Sunday, February 8, 2015

Coming Home

The state of his shoes: destroyed! See the holes?

 The state of his heart: happy and sad.
(Getting packed up for the last time in Mexico. We left some clothing behind that others can use but that he can't use any longer.)

Backing away from the Mexico City Airport...bittersweet moments. A tear or two may have been shed.

 All the loved ones who came to support him at his return to his home ward...a lovely day.

Monday, January 12, 2015

"I don't want to go!"‏


This is my last week as a missionary. It's a very bittersweet feeling. As the end draws nigh, however, I find myself feeling more at peace, as if land were coming from over the sea. It's odd, looking back, when I had just a few months, screaming in my head: "I WON'T LAST EVEN A MONTH OUT HERE! I CAN'T DO IT! I WANT TO GO!" And now I, here, with 23.5 months, realize: "...I don't want to go!"

The progress I've had, the growth and the love I've felt, the people I've met and the foods I've eaten (yes, even the crickets) - all of that calls to me, and I say: thank you, God, for having been so loving to have sent me to this beautiful country. Sure, there are problems - but where doesn't? I love the work I've been able to do, the things I've learned. I could try to put them in a list, but I would fail. Too great are the blessings I've received in Mexico.

As I now say, I was raised in the United States; I grew up in Mexico.

But enough melancholy; hay que trabajar! Placentero me es trabajar en la viña del gran rey Jesús, y honroso me es predicar a su pueblo su ley y su luz. ¡Por su luz! ¡Por su luz! ¡Placentero me es trabajar! Por su luz, por su luz, moriré yo en él sin pesar. (Himnos, #88)

Life is good.

Thank you all for all your help, love, and support over these last two years. We'll see you all soon!

Con gran amor,

Elder Newman

P.S. Here's a picture of me shooting a bow and arrow today.

Monday, January 5, 2015

When I begin selecting who to send the email to, I type "Everyone" and it selects everyone.‏

I've been wanting to tell y'all that for so long now. And I finally have.

So, how was New Year's? Great! We watched 17 miracles, which was great, we played a bit of soccer, which was also great, my companion gave me a peruvian soccer jersey, which was also great, and I drew quite a bit.

I'm also very happy that the New Testament will be the book of study this year. I got excited about it when I found it out - and I'll be glad to get out of gospel principles soon. It's a nice class, but still..

So, down to the important stuff:

On Friday, we were waiting for a trasnport to take us over to the meal. However, it passed and I didn't flag it down - so, I thought, "Let's go contact more people. we're a little early anyways". (Pardon my awful grammar). We start going around the block, when a man shouts at us and signals for us to come over. As we draw near, he bagins telling us about him - turns out, he's already a member. Just as we're aobut to go, however, the owner of the house - he just works there - comes out. Within two sentences or so, she's already invited us in to chat with her some more about the gospel. We invite her to Church, she accepts, along with her daughters, and we finish setting an appointment for the next day and head out. We got to the meal late, but that's another story that's not so interesting.

The next day, we decide to teach the Restoration of the Gospel. When we get to the part about Joseph Smith, she tells us, "I've heard that name before. About three or four years ago, I had a dream where I heard that name. I had no idea who it was or what it meant, but now I know." Subsequently, we invited her to be baptized on the 18th, and she accepted. All that's left now is to work with the members and her and her daughter to get them all baptized by then. Things are looking very good for them, especially considering the circumstances.

Elizabeth, Alexa, and Christian are their names. They all came to church yesterday, too. So, here's hoping and praying that all goes well!


Elder Joseph Newman

P.S. We lit a floating lamp that you write a wish on. It went up about 5-10 meters, then fell into our nieghboor's back yard. Oh well - at least I got the photo!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Horizon of 2015‏

So, all the non-protected pictures on my memory card were erased on Christmas, so I don't really have any pictures to send y'all right now. However, I plan on getting those back as soon as I get home. Thank goodness for knowing the tricks to computers! (Although if anyone wants to look up "How to recover files with Command Prompt" on google and send me the instructions, that'd be nice, too. I'd like to know how to do that.)

