Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 18, 2011

Hey family,
Glad to hear that everything is going so well and that Megan has accomplished the great accomplishment of surviving High School!! Yay!!! The Canada/Idaho experience sounds pretty awesome as well. It´s always way cool to have the family around and to be able to visit. Youth Conference sounds like its going to be awesome. To me Youth Conferences when you are within driving distance of Palmyra and the other parts of church history sound really fun to me. I think it would be sweet to get to go to one of those. I think from my view point the best part of the week was your temple session. I´ll be honest, I wish I had gone to the temple a lot more before the mission and I plan on going more after the mission. (I plan to do a lot of things after the mission, we´ll just have to see how that works out. :) ) I also would like to officially wish mom and dad another HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! And while I´m at it, I should just wish everyone a happy birthday now, Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Toss Up Candy Day. (Just in case you don´t remember, I made that last one up in like 2nd grade. Now that I think about it sounds like a pretty lame holiday to me.) I do this now, because I am bound to forget about it later... Oh ya, and Happy Father´s Day Dad!
This week in Peru has been pretty cool, temperature-wise, but I still haven´t found a use for a jacket or those thermal garments I bought before my mission. This week we went all over Lima again, and I had the opportunity to go the Area office and do a bunch of legal paperwork again. We are working really hard right now and we are seeing the blessings. Remember the 2 out of 4 taxi drivers being from Lince? By Monday it was 4 out of 6, and one of them said that he would come to church tomorrow. Its pretty exciting for us. Monday we also had a great lesson from Elder Wilson and Elder Zapata, the zone leaders. They talked about demonstrating love and charity for the people we serve and teach. It´s something that I feel like I still lack and so I like to learn a lot on how to improve it. Elder Zapata and Elder Wilson both teach with the spirit and its great to hear the lessons they have for us.
This week wasn´t loaded with opportunities to go and knock doors because we were so busy, but Elder Noriega continues to be an example for me with his desire to teach everyone he comes in contact with. Because of him, we have been able to teach small lessons to tons of taxi drivers throughout the city of Lima and to help a few converts in their testimonies.
The best experiences of the week though, happened today. The scripture of the week and the spiritual experience of the week. And both on P-Day. :)
1. I got to read the scriptures a little bit more today than I had been able to in the past. I read about the sons of Helaman in Alma 53 and it was great. The best part about it for me were the two verses that I call, "The way all young men should try to become!" It says that these young men were exceedingly valiant for courage and strength and activity. They were also true in all times in whatsoever thing they were intrusted. They were men of Truth and soberness. I like this a lot. They were valiant, they were strong and of good courage and the part that stuck out to me... They were true in all times in whatsoever thing they were intrusted. I imagine Moroni asking them to do important things or Helaman or the leaders of the people of Nephi and having total trust that they would get it done. I want to be that way. I want people to be able to have that confidence in me. We all know the rest of the story, when they talk about how their mothers taught them and things like that. I also liked when I read verses 13 to 15 where the fathers of these young men were going to break their oaths to never again kill someone. They showed their love for the people of Nephi by being willing to break this oath to help protect their liberties. (I´d imagine that they taught the importance of their liberties to their sons) These verses also show the love of the Helaman for them. He didn´t want them risking falling into sin again for the protection of the people. It doesn´t say that they definitely would have fallen again into sin, but it was a risk that Helaman didn´t want to take. He cared more for their eternal salvation than for even his own life. I found this important. We need to lose ourselves for the salvation of others.
2. The spiritual experience that we had today was awesome. We met Marco. Marco is actually one of the investigators that the sister missionaries in the ward are teaching. He had met them in the street and had given them false information because he wasn´t really interested. Then he read a little of the Book of Mormon and felt really bad about his dishonesty. He wound up calling the office because the office number is on the back of the cards, and asked us to help him get in contact with the sisters. We did. Then tonight we went to help the sisters with a baptism, and he was there before the baptism to talk to the sisters. They asked us to sit with him while they went to look for the baptismal clothes because he decided to say and see the baptism. We took the opportunity to teach him a little. He was very repentant, and he has had a pretty hard life recently, and the spirit was really really really strong. It was an awesome opportunity for us. We talked about God´s love for him, and that through faith in Jesus Christ he can receive the help he needs. We shared with him the promises that come through prayer and repentance. We can all get better. To see this mans humility was astounding. He went from not wanting to hear much about what the sisters were going to say, to wanting to listen and hoping that our church could help him come closer to Christ. I learned from his humility more than I think he learned from me. And the spirit definitely taught all present more than any of us could have done. It was an awesome evening.
I know that this church is true. I know that through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, men like Marco and like me can be forgiven of all of our sins and receive the peace and warmth of his love. I love this gospel. It´s days like today that remind me why I am serving as a missionary. I love you all, and I hope the best for you all in the upcoming week. Remember that God loves you, Jesus does too, and they both showed that amazing love for us. (John 3:16-17, John 15:13) The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. I have learned the truth of the words of Ammon in Alma 26:12-13 and 26-30 when he says "I know that I am nothing." And then in 27 says "when our hearts were depressed...the lord comforted us." I have seen both happen. As for myself, I am nothing. I am weak. I am not the best teacher and do not know the scriptures perfectly, however when filled with the spirit I can speak the will and mind of the Lord (D&C 68:4). And as a representative of Jesus Christ, when moved by the spirit, I can promise blessings in His name, and can bless in His name, and can teach and testify in His name. I love the gospel and love my Lord, my Savior and my Redeemer. I bear witness of Him daily. It is one of the greatest blessings to have and I cherish this time I have to do it. Its a short limited time. I wouldn´t trade these two years for the world.
I love you all,


