Time again to let you know how we are doing. It seems we are writing less and less, and we apologize for that. However, things are progressing for us, and time seems to go by more quickly, as well. In fact, some weeks just fly by -- like the first two weeks of this month! We keep busy tracking success stories and other statistics as we are assigned. And, in the middle of last week, on Oct. 7, we did something totally new and very exciting. More about that later in this report update!
A few weeks ago we had to change our office location. We are now located in a real office with windows and a door! We are still on the 11th Floor, which in the building is the designated Pent House, though it is just offices like everything else. But, the Area Presidency and a lot of other office directors are on that floor. We have a super view, too. When the day is clear we are able to see the beautiful mountain volcanos around Mexico City. It is sometimes hard to make such changes, but we have learned to flow with it and we quite enjoy our new location.
The self-reliance group from our own ward that we had been helping Elder Salinas facilitate finally had its graduation ceremony, on September 29. There were 12 that started the group and 9 that finished, which is pretty good. We had a nice little program and the passing out of the certificates -- from LDS Business College, no less! They really like having certificates here, so they were all proud of their accomplishments as they well should be. It was a real effort for the members to keep coming week after week, so to see their efforts rewarded and their businesses improve because of the class was a great satisfaction to them, and to us. Most important of all, they all expressed in their short testimonies that their faith had grown as well. That was the real benefit of the class. Now, the ward in on the verge of starting a new round so we are likey to be well-involved again. But, this is what we came here to do, we fell, not just sit in an office all day! We get the chance to actually help members in a very direct and impactful way. It is very satisfying.
The webpage that Bonnie has been working is almost ready to go live! It respresents the culmination of a lot of work by Bonnie! She did a absolutely wonderful job of getting it all organized, get all the permissions requied for pictures and such, just EVERYTHING CREATING AND PRUDUCING A WEBPAGE REQUIRES! It has a few little kinks to work out. Why do all these things take much longer than one thinks they should? But when the final product hit the web, it will be super. We will send a link in the update following when it finally goes live, for you all to see.
Craig has recently had success in contacting a member he baptized in Tampico in January 1968! It was a young couple, at the time, the Altamira family. The husband passed away 22 years ago. It was quite interesting how locating Sister Altamira came about. She has an unusual first name and almost by chance we located someone that works for the church in Tampico that knows her, and one of her three daughters. Craig spent some time talking with the daughter and getting more information, then on Saturday, Oct. 10, he spoke with the Sister he taugh and baptized all those years ago! They talked for more than ½ hour on the phone. We have learned that she and her husband went to the Temple in Mesa, Arizona a few years after being baptized, and were sealed. She is now 74 years old and remains active in the church, along with 2 of their 3 daughters and their families. The oldest grandson just returned from a mission and another is preparing to go. It was a dream come true for Craig to see that some of the ‘seeds’ that he planted many years ago, have developed strong roots in the gospel. He continues to look for members he baptized, but just this one has brought him great joy.
Now, a bit about what we did that was special on Oct. 7. Since I previously wrote about the experience to someone else, I am just going to paste that in at this point, so enjoy!
“On this past Wednesday, just 48 hours ago, Bonnie and I were at the office of the Southeast Mexico City Mission. After a tasty lunch of pizzas from Domino’s, (side bar here -- there were about 20 elders around, plus the Mission President and his wife, and we polished off something like 14 or 16 large pizzas!) we gave a presentation to 16 Elders who are going home between now and the end of the year, about Self-Reliance. They were all Elders because no Latin sisters are leaving in that time period. I had prepared the presentation, all in Spanish of course, specifically for that occasion and audience. Bonnie chipped in, and the Mission President and his wife did, as well, with their real-life experiences. We wanted to help them learn about self-reliance, the doctrine behind it, and the resources that are available to them when they return home soon. They were all Latin Elders. About half were from here in Mexico and the other half from Ecuador, Chile, Dominican Republic, and I think one other country, as I recall. Oh, and one from Spain, too.
The afternoon with them went very well. They were interested, they paid attention and participated with questions and discussion and it was, altogether, a wonderful afternoon. We finished up around 4:00 p.m. and they had arranged for a member in that part of the city, who owns a taxi, to take us back home. Bonnie and I felt so very good. We felt like we had really been missionaries! It was a missionary-like activity, and we taught and shared the gospel and one of the greatest programs offered by the Church today, in these countries. We had sort of thought, before we came here, that we would be performing more service of this type, but it just has not been that way, so far. I think they will invite us again, for a new group of returning missionaries, in a few months’ time, which will be great, and perhaps other missions in this area will also get the spirit and also ask us. Our leader thinks it is great”!
So, with that little story to end on, we will once again say, “Adios” for now. May the Lord bless you, each and every one, with his love and peace in your hearts and minds. We miss you but are happy in the work in which we are engaged.
Bonnie & Craig
3 pics - Teaching returning missionaries about self-reliance in the Mexico City Southeast mission.
Self-Reliance Group Graduation, Palmas Ward - We helped facilitate the course.
Elder Salinas(r) and Raul Campos (l) preparing to hand out certificates at graduation.