Elder Neal in Veracruz

Elder Neal in Veracruz

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Letter from 2/17/2015

He titled it: Miracles All Around

This week a 9 year old kid named Alan got baptized. Elder Mireles and I are learning how to work better with members. In this area, working with members works really well. We found Alan because one sister in the ward told us if we had visited this less active family. We went with this member and she showed us where they lived and we found Alan. Last night we were visiting less actives and recent converts and we went with a family and found out that they have a son that hasn't been baptized and that he didn't get baptized with them because he was with his wife and was going to her church. But we went last night and he has a strong desire to find God. He´s been humbled enough to where he is looking for the truth and he wants to get baptized. I know that giving references to the missionaries might seem hard or weird, but God is preparing people to hear this grand message of how they can be saved and of how they can really live with God in happiness. I encourage you all to give references to the missionaries and to talk with your friends and share this great message. I hope that this week is fantastic for you all!
Elder Neal

Letter from 2/9/2015

Haha, I got transferred again! I got transferred to the cold part of the mission! We're in a city called Ixtaczoquitlan (It's really fun to say). My new companion is Elder Mireles! In this cold part of the state, it's a lot harder to talk to people because they all want to stay out of the cold and keep their doors shut. It's so different than my last area. I love it here! I know that I'm supposed to be here and that there are people that need to hear the gospel, they're just a little more hidden than in other places. Haha. I love the view that we have here! We have Orizaba mountain and it´s actually a dormant volcano. It's so cool! But yeah. It's really awesome to have another companion and area. This week we got to hear from the General authority Elder de Hoyos and he came and we talked with him about a lot of things. Something that I learned is that we have to start with the end in mind. We have to picture each investigator in the temple and each investigator doing the things that qualify them for exaltation. I also learned that we don't hasten the work, Jesus does. Jesus sets the pace, and we're behind Him and not with Him in the missionary work. But that´s our goal. Our goal is to get shoulder to shoulder with him to push this work and hasten it. It's not easy but God wants it to be done. I love the work and I know that there are miracles everyday! We just have to excercise our faith and strive for the miracles until they happen!

Elder Neal 

Letter from 2/2/2015

He didn't write a group email this week, but this is what I got (mostly to Nicole, but sent to Robert and I as well).

We know everything in our areas! I got transferred again! This is my 4 transfer and my 4 companion and 3 area. I´m in a place called Orizaba. My new companion´s Elder Mireles. I'm really excited to be here! Nicole, something I learned from my last transfer with Elder Rodriguez is diligence and relying on the Holy Ghost completely. We were blessed so much in the last transfer. Our district last time was of Elder Rodriguez and I and another companionship of 2 elders. We put a goal of 8 baptisms in January. We didn't have the dates or the people to do this. But Elder Rodriguez felt that we could do it. So we went to work and about half way through the month, we only had half the baptisms and since the investigators have to go to church 5 times before they can be baptized, we also didn't have any more until February. We were still working hard and this is when we saw the miracles. In a district class our zone leader told us that we had to go out with the members more often. So we tried to go out with them. In the first day that we went with a member he led us to a less active family who had a daughter that has 9 years and since her family's members, she can get baptized in 2 weeks. So we had that miracle and she got baptized and then the other, in the same day, remember Richard and Juan? Well, their mom wasn't gonna get baptized because the mom was gonna move the family to live with their unmarried dad in February. We weren't gonna baptize her just to commit a sin and live with her partner unmarried, so she wasn't gonna be baptized. But that day, she told us that they weren't gonna leave until July! So she got baptized and we baptized 8! I know that when we put goals in our lives, God helps us fulfill them if we try our best!

