Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Week 54: "God's opportunities begin at man's extremities."


We had transfers this week, and the dangerous duo of Elder Guerra and Elder Bernal continues! Another six weeks in Villa de Seris and I am so pumped. This is Elder Guerras last 6 weeks in the mission, and in the mission we say that he is going "to die" in terms of being a missionary, and since i am his last companion,I am going to "kill him!"OOOOOOO how shall i do it?? Ooohhhh I know.....

The sad part is I had to say goodbye to Elder Evans, my old companion and my best friend in the mission. He is headed to his home in Chicago, so be sure to say hi on facebook, his name is Kaleb Evans and he would love some welcome home letters!!!

We met again with Ramon Cruz, the man who we find after our whole "guided by the spirit" experience, and it was another incredible lesson. The problem with Ramon is that he works on Sundays, so its tough for him to come to church with us. BUT, after reading from the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7, 3 Nefi 13-15), he started to cry. He said to us during the lesson, "I will no longer be waiting for God to guide me, or looking for where to go. I have found it here with you two." Then, when he said the pray before we left, he said, "God, thank you for sending me these two muchachos (heehee). I will no longer look, I will no longer ask, I know this is where you want me to be." The spirit was very very strong, and I know that Ramon is ready to receive the Gospel. Pray for him so he can arrange something with his work schedule!! Because honestly, you cant really ask for a better investigator...

On a funny note, this week a learned a hilarious fact. In Spanish, (or at least here in hermosillo), the way to say handcuffs is "esposa", which is the same word for wife. When you tie somebody down, you say "Esposale, esposale!!" which means "Handcuff him, handcuff him!" but it can also mean "Wife him up, wife him up!!" Nothing against having a wife of course, but come one, the irony in that is too much to bear..... lol

This week in my studies, I had an epiphany. I have always asked myself, "What is the balance between confidence, and humility? How can one be perfectly confidence, yet not prideful, or cocky?" For me, it has always been a tough battle. It seems that in sports, you must to be confident, but that kind of self confidence often leads us to arrogance. So I have always looked for the way balance the two, but i haven't arrived at an answer, until this week.

The only way for us to achieve this equilibrium is to put our trust 100% in God. When we trust in God, we do not attribute our own success to ourselves. We realize that we only achieve what we do, because He gave us the ability to do so. When we take praise in our achievements, the credit is not rendered to ourselves, but to Him that made it possible. This keeps us humble.

The source of our confidence must be external, because first, on our own we can never match the capabilities of God. And second, it allows us to place our trust in Him, The Almighty, the most trustworthy and reliable being that will never let us down, while also avoiding the trap of selfish our self-centered feelings. This allows to us to become powerful and confident instruments, while also being humble servants at the same time. As Nephi says:

"O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm." (2 Nephi 4:36)

I know, that if we can come to put all of our trust and confidence in the Lord, he will give us back all of it and more, and we will never forget where our strength lies.

Have a great week!
Elder Bernal

Inspiration for the week:
"God´s opportunities begin at man´s extremities."
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Week 53: "Barbers don't exist"

Hey everyone!

Another great week. I am starting to get a hang of this whole shouting on the buses thing. I did it again last week and this time threw in a couple jokes, you know, just to get some giggles out of everyone, and it went better than the first time! Not sure when, but I know I am going to find somebody golden doing this. I´ll let you when that happens........ 

SOOOOO, I am going to tell a little story this week that My companion Elder Guerra shared with me.

Once upon a time, there was an Old man who went to get his haircut. He entered into the barber shop, sat down, and The barber began to cut his hair. As they made small talk, the Barber made a comment that stunned the old man. "God does not exist." This struck the old man as odd, he himself being a firm believer in God all his life. "What do you mean God doesn't exist?" He responded. The barber replied, "If God existed, There wouldn't be so much suffering. If God existed, then it would be impossible to deny, everyone would know it."

