Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 83: Ready and Willing‏

These past four days were something of a whirlwind...and also something of a miracle. Because up until Thursday of last week we only had 7 lessons. My companion and I were just kind of frustrated about how slowly things were going in our area. We honestly didn't have very much to go off of until some appointments that we had for later in the week.
The good thing is that on Friday, Elder Chunga and I left a little bit early to go and teach some lessons in the morning. It's very interesting, the sweet, sacred spirit of promise that the morning brings. It is a canvas, full of possibility and fears, painted with our own good intentions, to be better today and to try our hardest to keep moving forward.
In the morning we started off with 2 lessons with Jose Cuyuch and with Wilson Mejia. They were two great blessings where we felt the spirit very strongly and challenged them to read the Book of Mormon. Both lessons were just so great and set a fantastic tone for the whole rest of the day.
We then talked to two new investigators, Laura and Marvin....the latter owns a store that sells imported things from the states, so I bought Root Beer and Scooby-Doo fruit snacks and went off, happily to teach 3 more lessons that day!
We ended off with 7 discussions in one day! It lined us up perfectly to complete our weekly goal!

We talked to Hermana Liset and her stepdaughters, Jasmine and Vanessa. It was a great lesson, we explained the Atonement of Christ and the Plan of Salvation along with another family of members. The girls committed to baptism for this coming week on the 27th.
Also! We had a lesson with Rolando yesterday in the house of the members again! I was so excited, because he also accepted a baptismal date for the 21st of March. He was so happy to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon and committed to read it and pray as well. is good. The church is true and I am so happy to be able to be a part of this work and to help it move forward. This past week was a great blessing as a whole. 
Just wanted to share a scripture with you: "For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands" (1Nephi 21:15-16)

The Lord will never forget about us, I love the thought that the Lord is always there, ready and willing to help us in our every need.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Week 82: A Man (With or) Witthout Eloquence‏

This last week was very interesting.
In fact, that seems to be an understatement in all intents and purposes. There was just so many things that were brought to pass that I still feel kind of dazed and confused. All last week seemed to be just a big ol' whirl of events.
To start off with: My district is killing it. Everyone there is just motivated and happy to work their hardest. I feel so honored to have all of them serving with me. The sister missionaries of my ward are just on fire, every day they tell me about another miracle that has helped them to make their faith grow. The sisters in San Cristobal are finding new investigators...a lot of them...twenty of them! And Elder Prestwich and his companion are seeing the hand of the Lord in every thing that they do every day...finding people to teach in the least-likely of places!
We had a district meeting where we talked about how we should testify of the truth of the gospel as much as we can in our lessons, that way we invite the spirit of the Lord more abundantly in our teaching. I used the example of the conversion of Brigham Young as an example of what our testimonies can do:
When I saw a man without eloquence or talents for public speaking, who could only say, “I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of the Lord,” the Holy Ghost proceeded from that individual, illuminated my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality were before me. I was encircled by them, filled with them, and I knew for myself the testimony was true.
I love the thought that our own testimonies have the power to touch the hearts of men and to make them truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Elder Richard G. Scott said, "[A testimony] is the very essence of character woven from threads born of countless correct decisions." (October 2001)
In Panorama, we are seeing some miracles too! As we have tried to testify more in our lessons we have been able to reach our investigators in a more intimate and profound way, On Sunday, we had a lesson with a youth named Rolando. We brought him to the house of some members, two newlywed past-missionaries, Ruth and Abinidai. We talked about the restoration of the gospel and, after listening to the testimonies of this couple, the sprit was so intense in the room that I could literally feel what Brigham Young described. And we invited Rolando to be baptized and he accepted… with so much surety in what he said. He went home and told his next-door neighbor that he had just talked to the Mormons and that he wanted to be baptized.
Of course, his next-door neighbor happened to be our ward mission leader...and he quickly sent us a message to inform us about the good news.
I am firmly convinced that the Lord can help us to strengthen our testimonies so that we can help others to feel the power of our words...and our sincerity to bring to pass the salvation of others.
Life is good and the church is true. Today we went to the temple and I learned so much more about the plan of salvation than I think I ever have. So hang in there everyone, Life just keeps on rolling here in I'm just along for the ride. No matter how crazy it gets, I know that the Lord is watching out for us in this mission...and I am ready for more! Have a great week, Happy (late) President's Day!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 81: Pedestrian‏

