Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pics 6/6/16

Bishop and family at my farewell from Barrio Mazatlan

Me at the beach

Elder Finkner

Companions at the beach

Crazy Week!

Hello everyone! So I'm sure most of you have all heard about what happened. Last monday when I hit my 8 month mark, President talked to me and sent me on an emergency transfer to La Paz, Baja California Sur. I'm now a district leader, a trainer, and a senior companion. My companion is Elder Antonio, who arrived to the mission about a month ago but because of some unseen circumstances, his companion or original trainer went home and I'm here to take his place. I have lots of responsibility now, and even more when both of us don't know the area well. 

So Monday was when I found out I was coming to La Paz. Tuesday morning was my flight. Monday night last week I was able to eat dinner and cake with the bishop. He threw a little party for me. Tuesday was weird when I was left without a companion in the airport and in the airplane. The plane was small, only one seat on one side of the aisle and two on the other side. So small that even carry- on suitcases don't fit in the overhead compartment. But good thing that almost no one was on the flight because I was able to put my suitcase in an empty seat.

I arrived safely to meet my new zone leaders and my companion. From there we went home and I unpacked for about an hour. Then we went to lunch and then we got to work! Every day this week we've been working a lot. We've been contacting in the street a lot...27 contacts and we've taught several first lessons to new investigators. We're practically opening the area and starting new with everything.

This week I had lots of work with the sister missionaries in my district. They were changing apartments and I had the responsibility of approving the house or telling them that it was unsuitable for missionaries. After visiting a few houses, we settled on one and we helped them move.

I'm learning everything really quickly and I'm working really hard to be a good example for my companion as he's going to learn a lot from me, more than his original trainer. I feel really good about my new area and this new opportunity to work. This area reminds me of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, so I'm not complaining. I'm really lucky and blessed.

Anyways, that's about it. We only have two investigators, Martin and Maria. Martin is excommunicated and Maria is a normal investigator. Both are on track for baptisms this month or the next, as soon as they get married. Last night we were able to have a spiritual experience with them and they already want to be baptized.

Have a great week, and enjoy the pictures!
Elder Finkner

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Pics 5/28/16

"Big Fin" and "Little Fin"

Elder Andersen and I at the church, helping out with a ward activity.

8 Months Down, 16 to Go

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a good week. Mine was just slow and I don't have much to write about. So I've finished training my companion and we haven't been getting a lot of work. So I really haven't had anything to do for the last week. Nothing new to report on in the offices.

In our area, well we didn't have much time to work there either due to some special circumstances. We did have time to visit Perla and Francia twice this week. The first lesson, I was able to put a new baptism date for them, and I'm sure that this date won't fall or get pushed back again. It's for June 11th, so they'll need all the prayers that they can get. We've taught all the missionary lessons, so we just need to make sure that they keep saying their prayers and reading their scriptures. They have 4 attendances but our zone leaders said that it's possible to baptize with less than 5 attendances and if they have all the lessons. So that's our goal right now, just to wrap it up and get those two baptisms. After lots of hard work with them, I hope I get to see their baptisms before I leave the area. The second lesson we had with them, we went on divisions. Elder Finlayson came with me and we taught them the 10 commandments. It was a great lesson. One of the best I've had in the mission. And I was really glad that I was doing it with my best friend in the mission. Heck, even Perla and Francia said that they preferred Elder Finlayson over Elder Garcia and Elder Paravicini. Elder Finlayson is the man.

Other than that, there's not much else to write about but Presidente emailed me this week to tell me that after this transfer, I'm leaving to serve in another area. I asked him last week what my fate was and he gave me the answer. So I'm glad that I get to leave the offices because I feel like I can be a regular missionary again, working all day in the Lord's vineyard. 

So that's all folks, I love you all and have a great week.

Love,
Elder Finkner

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pics 5/21/16

My companion took a selfie of us

Me in the streets of Culiacan

It's too hot (wiping the sweat off)

The Heat

Hello everyone!

