Mexico, Veracrus mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Elder Horrocks will be serving in the Mexico, Veracrus mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week 8 - Mexico, Here We Come!

Hello once again family and friends!

A lot has happened this week and I hope I'll be able to get it all down in time. First off, we finally had an apostle speak to us! Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke to us on the 21st. It was Amazing. It happened to have been President Monson's birthday and Elder Anderson talked about ten or so things that President Monson would want to say to us. I don't have my notes with me, so I couldn't tell you all the things he spoke on, but the one that hit me the most was: "Never ignore a prompting." It struck me hard as a missionary because I always need to be ready and worthy to receive and act on the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This doesn't apply to just missionaries. All of us can receive personal revelation at any time so long as we are worthy to receive it. I don't know about you, but I want to always be ready to act (and teach) according to the Spirit. When Elder Anderson spoke, it was as if the Prophet himself was there. Then end was the real kicker though. He bore his testimony to us. It wasn't elaborate in any way. It was simple and straightforward, but it was so powerful! You could tell that he knew the things he was telling us. It was an amazing talk and an extremely spiritual experience.

On Wednesday we got to host the new missionaries. That was a ton of fun! It was interesting to meet all these new elders and sisters. I hosted three elders and Elder Davis and I hosted a new sister together. (Because, obviously a single elder can't host a single sister.) It brought up memories of my first day. It seems like it was forever ago! It was kinda tough to see mothers and sisters crying as they dropped off their sons and brothers. I'll be honest, I got a little homesick, but once I talked with the elders I was hosting and saw their enthusiasm, I got excited myself. We get to host again tomorrow and I'm super excited for it. :)

Thursday was interesting because all the elders going to Cuernavaca went to Vegas to sign their visas. It was just me, and Elders Dean, Watson, and Perrenoud. It was an interesting day with only four of us. For our class time with Hermano Piperato we went outside and had an awesome discussion and learned a lot about his experience in the MTC. Apparently he was a real trouble-maker! He used to skip class and do all kinds of shenanigans! One time they broke the top off of a small pine tree to put in their room (it was close to Christmas time). I never would have guessed these things of him because he's such an amazing teacher now. The way I see it, if he can improve that much on his mission, I have some hope after all. ;)

Because the teachers rotate according to the BYU semesters, Hermana Arroyo taught her last lesson with us on Saturday. It was cool because she told us her favorite mission stories and shared her testimony. I think we're all going to miss her. So yesterday we had our first lesson with Hermana Call. (Hermano Piperato didn't end up switching) She's brand new, but she's really good. Her investigator is way fun to teach too! Her name is Nellie and she's a 58 year old grandma. She's so funny! When we sat down she said something along the lines of "I love having two handsome young men to talk to." It's too bad we're only teaching her for the one week we have left. Which brings me to my next topic:

We got our visas! We got our travel plans on Friday (I think) and we got news that our visas are ready to be signed yesterday! So in about an hour we're heading to the consulate in Salt Lake to sign those! Super excited! This means we're leaving for Mexico for sure this Monday! We'll leave the MTC at 6AM and head to the airport. We'll leave for Mexico City at 9:57AM via Delta Air Lines. We'll then arrive at Mexico City at about 2:50PM to fly to Veracruz via Aeromexico. We'll arrive there about 6:40PM. 

I can't believe my MTC stay is almost over! It's been kinda tough at times, but I know that I've grown a lot because of it. I'm ready for new challenges and experiences in Mexico!

I forgot to talk about a talk by David A. Bednar called "The Character of Christ". It was an MTC devotional that I don't think you can find unless you work here. It was amazing though. It talked of how no matter how much Christ was suffering; he always turned to help those around him. He never gave in to the natural man and turned inwards. That has been my goal this week: to always turn outwards towards others. It will take some time, but I think that if I can do this, I'll be ten times the missionary I am now. As members of His church we should strive to develop our Character of Christ as well.

I know this church is true and that the Lord loves each and every one of us. Through faith, we can overcome any trial thrown our way.

Sorry I didn't have time for a long testimony, but it's important to me. I love you all and hope you're all doing fine. The next time I e-mail, I'll be in Mexico! Talk to you then!

Elder Sean Horrocks
 Sean in the classroom at the MTC
 Elder Horrocks and his companion Elder Dean
                   Elder Horrocks 8-2012
Elder Horrocks and Elder Dean

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week 7 - Arachnaphobia

Greetings from the land of Many Tough Challenges! (See what I did there :P)

Another week has come and gone and I haven't died yet, so things are going great! For everyone who wrote me, sorry if my letters take a while. I just couldn't find much time to write this week, sorry! I'm not really sure what to write about this week since every day is very similar, but I'll try to write some stuff that may interest you.

