Friday, July 30, 2010

WEEK - 79 Neza/Pantitlan Zone (Senior ZL)

Hola Familia
I didn't explain the new cycle thing very well. The church is changing everything so that the goals are by months. The changes meeting and the time that everyone goes home and comes will still be six weeks.

President Bulloch did such a great job at preparing the mission! President Hicken told me in the interview with him that he has felt accepted by EVERYONE. WOW. He also said something that kind of hit me hard. He looked at my picture in his folder that he has and saw that I go home in January. He looked at me and said "Well, you're on the last run. This is like the cherry on the top of the ice cream sundae, it has to be the best part!" He invited me to make this part of my mission the sweetest and best part of the two years. We have an elder in the zone that goes home with Elder Chavez and he is kind of "dead" as we say. Pres. Hicken was kind of sad about that and that's when he told me all of this. It hit me the other day when I was talking to Elder Bertin, that we hit the 18 month mark this week!?! WHAT!?! I just hit 15 months! haha, it goes by way to fast! I want to make sure that this IS the cherry on the top!

Its sad to think about how hot it is back at home! Tell Uncle George I'll gladly be his bi-lingual supervisor!! I want to keep on speaking Spanish when I get home and plan on doing something that allows me to speak both.

THE PACKAGE WAS GREAT!! Thanks soooo much! The chocolate covered honey comb was a hit here! And the sour patch were gobbled up at church by young and old! As well as the caramel!! Haha! I have really learned something here being among the Mexican people. That everything is better when you share! They give EVERYTHING. They are so willing to help complete strangers. What a blessing to be here!!

Well the Lord truly blessed us this week. Brandon and Vania were baptized! Brandon went to EFY and had a change of heart. Durlirza had so much faith, she had been saying to me for about a month that she knew that when her son went to EFY he would want to be baptized. We baptized 6 of our Heavenly Father's children yesterday. What a great blessing! Mariana had some family trouble, but she told us that she didn't care, that she was going to be baptized because she KNEW it was the right thing to do. This week we are going to baptize a man named Jose Raya. Its overwhelming to see the Lords hand in our work Mom!!

I love you so much, and I am thankful for such great and loving parents!! You have taught me so much. I love you!!!
-Elder Ras

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WEEK - 78 Neza/Pantitlan Zone (Senior ZL)

Hey everyone!

Well I don't have much time to write today. We got back a little late from the centro.

Elder Chavez, Jared Mora, Elder Ras

Remember Elder Mora my second companion? He sent me a message saying he was coming back to visit from Torreon, so we met up and he went with us today! It was fun to see him again and remember all the memorable times we had.

This past week a family called me from Palmar, here in Neza. They were inactive when Elder Hilario and I got there and we helped them get active again, and this past week they entered the temple. We also baptized their son, it’s the family Ruiz, remember them? They were so excited and it was great to enter the Temple again and see this family so happy!

1st ZL Conference with Presidente Hicken

We also had our zone leader counsel with President Hicken. THAT was just great! President Hicken is such a powerful mission president. We all got there and we started exactly at the hour and as we sat down he said “If Pres. Packer were here, this meeting would have started 5 minutes ago!” I learned its always good to be extra early! We didn’t do a shout afterwards, Presidente asked us if we could imagine the twelve apostles doing a shout after such an important meeting. We looked at each other and said “Well…no!”. The things in the mission are really changing- actually they're changing in the whole world! Now there aren’t cycles, we are going to go by months. Also, there is only going to b a zone conference every third month, along with the interviews. The Church is introducing a type of “Preach My Gospel” for the district meetings as well, I think it is to train the leaders better. It was a great meeting, and I learned so much!

Well things are going great here in Neza. Elder Chavez is a good guy, and we are working hard. We put a goal of 12 for this “cycle”. We’ll have to change that so it can be a monthly goal. Just a little update on our investigators.

