Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Final week: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord." (Matt 25).

Hello everyone,

This will be the last time that I write home as a full time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In Spanish, in this kind of moment, we say that i have sentimientos encontrados, which basically means I just have a bunch of feelings mixed together that I don't know how to explain, without enough time to even try. I am so excited to see you all again, see your faces, hear your voices, talk to my puppies..... but at the same time, I feel torn apart on the inside to be leaving a place that I have come to love so much. As hard as it is, I have the comforting feeling and assurance that I will come back soon enough, since Sonora has become part of who I am.

I really am grateful for all of you who have written me over these last two years, many of who you put your busy lives on hold to send me letters of encouragement and love, many who have sent me care packages that make other missionaries jealous, and many who have offered prayers for me when I needed it. I have felt heavenly hands carry me along for these last two years and give me strength to do what I did not know I could, and I know that it is because of you all.

Maybe the biggest feeling that I have hard over the course of my time in Mexico has been an overwhelming sensation of love. A kind of love that I don't know how to describe, it is just a kind of love that you feel. I am eternally gratefully to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to be his servant for these two years, and for taking the time to mold me in to what I was capable of becoming. In this process, I have come to know many truths of most importance, but the greatest of all is that I know with all the capacity that my soul possess, that God lives, that his Son is Jesus the Christ, and He is Savior of the world. I know that God has called anew a living Prophet, and that through him, God has given evidence of his love through new scriptures that are at the disposal of every one reading these words. Never before have I been more happy to be called a representative of Jesus Christ, and never before have I felt such a genuine kind of happiness that comes from being drawn closer to God.

I love this work. I love my mission. Though it does hurt inside to leave all this behind, I imagine that when I see my family again, I will have a resonating feeling of gratitude and satisfaction for the work that I have given to the Lord, and in that moment I hope to hear His words whisper to my heart, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord." (Matt 25).

See you all next week!
Elder Bernal

Week 101: "Did we show our faith that day?"

Hello all!

A really fast and super busy week! A quick rundown of all that has happened. My companion Elder Campuzano (I call him Campechano which is a classic seafood dish) is a stud and we have lots of fun together as we work really hard. We have very similar personalities so Its good to have a companion like that. Together we found several cool people this week, including a family of 6.

We had a very cool experience on Faith this week. Our mission president recently gave a copy of the book "Drawing on the powers of heaven" to all the missionaries in the mission, and it was AWESOME. Completely enhanced my perspective on what faith is, and made me realize how much faith I don't have, ironically. However, it did teach me how I can have more faith. Anyway so one day, after a long conference, my companion and I, both of us sick, had from 6 in the evening until 9:30 to work without an appointment. In that moment, we could have gone back to our house, more than justified in doing so because we were pretty sick. Could have just called it a day and been happy with our efforts in the conference and called it quits. But after not having too much time to work in our area, and with several people on our minds, we decided to go to our area anyway.

The work part was great because we got to have an awesome lesson with the family of 6 that I mentioned above, but the greatest part was what happened at the end of the day as we were waiting for the bus. Now we should be in our house at the latest by 9:30, and we have to get on the bus and then walk another 25 minutes or so, so we were sitting there waiting at the bus stop alone, in the cold (yes, even though its Sonora, it was cold. or relatively cold. I was cold. ) anyway, in that moment that we got there, my companion goes, "ahh, and this would be the perfect moment for a member to swing by and give us a ride home." We casually laughed and then kept waiting, since that dream hardly every gets granted. Then, about 3 minutes later, a blue SUV passes us,then comes to a full stop, and reverses all the way to where we are. He lowers the window, and I immediately recognize the face as a member from one of my past areas. "Elders, you want a ride?"

We jumped in the car, and I, completely forgetting about my companions comment, just sit down happy to be on a quicker route home, when Elder Campuzano suddenly says, "Today, I gained a stronger testimony of faith." I immediately remembered what he said and then we all started laughing. I was shocked! God had answered that small little prayer!! We told our story to the member who was with us, and then I asked, "But wait, do you really think it mattered if we had faith or not? I mean, you were already on your way. You would have seen us either way. Is that really an answered prayer or just mere chance?" He responded telling us that it actually wasn't chance. He told us his side saying that he was looking for his keys in his house but couldn't find them. His wife suggested that he take her car, something he never liked to do, but in that moment he just felt like he shouldn't keep looking anymore and just take his wife's car, a simple decision that would have made about a 15 minute difference, enough time for us to have gotten on the bus and had to have walked the rest of the way home.

