Monday, July 27, 2015

Living on the Surface of the Sun

Hey guys! This week was the hottest I have ever been in my whole life. It was the start of this thing called canícula. It is from july 20th to august 20th usually starting with the summer solstice and is when the sun hits the ecuator the hardest or in other words, the hottest 30 days of the year.

My Zone Leader Teaching us to drink lots of water.

 This week I got my new companion Elder Gallegos from Villahermosa, Tobasco. He is 22 and really a cool guy. We get along really well. Because of changes like I said last week, the size of our area doubled overnight and we had so much work this week! We also picked up some new investigators in the colonias where taxis cant reach so we had to do a lot of walking in the very hot sun. A lot of you probably heard from elder terry that talked about how odd it is that all of us missionaries enjoy ourselves even when we should be suffering but honestly to be able to teach the gospel, its all worth it.

Selfie with Elder G

The New Zone
Saturday we saw the family of 6 we are teaching and they are doing really well, alejandra the mom, and her two daughters alondra and carla are super interested, carlos, the dad is less interested but he is a good guy, he will warm up soon. They unfortunatley couldnt come to church because they live sooo far away from the chappel and didnt have the money for the taxi but next week I think a member is going to take us to pick them up! 

Sunday was sweet because YAIR GOT BAPTIZED. Yair had been listening to the other companionship for forever but didnt feel super ready so thursday we went and saw him, taught the word of wisdom, the law of chastity, and tithing and invited him to be baptized on sunday and he was like...."yeah I think I am ready" which was sweet. Katia didnt show up for her interview and we havent seen her since thursday so we are kinda worried her grandpa talked her out of it but we are going to see her tonight so hopefully this sunday!!

Baptism of Yair
  Last night we were dying in our house of heat and had our fans going on high speed, but we have zero air conditioning so it was an oven. Lucky for us we also don't have food which means I had some good room to sit in my fridge for an hour while I read the scriptures. 

Cooling Down in the REfrigerator

This morning this 80 year old drunk guy tried to rob me/ talk me into giving him 20 pesos so I started speaking totonaco to him and he said "no vale la pena" (not worth it) and walked away. 

This week I was studying the pearl of great price and the relationship of adam and eve with God. They were literally sealed by God the Father while in the Garden of Eden, and then were in constant communication with him their whole lives after being cast into the world. Because of their fidelity, they were able to be happy for more than 900 years together! So if you are in a marriage and have been sealed, dont let something small lead to divorce. God is the key to a successful mariage, if you don't have him as the glue holding you together, its a lot harder to not get pulled apart by the things of the world. I challenge you to seek the Lord in your marriages, and those who are not yet married, seek for a companion that is worthy to take to the Holy Temple of the Lord and be sealed for time and eternity. 

I hope you all have a great week!!

-Elder Draper


Cleaning Spiders and Lizards out of the Baptism Font
Bathroom Selfie

Monday, July 20, 2015

A testimony of Joseph Smith

                                   "The field is white all ready to harvest"

  I think my favorite part of being a missionary is that we are declaring repentance. 

This week I have been studying the pearl of great price institute manual, focusing specificaly on Joseph Smith History. I have been thinking about a lot of things and as I have studied I have grown to have a greater respect and love for the Prophet Jospeh Smith. I love a quote by Elder Holland where he explains that, apart from Jesus Christ the very son of God, Joseph Smith has had more of a role in the salvation of man than any other prophet in the history of the world.

I also was impacted by something M. Russel Ballard said in his talk on the attonement and the worth of souls. He made the comment that "after 2000 years of silence, the first word uttered by God the Father was "Joseph"." He then goes on to explain that in this world we are influenced by many who disgrace and diminish the worth of the individual, however we are of divine, royal lineage. God knows you and I as well as he knows his begotten son Jesus Christ, he knows us by name, we were with him in the premortal life as we recieved "our first instruction". I know that God lives, His son lives, They love us. I know that Joseph Smith was the Lords prophet, called to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord in the restoration of his eternal gospel. I testify that through him, we now have the plenitude of the eternal gospel. 

Saturday and Sunday Matilde and Gabby were baptized and honestly I have never been so happy in my time as a missionary.

Baptism of Matilde
Baptism of Gabby
Today we got changes and Elder Noble is sadly, leaving me. MY BOY! I know he will slay it in his next area, but I will miss him a ton. They also closed the other area in our ward and I will absorb it with my new comp which means we just went from 12 progressing investigators in teaching to 26. We are going to have a busy six weeks. 

