Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 81 - "Oh my COOKIES!" and "Wow, that makes me wants to get baptized!"

Hola Friends and Family!

Today was transfer day and I wasn't transferred! I'm so excited! I have never stayed in one area for 4 transfers so this is going to be very exciting! I am excited to get to have another 6 weeks with my companion Elder Cux.

So, big news!! I'm an UNCLE!! Congratulations Spencer and Sierra on your cute little baby Adelaide!! I'll am so excited to get to hold her in a few months, make sure to start teaching her right away who her best uncle is going to be! Dad, you're officially an old man now!

So let me just share a wonderful moment that just happened right now in the internet cafe. I'm sitting right next to the desk where the owner sits and there was a lady trying to take some copies or do something but he explained something to her and she gasped really loud and said in a really funny accent "Oh my COOKIES!!" and then kept talking and I about fell off my chair. HAHA! I mean I guess that's a pretty good substitute, I have just never heard that and wouldn't have expected to hear it for the first time in Mexico. #MexicanMoment I'm grateful that lady just made my day!

This weekend was absolutely spectacular. We had our Stake Conference and Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela of the Seventy presided and Elder Pedro Larreal (an area Seventy who was called last conference) came with him on the assignment. On Saturday night we had the opportunity to hear from both Elders twice in the Priesthood Session and then another time in the general Adult Session. I want to share briefly one of the stories that was really neat that Elder Valenzuela shared.

When the church was making final preparations to build the Tijuana Temple, they took the blueprints to government and community officials to have them approved. Someone asked if the Temple was going to be like the temple on the other side of the border (the San Diego Temple), and they explained the function was the same but the style was to be something very specific to the culture of that part of Mexico. Without even revising the prints they asked, "Where do we sign?". All of them were in agreement except one man, the Archbishop of Tijuana. He said the designs looked similar to his church and thought that may create problems. Elder Holland in one of his visits took the opportunity to speak with the Archbishop and within minutes they had developed a great friendship. (You all know how Elder Holland is!) President Benjamin De Hoyos who was with Elder Holland on his visit to the Archbishop invited the Archbishop to get to know the temple inside and out and he accepted with two conditions. One, he didn't want photos taken, and two, he wanted it to be a day when they would be the only ones in the temple. They accepted both sides of the offer and President De Hoyos asked if he wanted to bring anyone else and he thought about it and said he wanted to bring some 30 others with him. (Photos with Elder Holland below)

(Note:  The stories are from October & December 2015 - Kelson is telling some details from people that were there and came and talked to the missionaries recently)

(Here is a rough translation of the link above since I couldn't find the article in English online: "In order to establish bonds of friendship, Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz of the Archdiocese of Tijuana, received in his office Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints. This meeting took place in an atmosphere of respect, cooperation and brotherhood. Various issues, among which highlighted the common interest in promoting the figure of the family in society, working with youth, as well as religious freedom and the practice of this in Mexico were treated; priority issues for both institutions. "The challenges we have in common and the work required to address those challenges in a better way, requires the Unity of the Churches" said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  During a fluid and pleasant conversation, the Archbishop shared wisdom from his career and spoke of his religious service over the last twenty years serving in the Archdiocese of Tijuana.  He also spoke of the outstanding work and leadership of Pope Francis I in the theme of the family, recalling the international symposium was held in the Vatican on the subject of marriage, in which Mormon leaders participated.")

And so he did! They began the tour, as all open houses do, in the Baptismal Font. President De Hoyos gave the tour and explained that temple's baptismal font was based off of the Salomon's in the Old Testament, resting over 12 oxen. He explained the doctrine of the spirit prison using the words from the first book of Peter in the New Testament and later explaining baptisms for the dead and the resurrection using Corinthians. All who were there were much moved and felt the sweet spirit of the temple. One of the 30 religious invites of the Archbishop asked the Archbishop if he had ever heard of this doctrine before. He said he had not, but that he would like to hear more. The Archbishop asked if there was any other literature about this doctrine and they asked him how much he wanted! He said he wanted all they had, so I'm sure he has a lot to be reading right now. One of the religious invites asked if the font's water was warm and they invited him to kneel down and touch it. After touching it he said, "Wow, that makes me wants to get baptized!"

After finishing the tour, he asked to come back but next time he wanted to take pictures. And he did get to come back (December 2015) and here are some pictures with President Uchtdorf. (Photos in the link below)

Sorry those links are in Spanish, but I thought that story was wonderful. It's amazing how strong and beautiful the spirit of the Temple is. EVERYONE can feel it. Even an Archbishop and 30 other religious leaders could recognize the sweet spirit in the temple, even as it was still not a dedicated temple.

I know this church is true and I know the Temple is the House of the Lord. I invite you all to do all you can to attend the temple this week and enjoy the sweet spirit that is there. Let me know how your experience is next week, I'll be waiting for some emails!

With Love,(Uncle) Elder Davies

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Week 80 - "Today is a good day to be baptized. The sooner, the better, right?" - Faustino.

