Too much awesome for one week to handle.

So this week has probably been one of the best ones to date. It started off normal until Tuesday night when we started divisions with the other Elders in Escarcega. I went with Elder Ortiz and worked in his area on Wednseday and it was fun as always! I would probably say he is one of the best friends Ive been able to meet here on the mission. Such a good guy and we always learn a ton from each other. For example, I showed him how to make oatmeal in a microwave because he never had a microwave before the mission. Haha

After divisions things were calm again until Friday. The zone leaders came to Escarcega thursday night because Friday morning they did the baptismal interview of our investigator Lourdes. I dont know if I have mentioned her very much but she is awesome. One of my favorite people to have been able to teach. She feels like more than just a baptism, but an actual convert! There is a big difference! Her baptism was friday afternoon and her husband is the one that baptized her. It was a super awesome experience for everybody. It always feels good to have a baptism, and it felt like “FINALLY!!!” Escarcega has been a tough area but I feel like I have learned a lot and appreciate the challenge it has been! I love the people here and am fine staying here for a lot longer!

Saturday was really awesome too. Those of the families that are in town (because they have been on a break from school so not everybody has been here), and us took a trip out of town to some of the little pueblitos or towns outside of Escarcega where our branch extends too. First off we stopped at a less actives house, well it isnt a house, its more like his land that he lives on, I dont think he has an actual house. His name is Cintura. He is really poor and lives with his 2 or 3 (not sure) sons on this piece of land like 10 kilometers outside of Escarcega. Anyways when we got there we noticed that there was a bunch of wood sitting around so the brothers in the branch decided to make a table. We spent like half an hour with a pile of wood, some nails and a chain saw and made a table, the one that is in that picture Im sending! haha And to make it even better, he came to church yesterday!

Then we kept on our journey and went even farther out to another little place called Libertad, where there is a less active family, and one of their sons is actually active and preparing to go on a mission. We had a family home evening there and I taught a lesson about the importance of Family Prayer. It is something that a lot of families here dont do, and actually a lot of families dont do it everywhere you go. Everybody that reads this letter, PRAY AS A FAMILY DAILY.

And now onto the highlight. Two weeks ago when we had interviews with President Garcia he told me that he wanted me to get both of the branches here in Escarcega together and have a training meeting, or a devotional or something. It was just a little comment, nothing too big, but I took it really seriously and the next day I had a plan drawn up. The next district meeting we talked about it between the four of us and decided to do it, along with our branch mission leaders. We decided that we were going to meet the both branches, and have a meeting about how they can better help us and do their own missionary work. We planned to divide the people into organizations, like the priesthood age men, relief society age women, and the teenagers, and we then taught three different classes. We split up into different companionships, I went with the ward mission leader for Escarcega, Elder Ortiz and Elder Winger went together, and Elder Ramirez went with our ward mission leader. We all taught a different theme, in short 20 minute classes. I taught about the importance of talking and spreading the gospel with everybody. We read in Mathew 5 where Jesus tells his disciples that we are the light of the world, the salt of the earth, a city set on a hill. We also read Ezekiel 34 where it talks about how God is looking for his lost sheep, we cant deny it. We can see it happening before our eyes! There are more missionaries right now than any other time, preaching in more countries than we ever thought was possible! It is such an amazing time to be a member of the church. It goes on to talk about how God is willing to give these lost sheep the most amazing of blessings. Not sure how it goes in english exactly but something along the lines of the best pastures in the mountains of Israel. When we decide not to talk with somebody about the gospel, we are holding people back from the chance to receive these blessings. We also read in Mosiah 26:20-22, and it clearly says that not everybody is going to listen, but those that do will be blessed. That was the gist of what I taught with my partner!

Another class was about the importance of Family Home Evening, family prayer, family history, all that good stuff. The importance of strengthening your own family and from there being able to be an example and share the gospel more effectively. And then the last class was about Christlike Attributes that we need to have as people to be able to share the gospel with our friends and family. I wasn’t in the classes but Im sure they were good!

Anyways the best part of all this is that when he had it planned, I called President Garcia and invited him and he came with his wife and the assistants to it! They were there from Sunday morning, we all ate together at a members house, and then had our activity in the afternoon. And the best part about all of it was that while they were there during the church services, President Garcia was talking with this lady for like an hour and a half from the other branch. Elder Ortiz told me that she was a nonmember whos mom, brother, and daughter were all members but she hadnt decided to join the church for some reason Im not sure of. The other elders told me that they had been teaching her but they couldnt get her to commit to get baptized. Anyways President left after talking with her and came and asked me if there were clothes for a baptism, and if I could fill up the baptismal font. Who knows what he said, but the sister had decided to get baptized as a surprise for her family that night. So after we had finished all the classes and what not we all came back to the chapel and finished our meeting when she came in dressed in white and we started the baptismal service! Nobody knew about it, not even her family and the spirit just about made the room explode. All the talk about missionary service, and how to be a missionary, and then we finished it with a surprise baptism! President had the daughter and mom of the sister who was going to be baptized talk and then we went to the font and had the baptism. It was such a spur of the moment experience, but the most spiritual one I have had here in Escarcega. And to make it even better, both branches were there to experience the same. Overall just an awesome experience. I guess thats what a mission president should do though, baptize on site! haha

Also to make it even that much better!!! Sister Garcia brought us a huge bag of pancake mix, peanut butter, Nutella, and a whole bunch of other goodies that she had bought at Costco in Merida. I love that woman! hahaha

Anyways Im sorry if that story doesn’t make any sense! It hardly made sense to me it was super strange but awesome! Anways that took a lot of time to write so Ive gotta go but I love you all so much! Enjoy all the pictures! I took a lot this week! haha LOVE YOU!

Elder Judd

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