Familia y amigos!
Well, the adventure continues! It´s been such a learning experience to
come on a mission, especially when it comes to the gospel. I´ve been
trying to learn as much as I can lately because there´s so much that I
need to learn to be a better missionary and a better servant of Jesus
Christ. But what I really loved this week is that we had Stake
Conference. In Stake Conference, I learned that we are soo blessed to
have the Gospel in our lives. The people of Argentina have very little
and yet they find all that they need and more in the Gospel. We have
the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ that is a guide
to how we must live our lives to gain eternal life. We have a living
prophet who receives revelation for the things that pertain most to
our generation. The church down here in Argentina appreciate the
prophets and apostles so much, and sometimes we take them for granted
because we live near them and can even see them at General Conference
if we really wanted to. But most of all, I´ve come to be extremely
appreciative of the family. The family is the most important unit of
God´s plan for us. Since I´ve been here, I´ve realized how much the
suffering of my parents and family before them have blessed my life,
especially being lucky enough to live in the US with them. Sometimes
the family unit is really distorted by the world but never forget the
importance of the family. I´m so grateful for my family. For a father
that works hard so that I can be where I am today. A mother that shows
her unending love for me. And a ton of brothers and sisters that share
my awesome times and my bad times. Look around and really appreciate
what you have, because the people here have about 1/100 of what you
have and yet still appreciate it.
Anyways, we will hopefully have a baptism this week! Dante. A real
capo. I will update you all next week.
Count your blessings and the Lord will give to those who give thanks.
I know it, I live it, I love it.
PS The camera doesn´t plug in here so you´ll have to wait a while to
get them all!
Monday, June 23, 2014
Hola familia y amigos! I arrived here in Argentina on Tuesday! The flight was so long and exhausting but I got through it! It was so awesome to see all the missionaries on our flight preaching the gospel in the terminal and on the plane. God really is hastening the work! So I arrived in Salta and had the orientation, ate, and slept at the hostal nearby. I was with an Elder from Nicaragua and another three from Paraguay who actually didn´t speak Spanish but some crazy native language so that was cool. In the morning we worked out visa stuff and then the mission president called out the new companionships and areas. As I was called up, I hoped that I would get a companion that spoke only spanish. I got what I asked for because I was assigned to Tucumán, Parque Guillermina with Elder Salvioli from Buenos Aires. As I went to give him a hug, he grabbed me and gave me a huge kiss on the cheek! Haha really surprised me. But now we´re in my first area and it´s been a little tough. They speak a really different spanish with ¨vos¨ and ¨sh¨ and even their double r´s are sh´s which is way different. So I was a little intimidated at first because I understood about 30 percent of the conversation but slowly I´m catching up and I definitely see the Gift of Tongues working in my life. The people are way nice here so that also helps a lot. The pension is pretty big and more nice than I expected some parts to be. It´s still pretty different but with creativity and some work, we can actually do quite a bit with the little that we have. It´s times such as these when prayer has been a major part of my life. Every time I feel discouraged or feel that I need help, I turn to the Lord with all my heart and ask him to help me to feel His love and feel His help every day. And I feel it. God truly does answer prayers as long as we have faith and show willingness to give it our all in life. The investigators that we have right now aren´t very serious but I know that we will have success with hard work and faith.
Funny thing about Argentina before I take off. The ´serpientes´ here are really just that, snakes. And by snakes, I mean the girls who try to chase after the missionaries. That always kiss and whistle at us because we are both fair skinned and have on nice clothes. It´s funny to think that when I tried to look for girls to date they were´nt inclined, and then I get on my mission and they chase. Haha but I´m keeping them at bay for now. Pray for me, and for my ability to learn to language. I love all of you. God hears our prayers and answers them. I know it, I live it, I love it!
P.s. My camera is out of battery so I can´t sent pics but next week I´ll have plenty!
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
The travel plans came on Friday! I'm headed straight for Argentina (which I was a little worried about because the visa can be hard and I was worried that I'd be transferred elsewhere). The first flight is to Georgia and flies from 11 to 4 so it's a long first one, then I take an 11 hour flight down to Buenos Aires. Unlucky for me, I have to travel back up to Salta which can be either really miserable or kinda short. If they book me a flight, then it's about 2 hours up to the city, but if I hop on an bus then the drive can be up to 17 hours. Haha on dirt roads. But it isn't summer down there so it won't be super hot, hallelujah. So, pray for the flight, guys, pray for the flight. Also, something pretty awesome: the flight to Buenos Aires has every single Argentina missionary on it, so there's going to be about 30-40 missionaries on that flight. Not to mention that all the South America missionaries are going to be on the flight to Georgia, so you can imagine the glory of 40-50 missionaries walking off the terminal in Georgia, and everyone handing out Books of Mormon and preaching the Gospel. Haha it'll be a party!
As for stuff going on around here, we have stopped teaching our teachers and begun teaching the other missionaries. We still teach Gabriel every morning but more about him a little later. As we have been teaching the other missionaries in our district, it's been fun to see the kind of Spirit that can dwell in a pretend lesson with people you joke around with in the dorm. Seriously, I love these guys and they probably aren't even real people! Haha (shows the isolation they put us in). But, I just can't wait to see the day that I see the first person on my mission actually change their lives and enjoy the peace and happiness that is The Church of Jesus Christ. And that doesn't mean baptizing a bunch of people. Lately, every time I've heard people talking about baptism statistics, I've gotten really mad. Because to me, that's always been looking at people as a number that you can show off to people when you arrive home. I care about people. I care that they are converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My dad sent me an email today about this today and it really helped me out. I'd been preoccupied a little because I heard some other missionaries talking and almost dissing another Mission area because the baptism rate wasn't as high as other areas. My dad didn't know about it and yet in the email, he told me about the importance of conversion. That, even though baptism is important, the conversion of someone (REALLY changing their lives) is what we as missionaries are looking for. And often times, missionaries just bring the Spirit and he does all the work. So, I prefer to look at the people I have loved. Because I haven't converted anybody. The Spirit of God will do that. I get the amazing opportunity to help people change their lives through baptism and confirmation which signifies the amazing event that has already been taking place. That's what I've really been learning this past week. Especially with Gabriel. We teach him every morning and even though we know he's Mormon, we love to just teach him. He's probably one of my best friends here in the MTC and he's almost 50! Haha (once again, shows the isolation they put us in). And yet, every day I see not only him, but myself, changing as the Spirit guides our constant conversion to the Gospel. But, tomorrow, we have to say goodbye to Gabriel... Real bummer but I know we'll be buds throughout the mission and when I get back, I'm gonna call him up and make him cook me some authentic Chilean food. Haha it's fun to see that those friendships from a mission are already forming.
Alright, I gotta give the funny story of the week. So, me and my companion Elder Erickson have been having this ongoing battle with the other companionship in our room. It started off small but it is getting really intense lately. Every time we get home earlier than the other companionship, we hide all of our stuff and hide anywhere we can in order to scare the crap out of them. And lately, we've been having no success because the hiding spots have been used up. So one day, Elder Erickson and I had to head up to main campus for his doctor's appointment thing and we got back just before the other companionship was to arrive back. They thought we were on main campus so it was the perfect opportunity. Now, there was a little pre-planning of course, and we knew that everyone in the room had a bowel schedule because the food here is really bad for your health. Haha so we knew that a certain Elder would be making a trip into the bathroom for a pre-volleyball bathroom break. So Elder Erickson hid in the bathroom cupboard just under the sink and I hid in the kitchen cupboard for the unveiling of an awesome prank. So, in walk the Elders. Of course, they look around for us because this is an ongoing ordeal of scaring but decided that we were still on main campus (we placed everything perfectly so they would never think we were home). And of course, a certain Elder, who will not be named, walks into the bathroom, locks the door, and turns on the fan. I almost blew my cover laughing because I knew that everything was just too perfect. A couple seconds later, Elder Erickson flings open the cupboard doors and gives the funniest, blood curdling scream which echoes through the dorm. We finally had our revenge. I think that it's easy to guess that the outcome was as expected... Perfect.
People matter, whether it's showing you care through teaching or playing pranks. I know it, I live it, I love it!
Nerdy missionary chillin
Zone: sunday selfie
We make snowmen with our playdough, I mean potatoes
Funny kid: him and I always peep around corners at eachother
The district: model posing
Devotional with BYU roommate and wardy
Two years worth of Journal and Pen
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
The days really start to blend together once you get like 3 weeks in so I can't even remember what happened this week... Luckily I got my journal with my super awesome missionary stories at my side. Haha Spanish is coming pretty quickly and I feel confident giving lessons in all Spanish so now we just have to see how it goes when I get there. My "investigator" Gabriel is from Chile and says we have awesome accents and are super good for how long we've been here. Oh, Gabriel. I am going to miss that dude so much! He's definitely one of my best buds! He's the funniest dude that I have ever met in my whole life. Last friday we had study cycle and so we went outside to study. Gabriel showed up 15 minutes later and we talked for like two hours. He told us about his super-fear of spiders and how he'll make his wife come kill the spiders because he can't get out of the bathroom unless it's moved out of the way. Hahaha and all about Chile and how there are big Tarantulas there. He got surrounded one day by them and ran home crying to his mom. He also says that he sees them when they aren't really there so whenever he goes home to Chile, he calls his mom ahead of time and makes her clean the house really well so that there aren't any arañas in the house. This guy is a full grown adult. Hahahaha I really wish I could take that guy with me because we have some fun times together. I also wish I could take my teachers with me, Hermanos Rasmussen and Pemberton. They help me grow so much. They definitely help me feel the Spirit way more strongly than I ever have in my life. In class with Hermano Rasmussen, we have some of the most awesome experiences because he's so determined to help us have those life changing experiences in the MTC. When he was in the MTC, he said he didn't have any crazy Spiritual experiences so he wants to help us have those kinds of experiences in the MTC. It's working!!!! I learned the other night that when asking commitment questions, we can't just wait til the end and then bust out some 'Will You' questions. We need to share the invitations when the Spirit is most strongly because it isn't just us asking at that moment. It's the Lord witnessing to them that he also expects it of them. So we tried it out on our TRC investigator Alan who is "Catholic". The lesson went super well! We still have a little smoothing out to do but overall we are improving super well.
At the conference, on Sunday, the speaker was the Online Proselyting director for the church at his talk was great. When we have as many non-member friends on facebook as we do, and not share the gospel with them... It just doesn't make sense. People deserve your happiness. Don't be selfish with salvation. Sometimes we are scared of what people will think of us but the other night Elder Cameron (texas guy) told us about the captain on his soccer team who was a real drinker in high school. He would drink before soccer games and on weekends. He would tease Elder Cameron for being Mormon. And he was the last person you would expect to ever change his ways. He was baptized 2 weeks before we left on our mission... All Elder Cameron did was set an example and the one who joined the church was someone who was least likely to ever be baptized. Now they will be playing soccer with eachother at BYU when they get back from missions. Now think of someone that you would never expect to join the church or even change the way they are at all. They want the Gospel. They just don't know where to find it and don't know what it feels like. So be the good shepherd and bring people back to the fold, because your friends deserve happiness and it isn't your choice to keep it from them. When you don't ask them to be baptized, you are condemning them to a life of darkness. Please, share the gospel. People deserve friends better than you if you are unwilling to give them the greatest gift in the world: Eternal Life. I promise that as we share the gospel, people will see that it is true. It brings good and happiness. This is the most happy that I've ever been in my life and it's only because I'm sharing eternal life.
Last story. My grammy isn't doing so well. She has been struggling with strokes and I've been getting letters from Elizabeth about how she's been doing. My grammy says she doesn't know how much longer she will be around so she's going to live with my parents to spend time with my family. It's tough, definitely, but I realized something as I wrote Elizabeth back about my grammy and shared this is testimony meeting on Sunday. My grammy isn't supposed to go yet. I know it because I don't need her help on my mission yet. I feel that, even though she's doing poorly, she won't pass away until I really need her help on the other side. So I'm comforted. I know that she will be with me whether in this world or in the next. She's always going to look out for me and I only know that through the Gospel and the teachings of the Plan of Salvation that I will never have to say goodbye to her. That is what we can share with others. There isn't anyone I know who doesn't want to be with some member of their family forever. So share what you know and I promise that the Lord will not only bless you for it, but the lives of all those that you touch. There is joy to those who save the one. I know it, I live it, I love it!
P.S. I get my travel plans on Friday!
Me and Ganzo
Me and the big world map
Playing my soul on the Harmonica
We´re in the real world!