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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)

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010

Hello Everyone!

I'm not going to write much this week because I want to have time to write to someone really special. My pops.

OK new week, almost a new month, and we are getting close to a new year. So many things are starting over. And alas, baa baa baaaaa!!! A new companion!

Elder Carvajal finally decide to throw in the towel and quit. (not really, he was past due, in the mission for 26 months.)
And now my new companion is Elder Muñoz from D.F. Mexico. He is a recent convert and is super strong in the gospel. He has been here in the mission for 8 months and has only served in one area before this. Before, he was serving in Sen Fernando Tamaulipas (incase anyone wants to find it on a map). But now he is here and we are working like crazy.

We started teaching a man named Bernardo this week. He is awesome and we can all feel the spirit so strong in the lessons.

I want to share a Scripture from this week.

Job 19: 25-26
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see god.


I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.
I also know that In the flesh I will see God once more. I know that plan that God has for us. It gives me peace and joy to know that I will return to live with him once more.

Love always,
Elder Funke

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11-15-2010

Hello hello,

Happy Mexican Revolution! (This Saturday)

Not much to update everyone on the week. It was a very good week filled with zone conference, fantastic investigators, and great talks on Sunday.

In the zone conference we talked a lot about keeping the Sabbath day Holy and how we can help our investigators to keep it Holy. But really we focused on what it means to sanctify the Sabbath and what we can do to sanctify it. To sanctify, more or less, means to make Holy. When we focus our efforts on Sundays on keeping the day Holy and sanctified, we need not worry if the things we are doing are good or bad. In the gospel principles manual, there are questions that we can ask ourselves. One of which is,``Is this helping me to come closer to Heavenly Father? I know that when we keep the Sabbath day Holy we receive many blessings and it is a great blessing to put our thoughts and actions to the Lord.

Love always,

Elder Funke

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010 - Mexico

Hello All!

The grand old saying is true, ''Time flies when you´re having fun.''

Things are going great here in Mexico. I really can´t say enough about how great it is and how much more enjoyable it is when you can understand what people are saying. It's incredible!

I am meeting some awesome people and some ´´interesting´´ people as well. Funny story for the week : Elder Carvajal and I were walking down the street one night and there was this guy sweeping out in front of his house. From far off, he was sweeping away nice and calm, but the closer we got he began to sweep more vigorously. As we approached him, he yelled out, ´´What says Dios!?" As we continued to walk, he came up to us and Elder Carvajal asked, "How can we help you?" Just then the man yelled, ´´SHUT UP! I want to talk to this ugly gringo (whitey)!´´ I almost busted up laughing right there. It's a good thing I didn't. He started clammering off about this and that. I have learned that when you don't want to talk to someone, it is really easy as a foreigner to just say, "Sorry, I dont understand you." So this is what I said. He continued to ramble on. I told him we had another place to be, and this aggitated him a bit. We began to walk off, and he yelled, ´´What says the bible?!'' I yelled back, "to repent!´´ He proceded to throw slices of bread at us that really didn't do anything. See what I mean when I say interesting people? But we´ve got to love them all, right?

This has been the best experiece of my life, and I am only 4 months in. There is no greater blessing that I or any other young person could have at this time of life greater than this. At times things seem difficult, things try to bring us down, we preocupy ourselves with other things. I know, I have a great testimony that we can make it through. ´´I know that the lord gives no commandment unto the children of men without preparing the way for them to accomplish the thing that he has commanded them.´´ Things are tough, but they are wonderful. Everyday is another opportunity to show our appreciation to Heavenly Father. We show this as we obey his commandments. And everytime we complete a commandment, we recieve a blessing. ´´There is a law decreed in heaven´´ that as we will follow the commandments of the Lord, we will recieve blessings. It is incredible how at times it is so clear. I have seen it with people here on my mission. For example, we have a member in our ward who has a brother that is not a member of the church. Both of them were diligently searching for work. One Sunday we invited the two of them to church, promising them that if they came, the Lord would bless them with work. They came and fullfilled the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy. The following day, the both of them found new jobs. The sister continued coming to church. She knew that Heavenly Father would continue to bless her. She had faith. Her brother saw the blessing of the Lord instantly but didn't believe that it was the Lord who had blessed him. It was so clear that He had blessed the both of them instantly. One had faith and is continuing to recieve blessings and is very happy. The other is not happy at all, and has not progressed one bit in his work.

I know that Heavenly Father is waiting to bless us. If we will but keep his commandments, he WILL bless us.

Love always,

Elder Funke

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 1, 2010 - Mexico

Hello! Hello!

Yeah, I really dont have much to tell you this week.

Yesterday was Halloween. It's a little different here but for the most part it is very similar. We got a TON of food from random people in the streets yesterday. We had 2 lunches and throughout the day, different people gave us different things: a HUGE loaf of bread, candy, drinks. Ahhhh, livin' the life!

