Friday, November 22, 2013

Focused and happy

Hey hey Family O'Brien

I think that we are just about in the same boat with the letters getting shorter and more boring haha. I guess that just happens after a while?

All is going really great here. We are seeing a lot of progress in the area and now I feel a lot better about the division that is going to happen in the area. We hope to have it all ready so that when the new missionaries get here all will be ready for them to get working at 100 percent. They will have some good investigators with baptismal dates and lots of less actives to work with. Elder Garcia and I both are really excited for the progress that is seen in the area.

We are really excited for the baptism that is coming up this weekend. Esteban seems really happy and excited also. We are just going to go over the last few points this week and he will be all ready. It seems that a lot of investigators will attend also so Elder Garcia and I want to make sure it is a special spiritual experience for everyone!

Elder Garcia turned 21 this weekend. We had a nice cake with the Nuño family. It was a great cake that they bought. It was a chocolate cake with choco flan on top. Now you all know what I want for my birthday haha. 

One of the greatest experiences of this week was being in church. Nearly the whole week was really cold and slow but when Sunday came around we really saw the blessings of the Lord. 79 people came to church. We were really excited for that! 7 of those people were investigators also. The Lord truly is moving forward His work here.

Time sure seems to be flying by way too quickly. Right now I am working hard to finish all the goals I had set to complete before getting home. It is going really well. I feel really focused and happy right now. Hopefully Elder Garcia and I can keep this same pace going so that the branch will be ready to continue moving forward.

Thanks for everything! Love you all tons and have a great week! :)


Elder O'Brien

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Grateful for all the blessings

Hey there family! 

We had another really good week. Elder Garcia and I are really enjoying all the work and progress that we are seeing! There are a couple exciting announcements for this week!

Well first off, we had interviews with President this week. We were discussing the area, Presidente Camarillo, Elder Garcia, and I. President asked us if we could use another pair of missionaries in the area. We talked over it a while and we decided it would be a really great idea. I was a little hesitant about it though, thinking if there would be enough work in the area for two pairs of missionaries but with all the blessings that we saw this week I realized it was definitely meant to be. We were able to find many new investigators and less active members in what will be the area for the new missionaries and some even came to church! Church attendance has gone up every week this change. We got up to 67 people in church this week which makes us really happy. We were also able to set various baptismal dates for next month. We had set a pretty high goal and I was really glad that we were able to complete it! We completed nearly all our goals for this week. Those that we didn't we were just barely short. I was really glad to see the way in which the Lord blessed us!

We also have the baptism of Esteban coming up! We are really excited for him! We are also working a lot with his aunt Estefani who is 15 years old. They both are progressing really well but Estefani doesn't want to accept a baptismal date still. We saw Estefani's mom today while we were buying some stuff. Elder Garcia told her that I would be heading back to the states soon. Her mom then said to me, ''Well I guess that makes it hard for you to marry Estafani then?".  I won't lie, I think I got pretty red and I had no idea what to say haha. She was joking of course. I told my companion that I should have told her that I would consider it if she let her daughter get baptized. I of course thought of that too late! 

Ivan is doing really well. He received the calling to be the young men's second counselor. He seems really excited! We also started teaching his mom yesterday. She seems really receptive, we will just have to work out some of the challenges there.

Elder Garcia's birthday is this week. I am still trying to think what I will do for him. Hopefully the inspiration comes soon!

Overall we just had a really good week. I am really grateful for all the blessings that we are receiving from the Lord. I received a letter for my last two weeks here in the field. I really just hope I can complete in all that the Lord hopes of me in this time that remains.

May you all have a great week! Love you tons!

Elder O'Brien :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Time is coming down quickly

Hey there family! 

Well another week has passed by. It was another quick one with all the tasks that were done. 

Since it was the beginning of the month again we headed to Guadalajara for conference. I would say this was one of my favorites. It was nice being able to see the ways in which we can help our zones more and be better missionaries ourselves. Always on Tuesday night we have a devotional. It was pretty good. President asked me to give my testimony along with another sister missionary because this would be the last leadership council that we would attend. It was a good opportunity to share one more testimony with everyone. We were sure to get pictures with everyone also! Overall a good last conference.

On Friday we had the zone conference. I felt it was a really good one. From the zone here in Chapala, three of us are heading out the 28th of November. It was a good opportunity to get us together and share experiences one more time. We will all see each other as a zone for interview on the 12th once more.

