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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Week 90: "God´s grace is not only what ultimately saves us, but it is what truly changes us"

Hello everyone!

What an awesome week! I just looked over my wittle sisters letter from her first week in Tegucigalpa and it made me so happy! I thought back to my first few weeks in the mission and I can sooo feel for my little sister when she talked about being so exhausted at the end of each day, struggling to cope with so many new aspects of life. The first few weeks fly by (actually the whole time does) because you are forced to be engaged in every aspect of every day. How jealous I am of where she is! AND her companion is from the Dominican Republic! They are the best. I have met a handful of people in my mission that are from there, and they are the most loving, humble, and hard working people. Izzy got reallllly lucky. 

Speaking of the beginning of my mission, this last week I was able to go make a quick day visit in Guaymas, the city where I started my mission. I was working with two other elders for the day, and unfortunately it wasn't in the same are that I had started in, but just being in Guaymas again brought back so many good memories. I had a funny realization though. Everybody says that the mission flies by, and its true it really does (see above), but when you go back and think about all the things that happen, you realize, "woah, I have been gone a long time!" Honestly, when I left, Frozen had just barely came out in theaters..... Anyway, so you realize that a lot of time has gone by since the beginning, but then after I went back to Guaymas, and seeing the things I had seen a year and a half ago and being in places I had been prior, I thought to myself, "Well this is all the same. I feel like I was just here." So even though more than I year had passed by, everything was brought back to my remembrance and I suddenly felt as if I had never left. That same kind of feeling, I imagine, will probably happen when I come back home at the end of my mission. After a few days of all the excitement, I will realize that I am back to the same place I was at before, and it will all go back to being normal. When that happens, I will have to look back on what I have done in the time that has passed. As Sister Bernal has said it in her last email, missionaries have the rest of their life to look back on 2 years of service. So it is up to me decide how I want to feel when I take that look. Will it be one of gratification and pride for what I did, or of regret and shame for not doing what I could have? If these are to be the determining factors, then I look forward to such a moment, for I believe that I have lived my mission experience in such a way that this reflection will be for me one of the most gratifying and satisfactory memories of my entire life. And indeed, this same example can be applied for all of us, when one day not too far away from now we will all return back to our heavenly home.

I spent a good deal this week thinking about Grace. I reread an amazing talk titled "His grace is sufficient" by Brad Wilcox, and I sure got a lot more out of it this time. I have come to realize that grace really is what moves everything in this world. God´s grace is not only what ultimately saves us, but it is what truly changes us. As said in the talk, Christs sacrifice "is not only a huge favor he did for us," but also "a huge investment he made in us." Grace is what allows us to love as God loves, it is what allows us to be patient with the imperfections of others as God is patient with our imperfections. Even though he expects us to be perfect (Matt. 5:48), his grace is what compensates for our deficit, and he can do that because he has already paid the price for what justices demand on imperfection (Alma 34). And since that is done, he can be completely merciful and loving with us, and in turn, we can be the same with everyone else. The scripture I chose to "ponderize" this week is in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most Gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

It seems that if we really can get a hold on grace, we will never have a need to be down. Every weakness or imperfection is simply a chance to see the power of God. 

Les amo a todos!
Elder Bernal

Monday, November 16, 2015

Letter From Hermano Bernal to Hermana Bernal

Hello all,

This was a letter I sent to izzy and I felt the interest to send it to you all as well...not forget to remember.



This week Izzy, I want to talk to you about something I have been thinking about lots. Once you wrote me about how you loved that Alma told his son to remember the captivity of his fathers. I want to focus this email on the importance of this word: remember.

Spencer W. Kimball once said that maybe the most important word in the dictionary is remember. Why? Because a big weakness in the human nature is that we are so forgetful! And right now, we aren't just talking about the little things, like taking out the trash, or doing a homework assignment. We are talking about the many ways that we forget about the Lord. 

When somebody gains a testimony of the church, they have a special moment in which they cannot deny that they received a confirmation of the truth. But as the time passes, they forget about that moment and the feelings they had, and that leads many to become inactive. All because they forgot the joy they experienced prior. They stopped doing the little things in the gospel, and that led them to forget. We sometimes do that too. Sometimes I find myself thinking, "Well, in my mission, I haven't seen a whole lot of crazy miracles." Think again Connor. I am forgetting. I am forgetting about all the little miracles that the Lord as done for me. I forget about the past. A quote says that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That may be why Alma told his son Helaman to remember, so they wouldn't fall in the same pride cycle:

 " I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity. (Alma 36:29)

What are some other ways that we forget about the Lord? Lets look at the Sabbath day. Why do we have to dedicate the whole day? If you look at the definition of dia de reposo in spanish, it says something that just blows my mind. It says that the Lord set apart this day so that his children "se acuerden de el." are you saying that it is possible to forget him!?? How? How do we forget our creator, our savior? Mormon says,

And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.
Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths! (Helaman 12:3,5).

