Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Christmas blessing

Well this truly has been a defining week here in Xalapa. Lots of things happened, good and bad, and we grow from them both. Some of the great things that happened were Christmas, our yearly conference with the mission president and his wife, while cleaning the baptismal font we found a chicken in the church, a baptism and confirmation, a priesthood ordination, some really good food, and some special changes in the mission!

As sad as it is my time as secretary is coming to an end. Another missionary is coming tomorrow and I'll start to train him in the ways of the secregatos HAHA. I have truly loved every second here and learned so so much. The greatest blessing about being here was learning from my mission president. Until I came here I never really knew him  that well. It's a blessing to be so close to him and get to hear his counsel and wisdom at times when it's more than needed. I know he's called of God, and here in this mission to help me for the short five-ish months I've been here.

I've included a picture of me with the family as we had our Christmas Skype call and it was amazing. I love my family and when the time comes I'll be more than happy to see them.

We had our baptism!!! This story was really great as it lead to some of the most amazing experiences I have had as a missionary. It starts when I was with Elder Ix. We were one day in this store called OXXO (its like a Maverick but without gasoline). We had no idea of what to do when randomly a lady enters the store with her daughter and says hermanos, I want you to come teach my daughter, she's not baptized! Naturally it's a nice little gift as missionaries to find families who aren't all members. We tried to pass by but for one thing or another it never worked out to find them. Fast forward three weeks and Elder Silverio and myself are lost in our area. A place I had never been to before and we didn't know what to do. We thought about praying. Finishing the prayer we went to the first house we saw and knocked on the door. Who would have thought it would be the sister! She told us she had been waiting for us and her daughter wanted to be baptized. Fast forward 5 weeks and lots of lessons with the family and we show up to the 24th of December, Christmas Eve, and a wonderful baptism. Our bishop was invited to baptize her and her brother also turned 12 that same day. Christmas morning in the church services she was confirmed and after the services her older brother asked if I would give him the priesthood.

Later to talk with my family for a little while. WHAT A BLESSING AND WHAT AN AMAZING CHRISTMAS! I didn't get a new iPhone or some Xbox or clothes, but this has seriously been the best Christmas. I love this work. I know God answers our prayers. Maybe we were thinking of a family of 5 or 6 but God gave us a different answer. A mom who was waiting for the missionaries to bring her and her family back to church. I LOVE YOU ALL!! Happy New Year!! See you all soon (; #junio2017

Elder Babcock

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Another great week and more great experiences!! This week, we were able to spend lots of time with a new family we found. THEY ARE SO AWESOME!!! They all came to church this last week and are looking at a baptism on the 21st of January! Apart from that some of our older investigators who had stopped coming to church came too! We also are going to have a baptism on Saturday! I'm super excited for this coming week!! AND IT'S CHRISTMAS!!

Something that I have been thinking about a lot during this time is about people who need our love during this time of the year. Most of us go with our families and spend time with our loved ones while others maybe cannot be with theirs for many reasons. During this time of the year, we should all share and spread the love of our Heavenly Father with everyone. I'm sure we all have friends and family who might spend these days alone. Send a message, send a letter, give them a call. Let them know you care and help them feel the Savior's love and understand the purpose of Christmas.

I love and miss you all so much and hope you have a great Christmas!! Christ is the real gift, and we should share him with each and everyone we know. HE LIVES AND HE LOVES ALL OF US!

Elder Babcock

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Leaving our comfort zones

Another great week here in Xalapa, Mexico. This is the week of changes and I'm sure lots of missionaries are happy and many are not. Sometimes as a missionary you have your companions that you like and get along with better than others. At times you have more success with one than with another. It's sad when your favorite comp has to leave, but this is something that I have learned happens in our lives outside of the mission too. We should leave our comfort zones to learn from others and grow as a person. When everything is all and well we enjoy this life but we don't really learn much when there isn't affliction. It's a necessary part of this life that allows us to become better, little by little more like our Heavenly Father who is perfect. Take the changes in your life as a blessing and always look for the good in every situation and you will be surprised how much you will learn. It's not easy, but living the gospel of Jesus Christ never has been easy.

We had a lesson this past week with a family. We were teaching them about Christ and his perfect example, which includes partaking of the "bitter cup" even when we don't want to. I'm not sure if I've shared this on an email before but a sister in my ward said once, "it's hard to drink the bitter cup and not become bitter." Take what comes and learn from it. And always be happy knowing that Christ died for our sins and allows us to become better every day.

I love you all and miss you all tons!!! Have a great week and keep with the LIGHT the WORLD initiative!!! Service allows us to know and understand more our neighbor through Christ's eyes. Press forward and know that we are in the true church, the only church with Gods divine authority! Serve someone new this week and get out of your comfort zone!


Elder Babcock

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Light the World Part 2

First week in December and it's already passing by really fast. During the Light the World movement we need to take advantage of EVERY moment. In the spirit of Christmas we, as members of the church, as well as non-members of the church, can share the light of Christ with others. Every single one of us has a special gift or attribute of Christ that is to be shared and grown. Service can be given in many, many ways. Search your way to share your gift with another person and help them to feel the love of our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.

As missionaries we try to help people feel this love, and when they do feel it, it changes their whole life. Take part in missionary work and serve someone this week and help them feel this pure love. We have helped in many service projects this past week, moving members from houses, taking food to those who don't have it, cleaning different parts of the community with members and writing letters to missionaries and less active members. I can truly feel the spirit of Christmas in this new initiative. Don't let it pass without feeling it too!!

I love you all!

Elder Babcock

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Light the world

What another quick week and here we are again in the ciber writing another email. Missionary life is just a weekly cycle with small 6-week breaks and changes. It's so simple but such an amazing experience. I seriously love every second of it. The bad. The good. The kinda bad. The kinda good. All experiences and afflictions help us become better people and better missionaries in my case!! Learn from mistakes and keep repenting!! CHANGE IS NECESSARY!

There is a scripture I read today in the morning and I love it: "For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (1 Nephi 20:10). We become refined through our experiences and then our decisions to change or keep being the same. Become better and learning shapes us to be more like our Heavenly Father. It's difficult to take the struggles and hard times as a time to learn. But that's where our faith and hope comes in. Knowing that whatever comes and happens everything will be okay.

Here in the offices life is amazing and I am so grateful for the chance I have to get to know my mission president a little more each day. He's an amazing leader and loves this work. Today we went to Walmart to get some food and then relax since this past week was SUPER busy. Feels good to relax on a P-day. The church started a new initiative for December: LIGHT THE WORLD! (Ilumina el Mundo) I really enjoyed the video and sharing it with members and non members here. It's an amazing way to contact people in the street. Share the video with all your loved ones and watch the daily videos starting December first!!! Also don't forget to do some service that day too. We have planned to make some food and go hand it out at one of the local hospitals as a ward! Do some good and LIGHT THE WORLD!! I love you all and miss you dearly!!

Elder Babcock