Thursday, February 19, 2015

This is truly the work of God...


Dear Mama and Papi,

Sorry I didn't write yesterday. P-day was moved till today because some of us went to the temple today. I'll email you later. (Hopefully) But in short, I just feel great since it's been so long since I've been to the temple. Haha. Love you tons!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

Dear Mami and Papi,

So, as I mentioned, I got to go to the temple today with my district leader and another Elder from an area close to ours called Escarcega. That was such a treat. I haven't been to the temple in so long and can say it is something that I have missed. Now that we'll be having more time to do family history work, we'll have more opportunities to go since we need to bring our own family names in order to go (That, or memorize all the scripture mastery scripture from D&C and the new testament, but let's face it, I think you and I know that memorization isn't that great. Haha.) I did baptisms today and it reminded me of youth temple trips. Only difference was that I understand so much more of what I am doing while I'm there. I can gladly say that I have an unshakeable testimony of temple ordinances and that these are truly opportunities for others to meet their Father in His presence. We cannot be saved without our dead, so it is vital that we get to work. (Myself included.) It is such a special opportunity to attend the temple, and I hope that I may be diligent enough to attend weekly in the future.

I could talk about how this week went, but really, nothing was as special as going to the temple, so I'll leave my thoughts regarding this week with the focus on that and also with the invitation that we all do our own family history, with the goal that the ordinances be done as soon as possible. The work of salvation has been pressurized and we've been counseled by our leaders to not hold the names to ourselves because we want to do the names personally. (For an unreasonable amount of time, that is.) This is truly the work of God.

Congratulations on ditching the novelas! (They're predictable, anyway. Two folks are in love, there's opposition, usually by the future in-laws or a jealous third-party character, someone dies/gets killed, ends in a wedding, Fin.) Haha. No worries about the treats. I need to lose weight anyway. I'm excited for my things because I need them. Haha. Please thank my wonderful family for me and send them my love. Well, that's all for this week, but I hope all is well. I love you both eternally.

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, Something that came to mind today is that I remembered that Tia Elena had given me some temple names a while back, but I forgot to do the ordinances. They're in an envelope on my nightstand (The one with the movies) and if you find them, could you send them to me please so that I can get those done while I'm here? Also, for all the family reading, if there's names that need to be done that I can trace back on my tree, I'd love to do the baptisms and endowments for some, if that'd be alright ALso, picture is of myself and my first son, Elder Lopez, in front of the temple. We got to hang and that was wonderful.

It brings me great peace...


Dear Momma,

Thank you for telling me of Abuelito's passing. I promise that I myself am fine, especially with how the mission has helped me understand better the plan of salvation. My only concerns are being able to do his work for him, and it is something I myself would be honored to do. (Well, there's no one else who can. Haha.) I'm glad to hear that dad is doing well despite all that. It brings me a great peace since I was really worried how he took it. And to hear that he was calling for his parents. That to me is just amazing, especially to see how thin the veil is as we reach the moments in which we leave this world and continue on. Keep supporting dad and make sure he feels your love. I know this is not hard for you since you are naturally a very charitable person. :)

Querido Papi,

Espero que estas bien ahorita, especialmente con la recién fallecimiento de Abuelito. Aunque no puedo estar allí con tigo, estoy orando por ti de lejos. Te prometo que estoy bien. Algo que me ayudado mucho con esto es para saber que Dios nos a dado un plan para que nuestros familias pueden ser eternas. (Pregunte a mami sobre esto.) Nuestro tiempo aquí es corto, pero esta es para que nosotros podemos hacer todo las cosas que Dios nos a mandado para que después no tenemos que preocuparnos para nosotros mismos o nuestros familiares. Se que ahorita que mi Abuelito esta escuchando el mensaje que yo como misionero comparto con todos: Que las familias pueden ser eternas solamente por medio del evangelio restaurado de Jesucristo. Hay una manera que tu y yo podemos verlo otra ves, y ese viene por medio de Cristo y su evangelio. Dios requiere mucho de nosotros, pero ese es porque el es nuestro padre y nos ama mucho y solo quiere que todos sus hijos regresen con el junto con sus familias. Le invito a que puede aprender como nuestro familia puede ser eterna. Te amo muchísimo y oro para ti cada noche. Te prometo que todo va estar bien y que yo estoy bien. Cuidete mucho y igual cuide mucho a mami.

Con mucho amor, tu hijo, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

My heart is still with the Seahawks...


