Monday, February 12, 2018

AP, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 25... Working On All Cylinders

Dear family (and the few other people who actually read these letters still XD)

I really loved the mail this week! I was so inspired by Jenn's blog post. The faith you guys have is incredible. 

This week was WORK. Lots of it! We started the week planning out Consejo, which is going to be a super consejo (with both the lideres de zona and distrito) and it's actually going to be this week not last week. The reality that unless, President Salerno plays a sick joke on me, this is my last transfer in the office has been making me tired. I'm dying to get into the field for my last hurrah! But luckily, I'm not one of those elders that gives up and dies when he's tired, and Elder Ekblad and I have been working on all cylinders.

We're going to focus on refining the plan that we put into practice this last transfer, and it's a tedious task observing the results and feedback and deciding what needs immediate changes, gradual changes, and trial changes. And all of those are terms that we're making up as we go, so we essentially have very little idea of what were doing, but it's working. This past week was the highest achieving week in mission history, so it's pretty obvious that the Lord is backing us! I feel like I'm in this big and demanding bussiness. I'm gonna get stir crazy when I get home and don't have to constantly be thinking about what I have to do and how I'm going to do it. 

Anyways, after getting some solid plans down, we starting doing 1 on 1 trainings with district leaders in Comodoro, then, on Thursday, we jumped in the H1, and after driving through the lane changing wind bursts of the Patagonia, made it to Puerto Madryn to train the northern district leaders. We spent a day in Puerto Madryn, and on Saturday morning, we drove to Trelew. 

The trainings went well, but obviously, my favorite part of the trip was being able to go to church in Union 1, since it's been a looooooong time since I've been able to visit. The members were ecstatic! We invited Luisa to say the prayer in Gospel Principles, and in her prayer, she said (in a totally evangelico way) "Oh Lord, thank you Lord, for bringing me my first elder, who brought me Lord, your sacred word. I am so grateful Lord!" She even started crying! I love that woman! However, one of my good friends from Union, Enzo, didn't make it to church. So, among the trainings and divisions that we did, we escaped for an hour to his house. Turns out that he was doing mas o menos, but we had a really sincere chat. I think it really helped him, and I challenged him to read the Book of Mormon every day, and finish it before turning his mission papers in in April. If that kid gets on the mission, I'll be so happy! 

Overall, its been a super tiring, but great and promising week. 

FAMILY! I love you guys! 

SOFIA! I love you! Remember the things that I told you last week! 

MOM! I'm so proud of the awesome teacher that you are! That call you made is a great example of the pure love of Christ :) Love you! 

I'M SO BLESSED TO HAVE A FAMILY LIKE YOU GUYS! 

Love yall :) - Elder Jimenez

Monday, February 5, 2018

AP, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 25... Newbies!

Wowza... The emails this week were pretty lame.

I'm really grateful for all the writing you guys do, don't get me wrong, it's just that there was a lot of bad news... However, I believe in the effectiveness of positive thinking!

Boston Knights: You guys are in my prayers and fasts. Read 2 Nefi 2, but put your names in there. The Plan of Salvation is an eternal truth! Love you guys.

Dad: I'm still a Pats fan.

Rest of the family: Alright, this week was a blur. Week 1 is always nuts. The first three nights of the week I slept an average of 5 hours! XD Another one of my good friends, Elder Faundez, went home, so that was fun. He was one of the noble and great ones for sure! The next day the newbies arrived, and some of them are really good missionaries, I can already tell! Up until thursday, we were shuttling them from place to place and doing trainings and what not. 

And then... A TRABAJAL LOCO! (in honor of my Puerto Rican bretheren (we actually pronounce stuff that way all the time just for the fun of it XD)) Friday through Sunday we spent doing chores, and getting out to work when we could. It's been a lot of contacting, talking with people in the street, and more contacting. Daiana said that she was going to come to church yesterday, and we were going to go pick her up in the morning, but she sent a message Saturday night saying that she wasn't going to go, so that was a bummer... However, she did buy a dress to go to church in, so that shows promise. Aaaaand, the Relief Society president invited her to the Bishop's Wife's baby shower, so the members are actually working (church is true!). During all the madness of the week, we ended up finding 1 more potential investigator, so well see if we can make her an investigator this week.

