Monday, October 28, 2013

Tex-Mexico, the greatest country there is!

Last week we bought something like 90 snack packs for our zone p-day pudding eating competition. It was pretty sweet.

Last week we had good ol' new missionary training. I had almost forgotten that I was "new". I feel I've been here forever. In a good way. Because Elder Jones is a Zone leader, we ended up driving missionaries home for several hours. I relayed directions from the GPS, and put CD after broken MoTab CD into the Player, each without success. I'm sick of driving around. I got to bike last Saturday, which was an enjoyable experience. I wasn't expecting how strange it is to bike where it is so perfecting flat and level. My companions had left to have a meeting with the Area Council on hastening the work of Salvation. So they met President Rasband of the presidency of the Seventy and several other General authorities. Meanwhile I was at China River Buffet eating cream cheese Won-tons.

We've really done a lot of work in the last week, including preparing several people to be baptized.At the very start of the transfer, we prayed to know how many people we were to baptize before it was done. The answer was 5. Until this last week (week 4), we didn't have a single commitment. Miraculously, though not without difficulty, we have 5 baptisms scheduled for Nov. 10. Our zone has 18 total. That is a lot. Our mission has been struggling with people following through with baptism commitments, so we have a ton of work to do if every one of those people will be baptized.

We finally got to go to church again, and to a ward party. There really are some great members here . . .where I am: Tex-Mexico, the greatest country there is!

Meat, rice, and beans. That's just about every beloved eating appointment. Can never go wrong there. We're actually teaching a lady named Diana, she's one of three ladies, (Mom, daughter, daughter in-law), that we have dubbed "the three Amigas." We are teaching them tonight right before they head to Mexico for a month.

Have fun with all those leaves on the ground. I have yet to see a single one change color.

Elder Decker

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'm not worried, God always provides

BYU beat undefeated Houston 47-46
Hour of power this week wasn't quite as powerful, (especially with return appointments arranged for during the Texans game) but I had a good experience. I genuinely felt confidant and comfortable with knocking on doors for the first time of my mission. BYU/Houston was cool, a bunch of RM's came back here for it. You know, the legends and heroes of transfers gone by. The president announced Mission-wide that none of us were to view the game. Duh. Unfortunately, that loss, in combination with that of the ill-fated Houston Texans, hasn't improved the disposition of the average Pasadener. Good thing we're bringing them the Gospel.

I went on an English exchange last week, and taught in English. It was pretty different. We went to the house of this one girl, not much older than me, and tried to teach us a lesson. She said she couldn't at that moment because of her dad, her dogs, and a whole bunch of other things. She also told us that five people from her family had died recently, including her mom, how everything was going wrong, and how depressed and stressed she was. We couldn't teach her a lesson, but I still wanted to do something. I asked her "do you like to read?" she responded (in English remember, so I can actually understand) "Well when I'm here all alone.... There isn't a lot more I can spend my time doing is there." I gave we gave her a Book of Mormon right there on the spot, I bore my testimony about it, and the power that is in it. My companion shared Mosiah 24: 14-15, and then we offered a prayer. I asked her if she would read from it and she said "I think I'd better." I feel that we really made a difference to her that day,

This week really was great, it's becoming more real. Things get hard.

The people are real, they mostly have no knowledge at all about the church, out here they all love Jesus, and each day you get to try again. We had a real miracle the other day, followed by a lot of bad luck. We were led to this 13 year old girl who absolutly loves hearing from the missionaries. It turns out that she was taught a year and a half ago, but then the missionaries lost her after she moved. She's golden.The day after we met, she committed to be baptized. That was 9 days ago, and we haven't been able to see her since. Her family wouldn't answer calls for four days. Well, it turns out that The power went out at their apartment complex and they were away for 4 days. She also had a panic attack and was in the hospital and needs a surgery. Right now they are having family issues so she is staying at her grandma's house. Her Jehovah's witness grandma who wants her to go to "Kingom Hall". Mix all that with the fact that she is a child, and a girl, and so we always need parental consent and a man with us to teach her, and we have a pretty hard time meeting with her. Oh yea and she is often in detention.

Basically there is a big potential for this girl to be baptized, but just about everything possible is getting thrown in the way of that. But I'm not worried, God always provides.

Anyway love all y'alls

Monday, October 14, 2013

It was fun.

We've got a couple awesome investigators. One, whose enthusiasm had been waning, is doing awesome. She found the lessons interesting, but not life-changing, until she was taught the Word of Wisdom. She committed to keep it, and has been reaping the benefits ever since. She's come to church 3 times including conference, and is just doing great. She doesn't have a baptismal date (despite the best efforts of my companion), but she is definitely preparing and is further along than any other investigators. Right now she's working on getting saint statues and such out of the house after we taught her the ten commandments.

We had a little miracle the other day. We were looking for a less active member, and Elder Jones asked a girl for directions. He started talking to her and found out she actually had quite a lot of interest in hearing out message. It turns out she had been taught by missionaries a year and a half ago before she moved, that her real father is a member, and that all her family back in Mexico are members. Saturday, the day after we met her, she committed to baptism. She's got a ways to go, but she's got more enthusiasm then our whole zone put together.

