Elder Neal in Veracruz

Elder Neal in Veracruz

Monday, May 18, 2015

Letter from 5/18/2015

He titled his email "Divisions"

This week was a week was really different than the others. So another Elder, Elder Sonntag, and I did divisions and he came to my area with my companion and I went to his area with his companion. Normally I love doing them, but this time we started on Tuesday in the morning and he was going to have an investigator, Patricia, get baptized this week, so we had to have an interview on Wednesday. So usually we go to the investigator´s house everyday in the week of the baptism to make sure that they´re all good and ready so I went with Elder Gonzalez, he has 3 weeks in the mission, to go see how the investigator was. Our plan with her was ask her all of the questions of the baptismal interview and see if she was ready. We got there and she was outside with the rest of her family and we decided that we would just talk briefly about the questions then and we started and everything was good, she believes that God is the Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is the Son, Savior and Redeemer. We got to the second question, if she believed that Joseph Smith restored the Church that Jesus himself put on the earth, and she started having a lot of doubts. A LOT of them. Then to make it worse, her family started talking about how in-credible he is and how Juan Diego, the guy that saw God present Jesus and Virgin Mary has the truth. So... This really made us really sad. So we pulled Patricia aside and told her that we´d like to come back later in the night and help her clarify her doubts a little more alone. She said that that would be better. We gave her a homework to read about Jesus Christ established a church and then the Apostasy, and then Joseph Smith and the she could pray to know if it´s true before we got back. So we kept going in the day and when we came back she had done the homework, but she didn´t feel an answer. She didn´t know it was true. So we started trying to explain it so that she would understand but she couldn´t get past Joseph Smith. So we just stopped and I told her that God has given a promise to all of his children that if they read the Book of Mormon, meditate about it and ask God in a prayer, they´ll receive their answer and I promised her that if she did her homework, she´d get her answer that night. We gave her a blessing that she´d be able to see her answer and we left. She read the Book of Mormon, meditated, prayed and didn´t get her answer. So she went to sleep and she woke up at 1:00 am to her mom crying. The mom of her mom just passed away, and in this moment she got up and she was able to comfort her mom with what she learned from the missionaries. In this moment she had the faith that what the missionaries had taught her were true and she knew that this was her answer to her prayers. She got baptized this Friday and it was an awesome experience to see that God really does give an answer but not always in the way that we want.

Love you all! Have a great week!

Letter from 5/11/2015

Riley didn't write a letter since we had just spoken the day before on Mother's Day. He did respond with a couple of sentences to a letter I wrote him. Here is our picture with him on our Mother's Day Skype.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Letter from 5/4/2015

This week has been soo hot! We´re dying! I can´t drink enough water because we sweat it out! This area is really fantastic. My companion and I are having a ton of fun and the people here are so awesome. Eighty percent of the people farmers that work cutting sugar cane and the rest are the services here, like food and all the other stuff. It´s such a different type of people than in my other area. Here, it´s more simple. The people are more loving and sentimental. They have a basic Idea of God and they need some help using their faith to see the blessings. I love it here in Lerdo and it´s a fantastic time of year. 

I hope that you all have a fantastic week! 

Elder Neal

Un chango! One of the members´ monkeys. :D It´s a pet. It was named shiro but they found out that it´s a girl so it´s shira.

Letter from 4/27/2015

He titled his email: "Lerdo de Tejada, Los Tuxtlas"

We got transfers! Again! I now have more or less 7 months in the mission, 4 areas and 6 companions. My new companion is Elder Diaz! He has 3 months in the mission and just ended his training. I am so excited to be here and to have him as a companion. I´m really gonna miss my old area and investigators, but progression is the purpose of life. First of all, my new area is hot. Really really hot. It´s in a little town that´s like an hour from the big town and like 80% of the people here work in the sugar cane business. 

This past week was really awesome because we had stake conference in my other area. President Cordoba came and also a 70. I loved the talks and something that I loved most was that he was so direct. One of his quotes was that about faith. He was talking about the asistance to the temple and how almost everyone could go more often to the temple and said "Faith isn´t a question of money, faith is a question of faith." Really, that´s so true. God prepares the way for every righteous act and the temple is the most important thing in this world. The Priesthood exists to gain the salvation and we can only be exalted if we go to the temple and take advantage of the host of blessings that await us there. I know that the temple is the most important place in the earth. A little part of heaven in the earth. If you want to know what heaven will feel like, I invite you to go to the temple and enjoy the blessing that God will rain down upon you all through the windows of heaven. Los amo a todos. Have a fantastic week everybody! 

Elder Neal

My companion, Elder Diaz and I!

He sent a video of his house. I will try to upload it.

Letter from 4/20/2015

*Here's what I got in response to my email:

Thanks so much mom! I really feel your love! It´s SO HARD. I´m doing better. Really I feel fantastic and that finally things are changing. 

The package has been in the office for 4 weeks, but we don´t go to the office that often, the transfers are this week and I think I´ll get it the next Monday. 

Orizaba and Ixtaczoquitlán are so incredibly hot now! It´s hotter than Veracruz port and that never happens. 

My shoes are both holding up fantastic! My pants, more or less, there are some black ones that are about done and I bought new pants that I really really like! There like skinny pants. :)  My shirts are good. 