This week has been really good and uplifting. We've seen lots of little miracles and blessings and some puzzle pieces are starting to fall into place with our area. So Monday was transfers, and my old companion, Elder Garcia left for La Paz, Baja California Sur, and I received Elder Paravicini. He's from Bolivia. As soon as he got to the offices Monday morning, I put him to work. I've been teaching him everything I know about being secretary of materials, references and records, and he's been learning quickly and well. After our time in the offices, we went to work. We've taught some really good lessons and I'm able to see how much progress I've made in my 7.5 months in the mission. I've been unofficially designated as the missionary leader in our ward, since we have two sets, but my companion and the other set are all new, so I'm the only familiar face in the ward. I'm showing the other set of missionaries some parts of the area, and I'm also the senior missionary in the offices. I have the most experience.

This week we were able to visit Perla and Francia three times, and on Tuesday, we reviewed the baptismal interview questions with them to measure their progress. Although their baptism dates fell, we used this lesson as an opportunity to put new dates for the 28th of this month. They accepted, and we're going to be working hard alongside of them to get them to church tomorrow and next Sunday so that they'll be ready for the 28th. We visited Abraham, and he still has a lot of desires to go to church. He told us that he'll meet us there Sunday morning. We've also been contacting a lot and we've received a bunch of references. The other elders in our ward, the new set, have been contacting a lot to get new investigators so they've passed a few contacts to us. We've been able to talk to these references and we've put a few appointments to visit again. When we talked to one of the contacts that the other elders gave us, we had a first lesson, and we were even able to challenge him with baptism and he accepted. He's proof that the Lord really does prepare people for baptism, and that we just need to go out, and the Lord will lead us to these people. 

This week has been pretty good overall. I've had the chance to talk to several new people and bear my testimony about the restoration of the gospel. Although they may not accept the missionaries, they are receiving their opportunity and I'm doing my part in the Lord's work. I've found happiness in this work, even though it gets difficult sometimes. 

I testify of the truthfulness of the Church and that this life is a time of preparation and testing for us. We must do everything that we can for the Lord and I promise that you all will be blessed for your dedication to the Lord. Have a great week and make sure to say your prayers and read the Book of Mormon.

Love,
Elder Finkner

Middle of May

Hello everyone!

This week has been really good and uplifting. We've seen lots of little miracles and blessings and some puzzle pieces are starting to fall into place with our area. So Monday was transfers, and my old companion, Elder Garcia left for La Paz, Baja California Sur, and I received Elder Paravicini. He's from Bolivia. As soon as he got to the offices Monday morning, I put him to work. I've been teaching him everything I know about being secretary of materials, references and records, and he's been learning quickly and well. After our time in the offices, we went to work. We've taught some really good lessons and I'm able to see how much progress I've made in my 7.5 months in the mission. I've been unofficially designated as the missionary leader in our ward, since we have two sets, but my companion and the other set are all new, so I'm the only familiar face in the ward. I'm showing the other set of missionaries some parts of the area, and I'm also the senior missionary in the offices. I have the most experience.

This week we were able to visit Perla and Francia three times, and on Tuesday, we reviewed the baptismal interview questions with them to measure their progress. Although their baptism dates fell, we used this lesson as an opportunity to put new dates for the 28th of this month. They accepted, and we're going to be working hard alongside of them to get them to church tomorrow and next Sunday so that they'll be ready for the 28th. We visited Abraham, and he still has a lot of desires to go to church. He told us that he'll meet us there Sunday morning. We've also been contacting a lot and we've received a bunch of references. The other elders in our ward, the new set, have been contacting a lot to get new investigators so they've passed a few contacts to us. We've been able to talk to these references and we've put a few appointments to visit again. When we talked to one of the contacts that the other elders gave us, we had a first lesson, and we were even able to challenge him with baptism and he accepted. He's proof that the Lord really does prepare people for baptism, and that we just need to go out, and the Lord will lead us to these people. 

This week has been pretty good overall. I've had the chance to talk to several new people and bear my testimony about the restoration of the gospel. Although they may not accept the missionaries, they are receiving their opportunity and I'm doing my part in the Lord's work. I've found happiness in this work, even though it gets difficult sometimes. 

I testify of the truthfulness of the Church and that this life is a time of preparation and testing for us. We must do everything that we can for the Lord and I promise that you all will be blessed for your dedication to the Lord. Have a great week and make sure to say your prayers and read the Book of Mormon.