We are teaching a lady called Mariana and her son Rodolfo. I think I told you about her last week. She knows the Book of Mormon is true already! A companion at work gave it to her and she has already read a lot of it! She told us this week that the day before she met us she had prayed to be guided to the right church. When she met us she knew it was an answer to her prayers!! Wow! She is elect, and ready to accept the gospel. We are going to baptize her and her son this week. Seyka gave us a referral of one of her friends, Diana. She needs to get divorced and married to her husband but she’s willing to do it! Her cousin is Daniel and he wants to be baptized this week. Diana has two kids, Fernando and Itzel that also want to be baptized but they will have to wait and be baptized with their mom.

The Lord is truly blessing us with success! We also found another man named Jose Raya. We visited him last week, and he said he would go to church but when my companion went t his house last Sunday he wasn’t there. When we went by again on Saturday he said he really was there but his family had said he wasn’t because he was in the yard working!! He really wants to know if the church is true, and he has kept all his commitments! WoW! This is the Lords work! I’m so thankful to be a small part of it, and I'm thankful Trent has this chance to serve as well. It is the most rewarding service in the world. I’m trying to take advantage of all I can, every minute and every second to serve the Lord with all my might!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Rasmussen

Monday, July 12, 2010

WEEK - 77 Neza/Pantitlan Zone (Senior ZL)


Wow, a lot of things happened this week, and I have a lot to tell you!
First of all, Elder Galindo and I got to the changes meeting and President Bulloch called a zone leaders meeting. He said that Elder Galindo was going to receive a new assignment and was going to be transferred to Azteca/Anahuac! My new companion is Elder Chavez from Acapulco. He goes home this cycle, so I won't be companions with him for very long. I miss Elder Galindo, but know that Elder Chavez and I will have a lot of success.

Our Zone Conference with President Hicken was awesome! When President and Sister Hicken got to the church we all stood up and welcomed them. They are so amazing! President Hicken is really powerful, and Sister Hicken is one of the nicest sisters I have ever met! President Hicken said a couple of times that he was sorry for his Spanish because it had been sleeping for the past 40 years, but he sounded great. He hardly has any accent at all, he speaks better than me! He talked to us for a while about focusing completely on the work and not thinking about anything else but the Lord's work. Sister Hicken shared her testimony in Spanish. It was a short conference but it was wonderful. Afterwards we all shook their hand, and when I got to them they said "Oh, we only have you for one month right?" I guess they confused me with Elder Reed who leaves this cycle. When I said I was the Juber's grandson a light shone in their eyes, and were so excited. President Hicken said my Grandpa was the greatest man ever! He said that Grandpa always was one step ahead, and that when he would go to ask him something Grandpa would already have it. I said, "Yup, that's my Grandpa!!"
I have some pretty exciting news. At the conference I saw an Elder that has been in Pachuca in my first two wards, Palmar and Constitutcion. I asked him about some of my converts. He said that Beatriz is going to church every week and getting ready to enter the temple. And then he told me some exciting news about Benita and Jaime.

I remember when we found Benita and Jaime, and I'd like to share my journal entry with you from the day we found them.

20 de Mayo del 2009
"I don't have much time to write. It was so amazing to see the Lord's hand in our work today. We went to a pharmacy and Elder Sander saw an old investigator from Pachuca Centro. He talked to her but didn't say anyting to her friend that was talking to her. Later on in the day we were knocking doors in calle 12. We knocked on a door and it was the Sister we saw in the pharmacy! She let us in, and I think it was only because she had seen us earlier that day. I call that a miracle.
Second, Friday or Satruday of last week we were walking in Palmar and Elder Sander and I both heard a voice say, "Hermanos!". We turned around at the same time, but didn't see anybody! We memorized our location and said we'd have to come back to knock those buildings. WE went today, adn taught a younger coupl who I think will progress. As we left we heard music from CCR blaring from the very top window. WE knowcked all the doors in that buidling and when we got to that apartment, a man opened the door and wihtout a word from us said, "Come in! Come in!" He's been inactive for 15 years, he's disabled and his wife isn't a member! I todl him the Lord had led us to his home and wnats him to come back to Church. I have no doubt he is the one we were supposed to find! This gospel is true, this is truly the work of the Lord. If we are listening, He is eager to guide us!"

