Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Weekly update -- August 24th, 2015

Hello everyone,

So I DID get transferred this change, which was something I felt might happen, which is why I didn't buy any big cereal or a lot of food last week. I was right! Now I am in an area called Salinas Victoria A! My new companion is Elder Berryhill, most recently from California! That means he can translate english to spanish when I have questions so my spanish should get a lot better this change. He's been here already for six months and has mastered the cursed Mina bus route, which we have to take to get to the other two of our three sub-areas (due to the largeness of this area). The area has a Branch or a Rama here and at my first day at church yesterday there were about 60 people there in a rented building that has the Church logo outside. Of the 60 members, only seven have the Melchezidek Priesthood. My goal for this area, that I discern I can accomplish in three changes here, is to have enough faithful tithepaying members to apply for a ward. The building itself does not do the same as a real dedicated building for inviting the Spirit, so the people here could use it. Members and investigators.

One of our areas is clear in the middle of nowhere where the bus drops us off and we walk another 15 minutes to get to one of our investigators. The kids here are really cool though because everyone LOVES the missionaries when we come by. One thing that comes to my mind when we visit is that EVERYONE will have a chance to hear the gospel, whether they live in the city or on a mountain in a shack made with metal and door parts. Pretty sad the temporal conditions that a lot of people have here, but they are very much open to spirituality in their lives. I am very grateful for that.

In one of our areas there were a bunch of kids playing fútbol kind of bored. Elder Berryhill and I thought it was a good chance to contact so we started the game and made the 'reta'. Before we left there were a dozen kids playing with us. The funny part was that in the right half of the court, there was a huge water puddle where I slipped and fell. In my white shirt and tie! I learned to be more careful there and after the water dried after a few minutes, all good. Everyone had a good laugh. In leu of the lack of Priesthood holders at church, I feel inspired to invite all of you to study the blessings, history and/or responsibilities of the Priesthood. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, they never go unappreciated. Love you all!

-Elder Allgaier
My new companion, Elder Berryhill 

My new house

Our study area
"Our kingdom"

Some typical houses in this area
Me and a bunch of kids with their toy car.  Elder Berryhill and I pushed them around for a few minutes.

compechana grande! a deal they were having as part of my welcoming.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 17th, 2015 -- All Caught up!

To answer the lingering question, no I am not going home to beat Tyler for the fastest mission served by an Elder Allgaier. Just a little glitch in the emails. Love you Tyler. Yesterday, we had this amazing family come to church that we have been teaching. I think I've mentioned them before, we'll call them the Miranda family. They haven't been able to come in the past weeks because their one month old daughter has had some heart problems and just left the hospital this Thursday. They have had to keep a close eye on her but didn't stop them from going to a local clinic to hand out sandwiches to people waiting outside. They're amazing and the next time we visit them we can extend an invitation for a baptismal date! So grateful for the miracle they have been given with the health of their baby.

Changes or transfers as they call them stateside are happening today, which means we find out tonight who will replace Elder Frank who has become a good friend of mine here. We'll also see if I leave Escobedo or serve another 6 weeks here. We have a good group of investigators right now and it would be great if I could see them through the ordinance, but change is always refreshing so I will be happy either way.

A funny contacting story was actually when someone contacted us. The testigos or Jehova's witnesses to be exact came to our door when we were studying and getting ready to leave. All four of us LDS missionaries in the house came to the door to read their scriptures and listen to what they had to say for just a bit. Obviously we were strong in our testimonies and shared a couple of scriptures that we have ready for when they try to tell us the the name of God: Ezequiel 16:63, Isaiah 54:5, Isaiah 53:6-7. LDS missionaries are never shaken by testigo witnesses because of the surety of the scriptures, but incredibly more important, the Spirit of a testimony that testifies of the truth. Always a good story when you ask a missionary about an experience with them. I want to invite you all to look up this week and/or and find something interesting, talk, scripture or a tool that you didn't know about before and share it with someone. Could even be someone within the ward, just do it. Love you all and thank you for your prayers and thoughts!