But yeah, pretty normal/crazy week. All the weeks are crazy in the office. I'm honestly pretty excited for that last transfer in the field.

One awsome thing that happened this week was PRESIDENT NELSON. I have really wanted to see the blessings of reading the Book of Mormon every day these last couple weeks, and wow. WOW! My testimony has Sky. Rocketed. Last week, in order to continue with the good vibes, I printed off a ton of President Nelson's old talks about the scriptures, and as I read them, two things were reinforced in my mind. 1) President Nelson is the prophet of God and 2) THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE. He gave a talk a while ago called "Testimony of the Book of Mormon" that is straight fire. The fire of the spirit! I felt my ming being iluminated while reading it, and then he also gave a talk in April 2017 about the Book of Mormon, and while reading about the promises that he gave if we read it every day, I was almost overcome with joy. I had to sit back in my chair and sigh because I was 0 to 100 happy reading that talk. It was really cool to read a lot information from one general authority. I would recommend it!

FAMILY: I love you guys! 

NIKKI AND KEVIN: I hope you guys are going good with everything! Love you guys! 

DAD: I'm still a Pats fan. 

MOM! Thank you for all the support that you give me out here. You really are a super mom! I LOVE YOU! 

See y'all soon, but not too soon, cause I've got work to do! - Elder Jimenez
x

Monday, January 29, 2018

AP, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 24... Templo!!!

Dear family,

I'm officially the most jealous man ON THE PLANET! I can't believe you guys got to meet the Prophet! He seems like such an incredible man, I would have loved to be there. But I know where God needs me to be in this moment, so here I am. 

This week was SWEET! I think I already told you guys about the first flight to BA last week, so I'll tell you a bit about Ushuaia. The conference went really well, probably the second best out of the 4 we gave. Now we have to wait and see if our new plan gives positive results, but to start of, the week before last week (since we still don't have the numbers from last week) was our best week since November 2017, so the plan showed promise. 

After the conference, we ended us staying in Ushuaia an extra day, because President had miscalculated the time it would take to do all the interviews, and asked for a flight on Thursday instead of Wednesday. It was fine though, because we took advantage of the moment, and did some divisions with some elders that were struggling. The division went really well! Elder Ekblad found 2 future investigators with one of the companions, and the other companion and I taught a great lesson to an investigator that wasn't progressing as much as they wanted. Not only were we able to leave a great compromismo (commitment), but we also were able to help her Catholic sister participate in the lesson, and also accept the invitation to read the Book of Mormon. We taught the lesson inside one of the humblest homes that I've been inside of in my mission. It reminded me a lot of Tolhuin. I'll definitely be able to relate to you guys, Mom and Dad, when you talk about the people from your missions who lived in houses that were smaller that our kitchen. The house I was inside didn't even have walls, that had just built a little frame, and stapled plastic tarp to it. The Spirit was strong inside that tiny home, and I actually gave some of the most direct testimonies that I've given in my mission during that lesson. It made me want to get back into the field! 

On Thursday, we took the return flight to Buenos Aires. We met a girl named Agustina, who was sitting next to me, who was studying to be a lawyer in Rosario. She and I talked the whole flight almost, and we were able to share a pamphlet of the Restoration with her before parting ways.

