Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 75 ~ Guamuchil, Sinaloa ~ Elder Alverenga

Well everyone! I just want to start off this letter by telling everyone I taught my district and my zone leaders how to play rugby!!! and we played today!! haha it was pretty sad because it wasn't as fast as I would have liked it, but it was fun!! 

This week we worked our little butts off. We had a ton of lessons this week and we found a lot of new investigators. And we were really excited to see all of our efforts pay off on Sunday!! and when it came, NOTHING, NO ONE SHOWED UP...  it was quite a sad story, but I was praying and asking Heavenly Father for a blessing during Sunday. We went to visit with a recent convert and his son has become our friend, and his son invited his friend over and they both sat down and listened to us. They understood very well and they had questions which were very good questions, which we answered. Then they promised us, that they would go to the general conference this Saturday and Sunday to see if the Prophet and the Apostles are of God! It is so awesome to be able to see God's hand in our work. 

Also a random guy contacted us in the street today and told us that he has listened to the missionaries before, and that he went to church, but he left and went with other churches but he wants to return to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!!! It was a random blessing! I really love what I'm doing here in Mexico, even tho times I feel alone or just really tired and bummed out! This life style we have is very special and I am realizing that I don't have much time so I need to make use of every minute while in Mexico, and that is something I have really noticed this week! I am blessed to be here and to be an instrument in the Lord's Hands. I'm grateful that he hears and answers my prayers along with yours at home. I can truly feel your prayers for me. I love you all have a great week! 

Elder Horlacher 
(Sorry no pictures this week, I've been busy)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Brussells Bombing ATTACK

(March 22, 2016, at 8:00 a.m. MDT)  
Three Mormon missionaries serving in the Paris, France mission were seriously injured in Tuesday's explosion at the Brussels airport, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported this morning.
The three had been accompanying a fourth missionary who was on her way to a mission assignment in Ohio, and who had already passed through airport security.
While detailed, accurate information is difficult to obtain because of limited communications in Brussels, mission president Frederic J. Babin has reported that three of the missionaries were in the proximity of the explosion when it occurred and have been hospitalized.
The injured missionaries, whose families have been notified, are:
    Elder Richard Norby (66) of Lehi, Utah.
    Elder Joseph Empey (20) of Santa Clara, Utah.
    Elder Mason Wells (19) of Sandy, Utah.
The missionaries were taking Sister Fanny Rachel Clain (20) of Montélimar, France, to the airport. Sister Clain had been serving in that mission while awaiting a permanent visa for the United States.
All missionaries in the France Paris Mission have been asked to remain in their apartments.
The First Presidency of the Church promptly issued a statement this morning in response to the bombings:
With much of the world, we awoke this morning to the heartbreaking news of the bombings in Belgium. Our prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured, including four of our missionaries who were injured and hospitalized. We also pray for the people of Belgium and France as they continue to deal with the uncertainty and devastation caused by the recent terrorist attacks.

