You may be wondering why my preparation day is Thursday instead of Friday this week. Tomorrow and Saturday we will be busy all day because tomorrow eight new American missionaries will be arriving. They are arriving late because of visa problems (sound familiar?).
It has been an interesting week. It has been a while since I have been in a trio (since Utah, in fact.) But I like it. We get a lot more done in the offices, and we have more ideas for the area (although I think sometimes three men can be a little intimidating when we talk with people). We are working hard in our area. Opening the area continues to be an adventure, with its challenges, but we enjoy it. We have created a plan to improve relationships with the members and work more effectively with them, as well as to find and teach more people.
We had a couple of interesting experiences looking for the bishop the other day. First, when we were looking for his house, we knocked on the wrong door. When we asked for the Gutierrez family, they had no idea who we were talking about. But when we asked if they knew any Mormons in the neighborhood, they pointed straight to the bishop's house. The people really do watch us more than we think. It made me wonder what my neighbors would say about me and about the Church because of my actions.
The bishop wasn't home that day. The next day we were walking down the street between appointments talking with the people on our way. As we talked with one man, another man about 20 yards away was looking at us. So we then went and contacted him. "Hi, Elders," he said, "I'm your bishop!" Who knows what he might have thought if he had seen us passing all the people by instead of talking to them as missionaries should. Once again, we never know who's watching.
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I don't know what the news is saying about the goings on here in Monterrey, but things are fine. Remember what the Lord told Mosiah when his sons wanted to go on a truly dangerous mission to the Lamanites: "Let them go up, for many shall belive on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites" (Mosiah 28:7).
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I am attaching pictures from the Obispado, a huge flagpole on a hill next to a Catholic Church with a great view of Monterrey. One is of all seven of the office elders. Another is of me enjoying the view. And the third is a pciture of me and the flag pole, taken by Elder Castillo. While we were there, I thought of how "high on the mountain top a banner is unfurled."