What wonderful news I have! I'm TRAINING again!!! And this time it's a Chilean named Elder Olivares from Santiago!!!!!! WHOOOHOOO!!! And he's from Max's generation of missionaries! SO WEIRD! He's 19 and I'm basically training Max. HOW COOL! Elder Willett got transferred. That did make us sad. We said goodbye to all our converts on Sunday because my leaders had told me that I'd probably be going. Well it turns out that Elder Willett left. And I'm TRAINING again!! I can't tell you how excited I am. Also, Elder Silos is training! SO I'M A GRANDPA!!! (when you train, they're considered your sons, so my son's son is my grandpa!). Today I went in the morning to the mission offices to pick my new compy up. Their were a group of seven, but I knew immediately who would be my companion when I saw him. I can't describe how, but then it turned out that he was the one that was from Chile! How cool. But I HAVE SUCH A HARD TIME UNDERSTANDING HIM. He doesn't pronounce his "s" at the end of words. He said that the fruit in Chile is "mas rico" but I understood "marrico" and wondered what word that was.. By the way, my tongue sometimes rolls! So yes! I'm training. And President promised that we'll baptize three this month. I'm going to do all I can. I want to baptize 32 more people in my mission, so I've got to figure this out. They say that training is the greatest honor in the mission because it affects the rest of the mission of the new elder. Elder Woodhouse, who is an assistant, actually told me that they were going to make me be a zone leader, but decided to wait. Oh no..
So that's the good news. I loved Elder Willett. I'm going to miss him. We had a ton of fun! And have a TON of inside jokes. I wish I could tell you all, but they require acting it out. The Elder (President) Octavio Tenorio came this Friday to see all of us elders. He told us to have vision! We need to put forth an effort, concentrate, and have joy in completing with our dreams. He said that if we want to do something with our life and be really successful--I'll give a pie shop as an example--then we have to first do it for free, observing how others do it, but learn to do it faster, cheaper, and better. So that's my advice for me for later. I can't believe in 10 months I'll be home. But anyway. After that conference an elder came up to me and told me how some of my converts are doing. Not very good. It actually was something that really depressed me. But I'm happy now. I just have to put it in the Lord's hands. He'll take care of them and give them a fair chance to progress.
I think I finally figured this out a little bit! This week I read a talk by Elder Bednar that he gave to future mission presidents this past July. For whatever reason it really hit me what my purpose is. In Preach My Gospel it says my purpose is "to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." To repent is to change one's way of thinking and living to be in harmony with God's commandments and way of thinking, etc. I've just been skipping to baptism. This week we really had a TON of success as I noticed my attitude changed (because I understand my purpose). We helped people to realize that by keeping their commitments to read, pray, go to church, etc they are showing God their desire to do what is right and to receive a remission of their sins. Then baptism fits in so wonderfully and simply. Baptism is a promise with God that they'll continue keeping His commandments and really do all they can to live with Him again. I feel GREAT!
This is the last week before changes. It is really possible that either Elder Willett or I get changed (he's been my longest companion--three changes!). We really want Sigifredo to get baptized. He told me "hazte cuenta que ya me bautice." Which means basically, "consider me as already baptized" because, he says, he does want to get baptized, but needs to work a few things out. But we were the missionaries who finally helped him to get an answer. I love him and his wife Tere! She LOVES church. She really has been looking for the truth her whole life, and it amazes me how grateful she is that she really finally found it. I have to go! I love you all! I'm glad you had a happy thanksgiving! I look forward to calling home at Christmas! How wonderful that Max keeps getting to hear from apostles. This week is the mission tour. Elder Tenorio of the 70 and Area Presidency is coming to Guadalajaraon Friday. Supposedly he'll be accompanying one companionship, and supposedly it's VERY possibly somebody in our zone. Who knows? But it'd be SO incredible to have one of the 70 come see my investigators! I hope so!
I love you all! Harry Potter isn't bad! It's just a distraction! Don't worry, I'll come home in 10 months and the thing that you'll REALLY only hate about me will be my AWFUL TAN!
I love you! I hope you don't mind that I bought a blanket at Walmart last Monday. It's getting really cold at night and that has been causing me to be sick all the time. So I got a gator-colored blanket! I feel great! ("great" with a spanish accent--"guh-rate"). Elder Leon, an elder that lives with us, loves learning and practicing his English. I give him all the little sheets of paper from that calender mom had sent me when I was inArizona(the one that helps me learn random spanish phrases). It helps him learn random English phrases. He's a really funny guy, but really strange. Usually he drinks from what looks like a little wine glass, but he takes it and acts all ceremonial with it before drinking. I can't really explain. It's just weird. BUT Elder Willett and I went to Catholic Mass yesterday (our investigator, Juan, invited us to go and see how it is). We realize that Elder Leon is acting like the Father while doing the whole wine thing. Elder Leon used to be Catholic. Mass was interesting. I don't think it's very similar to what Mass is probably like in the United States. I think Catholics here in general are just way different. We did see how there were so many people really there to be closer to God. It made us sad actually that they need Him so desperately, but when He sends us to their door they reject us. It's like the lamanites who were blinded by their traditions. I have respect for all religions, of course, I just know thatthisis the one that God really leads and guides through the living prophet, ThomasS. Monson. So I believe that God actually sends us to people who are really looking for all the blessings He offers. I'm grateful that wedofind those who are ready for our message. Yesterday Tere (who had been taught by missionaries over a year ago) told us that since the first missionaries, others have gone by once or twice, but for whatever reason she wasn't able to give them the time. She'd tell them to come back at a certain time, and they never did. I'm grateful that Heavenly Father lead us to her door. That's why it's SO important to be in tune with the Spirit. Sigifredo still hasn't decided if he'll get baptized... Aye. Pray for me! And for Max! I love you all family! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! I'm grateful for all of you!