Court and Amber Empey of Santa Clara, Utah, didn’t know that if their cellphones hadn't been set to Do Not Disturb, they would have been ringing for hours. Later, when they woke up with the sky and the home phone began to ring, they assumed it was just the beginning of another endless day of political surveys and robocalls.
Shortly after 6 a.m., with their smartphones awake, an international number popped up that they instantly recognized as European. It was their son, Elder Joseph Empey, calling from a hospital in Brussels. In his trademark all-is-well way, the young man announced what the world was also discovering — terrorists had struck at the Brussels Airport.
“He was so positive,” Empey’s mother, Amber, said during a phone call from Salt Lake Airport’s International terminal. Empey and her husband will arrive in Brussels Friday afternoon. “He said he was calling from a hospital with burns on his face, head and hands. He had shrapnel in his feet and potentially a fractured ankle. But he was so optimistic.”
As widely reported, Elder Empey, Elder Mason Wells, Elder Richard Norby and Sister Fanny Rachel Clain, who are serving as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were all injured during the blast that killed 31 and injured more than 300 others.
Although the Empeys believe nothing prepares missionary parents for that kind of phone call, it wasn’t until the call ended that they understood the scope and magnitude of the morning. “As soon as we hung up, we went online and that’s when it hit us. We couldn’t believe what we read," Amber Empey said.
Later in the morning, a nurse emailed the Empeys photos of their son in his hospital bed. “I was scared,” his mother said. “And yet as I’m realizing more and more how serious this was, hearing about burns, surgeries and at least a 10-day hospital stay, there he was in photos with a smile on his face.”
Over a series of calls, the young missionary with just three months remaining before his mission concludes shared his firsthand account of the moments before and after the blast.
“He told us he was there with Elder Wells and Elder Norby to drop off the sister coming to America," she said. "They had wanted to use the electronic ticket station but it wasn’t working, so they went to wait in a long line that snaked back and forth. Then after a few minutes, it happened and (Empey) blacked out. He doesn’t know how long he was unconscious but when he came to, he just started running to find the others. He found Elder Wells first and he was bleeding quite a bit. He gave him a blessing on the spot.”
Empey moved on and when he reunited with Norby, his parents said he gave him a blessing, too. By the time they found Clain, Empey reported to his parents that the adrenaline was gone and the pain set in.
"He could tell the foot was worse than he thought and he couldn’t walk," Amber Empey said. "So he calmed down and waited for the ambulance.”
Choking on emotion, Empey’s father expressed the family’s gratitude for the survival of all four missionaries, and the heartbreak at the many other families having very different conversations in the aftermath of the blast. “We know how fortunate they are," Court Empey said. "He said that they estimated they were about 30 feet away from the explosion. Yes there will probably be more surgeries and time in the hospital, but he’s alive.”
Court Empey paused when asked to describe how it felt to have people of all faiths around the world praying for his son and others injured in the attacks.
“It’s overwhelming," he said. "To see how much love there is in the world, it reminds us that God truly is our Heavenly Father. It’s why strangers feel sympathy and empathy for one another. It’s because we really are brothers and sisters with eternal relationships.”
According to Empey, this example of extraordinary love in the world outweighs all the evil. “It’s interesting, isn’t it? From this horrible act comes so much goodness.” The family believes no amount of hate will ever defeat the will of the Lord.
As they began to board the first of three flights to their son’s bedside, Empey expressed gratitude for his son’s missionary service. “He said on the phone that he would not change it," Court Empey said. "This has been a great time in his life to serve, forget himself and learn more about the Savior. His mission has enhanced everything about him and he is so grateful for every day.”
His father added that over his final three months, he believes his son will continue to grow from every experience, including that tragic Tuesday morning moment.
“Also, please tell your readers we are so thankful for their prayers and support," Court Empey said. "We pray for you, too, especially all missionaries everywhere as they spread Christ’s message of joy and peace.”
BRUSSELS -- Parents of a Utah missionary hurt in the terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22 shared their thoughts after seeing their son in the hospital.
Elder Joseph Empey, 20, is wrapped in bandages as he recovers from burns and surgery.
But through the gauze dressings, and his wounds, the Empey family said what struck them the most about seeing their son was, "His eyes and his smile."
“He's got bandages all around his face, but he's got these pretty blue eyes,” said Amber Empey, Joseph's mother. “He was thankful and excited to see us."