Where to begin... Last P-day was flippin' awesome! Had a great session at the temple and the devotional was fantastic! David F. Evans of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Mary Evans, spoke to us. Elder Evans spoke on the need for missionaries to find always. This means that no matter where we are or what we're supposed to be doing, we should always be trying to find others that need the Gospel. I think this doesn't just apply to missionaries, but members of the church as well. We are so blessed with the knowledge of the Gospel. It's a bit selfish if we don't try and share that happiness with others. That's why I'm so glad to be on my mission! I can't wait to see how the Gospel will affect the lives of those in Veracruz!

An interesting thing that also happened last P-day was that Elder Perrenound had to get a biopsy on a limph node in his neck. He was really nervous about it so President Bradley suggested we give him a blessing. After saying a prayer, Elder Perrenound asked Elder Dean to anoint him and Elder Healy to seal the anointing. It was so cool! I'm a bit jealous :P. It's experiences like that that make me proud to be a servant of the Lord.

Ok time for something kinda nasty. Our teacher, Hermano Piperato, just came back from his vacation on Wednesday. He went to San Diego and ended up sleeping on the beach one day. Well, he woke up with a HUGE spider bite on his hip! It was soooo sick! We kept telling him that it was going to pop and a bunch of baby spiders were going to crawl out. Elder Davis was like "Ugh, it's like that movie Arachnaphobia!". Hilarious! Well, eventually it did pop and no spiders came out, but he ended up with this weird looking, gaping hole where it was. That was pretty gross looking too. Overall, it was pretty funny and we kept making fun of him for it. :P

When it comes to teaching, we've been doing a ton of it. We teach either one to three lessons depending on the day. The weird thing is that in the mission field, three lessons a day is nothing! All our lessons have been improving I think though which is awesome. One of our investigators (Luis) was taught La Palabra de Sabiduria y La Ley de Castidad (The Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity). That was interesting! He smoked forty eight cigarettes a day and wasn't married to his wife! Luckily, he was willing to follow both commandments after a little encouragement. I feel like teaching these investigators here at the MTC has been the best thing that could've been done to help us learn. Generally, every other day has been pretty normal. Not much to report other than one of our teachers is being moved. I guess at every BYU semester they rotate the teachers here and so this is Hermana Arroyo's last week with us. We're sad to see her go, but she'll be just down the hall so hopefully we can still say hi now and then. We'll be getting another sister to teach us for our last week. That'll be interesting. Luckily, Hermano Piperato isn't changing districts which is awesome because he's the best!

That's pretty much all for the week, but I've still got time to type so I'm gonna use it. On Wednesday, we listened to a talk entitled "What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be". I can't remember who spoke it, but it was really good! I would recommend finding it on and listening to it. The speaker spoke on the difference between "doing" and "being". As members of the Church we sometimes just go through the motions because it's what we're supposed to "do". At times like this we need to change our attitude and "be" the members we need to be. "Being" a member of the Church means changing our very natures. We need to try our hardest to live Christ-like lives. For me, the easiest way to think about it is by having charity. If we have the pure love of Christ for all of those around us, I think that most other virtues will follow suit.

I know my e-mails can be rambly and that I'm not the best at explaining things, but I hope those who read my e-mails get a little something out of them every Tuesday. If you get nothing else from this e-mail, just know that I have a testimony of this Gospel. I know that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that following His Gospel is the only way to true happiness. I know that every commandment we keep leads to blessings. I've seen the blessings of obedience in my stay here at the MTC. I've also come to know and love the redeeming power of the Atonement. Through the Atonement, any problem or sin that we are struggling with can be solved and conquered. Christ knows each and every one of us and our weaknesses. And remember, through Christ, "our weak things can be made strong." I leave this testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love you all and hope you'll take the opportunity to be the person the Lord wants you to be. I also hope you'll take the time to do good for someone every day of your life. Thanks for all the support!

-Elder Sean Horrocks

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Week 6 - Goodbye Colombians

Buenos días!