Do we really need God to punish us just so we can remember him? Actually, forgetting what he has done for us is a huge sign of ungratefulness. When you forget the nice actions of others, they feel as if it wasn't important to you. How do you think the savior feels when we don't honor the sabbath day? How do you think he feels when as MISSIONARIES IN HIS WORK  we don't give our "heart, might, mind, and soul"? 

That must be why Helaman started the legendary scripture  in helaman 5 vs 12 saying "Oh my sons, remember, remember".

This idea is not only seen in the scriptures. When Simba chased rafiki into the woods in hopes of seeing his father, he was upset that he did not find what he was looking for. But when the clouds stormed in and Simba spoke with a disappointed father, Mufasa said "You have forgotten who you are and so you have forgotten me." Can you imagine God saying the same thing to us when we forget about him?

Do you see izzy, why it is so crucially important that you remember the Lord, in every little thing that you do? do you see that when you remember all that he has done for you, you truly show your gratitude and appreciation?

It would not be a foolish idea to keep a log of all the miracles, both big and small, that the Lord has done for you, so you can remember. The Lord does not want to have to punish us to get us to remember. It is better for us to remember simply because we love him.

I love you! Sorry for the long letter but I thought a lot about that this week. Having a good memory may be one of the most important human traits of them all!!

Elder Bernal

Week 89: "Don`t let me forget it was for me oh Savior"

Buenas tardes!!


Another great week! We had a road trip to a part of the mission that is called Agua Prieta, which literally means dirty water. What an interesting name for a city right? Whose idea was that?. Anyway, Agua prieta is in the north of our mission, so in this time of year, it is starting to get pretty chilly. I had officially forgotten what it felt like to be cold, but being there quickly reminded me of how awful it is! Maybe its because I have become used to really hot weather but I swear it was like negative 30 degrees or something. And I forgot my sweater because i assumed that in the Sonoran desert it doesn't get cold. Who-da-thunk. But wait, it gets better. We had to take a bus from Agua Prieta to Hermosillo, a 5 hour ride. Most of you have heard how much I love bus rides in the mission because it is a moment to sit down and take a breather, read some books, take a nap, and more recently, shout to a group full of people trapped in the same vicinity as me :) But this time, it was an ice cold blizzard torment. The bus did not have heating and once again, we didn't have anything to keep warm (except for the drivers extra sweater that I asked to borrow) and so from 5:30 in the morning to 9 until the sun came up, we had to suffer a sleepless freezing ride in the dark. No naps, no reading, no shouting on the bus. It was miserable. After thinking about it all, maybe I prefer the sonoran dessert to the Ukrainian winters. Looks like Garret had it worse than me!

A cool experience that we had this week was in sacrament meeting. We were singing the song "In humility, Our Savior," right before the sacrament was being passed, and as I sang one of these lines, it really caught my attention in Spanish. In Spanish, it reads "no me dejes olvidar que fue por mi oh Salvador", and directed translated it says, "don`t let me forget it was for me oh Savior." Many times when we talk about Christ`s atonement, we say that he bore the sins of the world, that he died for everyone, but often times when we say everyone, we tend to think it was for everyone else. By thinking of the atonement this way, we often detach ourselves from the personal effect and power that it can have and exclude ourselves in some aspect from the redeeming power of this love inspired act. But when we remember that what the Savior did was, for each one of us, individual, it becomes more personal. It becomes more genuine, we grow closer to Him. We feel more of his love, and our gratefulness to him increases drastically because what He did was for me, and for you, and for each individual in his own individual way.

I love you all!

Elder Bernal

Kudos to Sister Briggs
"Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees."
     -Victor Hugo, French poet, dramatist, novelist

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week 88: "There is just always something I can do"

Hello everybody!!

Before any further delay, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ELISE LEVESQUE (pronounced leveck) ON NOVEMBER 9TH!!!!!! Hope you have a great one Elise!

