Julio Velazquez-Elder Tyler Blanchard
Po. Box 1486
Presidio, TX 79845

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Week 45 (Bario del Norte, Mexico)

That is pretty cool that you got to talk to Elder Vuyk and that you got to talk with him a bit over Facebook. He was a really cool guy, and great missionary I learned a lot from him. He has a really outgoing personality.

Sounds like it is getting really hot over there. My companion and I lucked out and we have AC. It sucked at first and didn’t do much. But now it is working great. We stuck our mattresses down stairs and we have fans on us so we keep cool. It has been raining a lot this week, and has been really cloudy which is really nice because then the sun isn’t as strong.

This last Tuesday we went on some visits with a member who is visiting some family here in Mexico. He actually lives in Glendale Utah. It’s cool to work with him a bit a talk English. While we were working it started pouring and we all got drenched. 

On Thursday we had a lesson from Pres. Chavez on the light of Christ. The Holy Ghost and light of Christ are two different things. And it is really important to know and recognize the difference of the two. The light of Christ is something that everyone who is born receives (consciousness, awareness, conscientiousness) 

The light of Christ is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God (D&C 88:13). It is the essence of all of the universe.  It’s in all things and governs them all priesthood, planets, stars, animals. The light of Christ is really big and impossible to explain completely-Packer. The more faith and the more obedient we are the more the light of Christ within us grows. 

The light of Christ enlightens our eyes and quickens our understanding. Enlighten our eyes. Means to have a wider field of vision like horses have the blinders on and can only see directly in front of them. The light of Christ takes our blinders away by adding more light. So if we aren’t faithful and aren’t obedient less light. And we have faith and are obedient more light we can see farther forward and this can be used to help make decisions. What to study, who to marry, etc. To quicken understanding is to give life to. The lord says quicken when he refers to saving us from death or giving eternal life. 

The world is kept in its orbit by the light of Christ. The world will be the celestial glory, and will be literally filled with light like the sun. Joseph Smith said that every star that gives off its own light is a celestial glory. the scriptures say that this world will be a celestial sphere with a sea of glass and fire. 

The light of Christ will never run out. and everyone has it. It is an example that god doesn’t make exceptions of persons. Only if you deny the spirit will you lose it. Which is the unforgivable sin. You would have to lie or to deny after perfect knowledge like cane did when he lied to gods face. Now he is a son of perdition. But the more light we add the more we have faith and the more obedient the more radiant we are or more light we put out. And the less we are obedient and faithful the smaller the light gets. And it is something visible that people note. They always say the light in the eyes of the Mormons. Or they have a glow about them. We all have the light of Christ it just depends on what we do with it that makes it grow or shrink. 

 Our president shared an experience from his mission about this fam he met. Him and his companion would always walk past the fam sitting out on their porch and would wave and say hi. One day they decided to stop and contact them. And they started teaching the family. Throughout the lesson the people would stop and whisper and they said they feel free to ask us if you have any questions. And they did this several times throughout the lesson. After they whispered again the missionaries asked what they were whispering about and they said that every day they had passed they had always noticed a kind of light or glow coming from them. And in the lesson when they were testifying or sharing something the light would grow and they would point it out to each other and that is why they whispered. 

It made me think of the atmosphere of the earth. The atmosphere being the light of Christ. Right now the world is really wicked and so the atmosphere is thinner right now. I always heard how there were really thin spots. And that is the thing that protects us from the sun. The earth has its process of exaltation like us. It was made or born. It was baptized during flood and will receive the bap of fire (or holy ghost) when Jesus comes again. 

I will have to finish writing about the lesson this next week because I have run out of time.

Love Elder Blanchard

Week 44 (Bario del Norte, Mexico)

This last Monday we had a meeting with the assistance, it was great because I didn’t have to give a lesson to my district. They gave us a couple lessons that were pretty cool. I liked one that talked about mental tenacity that came from a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard. The talk started out with a question what is the difference between a successful missionary that baptizes frequently and one that doesn’t. The answer isn’t the area, the people, the time of year, or the companion the answer is the attitude. If you have a good attitude the results will be good. If you have a decent attitude decent results. And bad attitude gives you bad results.