Like I said, I don't have much to write this week. Time goes by super fast. I was thinking yesterday about Thanksgiving. We need to remember our blessings and also remember that Heavenly Father is waiting to bless us more if we will only stay firm in the sure path of Christ. He will be there to bless us if you follow him.

Love always,

Elder Funke

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010

Hello Hello!

This week was a fairly good week, a little different than usual. All of the mission leaders had a conference here in the city. They needed somewhere to sleep so I got sent off to a different part of the city so they could use my bed. I was in an area called queretaro with Elder Brockbank. I really liked the area, and Elder Brockbank seems like one of my friends from back home. We worked super well together and had a ton of lessons. In one day we had something like 15 lesson, 5 more with a member present, and various baptismal dates set. It was awesome!!!

Here in Moderna things are moving along as well. We had a few investigators at church this week. One we are hoping will be baptized here in two weeks.

Still hot here in Monterrey. Is it wierd that I am actually looking forward to the cold. Too bad I wont be in Utah to snowboard. naw. I think I would give up snowboarding for the rest of my life to be here for two years.

Ok well I love you all,

Love Elder Funke

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oct. 18, 2010

Hello all,

Im gonna be short this week, because 1) I was sick and not a lot happened and 2) we are in a cyber cafe and i REALLY have to use the bathroom and we have to go back to the house before I can.
This week wasn't much special. We found some really promising new investigators. Hoping to baptize them soon. Like I said we were all sick this week. We havent figured out what it is yet, but with the symptoms, all the sisters in the ward say its dangi, or in other words. West Nile. haha its not, no worries. I feel like everyone exagerates EVERYTHING here, especially sickness. This last week we went to El parque Fundidora on P day and to the center of the city. I have some pictures that I will try to send.

Lesson learned this week: support your leaders, dont murmur.

1 Nephi 3:6
Nephi knew his father was a prophet and did not murmur at the commandment given him. There are so many things in the first say 6 chapters of the Book of Mormon. I encourage all to start at the beginning and write down 1 thing that they can learn from every verse. It is very helpful and helps us realize how much doctrine is right there in the first few pages.

As always, I love you all and I know our Heavenly Father does too.

Love,

Elder Funke

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

Hello Hello!!!

All is well here in Moderna. The weather is fantastic. The work of the Lord is moving along quickly. I can feel the love of the Savior as we testify of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I especially feel this love as we testify of the reality of the atonement, the suffering of Jesus Christ for our sins. It is real! With the atonement we feel closer to the Savior and our heavenly Father. We become clean of our sins. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Holy Ghost, and perservering to the end. These are the things we need, and with these we will be happy for all eternity. What a great promise! And how simple. I feel as though it could be in an infomercial. "In 5 easy steps you too can have ETERNAL JOY!" But really, it is that simple for us. Why is it that the really simple things always seem to be the things we put off or forget? I pray that I never again forget what the Savior has done for me. That I never forget the simplicity of our Heavenly Father's plan.

Ok , well here is a little funny story for the week. Maybe it really isn't that funny, but in the moment it was hilarious, and Elder Carvajal and I had to fight back from busting out laughing. We were teaching a rather elderly man of ummmmm 90 YEARS!! He is really an amazing guy. He has gone through a lot and unlike most of the other elderly, very open to the gospel. He wants to learn. I'm not sure if he wants to change, but none the less wants to learn. During our lesson we were teaching him how to pray. We wrote out 4 simple steps for a prayer:

1. Start by saying "dear Heavenly Father"
2. "I give thanks for..."
3. "I ask for..."
4. end with "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen"

He was reading the steps and as he came to the third he read, "I ask for three periods" and as he finished, he didn't read the amen correctly. He said, "A...W...E...N... What does that mean?" I couldn't respond because I was fighting back the tears from laughing. Like I said, for you it probably isn't that funny, but I was dying.

I know this gospel is true. That is why I am here. Besides, two years is going to fly.

