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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Hola everyone,
We started working a week ago in a part of our area that we hadn't known of before. It is like an hour on bike from the house, which seems a lot longer in 100 degree weather. It is a new colony that got started about a year or two ago and all the people out there have little huts. They find wood and then use it to make their house. Usually the houses are 12 foot by 12 foot. pretty small. It is just a single room. They don't have running water and only a select few have electricity. But like I said, they are very humble and really accept the things we teach. The problem is that they live so far away from the chapel. It is literally like 3 bus rides just to get to church and no one has cars out there, so we are trying to figure out what we can do. I am talking to the president about opening up a branch out there with a prayer house. Pretty much it is just like any of the other houses, but we have the three hour services out there. If we ended up doing that, Elder Toone and I would be moving out there too. So that's something new and interesting. We have been super blessed this week. We started the week with 0 people on track for baptism and now we have 8. that is literally a miracle in the missionary world. So I feel super blessed. Elder Toone and I also got to do some fire fighting this week. We were knocking on the door of one of our investigators when the neighbors started yelling and screaming. We looked around the corner and their house was on fire. So Elder Toone and I dropped our bikes and bags and picked up buckets and started going to town on the fire. We spent 10 minutes going back and forth with buckets of water. Ends up the people that lived there weren't even home. It wasn't actually a part of their house it was a little room that they had behind it. Luckily nothing was lost except the room. The chickens that were in there escaped and everything was OK. So that was a fun experience.

We are going to celebrate the Holiday today and buy pizza tonight. It is a tradition we have here in the mission when you complete months we buy pizza. I and the other three elders complete months in the same week. Today i complete 11 months in the mission. Elder Toone is finishing up 4, Elder Rosales 22, and elder Talavera 6

Love you,
Elder Funke

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March 7, 2011

Hello to all of you in all parts of the World!


How is everyone? I hope that all is well wherever you are. Things have been a little bit LOCO the past few months here in Matamoros, Mexico, where I'm at. But I have been enjoying all of the great experiences. I'm sure you are as well.

What a great and marvelous work we have to do. Nothing has brought me this much HAPPINESS this FAST in all of my life! It is incredible! I feel like I'm taking "Happy" pills every morning. Now, if I could only find a way to not be so tired. Someday (when I finsh the mission) I am going to sleep for a few days.

I recently was transferred to a new area just a hop, skip and a jump away from Texas. At times, I can see the other side. I'm not gonna lie -- the grass looks brown on both sides. I am serving in a city called Matamoros. We have the beach in our area and whatever we want from the United States at our fingertips.

Bueno--the best part of the mission is TOMORROW... always. I don't really understand it, but there is always something to look forward to. Maybe we don't have anything planned for the next day, or something that we really don't want to do, but nonetheless, we can find something to be happy for. One is that we are the Lord's missionaries. If I could make a plea to all missionaries in the world, it would be "DONT WORRY! Everything is going to be fine. Be happy. Forget yourslef and serve the lord"

I love you all for the service you are doing. I look forward to when my wonderful mother sends me the newsletter so that I can see how everything is going for you all.

Love always,
Your brother in the work,

Élder Funke

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Where Am I ???

Hello Everyone.
Again this week I don' have a huge amount time so I will be writing a more general email.
On Friday we had zone conference and at the end, President Walker stood up and told us that transfers are inspired from the Lord, And proceded to tell us that one companionship was going to have a special transfer because new missionaries have arrived from the states. Elder Muñoz and I instantly knew it was us. So, at about 5 o'clock on Friday afternoon, We recieved a call from our leaders telling us that we were going to have transfers. Elder Muñoz is still in Moderna with a new American and I traveled 6 hours on Saturday morning, and am now in the Ward Tecnologico 2 in the town of Matamoros. I believe that if you were on the border, I could yell and you would be able to here me. We live about a half of a mile from the border. Maybe a mile, And we are in the very most Northeastern corner of Mexico. I was sad to leave Moderna, but happy for a new experience. My new companions name is Elder Vera. He is really new and has been out about 3 months so far in the mission. We have opened this area. It has been closed to missionaries for about a year. Who knows why? But we are excited to work hard and baptize alot. Everyone here knows Matamoros as the`promised land, because it is the most succesful area in the mission. In two days work, we have 2 people on line to be baptized so that is pretty exciting. I'm sorry that I dont have time to write you all personally this week. Just remember that I love you all and I appreciate every single one of your letters and emails.

