Monday, May 13, 2013
Fam, Welp, down to the last week in the mission! Next week I`ll arrive back in Texas to spend some quality time with mom and pops. The mission has been so amazing. I really can say I`ve seen miracles as I`ve served with the Lord. I would like to share what the mission has meant to me as this is the last week I`ll have to share it as a missionary. More than 3 years ago before I left out to the MTC and the mission I had a testimony. I think I`ve always had a testimony of the restored gospel, but while in Argentina I started seeing miracles and by my obedience and diligence I became converted to the gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ. The time in my first area (8ish months) was a time that I know the Lord gave me to be able to change my heart and become the person I have become today. I then faced a lot of trials which made me recognize my weaknesses as I moved forth to my next areas. In the end I realized I couldn`t do the work alone and that I needed to fix some things in my life. I believe that to have been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I knew that as a consequence for my actions I would have to return home, but I had faith that it was what the Lord wanted and that if I did my part He would make up for what I couldn`t do. As I returned to Texas I felt the full weight of the consequences of my decisions and found myself feeling utterly alone, as I didn`t know anyone other than my parents. I remember that the stake president invited me to a ysa pool party at his house and I went and felt super awkward and then at church on Sunday nobody even really said hello other than the ward mission leader to ask if I would be attending there for a time. Despite those trials I was able to put my confidence in the Lord and continued doing everything within my power. On the outside I wasn`t sure if I would finish the mission, but on the inside I knew it was what I had to do and what I desired most. I passed through a time of depression, but at last the Lord helped me to associate myself with other people that lifted me up and I was able to lift others as I continued in faith accompanying the missionaries. The Lord made my burdens light. I struggled to return to the mission field, but with time I was ready to leave again. I had a very strong to desire to return to Argentina, I really had left a piece of me there as I had to leave without goodbyes without feeling that my work had finished. I waited 6 agonizing months in the hope that the Lord would help me receive my new visa to be able to go, but I realized that that wasn`t the plan God had in mind for me. I accepted to be reassigned, unknowing if the 6 months I had served in Texas would count. As I received my call to Chile, I knew it was an inspired call, because I, myself, had ruled out the possibility of serving outside the US. My time here in Chile has possibly been the most trying of my time in the mission, as I served in Illapel in a very small branch helping out in the branch presidency and many other assignments, but the Lord helped me through. Here in Ovalle I thought that I had the family I had always prayed for, but now they have rejected the message, but I don`t complain. I know it is for something, and that the Lord has been able to use me as a tool in His hands in this work, and that is what has brought me the greatest satisfaction. The mission is a life changing experience. The purpose of this life is to go through experiences that help us to become more like our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, but we have to work at that and trust in the Lord because He knows better than us. How grateful I am for my Savior, Jesus Christ. It is only through Him that we can achieve happiness, peace, and receive forgiveness in this life. It is only through Him that we can be reconciled unto the Father and receive all that He hath if we are faithful. Love you family! I will be seeing some of you next week and others of you a little bit later! Thanks for all your support during these 3 years, you all have changed my life forever and I know you`ll always be by my side to help me along.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Hello Family and Friends, This is crazy! I have two weeks left in the mission! I almost can`t remember before I headed out to the mission. haha, I think my friends in Utah think I died or something. haha. Not much to say this week other than that I`m excited for the mother`s day call on Sunday and I`m doing my best to keep working until the last day of my mission! Unfortunately all of our investigators have stopped progressing, but this past week I was able to do an exchange in a place called Punitaqui which is pretty rural and we had a good lesson with a family they are teaching and then on Saturday I did the baptismal interviews for 2 young people from the family and they were baptized here on Sunday! It was a great experience and the rest of their family will follow in 2 weeks. The mission has been great. I can definitely say I could have taken a lot of other paths that would have been easier, but I know this is the one the Lord wanted me to take. It hasn`t all been what I wanted either, but I know it has been that way so that I could have the necessary experiences to help me to be the person I am today. I know that if we put the Lord first everything turns out and always a lot better than if we follow what we want. Love you all! Happy mother`s day on Sunday and I`ll be seeing you all soon!