His father, Court Empey, said despite the injuries, their son's countenance still shines through.
“You could see through all the burns and all of his injuries, that it’s still his same soul and heart in there," he said.
The couple flew from Santa Clara, Utah to Belgium after Tuesday’s terrorist bombing in Brussels that nearly killed Elder Empey. He was at the airport check in, where the bomb went off.
Elder Empey has relived those moments to his parents.
"It was horrifying what he went through,” Court Empey said. “He remembers the blast. It knocked him out. He was very scared and hiding, and then he went into helping those around him, looking for his three missionary colleagues to help them."
Two other Utah LDS missionaries also got caught in the blast and remain hospitalized—19-year-old Elder Mason Wells of Sandy, and 66-year-old Elder Richard Norby of Lehi. A 20-year-old sister missionary from France, Fanny Clain, was also wounded.
Elder Empey told his parents: “‘I don't understand it, I just know that there's so much more good and love in the world that it'll always win,’" Court Empey said, quoting his son.
The couple said his brothers and sisters are anxious to see him heal and return home. Elder Empey was just a few months shy of finishing his mission when he got caught in the blast.
"He's the oldest of five kids, and he’s just been my buddy since he was born,” Amber Empey said, tearfully. “From the time he was a little boy he's just stepped up and taken care of all of us. He's responsible, and kind, and loving."
The family knows they have a long road ahead.
“He's going to need some time to rehabilitate and heal on the outside, and I'm sure with his emotions as well," Court Empey said.
But through the second degree burns, Elder Empey appears to show a thumbs up while he smiles for a photo and forges forward in his recovery.
The first explosion lifted Elder Mason Wells off the ground. Seconds later, as he ran for an exit at the Brussels airport, the second blast detonated.
Sitting in a hospital bed with his head wrapped in gauze, Elder Mason Wells gave TV interviews Friday, describing a chaotic, gruesome scene from the terrorist attack that left him covered in blood and caused shrapnel wounds and burns to him and three other Mormon missionaries serious enough that all four have required surgery.
Elder Wells, 19, of Sandy, Utah, who was reunited with his parents on Friday, also told interviewers that despite the attack, his faith in God is intact.
Elder Wells and two other missionaries were at the airport just before 8 a.m. on Tuesday to drop off Sister Fanny Clain, 20, of Montélimar, France, who was scheduled to board a flight to the United States to serve in the Ohio Cleveland Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Wells said he was trying to help Sister Clain get her plane tickets to the United States out of a small machine at the airport before the first of two suicide bombs detonated. That was part of his responsibility in the France Paris Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Paris Mission includes Belgium, and Elder Wells had moved to Brussels five weeks earlier.
The machine didn't work, so an airport attendant directed the four missionaries to the back of the line at the checkout desk. Elder Wells pulled out his iPad to check on the tickets and was looking at it when the first blast went off.
"It was really loud. It was really loud," he told CNN, shaking his head with a far-off look. "I was looking down and all of a sudden a huge blast came from my right. I believe my body was actually lifted off the ground for a moment. My iPad that was in my hands, I don’t know what happened, it just disappeared. I think it actually might have hit me in the head when it got blasted out of my hands. My watch on my left hand just disappeared. My left shoe just was blown off. A large part of the right side of my body got really hot and then really cold, and I was covered in a lot of fluids, a lot of blood. A lot of that blood wasn’t mine."
Elder Wells told Matt Lauer of NBC's Today Show that after the first blast he saw fire in front of his face and on the ground and that those flames caused his burns. He suffered second-degree burns to his head and arms and shrapnel wounds to his legs. Doctors performed surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles' tendon.
"My body was lifted off the ground during the first blast — very loud," he said. "And I started running toward the exit. A lot of people started to run toward the exit. I’d taken a couple steps, about three seconds later the second blast went off."
During the interviews, Elder Wells' head was covered in gauze from the middle of his neck to the top of his head, where only a tuft of hair was visible. The only holes in the gauze were for his eyes, the tip of his nostrils, his mouth and his left ear.
"Everything I've lived up to this point has fortified my personal faith that God is there," Elder Wells, 19, of Sandy, Utah, told Fox News. "I know that I've felt his love several times. I know that if I can feel his love sitting on a sidewalk next to a destroyed airport, God will talk to his other children, too. I know that he does listen to prayers, and that the prayers the people are (giving) now, they make a difference, because I've felt them."

