Monday, April 29, 2013

Pictures from Mexico

     We just opened up a new city that no missionaries have been in since any member here can remember, and probably ever. I guess like a year or so ago there was a crazy gang drug fight, there and so missionaries didn't go in there, but this area is one of the safest in all of Mexico now, and we decided to go contact all our references in that city. There literally couldn't be a nicer, more peaceful place in the world. Everybody is so nice there and they're all escojitos (Golden Investigators) to the max. There is this family, the Vazquez Cerritos, that are really interested and they decided to come with us to church yesterday to our extension. We only do sacrament meeting at the extension and it's under a tree in somebodies back yard with like 10 people max. But my compañero and I give talks every week. Any way they have a little girl with some crazy disease that she's not going to live through. She was born with it and now she's 10. And they don't let her leave the house so she doesn't risk anything. She has to wear a doctor mask all the time, too. Anyway when we picked up the family she and her twin sister had to stay at home and she tried so hard not to cry, but she loves the gospel so much that she couldn't hold it in anymore and she ran inside.
Hopefully we are getting more missionaries and splitting our area so they can have an extension in her city.
    We also adopted a kitten! haha We found it outside our church in Angostura. I'll send a picture of him!
    We have an investigator named Norma who is so ready to be baptized but she always makes up excuses on Sundays so she doesn't have to come to church. I think she's hiding something. But she only has to go to church one more time! That's it. And she won't do it!
    This week we brought my clock with the thermometer and it said it was 111 degrees. It's burning up here, and everybody keeps saying how happy they are that the summer heat hasn't hit yet.. The new mission is in the Sonora Desert, I guess, and that's the hottest part of Mexico by a lot. I'm kinda hoping I get transferred down to Mazatlan or something so i can stay in Culiacan.
    Tell Kevin and his team good luck in the playoffs! 

Love Elder Lund!

 Nice bike

 Scott's town in the distance

I'm guessing this is a member serving them lunch, but I'm not sure.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Frustrating Week

This week was awful! We didn't have any investigators at church, and 6 of our investigators had setbacks for breaking commandments. They have to wait a month from the last time they drank coffee or broke any other commandments, they have to go to church on their own twice without us asking them to, and they can't be living with someone they're not married to. The biggest problem besides coffee is they have boyfriends or girlfriends when they're married to someone else. They just move apart instead of getting a divorce because they have to travel all the way to Mexico City and pay a bunch of money to get a divorce so they just move apart. So they all are dating people that they're not married to. We also had a baptismal date for a lady and her son set for Wednesday, we cleaned the font and had the interview all set up, but she didn't go to church yesterday!! I was so mad! Also my companion and I got super sick! But we had appointments so we still worked all day, just as hard as normal, but It was so exhausting!

So this week was the first time someone has told us not to go to the south side of Amgostura because it wouldn't be safe for a couple days for us. That night when we got back into Amgostura we had to ride our bikes through that dangerous part of the city and there were literally like 50 cops scattered around, and checking every car going in and out of the city. They were here for like 2 days then one morning we woke up and they were gone. We didn't hear gun shots or anything, they just apparently got their guy and left without a fight.

Also apparently the US army is coming to Mexico and especially Sinaloa to fight the cartels, so a bunch of the members think that the American missionaries are going to be taken out of the Culiacan mission. But our mission president said that's not even being considered. So hopefully not. Oh but by the way I'm most likely going to be part of the Ciudad de Obregon Mission starting in July. So it doesn't even effect me if they do take the missionaries out! That mission is a lot safer, but it's still right along the drug trade. Right now I'm at the very south part of where that mission would be.

We also this week got thrown out of a house of 2 of our most promising investigators because their dad doesn't want them to leave the Catholic church. He told us he loves us and wants us to come talk to them but not about the church. Which is our only reason for being here so that kinda was a bummer.. But we know their neighbor is a menos activo so we're holding Noche de Hogar (I cant remember English anymore!) in her house, so hopefully we can animate her while we teach the two investigators.

So what the heck is happening around the world!? We keep hearing these stories, a little about Boston but not enough. And the middle east and stuff. But we have no idea. All I know is the people here keep saying '' I'm so glad I don't live in United States because it's so dangerous there" because they don't report here when a narco invades a school cuts all the kids heads off and sticks them on a fence.. They just hear about the bombs going off in the united states. There hasn't been a time here where I didn't feel 100% safe which is pretty cool, because I wouldn't ever walk around here if i wasn't a missionary. There's little houses the people build where people die, and there are a couple houses on every turn in the roads because they are drunk and drive into ditches, and in the city from being killed they have houses everywhere. But apparently its super calm here right now. But I guess it's about to go crazy.

So my apartment is the nicest one in the mission, but it's also the smallest. But I don't really notice cause I'm either asleep or sitting at my desk when I'm there. So it doesn't really bother me. But I would like a couch and water that's actually clean! The showers nice though! It's only ice cold, but it's way past a hundred degrees here so its nice to cool off. Honestly the nicest thing I brought with me is those handkerchiefs! So amazing cause I literally drip sweat during the lessons after sitting down for 45 minutes cause its hot! And when we ride bikes it's unreal gross!

