Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Missionaries Letter July 28th 2013

A Missionaries Testimony

Weekly each missionary writes President Egbert a letter which is sent via email on the Church's IMOS system. Almost daily in the early morning President Egbert rides his stationary bike for an hour with his I-Pad propped up on the handle bars and he reads letter after letter. I walk/run on the treadmill in the corner of the room with my headphones on and I often get a glimpse of emotion as he reads these letters with tears running down his face... I know many are too personal to share. I asked President if there was one I could share this week- with permission from this Elder and his name omitted I share this simple yet heartfelt testimony to give you a glimpse of the amazing young men we have the opportunity to work with here in the Mexico Pachuca Mission. 

Hey President, I had a special week this week and I would like to share a part of what I wrote to my family in your letter it is.

"This week has been one to remember. We have not been having great success here but I can feel that soon the Lord will bless us with good work. I had an experience that changed my life, words can not describe the feelings that I felt and the Love that I feel. I have found love for my family so much here in Mexico. I don't know much about what the pioneers went through, and I don't know what it takes to be a General Authority, I definitely don't know Spanish, and I don't know how to write Emails. But let me tell you what I do know. And what I know with all the love in my heart. I know that we have a Father in heaven who loves us. I know that he knows us individually and wants us to be happy. I know this because I can feel his love for me everyday. He is here for me. HE knows me. He wants what's best for me and my future family. I am so blessed with this knowledge. I will do all that I can to let people know of his love for them. We are part of such a wonderful Gospel. Tho only Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "For god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son." Count your many blessings, and continue to be part of a chosen people. Thank you for your prayers, your support, and most importantly your love." love Elder...

So this week went rather quickly- We had three days of interviews with different zones and worked on administrative things the other days. Yesterday, with the help of the secretaries/assistants, we found a possible home to rent to help house all the missionaries coming in and going out. We can get 20 bunk beds delivered and they will fit easily in this home. It has I think 4 bathrooms, so doable. We will know more on Monday if its an option and paperwork approved. I hope you enjoy some of the picture collages below that highlight our wonderful young men. Our thought for the day yesterday was "Your beliefs don't make you a better person; your behavior does."  

Tecamac II Zone- "Kick Ball on P-Day"

  Pachuca Mx Zone
 Pictures submitted by Elder Garcia

 The Elders checking out the local sites of Pyramids, cows, and cactus's
 Tulancingo Zone- Service Project
 Pictures submitted by Elder Ortega

Tecamac I Zone- Interviews on Tuesday- "Sugar-cookie Day"

Tecamac II Zone-Thursday Interviews
 "Banana Bars were a HIT, but I owe them Sugar Cookies!" 
Tulancingo Zone- "Seriously-where did these guys come from?"

Tulancigo Zone- Friday Interviews- A perfect group to wrap up the week.

"Don't worry Intermountain-Dixie Regional, I'm documenting my
nursing hours while I'm gone! These missionaries are giving me
lots of practice..."

"Sister Egbert are your sure this big of a needle is necessary? 
... and...
It needs to go where? "

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words- July 2013

"Sometimes Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words"

We had a great week- Tuesday &Thursday Interviews with "two" more zones, Friday visit by President De-Hoyos and his wife of the Mexico Area Presidency and a special interview, and a trip to Molango for a baptism and visit to the "Group" and "Branch" that are President Egberts responsibility. 
What a great weekend with those members. Also included on this weeks post is two elders experience and some pictures from a zone activity promised to the missionaries from before we arrived. 

P-Day Soccer Game in the Mezquital Zone- Monday 15 July 2013

“What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle, and giving 110 percent all the time.” – Don Zimmer

The two sisters pictured below are the only sisters serving in this zone-and what a delight they both are to their zone and to this part of the Mexico Pachuca Mission.

This is the "Pachuca Sur Zone". What a wonderful group of missionaries from all around the world. They enjoyed frosting their own sugar cookies.   I thought Elder Beck would call to report he was ill from eating soooo many cookies!! 
The zone leaders Elder Poulsen and Elder Almaraz diligently checked area books and planners...

I am so enjoying each individual missionary and their unique personalities, needs, desires, and dreams. 
Each has a unique story and so many share their love for family, friends, and "special friends" back at home.

