Friday, October 7, 2016

Week 67

 Jeffrey's new desk!
 Jeffrey and Sister Lugo
Elder Smith and Jeffrey!

Dear Family and Friends,

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I had been moved to a new area, called Valle de las Flores 2. Well, I haven't left the area, nor will I leave it for several months, but I would like to rename the area, ''Mission offices''. It seems that Elder Lopez and I never leave the offices! Every day, we have a goal to leave the offices at a certain time in the afternoon to head out and teach the Restored Gospel to the wonderful people of Saltillo, but it seems like just as we are about to leave, the whole world starts to call us about not having money in their bank accounts, needing us to buy them bus tickets, wanting us to talk to the owner of their apartment to fix a door, losing the keys to their house and then losing the copy of the keys... and it seems like every time I check off a task on my to do list, I have to add 5 more. Perhaps that is how all of those mom's feel out there who read this letter. I think I finally understand what it means to be  like a mom! It's truly an adventure here in the offices and I am really enjoying all of the new things I am learning. 

I had some really good learning experiences this weeks as financial secretary. This past week, we had the leadership council for the whole mission so 8 Elders came from the North to sleep in my house on Wednesday night! It was a blast to be with my trainee/son Elder Smith and a bunch of my friends from other parts of the mission! Elder Smith and I stayed up until 1 AM catching up on everything that has happened since we were companions, which made yesterday a really long tiring day. As part of the leadership council, the Sisters and Elders went to eat breakfast and lunch and I had the responsibility to arrange the meals and negotiate prices with the restaurant managers. It was a little stressful but everything turned out well!

Other stressful moment from the week: On Wednesday afternoon, a women stormed into the offices very upset, wanting to talk with Sister Lugo about some minor damages to an apartment. She was upset that the grass was long, that there was grease around the stove, and that the piece of plastic that holds toilet paper in the bathroom was missing in the house she was renting to the Elders..... I thought she was joking for a moment but then demanded that Sister Lugo come to the offices to talk with her. Unfortunately, Sister Lugo was busy in another part of Saltillo. After a very heated phone conversation between Sister Lugo and the owner of this apartment, then owner hung up and told me that she was going to send the police.... I didn't really know what to think but thankfully Sister Lugo told me the owner doesn't have any right to send the police or enter the house while we are renting it and just told me to keep on smiling and enjoy the experience! 

This was actually the second time an owner of an apartment has threatened to send the police to an apartment of a missionary this past week. In another house closer to the Texas border, the owner was also pretty upset and gave us 24 hours to fix the situation that a few Elders had caused and Sister Lugo and I fixed it all! I am not sure what I am going to do without her this Monday when she leaves but I will figure it out! 

The highlight from the past week was of course general conference. It was a pleasure to listen to the Apostles and Prophet for 10 hours. I listened for 6 hours in English and 4 hours in Spanish and enjoyed every moment. I really enjoyed a talk from Sunday morning, by Elder Russell M. Nelson. It is called Joy and Spiritual Survival. One could summarize his talk with the phrase, ''When the focus of our lives is Jesus Christ and His Gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening, or not happening, in our lives''. 

In his talk he mentioned that, ''A dear colleague recently told me of his past two decades of heavy trials. He said, “I have learned to suffer with joy. My suffering was swallowed up in the joy of Christ.”
He followed by asking several deep and introspective questions that we should all consider, 

''What will you and I be able to endure as we focus on the joy that is “set before” us? What repenting will then be possible? What weakness will become a strength? What chastening will become a blessing? What disappointments, even tragedies, will turn to our good? And what challenging service to the Lord will we be able to give?'' 

That phrase, ''Suffering with Joy'' really stood out to me and has a very deep meaning. During our time on Earth, we all have trials that are actually for our good. Life is hard and stressful because that is how it was designed to be! We have an eternal destiny and potencial, to be able to reach it, we need to learn how to suffer with joy in our Savior Jesus Christ. I invite each of you to read this talk and savor the words of Elder Nelson. 

I promise that each of us will be able to find more joy in the difficult moment that life presents if we remember that the Savior is the focus of our lives. As they say in Spanish, ''Pase lo que pase, sea lo que sea'', Happen what may, be what it may, let's find joy in Chirst. 

All the best, 
Elder Shipley 

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