Washed White Through the Blood of the Lamb

Dear Friends and Family,

Andrew’s Mission Call

So super shout out to Andrew who last week was called to serve in la Misión México Monterrey Oeste, going to the Mexico MTC on June 27. That´ll be super fun to speak the Celestial language of Castellana together afterwords. I´m super stoked for him. Andrew, I was not expecting Monterrey at all but I (and all of the Mission Office; we´re writing in the office right now because we have exchanges with the Assistants in a couple of hours) are super stoked 🙂 I figured that you´d get it last week and I´m excited for you so so so much. Hahaha now we´ll be able to speak Spanish and no one will understand us *cue evil witch laughing*
Update: Now we’ve moved from the Mission Office back to El Benque, the headquarters chapel for the mission.

Double Mission Conference

Elder and Sister Christensen in New Zealand (hat tip: http://farnesmissionaries.blogspot.com).

So honestly, we had transfers last week and I don´t remember much except that it was kinda hot, we did lots of divisions before and after the transfers because we were waiting for the new missionaries to come out to Copán (oh yeah neither Elder Elmer nor I were transferred).

So this morning we had a double mission conference combined with the San Pedro Sula East Mission. Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Jose L. Alonso of the Seventy, accompanied by their wives, came and spoke – the mission is improving, Elder Alonso said. One easy measure of that was that there were no crazy, specific calls to repentance for bad disobedience (like there were in September with Elder Alonso) and the Spirit was powerful. I think I’ve mentioned it a few times but truly we´re improving as a whole – more obedient, more hardworking, more focused. More consecration at the end of the day.
 
Some of the highlights:
1. Coming up to SPS with President Bush

President Douglas Bush, and Sister Ann Bush.

So President Bush, who can play piano, loves beautiful music and wanted to do a special musical number and I was part of a group of 9 Elders plus Sister Erickson (the mission nurse) singing a cool men´s arrangement of ¨Abide with Me.¨ He wanted Elder Harmon (the new District Leader in Copán Ruinas) to come up a day early so that way we could practice early this morning again, so yesterday President Bush, who was already in Santa Rosa for a meeting, swung by La Entrada to take us back to SPS. It was a really special night – after talking for two hours about random things. Then, while we were waiting for the secretaries to take us away, he took us to his house (SUPER NICE HOLY COW CULTURE SHOCK HIT ME HARD). He had a nice Kawaii piano and he, Elder Harmon, and I sang and played together while we were waiting.

We had a special moment – President Bush had an arrangement of ´Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing´ and I played, sang a counteralto, he sang tenor, and Elder Harmon sang the melody – the Spirit came and I thought, ¨I am so blessed to be here. Truly a joyful moment.
 
I think I´ll make a recording about Sunday because it was really special even though I felt a little like I was on vacation.
2. ¨Washing, washing, washing.¨
Sister Christensen spoke (in full Spanish – wow) about ´the joy of repentance.´ She told how as the mother of a bunch of boys in America, her sons played football in high school and every week, after their practices and their games, would bring home their uniforms home grass-stained, muddy, and suuuuper smelly. She found how every week she would spend hours with those same uniforms, now with better, exciting, sometimes painful experiences, washing, washing, washing.
 
Then she shared some scriptures:
Alma 13:11 (Andrew this chapter is super dope you should study and ponder on verses 2 and 3)
11 Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 7:14 (though looking at the surrounding verses this would be a cool thing to study)
And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
I am so grateful that day by day, time after time, I can go back and keep washing, washing, washing. Repenting, repenting, repenting.

A powerful moment and lesson of a lifetime.

And I am so grateful to strive to live it as best as I can, every day, little by little. You can, too.

Progress of La Entrada

So this didn’t happen today in the morning, but looking at Mom´s questions I remembered something cool from last week.
So we’re really pushing to help La Entrada convert from a branch to a ward, and looking at the Santa Rosa District as a whole, La Entrada really is kind of the problem unit because it´s the farthest away from becoming a ward. That being said, President Bush wants to send the solicitud [request] to Salt Lake on March 19, so March is the month of high Sacrament Meeting Attendance (that obviously we want to continue).
 We are improving – we have a very stable attendance of 90ish folks every week, and yesterday we had 103 – a lot better than when I got here, where we were at 60ish per week. We need 120 consistently (Pres. Bush´s goal) but I guess the local branch President says the District goal is 135 so the ward is pushing hard for that. Oh well – higher goals and harder work isn´t a problem to me. 🙂
 The biggest thing is that we´re striving to help less active folks come back to church while bringing new investigators to church, and we´ve had some challenges lately – people don´t wake up on time, they come up with excuses to not come, we pass by their house on Sunday morning and they´re almost ready and say, ¨We´ll be there in a little bit!¨and then never come…a tad frustrating because if you never go to church, you can´t be baptized…I think it might be a better reflection of our need to improve our teaching and inviting to come to church.
 We´ve been trying to activate Priesthood holders too – we´ve honestly just started swinging by for brief, 10 minute visits to see how their doing. One cool experience we had is a man named [redacted], who was suuuuper inactive, came back, then got offended again (by me) is now coming back. What happened is that he wanted to talk with us and we needed to talk with another investigator about some big problems, and so I asked him if he´d wait. He didn´t like that, and stopped coming back to church. A weekish later we went back and he kind of lashed out at me a tad, and I just said I was really sorry and explained what had happened and offered my apologies. He accepted, is now coming back, and is preparing to receive the Melcheizedek Priesthood.
 I´m sorry, I know that last paragraph was awful English. Prepare for that Andrew. It´ll also happen to you 🙂

Answers to Mom´s Questions:

Elder Spencer Call’s new white shirt, newly ripped.

1. Ripped White Shirt

So that was a real bummer a week ago last Saturday – the thing was is that I saved 3 white shirts to use starting at New Years (because the white shirts aren´t white after a while), and this was one of my nice ones that I had saved, but I just ripped it on a rusty nail that was sticking out of the wall (but no damage to the skin or garment, no worries). The saddest thing was that we were going next to Jeison´s baptism, and we didn´t have time, so oh well we just went to go bring Jeison and his family to the baptism and I showed up with a big old hole in my shirt. Oh well 🙂 And don´t worry, Mom – if I need a white shirt, I´ll just try to buy one here for super cheap because it is expensive to send stuff from la USA.

2. Elder Elmer´s Health

He´s good now; dengue is gone (I hope). He doesn´t have any bad symptoms so we´re back to work, work, work.
3. Money
I can sell US Dollars in just about any bank, so that´s ok 🙂 It´s safe – Pam King sent me a ten dollar bill for Christmas and it was super cool to see real money again.
4. Know Your Call with Sister Benitez
Sure go for it! She can´t read lots of English but that´s why Google translate exists.
I´m sorry for kind of a lame letter – I honestly can´t remember anything. I´m trying to upload photos to Dropbox right now so I hope that works 🙂
Love you all! Have a stellar week!
Love, Elder Call
Thad

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