First of all, I got the package on Sunday! WHOOP WHOOP new shoes! and a WONDERFUL Christmas CD! Thanks Max! And thanks for the letter Cassie! Now, I decided that I wanted to summarize what I said to Max on the phone today. First though let me explain that I wasn't going to call, but yesterday in church I had the great desire or feeling to talk to President Jesperson and ask for permission. I got all nervous and probably wouldn't have done it were it not for Elder Willett who convinced me. So I called President and he totally was okay with it. I don't know why I'm so intimidated by him. He's incredible though. So anyway, today I got to call from his office phone. I sent the photos. Only a few tears came to my eyes, but I love you Max! I'm going to make a list:
1) As for your first companion, be super humble, meek, and patient. If you are like me then you'll get annoyed really easily and get an attitude with them, etc. But now I look back, and It's just because I wasn't very Christ-like. So work on those attributes first. Chapter 6 of PMG. And don't worry too much about the MTC. Everyone complains about it, but I loved it. And everyone loves it as soon as they are in the field. It's great there. And Christmas there will be great. Apostles come to the MTC on Christmas! But you decide if you should switch to the advanced class.
2) Personal Sanctification. I sent photo of the article. It's that if we want the Spirit to really testify of our words, then we have to be worthy of it. Unfortunately even talking about HP makes the Spirit not as strong with us. You'll understand this more later in your mission, when you get to the point that you just want to see the success already! You want to feel the spirit SO strongly! I'm on day 6 right now. My list of things to give up are: inappropriate thoughts, sarcasm, harry potter, quoting movies, talking bad about anyone, getting frustrated with dumb rejections, cutting people off who are talking, daydreaming about the future, disobedience, wasting time, normal music (even in my head!), and killing bugs and picking leaves for no reason.
3) Read the talk by President Eyring from this past GC and print it. It talks about working even when you thought you were done working. I think it was the Priesthood session. Great. Oh and take notes on the Jeffery R. Holland MTC talk. Bring it with you on the mission!
4) When you miss home, don't look at photos or read letters again. Instead mentally and physically draw the investigators you are going to find, teach, and baptize. They're waiting for you.
5) Obedience is critical. It brings blessings. But being EXACTLY obedient brings miracles. So don't write letters not on P-day. Do your best to not obsess over letters. It's hard.
6) This wednesday we had a zone meeting with President Jesperson. We each had to ask one question for him and his wife to answer. I thought of a few questions, but I knew that they were wrong to ask. Basically they were murmuring questions. How comes. But the Hermana Jesperson caught my eye and somehow could tell I had a question I didn't want to ask. She told me in front of everyone that she knew and that I was going to have to ask it. So I thought of a different question. Does God love me the way the mission president does (Standard of Excellence, always more I can do, etc) or the way my parents do (no matter what they are so proud and I am the best missionary ever)? The answer was great! President told me that my real question was simply, "Does God love me?" True. And yes he does. He explained the parable of the talents. I may have two and some others have 4. But if we both do ALL our part, we get the SAME reward. So maybe my success isn't as great as others', but my reward will be the same--life eternal. And nobody is perfect, that's why Christ takes each of us from our own best and makes us perfect. The Hermana told me that I'll know the Lord accepts my sacrifice if I feel the spirit working through me. And I decided that if my parents were to understand the mission, they would want exactly what President wants out of me. So I feel motivated.
7) I'm sending a photo of my journal of the wednesday I left for the MTC!
I love you Max and Family! Max, you're going to make a much greater missionary than I am! I love you and miss you!
That's it! I have only 6 minutes to write you all! Well, I'm thrilled for Max, but I really wanted to know if he watched the Jeffery talk yet.... It is so incredible! I love you all! Until next week. Here's a funny photo to cheer you all up after this lame letter! It's how many mexican young men style their hair, except that their bangs are cut even. I love you all!
What a crazy week this was. We are SO behind in everything because we have not had a bit of extra time. They cut our electricity because nobody paid (candlelight again). We didn't get to do laundry last week because we'd gone to Tonala. I'm WAY behind in my journal (which is the worst for me). We baptized three people and confirmed four! That was wonderful! We had a BBQ pizza night. We had a baptismal interview to do really far away. I could go on and on. Basically I just feel overwhelmed, but so grateful that we baptized! I want to keep baptizing! It's amazing how much you grow to love your investigators! I just wish that you could all meet them. The only sad thing is that only mom speaks spanish. The mission is really worth all the heartache when you finally baptize. I just need some time to catch up on a few things. I'm sorry if I don't have more to say. I feel like our lives are SO different and that I can't really explain what I feel or do or experience here through an email. Christmas will be here really soon though! I'll get to call home! Somehow it's already Halloween.
Well family! Take care! Enjoy your last couple of weeks with Max! I think it'll be a strange reunion for us in two years. Three years apart?! A lot changes.
We baptized Karen! And by the way, can you believe that I completed 13 months! I feel like I JUST completed 12! The 22nd came as a surprise. Aye. How I love the mission (even though it is the HARDEST thing I've ever done)! This week we're planning on baptizing SIX people! Pray that it all works out! I love these six, so I'm putting it in the Lord's hands. Sunday morning came, and Karen had decided that she was going to wait until next week to get baptized. She wanted to wait for her 4 sisters to get home and be able to come. But then she found out that this weekend was transfers. She decided SUNDAY MORNING to get baptized that day after church. So we scrambled, got it all together, and baptized her. The service was very simple, but it was a success! She really feels so happy! I love baptizing. Really, it's the whole point of me being here. And as it turns out, we didn't get changed! So another six weeks here in Polanco with Elder Willett!! We look forward to doing fun things with our investigators and to baptizing more often. We're kind of figuring things out. Seriously, I love the two families we're visiting. I'll send a photo of one of them. The oldest son told me a joke yesterday. "Una persona preguntó, 'quién es el mejor pollero' y la otra contestó '¡pollo, pollo!'" Do you get it mom? It's like he's saying "Pues yo." They laugh because I tell them that my name is Elder Poirier, like pollería (chicken shop). Anyway. I love you all! Thank you for writing me! Take care! Until next week! OH AND GIVE ME MAX'S MTC ADDRESS!!