This week, I finished once again the Book of Mormon. As I finished the last page, I did what I have always done after finishing. I knelt down, and put to the test the promise given in Moroni 10:4-6. For the 5th time in my mission, I received the confirmation given by the Spirit of the veracity of this book, and can say with all conviction that I know that it is the word of God. And like last time, I invite all others to do the same! 

Well..... what can I tell you guys this week. We had another meeting in Hermosillo with a handful of very fine missionaries, and it was a very spiritual and uplifting event. We sang "Israel God is Calling" and it turned out stunning. I am really enjoying being in Hermosillo again and contacting people a ton of the buses. In Puerto Peñasco, we didnt have a public transportation system, so now it is a lot of fun to talk with everybody on the bus. I really did miss it. 

I dont really know what to say today. Once again I find myself thinking that I am just really really loving my experience in the mission. I am learning so much about life, loving every second of it,. The days go by like hours, and every day I come home more tired than the last. There is just always something I can do, or some way that I can try to be of help to someone. I realize that we can always and indeed we should always be looking for more things that we can do to help lift one another. The only gratifying and worthwhile life is the one that is spent in the good of others.

Have an awesome week! Try to do something special for one person each day!

Elder Bernal

Enjoy this awesome quote kudos to Garret

"There are many people, particularly in sports, who think that success and excellence are the same thing. They are not the same thing. Excellence is something that is lasting and dependable and largely within a person's control. In contrast, success is perishable and is often outside our control. If you strive for excellence, you will probably be successful eventually. People who put excellence in the first place have the patience to end up with success. An additional burden for the victim of the success mentality is that he is threatened by the success of others and he resents real excellence. In contrast, the person that is fascinated by quality is excited when he sees it in others.” - Joe Paterno

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Week 87: "As long as you are proud you cannot know God"

Hello all!!

Sorry for not being able to write last week! It was a busy one... This week I have sad news... after 4 months, I was transferred out of Puerto Penasco to Hermosillo. I have come to love Penasco so much and all the members and great great people that I have met there. It truly has been one of my most favorite areas to work in. We all said goodbye on Sunday and it was sad, but I know that I am going to see all these people again. After so much hard work, I have left a piece of my heart in Peñasco and will be very anxious to return.

My transfers have brought me to Hermosillo once again, and here I will be serving with a new companion named Elder Vandenbosch from Utah! He lost a whopping 55 pounds since the start of his mission!! Can you believe that!! I'm excited to start working with him. And since I am back in Hermosillo, that means that I had to say good bye to my faithful steed in Penasco, since here we don't use bikes. But instead of bikes, we are back to city buses, and since I´m back to public transportation, that means its back to yelling on the buses! Yahoo!!

A very good friend of mine shared with a me a quote from C.S. Lewis about pride, and I liked it so much I have decided to include it in this weeks email.

"As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and of course, as long as your are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you."

And if you can´t see what lies above you, then you are going to have quite a hard time getting to know God.

Without any further adiue, I send the biggest birthday wishes to my favorite twins in the world. Happy birthday to Megan and Alyssa Jemley on November 4th!!

Have a great week!
Elder Bernal


1 and 2 the gang in peñasco

3. My old companion Elder Alvarez and I in a members house on the water in Peñasc

4. My new companion Elder Vandenbosch

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Week 86: Thoughts about having expectations and striving to be more conscious

Hello everyone!

Another excellent excellent week in the Hermosillo Mexico mission. We decided to do something exicting in the ward here, and we planned a movie night in the church for all to attend. We made popcorn and all kinds of other snacks and then watched the movie Meet the Mormons. Over 100 people showed up! It was an awesome turn out! The only said part was that we didn't make enough popcorn and it all ran out... I was one of the unlucky few....... But it really was a great time. If you haven't already, you have to see the movie. It is a great film about who the "Mormons" really are and it clears up a lot of the confusion about what we believe. And its honestly really exciting. I think my favorite clip is of the aviator.

Being here in Mexico, I learned something about people, something very beautiful to me, that has changed much of the way that I interact with others. Often times as human beings, we very easily become impatient with others who do not live up to our own expectations. We became frustrated with those who may not be as smart, as talented, as gifted, or simply not at the level that we are at. It is very easy to lose patience thinking this way, because the reality is that we are all at different levels, different stages of life, and if we walk around judging everyone based on where we are and what is happening to us right now, we are seeing the world in a very ignorant and naive way, through our own microscope, and setting ourselves up for disappointment. And not to mention discouragement toward others.