Dairy Queen just opened up in their area!

Dear Friends and Family,

This week was WONDERFUL!! Faustino has been progressing a lot and had a baptismal date for the 29th of this month, but this last week he said he wasn't going to be able to come to church on Sunday because his family was going out of town and was going to go with them. We had been thinking moving his baptismal date forward a week but because he wasn't going to be able to attend church yesterday we decided we were going to have to stick with his first date, the 29th of May.

Faustino's Baptism
On Sunday morning we went early to the chapel to fill up the baptismal font for the Sisters who were going to baptize a young man named Cristian and as I was talking to my companion I realized that he had seen Faustino on Saturday afternoon (when we were on divisions with some Elders). That´s when I realized he hadn´t gone out of town! We called him and he said that he hadn't left town with his family because he wanted to come to church with us on Sunday! We called our Bishop and Mission President and got his baptism authorized for that day in the afternoon! The thing was we hadn't told him yet!

We called him at about 7:40 (20 minutes before church started) to invite him to get to the chapel a little early to talk and he got there in about 10 minutes. We took him into the room where we do the baptisms, said a prayer, and then we started reading Alma 7 to the sound of water filling up the baptismal font. After reading verse 15 we invited him to be baptized at 3PM and he thought for a second and said, "I is a good day to be baptized. The sooner, the better, right?"

We went over the interview questions and Elder Boyle showed up at 9:15 to do his interview. But before his interview, something REALLY funny happened. We saw him walk out of the Bishop´s office with one of the High Councilman who was sort of laughing and we asked him what had happened. Turns out the High Councilman was interviewing future Elders to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood next week after the Stake Conference and had grabbed Faustino thinking he was a member. He saw that Faustino wasn't on the list of future Elders but he started chatting with him anyway until he asked, "So how long have you been a member?" and he said, "Oh, I´m going to get baptized at 3 o´clock today!" We got a good laugh out of that!

He passed the interview with Elder Boyle and got there nice and early for his baptism. He asked me to baptize him and it was a wonderful experience. I admire so much his faith and his willingness to follow Jesus Christ and keep his commandments.

Raul is a 12-year-old we have been teaching whose mom and sisters are less active members. He is doing VERY well! Actually, on Saturday he asked to come with us to visit all the people we are teaching so we got permission for him to come with us almost all day on Saturday! He should be getting baptized very soon!    

Today is 2 years since I graduated High School! Wow!! Time just flies So fast, I just can´t even believe it! We went today with Elder Tolli and his companion Elder Gutierrez to Plaza Aragón and ate at Chili´s and the newly opened Dairy Queen there! Been a nice, busy day!

Things are going so well here in Mexico. I have come to love this country and this people so much! I know this church is true and that God lives and Jesus Christ is His Son.

With Love,

Elder Davies

Kelson says that this is a street market open in front of the church
each Sunday when they come :)

Street market by the church each Sunday

The Sisters had a baptism of the young man, and Kelson and his
companion were baptizing Faustino

The young man the Sister Missionaries taught

Another picture of the street market by the Church each Sunday

View of the street market through the gates of the church

A new Dairy Queen opened in Mexico City in their area!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Week 79 - 18 Month Mark! Aaron's Baptism, Lots of Pics & Mexican Family Feud?

Aarón's Baptism
Hey there friends and family!

This week has been very eventful!

Yesterday Aarón got baptized! He is such an awesome guy! We received the referral to visit him 16 days ago and we found him in his house 14 days ago and look where he is now! He was so prepared and the Lord had everything set up perfectly from the old ward he went to to ours so that everything could work out! On Friday he asked me if I would baptize him! I love that man so much!

And Saturday was kind of eventful too! We had a couple appointments in the Temple on Saturday morning and we also had to give an English class, so we did divisions with Elder Todd and Elder Boyle. Well, turns out I ran into two girls from Utah named McKayla and Mariah Riddle! Ever heard of them?? How crazy is that?! McKayla and Mariah are teaching English in Puebla and will be here for a few months. Don´t worry, it was all #Kosher, I wrote my President about it this week too :) We took some pictures and then Aarón showed up for the tour in the Visitors´ Center. McKayla and Mariah brought a young man with them who is just getting to know the church so guess who we all got put in a tour with! Yep! We all got to go together! Pretty interesting stuff, right?

After being at the Visitors´ Center on Saturday we had our ward activity which was SO fun! We played what would be in America Family Feud (called Cien Mexicanos Dijeron in Mexico - which means "100 Mexicans Said") with some funny questions, some of which had to do with the church. Overall a REALLY fun activity, we had some investigators there and that was great! Adriana, Ruben, and Areli are doing really well as well, they love everything they are learning and they should be getting baptized really soon. Also Faustino and Diego are doing well but we need your prayers so they can keep progressing!

Thanks for all the wonderful emails and letters and for the love and support! I know this church is true and that God lives and loves us!


Elder Davies