Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 58 (11/7/2016)

Happy Monday!
This week was fairly normal. The zone leaders decided to torture me again and had me switch roles with Elder Antonio so for another week I was the district leader. The worst part of it was that I had to give the training in the district meeting again...Just like last time they threw the training on me at the last minute....
Being the last week of the change we tired to put in a lot of work with the investigators to prepare them for the next months. We have several prospects for the next few months. It is a little hard when I don't baptize but I'm glad that people I've found were baptized after I left the area. Even though I don't see the fruit of my labor I know that I'm planting seeds of faith. :)
Today marks the end of my time in Allende and also as junior companion. Tomorrow I take a bus to Monclova. My new companion is Elder Gomez. He was in the Acuña zone with us last change. He's really funny and good at staying excited. I think this next area will be really good. I mostly hope that my new house is clean and that we have hot water. It's not very fun when the houses are hard to live in.
I've learned a lot about my teaching style in this area. I know all the lessons and whatnot but I sometimes can't apply them as well as I need to. There are so many different parts to missionary work and it's really frustrating when you can't get it all right but It is a really great learning process. I am sure that being a missionary is better preparation for life than basically anything else.
This week I saw some Northern Cardenals and a bunch of crows. It's weird that being in the area with more birds than any other I haven't seen many of the birds I saw in Piedras. Well, I guess that's how it goes. Haha!
Well, that's all for this week. We'll see how it goes in Monclova this next week. I hope that you are all well and that you have a great week!
¡Les extraño y les quiero!
-Elder Steiner

Week 57 (10/31/2016)

Happy Halloween! 🎃

This week was pretty normal. A little busy but mostly normal. On Sunday night we went to Acuña and spent pday there, like I said in the last email. That night we worked with the zone leaders. Elder Hernandez, my companion from Saltillo, and I went and looked for some references. One of them turned out to be a family of Jehovah's Witnesses. Those contacts are always interesting... Haha!

On Tuesday we had our zone meeting. The zone leaders directed the meeting towards helping us set goals to improve. It was really good because we were able to set goals as a whole zone and work together on improving.

On Friday Elder Paredes came to work with us and help us improve as a companionship. He gave us lots of help in our area and helped us recognize how to improve individually and as a companions. One big thing I have seen as a missionary is how much change happens to each of us. More than ever in my life I have been able to apply the Atonement and work on cutting ever bad quality from my life. There are always things to improve but I know that as we come unto Christ and perfect ourselves in Him we truly can improve.

Halloween here is a lot less exciting than at home. Halloween was never really my favorite holiday but at least mom would put up a bunch of fall decorations and stuff. I haven't really seen any decorations up and there has been no pumpkin carving so that's kind of boring. I think we may go look for candy later today but other than that Halloween as a missionary is basically a normal day. Haha!

Again, no specail birds this week other than the ravens everywhere. I guess they kind of go with the Halloween theme. It's also not bad because they're my favorite bird.

That's about it for this week. I hope you are all well and that you all have a lovely Halloween! Thanks for everything!

-Elder Steiner

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Week 56 (10/24/2016)

Happy Monday!

I don't have a lot of time because we're in Acuña and we're cutting pday a little short to spend time with the other elders.

Not a lot different happened this week other than that the zone leaders made me district leader for a week. I had the chance to direct lessons and the area just like senior companion. It was a good learning experience because I got to work out my own teaching style rather than simply following my companion. I've been able to direct area a few times before and to lead in the lessons but for a whole week helped me learn how to be more effiecient and effective in lessons.

Today we came to Acuña to spend time with the zone leaders and to be here for the meeting tomorrow.

I didn't see any new birds this week but there was a huge flock of Chuhuhuan Ravens in Allende this whole week. There have always been a few the whole time I've been here but the number of crows this week was crazy. Almost everywhere we went we would see a group flying by.

Well, that's about it for this week. I hope that you've all had a good week and that all is well.

-Elder Steiner

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Week 55 (10/17/2016)

Hello everyone!

This week was really different from normal. We started off early Monday moning heading to Acuña to spend pday with the other elders. We played basketball and hung out for a while (which doesn't happen too often when your area is three hours away from the rest). Later one of the zone leaders bought a bunch of ingredients to cook for us so we went wih one of the members and cooked hamburgers and some other dishes (I don't remember the Spanish names). To finish off pday we worked in the area of the zone leaders.

Tuesday we had the zone meeting and the zone leaders trained us. They gave us several key points on how to be baptizing missionaries. Lately the mission hasn't been having a lot of baptisms so the leaders are trying to train us on key points. After the meeting we stayed in Acuña and went in trios with the other missionaries. That ended up being really fun especially because the sister that gave us lunch that day also gave us icecream cones! I ended the day sleeping on a pile of blankets on the floor.

The next day President and Sister Cahoon and the assistants came for interviews. Sister Cahoon was going to check the houses that day so I spent the morning helping the other elders clean. A lot of elders don't keep their houses very clean...

Interviews were good. President has been working on changing the focus of the mission and working out the wrinkles. President Cahoon is a really good mission president and I like what he has in mind for the mission. While I was waiting for my interview I helped Sister Cahoon talk to the other elders because she has been having a hard time learing Spanish. It's funny because sometimes I start talking in Spanish without realizing it because I hardly ever have a chance to speak English here.

We returned to Allende Wednesday afternoon and got home around 7:30. That night we started divisions. Elder Castro, the new missionary in our district, and I stayed in Allende. We had an okay day Thursday. We ended up contacting in the sun for about two hours which wasn't very fun or effective but I had plenty of time to get to know Elder Castro. :)

On Friday morning we finished the divisions and had a normal day of work. However, Saturday morning the assistants came to work with us and Zaragoza. We were in a trio with Elder Franco. He had actually been in Allende six months ago so the members were really glad to see him. That night we went to the birthday party for one of our investigators as well. Our ward mission leader brought a bunch of chicken for the party.

Elder Franco stayed with us for Sunday so all the members got to see him in church. We worked with him all day Sunday and then him and his companion left for Saltillo at 12:30at night. And that's how our week ended.

It has been kind of different this week but it has also been a really good time for me to learn. Working with different missionaries and anilizing what we can do better is really important.

This week I didn't see any particularly different or exciting birds. I did see a different hawk yesterday but I didn't get a good enough look to identify it. :(

That's all for this week! I hope that your week has been less hectic than mine and I hope that you all have a good coming week.

Les amo y les extraño.
-Elder Steiner

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Week 54 (10/10/2016)

Hello everyone! I hope you've all had a great week.

This week has been pretty normal with a lot of extra walking and a lot of looking for our investigators. One thing I have noticed about this area is that we have plenty of peole to teach from references and contacts (considering that we cover several cites) but we have a hard time finding many of our investigators at home. Another difficult thing is that when we get references or investigators in other towns we need the members to give us rides to and from the lessons. At least I'm learning how to be a little more efficient about my contacting and planning lessons.

Yesterday we had a mercy from heaven show up at the church. Yesterday afternoon we ended up without lessons and at 7:00 pm we need to call the other missionaries for their dats so we ended up going to the church. When we got there some of the members asked us if we had invited someone to the church that night. I was kind of confused because we weren't expecting anyone but it turns out that someone the missionaries had contacted about five noths ago came to church that night. His name is Lionel and he had remembered the invitation the missionaries had made back then so he came to the church looking for us. We ended up giving him a short lesson and answering some of his questions (he had a lot of questions...). By the end of it he seemed really interested and said that he would read the Book of Mormon and would come to church with his wife and kids the next week. I know that that was definitely a miracle. It was a miracle that Lionel remembered the missionaries from five months ago. It was a miracle that he showed up at the church (even if it was several hours after the services) and that people were there, and that we happened to show up a little after he got there. I know that the Holy Ghost guided Lionel and us so that we could meet.

Other than that not a lot happened this week. We did have to deal with a loud puppy during sacrament meeting (our investigator brought it as a gift for his girlfriend). We ended up taking the puppy in it's box behind the church. I said a prayer that the puppy would clam down and not bark anymore and it worked! 

Here are the birds!
Swainson's Hawk
Say's Phoebe
Greater Roadrunner
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (These are really cool looking)

Well, that's about it. I can say that my testimony of missionary work has really grown in these last few days. I've been feeling a little bit worried about my weaknesses and faults lately but I know that God is molding me into something great. I also know that He is preparing people, like Lionel, to receive His gospel and make the changes to return to His prescence. I am so happy to be a missionary and to be a tool in God's hands.

Thank you for all your suppport and love! I hope that all of you are well and that you have a good week. Also, I hope that all of you are reading the Book of Mormon every day. It's super important!

-Elder Steiner

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 53 (10/3/2016)

Happy post-conference Monday!

This week has gone well. For the first week of the change it was extra normal. Being here in Allende with the same companion for two changes in a row sort of makes all the weeks and days blend together in my mind.

One intersting thing with changes is that a new elder that just got to the mission is here in Zaragoza (20 minutes away). It will be intersting to see the little baby missionary grow up in the most isolated area of the mission. Haha!

This week we had the chance to contact a reference in one of the neighboring cities. His name is Thomas and he shows a lot of interest. We have only had two lessons with him but he accepted the baptismal invitation really well and he started reading the Book of Mormon. The sad thing is that we have had this reference for several weeks... That's why you need to contact all references within a day because if not your golden investigator will be waiting for a while.

The highlight of this week was conference so I think I'll just write a little bit about my impressions. I really liked the talks by Elder Oaks and Elder Andersen. They both talked a lot about missionary work and how we as members can involve ourselves in that work. I liked them mostly because I know that as members involve themselves in missionary work we can press this work forward even more effectively. I hope that all of you can listen to Elder Oaks' talk again and try applying some of the points he gave about sharing the gospel.

I also liked Elder Bednar's talk about how we can know Christ. Knowing Christ should be the center of our testimony and conversion. I feel like as a missionary I really need to work on knowing Christ because He is the center of everything I do. I think that this is so important for all of us as children of God.

Here are the birds!
Broad-winged Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Scaled Quail

About the birds: I only write the cool or different birds I see each week. There are all sorts of cool birds here but I figure it would be boring to get a list of the same 15 birds each week.

Well, I'm about out of time but thanks for everything! I hope that everyone is well and that you all enjoyed conference.

-Elder Steiner

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 52 (09/26/2016)

Hello everyone!

This week I completely forgot to take notes about what happened but we'll see if I can remember. On Monday I got a haircut. I can't rmember anything else that happened that day.

Tuesday we had a district meeting here in Allende with just four missionaries. It was  a little weird having the meeting without the other district being there but it was good. Elder Antonio trained us about charity and working with the members.