June 11, 2011

Hey family,
Its great to hear everything that´s going on at home and its great to hear about what everyone is doing. Glad to hear about Alex´s heroics in soccer. I think its way cool that you had the opportunity to play goalie. And its cool that you were involved in the penalty kicks. I´m gonna have to say, I don´t like being goalie. I´m kind of afraid of the ball. Sounds like everything is still busy, which is always a good thing.
Before I go into the craziness of the week Im gonna talk about the less spiritual things, I like finishing spiritual. First things first, Good News. I am winning the elevator game 35 - 20. Basically I am creaming Elder Noriega. Don´t worry, Im humble about it. Other good news. We get along great. Other interesting news. Ollanta won the national elections for PerĂº. I know that means almost nothing to you, but its interesting. We also forgot to pay our light bill so we were without lights for a day. Pretty cool huh? And finally I learned a Liter of Chocolate Milk and 100 grams of Peanuts is not a good dinner. Neither is over-eating anticucho.
Now onto the spiritual.
This week has been really busy for us. We have been taking things to different parts of the mission that missionaries needed, and we have been trying to do everything that we can to get out and teach in our sector. Its been really great because we have focused on planning and preparing to go and teach, we just haven´t had hardly any time. In our mission President Tyler has focused on the process of faith that both missionaries and investigators have to go through in this life the baptize and to retain members of the church. It consists of five steps that we have to pass through. I have seen this process this week in my mission.
1. The hope. We have had a lot of hope this last week. Part of this hope was praying and setting a goal of 2 baptisms this month in a sector where we currently have 1 investigator and there hasn´t been a baptism in 7 or 8 months. (Speaking of the office elders, not the ward) We have the hope that we can have success here and still be effective in the office. Elder Noriega has a great attitude and we have focused a lot this week.
2. The hope brings faith. Faith is believing in things which are hoped for and not seen. This means we have to believe in the miracles we have yet to see. We know it is possible to see these miracles.
3. We must act. Faith without works is dead. We know this line of scripture that comes from James. But what does it really mean? Does it mean that I have to show my faith that I find someone to teach by knocking on 2 doors? 5 doors? 10 doors? I would say that none of these are the answer. I believe that the action is a never ending process. It means that I am doing everything in my power to make the miracle happen. I very much agree with a statement I once heard, and Im not even sure where. To be successful we have to work as if everything depends in us and have faith in the Lord as if everything depended in him. Because both are true. This scripture in James 2:17-18 tells us that. We must show our faith through our works. We must give it our all, and at the same time get on our knees and pour out our souls to Him who created all things. This is something that has happened for us this week. We have worked hard. Working quickly, but we were almost never able to leave and work in our sector. So what did we have to do? Elder Noriega and I made a goal to talk to everyone we could. We talked to ever taxi driver and Elder Noriega took it to heart and talked to everyone: The lady who cut our hair... The lady who bound some small books for us... the security guards in the building... Everybody. He is a great example for me. You think that´s tough? Having to do everything in your power? It´s tiring yes, however next is the hardest part.
4. The trial of the faith. We have seen these. From taxi drivers who don´t really want to talk to us, to never being able to leave because we were super busy, to getting a little sick. The trials come. Dad sent me a video with parts of talks from Henry B. Eyring and Jeffrey R. Holland. Jeffrey R. Holland talked about this. Its not always going to be easy. If dad still has that video, its definitely worth watching for everybody. Missionaries and non-missionaries (and future missionaries) :). We it gets tough for Henry B. Eyring he gives himself this rallying cry.. "Remember Him!" Jesus Christ suffered all for us. Jeffrey R. Holland talks about Salvation never being easy. It wasn´t easy for Jesus Christ so we should even begin to think that it would be easy for us to do the work. We may have to suffer a little bit. It hasn´t been easy for us. However we can always "Remember Him" our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. The last part is the greatest part. Its the part we love to see.
5. The miracle. When our faith and our prayers are answered. We have had miracles. One example. Today, we went in two taxis. Both taxis were men who lived inside our sector. That had never happened even once before. But this time we ran into two men that lived in the same small area of Lima. One of them wasn´t very interested (Elder Bate had actually taught him in his taxi about 2 weeks before), the other gave us his phone number. The other example came in an interesting way. If I haven´t said it before, Ill say it now. President Tyler is an incredible man. He may have noticed we were a little stressed or overworked or he may have been guided by the spirit, but today for P_Day he took us to lunch and bowling. I´ll explain how this was a blessing. 4 stressed Elders were able to forget about the mountains of things we need to do. We were able to relax and have a good time. President is always like that. He notices how we are doing all the time.

That was my process of the faith this week. We will have to keep going with it, but I know we can have success, I have seen a little of that success this week and I am certain I will see more next week.... Hopefully things can slow down a little bit too. :) I haven´t had time to even write in my journal or study much. But thats what our planning is for. We continue praying and working. I hope the work is still moving along there, and that Trevor isn´t going to ruin the dating world. (Yes buddy, I did realized you are 16 now. The world had better watch out. jk) Just remember that respect is the most important in dating and that you don´t need to spend a ton of money. (And if dad pays for gas, it is possible for free) I love you all,