Anyways, Christmas was just about the most amazing Christmas ever (great skype call, diligence, great visits, amazing new CD, etc. etc.). Christmas Eve was also really good - we watched Frozen (in Spanish), and I really want to watch it again (but in English because I couldn't really understand the songs. Gotta practice that some more).

Yesterday was also really good - we got our JW-atheist friend and his mom to church! The mother is fantastic - she's already up to 1 Nefi 8, and participated so well in the Relief Society class that the president asked which ward she was from. It was her first time there, too! They're going to progress a ton. At least, the Mom will.

Something that I hope helped the son, J, out a bit was the video we watched in Church during Gospel Principles. It's called Finding Faith in Christ, and it's really beautiful. The main song is stuck in my head right now, but that's okay, since it's helping me remember the video. I really want to get to know Christ more and more and more, and I believe that I know a lot more about him than I did 2 years ago. I've still got a lot to learn, but that's okay - that's why we're here. To always learn and to always progress. I kinda suppose that's why I like to always have something going on, because if nothing's happening, I get really bored and don't feel like anything's progressing. Although sleep, in appropriate measures, is progress.

2015... back when I was starting the mission, some Elders called in "two-thousand never". And it's finally here. It's quite hard to believe, really. Just 2 more measly days  in 2014, and I'm in what could be one of the biggest years of my life! Although 2013 and 2014 will be really hard to beat.

And I've been craving that cake for so long now (the cake we traditionally make for his birthday). I've really missed that. Aaaand... well, I really enjoyed the Skype was quite fantastic for me. It really got me excited for the work again, since I had such a hard time to explain how grateful I was for the mission and as I bore my testimony.  I'm really glad that those calls don't really affect me that much - one poor sister in the district hadn't even begun her call and was already crying. (She's the first missionary her parents have sent out, being the oldest, and she's in mexico, and she's a daughter, they're in the US... I'm sure you can imagine how it is.) No, the Skype calls my entire mission have actually quite helped me each time I've done them. They help me get some more self-confidence and they help me to feel a little bit better about myself, which, in turn, helps me be a little bit more focused. Afterwards, we had a spiritual thought with the family we were with, and then we went and at KFC for lunch at a member's home. It was a great Christmas. 

What else is there? 

And as for getting home... you do all the plans, and we'll see what goes on from there. All I know is that we're going to visit some of my old areas a lot. But I'll probably share those plans with you and Dad when you get here, if I have them made by that point. All I know is that on Monday, I'd like to spend it in Zócalo, with the other missionaries that head over there.

Well, that's about it for now! Thanks for all your help, support, and prayers that have supported me so much in these last two years!

Con amor,

Elder Newman Mexicano

Monday, December 22, 2014

So... Christmas is this week‏


Well, M, who I should've clarified isn't my convert (but still a good friend), is doing quite well; all I did was interview him, baptize him, and go for a couple of rides in his white 2014 BMW something or another which is really nice and can climb to 100 KM/hr in about 3 seconds. (And it drives really smooth, as I could feel in the shotgun seat. It's fancy.)  J doesn't really seem to be progressing as much (I think he thinks this is all just a big joke, but we'll see about that...); on my birthday, I didn't do too much, and Elder B is doing quite fine. He's really interested to see what Christmas is like away from home. Also, I got news today that my package has arrived... I should be getting it around New Year's Eve. Of course, I won't be able to wait the day to open it, maybe, so I'll probably just open it when we get to our house that night. But we'll see.

Aaand... well, not much else happened this week. I've had far more edifying studies recently, although all the people going all sorts of places for Christmas and abandoning the streets isn't really all that great. I'd kinda like it to stop, really.

Also, in regards to cake... I request my tyraditional birthday cake, please. The chocolate/cherry one. I was going to make that for myself, but in the end, I was too poor to buy the ingredients. Sadface.