On Friday night the zone leaders came to interview our baptismal cantidate Saturday morning. We spent Saturday morning with them and then they went to do the interview. Sadly, our investigator was not ready for baptism for a few details so he couldn't be baptized this Sunday, but we are confident he will be baptized this coming month.

Saturday afternoon we went to Zaragoza to do an interview for their baptism which went really well. While we were there a huge storm started to roll in. The four of us started to walk toward the church when the lightning started. Then we saw a whole bunch of vultures flying away, and that's when the rain started. It was really heavy rain and it's been a little cooler these last few days which is a lot nicer than the regular heat.

Sunday was normal but really nice. I always like Sunday as a missionary because it just seems to be a little less busy than the other days. A recent convert brought her sister to church so we got a new investigator as well.

Today is changes and I'm staying right here with Elder Antonio. Super exciting, I know. I'm excited to see how this change will go because we have several people that I'm confident can be baptized this month. This last change was a little hard because we had a hard time finding new investigators but This change will be awesome. Woo hoo!

Also, everybody get pumpped for conference this weekend! It's like church Christmas. :) I love conference and I hope that all of you are ready and as excited as I am to hear the talks. I think next weeks email will be mostly about the talks and whatnot. :)

-Greater Roadrunner
-Lesser Goldfinch
-Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Well, that's all for now! I hope that you have a great week and that you enjoy General Conference!

-Elder Steiner

Week 51/52 (09/19/2016)

Happy Monday everyone!

Sorry for not writing last week. We had to go to Acuña so our pday time was cut short.

Last week was pretty normal. I learned how to solve a Rubik's cube which was pretty cool. I also had a really interesting service experience on divisions. I went with Elder Garcia to Zaragoza and for our last lesson we went with an elderly homeless man named Elias. He was really interested in everything we taught and he received the lesson really well. A few lessons before Elder Garcia and his companion had given him blankets and this time we gave him shoes and a new shirt. One of his legs was injured pretty badly so we helped him put on a new pair of pants along with the shirt and the shoes. It was really interesting reflecting on it afterward with Elder Garcia because I think it embodied "the pure love of Chirst". 

President Cahoon has started to put a lot of emphasis on charity and I'm so happy for this change in the mission. I think I truly have been lacking in my love for everyone here. I have been a missionary for one year now and I've learned so much, but I think I sometimes forget about the most important part of being a missionary. Love and charity are so key to becomeing more like Christ because charity is where we all must start. I was reading in Moroni 7 the other day to learn more about hope and faith. In verses 40-48 there is a fantastic explanation of how we can have greater faith and hope. Every characteristic of Christ can be obtained if we start having greater love and charity for all of our brothers and sisters. Charity leads to humility which in turn leads to hope and then to faith.

This week was a little more exciting than normal. On Wednesday I ended up waiting for my companion in the bus station for three hours while he returned from Acuña. There were probably the most boring three hours I have had during my whole mission...Haha!

This Friday was Mexico's independance day so there were several celebrations Thursday and Friday. I also completed one year as a missionary! WOO HOO! We had a special activity in the church for independance day and several investigators came which was good.

Yesterday we had the chance to give the sacrament to an elderly sister who can't come to church. It was a great experience because she took the sacrament with such deep apreciation and love for us and for Christ. She shared her testimony with us afterward about the priesthood and the baptismal covenant. It was by far one of the most powerful testimonies I've heard as a missionary and it made me feel so much love for what I'm doing here.

Being a missionary for a year has been really interesting. I've grown in a lot of ways and I know that I've definitely improved, but I can also see my faults so much more clearly than ever before. There are so many things I need to change and improve. My testimony of the gospel and of our Saviour has grown more than I can say. I know without a doubt that I am doing the right thing and that this church is the true church of Jesus Christ.

Here are the birds! (almost forgot)
-Black Swift
-Zone Tailed Hawk
-Cassin's Kingbird

Thanks you all so much for your love and support! I hope you all have a great week and that this email isn't too long/confusing.

I love and miss you all!

-Elder Steiner

Week 50 (8/7/2016)

Hello everyone!

Happy Monday/Labor Day/day after my birthday!

I don't have a lot of time to write but I'll try to write what I can.

This week was pretty normal. 

We had a really interesting lesson with the parents of a less active member. The sister (named Diana) was really interested the last time we had seen her and we were really confident that she would be baptized soon. However, two days later we went and taught her and she started off by saying that someday we would see that we were wrong and that we would recognize the truth. It was kind of confusing but her son, the member, told us that between our visits she had met with her other son who is a Christian pastor. I was a little uncomfortable at first because I had no idea what to say but then her son, the member, started telling her how it was. He raked her over the coals a little bit (with love) and I could really feel the spirit. I know that probably sounds kind of weird but it made me realize that the members or family members can have a lot of power in lessons.

On Friday we had divisions. I went to Zaragoza (a tiny area next to ours) with Elder Hernandez. Elder Hernandez has a little less time than I do but he is senior companion now because his companion was sent to an area in Saltillo last week. He seemed kind of worried about directing the area as a senior companion but we worked hard together and he did really well.

Yesterday was my birthday but it went by like any other Sunday. We went to church then went to eat with some members and then we worked all day. Haha! We did have some cake at lunch but other than that nothing special. Oh, and some YSA from the ward came and gave me a tiny jello cup bucause they had forgotten it was my birthday. That was pretty nice. :)

I didn't see any especially cool birds this week but there is a swallow nest on our back porch. That's pretty cool. Also, we are in the middle of butterfly migration so while we are walking lots of butterflies pass by the puddles in the street.

