Sunday, December 28, 2014

Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King

First of all, happy 26th birthday to my companion, Hermana Cruz!!  I was lucky enough to spend one last week with her because we got transfer calls  I have loved every minute with her these past 5 months and have learned so much and experienced so many miracles that I will never forget.  I'm sad to be leaving her and Pueyrredon, but the Lord has other great things in store!  speaking of.....My new companion is Hermana Kroska, she is from Minnesota and has one month in the mission.  I'm privileged to be her new "step mom" and finish her training.  I'm super excited and nervous at the same time.  I still have lots to learn and grow from every single day of the mission.  I'm now serving in an area called, "La Falda".  It's actually only about 30 minutes from my last area.  Our president is from this area so we get to have lunch with him and hes wife very once in awhile :)  Lucky us!  I'm really excited for this area and this transfer, especially to get to know the member and our investigators.

These past two weeks have been a little crazy!  But this Thursday, we had a Christmas dinner with the zone and our President.  It was a blast.  For 2 months we have been practicing Christmas hymns as a zone.  We got to sing these hymns in the Central park as well as be on TV.  Lots of members and investigators showed up to watch.  In the evening, we had dinner and a talent show put on by missionaries with dancing, singing, instruments, etc.  Followed by a wonderful Christmas message by our President.

 On our way to the park

The Sisters

Singing in the Park

On Friday, we also had a ward Christmas dinner and many people attended including less actives and investigators.  Hermana Cruz and I couldn't stay for very long, but it was great to see friendly faces we hadn't seen in the church for a while. I also snuck a quick picture in the kitchen of a whole cow's leg that we ate for the Christmas dinner that night! 

The Cow Leg!

Ward Members

I also just wanted to wish everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS and invite all to remember Christ and his birth this holiday season. In my personal studies this week I was reading in 3 Nephi 12: 13-16

13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men.
 14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
 15 Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;
 16 Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

I like to think that the light is our testimonies, the gospel think of all the people who don't have this light this Christmas season. Let us shine our light and share it with our friends and family take it out from under the table and let it shine so everyone can see it, so bright you can see it through your eyes, smiles, works and attitude "that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven" 
Homework: bake some cookies and grab a red hat and go Christmas caroling with a friend or family member! 
ps... have a wonderful CHRISTMAS and GRACIAS for all of the wonderful packages, letters, and prayers! !les quiero mucho! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

El es la Dadiva

This year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a 2 minute video called, "He is the Gift" and it's amazing!  I'm sure you've all seen it by now, but if not, watch it!  It is played in 10 different languages and centered around Christmas and our Savior Jesus Christ.  It is to be the first YouTube Video for all of December for everyone to watch all over the world.  Our zone leaders also mentioned that in New York, it will be shown in Central Park on the big screen.!3737!3!56954558415!p!!g!!he%20is%20the%20gift&ef_id=U@mHiAAABbA37RT8:20141218205243:s

As missionaries all over the world, we have the opportunity to share with people, families, youth, members, etc., this wonderful video sharing the purpose of Christmas centered around our loving Savior, Jesus Christ as "The Gift" of Christmas.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

These past two weeks in December have been wonderful to share this message of "He is the Gift".  It has reminded me or why we have Christmas and to be a part of god's work, sharing the gift of Christ's love with the people of Argentina.  What better gift to give this season than of that to share the importance of our Savior as the message of Christmas.  The best gift anyone could give this Christmas season!  We often times forget what the biggest gift of all is and that is our loving Savior Jesus Christ.  We forget with our Jesus Christ, there would be no Christmas.  This year I'm so grateful to be spreading this gift, that of the gospel.