Upon arriving in Buenos Aires, Hermano Romano, who has pretty much become our personal taxi driver in Buenos Aires, and also one of the coolest old guys I've ever met, took us to the most anticipated location of the trip: EL TEMPLO! You have no idea that joy and happiness I felt inside that building! To remember my covenants and the promise I've been given was awesome! The best part for me though was to be able to do the work for one of my Puerto Rican ancestor, Joaquin Gil de la Madrid Padilla. I have a great hope that he accepts the work that was done for him. It felt very appropriate to me that the first time I go through a 100% Spanish temple trip, that I do it in the place of my latino ancestry. Overall, it was a great, great experience. A really nice part as well was to come to know how the rest of the church outside the United States and Mexico feels about going to the temple when they don't have one around the block. It had been around 20 months since I had even seen a temple, but it made me appreciate the experience that much more. 





As we were driving through Buenos Aires, el Hermano Romano told me that 16 million people live there. I then remembered that there are 16 million members of the church. I looked around me, seeing all the people, and felt pretty dang good about how the church is growing! Elder Ekblad said "That's a lot of menos activos!", which is probably true, but then, when we got home, we looked up the population of Buenos Aires, and it said that only 2.6 million people live in the city, while there are 16 million living in the province, which includes several other big cities like La Plata, Mar del Plata, Bahia Blanca, etc. There are 5 missions in Buenos Aires, all of which have like 6 times more people than we do. I felt even better about the church now! 

Two more experiences: When we got home, we had a handful of office chores to do. However, on Saturday, we found a two hour sliver to work, and we got out. I had been feeling all day that we should head towards the beach, because people would be walking around in the neighborhoods that are close, and we could contact them. However, my mind was telling me: 1. nobody wants nobody to bother them while they're at the beach aaaand 2. there are probably some people at the beach that are dressed in ways that we don't want to see. However, the feeling bothered me all day, so when we got out to work, we started descending down to the beach. As we were walking through the little neighborhood that's next to the beach, contacting people as we went, I saw the door of a woman who had told me that she would come to church, but never did. We knocked, I heard her inside, but she didn't answer the door. Oh well! However, 2 blocks down, there lived a lady who had a 12 year old son with whom I had made a friendship. We had knocked her door lots of times, and she had never come out. We decided to knock anyways, and lo and behold, she was home! She told us that her son was with his father, and that she thought it would be good to teach her son, when we said "Daiana, it's nice and all that you want Tomi to come to church, but you need this message as well, so we'd like to invite YOU to come to church with us tomorrow. We'll come pick you up in the morning!" SHE AGREED! The assistants had never, ever in my memory had a church attendance in this mission, because were always out of town, so when we were knocking her door Sunday morning, I can't lie, I was a bit nervous that she was gonna sleep on us. But no, she answered, and accompanied us to Sacrament Meeting, even though she had worked all night long, and had gotten home at 8:30 that morning! The biggest miracle though, was that half the ward, including the Relief Society President and the bishop's wife know her because they were childhood friends that lived on the same block! 

Can I just take a moment and testify to all you that I know that the Lord is at the helm of this work. I know that he uses imperfect means to bring to pass his perfect work. I feel very blessed that the Lord sees how hard it is for us to find time to get out into the field, and for that reason, almost always that we find a time and use it wisely, I've seen miracles! 

The last experience/testimony Id like to give is my testimony of the Book of Mormon. This week, before I was sure that we were going to go to the Temple, I had a nice reading experience with 2 Nefi 2, putting my name where it says "my son" and putting "you" when it talks about the children of men. It was awesome! It helped me to appreciate more the great atoning sacrifice that Jesus Christ did for me! I love the Book of Mormon, and I know that as President Monson said in his last testimony, if we read it every day, we will be able to conquer fear and doubt, conquer temptation, have the guide of the Spirit in our lives, and have help from on high. 

FAMILY: I love you guys! Tell Sofia to write me, its been a while! MOM! I'm glad you liked Hermana Nelsons talk. I'm sure there are many ways that you can improve, but I think you're an exemplary woman! I LOVE YOU! Love you guys! - Elder Jimenez

PS sorry for all the spelling errors, these computers are in Spanish, so they tell me that my whole email is spelled wrong! XD


Monday, January 22, 2018

AP, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 23... Splits in Buenos Aires!!!

