Thursday, September 2, 2010

There have been a lot of changes at the CCM in the last little while,
and it is going to be an interesting and tough next three weeks, but
things are still going well. Im glad to hear that Adam and Alex got
to go on the varsity scout activity and that Trevor has another palm.
They definitely seem more devoted to scouting than I was. Its cool
that the ward is expanding so much and that there are good families
moving in. Everything seems to be going pretty well in Maryland. In
Peru it is finally starting to become less depressing overall. Here
the weather during the winter, although its not freezing is pretty
disheartening. Because of the pollution in Lima and because of the
fog that comes off of the ocean, there isn´t very much blue sky here.
But we are starting to see more blue sky and now there is actually
starting to be clouds and not just a layer of gray. The temperature
has always been comfortable, but a little chilly. Now it is starting
to warm up which is great.
The last week has been pretty good. I have begun to attack the Book
of Mormon and the Bible in english in my personal study time. I have
read from early 2 Nephi into the latter half of Mosiah in the last
week or so. With the exception of Sunday when we are busy and Tuesday
when I had to go to immigrations so I didn´t have personal study, I
have read from 15 to 20 pages in the Book of Mormon and 10 in the
Bible. I have had extra time because my companion has not been here
during companionship study. He has been at immigrations and interpol
and things like that to prepare to go to Mexico. On Saturday we went
proselyting again, and Elder Alvarez and I were in Callao again. We
knocked on 3 doors of inactive members. 1 wasn´t home and the other 2
let us in. I find it interesting, because I doubt we would get in as
many doors in the United States or in any richer areas in the world.
We also went to a recently baptized members house and bore our
testimonies to her. I didn´t understand a word in the entire first
visit, but the Spirit was definitely there.
I don´t know if I have mentioned this before, but there are a ton of
dogs here. They are all over in the streets in Callao and they just
sit around and don´t do much usually. On Saturday there was a little
more action with the dogs. One of the members we were with decided
she wanted to pet a dog, and it wound up that we had for or five dogs
barking at us and moving closer to us. Then one of the other 2
members started to swing his scripture case at them and they started
to back off. He then picked up some rocks as we walked away to make
sure that they didn´t follow us and attack us. Later I saw about 12
dogs start to fight each other. Pretty cool to see... From pretty far
away. I was a little nervous that they would come closer to us.
On Sunday we wrote letters to the MTC President and it made me think a
lot about what I had read in my scriptures. I thought about Mosiah
chapter 3 and King Benjamin´s speech. It was so amazing. I
especially focused on verses 16 and 17. In 16 it talks about man
being fallen by nature through the fall of Adam. And because we don´t
believe in natural sin and babies needing to be baptized I had never
thought about us as fallen when we are born. But then I thought about
it a little bit. We are fallen in one sense that I know of. We have
left the presence of God. Thats a pretty steep fall. Even if it is
for a good purpose in the end, we are cut off from his presense when
we go through the veil. I also like that verse 16 says that little
children are saved in Christ. How great a feeling to know that
children who don´t understand who die are going to be saved through
the Atonement. Although I don´t personally know anyone who has died
before they were 8, it still brings me comfort. I can´t imagine how
much comfort that would bring to people who have lost young children
in their lives. I also liked verse 17 where it talks about Christ and
says that through Christ is the only way we can return to live with
our Heavenly Father.
On Sunday we also watched the Joseph Smith movie. I am amazed by the
power of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and all who gave up their lives for
the church. These are people who trusted in the Lord and became
martyrs because of their faith. It made me think about myself...
Would I be willing to give my life for the church? I definitely don´t
know. I am giving 2 years of my life to serve a mission, but that is
a whole lot different than dying for the gospel, and I know that the
Lord will bless me for my mission. I am also not leaving an entire
family to fend for themselves because of my mission. Joseph Smith and
Hyrum Smith both left families that had to continue on their own. I
decided that I would like to think that I would give my life for the
gospel, but in the moment would be a whole different story. Joseph
and Hyrum had so much conviction and I hope that I can have that some
kind of conviction in my life. The movie reminded me of the talk that
Jeffrey R. Holland gave about the early leaders of the church. If you
haven´t heard or don´t remember that talk it is definitely worth
watching again. You can find it on It is so powerful about
the Book of Mormon and the early prophets. I think it is called a
witness to the Book of Mormon. You can definitely also find it on
Youtube. And it may be easier on Youtube. I think that the pioneers
were incredibly strong in their faith and in my opinion, every member
who died because of mobs or sickness in their treks between Ohio and
Utah are martyrs. They died trying to follow the prophet and be
strong in their faith. They died for the gospel. They are all
martyrs in my book. I will always remember their example and the
example of Joseph and Hyrum as well as the talk by Elder Holland. And
I will continue to learn and trust in the Lord because as Nephi says
in 2 Nephi Chapter 4. "I know in whom I have trusted. My God has been
my support.
Monday was interesting because as we have been preparing to get new
teachers, districts and companions one of my teachers asked me to
write the words for "Be Still My Soul" down in English for her as well
as writing how you would say the word with Spanish letters. For
example Be still my soul is something like "Bi still may sol" It is
weird because there isn´t a way to write it in Spanish for every
english sound. It definitely helped my spanish though.
Tuesday was interesting as well. I changed districts, but we kept my
entire district intact minus the loss of the one sister missionary we
had. We just added other missionaries. Here it is a little
different. Because North Americans and Latins have different class
work because they don´t need to learn the language. My companion was
in a different district than me so our 12 missionaries in our
district, 106, were companions with the 12 missionaries in District
105. Now its all english missionary companionships so my companion is
in my district. We also had an interesting experience with
missionaries leaving. They needed more room for more missionaries so
8 missionaries from my group were asked to leave 3 weeks early and go
into the field. Because of this we lost 3 missionaries from our
english district all of whom went to the Lima Central mission. One
was our district leader, so we didn´t have a district leader for about
a week and a half. Elder Purvis one of the elders in our district
filled in for him. Elder Purvis also happens to be my new companion.
He is from American Fork, Utah and went to Snow College for the last
year before his mission. He is awesome and it should go well.
The most interesting change yesterday was the fact that I was assigned
to be a Zone Leader in the CCM for the next 3 weeks. I am one of 4
North American Zone Leaders and their will be 2 Latino Zone Leaders
once the Latino missionaries get here. The Zone Leaders were assigned
off of recomendations by the previous Zone Leaders. The other 3 Zone
Leaders: Elder Jensen from Salt Lake, Elder Huddleston from Louisiana
and Elder Angerbaur from Bountiful were all district leaders before so
they know a little bit more about whats going on than I do. Its going
to be great though. I think it may have just been the 4 district
leaders from before had my district leader not left early. I think I
was probably called because I got to know 2 of the Zone Leaders really
well and I played the piano for them a lot. It is pretty interesting.
I need to go now, but I love you all, good luck with the beginning of

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