Dear Mama y Papi,

So, for this week, really all I can say is that, well, I'm still in Champotón... Haha. And also, I'm training again. I took Elder Lopez to Merida yesterday because he's the new secretary of materials for the mission and I also got to pick up my new son, Elder Cirilo. He's 19 and from Oaxaca. He's the only member in his family and has a great attitude. I'm pretty excited to see what we can do together.

I'm sad that Elder Lopez had to go, but I hope he does well. Right now, there's a lot to do in the branch and I'm worried a bit since I have a new Elder with me right now, but I do have confidence that he'll be able to learn fast. (Because I'm not to sure how to help two individuals get married, but we'll do all we can since our wonderful golden family has to get married before they can be baptized.) That's what dad always says...Haha. I hope this time he's right. Sorry this is so short, but we're a bit pressed for time since we didn't get our normal p-day since we were in Merida yesterday.

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

Well, I hope all is well, and being that I'm from the west coast, my heart is with the Seahawks! Please pray for myself and Elder Cirilo. This'll be an interest time 'round here. Love you!

...after all we can do.


My dearest mother,

This week was actually one of the best I've had in my mission. I really feel that many prayers (not only mine) have been answered since work was able to pick up this week. We had a good number of members come out and visit with us and we were able to have some pretty good experiences. I've been wanting a good family to teach for a while, and let me tell you, the Lord was able to provide this for us.

We had stake conference this weekend and there was a Priesthood session Saturday night. Following the session, the second counselor in our branch presidency came to us and said, "Elders, I have a reference for you, but I have an impression that we need to visit him tonight." We had our things with us because we were planning on staying the night in Campeche with some other missionaries, but we decided to trust his impressions because we've really been needing more investigators to teach. We left immediately and returned back to Champotón where we were able to meet with the humble couple, Luis and Sandy. We were able to have a really good first visit and were able to see their sincerity. They understood the need for a baptism and also to get married. (They have 5 kids with one more on the way.) I received a parcel from the Albrechts this week (Love you guys tons!!!) and in reading Jessica's letter to me, she spoke of a family that was recently baptized and I just felt the desire in my heart so bad to find a family to teach, especially since we're focussing a ton on family history.

What occurred this weekend was nothing short of a miracle but also a humbling moment in which I could see that my prayers and desires had been answered. Throughout my mission, I've fought back and forth with having hope and faith, but something I've come to learn for myself is that we can only receive answers and results to our prayers and desires if our hearts are in the right place and also if we ourselves put forth and demonstrate to God that we are diligent enough to put forth the effort. "... for it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." (See 2 Nephi 25:23)

In regards to other things, ah, the privileges of a washer, even a broken one. Haha. I was able to receive the pictures from Tia Elena. They will be of much help. (Thanks to my favorite Tia! :) The secretaries are taking care of the packages. They already gave my companion and I a call (Since he's waiting one too.) and we'll probably get'em next week. I haven't used a single musical skill (minus singing) at all. I have no opportunities to practice, so I've lost the majority of my abilities in regards to every instrument I've played... But, oh well. Well, I hope all is well, especially since you're by yourself. I love you tons, my wonderful mother!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

Through our diligence miracles will occur


 Dear Mama and Papi (Even though he be tearing earth up North at the moment),

Why am I not surprised to hear that dad left to go dig for treasure again...Don't be surprised if they change my area soon because he showed up unexpectedly in Campeche. Haha.

Anyway, in regards to this week, we started changing things in regards to our work a bit since our President noted that we as a mission have not been working with our family history pamphlets entitled Our Family. We started working more with that this week and the results were actually pretty good in regards to having less actives in church. We're going to start applying it more towards our investigators as well because we're in desparate needs for more. I really need to do more family history when I get home.

Really, there's not much to report this week other than that, but we're hoping that it'll help lead us to other people to teach and more success.

Hmm. I'm not sure how to get a hold of missionaries over there, but I'll see what I can do. It's good to hear the family's not doing too bad. The work with My Family has had me thinking a lot about our family, what with the various trials and whatnot, but mostly with our less-active family members. Talking to you all at Christmas had me thinking about eternal families and how it'll be like in the Celestial Kingdom (with hopes that we'll all make it. Haha.) surrounded by our eternal families. I talk too much about this, but really, when the perspective hits, it's difficult to think about things otherwise. There's much work to do in our own family, but I feel that if we all start working on our own family history and get all the members of the family involved, all will see and realize the eternal perspective and will lead to others coming back to church and others getting to know it. I give my wonderful family that challenge to do so starting with obtaining a pamphlet of My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together and filling it out based on the instructions given. What better a time than now to unite us all in truly getting to know each other! I pray that we'll all be able to undertake this challenge together. Through our diligence, miracles will occur.