Elder Neal

Letter from 1/26/2015

This week was really awesome but just one quick miracle that we saw. We have two investigators that are brothers and this week we were really preparing them for the baptism and one of the brothers, Richard, said that he wasn't gonna get baptized because he wanted to know all of this. My companion shared what he knew when he got baptized and my companion said that all that he knew was that the Book of Mormon was true. Nothing else. And Richard said that he still wanted to know more. At this point I'm pretty bummed out. But my companion, he wasn't bummed out at all. Really, he knew and acted like he was gonna get baptized. This was like Tuesday. Then we put the interview for his brother on Wednesday and we had Richard do it as well then. And still told us no. The next day we went back to their house and he told us that he had a dream. In this dream a dove descended upon him, like Jesus Christ and he told us that he was gonna get baptized and he did! It was really a miracle that this happened. They´re really awesome. I know that when we have faith and we act and do all that we can, miracles happen. Love you all!
Elder Neal
Here´s a picture of them. Richard's on the left. Juan's on the right. 

Letter from 1/12/2015

This week has been really great. The first thing that I´d like to say is that mud is really bad. It's been raining almost every day here and we have a lot of little towns that we go to and they don't have streets. And they´re all ups and downs, there's no flat. Mud is slippery and it makes everything look bad, for example, my tie, my shirt and my shoes. We were helping this truck that got stuck in the mud and the tires were spinning and it splashed me. But it's all alright. The mud here is just like slush of the ice there and the cars crash a lot because of it. This week we had a baptism of a really really humble man. His name's Angel and he's just such a great investigator. He was prepared by God for us to find him. Just something that is as blessing and shows us that the spirit works in hearts is that on the day of his baptism, we went to his house to pick him up and we were 5 minutes late. When we arrived his family told us that he already left because he was scared that we weren't gonna come. He went to the church and we were about 10 minutes behind him, he was cleaning the church like all of the other members that were there. He's just so great and we know that he doesn't know everything, but he knows that he wants to be baptized and arrive to live with God. I love this Gospel and how it helps all kinds of people. I love you all.
Que pasen una buena semana!
Elder Neal

I wrote and asked how his new converts are doing and if he has any other investigators. This is what he answered:
Okay, Well, they didn't go to church because it was raining, and the youth is still struggling with some problems, but they´re really good. Yeah, we had a baptism this week too, his name´s Angel. He´s really really humble and owns a bakery of bread and sweet bread and provides for all of his family, like his mom, and his brothers and their kids. He doesn't have a wife or kids. He´s really really great! He´s the one in the white and his cousin´s the 2 counselor to the bishop that´s baptizing him. We played softball today! The first activity like that in almost 5 months! It was really fun.

Letter from 1/5/2015 - A Ton of Pictures!

This last year was amazing. Graduated from high school and all the good stuff that comes with that and so much stuff has changed in my life from then until now. This time of year´s been really good to think about all the blessings I've had in this past year and recognizing these blessings also helps me recognize the blessings that I have right now in the mission. I loved this past week! We have been working with a family that´s gone through a lot and have been prepared by God for us. They were ready to change when my companion and his old companion found them and they were looking for the path to take that would help them. My companion´s old companion knocked on their door, and set a baptism date. They kept that date for 5 weeks, going to the church and keeping all the commitments for 5 weeks. And they finally got baptized this week. It was really really chaotic, but they got baptized. The day of their baptism, we were gonna go to their house, but we couldn't and we called them and they told us that they were already on their way. We were so happy and excited, but when they arrived, only 3 of the 4 that were supposed to be baptized came and the other said that she was sick and didn't come. At this time, the mission president is also doing interviews, so I´m in the interview and I get out and all this has happened and my companion went to go see if he could bring the other person to the baptism. She didn't come. But the next day, Sunday. she was ready to be baptized. It was mostly a lot of work because we had to heat the wáter because they said that they wanted warm wáter... haha. So we were at the church for 5 hours boiling wáter and heating wáter for them, and the one that wanted it the most didn't get it because she got baptized the next day... Haha. This week was fantastic. I hope that everything´s good for you! Love ya all!

Elder Neal

There was no explanation with any of the pictures. He just sent a bunch! I know the bright yellow walls are the shack they live in.