The message we share as missionaries changes lives but it doesn’t only rely on the message because a lot of the time one of the ingredients to change someone for the better are found within the messenger. Failure and excuses go together. We need to make ourselves into someone who makes things happen instead of someone who makes excuses. It was a cool lesson and it doesn’t only apply to my life here in the mission, every other aspect of life depends on your attitude, it reminds me of a quote "whether you think you can or not you are right."

On Tuesday the zone leaders came by our house because our mission president has been really harping about the importance of the cleanliness of our houses. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as before because we had mopped and swept but it still wasn’t great. They also checked our USBs and our luggage. My leader saw the thing of pepper spray that I had in one of my suitcases from a package that you guys sent me and he thought it was pretty funny. 

Also later that day we went and visited Nicha. She told us that she still only wants to go to sacrament meeting and after go to her congregation until God indicates to her that he wants her to stay in one or the other. She is way nice and always gives us juice and cookies now and like a month ago she talked to the relief society president to get her name on the list of people who give food to the missionaries. 

Wednesday we had a cool lesson with a less active member and her two daughters who are 18 and 21. They are not members and their names are Nadine and Victoria. They are really receptive and even were really interested in getting a Book of Mormon. they have been coming to church with us these last few weeks and we are going to see if they are ready and able to get baptized this next week. 

On Thursday we did some divisions. I went over to the other area in my district with Elder Valentine from Dominican Republic. We went and talked to some of his investigators and I got to know someone of the people they have been teaching. He told me more of what happened to him in his area over in the west side of Chihuahua in the Sierra. He and his companion were on his bikes over there and he got hit by a car that didn’t stop at a stop light. He has been going to therapy these last few weeks and this last week was his last. He is really cool and a very crazy outgoing personality.

Later we took one of the teen investigators they have in that area and we had an activity at the church. The whole ward got together and we played volleyball. In the middle of the game it started raining and we played volleyball in the rain. It was pretty fun because the missionaries got split up into different teams with the members and investigators and played kings’ court. Where the winner stays and the losers wait for next game.
One of the daughters of the less active that we are teaching Victoria came and brought her boyfriend as well which was really cool to see how comfortable she already is with the ward and everything. My companion Elder Nueman had brought a bag full of his shoes shorts and soccer jersey that he was going to change into but never changed into and the bag full of his stuff ended up disappearing. He wasn’t too happy and our leader promised him that he would find it or that it would show up. And a few days later we found the bag in the one closet that they didn’t check. It was cool because in the meeting we had on Monday they talked about the power we have as rep. of Jesus. We can promise anything and it will happen.

They had shared a few different examples of people who had been promised blessings that would come to pass that happened or things where missionaries had said the person would get sick if they didn’t do something and they ended up getting sick. also later I was reading through D&C 29:10 it says for the hour is nigh, and that which was spoken by mine apostles must be fulfilled as they spoke so shall it come to pass. We are by no means any apostles but we are his servants and it applies to some extent to us as his representatives. 

On Saturday we went to visit this guy we had contacted the day before. We went to his house which was supposed to be 509 but there was no such house. It went 505, 507 the again 507. We went and tried the last 507 but it was some random lady and she didn’t want anything from us. We didn’t know what to do because that was the last house on the block. We decided to head out to go find some other investigators and continued down the dirt road. We were half way down the street when this guy called us through the fence we were passing. It turned to be the guy we were looking for and we never would have found him because he wasn’t close to the other houses and it was hidden by bushes and weeds that covered a wooden fence blocking everything from view.

We went in and talked with the guy and had a lesson with him and he told us that he has been praying a lot lately because he is deciding whether or not to go the US and work or to stay here and move or what to do. And the day before my companion had asked him right before we were going to continue down the street if there was anything that we could help him with. The guy said that that was an answer to his prayers, he said it was as if God was asking what is it you would like to do, I will help you with whatever you decide to do.

It was cool because I was listening to a talk that morning by Elder Holland where he talks about when Jesus called two apostles. It is found in John 1:35 there were two guys intrigued by Jesus. They followed him (v38) Jesus sensed that someone was following him and he turned and said what are you looking for or what do you want. The two guys end up asking where do you sleep? And Jesus said come and see. Elder Holland says that the question of Jesus for all of us it what do you want. What do you look for? He says the answer come and see is the answer to any question or doubt we have. Come and see.

