Monday, January 26, 2015

2015-01-26 TIme is Just Flying

Hey guys another week down here in the mission. Time is just flying. I have been talking to Elder F lately and he only has 24 days left... it is so crazy to just think that more than a year ago we were in Palencia, and I was just starting the mission. It seems like yesterday. But all is well in Zion here.

On Tuesday, we had a Zone Conference and we had workshops with president, hna. Crapo, and the assistants. 4 zones showed up to the conference and it is all good. Right now F is training so I have a brother in the mission. He is from New York. Cool kid. But all in all it was a great conference. We talked about ways to accelerate the work. We learned different ideas and things that we need to better.
In the night on Tuesday, we went to an appointment with an investigator. He is a pastor of a church and he is a friend of a member. And so we get there and he pulls out his bible and a sheet of paper full of questions, verses and things to just try and tear us down, and he says "are you ready to be converted to the truth?" I laugh and take out my Bible and Book of Mormon, and we go to a discussion. The first appointment with him was about the restoration, and we were going to read the Book of Mormon with him, but he started to bash with us, and so out of 20 questions, and verses he pulled out, he could not confound us. We defended verse after verse using just the Bible. He was sooooo frustrated with things that after the 20th question, he just sat there in silence. So I pulled out some verses in Ezekiel that talk about the stick of Judah and Ephraim and I ask him what does this mean. And he could not explain it. So I told him that the Book of Mormon is there to show men that God completes all his promises, that if he did not believe in continuing revelation given to man through prophets, then he did not know anything about the bible, or the nature of God. So he stood up and left, and said that he would study it and bring more verses to tear down Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon.

Experiences like that just tell me how bad the world is lost in confusion, and how the restoration of the gospel came forth, but the apostasy still runs rampant. It also testifies to me the truthfulness of the church and the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for the knowledge of the gospel, because it helps me and others to change their lives. With the true gospel we are not in darkness but we have the light. With this light, we need to know it well, and use it to help others in the darkness. Hahaha I didn't want to bash with the guy, but oh well.

The rest of the week went great, and we have been giving a lot of service this past week. Shoveling dirt, etc. and it’s all good.

We had stake conference here too, and it was great. They are focusing on the basics: prayer, scripture study, family home evening, fasting, and church attendance. These things help us stay healthy with the spirit and in the right path.

Well have a good week guys, take care, and I love you!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

1/19/15 Another Week Here in Alameda!

Hey guys!  Another week down here in Alameda.  Time flies and this week went by really fast as well... I can't believe that the sister missionaries that arrived at the MTC the same time when I came are going to finish in a few weeks!  Wow, eighteen months already?

Haha!  Well this past week was great.  We worked really hard.  On Wednesday, President Crapo, Hermana Crapo, and the Assistants came to work in the zone with us.  We woke up early to prepare for the meeting.  I had to give a district meeting in front of the missionaries from my district, and one of the Assistants, Elder G. from Guatemala.

Then we went to work.  From 3:30 in the afternoon to 9 at night we worked with one of the Assistants’ Elder S.  It was great and we gave it our all.  He helped us learn some new ways to teach, and we took him around our area.  One of the things that we learned is that the Lord is preparing families.  We contacted all the families we saw on the street and we got return visits later on in the week.  A lot of the families are really good and receptive.  So we worked like that for the rest of the week.  We are finding a lot of investigators teaching a bunch of lessons... but the biggest challenge for us right now in the area is getting people to go to church.  We cannot baptize them if they do not go to church.  Yesterday we were kind of let down because only a few of the investigators showed up to church.  But it is all good... we are going to work on that and focus on that this coming week.

I was reading in the teachings of Joseph Smith, there is a section called "the evils of rushing ordination" and he says that we should not rush ordination or any other ordinance on people that are not ready for the responsibility.

The second half of the week we kind of hit a wall.  I was thinking long and hard about why... and I realized that the Lord is telling us he wants us to work in a different way.  Out of 18 new converts only 3 shows up regularly.  We cannot expect the Lord to bless us with more blessings or people to teach, nor baptisms, if we cannot take care and respect what we already have and have been blessed with.  This week we are going to work with what we already have, and try to better that. 

But all in all, a good week! I love you guys, and take care!  Don’t forget to say your prayers and read your scriptures everyday.

Monday, January 12, 2015

1/5/15 & 1/12/15 Guatemala Is GREAT!

hahaha that is pretty funny that Hermana mentioned me.  Well this past week went by real fast, and we were able to enjoy the time here in the area.  I think the best thing that makes the area enjoyable are the members.  The members here are super fun and very kind to the missionaries.  

On the 31st, I taught district meeting and the rest of the day was spent visiting members and investigators sharing messages of New Years and putting goals.  Most of our appointments fell through because everyone leaves to go to travel to the beach for the day and do stuff with family in other parts of the country, but it was all fun.

In the night we went and had a BBQ with the prior bishop of the ward here.  I love that family.  We both put half-half of the food, and we just spent time with them.  They are struggling a little on the financial side and a few days ago the wife, Hermana mentioned that they did not know what they were going to do for new years with the family.  So we went and shared food with them.  After we got there, more members came to the house at 9pm.

