It was great to speak with you! Despite all of the phone lines and mess, we managed it. Yeah! That´s awesome to hear about Ruben and the new member in the ward family - Martin, and about the baking adventures. Oh... baked goods. How I love them... ;) haha.
Well... what do I say? This is the last letter. AH!!!!!!!!! Not cool. But I am readyyyyyyyy to go to work! :D. We´ve got lots of plans Monday and Tuesday to go find those people who are waiting to hear the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yeah! Our investigator situation as of right now is basically the same, trying to find those people are who looking to know the truth. Lots of funny stories though... they´ll have to wait ´til home. Sorry! I was thinking about what I was going to say today, and I decided that I would write my testimony. Qué le parece?
The mission has been an absolutely amazing experience. I have learned SO MUCH! I have seen many changes in the lives of those I have been able to serve and in my own life. It really is true the saying, losing yourself in the service of others brings to pass miracles in your own life. The times I most changed were those times I spent of all my energy, focus and time on serving those around me. Be it my companion, the members, investigators or random people in the street. Another saying I grew to appreciate, people don´t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Charity and love is such an important part of life. Really, without it, life is kind of self-centered and dull. Missionary work without charity is just about impossible. Reaching the Celestial Kingdom without it IS impossible. I´ve learned so much about what love can do for other people and their progression towards eternal life. And then, I grew to love these people from the bottom of my heart, being happy with their progression and positive changes in their lives, and more determined to help them when they are going through hard times. I have learned a lot about mercy and justice. Truly, justice does not work without mercy, and mercy without justice does not work. If I were completely just and not merciful, where is the love I have for others? Where is the charity? If I were completely merciful and not just, what does that say about the laws of God and the importance of keeping the commandments and that no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of Heaven? Thankfully, the answer is Jesus Christ. He suffered the price for all sins. For all pains. For all sickness. And through Him, the only Mediator between us and the Father, all He requires of us is to keep the commandments and to repent of our sins. Heavenly Father is perfectly just, yet perfectly merciful, because our Savior and Redeemer. Repentance really is a merciful gift from the Father, as He allows us to change and become more like His Son every day. Having faith in with the promise of forgiveness allows us to freely repent and to trust in our Lord and Savior. Baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost are also requirements. And enduring to the end, faithfully and joyfully, allows us to become like our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I personally know that our Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us. That He loves us. That He has hope for us. And through His Son, we can live with Him again. The Book of Mormon is a powerful testament of these truths. It truly is the word of God and is another testament of Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ, His church, was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. He was called and ordained of God. Christ is our Savior, and by His stripes, we are healed. Even though our sins be as scarlet, they can as white as snow. By His grace, He gives us mercy. By His justice, He requires our hearts and minds dedicated to live His gospel and keeping His commandments. Of this I know. With surety, without doubt. And all who desire can know the truth. Just seek, and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened. Have faith, trust in the Lord, and let the Lord change your life. It is possible because it happened to me!
Well, that was long. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! And I will be home by NEW YEARS! :D
Cool week! That is so exciting! I am glad that everything is going well for you all! Man... I remember the day Alec left... whoa... time flies by!! Gotta love every minute of it. :) So you are officially in winter break mom? I suppose so. I would imagine with this Sunday being Christmas. I am honestly so confused as to how States life is. I am going to have a culture shock coming back... hahaha... awesome! Baptism in the ward! I am willing to help the missionaries out teaching lessons if they want! It´ll be awesome!!!!!!! :) Especially if they are teaching in Piru. Let´s do it! :) Oh... Dad always knows what he is talking about. Much to my chagrin... ;).
This week... hmm. Well, we have been working with several new investigators trying to help them progress and receive the blessings that the Lord is offering them. A lot of talking in the street and meeting new people, but the Lord has prepared these people to receive the restored Gospel. We have a new ward mission leader, and he is super excited to do the work! He is so pumped up! It´s awesome to see his excitement and his ideas and advice to help bring more people to Christ. This Thursday we had an End of the Year ward party, and the ward asked us to put on a skit thing. It´s hard to explain, but we were ´mini´ missionaries, I being the new missionary and Elder Clement the trainer, which was a lot of fun!! I have to get the video from him... I couldn´t get it on my camera. But it was quite enjoyable. So this week is going to be a building up week so that we can have some strong progressing investigators that can be baptized in January. Kewl!
Well, MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone, enjoy the wonderful time of the year that we have to worship the birth of our Savior, and to spend the time with the family. It is a wonderful time of the year and should be treasured! Talk to you SUNDAY!! Love you!!
Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaa it´s already December 12th. Crazy... time flies doesn´t it? I think by the time we get home everything in the house will be replaced or different... hahahaha... ;). Just giving you a bad time. Trunky... no time to be trunky. I am still showing my companion around the area, although he has picked up quite a bit for being here a week and a half. I also have another missionary companionship I need to work with and their area, so busy busy busy. Wow... Alec is already back. Ruben and Alex are getting home too. Paul got his call!!!!!!!!! Sweet jacks! Going to Mexico! Yeah! If I had anything to say, the new missionary (Elder Rodriguez?) would be going. 5 months is a long time in your first area. Just my thoughts.
