Monday, October 5, 2015

Officially one year!

Well I have officially hit the 1 year mark of my mission. With the celebration of 1 year in the mission, my sister turned 23 years old!! Happy birthday Lexi!! I hope Addie's and your birthdays were great. I will be back for your next one! :P

This week has been good. I think what I enjoyed most was being able to watch general conference.  I just feel like I received some personal guidance and I was able to reaffirm my testimony that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each and every one of us. The simple testimonies of the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ always hit my heart harder than anything else. 

Besides being on a spiritual high this weekend, I also had the privilege of going to the pyramids of Teotihuacán. I hope that all of you can have the opportunity to one day be able to learn more about the history and early culture of Mexico and its ancestors. I know that I was completely blown away at just the magnitude of the city, pyramids, and intelligence of those people. I'll be sure to attach some pictures at the end of my email. 

To finish my email this week, I just want to invite all of you to think of a problem or a difficult decision that you have in your life and to search for the answer from your Heavenly Father through prayer and also the words of his prophets here on the earth. I promise you that he will respond to you in a way that you will recognize. 

I hope you all have a great week, I love you! 

Elder Berry

Monday, August 31, 2015

11 months!

Hey everyone!
This week Elder Payne and I complete 11 months BUT it is also the half way mark of our mission. Because of our visas,  foreigners return about 20 days or so early from the mission. I have calculated it according to when we have changes and we will be coming back September 14th, 2016. It's really weird to think that I have less than a year here in the mission. I feel like I'm just starting to get the hang of things.

This week we went to the temple's open doors with some investigators, less actives, and recent converts. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, the temple is always the most beautiful and peaceful place you can be. At the end of the tour, they let us stay in the Celestial Room for a few minutes and ponder and feel the peace. I felt the spirit and I could see our investigators felt it too. I can't wait until it opens!! It has been almost a year since I have been to the temple! It was so wonderful to finally be able to go inside.

I'm so very thankful for the opportunity that I have to be able to be a missionary.  I'm so excited that my brother Tyler has chosen to do the same thing. There is no other experience I've had in life where I have learned so much, in such a short amount of time. 

Thank you all for remembering me and I hope to hear from you next week!! 

Elder Berry 

Some pictures from the week! 

I played volleyball today with Elder Payne!! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Penúltimo día de Junio

Well today is the second to last day of June!
June has flown by super fast and it is crazy to think that in 3 months I'll be completing one year of  my mission! The time is flying by so fast. It's crazy.

This week has been pretty calm and not very much to report. But we did have a baptism this past Sunday. I say we had a baptism but the investigator wasn't ours. It was the investigator of the sisters in our ward. We just had the privilege of being able to baptize him. Woo hoo for having the priesthood. ;P 

After the baptism we had on Sunday, we went and ate dinner with a family from the ward. They were really funny and very kind. At the end of our visit with them, they gave each of us a pair of dress shoes! My companion is pretty jealous about the shoes I got. He wanted them but they don't fit him :) Next week I'll be sure to send a picture of them, I forgot my camera in the house this week. 

Other than that not much else has happened- other than raining a ton. But I hope that all of you have been good and have seen the hand of God in your lives. Thanks for writing me and thinking about me.

Elder Berry

Here's some pictures we took at the member's house! He lent us some boots and hats. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!


This week has been one of the most exhausting weeks of my mission. On Saturday I just didn't have any strength at the end of the day. Having the second biggest area in the mission means that we have to do a lot of walking... and it's all hills. With that said, after we had finished planning Saturday night, I went to bed ( 10 is the earliest we can go to bed). 

My companion is definitely working me hard in this area. He only has like 4 weeks left in the mission and he is teaching me a ton. He is also whooping me into shape! He walks the hills so fast that when I try to keep up my calf and shin muscles start to burn ha ha this guy is a hill speed walker! It's alright though because I'm going have some killer legs at the end of my mission!! 

Nothing eventful has happened this week but I am looking forward to the weekend! I am so excited to be able to Skype my family and celebrate Mother's Day. I don't think I really realized how much I have been blessed with a great Mom until I got to the mission field. I love you Mom! And I also want to wish all Moms a Happy Mother's Day! 