Love,
Elder Finkner

Onto Transfers and Mother's Day

Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing better than last week! This week I managed not to get sick and so that helped me have a better week. I also decided to focus my studies more on rereading the Book of Mormon. I've been reading the New Testament, but I felt like something was missing from my life and obviously it was the Book of Mormon. So I've been concentrating on that more.

So transfers. My companion is leaving and going to La Paz, Baja California Sur, and I'm getting a new companion, Elder Paravicini, from Bolivia. He will be the next secretary of materials, which means this coming transfer will be spent training him. I'm going to train him better than the past secretary of materials trained me, because I had to learn a lot on my own. It's my goal to leave the offices in a better shape than when I came. Most likely, this will be my last transfer in the offices, but who knows what President will do, he could ask me to stay longer. He's already calling missionaries to be the assistants for 6 months and not the normal 3. So the Mission President change at the end of June is tossing things up in the air. 

This week we were able to teach Perla and Francia a few times and Abraham twice. We were also able to teach Susanna, a street contact, for the second time, which makes her a solid investigator. We've finished with the missionary discussions with Perla and Francia, so we teach them various points of the gospel and we read Lehi's Vision with them too. We explained it as we read and it was a good lesson. Their baptism dates fell as they only have 3 attendances, and we were unable to put new dates this week, so next week the main goal is to put new dates to dunk them. We visited Abraham and taught baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. He has strong desires to go to church and a brother from church happened to walk by as we were teaching so he was befriending Abraham and invited him to church too, so that was really some good timing. We are still waiting for Abraham to go to church before we put a baptism date, but he told us that he'd gotomorrow so let's see what happens. And Susanna, we talked a little bit more about the Plan of Salvation, and she even invited us into her house! The few times we've talked with her and the first time we taught her, we taught her at her door with a busy street right behind us, so we were able to get the Spirit going and hopefully we can keep seeing her.

This morning we (as a zone) surprised Hermana Velez with a huge poster and some balloons for Mother's Day. We walked to her house and then she cooked up some breakfast for us, and then let us watch a movie called "The Cookville Miracle." So that was pretty fun on our P-day.

So yeah, that's about it for the week. Next week I'll have more to report on about transfers, and I'll be busy showing my companion the ropes. And tomorrow I'm calling home (yeah!!). So it's going better now.

Love you all and Happy Mother's day to all the moms out there, especially my own who taught me to be a good kid and to follow the example of the Savior.

Sincerely,
Elder Finkner

End of April which means Summer is really going to start and kick my butt

Hello everyone,

I hope you all are doing well. This week has been a little difficult for me. Well we were able to work in our area more but with our increased efforts, we didn't see much success. We were able to teach Perla and Francia a few times this week. They've been giving us less and less attention so the lessons don't really have the Spirit, so we're working on trying to get them to focus and concentrate. They weren't able to come to church last Sunday so not much else to report on but that we still have a lot of work to get done with them if we're aiming for the May 7 baptism. Tuesday night I got really sick from lunch that day. Wednesday I went to the hospital because I felt really bad. They told me that I had an intestine infection. They gave me the option of taking a prescription with medicine, AND a shot in the butt, or they could put an IV in me for an hour and a half. I chose the prescription. After going to the hospital, I was tired, but we went back to our area to keep on working for an hour before we returned to the house for the night. Thursday I felt somewhat better. Friday I felt bad again, but we kept on and went to work. This week the heat has been noticeably increasing, with no end in sight for the near future. With May, the infamous summer officially begins.

I think that's all for this week, nothing else has really happened. I've been busy in the offices like always and in the few minutes of free time that I get in between tasks at the office, I work on Family History and I've been able to find a total of 200 names of people who can get at least one ordinance done in the temple. Presidente Velez will be doing transfers this Monday so I'll find out whether next transfer will be my last in the offices or whether I'm here for the long run until September or October.

So yeah. Face each day with a motivation to help some other person in any way and you'll be richly blessed. I've learned to do everything for the Lord and although I may not see the results now, I trust the Lord to take care of everything in His time. 

Love you all and have a great week.
Elder Finkner

Pics 4/23/16



Just Staying Busy

Hello everyone!