We can’t fully understand the meaning of Christmas unless we understand the meaning of the Savior’s life, Atonement, and Resurrection.
I cannot think about the birth of the Savior without thinking of His words to Pilate: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37).
As we begin the Christmas season, may we consider the scriptural prophecies about the Savior. They are not just odd statements of coincidence; rather, they are profound statements of purpose and promise about His life and mission and what He means for each of us. 
May we take time this Christmas season to renew our covenants to follow the Savior and to do His will, just as He did the will of our Heavenly Father.  (Elder Robert D. Hales)
Homework:  Watch "He is the Gift"
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Happy Day at last has come :)

I don't think I can even think of any words to describe this week.....Which brings me to some exciting news!!!  Felicidades (Congratulations) to the family Spinelli!  After a months worth of exercising diligence, faith, patience, tears and smiles, Cynthia and Marcel were officially married on the 28 of November and baptized the following day.  The wedding turned out GREAT!  My companion and I even ended up whipping out our "Beauty Weapons" to help Cynthia the day of her wedding because the original person called at the last minute and cancelled.  So we got right to work! :)  My companion did her nails, I the hair, and one of our members did her make up.  she ended up looking very beautiful as well as Marcelo and the kids.  We also ran into two other last minute problems... No one knew how to tie a tie for Marcel and we forgot to call someone to drive the family to "White" (the place where they were getting married).  Well, luckily , the bishop showed up and tied the tie and also drove the family to "White".  My companion and I were also privileged to attend the wedding where they signed the papers and all, but the best part was throwing "rice" all over them in the end.  A tradition in ARGENTINA.

The following day (the day of the baptism), we ran into a little problem....Ha it started to rain and rain super hard.  Well this family lives about 30 minutes walking distance from the church.  And as for the family, they travel by bike with three kids.  So when my companion and I called, we told them not to worry about the weather, we would find them a ride so that you won't be drenched twice in one day.  (Baptized twice :))  HaHa  Well, this was Marcelos response, "Ahh, no importa! Mejor!, Mas Bendiciones!  (Ah, no big deal, This is better, More Blessings)  What wonderful spirits!!  About 15 minutes before the baptism, not many members had showed up and my companion and I began to worry.  We said a quick prayer and with much faith, 10 minutes later a HUGE crowd of people came to support the family.  Not only that, but when we began our first hymn, our mission president showed up to support the family and shared a little scripture as well.  The spirit was so strong and as I watched this family share their testimonies, I knew that they were going to be strong, faithful members of the church and not only that, but for this ward.  After the baptism, we had a surprise wedding cake for the family with the Salt Lake Temple on it as well.  I loved this part the most because from the very first day we taught the family, the thing they wanted most was an "eternal family" sealed in the temple for time and all eternity..............

As well as our other investigators, this week my companion and I decided to find another way to het the family Zeron to come to church....well everyone like food?  No?  We decided to plan Sunday breakfast with them and they all accepted.  Well Guess what"  2 out of the 9 attended.  We were hoping to get the entire family to come but we were happy to at last have 2.  It's a start, right?  With even better news, Veronia, the mom and her daughter who attended said that they loved everything about it and are excited to bring more kids next week to church.  We also had a lesson with Maria (The mom of Angie) and she committed to being baptized the 6th of December.  So we are super excited about that and are praying with faith that all will work out.

So I can't believe how incredibly blessed I be a be in Argentina...for my beautiful companion and her smile.  For my investigators, and myself to have the ability to communicate to others about God's plan (gospel).  To be blessed physically, mentally and spiritually.  To be capable to be a servant in the Lord's hands.  That 6 1/2 months have gone by in a whirlwind and I have had miracle after miracle that God has given ME these blessings and experiences thus far in my mission.  Sharing this magnificent gospel and watching people grow, understanding God's plan and why we are here on earth.  To testify of Christ and His atonement.  FAMILIES and what they word ETERNAL really means! And to have faith to view everyone of my investigators through the same example of Christ by baptism in His name, but even better seeing them in the TEMPLE.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

P.S. My companion and I had to give a talk on getting members involved in missionary work in church.  This is my talk....!

Homework:  Go out and teach with the missionaries!

