Monday, December 30, 2013

¡Feliz año!‏

Well, Christmas went better than I'd expected. On Christmas Eve, we were allowed to watch "Rise of the Guardians" and "Monsters BYU" I mean "Monsters University." While I was watching the first, I was paying a little bit more attention to the animation than the movie itself, and I was thinking, "Oh, I gotta be a part of this!" Later, during Monsters, I couldn't help but notice how good everything looked there as well. Pixar's animation has improved greatly. Unfortunately, nobody wanted to talk about the animation afterwards, just the movies. Lame.

I'm pretty sure my decision to be an animator can't be changed anymore. It hasn't been changed in over a year, so that's a pretty good sign.

I'm glad you enjoyed the Skype call, Mom! About the pencils, I FINALLY FOUND THEM! A little expensive, yes, but probably cheaper than sending them in mail. By that, I mean if you want to send me more pencils, you can - I have 6B, 4B, 2B, HB, 2H, 4H, and 6H. So if it's not any of those pencils, I will more than gladly accept them.

Anyways... the pueblo was absolutely dead on Christmas and the 26, too. There was nobody in the streets, and it took us forever to find a taxi to take us back home at night. So I'm expecting New Year's to be pretty much the same. And it helps to know that the stuff in the journal was forgettable - it means I probably didn't miss anything. I hope y'all enjoyed your time with Jacob - I'm  sure he's realized, just like I did, just how valuable the time with the family is and how rare it becomes after we reach that point in life.

Anyways, about the things I've been doing recently.

Last night, was pretty good.

We'd had an appointment with a less active family in a small town a little far from Atlacomulco. We got into the Taxi, and the guy tried to help us find their street, but in the end, we couldn't find it. going off of what someone else had said, he dropped us off at an elementary school. As Elder Riveros and I began to try to figure out how to get to their house, the taxista backed up and signalled for us to come over.

"I was curious of where it was, so then I went looking for it and found it. Hop in! I'll take you over there." So he did and he dropped us off at the street. We found her apartment, knocked the door, got in, and then the family gathered together.

Then we taught the lesson to the less active family. Being the first time we'd found them (the sister was very nice in guiding us to her house - no trickery nor any of that! She also didn't turn us away, say she didn't want anythign to do with the church, didn't say she was still Catholic, and all sorts of other helpful things), Elder Riveros and I decided to teach them lesson one. so, we did.

At first, I felt like we'd been rushing it - or perhaps better said, messing it up. We briefly explained the first three principles, then explained the earthly ministry of the Savior a little bit more detailed. We then reched the Great Apostasy, and we spent more time on it than normal, explaining how God had known it was to happen and how things had been corrupted and changed and that the reformers tried to fix it all up, but without the guidance of God, they only managed to cause more confusion, especially in the United States. We then threw in a short video of the Restoration.

The video itself was very powerful, but even more powerful were the questions we made afterwards.

We asked the Mother how she'd felt, and told us that the part about the Great Apostasy really impacted her. She hadn't remembered all the details nor that all that stuff had happened - nor that God wasn't surprised about the Apostasy at all, and that even in the old testament they'd known it was going to happen. I was surprised - I thought we'd spent too long explaining that.

We then asked her older daughter how she'd felt during the video. She said that she'd felt like she was in Joseph Smith's position - she too, was very confused about religion. She wasn't sure which was the truth, since her father is from one relgion and her relatives on her Mom's side are from another. I could tell that she was seriously confused and concerned about the subject. I quickly opened to Moroni 10:3-5 (for those of you who might not know what it says there, you can find it online at and read her the verses. I then bore my testimony, that I know that God will answer our questions about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, because I too have done so. I've asked God as well to receive my own personal witness if the Book of Mormon is the truth, and he has told me unmistakably "Yes." I then promised to each and every person in that room that they too can know - they just need to kneel and pray to God and ask him if it really is true. I then felt the Spirit touch me, and I felt my own conviction in my testimony. It was fantastic.

We then noticed it was almost 9:00, so we wrapped things up and headed out. As we were walking to find a taxi to take us back to Atlacomulco, a taxi stopped nearby. The driver was the same driver that had taken us over to that part of town, so we hopped in. Since it was the third time we'd crossed paths, I contacted him (something I should've done the first time we crossed paths). I'm positive God has something planned for him, otherwise we would't have found him not just twice, but three times.

