Greetings from Juaréz, Nuevo Leon, where the missionaries receive $400 (pesos) a month more than the other areas in the mission to pay for transportation, and still end up walking quite a lot.
Things are great here in Mexico. I have learned a lot from my new companion, Elder Dominguez (and I hope that he has learned a thing or two from me). He reminds me in a lot of ways of how I was when I recently arrived from the MTC (which wasn't all that long ago.) In a lot of ways, I have progressed a great deal, but looking back it seems that I have also lost some things. That's why I'm greatful that I can learn from the example of Elder Dominguez.
Yesterday we had two baptisms. Once again they are members of the Montoya family. I am so grateful that the Lord has put me here at this time when I can be a tool in his hand in bringing an entire extended family to the gospel light. Rhode Maria Montoya Perez and her son Ramon Rodriguez Montoya were baptized. It was a special day, for many reasons. One reason is that it was a baptism of mother and son. Another is that it was the first baptism performed by my companion. Another is that our recent convert Eddy gave his first church talk on the Holy Ghost (and did a great job). Another is that Rhode had been wanting to be baptized for a long time, but couldn't because she was smoking. She has smoked for over 30 years, and thought that she could never give it up. But with the Lord's help, nothing is impossible and she has now become dead to that sin, and has become a new person (Romans 6:1-6).
Yesterday two recently returned missionaries gave their homecoming talks in our ward. It made me wonder how I'll feel when that time comes. Luckily, I've still got 15 months before I have to worry about it. I don't want to have any regrets.
Here's something I've been thinking about lately: Joseph Smith in many ways was very similar to many people. The world is full of people who are confused and desire to know the truth. I talk to them every day. He wasn't even all that different in that he received a divine response to his question, for it is a promise to everyone that we can know the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Ghost. I also talk with many people who have received such a testimony. What made Joseph Smith different is that he had the courage and faith to act on that response. He was obedient and it didn't matter what happened. Unfortunately, many people who receive divine responses refuse to act on them, because of fear or laziness or the cares of the world, or for whatever reason.
Nevertheless there are people like Joseph today who act on the responses they receive, who follow the Lord's commands even when the times get tough. I have also talked with and taught many such people. I want to be one of them.