Thursday, March 18, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

To my family and friends, Thank you!!

Dear family and friends,

My 24 months, 2 years, 700+ days, 18 changes have all...come to an end.

This is my last week here in the Mexico Leon Mission and before departing I would just like to take a minute and thank you all.

Thank you for the money you have donated so I would never be hungry and could always enjoy a treat and pay for transportation to take investigators to church. Thank you for your emails of gratitude and encouragement, I can honestly say that I have never been "forgotten" or been so old in the mission that I didn’t receive any more mail as some missionaries claim. Thank you for the packages that brightened my day and the cards and pictures that made me laugh and brought a smile to my face even when things weren’t going as I would have like them to. Thank you for always remembering me and the missionaries in your prayers, I know that much of the success the lord has given me has been due to your prayers and faithfulness.

I am so grateful for family and friends that care. I have always had you behind me to push and encourage me when I needed it most, for this I will be eternally grateful.

I know that God is our father. He did appear to Joseph Smith with his son Jesus Christ. Representing the Savior, His church and spreading his gospel has taught me and brought me so much Joy that it makes it difficult for me to come home. I had a hard time coming to the mission now it’s hard for me to leave!! I hope that all of you who have supported me can be present at my homecoming which will be the 28th of this month in Garden Grove 6th Ward so I can personally thank you.

This is Jesus Christ’s church, his teachings and ordinances have been restored along with the Authority to teach and administer them! We live in the greatest and last dispensation of all times to be able to teach these things to our brothers and sisters that don’t know them.

Con mucho amor escribo estas cosas,
(with much love, I write these things)

Elder Salazar

Monday, March 1, 2010

Four confirmations. ZL training. New AP's. New ZL's. 7265 blog hits.

Elders Trejo, Maxfield, Toutai, Salazar, Callen
Hey Mom, and Dad,

This week went ok for us. This month we baptized eight people the first week of the month, but four of them were never confirmed due to the fact that on Sundays instead of coming to church they went to other places. Finally this last Sunday we got them to church and confirmed! A baptism doesn't count till it’s confirmed.

The last zone leader council went really great. I trained the Zone leaders on the importance of numbers. It was a great ZL council. Its official, Elder Sherman is out of the offices and now up in "La Joya" or aka Arbide2 as a ZL. That's where Elder Maxfield and I were Zone leaders together before coming to the offices. I really enjoyed my time in La Joya, its up in the hills of Leon above the city. Our new APs will be Elder Toutai (my old comp from Celaya) and Elder Trejo (who was in Irapuato with me when we used to go to Abasolo). They are great elders and I am really excited for them. Good luck to Elder Toutai, he is going to be in the offices till November and it will be his job to welcome the new Mission President, one word...STRESS. He will do great though. He and I were great companions and great friends in Celaya.

This week president is sending Elder Callen and me out to travel the mission and work with other companionship's for the week. Elder Callen will be going to San Luis Potosi and I will be going to Celaya, then Wednesday morning, Elder Callen and I will rendezvous in Aguascalientes to work with the ZL´s and some other companionship's there that are struggling. Friday evening we will come home together. It should be a fun week. When I travel I feel like the days go by so fast, it also gives me a great opportunity to meet other Elders and help them in their areas. Elder Maxfield will stay behind to show Elder Toutai and Elder Trejo their areas and train them in their duties.

15 more days till we see each other again. I feel a great excitement about going home to my family and new life. My branch president in Cardenas once taught me that in a young mans life there is never a greater time where he is so close to the hand of the lord, than when he is on a mission. The lord literally guides his every foot step and sends angels daily to protect him, bless him, inspire and console him. I don't know how any missionary would want to leave this feeling no matter how far away they are from home, so because of that I feel a profound sadness.

I get home Monday and on Tuesday morning I plan on doing a personal trip to the Newport Beach temple. It’s almost been 2 years since I've been through an endowment session at the temple. You never know how much the temple means to you till you don't have the opportunity to attend regularly.

Well I have to get going; Elder Callen and I are going downtown to do some shopping before we head out. My time is coming to an end and I am trying to make every minute count.

Love ya!

Elder Salazar

*A picture of the new APs, along with a picture of me "Fast and Furiously" going to get investigators in the van. Lol =D

Monday, February 22, 2010

Baptism. Sore foot. Training. 7115 blog hits

Elder Salazar, Pres. Cox, and Celaya (Mission Cat)
Hey Mom and Dad,

Good to hear things are going well. Sis. Cox told me she had called and had a good talk with mom. She also told me about her friends that were in the FBI. I think she is going to get me their Emails or something so that I can talk to them about joining. Funny that Sis. Cox told you I have been limping around, I do limp a little bit but Sis. Cox has me taking Ibuprofen everyday again and my foot feels good when I take it but the reason I stopped taking it was because I was building a resistance to it, 3 or 4 weren’t even working. Now I am taking 2 again. I would like to have that foot surgery as soon as possible. this whole foot thing is getting really tiring.