Then we went home and had a bonfire on the roof of the house with the other elders in my district who live next to us.  We had smores and just watched the fireworks and people milling about in the street on the rooftop.  Then we went to sleep.

The rest of the week was good and normal.  People are a little more receptive because they want to make a good start to the New Year. 

I’m loving it here.   This Sunday, I will have a chance to go back to La Leyenda and baptize C.  I am looking forward to that and I am really excited.

In this area, I feel like we are here to help reactivate a lot.  Recently that is where we have been having success.  Yesterday, we helped a woman that was baptized 2 months ago.

Well that is all for now, I love you.  Have a good week, and take care!

Hey!  This past week was super, super great.  I was able to go back to La Leyenda, my last area and baptize C. O. the father of familia O.  It was great!  

Our church services here finished at 1pm and so we were scrambling to leave and catch 2 buses to get to La Leyenda.  I got off the bus and as we walked into the chapel I was greeted by a whole bunch of people.  I was so surprised to see all the people there.   Somehow all of them including all of my converts found out that I would be there.  So this room was packed with families and people from the ward waiting for the baptism.

It was a great service and the baptism went by really well.  One thing though was that there was almost no water in the font.  Only enough water to come up to my shin, or almost to my knee.  We tried doing it standing 2 times but there was not just enough water so finally I told him "kneel down" and so we both knelled down in the water and finally I was able to submerge him completely.  I cannot explain how much joy I felt.  My joy was full!  I feel so satisfied. 

This man was one of the hardest investigator and may I throw in there the least likely candidate for baptism.  He was drinking, and smoking the whole time we were teaching him and his family, but he was always was attentive and listened to what we had to say.  We won his confidence little by little helping him with English as he knows and understands a lot of it.  And as we were changing he told me that after I left, he said that he just sat down and thought about what we told him, and then realized that he needed to get things right with God.  That he is too old to be fooling around with his health, physically and spiritually.  I am happy and I felt good. 

Another thing that really touched me was that the people that participated in the baptismal program were Jason, my convert and others that we worked with.  Hearing their testimonies and how they turned around their lives just testifies to me that the Lord knows, and prepares people in small and diverse ways.  It is our job as sons and daughters of God to help others along the way.  

One of the biggest regrets that a missionary can have is looking back and saying "I could have saved him..." and that is one of my biggest nightmares.  Not working and saving the souls that God has prepared.  I am really trying my best and working really hard here.  I am happy at how things are turning out.

Time just keeps passing and I know I will have to start life and school in about 8 months or so, but right now none of that matters.  I testify and know that I am engaged in the Lord’s work for now and I am in the Lords Errand.

I Love you guys and have a great week!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014-12-23 & 29 Enjoying the Holidays

Hey guys how are things going?

This past week was great and we are all just preparing for Navidad.  We had a whole bunch of stuff going.   We had meetings with president Crapo and Hna. Crapo and yesterday we celebrated Navidad together with 4 other zones.  We met up and I got to see Elder Farr and some of my old comps.  It is kind of weird standing in meetings like these and being one of the older guys in the crowd.  Not really in age but have more time in the mission.  You see all these young and new faces with all their preoccupations and excitement.  There is an elder in our zone that is just suffering.  He is homesick and I tried to talk to him, and cheer him up, but it is going a little rough for him.  I remember back when I started and a year ago I was in Palencia with barely 3 months talking to you guys last Christmas was very hard.  And I’m sure he is missing his family this Christmas.

At the conference we ate turkey, mashed potato, and stuffing.  Then we watched a movie called Iron Will by Disney.  It is really great.  It is about a young 17 year old boy that goes on a dog sled race against seasoned veterans to win and save the family farm in order to go to school and study.  I recommend it.

The area is going great and you can just feel Christmas in the air.  I love it here.  There is no better time to work for the Lord than in Navidad.  I love you all! Take care, and FELIZ NAVIDAD!!! Espero que tengan una navidad bien calidad, y mando saludos a todos de mis amigos, familiares y el barrio! (Hope you have a good quality Christmas, and send greetings to all my friends, family and the neighborhood!)

Well Christmas week went really well here.  I am glad that I got to talk to you guys. I am glad to see that you are all doing great there.  Elijah is so big, and you guys look great Mom and Dad.

This past week was great and we were able to get a little work done here, but we mainly just enjoyed the week with members and investigators that invited us to spend Christmas with them.  On Wednesday, they call it la noche buena or the night before Christmas.  We just roamed around that day eating with people.  We ate 14 tamales, and they make this fruit cocktail kind of hot drink called Ponche.  We had fun and in the night we had to be in the house by 9.

The day after the 25 we just practically did the same thing.  We learned how to make bread and so in the afternoon with a group of investigators we made bread, and then went back to eat in the night.  All in all we had a good week.  Just preparing for new years now.

I found out that I have permission to go back and baptize C.O. on the 13th of January from my last area so we will see.  I’m excited to be able to go back and baptize him.  This coming week is changes, so I don't know yet if I am staying.

Thanks for everything, Love you guys, and have a good week!

Helping a family get ready for a Christmas Party.
 Bread and tamales.

Elder Farr.