Another week has gone by in the MTC and it has been another good one. :) There hasn't been too much of note that has gone on recently, but every day I've learned something new either about the Gospel or about the Spanish language. One of our teachers was on vacation all week and the other missed a few days because she was graduating so we ended up being taught by about three different teachers this week. The craziest and probably the funnest one was Hermano Jarman. To be perfectly honest he's a bit of a nutcase, but aren't we all? ;) He made the class entertaining, but still taught us a ton. He's really good at teacher Spanish grammar so that's mostly what we learned from him. We were reviewing subjunctives and he told us this stupid story in order to help it along. It was about fat kid subjunctive. I won't tell you the whole story, but just know it had to do with a fat kid at a pool. If I recall correctly, someone questioned Hermano Jarman's story and he replied "It doesn't matter! He's fat!" It was pretty much hilarious. :)

Now when it comes to how we teach, it's a little different. We have the doctrine and the language is coming along, but our presentation is... lacking. Hermanos Pepper and Jarman both said, and I quote, "You're lessons are terrible." I think it was Hermano Pepper who told us a story about this kind of problem. There was a mission president who was having some sort of zone meeting or something to talk to the missionaries. He brought out a nice chocolate cake that his wife had made and set it on the table. He then asked who would like a piece of cake. All the missionaries raised their hands and he picked one to come up and get a piece. As the missionary walked up, the mission president grabbed a handful out of the cake and hurled it at the missionary, hitting him square in the chest. Everyone was shocked. He then asked if another missionary wanted a piece of cake. Tentatively, one other missionary raised his hand. This time, the president cut out a nice piece, poured a glass of milk, and even pulled out the chair for him. He said, this is how our teaching should be. That story (I know I probably told it badly) helped a lot. As missionaries we've got this delicious cake of the Gospel, but we need to learn how to cut it and present it rather than just chucking it at people.

I've been reading the Book of Mormon a ton during my stay here and it's awesome! I read it in both English and Spanish, but I've been reading a lot more in English. I'm through the book of Helaman and have started 3 Nephi. I love the stories about Samuel the Lamanite and Nephi preaching to the people. What great examples of missionary work! If I could preach with just fraction of that power and conviction, I'd be a happy missionary. Reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish has been such a cool experience! I'm understanding more and more of what I read. I usually read a verse or two in Spanish and try to translate it. Then I read the verses in English and see how close I was. A lot of the time I'm right on the money! The Lord is definitely blessing me with the gift of tongues!

Now for the reason for my title this week. We have four elders in my district that are headed for Colombia: Elders Laws, Perrenound, Andrew and Dahlin. They're all a bunch of amazing young men and I feel privileged to have met them. Today was there day to leave. Unfortunately, only three of them actually left. Elders Laws, Andrew and Dahlin all got up at 3a.m. and left to catch their flight. We set our alarms so that we could get up and say a quick goodbye to them. Elder Perrenound will be staying with us at least for the duration of our stay due to some medical issues. He's got an infection of some kind and the doctors are worried about some growths on his neck. We're all glad he gets to stick around with us longer, but it was probably bitter sweet for him. It's going to be weird not having these elders around. They brought a lot of light and laughter to the room. They'll be spending three more weeks in the Bogata (probably spelled that wrong) MTC. Apparently, they'll be proselyting their first week and of course everything will be in Spanish. I'm not sure if I should be jealous or not. :P

Anyway, I'm growing a lot here. Every day is a new spiritual experience and a new learning experience. We've been teaching each other as investigators now as well. That means that we teach six lessons a week now. We switch off every day either being a teacher or being an investigator. It's been fun and has given us a lot of much need practice. Every day this week has become a "speak your language" day. We've been trying to speak Spanish as much as we possibly can. I can understand nearly everything any of our investigators say to me, but I'm still having a bit of trouble conjugating everything correctly when I speak. That's what I've been focusing on in my language studies.

I want to bear my testimony on the importance of obedience. I know that if we do all that is in our power to follow the will of the Lord, we will be blessed. Every blessing we receive is based on the law upon which it has been predicated. For example, every day that I've been in bed on time I feel more energized in the morning and ready to face the challenges of the day. I know it seems like a simple rule and that some of the commandments and counsels of the prophets seem like simple rules too, but if we keep all these commandments to the best of our ability we will be blessed more than we know. I know this church is true and that we have a living prophet today who receives revelation for the entire church. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I've grown to love it's words. Thanks for all the support and your prayers! I love you all! Choose the right! :D

-Elder Sean Horrocks

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week 5 – I love to see the temple

Hello once again audience!