As for the work here in Chapala all continues to go well. We have a baptism coming up on the 23rd. We are excited for him. His name is Estaban, one of those great kids who already turned 9 but never got baptized haha. We are meeting with him to get him all ready for baptism. He seems really excited though. We are hoping that Ivan will be able to baptize him. We will see how everything works out! :)

As far as the recent converts go they are doing really well. Ivan is getting ready to receive the priesthood next week. He also got a calling this week from the branch president. We still aren't sure what the calling is though. He is keeping it quiet haha. Liliane is enjoying her calling a lot also. She makes sure we get fed so she will take good care of us! ;)

We also did divisions this week. I got to work with Elder Garcia (other than my companion). It was another good experience to continue learning. 

One of my favorite experiences from this week was being able to fast. I felt like it was another great opportunity to look for ways to have the Spirit even more in my life. Testimony meeting was really spiritual also. Normally I like testimony meeting because it is the easiest Sunday to translate but this one was different. Everyone seemed to have really great experiences to share with everyone. It was a really strong Spirit as each stood to give testimony of Christ, His atonement, and the ways His atonement is shaping their lives. The attendance continues to go up each week. Many less active families are coming and show many desires to make the gospel and the church more of their lives. It is great to see the progress that is taking place here. I feel it is a great privilege to be a part of it. The Lord has greatly blessed me by allowing me to be here. 

May you all have another great week! The time is coming down quickly which at times brings me much sadness knowing that I will have to leave all these people but I know it will be another great opportunity for them and me to keep growing. The Lord is always allowing us to grow and I pray we may all take those opportunities. 

Love ya tons! Can't wait to see you!


Elder O'Brien :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

We are seeing much progress

Hey there family! 

Well we have made it to the 22 month mark! How crazy does that sound? My companion also completed 9 months today. We are once again amazed by how quickly time goes by! I have been asked by many people lately how I feel now that the time is quickly winding down. I have answered, ''Well, normal''. Haha I still feel like I am just a normal missionary with the same expectation in the work. I feel very blessed that the Lord continues to bless me with the encouragement to continue focused on what I came to do here.

This last week was a pretty good one. It was rough in some ways but overall looking over the week we were truly blessed. We were not able to find many people at home this week. The great part was that we received many references from the members. A couple turned out to be a bit crazy or a bit weird but we are going to see what we can do to help them receive and live the restored gospel. One of those references, Rafael, went to church yesterday so he is looking a bit more promising! We hope all will go well so he can continue to progress. Liliane, our recent convert, gave us two references also. One family was not able to meet with us this week but they seem interested in listening! We also talked to her neighbor who just got out of jail two weeks ago. He is a really good guy and has great desires to follow Christ. He accepted baptism but not a date yet. He also found a job and had to work Sunday. That was a downer but we will go with them again this week to help them out a bit.

Also two references came to us from SLC. We were able to find one yesterday. She lives all the way at the end of the area, about 45 minutes on the bus from Chapala. She is a 25 year old single mom. She also works Sunday (another downer haha) but showed great desires to come to know the truth as we talked with her yesterday! We still have yet to get in contact with the other reference because he lives all the way at the OTHER end of the area, 1 hour from Chapala on the bus! (Notice we get to pass a lot of time on buses). In the reference it says that the person just moved back to Mexico and wants someone to go baptize him. We will be getting over there as soon as we can for sure to take advantage of that :)

This week we also got to do divisions with the Assistants. They were good. I missed my area though for sure. It was nice though to get back to Guadalajara for a while.

Once again leadership counsel has come! We are excited what changes we will be seeing as a mission! This will sadly be my last one so I decided I will have to find a way to make it count.

I have received a request to mention how the converts are doing here in the area. I am very happy to report that the branch is retaining 100% of its converts for this year! Nearly all now have callings! Liliane was called this week to be the Relief Society Secretary! She seems very excited and we are really excited for her. She will be in charge of who gives us lunch so we will for sure have lots of contact with her! Ivan is doing really well also. It appears that the branch president will be giving him the priesthood next week and he will be receiving a calling also! We are very excited for everyone! Many less active members are now reported as active so we know that we are seeing much progress as a branch here in Chapala.