Take care and I love you all!

Elder Berry 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Families are Forever

Buena Tardes a todos,

This week we went to the visitor's center instead of on Friday. It was my first visit (after 6 months in the mission) and it was pretty awesome! We rented a 15 passenger van, which cost us about $50 US dollars (700 pesos) and filled that baby up with people. We went with the other pair of missionaries in our ward and in total we had about 16 people in the van, plus the driver. 

The visitor center was really cool and the tour focused a lot on the family and how we can be with our family's for eternity. I was thinking a lot about my family during the tour and was so glad to know that I can be with them for eternity thanks to Jesus Christ and the covenants we make within the temple. 

I am so happy to be here on my mission in México. The people here are ready to be taught the gospel and learn how they can be eternal families. It has been a little hard at times but I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I am also so grateful for the love Jesus Christ has for us. Thanks to his  sacrifice we can be with our families forever and have eternal happiness. It is something I will never be able to payback to Him and will be eternally grateful for.

I thank all of you for checking up on me and for keeping me in your prayers. I hope you all stay safe and enjoy your week. 

Elder Berry

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

6 Months already!

On Wednesday I will already have 1/4 of my misison completed. It is very weird to think about and the time passes by super fast. We are already almost half way through one change and it feels like I just got to this area yesterday with my companion. For being one of the most dangerous zones of the mission, nothing has happened to us and I'm not really expecting that anything will. Everything is pretty calm during the hours that we are out proselyting and teaching. There is a ton of drunks and problems with drugs but nobody does anything to us...
This week we had companion exchanges and I went with Elder Lucero. The first time I saw him I was pretty weirded out because he looks like a Mexican version of my brother Isaac. He is literally just as skinny and seems to have an equal Mexican sense of humor as my brother. I am attaching photos of him from the night of companion changes. 

This week I am super excited to watch general conference. I have no idea where we will be watching it but it's going to be great. I think I appreciate general conference more than I ever have and don't think I'll take it for granted  again. I know that the leaders of our church have prepared messages to answer our questions and give us guidance in our every day lives. We are hoping that our investigators will come watch with us! 

The only other major event that happened this week is that we watched a duck attack, kill, and eat a mouse. That was a very disturbing/interesting experience. I don't think I will ever look at a duck the same way ever again. 

Espero que todos ustedes tengan una buena semana! 

Elder Berry

Monday, March 23, 2015

Moved to Elder Payne's zone!

Hey so this week I got moved to a new area. It is called Pradera and is in the Prdaos zone. It is the same zone as Elder Payne but we are not in the same district, which is a bummer. It is said that this is the most dangerous zone of the mission but nothing has happened so far... people just stare at me because I'm white and yell stuff at us like "Hey good looking" and that's about all that happens haha

My new companion is Elder Osuna and he is from a state in Mexico that is really close to the border of the US and Mexico. In his state and the other states that are close to the border, they speak a lot of Spanglish. For example some of their Spanglish verbs are Watchar and Pushar, which mean To Watch and To Push. It's really funny and all the people from more southern states make fun of the people from the border states because of their Spanglish. 

We also have a really cool investigator that we met this week. She is the daughter of current investigators and is about 22 years old and goes to college (which is why the other Elders never met her). She has asked us a ton of questions and told us of experiences in her life that have proven to us that she has been prepared to receive the gospel. For example, she asked us "Where did we come from?". And this is exactly a question that we answer with the Plan of Salvation. We are super excited to teach her.
I forgot my camera in the house this week but next week I will send you all photos of my house and my companion! I love you!

Elder Berry

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Gospel changes Lives


So it's the first week of March already and I just feel like the time is flying by. This week was pretty slow in terms of teaching but we are keeping our excitement up. Our area has been a little hard to find people to teach but we are coming up with new ideas everyday to try and find people who might be interested. 

