Saturday, January 25, 2014

Week 9

Hello Familia,

This past week I have seen so many miracles in such a small amount of time, I can hardly believe it. On Sunday, we were so amazed to see the members in our ward actually fill up our agenda with dates and visits! It's hard sometimes to get the people in our ward to help out during the week because the majority of them work in Texas and have very little time to spare, but that all changed this week. We were settin´appointments left and right, it was so awesome! This week we had a change in bishopric, and the ward was very excited to start working again because they haven't had a bishop for the past 3 months.

On Monday we had a family home evening with our new Bishop, Bishop Coral. Every time we visit a member family who has kids, we teach them the missionary lessons, as if they were new investigators. This is especially fun when the kids have been members all of their life, and they haven't ever heard a real missionary lesson. At the end of the lesson, we got a few references from the bishop's wife and we were on our way to another home evening. We had the next home evening with our stake president, and he invited his wife's mom who isn't a member of the church. It's great to have family home evenings with the ward members, but it's even better when they invite friends and investigators! 

Tuesday we had another trip down to Janos, Chihuahua. This time, it was all smooth sailing. When we got back from Janos, we met with a brother in our ward, Hermano Yañez, and he helped us visit 3 less active families. Something I have learned from working with less active families is to treat them just as you would an active family. Invite them to activities and have them help out. This helps them really feel like their needed again, and they will be happy to help (most of the time anyway).

Wednesday was a very exciting day for us. We met with one of our investigators, Jonathan, who is beyond excited to hear the Gospel. Our lesson went so well, and we felt Jonathan's excitement to be baptized right away. He found out about the church a couple months ago and has been to church 3 times since then. He had been investigating various churches, and was about to become a priest in the Catholic church...then he found The Church! We set a date to baptize him, and he accepted without hesitation. That feeling you get when you get out of a visit with an investigator who has accepted to be baptized, is one of the greatest feelings ever! 

Thursday and Friday were just full of non stop lessons. One of the most memorable ones we had was when we visited one of our investigators, Fernando, with a brother from our ward, Hermano Jimenez. We have been struggling a bit with Fernando because he won't accept a baptisimal date. When we visited him with Hermano Jimenez, we were determined to try one last time and hopefully have him accept. We had an inspired lesson with him about how the Holy Ghost will guide us constantly once we have his gift confirmed upon us after baptism. Hermano Jimenez shared some personal experiences with Fernando, and at the end of the lesson, Fernando accepted to be baptized. Fernando told us that he wants to prepare all he can, and we assured him that we will be there to help him.

This last week I truly felt the love of my Saviour, and I saw His hand as I met and taught my investigators and I know I am in His debt. As King Benjamin taught to his people in Mosiah 2:23, we are always indebted to Him. "..he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever"

Elder Velazquez
Sister King made us dinner the other night.

What Janos is famous for...sorta

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Week 8

Hey familia!

This week has been exhausting! My companions and I had to travel to Janos, Chihuahua this week to so I could turn in some more paperwork for the mission. We woke up on Tuesday at 4:00 am and then got to the bus station at about 5:30am. The bus left at about 6:00 and got to Janos at 9:30am. Janos is a really small town about 3 hours away from Ciudad Juarez and 45 minutes away from Casas Grandes and the Colonias. Janos is super small, it's basically 2 perpendicular dirt roads. One of them goes towards Ciudad Juarez and the other goes towards Casas Grandes...and that's about it. The only big building in Janos is the immigration building, which is where I go to turn in and fill out paperwork. Whilst at the Immigration Station, I encountered some pretty big setbacks. Some of the forms that the new missionaries had filled out were done wrong, thus they would not be able to be filed on time and they would have to go back to their home countries. I needed both of those missionaries to travel to Janos and fill them out again, and this was going to be pretty hard because they were both located in Casas Grandes. The Lord helped and provided and I was able to miraculously get both signatures before the offices closed! A couple of brothers who own ranches in Janos were traveling to Janos at that exact moment, and I was able to locate them and have them transport the missionaries. Once again, I saw my prayers being answered right before my eyes. 