That’s awesome that Julius and Dennis got their mission calls! Both will be great missions!! Congrats!!

Things are going ok here. We are really low on baptisms this month in the mission, partly due to the fact that this is a short month and a lot of elders were just caught off guard. We were able to baptize a young man here named Benjamin, his baptism went well. We have been working with Benjamin since the beginning of January and his conversion has been quite difficult but he has finally made the decision and was baptized this past Saturday. Jorge is doing well; we met and are teaching his wife now. They are such great people; they have a certain spirit about them. The wife is a little skeptical but she is a great person and came to church last week. They actually fed us dinner Saturday night! Jorge told us that he knows the book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Guadalupe (the wife) is reading but hasn’t prayed yet. I think she knows that if she prays something will happen, she might be just a little scared of the commitment due to the fact that her entire family is catholic. Especially at this time because she is 3 months pregnant and I think her family is pressuring her to baptize the baby once it’s born. We are praying for them, but I know they both will eventually be baptized.

This last week should be huge in the mission as far as baptisms go, pray for us. Today we are having zone leader council. This will be my last time training and I will be giving my last ZL-Council testimony. I have been to a million of these councils, they are so much fun, and I get to see a lot of my old companions. The new assistants should be coming in this Friday, I know who they are but I can’t say publicly!! We are sworn to secrecy until they arrive to the offices. One of them is my old companion.

So I received an Email from the mom of a family of my converts from back in Irapuato, It turns out they are going to the Mexico City Temple in May to get sealed as a family, and I believe their son will be receiving his Endowments to get ready to leave on a mission!! The mom asked if I could be a witness in her sealing. I have yet to reply to her, because I don’t know what my plans will be in May but I did have the Travel secretary here look up flights. He found on Expedia a trip package. It’s a round trip flight and a 2 night stay at a pretty nice hotel for $290, so if I have any money left over I might consider a quick trip to Mexico City just to be present in their Sealing and his Endowment session.

About the trainer we found in "Ropa Civil" (plain clothes), haha. He’s actually a really great Elder, he felt so bad he called President Cox and apologized. President had no Idea he was walking around in normal clothes but the Elder figured that us (the assistants) were going to tell Pres. Cox (which we weren’t), so He decided to call president and apologize before we could tell President.

Gotta run, but its amazing how things are slowly changing and coming to an end. Sis. Cox forgot to tell you on the phone that the Stake President needs to be prepared to release me the day I arrive, but I don’t think Ill have a problem getting in touch with him =).


Elder Salazar

Monday, February 15, 2010

Working hard, Investigator. 6990 blog hits.

Elders Callen, Maxfield, Salazar & Pres. Cox
Hey mom and dad,

Huge week! I love the news!!!

First off, Congratula-tions Justin and Vanessa!!!!! I am very excited! Your pictures look great. I am glad I will be home in time to for the wedding.

Secondly, congratulations Uncle Bob and Aunt Pat! This is a HUGE surprise to me. I dont want to say too much about the Mexico East mission but let me give just a few facts... 2 years ago the Mexico East mission broke a church record by baptizing over 1000 people in one month. The Mission Mexico East is the highest baptizing mission in Mexico and quite possibly the world, we came in 2nd to them this last year for 2009. The Mexico East mission also covers the Mexico City Temple. Just after reading your email I called President Cox and told him that my Great-Uncle had been called as Mission president, He was very excited. President Cox is very good friends with the current Mexico East President, President Bullock (I believe is his name).

This last week we found an amazing person. His name is Jorge. Jorge owns a Cybercafe. Tuesday while we were knocking we found him and taught him the 1st lesson, the restoration. He asked us to come back Saturday so his wife could listen. Jorge seemed like an Ok investigator. So we went back saturday and it turns out his wife really didnt want to listen to us, so much so that she left the house before we got there. But Jorge was very interested! He asked US if he could become a member of the church. It turns out that during the week he read the Pamphlet over and over again, then he went online to the church website and looked up all the information he could, and throughout the week he studied the church and basically convinced himself that this "is the true church." He came to church with us Sunday and even put on a tie by himself. We are excited because as of lately we have been having a hard time finding people to teach but Jorge is a gift from God, he truly has been prepared.

Things here are going ok, right now the mission is struggling a little bit in baptisms. February is a short month and due to the fact that the area presidency has asked us to take investigators to church 3 weeks in a row before baptizing them, the adjustment has been difficult for some companionships. Also, we have gotten our Pdays back and the Elders are just a tiny bit distracted. Other than that, not much is going on.

