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Missionary Scripture

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Twelfth and Final Epistle of Bird - 9 November 2014

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.

5.  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.

13.  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

Attached pictures:

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.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Eleventh Epistle of Bird - 7 October 2014

From Ayapango, Amecameca, Mexico

1.  And it came to pass once again that the missionary couple Bird, are found serving the Lord in His vineyard among the blessed Lamanites. We know the descendents of the pioneers in this area. In the 1930’s the Pineda family joined the church, in spite of powerful persecution. The Catholic Church leaders would ring the church bell when the “Mormons” were out in the street and everyone would come with sticks and stones and beat on them. But these faithful families were blessed because of their dedication to the Lord. One of the Pineda families had 17 children, who are the living great grandparents of faithful members today. Three sons have been or are now bishops in Zentlalpan. They encompass most of two neighboring wards.
2.  And yet another holiday is observed. October 4 is the birthday of Saint Francisco Zentlalpan, the patron saint of Zentlalpan - where the Pineda family live. They said there would be a parade – which consists of school children walking down the street in their uniforms – and family parties, with lots of people drinking too much (not the members, of course!)
3.  The Birds continue to visit the leaders and members in our three ward areas. We feel their spirit and renewed dedication in helping others – active, inactive and non members. They want us to return to their homes and share the gospel with others. We met with the 74 year old matriarch (the oldest daughter) of the 17 Pineda children, and 16 of her children and grand children.
4.  The many people who want us to share our Family Home Evening messages is growing so fast that we are scheduling visits three weeks ahead. Elder Bird has been guided to prepare multimedia presentations that we will present to entire wards. This way we can reach many members, including investigators who have been invited by their neighbors and friends to learn of the good news.
5.  And we see that the active volcano, Popo, is behaving itself well, but the warning code is at “yellow 2”. There was a red alert back in 2013.
6.  One of the arts that can be found everywhere is the animal shaped bushes and trees. They are found lining the streets, decorating the center of the streets, in private gardens and especially in parks and plazas.
7.  Little blessings and things I like appear in many forms. A sister missionary, who was preparing for a transfer, had a hula hoop and I demonstrated the “little girl” in me and hula’d for 5 minutes without stopping. (I was the hula hoop and pogo stick queen in my day). I have found a needed substitute for chocolate – butter toffee candy (like caramel) and caramel ice cream topping. Nestley chocolate ice cream tastes like a fudgecycle.
8.  Driving through the country sides, among the acres of corn stocks, the wild flowers are ablaze with pink, white and yellow blossoms. Even the weeds share their shades of green.
9. “Thorns also and thistles (and clover) shall it bring forth to thee.” After much labor I have temporarily removed the clover, with its 12 inch long roots, from the lawn at our house, but they have left empty patches. Work is a blessing, to see our efforts come to fruition. Working with people and seeing their progress and happiness is our reward. It is also a blessing to know that the grass will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory! The way grass is mowed here is with a weed whacker, to within ½ inch of the ground, showing roots and dead areas. Gratefully it grows quickly.
10.  Some of God’s creations are not appreciated by Hna. Bird, flies being one of them. It seems that with each fly that meets its doom, two appear to replace it. And now that it is getting a bit cooler, the spiders are finding their way inside. There are lots of little ones, but once in a while a giant specimen boldly shows itself. Apparently the word hasn’t got out that Hna. Bird will not allow spiders inside the house. I have a mighty slipper that when brandished in hand, never misses! Of course, Elder Bird assignment is to dispose of them.
11.  And we have found Ayapango to be a quiet, peaceful place, with no street sellers calling out their wares, nor cars honking their horns. We do live by a main street where big semi trucks pass by day and night. They like to use their Jake brakes in front of our gated community.
12.  God made each of us perfect. “For behold, this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” We have everything going for us. We have godly DNA. All we need to do is to “choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Oh that it were so simple! Strengthen your testimonies and help your children to have power over poor choices. We have been renewed in General Conference by our Prophet, Apostles and leaders.
13.  And having found a way to search the scriptures, I share with you. The church has a Citation Index on the internet, which gives references for all the standard works. Almost every verse has at least one reference to talks given by general authorities all the way back to Joseph Smith.
14.  16 de Septiembre is Mexico’s Independence Day. Parades, programs and parties in the plazas,
lots of food, fireworks – the real ones in Technicolor (all the other days they shoot off bottle rocket type noise makers), and of course singing into the wee hours of the morning. The members celebrate in their wards with a devotional and then lots of food, traditional dancing, games and singing.
15.  The blessings of rain from the heavens continue. In fact, when it rains, it always pours. Within half an hour the streets are flooding over the curbs and cars make the waves even higher as they pass by. Gratefully, as in Camelot, it usually rains at night and the earth drinks in the needed moisture.
16.  The members/students still study with singing and music the sacred hymns of the church. They now know “Every Good Boy Does Fine” on the staff. It is “MIs SOLdados SIempre REciban FAxes” in Spanish. A couple are already playing in Sacrament Meeting! One sister, who has cancer and can’t have children, brings us a chocolate bar every week. I told her we are her children.
16.  We are all God’s children, even those who choose poor paths. We visited with an investigator to read the Book of Mormon but she had a “family friend” who was in a drunken stupor so we provided service by walking her three blocks to her house. “That inasmuch as any man (or woman) drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father.” She was definitely a sight to behold. I took hold of her arm as she could not walk straight. She sang so the whole neighborhood could hear, and she cackled with her grin of very few teeth. She stopped and pulled out a pint bottle and finished it off, tossing the bottle to the side of the road, then wanted to go buy another bottle. I told her no, that was enough for today and she got a little miffed, but we slowly made our way home. Apparently she is well known in her community as the town drunk. Elder Bird kept 10 paces ahead because she would try to hug him. I tried to teach her that “strong drinks are not for the belly” but I don’t think she got the message. Hopefully in another time and place she will be more receptive!
17.  “Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you.” 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.