Letter from 12/29/2014

Welp, this week was really great! We saw a lot of miracles and also the work of laziness and how bad it is! Haha. But seriously. We had an investigator that was gonna get baptized this next week, but she told us that she couldn´t make it because she was going to leave to visit one of her daughters. Well, we call our investigators every night to make sure they´re good and we called her and we were talking about how sad we are that she´s going on vacation, but that we hope that it´s really good, and she told us that she wasn´t gonna go. Now that she´s staying she can get baptized next Saturday! We're really excited for her. Another miracle is that we have an investigator that is really really great and is really excited to be cleaned of his sins, and he lives kind of far away and we told him that we were gonna go to his house at 8:30 in the morning Sunday to get to the chapel, and he told us not to worry about it and that he would go solo. When investigators tell us that... it usually means that they're gonna flake. And he owns a bakery and starts work at 6 in the morning and works until about 5 or 6 in the afternoon. He has reasons not to go to church, but he went! All alone, he went and that was really cool to see. Another miracle with the lazy. So, we told about 6 people that we would pass by their house to wake them up and go with them to the chapel, and so we went on splits and my companion went with a youth and I went with another and we passed for these people and were expecting 11 investigators in the chapel. Well, like a lot of times, the some of the people that said they'd go flaked but we had 8 in the chapel. When I asked my companion what happened to 2 of the investigators that were gonna get baptized this Saturday, he told me that they didn't want to wake up. And the worst part is that it´s a family of 4 and 2 of them were ready and woke them up but they just said that they didn't want wake up. We were really frustrated, but we saw the miracles that we had and we're really happy. It was amazing to talk to my family this Christmas and I hope that all of yours were just as special and joyful! Have a happy new year!

Elder Neal

Letter from 12/22/2014

It is really hard to write a weekly letter. Haha, but seriously. This week has been fantastic. Well, these past weeks have been fantastic. I got transferred to an area in a different state named Oaxaca, pronounced like wahaca, and it´s really really beautiful here! My new companion is Elder Rodriguez! We were already companions for two weeks because his companion was sick and was in the hospital for a bit and so we were in a trio! It´s really awesome. It´s much much more green here in Tuxtepec than in Veracruz and it´s a lot more of little towns. Our area is HUGE. We have a bunch of little towns that we have to go to and it´s mostly walking. I picked an orange off of a ate it. It was more sour than a lemon, but I just had to eat it. It was the most satisfying, worst tasting orange. we´ve been working really hard and learning a lot this week. Something that I learned is that Preach my Gospel is the way that God directs his work, and for missionaries, it has absolutely all we need. It´s the way that God has set up so that DandC 4 is effective and works. Thanks for all your emails, and sorry if I don´t email every week! Something funny to end with is that when I arrived in Tuxtepec, we arrived at this huge mansion with a gate and it was awesome and I was super excited because we had the keys to it. So we entered and were walking and we arrived at this shed. This shed is like right next to the chickens that they have and the roof is made out of palm leaves. I was a little bummed out not to live in a mansion. 

Love you all!
Elder Neal

Letter from 12/15/2014

He sent pictures, but no other information. Enjoy!

Letter from 12/1/2014

So my week is going to be crazy. My companion leaves tomorrow in the morning to go be a zone leader in another place. He´s my trainer and my training isn´t supposed to end for another 3 weeks. But, tomorrow, I get a new companion and I have to help him get used to this place and learn about our investigators and what will help them and stuff. It´s gonna be really hard. My companion tells me that this elder is good and he knows how to work. It´s gonna be good.

Something that happened yesterday is that we got a call from the sister missionaries in our district and they told us basically how fast can you get to this house and so we went and the Sister that we were helping was cleaning her REALLY dirty house and they found rats. Lots and lots of rats. So they called us and we went there and they had already killed like 7 and there wer a lot under their fridges, so my companion and I made a ring so the rats couldn´t get out and we started moving the fridges and they came running out and we just started wacking as many as we could with the brooms that we had. It was fun and not fun. I killed like 5 and my companion too. The sisters were just screaming and hitting the walls and stuff with their brooms. Yeah. That was our Sunday night service activity.
Love you! 

Elder Neal

The sky!