Monday, April 29, 2013
All, Well, this week was another very difficult week. After everything I sent last week our family ended up backing out again from being baptized... :/ On Monday evening we received a call from the dad, Jorge, and he said they had some more doubts and they wanted to cancel the baptism. It was a big blow. We indicated we wanted to pass by, and so he said he would be away at work until Friday if we wanted to talk, but that ¨it wouldn`t change their decision.¨ Anyways, they weren`t very specific about their doubts and anyways we called the mom, Adriana, on Wednesday and asked if we could visit her and the kids and she agreed, but later called and said that Jorge had called and said he wanted to be there so we changed the appointment to the evening. That day we had interviews with President Kahnlein and then we went all four missionaries (us and the zone leaders who had done the interviews) and Jorge started putting in doubt just about everything we had ever taught them. I really think the issue is tithing is the problem, but that he is putting everything else up as a defense... he said he doesn`t believe in churches that ask for money and that he wasn`t really sure if the book of mormon really was true... etc. it was a mess. We all ended up testifying about the blessings of the gospel, of eternal families, etc. Everyone was crying except Jorge and he wouldn`t let anyone else talk very much... it was super lame. Anyways, we gave them the week to recover... and we got a call later in the week from Adriana saying she was confused and that the kids were really sad because they were really excited to be baptized. So we`re going to try and go over today and see what we can do. Bummerrrr..... Other than that our other investigator who had a baptismal date for the 11th moved out of her house last week out to the country that surrounds the city of ovalle. So we`ve lost contact with her as well.... Other than that we are seeing if we can find some new investigators and if we can help the mother of 2 recent convert kids to prepare for baptism. She said she would consider it, but that she would like to do it before we leave. haha. So we`ll see. Well, not too much else to say! I don`t know why ya`ll haven`t got my flight plans, but I get in to McAllen Wednesday the 22nd at 8 or 8 30 in a flight from Los Angeles. Ya`ll can look into it. haha. Also- what on earth! Kayla is getting married and Devin and Porter have mission calls??? hahahaha.... .so weird!!! I`ve always seen them as just the little snot nosed cousins! Crazy... I`m gettin pretty old. Lemme know if ya`ll want some kind of souvenir cuz time is gettin short! Love!
Monday, April 22, 2013
Yo, Alright, so the baptism didn´t go down, but it will this Saturday! haha, it was a pretty crazy week last week. On Monday night we got a call from Jorge Gamarra, our investigator, and he said, hey, I would prefer that we just meet with you at the house on Wednesday rather than going to the interview because I want to talk about some doubts that we have with you guys..... OH NOOOO!!! haha.. we anyways, we went over on Wednesday and the doubt was about tithing again! So we talked about the commandment and we promised them that if they tested God by trying the commandment they would see the blessings and their desire to pay would increase and that the Lord never gives a commandment that is too difficult to keep, etc. By the end of the lesson they agreed to keep the commandment. They then informed us they weren´t really sure if their daughter Barbara would be baptized with them. We set up an appointment with the kids Friday afternoon and with Jorge and Adrianna for Friday night (Jorge works two hours away and so he usually stays there during the week). Friday afternoon we went and showed the kiddos and Adriana a missionary video that we have that shows a family named the Robles family and how they get baptized and after a year go to the temple to be sealed. After watching the video we asked Barbara how she felt and she replied that she thought it was a really cute video and that she hoped their experience would be the same. So then her mom turned and looked at her and asked her, So you´re going to get baptized with us? and she said, yes, I want to be baptized!! haha, it was great! So anyways on Friday we reviewed the baptismal interview questions with the family and as we reviewed tithing with the kids it was great because the mom said, but remember that we´re going to be members of the church for our whole lives! We´re going to get baptized next week and in a year we´re going to go to the temple and get sealed as a family, so when you make money you need to pay tithing. It was so great!!! They´re an amazing family. I hope the branch can understand how rare and special a family they are so that they will attend the