Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28, 2014

 A note from Anelieze Castrejon, Elder Castrejon's sister-in-law: It's almost been a year since we've posted any messages from Elder Castrejon. I slacked off a little but I wanted to start sharing again. This one particularly touched me since Elder Castrejon sounded so wise, much wiser than his 20 years. Enjoy.

Dear Family and Friends,
I am always grateful to share with you a piece of what I go through on my mission. I think to myself, how you must feel, or think about what I write and how I write it. If there is one thing I would like you to feel when reading my emails, it would be: to feel that I have changed, and continue to change every week. Change is the very nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The very core to God's plan. As my old football coach would tell me: "You're either getting better or getting worse, there is no in between!". My coach was right. In this short moment of mortality we call "life" we are either getting better or worse. Becoming like Our Savior Jesus Christ or becoming like Mr. you know who.

A question I like to ask myself... and other missionaries on exchanges is: Were you better than who you were yesterday?

I think it is a valuable question we can all ask ourselves. In preach my gospel (the manual for missionary work of the church) states: "Just as vital as what you do, is WHO YOU ARE"
My Mother always used to tell me before I left the home: REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE!
I wish I would have remembered... it probably would've saved me a lot of heartache and trouble.
But who are we?! Do you know who you are?

In the scriptures we are taught that we are the very offspring of God. We are his children! He loves us! AND He loves YOU! If a person truly understood their identity in God's plan, that person would have a much easier time understanding the rest of his plan (and that's why it is the first principle we teach as missionaries). The opposition will try to deceive us and make us think we are more or less than who we really are. But in remembering who we are; we can say as Moses once did: "I am a son of God."
I would like to write you my testimony that I know God lives. And that he is very involved in your lives whether you see it or not. He is a loving Heavenly Father who listens, and responds. Anyone who has faith in him can access his power and forgiveness. I am a witness of this. I have not seen God, but I have felt him. He loves every single living creature and is anxiously engaged in their lives. He wants me, you, and everyone around us to return to him one day. I know he keeps his promises, because I've seen them fulfilled.

His work is hastening. This is real. Greg just returned home off his mission and Carmen Castaneyra just got her mission call to Wash. Dc North in Spanish and will be starting her mission with one of the young men here in Montreal who got called there as well (on the same day. Sept. 3). How ironic.

Transfer calls are coming up on Saturday and I have a gut feeling that I am leaving... We shall see. And in the next 2-3 months. Our mission will have 53 greenies/new missionaries. The face of our mission will change completely. Our Mission President has a lot of faith and knows everything will work out fine but in a week he has to assign 20 new trainers, 1 new office missionary, 8 new district leaders, 4 new zone leaders, 1 new assistant, 2 new Sister Training Leaders. This gives opportunity to a lot of our missionaries to lead and to grow. It is very exciting! But also a very delicate situation. We are hoping to keep the culture of our mission and train these new elders and sisters correctly :)

This past weekend. we had our ward mission activity. The ward had not had an activity in forever! So the missionaries took charge and with the help of the members we put together a fun activity at the park and called it: "Bring a friend!"

Everyone thought it was going to rain that day! BUT with faith, the missionaries prayed and not one drop of rain fell that evening. It was a huge success! It surpassed my expectations. We have built a lot of trust and enthusiasm into the ward in my last 3 months here in the Zarahemla Ward.

Share the gospel! There is nothing more fun!
Love you all! Have a great week :)

ps. so many good movies have come out lately... it had to be on my mission.........

Monday, May 12, 2014

Photos May-July 2014

May 12, 2014

Eddy came back into reactivity. Roberta (lady in purple) just got her answer about the book of Mormon and knows its true. Caroline (purple skirt) wants to serve a full time mission. And the old man with the hat is being prepared to be baptized as well. Through Eddy, his parents, his siblings and 4 non members have been introduced or re-introduced to the church.

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014

We will be hearing from Elder Andersen (Quorum of 12) & His wife, Gerald Causse (Presiding Bishopric) & His Wife, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom (First Quorum of 70), and Elder David Homer (Our area 70) ... and all 200 missionaries and 4 stake presidents will be there as well. It is going to be sweeeeeeeeeeeeet. I will try my best to set apart as much time as I can to my letter to you all next week to update you on its intensity :)
This week had a lot of crazy experiences but I'm still alive and going!

have a great week!

pic: Caleb's baptism (Had the blessing of interviewing him as well)

Elder Castrejon

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014

IT'S MARCH ALREADY?!?!?!I hope you all realize that on May 1rst. I will be out for 1 full year.

Anyways, I'll share a cool experience I had this week.
So my new companion Elder Hardy is a NERD. I love him!
He listens to classical music, eats like a pig, has a funny voice, super intelligent when it comes to the gospel and other smart stuff. Hates math though. Super creative. Played trombone for the BYU marching band. Has a problem with contacting people. Makes really sarcastic jokes. And this week he had a dream that he pee'd himself so he woke up and changed his pants, then realized it was just a dream.

This is going to be an awesome transfer. Hahahahahaaha.