Yesterday, like Nicole, I was a bit worried that we weren't gonna have a lot of people. We didn't have a ton of time to work in our area and it was hard, but really we got to church and we had 2 people that had told us that they were gonna come and they both flaked out, but a miracle happened and one of our investigators came back from mexico City and felt an answer to his prayers so strong, that he thought that it was something bad so he called us and told us about it but now he wants to get baptized! Also, we had a family of a mom and 3 daughters that we taught Tuesday and it was a really good lesson. We passed on Thursday when they said we could pass and they weren't there and Friday and Saturday too. They weren't there so we were worried. On Sunday we only had one investigator in the building at 11:55, but arrived another one right before it started and also the family with the mom and the Girls! We were so happy, they came and they could only be there for 1 hour but they tried. I´m so happy that from just 45 minutes they felt the need to go to church and how it could help them. I love the Gospel and I know that their lives are gonna be changed because they went! I love you Mom! Thanks for your love!! 

Your son,

Elder Neal

No Letter from 4/13/2015

*I didn't get anything from Elder Neal this week...sniff, sniff.

Letter from 4/6/2015

So, I don`t know if you all knew, but our old house was really algo feo, something ugly, but it sounds better in spanish. it was small with a room to study and sleep and another room for the clothes and a tiny kitchen and even smaller bathroom and it was really dirty to where you couldn`t even clean it. We got sick of it and we said that we were gonna change houses. We didn`t even use any of our time to look for a house or anything, but we went with some less active family that told us that their renters of their other house had just left and that they were looking for new tenants. The lord loves his Missionaries.:D It is a three story house that is 3 times as big as our other house. It is so much nicer and the best part is that the bathroom is comfortable. I love it and it`s only 300 pesos more than our other house. Or in other words, like $20 more.  The week was really difficult but amazing. I loved general conference! At the beginning of the week I had an infection in my eye which made it hard to see and the worst was that I had to give a talk in sacrament too. Everyone saw. They saw the huge swelled up eye that I had. Ni modo. I love this work and extend my thanks for all your support and wish you a happy easter and know that I love you all and have a testimony of the plan of God for each one of His Kids. I know that this Phase is just a short time of preparation and know that as we use our agency for good, God gives us joy, in this life or the next. It`s only separated by a thin veil and sometimes, when the spirit`s with you, this veil, being so thin, breaks. D Arthur Haycock says  He was man of “deep and abiding faith” who, when people would remark that “the veil was very thin,”would sometimes say that “there was no veil.”
God loves his children and has his plan for each of them. Have a great week everybody!

Elder Neal
Mision Mexico Veracruz

Letter from 3/30/2015

*I got this in response to my letter...a little payback for being a mom...haha!:

Haha! It's so much work to be a mom! Haha! Mom, you´re really the best example I have. I wouldn't be alive right now without your advice for the mission. Really. I think of you every day and I use what I learned from you every day in the mission. I love you and can't wait to see you again! 

Yeah, my new companion´s Elder Monroy! We´re having so much fun! He´s a great companion. We leave the mission on the same day and I´m learning a lot from him. 

The biggest thing that I've learned this week would be to live what you learn and the Faith. The live what you learn part, at the beginning of my mission i didn't see it as a big part because really, i thought that i´d just live it by keeping the rules. But this week i also studied the faith and the faith only works as we show it. We show our faith through our actions and our strength to complete our goal and to follow God. It´s all based on our intentions and force that we use. I love this and I know that God can only work with us if we work with all of our force to complete what God wants us to do! I love the work and know that God can work Miracles! I know too that General Conference is the time to listen and put our faith in the Prophets in the latter days and do what the tell us to because that´s the only way that God can bless us. I love you so much Mom! Thanks for all your sacrifice! 

Elder Neal

I hope to have my package soon! Still don't have it.

Letter from 3/23/2015

*Got these pictures this week:

Letter from 3/16/2015

*Elder Neal sent only pictures this week:

Letter from 3/9/2015

I did not get a group email from Elder Neal this week. He did answer my email, but nothing was interesting enough to post here. :)

Letter from 3/2/2015

I asked him to write a letter and this is what he wrote:

Sorry mom, there´s never enough time. I´m working on it. 

I´m fine! It´s been pretty cold and pretty hot. There´s not a middle. No, it´s all streets here. Not yet. It should be in the offices, and i should have it this Wednesday if it arrived. We have investigators, but they never want to go to church because they think that if they go it´s like a commitment to the religion.  Nope! I hope that we do soon. I´m happy, this change of place is just really hard.;P I´m really excited for the package though! This Saturday we went to the zone leaders´ house because we did divisions and we had to trade companions again. We got there and were talking for a bit until they told a zone leader (Birthday on the 28th) and I to open the fridge. And we opened it and there was a big cake! It was so awesome and we took so many photos! But my camera was dead. The other elders are gonna send them to me...

Love you mom! Thanks for your cariño! I love you so much! 

Elder Neal

Birthday cake!!

Letter from 2/23/2015

*I only got what he responded to me, not a group letter this week:

Thanks for your letter mom! I love it and I LOVE THE PHOTO! I LOVE IT. Thanks so much! Haha. It´s awesome that you´re cleaning the house and organizing it. It needs it and I´m sure that it looks a ton better now. I wouldn´t be too worried. I´m gonna check on it today. Thanks. Thanks so much for the package! I´ll let you know when I get it. It´s been really hot this week! The people that live here tell me that 2 days cold 2 days hot. So I don´t know what´s up. But they say that the cold´s gonna be here until April.

Something that happened this week is that really, I prayed when I had to and I did it well and at the time I thought that it was okay, but during this week I really started imagining myself in the Reino Celestial giving an accounting of what I´d done and what i´d like. I´ve never felt so close to him. It´s so humbling to put yourself on your knees with your head down asking for something from an all-powerful God. I feel like dirt. Like the nasty dirt that smells like Idaho cows. But I love it! I love what the mission does to me!

Elder Neal

Here is the picture we sent him for his birthday: