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