We put a couple more baptism dates on the calendar this past week and we hope to be able to put even more this week! The work continues to progress and that is what excites me. We already know that this work will continue to progress and progress until the Lord comes again. The adversary tries and tries to impede it but it is not possible. We know who will win this battle and we can be part of the victory as we remain true to Him. It is a privilege to be a part of this work. I know we don't need to be full time missionaries to be a part of it. We are all part of the same work, we work to bring souls unto Christ that they might partake of His salvation. In whatever service we are called to give, as we work with all diligence, we are building the kingdom of God upon the earth. It is my prayer that we may all look for more ways to give even more in the assignments and callings we have. The Lord expects more of us and we must not fail Him.

I hope you all have a really great week! Remember I love you all and continue in fervent prayer daily for you all! Continue in the same one for another! :)


Elder O'Brien

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Big surprises

Dear Family,

Well another week has quickly come and gone! We had some pretty big surprises which made this week an interesting one for sure!

The week started off pretty well. We met with some less active members and we shared a message with them. Sadly their daughter got sick and they had to take her to the doctor on Sunday! Then Monday night we found out that the mission leadership training would be Wednesday morning in Guadalajara. That was quite an adventure figuring out how we would get everyone there because we had to take a district leader with us who lives two hours away. Overall we found the way to make it work out but sleep was the cost! Elder Garcia and I wake up nearly dead everyday. On the buses we are always dead asleep also. We have definitely learned how to use time wisely haha.

We hoped to schedule some baptismal dates this week but sadly those appointments didn't work out for many reasons, but we are ready to do it finally this week. The really great thing about this week was that we were able to find a lot of new investigators. I believe that all of them came from the recent converts from this year. We are really excited for their enthusiasm to do the work. Nearly all of the recent converts have now received a calling also! We are very very blessed here in the area.

One thing that really impacted me this week was in the conference when we talked about finding new people to teach. It was spoken that we should always be anxious to share the gospel with more and more people.We should always be ready to share a small message of our beliefs with others. That made me realize just how great the commitment to find people with whom to share the gospel is, not just a commitment as full time missionaries, but a commitment that we all make as we take upon us the name of Christ. All of us should be a witness of Christ in every place and every moment. This is the way the work of the Lord will continue. I was reading in Jacob 5 this morning and it teaches that this is the last time that the Lord will prune his vineyard and He has called His servants to help them. He has commanded us to work with all diligence in His work and He promises great blessings to those who are obedient to his mandates. 

Well I hope that you all have a great week! The Lord is greatly blessing us and we must always share those blessings with others! Love you all tons! Take care! :)


Elder O'Brien

Friday, November 1, 2013

Quite a miracle

Hey there family!

It sounds like all continue to do very well. The internet just went out on us and we had to go running to another place to write. I will try to give a good little letter to you all!

Well the baptism of Ivan went really really well! We started off a bit worried cuz Ivan and his family got there right when the service was about to start. The great part though was that his mom and his little brother were able to go and see also. Hna Liliane (his aunt who just got baptized a month ago) gave what I believe was the best talk on baptism that I have heard on my mission. It is amazing to see the ways in which the Spirit has allowed and helped her to grow in testimony and knowledge so quickly! My companion and I gave the special musical number. In Spanish it is the hymn called ''Brillan rayos de clemencia''. I am not sure which one that is in English but it worked out pretty well even though you all know I do not have the greatest singing voice! :) After the baptism Ivan gave a really great testimony. If someone from outside had showed up in that moment and heard his testimony I am sure they would have thought he had been a member for quite a long while. I am so pleased that I was able to see Ivan as he gained a testimony of the restored gospel of Christ and is now living it.

Another great thing that is going on right now is that the branch president is giving callings to all the less active members who have reactivated, and all the recent converts. It is really showing that this is working out really great for us because 72 people attended the sacrament meeting this week. That was quite a miracle for me because that is now the most people that I have seen in a sacrament meeting here in Mexico.

We also continue to find people to teach. We feel the Lord is blessing us more and more everyday and I just hope that I will continue more and more focused that I may always be worthy of his trust.

I hope Ashley really had a great time there at Homecoming! I know McKenzie is loving college also! I hope all are doing really well and just loving life. After all, the point of the gospel in our lives is to allow us to experience joy and peace in this life and eternal happiness after.

Have a really great week! Remember I love ya all tons! Thanks for all the support I receive from you all!


Elder O'Brien :)