Monday, June 6, 2016

Week 50!!!

 Jeffrey's bed
 Jeffrey's kitchen
Riding the bus home to Nueva Rosita.  Elder Nay fell asleep!
 Jeffrey's desk
 Jeffrey's sombrero in a big truck!  He says he felt like he was in Texas.
 The conference
 The mall!
 A BIG Sombrero!

Dear family and friends, 

This was a super great week here in Nueva Rosita with Elder Nay! It is starting to get pretty hot but the sombreros keep us nice and cool! This week, the highlight was our two days that we spent in Saltillo! I'd like to explain the pictures of me sitting in a massage chair in the mall that I took this week, just so you all don't think I am a lazy missionary :) 

In the mission Mexico,  Saltillo, the first Thursday of every month, the President holds a leadership conference in the mission offices and this was the first time I was invited! I was very excited to be able to attend! On Wednesday afternoon, we got on the bus and made the 5 hour trip down to Saltillo. We got there around 7pm and then the President told us that we could head to the mall to grab a bite to eat. I went with my companion to the big, American like mall that is super close to the offices and we had a very nice 2 hours. We sat in a massage chair to relieve a little bit of stress, went tie shopping, looked through this cool Egyptian store, and ate Dairy Queen ice cream! It was so sweet! 

In the evening, I slept in the house of the assistants and it was a mess! There were 10 guys and only 6 beds! At least there were a few extra mattresses in the house so only 2 guys had to share one mattress... I was lucky and got my own mattress but forgot my pillow so it was a long night. We didn't sleep very much because some of the older guys thought it would be fun to have an initiation process, for my first conference, and decided to blind fold all of the new guys. Nothing really happened after, I was fairly disappointed to be honest. I remember when I went to football camp as a sophomore in high school and got my head shaved. I was hoping for something just as revolutionary but it just wasn't going to happen on the mission. 

The most spiritual and honestly one of the best experiences I have ever had on the mission, was the conference that we had the next morning. The next day, all of the missionaries that the president invited to the conference got together and the President started with a super cool training or message about how to develop the attributes of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He asked us all, how is it possible to fulfill with the commandment that the Savior gave us to be perfect? Of course we aren't going to be perfect, we commit mistakes everyday and the only perfect person that has ever lived was Christ. 

He told us that the key was to recognize and understand the verse in Moroni 10:32, which reads, ¨Yea come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ, and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in no wise deny the power of God. 

The take away from his message was that it is more important what we are then what we do on the mission and in life. He said that a missionary that continually develops Christlike attributes, wouldn't require that someone else tells him how to be a missionary. For example, a missionary that is always trying to be like Christ and develop attributes similar to those that he possess would never be disobedient because that's not what the Savior did. I learned that I still have a lot of work to do and that there is also hope to become better everyday. I also learned that the Lord truly never gives us commandments that we can't fulfill. Even though the commandment to be perfect, seems unachievable, it is possible through the love of our Savior. 

After, I was privileged to hear the testimonies of the Elders that are heading home and finishing their missions in 4 weeks. However, of the Elders that are going home this change, 4 of them were assistants to the President and a few of them are my very good friends and idols on the mission. It was so powerful to hear the testimonies of Elder Ninatype, when he stressed the importance of enjoying the trials and sufferings on the mission because that is truly when we are molded by the Lord into better people. Also, Elder Flores, my first zone leader who is basically the missionary I want to be like someday, talked about the importance of improving everyday, showing love to all, and searching for the Savior and His love everyday. Also, Elder Montero, shared with us his testimony that the Lord doesn't need us here in the mission field to accomplish the work. He could easily do it all himself. However, it is truly and blessing to serve because He gives me a chance to grow and help others in a way that wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the mission. He also said that on the mission he has really searched and come to know the Savior as his friend. This really stood out to me. He said that Jesus wasn't just the son of God but that during his time on the mission he has developed a personal relationship with him, something that I try to do everyday. 

To finish the conference, the President and his wife shared their final testimonies with those of us that went to the conference. In 3 weeks, President Rodriguez will be heading back home and President Cahoon will begin his 3 years of service. The testimonies of the President and his wife were super powerful, I truly felt the love they have for each of us and that they will always be my friends. I hope that during the second half of my mission, I can become more like these Elders that have taught me so much and look back and be satisfied with the work that I did and with the person I have become. 

Hope you are all well! 
Elder Shipley 

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