Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 22..... Turning weaknesses into strengths!!

Elder's Whilhelm, Saune, Navarro, and Boyer
This week was really great for me and for this sector, Los Sauces. First thing is first; we got to have interviews with President Bluth this week. Him and Hermana Bluth came to our house and had individual interviews with each one of us.
Presidente y Hermana Bluth
President Bluth is such an amazing guy. He knew exactly what I needed. We sat there and talked for about a half an hour and it was really spiritual. He told me some stuff that I really took to heart. He told me exactly what I needed to hear. After this meeting I had with him, I just wanted to get out and do the Work of My Savior. I wanted these people here in Chile to feel the amazing change of heart that I have felt in my short 6 months here. I want them to feel the love that I can feel from my Savior. I want them to enjoy the blessings that I am currently enjoying. I am so grateful to have President Bluth as my Mission President. I have learned so much from him. I know the Lord called me to be here in this Mission with President Bluth, because I have a lot to learn from him. I am so grateful for this opportunity to be here. The meeting I had with him, really got me excited to get out and do the work. 

The work has been super slow here in Los Sauces. No one wants to progress... everyone has hit a wall, and Elder Wilhelm and I are trying to break down this wall. :) We have spent many days studying and praying for our investigators, trying to help them to gain this desire to act. No one here wants to act on their Faith. They all know it is true in the comfort of their own homes, but no one has the desire to act upon their Faith and go to church or do the commitments. The night President came, Elder Wilhelm and I went out, and we could feel a different spirit in this area. We went out and had so many great lessons. We had this one lesson with an investigator that has not progressed in a long time. We went in to this lesson with a great lesson plan that we had prepared. We felt a different spirit in the house this time. She was more receptive. We had a great lesson. The spirit was definitely present. It was so awesome, Elder Wilhelm and I worked so great together. This lesson was probably the best one we have had together. We ended up committing them to baptism… the Mom and the 16 year old son. We committed them to be baptized in March. So, we will be working with them for this date. After the lesson, I was so excited. This was our first time we have had a baptismal date this cambio. It was so awesome and definitely a testimony builder for me.

 Another great thing that happened this week, is that on Sunday, we had a Zone Attack in Los Sauces. All the missionaries in our Zone came to Los Sauces and worked in our sector. We gave each companionship a map with a list of less active people. Their job was to find out what happened, if they lived there, and to revise our list of members we have here in Los Sauces. This day was amazing. We found so many new investigators, and have so many lessons with less-actives. We are planning a huge activity for this area on Wednesday, so it should be great to get all of them to come. We want to build the unity here in Los Sauces. We are seeing so many great miracles here in Los Sauces. The Lord definitely has his hand in this work. Los Sauces is slowly improving each and every day. I know this sector is going to have a huge month where tons of baptisms will happen. And that month is approaching rapidly. I am loving seeing this sector improve. It is such an amazing experience. This week was a super good week for me though.

 I just want to share with you guys a little spiritual thought. The scripture I want to share with you guys, I think I might have already shared, but I read it again this week and this scripture is amazing. We used it a lot this week with our investigators.

 Alma 5:27:
“Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?”

I love this scripture so much. This is a question that all of us need to ask ourselves, each and every day. Am I worthy to be in Gods presence right now? Have all my sins been washed by the blood of Christ? If I was to die right now, could I say that I am worthy? These are questions we need to ask. These questions will help guide us through our lives. If we answer no to these questions... the next question needs to be WHY NOT? WHAT CAN I DO TO BE READY? My challenge to each of you this week, is find out those things that you need to improve and become closer to your Savior. This is one thing that I have really learned how to do in my mission. With the help and direction from my Savior, I have been able to see the areas that I need to improve, and through daily prayer and practice, I have been able to turn my weak things into strengths. I am so grateful for the help of my Savior. He has brought me so much happiness in my life. I have changed so much in my mission. And my challenge this week is for all of you to find these challenges/weaknesses...I promise you that with the help from the Lord, you will be able to make these weak things become strong, and you will be able to say in this moment that you are ready to meet God!!!

Are you ready for some futbol?


A cool little lake that some members took us to!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 21... The convert is ME!!!