Well... the work is going!! We are working hard trying to find the chosen and elect people who are ready to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We´ve been seeing many ups and downs, but gotta keep pressing on. Gotta keep moving. It´s hard work, but that´s the way the missionary work is. I don´t know what else to say. We are still working with Martirez and his family. The kids are reading and loving the Book of Mormon. Our other family we´ve been working with, are doing good. They all came to church on Sunday ) the dad is an ex missionary). The only problem is that Daniela, the wife, is moving with the kids next week, so the missionaries will have to keep working with her down there. We´ve been trying to find a lot of new investigators, so the work keeps moving on. Y... así es. And that´s the way the cookie crumbles. The mission is focusing on finishing the year strong, so we are going to do our part and work work work. Yesterday the stake had an activity for youth wanting to leave on the mission so we were invited to share a bit with them and our experiences. That was fun.
Well... I don´t have much to say this week. Sorry! I hope everything keeps going well! I love you all! TAKE CARE!!!
WHOA! It is so weird being in the city... everyone is up to date (as much as you can be here). Last year I didn´t really hear or see too much American Christmas influence, but here in Cidade del Este, there is a ton! Super weird... I was with my new comp, Elder Tilleman, in the market and heard a bunch of Christmas music... weird... but anyway. That sounds like everything is going great for you all! Time is flying by pretty quickly huh? Cottage cheese... I forgot that existed. And sour cream... whoa. Way to go super tech mom! You are learning! Yeah!! :D Guacamole... Salsa Mexicana... whoa... you are blowing my mind... hahaha. Cool the Christmas party! Our end of year party for the ward is the 15th... there is going to be a talent show and we´ve been invited to do a skit, we the 4 missionaries. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. What can we do? Hehehe...Well, I guess I will get started.
Well, like I said, I have a new companion! He is from Phoenix, Arizona, and has been in the mission for 6 months. He speaks really well for his time, and is starting to pick up Guaraní. Something I´ve forgotten a lot of, but it´s fun learning it again with him. I am his third companion, and Ciudad del Este is his 2nd area. And I am not a Zone Leader anymore, so I´m NOT IN ASUNCION!!! YEAH!!! That was pretty exciting news... not having to travel last night. Always such a bother. Traveling on the omnibus isn´t so much fun being tall... it´s hard to sleep. Oh, Elder Tilleman is taller than me (6´4´´ ish) super weird. My tallest companion by far. I feel little walking with him. I really miss Elder Eddy, he was a ton of fun to be with. We worked well together and had the same vision, which makes the difference in a companionship. We are working with Martirez and his kids, they are super awesome. We taught them the Sabbath Day last night and I really enjoy seeing their faith and growth. They have a baptismal date for the end of the month, but I would love for them to be baptized the weekend before on Christmas Eve. I can see it happening! We´ve got a lot of new investigators that we are working with, so we will see how they progress. I am just super excited to work with Martirez and with the members so that we can make the change in their family and see that great big smile that comes from a new understanding of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Love it!
Well, life is going good. We are working hard. I am always learning a lot. It´s hot but not too hot yet. The heat should be cranking up in these next few days and weeks. Gotta love the summer!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, questions comments concerns? Jokes? I am all ears! Love you mean it let’s do lunch. Keep working hard! I love being a missionary! That´s the way to be! Take care of yourselves!!!!!!!!! CHAU!!!!
How´s it going? It sounds like you had a great thanksgiving week! That is awesome! So I guess the new back door is made out of steel then? I guess I will have to be careful in not getting my hand stuck in there when it slams shuts. That wouldn´t be fun at all. Not a bit. Got to keep working hard at surfing! You can do it! . That`s great you went to go visit Brandon. I am sure he enjoyed the company. We had a good week, so I`ll get started.
Well... on Wednesday we had our zone conference. It was a really good experience. It helped me learn and realize things I need to work, both as a missionary and a as a person. We had many examples that were rather enjoyable (no rules, what do we do, rules, basketball, golf clubs - you can carry 14 with you, who needs 14? Really??, use everything available, situations of being obedient, stuff like that). It broke the routine of what we normally do in zone conferences so it was a really nice change. Elder Eddy also had his final interview with President Callan after the zone conference. Whoa!!! My second companion who has finished his mission with me. It is quite the experience, let me tell you. I have learned a ton in these 4 months with Elder Eddy, and putting them in practice will help me a lot. The beginning of the week was pretty rough with our investigators... everyone just seemed to lose interest and not want to make changes in their lives. But, the end of the week was really good! We had an awesome lesson with Craig and Daniela, the return missionary and his wife from Argentina, where she expressed some of her doubts and was able to resolve some of them by herself on the spot. Pretty cool! It is a process still, but I have faith that she will be baptized! On Saturday, we went to go to talk to a man that´s a friend of a member who is a single father with 6 kids, ages 13 12 10 8 6 3, and works from 12 - 9 every afternoon except for Sundays. He, Martirez, was really receptive and is an awesome guy! His kids are pretty cool too! It was a big find for us, so we will be working hard with him so that he progresses and comes to church next week. Saturday night, the other missionaries from our ward had a baptism of a 24 year old guy, Victor, and he shared his testimony after his baptism. He´s got a strong testimony. It was cool to hear about his progress and where he is at now.
