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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Week 49 (Riberas, Mexico)

Not too much going on here that hasn’t already been said. This weekend we are going to do an activity at the movie theater for the investigators. We are putting on the restoration video about Joseph Smith. 

This last week during a contact that we were doing, someone asked us how old we were. After they heard that I was 19 and my companion 25, they asked if I was my companion’s kid. Ha-ha I thought it was pretty funny because we don’t look alike at all, not even close and we are only 6 years apart, I’m not sure what the guy was thinking. 

Also another contact we did asked where we were from. I told them I was from the United States and then they asked my companion if he was a gringo too because his accent sounded gringo. I guess my accent is rubbing off on him and his on me. The day before I had been told that I speak pretty well. 

This week I went on divisions with my zone leader Elder Wray. He is from Utah. The lady who was supposed to feed us was on her way out when we arrived so she just gave us 200 pesos. We then went to this bacon burger restaurant and got some burgers and ice-cream. 

We have a few cool investigators but we have a hard time finding everyone. Everyone here is always out working or just away. It is just hard getting in and sitting down with the investigators. There is a little girl Ana that is eleven and her mom Susana and they want to get baptized but the husband won’t let them do it or give them permission. There is one lady named Juanita that is pretty cool and will get baptized the first week of August. Her only problem is she has kept pushing back the date. Another couple named Carlos and Veronica. They are really cool too but hard to find. The wife is about to have a baby and is always gone at the doctor and the husband is always working to make sure they can support the new kid. 

Love Elder Blanchard

Week 48 (Riberas, Mexico)

This week at the lunches there was this little baby chicken wandering around the floor. While we ate it pecked our legs and shoes and kept biting the scabs of one of the sisters. It was a pretty funny lunch. 

Another day we were getting on a bus to head back to our area from the food and this guy started going off on us about how all prophets just want money and all leaders are corrupt and he went on and on about nothing. While on the bus we were standing up in the isles holding on to the rails because there were no seats and he sat up a few rows from us and he kept periodically turning around and angrily saying stuff swearing and flipping us off. We both just kind of chuckled and never said anything because the guy was drunk. But it must have looked really strange on the bus because no one was saying anything except for this guy every once and a while blurting out angrily at us. On his way out he turned around and set a curse on us and on God. It was a pretty interesting way to wrap up the day.

Later in the week we had a lesson from President Chavez.  He started out by giving us a scenario where we were going to die this weekend and we had to write a letter to our families in our notes with our last words. He then had someone hand them their letter and he was going to read it to us. He made a comment on the bad hand writing and uninterestedly read through it, said that this is garbage to me, threw it on the floor and asked for the letter of someone else. He read the letter of a sister but with a nice voice and with pauses.

He then said that the first one was actually good and there wasn’t anything wrong with it, it was the guy leaving an assignment for his siblings to find medicine for his sick mom. He then related that to the Book of Mormon. He said it contains the pure and deep feelings of the prophets and often times we as members or missionaries treat their words like the president treated the first letter he read. 

He said to more appreciate the Book of Mormon we have to understand how the book came to be. How it came to be in our hands. How much work was done, how much sacrifice was made, and how much blood shed to get the book to you.

Nephi had two plates, not referring to the plates that he took from Laban. When he got to America the lord commanded him to make some plates. He had the larger plates and the smaller plates. The larger plates had to do more with the governance and the history than with the things of God. They were resumed by Mormon and stuck into the golden plates by Mormon.

The smaller plates which come first (Nephi to Omni) are the revelations and spiritual things. And they were inserted in the gold plates. Then later came the plates of Ether. And they were resumed and inserted by Moroni in golden plates. The plates of Ether came from 24 other plates of gold from the history of a destroyed people. The seal in the golden plates was in the last part and covered much of the plates of Ether. From the testimonies of the people who saw the plates of gold that Joseph Smith had estimated different amounts sealed off so we aren’t sure how much is sealed. After Joseph Smith, the plates of gold were taken by angel Moroni. 

He then talked about the book of Lehi. It was in the larger plates at first then moved to the smaller plates by Mormon. They initially had lots of temporal info so for that reason they were in the larger plates.

He then told the story of the 116 pages and how martin Harris was given the translations and he lost them. And how Joseph Smith lost his right to revelation for around two months. In 1 Nephi 1:4, it starts telling story of Lehi because the lord knew that the pages would be lost and he told Nephi to write the most important stuff. So the book of Lehi is resumed in the first eight chapters. 

The Book of Mormon has the answer to everything in the fullness of the gospel. If we don’t know why we have rules like the ones we do, it is because we aren’t reading the Book of Mormon like we should. He pointed out that we don’t really have that many rules other missions have giant binders of rules. He said that is how it should be. Less rules.

We should be more aligned and in tune with the spirit to not have to refer to lists. He said he thinks that in the millennium the Ten Commandments are going to cease to be because we will be closer and more aligned with the will of God. In other missions, they have tons of rules because of worse behavior. The fewer rules we have assigned to us the more righteous we are. Because we are anxiously engaged in the doing the right and not because we are told to but because we want to. 

Before the restoration Satan ruled the world. It was his kingdom underneath his control. So the minute that Joseph Smith opened his mouth saying he had seen God, Satan threw everything he had at him. Joseph Smith didn’t have just any golden plates, he carried the salvation of millions. The life changing tool.

What if he would have let the opposition against him impede him from getting the job done, what if he just used excuses. Satan would still be reining over the world. There were no excuses, he went and did what he needed to do. And because of that, we have the Book of Mormon today. Satan doesn't rule anymore. Knowing this we should put a little more effort in when reading or teaching about it. 