Hey family :)

MOM! Thanks for the names! I'm pretty sure that we're going to be able to go :D we're passing back through Buenos Aires on Thursday, and President is letting us go to the temple. I'm soooooo pumped!

This week was pretty cool overall. We started the week by heading up to Trelew to give the 2nd conference this transfer. It went well, and was fun because we went with Presidente no mas. We got back to Comodoro on Tuesday in the afternoon, and early Wednesday morning, we got on the road to Gallegos. No rest for the weary!

Gallegos was the third conference, and it went really well! Elder Ekblad and I started to get in a groove with our presentation, so we taught a bit better each time. Overall, Gallegos was also a success. We left Gallegos Friday in the morning, and got back to Comdoro Friday night.

Saturday was tranqy, doing a lot of chores that we had fallen behind on thanks to the traveling that we had done.

Sunday started off with a bang. On Friday, while we were coming home from Gallegos, right as we arrived to a little town to pump gas, we got a call from a missionary, saying that he and his companion had had some problems, and that he wanted a division with the Zone Leaders. We authorized it, and President planned on interviewing the two of 'em (fire and brimstone). Lucky for them though, President woke up early on Sunday, and felt sick, so he did something that he's never done. He passed the interview to Elder Ekblad and I! On one hand, it was cool because it showed the confidence that President has in us, but on the other, I was a bit nervous, because there was a bit of bad blood, and we were going to have to find a way to understand the situation without having an accuse-fest on our hands. So we invited the missionaries, and we asked that the zone leaders come, so that the missionaries would give the same story to us that they had given to the zone leaders. As I said, I was a bit nervous, but we decided to manage the interview by giving the missionaries timed intervals in which they could give their part, we would ask questions, then the other missionary would have equal time to defend himself.

At first it was way tense, but we had prayed before the interview, and I was praying the whole time that the Spirit would guide us. It did. We ended up finding the truth, and coming up with solutions that were very obviously not of our own design, rather that of God. It was a really edifying experience!

After the interview, we had church, then after church, we had our first flight to Buenos Aires. I had to say goodbye to Elder Nelson, because he had to go home on Monday to not lose his football scholarship. It was sad because he's been a mission long friend! But I'll see him soon, since he's from Utah. The flight to Buenos Aires flew by, because I was seated next to Hermana Salerno, and we talked the whole flight.

When we got to Buenos Aires, we called President Smith from Buenos Aires Norte, and arranged a division with the elders of MicroCentro. When we arrived at the bus station in which they were waiting, I was shocked to see that "Elder Dominguez" from MicroCentro was Hermano Jorgito from Rio Gallegos!!! He had been a ward missionary while I was in the branch, and I was at his farewell talk a year earlier! It was soooooooo cool to work with him! We had a great time contacting the centro of Buenos Aires. We ended up finding a family from Bolivia. I'm praying that the elders get to their home, because they seemed very prepared. Overall, it was a great experience; Elder Dominguez (Jorgito) is going to send me the pics :D

We stayed the night in a hotel with President, and then today, after a 4 hour flight talking to a Greek dude who knew a lot about world news, we arrived in Ushuaia, where I'm currently writing. All this travel makes me think that I may want to work in the business management side of travel agencies, or hotels, or something similar. What do you think Dad?

Overall, great week! I got to share the gospel from la Patagonia to Capital Federal, and now I'll take the chance to let all you know that I know that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith is the chosen prophet of the Restoration, and that the Book of Mormon is 100% true!

FAMILY: I love you guys! Stay safe from gun toting, 33 year old children this week! I'm glad you guys are safe :) 

MOM! I love you! Thanks again for the temple cards! LOVE YOU! 

