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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.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Eighth Epistle of Bird - 7 July 2014

From Chalco, Mexico

1. There is a time and a season for all things, but it’s hard to tell which season exactly we are experiencing here in Mexico. It is the seventh month and it is cold at night, many missionaries are turning on their space heaters; and it’s only in the mid 60’s during the day, which is sweater weather, some even wearing coats. You will always find snow on the volcanoes, and last month brief snow fell in nearby towns. “And he changeth the times and the seasons” (Dan2:21) “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17) The people here plan their planting season relying only on the rains to grow their crops. Praise the Lord.
2. Wherefore, God is like oxygen. You can’t see Him, but you can’t live without Him. “… he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people… and the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions.” (Alma 7:11, 13) Be grateful.
3. And it has been seen that Missionaries serve 24/7. Elder Bird went to the bank and was confronted by a police officer with a sub machine gun who, seeing his name tag, asked him “who are you?” After half hour of gospel conversation, discussing discouragement with his profession and concern for his two children, he wanted to know more and gave Elder Bird his contact information.
4. And it came to pass that Students from the High School have been looking for English speakers to practice with and video the conversation for one of their exams. They found out that people at the mission office speak English. Hna. Bird has been videoed 6 different times. Every time, they ask (in English) why I am here.  What a great lead-in to sharing the gospel. Afterwards I give them pamphlets in English, an Article of Faith card and get their contact information to send to the missionaries, who can also help them practice English!
5. Whereas God loves everyone, but He doesn’t have confidence in everyone.  “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”  (D&C 82:10) I learned from a missionary open house that we - every one of God’s children - made a covenant with God before we came to earth (which is consistent with us being a covenant making people) to find and live His gospel. Then God gave us a body so that we can fulfill this covenant.
6. To the youth o the church:  Seek, ask for, and receive a limited use Temple recommend, and use it. It will provide you with the same protection as your parents. The youth of today should use their talents and greater understanding of computers, etc. searching their family history and finding family names which they can take to the temple. “And he shall turn (bind or seal) the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:6)
7. “And they began to establish the church more fully; yea, and many were baptized.” (Alma 4:4) The mission brought 36 souls unto Christ through baptism the week ending June 28. By inspiration, teaching and bringing people to church 5 times before baptism, the new members remain faithful. It makes teaching and baptizing every week more challenging though – thus there are more baptisms every 5th week, but “the field is white already to harvest; therefore whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts.” D&C 6:3 Share your testimony.
8. One such baptism was attended by the Bird’s. A family of four:  father, mother and two sons. The father wore a white tie with his white baptismal clothes. The mother borrowed a white dress from the Bishop’s wife but realized when it got wet it would be somewhat “see through.” The sister missionaries approached Hna. Bird to see if I had a white slip they could borrow. With happy heart the exchange was made. These baptisms were extra special because four of the priests in the ward, preparing for missions were invited to perform the baptisms. Many were blessed this day.
9. A sweet sight among the people are the many little girls dressed in fluffy “princess” dresses of all sorts with their hair done up. They are simply adorable, and they know it! Disney movies are well known here. The characters not only appear on these cute little ones, but are depicted in the paintings on the walls in every city, town and pueblecito. Hna. Bird continues to capture these works of art for her collection.
10. Being a temple building and temple attending people, the Birds once again visited the Veracruz Temple. In three days, we took family names through initiatory, two sessions and participated in a live sealing. The sealer, Hno. Galacio, was acquainted with my uncle, Eduardo Balderas. They spent time in each other’s homes in Veracruz and Texas. Hno. Galacio’s son was sealed to his wife in the Salt Lake Temple by my uncle.
11. We are being blessed in the office as we recover missing baptism records. A missing one was
found on the desk of one of the missionary’s as he cleaned off his desk. Others must be filled out again – and they are able to find the people still alive and active! Retention is a big problem in all of Mexico. But as stated, with the 5 week church attendance program, most remain faithful.
12. Music rings as piano classes are finally progressing. Maybe they are realizing they only have this month before the course ends, but they are starting to work harder at putting two hands together. I will visit each of their Sacrament Meetings this month and be with them as they play their first time (and hopefully not their last) opening, sacrament and closing hymns. For those who have demonstrated they are willing to continue practicing and will play for their wards, and that they will teach others, the church has a Harmon Grant in which they can receive a keyboard to keep. I have chosen 5 people or families who have committed to bless themselves and others with music. New classes will start the first of September, with three classes plus two classes for the missionaries every week. I hope to instill many with my love of music. I hope to be able to complete two more courses before time’s up.
13. And through patience and long suffering, an assignment has come to the Birds. We will be I hope the members can help us find something as nice as where we are at now! The area is about 20 minutes from the mission office. We will be working with a ward and a branch in Zentlapan, and a ward in Amecameca. We will be in small villages where there haven’t been missionaries or that there are no members. And, we will have the opportunity to actually give the lessons. It will definitely be different from 45 years ago when we memorized the lessons word for word. Preach My Gospel is truly inspired and a great tool for Family Home Evening. We will still spend time in the office and delivering pouch, and Elder Bird will help deliver furniture and things to the missionaries. So our missionary days will still be full.
moving to another area. The first house we looked at didn’t have indoor plumbing.
14. Upon reading the New Testament, ask thyself, and write down, “what did Jesus ask, and what did He do.” Then ye shall be prepared to act and Choose The Right.

15. We salute you with love and fondness and pray the Lord send you peace and comfort, health and joy.

 Elder and Hermana Bird
Attached pictures:
1. We don’t see much sun, but we have awesome cloud layer
2. Now you know where the bacon is!
3. People don’t have the right of way on the streets, but the cows do
4. The people are very resourceful and creative
5. A Texas longhorn made it to a Mexican restaurant 
6. Some things you can find anywhere, including construction  
7. Not Barnum and Bailey, but the circus moves around the country 
8. We can even enjoy the islands here. Sister Matu’u, missionary from Samoa, teaches members how to dance, and they perform at their ward open house
9. When it rains, it floods! A street in Veracruz. The next morning the water was mostly gone.
10. Flooding in front of the mission office. The Jr. High kids (and Elders) had to climb across the driveway gate
11. Many of the churches have the same floor plan and design
12. Training the missionaries how to correctly fill out baptism reports so we don’t have to call them
13. Senior Missionary office staff enjoying lunch at Zone Conference
14. The AP’s appear to be banned to the kitchen, but they still get to eat!


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