Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 11

Dear Family and Friends, 

This was a pretty tough week here in Piedras Negras. The heat returned and my companion and I had to walk 14 kilometers or more, every day. We did have some spiritual lessons and my Spanish is improving everyday. This post will be shorter than last week, don't worry :) however, I hope you all had the chance to read the story of Elder Suarez. It truly is an inspiring story and can brighten any day. 

Non-spiritual thoughts:

When I was in the MTC in Mexico City, my Mexican teachers told me that there would be many people who would attempt to speak English with me, since I am serving right at the border. I am literally as close to America as humanly possible without entering my own country.  During the first month here, I had very few people talk in English with me. However, that totally changed this week. On four separate occasions, people started talking to me in English.  One of the English Speaking Mexicans started talking to me about NFL football and I want to declare my picks for the Super Bowl. I am going to pick my beloved Seattle Seahawks to win the super bowl, 32-24, over the New England Patriots. I feel like a rematch would be very appropriate. By the way, feel free to send me football updates if you feel so inclined. I would love to get more football updates :) 

Now, spiritual thoughts: 

I want to share an experience I had this week and a message that I really liked. This past Friday night, my companion and I were walking the streets, trying to get to our next appointment when a man walked up to us and said, in almost perfect English, "you guys are missionaries right". We of course responded "yes". He then said, "I have been looking for guys like you to help me find God and improve my life". My comp at this point was pretty lost in the English so I had to take over and it was such a cool experience. As a missionary, I was of course thrilled! "Yes! This guy WANTS to talk to us and change his life! He then imparted his life story to me and I will summarize. 

He explained, my life has been really bad. I was born here in Mexico, lived in San Antonio Texas for 30 years. However, over the past 5 years, my wife has left me, my parents died, my kids don't talk to me anymore, I was deported by the US government back to Mexico, so I lost my job, and even decided to attempt suicide twice (but didn't follow through). 

I was like, wow. That's tough. At this point, I'm not even trying to speak Spanish because I have no idea how to console and respond to that story in Spanish. I just shared my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and the love that he has for all of us. Even when life is tough, and this man has endured more than I can even imagine, the Savior is there for us. We didn't have a lot of time to share a complete message but I think a pure testimony of Christ and his atonement hopefully offered him hope and consolement and later this week we have the opportunity to visit this man again and hopefully help him make God and Jesus Christ a part of his life. 

I read a poem that was written on a sign and want to share it because I think it has a short but powerful message. First in Spanish and I will translate it:

Donde hay Fe, hay Amor
Donde hay Amor, hay Paz
Donde hay Paz, esta Dios
Donde esta Dios, 
No falta Nada 

Where there is faith, there is love
Where there is love, there is peace,
Where there is peace, God is there 
Where God is, 
Nothing is missing (personally, I prefer, you have everything but nothing is missing works too) 

I love this short poem. It is very simple, but offers me a lot of comfort. Just like it says in 1 John, that love is God. Brothers and sisters, this life is very complicated and complex, yet deep down, very simple. Have Faith in God, because he is Love. Where there is love, there is peace, Where there is peace, Our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are with us and when they are with us we can do anything. I know this to be true! When we have faith, a firm hope that God exists and that each of us has a unique purpose, a divine purpose, we have everything. 

Love you all! Have a great week! 
Elder Shipley

1 comment:

  1. Wow, awesome reading your updates. Elder Shipley you are once again one of my favorite kids in the whole world. I miss you as a home teaching companion - but you are / and will be doing great things there on your mission. May the Lord bless you with knowledge, inspiration and safe keeping is my prayer,
    Bro J.