Oh, well. And we also had the Christmas conference, and we watched Meet the Mormons - the only mission in all Mexico that's been allowed to do that. It helps that the Public Relations officer for the Church down here is a Stake President and really good friends with President Whitehead :D

Why can't I type write?

...Why can't I English?

So, some members knew it was my birthday on Saturday:

​...And this happened. This was on Wednesday. On Saturday, the other family also knew, and the father, the Hno. Cuevas, a very, very kind man, helped me enjoy that day a lot more. So that was good.

And I've only got a month left in the field. That doesn't make me very happy... but oh well. (Almost) all good things must come to an end.

And... well, this is my last Christmas in the field. I forgot to draw y'all a card this time, but there is one thing I'd like to say:

Christ is real. Christmas is real. The Book of Mormon is true. I had the blessing to read the Books of Helaman and 3rd Nephi in December - the prophecy of his birth as recorded in Helaman of 2 days and one night with no darkness; his birth in 3rd Nephi 1, and his coming to the Americas starting in 3 Nefi 11. (Nefi is Nephi, but in Spanish.) That belief is now so embedded in me that I can't doubt it. It's too good, too hopeful, to be false. And it's wonderful.

I hope that each and every single one of you can enjoy this Christmas, and get just a little bit closer to Christ, in one way or another.

It will help you more than you can imagine, with time.

With love,

Elder Newman

Monday, December 15, 2014

There is no subject‏


Anyways, I baptized someone yesterday. His name is M. The joven standing next to him is Jorge, an investigator we're working with. We found him on Monday. He's atheist-JW. It's an... interesting combination. He's atheist, but all his background on religion comes from the JWs. We're trying to get his parents involved so that we can get the full family baptized.

Anyways, things are moving along - I've already gotten along really well with Elder B. I need to go to Peru someday - it's really easy for me to get along with them. And all my peruvian companions have been huge Dragon Ball Z fans... so that's interesting. I'll have to see it some day.

Yeah, it surprises me, too, how little time I've got left in the field. These last six weeks, my goal is to work even harder than I have in the past - to not leave me any time to get homesick and to be able to say, "Yes, I gave it my all." 

Anyways, things are moving along here. I'm almost consistently tired, though, so I'm not too happy about that. Supposedly, it happens to everyone. And as for other stuff... well, there's not really all that much. Although I did descend into the waters of baptism, though - that was exciting.  And I speak really bad spanglish, and for some reason, my spanish has deteriorated. Pero, se está recuperando. Eso es bueno (But it is recovering. That is good.).

I'm really going to miss Méxcio - but that's why I've got to do even more now.


Elder Newman Mexicano

Monday, December 8, 2014

El Fin Se Acerca‏ (The End Is Coming)

y hay poco tiempo. Debéis publicar lo que Dios os mandó. Salid, pues, hermanos, con fe proclamando que Dios, de nuevo, su reino fundó. (and there is little time. You must publish what God has commanded you. Come, brethren, faithfully proclaiming God, again, his kingdom founded.)

That's a hymn - "The Time is Far Spent"

Anyways, we had transfers today! He is Elder B, from Peru!

​He's only got three months in the mission, but he's super animado (lively) and is ready to work hard - just the companion I wanted for my last transfer! He's exactly what I wanted, in fact! Latino, animado, trabajador (worker), enfocado (focused) - perfecto para un misionero viejo (perfect for an old missionary). Also, his family is just like mine - Mom, Dad, 5 sons, not a single daughter. The only difference is that I'm the eldest and he's the youngest - he's older than me by almost exactly two months, though. So that's pretty fun.

I'm not sorry for the spanglish.

So yes, I'm now at the last run of my mission. 6 weeks left - they've got to be good. That's my goal - to finish off strong, working hard, undistracted, yet satisfied.

Thanks for all your support, everyone!


Elder Newman Mexicano