Elder and Hermana Bird

Attached pictures:
1.  A recent convert, true Lamanite
2.  Hna. Bird with missionary companion, Hna. Blanco
3.  Elder Bird with Elder Blanco
4.  Traditional Mexican costume for Independence Day
5.  One of many bugs attempting to occupy our house
6.  Volcano Popo letting off steam
7.  A telephone repairman’s nightmare
8.  Few houses are ever finished, sometimes adding another level
9.  The bigger the come the quicker they are carried out
10.  Wild flowers, God’s creations
11.  Colorful spikes which contain tiny seeds used in many foods
12.  Went to the animal fair
13.  Disney is big everywhere and on everything
14.  The local cemetery
15.  When it rains, it floods
16.  Vendors creatively display their wares
17.  We never cease to be amazed by the clouds


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tenth Epistle of Bird - 10 September 2014

From Ayapango, Amecameca, Mexico

1. In the time of the Lamanites, the Birds are found working many hours each day with the leaders, helping them remember the about the Restoration a
nd becoming more and more converted to the gospel. They in turn invite others to their house for a spiritual teaching experience. We speak to them of our experiences in Palmyra and show them pictures which we took in the Sacred Grove. One less active sister asked if we really took the pictures and if this place really still exists. Accept every calling and opportunity to learn and grow because you never know when it will help you in the future. 
2. The Bird’s are working with two wards and one large branch and the daily agenda is filled with visits to leaders, members, less actives and investigators. We park our car in front of one of the church buildings and “walk the streets.” We are looking for all of the members on each of three ward lists to update the records, but more importantly to invite them back to church and then make return appointments where we can share a message and our testimonies. Sister Bird has evidence of walking with her sun-kissed face.
3. We visited with a recently released Bishop and his family. After our message he asked us to visit his inactive, returned missionary sister and husband. We also visited with the recently called Bishop (who is brother to the released Bishop). They are inviting all their children and others to their home for a Family Home Evening. We visited with a councilor in the Stake Presidency and his wife. They are both taking the piano classes. They have scheduled a visit with us to return with their family and friends.
4. There is a small, very small pueblo which has only three streets: del Maiz, del Trigo and del Frijol. There are 20 or more members living there. None of the houses have house numbers, so we just ask people on the street if they know who we are looking for. One day, after walking the railroad track for more than half a mile on our way back to our house, we stopped and enjoyed a game of futbol (soccer). Futbol is the favorite sport in Mexico, from professional teams to small children and groups playing in the street. They are good about moving out of the way when we drive by. There is an indoor soccer field here, which really is outdoors, with walls and fencing enclosing it.
5. One can find in this country setting, acres and acres of corn. There is w
hite corn for eating (I shall be grateful to return home to salt and pepper corn), corn for making corn tortillas and blue corn, also for making tortillas.
6. That which cannot be found in Mexico is root beer. We have served ice cream in other soda drinks to the people here, including non American missionaries, and it is a new treat for them. But nothing replaces a foamy root beer float. Refined brown sugar doesn’t exist here either.
7. Our pueblo called Ayapango is very quiet, with fewer cars, fewer people walking around and very few people selling food or other things on the streets. We had a couple of weeks of warm weather, but now it is back to being chilly. We are told that in this part of the mission it gets cold. We have yet to experience real cold. We have been told that it hails and it snows – a little. I do have my winter coat which I haven’t used yet.
8. The desire to learn to play hymns is strong here. This past week there were 14 missionaries in class. This is a bit hard for them because they don’t have much time to practice. The stake of Amecameca had 14 members return for their second lesson. They had all practiced and each received a star on their name card for playing their first hymn. The councilor in the Stake Presidency brought his wife so she can learn. In turn, they have invited us to dinner and a Family Home Evening lesson in their home.
