Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012 - From Hermana Call

I think this was one last hurrah for Elder Lawrence. My how we're going to miss him.
Hermana Call

March 19, 2012 - From Hermana Call

When Elder Lawrence gets home you will have to let him sleep for a week or two so he can recover. Elder Stucki is going to have to survive 6 more weeks!
Sure appreciate these two.
Good night.........Sister Call

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 17, 2012

Blessed family and friends and everyone,
March 17th 2010, two years ago today, I woke up in the Dunshee home, put on a suit, and mom and I drove from Bountiful to Provo in our rental car full of suitcases. Arriving in Provo, we stopped at In and Out, and then proceeded to the Missionary Training Center. We arrived at 1:45. At about 1:43, I got a call from my Bishop, Bishop Rasmussen wishing me happy trails. I then gave my phone to my mom. We arrived in the MTC driveway, and I gave my mom a hug, got out, and she drove off. It is a memory engraved on my mind for life. At that moment, my love for my whole family increased. My love for each and everyone of you, grew immensely in that moment. At the same time, my love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ, grew to an unexplainable degree. Between that day and today, my relationship with my Heavenly Father has improved incredibly. My testimony of the atonement, of the Godhead, of the restored gospel, of President Monson's prophetic calling, and of many other things has been made a knowledge instead of just a belief.
I love my mission. I love it. I have found that I am not very good with words when it comes to what I feel. I am not very good at translating my feelings to words. I can't use words to describe what I feel about my mission. I have learned to love so many people. The capacity of my heart to love, has grown infinitely, and I have met so many people that I will NEVER forget, and I just love them so much. The mission has been the most important experience so far in my life.
I am sad to leave behind this scripturally historical land. I love Mexico. I love everything about it, the good and the bad (except the smog. haha.). I have learned so much from this humble and loving place. It is a land of promise. It is a Christian country, there is a heavy belief in Christ here. The people are exceptionally humble, willing to give anything. Everyone says "hi" to everyone in the streets. There is a very special spirit here, that I've never felt before. It is rich in culture and amazing tacos : ).
This week was very significant for me. This was an amazing week. We had the opportunity to be part of the conversion of Hermana Cruz, who will be baptized tonight. The spirit was strong in every moment of the week. I was healed by the priesthood power from being very sick, later on my companion was healed. We got to spend special time with some great Elders here in the mission. I was really hoping this incredible week would never end. It was very special.
At the same time I can't wait for this week to end so that I can see my parents again. I love you so much Dad. I love you too Mom, more than I can express. Thank you, a million times, thank you. I would not be here without you two. I would not have made it a month in the mission without any of you, Ken, Tristen, Rachel, Greg, Stacy, Wesley, Avery, Corban, Penny, Charlie, Felicity. I can't wait to see all of you. When Wednesday comes, I will be ready to leave behind the mission, my name tag, and continue on a different life. I hope I am not one of those weird return missionaries : ). I also thank my friends, every single one of them. I am not going to name them, but they know who they are. Every prayer, I thank Heavenly Father for the support I have from my friends and family. Also thanks to Sister Taylor in Highland, Utah for reading my blog. Sorry Sister Taylor, I have finished the mission now so no more blogs.
The ward did a surprise "goodbye" party that was just incredible yesterday. It was a small testimony meeting with some refreshments. Oswaldo (our convert) bore his testimony and said that he is going to serve a mission. He has been such an awesome member of the church. He is just awesome. They had me stand in front and also give my testimony. I was literally speechless. The words just didn't come out. The spirit was so strong, and I think the emotional was really strong too.
The mission has been incredible. I have today to visit my converts. I am just going to La Colmena, and Tepotzotlán for time. Tomorrow we'll get the new assistant, and train him, and take reports. Monday will be my last day to work, but I will probably be packing a little on this day too. Tuesday my generation will go to the temple with President and Sister Call, then go to President's house for a dinner, interviews, and testimony meeting. I'll get some sleep early on Tuesday, then off to the United States of America early Wednesday morning. See ya Wednesday,
Con mucho amor,
Elder Lawrence

March 10, 2012

We had some mission duties in the morning that backed up our p-day, then from there we went to do our p-day activities and didn't get home until we had to leave for our appointments for the day, so I am just getting this time to write you guys.

