Mexico Puebla North Mission

Mexico Puebla North Mission

Saturday, March 16, 2013

First Week in Mexico

 absolutely love it here and the experience has been fantastic! The people are so kind and amazing especially the members. my companion elder sagástegui is incredible! He doesnt speak english so I am learning spanish very quickly but as of now I understand a solid 20% haha esta bien.

 the weather is great here! it is prefect i love it! the food is incredible, the picture i sent is of us eating shrimp in a chile soup that has everything on it, even the eye balls pretty cra cra oh and there was a full fish as well :) but it was actually really great. 

And here's a little something from his mission president's wife:

it was so fun when I looked out my kitchen window and saw Elder Hunsaker and Elder Graff exploring our back yard and feeling the grass, etc.  I had to smile.  They were like two little boys on an adventure!  It was priceless.  They also climbed on the top of our roof to look out over Puebla!  I didn't even know we had a ladder to the roof until they came.  They are "curious."  I like that!  They are going to be GREAT!!!  

Here's Stephen's first friend he made in Mexico

Stephen's new address is:
Misión México Puebla Norte
Calle 25 Sur #907
Colonia La Paz
Puebla, Puebla 72160

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mexico Here He Comes!

We just found out a few days ago that Stephen's visa came in and within 2 days he had a plane ticket for Puebla.  He leaves today!  We get a call from him sometime later tonight.
Here was his email this morning.

So I dont know if you heard yet but I head off for mexico today!!! I will be able to call you for a short time and i would love to hear the whole family. Then I arrive tonight in puebla and i am going to hit the ground running! 
so i have my bags packed and one weights 49.4 and one weights 50 on the dot it was a pain but i did it! 

oh by the way can you please tell grandma dobbs thank you sooooo much for the package it was so kind and it made my day so much and tell her i love you sooo much.

so i am a little sad to be leaving here i have become close with some of my investigators and am sad to leave them but im excited to get to mexico! it will be so great!

Reassigned to the Salt Lake City Mission

Stephen's visa didn't come so he was reassigned to the Salt Lake City Mission for what we thought would be 6 weeks.  But it only lasted 2 before his visa came!
Here are some of his experiences:

That first day was so hard I will be honest.  The next day we went out and street contacted at Temple Square which I was sooooo nervous but after about 30 minutes the nerves settled and I had such a cool experience. There is a lot of work to do here and the people are so kind! The members in the Spanish ward are so nice to me and I am progressing in Spanish by leaps and down every day! I understand more and more every day.   The members feed me soo much I have left every house sooo full but the food is soo good! The people are so patient with my Spanish and have helped me a lot.
We went to talk to a family and I understood a good solid 50-60% of the conversation.  They had such a humble spirit about them.  I just love the spirit of the people here.
Every day is an adventure in itself and I learn so much.  Every day has its up and downs but the ups make the whole thing worth it.  First Sunday was great.  I had to get up and introduce myself and bore my testimony in Espanol J yep it was pretty great.  My mission experience so far has been very different than I thought it would be but not in a bad way.  I love it so much.

MTC was awesome!

Stephen's experience in the MTC was an incredible experience.  He had a lot of freinds from school there and made a bunch of new ones.  But the spiritual feast they experienced as this new army of missionaries go out into the world was incredible.
A few of his words:

The MTC is such a holy place and I can feel the spirit everywhere. 
Christmas was fantastic here. We had Russell M. Nelson come speak and we watched a Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve and then I decided to join the choir! I got to sing with them for the Christmas Devotional.
Most of all the MTC is a humbling experience. I have come to completely rely on the Lord and come to Christ.

The MTC is just straight spiritual uplifting, but it is the hardest thing I have ever done.  I have never been more pushed to my limit and challenged and tested then this last week (which has felt like a month, no joke time is very very slow here).  A mission is not for the weak of heart. I have struggled but when I do I have to stop looking to myself and hand myself over to the Lord.
When I feel closer to my family the closer I feel to Christ. I cant even explain how much closer I felt I have come to Christ.  I feel like I really know him now and that he truly knows me.  It is a feeling that is indescribable. 
By the way the saying ''forget yourself and go to work'' has been my driving force here.
Spanish has been getting better and better. the less I worry about it the better I get at it. I have no idea how you learned japanese dad, so much respect.  I think there is a misconception that in the MTC the languages come quickly, easily and the gift of tongues flow. I believe in the gift of tongues but I think that it requires a ton a ton of work first and also a lot of struggling also they work you harder here then anywhere else, even college! My vocabulary is increasing by leaps and bounds every day however if I ever had to speak in spanish about anything other then the gospel I could come up with 3 sentences. 
I have  come to the realization that I am at the beginning of something big, we had 1000 new missionaries this week and it is suppose to say that way for the known future! Before the average was 300 a week and our week was 700. The Lords work is moving forward and its at a dead sprint right now.
The MTC is an amazing place and a mission is something that can not be ever replicated in life. There is a reason that missions are required for young men. they shape us into men who are worthy of the priesthood, it shocks me that he allows young men of the age of 16 to have the priesthood wow he really trust me and see something in me that i dont sometimes.

His District in the MTC

Every day I learn more and more about the gospel, about Christ and about life. Nothing could prepare me better for life then a mission.  So many things you learn about investigators and lessons and the gospel is so applicable to life. I love it, I just eat it up every day, I feel so at peace and happy in life, I have direction and purpose and meaning  i love it, the gospel can really do that for you. I usually conquer with the simple saying, Forget Yourself and Go to Work.
So we have a devotional every Tuesday and Sunday and already we fill the whole auditorium and two chapels full of overflow. The administrator over the MTC spoke to us and said they this summer the number of missionaries is projected to be 8000.... there is 2500 right now which is more than ever before. I keep saying this but it’s true, the prophesies of missionary work going across the whole world is coming to pass, it’s just unbelieveable. We got a new district and half of it is sisters, half elders along with the one we got 2 weeks ago, there are so many sisters! I love it! Sister missionaries and the spirit they have is just unbelieveable they are so spiritual, it just solidified my testimony that sister missionaries are so important. Plus they have more a drive than any other missionaries because they want to be there with absolutely everything in them. i can’t tell you about how much i love their spirit! They have the ability to touch people that us elders can’t even come close to! 815 new missionaries came last week and this week was 750, it is sooo cool. Sure the lines at meals are pretty long but esta bien.
Entonces mi espanol esta mejorando. I really am not worrying about it that much and I know with God I can get it. I love my mission and this has been such a cool experience here 
 I wanted to share a quote from Brigham Young that says, "Do you think that people will obey the truth because it’s true, unless they love it? No, they will not. Thus knowing gospel truths and doctrines is profoundly important, but we must also come to love them." This just hit me so hit me soo hard and made me realize that before the mission i knew they were true but some parts i had not come to love yet and now i understand the difference.  It all makes so much more sense when you learn to love it. soo good.
So I sing in the choir every week and every week it gets bigger and bigger! Now the choir is almost half and half! and there is over 800 members! wayyy bigger than the Mormon tabernacle choir. I am learning to sing which is awesome! not good but with 800 in the choir no one can tell the difference.

Elder Hunsaker, Elder Whitney, Elder Hawkes