By reading your emails, it sounds like you all are doing well! Glad to hear that. I'm feeling better this week myself. I don't feel sick anymore from that tuna and I've been, well, staying busy at work in the offices and in my area. I'm just doing good.

Some days in my area we walk around for several hours without finding anyone to street contact or teach. The thing is, with 8 streets, everyone already knows us. And they've been contacted already several times by different missionaries. And they say to each other when we pass by, "Those Mormons are always walking by, they must not have anything better to do." Sometimes we walk the same street 3-4 times in one evening. But we're putting in the effort and looking for more new people to teach and invite.

So this week, we had about 3 days like that. The other days we managed to get at least a lesson in. One of those days when we just walked all day, we walked from 4pm-8:45pm, and of course our last plan let's us visit and teach. Of course the Lord tests our faith and rewards us when we're good.  We're still teaching Perla and Francia and they're still on track for their baptisms on May 7th, right before transfers when my companion leaves. We're still visiting Abraham, but we had some trouble this week finding him, he's been busy with work. He's still one of our solid investigators. We visited a less active member, Omar, who was that last plan at 8:45pm that I mentioned, and we had a really good discussion with him. His wife and children are not members, he's the only member in the family. But he has lots of desires to come back to Church and bring his family with him. And in the Book of Mormon, we learn that it's by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass, so with the desires, let's see what comes out of this!

On Friday, we went to Navolato after lunch. One of the secretaries had one of his past investigators being baptized, so we went and accompanied him. Navolato seems like it's a really nice area. It's more in the country, so there's more farms and the people are nicer. The area is bigger and the missionaries there have bikes. I met one of Elder Lugo's converts (he started his mission in Navolato), and actually the person being baptized was Elder Lugo's convert's mother. So it's just crazy to think about the impact we can have as missionaries.

Well that's all I got for this week. Nothing too crazy has happened. I've just been staying busy. I'll write again next Saturday. Have a great week! Make sure to read your scriptures and say your daily prayers! And go to church tomorrow!

Love,
Elder Finkner

Pics 3/19/16

 Secretary Chili's lunch

Meditating over the Book of Mormon

About 2000 miles away from home

This Week

Hello everyone! I hope you're all doing great. I'm still doing well, there's nothing that can go wrong when one is working in the Lord's vineyard! There's so many blessings from serving others and I invite you all to search for opportunities in your individual lives to serve your fellow being (Mosiah 2:17). Time is just flying by now. The first 4-5 months were a lot slower, but now as I'm approaching month #6, it seems like I just started my new transfer in the office yesterday. I'll hit my 6 month mark on March 30th. I can't believe how fast time is going by. TIME FLIES WHEN YOU'RE HAVING FUN

So this week has been a bit crazy. So my companion, Elder Garcia and I have gone to the airport several times this week. Since my companion is in charge of the missionaries' immigration stuff, we went to the airport to drop off and pick up some sister missionaries who needed to get some immigration documents straightened out. I felt so weird in the airport. I felt like I shouldn't be there yet. I still have 19 months left before I have to go home! It can't be leaving earlier! Haha so it felt strange. Monday and Tuesday were airport days. We went to the offices like usual in the mornings until lunch, but after lunch we had to go to the airport on both days. Wednesday, everything was more calm. We got work done like usual, and we were able to teach some really good lessons that evening. We taught Perla and Francia, who are our two investigators who have a baptism date for April 9th, then we taught Abraham, a more elderly man, another one of our investigators. Then to finish the night, we taught Tere and her husband. For the first time, we were able to teach Tere's husband. He's a devout Catholic, but we shared our Easter message with them and we shared the scripture Alma 7:11-14, so we talked about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Thursday, we worked like normal in the office, then we left to go to lunch. We weren't able to work too much in the afternoon because President called us back to do some favors for him. When we left it was about 6pm, so then we finally got to work in our area. Work was slow, we were unable to find many people to teach. We only found one member and we shared our message about the Atonement. Friday was a slow day. I didn't have too much work in the offices, and then after lunch, my companion felt sick so we went to the house so he could rest for a bit. We left the house to go to our appointments, we taught Francia about the Book of Mormon, and then we returned to the house a little early again for my companion. 

