Friday, November 8, 2013

Another week in the life of Elder Zack

Hi!!  Guess what!  My Spanish is starting to get good enough that I can start learning random words!  So I thought I'd share some with you that I learned this week:
  1. Cuetes - Fireworks (Had to learn because of the explosions keeping us up at night)
  2. Cohete - Spaceship.  I'll probably never end up using it but its still fun to know!
  3. ¡Oh Chispas! - Oh Sparks!  Basically the way to say "dangit" in Spanish.  Easily my favorite spanish phrase :)
  4. and lastly, Incómodo - Awkward.   
I also found out that one of the Native Speakers that we eat with was a swimmer!  He taught me "Mariposa", "Cotín", and "Kroll" (Fly, Back, Free).  It was so nice to be able to talk to someone about something I know instead of Soccer 24/7!

Last Thursday, after I got off the computer, Our District had our own little Dia de las Brujas party where we all brought all the candy that our moms had packed secretly in our bags and ate all of it and played volleyball for 3 hours.  I was definitely one happy missionary that day.  I also found out about these type of Mexican cookies called Chokies that are AMAZING!  (That's where my money's been going, Mom).  Between me and my companion we eat at least one pack a day because they're sooo good :)  Its no wonder I'm getting fat here because all we do is eat, sit, teach and study all day.  Its great :)
  1. A very Happy CCM Halloween

Speaking of my companion, him and I are practically best friends now.  It took us a while because we're so different but now we're doing awesome!  Our lessons have definitely benefit from it too!  Our "Comp Unity" is really working and we're starting to be able to just know what each other is thinking and be able to build on it.  It's really great!  
  1. Chokies!  Our new favorite Mexican food :)

  1. Sleeping Elder Meidell on the bus.... He still doesn't know I took this :)

This week's been awesome!  My testimony of the Truthfulness of the Book of Mormon has really been strengthened through studying the words throughout the chapters and prayerfully searching for the answers to my questions.  Reading it has also been an answer to my prayers for help.  For example, I was reading in 1 Nephi chapter 17 on Friday and I was really feeling like I was not progressing and everything was really hard all the time, but as I was reading in that chapter, in verse 46 it says something along the lines of "He (meaning the Lord) can make the rough places smooth, and all of  a sudden I knew that I needed to stop worrying and put my trust in the Lord and he would help my "rough places", or in other words, my struggles to be able to become smooth and through putting my faith in Him and trusting in Him, I can become the missionary that He needs me to be so I can effectively invite the people in Nebraska to come unto Christ.  Such a cool experience and many more have happened throughout the week!  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know, like it says in the Introduction, that a person can grow closer to God by reading the Book of Mormon than by reading any other book.  I know it.

Second cool experience!  Last Sunday during Sacrament Meeting, the Branch President invited all of us to get up and bear our testimony in Spanish.  I was nervous as ever, but when I got up to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of the things that I know to be true, the Spanish just flowed out of me and I was able to share what I know with my branch.  President Suaste, the Branch President, said that my Spanish was completely fluent and he was really really impressed with my progress! I know that was only possible through the Holy Ghost helping me and guiding my thoughts and my words throughout my testimony.  
My Spanish is getting a lot better!  I improve everyday!  I'm able to have full conversations with our Native roommates now every night with conversations ranging from Temples to Super Smash Bros!   
Crazy experience right here, you ready?  The other day we were teaching one of our investigators, Raul, and right when we're about to start our lesson, he falls asleep right there in the chair!  So we wake him up and ask him whats going on and find out he was just up until 3 AM talking to his girlfriend on the phone.... so we walked around the CCM campus while we taught him so he could stay awake!  Definitely the most fun lesson we've taught yet!

Two more things:  Today we got to go to the Temple again!  Have I mentioned how amazing it is?!  Its also so big that they have escalators inside!  Two of my favorite things in the same building: The Everlasting Gospel and stairs that move so you don't have to!  On a more serious note though, it was truly amazing and helped me to keep focused on my work here in the CCM and help prepare me for the work to come in Nebraska.  I love the temple!
  1. Me and the temple sign :)

  1. District 13B on the bus from the temple}
  1. A tiny part of Mexico City from a bus window

Last thing.  On Tuesday we had a devotional with Elder Daniel Johnson of the Quorum of the Seventy and he talked all about how important it is for our investigators to know that God is our Loving Heavenly Father (PMG, Chapter 3, Lesson 1, First Principle).  He said that our church is the only church in the world that knows the truthfulness about our Father in Heaven and a lot of us just kind of take that for granted since we've grown up with that knowledge that we forget that not everyone knows it.  He reminded us that when the people we teach gain a testimony of this doctrine, that they'll want to just continue learning and be willing to change anything so that they can grow closer to Him.  Lastly he said that in order for us to teach this principle with the power and authority that it deserves, we first need to strengthen our own testimony of it.  He invited us to ask 5 questions in our prayers that night and he promised us that we'd receive answers.  These were the questions:
  1. Heavenly Father, are you really there?
  2. Do you really have a body of flesh and bones?
  3. Do you know who I am?
  4. Do you know all about my trials, my strengths, my talents, and my challenges?
  5. Do you love me?
I challenge you to ask these questions in your prayers tonight.  I promise you that you can know for yourself that He does know, love, and care about each and every one of us.  I know that we do, in reality, have a loving Heavenly Father and that he knows each of us individually and personally and that He wants us to return to live with Him more than we could ever realize.  I know this Gospel is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that it is the way to back to Him, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all so much!  I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for being placed in such an amazing family.  Love you!

Lots of love,
Elder Zack

One more Thing!
I realized I forgot to share my favorite moment of the week.
We were teaching a lesson to our Investigator Victor and we focused our time on really getting to know Victor better and understand what he needs and why he was meeting with us.  At the end of our lesson, out of no where, I got the feeling I needed to ask about Faith.  So I asked him, "Victor, do you have faith in Jesus Christ."  And he said, "I have a little."  And at that moment I just bore my testimony that I know that even a little bit of faith in Jesus Christ can work miracles if we let it grow inside us.  I then committed him to read Alma 32, without even knowing fully what Alma 32 was about!  We walked out of that lesson feeling the Spirit so strongly and not entirely knowing why I had said what I'd said, but we knew it was good.

In my personal Study the next day, I read Alma 32 to kind of try and understand why I asked him to read that.  Alma 32 talks all about how Faith is like a little seed, and if we let it grow in our hearts it can sprout into a "tree" with many "fruits".  It also talks about how when we Humbly seek having faith in Christ, that even the desire to believe is a good place to start.  I was floored.  I was so taken aback and so filled with the Spirit that I teared up a little, which is something that doesn't usually happen to me.  This Mission thing's made me into a big ol' softy I guess :)  It was crazy how much it applied to Victor and I'm so excited to find out if he read it or not in our next lesson!  

Thats all!
Love you!

Elder Zachary Paddock
  1. The closest thing to a sunrise in Mexico City

A very happy missionary with a letter from his momma :)
  1. My new tiny journal for writing new words in.  I saw it in the store and knew I had to buy it :)

  1. My computer screen saver at the MTC :)
    St. George temple with the weather for St. George, Mexico City, and Omaha.  Notice how much colder Omaha is than the paradise I'm in right now :)  Its 70-80 degrees all day every day here!  I love that Mexico doesn't know its supposed to be cold right now!

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