9. The stake of Tecalco out did themselves, having 19 members of all ages attend the piano class. They also received stars, including the three first time students. I hope I have excited some of you back home to get this Basic Music Course which is published by the Church. You can get the kit at any distribution center and learn to play too!
10. Schools are divided into three age groups: Primaria is for those through 5th year; Secundario is for those through 8th year. These are required. Preparatorio is for those learning a skill or trade and there is a 3 to 4 hour placement test to see if they will even be accepted. School starts around 8 am and gets out at 1 or 2, depending on the school. English is required, but unless they are dedicated to learning, they only speak the basics.
11. There are few semaphores or stop signs here, but it makes no difference as pedestrians have no right-of-way and hurry across the road when cars have to slow down for speed bumps, of which there are many. Speed bumps are an inconvenient blessing because instead of speeding through the streets, the cars have to keep slowing down, which avoids hitting people. (We saw a bumper sticker which when translated read: “Watch out, I drive just like you.”
12. We were introduced to a simple activity for Family Home Evening, which we learned after teaching a lesson in the home of a member, with an inactive family. On pieces of paper, write single words that can be found in songs of any type. I am making a list of words found in hymns and will make one for primary songs too. The leader reads the word and the first person to sing a song with that word receives the paper. The one with the most papers at the end wins.
13. Remember, remember that God has a plan for us. Know also that Satan also has a plan. We must choose which plan we will follow. Also remember that you will only win the great reward by following God’s plan.
14. Are ye therefore the same person all the time, day and night? Have ye pondered the scriptures
and shared your feelings with others. There is an application called LDS Scripture Citation Index where ye can become immersed in the scriptures and read talks by church leaders about every verse in all the scriptures. Plan on loosing track of time as light and truth will fill you with desires to learn more. “It is one thing to know about God and another to know Him. . . Those who know God become like Him and have His kind of life, which is eternal life.” Bruce R. McConkie. We have great motivation to choose God’s plan.
15. As we bid you farewell until the next writing, we encourage you that whatever your talent or gift from the Lord, mental or physical, share it and multiply it. Our hope and prayer is that you have peace and comfort, health and joy in your home and in your heart. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Elder and Hermana Bird

Attached pictures:
Mexican firefly
Volcano Popo spouting off
Horses get a break sometimes too
Alien that guards our closed street
Our Zentlapan District
This going home Elder needs his shoes bronzed
Taking a moment before our Senior District Meeting
Love Mexican clouds
Tecalco Stake piano class
More wall art (referred to as graffiti)
The corn is higher than an elephant’s eye
Ridding my little patch of lawn of clover

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ten Months In The Mission - 9 September 2014

Chalco, Estado de México, México
On September 9th we marked 10-months in the Misión Chalco. A lot has changed since the last report at six months. Our situation and assignment in the Misión Chalco has completely changed.

We commented previously about our work and testimony with Senior Missionaries here in México. Our feelings have not changed but we encountered continuous obstacles in getting Senior Missionaries called to serve. There were problems with local leaders not processing the recommendations and finally the Área asked us to no longer invite members to serve locally as full-time missionaries working with the Misión. We determined that local full-time Senior Mission service will have to wait until leadership can support them and make the changes in culture to make the work move forward. This effectively defeated all the work and progress we had made in organizing the Mission Office and getting the missionaries into the field.

