Monday, July 11, 2016

Week 55 -Funeral talks

Saying goodbye to Elder Nay at the bus station
 Elder Johnson and Jeffrey on an old fire truck in Rosita
 Playing with boys!
 Elder Johnson and Jeffrey by the large smoke stack in Rosita

First day with Elder Johnson

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was the first week I will have with Elder Johnson! Elder Johnson is from Ohio, not California, and has 21 months on the mission. He is going home in September with my last companion Elder Nay! He came straight out of high school on the mission and is 20 years old! After the mission he is going to study in BYU Idaho. He is a really great missionary, super organized, and very obedient so we are having a good time here in Rosita. 

This past week was filled with finding new people and helping the rest to progress in the gospel. It always happens when you start a new transfer. The new missionary comes and helps you find new people and it's always fun because it's like the area is totally new even though it is the same area, it's just that you are visiting new people. 

I think the best part of my week was actually with Elder Nay the night before he left to Monclova. Last Monday, we washed our clothes with Sister Hope, ate lunch, wrote emails, and then went on some errands. We got a call while shopping from a teenager that used to listen to the missionaries and he asked us if we could pass by a funeral home in the afternoon to say a prayer with his family, because his grandfather had recently passed away. 

Elder Nay and I thought it was a rather unusual request but of course were happy to offer a prayer to a family that is a little sad after the passing of their grandfather. Around 6pm, we set out for the funeral home and what happened next was definitely one of my top 5 unique experiences of my mission. 

We walked into the funeral home and asked this teenager where we could offer the prayer with the family. He then asked us to talk to his uncle about what was going to happen. This man, who actually turned out to be an ex-bishop of a ward in Saltillo, met us and was so happy that we had arrived. The man then asked us if we would be willing to lead, sing, and give the message for the funeral service. 

At first I thought he was just joking, I actually started to smile and quickly realized that this man was totally serious. This group of over 50 family members, were waiting on two, 20 year old American missionaries to have a funeral service and were depending on us to lead, pray, sing, and give the message.. so for the next hour Elder Nay lead the funeral services, together we sang a few hymns in a duet for the family, and then my companion said that I was going to share a message to honor the death of this man. 

I wasn't sure if I laughed or cried when my companion volunteered me to give my first funeral talk of my life. Well, I got up, with my bible in one hand, since I had left my Book of Mormon in the house by accident, and gave a 10 minute talk, without planning out a single word beforehand. I talked about faith, repentance, the Plan of Salvation, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was truly one of the coolest and unique experiences of my life. 

I truly loved this incredible experience last Monday. I still can't believe that it happened and whenever I think about it, I just laugh and smile. I am grateful that I have had the chance to study diligently so I could be ready to talk in front of a large group and just give a funeral talk even though I didn't even know the name of the man I was talking about. 

I love the mission, I love being able to serve the people of Mexico everyday and invite them to Christ! It's the best job ever, it's not the easiest. because every day it is more than 100 degrees in the street and it should get up to 110 pretty soon but it is truly a privilege and to give a funeral talk every once in a while. 

Hope you are all well! 
Elder Shipley 

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