With love and burning fire in my bones,

Elder Funke

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year

It is incredible how time flies. I can hardly believe how long it has been since I have seen the beautiful green of Oregon. Six months have gone by very fast.
On Saturday we had a baptism. His name is Bernardo Cisneros Rodriguez. Truely an amazing person. At first, he questioned the Gospel, but really had a desire to learn. We continued to teach him. With patience on our side and on his side, he came to a conclusion that this was the path that the Lord has for him. We showed up to the church in the morning to make preparations for the baptism. We swept the entire block where the church is to make sure it was super clean. Then we had to figure out how to use the hot water heater, but first we had to find it. It ended up being in a shed outside that we did not have keys to. I had to use my amazing skills to break in. It was interesting, but in the end we got to the hot water heater. When the water began to flow in the font it was a nasty orange color. It continued to be orange until the font was almost full. So then we had to empty the font. But what do you know, the pump to drain the font did not work. So we got a bunch of buckets and started emptying by hand. Quite interesting, but all was well in the end, and the water was not freezing. The baptism was amazingly spiritual and all present could feel it so strong. The following day Bernardo recieved the Holy Ghost. After church the Bishop decided to interview him. We left and went to some other appointments. In the evening we went to his house to eat dinner with him and he proceeded to share with us that the Bishop decided to give hime the priesthood! haha! crazy! So in less than 24 hours, he was baptized, recieved the holy ghost and also recieved the priesthood. He has a testimony super strong and already is inviting his friends and family to listen to our message.
I know the gospel is true and it changes lives. I hope all is well in the other parts of the world where everyone is at. Be strong and serve faithfully. Never give less than your best and the Lord will bless you and those you teach.

Love,
Élder Funke

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 12, 2010 - Christmas Message from Mexico

As we embark on this Christmas season, as always, I am filled with gratitude and joy for the blessing and gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The holiday season is always filled with family, traditions, and lots of food. We have started off the holidays this year, and it has been a little different for me. Christmas this year will be spent with a different family, new traditions, and probably lots of food, but not the same. Yes, I will miss the ham, turkey, twice baked potatoes, and the huge breakfast on Christmas morning, but I have come to realize much more the true meaning of Christmas. No matter where you are in the world, no matter the traditions, Christmas is a time to celebrate and remember the birth of the Savior.

My companion, Elder Muñoz, and I were talking the other day about Christmas past. We shared experiences we have had on Christmas and the traditions we have within our families. We both had one part of the holiday in common. Presents. I can remember that when I was little, I practically couldn´t sleep on Christmas Eve. 5:30 am rolled around, and I was sitting on the sofa waiting to tear into the gifts and presents that tempted me from underneath the Christmas tree. I impatiently would wake Mom and Dad every 15 minutes until finally around 7:00 am, they would give into my begging plea. Back then, I didn't really understand Christmas. Nor did I understand the significance of gifts. I have always been a great ``reciever´´ of gifts, but never a good ``giver.´´ This Chrsitmas I have begun to understand more the gift giving part of Christmas. Imagine... Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He gave us the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, so that we could live with Him once more. We have recieved this wonderful gift, the greatest gift of all, but what can we give in return? It is impossible to give to Him what He has given to us. This has troubled me a bit. I have been thinking,``What could I give to Heavenly Father and to our Savior in return for the great gift I have recieved?´´ I was reading the other day and found, tucked-away in my scriptures, the wish list of Our Heavenly Father and of Jesus Christ...
 
1) ``Come unto Me´´ (matt. 11:28-30) The Lord has asked that we come unto Him. One of my favorite verses in the scriptures reads, ``Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest in your soul. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.´´ The first thing on His wish list is that we accept his gift to us. So many have come and gone overlooking the gift or have simply decided to not open it. Let us accept the gift that He has given us.