baptismal service and continue friendshipping them. Then they passed their interview on Saturday and all attended church on Sunday along with a family of friends. In fact, it is the lady that appears in the back of the wedding pictures I sent last week. The other elders have started teaching her and her kids and they attended and have accepted a baptismal date as well! The Lord really is doing miracles in this branch. The only thing that isn´t going so well is with the leadership. After some nudging the branch president agreed to attend Branch Council as it was scheduled to be Saturday evening. He arrived an hour late to the meeting and proceeded to announce that the next day he and his counselors would be released the next day because they had asked for a release. But then on Sunday there were no releasings or anything.... ay ay ay.... The problem here in Chile is that everyone works in the north in the mines and so they have to travel really far and a lot of times they have to be away from home 10 days and are home 3 or 7 there and 7 at home... but the church can´t work when the leaders do that. I´ve only met one Chilean who has understood that and he is the Elders Quorum president here and he always talks about how he has passed up a lot of great career opportunities in the north so that he would be able to be here during the week helping the branch. The funny part is that I talked with him and he served in Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina in one of the other branches than the one I was in! haha, the world is so small inside the church. It was fun to talk with him. I´ve learned the importance of putting the things that matter first like God, the family, and then work while I´ve been here in Chile. I´ve had to learn a lot about leadership in the church as well. It has been a relief to be here in Ovalle because we no longer have to worry about preparing and taking down the sacrament, assigning sacrament talks, doing tithing and taking the money to the bank on Monday, etc. Anyways, love ya´ll. This past week the zone leaders handed me an envelope that said, preparation for your farewell. It had details about my departure and things I needed to prepare for the final interview with President. It said I was to inform you all that I will be arriving in Texas the 22nd in the evening and so you need to get ahold of President Wilson so he can release me that evening! haha, weird. Other than that... any requests for gifts??? let me know. Love!
Monday, April 15, 2013
Dear everyone, I have been transferred! This week I arrived to a new zone called Ovalle! It is another smaller city, but it is a lot bigger than Illapel. When I arrived on Wednesday I was told that we had an amazing family that we were teaching and that on Tuesday the Zone leaders went with my comp and they agreed to be married on Saturday! So anyways I went over with my comp Wednesday night to meet the mother of the family and to make the plans for the wedding. We arrived at their house and it was like being at home in the US! haha. They have a really nice house. Then I met the mom, Adriana. She was super nice and told me about how the elders had obligated her to get married and so she was going to be married on Saturday. Then on Thursday we went over and I met the rest of the family and Friday we went to the Registro Civil (government building were they do paperwork) The family consists of- Parents- Jorge and Adriana Kids- Barbara (14), Daniel (12), Jorge (5), and Javiera (3). I believe those are the correct ages. Anyways, we taught them the law of tithing on Thursday and they were kind of unsure at first, but with some help they were able to accept the commitment to keep the law of tithing. They will be baptized on Sunday. They are such an amazing family. During these past 2 transfers all I have really been praying and fasting for is to be able to find and baptize a family before I finish. I know that this family is the answer to my prayers and the hard work that I've put in. I know the Lord heard my prayers and has put me here to answer them. The Lord has been so good to me. I know he loves us and answers our prayers when we express our hearfelt desires and do everything within our power to get what we ask for. What a miracle. Other than that we are looking for new investigators! My companion is named Elder Corona and he is from Mexico City! He is a great person. He is more reserved than any companion I've had before, but I think it is helping me to be more spiritual. It is kind of funny because he actually just got done ¨killing¨ his last companion as his companion finished his mission and went home. I also heard that my buddy Juan and the sister of my convert Natalia were baptized in Illapel! Love you guys! This is the Lord`s work! We can see miracles if we ask and work for them. The family with all of us missionaries, missing just Jorge in this picture, my companion is the 2nd missionary from left