I am truckin along but I cant deny that it is soo hard knowing that first, my replacement assistant will be here in about two weeks, and I am going home soon. Everytime I think about it I get a sick feeling in my stomach, but we are still working hard. In closing, I sent you my travel plans! They arrived today.

I gotta run but I love you all and the future looks very bright.


Elder Salazar

Monday, February 8, 2010

Baptism's. Rain. P-days again. 6870 blog hits.

(Click on image to enlarge)
Hey mom and dad,

We had a great week. We baptized 7 people this week and all the baptisms went great. We baptized a family of 4 along with 3 kids of a less active woman. Things are going well here in the offices; we are staying strong and working hard. We had 3 straight days of non-stop rain Tues., Wed. and Thurs., which made working a lot of fun.

We actually started having P-days again starting last week but due to the changes and the new missionaries we really weren’t able to leave and do anything. Yes the Elder Salazar that wrote me on my blog did get here last week; he’s a nice kid and can speak Spanish ok. He will be a future leader.

Today we plan on going downtown to buy some shoes. There is a shoe factory called Emyco, they make really nice dress shoes and we are going to the factory outlet where they sell them at a really low price. Emyco also makes CAT work boots, Elder Callen is going to buy a pair to use while working on his farm back home. Also I am going to look into buying a new suit. They sell suits here for about 100 dollars or Mil pesos(1000).

Thanks a lot for working on scheduling my homecoming talk. Be sure to thank the bishopric and the Traders for being flexible. A missionary just came home in our ward here and the bishop didn’t notify him of his homecoming talk, so on the day of Fast and Testimony meeting at the last moment he asked him to come up and talk. Due to Confirmations, blessings and starting late, the missionary only was able to speak about 6 minutes, nevertheless he was great. He has also been helping us out a lot here.

Things are going great here. The bishop here is really starting to pick things up, our converts are receiving the priesthood, callings, assignments etc. That makes us feel good because we know that once we leave the area our converts will stay strong and won’t be so dependant on us.

We had a really great dinner last night with President and Sis. Cox. They are so much fun. President really lights up sometimes, it’s great because all of us here in the offices and president get along really well. I feel like president really trusts us, at least more than the other assistants.

It feels weird knowing that in 5 weeks I won’t be here anymore. It still hasn’t really sunk in but I know the end is near. I am definitely coming home the 15th but my departure and arrival times are not set yet. In the last group that left there was an Elder Holmes from Glendora. He flew home to Ontario airport and arrived at 2pm. I Imagine I will arrive at LB around that time. Once I have my travel plans Ill email you to let you know.

Love you lots,

Elder Salazar

(Click on image to enlarge)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Elder DeHoyos (Area Presidency) visits mission. Baptisms. 7 new missionaries arrive. 6740 blog hits

AP's and Elder Banjamin DeHoyos and wife. (click image to enlarge)

Hey Mom & Dad,
So I am once again writing a little later than usual. Today we had departures and arrivals. 4 Americans and 6 Mexican elders arrived. We got up at 3:30 and were out the door around 4:20 to take the Elders to the airport to head home. Then we had to make changes in the mission at 11:00. The new Mexican elders arrived at 12:00 and the Americans arrived by plane at 3:30. We have had quite a long day. Sis Cox fed them, President interviewed them and we trained them and sent them out to their new areas. Right now I am tired!! We actually just received a new Elder from Utah that has the last name Salazar. It was fun meeting him and knowing that even when Im gone, there will still be another Elder Salazar here to carry the torch.
This has been a really great week. We had the opportunity to hear Elder Benjamin DeHoyos and his wife speak. They brought the spirit really really strong in their talks. Sis. DeHoyos spoke on connecting the Atonement to teaching our investigators, she was great. Elder DeHoyos spoke to us about the gathering of israel. They are really really loving, down to earth people. They have a son named Esteban who is about to leave on his mission to Portugal.
We had a couple of baptisms this week. We had ANOTHER couple get married. One named Rodolfo and his wife Martina. These people truly were prepared. Every chapter we left them to read in the Book of Mormon they read TWICE! We taught them about the law of tithing and they started paying tithing even BEFORE their baptism, they truly are great people, they love us and we love them. Their baptism went really well and we will always remember them and their conversion.
It's sad to think that this is my last change and that I really am on the clock now. I am slowly coming to the realization that the mission does come to an end, this isn't some timeless dream. I honestly hope my last change is my slowest passing change yet.
Well I have to run but enjoy a few pictures! =D
Love Elder Salazar