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Elder Funes' letter to his family-


Imagine a man the size of Nick Heninger yelling this like a little girl! There's two elder horlachers in my mission, and they're both jacked! The Elder Horlacher in my zone is like 6'4 and like 220.... We had companion exchanges because he is one of the district leaders in my zone so he came to my area and it was a blast! We taught a ton of people! But when we got to the house, i don't know why but he got all spooked when i turned off the light to go to bed. So he began to talk to me and as i dozed of i realized he had asked me a question so i was like "what? we're you talking to me?" and he freaked out! "dude! turn on the light turn on the light!" "haha why elder?!" "turn in on man!" so i flipped it on just to see the giant mountain of a man huddled in a corner with his pillow! I about died from laughing! Then again when i flipped them off i got a cramp in my foot so i started like laughing and yelling and the guy about peed his pants! "Elder! What's happening?! TURN ON THE LIGHT TURN ON THE LIGHT!" Haha needless to say i died from laughing! He's an awesome missionary! 
This week, we found 16 new investigators. We challenged 15 of them to baptism and only missed one because she spent the whole time talking and we had a late appointment but she could be una escogida! I put my trust in the lord and all of them accepted. It was awesome!

As i expressed in my last letter i felt like i wasn't being the missionary i really should, but then i read an article in the Liahona. It changed all my perspectives. It talked about how sins and weaknesses are not the same and how we can use weakness to become better. 

For those of you who know me, know i like to work hard. I've always wanted to be the Hero. In whatever situation i just want to be the Hero. I always push myself to do my best but when i don't accomplish my goal or don't see the results i want i get discouraged. Lately, i feel like i've been taking my weaknesses as sins, and i have a TON! I felt like i was letting the Lord down because sometimes i get scared, sometimes i don't talk to everyone in the street, sometimes i don't have a very successful study, and sometimes my spanish doesn't come out like it should. I felt bad because i wasn't perfect. I came out swinging but the problem is that i was swinging the wrong way. I just wanted to be the best missionary, i didn't understand that to be able to become the best missionary (not compared to other missionaries, only in the sight of the Lord) you have to struggle, you have to have weaknesses because without them, we can never progress. 

As i thought about this a saying from my first companion and one of my best friends Elder Horlacher came to mind, There's never a perfect hero. The only perfect hero is the Lord. So i'll keep pushing, i'll put my part in so i can be the hero of my own story and one day i can be a hero in my own book. I'll do my best to make my Savior proud. 

Les amo,

Elder Funes

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 74 ~ Guamuchil, Sinaloa ~ Elder Alverenga

So this week was a week full of random stuff... hhaah to start off we had intercambios with the zone leaders, I was with Elder Funes, he is from Utah and let me tell you guys I think he is the only elder that is bigger than me, here in the mission!! haha ;) But really this elder is buff!!He's huge haha, but we got along great! He is a good friend that I have here in the mission. But we also had to go do an interview for a guy that was planning on getting baptized, it was good, he had a strong desire to change and be and do better! Then we had a stake conference in Los Mochis! about 1 hour and half. So we didn't get a lot done this week. But we learned lot! We learned how we need to make every second count. I know that we are given every second to do something productive, and it just depends on us if we use it, like it says in the Book of Mormon, we need to use this time of test for the best, we cant waste it! If we do we will never enter in the kingdom of God! We all need to focus our lives on Christ to be able to progress every day! I love you all and I hope you all have seen the Easter video and have shared it! Help the missionaries and give them references! This is the time!! 

Elder Horlacher

This was a part of Elder Funes letter to his mom last week:
Imagine a man the size of Nick Heninger yelling this like a little girl! There's two Elder Horlacher's in my mission, and they're both jacked! The Elder Horlacher in my zone is like 6'4 and like 220.... We had companion exchanges because he is one of the district leaders in my zone so he came to my area and it was a blast! We taught a ton of people! But when we got to the house, i don't know why but he got all spooked when i turned off the light to go to bed. So he began to talk to me and as i dozed of i realized he had asked me a question so i was like "what? we're you talking to me?" and he freaked out! "dude! turn on the light turn on the light!" "haha why elder?!" "turn in on man!" so i flipped it on just to see the giant mountain of a man huddled in a corner with his pillow! I about died from laughing! Then again when i flipped them off i got a cramp in my foot so i started like laughing and yelling and the guy about peed his pants! "Elder! What's happening?! TURN ON THE LIGHT TURN ON THE LIGHT!" Haha needless to say I died from laughing! He's an awesome missionary! 
These pictures were taken from a video that Kristen Funes sent to me. She said the title said, "Here is a video of this MOUNTAIN OF A MAN-Elder Horlacher, he's a stud

 Then Trevor sent this video of him and Elder Funes teaching some Mexican kids english words and they were chanting, "BAPTIZE ME, BAPTIZE ME, BAPTIZE ME!!!!"

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 73 ~ Guamuchil, Sinaloa ~ Elder Alverenga

So this week was a great one! but a hard one at the same time! haha to start off we had zone conference on Tuesday and we had to go over to Guasave which is an hour away in a bus.. so we got there and this day it was so cold like it was at 50 degrees!! and we were walking as if it was 80. haha But next thing we know it starts to pour!! and we were walking and still had like 4 blocks to get there, so we started to run! And well long story short is my shoes that I have had my whole mission died... They died when I started to run.. haha I think I'm going to let then rest in peace! haha but in the zone conference we learned more about the 
* Follow him and find a new life*
and let me tell you, it is one of the most coolest things to see and use here as a missionary! I love these videos, the cards to give to members, and non members, so that everybody can get closer to Christ! I am really learning a lot here in this part of my mission and area. I have felt more love for my Savior then I have ever at this moment in my life, I have felt this new life coming about me! I know that through our obedience we show our love for our Savior.. and that is something I put to the test this week. I have always been obedient but I really was only doing it because I have to be obedient, but something changed in me that my heart was softened and I had this desire and love to do it not because I felt like I had to, because I love my Savior! I have received the strength I needed for this week. 