I love you all,
Elder Funke

October 4, 2010

¡Hola!
¿Como Estaís?
All is well here in Mexico!
Conference was awesome yeah?
I enjoyed every bit of conference. This weekend was probably the most relaxing weekend I will ever have on my mission. All day saturday we were able to watch conference and sunday we watched at worked. Last night we taught an older lady that is catholic who had some very interesting questions. Why do we not worship Saints and why do we not have pictures and symbols of Jesus Hanging on the cross? Elder Carvajal and I were able to answer her questions quite easily with the help of the spirit. I feel as though I am super full with the spirit after conference. I hope I can make it last. This conference and the words that were said have set deeper in my heart than any other conference before. I think it may have been because I was actually listening with intent. I cant wait to read the talks over.
The food is still setting well with me and I am not sick, so that is good news. I actually really like the food and there are some things that I wonder why we dont have them in the states because they are soooo good.Im sick of frijoles (beans), haha. We eat them with every meal. They arent bad, im just tired of them.
Lately we have been running every morning through the parque fundidora. Look it up on google. It is a pretty awesome place and I am only 8 or so blocks from it. We start running in the dark and as we head back the sun lights up the sky with crazy colors from behind the mountain, It is quite a sight.
We finally have a list of investigators, but are ever searching for more. It seems as though the young people 30- are more accepting to our message. The only problem is finding the young people. I would say that 98% of our area is full of old people. So finding those who will accept the message is a bit difficult. But none the less, EVERYONE needs this gospel, young and old. Ours is the opportunity to give everyone the chance to act and accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We are inviting every single person we teach to be baptized, so that list is growing too. We are definitely staying busy.
For anyone who worries about me, or other missionaries in other parts of the world, STOP IT! We are with our heavenly father. And especially here in Mexico, everyone is nice to us. They know that we are here to share a message about God and Jesus Christ. The most dangerous of people, the fowlest of all the earth are humbled as we walk by and know that we are messangers of our Heavenly Father. The only way that something bad is going to happen is if I decide to jump off the roof or something (dont worry mom, my wild side is gone... well at least for now.)
I know that this is the work of the Lord and that this message we share is true. Everyone needs the opportunity to choose to accept it. Those who have the opportunity and do not accept, will be held accountable in the life to come and I pray that they have another chance and do accept the message some day.
Love,
Elder Funke

Monday, September 27, 2010

Week 2 in Mexico Pictures


Week 2 in Mexico

All is well!!
I am having a great time!

Oh what to start with?
I think there was a hurricane this week or something. Not really sure, but every night our area flooded,(not where we live). On saturday night we walked home with water up to our knees. The lightning is pretty awesome too. The rain really reminds me of home, but the humidity doesnt. I am already used to the temperature though. It is not bad. It really is not very hot right now, it has cooled off quite a bit in the first few weeks.
We had a baptism the other day, too bad it wasn´t because of us. It was the baptism of a little girl in our ward. We had 39 people at church on Sunday and none were our investigators. No one seems to want a second visit with us. It actually is kind of a problem that everyone here is soooo friendly because almost everyone will talk and listen to our message, but they really don't want it. SO we really could be finding people who are ready to listen. Oh well. This is the way of the farmer right. You have to plant seeds and let them grow before you can harvest. Elder Carvajal and I are just replanting the area now. One of these days we will be able to harvest and baptise. Hopefully soon. Our goal is 3 baptisms for the month of October. Please, please keep our area of Moderna in your prayers and that we can meet our goal.
We have Zone conference tomorrow with President Walker. Im actually pretty excited for that. We were all asked to prepare a 10 minute talk about the 4th Article of Faith. That will be fun, we will see if I get to talk.
I am also SUPER excited for General Conference this weekend! We get to go to all of the sessions. It is a little ways away, but none the less, I am really looking forward to it.
We are working right now on getting our ward to work together. They are not really close right now, so this is another one of mine and Elder Carvajal´s goals. ALso please keep our ward of Moderna in your prayers, that they will work together to move the work along.
I really enjoy all of the elders that I live with. All really funny. Especially Elder Navaro. El es bien chistoso. I am teaching him english right now. He has 3 months left in the mission. He asked me if he had a chance with any of the girls from back home. I told him he had to learn english first. So now he is all excited to learn english.
Well that is all for this week.
I hope all is well on the other side. (everyone here says´´oh... you are from the OTHER side.
Send me questions that you have so I have more to write about.
Love,

Elder Funke

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mexico - 9/20/10

¡Hola!

Isn´t it way cool that I can make the upside down exclamation point? It's right here on the key board!

Well, I have been here for a week now and I love it! I have been assigned to the area of Moderna here in the city. My area is the furthest area into the west in the entire mission. Elder Carvajal is my companion. He is from the state of Mexico. Way nice guy. We are the first missionaries in this area for quite sometime. So we got the chance to open up the area. President Walker told me that it would be a challenge, but what better time to have a challenge when I have the fire of a greenie, right?

We live in the colony of Modero with two other elders. It's not in our area so we have to walk a little ways to get to our area. Since the ward hasn´t had missionaries for some time, they are all super happy to have us and super excited. Our ward only has like 30 or 40 active members. And that is only about 15% of our ward in a whole. There are a lot of inactive members so we are working to get more members to church.

My first sunday here, not even 6 days into it, I had to speak in Sacrament. That was interesting. I spoke for 10 minutes or so about patience, pleading for the members to have patience with me and the language. The language by the way is fantastic! It's coming along great. The first 2 or 3 days I was very shy and timid because at times I don't understand all of what the people say, but now things are going great. I understand almost all and don't have a hard time speaking with the people. I am very glad that the language has come easy for me thus far. That would have been a huge challenge without the help of the Lord.

