Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 79: Adventure is Out There!‏

It was an interesting week. A good sort of kickoff to a great-looking change. We had a lot of adventures this week in the service of the lord....but what I've learned is that when you're on the service of the Lord....adventure is hardly uncommon.
In fact, "Adventure is out There" it's knocking on your front door, waiting to carry you off to far, unknown and undiscovered places the spirit of curiosity sustaining your feet. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of discovery, a gospel of beginnings and adventure, the scriptures themselves contain some of the very greatest stories ever told, and it teaches us that if we are on the lord's side, he will always see us through and always give us the power that we need to succeed.

That's what I learned today, when Elder Craig C. Christensen of the presidency of the 70 came to visit our mission and the missionaries of the CCM. He told the story of when he was a mission president in Mexico, he went to the house of a new missionary and his trainer.
Before he was even able to get out of the car, the new missionary came sprinting out the front door, and with a frenzied sort of look told his president that he couldn't do this anymore. "I can't learn the language!" He cried, "I can't understand anyone! I don't like the food that they give me! I can't ever be a good missionary!"
When many missionary presidents in circumstances would resort to just comforting the poor soul and telling him to have patience and everything will turn out all right, Elder Christensen said something that surprised even himself.
"You're right Elder," He said, " You can't do it."
After letting the shock settle in he continued, "You can't do it without the help of the Lord. Alone, you can't ever learn a new language, or enjoy the food or be a good missionary....but with him you CAN do all of those things."
It helped me to think about what he said. And how much help I have received from the Lord through difficult experiences. 
God is perfectly capable of moving his work forward without any of us but he gives us all the opportunity to learn and grow as we serve him.
This week was interesting then. As stated, today in the morning we had a MultiMission Conference in Montufar with the area Presidency, Elder Christensen and Elder Anderson. I was able to see a lot of good friends at the conference, past companions, old Zone Leaders and great buddies that I've had through all of my adventures here in Guatemala.

There was the change meeting on Tuesday, but we didn't go because we didn't have changes. Instead, Elder Chunga and I went from lesson to lesson, tearing it up in Panorama. By the end of the day we had taught 7! And we also went to go and say goodbye to Javier, a member of our ward who left on his mission the next day. It was a really busy day but we were left very satisfied by the end.

The next day Elder Chunga and I had divisions with the Traveling AP's of the South Mission: Elder Bento and Elder O'Very. I went with Elder Bento to part of our area while our companions attended to all of the planned lessons.
We tried to find something to do in our weakest sector,  receiving references, knocking on doors and just working really hard.
Elder Bento taught me how to look for all of the miracles that we saw in an almost unfruitful day and helped me to change my perspective. It was very insightful. 
The next day they told us that they really enjoyed the divisions that we had gone on and gave us some really great compliments.
So...really everything has gone really good this week.
There's a lot that I still have to learn but I feel like I'm on the right track!

Hope you all have a good week!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 78: How Beautiful upon the Mountains‏

This morning, in the middle of an unnecessary traffic jam, I was left to my thoughts. It was interesting to reflection on how accustomed I've grown to Guatemalan Culture. A year and a half ago, I would have had a nervous breakdown, but today I just sort of kept a straight face as I was packed into the bus like a sardine and let the driver wade through the sea of cars. A usually 15 minute trip took a grand total of 55 minutes so that we could arrive at the chapel in Roosevelt in order to write today.
And after almost killing 4 people in a roundabout, we made it only 15 minutes late.
Last night they told us the changes, and Elder Chunga and I will be staying the same for 6 more fact, things are just staying pretty much the same in the whole zone, only Hermana Merlo and Elder Morris have changes. And they also announced that they're going to re-open San Cristobal II, so that means I'm not going to be alone in a district full of sisters.
So, that's fun.

This past week was fairly bland. There wasn't much to do in the work, even though we were out there looking as hard as we could, we basically sacrificed this week to have a better one next week. Truly, the highlights were found in the scriptures that I read.
I've been studying in the book of Mosiah, and what has really impacted me was the example that Abinadi gives us through his preaching, when the priests of Noah tried to confound him, he could not be moved nor shaken, he preaches the doctrine of Christ with such power that his enemies cannot touch him. His testimony is so powerful, and his doctrine condemned a wicked king and an iniquitous kingdom.
Imagine that!
In chapter 15 he says:
"And now I say unto you, who shall declare his generation? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord—I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God. For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed? Yea, and are not the prophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into transgression, I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began? I say unto you that they are his seed. And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth! And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet! And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!"
If we should be the seed of God we accept the atonement of Christ, we must also preach the gospel.
Although my feet may not be beautiful, We keep trying and keep going. This gospel is true and I am so glad that I can preach it.
Love you all, thanks for your support and your love! 

