Monday, December 9, 2013

Family & Friend Letter #2

Area: Central 
Companion: Elder Huffman

Hello Familia

Sorry about the long wait! These past 2 weeks have flown by so fast, I can't believe I've been out for almost a month now! 
First off, let me get everyone caught up. I arrived to Cuidad Juarez on November 25th at about 11 am. It was 1 degree C ( about 33 F) when I arrived here. As soon as I got to the airport, we were picked up by my mission president, Presidente Derbez and his 2 assistants (Elder Capiz and Elder Martell). We headed over to the mission offices and had a quick interview and a "welcome to the mission" type meeting. I arrived with 4 Sisters and my companion, Elder Fabian. 

After our meeting, we headed over to President Derbez's home to eat. Sister Derbez cooked us Courdon Blue (I think that's how it's spelled) and some delicious apple and almond salad. We ate and then went back to the mission offices to meet our new companions. My companion's name is Elder Huffman. He's 19 and from Alpine, Utah and has been out in the mission for about 7 months. He's a great companion, and pretty easy to get along with. He's also pretty strict haha Although I am grateful that he is firm and obedient to all the rules. 

I am currently serving in the Central Area, in the Central ward, in the La Cuesta stake.  We are opening up this area, which means that we are the first missionaries assigned to this area in about 4 years. My ward has about 28 active members and a total of 120 inactive members. So yeah, we have A LOT of work. Thankfully, we have felt the support of the members of this ward. 

The first week here was a bit overwhelming and stressful. We got here and had no idea of where any of the members lived, except our landlord (Familia Pacheco) and the Bishop. We don't even have a full map of the area! The first week we mainly explored the area and were able to find all the active members in the ward. We walked around a bunch because this area is pretty big and all the members are pretty spread out. It was a tough first week, but I know that Lord has placed me exactly were he wants me!

This past week has been so AWESOME. We have gone out and focused on part-member families, and less active members. We have also recieved a bunch of refrences from the members in our ward and some missionaries who live in the area next door. We are currently teaching an investigator family of 5 (the Benitez family), and 4 other invesitigators! I have really felt that my prayers have been answered this week. Last week, we only had one investigator! 

My birthday was pretty sweet. A family that lives nearby (The Hernandez family) made me a pie and bought us a cake! The sister is really good at making this pie called the millionario pie. It's a cold pie consisting of coconut, almonds, lemon, and pure delicousness. On my birthday we also set a baptisimal date for one of my investigators, Mario. Mario is an older gentleman (about 65) and is handicapped. He lives humbly, but has been receptive to our lessons. Unfortenately, Mario has had trouble keeping the word of wisdom and he finds it hard coming to church. We are working hard to get him to stop drinking and to start keeping his commitments. Apart from Mario, we are hoping and praying to set a date with another one of our investigators, Adrian. Adrian recently lost his wife, but has found peace and hope in the Gospel. We have visited him once, and he already came to church this past Sunday! We are extremely hopeful that he will continue coming to church and we have gotten permission to set a date for December 21st if he really commits himself. Usually, we must bring an investigator to church 5 times before they are baptised, but our mission president has set a goal for all of us to work hard and baptise by the 21st.

My testimony of prayer has grown tremendously these past two weeks as I have knelt down and prayed to the Father for guidence and strength. I have seen His guiding hand as we walk around the city and preach the Gospel. I feel such joy to be out here preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Thanks to everyone for the letters, and I'm sorry about the delay. I will try and answer as many as possible in these 90 minutes that I have on the interwebz!

Elder Velazquez

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