The other two Elders we live with are Elder Thomas and Elder Navaro. Elder Thomas is a skinny, little, white guy from Utah and Elder Navaro is from Pueblo Mexico. He is super funny! I can´t even look at him without laughing.

The food is sitting well with me, besides the fact that they practically force me to eat as much as I possibly can. I haven´t been sick yet and actually I love, LOVED every bit of food I have eaten thus far. The other day we ate with a sister (by the way we eat lunch with the members here, not dinner). She made me eat so much I was literally holding back from puking, there was so much in my stomach. I hope I don't come back fat. (Don't worry, I won't let that happen.) We even ate off of a street food stand the other night. (I didn't know at the time. The other missionaries bought it.) We are told to never eat off a street stand because we will get sick. But all was fine with me and it tasted sooooooo good. (Elder Thomas won't eat off the street stands.)

We have an investigator who has been working with the missionaries for quite sometime before the area was closed. He has really changed his life around. His name is Tito. He used to do every kind of drug you could think of and now he doesn't do any. He smokes 4 cigarettes a day and that is what we are working on right now.

I have a feeling it is going to be somewhat of a slow start here since there haven't been missionaries for a while, but we are working as best we can.

Well, that is all for now. If anyone has any questions they can email me and I will include it in the weekly email update. My email is: aaron.funke@myldsmail.net

I love you all and please please please pray for the work here in Moderna and for our investigators specifically.

Elder Funke

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monterrey Mexico 9-13-10

Hola!!! Right now I am sitting in the Mission, crazy stuff right? Today was an extremely long day. I woke up at 2am to drive to Salt Lake to catch a 6 o' clock flight, That was fun. Im so tired!!! it is almost 8 in the evening here in Monterrey. Our flight in Dallas was delayed for a good hour or more so, when we got to Monterrey we had to go through customs and all that fun stuff. President and Sister Walker were there waiting for us. We were headed back to the mission home to get pizza but they decided to take us to this super fancy restaurant. I have never had better mexican food. It was soooo good. So now we are back at the mission home having interviews with Presidenit walker and chatting with Sister Walker. I already love the Walkers. They are fantastic. Some of the nicest people I have ever met. I cant wait to get to know them better. We are recieving our companion assignments tonight and our areas. I will let you know next p. day. I'm so excited to get into the work. SOOO excited. Tomorrow we head to the field.

I love you all.
I cant wait to share my mission with you!

Love Elder Funke

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

MTC - 9/7/10

Well this week was pretty awesome. We had the opportunity to see the outside world again!!! ahhhaa!!! We went to the Consolate (Salt Lake) on Thursday to take pictures and finger prints for our Visas. That is amazing news!!! They told us that we should be leaving on Monday or Tuesday (yesterday and today). Obviously, that didn't happen. So we still don't have our travel plans, and when we asked the travel office what was going on, they said that the Consolate still hasn't signed them yet!!! AHHHH!! Im going a little crazy here. Especially when they get our hopes up and then things don't turn out like they say. Well anyway, the trip to Salt Lake was actually extremely boring and exhausting. We didn't actually do anything.

So tomorrow we start our 11th week here. Since we are delayed we have had the opportunity to go to the temple 3 times a week. It has been really nice, so I guess that is one blessing of all of this madness.

On Saturday, BYU had their first football game of the season. Only being a block or two from the stadium, it is very easy to hear the game. Suprisingly, the game made me miss home more than I have yet here. Usually, I easily distract myself and forget that I am in Provo, but with the constant roar of the game, I was right back in Provo where I used to be. Kinda wierd. From the sound of the crowd and from all of the cars honking on the street afterward, I would have to guess BYU won. I heard they played Washington or something. All the new missionaries give us updates of whats going on.

I got an email from the Assistants to the President in Monterrey today. There were pictures from a couple zone conferences with the different zones and the mission president and his wife and the area president. I will try and include one, but we'll see. Elder Hinckley of the Seventy talked to us on Sunday; that was cool. He told some stories from his dad's life (President Hinckley).

Love you all. The gospel is true,

Elder Funke

MTC - 8/31/10

Well, this week was exciting for me, but I still don't have much to say. I have been delayed "officially". So yipee for that! On the plus side I get to go to the temple 3 times a week now. They feel bad that I'm stuck here. They also gave me an otter pop. Definitely the best part. Ummm, most everyone from my district is gone. All that is left is Elders Sanchez, Schmidt, Kiser, and myself. So most likely we will just get to study all day everyday, which I am kind of looking forward to. Ummm, what else.... I think I already told you about seeing Elder Holland last week. He is a very powerful speaker. Well I think that is about all, I am just studying alot now. I know this gospel is true without a doubt. I have recieved a witness time and time again that it is true. I am so grateful for the influence of Jesus Christ in my life. I love you all!