Love y'all :) - Elder Jimenez









Tuesday, January 16, 2018

AP, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 22... Maybe fun after the mission cut



Consejo went really well this week. The Inspired Training wasn't just good on paper, and didn't just GO well in Consejo. It's GOING well in the mission. We've got all the Lideres de Zona on board, and now we've got to work on the District Leaders. This could bring BIG changes for the mission, I have a feeling that were going to blow up in 2018. I might be crazy, and I'm sure my family would cringe hearing this, but if they let me, I might consider staying until my 21st birthday XD Luckily they won't let me do that, so I'll be home si o si in three months :) 

We actually had a couple moments to work in the area. Nothing too crazy happened. Just trying to always be outside the comfort zone :)

Mom, I'm glad that you're enjoying your activities this year! You've just got to get into the groove, and then it all gets easier and more enjoyable. 

I'm pumped for the transmission from Presidente Nelson today! We really do have prophets in these latter days! 

On top of Consejo, we also gave conferences in Comodoro and Trelew this week. Comodoro went really well. The trainings in Trelew were really great, but there are a lot of missionaries that we're a bit worried about up there, so the message was received with a bit less enthusiasm than in Comodoro. Igual, there were missionaries among them that took it well, and it's like the new habits that my mom has, once the missionaries get in the groove, they'll see that it's not anything too crazy, but that it's going to give us crazy success! 

So, I'm going to end with a story. Here in the mission, I started cutting my own hair with borrowed hair cutting machines. I would always cut the sides, on top, and try to hit the back, then ask my companion to finish the back off for me. Elder Farabee, Elder Richards, and Elder Popa all did a good job at cutting the back part, so, naturally, I thought that Elder Ekblad would do the same (it cant be that hard right?) So the other day, I'm cutting my hair, and I ask Elder Ekblad to come and finish off the back part. I was cutting for about 20 minutes, and had achieved a good look on the sides and top. It only took Elder Ekblad 5 seconds to shave a MASSIVE LINE IN THE BACK OF MY HEAD! Not going to lie, I was highly, highly displeased, but to my great surprise, I didn't yell at him. I didn't even say anything mean to him! I just looked at myself in the mirror, wallowed in horror for a couple seconds, and said "You should probably leave the bathroom now". 



So now, after taking my head to a highly over priced barbershop downtown, I officially have the shortest haircut that I've ever had! I felt bad too, because I had to go to Trelew looking like a trucho, and the worst part is that the cut looks really, really good. Like I think I'll cut my hair this way back home. Here in Argentina, we say "tiene la re facha, loco!", and that's what they told me. President wasn't too displeased, but he's going to kill me when we go to the next conference in Trelew, and all the missionaries have the hair cut like chorros! 

I hope you guys liked my story. The funniest stuff always happens to me... What luck I must have! To end my letter on a spiritual note, Id just like to say that I have a testimony of revelation. These past weeks have been full of it! I know that God helps us with our problems, especially when we go to Him for help. I also want to declare that I know that "charity never faileth"! Yesterday, in the meeting in Trelew, even though I didn't want to, and frankly was a bit scared to, I had to correct a bad behavior that several of the missionaries had demonstrated during the conference, and "el momento oportuno" was right there, in front of everyone. I took the microphone, and reprehended the whole Trelew zone. However, I tried to help them see that I wasn't correcting them out of hate, rather that I really do love them and want them to be the best missionaries they can be, and for that reason, I wasn't going to let them continue in the bad habit they showed without showing them the right path. The understanding and regret that I saw in those missionaries was sincere. I saw a desire to change in them. Jesus Christ is our perfect example, and the Book of Mormon is true. If we learn to apply the principles that the Savior taught, and to apply the divine wisdom that it found in the Book of Mormon, we will have success! I applied the charity this week, and although other occasions that I have had to correct haven't been as pleasant, the other day in Trelew was a beautiful experience. AGUANTE LA VERDAD! 

Family! I love you guys! We're getting really close! Not trunky doh... MOM, I LOVE YOU!

LOVE Y'ALL! - Elder Jimenez

Showing off the new, way too short for missionary 
but maybe would be fun to have after the mission, cut 







Monday, January 8, 2018

AP, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 21...

