Friday, March 18, 2016

He's been out for 5 months and he has some fun stories to tell!!

He didn't email us until 6:30pm on Monday so he was in a bit of a hurry to tell us all of his stories. No pictures this week either  :-(

Hi Family,

So, I am now known in the zone as the contactor. I talk to EVERYONE. This week has been amazing. I´m not getting big headed with myself or cocky, but I share the knowledge that I have with the other Elders and it’s this: "You just have to talk to everyone, share who you are and what you have, be kind, offer your help, and God will do the rest." The zone leaders and other missionaries in the area want to have me come to their areas to show them how to contact. Ugh I wish I could just talk about this stuff because its sooooooo long to write.

Remember the awesome contact I had in the street last week? We went to his house and he has 2 families living there!!!!!!!!! We walked up to the door and someone we didn´t recognize opened it. We said, "Hola! Ahorita estamos buscando por Justino... No sé si él vive aqui" (We’re looking for Justino, I don’t know if he lives here) Then we heard someone from around the corner say, "SI SI PASANLE!!! PASANLE!!" (Yes, Yes…Come in , Come in) We found 2 families, the one of Justino and the one of another lady. We were talking to them and got to know more and more people. They all accepted baptismal invitations but there was one problem with Justino. He´s living in free union with his "wife". Like I said before, he has work in other areas, so we were going to teach them about the law of chastity this past week but we found out that he left for his work again in Montana, and won’t be back until November :´(. But their family is still awesome and the kids are great. There are 6 people total in their family and they are all progressing wonderfully. The mom is super sick, during our lessons, she would have to leave to go and throw up sometimes. Poor lady... So, almost all of them came to church this past week. All the kids came and the oldest son brought his girlfriend!!!!!!!! Sooooo cooool. We are progressing another investigator named Elizabeth and she brought her cousin with her to church!!!!! I had 7 investigators for Centro in the church this week and it was AWESOME. They all said that they were going to come next week because they liked it :)

I love the trio I´m in and we´re getting a whole lot of work done. We have had some wicked experiences this past week. Elder Knutson is dying (finishing his mission after this change), and whenever he talks on the phone he always says, "Elder Koontz doesn´t let me get trunky because with him, we don’t have time to think about anything else." (I like using quotes that I have heard because it’s hard to explain how hard I´m working with my own words) Ugh, I have so much to say!!!!!!!!

Ok so this was suuuuch an inspired contact. We talk to soooo many people every day. We were talking to a Taxi the other day and he told us that he had talked to missionaries before but they didn’t really come by anymore. He said it was quite a while ago but we asked if we could note his direction and pass by his house some day. He said of course and whenever was good for us. So the next day we were walking around, and the person we ate with was bieeeen lejos (really far). We started looking at our notes and found that the taxi we contacted that day before lived in the area, so we thought, ah well lets pass by and see if he´s there. We got to his house and said "Buenas tardes!" and of course he responded, "Quien es?" (who is it?) we came back with "Ah los misioneros hermano!" (The Missionaries, brother) Then he said something that caught us off guard. "Ah! Les esperando! Pasenle, pasenle!" meaning "oh I´ve been waiting for you, come in, come in!" So we went inside and we found 2 kids sitting on a couch (boy-17 girl-16). So we asked him if they were his family or friends and he just responded, "No.............. They´re RUN AWAYS" He told us that he was getting his Taxi washed and he overheard them talking about their plan, he told them to get in his taxi and he would take them where they needed to go. He totally tricked them, and took them back to his house, locked the door, and made them call their parents. They were 5 hours away from their home. He told us, "you need to share your gospel with them." Then he ran upstairs and came back down with a Book of Mormon!!!!!!!

We understood that their parents were going to come and get them and they were about to receive the whoopin´ of a lifetime. So we shared a lesson of repentance and love. We had a great time but the girl was on the verge of tears the whole time and she did have a couple tears fall once or twice. We knew they were scared but we listened and talked and got to know them more. We ended up taking a picture with them and they are going to add us on facebook. Elder Knutson got excited because he was reading a chapter earlier that morning and he knew in that moment that it was meant for them. I got the impression to share something that Dad ALWAYS tells me. Alma 37:35 (look it up) (35 O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.)