I still don´t know the changes, but I will be staying here. It makes me happy to be here with the members and having yet another opportunity to find those people waiting to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Well, it sounds like you had a great week! That is awesome! I did have Bill Garfield as a sub before. That is sad to hear that he passed away.
Being busy is good... better than having nothing to do!!! :D.
This week was all right. We´ve had to drop a few of our investigators because they weren´t progressing. That´s always a little hard to do, especially when they are very good people. That´s life though. We have to make changes if we hope to become better. We did find a family this week that has been going through some tough times. The mom had some experiences with the church when she was a youth and has desires to change. Her kids are pretty funny... every one of them has a nickname for around the house. The oldest kid, Marcos, is 16 plays the guitar really well and sings. He is in a youth group type of thing where they have a band that plays religious music. He played a song at the end of a lesson that was pretty cool to listen to. They are all super good people so we are going to help them progress!! We also were working with a couple, Craig and Daniela. Craig is a return missionary from the 90´s and his wife is from Argentina who has known the church for a very long time. They have been coming to church, and their little girls participated in the primary presentation the other week. They are progressing little by little, so we will see where that comes out to. Another member from who lived in San Lorenzo brought his girlfriend (who is a lawyer!!) to church and she is interested in the church. Currently she is living in another area but she will be moving this week. Hopefully she will progress too! That´s all that we´ve got for now... but this week should be a good one. And yes, it is raining here. But that´s nothing new... it´s been raining every weekend for the past month, except yesterday. Which was nice. But yeah, we are working, and hopefully everything will come out the way we planned!
Thank you for your love and support. It means a lot for me. Take care of yourselves! I LOVE YOU!!!
First off... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I didn´t forget, and I have it written in my agenda if you don´t believe me. ;). And for your birthday, like Dad´s last year... BAPTISM! Yeah! ;) What luck, huh?? Good news around the board it sounds like... I do remember you saying something about Elder Sessions a while ago... I think when I trained. Around then. Pig Latin... please no. English is hard enough. Hahaha. The paper letter? It should arrive in time (1 month´s time) and that would be cool to get right before Christmas. Digamos a christmas present. ... Digamos would be.... let´s say? Something like that. Kewl... 14 hours of school. It works.
Alrighty. This week. Hard, but good. BAPTISM!!!! Yeah!! Finally!!!! But we did receive some rather strange news on Wednesday... Blanca, the lady who was going to be baptized, was told by her older son who is 21 that they had been baptized about 12 years ago in Ca´aguazu (Where I started). She didn´t remember anything, but we sent off her information in search of the truth. Lots of calls between the office, the missionaries in Ca´aguazu, and finally an email to Buenos Aires confirmed that she is a member, on Friday morning. CRAZY!!!! That drove us both up the wall because we had to figure out stuff for her interview, the baptism that weekend, but in the end, everything came out really well. Her son, Hugo, got baptized and was SUPER EXCITED! Elder Eddy baptized him and it went really well. Hugo even participated in the Primary program this Sunday, and did a great job! It is so cool to see his energy and excitement, and that his mom has a new growing testimony with which we are going to baptize her other son who isn´t a member and work with the oldest son and his girlfriend. Yeah! Rain threatened to postpone everything, but with the help of members and their cars (WHAT A BLESSING IT IS TO HAVE A CAR!!!!!) everything came out really well. We also had a big scare on Wednesday, the second counselor and the Bishop had a motorcycle accident, the 2nd counselor is a motorcycle taxi driver, and as they were approaching the Bishop´s house and turning the corner, another motorcycle slammed into them at full speed from behind. Luckily, they both were wearing their helmets and nobody was hurt really bad. Even the kid who crashed (and wasn´t wearing a helmet) came out of it all right... it will take a while for him to get back on his feet though. We found out when the 2nd counselor got home with his beat up bike and pretty torn up clothing... so after giving him a blessing, we went to the Bishop´s house the next day and gave him a blessing too. Motorcycles are insane... but everything came out alright. What a blessing. We are still working hard and trying our best. Life is good, and that´s the way the cookie crumbles.
Well... that´s about it. Happy happy birthday, have a great week. I love you. Thank you for EVERYTHING!!! Please please take care of yourselves. LOVE YOU!!!