Most people think that Jesus Christ only came to the earth to pay for our sins and nothing more. But that's not true. He came to teach us and establish His Church by putting apostles, prophets, and the priesthood in place. Also, He came so that He might know how to help us in our times of sorrow, during our trials and tribulations, and our pains and sicknesses. I testify that Christ was resurrected, that He lives, and that He is ALWAYS by our side. We are never alone. He suffered, died, and came back so that everyone who has ever lived, everyone who lives now, and everyone who will live, will have a chance to make changes to their lives. He invites us to follow His example, and to live our lives more in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I'm just doing really well right now. I'm enjoying my mission, the work is going good (in the office and in our area), and I'm making memories that I'll remember for eternity. Deciding to serve a mission has absolutely been one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. I love serving the Lord. I love serving the people of Culiacan, and I love serving all of my companions in the mission. there's no other place I'd rather be right now.

Well everyone, I hope you all have a great week! Enjoy your Spring Break, but don't forget to remember our Savior's sacrifice!

I love you all!
Elder Finkner

Pics 3/26/16

A dog peed on me while I was street contacting. I didn't even realize it until I felt the dog rub its body against my leg.

 Quick selfie in the church building one evening

Easter Week and 6 Months Down, 18 to Go

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone has had a good Spring Break and that they've been remembering the Savior Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us. I've been teaching a lot of lessons about the Atonement and what the Savior went through, so I've had plenty of time to study and think about Easter. Isn't it quite amazing how the Savior suffered so much for us, out of love for us? I can't even comprehend the love He has for all of us. We really are sons and daughters of God if the Savior was willing to go through all of that for us. He certainly does love us, and He will never leave us alone in this world. We only have to continually strive to be better everyday, just a little bit everyday, nothing extreme. It's possible for us to receive eternal life this way. 

Anyways, this week I also finish 6 months of serving a mission. It seems just like yesterday I was just getting started in the MTC. Time is flying so much faster now. Another transfer down too. 

So here's the weekly update quickly:

This week has been a bit different. We haven't had too much time to proselyte, but when we did, nobody was home or in the streets. Culiacan was a ghost town haha. Everyone left for Spring Break. So we taught a few lessons about Easter, we were in the offices every day like normal, but yesterday I didn't have any work to do so I was on Familysearch.org. I decided to get involved in family history work and in just one day, I was able to find 53 names to submit to the temple. I just kept thinking about all of my ancestors and how they must be waiting to accept the ordinances, but it all depends on us going to the temple, or even looking for names. Also this week, we've been preparing for transfers this Monday. My companion and I are staying the same, but I know a lot of missionaries will be coming to the offices and asking for materials so I've been stocking up haha. 

Really there's not too much to report on. Summer is getting started here in Culiacan. The heat is dry and heavy. Just 5 minutes of walking makes you break a sweat.

I hope everybody is well! Make sure to remember the Atonement and the Savior this weekend! Spring Break isn't a time for "vacations," but a time for us to ponder and remember Him.

Anyways, Have a good week! Love you all!

Elder Finkner

Weekly Update

Hello everyone,

I apologize again for not responding to everyone last week. I did read the emails, I just didn't have time to reply since I was working. This week has been a bit busy. We've had our fair share of work in our area and as well in the offices. With Presidente Velez's double-calling, the secretaries were asked to help more. We've also had more work in our little tiny section of the Lord's vineyard. Some days in our area, we have almost nothing to do but walk in circles for several hours, but other days we're occupied with lessons. Monday and Tuesday afternoon we had almost no work, but Wednesday afternoon we had several lessons. 

On Wednesday, we taught 3 lessons. The first to Perla and Francia, our solid investigators right now. We talked about the Word of Wisdom, and then we were able to put a new baptism date for May 7th for both of them. 

From there, we went to visit Abraham. He's about 60-some years old, but he's really sincere and honest and wants to learn more. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the role that faith plays, and he told us that getting closer to God was something that was missing from his life and that he wanted to have a stronger relationship with Him. So we were like, "Alright, we can get that arranged!" It was a good lesson, but we didn't invite him to get baptized yet because we'd like to see him go to Church this Sunday first. 