So, where am I going with this story? Well, This member was looking for his keys before we got to the bus station. So it was a lesson to me that shows that the God can prepare the answer to the prayer of faith even before we say them. Did we show our faith that day? Well yes, we went to work even when we were justified in not doing so. So God, knowing that we were going to ask Him, and acknowledging our faith with actions, started to put together the pieces to answer our prayer even before we said it! Simply because he knew beforehand that we would have the faith for him to intervene. And so He had this member act so that our prayer could be answered in the moment that we said it. It could have seemed like our faith would´t have made a difference, but that is only because we don't have the perspective that He does.

Long story short, It is always better to have faith, whether you think it makes a difference or not. God will answer the prayer of faith, even when it seems like it is too late to ask.

Hope you all have a great week.


Have a great week!
Elder Bernal

Inspirational quote of the week:

"Estas son las mañanitas,
que cantaba el rey David,
Hoy por ser tu cumpleaños,
te las cantamos a ti

Despierta, papito, despierta,
mira que amanecio!
Ya los pajarillos cantan
la luna ya se metio!!!!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Week 100: "Good Tidings to all!!"

Good Tidings to all!!

Because of Christmas day and other matters, my preparation was switched to today, so I get to write out a little Christmas card!! I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Christmas day and I loving the Christmas spirit, the Spirit of Christ.

I would like to leave you all with a thought for Christmas this year. Whether you read this Christmas day or after, consider this. When it is someones birthday, what do we do? We immediately think of what present we are going to give this person. We ask, "what does he or she like? What does he or she not have that they would want?" In this Christmas season, many of us may have thought more in what presents we were going to buy, than in why we are celebrating in the first place. This is the birthday of the most important Being who walked this earth, it is the celebration of the Saviors entrance into mortality. This Christmas, on the day of the Saviors birth (whether the exact date is accurate or not), what can we give to Christ that he would like? What can we give to Christ that he does not already have? Thinking about these questions, it is obvious that materialistic items are not on this list. No, Christ wants something more valuable, more precious, more important than that. He wants us. He wants us to give him ourselves this year, and for ever year that comes. The things that He likes are when we follow his commandments, when we love our neighbor, when we serve those around us, when we remember Him in the good and the bad. All that we really have in life, family, job, money,house, is because He gave it to us in the first place. The only thing that He doesn´t have is our agency, he does not have control over what we decide to do. When we give ourselves to him, when we follow what he asks of us, that is when He really has everything. That is the gift that He wishes for. Can we give those kinds of gifts this Christmas? How much would these kind of gifts cost us?

Being in my mission has given me the opportunity to enjoy Christmas like never before, for the simple reason of being closer to the Savior now more than ever. I hope that all of us can really reflect more on the importance of His birth, and come to not only know, but to feel the beauty of the Christmas spirit, The spirit of Christ.

Feliz Navidad a todos!
Elder Bernal

Monday, December 21, 2015




We had a great week. It was great. Really Great. Did I say it was great? Here is a list of what we did:

1. Went to Nogales. IT WAS -7 DEGREES CELSIUS and after being through 2 sonoran desert summers I almost froze to death. 
2. Saw the Dedications of the temple in Tijuana, which was awesome. Hosanna!
3. Had great great studies.
4. It is now officially cold in Hermosillo as well. It is a strange feeling to be cold again. 
5. Many other great things that will be told in an email at another date because i gotta go.

I hope all of us can really take advantage of this christmas time to think about our relation with God and His Son Jesus Christ, and show our love for them by serving others. There is no better time to help another than now. Dont let it pass by!

Elder Bernal

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Week 98: "Walk with Me"

Hello everyone!

What a crazy week! We had transfers, and we said goodbye to a generation of 18 missionaries, one of the being my companion Elder Vandenbosch! I had the opportunity to be with these missionaries the night before they went home, and we listened to them bear their testimonies after two years of dedicated service. The spirit was very strong and I was so humbled to hear from these departing Elders and sisters. 4 of them had previously been my companions, so I got a little emotional seeing them leave.....

My new companions name is Elder Campuzano and he is a stud! He is from Monterrey Mexico, and he played Football in his high school! We both have very similar personalities so i think this is going to be a great transfer.

Our ward got together this week and we had a big Christmas dinner! The put together a really cool slide show of all the cool events that happened this year, and it was so legit I was blown away. It was easily one of the cooler things that I have seen here in a ward. The little primary munchkins and the nursery kids performed a little Christmas dance dressed up as reindeer with antlers and omg it was adorable. It was a huge turnout and a blast! I was honestly so impressed with how well and organized everything was, probably the best ward activity I have had in my entire mission! It got my SO pumped for the Christmas season.