That's about all for this week. Thank you for all your love and support! I hope you are all well. :) Have a good week!

-Elder Steiner

Week 49 (8/31/2016)

Happy Pday!

This week was a little less eventful than last week so this email might be little shorter but here goes.

On Monday night one of the zone leaders came and stayed with us so he could go to our district meeting the next day. My companion and Elder Paredes (the zone leader) spent a while planning the training for the next day so I went up on the roof to look at the strs for a bit. I ended up falling asleep so it turns out that when they couldn't find me they went out in the street to look for me. They ended up looking for about ten minutes when I finally came down. Luckily they were in the house when I came down because they had locked the back door when they couldn't find me.

The next morning I left at 8:00 for Acuña to do divisions with the other zone leader while my companion and Elder Paredes went to Zaragoza to hold the meeting. I was on the bus while the district in Acuña had their meeting so for the first time in my mission I went without a weekly Tuesday meeting. When I got to the bus station the other elders weren't there so I waited there for about an hour. I worked in Acuña all day Tuesday and then I went back to my area in the morning on Wednesday. During my bus ride my companion was left alone in the bus station here in Allende so he sat in the bus station for three and a half hours by himslef. We practice patience a lot as missionaries. Haha!

On Friday we had a movie night in the church. We watched The Other Side of Heaven, the one about the missionary who served for two and a half years on a tiny island. Several of the members brought investigators and their friends so I think it went really well. After the movie some of the sisters in the ward have strted calling me Kolipoki like the American elder in the movie.

On Saturday we had a really good lesson with an investigator named Ricardo. His wife is a less active member and the missionaries have been working with them before. It was really cool because Ricardo said he wanted to get baptized and get rid of his past mistakes. It's really great when the people we teach really understand the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how the Atonement can function in our lives. I'm really happy to be here and to be helping all the people I can to come unto Christ and be clean of their past mistakes.

Thank you all for your support and for your love. I hope you all have a great week!

Les amo y les extraño.
-Elder Steiner

Week 48 (08/23/2016)

Hello everyone!

This week has probably been the busiest of my whole mission. It has also been really fun.

On Tuesday I left Piedras to come to Allende which was about an hour bus ride. When I got to the bus station I didn't see any other elders waiting for me so I was a little confused. I thought that I had gotten off at the wrong place for a minute but then a member came over and started talking to me. After that my companion and the other elder from our district came around the corner from eating breakfast. After that we went to the house to drop off my stuff and then we went to get the other elder that was arriving from Saltillo. Then we went to eat and got on another bus to take us to Acuña (three hours north of us) for a zone meeting the next day. We ended up staying the night with the zone leaders in Acuña.

The next day we had our zone meeting and then we took another three hour bus ride back to Allende. The rest of Wednesday was normal missionary work.

On Thursday we worked like normal but that night the other elders from our district arrived from Zaragoza which is about an hour away from here. They stayed the night with us being the second sleepover this week.

On Friday morning the four of us went to the bus station to go to Piedras Negras for our zone conference with Elder Valenzuela of the Mexico area presidency. I learned a lot of ways I can improve during the conference. Elder Valenzuela and President Cahoon both taught us a little bit. I really like President Cahoon's new vision for this mission. During a break in the conference we went out in the hall and I was eating some trail mix for a snack when Elder Valenzuela came over so I shared some trail mix with him while some elders asked him questions.

After the conference we went right back to Allende with two elders from Acuña. Apparently the secretaries messed up and these two didn't have a bus so they came to our house. We did mini divisions Friday afternoon and Saturday morning which was a little crazy because I still have no idea how to get around in this area. Saturday ended up being our first full day of work this week. It was a little weird to work all day after being on the bus for so long. Haha!

Overall, this week was a lot of bus rides and several sleepovers with the other elders. I'm excited for this area because the ward is really strong and the members help us out quite a bit. I'm excited to work here even though it's hot. :)

This week I saw quite a few birds.
-Crested Caracara
-Chihuahuan Raven
-Common Raven
-Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
-Common Nighthawk
-Black-bellied Whistling Duck
-Swainson's Hawk
-Western Wood Pewee
-Common Moorhen
-Black-crowned Nightheron
-Black-chinned Hummingbird
-Green Heron
-Green Kingfisher
-Little Blue Heron
-Whit-faced Ibis
-Great Egret

On Monday I was by some wetlands in the evening so I took advantage to see some cool birds.

Well, that's about it. This email ended up being a little longer than normal but I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures here in northern Mexico. :)

Thanks for everything!
-Elder Steiner

Week 47 (08/16/2016)

Hello everyone!

Well, once again I have come to the end of the change. That makes seven changes in the field. It sure has gone by quickly but I still have a little bit more than a year to go.

This week was a little difficult but still good. I worked with some of the other elders on short changes because Elder Domiciano was sick a few days this week. On Saturday I went with one of our zone leaders to cover the appointments for the afternoon while Elder Domiciano stayed with the other zone leader. It was only for the afternoon but I learned a lot and I feel like those short divisions got me way more pumped to work and teach. I've seen that good divisions can really change someone's whole mission.

On Tuesday we had our last zone meeting for this change and we talked a little bit about how there was potential that some areas might be closed or "white washed" (where a whole new companionship comes in) and that's exactly what happened with my area...Our area was merged with the other one and three out of the four of us are going to different zones. Elder Muñoz, my trainer, is staying and is now in charge of the whole ward in terms of missionary stuff.