Here's a short synopsis of what happened this week here in Polanco, Guadalajara, Mexico:
1 On Monday after writing, we went to go eat seafood with Tere and Sigifredo, two of my four favorite investigators. We ate a ceviche with squid, fish, and shrimp. But also a warm shrimp and squid coctail. I got the recipes. It reminded me so much of Florida! And we didn't get sick! The best part is that we're going again today to eat lunch with them! I love them!
2 Carlos and Lorena almost broke my heart this week. They are the other two of my favorite four investigators. We knocked the door and Carlos came out telling us that he wouldn't be able to continue meeting with us! NOOO. But I prayed so hard that that wouldn't be the case. I'd put it all in Heavenly Father's hands--this isn't how it should work out. But yes, Heavenly Father took care of it. We told him how sad we were and asked why not. He told us that he was getting opposition from his siblings. Aye. But then the Lord touched his mind. He remembered Nephi, and how he didn't give in to his brother's tauntings and opposition. They came to church! Church was awful by the way! Law of chastity was the Gospel Princ. topic. SO INAPPROPRIATE. aye
3 I got the package with the pants! Oh how lovely was the morning!
I don't have much time. But I just want to say that, of the people we're teaching, there are two families that I love. Tere and Sigifredo remind me of Lilli and Bill, so I love visiting them. In fact we're about to go eat with them (which is why I don't have more time!). Carlos and Lorena are like a young mom and dad meeting with missionaries. I love it! They have three young sons who love us, and they really want more unity and love in their family. Sunday morning we went by early to help make breakfast before going to church. We're hoping to start baptizing soon. Karen was going to get baptized, but it turns out she needs a little more time. She still hasn't really got an answer about the Book of Mormon. Well, that's it! I love you!
Wasn't General Conference wonderful?! I loved it! I have to say that it really helped me feel the Spirit in such a way that I remembered why I am all the way here in Mexico. I feel like this past year I've just been worrying so much about becoming the man Heavenly Father wants me to be instead of just doing what I should do. My testimony has just been on a plateau. I've just been saying things that I know are true, but not actually sharing my testimony. So walking out of that first session of Conference, I was a changed missionary. I feel the Spirit when I contact, when I teach, when I plan, all the time! I don't want to forget that I'm here to share my testimony of the Gospel, to call people to repentance and then baptism. I don't feel regret for the past year. It was all necessary in order to get to where I am now, but I promise that this year is going to be way different. I want to depend on the Spirit. I want to treat these people as the sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father that they are. I want to make a difference and love the mission and not want to go home. So just so you know, this week marks a difference in my mission. I just want to please you all as well. I love you. I'm sorry I stress out so much. I hope that when I go home nobody starts criticizing me for how I handled the mission, etc (if I was too stressed or whatever). I'm doing my best and giving it my all and trying my hardest to do what I should be doing. Please continue to pray for me. I pray for you all! I love you! I love you all!
I love you all! This week we had leadership conferences on Wednesday and Thursday. It really helped me to see what things we need to change to have more success. I'm going to really try this week to figure out how I can be really successful, not be stressed, love everyone and Mexico, and really change my mission! Thursday night I was feeling really depressed. How was it already my year mark?! I still haven't even become near the man I know Heavenly Father wants me to be! I know I may be making you all proud, but they expect so much more out of us that you all do from me. I wish I can find the way to just be at peace and love who I am and how I do what I do. I don't know if I can explain. But like I told Eva, I want to be Elder Poirier. Not any other elder. Elder Mitchell Poirier, that is. Because soon there will be another Elder Poirier in the mission! Whoa! Anyway, I'm feeling happy today. We didn't complete the standard this week. I'd explain more about why etc, but you don't care about numbers. Tere did go to church. She wants to get baptized! She just has a few things in the way. Olivia and Alberto finally were accompanied by two of their daughters, Karen and Lupita, to church. The best news is that Karen says she wants to get baptized as well. She's 22 and I FEEL AND KNOW that she'll be serving a mission in a couple years. WHOOP WHOOP! I bought sunscreen. I'm tired of people telling me I'm red. So hopefully by the time I go home I'll have normal skin again. Minus the tan lines of course. I love you all!
Can you believe that in three days I complete one year on the mission?? And exactly one year from today was the last day I saw and hugged Max. One year until I'm home. Two years until I see Max again. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY REAGAN!!! This week my companion and I completed the standard for the 4th week in a row, even though on Thursday we didn't teach a single lesson. Just a whole day of nothing. Phew. Yet we did it somehow. Saturday we found two different people who quickly decided that they were TOTALLY interested in finding out if this really is the true church. They came to church the next day and loved it. Julia said "I feel really blessed." We're pretty thrilled, but we've got to start baptizing soon or all our leaders will be getting on us for completing the standard but not baptizing. By the way, I've been made district leader again. This time I want to do a better job of really showing love for each of the elders in my district, helping them feel encouraged. I want them to think of me the way I think of some of the great leaders I've had so far here.
Kind of a funny story: we knocked a door and these two teenage girls came out. We actually knocked the door of their gated driveway. It's called a colchon. Anyway, they were acting as if they'd never seen gringos before. They went to go get their mom, and then we began to tell them who we were and the message we share. One of the girls cut me off asking "Are you gringos?" "Claro," I said and kept talking. Then she asked me "¿Me prestas tus ojos?" ahahahaha that means "will you lend me your eyes?" (she wanted to trade eye color). Weirdo. We kept talking trying to keep a smile, but not at all lead them on or flirt or anything. Then one of them cut Elder Willett off asking "Do you have a girlfriend?" He just responded, "We're missionaries." She asked, "How old are you?" I said 40. We set up a time to go back, but it just so happens we didn't have the time... Seriously, they were so forward. Elder Willett didn't at all know how to react. It was funny to me.
