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