Friday, April 28, 2017

Week 95 - A great week!

 Elder Olvera, Roberto and Jeffrey
 Laio, Elder Olvera, Roberto and Jeffrey
 Chilling outside the mission office
Elder Lara and Elder Antonio before they head home

Happy Friday!! This week has been awesome and super busy!  This past week we had transfers in the mission, new missionaries that arrived, old missionaries that went home, training for my replacement as financial secretary, and amazing miracles in Roberto's baptism!

On Monday morning, we saw the transfers on the mission website and saw that a new area was opened up in our ward! We were super surprised! For the last 8 months here in the Flower Valley ward, we have been just 4 missionaries. Now we are six missionaries living in the ward and the other 2 elders live in our house! I was also super shocked that a new missionary was not coming to be in a trio with Elder Olvera and me. Instead of training a missionary from outside the office to be the next secretary, I am going to train the current materials secretary Elder Crow to be the financial secretary. I am super happy because Elder Crow is a great missionary and super smart! He will be a better secretary than I am for sure. The best part is that he is going to study in BYU in January of 2018 so I will see him again! 

The highlight of the past week was of course the baptism of Roberto! Roberto is Lalo's co-worker who has been listening to us and attending church for the past month! Roberto has truly had an awesome conversion story. A couple of months ago, he was struggling with drinking, smoking, and problems with his wife. He had noticed several changes in the character and behavior of Lalo since he has started going to church and following the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lalo told us that back in March, he received a call from Roberto asking Lalo to help him come closer to Christ and clean up his life. Lalo, being the fabulous member missionary that he is, invited Roberto to church and he came! 

Elder Olvera and I started sharing messages about faith, repentance, baptism, the plan of salvation, and the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Roberto and he was super excited to start to keep the commandments, make changes in his life, and get baptized to follow our Savior. This past Wednesday, Elder Olvera and I were planning to have Roberto's baptismal interview on Thursday, so we called him to set it up. He said that Thursday afternoon would be perfect and assured us that he would be there. On Thursday morning, I called him to confirm his interview time and he didn't answer. In fact, he didn't answer any of our texts or calls Thursday or Friday! We honestly had no idea what happened to him and were worried that he wouldn't be able to be baptized on Saturday. 

Our worry soon turned to relief late on Friday night. We were back in our house around 9:20pm, after a good day of work, when my companion received a phone call from missionaries in a city several hours away asking for him to buy them bus tickets so they could go to an interview in another city. The missionaries wanted us to go to the office right away to buy them because they were going to travel very early in the morning. My companion, aware that it was already 9:30pm, didn't want to leave our house and told them that we would go to the office super early on Saturday morning to buy them. 

I was in the room with my companion and overheard the conversation. I remember in that moment, that I felt an overwhelming need to tell my companion that we had to go to the office to buy the tickets. It was strange to me because really, I didn't care when we bought the tickets, waking up early the next day would have been fine, and better so we weren't outside after 9:30pm, but I felt the strong need that we had to go the office right in that moment! I remember telling Elder Olvera that we needed to go right then to the office and that we were going to see Roberto and see a miracle!

You might call it chance, fate, or just dumb luck, but I know what happened next was a result of us listening to the promptings of the spirit and acting with faith. We left our house and started walking through the park that leads to the office and then we both jumped out of surprise when we saw Roberto, the same guy who hadn't answered his phone or seen us for 2 days, sitting on a park bench, all alone, waiting for us. We taught him that evening, then confirmed his baptism for the next day, and had a wonderful baptismal service on Saturday evening. 

I know that miracles exist and happen all the time. Perhaps, we don't always recognize or perceive them, but if we listen to the Holy Spirit and His promptings, and act with faith, miracles occur. I know that God lives, that He loves us, and that there are a few more miracles waiting for me in these few last weeks here in Saltillo

Have an awesome week!
Elder Shipley 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Week 94

Roman Guard in the Easter Reenactment
 Easter Reenactment 
 Painting a wall 
 Painting a house 
 Zone get together in Arteaga
 Secretaries in Arteaga
Out with Elder Damuni and lots of football talk!
 Saltillo Fountain with Elder Olvera

Happy Friday everyone!  
We did a ton of great things this past week! Last Friday we spent our afternoon witnessing a Catholic reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ. There were a ton of people outside the church at the park. It was a great cultural experience!