Well, this week there's a three-day conference for all the leaders, so I'll get to see Elder Parry and Elder Padgett again! I'd talked to Elder Parry by telephone a few weeks ago. I hope that I learn a lot. There's a brand new elder in our house now. He's got a few issues with desire. He told his family last week that if he didn't enjoy this past week he was going to go home. They chewed him out today. The zone leaders told me that they want ME to do ALL that I can to make sure he stays in the mission basically, to really be there for him, encourage him. Be the example, they told me. He's not like Elder Silos who came out ready to be 100% obedient, and willing to work as hard as he could to be a great teacher. I miss Elder Silos. But anyway, last night I talked with the elder, Elder Alvarez. I told him, "I love my family so much that I'm willing to give everything I have, or do everything I have to do to please Heavenly Father, to serve Him, so that He might let me live with my family forever." It's true. So that's why I try to be 100% obedient, etc. I'm giving my all to be with you all, family. I love you.
Alright, I love you all. I'll see you in about one year. Unless you count skyping for Christmas. By the way, I'm hearing that Nativities are all the rage here. I'll probably send more than one home, come Christmas of course. I LOVE YOU!
This week was transfers, but Elder Willett and I are still here in what is now called Buenos Aires 2 (because our ward was absorbed into the Buenos Aires ward). We're having a lot of success as far as the Standard of Excellence goes. President told me that after three or four weeks completing the Standard, we'll start baptizing EVERY week. We have to continue completing of course. We completed this week for the 3rd in a row. It was really tough! We have to find 7 new investigators every week. By Friday we had four new investigators and then found two more. BUT then we visited some of the four and had to drop 3 of them! So with only Saturday and Sunday, we had to find 4 new investigators to complete the goal. Do you follow so far? Plus on Sunday, two of the people who had baptismal dates didn't come to church. Since they have to come two times before they can get baptized, their dates fell. So we had to put two more dates and find 4 news still Sunday after church. Of course the Lord tested our faith and patience. We kept a good, calm attitude, knowing that the Lord wanted us to complete because He wants us to baptize. So we went forward with faith. Only during the LAST two hours of the night did we actually find 4 new people and we put 2 dates. Amazing. All because of Heavenly Father. We completed! But it doesn't end there. Tere, Chicharito's aunt (if you don't know who he is, JUST LOOK HIM UP! Mexico World Cup 2010), had a baptismal date for this Saturday. What we realized at 10PM Sunday is that she's still smoking, therefore her date falls (they have to quit at least a week before they can get baptized). So technically we didn't complete. What were we going to do? Let it slide and fix her date during the week? Or call her at 10:30 and change the date? Aye. We decided of course to have integrity. We called her with the old "did we forget [such object] in your house?" and then made sure to put her date for another weekend. PHEW. If we work right, we'll reach our goals and then baptize a ton. I miss being a missionary in the United States. Also, this week we ate breakfast with Tere and her sons. We made the molletes with jam. She made beans and eggs. Delicious. Mexican style of course. MMMM. By the way, Dad isn't the only one who drinks coke in the morning. So does ALL of Mexico.
Happy Labor Day! I guess I'll hear from you all next week when you have computers put in front of you (you'll remember to write me). I AM glad however that Max told me he's GOING TO CHILE!!!! I cannot even believe it! There's SO much I want to say and do! First, as soon as I can I'm going to send a copy of Jeffery R. Holland's talk he gave when I was at the MTC the second time. Second, I'm going to have to trust Cassie with my facebook. Who does the blog? and Third, I'm going to work really hard to have a LOT of success so that I can risk asking for permission to call home!! I say it's worth a shot. I have SO much to say to Max! CHILE. WOOHOOOOO!!! The seasons will be opposite! You're going to likely be in the MTC for Christmas! Maybe.. But I want to talk about what a mission is REALLY like. Oh brother! I'm so happy for you! I love you!
Anyway, this week was really stressful. Somehow we had success though. I can't believe that this week is the last in the transfer. We'll see what happens. I feel like one of us will get changed for some reason. Um.. I can't think of more to say. Chicharito's aunt came to church again! She says she feels such peace with us. When we taught her sons as well, they all went off about how we are examples of what their life could be like if they decide to take this path--happiness, purity, peace, etc. It was funny but flattering. I hope she'll soon get baptized! Oh. and this week they combined our ward and another. We didn't have enough priesthood going, so the stake president announced "the ward of Polanco DOESN'T EXIST ANY LONGER." It kind of was harsh. So now we're four missionaries in one ward called Buenos Aires, but I'm still in the mission area of Polanco. It was nice having 200 people at church though instead of 50.
This week I really felt pensive and stressed. But I keep going. I'm happy being stressed I guess; that's pretty normal for me. One thing on the back of my mind making me feel really sad is that I haven't been able to send a single letter in 5 weeks. I want to write my friends and family and converts! I guess that would be one good thing about being transferred--perhaps there'd be a post office in my area.
I love you all! I'm SO happy for Max!!! I hope that he leaves secret notes around the house as well! I'll just tell you about the one you STILL haven't found. It's in the HALLWAY!!!