Hey everybody :)

Alright, before starting this week, I promised Dad last week that I wouldn't forget to talk about what I did for New Year's Eve. The family that we originally planned to pass the new year with changed plans on us, and initially, on New Year's Eve, we didn't have anyone to pass the night with. However, when we got to the capilla, a menos activo named Jose had come to church. He's a 60 year old man that lives alone, and I had made a friendship with him while I was a Zone Leader. I started talking to him, and he told me that he didn't have anyone pass the night with either, and invited me, Elder Ekblad, and the two elders that live with us to pass the night with him. So that night, we went to his house. It was a really little place, and he only had 2 working lights in the house: the dining room and the bathroom. He had cooked in the dark! The majority of the walls of the house were just blankets nailed to the frame of the house. It was kind of sad, but Jose just has a great spirit! He had made a pig for dinner, and it was WAY good! I felt really happy that we got to pass the night with him, not only because we didn't end up alone, but especially because he didn't have to start the New Year alone, which was the best part. It was an awesome New Years! 

New Year's with Jose 

Anyways, this week was busy as always, but a good week overall. It was actually a really boring week, we pretty much just worked in the office and got out to work a bit each day. We have a lot of office work in this moment, because President Salerno had a mid-mission crisis, and this year he is gonna start busting rear ends to get people working, and is pretty much changing the mentality of his leadership. I think it's going to be really good for the mission, but now Consejo (that's going to be this Wednesday) is suuuuuuper packed with new stuff. So we've been working our tails off to get ready. Last night, when we finally defined what Elder Ekblad and I are going to talk about, we received some serious revelation. We were the last ones in the office, 10 at night, in President's office, with his whiteboard FULL of ideas and thoughts, and after putting ourselves to work things out for 3 hours, the plans came. The Spirit opened our minds, and we've got some new plans for the mission that I really think are going to change this place! I looked at the whiteboard after having done all that thinking with Elder Ekblad, and I said to him "Elder, in my 5 months in the office, I think this is by far that greatest thing we've ever thought of" SO I'M PUMPED! 

Yesterday, before the "high revelation" moment, we actually had made a road trip with President Salerno. He needed to go to Pico Truncado to apartar a new missionary that's going to Bolivia, and then we actually brought her to Comodoro, where she'll catch a flight to Lima on Tuesday. Hermana Salerno didn't come, because President's mom is currently visiting, and they can't leave her alone in the house, so when President picked us up, I said only three words to him: "Guys. Road trip." XD He always calls his truck the "oficina movil" (mobile office) but yesterday I told him that for the day it was going to be the "mancave movil" (mobile mancave) XD It was sick to pass some time with President, because hes sooooo busy that it's usually all business, and even though we talked about business that majority of the time, it was still fun to be just the three of us on the 3 hour trip to Pico. The only downside was that we had to wake up early! 

Overall, it was a pretty good week. This Wednesday is Consejo, and after Consejo, the madness starts again. Consejo, Reunion de Zona Comodoro, Reunion de Zona Trelew, Reunion de Zona Rio Gallegos, BUENOS AIRES PAPÁ! (this time only with President, o sea, GUYS NIGHT), Tierra del Fuego Zone Conf, Buenos Aires ronda 2 (we might get to go to the temple. I WOULD DIE OF HAPPINESS) and when we finally get home (meaning to Comodoro, not home to his mama!), traslados, sending the retornos home, welcoming the newbies, and it all starts over again. No rest for the weary! 

FAMILY! I love you guys so much! I've been extra grateful for you guys in my prayers this week. I'm so blessed to have a direct family like you guys, and add on top of that two awesome sides of the family, that are both super strong in the gospel, and that's all a spirit can ask for. I'm sure that when I opened my call to life in the premortal realms, everyone was wayyyy jealous! It's like I always say, I won the spiritual lottery! 

MOM! I'm so glad that work is going well for you, I love you so, so much. Can't believe I'm going to put this in my weekly mail, but not gonna lie, the thought that "I'm always going to be a mamma's boy" actually crossed my mind this week XD I LOVE YOU! 