The guy felt like he was being asked through us by God what he wanted. He told us that he still wasn’t sure what he should do only that he knows that God is good with both things that he chose. We told him his answer was to come and see. Elder Holland says the invitation is to come to Jesus walk with him see where he is going and together you can talk about where you are going. It was a cool lesson and the guy came with us to church this last Sunday too. 

On Saturday night we went and played soccer with a bunch of kids in the street. We got a bunch of contacts from them and we are going to go visit them this week. 

A member in my ward was telling me that she has been talking with you these past couple of weeks. She told me that she was making a cake and everything and that she was waiting for us to show up. But we got a call earlier that day and we got told that our group got switched foods, but in reality it was only that companionship but there was a misunderstanding and we got all switched up. We actually ate really well. We got lasagna and spaghetti and salad with melon juice and tamarinda juice that were so good. 

Love Elder Blanchard

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 43 (Bario del Norte, Mexico)

This last Tuesday we went on visits with a member named Carlos. He is this pretty cool member that is twenty-years old and he is actually getting his mission papers ready right now, hasn’t been able to go yet because of knee problems. It is cool to do visits with him because he is really smart and a good teacher and helps out a lot. 

We took him to visit the investigator Nicha. She was going to get baptized but she was really nervous because she is afraid of water. But we got her excited for her baptism and reassured her that everything would be alright. Got everything set up with her to get her over to the church. The baptism went well the only thing that sucked is that the water was cold. Carlos baptized her because he is strong and could baptize her with ease without dropping her. 

Also during lunch on Tuesday we ate some crab at the bishop’s house. It was in the form of like a salsa thing. It had cucumbers, pineapple, and crab all diced up together. We dipped tortilla chips into it and ate it with a side of rice. It actually wasn’t too bad. 

On Wednesday we had a zone meeting. What happens is that the leaders of the zone go and have a meeting with the president of the mission and the assistants and then they share with us what they said. 

We got taught about proactivity. They started off by sharing D&C 58:27-28 where it says always be engaged in a good cause based on your own free will. Proactivity is an attitude where someone takes complete control of the personal conduct and their actions. It doesn’t just mean taking initiative but taking the responsibility and making sure for yourself that a job gets done. I liked a quote they shared it goes like this a good leader makes it so his leaders don’t have to worry. 

They started off by talking a bit about some different generations:

Baby boomers (those who were born after all the men came back from the war), generation x, and generation y (that is our generation) this generation likes the technology, likes to learn, and is curious, and likes to ask `y` or why. They then talked about the importance of the why. They showed a video from YouTube on Kevin Durant it was a motivational pump up video with some black gangster voice.

Kevin Durant is a famous basketball player that wears the number 35 on his jersey. He does that because his coach died at thirty five years old. Before and after every game he pounds the number on his chest. He’s got a why his coach is his why. When he scores he doesn’t do it to gloat, he doesn’t do it to show he is better than other basketball players, to make others look bad, he does it for his coach. If you don’t give 120% in a game it’s because you don’t have a why. What is your why? Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you put on the jersey? If you don’t have a why you are nothing.  It was a really cool lesson about our whys about the vision we have.

Later that same day we went with a less active and her two daughters who aren’t members. We had a cool lesson with them and got them to commit to coming to church. 

On Thursday we went on some divisions. I went with my zone leader Elder Meyer because my comp went with his to the offices to get a cake. The Sister Chavez makes cakes for all of the missionaries on their birthdays. While they went Elder Meyer went to help a member out with her English class. We helped give the final, which just included us reading off some questions some were pretty funny. Stuff like where you live. Or have you ever invented something. What kind of music do you like? Where do you want to go and vacation? Stuff like that. It was pretty funny because this one kid kept relating everting to sandwiches. I don’t know if it was because his vocabulary was limited or because he liked sandwiches. It was a pretty fun experience. The only part that sucked was that we had to pick out the person we thought spoke the best. That sucked. 