I love you all. I love how quickly each monday comes. I'm sorry that I have not been able to send one letter this whole month. I want to write quickly. I'm trying to send photos as well, and it takes forever. Plus, my joints in my fingers are sore from handwashing my laundry again. It's so nice to just have a washing machine. And a dryer. When it rains, the clothes don't get to dry. So I promised I'd tell you the story of Olivia and Alberto. It was really special. Last Thursday came and they STILL didn't know if they should get baptized, if it's the true church, etc. They'd been going to church. They'd really been reading the Book of Mormon. And they'd been praying and asking if it was all true, but they felt that they weren't getting an answer. As we walked to their house Thursday evening, an idea popped into my head. A lesson plan. First we'd sing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and then watch the twenty minute movie "The Restoration." After that we'd each bear testimony of what we know to be true. Then we'd say we wanted to do something different, kneel down and each of us take turns offering a prayer to know if Olivia and Alberto should get baptized. Then we'd planned to do a moment of silence and let the Spirit answer the prayer. We'd go from there. Well, everything went PERFECTLY according to plan. While we waited in silence, I kept trying to end it, but the words would not come out of my mouth, so I knew to wait. (I felt like we were on Felix Felices). After about seven minutes, I asked, "¿Que están pensando o sintiendo?" (what are you thinking or feeling?). That's all I had to say. The family got in a calm discussion of what they've been feeling the whole three weeks we'd known them, what changes they've felt or seen in each other, etc. And when it was right I asked, "Will you be baptized this Saturday?". Both said yes! What a beautiful weekend it was! And how I love them! Olivia let me baptize her. Alberto picked Elder Willett.
This week Elizabeth as well still felt like she hadn't got an answer. We knew that her problem was that she was always SO busy that she never left time for Heavenly Father to answer her prayers. So we did almost the same thing, except out on her sidewalk (the houses are right at the sidewalk) (we can't go inside when there's not a man older that 18 inside--mission rule). She as well thought that life after baptism would be much better for her family than it would if she didn't get baptized. Yesterday I had the priviledge of baptizing her. She couldn't decide who she wanted to do it, so she actually made us do rock, paper, scissors.
People think that Elder Willett and I are brothers, that we look SO much alike. I'm thinking it's just that we're white. You know how people say that all japanese or other asians look the same? (just what they say, not what I think). I think people here feel the same way about us. Oh. And the aunt of Chicharito came to church with us!!!! WHOOP WHOOP.
This Tuesday in our weekly planning (which lasts two hours and it's just us in a room in the chapel planning the week, what our investigators need, etc), President Jesperson knocked on the door and entered. He said he had a question for us. Can he trust us? Can he have confidence in us? He wanted to know that we'd 1) be 100% obedient and 2) be SUPER successful wherever we are working, that we'd be little power plants. I told him that as for obedience he can of course trust me. But as for success (remember that the mission expects missionaries to baptize EVERY single week as well as complete those weekly goals WEEKLY) I felt I was getting better and better, changing to become the man God needs, but that somewhere there was a problem and I didn't know what it was. He told me right away, "time management." That we weren't managing our time right. Well, this week was AMAZING in the miracles we saw and in our time management. We completed the Standard and baptized for the second week in a row. We might baptize this week too! I really hope and pray that we do!
I'm not sick anymore! Immodium. And what a great week! The Lord really made up for that last week. I guess it just took being patient in our afflictions. I've been reading in Alma lately, all about the missionaries of the Book of Mormon. My favorite scripture is Alma 26:22 where Ammon explains that to those who 1) repent 2) have faith 3) do good works and 4) pray always, unto them it will be given to baptize thousands. So I've been trying to better do those four things. And this week we baptized TWO! Olivia and Alberto! I don't have time right now to tell you their story, so next week! But I love you all and I'm SO happy that Max is officially waiting for his mission call. I say he's going to Tucson Arizona or Washington DC! I love you brother! Until next week, my wonderful family!
This week was MISERABLE. Oh it was AWFUL. I got sick! And so did my companion! Tuesday we went to district meeting, and I was feeling "cuerpo cortado" or basically achy in all my body. But I got ALL my mail!! AND a package! WHICH included 2 llama ties from Reagan! (Reagan, you are my favorite person! Thank you SO much!) So I was able to shrug it off. But during the bus ride back to our area, I got a killer headache, which lasted until yesterday. I got a fever that evening. Still, we kept working. Then went home. As I was getting ready for bed, Elder Willett's body began to ache. Aye aye aye. All night he was moaning and moaning ahah. He says it made him feel better. Wednesday we stayed in the house all day. I just had diarrhea and the headache, but my compy suffered from it all. We thankfully didn't vomit all week. We felt fine enough to work Thursday, but we were weak. Saturday night I woke up 6 times during the night to go diarrhea. Aye. Finally we think we're okay. But maybe it's just the Pepto Bismol covering it all up. Anyway, we didn't have a good week in numbers either. I was just feeling burnt out. But I'm so glad I got to read all your emails. It lifts me up!
I don't have much more time! But know that besides my infirmities, I'm doing great. We have a select group of cool investigators. This week we hope to do some fun and creative things with them! I hope Cassie has a great first week of school. Did she choose Bio or Chem? Cassie, your junior year is only SUPER hard if you're lazy about it. Put a little effort to stay organized and ahead. You'll do great!
I love you!
Elder Mitchell Poirier (como pollería, pero no vendo pollo)
First let me tell you that none of our leaders have gone to the offices in a month (even though they're super close), so I haven't read a letter in a month. For that reason I have stopped writing people. Plus there's no post office in my area. And I don't have money right now. I will continue writing letters soon. Anyway, this week Elder Willett and I had a great time and a lot of success! When we planned for the week, we talked about how we were going to work this week so that it'd be like we'd already been working in this area for six weeks. Accelerate it basically. He had only been here two weeks. So we were new to the area and everything. We planned certain goals:
1) Gain the trust of the members ASAP. We started by complementing their houses, their food, their testimonies, etc. We left sticky notes on their bathroom mirrors after we'd eaten with them. Thank yous. And I continue asking for recipes!