2) ``Succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.´´ (Doctrine and Covenants 81: 5-6) Secondly, the Lord wants us to share this marvelous gift with others. He wants that others have rest in their souls. It is our duty and it is the desire of the Lord that we help our fellow man find and recieve what we have recieved.

3) ``Love one another´´ (John 13:34) Our Savior showed us the perfect example of how we must love one another. ``Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought, for these are the things Jesus taught.´´
 
There are so many things that we can do to show our appreciation to our Lord and Savior for the gift we have recieved. I am sure that if we focus this holiday season on what we can give, rather than the gifts that we receive, everyone will have a much more enjoyable Christmas. I share these things and testify of our Lord and Savior, in his sacred name, Jesus Christ. Amen
 
``For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Couselor, The Might God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, and the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth, Even for ever."
 
Merry Christmas!
 
Love,
Elder Funke

December 6, 2010 - Mexico

I'm sorry I don't have much time to write this week. I wrote a ton to my mission president because I had a ton to tell him. We have an incredible investigator right now. A chosen person! He literally is amazing. We found him knocking on doors. His name is Bernardo. Really he acts like a member. Yesterday was his first day at church, and everyone was asking him what ward he was from thinking he was a less active member or had just moved into the ward. He was so confused, but it was all good. He was participating in all of the classes and everything. Then in priesthood meeting he shared his opinion on how we as priesthood holders can show our love to others through service. Not because it is a commandment, but because we really love them. Ahhh, he is awesome. He has a baptismal date for the 25th of December. Please please remember to keep Bernardo in your prayers and also in the family prayers. He will benefit greatly from your prayers. Ask Heavenly Father to help him be ready and feel prepared for baptism. I am writing letters still and will hopefully get them sent off soon.
 
Love,
Elder Aaron Funke

November 29, 2010 - Mexico

I have to start off by saying that Thanksgiving just wasn't the same this year. But really I didn't have Thanksgiving. I started off by telling Elder Thomas (the other American) Happy Thanksgiving, but that's all there was. No turkey or gravy or anything. I think in the following year, I am going to cook for my companion, and we are going to have Thanksgiving dinner. I have a new companion. His name is Elder Muñoz. He is from The federal Distict of Mexico. (Mexico City). He is a recent convert of about 4 years, and he and his sister are the only members; but, oh man, does he know his scriptures and the gospel. We were talking one day about school. He went to high school at one of the LDS schools here in Mexico. One is in Mexico City and the other is in Chihuahua. I thought that Craig Richins went to the one in Chihuahua but turns out no. He was in the same classes as my companion. Small world no? In the states it is really easy to make a connection with members of the church from all over, but it turns out to be the same here. The school happens to be the same one that my previous companion attended as well.
 
My English is horrible. Maybe you can tell. It is a little easier when I am typing because I actually have time to think, but there are a few instances that I have had to talk in English and it just comes out in a jumble of words out of order. I especially have forgotten how to use all the weird little sayings that we have, and I have replaced them with Spanish phrases that are translated into English. It's frustrating but funny at the same time. I have been trying to help my companion learn English, but it's hard when I forget all the time. Its definitely weird.
 
I have only received 3 pieces of mail so far – one envelope from mom, one from a friend at BYU who got his mission call, and one from my great friend Ashley Matthews that got sent through the MTC. I love getting mail and hearing from everyone. I am trying to find a more efficient way of sending mail. I don't think anybody has. A sister in my ward offered me to send the mail for me seeing as we don't have a postal office in our zone.
 
I have been thinking about how fast time flies by as well. It is just crazy. I cannot believe that my sister Andraya is going to graduate. It just doesn't seem possible. Time here in the mission goes by faster than you could ever believe. I'm still in my first area, but tomorrow I finish up the 5th month of my mission. I'm almost a forth of the way done!!! That is insane!
 
Love always, 
Elder Aaron Oscar Foon-kay (how the Mexicans say it)