One Wedding and Another Funeral


Well, another quick week in the mission field. To be honest, it had its tough moments where I really felt the Lord was turning up the heat of the "refiner´s fire" but overall it was really good.

E and D, investigators from the days of Elder M in May, finally were able to get married and baptized this past Saturday. There was a really good turnout for both the wedding and the baptism. I didn´t know if my white shirt would fit E but it does so I gave it to him. He is smart and has a lot of leadership potential. Erick, his 7 year old who turns 8 this upcoming March 19th (shout out to Victoria), kept telling me that he wants to be a missionary and "baptize a lot of people" haha. I´m really happy for them. Bishop Ramirez who passed away Sunday earlier in the week was like a second father to E and he took it pretty hard, but they are both really animated right now after having entered into the covenant path. I look forward to 1 year from now when they can be sealed in the temple in Teguc.

We are having a lot of success with other investigators, but the number one problem right now is marriages. We have 4 families that need to get married in order to get baptized and they are all really poor. Don´t know what to do. We are working on just strengthening the testimonies of the Restoration and of the Savior.

Another member died early this morning. Hermano S of the bishopric called us and asked us to help dig the grave in the cemetery. We spent most of our p-day doing it, but it was fun. We helped out and had other members of the ward help out too.  We were at their house from 9 in the morning on putting her in the casket (spelling?) and talking with members and then finished the grave around 5 so that´s why we are writing now. Not much of a "fun" p-day but rewarding.

I fulfilled 9 months in the mission on Saturday. It was a really good day because of the wedding and baptism. After, we tried to watch the women´s broadcast but the internet was really slow and wouldn´t load in the chapel. I had been sick (I know, the two headed dragon strikes again!) the previous two days and thought it had gone away. When we went to dinner after the baptism I felt it coming back. I told the mom, Hermana D H (S´s wife for future personal reference), but told her I wanted to finish the meal she prepared. Right after we left, it all came back out. The hermana had heard it and I assured her it wasn´t her cooking. As we walked back to the apartments, I saw several horses in the dirt street, an american school bus blasting music, little kids playing soccer with plastic futbols from the pulperia´s when you buy a bunch of churros (not mexican churros, chips like doritos), and a night sky filled with stars. At that moment, I said to, I´m really a missionary in Honduras and only have 15 months left. A moment I hope to never forget.

Well, that´s all I have for this week. Take care!!!

-Elder Lund
Ocotillo, El Carmen, SPS 9/22/14 - 9/29/14

Life Is A Fragile Thing

Well, I might as well start out with this. Sunday night (last night) we were at our recent convert´s house eating some arroz con pollo when we got a phone call from a return missionary in the ward named Toño...He´s the unofficial assistant ward clerk..." He asked us where we were, and then told us the unthinkable news: the bishop had died. (The bishop´s family lives on the same street as the church about a hundred meters away). I hung up and told my comp that we had to go, not saying anything to the recent convert or the investigators there. A couple seconds later, the ward secretary called saying the same thing. On the way there, another sister in the ward called us. Nevertheless, we hoped for the best. We finally arrived at the house where probably 100-200 people were waiting, talking, crying, and praying. The Stake Presidency had already arrived as well. We went inside where we saw him on the table laying lifeless. We received permission to stay there and help as long as we stayed together and went home with a member. We stayed there helping out, talking, cleaning up and preparing the church for the funeral the next day (today) until around midnight. Very very tough to describe all the emotions and I won´t be able to say everything that happened. We had the funeral today around 3:00 and then we went to the cemetery where he was buried. Hundreds of people went. The bishop was loved by many...he had his enemies too (he was firm in his decisions as a bishop so to say) but even they came to the funeral and even they cried. He was also a leadership figure in Ocotillo and many nonmembers went. It was tough to see the bishops family...the 18 year old son who will leave on his mission in December or so received the Melchizedek Priesthood earlier that day at a Stake Priesthood Meeting. The youngest daughter is 10 or 11 with three older sons of 16,18, and 22 (return missionary). I have heard a lot of different stories of what happened so I will try to say basically what might have happened: he was feeding his pig, he slipped and fell on the concrete pila, ruptured an artery or something internally, and died shortly after. Tough, tough, tough. Life is a fragile thing.

I´ve had a lot to think about because of this experience. First and foremost, I am grateful for the knowledge that I have about the Plan of Happiness that our Heavenly Father has for us. I´m grateful for our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ and what he did for us. (Video-Gracias a El ... I think it´s thanks to him or Because of Him in English) I love my family...and I know that whatever happens we will always be together if we keep covenants. I also want to live my life in such a way in order to touch the lives of others. I´m full of emotions and thoughts and can´t write clearly right now, but this has definitely been a life-changing experience.