The old Man responded in a very interesting way. He stood up, walked outside and grabbed a young man with very long hair. He brought him close to the Barber, so the barber could hear, and then the old man said to the young boy with long hair, "Barbers don't exist." The young boy, looking at the barber, was a little confused. This time, The old man said again to the boy, but looking at the Barber, "Barbers don't exist." The Barber was baffled.

The Old man proceeded to explain. "Just because there are people in this world with long hair, does not mean that Barbers don't exist. It simply means that these people chose not to get a haircut.¨

And so it is with God. Just because people choose not to look to God, choose not to believe in him, or choose to ignore his every day appearances, does not deny the fact that he exists. I know, and have experience firsthand, and see every single day of my mission, that God exists. His presence and his love are felt. We need but only look for Him, and he will make himself manifest. 

If your hair is too long, you get a haircut. If you want to be happy like never before, you look to God. (or you meet with the missionaries like me! :-)

Have an excellent week!!
Elder Bernal

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Week 49: "There is no growth inside the comfort zone."

Hello everyone!

Well this was one of the best weeks in my mission. Tons of work, lots of success, and things just keeping getting better. Still using the dirty toothbrush, My companion is so awesome I love the dude to death, and Life is amazing. Couple of experiences this week.

Two of our investigators are going to be baptized this Saturday! After a long time of not having the support from the family, they finally received the approval and now Cynthia and her sister Andrea are going to be baptized this weekend! It was so awesome when the broke us the news. Cynthia, who is 19, said that she sat her mom down, told her how she felt and bore her testimony of the church, and her mom finally gave her the ok. She was so excited when she told us, and ahhhh I just love seeing the happiness in peoples eyes when they really want to do what is right. Its an indescribable feeling.

Another cool moment was in church yesterday. We brought tons of people who are not members, we had a ton of people who are less active, and all of the members of our ward were supporting us. It was the best Sunday I have had in my mission. There was a moment when I sat down in my seat, took a break, and feeling so happy with the perfect scene before me, just thought to myself, "God spoils me way too much." God really does bless me with so many joys that I cant even start to count them. Ahhh life is just so good.

Something that I have been thinking about lately is what it really means to be a Full-time missionary. Just because I am here on my mission and living in Mexico for two years, does not necessarily make me a full time missionary. I am a full time missionary when I am fully giving all of my time to God. This would include trips to the store to buy food, walking in the street to an appointment, taking the bus across town. If I am not actively engaged in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every moment, then I would not consider myself a Full time missionary, rather a part time missionary living full time in Mexico. However, when I signed up to do this, I promised God that I would be his servant, at all times. So this week, I tried to understand my missionary calling a little more by applying this to what I do. As I boarded a bus for an appointment we had, instead of sitting down and looking outside the window, I chose to be a missionary. I paid my fee, and then shouted with a loud voice, to a bus full of people, "Buenos dias, hermanos y hermanas!" Honestly, I was a little nervous, but all I needed to do was say these words, and the rest just came out naturally. I proceeded to sum up the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and why I had decided to leave my home and it with the world. Everyone on the bus looked at me, some smiling, some thinking I was annoying, and one older man staring at me with a somewhat odd smirk. When I finished talking, I went down the line asking if anyone would be interested in listening to our message, and not a single person said yes. I was a little bummed, but proud that I had shown to my God that I am his servant at all times. As a little reward, it turns out that the man who had been staring at me with a peculiar look on his face told me he was a member, after I had asked him if he wanted to listen to our message. He then told me that he had never seen a missionary do what I did, and he applauded me for my efforts.

Although I didn't see any immediate results from shouting to a bunch of people in Spanish on a bus, I was happy to have stepped outside my comfort zone and expanded my capabilities as a servant of the Lord.

I absolutely love being a missionary. And not just a few hours or days of the week, but at all times. There is no happiness like what I am finding here.

Love you all!
Elder Bernal

Inspiration for the Week:
"There is no growth inside the comfort zone."

Week 51: "In all of us are places we have never been. Only by pressing the limits do we ever find them."


Well, lets be honest, it hurts. Cuts to the very core, but I am going to try to ignore the deep and bitter pain from Sunday and focus on the good......