I'll be praying for dad and abuelito, but if things turn ugly, your testimony of the plan of salvation and eternal families will be greatly needed. I'll be here as well. I'll also be praying for the family. I'm seeing many turning points occurring and hope that all will happen as the Lord intends it to happen. Well, that's all for this week. Love you tons and hope you are well!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, Happy Birthday, Grandma! I love you so much and hope you are well! Tu muchachito te ama mucho!

PSS, I need a huge favor. Since we're teaching My Family, I need info on my grandparents (both sides) and pictures of them as well. Super important. Could you send me some, please?  Also, when I read about Jason, this video came to mind. It's my favorite Mormon Message. Send it to him for me, please? Also, please let him know I love him and am praying for him and that faith is not a perfect knowledge of things; it is a hope in things that aren't seen, but are true. In the end, hope leads to these things and I have faith that he can have hope. I hope it is of some help.

...It made me happy beyond words!


Dear Mama and Papi,

How wonderful it was to have been able to have spoken the family this week, but especially the two of you! Really, it made me happy beyond words to have spoken with my marvelous family. It makes me sad to hear the Wrights are leaving, but I hope all goes well for them. I too will greatly miss them.

We're gonna fight hard this last week because we need folks in the church and we also need our investigators to keep commitments. I'm gonna start being tough on them because I've been far too nice. Haha. But in reality, I do need to be better by being direct with them and bold. Please pray for us!

Sorry this is short, but I'm a bit short on time since I had to go through a very long, but important letter President Garcia sent out to the whole mission. I'm glad you're thrilled with my Spanish. I didn't wanna come home speaking too bad. Haha. I

'll be sure to verify the info with Elder Waylan.

Oh, in regards to the package, I called the offices this week and they told me they were already in the process of obtaining my package, so just wanted to let you know things are going smoothly. I'm hoping to get it this Friday. (Hopefullly.)

I just want to tell you how much I love you guys. Just being able to have a bit of time with the family made me rejoice for the eternities because of the joy that we'll all have their together, in other words, we have much work to do with our family members who're still alive. Many have fallen from the church and are living in sin, (Yes, it's a bit bold, but we must remember that their are sins of commission, but also sins of omission.) and it's our responsibility to do our part in encouraging, but also making sure the consequences of their decisions are understood to them. We don't love'em till we help them understand the consequences, which quite simply is not returning to live with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ together as a family. I love you all so very much and wish you all a very Merry Christmas (To those who I wasn't able to see.) and a Happy New Year! Let's make this a good one! Till 2015!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

There's far too much work to do and not enough time...


Dear Mama and Papi,

Don't worry about the package. It wasn't there, but it was better that way because I had a lot to take home since we slept in Campeche the night before we went to Merida. If anything, we'll probably have zone council soon, so I'll be able to get it then if it arrives. Don't worry about it whatsoever, Mama. Most missionaries receive their Christmas packages late, anyway. I wasn't the only one. Haha.

This is just gonna be a short message since I'll be talking to you (very soon), but this week was rather difficult. We have very little investigators right now and some have passed their baptismal date and there's just a lot going on right now that's making progress very difficult and stressful. We have things we need to do with the members so that the spirit is felt more at church, we have to find new investigators this week, and we have to prepare for a Christmas activity this Saturday at the church.
Sometimes I feel there's far too much work to do and not enough time to do so, though that's probably because I'm impatient. Something that I'm going to work on this week are applying more Christlike attributes because I feel I've been lacking with those but also because Pres. Garcia invited all of us to do so yesterday because it is so important we are 100% pure and like Him so that the work may progress.

Anyway, the Christmas gathering was pretty nice. The whole mission was there and I felt claustrophobic amongst all the missionaries. Haha. (We got home late, though, because of all the traveling and somehow, all 4 of us here in Champotón got a bit sick in the stomach and I have no idea why or how. Haha.)

Sounds like the work in the ward is going great! That sister needs friendshipping. It's crucial to her being baptized. Preach My Gospel says that lessons with members present and friendshipping gets folks baptized sooner, so keep showing your love! I'll leave things like this for now (since we'll talk in a couple of days. :) , but till then, love you all!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, Photo from the "pachanga".