 This is the Pachuca Mx Zone-
Elder Shilling checking area books- (Yes, evidence he does work hard!)
This group today was extremely happy and enjoyed talking with each other.
While waiting they read through copies of the Ensign and I had the privilege to 
get to know them each a little more. President Egbert commented on how much better
this zone seemed today.

President De Hoyos and his sweet spouse came to visit us in the mission and answer questions that President had regarding this new transition. They are the kindest and most humble servants of the Lord. They have a son Estaban who was Presidents tutor with language from the MTC for several months before we reported. We see why he is such an outstanding young man- amazing parents!
Thank you President/Hermana De Hoyos

     Our trip to Molango this weekend was exceptional. We felt it was effective/efficient and so great to spend time with Elder McCormick-Elder Hixon. What outstanding young men! 
     The road to Molango is dangerous and zig-zags through the jungles of Mexico. On Saturday we attended the baptism of one of their investigators "Arizbeth". I knew I would have to hike up to the waterfall and pond so I wore my "boots"- good thing I left the stilettos home. By the time the trekking to and fro was done I was sweating like a "toasted cheeser", but it was so much fun! Then the family/branch members had a small BBQ at the base of the trail to celebrate Arizbeth's baptism.
     There is a small "group" that meets in "Zacualtipan"- they have minimal priesthood but those with potential to lead- and then the most faithful sisters. They had a record attendance of #21 members! The Elders worked so hard to get everyone there in attendance. The most special spirit in the most humble setting- makes me teary writing it here in text.  A sweet sister allows them to use an empty room in her home. We carry her kitchen chairs down and then use little kids chairs, stools, and cinder blocks with wood on top as a bench. Then after that meeting we raced off to the "Branch in Molango" 3 hour block. Its a 45 minute trip through the wilds of Molango. So beautiful- they have a "House of Prayer" building they rent for their meetings. Recently remodeled with new tile and chairs. They had a magnificent attendance of #37 without counting us 4. Elder Hixon plays the piano- which brings so much to this branch. The choir performed the opening and closing songs. Then they fed us a delicious meal with members providing the potluck. 
     We then made the trek back home arriving about 8pm to find our assistants busily working on reports until 1030pm. Oh my!!

This is me in the mission office in my little corner of Mexico
where I work on the "English-companionship study" program for the natives, keep track- send letters to the incoming missionaries, and chart medical care- call MD's regarding sick missionaries. 
No, the bottle of 7-Up does not come close to replacing my diet coke habit which has come to a screeching halt here in the mission. To say the least President Egbert is pleased! 
I'm trying not to be bitter...  jk

Elder Shillig (above) and Elder Dove (Below)
President Egbert's Assistants and two of my "sons".
The story below is related to these two Elders.

