February 14, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
What’s Poppin? Things have been flying by pretty fast and I've already been out for 1/4 of mission and it’s crazy! It feels like I just left the MTC and met my trainer but that's not the case. Things are going great out here as usual and I’m not wasting a minute. We had a sweet Zone Fireside where the Stake President and his counselor Brother Cowan, Sister Cowan’s husband, talked to us. The Zone fireside was sweet and Brother Cowan said something that really caught my attention while talking to us. He said that not a day has gone by in his life that he hasn't remembered his mission so he told us to, “Take your mission by the throat and strangle it!" I felt what he was saying and that he was just saying not to waste a minute. Really, I only have two years out here and that's two years to murk!
I’ve been listening to the 179th General Conference talks in Spanish like every day in the car and in the apartment. It's so awesome because it helps you learn Spanish and feel the spirit at the same time. Anyway, I have been listening to Elder Henry B. Eyring's talk about how you have got to help out your fellow brother. It is the talk when he says “Man Down”. Jesus teaches that we are our brother’s keepers and we need to help each other in time of need. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ!
District meeting was sick and we are buckling down here in the mission! We are trying to show the Lord we are truly converted and not just out here to do our time. President Dyches has come out with what he calls the OPM culture. It’s how we are supposed to roll and live our lives out here. So we basically went over that and the Zone leaders all promised us some sweet blessings if we fast every Sunday this month! I have a really strong testimony of fasting and the fact that it is a little sacrifice but the blessings we can receive will always be greater than the sacrifice. That's one thing that I have learned out here on my mission. The Lord asks us to do things that seem like sacrifices at times but he always promises more blessings that we can receive if we just do what He asks. Like the Word of Wisdom for example, some people see that as a sacrifice, giving up coffee or cigarettes. But the way I see it, the blessings we can receive from just doing what God says far exceed the temporal benefit or satisfaction of any substance.
We had a pretty cool experience last week. We were knocking doors and we ran into a preacher. I asked him if he would be interested in hearing a message about Jesus Christ and he straight up told us he was a preacher. Then I was like," Hermano, it’s all good, this message is for everyone!" Usually out here, missionaries don't like talking to preachers because all they want to do is argue and Bible bash. Well he let us in and right when we walked into his house he was like, let me go grab my bible. Then I was like," Naw it’s all good, we actually have to go to another appointment, but we would like to pray with you!" He was like alright. Well I asked him how he prayed in his church and he told me that they all held hands. I was cool with that so we all just held hands and he prayed for us. It was pretty sweet because in the beginning he just wanted to argue but during his prayed he just asked Heavenly Father to help us spread the word of God. What I learned from that is that it is good to avoid contention and meet on the common ground that God is our Heavenly Father when people don't agree or aren't willing to listen.
Prayer. Wow I don't even know where to begin with pray other than the fact that it is one of the greatest gifts we are given in my opinion. I was listening to a talk by the Prophet and he said something I really liked. He said that prayer is the Portal to Peace. That is so true and I have had many experiences that have helped me to have peace through prayer. I am also trying to get better at recognizing my answers to my prayers as many scriptures say that God will answer your prayers. Ask and you shall receive. Even the scripture that Joseph Smith read when searching for the truth in James 1:5. Well I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers so I am further trying to listen and feel for the answer through my thoughts and impressions. It explains really well in Brother Bott’s book Preparation Precedes Power how you can receive your answer. Through your heart and mind, not just one of them but both. My goal is to understand the Lord and his promptings that he can give us. The Lord wants to bless us, we just need to have the faith to ask Him and the patience to listen for the answer.
I have included a picture of one of our investigators named Maria and she is the best! She is always reading the Book of Mormon when we come over and she even sings to us. She is really spiritual and writes letters to Heavenly father. It is pretty awesome and she let me have one of her letters to God. We have been teaching her and have invited her to be baptized and she has accepted. She is so cool and I just love listening to her talk! She even came to the Valentine Day Church dance and she had a good time.
My good friend Amancio is a great guy and it’s really hard to teach him because he always forgets what we teach him. It is always a good experience to teach him because he accepts what we teach, but he is just so old and doesn't really have any support from his family he is living with. We have been teaching this family that we met named Saul and Maribel and they are pretty nice people. We taught them about the restoration and they really were able to understand how the restoration was necessary because of the Apostasy. The problem that we always reach with many people that we meet is that they love to listen to the word of God, but when it comes down to them having to make a commitment, they aren't as willing to do so. So what we are trying to do is find the people that are ready for the gospel and in the mean time teaching as many people as possible.
We continue to have activities and the Branch members are being supportive as they attend the activities we have been organizing! We just had movie night and my boy Antonio came out to watch the movie The Testament with us. I told you how we have two companionship's that cover this one Branch, well the Elders in Salem, Elder Wienert and Elder Rangel are baptizing this awesome guy named David this week. He is the man and he is 20 years old. He wants to serve a mission like us and we have been helping him to be prepared by bringing him with us a lot of places to do service and stuff. I have taught David many times as we have had many exchanges and I have had the opportunity to know him pretty well. He is a G and he has asked me to give a talk at his baptism this Friday, it’s gonna be pretty legit and I’ll let you know how it goes! Something funny that happened this week was that we went to the Valentines Dance. At the dance, David, was standing in the corner. I went up to him and asked him why he wasn't dancing and he told me that he gave up dancing. He told me that he used to dance a lot but he gave up his passion for dancing a long time ago. Everyone kept coming up to him asking him to come and dance but he kept on saying no. So after being asked to dance so many times, David just couldn't take it anymore and just snapped. He ran onto the dance floor and started dancing his heart out. Two years of being bottled up and not dancing was all unleashed on the dance floor as David showed everyone his moves. It was pretty funny to see him retake his passion for dancing at the Valentines dance.
That’s about it for this week. I love it out here and am learning so much about myself and how much our Father in Heaven loves each of us. Be good and pray for my investigators OK?