2) We were going to gain the trust and love of our investigators ASAP. On Friday we celebrated an unbirthday party (Aleksi's idea) with a family. It was really a lot of fun. We'd made a cake. (We're going to do it again with other people. It will be even better. Plus we'll remember our cameras). We sang "Feliz Cumplenada a nadie" Also, Friday night we made empanadas for another family. We baked them! But obviously we had to be cheap, so we filled them with cheese and ham (so Mexico). Everyone loved them. I got some photos. Elder Willett told me it was probably his favorite day on the mission so far. I continue to have plans! Creativity is what makes this fun and successful!
3) We wanted to complete the Standard of Excellence (our weekly mission goal). We did! Whoop whoop! President Jesperson even came to church on Sunday, so it was great to be there with 6 investigators in church. This ward is FULL of hermanas, but hardly any hermanos. Sad. We only have a Bishop's counselor. And of course NO Gospel Principles teacher. Dumb. We had to teach it. I don't like that because we already teach the investigators ALL week. So Sunday should be different.
Personally, I'm trying to be more Christ-like. Have charity. I want to be the best missionary, sincerely. I want to love the mission!
Oh, and we've been running in the mornings!
I love you all!
First of all, I got transferred today!! I'm still in the city, in a ward called Polanca, a stake called Victoria. My new companion is Elder Willet from Gilbert, Arizona. Yes, the same ward as the Shreeves!! He's a really humble and happy missionary. We look forward to a lot of success. I love being in a new house and a new area! I'm so excited! I know that Elder Silos will be great in Libertad still! I hope he takes good care of all of our converts. We'd started a project. We made 7 bios of the 7 people we've baptized (Blanca, Salvador, Abel, Israel, Soraya, Karina, and Carolina) and are visiting the members to explain how we're doing OUR part, then help them to do THEIR part. So they have to read the bios and pick who they want to fellowship. Take them out to breakfast. Invite them to get icecream. Visit their house with cookies. Sit with them at church. Etc. Simple and effective. It should continue well.
Our Christmas in July party was a blast! It was so much fun! We started with two Christmas hymns, then watched The Nativity. Soraya wanted me to translate it. What she didn't know is that it's NOT english either. Funny. We took turns having to stand up holding a pot of poinsetta (I don't remember how to spell it correctly. the red christmas flower) and share a christmas memory. I talked about Cassie wanting a star one year. And the other year wanting a robot friend. Laughs! Then we played a made-up (by me) form of pictionary. A mix of charades and pictionary really. It was a lot of fun. The man in the photos who is wearing a white shirt and blue pants is named Noe. He is SO funny because he is socially awkward. He was fun. We all had a good time eating my cookies and then took photos. It was a good night. I want to keep doing fun things! If you can think of anything, tell me. Thank you mom for the empanada dough recipe. I want to meet a few people here and decide with whom we'll make empanadas.
I loved the photos I got to see from the trip to the Keys! So fun! I'm glad you all had so much success catching wahoo and lobsters! I thought the other day about how happy dad will be--retired--to take me out on the boat the day after I get home and go fishing! Of course passing time with dad is what I look forward to, but also that I can get RID of this AWFUL tan without a bunch of people seeing. And as for the Hunger Games. Those are SO old. And Book 3 was STUPID. But anyway. I met a woman this week as we were talking to people passing by. She said, "oh, but I don't live here. I live by the beach." And I replied, "I live by the beach too!!" We had a mini conversation. It changed her attitude. She walked away happy afterwards.
It's already August! How? And how have I lived a month without mail?! Yes, a month, because NO ONE has gone to the offices to pick up our mail! I hope that tomorrow..
I love you family SO much! I love you! Keep busy and time will keep flying by!
Elder Mitch Poirier
Max, it's time to get your papers and interviews finished.
Today is Christmas in July! Merry Christmas! We're going to make those peanut butter kiss cookies for our little party. Peanut butter is super expensive here and very hard to find. But we got it! And the kisses too. I have really good news to tell you, but first I want to say that I'm a little jealous you are all in the Keys. Second, that we knocked a door and a little boy yelled, "Quien?" I said "hola!" And he replied "Who's 'hola?'" Kind of funny. Third, that yesterday I vomited TWICE in the street. Gross. The first time we were trying to make it back to the chapel so I could vomit in a toilet. But I didn't make it. So I threw up into a bucket of trash outside of a little store. Miserable. One guy gave me some toilet paper to wipe my face and offered water. I gave Elder Silos money to buy me a gatorade so that I could rinse my mouth with a flavor. I felt MUCH better. We'd eaten tacos the night before at a place we'd never gone to before. Later, I felt it again. This time I vomited in a storm drain (or whatever they're called--the things no one wants to walk over because of the fear they'll fall through). This time as well someone called out offering a cup of water. But it turned out they were offering a cup of beer and joking that I drunk too much. Elder Silos became infuriated. Whatever. They were drunk. They probably vomit a lot more that I ever will. And we kept working. Poor Mitchell. I still feel really weak and my stomach hurts.
So. This week we decided to challenge Soraya, Karina, and Carolina to be baptized Saturday the 23rd of July. They were a bit hesitant, but decided to accept. They all passed their interviews! And on Saturday they got BAPTIZED!! Woohoo! They all wanted ME to baptize them! And Elder Silos? I told them to think about it. Carolina decided to ask him instead. She's very compassionate. The service was beautiful! I love baptizing! We're so happy for them! Three baptisms! Now we've got to work on Soraya's husband and two sons. Mom, can you write me all about your baptism, maybe even all your conversion? Please! :) And do we happen to have photos of my baptism?
Last night I had a dream that Max got his mission call to...AFRICA. I woke up relieved. I don't want him to go to Africa. It is wonderful being in another country, an adventure, but I really do miss Arizona and hope that Max gets called state-side. I know he'll love it. Oh, also in the dream, Sam Ballard was called to Africa as well! I want to hear when they actually get their mission calls!