Anyways, like I said... Elder Hardy has a hard time talking to people on the fly. So we've made goals to talk to more people. So one day, on the bus home. We sat down in different areas of the bus so we could talk to people and Elder Hardy started to talk to some "big bearded lady" (he described her as) ... and I noticed he was contacting her!!! so I said to myself: "If Elder Hardy is doing it, I gotta do it too!" ... so I look to the person I'm sitting next to and it is a young Chinese man.

FYI: Lately I've been learning how to speak some Mandarin Chinese so that I can contact people and testify.

So I decided to practice my Mandarin. I contacted him in Chinese and set up an appointment with him! (He spoke some fair English as well) He is what you call a golden investigator.
He expressed to me how all his life he has wanted to "follow God" and how he liked previous experiences with going to church. He just moved here for school and needs friends. I'm praying Greg (his name) will get baptized. I just know it!!!
Anyways, that's my short story! :)

this is a picture of Simon. I taught him on splits with the Mandarin Elders and he was baptized 2 weeks ago! This week I did a baptismal interview for an Islam guy named Arzan and his baptism will be this weekend! So excited!

Have a great week!!! 

(oh yeah... I ate pupusas last weeks for the first time on my mission)

Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24, 2014

Elder Hardy is hilarious. We're probably the shortest companionship in the mission. So sorry I forgot my pictures! I left my camera at home.
The District had another baptism and everything is going well :)
I don't have much time, but I hope all of you have a great week!

I'll send some good pictures next week!

Elder Castrejon

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

Elder Rock is getting transferred to outer darkness! Haha, just kidding! But he is getting transferred to the most French area in the mission. Its called the City Alma. It is the northern area of our mission, and its boundaries lead all the way up to the north pole. He's super excited to speak and learn French finally! And he was astonished to know that his companion was someone he said: "I would hate being that guys companion" ... I guess The Lord has a sense of Humor, right?

  Speaking of sense of humor... I am receiving Elder Hardy from Washington State. He is one transfer younger than me. And I have to be completely honest, when I heard Elder Hardy was coming to YSA with me, I was confused. He was the last person I saw replacing Elder Rock. Lets just say, I question his social skills. I've met him twice and he is a ball of sunshine though. His attitude is what I love about him. Always positive and smiling. He just had a baptism last week, so he's coming with fire power! haha. But as far as I know, he's this nerdy nerdy white kid. Some sisters say: "You will have to break him out of his shell" ...
  I have no doubt he is an awesome missionary and, I'm just excited and a little nervous to see how he adapts to YSA in an English area. I am expecting some fun stories with this companion! I will get him Wednesday.
  Elder Rangel (the other mexican missionary that I love so much) is leaving our apartment to Montreal. So we will have 2 new Elders in our 4 man. Its going to be so so so different. I think it will be good though... more peace, and less screaming and kicking.
  Everything is going well, just excited to see what lies ahead...

Until next week!
(preaching to every creature)

You should stalk our facebook! We post some funny stuff! Don't add us though... that'd be weird. [DowsLakeElders]

Elder Castrejon

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014


Just for everyone's information: On your mission, when you have weeks where you feel like everything is going wrong... that just indicates that a miracle is waiting to happen.

World-wide, missionaries are expected to be teaching a minimum of 20 lessons a week. (yes, for some missions its harder than others, but the standard of excellence for all missionary team is 20 a week)
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but this week, we finally had 22! Never before in my mission have I hit 20. Earlier in Victoriaville, we hit 18. But they weren't the best of lessons.
I can honestly say, 90% of the lessons we taught this week were powerful and meaningful. Teaching-wise, this has been the best week of my whole mission. With some new training we received at Zone Conference, my companion Elder Rock and I applied the things we were taught to do by The Mission. We have been time-managing well, and using all the tools given to us to be successful missionaries. We're going back to the basics, and doing what preach my gospel simply states. See, when you grow older in the mission, you start to naturally forget the fundamentals that The Lord has set out for his work. You start to gain confidence and trust in yourself and sometimes forget what got you to that point. Well, I feel like I started to become that way, and I'm super happy I was reminded of how to really do it right.
I now feel like I'm getting the hang of things. I feel like, I get it. Like, things just make sense and to always remember as we do things The Lord's way... we can not fail. My companion has been here for 5 transfers, and its his greenie area, so he will probably be transferred next week. Elder Rock is kind of sad because he thinks I'm going to baptize like 523487 people once he leaves. But needless to say, we have been preparing a lot of people to receive the blessings of baptism and its awesome!
Hey, if y'all get an email next Monday that says I'm training again, don't be surprised... all the missionaries out here keep casting curses on me that I'm going to train another greenie. Training is so fun... but so energy consuming. I don't know how I feel about that whole idea. And to be honest, I don't know if I'd want that right now haha. I guess we'll keep that suspense until next week where we will have our transfer calls! :)
Singles ward is awesome. Teaching people who are finding their personal testimonies is awesome. We teach young people who are trying to find themselves in life, who want real testimony not something they were born into. We teach people with abstract ideas, and high level of intelligence. We are challenged by theological, and religious students. We come across people who simply meet with us to just make a statement. It's awesome!!!!!
You all know me pretty well, and I'm a person that enjoys logical conversion. I love making "A Loving Heavenly Father" become logical to the common atheist, or college student. There is nothing more rewarding than bringing the gospel into these young lives. And there is nothing more fun than cracking jokes with people my age and hearing about the grammy's and justin bieber getting arrested. As you can see, The Lord knows where to put his missionaries. Lol.
Just the other day I taught a less active, who we're trying to have quit smoking weed. Its funny, because he happens to be a rapper. I asked him: "why and when do you smoke?" he replied: "Not often, only when I'm going to rap. It helps me thing freely, and more words come to my head faster." and I said: "hey, well I can rap pretty fast, and I don't need that crap".
I don't know, I thought that was funny.
Things are going well, just trying to work well with the ward council and kicking things into shape over here in Dows Lake. Just feeling nervous about a new companion, and a little stress from responsibilities... but other than that, I'M DOING AWESOME. Thank you for praying for me, I do feel them help me and my companion.