Now, we often here the quote that "ignorance is bliss," that by living without an understanding, we thereby avoid punishment. So we use that as a reason to just let people keep doing what they are doing, and we try to deal with it. But I have found that ignorance is not bliss, because ignorance hinders growth, it prevents you from progression. Rather, In it is innocence that is bliss, not ignorance. Maybe I am speaking blindly, but to me there is a big difference. Innocence is like that of a young child, who makes a mistake simply because he does not know and has not been taught, whereas ignorance may sometimes imply a refusal to learn after repeated opportunities to do so.

My point in saying all of this is that many times, when we as human beings make a mistake, it is often because we simply don't know. Therefore, it would be very unwise to scold and get mad at someone for simply not knowing. That would be equivalent to screaming at an infant for spilling the coolaid on your white shirt. That kind of critique does not build or promote growth, it damages and discourages. As we go about our dealings with our fellow men, we should be more conscience of the conditions of others when they do not live up to "our expectations" or when they dont do what we think should be done (when in reality, who are we to put expectations on others?). When we feel the urge to get impatient or frustrated with another's because they are not meeting our level of expectation, we should ask ourselves, "Do they know what is right? Was it just an honest mistake? Can I use this is an opportunity to teach rather than to scold? In my experience, more times than not I find that these moments are moments of innocence, blissful innocence, and that realization keeps me patient and with the right perspective. This kind of attitude will help us be more understanding, more patient, more loving , and more willing to help others in a way that uplifts.

That's all for this week. Make sure you all write Izzy!! A few words of encouragement can be very very helpful in the first few days of the mission! I can still remember the very first letter I read from home. It was from Brent Tsang, and he wrote me the very day after I had left. And he just wanted to make sure everything was ok. And almost two years later, I haven't forgotten it. So write Izzy! I mean, Hermana Bernal!

Elder Bernal

Week 85: The healing of the soul is found in turning outward to other people

Hello family!

First things first, If I am not mistaken, and hopefully Im not because that would be real embarrassing, but according to my calculations Eric "bde" "erk" Stefanchik, Celina Cafareli, and Shain "noodle" Scott will all have their birthdays on October 17th. Shout out to the three of you!

Izzy is in Gautemala!! yahooo!!!!!

I saw a video produced by the church last week that I really really liked. As the main focus of my message for this week, I would like you all to watch this video titled "Lift" and ponder on the following remarks made by one of the participants. It had a profound impact on me. Enjoy.

"Its interesting, the dicotomy between healing the body and healing the soul. When you heal the body, its always an inward effort. We are always paying attention to ourself. When you heal the soul, turning inward doesnt work. The triage of the soul is found in turning outward to other people. Everytime I help Kathy (or in our case, another person) it heals a part of my soul."

And if I may, this video also makes me reflect on the oft quoted words spoken by King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17).

Elder Bernal

Quote of the week, cudos to Amanda Briggs

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."

-Henry Ford

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Week 84: Echale ganas Hermana Bernal! Tegucigalpa te espera!

Hello world!

Urgent announcement! My little sister Izzy leaves on her mission tomorrow evening!! Everyone send her all the love while you still can! I'm so proud of you Izzy, you are going to be a legendary missionary.

Second urgent announcement!! On Wednesday September 30th Shannon Graves will turn 21!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHANNON!!!! 

So this truly was an excellent week. We had a lot of success and we finally, after two weeks, were able to spend the entire week in our area. A nice little surprise was that last week on Monday, right after I had written, a ton of the members threw a surprise birthday party for me! They made a cake out of cupcakes in the shape of a missionary! It was awesome! I think my shoving peoples face in the cake record (2-2) was completely shattered when the same stealth attack was used on me... see the picture attached.... they got me good.....

Last week, Rosy sent me a puzzle piece game of Seattle for my birthday present. It consisted of several little images of well known sites in Seattle, and the goal is to compete other players to collect the most pairs you can. All cards are faced upside down, and each player gets a turn to flip two up at a time. The one who ends up with the most pairs wins. I deemed it worthy (and of crucial importance) to include in this weeks email the report that we played this game with all 12 of the missionaries in penasco, and, it is safe to say, that I absolutely dominated. Many trips to the space needle, pike place, the gum wall, troll under the bridge, alkai beach, the EMP and many other places finally paid off to show some Seattle pride. Go Hawks.

