I want you to know first off that you guys are some of the best people I know. I don't think I would be here on the mission without you and your example. Especially mom and dad. Bishop Collins sent me a letter and I got it this week and he share a bit from Enos. I studied Enos this week and in Enos 1: 1-3 it really helped me understand that Enos was converted because of his father. First of all, he knew that he was a righteous/just man. Second, He was always teaching him. Like Bishop said in the letter "a normal day of hunting turned into a day of ponder and prayer . . . " So thank you for always being Jacob and helping me through the harder times of life.
It seems like everything is going great in Alpine - minus grandma and her leg. Tell her to stay strong! It's going to be hard, but she can pull through it!
I do have some pretty good stories this week:
So, we go and see this investigator maybe once or twice every couple of weeks and he has this terrible smoking problem and because of it she can't really walk but she's super nice and gives us pastries. We have been teaching her and her daughter-in-law and this week when we stopped in she started telling us this story that happened a few days before.
Here's a little backgroud: Roxanna is the daughter-in-law and when we invited he to be baptized she told us no - she would never be baptized because she was born Catholic, raised Catholic and will die Catholic. (Like I've never heard that one before!) So ya, whatever. So we kept going by to see Lucy (the mom) and this is the story that she told us: So Lucy wanted to drink some liquor so she went to mix up some wine and coca-cola. Roxanna's husband and friends were there and Lucy offered some of the drink to Roxanna who said, "no voy a tomar. Soy mormona!" Translation: "I'm not going to drink that! I'm a Mormon!" hahaha!
Yeah, she's not even been to church yet, but hey! I guess she's already got a testimony of the Word of Wisdom. :)
Story #2: We did exchanges this week and you'll never guess who I got to work with!?!?! ELDER ZIVIC!!! It was just like Fontana all over again and we loved it! We had such a great day! There was a holiday here recently called "Dia de Maria" so when E. Zivic and I were teaching a lesson we saw this group of people walking with their Maria statues in hand singing "Santa Maria salvanos Maria!" Which just means: Holy Mary, save us Mary. I just thought to myself that it was just like in Enos 1:20.
Story #3: Probably on of the biggest miracles of my mission. So a few months ago, Elder Suarez and I had to close out a contract for the pench that the McKoy's (retired couple) lived in. The owner has this little "helper" named Daniella that attended to us and helped us to close this contract. We went by and visited with her several times and got to know her pretty well. One day when we were leaving E. Suarez said to me how great of a member she would be. So the next time we passed by we asked her what part of Goya she lived in and she told us in the south - not our area. A couple of weeks later while we were on divisions in Belgrano, we were knocking on some doors and I didn't really even know where I was. We got rejected by this guy who seriously so drunk and turned the corner and knocked on another door. YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHO WE FOUND! It was Daniella and it was so great! We had a super good lesson with her where she told us more about her life. We taught her about the restoration and invited her to be baptized. It was really fun to talk with her and catch up.
We've had a great week and we're progressing! Slowly but surely!
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Hola! Como esta familia!
We had an awesome conference yesterday with President and Hermana Heyman. She bawled half the time, and we loved it. Elder Valdez played Savior, Redeemer of my Soul on the violin (which some random guy in Goya let him borrow) and the assistants sang. Then we all sang the Army of Helaman and President took off his glasses and kissed Hermana. :) They got a big cheer for that one and they we all got to say good-bye to them one by one. I was sad because Elder Valdez and I had to leave early to go buy tickets for our bus so we only got a short goodbye, but it's okay - we can still call them until the 1st. :)
Please send Tyler and Makenzie's invitation in the mail. And how cool for Brae! He's gonna go rafting! IF I could do that trip again and totally would. And a big congrats to Jackson - I would love to be his companion.
The Franco's come the first of July and it's his call if he wants to have a mission conference or just tour each area of the mission. I imagine that he will just tour the mission - that's what I would do if I were him.
On Wednesday, we went and did divisions this week with the Elders in LaValle and I got tot work with Elder Hulme. So a member asked us to do a little service and offered to feed us too. So of course we jumped on that offer! Since she lives like 2km from the pench we decided to pack our church clothes and change after. We did the service, ate, shared scriptures and then asked her to come with us to a lesson. So we went to change before we went to the lesson and I got my pants on, my shirt, my badge, shoes, etc. Then I started looking for my tie - and ya - I forgot my tie! Since the lesson was literally 2 houses away and we didn't have time to go all the way back to our pench I just went without one. It was pretty funny!