Today was a really fun p-day! We went caving in Hidalgo. A place called Grutas de Xoxafi. We'll go there if we come back to visit my mission, it was extremely cool. The thing I love about vacationing in Mexico is the cheapness. You can have an awesome caving experience for 5 bucks. You can stay at some cabins there, that didn't look too shabby, for 50 bucks a night. Anyway, we got a lot of great pictures and it was a really fun activity. Believe it or not, after all these p-days that I have had, this was the most fun by far. Elder Stucki, Elder Thibault, and I went.

Elder Thibault (pronounced Tebow, like Tim Tebow) is the new secretary that replaced Elder Anderson. He is a really awesome guy, we have made very close friends till now. Elder Ortiz, the other secretary, told me that he got to talk to my family. I was actually right outside the room when he was talking to you guys. Elder Ortiz is training a new secretary, Elder Cruz. Elder Cruz, he is awesome. I don't know him very well he only has a couple of days here, but I do know one thing, he made quesadillas for the whole offices last night and it was awesome.

President gave us a huge load of things to do this week and it was a really great and busy week. I don't have many stories about experiences with investigators, but I do have some great experiences to share that I had with other Elders. The best parts of the mission is when you are really busy, the spirit is stronger, and there is no time for distraction. We got to do some changes with some Elders who needed help. I did one with a spectacular missionary and another with a not too spectacular missionary. Both were great experiences. With Elder Hille, we just had a great day feeling the spirit so strong and learning so much from each other. The whole day we didn't talk about anything, but great gospel topics and important Christlike attributes. It was a really good learning experience. It was a huge change when I went with the other Elder, who has been struggling with contention and disobedience. It was really hard for me because they tend to try to cover up their errors. However they can't fake the spirit. It was a day where I practically felt like I wasn't with a companion. I feel a little rude being so judgmental, but I am writing it because it was a learning experience. As we arrived at the home that night I spoke very directly with him. We conversed all the things that he needs to do to have the spirit, and he stopped trying to cover up everything. He took it all very humbly and I am really excited for his future mission. He made the choice to change his mission starting that night, so lets hope that was a mighty change of heart, and there will be results. I think the reason that this experience has weighed so heavily on my mind is because I have known this Elder since the beginning of his mission, and he used to be so great. I love him very much and he is a great friend of mine. Another thing President wanted us to do was to go around and talk with all of the trainers to see how they are doing, and it went awesome. Very busy week.

When we got out of our appointment today, we were in a dangerous part of our area. We turned the corner and there is some homeless man pushing on our car. We came up from behind so he didn't see us, and we just stood there speechless for a good 5 seconds. It wasn't threatening at all because he wasn't trying to open doors or do any damage to the car, he was sincerely trying to push it. We went up to him and Elder Stucki asked him, "can I help you?" He quickly responded that his car is broken down and he is trying to push it to start it up. (All the cars here are really old battered 60s slug bugs, and when one breaks down, you just push it and with enough speed it will start. I don't know how it works, but I've done it hundreds of times on my mission.) It was quite comical, especially because it is a brand-new 2011 Toyota Corolla. Then some less active members saw us and came up and told him "it's an automatic, don't worry" he realized that it was an automatic transmission, and so he went on the curb and we went on our way. It was super funny, for so many different reasons, I guess you'd just have to be there.

I got a letter this week from Sister Wendy Taylor. I was confused as I saw it at first, but then reading it I found out it is an Elder Taylor's mom who is here in the mission. I think I told you about her, she looked up the mission on Google, and found my blog. She's been reading my blog for a year now! Can you believe it? I am a little embarrassed, I hope I didn't write anything off color or something that would scare poor Sister Taylor about her son's mission. To Sister Taylor: Thank you very much for your kind letter. I appreciated it a TON! I am so happy that you have read my blog and enjoyed it. I know your son pretty well and he is doing an excellent job! He is very obedient, and every time I see him, he just looks so glad to be here. And I mean that, I am not just saying it! Elder Taylor is a great Elder.