Once again, I want to say how proud I am of my little sister for making the decision to be a missionary. She is about to embark on the greatest adventure that she could ever take. The steps she will be taking have been praised by Prophets of old and beautified in one of my favorite scriptures: 

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Isaiah 52:7

Echale ganas Hermana Bernal! Tegucigalpa te espera!

Elder Bernal

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 83: How Big Is God?


Thank you all for the awesome birthday wishes! I think it needs no further commentary, but it is definitely safe to say that it was one of the greatest birthdays of my life, along with one of the greatest birthday presents I could have asked for. I love you all!

This week, we were visited by Elder Piper, a general authority of the church, member of the 70, and member of the Mexico area presidency. He spoke to us quite a bit and I must say that I learned a lot. 

One of the things that he focused on a lot was the idea that we are all agents. This world is made up of two kinds of matter; those that act, and those that are acted upon. We, human beings, are the kind that act! God has bestowed us with the power chose, and it is against our divine nature (and not to mention part of the adversary´s plan) to think that we are complacent and subject to the conditions around us. We would do well to always remember that "the power is in (us), wherein (we) are agents unto (ourselves). And inasmuch as men do good, they shall in nowise lose their reward" (DC 58:28).

I also wanted to finish off this week sharing a thought that a dear friend I met here in Nogales, Hermano Moreno, sent me. It is translated from Spanish.

A boy once asked his father, "Dad, how big is God?"

The father looked up to the sky, and seeing a plane, asked his son, "How big is that plane way up there?"

The boy responded. "Its small, you can barely see it."

The father then took his boy to the airport, and brought him close to a real airplane, and then asked again, "Now how big is that airplane?"

The young boy responded in amazement, "Its enormous!"

Then the father told his son, "And so it is with God. How big He is depends on the distance that you are from him. The closer you are, the bigger He will be in your life."

Never in my life have I been closer God. And so it is also true, than never in my life have I been so sure that He lives.

Have a great week!

Elder bernal

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week 82: "I knew that he knew."

Buenas tardes!!

Let it be known that on Thursday of this week, September 17th, my big brudder Garret G Money Bernal will be turning 27!!!!!! He´s so old! Que viejito ya!! Somebody give him a hug for me!

Today is transfer day!! I had to say goodbye once again to a dear companion Elder Child, who will be going to start the missionary work in a little town called Magdalena, where there havent been missionaries for a couple of years! Wish him lots of luck! In his place, is coming an elder named Elder Alvarez. I know him from another zone that we were together in so I am stoked. His is from Tamaulipas, a city south of the border of Texas. He is getting here tonight so I am yet to meet him. Photo coming next week....

So this week was good, but it was full of traveling. I ended up going back and forth to Hermosillo twice, which swallowed up the majority of my week and I wasn't able to work as much. It did however give me a lot of time to read, a new passion I have come to love even more in the mission. Lets hope that translates over to textbooks when I go back to school.....

A really cool experience we had this week was that we got to see the Re dedication of the Mexico City temple! This temple had been under construction for some time, and now that all is finished, it was rededicated in a series of 3 sessions, combined with a cultural session the night before. It was pretty cool to see the history of the church in Mexico and how it has grown so rapidly. It was also a very spiritual experience to listen to the services inside the temple. One of them reminded me of the power of testimony. When Elder Holland, one of the living 12 apostles, was finishing up one of his speeches, he finished bearing his testimony in Spanish. Though he didn't know how to speak perfectly, he testified of the divinity and the reality of Jesus Christ. It was so moving to hear the testimony of this apostle. The language barrier was no limit for this man, his conviction was real and his assurety was tangible. When he spoke the words, "Yo se que el vive" (I know that he lives), it sent a shiver down my spine. I knew that he knew. 

Hope all is well! Today is going to be a GREAT day. I can just feel it!

Elder Bernal

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 81: "When each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."


Sorry, this email is going out on wednesday. We had a meeting in hermosillo on Tuesday so I didn't have much time to write on Monday. 