This week was such a good week for me. I completed 6 months in the mission. That is so crazy to me that I am one-fourth done with my mission. It feels like yesterday that I was saying goodbye to everyone. Time is flying by out here. I never thought I would be at this moment in my mission. I always remembered being at home and thinking of this time. Now it is here and I don’t know where the time has gone. I am so grateful for all the experiences I have had in my mission thus far. I have had the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows, but all my experiences have brought me closer to our Savior Jesus Christ and every one of them has been a learning experience.
 On the day I hit 6 months, I had one of the most spiritual experiences in my mission. I have been feeling a little down that I have not had a baptism. I kind of got down on myself and so I just started going through the motions. I decided I didn’t want to go through the motions any more. I woke up that morning and could feel the spirit pounding through my chest. I felt inspired to read a talk given by the Area 70 here in Chile. This talk is called; "The Vision to Baptize".  After reading this my emotions began to get the best of me. Honestly this experience was the most I have felt the Spirit in my mission. I began to look back on all the experiences of my mission. I began to think of all the hard times, and how much I have improved. As of right now I don´t have any baptisms, but I can tell you that I have one of the greatest converts…that convert is ME!!!!! I have been totally converted to this Gospel. 
I had so many questions before I left for my mission, if these things really were true. I really wanted to know for myself if these things are true.

 I can testify to all of you that Christ lives. He loves each and every one of us. I have had so many challenges in this mission. I have spent many nights in tears looking for answers and trying to change myself for the better. During these challenges, I kept asking why me? Why does it have to be so hard?  But, I just kept putting my trust in Christ. I wanted to do what he wanted me to do. A lot of times I would ask, Father in Heaven what do you want from me? Why is this mission so hard? Why are things happening like this? Why don’t I have any converts? I was getting really devastated. But as I continued to put my trust in the Lord, I started to see all the little miracles that happen each and every day. I began to see the Lords hand in everything. It was so amazing to me, that before I missed all these things. The only thing that really was missing was the eyes to see these blessings. My eyes have been opened to this Gospel. I am so grateful for all these experiences. I can testify to all of you that Christ is our Savior. And there is no other way by which we can be saved. Our Church is centered on the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. I testify to you that this church is true. And that if we are obedient, and put all our trust in the Lord, he will mold us into whom He wants us to be. I really am so grateful for this Gospel. I have experienced so many blessings.

 I am so grateful for all of you and all the love and support you all have shown me. I love you guys so much. After reading this talk it made me really focus on why I am here. I am here to bring the message of the Restored Gospel into the lives of the Chilean people. Through Christ we can be saved. Only through Him can we return to live with our Eternal Father in Heaven. This experience I had really made me look back on all the times in my mission, and helped me be so grateful for everything. I can’t wait to have so many more experiences. I have 18 months left to have all the amazing experiences. I am so excited for the next 18 months. I love you all so much. I pray for all of you every night. Thanks for all the love and support.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 20..... 6 Month Mark!!

I can’t believe that I will hit my 6th month mark this week. Time has really flown by!!!! I don’t feel like I am a fourth of the way done with my mission. I now realize how fast the mission goes and how much I have to do in just a short little time. There are so many things I want to do, and so many changes I want to make. I only have a little time left to do it. Other than that it is my 6th month mark, things here in Los Sauces have been great. 

Los Sauces really is so small. I think I have contacted the whole city over 5 times… haha. My companion and I, Elder Wilhelm, have been working really hard at getting this area to have excitement. When I first got here, this area was dead. No one had excitement, and no one wanted to progress. They kind of felt like no one cares for them. They are just this city in the middle of nowhere and no one cares for them. There was really nothing to be excited about, it was really sad. So at the first of this cambio, Elder Wilhelm and I set a bunch of goals on what we wanted to do. We have been focusing so hard on achieving these goals. Each week we have had a ward activity, trying to bring people together. We have gained a lot of people’s trust and people are really beginning to love what we are doing. I think we are making a lot of progress and that is what we want. That is what missionary work is all about. We have been bringing less active, inactive and investigators together and really getting them to know each other and support each other. We just have to keep working hard and I know this area can be a great area. 
We only have a few investigators, but the ones we have are super good. We should have some baptisms coming up within this next month. I cannot wait for my first baptism. I am really beginning to love the mission and the work we are doing. It is amazing to see the changes in people’s lives. I am so excited to actually see one of our investigators go and make these life changing decisions. I am so excited. 

Anyways, I don’t have much time this week, but I just wanted to share a little spiritual though with all of you. So yesterday at church, one of our speakers didn’t show up; so I got called to prepare a talk in like 5 minutes. I was so nervous, and had no clue what to talk on. I prayed to know what I needed to talk on, and what could benefit this branch. After I finished my prayer, I opened my scriptures and found this scripture:

Mosiah 16: "But, remember he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the Devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God, and also is the Devil and enemy to God."

