I am serving a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Bolivia, Santa Cruz mission.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Good monday everyone! I am doing great this week! And I hope you guys too.
So, some cool stuff happened this week:
1- We got a phone call that we would be having an emergancy transfer this week... But, instead of one us going to another area, we got put in a trio. Now it is Elder Colque, me and Elder Avila. Elder Avila is my great friend from my MTC group and now it is just super great and I am super happy with the changes. He got put with me on Thursday, because tomorrow Elder Colque leaves on the plane to his real mission- Venezuela. So, until then, it is the three of us.
We are having more success. The members are improving and are helping us a lot more now. The bishop is getting on board with us and helping with the missionary work. He gave us three yesterday to talk in sacrament meeting about the missionary work and it was a really great Sunday, the members liked the messages and they are getting more excited about the work... Which is a drastic change from when I got to this area- Abundancia, 6 months ago.
We are also moving forward with rescuing people. We are now helping reactive the Loayza family... well the dad, who I told you guys about, David Loayza. He has been inactive for 20 years, but now he wants to put his life in order so he can baptize his 8, 14 and 15 year old sons. And also his wife. It is great and I love to go their house, because the dad knows the church is true and helps us teach his family. Yesterday, for the first time in 20 years, David went to church and took the sacrament and bore his testimony in Priesthood. It was so good to seem him there, and his family loved the church. They have a goal to be baptized on the 8th of February. We will continue with him.
I have learned this week a lot about a good attitude. I need to have a good attitude, even when things are tough, and I know in my letters, I havent always been happy and I am sorry about that. I am really enjoying my mission, I love the work and everything is great... But you guys know how I am- super hard on myself and everything. But dont even worry, I am doing great. I mean, why wouldnt I be, I am a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have learned 2 new languages - Spanish and the language of the Holy Ghost (personal revelation). I know more than ever that God loves us and that we are not just lost forever to be sad, we are supposed to be happy and God gives us everything to be happy--- Especially our families.
Still trying to work with the family Chappy- They need more faith and need to pray to God to know if the things are really true. Really, that is what we all need to do, whether we are members or not... We need to pray to God to know if the church is true and if Thomas Spencer Monson is a prophet of God, and I know that he is, because I prayed to know if it is true and God answered my prayer. I know that I may not be perfect, but the Lord loves me still.
Hello everyone! I am doing great! This week was long, and interesting, but great.I know the Lord is constantly trying to teach me things so that I am a better person.
This week, my companion got a call telling him that his visa came through to go to his real mission- Venezuela Barcelona. Which made him really nervous and really happy at the same time. Tuesday night, we had to go to the asistant´s house and sleep there, because Wednesday morning he had to go to La Paz to do all the paperwork and stuff to get his visa.
Which means, that on Wednesday, I just stayed with the people in the mission offices. It was fun, because I got to see elders from the north mission that I havent seen for a long time. We just sat and talked until my companions flight arrived.
Also, Wednesday, we had a zone conference with President Willard. It was different this time, because he was really worried about the number of missionaries that arent doing good things with our cell phones, now that we all have them. So, he spoke about how we have to be golden missionaries, if we want the Lord to show us the golden investigators. It was good, the conference. The first part, he talked about that, and then the second part, we talked more about how we can work more with the members and how the Lord has many miracles prepared for us, even doubling the number of baptisms in the mission.
It was good as always to hear and learn from President and Sister Willard.
Friday, I had a missionary exchange with my zone leader... Elder Rodriguez from Guatemala, Guatemala City. It was super great. He is an example to me... Always happy and enjoying the work, even when the area isnt the best or things like that. We talked about how I need to just enjoy the work, and I need to just be myself, happy and fun, even if my companion doesnt want to have fun or anything. It was really good.
This week, it was a bit hard with the Chappy family, because more doubts started to come up, especially about living prophets. We talked in church yesterday about living prophets in the Gospel Principles class, that I taught, and they just didnt understand why we needed a prophet and why the Lord couldnt just talk to each and everyone of us. It made me be extremely grateful that we do have a prophet to warn us and teach us what the Lord wants us to know. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ and that he is the Lord´s voice today. i know that with my whole heart.