This week we found a new investigator, Jose Fat. (that's literally his name) Jose, is one of those guys that has a lot of knowledge of the bible, but is stuck on the doctrine that says, "there will not be prophets and there will not be more testaments(scripture)"... so we started our lesson on the restoration. He was nice until we got to the great apostasy, that's when he started to pull out the scriptures.. haha we explained but he just wasn't having it.... so we decided to end the lesson, we invited him to read the pamphlet. We went by to see if he had read it and he did, but he marked all the things that he didn't like, and the scriptures that goes against it!! haha dang, we were just like, dang this guy is just not having it! But in the end he understood our point of view, but would NOT accept a Book of Mormon or even believe in other scriptures! But he still wants to listen... I don't know whats up with this guy but its really helped my testimony to grow more, and my studies have been a little better so I could prepare myself for these doubts that could enter my mind or his mind! But I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God and it can help us know the True characters of Jesus Christ, and More about the gospel! 

OOO I also wanted you all to know that I have hit my head so many times here on the door ways... in our house my head hits the top of the doorways at every doorway!! but I hope my pain gives you a little laugh:) ooooo and my companion hit a car with his bike!!! haha the car pulled out in front of him and he didn't have brakes and he hit the tire!!! haha it was so funny! nothing happened obviously he and the car were alright!  LIFE IN MEXICO!!!

Elder Horlacher
 When we got to the church we made our own raincoats to get back home, somewhat dry.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 72 ~ Guamuchil, Sinaloa ~ Elder Alverenga

Well I just want to start off this letter with a huge THANK YOU shout out to everyone who sent me a Happy Birthday wish.. haha I was sooo shocked when I opened my email on Monday. I always know that there would be a letter from my mom and sisters every Monday, but there were at least 60 something emails all for ME!!!! It made my day and put a huge smile on my face. This birthday of mine was one of the most simplest and non forgettable birthdays ever! Let me explain why haha to start off I have only a week here in my new area and NOBODY  knows me or when my birthday is haha so me and my comp went and bought a cake on Saturday. So Sunday I woke up and I forgot it was my birthday until..... I looked at the calendar haha my companion remembered after 3 hours of studies.. haha then we went and taught lessons and then went to church at 1:00. So not to forget that it's the first Sunday of the month (Fast Sunday)... so we ended the church services and I got to meet all the members. Then for food a member gave us like 2 day old spaghetti and beans to reheat. So we ate that in our house then ate cake too... Then we went to work... and my mission president called me and sang happy birthday... haha so I just want to thank all of you for wishing me a Happy Birthday it means a lot!

Well to tell you about my area, it is huge and we have bikes! My bike is actually kinda nice, its a beach cruiser and has brakes but I broke the brake off the handle bar... my area is really nice, the houses are huge!! like dang! they're big! but we have some investigators that are progressing a lot, one is Cristina, she loves the church and knows a lot, she wants to get baptized but she has a big challenge, she has been  living with a member for about 25 years now and they aren't married,they have a few kids together, (and here's the best part) the member is married with someone else from way back to 35 years ago!! So we need to help the member get divorced then married to Cristina so she can be baptized!haha but all is good! 

I really love Guamuchil, its really nice here, and I just want to share my testimony on how the Savior is always by our side if we ask him and choose the right. I was feeling a little bit down this week thinking about Valles (my last area-I was there 7 months) and the investigators there, and all the changes. When I started praying and from that moment to the rest of the week I have had such happiness and joy. I have felt the Holy Ghost stronger in my life.. I know that we also need to repent to be able to have the spirit with us and be able to receive the blessings that God has ready for us!! I love you all and we all have the need to repent!! So do it with a sincere heart. Love you all!

Elder Horlacher  
 Us at home celebrating Trevor's 20th Birthday with
homemade Chocolate Pie!!!