Until next time,
Elder Castrejon

ps. We're having a WHOLE mission conference March 22, with a member of the quorum of the 12 presiding, a member of the presiding bishopric, and a 70.

(When we heard this news... we pooped our pants.)

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3, 2014

Julia was baptized and confirmed this weekend, in our district. I had the pleasure of teaching her on splits.
She is amazing and she is learning English.
But, her testimony is one I will never forget.

Two people in two weeks who grew up knowing nothing about their Father in Heaven who loves them. Amazing to see them and their happiness :)

Elder Castrejon

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

Hello everyone!
This week has been a faith testing week.
8 of our lessons got canceled in a row on us between 2 days.
Our investigator with a baptismal date for Feb, 1, 2014 blocked our phone number and is now hiding from us (let me tell you, this guy is totally sane, and has a huge testimony of the restored gospel) and we dont know whats going on!!!
My companion lost one of his tags... ugh.

Ok, I'll stop naming off all the negative things that happened this week.


Our district is having another baptism this Saturday!She is Chinese and awesomeeeeeee.

We went out knocking doors with a member named Paul and basically, we got into a apartment with 2 young girls from Africa and he testified to them of his conversion and how the book of Mormon is true and made one cry! Of this experience the girl said: "I'm so sorry... everything was just going wrong today, and all my plans were failing... and I was having a really rough day... UNTIL YOU CAME AND KNOCKED ON MY DOOR" ... (ahh... the old fashioned favorite words of a missionary)

have a great week!

ps. in case you're wondering why my emails are getting shorter... its because I now have to write to the mission president every monday about the district... and it takes long haha sorry fam!


Elder Castrejon

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

Yayyyyyyyyyyyy my district had a baptism!
Taylor! I was able to be apart of her confirmation. She is awesome :)

So last week was not very cold. Everyone is freaking out because they are like: "Why aren't we freezing????" ... BUT, the coldness has come back as of today... with a vengeance might I add.

Our investigator came to church for the first time and he loved it!!!!!!
His name is BLESSING. Yes.... like what we get from Heavenly Father. lol
He is awesome.

What else to add?
I'm eating at IKEA today. yeah like the furniture... apparently they have food there and its really popular in Canada? weird. but we're eating meatballs with The Adams (senior couple) today :)

Running out of time as always, but I love you! have a great one!

Elder Castrejon

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Dear friends and family.
The mission is ready for blast off. Second transfer in Dows Lake YSA (Ottawa) has started out awesomeeeee. We got 2 new missionaries in the district which is exciting and we have a couple baptisms coming up in the district!

We have been teaching 15-20 lessons a week and things are getting back to normal after the holidays. Been working hard and trying to teach new people. Less actives are coming back and the work is HASTENING.

The members and the missionaries are finally on the same page, and The Lord's work is being accomplished!

The cold isn't too cold. Except for -40 celcius. THAT HURTS.

Like seriously.

Well something pretty cool that has been happening lately is that my companion Elder Rock and I have set a goal of setting 365 copies of The book of Mormon this year in 2014. We have already set about 25. We don't go back to the apartment at night until we place one in the nice hands of a soul and testify to them about the restoration. And I can tell you, we are being blessed for this new years resolution.

I encourage all of you to present your goals to God. He will help you. I promise.

Anyways... the sidewalks are pretty much PURE ICE BLOCKS. We basically ice skate to our appointments. We have seen people fall SOOOO HARD. Like, they get injured. The sidewalks are sooooooo slippery. Its kind of fun cause me and my companion race sometimes back to the apartment and we almost die. hahaha.

So for transfers none of my apartment got transferred. We're all together still! With the Zone Leaders eating yummy mexican food every day with Elder Rangel and I teaming up and cooking haha. I love being in a "4 man apartment". Nothing but laughter and beating up each other,

... and of course missionary work.

I never have enough time to write everything I want but I hope everyone has a great week! see ya later! :)

Elder Castrejon