We are always continuing forward with the Loayza family. Junior and Julio... 15 and 14 years old. They are great and want to be baptized. Now to just reactivate the dad and talk to the mom about baptism too. It is a bit hard though, since they travel a ton. This week though, we have an appointment to talk to them about marriage and everything. I know they will listen and will come to Christ again.
a little old lady made us do lawn work in her house on Saturday. After cutting her grass with machettes and everything, we sat down and she gave us lunch. While we sat and ate, we talked and everything. She gave me liver and rice... the first half was okay, but when it got cold, the liver was bitter which wasnt good. But I had to eat it. Haha.
Good morning my family!!! How are you all doing? I am doing great here in sunny Santa Cruz!
This week was normal with it´s ups and downs, nothing super special, but just normal. So here is what happened in my week:
After writing to you on Monday morning, we went to the mission offices to talk to President Willard about some questions we had about the temple and the whole sealing process. Basically we wanted to know specifically what Mery Chappy could do since her husband died and she wasnt married to him by law, so we just didnt know if it was going to be possible if she could get sealed to him. Something that I didnt know, and that I learned, was to be sealed as a family, it stems from the father and mother being married by law first and then the family can be sealed together as an eternal family. I guess I just had never thought about that, but it makes sense.
Honestly, President Willard is so great. He just is full of love and of the spirit and when I talk with him, I just want to stay there with him talking for hours about doctrine and Christ.
We found a couple new people this week that we challenged to baptism. All of whom are part member families and that we are trying to reactivate the inactive member in their family. For example, we challenged Mirta to baptism, and we are trying to reactivate her inactive husband Herlan. Same with we challenged Junior and Julio to baptism, and we are trying to reactivate their inactive dad, David Loayza. It is pretty tough to reactivate people that have been inactive for years. But, I know that we can do it with the Lord´s help.
Umm... On Friday, I went to another area on a missionary exchange. My district leader came to my area with my companion and I went to his area with his companion, Elder Evenson. It was good to get away from the stress of my area for a day and to help an investigator understand the gospel of Jesus Christ- Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost and Endure to the End. And it was fun just to be with another companion for a day.
So, with Mery Chappy and her family, we are coming closer to the baptism and the adversary is doing all that he can to make it so they dont get baptized. The daughter Yessenia, decided she wanted to get a huge tattoo on her leg, and even after teaching her that God doesnt want us to do things to our bodies, she got the tattoo. And Mery started saying that the church and the gospel are strict and hard to follow, so she started doubting that she could be baptized on the 25th without knowing a lot more. But, we are helping her understand the things and praying our hearts out that she and her family will be prepared and that their hearts will be softened so they can get baptized.
Hhmm... This week, for the second time in my mission, I ate Panza (cow stomach) I hate the texture - it is like a sponge - but, luckly, the type of food that Mery made was super spicy and I loved the flavor of the spices and everything so I was able to eat the panza... Still dont like panza.
I love you all so much. I pray for your happiness and that the Lord will guide us all so we can obey Him and have true happiness. I know that happiness comes from obeying God and following His son Jesus Christ- It is the only way we can be truly happy or to have His guidance in our lives.
Happy New Year! I hope New Years was great for everyone and that 2014 is a super great year.
So, Monday, after writing my letter, we went to say good bye to our investigators, just in case if one of us was leaving because of the transfers. Sister Mery Chappy and her family were sad, but they told us they would keep learning and keep going with the church even if one of us, my companion or I, left. It was good hearing that.
We said our good byes, the daughter Yessenia gave me a gift to remember her by (a mystery novel in Spanish) and we went on our way. About 10 minutes later, the Zone Leaders called and told us that both Elder Colque and I would be staying here in our area Abundancia for another transfer. Which means, I will be here in Abundancia for 6 months.
Some other stuff that happened this week.
New Years Eve- Tuesday was crazy with fireworks. We worked like normal that day, but we had to be in the house by 8 at night. At night, we just tried to sleep. We didnt do anything fun or anything, just tried to sleep, but it was tough because it was basically like there was a war going on outside with all the fireworks. Oh there was just so much noise. But, around 1 or 2, it finally stopped and we were able to sleep.