This week has been fun. My companions dropped me off with a 16 yr old member by ourselves to knock doors for hour of power. For those of you who don't know, this is the hour between 6 and 7 on Thursday when the entire mission goes out to knocks doors and see miracles. Let me rephrase that the Elder Jones' way. Quote: "We're going to knock one door and find a family and teach that family and it'll be great."

Well Michael and I went off by ourselves, which was terrifying, but he knows Spanish and I know English so it's gonna be great. So I had to really muster up my courage and talk to people and do something I hadn't ever done before with a kid that's been a member for under a year. It was cool. Right at the end of the hour we met two guys that seemed really genuinely interested. I was shocked. I couldn't talk to them very well, but I had our number on the back of a pamphlet and gave it to him. He called it on the spot and talked to my companion "Quiro escuchar una mensaje sobre Jesucristo!" It was a good experience that taught me really how many people there are who will hear me, I just need the courage to reach them.

Church was an adventure. I said some pretty stupid stuff, had no clue what people were telling me, and had to ask members I had already met for their names, but it's all good.

 My address: 1000 e. curtis #802  Pasadena, Texas 77056

My apartment is pretty small for three guys, its got carpet (a dream after Mexico), a dishwasher (which I don't use because hand washing is easier), one of my companions sleeps on the floor. on a mattress. which is still wrapped in cellophane because he doesn't want stuff to crawl into it. It's pretty much the dream Missionary apartment, with churchie pictures and quotes in every crevice and crack. There are "how to begin teaching points" in the shower.

Oh yea and there was a ridiculous storm on the day Elder Jones and I went on exchanges (on bikes). Honestly it doesn't even rain in Utah. It was crazier than Mexico City. I couldn't have gotten wetter in a shorter amount of time if I had jumped in a lake. It was fun.

hasta luego

Elder Decker
Funny thing: Elder Ericson likes to wear his suit sometimes, while Elder Jones and I go with the classic short sleeved shirts. He is a lot taller than us, and so we joke that Elder Jones and I are his little minions following him around.
It's funnier than it sounds.

Monday, October 7, 2013

It's powerful.

I'm glad to hear that you all went to conference. It is awesome that during conference we are exactly where we are supposed to be (if we are there and attentive) and then we hear exactly what God wants us to do. It's powerful.

Thanks for you great example Mom. While I'm here I receive lots of service, and try to give it right back out.

I'm sorry you expected a letter sooner, you should get a postcard I sent on Tuesday (probably the first of those flimsy, non-confidential thingies I have ever sent).

So. Last weekend (years ago), we said our good-byes, ate our last sleeves of chokies and packed us our stuffs. Monday morning we woke up at 2, went on a crazy bus ride through Mexico city, and we were off. We saw lots of people, smelled some strange things, and ended up flown all the way to Houston. The President picked us up (he's cool) and we drove into a glossy Houston neighborhood and arrived at the mission home. For some reason I was surprised that the mission home was literally a home. Anyway it was weird to be in America and I didn't want to touch anything, it was all so clean, and the food was different and good.

The next day (Tuesday for those of us who can't keep track), after sleeping in a 4 man apartment with 16 Elders, the AP not locking the trailer and tons of luggage flew out on the street and got stolen and we had to track him down, we got to transfers. #run on sentence.

My companionship was the first to be called. I actually have 2 comps. They are zone leaders. My trainer is Elder Jones like you saw. He was a wrestler at Pleasant Grove High School and graduated '12. My other companion is Elder Ericson, he is in his last transfer and knows our area, and Spanish , incredibly well. Both are incredible missionaries and I am privileged to serve with them.

Being in the field is new. We have already taught, contacted, drove, and conducted zone business a whole bunch. I still speak a whole lot more than I understand the language, which is frustrating. Since it's a trio, i have to make sure to assert myself and make sure I know what's happening and that I am contributing.

I don't know the Ward well yet, no church yesterday. We've been fed a lot, the members are awesome. People are great though, and there are tons of missionaries that all have my back.

I'll send you some pictures another Monday.

Oh yea, I'm in Pasadena Texas Mom.

Love Elder Decker

Your Missionary has arrived safely to T.H.E. Mission!

Zach is back in the United States! I was able to talk to him on Monday, September 30th, from the Dallas airport. He had been up since 2 a.m. to pack and travel to the Mexico City airport. He said it sounded weird to be have everyone speaking English. He sounded SO good! He was ready to meet his new companion and get to work. We received pictures and a message from his Mission President.

Your Missionary has arrived safely to T.H.E. Mission!  Upon arrival we met your missionary at the airport and took them directly to the mission home where they were fed Texas Bar-b-que and met the office staff.  An orientation by the office staff followed lunch while individual interviews were conducted by President Crawford.  That evening they were invited to share their testimonies.  The following morning was focused on training after which they met their new companion and were transported to their area of service.  They are now out diligently searching for our Heavenly Father's children and doing the work of the Lord. Thank you for sending your daughters and sons to us, they have added great strength to our small army here in the Texas Houston East Mission. We love them and are so grateful to have them with us. You will find attached a picture of your newly arrived missionary with Sister Crawford and myself as well as their arriving group and Trainer.

Elder Decker with President and Sister Crawford

Elder Decker and Elder Jones