Friday, June 17, 2016

Week 51 - Horses and Fish!

 The chapel in Nueva Rosita
 Jeffrey in front of the chapel!
 Jeffrey was thrilled to be back with horses!
 He decided touching the horse was not a good idea.
 A set of Sister Missionaries in Jeffrey's Zone.
A club football field in the area.  Made Jeffrey very grateful for the beautiful Issaquah Stadium!

Dear family and friends, 

Hi everyone!!! I hope you are all doing fabulously and had a great week! I can't believe that school is going to end this Thursday back in Issaquah! That is crazy! I can't believe that my brothers are going to be moving into middle school, high school, and senior year of high school! Time sure flies. 

In other big news this week, I recieved another marriage offer! I don't remember if this was number 3 or number 4 on the mission but I am really starting to rack them up! Also, eating with the sisters here was rough this week. For those of you who don't know, we eat breakfast in the house before we study at 8am everyday, lunch with a sister from the ward at 2pm everyday, and then if we have 5 minutes in the evening we eat a snack before we go to bed. So, the lunch everyday at 2pm is huge and is super important because it is your major source of food. 

Usually the food is super delicious because the sisters do a great job and I love mexican food but this week we had FISH THREE TIMES..... it was so rough. Many of you know I am not a big fish guy, even though I live in Seattle... but it was just horrible. In 6 months in Piedras Negras, my first area, I ate fish once. In 4 months in Saltillo, I ate fish once. Here in Rosita I ate fish 3 times in ONE WEEK. I live in the Mexican desert! Where do they even get the fish!? Anyway, I was very happy my loving mommy sent me a few snacks last week in a box so everything turned out well in the end! 

This week, the most powerful experience I had was listening to the conversion story of a young man who accompanies us in some of our lessons with our investigators. When I got here to Nueva Rosita a few weeks ago, all of the other missionaries in the zone started asking my companion about a recent convert named, Eduardo (Edward in English). Everyone wanted to know how he was and where he was. Anyway, after asking my comp about him, I learned that this 20 year old, college student is basically a missionaries best friend. 

I met Eduardo when he picked us up in his car and droves us to our next appointment. Right off the bat, a member with a car, who plays EFY music in his car, is total gold. I learned that this member has had an incredible conversion story and during the last lesson of the evening I got to hear it. 

Eduardo lives here in Rosita and got baptized in December of last year, right before Christmas. According to the other missionaries, this guy was totally chosen and went to church the first time he was invited to go and got baptized 4 weeks. However, he explained that his path to getting baptized was not easy in any sense of the word. The relatives of Eduardo on his mothers side of the family are Christian pastors in their local church. The relatives of Eduardo on his father´s side are masons. No one in his family wanted him to get baptized. In fact, they threatened that if he got baptized they would kick him out of the house because he was 19 years old. 

This of course was an incredibly difficult decision for Eduardo. However, he made the decision, after much prayer, study, and fast to get baptized and hope that his family would respect his decision. Unfortunately, he had to move out of his house and went to study in Piedras Negras, right on the border with Texas. 

However, the reason that this young man is my hero is that during his 5 month semester in Piedras Negras, he kept to the following schedule everyday. 

5:00 am: Wake Up 
7:00 am: University Classes
12 to 4pm: Worked 
4pm to 9pm: Accompanied the Missionaries
9pm to 12pm: Homework and personal things. 

I was amazed to see the dedication and strength of this convert. He went with every companionship of missionaries in Piedras Negras, all 7, and helped all of them to invite people into Christ. At the same time, he was preparing himself for his own mission that he will start in fall of this year. At the end of his semester that just finished a few weeks ago, he returned back to Rosita, hoping that he could stay here and prepare for his mission but his family once again told him to leave and he will be living in Mexico City until his mission begins. 

I was truly impressed with the incredible strength and the depth of conversion of Eduardo. I am not sure if I would be able to do what he does all day long. He is a powerful example of how a kid who didn't used to keep all of the commandments could change his life around, despite the opposition of the people that surround him. I hope I can develop that same strength and testimony and know that only the Savior, in his infinite love, can help me do it.

Have a great week and keep on being awesome!
Elder Shipley 

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