I'm going to Allende tomorrow which is part of the Acuña zone. It doesn't really make sense to me because Allende is a lot closer to Piedras Negras than it is to Acuña, but I don't make the rules so no problem. I'm pretty excited for my next area because apparently it's kind of like ranch country. I think it will be a little more calm and whatnot. Also, I've met my new companion before and he is pretty cool. He's named Elder Antonio.

There's not a lot more to report specifically this week. One of our investigators is finally starting the divorce process. Her name is Patty and she has been going to church for a long time but hasn't been able to be baptized because she is married to someone else. We finally were able to get the process started yesterday and I am confident that she will be baptized next change.

This week I didn't see many birds apart from the usual. This morning apparently there was a barn owl outside of the house of the member we were with but I couldn't see it. I sat at the window for about 20 minutes waiting for it to come out but it never did...

That's about it. Thanks for everything! See you next week!
-Elder Steiner

Week 46 (8/09/2016)

Happy pday!

I don't have my agenda today because plans got changed a little but I'll do my best to tell you about what happened this week.

This week has been kind of tiring. Piedras Negras is really hot and we're going through the hottest part of the year right now. I think that walking around in the sun all day makes it a little harder to go the extra mile while contacting and looking for new investigators but we're working hard and trying to find people to teach and bring to baptism.

Thursday some of the zone came and did a contacting activity in our area to try and find new investigators. We used the whole afternoon after lunch knocking doors and contacting. We ended up with about 8 new investigators in one day and Elder Domiciano and I have been giving follow up to have lessons and appointments with the contacts we all made. It was really helpful for our area because we have been having trouble finding new people to teach.

On Saturday Elder Muñoz and Elder Ray, the elders that share our ward, baptized one of their investigators so we helped them out with the service and to get some baptismal clothes.

On Sunday we had an interesting class by the ward mission leader. He taught all of the priesthood and Relief Society and basically told them all that the member missionary work in this ward was basically dead and then presented our ward mission plan. I think it was pretty good because if the members are helping us it makes the work a lot easier and a lot more efficient. I expect that as we apply our ward mission plan there will be a lot more work with the members and we'll start to see a lot more baptisms.

Sorry that this email is a little shorter. I can't quite remember all the stuff that happened this week and I don't have my bird list. I hope that all of you are well and that you have been having a good summer. :)

Thanks for your support and your love.
¡Les amo y les extraño!
-Elder Steiner

Week 45 (8/2/2016)

Hello everyone!

I don't have a lot of time to write so I'm sorry if this one ends up a little short.

This week we did divisions and I went to the outskirts of Piedras Negras for the third time on divisions. The area I went to is called Villa de Fuente and it has a weird stretch of desert that goes through the middle. We had to cross that deserty part four times on Tuesday. The cities here are kind of weird sometimes.

On Wednesday we helped the Relief Society president cook for the youth conference. They had to make a bunch of sandwiches so Elder Domiciano and I went to help them out. We made about 150 to feed all the youth and leaders. I didn't help a lot with making them because there were a lot of people helping but I was in charge of putting the sandwiches in the cooler. I was complimented for my good arranging skills. I feel like that's a good thing but kind of a lame thing to be complimented on. Haha!

On Thursday and Saturday we ate with some members who live in a tiny town outside of Piedras. It was pretty cool because there were all sorts of goats and chickens and whatnot. They also made really good food. We had carnitas on Thursday and then carne asada (steak) on Saturday.

On Friday we helped out with youth conference. Each missionary companionship did an activity and taught a little bit about the Book of Mormon. We also did BoM jeapoardy at the end. It was fun to help out and do some games with the youth.

The two investigators we were going to baptize this coming Saturday, Ana and Arlene, went to Dallas with their mom. I don't think we will  be able to baptize them now but we are going to put them in contact with missionaries over there. It's a little rough having them leave just before their baptism date but I think it will all work out.

Here are the birds!
-Green Kingfisher
-Great Kiskadee
-Fulvous Whistling Duck
-Snowy Egret
-Double-crested Cormorant
-Chihuahuan Raven

Sorry it's shorter this week but thanks for everything and thanks for your support!

Les amo y les extraño!
-Elder Steiner

Week 44 (7/25/2016)

Hello everyone!

This week was good. Only a few things to report but basically same old missionary work. It's a little different with President Cahoon but not much has changed.

On Wednesday we had interviews with President Cahoon. It was a little different than a regular interview because he was trying to get to know each of us. He asked about family and what we like to do and stuff. He also encouraged me to study Preach My Gospel more profoundly so on Thursday I started, and I got through two pages the first day. One of our zone leaders told me to take my bird book to show him I like birds, but at the end of the interview he told me "It's good to like birds but it's better to like Preach My Gospel." 😥 Thanks Elder Bermudez... He was just joking but I still felt a little dumb. We also talked to Sister Cahoon while our companions were being interviewed. She can't speak Spanish so I helped her translate with a few of the other missionaries. They're both really nice but it's different to have an American mission president.

Wednesday was also Elder Domiciano's birthday. Early in the morning the elders who live next door came over and sang and played the guitar. They also brought cookies. Later that day we visited some members and they had a cake for him, and President Cahoon brought a package that Elder Domiciano's family sent. By mission birthday standards it was pretty good. We also had cake on Saturday and Sunday with members again. The members here like to feed us which is pretty nice. Even with that I still don't think I'll gain any weight. I'm still as skinny as ever. Haha!