Later that day I went to interview this guy named Alex. He has been going to seminary or institute for like three years. It was cool to talk with him he was really smart. He only had one problem and that was his job, because he is a bar tender. It is bad because he has to try the alcohol that he mixes before he sells it. I told him he was completely ready but he wouldn’t be able to if he still had that job and drank. He said he had no desire to drink he just did it for work. I explained to him how the lord asks for sacrifices, and how the bigger the sacrifices the bigger the blessings and how sometimes we need to take that step of faith before we can get the blessings. I gave him some scriptural examples and he was really cool and willing to take the steps and do what it took. 

The other day we were on our way to lunch and we were really far away walking on a dirt road by a railroad track. It was crazy hot and I said it would be nice if a car pulled up offering a ride. I said it jokingly because we were on a road that cars never used and that was always empty. But then a few seconds later out of nowhere a car pulled up and offered us a ride. It was a cool little miracle. We couldn’t go with them because they weren’t members and we can only take rides from members, looks like I need to be more specific next time ha-ha. 

Also later we were having a lesson with Nicha about the holy ghost and we were telling her about how the holy ghost helps you out and lets you know what to say when you need to, helps you find answers to questions, and I went to share a scripture that popped up into my mind that is found in the bible. I opened them up and I forgot the reference or how to get there. I then looked and saw the scripture right there on the page and I had been guided right to it. It was a cool little example for her.

Then we had a lesson from President Chavez about the three kingdoms of glory. 1. Celestial, 2. Terrestrial and 3.Telestial. The last glory Telestial is for those who don’t obey the Ten Commandments, Terrestrial is for those who live the Ten Commandments and the Celestial glory is for those that obey the Ten Commandments and the higher law doing all of the necessary ordinances here on the earth. He pointed out that a lot of people qualify for the Celestial and it isn’t that hard. but then he pointed out that if you do everything you need to qualify for it and on Sunday you go to church and magnify your calling there and everything but then you go home and flip on the football game you fall all the way to the last kingdom of glory because you broke one of the ten commandments. I just remember thinking that would suck to do everything you need to and lose it all to that. 

The work here has been great we have been so busy this last week. Also I got another companionship added to my district some sisters. Sister Suniga from Puebla I think and Sister Obergozo from Mexico City. 

I looked at the forecast just barely because on my missionary portal it has got a forecaster thing and I can put in the zip code and I checked and the weather here and where you guys are is about the same. I think that the only difference is that here the sun is really direct so if feels a lot worse than it is. Maybe it’s not that different than what I remember I am just thrown off because I was always in air conditioned places.

Best of luck to you guys with everyone home for summer break ha-ha. 

Love Elder Blanchard

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week 42 (Bario del Norte, Mexico)

This last week on Monday we went to a Chinese buffet for my companion’s birthday. The place was actually really good. I didn’t grab anything too extreme just the normal stuff. It was a bit like panda express. 

Later that day we had just come out of the store after buying our food for the week and a member offered us a ride which we really needed because at that moment we were supposed to be at a family home evening. We packed everything in the back of the car and headed out with them. We got to the house and when we opened the truck my gallon of milk fell out and exploded all over the concrete, that sucked. But after that we headed to the family home evening and we had a pretty cool lesson. 

On Tuesday we went with Nicha and she didn’t want to get baptized, she told us that she had talked with her daughter and had changed her mind. But after the lesson she decided that once again she would get baptized so we were going to have the baptism on Saturday.  We also found this new family. The mom’s name is Naima and the daughter Presila. They actually contacted us on the street. The daughter has gone with her boyfriend to the church five times and is in 2nd Nephi. The mom hasn’t been at all but both are really open. 

On Wednesday we had training from President Chavez. He gave us a cool lesson on the difference between doctrine and principles. A doctrine is a general concept that answers the question why? Why we do the things we do. The principles are more like the actions or applications that we get out of the doctrine.  They answer the question, What? What is it that we do? He compared it to an apple the seeds are the principles and the doctrine is the fruit encasing. The fruit part that we eat is there to protect the seed which is the most important part of the apple. The part that allows the apple to continue the cycle of life, grow and reproduce. He also compared it to a bag of M&Ms the doctrine would be the package that contains all of the M&Ms which are the principles.