This week in my studies, I had an experience that really hit me. In the Book of Mormon, one of the greatest features is the account of the events surrounding the life of Jesus Christ, as told by the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. I was reading in the Book of 3 Nephi, chapter 2 where it talks about all the signs that were given regarding Christs birth, which can also be found in the Gospel of Luke. It was because of these signs that the ancient american people knew about the coming of the Son of God into the world. But what follows these signs is what really called my intention. Keep in mind that these people have literally witnessed signs from heaven, surpassing the capacity of human intelect. It reads as follows

 And it came to pass that thus passed away the ninety and fifth year also, and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen—
These people, after having seen heavenly messages, began after a time to become used to seeing "signs and wonders." They became so accustomed to the occurrence of super natural events that they actually forgot that such things had ever happened. It got so bad that when these events took place, they no longer thought much of it. They became "less and less astonished" at the signs that so commonly took place in their everyday life, to the point where they "began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen, imagining up some vain thing in their heart, that it was wrought by men," so much that it "did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and vain thing" and caused them to "not believe that there should be any more signs or wonders given." (3 Nephi 2:1-3). 

This is mindboggling. How is it that these people could be so forgetful as to forget the very signs of their savior? How could they become so used to such miraculous events? Why did they believe that such events had ceased!? But then for a moment I begin to think that maybe a handful of us arent so different. Maybe every so often we find ourselves, like Dory, forgetting very quickly the same good things that occurr only a short time ago. How often do we forget the many "signs and wonders" that happen daily? How often do we take for granted the small act of kindness that a stranger offers us? How many times a day do we forgot to thank God for the mere fact that we have a roof over our head, food to eat for dinner, and a car (or several) to help get us around? Are not WE forgetting the many "signs and wonders?" Are not WE becoming "less and less astonished" at the things that we are just so used to seeing? I am talking about things such as small as walking barefoot at home because our floor is made of comfy carpet! I havent even seen carpet in over a year! Do you now how much I am going to appreciate carpet now?

The problem is that sometimes we get in the habit of being in a routine. In the mission, I hear that quite a bit. We get up, go to school, go to work, go to practice, and then go to bed. Occasionally there are some minor mix ups that add some spice to our day, but for the most part, we find ourselves saying that every day has become the same thing. To that statement, the world renown author Paulo Coelho writes in "The Alchemist," on of my favorite books, "When each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises." It would be very wise to frequently ask ourselves, "Is this happening to me?"

Always remember those signs and wonders. Always look for the good things that happen in your lives with each new sunset. There are beauties in every day just waiting to be uncovered, and if you arent paying attention, you might miss em! 

See you next week!

Elder Bernal

Week 80: "I am just so happy with life. I am so happy and proud to be where I am, doing what I am doing."

Hello everyone!!!

HAPPY BIRFDAY IZZY!!!! Hope your birthday presents are AWESOME.

So check it out, we had a great week. It was also Elder Childs birthday on Tuesday. Too bad they didnt give us one cake.... they gave us three. I have never felt so stuffed in my entire life, except for when Rosy makes my favorite kind of mashed potatoes. Thats another story. Anyways, We took some pretty cool pictures. Elder Child is pretty stubborn and wouldnt let me shove his face in the cake. It seemed to me that I did it with a lot of love but I tried twice, and twice I failed. So this birthday, there was no face slamming in cakes. My record is now at .500 with 2 wins and 2 losses, the wins coming from when I had home advantage in Villa de Seris with Elder Guerra and Elder Hernandez on their birthdays (i mashed em good...), and both losses coming from Elder Child. Rematch to be scheduled. 

Another cool experience this week is the progress of one of our converts here, Omar. He was baptized about 2 months ago, and since then, Omar has had HUGE progress. Not only has he finished reading both the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, he also goes EVERY THURSDAY to a rehab center and literally preaches to all the people there about the book of Mormon. He hands out Liahonas, he hands out pamphlets, and he has given out several book of Mormons. In his "sermons" he literally reads to all of these people in the rehab center passages from the book of Mormon, and he shares with them his conversion story of how he get the Church was true. IS THIS GUY NOT A LEGEND???? Can you imagine the scene??? He is a member of only 2 months and he is already teaching hundreds!!! this guy is incredible!! several people have promised him that they would come to church as soon as they get out, and Omar continues to ask us for my supplies because people are asking for more and more. Talk about member missionary.

I am just so happy with life. I am so happy and proud to be where I am, doing what I am doing. It has gotten to the point where I dont really even pay much attention to the heat, which is something that if you would have asked me a year ago, I would have shuddered at the idea of another summer in sonora. But now, its different. I am so lost in the work that all other troubles have lost their sting. There is just too much good to think about.

Have an incredible week! 
Elder Bernal

Week 79: "Be nice, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle."- Plato

Hey everyone!