Monday, April 1, 2013
All, Well.... this week was a pretty tough week here in the mission field. Our investigator Nathaly from the part member family passed her interview on Thursday, but then on Sunday she didn´t show up with the rest of the family and her mom (the only member), Kathy, was like mad at us and said that Nathaly didn`t want to come to church anymore and that she didn´t want us to pass by anymore for a time. It was sooooo lame. Nathaly was doing great and was really excited to be baptized, but I don´t know, I think her mom`s negative attitude led her to make some kind of comment that she wasn´t really ready or didn´t understand baptism or something and for that she felt bad and wasn´t baptized this week. So anyways... that family is now officially on hold... :( In other news we found a new investigator this past week named Juan because Elder Reyes asked if he could use his bathroom. haha. Then we ended up singing him a hymn and talking about baptism and he accepted to be baptized! So he attended this past week and everything and is really excited to be baptized. He is a really funny guy. Not much else to say! This week is transfers! My last transfer ever!!!!! ahhh... haha, crazy. I´ll have finished my 27 months of being a missionary officially. I`m doing my best to finish strong and help as many people as I can while I have the time left to do it and I am grateful the Lord put someone ready in our path last week. Anyways, thanks to whoever registered me for my classes (josh? mom?), looks like I should be able to make it back to school. haha. Anyways, love you all! Have a great week, hopefully next week I`ll send some pictures. :)
Monday, March 25, 2013
All, Welp, another week has gone by here in Illapel, Chile. On the 30th (Saturday) nathaly should be baptized, she still needs her interview and to be taught a couple of things, but she should be ready! Other than that on Saturday night we finally found somebody that seems to be really prepared. She is a single mother with 3 kids, but only 2 live with her at all times as the oldest lives most of the time with the dad in another city to the north. We found her looking for a lady that we had talked to in the street a few days previous and we talked to her about eternal families. She let us pass by her gate and we talked outside of her home with her and she talked about how her brother and her dad had already passed away and she has been wondering what happens after death and how it had been a burden for her. We started talking to her about baptism and so she asked some great questions which led us to teach from Moroni 8 (infant baptism is not from God) and she understood really well and accepted the invitation to prepare to be baptized in April. We are really excited for her! We´re going to stop by her store in the next hour to say hello and to set up an appointment at her house or in the church. The good thing is that she works almost right next to the church and she can attend us at her work. Anyways, I´m learning lots here in Illapel, especially about all the small details of church leadership. It has been tough at times helping out in the branch presidency, but I can say it is really rewarding when things finally start working and lives are changed. This Sunday we ordained a brother to the office of Elder, which is a big step for the branch because there really aren´t very many active Elders here. The less active that I helped out, John Paul, who was ordained to the office of priest last week was also able to arrive early to prepare the sacrament and he passed it as well. I was also asked to represent the branch presidency in Sacrament meeting by giving a talk about how the relief society is important for the priesthood. I basically just talked about how my own mother had always helped me to be better in the priesthood. Thanks mom :) We have next month set as the days for the patriarchal blessings, we have around 10 members that will receive them, but they will have to travel to Viña to receive them (about 4 hours in bus). We also have the temple date set in May. We also help doing the tithing every week and today, as we do every other week, we deposited in the bank, because they are closed on Sundays. So basically I have learned that there really are a lot of things to take care of being in a church leadership position, but it has been a good learning experience. Well, I have only one week left guaranteed here in Illapel after this one, but I hope I either stay or get transferred to whitewash and train, we´ll see what the Lord wants. Anyways, love you all. Make sure you get your home teaching/visiting teaching visits done this month! They really do make a difference. Have a great week!