After I shared this scripture, both of them just kinda looked down, and had that look of, "we just got told". Elder Knutson looked at me and he couldn’t keep from laughing. But all of us laughed after they read it because they knew it was true. I have been soo excited this whole week to share this experience because its soo funny and so perfect. We even found out that the kid is a member of the church and he was still running away. We got into him a little harder because he knows about the law of chastity and he knows what they were doing wasn’t smart. We talked to them about their plan and where they were going. I was ready to be a Dad and planchar (iron) them with how their plan was very idiotic. I was going to "smack ´em up side the back of the head" and help them realize that they didn’t have a backup plan, and how they would have needed one because obviously things don’t always go according to plan (because we were in the room talking). Then after we talked them out of the whole running away thing, the girl asks us, "So what part of the United States are you from?" in perfect English!!!!!!!!!! We were like, "WHAT?" She then told us that she couldn’t resist doing that. She said she was raised in Riverside California but she moved here a couple years ago. She was fluent in both English and Spanish. A little after that, the whole family showed up. And, I mean the WHOLE family. I´m talking Grandparents, cousins, mom, dad, brothers and sisters, the whole 9 yards. But only of the girl.... That boy could have never been more alone... We contacted all of them and shared a short message with them about what we taught to them. We told them about how we talked about repentance, how they didn´t want to run away anymore, and how they were sorry for what they did. We hurried and shook their hands and bolted. When we were walking around the corner of the house I told Elder Knutson , "We gotta get outta here cause there’s a bomb that’s about to go off," and then we started jogging away with our mochilas.

Ok well, love you all! I have to go because it’s late. I´ll talk to you in a week!!!!

Love, Elder Koontz

Friday, March 11, 2016

Little Caesars in Mexico??

Hi Family,

My companion and I had special changes! It’s sad because he was my favorite companion in the field, but it happened! He is going to my old zone in Martinez, and I am going to be in a trio for a while with some other Elders. We don’t know why, but there are 4 people leaving our zone But yupp! For the next little while I´m gonna be here with some other Elders who are pretty cool :) They don’t do a whole lot of contacting in the street.... So we´re gonna work on that ;)

There is a picture attached of "The Mama" She is literally the mother of missionaries. The only thing that makes her not our mother exactly is blood. She helps us with everything. She is so great. Especially with food... She will bring us pizza any day of the week if we ask her. She is the prime Mama of all mama gallina (hen) in the mission. It was her birthday the other day so we all brought cake and celebrated with her. She is super awesome and super kind and loving. She has so many pictures with so many different missionaries all throughout her house.

Yes, I did get the package you sent and it was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! I shared all the suckers with the people in my zone............ Wasn’t my intention at first but it’s what happened... I did get 2 from the bag though. I love the ties and the shirt is awesome!!! I wear it to bed a lot. I LOVE THE BOOK. I get trunky every time I look at it.. But then I put it away and continue on with what I was doing. :)

Not gonna lie, the work isn’t exactly a walk in the park here in Tuxpan. We only have one progressing investigator and she is awesome. The work has been hard but I love it. It gets challenging on the mind sometimes. We pray, ask for specific things and have faith that we will receive them. But it puts you down when the things you specifically ask for don’t come to pass. Again, again, and again... I started thinking about what I wasn´t doing, what more could I do to find more people and find success. I studied Preach My Gospel and the Scriptures like no other to find an answer. But everything I found and studied, I had already tried applying to the work over and over again. Then I started thinking about the things we were already doing. If we were being disobedient in some way or if there was some way we could be more obedient. We know we aren’t perfect, but we try to better ourselves each day. I wasn´t getting discouraged, I just knew that it was a trial that I had to face.