Title:  Missionary Work
What is the purpose of missionary work?  All of us as members have a personal calling in the church.  Whether it is the bishop primary president, counselor, sacrament greeter, etc.,  But we all have one very important calling the Lord has given to EVERYONE of us and that is to share the gospel.  Missionary or not (Alma 23:4).  Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  One might ask...Why do I have to share the gospel?  That's a missionary's job!  Yes, it is a missionary's purpose to go and do the Lord's work almost 24 hours, everyday, all day.  Always find, searching and teaching the gospel.  So what's my job as a member?  I love the scripture in Jeremiah 16: 14-16.  First:  We have the fish in the water, who are our investigators, friends and even family who don't know anything about the gospel.  The the water represents and contains distractions, addictions, and evil doings of the world.  Then there are the FISHERMAN who has tools and instruments to pull, catch, or even scoop the fish (investigators) out of the terrible, yucky pond.  Second: We have the wild animals and wandering dogs in the forest and the streets, who represent people who know of the gospel and never took action or are now less active.  BUT...we have the HUNTERS who also love to use their tools as well as instruments to catch the BIG ones.  Well, I like to look at BOTH the FISHERMEN and the HUNTERS as both missionaries and members who are all fishing or capturing the lost in one and in unity. without the other can't catch all the fish and animals (Deuteronomy 1:12) the work is tiring and exhausting... a fisherman can't do the hunters work because the fisherman has his own strategies and techniques as well as the hunter.  The success just isn't that great.  Let's think for a moment...where do we stand as a fisherman or hunter, member or missionary?  What am I doing to fulfil the Lord's purpose?  As we are not all perfect, sometimes we leave the fishing pole dangling, we get too tired, don't have any time, and tend to think I didn't catch any fish today so I want to give up.  Or, this job just isn't for me.  As this also applies to missionary work.  I had a bad experience with the missionaries, or I can hardly speak the language.  I'm scared, or even pride takes place (Moses 6:31-34).  The Lord has taught that as we change our thoughts and actions around, the Lord will be their to help and guide us.  There are always going to be days when we get super embarrassed or the lesson just went down hill, or we are still learning the doctrine, can hardly read or write.  But, in reality what does the Lord think?  go and do, and I the Lord will stand next to you.  As I refer back to the story of Jeremiah 16, what happens when we wait 1 year or 1 month from now?  The fish die off?  No? or the lake freezes over and we can't catch the fish during the winter season?  or the bears go into hibernation.  So when it the right time to fish or hunt?  Summer! because the fish are out?  No - NOW! is the time to do the Lord's work.  Don't wait 3 or 4 months from now when maybe only 4 or 5 fish have died and never received the gospel, or moved away to another pone/field.  Don't be ashamed of the gospel, share what you love dearly with your friends and family.   Don't hide or bury a talent something so sacred like your testimony, which is greater and more powerful than anything of this world (D&C 60:13).  We become scared and worried when talking about the gospel, why?  or How great/strong your testimony is so how can I make it stronger?  By sharing it! and practicing missionary work and as you do so I promise you the Lord will magnify it.  As you do this, you will become confident, strong, and powerful as well as thrust in your own abilities and your own testimonies to those around you.  What is it you want to see in your own words and how can we change to fulfil our goals? Callings? How can we learn to fish or hunt with better strategies and techniques?  (Pg 168 or Preach My Gospel, Gordon B. Hinckley - "Do you want to be happy?  Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause.  Lend your efforts to helping people...stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down, live the gospel of Jesus Christ."  first of all we need to learn to love the missionary work and be excited about it.  So how do we become happy?  I have found that as I have stripped pride and humbled myself and forgot my problems and needs, distractions and wants, I live a happier and healthier life.  Focusing on myself and my own problems can easily bring pain, hurt, pride, sadness as well as finding more problems than when I change my attitude and focus on others.  Find what I can do to help and pray that I can forget my own problems and I can be happier as well as see the blessings others receive and in return I as well.  As we do this, missionary work becomes magnificent and powerful and exciting.  We are also blessed with the power of prayer here on earth.  To ask for missionary opportunities to share the gospel.  Remember as we ask, we aren't always going to receive our answer immediately unless we stand up and act.  Some ways we can do this is by 1:  Asking in prayer for missionary opportunities. 2: Service and helping others such as missionaries as well 3: References for missionaries 4: Invite people to a church activity 5: Hand a Book of Mormon or pamphlet out 6: Share your testimony 7: Visit the less active and active 8: Go and teach with the missionaries and every day small and tender mercies...Find a better fishing pole or trap and repair your instrument so that you can find and trap the fish better.  So how can we change? How can we be a strong army of missionaries? The Lord needs an army of faithful like you.  As we work together as fishers and hunters with faith in the Lord, repentance, and actions, we can take all of the fish/wild animals and bring everyone repentance and baptism.  Not only is it all about baptism, but let us change our focus and minds that we can view everyone of god's children in the temple.  An even greater gift of all, as we change the attitude of hope that members will stay active to...  "I know that our member will stay active" or from "it would be a miracle if this ward has 100 members" to...."I know this ward will have more than 100 members".  As we work together and change our faith, we will be guided and granted and always have the companion of the Lord we can bring our less actives and investigators out of the sea and bring them back to the house of the Lord.  As we do this, we will be happier and stronger members that will be untouchable.As we live the gospel, love the gospel and teach the gospel, our testimonies and effort will not be wasted.  Not only a missionary's testimony is worth a soul, but a member's as well.  There are more of you in this ward than both my companion and I in 24 hours all day.  Think of how much more we can do, let us share the fruit of eternal life to all man. (1 Nephi 8:12) and be instruments in the hands of the Lord to bring forth His lost children that without you as member my companion and I would be lost huntermen.  Thank you for your work and help in all yo u do and say.  I know that everyone of you who have taken part of the missionary work have changed many lives even when it doesn't seem like you hardly did anything.  Even just a small testimony or a smile at the right moment can change the soul of a lost one.  We have brothers and sisters waiting for us and our helllp and I'm grateful to help them stand a little taller and they too help me stand taller.  I know this gospel is true and that I'm so happy to be a missionary in this area.  I love you all and pray for you (Alma 26:36) "This is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation and my redemption".  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Each Life That Touches Ours for Good

