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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, 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