Last night when we were waiting for our bus, a man asked me (and I´ll translate into English) "You are from the church of the Mormons aren’t you?" I replied, "Well actually, we are from the Church of Jesus Christ-" then he finished my sentence with "of latter-day saints" I then explained, "other people know us as Mormons because of a book we have, it’s called, The Book of Mormon." he then replied "Yeah with Joseph Smith right?" I said, "Yeah, he translated the Book from another language of Ancient prophets that lived in America:" he then told me something that was music to my ears. "Yeah I´ve read a bit of the Book and I really like it. I´m here in Tuxpan for work. I live in another state but for the next few weeks I´m going to be living here. The people back at home are practically all Mormons, I really like the way they live their lives and I´ve gone to church a couple times." I then started asking him more questions about his experiences with the church and these are all of his responses: "Well I really like the example that they set, they have a type of lifestyle that I want to live my life. Is there a church around here? I thought I passed one the other day but I didn’t see the name outside:" I then asked him more about baptism and he said, "no I haven’t been baptized, but it’s something that I really would like to do, and I would like to learn more about it."

This was AWESOME. And my companion was talking on the phone the whole time with the zone leaders because of something else important that was happening. But I got to know him more, and he lives 2 streets over from our house!

We talk to a lot of people in the street every day. Our goal is at least 20 people every day. We introduce ourselves, give them a card with our names, number, direction of the chapel, when we meet, and other information of the picture on front, and then we describe a bit of what we believe, and extend an invitation to them to come to church with us. We then ask if we can get their address and if we can visit them sometime and share more of our message with them and their family.

I´ll just say that not everybody accepts us... I mean, you know, you were a missionary before. Whenever someone does actually tell us to come by sometimes it’s like, "wait... what?" But we talk to sooooooo many people and with all these people, the people who reject us, I tell my companion that they aren´t contacts. We are planting seeds. Most of the people that we teach have had some type of history with missionaries, whether it be just seeing them walking in the calle or if they talked for 30 seconds. So I always remember these things: Why is this person passing me right now? What did they have to do today and what have I done to be in the exact same spot as this person amongst the thousands and thousands of people in this city? Did God have some way to put them in our path? The reality of it is, I don’t know, so I´m not going to let the opportunity slip, if God had put this person in my path for a reason. And it’s not just the street, it’s in the bus, the taxi, and all other ways when I see someone.

Well, gotta go. Talk to you in a week.
Love, Ty

He captioned this picture with simply "HEAVEN"

Zone Conference in Tuxpan

The Mama.  We had a birthday party for her.

Say what?

My companion who is leaving.  He has been my favorite so far. 
Reminds me of a Mexican Brendan.  :)

Friday, March 4, 2016

So many cool stories!

Hi Family,

Cool story: There was a sister missionary from another zone who had heard about me who asked me, "Are you Elder Koontz from the Martinez Zone?" I said yes, then she told me that after our Christmas conference in December, Presidente told all the rest of the zones in their Christmas conferences, that I was a good example to all missionaries, shared parts of my talk, and how well I was progressing in the language.

Another cool story is when my companion and I offered service in the middle of the road. We chopped down a big tree on a hill and then afterwards carried it across the street.

Another cool story is when an investigator said a prayer to know if the church was true, started reading in the plan of salvation pamphlet (her husband passed away 8 months ago) but she had questions, and we had shown up during the time she was reading and answered her questions. I had been studying that morning, and I said a prayer to be specifically guided during my studies to be able to help someone during a lesson. I found two scriptures, one about eternal families, and another about temple work. I knew that both of these were meant for her and I shared them with her.