So this story starts with President's and my planned trip to Molango where I was under the assumption that the assistants were coming with us for the weekend. The day before we were to leave it became apparent that President Egbert and I were on a totally different page. I had the assistants coming with us, and they were going to stay with the Elders in Molango. Elder Shillig and Elder Dove were very excited about going to Molango. On Friday when we are driving President Egbert tells the Elders that he doesn’t mind if they come but that he needs to justify in his head how their coming would be the most efficient and effective in progressing the work of the Lord in our mission; he spoke as though he had reservation or impression that they had better things to do here in Pachuca. I’m sitting in the passenger seat devastated that he’s even making them have to plead their case. I have it all in my head just like this, “they are going to support this branch, the group, the Elders in Molango and they will attend the baptism, and do splits or family visits with them and all is well…”
Then this is what happens…. the Elders in the back seat say NOTHING!  Total Silence…then they end up telling the President they will stay and the only reason they have is that they can start on reports before our scheduled arrival back home. What?! I know how bad they wanted to go and they out of love and respect for President say nothing…. so needless to say I was very disappointed- …now fast forward to Sunday night when we arrive home and this is the story the Elders have to tell of their experience this weekend...
On Sunday the 14th we attended our Ward council where we discussed members that were inactive. This particular family’s name came up and we talked about them. All in the council stated that they hadn’t been to church for years and they probably would never come- so it was really not worth pursuing. However the Elders made note and later called this sister to ask if they could come visit. She hesitantly agreed that the following week would be better because her husband was working. The Elders being persistent finally talked her into letting them stop by Saturday- just to introduce themselves on the front porch as she was going to be home alone. On Saturday it started to rain hard, so they went to their house and put on boots, got an umbrella and headed on their way. It was raining so hard that the sister felt bad and her two children ages 15 and 10 were home, so she invited them in out of the rain. They talked for a minute with the sister and two children and then had a prayer. With-in minutes the sound of car in the driveway became apparent. The husband had arrived home totally unexpectedly! When he saw the missionaries he was surprisingly excited and sat down to listen.  They testified of the reality and divinity of God and His hand in their lives and asked if they could come back and have a family home evening with them. The father told the Elders they had been sealed in the temple, but inactive for three years and that the youngest daughter was not baptized. The father shared that five weeks previous his work had changed his schedule to allow him to have Sundays off and then he said that two weeks ago he had the strongest impression that they needed to have family home evening- the first in many years.  
The Elders invited them to the chapel on Sunday for church services and they ended the emotional and spiritually charged lesson. Several times during the encounter the father had tears in his eyes. He said that in his 17 years of membership had never felt the Spirit so strong as in that lesson; it had touched his heart. On Sunday the family came to church dressed in their Sunday best, greeted by the Elders. The entire ward surrounded and welcomed this family into the ward- The bishop interviewed the brother on Sunday and a planned baptismal date of August 4th is when this father will baptize his 10 yr old daughter  after the Elders teach her the discussions.
This experience illustrates that “God is Leading the Work” – and those that follow the inspiration of the spirit can be led to the most unlikely of circumstance. The Elders commented that when the conversation in the van took place about going to Molango- that they looked at each other and for no apparent reason at that point both nodded that they should stay. Hence the reason they didn’t plead their case.
So “Note to Self”- do not question the Presidents judgment – rather have faith that there is a reason when it may not seem justified or obvious. Had the Elders gone to Molango… this family may never have been found? Had they not been persistent in calling, had the rain not down poured and the merciful sister let them in, and had the husband not come home unexpectedly- the touching conversation and lesson would not have been...the Lord's hand totally involved in this weekends happenings. I know our missionaries all over our mission are having similar experiences because they are being obedient, working hard and following the spirit. For this I am so grateful.

Zone Activity In Mezquital June 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Interviews July 11th-12th 2013

Interviews in Two Zones July 11th-12th 2013

"Mezquital" and "Pachuca Centro"

A small glimpse of our days....

"We are so blessed to all be in the Mexico Pachuca Mission!"

"Looking over Area Books, helping with English study, filling empty stomachs, and sharing the love!"

One of our areas is "Molango"- which is a 4 hour bus ride north from the
Mission home and office. We have two incredible missionaries in this very remote area- Elder McCormick and Elder Hixon. They take care of a "small branch" and a "group" 45min apart from each other. They have been working incredibly hard and had a baptism last week, one this Thursday of 3 investigators and one scheduled for next Saturday. This little remote area is a piece of heaven and so the following collages are a peak at their "heaven on earth". Thank you Elders for being so obedient and faithful as you serve with extreme commitment and faithfulness.

"Some of these critters are not part of the branch!" 
"What a beautiful area- growing because of the love and work of these Elders"

"No baptismal font available... but one not needed"

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Our First Born"- and "Our First Transfer"

Our First Missionary Into the Mexico Pachuca Mission- 8 July 2013

Elder De La Cruz from Mexico arrived on a bus from the Mexico City MTC.
He will be considered "Hermana Egbert's- First Born in the Mission".
 President Egbert was impressed with his humble nature and willing 
attitude to work hard and be obedient. I was touched by his kind and respectful
mannerism and how handsome he looked in his three piece suit.
The vest came off after training was over- and I think his suitcase weighed more than he did.
I'll be sneaking him some brownies!

Here he is waiting to go to the church to find out who his new companion will be....

and his new trainer is Elder Rubalcava!
Aren't they a perfect match???

...and then there were the transfers after much thought and prayer on the Presidents part.
I believe some were happily surprised and others disappointed that a change did and did not happen.
President Egbert shared a personal story of his companion Elder Wills with whom he became extremely close to- virtually brothers. They served as Zone Leaders and then the "cambio" came and one stayed as the ZL and one transferred to the office as an assistant.
The President expressed it was the "hardest" transfer he ever had-
Elder Wills wrote a poem about "changes" that President Egbert still carries with him today.
He still verbalizes he can picture in his eyes mind the room in "Calasanz" Columbia and how they both felt when they got the phone call about the transfer.
Tears still come to his eyes when he speaks of that tender memory.
President Egbert bore testimony of the inspired process and reason for "cambios"
A few faces of new companionship's.....