So this week I was stalking through some of the pictures that my companion has of his mission, and I came across a poem that is called "Walk with Me" (see picture attached). I started reading it, and it started off really good. Then it got better. Turns out that I liked it so much I wanted to share it with you all. Here it is:

"Walk with me," I heard Him say,
"Walk with me awhile today."
"Talk with me," I heard Him speak,
"Talk with me of things you think."
Share with me the things you feel,
Share with me so you can heal.
Cry with me through your heartbreaks,
Cry with me when your soul aches.
Look with me, a new sunrise!
Look with me through opened eyes.
See with me the world anew,
See with me my point of view.
Laugh with me in pure delight,
Laugh with me, its all alright!
Sing with me we stroll along,
Sing with me I love your song.
Learn with me your wondrous story,
Learn with me your prior glory.
Know with me just who you are,
Know with me we`ve traveled far. 
Create with me and dreams come true
Create with me I create through you.
Walk with me on Heaven`s shore,
Walk with me forever more!

Love you all, hope you have a great week! Do something nice for someone every day to spread the Christmas spirit!

Elder Bernal

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Week 92: A Savior is Born


Crazy crazy week that went by super fast. One of the best parts was that we got to go to the temple! There are 18 missionaries that are finishing their mission this transfer, and one of them is my companion, so we all went to the temple together on Tuesday, and it was an incredible experience. Just the second time that I have been able to enter in almost 2 years, so it was very special once again.

Even better though, easily the highlight of the week, was that the entire district of Peñasco came to the temple today, which meant that I got to see everybody again!! I saw a ton of the members that I worked with and all the people that treated us so nice, and they still remembered my name! Yahoo! Amongst them were two of the people that I was able to teach and baptize there, Omar and Abril. They went to the temple to do vicarious baptisms, and seeing people that you taught go to the temple and being able to participate in the ordinances that are realized there is such a comforting and satisfying feeling. I was so happy to see the they continue strong in the church and growing spiritually. That is one of if not the greatest joys of being a missionary. 

Another coool activity was that our ward here had what we call the Dessert night, were a ton of members brought different kinds of dessert for all to taste. We, the missionaries, were in charge of doing a couple of games, so we divided everybody up in to teams and we had a pictionary competition. Yours truly ended up being the game show host and definitely made a fool of myself trying to make some funny jokes that nobody laughed at..... 

Lastly, one of the more humbling experiences happened this last Saturday, when we went to a small little city in the mountain part of the sonoran desert called Nacozari to visit to two elders working there. We joined them for their Sunday services, and in Nacozari, there is no chapel there, only a small house where the members get together and host their Sunday worship services. In Spanish, they call them a house of worship. Being there, seeing a group of only 20 to 30 or so people still come together in such a small and remote city in the mountains and be able to take the sacrament and be blessed by the blessings of the gospel and the restored priesthood was so humbling to me. Like Sister Bernal said in her latest email, many members across the world make such big sacrifices to do little things that we often take for granted like going to church in a chapel, with comfy benches, heating, and structured and functioning organization. We should never ever take things like that for granted, we should give thanks for those little things, because in life we are about as happy as we are grateful. And so, for me so see that Latter day saints could still gather together in a small and humble setting and do the things that other Saints across the world do, was a very beautiful thing.

Hope you all have a wonder wonderful week, and are getting excited in this Christmas season!

Elder Bernal

Inspiriation for the Week: A Savior is Born


Week 91: Happy Thanksgiving

Hello all!!

Is that just the biggest sign of ungratefulness or of being in Mexico? Either way, I completely forgot it was Thanksgiving until the day of. But we did get spoiled this time and we got to enjoy a lovely huge thanksgiving meal prepared by the lovely presidents wife. Turkey, mash potatoes, yams, cranberries, corn, stuffing, rolls, ("well they were actually croissants" says a fellow companion sitting next to me). Oh my it was delicious.

It seems that the mosquito that gave me dengue fever last year somehow survived and was looking for my blood, because it bit me and gave me dengue again.... I went to bed Sunday feeling perfectly fine, and woke up Monday morning feeling like I had just stepped in front of a bus, or like if Adrianna pushed me down from the top of the stairs again (she actually did that one time....). Luckily, my body somewhat learned from last time and I got better a lot faster. But I still am pretty ashamed to say that in my two years, dengue fever hit me twice!

And even though its almost a week before it happens.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON THE 4TH OF DECEMBER TO THE BEST SISTER IN DA WORLD ADRIANNA!!!!!! AND MY MAN PARKER SCOTT!!! Have a great one!

I Hope you all have a great one!
Elder Bernal