Aside from Janos, we also had a district service project this week. A house had burned down a couple streets away from my district leader's (Elder Huffman, my old trainer!) house and he thought it would be a great opportunity for us to help and find new people while serving. The whole house had pretty much burned down except for a few walls. We went in and cleaned out all the ashes and all the burned wood from inside the house. It took us about 3 hours, but at the end of the project we all felt happy to have served our fellow man. A lot of neighbors stopped by and gazed as we worked. They asked why we were helping and who we were...just as we had hoped. We talked to them about the Church, and our companions in that area are now teaching the family whose house burnt down. It's great seeing how small service can make a gigante difference in the lives of others, especially those who don't know about the church.

To finish this week off, we had a special devotional from General Authority, Elder Benjamin De Hoyos ( He talked to us about the Work Of Salvation, and how we need to focus on making sure we involve every investigator with the church members. He gave us some good tips on contacting new people we meet out on the streets, and got us all even more excited about the work. For those who don't know, the Work Of Salvation focuses on 6 main points. 
  1. La obra misional de los miembros
  2. Retencion
  3. Reactivacion
  4. Enseñanza del Evangelio
  5. Historia familiar y la obra del templo
  6. Autosuficiencia 
Once we understand these points, we made emphasis on point 1 and got ideas of involving members even more than now. I learned that a good way of involving members is having them assigned to our new investigators and having them create a friendship.

I was so excited to hear the news about the new baby girl! I have been dying to know! Olivia sounds like a beautiful name for my new baby sister! Thanks for keeping me updated everyone, and thanks for all your words of support. 

Until next week,

Elder Velazquez

Hola familia !
Esta semana ha sido agotadora! Mis compañeros y yo tuvimos que viajar a Janos , Chihuahua esta semana para que yo pudiera entregar unos papeles para la mision. Nos despertamos el martes a las 4:00 am y luego llegamos a la estación de autobuses a las 5:30 am. El autobús salió a las 6:00 y llego a Janos a las 9:30 am. Janos es un pueblo muy pequeño a unas 3 horas de distancia de Ciudad Juárez ya 45 minutos de Casas Grandes y las Colonias. Janos es super pequeño, es básicamente 2 caminos de tierra perpendiculares. Uno de ellos se dirige hacia Ciudad Juárez y el otro va hacia Casas Grandes ... y eso es todo. El único edificio grande en Janos es el edificio de Inmigración, que es donde voy para entregar y completar papeleo. Mientras estaba en la Estación de Inmigración, me encontré con algunos contratiempos.Algunas de las formas que los nuevos misioneros habían llenado estaban mal, por lo que no sería capaz de presentarlos a tiempo y ellos tendrían que regresar a sus países de origen. Necesitaba que esos dos misioneros viajaran a Janos y llenarlas de nuevo, y esto iba a ser muy difícil porque los dos estaban en Casas Grandes. El Señor obró un milagro y pude conseguir milagrosamente ambas firmas antes que las oficinas cerraran! Un par de hermanos que son dueños de ranchos en Janos viajaban a Janos en ese momento exacto, y pude localizarlos y pedirles que transportaran a los misioneros. Una vez más, vi mis oraciones contestadas. 

También tuvimos un proyecto de servicio del distrito esta semana. Una casa se ​​había quemado un par de calles de distancia de la casa de mi líder de distrito (Elder Huffman, mi antiguo entrenador!) y pensó que sería una gran oportunidad para ayudar y encontrar nuevas personas mientras servíamos. Toda la casa se habia quemado a excepción de unas pocas paredes. Entramos y limpiamos todas las cenizas y toda la madera quemada de la casa. Nos tomó alrededor de 3 horas, pero al final del proyecto, todos nos sentimos felices de haber servido a nuestro prójimo. Una gran cantidad de vecinos se detuvieron y miraban mientras trabajábamos. Preguntaron por qué estábamos ayudando y quiénes éramos ... justo como lo habíamos esperado. Hablamos con ellos acerca de la Iglesia, y ahora nuestros compañeros en esa zona están enseñando a la familia cuya casa se ​​quemó. Es genial ver como un poco de servicio puede hacer una diferencia gigante en la vida de los demás, especialmente a aquellos que no saben acerca de la iglesia.