We also had a little problem with week. We found a family a week and a half ago. They're super cool and wanted to come to church with us. So we went to pick them up and as we were waiting for them to finish getting ready we talked to them and started to ask them what they needed, what they're problems were, etc. So we went on to church and after the meeting the boyfriend of the girl we were teaching asked my companion for the money. He said and I quote, "Yeah, we decided to come and share this moment with you guys, and now we were wondering if you could share with us now." So we think that they thought we were going to give them money for going to church. WRONG. But it was pretty funny and Elder Valdez was super frustrated about that situation. :)
We also had asado de carpinchincho (Rodents of Unusual Size) and enjoyed a huge slab of meat!
But hey, live and learn, right?
Love you guys!
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
What's up?!? :)
I hope you're all doing super good! It sounds like the week was great and you all look great too. Ty and Kenz, congrats on the engagement pics. You're just TOO CUTE #coupleoftheyear Then Brae! So sick! Your NYC pics couldn't have been better. I hope you're enjoying every second of the pre-mish life before you hit up an even better time - the mission life!!!
And you're right! Time really is flying by! I can't believe I've been in Goya for 5 months now! I still feels like I just got here but it's been a great time. I never want to leave GOYA! Not much is new here - just the same old same old. We had 5 baptisms here this week (4 converts and 1 member) which was awesome!@ We had a super good time and enjoyed the torta (cake) as always. It's still not as good as your chocolate cake mom. :)
And yes, I am keeping a book - not so much about the funny things that happen here, but I do have a journal and another journal with some of my more spiritual experiences. (I'm trying to be like Nephi.) #crappymissionjokes
Ha! It's funny that. (I asked him if he even remembers his life before his mission.) Elder Valdez and I were talking about what life was like before the mission, something that we NEVER do and it was weird. We started talking about music and I don't even remember any of the good bands. It's kinda sad, but a good thing too! I can't believe how different my life is here on the mission. It truly is like Christ said how we should live in the world but not be of the world - something like that. :) You know, Spanish . . . . :)
It will be strange for you to have me and Braeden out on the mission at the same time and only have Kenzie left at home. But I promise that it won't be long until I get home and you can talk my ear off all day long. #makemyearsbleedplease
It's super crazy to think that so many people from our little ward are already heading home. It feels like yesterday that I was picking up Melissa Devitt at the curb of the MTC and helping her inside and she's already heading home?!?!?! WHAT??!!
As for teaching and speaking at church - I do have to teach Gospel Principles every once in a while, but not a ton, just enough to keep me on my toes! I haven't had to speak yet, but I'm sure I will sooner or later. :)
As for saying our good-byes, we didn't do that quite yet. This next Monday we have a mission conference where all the missionaries will get together to say good-bye to the Heymans. They're enjoying every last second of being our Mission President and like Hermana Heyman said yesterday in her testimony - "Time just goes by way too fast."
So last week when I said that Ibaretta was taking over Goya - Elders Valdez, Zivic, Pacheco, Fuentes, Guajardo and I all recently served in Ibaretta so we have a HUGE part of the district that served there that are now serving here in GOYA! Such great missionaries and this transfer we are looking forward to great things!
I'm glad that everything is going great at home! We're just doing awesome - moving forward. We are working really hard and just having a lot of fun. It seems like we had a great week finding people - including a TON of families so we have really high expectations for this next week.
Enjoy the week!
Monday, June 9, 2014
You're never going to guess . . . I'm staying in Goya! I'll be here for another transfer with Elder Valdez and we're super excited about this transfer and all the new missionaries we have. Do you remember Elder Zivic? He was my companion in Fontana and now he's in our district! He was also Elder Valdez' companion a transfer ago! We had a nice little reunion with him we have another Elder in our district (Guajardo) to is from Texas that served in our district when we were the DLs in Fontana. It's just great to already know some of these guys and the Ibertta Zone is taking over Goya so it's great and we're excited to get to work!
As for the change in Mission Presidents - I haven't given much thought to it but I'm getting pretty good at readjusting since this will be my 4th. But change is good? Right?
I saw a picture of Braeden that made me super happy. He looks healthy, happy and full of joy. It makes me super excited to see how good he's doing and you're right, maybe in a little while we can take another family trip to all the church history sites. I promise that I'll enjoy it a little more. (Sorry about being a butt last time.)
As for Kenzie, my rule still stands! Just because you're getting a driver's license DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU CAN KISS BOYS. Got it? :) #overlyprotectivebrother
You know . . . it's funny because all day I've been thinking about what you shared with me and it's true. People either choose to follow the Savior and THEN feel the blessings or not. Sadly, many people choose the latter. It's always hard to work all day and feel as if nothing is happening. I had a little "Why is this so hard" moment this week. After 15 months you'd think that I'd be used to getting turned down. Sadly a few weeks ago all of our progressing investigators told us that they didn't want anything to do with the church and peaced out. Since then, we've been contacting a ton of people and talking to a ton of people . . . but nobody seems to want to change.