I got some letters from Mom about a month ago, saying that she wasn't going to send more because she thought by the time they got here I'd be home, but she was wrong they got here a month and a half beforehand, I just never mentioned it because I forgot. It's kind of funny though. Thanks for all letters and support.

Elder Lawrence

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 3, 2012

This was a good week full of miracles. We found a family, la familia Yerbafría. It's a cool last name, yerba is herb and fría is cold. Their last name is literally Cold Herb. I do have converts with the last name Tierrafría which is Cold Earth. Other than them two I have never heard a similar last name. Anyway the Yerbafría family was baptized 8 years ago, and they were faithful for a long time, and some of them are still faithful. One of their unfaithful sons got married to Anaí. She is not a member, but has always wanted to be a member. Somebody gave us this reference, so we went over and taught her. She has absorbed everything we have said. She is completing with all of her commitments, reading, keeping the commandments, praying. She has received her answer already that this church is true. She is very excited to get baptized. She accepted her date for the 18th, and she is so stoked for it. She is going to church tomorrow, and she is just so happy. She is a super golden investigator.
We have been teaching a family that are all active, but the husband isn't a member. He was in jail for 7 and a half years for robbing a huge 18-wheeler full of brand new Ford car parts. He's been out for a year. When we first started teaching them, his attitude was unrepentant and rude. He listened to us, and was nice, but he really didn't do much to get better. He never read the scriptures or went to church. We later found out, he smokes a pack a day. We taught him once a week or less because he was progressing slowly. Little by little his attitude has been changing and since a week ago we have noticed a HUGE change in heart. We made him a calendar with a goal on each day of how many cigarettes he can smoke a day, if he completes he can put a sticker on that day. It is a cool calender we made it and put pictures of Jesus all over it. We went from a pack a day to 10 a day. We were nervous to see how it went. This man has turned into a super investigator. He has repented, he has made a huge turn around. He smokes way less than the goals that we put on the calendar. He has read a ton in the scriptures. He is praying and has just had a mighty change in heart. He is doing so well. We invited him to get baptized and he answered "CLARO QUE SÍ" (OF COURSE). It has been a miracle to see the change in this man. It has happened little by little, but now it is happening a lot by a lot. The spirit has testified to us that it his effort is completely sincere. He is doing an awesome job. It was another miracle this week. His change of heart has happened over the last month, but the stopping of smoking was just a huge thing in these last days, because he was super addicted. NOW HE IS DOING LESS THAN THE GOALS THAT WE HAVE PUT. We put on the calendar that he can smoke 7 and he'll smoke 5. It is so cool.
Yesterday, we walked from appointment to appointment in a blazing hot sun, from the early morning until the late night. NOBODY was home. It was one of the hottest days I've seen on the mission, and we were outside ALL DAY. I got cooked. It was pretty miserably tiring. We were already tired from assistant duties that we have had, and this just made it so much worse. It was awesome when we finished the day though, and when we looked back at our best effort we could have given. I love serving Heavenly Father, and I will always strive to do so.
Elder Lawrence

February 28, 2012 - From Sister Call

This was after an early morning run to the CCM (MTC ) and airport. What would we ever do without these two. We love them.
Trisha Call

