Elder Martin continues to work hard, have success, and squeeze in a little bit of sightseeing and fun. His letters since January have been upbeat, and often funny with lots of encouragement for all of us to share the gospel. He has his same companion, Elder Z, along with the elderly set of missionaries "THE CANO'S," whom he loves, continue to teach in the small branch area of APAN. On a p-day in the first part of January, he got to travel over to Teotihuacan pyramids just 40 minutes from Mexico City to see the ancient ruins. "First things first, I forgot to bring my camera today, so the cool pictures will have to wait until next week---insert sigh of impatience here....It was so cool to go to the pyramids even though our guide fell through, our new convert Ana Manzo and I tried to take everything in. While there, I was only 40 minutes from Mark (his cousin in the Mexico MTC). It was an overwhelmingly great experience and worth it for sure." Here are some photos from that day I received the following week.
Kade has had some great experiences the past few weeks to share. The first is about a kidnapping in a neighboring district. "Cool experience! a week ago Wednesday, an investigator in a nearby area was kidnapped. Scary, right? Anyhow, our district leaders in the area called us and asked us to fast for him the following Sunday. Pres and Sister Egbert also fasted and I am sure a few others. So, we all fasted humbly for him and his family. Things weren't looking good, but the next day he returned home safely. I KNOW it was directly related to our fasting and prayers and was great to experience."
Brother Cano, Elder Martin and Elder Z "tracting in Pachuca"
Another experience Kade had was a language misunderstanding. It's funnier in his words.."we were at the house of this member and her daughter who are very cool and laid back. I was talking about the Cano's and how they help us out with laundry. I was trying to say they have the --washing machine--but it turns out I said they have the v****a. I didn't know what happened at first because they literally laughed their heads off for five minutes straight. WHOOPS. All I can say is that it was an accident! JAJAJA!"
That same day, I accidentally closed the door at my district leaders house when we were just going out to take pictures, locking us out. Turns out nobody had their keys and it took a couple hours to go to Sahugun and find a locksmith. Luckily it was only 90 pesos (6 bucks)!"
Elder Martin and Elder Z have been working very hard with the existing members and with investigators in APAN. The numbers are growing slowly and he was excited to report that he had 5 investigators this last week at church."Elder Z and I have been working hard to find new investigators and reach a certain number of lessons every week, and we have been able to keep up with this the whole cycle. It has been amazing to see the difference in our work as we have tried to work harder and more obediently. It's a testimony to me that Heavenly Father really is watching over us, and He will always bless us for doing what is asked of us. Who knew that obedience and diligence actually paid off?? It's hard to do but it's what God expects of us. Also, I am really growing to love the people here in APAN, and my companion Elder Z. Odds are that I will switch here in a few weeks which will be sad. Some days are better than others, but at least I know I am supposed to be here and that, well, my hard work will eventually show forth fruit." Many people fall short on their commitments and promises, but I have the desire to serve them all the same."
Last Saturday they baptized a little 9 year old boy named Nefi. "His family had been inactive for a while, but are now attending church and we had the opportunity to teach him the lessons and learn everything needed to learn to be prepared for baptism."
A few weeks ago, they had the pleasure to baptize Carlos, a 21 year old guy "who is ready to take on the world"! " He is really great and excited. He used to have a problem with drugs and hangs with a rougher crowd, but I think the change he has made will make him an example to his peers, because he is truly happier now."
Kade is a few weeks shy of 6 months under his belt, and he will probably transfer out of this area he loves tomorrow. Though he reports that mission life is tough and the language has been a challenge for him, he says he finally notices improvement in all of it, even in his attitude. I love the spiritual thoughts he shares at the end of his letters. I know he truly believes what he is saying and he is growing spiritually. It also amazes me that an 18 year old boy can do so much good unselfishly for others. The Gospel is amazing.
In closing, here are a few spiritual thoughts Kade has shared with us. "I'm learning so so much including the importance of being obedient to the commandments of God, because he knows what will really make us happy in the end. Too often we give into the temptations that are small but not aligned with the will of our Heavenly Father. I found a great scripture in ROMANS 14:22. "Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth." "Remember that although following commandments isn't always what we want to do in the moment, we have to show faith that God is leading us to a better future. It's important to always ask ourselves "Is this going to bring me pleasure, or is it going to bring me happiness?" Pleasure is fleeting and temporary, and happiness has no end, leaves no aftertaste, and comes when we do what is right."
Here is another ending to a letter and to today's post. " In closing, the church is true! I am so excited to be out here, even though it's not exactly easy. But everything worthwhile in life really isn't easy either. If you ever feel alone, remember that you shouldn't. Jesus Christ knows our trials and pains so with that we need to "COME UNTO HIM" more and more everyday. Through him we can be healed, overcome bad habits, and obtain a happiness that we've never felt before. I think we often think about this, but don't really take advantage of what it really means for us. The ATONEMENT is the center of God's plan of salvation for us, and without it, we have absolutely no purpose in life. Just something to think about!"
Hope you are all CTR'ing hard core!
LOVE and miss you all, Elder Martin