I love this scripture so much, because all of us have the Natural Man. We all have desires physical and spiritual. A lot of times we let our physical desires over power our spiritual desires. But I warn you of the Natural Man, because he is an enemy to God, and as we fall into the temptations of Satan, we will not have happiness, we will live in our fallen state for eternity. If we follow our natural man, Satan has all power over us and will drag us down to never ending misery and woe... But, we have our Savior’s example to overcome this natural man, and we have the spirit to guide us on the right path. I challenge all of you to watch out for this natural man, and always follow the guidance from the Spirit. We can defeat Satan! I love you all so much. Have a great week.
Elders Boyer, Saune, Navarro, and Wilhelm

Mi Casa....
The kitchen...
Living Room...

My study area...
the bedroom....Yep, 4 beds in one room!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 19... Perfection vs. Progression!!!

Los  Sauces Plaza
Wow this week was so full of events; I don't even know where to start. Well, I guess I will start by telling all of you about my new sector. I got transferred to a sector called Los Sauces. This sector is super awesome. It is smaller than Yumbel, haha. I didn't think a sector could be smaller than Yumbel, but it is haha. On usual, it only has like 18 people go to church each Sunday. We have like 5 active members in the Ward. I was really excited to change areas and see what other areas were like. My first day here, we went and visited all the members. My comp., Elder Wilhelm wanted me to get to know the members and really become close with them. So we spent the first couple days visiting the members. There are some good members here. I am really excited to be here serving in Los Sauces.

As far as the area, Los Sauces is a really small town, they don't have any stores, it is all little stores connected to the houses of the people. Everything here is super expensive. Really this city is in the middle of nowhere. All I can see on all sides of the city are hills and pastures, haha. The city is super confined though. They have a bunch of houses, so it feels big, but it really is small. One thing that is going to be tough is that we have to cook every day. None of the members can afford to feed us, so we have to make food every day. I was spoiled in Yumbel where I got fed every day. My first day here, my comp and I tried to make rice. Apparently, we bought the cheap rice that you have to sauté it in oil before you cook it. We didn’t know that, we aren’t chefs, but we tried to make rice, the easiest thing to cook in the world, and totally wrecked it. The rice began to stick together about 8 minutes into cooking it. So we pulled it out, we ate hard, sticky rice… haha. It is going to be a long time here in Los Sauces... No, I really am excited. We have already learned how to cook some things. A member here is teaching us.

Elder Wilhelm and Boyer
 As far as my companion; his name is Elder Wilhelm. He is from Orem. He is a 6ft 7in gringo. He is super funny. He is really smart. He is finishing his mission this cambio. He has helped me so much. He is really helping me become a better teacher. We are getting a long super great. He is just trying to teach me all that he knows. All I have to do in return is to keep him from not dying…to keep working hard and pushing through. 

This week was kind of hard for us, because my comp is the Branch President here in Los Sauces. This week there was so much drama within the ward. We had a great ward activity and everything was going great, and then our best member came up and talked with my comp and told him he was never going to church again. It was super hard on my comp. He was taking it personally. We have been working so hard to figure out what went wrong and trying to get him to come back to church. After this happened, Elder Wilhelm and I decided we are really going to focus on the less active members here in Los Sauces. There are so many less actives. It is kind of sad when you bring your investigators to church, and there is only 1 member there to help you. The missionaries literally do everything here. On Sunday, we all bore our testimony for 10 minutes each. We taught lessons, and did everything. Without the missionaries, this branch would fail. I am so excited to work here though. There is so much potential from growth here. I know that if Elder Wilhelm and I can work hard this cambio, we can get people reconverted and bring them to this gospel, and strengthen this branch. Well that is pretty much Los Sauces. I am super excited to serve here and see if I can make some changes here.

As far as my spiritual thought this week, I want to share a quote that I heard this week: "God doesn't expect PERFECTION, He only expects PROGRESSION" I love this quote so much! A lot of times I have looked at myself in the mission and been like, I have so much to improve: I want to be like this, and teach like this, I often ask myself, why am I not like this? Why am I not helping people in this way? Am I improving? Why am I not a perfect missionary? This week I realized that those were all the wrong questions to be asking. I realized that this week!!! I learned that God only expects progression. He doesn't expect us to be perfect right now, He only asks that we work as hard as we can and progress. I challenge all of you to take this quote and apply it to your lives. Continue to progress each and every day. Don’t get discouraged if you are not perfect, because not one of us is perfect. God doesn't expect us to run faster than we have strength. God will make up the difference if we turn to him and He will help us progress and become closer to Him. I love you all so much have a great week.