The one lesson that we did have this week was really great. The person we went to visit is named Salvador. He lives in an area that has a pretty big problem with drugs and alcohol. He is an alcoholic and we don't know for sure but, we suspect that's the reason why his wife and children moved to another state in Mexico. They are still married but just don't live together. In the first lesson we had with him we told us that he wants to change his life and quit drinking. At the end of our lesson he accepted a baptismal date. Yesterday (Sunday) we went to visit him and check to see if he had kept his commitments and had read the book of Mormon. He hadn't read because he was working really late this week; so we read the introduction again and some of the testimonies of 11 witnesses of the golden plates. He is more excited than ever to find the time to read the book of Mormon. He told us that when we read the introduction (completely) with him that it answered some of the doubts he had. Our plans for the next visit is to teach him the gospel of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation.
I am really surprised in how much he has changed in one week. The first time we saw him he was sloppily dressed, his hair wasn't combed, his eyes were super bloodshot and his face just seemed kind of sunk in and aged. Yesterday when we visited him he was well dressed, his hair was combed, his eyes weren't as red and his face seemed like it lost a few years of age. He is trying to change his life and it is showing. I hope he continues to progress. If he keeps his commitments and continues taking the lessons he will be baptized a few days after my birthday and that is the best present I could ever ask for. 

I'm sorry I didn't write last week! Time was strict and I had a lot of things to do. This is my little news update for this week. Thank you all for writing me and thinking about me. 

Elder Berry

Monday, February 23, 2015

Prepared investigator

Buenas Tardes a todos,

So this week was pretty sweet. Tuesday of this week we put a baptismal date with an investigator in the first lesson. He has been really prepared to hear the gospel and is really open to the gospel. His name is Carlos Maldonado and he's about 23 and a photographer (for this reason I have decided he's my new Mexican best friend). He has been surrounded by LDS church members the last three years. All his friends are LDS, he takes photos for tons of temple marriages, and he takes pictures for other church functions. He told us that at one of his photo shoots (at a temple wedding) someone asked him why he hasn't been baptized yet. And he told them that he hasn't been baptized because no one has invited him to do so. That's basically how we came into contact with him. BUT, because he is a photographer his schedule is super packed on the weekends. We had to put down his baptismal service for the first week of April. We seriously hope that he continues to take the lessons and continues to be faithful in commitments. 

My companion and I are doing super awesome. Today he taught me how to do the Usher moon walk (luckily all houses here have nothing but tile floors). I'll be sure to send out a video when I have it down super good. We are starting to really get missionary work going in this area and the time is flying by. My companion and I only have about 8 more weeks together and then it's most likely that I'll be leaving to another area. 

As far as news on me and how I'm doing; I'm doing awesome! I have never felt more eager to teach and my Spanish is improving little by little everyday. I'm starting to like Mexican music (but only the Reggaeton). I understand just about everything and I have more confidence in my Spanish abilities... expect in phone calls. 

Thanks for all your support and love! Have a great week!

Elder Berry 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Falcons have sharp talons!

Hello everyone,

This week nothing crazy happened and I'm not dead. So that's good!  I did get to help one of the brothers from the ward put the registering rings on his falcon. That was actually a little scary. Only because the falcon has talons that are about 1 inch long and super sharp. Besides the talons, I had to also watch out for it's beak which tried to peck my hands off while I held it. In the end we successfully put on the rings (after 20 minutes and 3 attempts). 

This week we also had an awesome experience with two families in the ward. The have basically received revelation of how important it is that the members work with the missionaries. They realized that our ward basically does nothing to help us and they are going to help us with whatever we need. We were so excited to hear this because it is true. Without the members helping, missionaries have a hard time doing the Lord's work. We need the member's help in the work so that our investigators can feel welcomed and loved. We also need the help of the members to be the friends of recent converts and investigators. Without friends or at least an acquaintance in the ward, the investigators or recent converts will feel very distanced from the tight family bond a ward has. So, I am asking all of you to please help the missionaries, we really can't do this work alone. 

I am so excited and happy to be here in Mexico. I love meeting new people because they basically become an extension of my family. I know that what I am doing here in Mexico is a very important work. It is bringing families together closer in their relationships here on earth and eternally. I love helping people receive the blessing of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his love for everyone. I know that this church and our message can change lives.

