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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.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fifth Epistle of Bird - 1 April 2014

From Chalco, Mexico

1.  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, speaks once again to all the saints of His vast
and expanding church, through His prophets. We are a temple building and attending people. May we all live worthy to participate in temple service often.
2.  The Chalco Mission has been blessed with two native full-time senior missionary couples and a part-time senior sister to serve in the mission office. It seems that as we acquire additional help, the work expands! Entering and assigning referrals which the missionaries provide in abundance from their street contacts; entering and forwarding all the baptismal reports; finding new housing for additional missionaries, including all the furnishings; finances and visas. There is much review, update and correction to be made from the beginning of the mission 9 months ago.
3.  And now, with new senior missionaries, there is now the opportunity to unite for Family Home Evenings. After a spiritual message and training, there is always a delicious pot luck dinner. Hna. Bird was introduced to – not chicken – but rabbit tamales (after eating one). Hna. Bird comments on the many signs in the small restaurants offering “conejo” that people shouldn’t be eating little bunnies! She was happy with the option of zucchini tamale. The Birds pot luck contribution was banana splits. They have banana splits here, they even call them “banana splits” but when multiple toppings kept appearing, like chocolate, strawberry and caramel syrup, and mini M&M’s, and peanuts and maraschino cherries, the senior missionaries were in awe.
4.  In this land of Chalco, there are many new fruits and vegetables. But upon introducing twizzlers to the 35 piano students – to use as directing batons – not one had ever seen or tasted one. They weren’t even sure if it was eatable!
5.  Give thanks unto the Lord for all of his earthly creations – mountains, trees, flowers, animals, the
sun, and moon and . . . but wait, stars can rarely be seen because of the clouds and dust and smog. We rejoice when we are in a remote area and see Orion and even the Big Dipper.
6.  Be it known that the Chalco Mission is relatively small, but it still takes an hour and a half to drive less than 20 miles. Cars and trucks (big semis) continually cover the streets. The average speed on the highways is 25 MPH and because of constant lane changing and merging and exiting it is often 10 to 15 MPH or less.  The many taxi’s and minivan transports stop whenever someone gets on or off, causing traffic to back up and then the honking begins. Elder Bird relates the time it takes for the red light to turn green and when people start honking as a millisecond. That is, if the people even stop for the red lights since red is only a suggested signal.
7.  Wherefore, because of the massive road construction, and because even though there are numberless cars upon the roads, still more people need to walk to their destinations. Therefore many foot bridges span these roads under construction. There is much labor for the people to perform.
8.  Even in this land far south of the border can be found orange work zone cones. Road work here is done in massive proportions. There are only two lane highways because the other potential four lanes are always under construction.  So be grateful for the improvements in the land northward!
9.  And it came to pass that in not many months, 8 missionaries have had to go to their homes because of sickness or other. They leave their beloved mission with much sadness, hoping that they will be able to recover and return. Many others have need of medical help for broken toes, kidney stones, sprained ankles, flu, pieces of buildings falling on them, lingering stomach ailments, etc.
10. Hna. Bird, even far from home, had learned to bargain grocery shop, scanning the aisles for good buys. A favorite is Lunetas (inexpensive M&M’s), which were on sale for 15 pesos for more than a month. Hopefully they will return before the “stash” is depleted! Elder Bird gets all the needful things in short order, and then retreats to the car to read or nap.
11.  And thus, while shopping at WalMart (sorry Bonnie) Hna. Bird was approached by a woman promoting hand lotion. She looked at the name tag of Hna. Bird and that was the cue to share the gospel. The clich√© response is “I am Catholic.” It is their way of avoiding any conversation. But, next they ask if we are Christian. The easy reply is to point to the name tag which states that we belong to the Church of Jesus Christ. Not wanting to provide me with her address, I suggested she should learn about the “Mormons” so that she can decide for herself if we are Christians. The Article of Faith card is an ideal way to give people the opportunity to read a brief explanation of the gospel principles. Everyone should carry one with them at all times. It is easier than carrying a Book of Mormon to start with.
12.  Behold, in the Mission Office there is much need to converse with people for telephone. After the need to obtain answers to some difficult problems, the sister on the phone commented that Hna. Bird spoke very good Spanish! And the first fruits of study come to pass! But there is much remaining to learn.
13.  And the Lord blesses those who are diligent in obeying the commandments, even when the goals placed before them are great. Recent area goals for the missionaries include making 20 contacts every day; presenting 40 to 60 lessons every week; having each investigator attend church at least five times before baptism; and one baptism every week.  New members are now understand church attendance and are fellowshipped into their wards, thus remaining faithful.
14.  Joy is found in attending the many baptisms. One of the baptism services for 5 people was held after a piano class. One of the students, who always says she “can’t do it”, played prelude for more than five minutes!  The hope is still that they will be accompanying in Sacrament Meetings by the end of June. All the classes seem to be stuck on learning where the notes are on the staff and the keyboard. But, progress can been seen. 
15.  Uniting in their many stakes of Zion on April 5 and 6 of the year of the Lord 2014, the missionaries and numberless members were blessed abundantly through the words of the prophets and leaders. Pres. Monson reminded us that we are a temple building and attending people. Remember, remember prepare and go to the House of the Lord, even more than ever before.
16.  Life is like the Olympics, we prepare in heaven, have 3 minutes to prove ourselves, and then can receive eternal glory. Be grateful for whatever circumstance you are in. Gratitude will saturate your mind. If you find yourself in a tornado, think “Wow, what a lot of stuff I have collected that I really don’t need.”
17.  Satan, through the internet entices us to not be obedient to the laws and ordinance of the gospel. We expect our children to obey us because we love them and want them to be safe. The Lord expects the same of all His children.
18.  Be kind in the words you speak. Don’t jump out of a moving, smoking semi truck, speaking judgmental words, but ask “What are you thinking.” Listen and understand and empathize while not compromising your own standards. Our burdens can help us to change or accept them and endure.
19.  Bring your family together, perhaps on Sunday afternoons with family history stories and connecting with your roots and branches. “Family Tree” gatherings can be included in family reunions.
20.  God always answers our prayers, immediately, or in time, and not always as we expect. Be always ready to listen and respond to the whisperings of the spirit in helping the Lord.
21.  We greet you with love and fondness and pray the Lord send you peace and comfort, health and joy. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Elder and Sister Bird

Associated pictures:
1. New Senior Couple – the Alvarado
2. And the heavens were opened
3. Missionaries learning team work
4. Adam and Eve or the Virgin Mary and Juan Diego
5. Harry Potter and friends pay a visit to Mexico

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