Benita Polacios Lozado was baptized on June 7, 2009 and confirmed on June 14, 2009. Jaime Vazquez Morales and Benita Palacios Lozado were sealed in the Temple of Mexico City on June 19, 2010.

This Elder told me they had been sealed, and so I asked President for permission to call them and congratulate them. It was such a special feeling to hear Jaime tell me excitedly that he and his wife had been sealed!!! They told me that they didn't tell me about it because they didn't have email to be able to email me.

Wow, that made me so happy! THAT is why I'm here- to be a small instrument in the hands of the Lord so that they can get to the celestial kingdom. I'm so happy that they kept on going and made it to the temple. Now, when I work every day I think of them, and picture these people in white for their baptism, and in white for when they're in the temple.
I also relearned an important lesson that I learned when I was a greenie. "..this is truly the work of the Lord. If we are listening, He is eager to guide us!"
I know that the Lord IS willing to guide all of us in this work that is so important. I am thankful to be here and to serve the Lord for this very short time.

Remember, He is eager to guide us, if we are listening.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Rasmussen

WEEK - 76 Neza/Pantitlan Zone (Senior ZL)


Elder Miller went home this week, so Elder Galindo and I have been working with Elder Dan Lopez from Utah. He's a great Elder and always has a positive attitude. My companion and I are grateful to have a district with such positive Elders. I'm glad you got the stuff I sent you through Elder Tanner and Elder Howard. I thought the pens were kind of cool, I bought them at the pyramids. The bracelets for Mom as well. Actually everything I sent! I bought two little masks, like the one I sent to Grandma, but my companion and I gave it to President and Sister Bulloch. They really liked it. They said they didn't have one and that it was small enough to take with them. Dad, when I saw that axe I thought of you and Fathers day! Hope you liked it!

This week they told us if we had changes or not, and neither one of us have changes! Elder Galindo just hit 7 months in this area! Pretty crazy huh? We're going to be together another cycle or two! We really like our area, but are having some challenges that we have never experienced in other areas. Remember a few months ago when it rained so hard that it flooded? Well Arenal was one of the worst colonies to get hit with the flooding. ALL of Arenal flooded, and Elder Galindo with some of the other ward members helped to take blankets and food to people stuck in their houses. He said that the "aguas negras" (black or sewage waters) were up to his chest! They went rafting from house to house with their blankets! Anyways, I'm telling you this because you would think the people in this part of the city would be really humble right? But they are really stubborn! It's been kind of tough for my companion and me to find new investigators, but we know we just need to work hard and depend on the Lord and the miracles will always come. We've seen it over and over again!

That's great that you got to see Elder Tanner and Elder Howard. They are awesome! I´m thankful I got to know them here.

Tomorrow is the last time we'll see President Bulloch in Mexico. On Saturday we are going to have a zone conference with President Hicken! He's going to have a busy day! I was really sad as I read President Bulloch's email today, but I know it is part of the Church. Last Tuesday he gave an amazing talk on how it is necessary to have a change. He talked about John the Baptist and how when his disciples told him that Christ was having more followers he says that is necessary for him to decrease and for Christ to grow (John 3 I think?). President Bulloch drew two lines on the whiteboard. One with his name on the top with an arrow going down, and with Pres. Hicken's name on the bottom with an arrow pointing up. It kind of hit us all there in that meeting that this is a necessary thing. Sure we will miss President Bulloch a lot, but the Lord has called President Hicken to preside over this mission. Pres. Bulloch taught us that when we accept Pres. Hicken, we are accepting the Lord. That's what I intend to do.
I'll tell you next week how the conference went.
Les amo mucho!
Elder Rasmussen

WEEK - 75 Neza/Pantitlan Zone (Senior ZL)

I don't have much time to write this week, but just wanted everyone to know that I'm alive. The mission is the best! My companion and I are having a lot of success and the Lord is truly blessing us. Tomorrow we have our last multi zone conference with President Bulloch. We're in charge of the musical number so we'll see how that goes!