Elder Funke

MTC - Week 8

Ok, so I don't have hardly anytime at all this week, like 10 minutes left. So I will try to type fast. Nothing really special happened this week. My new district is..... good. Not bad for sure. There are 11 of us. And a sister. That was definitely a change. Less than 2 weeks until departure!! (If you want to send anything you may want to soon. I am suppose to leave two weeks from monday(yesterday). Still don't have my visa yet though. But, all of the sudden a TON of missionaries have been getting their visas to Mexico on time including a bunch who are going to my mission. So I am praying and doing all I can to be worthy to recieve that blessing. PLEASE pray for it. :) Things here are good. Most of my friends I have made have left(outside of my district.) We are now the oldest district in the zone. I forgot my journal in our bedrrom so I really can't remember all that happened this week that I wanted to share. The time for the last 7 weeks has just been a blurr. I have no idea which week was which. OHHH! I went to the dentist yesterday! That was pretty rad, because I got to go off the MTC campus. They drove E' Kiser and I to the office, dropped us off and picked us up a couple hours later, so we had a little time to wait and talk with people... REAL people. I know it sounds crazy, but there really isn't any other chance for us while we are here. Poor E' Kiser, everytime he tries to talk to someone they say Hi, then see he is a missionary, and they continue on walking disregarding that he is still talking to him. Haha, well no problems with the dentist. They took x-rays and said it was nothing. I love you all!!! Send me something this week if you haven't so I have your address and I will try to write you sometime in the field.
The church is true!

E' Funke

Saturday, August 28, 2010

MTC - 8-24-10

Welp, Hi there everyone!

So funny story - I wrote this really long email and then deleted it. Que chido! Haha, not really. It was actually really annoying.

Well, anyway.... So if I have learned anything this week, it is definitely about the Lord's time table. Still, in no way do I understand it, not even in the slightest bit. But, nevertheless, I definitely know it is real and that in no way does it match up with my time table.

This past week has gone by incredibly fast and has been crazy busy. First off, Elder Kiser and I got a new companion, Hermana Cummings. At times she can be too much for me to handle. She is 24 years old and a 4th grade teacher. I say she is too much to handle, but aren't all companions at times? Elder Kiser has his times, but I still love the guy like my brother. Hermana Cummings brings her own cards to the table. It is just a change I wasn't expecting is all.

I was able to host the new missionaries last week, and I get to tomorrow as well. It is a nice change from the normal routine. Speaking of change... It is crazy that school is starting up at BYU again. I cannot believe it has been a year since I first showed up there. It's crazy how fast time flies when Heavenly Father blesses our lives. I know the next 2 years (22 months) are going to fly by for that reason.

Pretty much the best news of all is that I received my "Permiso" from the Mexican government to enter Mexico. Now I just have to wait for the consulate in Salt Lake to sign my Visa. It could be 2 days or 2 months. Only One knows. Also exciting news, I received travel plans on Friday. We are "suppose" to leave Monday (Aug 30)at 3:00 a.m. AGHH! Way early! Our flight leaves Salt Lake at 6:00 a.m. and then we have a 4 hour layover in Dallas, and then fly straight to Monterrey. Well anyway, none of that matters because I don't have my Visa - yet.

I received an email from my Mission President today. Nothing exciting - it was sent to the whole mission. But yeah, that was nice. He sounds like an awesome guy. I can't wait to meet President Walker.

We had our weekly fireside tonight, and Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles spoke. It was super powerful. Check out the following link to hear for yourself:

The Spirit testified to me so strongly that the Atonement is real. I felt it stronger than ever before that Jesus not only suffered for our sins but for our pains and weaknesses. He knows EXACTLY what we are going through. If I had one regret in life, it would be that I didn't make the effort to share the Gospel with my friends like I should have. I have had all of these blessings and have never invited my friends to partake of them. But for any of you who are reading this, you can have the same happiness and all of the blessings. Write to me, go to Mormon.org, talk to my family, anything. PLEASE let us share the message of the Gospel of Happiness with you. If nothing else, give it a chance. Taste of the salt. I love you all!

Love,
Elder Aaron Funke
Ordained Disciple of Jesus Christ

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MTC 7 Weeks Down 2 to go.

Ok so I dont have hardly anytime at all this week, like 10 minutes left. SO i will try to type fast. Nothing really special happened this week. My new district is..... good. Not bad for sure. There are 11 of us. And a sister. That was definitely a change. Less than 2 weeks till departure!! (If you want to send anything you may want to soon. I am suppose to leave two weeks from monday(yesterday). Still dont have my visa yet though. But, all of the sudden a TON of missionaries have been getting their visas to mexico on time including a bunch who are going to my mission. So I am praying and doing all I can to be worthy to recieve that blessing. PLEASE pray for it. :) Things here are good. Most of my friends I have made have left(outside of my district.) We are now the oldest district in the zone. I forgot my journal in our bedroom so I really can't remember all that happened this week that I wanted to share. The time for the last 7 weeks has just been a blurr. I have no idea which week was which. OHHH! I went to the dentist yesterday! That was pretty rad, because I got to go off the MTC campus. They drove E' Kiser and I to the office, dropped us off and picked us up a couple hours later, so we had a little time to wait and talk with people... REAL people. I know it sounds crazy, but there really isnt any other chance for us while we are here. Poor elder Kiser, everytime he tries to talk to someone they say Hi, then see he is a missionary, and they continue on walking disregarding that he is still talking to him. Haha, well no problems with the dentist. They took x rays and said it was nothing. I love you all!!! Send me something this week if you haven't so I have your address and I will try to write you sometime in the field.
The church is true,