-Elder Allgaier

                                                 our nice clean companionship desk

                     my comp and our zone leader during the last zone meeting of the change

                                                    our district at the last meeting of the change

                                                        poorly taken zone picture

                                         all of the cameras being set up for the zone picture

someone caught on fire just from being out in the sun for too long, here is a picture of the smoke ;) just       kidding, it's a fire from the canicula driness

Catch up from August 3rd, 2015 -- "5 months"

The next update I received this last week from a previous week:  

Hello everyone,

Sorry for the stall on updates, not sure what happened with the email but for some reason they haven't gone through the past two weeks. Anyways, we have progressing investigators! Two daughters of a family who was referenced from a member came to church yesterday, the others said they had to work, but I was overjoyed just to be able to introduce the church meetings to somebody again. The member is a convert of a few years and called us one day saying that his sister's family wants to be baptized, just need to be taught the missionary lessons to have more of a knowledge of the church. How awesome is that?! Both times that we have taught them so far have been very solid including them asking good questions and keeping committments. Super happy for this family we have been blessed to teach.

Here's a fun mission story to kind of even out the good one above. We contacted a reference of another reference who said this guy was reading the whole Bible and was now in Isaiah! That shows interest and that he is looking for an answer so we were very excited walking up to his door. He said somewhere during the contact that he was drunk but confirmed that he had been reading all of the Bible, including having 3 different translations (Catholic, Christian and New World). He got angry when we tried to ask him about a part he liked, maybe because he wasn't actually paying attention reading it. He started to close the door, but I stopped it with my hand because we hadn't finished answering the questions he had. I told him that we were missionaries of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because he had given us a nod when he told us about the new testament version of the bible, thinking we were Jehovah's witnesses (a common mistake I've found out). Still didn't satisfy his interest and he finished closing the door. But I did leave a Restoration pamphlet on his door because he had said 'why are there so many religions?' We'll see if that seed takes root.

On a lighter note, the other companionship in our ward moved in with us lately, Elder Torales and Elder Frank. Much different with four than with two, but it's fun without taking away from being good missionaries.

As for an invitation, I want to challenge you to read 3 Nephi chapter 20 during the next sacrament. There's a very good scripture in verse 8 that I think explains why we really need to come to church every week. While doing a practice lesson (which we do a lot), I played the investigator and commented how the bread and water was very little. Elder Lagos from our district answered by saying, 'yes, it may not fill you up physically, but spiritually we will be completely satisfied'. Something to that feeling. Take the sacrament really thinking of Christ so that we can be filled spiritually all week. Love you all!

-Elder Allgaier

Zone activity today

Catch up from July 27th, 2015

Another update from Elder Allgaier received late... Enjoy! 

Hello everybody!

The people here in Monterrey have a season they call "La Canícula" which means the heatwave.  After looking a bit in Google Translate, Canícula by itself means "dog days". I thought that was kind of funny. Anyways, it's hot.

Still, we don't have any investigators at church, nor Hna. Beatrice, which is about old news now, unfortunately. A few cool service things that we did this week was know down some walls at a member´s house who is renovating his house. He's a super cool guy. Last time we came they fed us with sub sandwiches and a 3 liter of coke. Cool thing about the coke is that it tastes better than in the States because of some added chemical X and they also have bottles that are "retornable" which makes it cheaper to buy a 3 liter (21 pesos). Another service project with just Elder Casiano and I was at a new investigators house moving some earth and broken concrete from the back of her house to the front for the garbage people to be able to pick up. Took no longer than 40 minutes and I feel like she really appreciated it since she lived without a husband and watches her granddaughters who really can't do much. I really feel fulfilled when we can help people like that.

Due to a lack of investigators in another area closest to the mountain "Topo Chico" in our zone, the whole zone went contacting for about an hour. Elder Casiano and I were able to contact about 13 and reference about 5 people. A lot of thi mission is contacting, just knocking on doors, hoping that they will let us in and be able to keep promises that will better their lives. The other Elders and Hermanas have loads of funny stories like that. One contact with the other Elders in our ward during the zone contacting responded to their pitch saying how the gospel can bless their lives by saying "Nooooooooooooombre, ya sé todo de eso." Which means "Noooooooooo man, I already know all of that." I'm going to be honest and say that she didn't. Partly because I personally am serving a full time mission, constantly learning only about the gospel and still have yet to find just the limit of what we can learn about the gospel. Fun stuff contacting.

For the invitation this week, contact a friend and tell them how the gospel has blessed their lives. Love you all!

-Elder Allgaier

Finally got his package!!! Only took 7 weeks, but at least it made it! 