In other news, we had two baptisms this past week. J (11) and A (8) are the sons of a recent convert (R) from 3 weeks ago. It was awesome to see them get baptized. She has another son who is 6. I hope they continue in the gospel so that one day all 3 can serve missions and help bring others unto Christ.  Anyways, during the official ordinance, Christian (7) one of the children of our investigators (Irma) asked "Hey how do you feel!!!!" super loud through the glass in front of the font. Frustrating at the time but kind of funny looking back at it. I asked them after how they felt. They both said "super limpito de mis pecados." I´ll send pics next week.

I had an interesting contact at Wendy´s today, but maybe I´ll tell it another week or when I get back.

Well, that´s all I have this week. Take care.

RIP Samuel Ramirez.  Que le vaya bien.

-Elder Lund
Ocotillo, El Carmen, SPS 9/15/14 - 9/22/14

Clean Up Work and Some New Photos

 Storm Clouds
 R's Baptism
The District
Drying Out from the Flood
Outside the Barber Shop

Pizza Hut  

Another week in the mission field. The work was a little tough this week. Some of our investigators are having some troubles with keeping commitments. One of the investigators finally got his papers to get married. His soon to be wife was supposed to go this weekend to get them. Hopefully they will be baptized the 27 of September or 4 of October depending on when they actually get married.

Our toilet was acting up Friday night. We let it be and decided to move along and plan for the next day. About 15 minutes into our planning, the neighbor downstairs (who is the niece of the owner) knocked on our door. We thought it was the other Elders so we said just a minute, wanting to finish up planning. She knocked again and said there was a problem. We got up and noticed that the floor was all wet coming from the bathroom. The water was leaving the front door into the main hallway of the apartment complex and was running off the second floor like a waterfall into the main entrance way. I went to the bathroom and turned off the water connected to the toilet. For the next hour or so, we spent sweeping out the water, mopping the floor, and drying off things that got wet. All in all, it wasn´t too bad, just a little embarrassing. Kind of funny looking back on it.

The bishop took the ward council to Pizza Hut. It was a lot of fun. It was also Elder T´s birthday so the employees sung to him. The primary president is a recent convert and ordered iced tea...apparently she didn´t know that was against the word of wisdom, but now she does. The bishop talked with her and told her that iced tea was included.

Nothing much besides that. Talk to you next week!
-Elder Lund
Ocotillo, El Carmen, SPS 9/8/14 - 9/15/14

Staying in Octillo

Me voy a quedar en Ocotillo!!!!

Well, I don´t have changes so I´m staying in Ocotillo for another 6 weeks. This will probably be it, but who knows.

Pretty decent week here in the area. We´ve continued working with the families who need to get married. Hopefully, one of the families went this weekend to get their papers from the municipalidades where they were born. We will find out tomorrow if they were successful. As for the other family, we are doing all we can to motivate them to get the papers. It´s a big financial commitment because they live far away and therefore traveling costs are high (relatively) and they miss a day or two of working. We have set a goal for them to receive their papers by the 23rd of September.

We found a new family after a lesson with another investigator fell. My comp was waiting at the door because the mom was sleeping. During this time while we were waiting for her to get ready (to which the appointment ultimately fell through completely), I started talking to the neighbor who was eating dinner with some of her children outside. We talked a lot and turns out that she (her name is R by the way) had received the missionaries before. R told us she had great respect for the missionaries because about 5 years ago, another neighbor was being extremely rude and instead of talking badly back, the two missionaries entered the house and washed her clothes. R started tearing up a bit after relating the story to us. We´ve taught her about half of the Restoration and will finish up tomorrow. She is married (wow, that´s a first) and has 4 children. However, she is separated from her husband, well, not "together." He has another family with another woman, but they all live in the same house. A little awkward. Since she is technically still married, she won´t have any problems living in the same house and being baptized since she´s not the one breaking the law of chastity. We´ve challenged her to be baptized and will hopefully set a date tomorrow.

In the eight months since I´ve been here, I have only heard stories of a mysterious beast that plagues many missionaries here in Honduras. No longer a myth for me, I witnessed for myself this awful creature called the two-headed dragon: yes, diarrhea and vomiting at the same time. It started about 11:00 PM Friday night and lasted till about 9:00 AM the next morning. The funny thing is, during dinner Friday night, the member told us that a lot of families in Ocotillo, even members, buy food from the Dump (the basurera is about a 5 minutes drive away from us). Another funny thing...we had spaghetti and tortillas For 10 hours straight I could not sleep and couldn´t hold down anything. I was constantly going to the bathroom and going back and forth from the toilet to the sink.  Although I didn´t enjoy it at all, my gratitude for the Savior´s Atonement dramatically increased. I´m all good now. Don´t worry.