Elder Funke

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week 7 - MTC - August 10, 2010

Welp, Week 6 is done. Probably the toughest week so far. We had a lot of changes. Our district was combined with another district because there are a lot of new missionaries coming in. I really dislike that. We lost our teachers because of the change. They were all awesome. At least I've got E' Kiser still. We pretty much have the BOMBDEST (probably not a word, but I don't even speak English anymore, so who cares) comp. EVER! I had an extremely spiritual day on Sunday. I was having a rough day (yes they do happen from time to time). A member of my branch presidency sat me down in an interview. We had an amazing discussion. His name is Bro. Gubler. He may be the smartest person I have ever met, at least in terms to the gospel, and with that knowledge he brings a great spirit.

Lately, E' Kiser and I have been trying to work towards helping people try things and exercise faith that they will be blessed for it. I can't remember where it comes from, but most of you have most likely heard the analogy of "salt." Say we were to go up to someone who never in their life had tasted salt. We ask them, "Will you describe salt in your own words?" Most likely they would sit there for a few minutes dumbfounded and finally surrender that they had no idea. This gospel is the same way. How can one explain or understand the blessings that come through it without ever having tried it? When we practice faith and "try out" this gospel, we recieve a witness of its truthfulness and the blessings that come through it. I KNOW this gospel is true and that the Book of Mormon is true. I can feel it everyday and I feel the blessings that come through it pour out upon me more and more as I practice my faith in doing the things I have been asked.

I love you all,
E' Funke

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Week 6 - MTC - Aug 3, 2010

I'm not sure about all of you out there in the real world, but here in the MTC time is non-existent. It has definitely been 5 weeks, but the fastest 5 weeks of my life!!! It is crazy insane! I almost wish it would slow down, just because I don't feel I have enough time to cram the Spanish language into my brain. The language is coming along fantastically anyway.

This last week, E. Kiser and I taught one of our "investigators", Juan. No idea how it happened, but I was speaking Spanish -- like real Spanish. I said everything I intended to and then some. It was amazing! I am definitely being blessed with the gift of tongues. After the lesson, Juan told us how he felt about it. He shared an incredible struggle he is going through. He is working on using the atonement (Christ's suffering in the garden and on the cross for our sins and hurt) to not only receive remission for his own sins, but to forgive those who may have done things against him. He is Chilean. He told us that we shared the message of the Atonement in clarity, and he felt the Spirit stronger than in any lesson he has even had here in the MTC. It was an amazing experience. Elder Kiser and I were speachless after it. Juan, being Chilean, is supposedly suppose to be one of the hardest people to understand here, but I have an easier time understanding him than I do the others. (Except some of the missionaries from Panama. I cant understand them hardly at all.)

Oh, and we were calling Spanish speakers in the Referral Center the other day. I ended up calling a lady in Puerto Rico. Santa BACA!!! I couldn't understand hardly anything. After she went on some 5 minute conversation with herself, I asked her if she would like to receive a message about Jesus Christ from missionaries. She gladly accepted and told us to come on Tuesday. It was quite hillarious. Afterwards, our teacher listened to the call, and he said he had no idea what she was rambling on about.

As far as the MTC goes, it has its ups and its downs. The food is not all that great, and the beds are not all that comfortable, but the spirit and friendship here are so strong that it makes up for any negative we might find here.

Soccer started getting out of hand here with like 20 people on each team, so a few elders and I have started playing a true gentleman's sport.... Horse Shoes. I am horrible at it, but it is still fun none the less. Well, that is about all for this week, I can't think of much else to say.

I love you all!

Elder Aaron Funke

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

MTC - July 27, 2010 - 1 MONTH DOWN

Well hey everyone!!!

Time is flying here in the MTC. Can you believe that I am now on my 5th week. Crazy right?!

It is the same old same old everyday, but for some reason it goes by sooooooo fast! I don't even know how to explain it. It seems like it has been a month already, but it feels like it has been the fastest month of my life. I have a bunch of good friends who are leaving or have left this week. I'm sending some pictures home that I have with them. Elder Mills has been here for 16 weeks waiting for his visa to go to Torrion, Mexico. Elders Stucki, White (who happens to be black), and Gosnell (if you remember Mikey from the cartoon show Recess, that is E. Gosnell) all leave in the next couple of days for Mexico. They have been here 14 weeks. Chances are that I will be reassigned rather than wait for my visa. I will be sent to a mission somewhere in the states for a couple months while I wait for my Visa. Wouldn't it be cool if I got to be in Salt Lake City one last time for General Conference??? Anyway, please keep my Visa in your prayers.