I hope you guys know that the Lord is conscious of your struggles and is there when we are willing to turn to him.

Til next week,

Elder Draper

Monday, July 13, 2015

Missions are kool.

This week I think was one of the weeks where I learned the most personally. The mission is a pretty interesting experience because it really teaches you how to be humble, how to be selfless, and how to love God and obey. I feel like as I get closer and closer to the one year mark in my mission I am developing a desire to just not let anything stop me from being the best missionary I can be.

Another thing that is kind of nuts about the mission is just how hard satan attacks us as missionaries from all angles. I cannot imagine how Joseph Smith possibly felt as, just before he saw a pillar of light decending from the heavens, he felt the grasp and destroying power of the same adversary that is in a war against you and against me. If we as missionaries did not focus 100 percent on inviting the spirit to be with us, we would be lost. If you lose the spirit, you are lost.

I wish I could just tell you guys everything we learn daily but it is too much to write, just go study the scriptures and the plan of salvation. This week I am learning the whole intro to the book of mormon by memory, its a fun way to keep my mind busy. The more I study, the more I know the church is 100 percent the only true church upon the face of the earth and the kingdom of God that has been established again in anticipation for the coming of the mesiah.

On another note, my companion recieved a package from his novia which had a nice little voice recorder from her. I on the other hand had 40 pesos, so I drowned my lownlieness in generic oreos and nutella. Boo yah.

I testify of the truthfullness of the gospel, and the blessings that come as we strive to follow the commandments of God. I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the living Son of the living God. As Elder Holland teaches "We are in a war against the adversary we have already won. Our task is to now stay inside the lines." I challenge you to all develop and strengthen a testimony, and as you do so, become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pictures from the ruins at Tajin

Monday, July 6, 2015

My mom is cooler than your mom.

Happy Birthday to my dear mom, she turns 25 today so go send her some love. 

This was a good week, we had a lot of work and met some awesome people. We are working really hard still with Matilde to get her to the 19th for her baptismal date and she is really excited. I love being able to see a change in someones attitude when they embrace the gospel and just start to love more. She keeps telling us how happy she is in the last few weeks and how much better she is getting along with her family. Saturday we found a stellar little family of 6 that we are pumped about and Sunday Lucila was confirmed. Good week.

This week every city police officer in poza rica got fired at the same time and the marines, the civil force, and the federal and state police came in to clean up corruption so that was pretty cool to see half of the mexican military force driving down the boulevard in Ford Lobos and three guys with machine guns in the back. This morning there was a drug bust about 3 blocks from our house but we were on the bus when we passed so I couldn't take pics. sorry guys.

I have been dengue level sick since saturday so I was pretty down sunday morning, but we had to go pass for investigators so we busted out at like 8:30 and were running all over the place in the 95 degree heat trying to stop by and excite everyone to go. Around 9:45 we were up on the bottom of this huge hill by the chappel and we realized we still had to run to go see a teenage kid on the top of the hill so we left our suits and bags in the chappel, grabbed a brother to drive us up to where the pavement ended, and walter payton sprinted up this giant muddy hill to wake him up. We got there and he was still asleep and his uber catholic mom wouldnt wake him up so we were like AH!. Then we realized Lucila had asked us to confirm her and it was 9:55 so we sprinted down the hill and made it into the chappel at 10:05, caught our breath, and confirmed her. When we finally sat down it was the sacrament hymn and we were both exhausted and so thirsty.

I pulled out my scriptures to read about the last supper and opened up to where christ says "I am the living water" and the "bread of life" and whosoever would drink of him would never thirst. When the sacrament cup finally came and it touched my lips, I think I understood more than ever what that means. Sometimes as members we get distracted during the sacrament, we get lost thinking, we are trying to keep the kids quiet, we are on our phones (tait), whatever it is, a lot of the time we don't focus on what we are doing. Elder Christensen taught us when he came that "When we partake of the sacrament we don't just renew baptismal covenants, we renew EVERY covenant that we have made" I invite you all to prepare yourselves to partake of the sacrament and to make it a sanctifying experience for you individually. I testify of the divinity of the work we are all a part of when we are "anxiously engaged". I testify that Christ lives. He loves you.

Miss you all,

-Elder Draper

Happy 4th of July!!!