Saludos a todos desde el fin del mundo (greetings to everyone from the end of the world!)
 
- Elder Jimenez


Some of the fotos from like 3 weeks ago from Punta Tombo that I can't believe I never sent to you guys. I've also got some pics of some really cute baby penguins, but those are for after the mish ;)





Teriyaki shrimp with zucchini noodles, yeah man, WE BE COOKIN' DOWN HEAH




Monday, January 1, 2018

AP, Zona Comodoro Norte - Week 20... Happy New Year!

Feliz año a todos! 

Pretty crazy that we're already in 2018, no? Nikki would know, but in the MTC, they give you this card that had your start date and your release date on it, and I remember being in my room at the MTC, and looking at that card, and thinking "Fah, 2018 is so far away!" And now we're here! How crazy! Not gonna lie that last night, I couldn't avoid the thought that coming home is getting close... I'm not trunky at all, but its just crazy to see it actually coming closer. I remember starting December with Elder Popa, and now December's over! I think when we finish January, I'm still going to feel like I've got some time left XD You just don't accept reality as a missionary! The other day, I was filling out paperwork, and one of the forms asked for my age, and I put 18, AND I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE! I just kept filling it out, and a couple minutes later, I was like "Oh wait, I have 20 years, not 18" XD Coming home is gonna be like waking up from a sweet dream... 

Aaaaanyways, now that weve passed that super trunky moment, I hope you guys had a great New Year's Eve! It was funny, because Elder Ekblad told me that he always passed New Year's in a party with his friends, and was a bit surprised when I told him that I pass every year with you guys :) I wouldn't give up that bucket throwing, merengue listening, puzzle building (even though I never help XD), fiesta for anything! This year is going to such a crazy year of my life, but I've got a good feeling

This week is pretty much a blur for me... It's coming back to me little by little... I remember that at the start of the week, the gringos finally arrived to the mission. They seem like good missionaries :) We spent Monday welcoming them and getting them settled in (Christmas Day... thus my 2 hour late Skype call), Tuesday training them and the Trainers Training (which is one of my favorite trainings to give, because we do a sick practice). It was really weird because I always gave that training with Elder Popa, but this time I gave the training TO Elder Popa. So that was weird XD Wednesday and Thursday were spent shuttling the newbies to tramites and the terminal to get them out and to their areas. It was nice to get to know them, and like I mentioned before, they seem like really nice people. 

One of the trainers is currently living with us, so we've got a trainee also living with us, which is fun. He's a gringo, but we don't speak English to him at all, and he looks confused the whole time! It's nuts to see a kid fresh out of high school. It makes me see how I was, and how much I've changed and grown here in the mission. Family, just get ready to get to know me again, because I'm the same old Elder Jimenez, but at the same time no. We'll just have to see...

The rest of the week was spent doing changitas for Presidente. We were able to come up with a plan in which the office elders can actually keep an area up and running. The plan is that we're all going to work in the same area, and keep a really clean Area Book to coordinate our efforts. It's nice, because even if Elder Ekblad and I find an investigator, but then we leave for a month (like we do every transfer), the other oficinistas will be able to keep teaching that person. So we're excited for that! 