Today we went to the border. Here in Piedras there's a really big flag in the plaza by the bridge. You can see the flag from all over the city. I was telling Elder Muñoz that Eagle Pass should get an even taller pole and flag.[?] Haha! I looked over at the US with my binoculars and I saw a stop sign in English. You've got to love the little things as a missionary. This morning we also went to get our haircut. While we were waiting for our haircut a rabbit ran out into the street in front of us so we had to go save it. A few minutes later the owner came and got it but we just sat there with it on the curb.

We have two really good investigators now. They're named Ana and Arlene. They're the granddaughters of a recent convert and they're planning on being baptized the 30th. They are the best investigators that I've had so far because they do all their homework and go to all of the youth activites. If only everyone could be that way...We're also working with a sister named Patty. We're helping her to get a divorce and then married so she can be baptized. We hope she can be baptized next month.

Here are the birds!
Greater Roadrunner
Ring-necked Duck
Common Merganser
Common Nighthawk
Black-chinned Hummingbird

Even though it's really hot here I like being in Piedras Negras again. If I can get through the heat here it should be a piece of cake next year. Haha!

Thanks for everything! I hope that you're all well and that it's not too hot wherever you are.

-Elder Steiner

Friday, July 22, 2016

Week 43 (7/18/2016)

Happy Monday everyone!

First off, it's really really hot here in Piedras. It is way hotter than when I was here in February (obviously). It's about 41 C every day...In the shade. :) Regardless, Piedras is where I started the mission so if I end up dying of heat stroke here I think that's okay. Haha! I think this will be an interesting next six weeks especially because it's the hottest part of the year.

The other day we were walking to lunch and it was really really hot. I was looking forward to getting into the members house because it is usually cooler inside because of the fans or cooling. I was very wrong. It felt like a furnace in the sister's house. I asked to use the bathroom hoping that it would be slightly cooler but it was the opposite. I think someone must have just taken a shower or something because it was really humid in there. Gladly, most members have better fans and AC which helps a little.

My new companion's name is Elder Domiciano and he's from Brazil. He has a four more months than me in the mission. He's pretty cool, but it's still a little weird changing from Elder Bauer where we almost only talked in English and we liked a lot of the same things to a companion who's primary language is Portuguese. I'm excited to see what I can learn and how this change goes.

It's kind of weird getting back here after three changes because all the Elders here have changed. No one in this zone was with me other than Elder Muñoz because he came back to Piedras with me. I can't remember if I said but Elder Muñoz and I are sharing a ward now. It's kind of weird to be spending so much time with my trainer but I can't complain. It's good to be around Elders I'm familiar with.

Our house  is pretty nice. We don't live above members so there will never be surprise cake or pineapple juice at the end of the day but it's still good. We live in a duplex with the other elders. There's a washer and dryer but we have to pay in quarters to wash :( We have a good cooler and it's a comfortable house. We are also able to spend a lot of time with the other Elders because they live next door.

This area is pretty cool and it has a lot of potential investigators and baptisms. We found 10 new investigators this week and that's without working at all on Tuesday. I'm confident we won't have much trouble finding people to teach here. I just hope we can find those that are ready for us and will be able to be baptized. We already have several progressing investigators but Elder Domiciano and his previous comp basically cleaned out all they had before I got here.

This area is also really nice because there are several areas with standing water. That means there are a lot of water birds that you don't see very often! This weeks birds are:
-Mourning Dove
-Great Egret
-Double-crested Cormorant
-Rufous Hummingbird
-Black Vulture
-Common Poorwill
-Black-necked Stilt
-White-faced Ibis
-Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Well, that's about it for this week. If you have any questions or concerns or whatnot just write me. I'm having a good time here and I feel comfortable aside from the heat.

Thanks for all your support and love. I love and miss you all!
-Elder Steiner

P.S. If you want to send me a package or letter tell me and I can talk to a brother from the ward or stake to get it from Texas rather than sending it to the mission office. Thanks!

Week 42 (7/11/2016)

Hello everyone and happy birthday Ameirca!! 🎆[?]🎆

This week has been pretty good. We have mostly been preparing area so that if we were changed the next elder(s) could baptize this month. It's been a little hard with no progressing investigators but we changed up our contacting methods and we very quickly got several lessons. In this tiral I think God was letting us figure out what we needed to change. It took some time and lots of knocking doors but I think I learned what I needed to.

On Thursday we had our first zone conference with President Cahoon. We saw him briefly on Tuesday after our district meeting but we actually got to learn a little bit about him and his wife. Sister Cahoon spoke to us briefly but she doesn't speak Spanish so a sister missionary was assigned to translate. After that we started making a list of things we want to improve on so President could learn a little bit more about the mission. He seems really cool and I'm excited for the next half of my mission.

On Saturday we taught Alejandro, Jose Garcia, and Pedro Mata with the bishop and a high councilor to help them receive the Melchizedek priesthood. It was kind of last minute but we got them all interviewed and ready so they could be sustained in the priesthood meeting the next day. I was really happy to help them especially for Alejandro because his baby is coming next month and he'll be able to bless his own son.