Family, I love you and hope that you are enjoying your vacation. I can't believe 10 months have gone by! I'm ready for a new area. This is the last week of this transfer, and I hope that I get changed! Thank you for all your prayers and love!
Elder Mitchell Poirier
I have no time to write. I have to go! But next week will be a better email. We had a great week of success. Soraya and ALL her family came to church this sunday!!! It was wonderful! We're planning to do a Christmas in July this coming Monday for our investigators and a few members. We'll be baking the peanut butter cookies! Thanks for sending me that recipe! I love you all! I can't believe that this week I complete 10 months on the mission. How soon until Max has his interviews?! UGH.
We were planning on baptizing this Saturday, but we got a call from our investigator (who's about 60 years old) that afternoon telling us that her children found out she was going to get baptized and became infuriated with her. We went to go visit her right away because we thought that it'd be possible to resolve. She wasn't home. So we started walking to the gym (she's ALWAYS in the gym) and ran into her! But she was crying. That morning her sister had a heart attack and passed away. This is the third sibling to have died in this year. She is heart-broken and depressed. We tried anything we could do or say as we walked back to her house, even offering to go with her to turn in the body, but she was too hurt and sad to understand what we were saying. She told us she needed to go cry and shut the door on us. We figured she obviously needs time before she'll let us speak words of comfort to her. We were pretty surprised, but tried not to get discouraged. We kept working even harder.
Last night we still needed three new investigators. Honestly we hadn't contacted people as much as we should have during the week. The Lord saw that we did ALMOST everything therefore to complete the Standard, so he only ALMOST helped us complete it. We knocked doors in the rain after all our options had run out. It was POURING rain. It's wonderful here! But to be outside is cold and miserable. And in church clothes! Everyone everywhere was watching the Mexico vs Uruguay soccer game, so we unfortunately didn't happen upon the door of anyone whose heart was warm enough to let us in.
This week I was blown away by my companion! On Tuesday we'd discussed putting a baptismal date with Soraya, a Christian who'd come to church and several activities. My companion felt that we should wait until the next week. We decided we'd see how she progressed during the week. Thursday came and suddenly my companion took control of the lesson briefly to set a baptismal date with her. Soraya easily accepted the 30th as a goal to be baptized so long as she receives her answer that the Book of Mormon is true. She's really excited in fact. I was so impressed with my companion for having recognized that she was ready and for having listened to and spoken with the spirit that lesson. Soraya came to church again this Sunday. We trust the Lord will strongly answer her prayers, or that she'll recognize he's already answered them.
I'm happy all is well in Stuart, Florida. I love you all! I wish you could all enjoy the wonderful food I eat! I'm trying to collect recipes, but it's a slow process of asking and reminding and reminding again. When I get home I'd like to invent a Mexican pie, which will of course include chili, lime, or salt instead of sugar. Is there such thing as mango pie? I assume so, but only refrigerated pies. I understand that you're going on vacation and all, but PLEASE don't forget to send me emails! I love you!
Elder Mitch Poirier
PS yesterday there was a boxer in someone's porch shivering cold! I wanted to give it some warmth or something, but the gate was locked. Poor thing. And today there's a basset hound wandering the streets for food. Sad! Tell Bentley he doesn't know how good he has it.
PSS PANCAKE NIGHT
It went really well. We (as in I) made about 60 pancakes. We had a lot of fun. There's a game that's kind of dumb that we played, but somehow everyone really enjoyed it. Especially Salvador... remind me to tell you about that when I get home.. Anyway, the game is that everyone has to write about 3 embarrassing things that they want other specific people to do, for example "I want Max to dance the Electric Slide." Then everyone's lists get collected and the person in charge says, "This game is called 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'" And everyone has to do the things they wanted others to do. Super funny only because Soraya wrote 7 things! One of them being "I want Elder Poirier to eat all the extra pancakes" and "I want Elder Silos to drink all the extra milk." Of course we didn't make her do it. But Salvador sure did try (to make her do it).... later. I have to act it out for you.
My American Family!
Why doesn't anyone celebrate the Fourth of July here?! Nothing! This week was wonderful. I didn't tell you, but last week the Assistants to the President called me and basically asked, "what's wrong with your dats?!" and "you're an example to your companion and your district" etc. But in a super nice way. Still, it made me feel horrible because we didn't know what the deal was, why we were having such little success. But the night before that phone call, we decided to sit and talk about what we need to do differently (proof that i recognized our error before getting called out by our leaders). If we wanted to be able to tell the Lord, "we're doing EVERYTHING we can, please do your part" then we had to do EVERYTHING we could. We made a list of things we need to change. To be perfectly obedient we needed 1) call for permission to get home later that 9 PM, 2) Exercise every morning until 7 AM, 3) Study like we should on Pdays and Sundays (when no missionaries study), and other things that are complicated to explain, but basically teach in the way that President wants us to teach. This week was a total turn around. We completed with the Standard of Excellence! I wish I could describe all the miracles that we saw, though small. The Lord knew exactly how he was going to help us reach our goals.
Soraya came to church with her daughter Karina!! Whoop whoop! They arrived a little late, JUST as Hno. Pedro (a CRAZY old man) was bearing his testimony. Ugh fast and testimony meeting. But after that the testimonies were fine. And they went to Sunday School where we learned about the Holy Ghost and how Christ was going to give it to the apostles. Soraya really enjoyed it I think. Tonight we are making pancakes for ALL of our investigators (of course not all will show up..). We've invited a few members as well. Good ones. President wants us to do things with our investigators that we'd do with our family. Things that will show them we actually love them. We're not just teachers. Did I tell you that my compy, Elder Silos, is only 18!! He turned 18 in January. He's younger than Max!! SO weird. Anyway, I hope Soraya and her family come tonight! I'll send photos. We haven't really had anything to take photos of. Sorry.