Have a great week!
Stake Conference with a visit from Pres. Caffaro

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 77: 10 Points for Griffindor‏

Although it wasn't the best week in the world....
We're getting there.
Once again, Elder Chunga and I embarked in the service of God, and as far as I was was a success. Time keeps going by even faster than I had initially thought, and we're already at the midway point through the month of January. Things are getting really good here in Panorama.

I've just been on a spiritual high all week. It is such a blessing that I have received here in the mission, to be able to learn how to feel the spirit even more in my life, and to be able to detect instances when the influence of the holy ghost is present. It is an incredible gift from our Heavenly Father...I feel like I can finally be the missionary I've always wanted to be.

Although I'm not perfect...I am a lot better than I was when I started, and I guess that's what really counts!
This week we didn't find very many newbies, instead we focused on separating the wheat from the tares on the investigators that we have now (we finally have more than three). The more "desafiantes" (challeging) that we are, the better we are able to help our investigators to progress and to be baptized.
Cesar is doing well, we went to visit him on Thursday and walked 3 miles up to his house...only to find that he wasn't home, and as we walked back we found him and he invited us to walk back up to his house again!
He had read the pamphlet that we left with him and enjoyed the message, he had a lot of great questions.
He couldn't come to church this Sunday...but we're getting there.
We had our ward "Mini Mission" on Saturday, and all of the youth and ex-missionaries in the ward. It was a day-long activity and everyone went out looking for inactives, investigators and just about anyone that they could find. I went with Jorge Mac, the bishop's son (who in 3 weeks will be leaving for his mission to Brazil) to the Sister's area and knocked on some doors. We didn't find much, and ended up getting lost in "Villas Club" but supposedly, the activity was very fruitful for everyone else...
And at the end of the day on Saturday we had a baptism.
Yes, my friends, we had a baptism.

Juan Diego is his name and we started teaching him about a month ago. The sisters in San Cristobal actually found him and started the lessons and then passed us the reference. He works on the buses here in Guat and is a very nice man! The bishop baptized him at the end of the Mini Mission. It was a really great experience.
So, life is good.
And with this last week being the end of the we'll see what happens here...

But whatever happens, I'm ready for it!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 76: #Embark In the Service of God‏

2015 started off with a bang.
Literally. At midnight I was awakened by a thousand fireworks being lit off right outside my window. They were loud and unpleasant, and the celebrations being held below were laden with alcohol and bellowing laughter. It made me so grateful for the gospel...because, who on earth wants to start the new year with a hangover?
Not me.
That night I just laid in bed, waiting for time to go by as fast as possible so that it would be quiet again and I could get to sleep. The crackles and snaps of the pyrotechnics continued for a healthy 45 I just started to think to myself about all of the good things that had happened since the beginning of 2014. Back then I was with Elder Beckstead, and on New Years day we had a baptism. Now. Events such as that seem so foreign and strange.

Time is ruthless, and beautiful, it is the very seam of the fabric of life. It holds our days together and maintains us sane, and punctual. Although, interestingly enough, we can read in Alma 40 that, "Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men."
Time is an invention of men.
And how we use this time determines our eternal destiny.
So, I am so glad that I can say that Elder Chunga and I definitely made the most of our time here in Panorama. It was really fun to see the work of the Lord move forward here in our area.

We were able to find 18 new investigators (I'm not even sure how we did it...they were pure miracles from heaven) People just started coming from everywhere! Everywhere we looked, we were able to find something, or someone, or some family that was interested in listening to our message.
One of the highlights was Cesar and his son Carlos, he lives with his brother who is the Elder's Quorum president. We went to their house and Cesar let us in and listened to us for a little while, and said that we could come by again on Friday. We came and taught the Restoration and invited him to church.
And he came! 
It was incredible. We weren't even expecting to see any investigators come...when all of a sudden, after the benediction, Cesar and his son walked in and stat down next to his brother!
He said that he really enjoyed the church and learned a lot.
We were just happy to see that the drought of investigators that we had before had finally ended, and that now we are really busy in my area.
So, happy new year to all of you guys. I'm sure that we're going to start off this year well! I'm happy with where we are and what we're doing! This is the work of the Lord, and if we trust in him. If we embark in the service of God...we're here to serve him with our of our hearts, might minds and it says in the new mutual theme!
So Embark Everyone!
It's a brand new year!
There's a lot of possibilities...