Yesterday we had a pretty regular Sunday. It was a little hotter than usual which was pretty bad but I'm getting used to it. But the best thing that happened was with Jose Rocha, the investigator who can't leave his house very easily because of anxiety. We went with the bishop later in the day to see if he could come with us to help Jose. I think we woke him up but he was happy to help us. Haha! We ended up making it all the way to the church with him! That's the farthest he has gone from his house in 12 years! We didn't go into the church but I was really happy we could help him arrive and see the goal.

Today we ended the change. Elder Gallegos (my comp from Piedras) is now the new assistant so his companion, Elder Johnson, spent all day with us. We left early in the morning to find out where the president assigned us and I'm leaving Saltillo and headed back to Piedras Negras!! 😨 Elder Bauer is staying here and then goes home in August. I'm not sure how I feel about being sent back to Piedras in the hottest part of the year... I'm excited to hopefully see some of the people I met while I was there and to get to know a new companion but I'm going to miss this ward and Elder Bauer. I think these two last changes have been the most fun of my mission even if they were the hottest and sometimes hard. I'm really happy to be here and I hope that I can make it in Piedras.

I leave for my new area tomorrow in the morning. It will be my eleventh bus ride between Saltillo and Piedras. I wish I could have been in Piedras today because you can see the fireworks from the other side of the river.

Well, that's about it. I hope everyone is well and that you enjoy your fourth of July!
Thanks for everything. 
-Elder Steiner

Week 41 (07/04/2016)

Hello everyone!

This week was kind of boring. Not a lot happened and we've just been going nuts contacting people.

This week we were supposed to have two baptisms this Saturday so we finished up the lessons and did a practice interview. The two are daughters of a less-active member and their names are Casandra and Careli. We arrived at their house with the zone leaders on Friday in the afternoon for the interview (basically a miracle because we're all out of money and we still managed to have enough coins for the taxi) and then they said that they didn't want to be baptised on Saturday. They had said they wanted to that morning so I was sure they would be all good for the interview. The funny thing is that right before we went in I was talking about how rough it would be if they said the didn't want to be baptized.

It hit us a little harder than normal because this week we have lost almost all of our progressing investigators. We've found several new ones that have potential but we were kind of in a slump. We had an activity at the church Friday night and I ended up sitting on the floor, cutting plastic leaves for the activity. It probably looked a little sad. Haha!

I feel fine today. Sunday and Pday are pretty good refreshers. Today we did a deep clean of the house. After that we played chess and then went to the mall. We ran into some other elders there and looked at ties for a little bit. Then Elder Bauer bought a hat and some bread. Normal pday stuff. :)

The best thing about this week was that we almost got José to the church. He still has trouble leaving his house but the bishop has helped us and José's anxiety is getting better and better. He knows and believes everything but he just can't get to church. :/ I think we'll get him there this week, though! He's made a lot of progress and It's so great to see the Atonement work in someone's life.

Here's the bird!
Scott's Oriole

Once again, not many cool birds this week...

Well, that's about it. Thanks for everything! I hope everything is good there. I feel good here even though the baptisms fell. :) We're working hard.

Oh, this was also President Rodriguez's last week. President Cahoon gets here tonight and we'll meet him pretty soon. I think Thursday.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Week 40 (6/20/2016)

Happy Father's day (yesterday)!

THis week was pretty good. It felt hotter than normal but today it has been cooler with a lot of rain.

Not a lot happened this week up until the weekend but we were working and doing everything like normal. We have several good invetigators and two are going to get baptized thiscoming Saturday.

On Friday we were invited to a YSA activity. The activity was to motivate them to go on a mission or help with missionary service. We didn't take up a lot of time but we shared our testimonies about missionary work. A brother from the stake talked about his mission as well and then a return missionary shared her testimony. It went really well especially since there were burgurs at the end. :)

On Friday night after the activity we started exchanges with Elder Muñoz, my trainer, and Elder Rodriguez. I went to ELder Muñoz's area and we worked there all Saturday. Their area was a little weird because it was several different housing developments with a strip of desert rnining right between them. We ended up crossing the desert part four times during the day. It was quite a bit of walking and I ended up getting a little sun burned on my face. By the end of the day we realized that we had left the keys inside and locked ourselves out. Elder Bauer and Elder Rodriguez met us at the house and I had to climb up and into a tiny window to open the door. I've had to break into a lot of missionary houses here on the mission...

Yesterday was Father's day as you all know. :) We visited several less actives and shared a Mormon message about fathers and Heavenly Father. It was pretty good. I'm truly grateful for both my dad here and my Father in Heaven. I have received such great blessings from the two of them and I hope to be able to honor them both.

After our last lesson Elder Bauer took dats so I sat there in the member's house and colored in an Avengers coloring book. I colored Hulk and Captain America.

Today we went to a breakfast buffet. Elder Bauer ate about three omlets. It was pretty good and not too expensive, but Elder Bauer is out of money so I payed for the taxis and the breakfast... After that we played risk with Elder Muñoz and Elder Rodriguez. Everything is going pretty well. We got wet walking to the computer place to write and I keep joking that I'll get tranch foot from all the water in my shoes. Haha!

Only two birds this week.
-Peregrine Falcon
-Chihuahuan Raven

Everything is good here. I feel happy and healthy and I'm working hard. I hope you are all well!
Thank you for everything.
-Elder Steiner

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week 39 (06/14/2016)

Happy Monday everyone!

This week has been pretty good. We ended up not working almost every morning for a bunch of different reasons.