This week I started reading Doctrine and Covenants and in a word, it was very insightful. Now, it's actually easier to read my scriptures in Spanish than it has been in English. I love the revelations that the Lord gave to Oliver Cowdry during the first few sections. There are so many things said that really impacted me, 
"Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward. Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail." (D&C 6: 33-34). That scripture really stuck with me during this week, and I truly enjoy the thought that We should not fear to do that what is good. Whatsoever we sow, the same we shall reap, if we are prepared, and edified upon the rock of our redeemer, we shall not fear. It reminds me of the stirring lyrics of the him "How Firm a Foundation"
"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!"
Such comfort and bravery is a strong message to all disciples of Christ. "Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval." (Thomas S. Monson, "The Call for Courage" April 2004). My companion and I have really been trying to put that into practice, challenging more and more of our investigators to be baptized. Sadly enough, that means that more and more of are investigators have started dropping off of the map. 

That means that Elder Chunga and I spend more and more time in the streets.
But, that's the way that it works. 
Right now we are finding a lot of anomalies in the street...namely dogs. Lots of dogs, Dogs that look like lions, Dogs that look like Ben Stiller and Dogs that their owners leave up on their roofs to bark at all the pedestrians in the street.

And also, a volcano exploded on Saturday. For about 2 Hours, Ash was falling from the sky and making my clothes look like I have really bad dandruff. The whole world was just freaking out about it and everyone stayed inside except for us.

So we did some service, helping a family move from Quetzaltenango to our ward. It took 7 people and 3 really strong ropes to lift their sofa from the ground level and onto the balcony, because it couldn't fit up their small stairs!
We are trying to see what we can do to occupy our time.
I am sure that the Lord will bless us very soon with more chosen investigators! Vanessa and Jasmine are progressing really well, they both read the scriptures and prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a Prophet. Both of them say that they received an answer!
So...little by little we will see progress here. I just have to learn patience!

Happy Valentines Day!


Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 80: Count Blessings‏

This wasn't the easiest week of the mission, nor the most rewarding.
But that's not to say that I didn't have any fun.

It's interesting to see how the mission works like that. It can be one of the hardest, worst, most frustrating week of your life. You can run out of food, clean clothes, investigators and even things to do.... and you still come out blessed! You still see miracles, big or small, they are always there.

You would think that I should have figured that out by now...but for some reason it took me a year and a half to have that mental break-through.
Yes, my brothers and sisters, we are all highly blessed as we are a part of this restored gospel, that's the biggest lesson that we all have to learn. All those who have embarked on the service of God have had to learn that before their boats were brought back into their harbors.... The Lord is ALWAYS looking after us, and if we put forth our part, he will bless us until we have no more fingers or toes to count all the things that he has given us.

That's what I learned in the book of Alma this week where we learn about the preaching of Alma and Amulek together (previously mentioned back in August), it was an important lesson...but even more important was that of an overlooked blessing:
I was looking over some notes taken from when I was set a part as a missionary and I saw something, It said that as I "Read the scriptures in the mission language, I would be more fluent" A promise with a cause and an effect (also something that I have been highlighting in my Book of Mormon). It was something that I had neglected during my personal study, believing that I would be more capable to feel the sprit as I read the scriptures in my native language.
But no, my friends. It's entirely on the contrary.
I am so glad for the blessings that I have been receiving since this last October when I started the Book of Mormon again in Spanish, I feel as if my language skills have catapulted to a level that I didn't believe I was capable of achieving! 
There are ALWAYS blessings as we are obedient.
This week, we also saw the blessing of Hermana Liset and her two stepdaughters. She is a sister who came to church two weeks ago, with the determination to help her family progress spiritually. She was baptized a while ago and recently married her husband and adopted his two daughters. With his permission she started to bring them to the Mormon Church and asked us to come and give them the lessons so that they could receive the instruction that she had.
Thanks to her faith and her determination, Vanessa and Jasmine are now preparing for Baptism.
So, blessings are everywhere.
Last of which was the opportunity to see Jorge...(now Elder Mac) give his farewell talk and leave to Brazil on a mission. For the past 6 months he's been helping the missionaries in almost all of their appointments.... and now it's his turn to start serving.

I love this church and I know that it's true, I hope you all have a great week!