Para terminar esta semana, tuvimos un devocional especial de la Autoridad General,  élder Benjamín De Hoyos. ( Nos habló acerca de Apresurar la Obra de Salvación, y cómo tenemos que centrarnos en involucrar a todos los investigadores con los miembros de la Iglesia. Nos dio buenos consejos sobre cómo contactar nuevas personas en la calle, y nos entusiasmamos mas con el trabajo.

Para los que no saben, la obra de la salvación se centra en 6 puntos principales. 
-La obra misional de los miembros 
-Enseñanza del Evangelio 
-Historia Familiar y la obra del Templo 

Una vez que entendimos estos puntos, hicimos énfasis en el punto 1 y pensamos en ideas para incluir a los miembros más que ahora. Aprendí que una buena manera es asignando a nuestros nuevos investigadores con un miembro para que crean una amistad. 

Yo estaba tan emocionado de escuchar la noticia de la nueva bebe! He estado muriendo por saber! Olivia suena como un nombre bonito para mi nueva hermanita! Gracias por mantenerme informado, y gracias por todas sus palabras de apoyo. 

Hasta la próxima semana, 

Elder Velazquez

 Road Trippin with my 2 favorite allies 

Proselitismo: Pradera Dorada  

1 of 2 roads in Janos

My cubicle

The (Mission) Office

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Week 7

Hello familia

This week has been full of new changes. I am currently in a trio companionship with Elder Leifson and Elder Webster. They are from Utah and Idaho, respectively. I have been assigned to my new area, Pradera, and man is it different from my previous area. The ward here is very big and the members are pretty active for the most part. The members have been very warm and friendly to us 3 and we are eager to work with them. Elder Webster had already been serving in this area before Elder Leifson and I got here, so he has been our map for this past week. This new area is bigger than my previous area, and a whole lot more confusing. The main part of the area is known as "The Labyrinth" to all the missionaries because it is crazy confusing! All the houses start to look the same after a while. It's called "The Labyrinth" because of all the private gated neighborhoods that are in the area that create a bunch of barriers between one street and another. I am really grateful that we have Elder Webster here to show us around. 

This week has also been my first week as the Executive Secretary of the mission.  I have been training these last few weeks with Elder De Los Santos who has shown me how to fill out all the paper work and whatnot. Since we got new missionaries this week, it was my job to help the foreign ones out with their immigration papers, solo. I was a little nervous at first because I have to be extra careful with all the legal paperwork and documents. If I mess anything up, no matter how miniscule, there is a fee that we have to pay. So I made sure to do everything nice and carefully to avoid anything going wrong. I prayed and prayed that nothing would go wrong, and I was able to file everything correctly. I am so grateful that the Lord helped and guided me as I worked and did my duties as a secretary.

We have a lot of work ahead of us in this new area. We have about 30 references to work with and a bunch of old investigators who we found while reading our area book. I am hopeful of finding these new brothers and sisters of mine, and I know that I must work and serve to be able to invite them to come to Christ. 

"Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things." (Jacob 4:7)

My First District: (Left To Right) E. Webster, E. Huffman, E. Lotulalei, E. Goldaracena, E. Diaz, E. Stewart, E. Hendrickson

Streets of Central 

Planning Sessions with Elder Leifson and Elder Webster

Monday, January 6, 2014

Letter Week 6 (End Of Cycle 1)

Happy New Year!

Hello family, I hope you guys are as excited as I am for 2014! This week has been a week of many ups and downs. We had started out the week excited to progress with Adrian (our investigator who was going to be baptized this week) but unfortunately we weren't able to find him all week. This made my companion and I extremely sad because we haven't even been able to talk to him over the phone and we are starting to think he has been avoiding us. We have been praying for guidence and we haven't lost faith that he will come back to the right path.

New Years Eve we spent with the Pacheco Family who lives next door. The sister cooked us a turkey, mash potatoes, and some delicious pasta. After dinner we went back to our home and called it a night. Then, at about 12:30 am we were woken up by the sounds of gunshots. It is a tradition to shoot your gun on New Years and it sounded pretty crazy outside. Brother Pacheco assured us that it was just a thing that all the juarez people do.