Mexico is in the world cup and everyone goes crazy if they win or lose. The whole city stands still to be able to watch the game!

So here's my plan, I'm going to send the stuff I want to send home through Elder Tanner and Elder Howard. They are both going to AZ and can take the stuff. I'm sending a tape recording that I've done over the last few weeks, it's kind of silly and pointless but hey we're missionaries! haha! I'm going to record some teaching appointments and just some of the things we do every day. I'm also going to send my memory card home. It's full of pictures and videos and I didn't have time to rip everything off so I'll just send the whole card.

I bought Elder Tanner a tie today. It was one for 200 pesos or three for 300 pesos, I thought it would be smarter the three. I gave Elder Galindo a tie since he'll probably have changes this cycle.

Well Mom, my time as a missionary is going SOOOO FAST!! I complete 17 months today. Not that I'm counting, but I realized today what that means, that in one month I'll only have 6 months left, 4 cycles!! AAHHH!!! That makes me so sad, but more willing give my all for the Lord. I want to give him everything I am, and not leave anything behind. This is HIS work, and I'm here to give 100 percent of my life, not 90 or 80. Like President Bulloch said, I'm called for 24 months, not any less.

You and Dad have been such a support for me. I'm thankful the Lord is blessing you and know he will even more.

I can't tell you how happy I am. Sometimes I get stressed out or worried but I just need to remember who's work this is. The Lord has helped me so much and built me up. I know I'm not the best missionary in the world- I don't know all the scriptures there are to know to have discussions with the Jehovah's witnesses, I don't even know everything there is to know about the lessons. I study and do my best, strive to seek revelation and that's all I can do. I guess I just need to remember what Elder Bednar said, "Just be a good boy, obey and honor your covenants and the Lord will make up the rest."

He told us about Peter when Christ was walking on the water. He told us to "Jump off the boat and walk on the water!" I just need to put my faith completely in the Lord!

Hasta luego!

Elder Ras

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WEEK - 74 Neza/Pantitlan Zone (Senior ZL)

Wow, time flies! I remember last June when Elder Sander was going home! I can't believe it. I want to make sure I'm taking advantage of every single second!
This week was kind of hard for my companion and I. We worked hard every day, contacting in the street, knocking doors, visiting members for referrals and we didn't see the results of our labors. We didn't find any new investigators all week, and that kind of bummed us out- until we realized if we were discouraged that wouldn't help us at all. The Lord is really blessing us! We have had success every week this cycle. I know He'll continue to bless us.
Yesterday Alberto was baptized. Hermano Meza the brother who gave the referral baptized him. He was so excited and so ready. His wife didn't let his kids go to church so they'll be baptized in two weeks. Elder Galindo and I don't have any progressing investigator to baptize this week, but we'll find somebody! There's always someone ready!
We did divisions or splits with the District leader Elder Hunt. He and his companion are in my first area in Neza, Palmar. I went with Elder Garcia, Elder Hunts companion. We went to visit some of my converts- they're doing great! Patricia, remember her? She's doing awesome! She goes every week to church and gets there an hour early! She is strong and ready to keep going. Pretty good for an 85 year old right? Fernanda Padilla is doing great as well. She has been going to church every week. The Ruiz family (we baptized their son Alejandro) is active and getting ready to enter the Temple. Since Elder Hialrio and I baptized their son and helped them get going in church, we are going to be able to go to their sealing as a family! That will be great!!
Well everything's going great here. President and the other Elders are heading off next week. Everyone's excited/anxious/sad that President Bulloch's leaving, but ready for President Hicken. We are pryaing every morning at 7 that President Hicken will receive his visa!!
Les amo!
Elder Ras

WEEK - 73 Neza/Pantitlan Zone (Senior ZL)

Hey everyone!