We painted parts of the fence and house of an investigator on Saturday morning! I got super sun burned on Friday and Saturday morning after painting the house so I am now using sun screen again.  Being in the office helps keep me from burning as often! 

On Sunday, the day of Easter, we had a zone contacting activity in Arteaga. We set up a screen showing an awesome video about Easter that was on and invited people to watch it with us! We also went on splits with our district leader Elder Hall. My companion Elder Olvera went to the area of Elder Hall and I stayed in my area with my buddy and future Utah State football player Elder Damuni! We had a blast talking high school and college football for 1 day and 2 nights. I love that guy! 

We also had several great lessons with some of our investigators including Jose Armando, Javier, Michell, and Roberto! I have a lot of faith that several of them will be baptized in the coming weeks!

I love the mission! Thank you all for your support and prayers!

All love! 
Elder Shipley  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Week 93

 Elder Olvera and Jeffrey out on the streets
 My last box arrived!
Splits with Elder Hall from Utah

I hope you all have enjoyed this past week! Spring break is always a great time! Here in Saltillo everyone has also been on break. Every year, the week leading up to Easter is called the semana santa or holy week. During semana santa, basically everyone is on vacation or with family which makes it a little harder to teach and find new people but we have had a good week in spite of the difficulties. 

We had an interchange of companions with Elders Hall and Damuni from Utah and had a great time working and learning from them the past couple of days. We are still teaching Roberto, Armando, and we are also teaching a fabulous investigator named Patricia. 

Patricia is such an awesome investigator. She asks us fabulous questions and has many doubts that we try to resolve. Yesterday we wanted to teach her about faith, repentance, and baptism but she asked us question after question and we did our best to answer them! It was hard because my companion and I had planned to share something else with her but we were very excited to talk with someone who is asking questions and seeking a divine confirmation to know that what we are teaching is true. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend and that we can remember the reason why we run around our backyards looking for hidden eggs filled with candy. As members of the Church and Christians, we believe that our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ carried out an infinite Atonement for the sins of all mankind. 

The Atonement, which started in the Garden of Gethsemane and continued with His suffering and ultimate crucifixion on the cross. His suffering was incomprehensible yet he suffered because He loves us. On that glorious Sunday morning, I add my testimony to the numerous others, that He was resurrected and conquered the grave, making it possible that each of us receives the gift of a resurrected perfect body and a chance to return to live with our Heavenly Father. 

Have a wonderful week and special Easter weekend!
Elder Shipley 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Week 92

 Jeffrey and Elder Olvera
 Washing cars for service
 Conference with Elder Smith and Edgar from the Crown Ward
 Matching Tie Day!
 Desert Museum
 Secretaries and the Dinosaur!
 Box car from the younger brothers

"Selfie" with turtles!

I hope you had a great conference weekend! I loved hearing all of the talks and inspiring messages from the living apostles and prophets. I received answers to several of my questions and learned several things that I am going to put into practice during the next couple of months here in Saltillo.

We had a great week working in the office in the morning and teaching several great lessons in the afternoon. Right now, we are teaching a guy named Roberto and a teenager named Jose Armando and both are doing awesome! They both accepted the invitation to be baptized this month! 

Both individuals are facing family problems and problems regarding keeping the word of wisdom (God's law of health that prohibits alcohol, smoking, drugs, coffee, and tea). However, both went to general conference and loved the talk by Elder Costa when he talked about his conversion story and the 5 things that every person that is investigating the church should do. Both Roberto and Jose Armando are making enormous progress to keep the Word of Wisdom and are loving the Book of Mormon! 

I have a ton of faith that both of these sons of our Heavenly Father will be able to develop faith in Jesus Christ, repent, and be baptized this month. They are awesome examples to me and demonstrate the love that our Heavenly Father has for each of us. Regardless of the problems or challenges we may face, God has a plan for each of us so we can return to His presence clean from sin and errors. The key is our faith in Jesus Christ and His infinite love and sacrifice. 

Have a great week! 
Elder Shipley