(The sign says "Don't throw trash in the canal"! haha)
One day when we had been contacting for a few hours we stated talking to this lady outside of her house and she gave us another lame excuse about why she couldn't talk to us so I asked her if she knew WHY we were called Mormons. Then I asked her if it would be alright if I quickly explained the question - mostly so I could leave her with some part of my testimony. I pulled my Book of Mormon out of my bag and showed it to her and began to explain about the book. She admitted that it was a book that testified of Jesus Christ but couldn't agree that it was true so we left her with the book and our testimonies. I hope that maybe in a few years she will have some time to be prepared and that when another set of missionaries pass her way that she might be ready to accept the gospel.
Right after that, I don't really know what happened but that's when I just got so frustrated and broke down a little - asking why this work is so hard. We work from sun up to sun down and still nothing. On the bright side, we've heard some pretty good rejection lines. I should write a book! Here's one of my favorites:
So we helped this lady the other day. She was kinda older and had these two buckets in her hands - so we helped her carry them and in return she agreed to talk with us on Friday. As we were walking down the road she was outside buying gas from this man. So we're thinking AWESOME! She is outside, sees us, and is going to talk to us! Well, she lifted the gas tank into her house and paid the man. By the time we actually got close enough to greet her, the man had already left and she told us she couldn't talk to us because her arm hurt! hahaha We got a kick out of that one!
We ate some super good tacos this week and we ate asado with a man who doesn't want anything to do with the church but invited us over after church on Sunday for lunch. We brought Coke and ate meat until we were purple in the face! 4 plates of this stuff. It was SOOOOO good!
More than anything it's was just another great week being a missionary in Argentina. I love serving and doing what we do!
Monday, June 2, 2014
I always love it when I get a minute to sit down and write to the best family in the world! I've got a lot to say - so fasten your seat belts.
For starters - a HUGE congratulations to Braeden and his mission call! PERU is Awesome! He is going to love every minute of it. Yeah, I'm a little bummed that I can't be there for this time of his life, but it's alright - I'll see him again. :)
As for the week it sounds like you guys ran like crazy - just like us! I can tell you right now that this was the best week of my entire mission. I know that I used to say that every week - but it's going to be really hard to beat this one.
On Monday night we went to go and ask the branch president a question. When we got to his house, he asked us where we were going that night. So we went out and had a super awesome, spiritual night. We visited a less active family and taught them about how we need to be valiant and true to the gospel. Even if we live in a place like "Sodom" (or Barrio Esperanza) we need to be true! We ended the lesson by kneeling in prayer in their humble home. We definitely left feeling the Spirit. We also stopped by Carlos' house and he was in a lot of pain from a dislocated disc in his back. We gave him a blessing and continued on.
Tuesday I got to give the message in District Meeting. I talked about Gideon's army of 300 soldiers that were worthy to fight. How he started with 3200 and ended up with 300 (the whole story is in Judges 6-7, check it out). I related it to how we need to be MORE than just men. Like a quote I shared "You can't be a lifeguard is you look like all the other swimmers on the beach."
After district meeting, we went to LaValle on divisions. I was with Elder Morin and we went hiking and had a good time. Just kidding - but we did visit this lady who lived about 2 km from LaValle - so it felt like a hike. The visit was well worth it and we had a good time together.
But now for the best part of the week. So you remember Jorge and Alicia that got married back in April? Well, Jorge never got baptized but he talked with President Heyman and on Thursday the President called me and asked if I was "ready for some good news?" He told me that Jorge was going to be baptized on Saturday!!!
We got things all set up and on Saturday I have never seen anyone so excited to be baptized. We told him to be there at 6 and he showed up at 5! He just couldn't have been more excited and then he told me that when they go to the temple that I have to be there so I might be coming back to Argentina next year! :) The baptism was great and the most fulfilling moment of my entire mission. The spirit at his baptism was burning the whole time and we had about 50 people there!
After the baptism, Elder Valdez and I were standing out in front of the church and E Valdez was calling the sisters in Bella Vista to congratulated them on the baptism they had that day as well. As I was standing in front of the church I started to think about how crazy the world is I looked up to the top of the steeple and then down to the plaque on the front of the church and I had the most peaceful feeling come over me. It was something that I've truly never felt before. As I continued to look at the plaque - almost in a daze at the word "JUSUCHRISTO" - I felt this sound understanding come to my mind that God really does live, He wants us to change and progress and He makes it all possible because of His love for us.
I don't really know how to put this experience into words but I can tell you now, more than any other time in my life and without any doubt in my heart that I know that my Savior lives. I love Him and He loves me. And I couldn't be more grateful for every blessing that I have. If you're reading this - you are one of my blessings. :)
Love you all,