Monday, January 20, 2014

The Hand of the Lord in a Pueblo almost nobody has ever heard of


Well, I'm sure that you remember the goal I said about the Acambay (if not, I want to see a branch over there in that pueblo real soon), and I'm super happy to say that the Bishopric has the EXACT SAME GOAL AS I DO. The best part - Neither Elder Riveros nor I mentioned this goal to the bishopric. We went to a Family Home Evening over there and the Bishop said, "Well, welcome to the first meeting of the Acambay Family Group (Which comes before a Branch)!" He said it somewhat jokingly, but then in Ward Council, he mentioned that by the end of 2014 (preferably sooner), the Bishopric wants Acambay and Atlacomulco to be strong enough to be able to divide.

It's going to happen.

On Thursday, one of the assistants (Elder Emch, my old companion) and Zone Leaders came to help out the area. I went with Elder Emch, and we went over to Acambay. We did a lot of good things over there - taught and contacted some people, helped them out a bit, and when it came time to end the divisions (or splits, where companionships switch for a day) Elder Emch and I went over to the downtown to look for a less active member over there. As we were walking, a lady stops us and says, "I was baptized into the Church." She wanted to present us to all her family, and so we arranged that all up. The thing is, when we found her, we were supposed to be in that FHE. Were it not for the seemingly unplanned divisions that day, it probably would've taken a much longer time to find the sister. She brought her aunt and her cousin to Church on Sunday; she has more family over there that may be interested as well.

There's also a family of three that we're going to baptize up there - and, according to the members in Acambay, they will be the first people in Acambay baptized in the history of the Church there. This is going to get them just as, if not more than, excited am.

This and other miracles in Acambay that we've experienced, that we're experiencing, and will experience. I'm just super happy to be a part of this.

I love the mission so much right now. I have less than a year left now - in fact, a year from tomorrow, I might be landing in snowy Idaho. A scary thought, to be honest - but I know that this next coming year is going to be the best out of the two. I'm getting more into my stride, and I'm finding myself improving, if just a little bit, every day. More sensitivity to the Spirit, more ability to follow Him, more hope, more faith, more desire - I think I've finally met the missionary I want to be. I just need to be sure that I continue to know him better and assimilate him into me. Prayer, fasting, faith, study, and all that will help me out. I'm looking for the small things that I might not be doing best - maybe some small obedience issue (keeping my desk clean) (taking out the trash) (things like that) that will affect the bigger things. Studying the Book of Mormon (looking for references to Christ) or other scriptures on the busses rather than lazing around (letting my mind wander) (sleeping's okay; I need it). Exercising in the morning. Sleeping on time. Staying focused. All things that I'm working on, and things I'm progressing on as well. I'm improving, I see progress, and that makes me happy!

I studied Hope today, with the... well, hope that it'd help me develop that attribute. I then realized, "Silly you, you're just a bright ball of hope!" And then I thought, well, time to look for something else and keep my hope up.

Well, I've got my other e'mails to write, so I hope all goes well for all of you and we'll see each other soon! Thanks for your support!

Elder Newman

Monday, January 13, 2014


A few months-ish ago, I said that I wanted to see a lot of progress in a small town called Acambay. Well, we've got a really good family of 3 that we're teaching up there, and on top of that, we're getting a lot more work done up there! But as we were teaching someone in a small town called Ganzda, it occurred to me that some people won't be able to make it to Atlacomulco due to the economy or time. As I thought about it, it occured to me that we needed a branch up there.

Then on Saturday, we went to the doctor to check my knees (nothing serious; I just got to keep my posture good and do leg excercises oh English y u so hard?) and Elder M was there for his back! If any of you remember or if I even shared that experience, he no longer needs to wear his back brace. Anyways, he knows a lot about church leadership, so I asked about the requirements to make a branch. He told me, and I began to think.

"Well," I thought, "it looks like we're really close to having a branch out there!" We could very well have one up there in two months, and this is our goal. On top of that, the assistance in Atlacomulco had been very low recently, low enough that even if there were enough baptisms in Acambay, we wouldn't have enough people to split the ward. On Sunday, a "staggering" 108 people showed up! It's amazing because it'd had only been lowering for a while.

Things can only get better!

Well, thanks for all your support, and we'll see each other in more or less a year!

Elder Newman

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Great Divide‏...

...was an episode of Avatar: the Last Airbender that was meh. But it was also what we did to Atlacomulco over the last week!

New Year's Eve, Elder Emch, my old companion and one of the Assistants right now, called me and said, "Hey, you gotta divide the area for Sister misionaries that will be coming and get them a house and a map and x amount of things." Told my companion, and the next day, off to work, searching for pretty much everything. It was pretty stressful, getting the money to get their house rented, the furniture that was necessary (everything), get some things fixed up, all while taking care of the Area at the same time. It was quite a bit of work, filled with stressy things and whatnot. BUT THEN THIS HAPPENED

I bought a nice little coat. I know that it's real because I still find little twigs and those spikey things - thorns - you find on plants in it. I think I've gotten most of them out. It's really warm and nice.

But anyways, about the division some more: What an answer to my prayers! There are a lot of less active members here in Atlacomulco, and the weekly assistance has been on a general downward trend. Maybe it's just because of holidays and whatnot, but even so, I was quite worried about the wall of work that was facing us. We couldn't find time to go to pueblos that we needed to visit, and we weren't getting many people to church each week. But now we're four missionaries, and that makes everythign a whole lot easier - we divided the area in half, and the sisters have plenty of people to visit, so now Elder Riveros and I only need to find people for ourselves, which will be a lot easier for us since we know the area so well.

Also, 4 people that I'd never even met came to church because the members brought them. I was delighted! So, now we've got people to teach in one of the pueblos in which I've wanted to see a lot of progress.

On New Years Eve, we watched another movie - the last one until next Christmas - called Turbo. It's pretty funny, but I'm sure that it'd be even better in English, as one of the central characters is a Mexican, saying things like "Santa Maria!" "We can go to bautizos, confirmaciones, quincenarias..." amongst other things. Always better in the native tongue, I say. My companion is agreed - movies are better in English, which he's working on learning. It's just to hard for me to speak pure English with him though, so that makes it harder for him.

Also we ate some Rosca de Reyes last night.  I pulled out one of the many muñequitos. (Tiny plastic baby baked in a sweet bread--whoever finds it in their piece gets to host next year's New Year's party!) Luckily, the Bishop and his family understand - and to be honest, I don't think they really hold to that tradition too strongly.

Well, that's that for this week. Atlacomulco is now a much smaller area, and we've got just as much work to do - but over a smaller area, which makes it easier.

Thanks for all your support and I hope all of you can have a good 2014! This year's going to be great!

Elder Newman.