February 25, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,
This was another marvelous week. Elder Daniel L. Johnson, member of the quorum of the seventy and President of the Area Mexico paid a visit to our mission. He has been here touring our mission since Wednesday. I have learned so much from him. It was amazing to be able to learn and hear from him and see someone who is an example of someone who will receive exaltation. I learned so many things about how to be a better and more efficient missionary, and I am going to put it into practice starting today. Yesterday in the morning he did a zone conference with us, and in the afternoon a fireside for our investigators. Today in the morning he instructed us in a zone leader council. It was AWESOME!!! I got to talk to him personally and ask him some things which was cool. We also did a practice of how to contact a person in the street, and Elder Stucki and I practiced in front of everyone and we contacted Elder Johnson. It was an amazing experience. Actually, that practice that we did was one of the turning points of my mission. I realized even more the importance of trusting the promise of: "abrid vuestra boca y será llena" (Doctrinas y Convenios 33:10). The spirit was felt so strong. I simply yet boldly testified to him that God and his son Jesus Christ have put a prophet here on the earth. As I said those words my heart pounded that those things that I were saying were true. (It also pounded because I was very nervous). He then explained the spirit doesn't only testify to those hearing that those things are true, but also those that are speaking. It was just so cool. The fireside was equally amazing. He talked for a while about wonderful doctrines and truths of the Gospel, then he had a period of question and answers. Even though the questions were a level of an investigator or new member of the church, it was amazing to hear a general authority answer these questions, for example: "what blessings does my family lose if my husband doesn't join me in learning and coming here in the church?" or "what is the difference of this church and the Catholic church that I have always been a member of?" There were so many other things that I learned from him and I am grateful for this week that I had to be here.
Both this P-Day and the last P-Day have been incomplete P-Days, but it was extremely worth missing our P-Day for these reasons. This week was for the meeting that we just got home from. Last week we went to the airport to get Elder Hyde, Elder Gold, Elder Castillo, and Elder Rojas. They all got here from the MTC in Provo. Elder Castillo and Rojas were out of the MTC already and had been serving in the Salt Lake mission while waiting their VISA. They were only in the MTC for three weeks because they come from Hispanic families and they both speak 100% English and Spanish. Elder Rojas is from Chicago, and Elder Castillo is from McAllen, Texas, but he doesn't know Elder Resendiz. Sunday night we had an appointment to go to and they had been with us all day because they were going to go with their trainers on the next day. Elder Stucki was still reporting and I had finished early so I asked which of them wanted to go with me on the appointment. They both wanted to go so badly they were practically fighting (in a nice way) over who could go. It was a great example to me. That was such an awesome attitude that they had towards the work. Sadly many seasoned missionaries would have preferred stay in the house sitting there while Elder Stucki was taking reports. They both ended up being able to go with me because the secretaries got home and could be with Elder Stucki. In the lesson I tried to let them teach the majority of the lesson. They did so well and were filled with so much spirit and enthusiasm. It is similar to the attributes of a child that Christ and the prophets refer to so many times in the scriptures. Instead of becoming as little children, becoming as brand-new missionaries.
Last week when I did an interchange with the zone leaders of Tula, I was with Elder Speer in my old area Tepeji. We visited an investigator of his, but she was not home. So we went with her neighbor, Isabel. As we introduced ourselves she asked if we have prayers to sick people. I explained that we give priesthood blessings and what they were. She started to explain to us of her sick brother, Esteban. He had been an alcoholic for his whole life, until four months ago. For these four months he hasn't drunk alcohol, but he has had a lot of mental problems. He shakes, talks to himself, delirious, sees things that don't exist etc. For the last few days however it has been worse. He hasn't eaten or slept for a few days now. At night he escapes and goes crazy... screaming and stuff in the streets. His family chases after him to try to get him back home. They explained that it's been very hard. They have taken him to the hospital, but the doctors haven't been able to do anything. Long story short we gave him an anointing and a blessing. I blessed him that he would be healed and not be a burden for his family. I blessed him that he would be able to distance himself from all wickedness and evil in the world. Esteban is now fine. He doesn't shake, he sleeps and eats normally. He is his "normal self", no longer talking to himself or seeing things. It was a cool experience, and my testimony of the power of the priesthood grew a lot. It wasn't anything else than just a sickness from the alcohol... it wasn't a bad spirit he had or anything. The spirit that was felt there before the blessing was not an evil or dark spirit. He has just been battling the effects and consequences of being an alcoholic. Miracles like we find in the scriptures will never cease. By the way, the living situation of Esteban was maybe the worst I have seen in my mission. His house was five foot by five foot and about 6 feet tall. The walls were stacks of bricks not even connected by cement, but just sitting there stacked. The roof was a sheet of cardboard. The ground was a very powdery dirt floor. They room was covered in dust from head to toe. All that was in the room was a pile of clothes on the dirt floor and a bed. There was maybe 1 foot of walking space. The kitchen was a wooden fire pit outside. Very humbling. All around the house there were donkeys, sheep, and chickens.
I love Mexico. I love the mission.
Elder Lawrence