After the lesson we went to the food appointment where a member had made a cake for my companion because of his birthday. The cake had a layer of Nutella in the middle it was really good. She also took down all of our names to added us on Facebook, and the next day she asked me if I had someone managing my account while I was gone and I told her no because I didn’t know that you guys were managing my account. Then she gave me crap about getting on the internet to accept her request.

Also later that day while walking in the street this car that was driving past us had its engine explode. There was a giant flame that encased the front. I tried taking a picture of the flames but the flame disappeared before I could get a good picture.

On Friday we went to visit Naima and Presila. And we had a cool lesson with them, and they asked us if we wanted something to drink before we left. And we said yes because we did because it was way hot outside. She brought us out the juice and I chugged it, my companion got about half way and asked the lady to see the packet that she made it with. It turned out to have black tea. I broke the word of wisdom, as a missionary.

The lady felt way bad for giving us the juice after we told her we couldn’t drink it. The only thing that sucked is I was warned by the spirit. When the lady asked if we wanted a drink. In my mind popped up a picture of the exact packet she pulled out later to show us. My comp had pointed that packet out in the store the other day and told me it had black tea. I didn’t think anything of it and just thought I was being too paranoid because I had rejected all other teas only to find out later that it didn’t contain black tea. They had just turned out to be blended fruit and water heated up. The lady then brought over the cups and handed them out to the people at the table and returned for more and I lost the desire to drink something, and had the thought to tell her never mind. But then I thought of how hot it was going to be outside and didn’t say anything. So I ended up drinking it. 

Later we were talking with a member who is watching over the wife’s mom who has altziemers. They told about how she doesn’t remember anything. She doesn’t recognize her as her daughter, doesn’t remember that she was married, she doesn’t remember to bathe.  She always fights them trying to leave and take off from her house one of the few places she remembers, she says all day, of I’m going to take off now. Or, are they coming to pick me up? They don’t know if she thinks or if she ever understands what is going on.  It is really sad to see this and hear about this disease. 

On Saturday we had the stake activity. It was an activity for the recent converts. It was decent. The ward I’m in had all of us missionaries sing some songs for the activity. I think the best part was the talk that President Chavez gave. He went up with a box of donuts asked for a volunteer. Someone knew how to make donuts. Some lady went up and explained some of the ingredients and a bit about the process. He then asked her what would happen if you didn’t have all of the ingredients like for example you didn’t have the flour. Well obviously you can’t make the conversion from the ingredients to the donut. And he thanked her and sent her back to her seat with a donut.

After that he asked some of the recent members to come up and share their stories. He then gave them a donut. And sent them back. There was a missionary who went up and because of his conversion he cut the way long hair that he had had to go on a mission. He left his family who calls him periodically throughout the time he has here in the mission to tell president to send him back home. But he doesn’t want to get back because he is converted and wants to serve two years because he promised the lord two years. Someone else told about how they had a problem with being angry and getting mad easily before and told how his conversion helped him change. 

Then President Chavez tied that in to the donuts. Saying that everyone there had experienced a change in their lives. Great things come from the change of heart from the conversion, for example the donut, something we all know and love came from a conversion of ingredients. 

When someone stops having a desire to do something contrary to the will of God they have a conversion. He says that the purpose of our conversion is to help others with their conversion. We as members can be the ingredients to help make the change in others. The ingredients to help them become a donut. But they won’t be able to make the change it they are missing an ingredient, us. What kind of ingredient are you?

It has been raining quite a bit here the past week. It feels really good though, we look forward to it. It feels so good after a blazing hot day. This last week someone told us that it was 41 degrees Celsius; I think it is like 106 Fahrenheit. 

It is going really well with my new companion, he is pretty cool. We got up this morning and went to the park and played some soccer. He wants to learn how to play soccer. He has a lot of experience as a missionary and I have a lot to learn from him. He is really good with the people. He knows how to build up the confidence and make them all loosen up and become more comfortable with us as missionaries. We do get along and he has been a cool companion so far.  I am learning a lot from my companion. The food is really good still and still enjoy it. 

Love Elder Blanchard