Another excellent week! So far so Good in Rocky Point Mexico... Elder Child and I are going strong.., I realize that I have said much of Elder Child in these last few emails, so I will dedicate a bit to him,

Elder Child is from Weezer Idaho, he is rather tall, wears glasses, and has an array of freckles on his arms. A handsome man, as many notice. He previously enjoyed hunting, playing tennis (we have a pending match against each other) and breaking cars and fixing them up. Something that Elder Child does that makes me laugh / drives me crazy is that when he has to sneeze, it sounds like the cap to a giant volcano blows open while the ground quakes beneath the penetrating ASHEEEWW that escapes his mouth......  I don't know if it is exaggeration or not but I tell him that he is just faking the whole thing. But the big manChild  has his birthday TOMORROW!!! WOOOOHOOO!!! Everyone write him happy birthday letters!!

Here are a couple of things that happened this week

1. We had a special conference with all the leaders of our branch here and our mission President, and was awesome! A ton of the members showed up! It was a very spiritual experience, as we got to bear our testimonies at the end of it all. Listening to the testimonies of my fellow companions in this great work was very inspiring. 

2. We were given a reference this week from the sisters of a man named Bob. Bob is a new investigator from Tennessee, who came to live here in Peñasco with his wife about a year ago! He is such a genuine and sweet person. He has got long locks and totally looks like a rocker. Bob is going through a tough time right now, as his wife passed away a month ago from a heart attack. You can tell he is being tough about it, but you can also see that inside it is really hurting him. He doesn't speak Spanish and he doesn't know anyone who speaks English, so I think that the Lord sent us when he most needed someone to talk with. Keep Bob in your prayers. I have a really special love for this guy since he is one of the first people to whom I have taught the Gospel in English. As much as I love speaking Spanish, the words just have a special meaning in my native language, and that has led me to care about him in a special way.

3. The Lord gave me an interesting learning experience this week. Elder Child and I had just finished teaching a lesson. We mounted our steeds (bikes) and hit the road, or better said, hit the sand, since Peñascos roads or nothing but dust. We arrived at another appointment and started to teach a man named Raymond. Now I'm not making any excuses, but maybe it was the heat of the day or the insaneness of my insanity workouts in the morning, but I was going to war with my conscious, fighting to stay awake. Needless to say, I was not as in tune with the lesson as I should have been. In one moment, I looked down at my tie, and instantly recognized that something was missing: My missionary badge. Moments of scruffing around looking under my seat and through my backpack led me to the realization that my badge was not there. I would have sworn that I had it on me when we got to this house, because I specifically remember pulling my phone out of my shirt pocket on the way there, and I don't remember it missing. Nevertheless, it was not there. Thoughts began to enter my head: 2 weeks bare minimum until you get your hands on a new badge, you look so boring with just a white T-shirt and tie. I felt like Hercules, when Hades literally sucked the power right out of him! I was powerless! It also didn't help that Elder Child made fun of me calling me "Hermano Bernal" instead of Elder... As worrying as this would have been, I was not too scared, and although the odds of my finding my badge in the loose sand along the road was little, I was almost positive that we would find it. We began to retrace our steps and scan the path. Long story short, On our second sweep through, we found a black badge laying practically untouched in the sand facing up that had the words engraved, "Elder Bernal."

This experience made me think a lot about what it means to be a missionary. I find it coincidental that in the moment when I was not very focused on teaching was precisely when I noticed that my missionary stamp was gone. Whether or not it had un-noticeably fallen off on the way or if God had snapped his fingers and the badge just suddenly disappeared is of no importance. I imagined him saying to me, "Ok Connor, if you aren't going to teach like a missionary, why not take the badge off? If you are going to take lightly this responsibility, how about if you go back to NOT being one?" Even though I understand that my badge doesn't decide if I am a missionary or not, It does have both sentimental and figurative meaning (and the example is a metaphor so just go with it). Plus, I just look so boring and plain with only a white T-shirt and tie. From this experience I gained a greater appreciation and honor for what it means to be able to wear the name of my Savior across my chest. I truly am so grateful for everyday that I have be be able to work in His service. That day, I committed myself to a higher level of dedication to the great privilege and responsibility that I have for a short time to proudly wear the name of Jesus Christ. 


Elder Bernal

Quotes for this week is kudos to Amanda Briggs, former missionary of the Mexico Hermosillo mission

"Be nice, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle."- Plato 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Week 78: "Call the fireman!"