Saturday night we were pretty bummed. We had only taught 1 lesson and all of our plans were falling through. We contacted a lot of references but they didn’t want anything. In this area we have almost no help from the members so it makes it more difficult. So it was about 7 o´clock and we were in the area around our house. I decided that I wanted to start tracting. My companion hates tracting, especially at night but, I told him that we had no other plans, there weren’t any people in the street, it wasn’t time to go home yet, and I was going to knock on this door whether he liked it or not. So we went up to the house, and the next house, and the next house, and the next house, and the next house.... and so on and so forth. Then we started walking more in the direction of our house because we figured we could just knock a couple more and be done for the night. Something I didn’t know, was my companion was thinking to himself "porque no tengo las ganas para contactar?" (Why don’t I have the desire to contact people) then he saw a man selling tacos in the street and he contacted him. I didn’t know he had stopped to talk, so I kept walking forward, I turned around to talk to him and I saw that he was a little ways away still talking to the guy. I did a funny little waddle-jog with my bag to hurry and get into their conversation, but they were done talking and he wanted nothing to do with us. When I turned around, I saw another huge street that I didn’t see before. We started heading that way, when my companion asked where I was going I said "no he visto este calle antes" (I haven’t seen this street before) We were walking down, and I saw a house with a light on. We walked up, knocked on the door, and a woman with her 10 year old son opened the door. Her son was adorable and his face lit up when he saw us. He had a big grin on his face and when we shared our little introduction and purpose for being at their door, she looked at her son and he nodded with his smile, then she invited us in. We shared with them the first lesson and it was really cool and really fun. We asked if she would like to come to church with us the next day and she said, "le gustaría mucho" (I would like that very much) we gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her and her son to be baptized. They accepted and she flipped through the pages of the book of Mormon with a smile on her face. She gave the closing prayer, and thanked our Heavenly Father for guiding us to her house that night. As my companion and I were walking home, we realized that when we both acted on our promptings we received what I call "duel-revelation" I started tracting, my companion talked to the man with the cart, which made me notice the street, which made both of us see her house and decide to knock on the door.

(I asked him what his plans were for the day) Our plans for the day..... well, we woke up, cleaned the house a bit, got dressed, took our clothes to a members house to do laundry... She is awesome, she does our laundry, and then she gives us 200 pesos to get something to eat. Every day we eat with members except for Mondays. We take this money happily as our food money. Then we went to the chapel with some of the other elders of the zone and we had breakfast. The zone leaders left for Xalapa this morning so If you sent me any packages I should get them Wednesday. (YAY) After that, we went and got our money for the month and went to Centro (town) and bought some cheap souvenirs. I needed a new wallet so I got one. And a pretty cool Mexican backpack. Oh, I cut my hair today too. While we were walking through Centro a couple Mexican piñas (cuties) kept following us around. (we are in a group of 6 missionaries for pday today) when I was looking at some street watches, they asked one of the other elders what my name was. They giggled, followed me around for a bit more and then I evaded them. After we are done emailing, were gonna TRY to save money and go get something to eat. I say try, because there’s this place called Peterdogs that sells huge burgers. They give you 2 burgers, a drink, and you have to eat everything in under 20 minutes and then it’s free. This is our way of trying to save money. Then we are probably going to visit some members to try and get some help from them with investigators. But yupp! Plans for the day :)

Ohhhh and yesterday we didn’t eat at all. We were so hungry. When we went to go eat with the members, they said they hadn’t prepared anything, so they just gave us money. When they gave us the money we said to ourselves "welp, looks like we´re eating tomorrow!" because we don’t buy anything on Sundays, you know, Sabbath day and all. We basically had an involuntary fast because we had no food in the house either. So breakfast this morning was like.... FOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I bought a cool watch on the street that ended up not working... go figure. It was cheap so I didn’t care. I took it apart and the insides were fake, but still I didnt care because I got a free battery and a cool case for a picture. I put a picture of Jesus as a reminder that when I get tired, or down, or don’t want to work. It doesn’t matter what I want because that’s not what I´m here for. This time is “the time of the Lord" :)

Love, Ty

"The time of the Lord"
My companion reminds me of a Mexican Brendan...haha

We found a staff. and this is me being Moses splitting the river.

Spear fishing?


Chapel in Tuxpan

Their condo in Tuxpan