I'm going to ask Elder Holland if he remembers Dad! Apparently Apostles have the best memories in the world! There was a talk on it in the MTC while I was there, but It was so long ago, so idk! Maybe it will get a conversation where I can get a picture with him cause we're only allowed a hand shake.

Thanks for the talks! I couldn't watch the links but I just printed out the written ones! And I'm feeling good. Still sick but that's how its gunna be for 2 years so I'm getting used to it! My companion likes to talk the whole lesson so I haven't been talking as much with other people as I would like, but I'm understanding almost everything so that feels good! I guess the people here are more direct and mean when they talk so its easier to pick up cause they don't use a bunch of fluff words. My problem is grammar, and now I've been doing spanish grammar its hard to use the english grammar! 

Love Elder Lund

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"I Promise I'm Safe..."

Mom, I promise I´m safe hitch hiking! Ha, its so much nicer than riding bikes! Yesterday we had conferencia de Rama. So because the rama is a mission thing since its not a ward yet, President Cantu had to speak. He told us there that we can bring a few investigators to the meeting with Elder Holland! I'm so excited! Didn't Dad know his son in high school?
I see people, and specifically kids, that I feel so bad for. They all live the saddest life. No money, basically no house.. and no toys. And they all live with their grandparents, since their parents are on drugs or in jail and stuff. That's the story with almost all kids here. It's so sad. But they always are so happy. I just want to make things better for them. Almost all of the houses here have one main room made of cement, then they cut out doors to make other parts of their house with cardboard and stuff. There aren't a whole lot of houses just out of cardboard but there are some, they're called invasions. We had to do tithing yesterday, and the highest tithing was 150 pesos. That means they only earned 150 US dollars that whole month.. And that was the highest. I don't know how they live. We are always busy here which is awesome! We have 4 more investigators committed to baptism this week, but the biggest problem is they can't drink coffee or break any commandment for a whole month before they get baptized, so the dates keep getting pushed back. It's so frustrating.

This week we got chased by a member's puppy for about 2 miles on the way from Alhuey back to Amgostura. It was sprinting the whole time! I don't know how it kept up! We decided to bring it back to the house and decided that God didn't just let the puppy follow us for no reason to distract us and make us waste time. So we prayed to know why he kept us in the city. Right when we got done praying we saw Rosario. About 30 minutes later he accepted baptism. I know the Lord needed us in Alhuey. So he sent that crazy little dog to chase us and bring us back.

We also met a mom and a son named Sulema and Abel. They are the daughter and grandson of a reference we had. The Grandpa hates the church, but the mom and son love it. Also they have a friend Fernando who is super investigating the church. Anyway we meet in the house of the grandpa all the time to talk about the church with them, and they attended church on Sunday. They were both crying during the mission president's talk. They know it's true and accepted a fecha (Baptismal date) for the 11 of May. We also have this lady named Evelia, who accepted baptism for the 4th of May. But we haven't taught her in almost two weeks cause she's never home! so I don't know how that will work out..

This morning I realized I can read the scriptures in Spanish and it actually makes sense! It was pretty cool! I still can't speak hardly at all, but I can understand way better now!

Love you guys!
Elder Lund

The MTC district- 5 elders headed to Culiacan, 3 elders to Oaxaca Mexico, 3 sisters to Costa Rica

Scott and Camille with companions just before Camille left

Scott, Camille, and Hannah from our ward -Hannah left for Milan, Italy, at the same time Camille left for San Antonio

In Mexico with President and Sister Cantu (and Jesus)

 The new North American arrivals -5 from the MTC and 4 from Visa-waiting in other missions

 The apartment -looks about like his room at home. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The 4!

When my mom heard the stats of the church read in General Conference last week her ears perked up. She sent Camille, Scott, and me this message:

April 6, 2013:
President Monson announced the number of missionaries currently serving-
and the 4 are
Äldste och Syster Oscarson
Hermana Lund
Elder Lund

I love having 4 missionaries serving from my family! She forwarded Scott's email this week, which I appreciate, because between the two we can get a fuller picture of his frame of mind. Here is his email to fellow missionaries, Grandma and Grandpa. (punctuation and cap-corrected for your reading ease :))