A little over a month ago, President Crickmore called us into his office and told us of our new assignment as proselyting missionaries. We were relieved of all responsibilities in the Office and assigned to our own proselyting Área. We immediately started looking for a house and to prepare to
move out of Chalco, away from the noise and distractions of the city.

We are assigned to an area based in Ayapango which is located about 20-minutes drive south of
Chalco and a little west of Amecameca, at the foot of the volcanos. It is farm land and we work in five small villages or pueblos.

We have a nice two level home with four bedrooms, a large dining area, 2-1/2 bathrooms and a complete kitchen. We live on a gated street (cerrada) with 12 private homes. About half of the homes are weekend or vacation residences, so things are very quiet. It is located just before the entrance to the pueblo of Ayapango so we are not actually within the pueblo. We are delighted with the change, to be out of the city and in the mountains. We feel at home.

Although we have permission from the Presidente to teach our own investigators, we give referrals to the young missionaries and we work with the members. Our area includes two Wards and a large Branch so we juggle our time and work in the three areas. Our missionary agenda is full and we are booking appointments two weeks ahead.

The Work of Salvation (La Obra de Salvación) is really the work of the members with members, and we are all members. It is described as "A unified effort in conversion, retention and activation" of the members of the Church. We are concentrating on the conversion of the "Active" members which are those who come to Church on Sunday but don't do anything else. They do not serve and do not accept callings. In addition, we meet with the leaders in special Family Home Evenings (Noche de Hogar Familiar) to help them strengthen their testimonies and invite other to come to meetings in their homes. We do not ask for references but they immediately give us names and we support them in their work with the members and non-members they invite. We are having a lot of success and starting to make a change.

The members seem to idolize us and constantly comment on how excited they are to have a Senior Missionary couple serving in their ward or branch. We try to be a good example and support their needs, not ours. We judge this is how Senior Missionary service is intended to be.

We just completed a 3-hour weekly planning session in which we updated our area maps with those we are working with and plans to how to work with them for the next 10-days. Since our time is limited and we have two large piano (teclados) classes, which are organized by the Stakes, we are going to move to teaching in large groups in the chapels or large homes. We need and will respect the actions of the wards and branches to make this happen. We will report in the future how it works.

We are on the "downside" of our assignment here in Misión Chalco. We have requested a short extension of our service until the third week of May. This will allow us a few more weeks in our missionary home and to complete a third round of piano classes.

This is the Work of the Lord and as we work according to His Plan we have success.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ninth Epistle of Bird - 16 August 2014

