From Ayapango, Amecameca, Mexico
1. In the beginning, Elder and Sister Bird arrived in the Mexico City Chalco Mission on November 9, in the year 2013. A year has passed quickly in the service of the Lord. The spirit of the Lord has filled the hearts and minds not only of the missionaries, but of many people in this land of promise.
2. God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. We know that the spirit speaks the will of the Lord and his will at this time is that the Bird’s complete their service in Mexico and return home to family and friends to continue serving in other ways. We will probably be home by the time you receive this message. Our departure date is Wednesday, November 12, 2014.
3. It is with gladness and sadness (which is very difficult to feel at the same time) we leave this chosen people, the children of Lehi. One of the recently released bishops’ name is Lehi. He is one of 17 children in the Pineda family. His older brother was bishop before him, and now his younger brother, Jared, serves as bishop. Generations of faithful families.
4. Elder Bird has been inspired to create hour long presentations, using videos, scriptures and pictures to teach the missionary discussions. A ward invites its members, less active members and investigators to a presentation on the Restauration and prophets or on the Plan of Salvation. He will continue to prepare other presentations that we will continue to share. The spirit has prepared the leaders to share these messages with their wards and stakes. We hope we can share them at home too – in Spanish and English.
Behold, even in this place, the children go forth on the eve of October 31 dressed in a multitude of costumes. Some choose the dark side, but many are seen clothed as their favorite movie heroes. They enjoy receiving much candy and fruits.
6. The nights and mornings bring a great chill to all people, including the Birds. The people put on their warm winter coats and scarfs. The Birds now require sweaters. Hna. Bird has not used her winter coat during this year in Mexico, but is quite sure that it will be needed upon arrival in Utah! One great blessing is that there is central heating at home. In Mexico, they use their coats, inside their houses and outside. The missionaries receive a space heater and sometimes an extra blanket.
7. Seek and ye shall find those who are in need of your help. We have been visiting a couple who have been married 50 years. The husband was baptized so that he could marry his sweetheart who is still active. He never went to church – in 50 years. The Birds have been sharing the gospel anew, and it is as if everything is new. He is ready to return, but the changes will be difficult and slow. The wife is so happy and grateful for this new hope. The Lord will provide others who will help him.
8. The widow shall be provided for. We have been visiting a grandma, with children and many grandchildren occupying her humble, tumbling home. With scarcely enough to feed this family, she desires that they learn of the Lord. We have given her copies of parts of the Book of Mormon Stories – for children. They enjoying taking turns reading. Elder Bird has made a DVD with these stories also. They are so proud to be able to sing “Give Said the Little Stream.” Someone else will teach them more.
9. The rains came and the rains subsided. Now the sun dominates the skies during the day and the stars can shine at night. Even the full moon shone brightly.
10. Beware, the food in Mexico is much more Mexican than can be found in Utah – more spicy, more variety, and everyone eats more of it. There are street venders lining the streets and people stop whenever they seem to be hungry. The Elders seem to always be hungry! One thing that is strange indeed, is not the delicious pizzas but that included in the toppings (spicy salsa of course) is always catsup!
11. Waste not, want not is a truism in this country. Corn can be seen growing for miles at a time. The stalks, when dry, are stacked in teepee style formations which are later gathered for feed for the farm animals. I thought they would make great bonfires! Nopales are a type of wide, flat cactus leaves, which are sliced in thin strips and used in salads and cooked in many other dishes. People are seen cutting what appear to be weeds on the sides of the road to take home for dinner. Shepherds guide their sheep from one field to another to “mow” the long grasses. The cows are herded down the streets, and cars seem to patiently wait their turn to pass, and also feed on weeds and grasses on the sides of the road or in fields.
12. “Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor”, and himself, finds a trade or a daily necessity and then sets up a shop or corner stand. In the United States, one can find a 7/11 on every corner. Here, one will find “papelerias” or paper goods and school supplies or Internet Cafés. A church member, who wants to live the gospel righteously, closes his shop on Sundays and calls his shop “Internet Chocolate.” (Café in Spanish means coffee). It costs 3 to 10 pesos an hour to do your homework or search for information or (of course) to play games. Most little shops, which are often the front room of their house, try to carry a little bit of everything including foods, little games, office supplies, cleaning supplies, etc.
And ye shall rise to the heavens when ye climb the Paso de Cortez, which is the way to the top of the volcanoes. Clouds, or mists of darkness, often cloak the mountain. You can walk through these mists and discover the tree of life. At least that is what Hna. Blanco, another senior couple and I decided. The fruit was out of season though. Popo, the active volcano, has been pretty dormant, but there are times when steam billows from his heart. Last week, I heard that he spewed a little ash and lava!
14. “For behold, thus saith the Lord, I will liken the, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive-tree.” A branch of this olive tree dwells here in Mexico. They are a chosen branch, sent to the land of promise. They are growing and developing new roots. They are being pruned and nourished with trials. Then the Lord said “call servants that we may labor diligently with our might in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way.” I am humbled to have been called as one of these servants, to watch this people persevere with faith and strengthened testimonies. “And the Lord of the vineyard saw that his fruit was good.” And to His servants, “blessed are thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard . . . and have brought unto me again the natural fruit . . . behold ye shall have joy with me.”
15. And now ye shall find in the exact center verse of the Bible the central message of the Lord. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” We testify that miracles and blessings come by trusting and following the counsel and commandments of the Lord. May you always feel peace and comfort, health and joy in your home and in your heart. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, until we meet.
Elder and Hermana Bird
Eyes are always watching from the heavens
Progress through the ages, wall art
Popo, the volcano, on one of his more active days
More than 200 year old wooden door and house
A rare rainbow, being captured by a cloud monster
Halloween, Dia de los muertos, is celebrated by young and old
Piano students in Amecameca Stake, the young man with the gorro (hat) is preparing for baptism
Piano students in Tecalco Stake
Humble home of Filiberta, an investigator – the adobe walls are literally falling down
Filiberta and some of her grandchildren we are teaching
Elder Bird contemplating heaven in the heavenly clouds at Paso de Cortez at the base of the volcano
The tree of life surrounded by the mist of darkness. You need a guide (iron rod) to climb to the top of the volcano
Dave was feeling right at home at the Mexican transmitter sight located 12,000 feet up.
Near our home will you see wall art depicting Emiliano Zapata, leader of the Mexican Revolution.
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