Hey everyone!!!

So on Saturday, there were going to be several baptisms, and it was a very exciting moment. We went to the church to make sure everything was in place, and to our surprise, we found out that the fosset to the baptismal font was broken!!! We got excited at first, because we thought it was going to be our excuse / thought it was a sign from God that we were going to be able to baptize in the ocean.... BUT unfortunately, the branch president here in Penasco basically runs the town, so he was very quick to call up the local fire department, who came to the church building, and stuck their GIANT hose through a window and filled up the entire baptismal font so we could have a baptism! Attached are the pictures, it was pretty funny :)

We had transfers this week, and apart from elder child and I, all of the companionships in Penasco had transfers! Nearly the entire zone left!! we are going to meet the new missionaries tonight when they get here so we are excited to see the new things that happen this week.

Hope you enjoy the photos!
Elder Bernal

Quote of the week is cudos to my new brother in law who I don't know yet but seems like a stud, Jaime.

"People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits, and their habits decide their future."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Week 77: "No Elders, you two are the real life savers, keep preaching the gospel."

So it was a great week! 

AWESOME, in fact. here is why

1. After several weeks of teaching, We were able to see the baptism of Pitbull´s wife and daughter!!! (see the photo....try and tell me he doesn't look like pitbull...) Berenice and her daughter are two people that we have been teaching and they are so awesome. They made lots of sacrifices to be able to make these decision and we are so happy for them... and for Pitbull....

2. We found the COOLEST COUPLE IN THE WORLD!!!! Luis and Lupita (see foto....) Luis is a member of the church, and he is a marine, and his wife Lupita, who is not a member, works in the armed forces of Mexico. They are so legit their story of why they wanted to become involved with the military services are incredible. I gained so much more respect for all those who are serving their country in the armed forces. Luis was telling us all about what he does as a marine. Here in Peñasco, he is basically a coast guard and he has to go out and save peoples lives when their boat catches on fire or when some disaster goes wrong. He literally risks his life every single day to save the lives of others. When I asked him how he can have that kind of bravery every single day, he responded, "Look Elder, I believe that we are here in this life to serve. If you come to this world and you do not live your life for the benefit of others, you will live it in vain." Goosebumps rushed through my body as I looked into his eyes as he said these words. What a powerful teaching, and a living example before my eyes. This man is truly incredible. A few days later, they called him to spend some time in Mexico City, so we had to say goodbye for a time. As we did, I said to him, "You are literally my hero Luis, Keep saving lives!", to which he responded, "No Elder, you two are the real life savers. Keep preaching the Gospel!" 

3. In one of our meetings we had this week, one of the missionaries told a story that represents why we should always obey the Lord and be diligent in what he commands. There once lived a man who spoke with God. God told him that he was to go to a giant boulder that was stuck in the ground and begin to push. He would push all day until the evening, with all his might. That was to be his task. So the man did as he was told, and everyday woke up, went the rock, and began to push. Night would come, and the man would retire to his home, exhausted from a long day of pushing a motionless rock. Days, months, years passed. The man had been pushing for 20 years, and he never saw the boulder move a bit. So the devil come along, and began to tempt the man, saying, "why do you even bother pushing that rock? Do you not see that you have been here 20 years, and you haven't achieved anything? Why not give up? You are wasting your time." The man thought to himself,  "He´s right. All this time, and the rock has not budged. Why would you do this God? Why would you ask me to push this rock all this time, if I was never going to be able to move it!?" In his anger and frustration, The Lord spoke peace to him, saying "My dear son. I asked you to push the boulder, but I never told you that it would move. You think you have failed because you did not see your success, but your sight was wrong from the start. Look again, and you will see." The man looked at himself and realized, that because of his pushing for countless years, his legs and arms had transformed completely into rock solid muscle, allowing him to face many other challenges that faced him in his life. He only thought he was unsuccessful because he could not comprehend the will of God.

I don't know why but when I heard that story I loved it. The moral is that we may not understand why God wants us to do certain things, and we may even question why God´s Will is what it is, but we must always remember that everything lies in the hands of Him who knows all things. If we do what we are asked and we push with all of our might, we will one day look back and see the fruits of our efforts and thank God for what he has given us, even though often times it is not what we expected. 

I love you all, have a great week! Enjoy the Seattle sun for me!

Elder Bernal