Catch up from July 20th, 2015

I received the missing updates that Elder Allgaier sent, but hadn't received.  Here's the first of those from July 20th, 2015: 

Hello everybody!

Another tough week, but then again, nobody ever said the mission would be easy and I'm learning a lot. It's important, I believe to have a release, something fun that you can look forward too to get you through a tough week when nobody comes to church... Again. For me it's definately soccer and this p-day we were able to play! I don't mean just a pick up game with the other missionaries in the zone, but we actually played a full 6 on 6 game with the other team being all natives! They are our friends from the place where we go to write emails every week, super cool guys. They not too bad either. We hung with them until about 15 minutes in when the missionary running span runs out and the walking muscles take over. Unfortunately, we lost 10-4, but it was still so much fun. The deal was that if we won, we get to write for free this week. But since we lost, we had to buy some little ceasar's pizza (for about 250 pesos) for them. They still let us write for free, so cool. We came with the pizza's, they brought some soda and we just had a little pizza party in the middle of the computer place. Just what I needed to recharge my battery and get ready for a SUCCESSFUL week.

Last week, I really felt like we did good work, initiating contacts, teaching good lessons and all of that good stuff. I just don't feel convincing sometimes which I'm trying to work hard on, keeping the spirit in the lessons. We had 4 people or so say that they would come this week, but for various reasons, nobody showed. My companion, Elder Casiano, has a testimony especially personal as a three year convert, but he's been with some companions, less enthusiastic than me so it's tough sometimes to convey our excitetment about the gospel with them. A miracle happened on Thursday when Elder Frank and I were teaching the english class. Our companions talked with a girlfriend of a member in the ward who said she wanted to be baptized! She's about 16 and said she just felt good walking around the church and that we can teach her. She needs to talk to her parents still, but I'm very excited to see her progress! Apart from that, the highlight of the week was playing soccer with the internet guys.

We also did a service project with a member, painting his house yellow and having Elder Torales (Elder Frank's Mexican companion) fix some electrician work since he did that for 5 years before leaving his mission. Gotta love the diversity and depth of missionaries. I invite you to find a service project and do it for someone else who needs it. It really is one of my favorite parts about the mission and the church too, being able to spend time with your friends and helping other people stress free. Apart from that, you can feel the spirit that is promised in Mosiah 2:17 (in the Book of Mormon).  Love you all!

-Elder Allgaier
Here's a picture we just took after buying our internet friends pizza after losing at fútbol this morning.

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10th, 2015 -- A new post...FINALLY!

Apparently, Elder Allgaier has been having some issues with his email!  I will try to get the other updates that he sent (but I didn't receive) and post them on here.  Enjoy...!

Hello everybody,

Still having trouble with my email which is making me a little nervous because it's been a month now. This week has been more busy than some of the previous which is always good, I love being able to share our message and learn from every conversation with the Mexicans here. We have a goal in the mission to contact 100 people every week and this week we had 101! A few were interesting trying to convince us and themselves that what we were teaching was wrong, but having to re-evaluate your testimony like that every day only makes it stronger. Every time you really think, research and pray about the truthfulness of this church, the answer will always be yes if it is with a sincere heart. One of the reasons I believe missionaries are young adults is to strengthen their testimonies. Sure they could send out experienced older members, but their testimony is already set. The message is simple and the message is true. The sincere heart is just the hard part. A lot of the people we talk to don't take us seriously or don't want an answer and a lot of appointments fall through.

However, we still have our investigators from last weeks progressing. They were at church yesterday again and me and Elder Casiano are going to teach them some commandments today, super excited for that.

To end the email I feel like I should always include a fun contacting story and the usual invitation, so here goes. One contact we had the other day in the park (amazing place to contact becuase there are literally hundreds) was an ex member who grew up in the church and even started a mission, left after a year because he never worked hard. He's about 60ish years old now and has some crazy ideas about religion saying that we could really be the result of chemically made organisms from people in another planet who just forgot about us. Really believes that Jesus existed but that he was more of a great teacher, a Buddha he said, and not the Son of God. Really sad to think about, but when you don't work for your testimony, it doesn't grow. Just like the parable of the sower I would say. With that I want you all to read that parable and also send me a talk from General Conference because I really like listening to those in the house. Love you all!

-Elder Allgaier