This week has been full of meetings for my companion and I! My companion has been called to a leadership position (District Leader) so we have been attending all the meetings. The meetings and instruction are given by President Derbez and his Assistants. The meetings are usually about 4 hours long, but there is never a dull moment. President Derbez is probably the funniest man I've met here on my mission. He always has a smile and somthing funny to say. Aside from being comical, he is also super wise. He shares experiences and wisdom that make you think and reflect about the work we are doing. He makes sure that we all understand that these 2 years we have been given to serve our Lord are used for exactly that, service to our Saviour. Everytime I leave a meeting or an interview with him I leave so excited and pumped about the work of Salvation that I just want to get out and preach all day non stop!

This was my last week in my area, Central. I am so happy to say that I am leaving this area better than I found it. This past Sunday, I was so happy to see 45 members in attendence again. I know that the Lord has helped me and my companion have this ward grow, even if it had to be done little by little. I will be moving to my new area, Pradera, tomorrow night (Tuesday, Jan. 7) and I am so eager to start working with a new companion and ready to invite more of my brothers and sisters to come unto Christ. This is a new year of challenges for all of us, and we must rely on the Lord to get through them. I feel privilaged to be able to be out here in Juarez in the service of Christ and devote this whole year to Him. I thank you all for your prayers and letters and I wish the best for you all this new year.
Elder Velazquez

En Español
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Hola familia, espero que están emocionados por el 2014 como yo! 
Esta semana ha tenido sus altas y bajas. Habíamos empezado la semana muy contentos de progresar con Adrian (nuestro investigador , que iba a ser bautizado esta semana), pero desgraciadamente, no pudimos encontrarlo toda la semana. Esto hizo a mi compañero y yo extremadamente triste  porque no hemos hablado con el, y pensamos que nos ha estado evitando. Hemos orado para ser guiados y no hemos perdido la fe  de que él regresara al camino correcto. 

El Año Nuevo lo pasamos  con la familia Pacheco que son nuestros vecinos. La hermana horneo pavo, pure y una deliciosa pasta. Después de la cena nos fuimos a casa. Después como a las 12:30 de la madrugada nos despertamos con el estruendoso sonido de los balazos. Es una tradición aquí en Juárez echar tiros con tu pistola al aire libre, según nos dijo el hermano Pacheco.

Esta semana ha estado llena de juntas para mi y mi compa. Mi compa ha sido llamado como Líder de distrito y hemos atendido cada una de las juntas de instrucción dadas por el Presidente Derbez y sus asistentes. Las juntas son generalmente alrededor de unas cuatro horas pero nunca hay un momento de aburrimiento el Pte. Derbez es uno de los hombres mas chistosos que he conocido en mi misión.  El siempre  tiene una sonrisa y algo chistoso que decir. Aparte de eso es un hombre muy sabio. El  siempre comparte sus experiencias y sabiduría.  El Pte. se asegura de que entendamos que estos dos anos que tenemos al servicio del Señor sean usados precisamente para eso, Servir al Senior. Casa vez que termina una junta o una entrevista con el me retiro tan animado y motivado acerca de de la obra de Salvación que solo deseo salir a predicar todo el día, y todo el tiempo!

Esta fue mi ultima semana en mi área Central. Me siento feliz al decir que dejo esta área mejor de como la encontré. Este domingo pasado, estaba tan feliz de ver 45 miembros atendiendo a los servicios nuevamente. Se que el Senior nos ayudo a mi compañero y a mi a hacer que este barrio creciera, aunque sea poco a poco. Me mudo a mi nueva área Pradera maniana por la noche (martes 7 de enero ) y estoy ansioso de empezar a trabajar con mi nuevo compañero y estoy listo para invitar a mis  hermanos y hermanas a venir a Cristo. Este va a ser un nuevo ano lleno de retos para todos, y debemos confiar en el Señor para sobrepasar nuestros retos. Me siento muy privilegiado de poder estar aquí en Juárez al servicio de Cristo y dedicar todo este año a El. Les agradezco a todos uds.  por sus oraciones y sus cartas y les deseo lo mejor para este Ano Nuevo.
Elder Velazquez