I have 2 big experiences that happened this week. We'll start with the mas o menos negative one, that ended up being positive. So, we were contacting in our new area, and had a couple of really sweet contacts, when we run into a man, and stop to contact him. We were offering to show a video, and he said "I'm a Christian Preacher, and am not in accordance with several of the beliefs of your church, for example the belief of becoming gods. I believe in Jesus Christ, so if it has to do with any of those beliefs of yours, I prefer not to watch" The video was Gracias a El, so it wasn't anything too crazy, and he decided to watch. After showing him the video, we asked him what he thought, and he proceeded to give a 1 hour, Bible based lecture. The worst part though was that he tore us apart! Usually, the pastors down here know the Bible a bit, but they base themselves 90% in 2 scriptures that are super easy to see why there's a flaw in their teaching, but they don't let us explain it to them because they just talk. All the other times I had run into preachers, it had been really easy to shake off the doubt that they tried to instill in me. However, this man was different. His knowledge of the Bible was INCREDIBLE. Essentially, in an hour, he picked apart several of the main points of our doctrine (he knew our doctrine super well, because he had studied with other missionaries various times, and had done research. The guy would threw around words like "Pearl of Great Price" and "Doctrine and Covenants" and that's when we knew he was legit), reciting literally more than 30 different verses of the Bible, and using them in ways that actually made a lot of sense. His doctrine was super sound. And the worst part was that he actually asked us great questions, and gave us time to think and talk, but we didn't have anything. Add on top of that, and I'd say that this is actually the worst part, but I actually felt love on his part. Most of the other preachers come and they just want to tear us apart and make us feel bad, but I felt that this guy was actually worried about our salvation. 

After that contact, I felt like trash. I noticed how much of the scriptures I don't know, nor understand. I felt bad because I'm a missionary with 21 months in the mission, but my knowledge of what I'm teaching is still totally novice. I feel like I failed the scripture that says "Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men". I was sooooo unprepared to meet that man, and I felt bad because sometimes, one is in the mission, and feels like they already know kind of everything, and you get comfy, and even though I still study every day, my studies are not well planned sometimes, and sometimes I come out of them without having learned much. After the contact with the pastor, I noticed how horribly unprepared I still am, and the worst part was that he gave me a new, terrible feeling: doubt. His doctrine was soooo sound, and everything he had said made sense. That was on Saturday. All Saturday night and Sunday morning, I felt depressed, because I was seriously questioning if I was in the truth or no. If all of this turns out to be a mistaken path, would I be able to change my beliefs? All my life I've been taught to believe these things, and I even feel like I have my own testimony, but if it all were a lie, would I be able to tell? Could it be that all this is a suuuuper sinister scheme of the adversary, to lull us into a mistaken path by making it seem like the right one? I couldn't stop thinking. However, after thinking, and praying, and more than anything worrying, at the end of Sacrament meeting yesterday, an inspired thought came to mind. "That man contradicted everything I believe using the Bible. However, there are thousands of churches in the world, all of which have other doctrines, and other men that also know the Bible cover to cover, that could easily Bible bash with that man, and also continue contradicting what I believe. So you'd have endless beliefs, all contradicting each other with the same book, and all at the same time contradicting what I believe, and like I said, all using one book: the Bible. Any man that believes that a God that loves us enough to sacrifice his Only Begotten Son to save us would then turn around and give us a book that has to be followed correctly to gain His salvation, but that also causes a ton of confusion, and that, according to all the other churches on the planet, only allows the 1% of the people who magically have the right interpretation to be saved is not a very logical, nor wise, nor spiritual man. It makes a ton of sense then, that to accompany that book of instructions, God would give us "the second witness" to help us find the correct path, and as the Book of Mormon says, that the Bible and the Book of Mormon will grow together, support one another, and put an end to the contention and false doctrine." The thought was enlightening, and I believe that the promise that President Monson gave last April, that the Book of Mormon would help us to conquer fear and doubt, was made reality for me to end 2017. 

Due to the HUGENESS of this letter, I'm going to save the other experience for another time. But I just want to let all of you know, that entering into this new year of 2018, I want you all to know that I KNOW THAT THE BOOK OF MORMON IS THE WORD OF GOD! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior! He loves us! Take the New Year's goals that actually mean something to you, knock, and HE WILL ANSWER, and He will help you make 2018, and all the coming years, the best years of our lives. 

FAMILY: I hope y'all can finish reading this letter by 2019 XD It was awesome to see you guys on Christmas, and we'll be seeing each other soon :) 

MOM! Keep up the good work at school. I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT! 

Love, Elder Jimenez :)