On Tuesday we had a zone conference with all three of the Saltillo zones. It was the last one with President Rodriguez. It was really great to hear the President's testimony. I've learned a lot being here and I've been really happy to have President and Sister Rodriguez as examples. They're always taking care of us and I'm really going to miss them. However, I'm also excited to meet the new president, President Cahoon. I'm excited to learn from him too and I'll also have him as my president for more of my mission.

We also did exchanges on Tuesday and I went to the other area. Tuesday ended up being pretty easy since I didn't work in the morning and then I wasn't in charge of my area in the afternoon. Haha!

On Wednesday we went to the hospital because a dog bit me. Now, first reading that you probably think of some huge nasty bite from a pit bull, but it was actually just a tiny bite on my thumb from a chihuahua. Yep. A chihuahua spazzed out and bit me so Sister Rodriguez said I had to go to the hospital. I got some antibiotics just t make sure I wouldn't get some weird disease. It was okay because it was a house dog so it didn't have rabies or anything crazy.

On Friday we went to the hospital. Again. Elder Bauer hadn't been feeling too good and it hurt him to walk too much and to breathe. We had the doctor check him out and then he went and got x-rayed. He didn't have anything too bad. It ended up just being inflamed intestines from eating too much wheat and fats. The doctor gave him some pills and he's feeling better now. We were sort of making fun of each other about why we went to the hospital and who's was a more ridiculous/dangerous reason.

Today was probably the most relaxed pday I've had but it was weird because both Elder Bauer and I started feeling weird for not doing anything. It was kind of weird. Haha! At 6:00 we are baptizing a girl from the ward. It doesn't count as a convert or for us but it certainly counts in Heaven. :) Also, I like to think Heavenly Father gives brownie points for that kind of stuff.

Here is the bird!
Great Black Hawk -Aguililla Negra Mayor

Yep, that's the only different bird I saw this week. Not super exciting. I have been seeing lots of Cave Swallows, though. :)

That's about it. Thanks for reading and thanks for everything.

-Elder Steiner

Week 38 (06/06/2016)

Hello everyone!

This week has been pretty good. It's been a little more difficult bt still good. The last few weeks we found several good families but they disappeared about as fast as we found them so now we've been contacting and looking for new investigators like crazy. It's a little hard but we're working hard.

It's also been a little cooler this week. It rained really hard on Monday and it's been cloudy almost all week. The clouds are much better than the sun when you walk around in the streets all day.

This week Elder Bauer and I also started playing Jenga every day. We're pretty evenly matched and we've started playing it like tennis so you have to win by two games. We've decided that Jenga is very underrated.

I forgot to mention last Monday but we went to the center of Saltillo to get souvenirs. I bought a wool sarape (basically a poncho) and mailed some letters. I wear my sarape almost everyday after we get home. I think it makes me play Jenga better.

On Thursday Elder Bauer flooded our house. We were doing our weekly planning and he started filling up the washer to wash some of his clothes. He forgot that it was filling up so our whole kitchen and main room floors were covered with water. We were lucky that we remembered after not too long because the water was on it's way to getting to our bedroom. We had to sweep all the water out with a broom after that. Luckily, our floors were really clean afterward.

On Saturday the members that live below us changed the lock on the gate. We misunderstood when they told us the combination so we didn't know how to get in at night. We ended up having to climb up a telephone pole by our house up onto the balcony thing. I think it looked pretty bad because our neighbors were out and saw us basically breaking into our own house...

Yesterday we had a good church service and four new investigators came to church. I was really happy that they came because it has been hard getting people to church lately. Later in the day we also had a lesson with a less-active member who we haven't seen in a long time. His family is all active so I hope that we can help him reactivate.

Here are the birds!
Curve-billed Thrasher -Cuitlacoche Piquicurvo
Lesser Goldfinch -Dominico Dorsioscuro
Common Raven -Cuervo Grande
Killdeer -Chorlito Tídio

Not a lot happened this week but we're working hard and I feel good. I hope everything is good there. I love and miss you all!

-Elder Steiner

Friday, June 3, 2016

Week 37 (05/31/2016)

Hi everyone!

We started writing a little late today so this email might be short.

This chnage there were very few changes. Our zone is only a little different and Elder Bauer and I are still in the same area together. It's kind of funny because three out of my four companions are here in my zone. Elder Gallegos came to be our zone leader and Elder Muñoz, my trainer is in our district.

This change is the last with President Rodriguez and then the new pres. arrives. I'll only have President Rodriguez for about half of my mission so it will be interesting to have a new president for this next half.

Last Monday the other elders came over to our house to play risk and to wash their clothes. Elder Bauer and I had to leave after a little while so we left the house to them. When we got back all my socks that I had left to dry were gone. Apparently Elder Muñoz had taken them by mistake so this week I've been using some other socks I got from members for Christmas. Sadly, these socks are super uncomfortable...

On Friday we went and cleaned out another missionary house after they had left the area. Us and several other elders were there cleaning and we got to take anything the others had left. I got some extra toothpaste, a scarf and a pan pipe. Elder Bauer grabbed the toilet paper and some crocs. We also took a lightbulb because one of ours had burned out.

On Saturday a kid from the ward got baptized. It was the biggest baptism celebration I have ever seen. There were all sorts of fancy photos and Book of Mormon cupcakes and whatnot. I was a little jealous, to be honest. Haha! I wonder what it's going to be like when that kid goes on his mission...

Here are the birds!
Sage Thrasher
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Tamaulipas Crow

That's it for now! Thanks for reading and for being awesome!
-Elder Steiner