Anyways, I've got to go, but I'm not saying goodbye - I'm just waiting until the next time! (Something one of our investigators always says.)

Thanks for all your support,

Elder Newman

Monday, December 23, 2013

I Was Going to Send Something...

... a video of me, my companion, and one of the Elders in my District playing-singing "O Holy Night" at the Christmas conference we had on my Birthday, but then G-Mail was like "BOO YOU! IT EXCEEDS 25 MB!"

I then promptly responded "OK" because that was the only option available to me.

The reason why it's so special is because I was playing the violin. Not Lindsey Sterling level, but more like "20-year-old that practiced about 3 days after not playing the violin for about 5 years more or less" level. Which is actually semi-decent - good enough that the missionaries were shouting "AGAIN!"

That all came about because I told the President in my interview with him that I would like to play a special number with my companion in the Ward, then he asked if I could play, I said yes, and then I asked if we could play in the conference, he said yes and gave me permission to play during the week. I then arranged with one of the members in the ward to let me borrow his violin - which is amazing that anyone in the ward even has a violin. We got it tuned up, I practiced, and then I played only 3-ish sour notes in the performance! So that was fun. I really enjoyed being able to perform with the violin again, and if we have time, I'm going to go play it again today. And on Christmas. And every P-Day while I'm still in Atlacomulco. Really, it was a miracle that the song came out as well as it did.

Anyways, because I can't give you the video, here's a cool little Christmas card I drew today:

I can't cursive. But yeah, there's a ton of symbolism in the Star of Christmas.

Well... That's about it for this week. Tomorrow we get to watch movies with the rest of the missionaries - Monsters University, I've been told, and another one which I'm not sure about. So that'll be really weird to watch while as a Missionary.

Yeah, and about that Christmas package...

The postal system got into it, regardless of the double last name and "lic." that Dad always throws on there. Next step: throw on pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe. You can find it online.

BUT DO NOT FEAR NOT ALL WAS LOST! I got my journal (they ripped out the note that you'd written in it...), the CD, the mini Book of Mormon, and I think that's all there was. The drawing supplies - gone. And if you sent a mini PME that's gone too. (Family photo album was also stolen.)

BUT THAT'S OKAY BECAUSE HEAVENSONG IS A FANTASTIC ALBUM! :D I'd just like to know what the note said...

Well, that's about it. Thanks for all your support, prayers, and other things you may or may not do for me.

¡Que cada uno de ustedes tengan una gran Navidad! (May each of you have a great Christmas!)

Elder Newman

P.S. Proof I played the violin:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Well That Was Fun

Small towns that we visit frequently: 2, really. Acambay and Santiago Acutzilapan. They're both about 40 minutes away from Atlacomulco, and there are other pueblos that we visit on occasion. Well, Santiago Acutzilapan we don't visit that much, really. We spend most of our time in Atlaco and Acambay. 

Typical day:

6:30 wake up, do exercise, chower, make breakfast.
8:00 Personal study. Right now, I spend half an hour reading Preach my Gospel and the other half hour reading the Book of Mormon.
9:00 Companioniship study. We study things that we feel we can improve on as a companionship, share what we learned, and read the missionary manual. We also plan lessons and important things.
10:00 Language study. I help my companion learn English while I try to find something new about Spanish. Kinda hard.
10:30 Out to work. We typically don't have any appointments in the morning, so this is when we go look for where people live, draw in the downtown, and get other necessary tasks done.
2:00 is when we eat for an hour. Lately it's been caldo de pollo. Getting kinda tired of it, but that's okay.
Then it's the afternoon, when we typically have all our appointments and all the visits that are fixed.
During the whole day, whenever we're on buses and taxis going from one place to another, we try to contact the driver or the passengers to try and get some more investigators. During the day, we visit everyone, from members to less active members to investigators.
9:00 we go home, plan, and get ready for bed, and by
10:30, I like to be in bed, trying to sleep.

And that's my day!

Also, I might be able to play the vioplin today, if we've got time (I sure hope so).

Anyways, Acambay is doing... okay. The family home evenings are helping, but the people's Catholic roots go suuuuuper deep. When the members first moved to Acambay, in fact, the people there caused a lot of problems for them just for not being Catholic. Pretty scary stuff, in fact, but it's calmed down quite a bit - the Lord blessed them a ton with their agriculture, and now the people go to them to buy some things. One family grows tomatoes there, something all the locals had said was impossible. They got a little bit of respect for that. So yeah, I'm thinking it may be a couple months.