We had our zone activity today, we went to the wax museum and the Ripley s Believe it or Not. It was a lot of fun and we’re sure the missionaries enjoyed it.

All you need now Elder Ras is the sombrero and you will look Mexicano

Our zone baptized 12 children of our Heavenly Father yesterday! There are 9 companionship's in our zone, and our goal each week is 10, but this week we passed it. The Lord truly blessed us.

Baptism of Yulirsa Mexicano Ortigoza

Elder Galindo and I baptized Elizabeth’s daughter Yulirza. She was so excited to be baptized this week! She has always wanted to be baptized since her brother was, but she was too young when he was baptized. Their family is great! Zeyka (Yuli’s and Victor’s grandma, Elizabeth’s mom) tells us we’re her boys! Haha she always wants to feed us. It was kind of funny on Saturday she gave us each a bright green tie with yellow squares on it. It’s not the prettiest tie you’ve ever seen, but she wanted both of us to wear to church on Sunday. We both wore it on Sunday and everyone was laughing at us! It was pretty funny, but hey, she’s our mom! We couldn’t not wear it.

We are teaching a 35 year old man named Alberto. He is a taxi driver and a referral from the Meza family. The Meza family always helps us out (we wash our clothes with them on Mondays). They gave us the referral. We went to their house to teach and Alberto gladly accepted his baptismal date. He went to church last week by himself and this week he came with his 12 and 8 year old boys. He is battling with cigarette but he has the faith to do it! He knows that he needs to stop, he used to smoke a box of cigarettes every day! Sometimes 2! I know he’ll do it, but he’s going to need a lot of help. We’re praying for him. Oh there’s also another miracle! His wife when she found out he was going to be baptized kind of got upset and definitely didn’t want to talk to us. This Sunday we went by their house to pick up his kids and she came out and said that next week she’ll come with us. I sure hope so!

Last night I guess I got up about 2 or 3 in the morning and with my fist I hit my companion in the back!?! Today when I got up he told me I had done that and I had no idea! I guess I still sleep walk. Normally I wake up because when I get off the bunk bed I wake myself up, but that didn’t happen this time! Oh well! Maybe I should take some drugs to get to sleep?!

This week Elder Galindo and I saw a lot of miracles. We worked really hard during the week, but almost everyone turned us down. We do a lot of contacting in the street, but that doesn’t seem to be working out in this area because everyone either lies to us or when we get there to their house they don’t really want anything. We might try knocking doors or visiting the members more. We’re in the Federal District (DF) so just about EVERYONE works during the day. Its so hard to find members at home during the day. But the Lord is blessing us, I know all the success we’ve had comes from Him!

Sounds like Trent is settling in well at the MTC. I remember the goals they put with us to pray in Spanish the second day! I was looking at my MTC journal entries and I remembered all those good times we had in the MTC. My MTC district is doing great here in MX. Elder Israelsen is a new District Leader this cycle, Elder Kartchner is also a new District Leader. Elder Spencer is still in our zone, and Elder Bertin is the zone leader in the zone right next to me. Everyone is doing great and having a lot of success! I don’t like to think about how much time I have left in the mission because it goes by way too fast, but I’m starting to realize that my time left here is growing shorter and shorter. President Bulloch is a great example of working hard until the end! I want to be like that and work my hardest until the very end! He told me that he was called for 36 months and not 35! What a great example he’s been to us.

Elder Galindo is a great Elder! I don’t think I’ve bragged about how great my companion is. He is really humble, and so ready to work hard. He teaches great and has taught me a lot. I feel like he’s my senior companion! We are always having fun, and really make a great team. I hope we have another cycle together but he already has been here for 5 transfers (7 months).This is his fifth, so he’ll probably have changes next cycle.

That’s all for this week. I want to write Trent! This work is the BEST! I’m so thankful for a brother serving as well. This is the Lord’s work, we see His hand every week in the work. I know every bit of success we have comes from Him. And if we think we are doing anything for our own we are completely wrong!

Les amo un buen!

-Elder Rasmussen