The next lesson was a heart-breaker. We visited Tere; I mentioned her a few weeks ago. Her, her husband, and a lot of her family always have health issues. With Tere and her husband both advanced in age, Tere asked us for a blessing of health and comfort. She told us tearfully that she's done going to the hospital and suffering. She talked about how she always feels bad, her husband is losing his memory and can barely walk, but she always prays and she's looking for peace and rest from this life. She told us that she wanted to pass on, so tearfully Elder Garcia and I gave her a blessing so that the Lord would be able to do what He has planned for her. With her health and condition, I don't think she'll make it much longer.

Thusday, we worked in the offices and then we went to the airport to pickup a missionary. I know Culiacan's airport better than any other. Then we went to our ward mission meeting. No one showed up, so we left to go home.

Friday, work in the offices again, lunch which made me sick, then we went to our area. We got a little bit of work done. Almost no one was home in our tiny little area, so we walked around in circles under the sun for the evening.

So yeah, that's been about it. I'll write again next week.

Love,
Elder Finkner

Pics 3/16/16

 (Almost) Walking on water

Taking a break in the garden

Secretaries

Crazy Week

Hello everyone,

This week has been busy with the multizone conferences in the Baja California Sur, Culiacan, and Mazatlan. I spent Monday and Tuesdaypreparing my presentation and getting materials for the multizone conferences. On Wednesday, all of the missionaries in Culiacan came together to be trained by President Velez, the assistants, and the secretaries. So I had to give a presentation about referrals, and I spoke for about 15 minutes or so, and I answered questions that some of the missionaries had. I did a good job with my presentation, even though I was a little nervous. Earlier that same day, at 12:30am, I went to the airport to pickup a sister missionary, and I didn't get back until 2am. After the multizone conference which ended at about 2pm, I went to the mission offices to do some work for the missionaries. Finally I was able to eat lunch at about 4:30pm. But something was wrong with the food, because my companion, two other missionaries who always eat with us, and I all got sick. We all started to get sick Wednesday night and Thursday morning, vomiting with upset stomachs too. Elder Garcia and Elder Day, one of the other missionaries went to the hospital. Elder Trillo and I were fine, until Thursday night, when the food finally caught up to us and we got sick too. 

Well Thursday while Elder Garcia and Day were in the hospital, Elder Trillo and I went to work in my area. We visited Perla and Francia and taught about prayer and studying the scriptures. they understood really well and we all felt the Spirit during this lesson. I felt the Spirit help me teach too. Then we tried visiting Abraham but he wasn't home. Then we went to our ward mission meeting. That's when I started to feel nauseous and really sick. We made it home and I went straight to bed. 

Friday was a slow day. It was just one of those days when no one has time to listen to us. So we ended up walking around in circles for a few hours, trying to find someone, at least one person to visit, but to no success. I felt a little bit better with some medicine. Fun fact: I got in some random guy's car and went for a ride

Today, I started to feel better, but after lunch, it made me have an upset stomach again. We went to the Botanical Garden again with the other two secretaries. Elder Finlayson is from Dallas and my best friend in the mission and Elder Flores is from Honduras and was an English teacher before the mission so he speaks English really well. And then there's also my companion, Elder Garcia from Mexico City. I'm attaching some pictures that we took.

I was able to study some church talks this week even through all the chaos. The first is called The Refiner's Fire by James E Faust. The second is All Things Work Together For Good by James B. Martino of the Seventy. I recommend these talks to all. These talks provided me with more enthusiasm, comfort and increased hope. We can find peace in the knowledge of our Savior's atoning sacrifice and that He knows exactly how we might feel for He has felt all.

Ánimo y éxito!
Love,
Elder Finkner

Pics 3/12/16

The baptism of my investigator, Candelario, from Nueva Galicia. I returned to NG to visit and see his baptism

Culiacan

Rainy Culiacan

Empezando el Calorsito en Culiacan

Hello everyone! This week has been a little bit more chilly in Culiacan, it even rained (the first time in months) and it even hailed! People were going crazy here, like as if the world was ending. 