Love Elder Blanchard

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Week 47 (Riberas, Mexico)

Wow really? I was there for three months? It felt like a lot less, like a couple of weeks or so, the time really does fly. 

The first week was great. It kind of sucked leaving the other ward and all of the missionaries in that area. The members were really cool. They did baptize one kid named Luis that we have been working on for a while. And this next week they are going to baptize Presila and her mom and we have been working with them for a while too. I didn’t get to see them but I was told about them. This ward is really cool too I don’t know it that well because it is really spread out. I am in the most northern part of the city in Riberas. It is an hour bus ride from the church and about a 15 min car ride to it and half of the ward lives over there by the church building and half over in this area. 

  (A picture of the painting we have at the bus stop by our house near the church.)

My new companion is Elder Sanchez he has two months in the mission and I am training him. His first six weeks in the mission he was trained by another elder but that elder just finished his mission so I am taking over and training him. He is from Acapulco and he is twenty-five years old and a convert of six years. He is a great missionary, he knows a lot already and he learns really fast. I don’t know if I have a favorite I all like different aspects of all of them and haven’t had problems getting along with them at all. 

 (Me and my new comp Elder Sanchez.)

I am still district leader and my district has two sisters and two elders. Elder Spencer from Utah, he is pretty cool, he is quiet and way good with a yo-yo he has twenty months in the mission. His comp is Elder Martinez and he is from Dominican Republic he has five weeks left in his mission and he has a really outgoing personality. Also Sister Dudley, the one who was in my district in Anahuac is in my district now. She is from Texas and goes home in August. She is companions with Sister Patterson; she has a little over twelve weeks in the mission and is from Colorado.

 (The two on the right were comps in Anahuac and the one on the left was our zone leader.) 

The rain was awesome and I always enjoyed it until I got to this area because the houses roof sucked. It let all of the water in. when I got here my comp told me we were going to switch houses because the house leaked a lot. So I didn’t unpack anything which was good because there was almost nowhere in the house that stayed dry when it rained. 

The first night we got into bed and everything and my comp told me a bit of how it was, I didn’t think too much of it and thought well it can’t be that bad. But that night a giant storm came in and it poured. We got waken up in the middle of the night and retreated to the one strip of house that didn’t get soaked. I pulled out a couple of umbrellas I have (the comp from Vera Cruz, Elder Rolon gave me his when he left) and tried to sleep with the two umbrellas over me but it didn’t work so I went over to the dry corner and slept on the floor and my comp slept in his chair. We slept like that the next three days until we could get into our new house. At first it was uncomfortable but then I got used to it and I actually started to sleep really well. 

We changed to another house and we got brand new mattresses which was great and in the new house we have air conditioning. In this house and the last we haven’t had gas so I have been showering with cold water but actually it isn’t even bad I thought it would suck but it hasn’t been bad. 

(My trainer and first comp Elder Maldonado, he just finished his mission.)

The new area is great and there are a lot of people to work with and lots of potential in the area.

We do eat with members every day and it is a monthly schedule that members fill up. The food has been great so far. One Hermana gave us A TON of food. I don’t think I have ever eaten so much in my life. We got a giant salad to start off. Filled with cranberries, oranges, water melon, cantaloupe, crackers, cheese, lettuce and apples, and plums. A giant plate filled with a bunch of food piled on. 

The second plate was a giant soup with lentils and croutons (little bread toast things you stick in salads) and they served that with bread. Then another giant plate with spaghetti noodles with some white sauce and chicken and something else. We had some pineapple juice too that was great. Everyone was dying because they were so full. 

This members name is Hermana Kika. She is way cool and always wants to help the missionaries and she actually helped us move all of our stuff to the new house and she bought us new mattresses. We had called the mission secretaries to ask permission to buy new mattresses because the others were destroyed by the water. We got an ok to do so and they said they were going to deposit some money in our accounts for the mattresses but it wouldn’t arrive for a few days, so we were going to wait until the money got there to get the mattresses. 

But when the Hermana saw we weren’t taking the mattresses she asked where we would sleep and we told her about it and she lent us 2000 pesos. Which is like 170 dollars I think. It was way cool to see how willing she was to help us out.

 (My last companion Elder Newman.)

Love Elder Blanchard 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Week 46 (Bario del Norte, Mexico)

This last week with my comp flew by. I can’t believe the cycle is over. And I got a call last night at 12 and was told I have changes today. So at two today I figure out who is my new comp and where I am going. 

We weren’t able to get the baptisms this last week but we have one kid named Luis that will get baptized on Saturday and three others that could get baptized. Two of them are sisters and they want to but they have a bunch of problems with work and getting time off to do it. And they wanted to do so together.

Also there is another girl that we have been teaching and she was going to get baptized by her boyfriend who is leaving on a mission in a year, but her boyfriend went on vacations and was out of town, and we weren’t able to get ahold of her for a while because her mom fell down the stairs and we lost contact as they were in and out of the doctors. 

We didn’t do anything special for the 4th of July. The only thing that was different was that it rained like crazy. The streets got pretty flooded and they became like rivers. 

That is cool that you guys have been learning a lot about the families and the different things out there trying to tear them apart. Things seem to be getting crazier and crazier as time goes on. 

This last week on Thursday my companion and I were far from the house and we were cutting it close on time.  On the road to our house there is a railroad crossing place and there was a train crossing and the trains always take forever to pass and were thought we were going to be late.  My comp said if the lord wants us to make it home on time the train will stop. We walked right up to the edge and right as we got there the train ended and we didn’t even break our stride and we were able to make it home on time. It was really cool to see.

Next week I will let you guys know about my new companion and my new area

Love Elder Blanchard