Mery Chappy and family-
We saw that the adversary is working hard on this family so they dont progress. They started to read the Docrine Principles book and they got super confused and started doubting a little bit about things. But, we explained things, they still have a bit of doubt but they are still progressing and they went to church again, and they liked it.
Also, Yessensia, the 18 year old daughter really wanted to get a big tattoo on her leg. We taught her about how our bodies are temples and that we shouldnt have tattoos. She told us that she was still going to do it, but that she would think about what we talked about. We were really worried for our next visit with them, to see if she had the tattoo done.
We got there, and she didnt have the tattoo. She told us that she really wanted to do it, but she feels like someone is watching her, telling her not to do it, and making her feel shameful if she would do it (not just the tattoo, but also other things like taking vegetables from the market without paying and stuff). It was amazing to hear how the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost are truly changing her heart and guiding her to do the right.
Not just Yessenia, but also Mery (the mom) and Andrea the neice both told us that they felt different since listening to us and going to church.
That is about it this letter. Nothing much newsworthy happened. Just here in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and loves us. I know that the church is true and that it helps us live the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the plan that God has so we can return to live with Him forever. I may not be perfect, but I know Christ will always be there for us, even if we arent perfect.
I love you all so much. I will talk to you next week.
Sorry that it took me so long to send my letter. We went and played soccer in the morning and now in the afternoon, we are having our internet time.
That was pretty cool seeing you guys there in the computer. Skype is a great invention, even though it didnt work all that all. But, oh well, only the Mother´s Day call and then I am there with you guys in Salt Lake. Crazy how fast time goes, right? I remember when Chase told me ¨Just follow your companion around and be humble. Something I always tell my companion ´dont worry about it´ Enjoy your time and before you know it you will be going home in 10 months¨
Well, I guess he was right. Now I am just about where Chase was when I got here in Bolivia.
We passed Christmas here in our apartment trying to go to sleep, but with all the fireworks we couldnt get to sleep. So, the next day we were super tired. haha.
This week, we talked a lot with Mery Chappy, her daughter, Yessenia (18 years old), her son, Jair (16 years old) and her neice, Andrea (20 years old). We talked about the temples and the sealing power that God has given us so that we can be together forever. We talked about the restoration of the true church of God and then we talked about baptism and the importance of baptism in order to live with God again and that we cant be saved without baptism in the correct way that Jesus showed.
Together the four decided that if they felt prepared they would get baptized. They agreed on the 25 of January as their day. The coolest thing happened too- our appointment with them after they agreed to get baptized, we asked how they felt after watching the movie about Joseph Smith... One by one they told us their feelings. The spirit was strong and they told us they believe it. They believe that God has a plan for us and that it all makes sense, that Joseph Smith isnt our Jesus Christ like a lot of people say, he was just a prophet like Moises and Abraham. It was so amazing, and I am so happy for them.
And they all went to church for the first time on Sunday. It was great.
Finally, some amazing people here in Abundancia!
So, now we have passed Christmas and we are coming up on New Years! 2014, a new year. A new start. I love it. I want to start this year and recommit myself and finish my mission of strong. Wow. This year I finish my mission. Where has the time gone? I know I still have 10 months to work and do what the Lord wants, but seriously, I just got weirded out by saying that this year I end my mission. Crazy.
With New Years being the day that would have been the transfers, they changed the day to today. Which means, that tonight they will call us and tell us if one of us, Elder Colque or I go to another area. It is bittersweet, because now with 4 and 1/2 months in the same area, I am ready for something new, but if I go, it means I will leave behind Mery Chappy and a few others that I wont get to see them get baptized. So, it is bittersweet.
I dont have much to say, just that I love you guys so much. I know that the Lord is watching out for me and for you all, so I am not worried that everything will be okay. I know that families are forever. Heavenly Father has given us everything that we need to be happy, and it isnt money or anything like that, it is true happiness that comes from following Christ. That is what I have found in my mission. I have learned to follow Christ and to love others, especially, my family and friends.