On Thursday about 15 of us played this game where you were only allowed to speak 19 words of English the entire day. At about 9 PM I failed and spoke my 20th word. The punishment: walk around like a T-rex with your elbows in and your hands close to your face for the entire next day. Let's just say that getting changed and going through the food lines in the cafeteria were ridiculous. Oh and while we played soccer it looked super funny. It's the little things like this that make our time here really fun.

My comp.(E. Kiser) and I are continuing to improve with our teaching. We spoke to our REAL investigator again yesterday. Seriously, look her up. Her name is Clydie King. She sang with the Beejees, Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra and on just about every Motown album between 1970-1990. Pretty incredible lady. She has incredible faith in prayer which is totally awesome.

I have come to the point, that I am done worrying about things. The language, people back home, my companionship, our lessons, etc. My life is completely in the Lord's hands now. He is going to help me get through all of the hard times I may have. My faith is growing as is my knowledge. I can't wait to get to Mexico and share my faith with others. So that they can feel the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. "That they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, that thou hast sent." I am so excited to share that with people. This is my purpose. To invite others to come unto Christ. "To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

I know that this church is true, with all my heart. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us. He shows his love for us by calling real prophets on the Earth today, that they can share His words with us. The book of Mormon is the word of God. It is another testament of Jesus Christ. I know that He died for our sins, that we can return to our Father in Heaven when this life is over. Not only will we return to be with him, but we will return to him with our families. I love you all and you are in my prayers. Keep writing, I love hearing from you and I will do my best to write back.

Love,

Elder Aaron Funke

Saturday, July 24, 2010

MTC - Week 4 - July 20, 2010

Hey all!!!

This last week went by SO fast for me. I feel like I just wrote you all yesterday. So it doesn't really feel like anything happened. I did bust something in my foot playing soccer. I got kicked right in the side of the foot. But it is starting to feel better already, so no worries there. We have a BUNCH of natives in my zone now. They are fun to talk with. I think that using what I know in spanish helps a lot. They are all also amazing at futbol. So my soccer skills are imporoving like crazy. Last night I talked with a teacher who just got home from his mission in Ecuador. Same mission as Billy Cook. He didn't seem to know Billy though. He said if he saw a picture he might recognize him.

Elder Roundy leaves mine and E. Kiser's companionship tomorrow. 3 people in our district are leaving for the Peru MTC so we will be even again and won't need to have a group of 3. I'm kinda bummed. He was really good at Spanish and really knew his scriptures. It helped alot when we were teaching in Spanish. He will be a good missionary, but going to LA is going to be a HUGE wake up call for him. He is going to get a glimpse at the crazy world. Speaking of crazy.... We were doing door to door contacts yesterday here in the MTC and our teacher was trying to shut the door on us. Elder Kiser tried to shove his way in. I don't know if he understands that if we really do that, we will probably get shot! I hope he figures it out soon.

We had the chance to teach a hermano named Angel Silvia that is from San Antonio, Chile. He has lived a very interesting life. You walk in and the first thing you notice are all of the tattoos on his arms. San Antonio is a port city. There is a lot of gang activity there, and he got caught up in all of it very early on in life. He shared a little with us about it. There was also a talk written about him that is SUPER good. I am getting a copy from one of my teachers. Angel was baptised when he was 17. He later went on to serve a mission and recently moved up here. Pretty awesome guy and his conversion story is really just incredible. He is an example that you cannot read a book by its cover and that we must open our mouths and share this gospel with everyone. At least give them the opportunity to accept it. Angel was able to allow it into his life and because of it, he is still alive.

There are some nasty rumors going around that we aren't going to make it to Mexico. Im pretty sure that they are just rumors. Something about how the church is getting ready to no longer allow the white Elders to go there. It's just a bunch of Elders spreading rumors though. But please pray for our Visa's and our timely departure to Mexico.

Well thats about all I've got for this week. I love you and I pray for all of you about 40,000 times a day.

Love,
Elder Aaron Funke

P.S. There is an Elder here who looks EXACTLY like Draco Malfoy! Im going to try and get a picture with him.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MTC

Things are getting to be much better. The language is really coming along a lot better. Elder Kiser and I got a new companion this last week too. Elder Roundy. He is now my 4th companion in 2 weeks. He is from Texas and is going to be serving in LA spanish speaking. Im growing to love both of my companions and the spirit they have. Elder Kiser is really good at playing, "I'm more greatful than you, and I have more blessings than you." Its definitely his favorite game. I let him win, but I know that no one really is more blessed than I am. I have been blessed with an amazing family, who are strong in the church. You all really are such a strength to me. My friends who have always been there through the thick and the thin. I have been blessed to have grown up in this church. I know that this is where I need to be.