Anyways, in regards to things out here, we've got a baptism planned for the same day when we've got a special Christmas conference and my BIRTHDAY! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D His name's Mario; he's about 80 or something like that. He loves everything about the Church, and he's trying to get his family members to join in on the fun, too!

I've got less than a week left of being a teenager! ...FINALLY. Man, that was tough, but hey, on to the next level, right? How much harder can level 20 be than level 19? Or 13? (Watch me eat my words - also, for those who don't know, I complete on the 20th)(Lol spanish)

But now I don't have time I just wanted to share the good news and now I bid y'all farewell


Elder Newman

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dec. 9, 2013

Interesting thing... I'm starting to feel the "cold" of México. And I don't like that, because up in Idaho, y'all would be wearing shorts in this weather, as the members give it hard to me for not putting on a cold-weather coat and I'm like "THIS ISN'T COLD C'MON PEOPLE!" and then I'm like, "Fine, I'll put on my coat BUT ONLY SO YOU'LL STOP PLANCHING (bugging) ME." So then I started putting on my light coat and now the members are saying I need to cover my mouth so the cold air doesn't do me any damage.


Anyways, in other news, I got two packages last week! The one with the Ensign and the Christmas package. And I loved them both! Continue to love, in fact. The gummy worms, however, didn't even last an hour and I'm striving to save the Reese's for Christmas. Let's see how long I hold up. Also, I absolutely love the CD. It sounds amazing, and I can't wait to make those Peanut Butter Cookies.

I saw the Christmas Devotional - how beautiful it was! I loved the parts where Elder Nelson was surrounded by the children and they were singing. An investigator we had there, named Mario, was enchanted by the broadcast as well. I love all the people we're working with out here in Atlaco - they're all so kind and loving, and they all have a strong testimony. Mario's going to get baptized soon, and he's already planning on bringing all his family to church as well.

We're beginning to see a lot of work in a pueblo called Acambay, so I'm happy for that. Elder Riveros and I have a goal of seeing a Branch put in over there, but in order to do that, we need to break the false tradition of nobody ever beeing baptized in that Pueblo - all the members over there were baptized in other parts of the country  - or the United States. But that's okay - we've got everything set up to see the growth of the Lord's kingdom over there, and we're setting up even more!

Thanks for all your support, love, and care! Enjoy that magical white powder for me! I miss the stuff!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Interesting Week‏

On Friday night, I was feeling really sick - couldn't get to sleep, nor any kind of rest, and my stomach was killing me. I asked my companion for a priesthood blessing. During the blessing, my stomach started twisting and turning, and I knew I was going to throw up. I thought to myself, "Do I try to wait for the blessing to end or do I just interrupt it?" I think about it for three seconds, then I realize that either I'm going to have to interrupt it or I'm going to spew all over my companion. Deciding to take the less messy route, I shout "HURRY UP HURRY UP HURRY UP!" reach for the bucket....(some content removed--a little too much information!). That was the start of a long night.

The next day, I finally get to sleep then wake up (after having thrown up a second time...), and we head over to the Doctor's office (after several attempts to call her). She gives me a shot right above the hip, and then demands that I stay in the house all day. I then learn a very important lesson: sleeping is very important when sick, and doing work is key to happiness. It's like the local soccer coach told his team on Friday: No work is needed for temporary pleasure, whereas for longlasting joy, we need to work for it.

And kicking and breaking glass feels awesome. Long story. We had permission. (They got locked out of their apartment, and after getting permission from the landlord, kicked the glass window in.)

Also, the Book of Mormon has such beautiful language in it! That's one thing I've learned recently. As Elder Riveros said, sometimes it looks and sounds a little bit like poetry. So true.  I'm just going to share two scriptures with you now, that I think display just how beautiful the language in the Book of Mormon is. I'm only going to type one of them, however. First is 2 Nephi 25:26. Second is Alma 30:44: "...All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which do move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." I just LOVE that verse!

Also, doc says I might have a wearing away of cartilage in my knees, which would explain why they've been hurting for the past X months. I wanted to get a more detailed analysis though, just to make sure that's what's going on. Who knows, though.

With a burning in the stomach from disease and a burning in the heart from testimony,

Elder Newman