Anyways, not too much has been happening this week. Presidente Velez was in the Baja California Sur the whole week, so we were left to work like normal. I had this Skype-like training session for all secretaries of records (me) in every single Mexican mission, with some Church administrators teaching us how baptism records should be logged and what to do if there are issues. I've been working on sending references, and my last companion, Elder Uicab, sent me a message and thanked me for the references that I've sent. He told me that they've helped his area a lot and now they have new investigators. So that's the reason why I'm working hard on sending references! If I can send at least one reference that turns out to be a baptism, then I've done my job well. I've been working on entering all the baptisms into the system. It's been a busy week, but it also felt slow somehow. 

Our investigators are progressing well. We're still good to go for our two baptisms on April 9th. Yesterday we had a contacting activity in one of the areas in our district. I feel like I'm bad at street contacting, but I was determined to contact several people so I did! I felt successful. I taught some English to our investigators one evening. We had Domino's pizza one night and KFC Chicken another night. I've calmed down with the donuts.

Everything is going well, this week was just normal and not too much has happened. I'm attaching some pictures.

Have a great week all! 
Love,
Elder Finkner

Pics 3/5/16

My rhino and I, zoo trip this morning

Preaching the Restoration pamphlet in Spanish to a monkey

My new investigator. He agreed to be baptized next week

Work In and Out of The Mission Offices

Hello everyone! Hope you all are doing well. This week has been pretty good. I've been busy in and out of the mission offices. I'm working alongside the mission president on a few new projects. One of them is my idea that I pitched to him, he gave me permission to get to work on this new program. We are having some problems as a mission regarding references and referrals, so I'm taking the initiative to ensure that our 200 missionaries are trained on how to use the Church's Referral Manager. I'm having all of the zone leaders training their missionaries, but then later this month or in April, I will be giving a presentation in the multizone conference regarding the Referral Manager. About 80 missionaries will be in attendance and I have about 15 minutes. The other project is to buy 100 smoke detectors and install them in every single missionary house. 

This week in the offices I've been busy sending various materials to all of the zones, we got our Easter pass-along cards so I sent a lot of packages.

Outside of the offices, we've been busy with a few new investigators. We have Abraham, last night he committed to coming to Churchtomorrow. We also found Perla and Franica, two teen girls whose grandmother wants us to teach them and help them have a firm foundation on Christ. Their grandmother gave us permission to take them to Church and teach them whenever, so we have some more free space to work. They're coming to Church tomorrow too, even though we just met them this week. They already accepted the baptismal challenge as well, so right now in our area, things are turning around for the better and we have some good solid prospects. 

I don't have too much else to report on, but one day we went to the hospital for my companion. He had a sinus inflammation, and I ate 4 large sugar donuts. I'm not complaining haha. I've calmed down on the Domino's pizza, but the new deal, buy one get one free is really tempting. 

Tonight I'm going to visit Nueva Galicia, one of my investigators is getting baptized so I was invited to attend. I'm glad I have the blessing to get to see his baptism. This morning we went to the zoo. See some of the attached pictures. 

Anyways, that's all for this week, love you all! 

Elder Finkner

Serving Missionaries and Investigators and Members

Hello everyone! This week has been great, I've been staying busy in the mission offices, and working hard in my area. This past week we had a missionary council here in Culiacan, so missionaries from Culiacan and Mazatlan attended. Afterwards, about 75 missionaries made their way to the mission offices and a lot of them wanted my attention because they needed help with materials, baptismal records, all sorts of things. I literally worked overtime in the office, I was in the office after lunch when I should have been in my area. So I've been busy with other things as well, like ordering materials, entering baptisms into the Church system, and answering and helping solve questions and problems that missionaries in the Culiacan Mission have.

So our area is a little difficult, and it makes it a bit harder when we only have 4 hours a day to dedicate to the area and the people in the area. But we managed to have our investigator, Selene, accept the baptismal challenge. She has strong desires to attend church. She's had health issues in the past, but she has a ton of faith in Christ, and her and her children could be solid baptisms once they get to Church. We just started teaching her.

I eat a lot of Domino's pizza here. I think I've had about 4 Domino's Pizzas in about 2 weeks.

I fed some newly-born puppies. They were only a week old, and they were sucking my fingers because they thought my fingers were something else. I'm going to admit, it was cute.