We were in the RC the other day and we werent having any luck at all. I stopped Elder Kiser for a minute and offered a prayer. His next call was to a lady named Clydie. He had a good 40 minute conversation with her about the gospel. She is really interested, but doesnt want the missionaries over because she is really REALLY sick. So, instead, we get to call her back and teach her over the phone. We rushed a Book of Mormon to her and we are ready to teach her. We will really be focusing on families and the plan of salvation, and then if we can call her back again we will share the message of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We also started teaching in Spanish this week. It was a little rough at first, but it only is getting better. One of my teachers, Hermano Garcia, had us write "Dear John" letters to the English language the other day. It was really funny. He told us we had to dump english and never look back, at least for 2 years. My teachers are seriously so incredible! I am learning so much! But since writing our "Dear John" letters to English, we are no longer allowed to speak english in our building. And on Wednesdays we cant speak in english at all!!!! not even in the cafeteria. Church on sundays is mostly in Spanish as well. Each week the 40 or so missionaries in my zone prepare a 5 minute talk in spanish on a topic of the branch presidents choice. And then during the meeting on sunday, he picks two to give their talks. Its a little stressful, but its all good. I have just been trying to immerse myself in the language as much as possible. Hermano Garcia is a native of Chile and he is trying to convince us that they speak only spanish in the highest glory of heaven. That really, spanish was God's first language and he had to learn english to be able to communicate with his children who only knew English, but in reality he just wishes that everyone spoke spanish. HAHAHA he is pretty funny.

Jenny Oaks Baker spoke at a fireside the other day and played the violin for us!! She is amazing! Look her up if you dont know who she is. She is pretty famous. ALso look at a picture of her. She is 40 and has 4 kids, but looks like she is 25!! insane! Elder Oaks, her father, was there as well, but didnt speak to us.

I know this Gospel is true. The spirit testifies to me everyday that it is. I know that the Book of Mormon is true!!! I want everyone to know for themselves that it is true. And I know that they can, if they will just read and pray! Moroni 10:3-5. They will know the truth of it.

I love you all,

Elder Aaron Oscar Funke

Thursday, July 8, 2010

First Week in MTC

The MTC has been great so far. I have been a little frusurated but all is well. I got here and was put into an awesome district. My companion, E. Raines didnt show up, they told me he was sick or something. So i was put with two other elders, E. Ott and E. Nichols. I grew to love those two in the short time we were together. On my second day I was transfered!! I found that to be pretty funny. I was tranfered into an "intermediate" district. Apparently my teachers thought i was too good at spanish for their class. My new comp. is E. Kiser. I have a new address too. everything is the same, but it is mailbox 294. so that changed. The first couple of days here (in the new district) were extremely hard. Instantly my faith was smashed to the ground. I didnt understand a single word of what my native spanish speaking teacher was saying. I am definitely the weakest link in the class/district. My district is pretty funny. At first I thought they were really weird, but they are growing on me and I really enjoy being around them now. The language is already starting to click and my faith is growing. My branch president interviewed me on sunday and set me straight. He said "Elder Funke, you dont have enough faith. You are trying to do to much your self and you are worrying to much. Trust in the Lord and he will provide for you." Since then my faith and hope is growing so much!!! I was really down on sunday. I was thinking "there is no way I can do this!!! It is just too hard." But those thoughts are gone and I am well now. I love being here. The spirit is so strong with everything we do. I am realizing how personable the gospel is. I feel like becoming a missionary, is like becoming a therapist, You have to recognize peoples problems and then deal with them. I dont think i will be able to write all that I want to this week. there is only 30 min. to write emails, but this evening I will write you a letter too. I am realizing how important families are in this gospel. I love you all so very much! I have already began to lose myself in the work. I know this church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I want EVERYONE to have the chance to read it and for them to pray and know for themselves if it is true. I love this gospel so very much. I have felt the love of the Savior in my life and I hope everyone can find that peace and love for themselves through reading the Book of Mormon. I will send some pictures home soon. (they have to develop and what not.)
Pray, Read, and Ponder. Its true!!!

Love,
Elder Funke

Friday, June 25, 2010

Monterrey Mexico!!!




Hello Everyone!!!

I have been called to serve in the Mexico, Monterrey East Mission!


I enter the Provo MTC in 5 days!!! Can you believe it?

Heavenly father has blessed me greatly recently and now is my time to go and share the gospel that my family and I have been blessed with. I will be gone for two years. I know this is where I need to be.

I started this blog so that my family can update it and keep everyone updated on how the work is going while I am gone. Hopefully they can update with pictures and letters I send home.

Elder Funke