Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 24 (2/29/2016)

Hello everyone! Happy Leap Day! 

This was the last week of my third change here in Piedras Negras Barrio 5A. Tomorrow I'll be on a bus heading to Saltillo for the fifth time (I'll talk about my Saltillo trip this week in a minute)! I'm going to Valle de los Flores, the zone where the mission offices are, so I'll be there with the secretaries, the assistants and President Rodriguez! Also, my dad (trainers are called dads and whatnot), Elder Muñoz, is there! I'm excited to see him again even though it's only been six weeks. My new companion is named Elder Hernandez and he is one of the district leaders in Valle de los Flores. I've been with a district leader every change so far so I think the Lord might be preparing me for something. Or maybe President just flipped a coin to decide where I go. Who knows. Regardless, I'm excited for a new area. I'm going to miss Piedras Negras but I've heard only good things about my new area.

Last pday we had a very fun zone meeting. The zone leaders made crepes for all of us and we got jerseys of the Coahuila Santos, the soccer team from this part of Mexico. It was really cool and I'm definitely never going to forget this zone and what I've learned here.

This week I took my fourth trip to Saltillo for my visa. I'm not sure but I think the secretaries are doing stuff wrong on purpose at this point. Haha! Just kidding, this time it wasn't so bad. However, I did realize that with all the bus trips I've taken during my mission I have over 72 hours of bus time. I'm not sure quite how to feel about that, but it's something! I was able to get a handful of letters that had arrived in Saltillo as well. All of them, other than the one I got from Elder Muñoz, were Christmas letters. Haha! However, even though I didn't get them for a while I'm really grateful to those that sent them.

So here in Mexico most people are Catholic. The two main saints here in Coahuila are the Virgin of Guadelupe and Saint Judas. The statues and paintings of Saint Judas look more or less similar to the way Christ is portrayed and they are all over the place. Something I found a little funny was that two times now we have shown kids a picture of Jesus and asked them who is in the picture and they have said Saint Judas. Just something interesting I noticed. Haha!

Here are the birds! There are quite a few this week.
American Goldfinch -Dominico Americano
Yellow-rumped Warbler -Chipe Rabadilla Amarilla
Verdin -Baloncillo
Turkey Vulture -Zopilote Cabecirrojo
White-faced Ibis -Ibis Cariblanco
Chuihuahuan Raven -Cuervo Llanero
Tamaulipas Crow -Cuervo Tamaulipeco
Inca Dove -Palomita Colilarga
Great Egret -Garza Grande
Tree Swallow -Golondrina Arbolera
Barn Swallow -I saw this on the way to the computer place so no Spanish name
Osprey -Gavilán Pescador

I didn't notice the change in birds during the winter here as much as in Utah but during the colder months I saw a lot fewer of the little doves and I actually haven't seen and Common Ground Doves since the begining of December. Just something I noticed. :)

This weeks spiritual thought came to me on the bus. While you're on an eight hour bus ride you have a lot of time to think. On Wednesdaywe sang Qué Firmes Cimientos (How firm a foundation) in a lesson and I was thinking about the english words during the day. While we were on the bus to Saltillo I kept thinking over the words, especially of the last verse, and how firm my testimony has become while I've been here. The words to the last verse read:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

I feel like these words are echoing around in my mind all the time now. Here in Barrio 5 there are quite a few less active members and it makes me kind of sad to see these people that have found the path but fallen away. However, even though it makes me sad it just gives me stronger conviction to never falter in my testimony and to never forsake what I have learned to be true. I hope all of us can have so strong of a conviction such as to never stop believing in Christ and following His example no matter how difficult our trials are.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support. I'm really grateful to all of you.

Les amo y extraño. -Elder Steiner

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