I love you all, and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Berry

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What You Stand For

Que Onda?!

I only have two more weeks of training! Which doesn't really mean much other than the fact that after my training is over, I have to be prepared to possibly train someone else. Also, after my training is complete I could also be getting a new companion or  go to a new area. I will be sad if either of those happen because I love serving with my companion and I really love the people in this area. 

Speaking about my area, we had a pretty interesting experience this week. We have this one family that we are teaching and the father (Raymundo) has had some stomach issues and was bed ridden, so we gave him a blessing. The following day we came back to check on his progress and when we arrived they were having a little family party. The minute we showed up Raymundo's nephew (he's about 25) started talking to me in broken ghetto english; he had lived in Atlanta but isn't fluent in english. Five minutes after we showed up he starts offering me Tequila. Every time he asked/told me to drink with him, I said no (obviously). Raymundo invited us in to eat with them and once we sat down, his nephew sat down next to me and started hammering out some more shots (because he was already pretty drunk). That's when he poured me a shot and put it in front of me. He told me he wanted to drink with a 'gringo' because he never has. Again, I told him no and that I don't drink. He told me that I was being disrespectful in his culture. I then told him that it is a part of my religious beliefs and personal preferences to not drink and I meant no disrespect. Until this point, none of our investigators had really said anything to him. However, after I told him this, they started to defend me more and eventually the nephew left me alone (after 30 minutes of telling me to drink with him). The nephew also offered shots to our investigators (his family) which they all turned down and we were pretty happy to see. 

This experience may seem insignificant to some but to me it was a very big deal. My investigators were watching me and saw how I reacted in this situation. If I had given in to the nephew and drank with him, our investigators would have no trust in us. Besides the fact that I wouldn't be worthy to be serve a mission, I would have lost the trust and respect of our investigators. They saw that I truly stand up for and practice what I have taught them. In turn they stood up for me and they know that I live what I have taught them. 

With this experience, I would just like to remind you all that whether you are a member of the church or not, people are watching your actions and will always remember the things you do. I know that it is very important to always live and act in the way that you want others to remember you by. 

Thank you all for your support and your letters this week. I love you! 

-Elder Berry

Monday, January 12, 2015

Recap of the last few weeks


I am sorry I haven't written a real letter in two weeks but my time limits and number of emails makes it a little difficult at times. But I am going to recap the last two weeks and this week. Well last week was another little Holiday called The Day of the Kings. On this day everyone buys a special dessert bread called Rosca. In the dessert bread there are little plastic angels randomly placed. If your slice of the bread has an angel, you get to eat tamales on the 2nd of February. We were out with investigators and they shared with us and guess who got an angel on the first try/slice?! ME!!! So I get to eat tamales at their house on the 2nd and I am pretty pumped about that.
 This week we have found 8 new investigators! 5 or so are kids and we are hoping the parents will want to be taught as well.  Oh and I finally had my first encounter with someone who believes in the Santa Muerte... which is the Holy Dead. It's basically a religion that worships satan. This investigators name is Jose M. Our first visit with him he was rolling his joint in front of us and then went out to smoke it. At least he had a little courtesy haha.  Our goal this week is to talk to him about the Santa Muerte and at least help him realize there is a God. 

Now time for the sad news. Jose Luis and his wife have unofficially adopted a 17 year old boy named Jorge off the streets. Jorge, can not read or write and has been teased badly. I also think he might have a  mental disorder. He left his home because his parents are abusive. He has deep scar tissue marks on each arm. I am not sure if his parents cut him with a knife or what but it's a pretty messed up situation. The worst news of all... Jorge went back to his house this week when we returned to teach him how to write. I am praying he will return to the house of Jose Luis so we can help him with the Gospel and other church resources. 

That's my recap  of what has been going on in the last few weeks! Below I have attached a picture of my American flag that I have hung up in the house. Sometimes I find myself singing the national anthem and placing my hand over my heart as I look at the flag. Every other Monday I have started ironing out the wrinkles that develop through out the week. I live in Mexico but I definitely love and appreciate America!! 

Elder Berry