A boy who's a member in a different ward sells donuts, but gave me a free donut one day because I've been buying my daily donuts from him

We don't have many lessons in this area, on a good week, we have about 10. We street contact a lot and we meet a lot of people. But we're seeing progress.

Shout out to Lydia Lozano for her baptism today back home! Proud of you!

I love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Finkner

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Pics 2/20/16

Elder Alonso and Elder Finkner. His trainer's trainer
Dan Heckathorn came back to visit Culiacan!

Secretario de Materiales

Buenas tardes a todos! Espero que tuvieron una buena semana. Anyways, this week has been fun, I've been learning a lot on the fly with my new assignment of secretary of materials. I have the responsibility of being the referral manager of the mission, so all the missionaries give me references, and then I send these references to the areas where they belong, and sometimes other missions. A reference is a name and address of a person who wants to meet with missionaries. Also, I order materials from the Church for the missionaries, and I distribute the materials to all the zones across the mission. So I send packages of church materials down to Mazatlan and over to the Cabos. I'm also secretary of records, so I put all the baptism information and records into the Church system. I have my own cell phone, and lots of missionaries call me for help.

Well, my weekly updates are going to be a bit different while I'm in the offices. I guess I'll say that everyday this week I've been in the offices from 9am-2:30pm. From there, we go to our lunch appointments, then we go to work like normal, preaching, contacting in the street, teaching, those types of things. The area is a bit different than what I'm used to, but it's a nice change of pace. The area is very slope-y, all of my area, (a whopping 8 streets) is full of streets with 45 degree inclines. It's tough on the legs haha. It's a bit harder to have lessons here, but I'm going to work hard to get the lessons. This area is mostly street contacting, and we only have 4 hours of normal preaching time. Well everything is doing good, nothing too crazy this week, I'm glad I have my warm water showers and my washer machine. I have a decent bed too so all is well! 

So that's all I got for now. I'll talk to you all next week! Remember Jesus loves you!

Love,
Elder Finkner

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Transfers! Onto My Next Area

Hello everyone! So this week has been, well, different for sure for me. Last Monday I received a phone call from Presidente Velez that he's closing our area with this transfer. So Elder Uicab and I have had our hands full this whole week, making arrangements for our area so that the other missionaries who'll assume responsibility for our area will have a smooth transition. Also, we made a trip to the hospital for my companion this week, so yeah, this week has been a bit stressful.

So here's the rundown for the past week:

Tuesday, we had our weekly district meeting, then we returned to the house when my companion wasn't feeling good. After a few hours of rest, we decided to go to the hospital. So my Tuesday evening was spent in the hospital. My companion got dehydrated and ate something bad so he had a stomach infection. We didn't get home until about 11pm.

Wednesday, we spent in the house. My companion didn't have energy and still felt bad so we couldn't leave the house. I studied my scriptures for several hours as he slept.

Thursday, the morning was spent in the house. But around lunch time, we managed to make it out of the house to slowly get to work. We had our weekly ward mission meeting as well.

Friday, we planned for the upcoming week even though we aren't going to be here. The planning was for the next missionaries, so that they'll know what to do with the people we're teaching. We cleaned the house, we began packing our belongings, and we passed by our investigators to let them know that we're leaving and what's going on.

Saturday, we were busy cleaning the house and putting everything in order for Monday. We didn't do much else, only a few lessons while we were advising our investigators and some members that we are leaving the area.

Sunday, we had stake conference in the morning. We ate lunch, and then we kept cleaning and packing stuff up. We had a few more lessons, but not too much else happened. It was hard to find people to teach because of Valentine's Day.

As for transfers, I've been called to serve as secretary of materials in the mission offices. I'll be here for about 6 months, I believe, and everyday I'll be at my computer working until lunchtime. After lunch, I'll leave the offices with my companion, and we'll go to work like normal, preaching and teaching in downtown Culiacan. My Preparation Day will now be SATURDAY, and I do have access to a washer machine and hot water for my showers. My companion is Elder Garcia, who is another secretary in the offices, Executive Secretary.

Talk to you all next week, I'll let you all know how it's going in the new area and with the new companion! Make good choices! 

Love, 
Elder Finkner