I had one of the craziest experiences of my mission this week.

On Tuesday, my companion and I left the house in the morning to begin work. We went to the appointment at 11, and nobody was there. We went to our backup plan, and nobody was there. Went to visit another friend, and nobody was there. We found ourselves left in an area where we had practically nothing to do for the next 3 hours. After a moment of aimlessly looking around, I looked at my companion and said, "Alright man, here's what we are gonna do. You and I are going to say a prayer together, right now. We are going to pray that God will guide us directly to someone who is ready to receive the Gospel. As we leave from this house, we are going to follow the spirit completely. When we come to a stop sign, we will decide which way to go, and if we don't agree, we will pray again until we come to a conclusion. We will do this every single time, until we arrive at a house of a person who is ready, and we will not stop until we get there. " We began walking. As we came to stop signs we waited, counted to three, and then pointed which way we felt we should go. Not once did we point in different directions. We followed the smallest of signs. Stop signs with arrows pointing in a direction. People calling our names from a street. Every little thing that seemed to us as guidelines. We narrowed it down to one street. We knew that the house was there. We walked down the street. Nothing. We walked down the street again. Nothing. One more time. Nothing. We paused for a second, wondering what to do. Though it seemed like this wasn't it, I knew very well that God had literally guided us to this moment, that we had gotten to this spot for a reason, and that this was the only place in the world that we needed to be in this moment. I said one more prayer to myself, asking for this person to makes themselves a little more obvious to me. As I lifted up my feet to take a few more steps, I heard a voice.

I turned around, and saw a man. He came running from out of his house, and pulled us aside. "Sorry to interrupt you. Are you guys busy?"

We responded, "Not really, what can we do for you?"

"I saw you from inside my house, and I knew I needed to talk to you. Would you mind coming to my house to give me a a quick visit?"

We enter into his house, and he tells us that when he saw us, he felt something from inside urging him to talk to us. He felt the great need to hear what we had to say.

I almost could not believe what just happened. I almost cried because of how literal and obvious the Lord has just performed a miracle before our eyes. He literally guided us to someone who needed us to visit him. He guided my feet, he pointed through my hands, and we arrived where we needed to be. I don't know what will happen with the man we met, but I do know, and will never be able to deny that The Lord led me to him. As we walked blindly in the streets, I remembered the words of Nephi:

"And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.

God lives, and he shows himself to us every day. Let him lead you, and you will get to where he needs you to be.

Have an awesome week!
Elder Bernal

Inspiration for the Week:
"In all of us are places we have never been. Only by pressing the limits do we ever find them."

Week 50: "Pure bendiciones"


So I don't really know what to say anymore because every week I keep saying that it just gets better and better and that I am happier and happier and honestly I think you can just all assume that LIFE IS GOING PRETTY GOOD OVER HERE.

My companion is like my best friend. This kid and I have so much fun together, joke and laugh around, and work super duper hard.

This week was awesome because Cynthia got baptized!!!!!! AHHH SO MUCH HAPPINESS!!!! It was a perfect baptismal service because TONS of people showed up, Cynthia came with her entire family, and she was so happy. She told us that after being baptized and leaving the baptismal font, she felt such a strong feeling inside that brought her to tears. Hearing these words almost brought the same effect to me! Something that helped so much in her conversion was the support of the members. So many people came to her baptism, because so many people were part of this process. The help that missionaries receive from members is immeasurable, because the converts can form bonds with friends who will help them feel comfortable and at piece in a new environment. Cynthia has countess friends from the ward, all of which helped her receive her testimony of the church. For those of you who are members of the Church, do all that you can to help the missionaries in their efforts. Your efforts can have eternal effects.

I don't know if I've said it before, but I JUST LOVE LIFE AND I LOVE ALL OF YOU.

One last thing, of minor importance to me during the mission, but nonetheless something I feel I must say from all the way in Mexico and with green and blue in my veins (maroon and white actually but whatevs).....


Elder Bernal