This week the mission did a Mobile Visitor's Center (like a temple visitor's center, but brought to a park in our area). We invite people walking by to do a 10 minute tour to learn more about Christ and our church. It was SO FUN. The members were the ones who had to approach people and invite them to come in. I got such a kick out of watching them muster the courage to go talk to people. I tried to imagine mom and dad doing it. As we were taking it all down, the rains came POURING. I love it. It basically has been raining everyday from 4 PM until the morning when we wake up. And did you know that there's such thing as colored lightning? Yes. I saw green lightning that night. Look it up and explain it to me because I'm SURE Aleksi and I did NOT learn about that in our Extreme Weather class ("sure" because it was I who tried to pay attention everyday).
I love you family!
Happy Birthday Max!!! Get your butt out on a mission ASAP. Don't you realize that if you don't leave before September 22 it'll be more than 3 years before we see each other again?! What is taking you so long?!!
Voy a escribir esta carta en español obviamente. Esta semana tuvimos poco exito. Pensabamos que a lo menos 7 personas iban a venir a la iglesia el domingo, pero cero vinieron. Estamos enseñando a una Cristiana que tiene miedo del Libro de Mormon. Es lo que dice ella, que tiene miedo. Supimos que era porque penso que el Libro hablaba solamente de Jose Smith. Facil de corregir. Ella es muy padre. Ha estado orando para saber la verdad. La cosa es que Dios nos puso en su camino, pero no quiere aceptar que puede ser la verdad. Dice que queria ir a la iglesia, pero no quiere que su esposo quiera continuar yendo alli. Su hija tiene 19 años y si quiere leer el Libro de Mormon y quiere ir a la iglesia tambien. Es una familia muy especial y queremos mucho que se bauticen. Sabemos que es posible, solo que todos tienen que leer, orar, e ir a la iglesia. Tenemos tres otras familias tambien que son MUY especiales, pero tambien tienen sus problemas. Nos frustra un poquito. Pero esta semana nos dimos cuenta que si en realidad les amamos, tenemos que cambiar y ser mejores misioneros. Tenemos que hacer TODO, ser PERFECTAMENTE obediente a todas las reglas. Estoy agradecido que tenemos otra semana para empezar de nuevo.
Se que ya les dije que hay unos niños que me llaman "Chicharito" (el futbolista famoso de mexico) y siempre quieren chocar la mano, pero esta semana otra vez pude hablar con ellos cinco. Tendran como 8/9 años. Me hace feliz que aqui soy un heroe, el guerro que no puede jugar muy bien jaja. De hecho, si jugamos un ratito con ellos en la calle. Yo digo que un dia, cuando tengan mas años, van a querrer hablar con los misioneros. Sembrando semillas. Pues, espero que mi español no sea feo. Es diferente escribir en español por computadora que por mano. Les amo mucho!
What a week! We had Zone Conferences Wednesday through Friday. They last until 2 PM and then we have to rush back to our areas to make it in time for lunch with the members. Carne en su jugo. Look up a recipe because I think the hermana just bought it instead of cooking it. SO delicious. President told us a lot of things that we need to apply better in the work, but my favorite thing was when he told us we need to show our love for our investigators by doing things with them that we'd do with our family. He told us to cook them dinner. Bake a pie (!!!!!!). And be creative thinking of other things. So we're going to bake a pie with one of the families we're teaching. I wish I had my recipe book (that Reagan got me)!!! And we brought a pineapple to visit Israel. Basically it's HIS kitchen, so he made US the pineapple water. How? Easy. Cut the fruit. Put it in a blender with water and sugar to taste. Then add more water after it's blended, but in a bucket or a pitcher. So refreshing. Do it with strawberries. Or cantalope. It's one of my favorite things about Mexico. Anyway, he told us that we can never get discouraged. That we need to be EXACTLY obedient if we want to see miracles. "Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles." We did find an awesome family this week! They are looking for the truth. It's sad. A year ago their young baby passed away. The Catholic priest didn't give them the time to come and visit, or to baptize the baby. They felt hurt and rejected by their own religion. But we taught them that yes, baptism is required to enter the gates of heaven, BUT children don't have sin. They therefore have NO need to be baptized (Moroni 8), and should they pass away, they go STRAIGHT to the presence of our Heavenly Father. It was a very special lesson.
Last night was the end of this transfer. I can't believe I've been training an entire transfer! But Elder Silos and I are still companions! Another 6 weeks!
I love you family! I'm so happy that Max's papers will be sent tonight! How crazy! WOOHOO
Elder Mitchell Poirier
We baptized Israel this week!!! Woohoo! He has had such a hard life, but has come a long way. Really, I wish I could tell you about all of his experiences because they really are powerful and inspirational. We'd asked him to write "his story" during the nights that he had to stay awake by the hospital bedside of his godfather. Those twelve sheets of paper are something I'd like to share with you five when I get home. Salvador received the Aaronic Priesthoodthis Sunday! And Blanca stayed for sunday school! We didn't have the Gospel Principles class because it's so unprepared and boring and small. The Gospel Doctrines is taught like mom would teach it, fun, participation, learning, laughing, spirit. So afterwards, Blanca said, "que padre" which interpretted means "how cool." Oh yeah, Salvador bought us each a sombrero! So nice of him! But now we have to carry it around the rest of our missions. It's huge!
Salvador and me
I don't have much time, but we brought Janeth this week to an FHE with the Lopez family. She really felt the Spirit as she watched the short Restoration video. She cried during the First Vision. We really want her to get baptized, but she wants to wait until her sister who is mormon comes in september to visit. Janeth's (janette) husband is awful to her, so she's also looking for a job so that she can move in with her mom and support herself. Basically it was a great week, but our numbers were awful. I feel like I DON'T know what I'm doing as district leader nor as a trainer. Aye. I love you family! I miss you!