Oh, I saw a purple shirt with yellow writing that said "SHS Football" ... Salinas High? There were no other markings on the shirt but I told the guy wearing it that I played against that team. I still want to see a Super Bowl shirt that has the losers as the champions.

Well, that´s all I have. Over and out.

-Elder Lund
Ocotillo, El Carmen, SPS 9/1/14 - 9/8/14

Note From Elder Lund's Mom.  "I awoke early Saturday morning around 2:00am.  I felt Marcus was troubled.  I prayed and sang church hymns in my heart in order to help him.  Now I know he was ill indeed and I am grateful that my prayers were heard and that the illness was relatively short-lived.  Mother hearts seem to know when children are in need of a little help."

Being "Hi Yield, Low Maintenance"

Doctrina y Convenios 18-

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

Last week of the change. At the beginning of the change, Elder M and I set the goal to have 6 baptisms, or on average 1 per week. We both knew that it was a goal that we could achieve. About the second or third week, we had 11 investigators with very high chances of getting baptized by the end of the month, but little by little - lacking one church attendance, two fallen wedding plans, etc - we had just one baptism. Her name is R. She is a single mom with three sons (AKA, future missionaries). Two are going to be baptized next month when one of the sons turns 8 (the older son who is 11 is going to wait to be baptized together with his brother).

Finding her was not was not a coincidence. In the middle of July, Elder M and I were working when a lot of citas fell. We didn´t know what to do, so we went to a less active´s house who has 3 ill children (I don´t know what it is, but I would describe it as down syndrome mixed with muscular dystrophe). Anyways, while we were visiting with Hna B, her friend (Y) was over at the same time and we talked about the gospel together and she accepted the invitation for us to come by her house and teach her the gospel. Elder M at the beginning of the change went over to the house and started teaching the Plan of Salvation a few days after. Before teaching, Y´s friend R was spending time at the house before we came. She stayed for the lesson, listened intently, and felt the spirit. Within a few appointments, she knew we were representatives of Christ and knew the message of the Restoration was true. When we taught her the commandments, she gave up café and was open to paying tithing. Everything we taught her she accepted because she already had that spiritual witness that it was true. She is a bit on the quiet side, and she was really nervous before her interview and subsequent baptism, but the baptismal service went great. She asked me to perform the baptismal ordinance. It was a great experience. I´ll just say that my testimony of DyC 84:17-21 has been strengthened. As missionaries in Honduras, sometimes we focus on verse 16 of DyC 18, but I learned this week that we can find peace and joy in verse 15 as long as we give our all. Just a thought, some missionaries in the past have left with 100+ baptisms, but hardly any (10 or lower) are active. A former AP is going home with "just" 26, but is content with the work he´s done. I have thought a lot, and I´d personally rather have 1 convert who stays strong, whose influence benefits others - family, friends, children serving missions, etc - and who makes it back to the kingdom of our Heavenly Father than 100 inactive members who never truly converted. I´m not saying I wil not work hard, Elder M Russell Ballard said "we want quality, and we want quantity. The two are not mutually exclusive." I´m just saying my patience has developed little by little with my time here in Ocotillo. (I still have a long long ways to go for being patient, trust me jaja).

We had a multi-zone conference with Elder Alonso of the 70. It was a great conference and I learned a lot. We were macheteado a bit, but we learned a lot. From what I´ve heard from the Zone Leaders and former AP, the leaders (APs, ZLs, and Sister Training Leaders) had a seperate session on Friday and got macheted a bit for the low baptism numbers, but that´s how we learn sometimes. My favorite thing I learned came from Sister Dester. She told of a story about her old Stake President from her youth who she looked up to. At the funeral, one of the Apostles attended and said that he was a "High Yield, Low Maintenance" member of the church. She then questioned us if we are "High Yield, Low Maintanence" missionaries or "Low Yield, High Maintenance" missionaries. You can apply this principle to just about any aspect of your life.

Well, that´s all I have this week. I think I have changes this Wednesday, but we will see. Oh, this past Wednesday I completed 8 months in the mission. Time is flying by.
-Elder Lund
Ocotillo, El Carmen, SPS 8/26/14 - 9/1/14