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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.

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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