Saturday, July 6, 2013

First Group of Departing Missionaries - Home Bound

First Group of Departing Missionaries/ 6 July 2013

We had these five Elders come to the mission home at 230pm from their areas of service for lunch and then President Egbert started the departing interview process with each one and reviewed/finalized paperwork. They were very content relaxing, talking and playing a few games. They watched most of "17 Miracles" with Spanish subtitles and then we ate dinner at 730pm. They stayed in a hotel two blocks from the mission home- President Egbert and I woke at 0250 to meet them in the hotel lobby and to send them off as they rode a bus to Mexico City.  We have been instructed not to leave our mission, so we are unable to take them to the airport. The Elder second from the left called at 1030 to say he had "missed his flight."
When inquiring how- he stated,  "I went to the gate ten minutes before the 1000 flight and it had already left." President Egbert being in the airline industry- took a deep breath -and over the next 1 1/2 hrs was able to make arrangements for his departure on a later flight for an additional initial fee of $1400 pesos. A very helpful agent from American Express who does all the natives travel was able to reduce that fee to a mere $400 pesos. "Another tender mercy"  Needless to say President Egbert will add "arrive at your gate 1-2 hours before your scheduled flight" in the final interview and departure orientation.
(We are laughing about it now- that the Elder is home) 

“If someone only changes his behavior while a missionary, then, when he goes home, he will be the very same person he was when he left, subject to the same problems that plagued him before. But if someone changes his nature, he will go home a new man, with the power and discipline to conquer his old Goliaths. If someone is only moral because his date insists on it, then he has only changed his behavior and will be equally susceptible when each new temptation confronts him. But if he is moral whether or not his date so insists, he has changed his nature. Then he will have an increased resistance when similar temptations come. If someone speaks good words but entertains bad thoughts, he has only changed his behavior. If he also changes his thoughts, then he will also change his nature. Our natures have changed when our inner motives and thoughts are consistent with our outward behavior. With the Lord’s help we can transform our natures,” Tad R. Callister, BYU Devotional Address, 12/2011.

Friday, July 5, 2013

5 July 2013 Picture Collage

Picture Collages from this week....

These are the most amazing kids in the mission because they
 "chose" to be here and are sacrificing much to do so. 
Our first group of "5" Elders will be flying home tomorrow.

"Mini Zone Conferences"- Meet the new President.

"Mini Zone Conferences"- Meet the new President.
July 2nd, 3rd, and 4th we embarked with our ever so patient assistants 
through the mission to meet all "our" missionaries. I know they are on the Lord's errand,
but we have already gotten a little possessive by using "our".

Day 1- AM  
Pachuca Sur Zone
"Every member....a missionary"- is vital to our work.

Day 1-AM
Pachuca MX Zone

Day 1- PM
Pachuca Zone
"...united in the cause to bring the gospel to all the world"

 Day 1- PM
Tulancingo Zone
"..if we will put our trust in the Lord, He will help us through our difficulties, whatever they may be."                     President Thomas S.  Monson

Day 2- AM
Tecamac Zone- 1
"Standing firm and steadfast as a representative of Jesus Christ."   

Day 2- AM
Tecamac Zone -2
Could someone please get this group organized!!!

"We will not fear..... because God is with us in this work!"
Day 3- AM
Mezquital Zone
"....serving the Lord with Love"


Monday, July 1, 2013

Some of our new family!

So on Thursday night we arrive and are given our phones and guess what appears as our screen shots?
These two amazing assistants assigned to the President in this historical time of opening the Mexico Pachuca Mission! What a breath of fresh air to see these fun personalities welcoming us to the "work".
Elder Shillig and Elder Dove.

At church on Sunday we visited a ward near the Mission Home and were fortunate to listen to these two Elders speak in church. Elder Zamudio and Elder Elton. I couldn't understand the language but felt the spirit and we sat by two of their investigators. (Sorry I was shaking when trying to take the picture)