From Ayapongo, Amecameca, México

1.  Wherefore, betimes it is necessary that “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
new.” And the Birds receive a new assignment, in a new city and in a beautiful new house. We have now become “full time missionaries” with our very own areas (pueblositos) of proselyting, visiting with members who need to be converted, with less active members who need to remember, and with non members who need to receive the good news of the restored gospel.
2.  Our new home has four bedrooms, two and a half baths, huge living/dining room and a nice kitchen. It is like a mission home! Begone are the street venders and their shouting out their wares. Gone are the crowded streets and crazy drivers. Gone is WalMart or any type of grocery store. Gone is responsibility for the mission office, pouch and missionary needs. (This one Sister Bird laments a little.)
3.  Here, the small community (pueblo) of Ayapongo is located in the foothills of the mountains, including the two volcanoes on which there really is snow all year round. In fact, it is chilly in August. The rolling hillsides are like pictures in Europe.
4. Instead of the many roosters crowing before dawn, we have quiet. There is a donkey who brays, a bird who sounds like a duck, and in the smaller areas cows and sheep occupy the roadways on their way to pasture or returning to the patios of their masters. (These patios are in front of their walled-in houses.) The lead cow wears the traditional cow bell and with the help of small dogs, gets them safely to their destination. It’s not hard to patiently wait for them to pass. We are definitely in the country.
5.  The Lord blesses in mysterious ways, but always with what we need. Shortly after arriving in Ayapongo, returning to our house at night, suddenly tiny stars appeared in the fields and in front of the car. Just like in Palmyra, the fireflies were dancing like little fairies, lighting my heart with fond memories.
6.  The heavens hear are ready for the Lord’s second coming. Beautiful, billowy white clouds always scatter across the sky. More often though, there are layers of clouds of varying shades of gray. Almost daily, there is a thunderstorm with crackling bolts of light and heart stopping claps of thunder, which is continuous for more than half hour. Greenness can be seen everywhere. Where there is grass, it is cut with weed whackers or machetes.
7. (Lev. 26:3-4) “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” This land has been truly blessed. Acres of corn line the streets and trees are everywhere, with fruits that are not to found in the United States. But it only rains during the few months of growing.
8.  "Let us to into the house of the Lord." We have been to the Veracruze Temple several times and last month went with another Senior Missionary couple to the Oaxaca Temple. We participated on a session Thursday evening and Friday morning we were all invited and set apart as ordinance workers! Friday afternoon and Saturday we served as ordinance workers in the Oaxaca Temple. We will serve Friday and Saturday mornings, once each month for the rest of our mission.
9.  It never takes Elder Bird long to find his way around an area. The Lord’s ways are revealed unto man and Elder Bird definitely receives revelation on how to find and arrive at the right place.
10. The Lord requires us to be of one heart. The people in these small pueblos take this serious, and to “bring good luck”, each village paints all their houses and buildings the same color, with a wide strip of bright color along the bottom to unite them.
11.  Many missionaries are called, but a few quickly must return to their homes because of illness, usually because they did not disclose preexisting conditions. Prepare your children well, not only spiritually, but that they are truly healthy and know how to make wise choices and take care of themselves.
12.  Joy is had in the Chalco Mission with 19 new missionaries arriving the end of August. They quickly learn to communicate with the people. The native (Spanish speaking) missionaries spend time learning English also.
13.  We are going forward with the work in our gated community of 10 houses (some are only occupied a few weeks out of the year), always bringing tidings of good joy and a plate of cupcakes.
14.  And if ye listen with your heart, ye shall understand with loving kindness the needs of the people. Then ye can teach spirit to spirit. We visited with a really old mother and her daughter who are content with their religion, but when we spoke of living prophets who guide us today, they began to listen. We have a date to return to share more.
15.  Overcoming addictions is a difficult thing. We are visiting with a young man, which several sets of Elders have visited, who became addicted to drugs at the age of nine. He comes from a broken home. The grandmother is trying to help him and his younger sister. He really has desires to change and we know that the Lord is the only way to help him. He has attended church and is reading the Book of Mormon.
16.  People are looking for the gospel everywhere. “Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you.” We stopped to buy some corn from a street vender and discovered he lived in Washington state for a long time. He returned to Mexico for medical help for his daughter. We spoke of the gospel and he is so willing to have the missionaries visit him, because we have “more.” It’s not hard, no, not at all, to share what is most important to you (besides your favorite recipes and sports scores).
17.  Music is a comfort and joy to the soul. The five piano classes are coming to fruition. They are
sharing their talents in their wards, though with much trepidation. We have been attending their wards, and sometimes sitting on the piano bench next to them, while they play the hymns in Sacrament Meeting. They also get the opportunity to share their talents in a ward recital. They have a few very simplified classical songs to choose from also. Their favorites are Fur Elise and Ode to Joy. By their fruits ye shall know them. Their bishops and members are grateful for their talents and dedication. The Church offers a grant to those who demonstrate their willingness to serve through music with a gift of a keyboard and the teaching kit so they can teach others. We have selected 7 such students and they are so grateful.
18.  The gift of music shall go forward to two more stakes, beginning the end of August. We have learned that involving the stake and ward leaders in calling students will improve their dedication to practice and progress faster. “If you want to progress, you have to practice” is a sign which us displayed each week. The two missionary classes have already begun and they are exceeding my expectations. I am so grateful for this opportunity to share my love of music with so many.
18.  And thus the Birds prosper in the land of the Lamanites, as the “children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God . . . in the latter days.” We send you greetings and love and pray that the Lord send you peace and comfort, health and joy. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Elder and Sister Bird

Attached pictures:
Our new house with the white car in front
There is beauty all around, in front of our gated community
United pueblos with matching stripes
“La Casita de Saber”  House of Learning elementary school
The singing donkey in the gated community next door
Graduating piano class
Graduating piano class
I will go where you want me to go
Indian wall art at the cheese shop
Blue eyed girl, wall art
Mexico’s Virgin Guadalupe, wall art
Minnie Mouse, wall art
Local cemetery
Oaxaca Temple, temple workers
You have to watch out for all kinds of things on the road
Cows have the right of way
Beware of the bouncy speed bumps
Volcano “Popo” with billowy clouds – and snow in August
Transfer day – happens every six weeks
Flooded streets at the office require resourceful crossing
Thunder clouds
Here comes the bacon


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