Dear Grandma and Grandpa
My new area is a huge area called Angostura, It has a bunch of pueblos, little towns, that are super spread apart. We have to hitch-hike in the back of trucks or ride bikes everywhere. The close cities take about 25 minutes to bike to, and the far ones take about 30 minutes in the back of a truck. The people here have nothing, but because of that they are able to have everything. I love the people here. Reality either hasn't hit yet, or I'm just in love with the reality that's here. It's been great so far. Food's good, people are good, and my companion's good.
I only got to see a little of the Sunday morning, from The Primary president on, and we got to see all of the Sunday afternoon. even though I understood about 0 of it! So if you want to send me some more notes that would be awesome!
Thank you so much for explaining the Holland talk! I heard the last 2 minutes in English where he talked about Joseph Smith, and that's all I understood. He is so powerful!
It's so hard to see the people here struggling with drugs, or other very real trials. Especially ones that are involved with the drug trade that we can't teach because if they are at church they put everybody else there at risk. They have to move far away in order to become a member. No matter how willing. But I know if they really desire to follow God's commandments, He will provide a way for them. And if we work hard 100% of the time we will will have the words to comfort them and help them.
I can't believe you're that close to the end of your mission! It seems you just barely left!
It's nice to be the 4! That effort of missionaries just shows to me how important this work is in the last days. We are out here to gather the last of the fold, so we have to look under the cracks where other missionaries have swept over to find those elect.
The thing that hit me during conference was the song Come Come Ye Saints. It says "Todo Bien" which in Spanish is, Everything Good, or all is well. Hearing that come out of the mouths of people that have almost nothing hit me super hard. No matter how hard this work is to complete, if we can give just one person that feeling of Todo Bien, then it's all worth it. The ice cold showers, the 115 degrees with 90% humidity, the scorpions, the tiny apartment, all of it. It's all worth it.
One thing that also hit me is how Jesus wasn't too excited about doing the atonement. He asked God if there was any other way. But He knew it wasn't his will but God's will that mattered. And he never complained once. Never. We thrust in our sickle. We decided to come out here. We signed up for the hard work, because it was God's will. Jesus didn't complain when he was bleeding from every pore, he didn't complain when he was being whipped and spat on, and he didn't even complain when he was being nailed to the cross. He didn't say it was to hard, he said "Not my will but thine be done" then did something no man could have endured. He entered a tunnel of darkness and came out on the other side with "Brightness and Glory that defy all description" No matter how long, dark or hard our tunnel is, God's promise if we endure it well, we will be blessed beyond recognition. And God's promise is more than enough for me!
I love you guys! Have a great week!
Elder Lund

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Letter from Mexico

I´m in Angostura, which is on the north part of the mission, about 30 miles from the coast. My area has about 10 tiny cities around Angostura, which is about the size of Manti. Its a HUGE area with not very many people. We hitch-hike everywhere in the back of cars when we have to go over 15 kilometers, and ride our bikes that don't have breaks the rest of the time. Its Awesome! The people have houses smaller than our front room for like 8 people, and a bunch of animals. They have tons of dogs cause they don't fix them. So there are dogs EVERYWHERE. and they're all puppies cause the old dogs have all been hit by cars. It's so fun to play with them. We have a city called La Playa Colorada which is right on the coast, and another about 30 kilometers away from our city, so about 60 kilometers apart. Our apartment is smaller than our kitchen. It has no hot water, no clean water, and only 1 desk with 2 broken chairs. Everybody just has 5 gallon tanks of clean water that they refill all the time. The people are so sweet. They have nothing but they treat us like royalty especially when we go and eat with them. They gave me tuna fish and I actually liked it! ha I think that's because I know how much that cost them, so it tasted good. Kind of like dad's experience with Apple Pie! Also i´m in a super safe area of Mexico. So not super dangerous. But we still have to be inside at 8 because the bad people get out on the streets then. My Spanish is good for talking, but understanding has been rough. But I´m able to get the gist of what they're saying now, and respond, so it's been super nice.
The heat isn't too bad actually! I don't even notice it. Apparently its going to get about 15 degrees hotter in the summer but that's when it rains. I sweat like nobodies business, but I really am not bothered by the heat. Not even when I sleep, because I work so hard in the day, I'm so tired, so right when my head hits the pillow I'm out.
My mission president is so cool! and I absolutely love the food! The tortillas here are beyond amazing! We get fed lunch every day at 2:30 till 3:30 by a member. That's the big meal of the day here. Biggest adjustment has been waking up at 5, or yesterday at 4, because we go to bed earlier, or have assignments early. But It really hasn't been tough for me at all. The people are amazing, the food is amazing, but heat hasn't bugged me yet, the puppies everywhere are cool, and my companion has made Spanish easy for me.
We watched half of Sunday morning, and all of Sunday afternoon conference. It was about 45 miles outside of our area, so we had to hitch a ride. And we also had to bring investigators with us or we couldn't go. On Sunday morning we realized one of our investigators that was supposed to go didn't show up, so we left to find some investigators, and be exactly obedient. We walked to the corner of the block, and decided to go stand in front of the church to tell people to just step inside and listen. When we got back to the church we had 2 different investigators that had just arrived from our area. It's amazing how exact obedience works like that! Also I understood 0, so I prayed that I could understand. I expected to just understand more of the Spanish, but about 30 seconds later someone told me they had a computer where I could watch in English! Not what i expected but super awesome! If you could send me some notes of the talks that would be great!
0 goals!? (He means the OHS soccer team has 0 goals scored on them) Thats awesome! Tell them good job for me!
I´m so glad i don't have to work on the yard this year! i´m working harder now then i ever did on the yard, but Its easier to work hard here! Because I love the people here, and i didn't really care about our yard! haha
Here is awesome! you don't have to worry about me! I´m safe, and I´m having a great time!
Love Elder Lund