This week has been simply amazing! Looking back on it though, it seems to have zipped by! So last P-day the temple finally opened and we got to do our first endowment session as missionaries! It was such a blessing to take the time to visit the house of the Lord. I'm super excited to go again today! :D Something interesting happened there that all you folks from Heber might be interested in. The person who led the session was none other than Larry Ward. If you don't know who that is, he's a retired (I think) science teacher and an overall super guy. It was just funny and weird to see him in that setting. I had to take a double take. Also last Tuesday, we had a devotional by Rex D. Pinegar on our purpose and the reason why we're serving. It was excellent. After the Tuesday devotionals, we get together as a district and talk share the insights we gained. Those are always a spiritual feast. :)

The middle of the week was pretty average, but Friday was fan-flippin-tastic! We started the day with service (like every Friday) and ended up vacuuming the edges of the carpet in our classroom building. There's something about service that just puts you in a good mood for the rest of the day. It makes me excited to go to Mexico and serve the people in any way that I can. Any way, we also have TRC every Friday. Sorry, I can't remember what it stands for, but it's where we get the opportunity to teach some members in Spanish. It's cool, because they're real people that just want to hear something that can uplift them during the week. It's awesome and we get to meet some really cool people. And to top off that day, Hermano Piperato had a cool way to end the day. He had us go get our patriarchal blessings and study them a bit. We went outside and each found a quiet place to sit and read our blessings. He had us take the time to specifically look for how we've been prepared to be missionaries. What an eye opener! It helped remind me of all the blessings I have received as well as all the blessings that I am promised. If you have a patriarchal blessing, I urge you to take the time to not only read it, but study it. If you don't have a patriarchal blessing, I want to you think about getting one. I know that it's your decision whether or not you get one or when you get one, but I can say for sure that they can help guide your life and inspire you to do the things that the Lord would have you do. It's never too late to get one and receive these blessings. If you feel it's right, don't wait.

Fast sunday is the best here! Well, it's the best wherever you are, but I never really appreciated it until I came here. We had a TON of time for personal study that really helped to strengthen my knowledge of and love for the scriptures. Every Sunday we also get to walk to the temple which is always nice. Elder Dean and I taught a lesson on repentance to our district. It was kind of funny because we had already heard two talks on it earlier in the day. I think our lesson went really well and it was fun to teach. On fast Sunday we have a mission conference that is two hours long where a lot of the MTC leaders speak with their wives. What a spiritual feast! I can't tell you what all the talks were about because my memory is terrible and I don't have my notes with me, but I can tell you that they were all great! After every Sunday devotional they play a church film. This week it was Legacy... again. They've only played three or four movies so they're doing repeats now but that's ok because they're all good. I only wish I'd brought some nachos to the movie because it was cheesy! (Forgive my lame jokes.) It was still a good movie, but it's definitely the cheesiest out of all the ones they've shown. My favorite so far is "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration". It's about Joseph Smith's life and I really enjoy it. Fun fact: the boy who played young Joseph in that film is now a missionary here. It's kinda funny to see "Joseph Smith" walking the halls of the MTC. He's a good guy.

Hermano Piperato is taking a vacation for a week and the Elders going to Colombia are leaving in exactly a week from now. Yesterday was kinda sad for them because they had to say goodbye to Piperato. It's weird to think that they're leaving. One thing's for sure, class will be a little quieter without them. ;) But seriously, they're great elders and they bring a lot of spirit to the class. It'll be sad to see them go. Not only that, but about a dozen elders from our zone are leaving today. It seems like everyone in our zone is leaving but us. I've probably said it a thousand times, but I'll say it again. I am really anxious to get out in the field. I think that if I left now, I could manage with my companion, but I know that the next month here will help me tremendously. I just need to learn patience and trust that the Lord knows exactly what He's doing. Heck, He knows everything!

That is one thing that I've come to realize here. Our Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us and what's best for us. Though things may seem hard at times, we just need to realize that it's all for our benefit. The Lord said to Joseph Smith "...if the very jaws of hell should gape after you, it will be for thy good." I may have paraphrased a bit but I know that it's true. And let's face it, comparing our trials to the trials of Joseph or other people in the world is like comparing a splinter to being crucified. Grandpa Wortham shared a scripture with me in his last letter that was in Moroni 7:33. It was cool because I had read that scripture the day before. Once again I'm paraphrasing, but it said that through faith in Christ, we can do all that is expedient unto the Lord. I know that this is true. If we try our hardest to live Christ-like lives, I know that we can do anything the Lord would have us do.

I have a testimony of this gospel and the blessings it brings. I know for a fact that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God and that Joseph Smith was able to translate it through His power. I know that through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end we can return to our Father in Heaven. I know this because it is my purpose as a missionary.

Thank you for all your prayers. Good luck with all your endeavors! Trust in the Lord and follow His commandments and He will do the rest.

I love you all,
Elder Sean Horrocks