was so excited. On Friday she came by herself to a ward activity (i´ll explain the activity in a minute) and went to institute!!! Sunday was stake conference (i´ll explain that in a minute also) and she traveled two hours, on her own to come!!!! She loved it. She is seriously a golden investigator. She has accepted everything we are teaching her, and is progressing. We are very excited for her.

Do you guys remember the family that i told you about last week? Lady and her two daughters Suary and Patricia...they had an amazing week. On Thursday night, we had some plans, but we were running behind and did not have time to head over to the appointment we had. We called and cancelled it and went to visit this family. We had a sister in the ward that was working with us, so we went over to this family's house. When we got there, this sister and Lady greeted each other very surprised. They are old friends and know each other really well. It was an amazing lesson because this sister is a single mom that was converted 2 years ago. She related perfectly to Lady. It was awesome. We also invited them to come to the ward activity the next day. On Friday, they showed up and absolutely enjoyed the activity. They couldn´t come to church yesterday because Lady had to work, but we visited them last night. And what they shared with us was more miracles in their lives and answers to prayers. One of the things she shared with us is that she talked to her boss about Sunday´s and wanting to go to church. Turns out that her boss is a sister in the stake, and was so happy to find out that she was listening to us!!! She got permission to come to church next week. Her and her daughters are all very excited!! It's the best.

On Friday we had a ward activity. The stake music director is in the other ward that comes to the same building, and she put together a restoration musical. Somehow she heard about me and called me up asking me to sing in the choir and a few solos. It was super last minute, but I did it and it was super fun. The activity was awesome. There is a sister in the other ward who is famous or something....she sings really well. After the activity she performed some of her songs from her CD. It was awesome. We had 5 investigators in the activity!!! It was a big success.

Saturday we went to Teapa again to visit less active members over there. We are working with a really awesome family to help all these people come back to church. At lunchtime, they took us to the river. It was so beautiful. We were by this river in the mountains. It was so beautiful and awesome!!! I´ll send pictures.

Sunday was Stake Conference and I was again asked to sing in the choir. We were visited by a member of the area seventy. He was awesome. He talked about dedicating our families and making traditions not of the world, but of the church. It was amazing. He said that all priesthood holders should be attending the temple every week, and studying the Book of Mormon daily. He talked about the traditions of his family. Fasting and paying a fast offering every week, family home evening every week, giving service to the community once a month. All that stuff. It was very powerful, and you could really feel that Spirit. I got to see all of the members from Frontera in Conference.

It was so good to see them all. They were all so excited too. I almost cried realizing how much they lovedme. It was really special to see them again. I also saw several of my converts too. It was awesome.

Sorry, I´m out of time...but I am doing great!!! I hope that you all have a wonderful week and all stay safe with all of your activities.

I Love you all!!!!

Elder Cavenee

River Pictures