So we had our zone conference this week and it was one of the best thus far! One hour before the reunion, my companion and I were about the leave the apartment, but ran into a few problems.  Well if you know me...and my patience, one of the things I hate the most is being late!  Well once we got everything situated, we were already one hour behind schedule.  We even missed our bus ride as we were 5 yards away and watched it pass by. I was trying to control y patience, my companion and I were supposed to sing a duet during the conference as well.  Well in the middle of central with millions of people walking by, I pulled out my hymn book and as we waited for the bus, we sang. Right as we finished singing, I felt an overwhelming peace and everything around us was quiet.  Two seconds later, my companion pointed out that there wa a butterfly on my shoulder and what do you know...the bus pulled up!  I definitely learned and am still learning how to have more patience in my life, but I can definitely testify of the beauty that comes forth when we do have patience as well as exercise faith and hope.

During zone conference, there were some specific things that our president shared with us, and I wanted to share them with  you.  "The Work of Salvation"  (1) The mission work of members - Alma 23:4, (2) Reactivate converts - 2 Nephi 31:20, (3) Activation of members - 3 Nephi 18:32, (4) the work of the temple (family history).  These four things not only represent the work of missionaries, but members as well!  That when missionaries and members work together, we will bring forth great and marvelous works.  Not only is it a missionary's job to share their testimony, but members as well.  There are only 2 missionaries or at the most 6 missionaries in each of our wards, but that's only 6 testimonies.  How many more there would be if everyone in the ward 80+ shared their testimonies to non-members as well!  It is a wonderful privilege to know that we have the power and authority of God to open our mouths and share a wonderful message.  That as we do this everytime we open our mouth and our testimony will be powerful because we have the power and work of the Lord.

During the zone conference, my companion and I were also privileged to share an experience with the zone conference we had back in October.  During the "Dia de Madre", an experience we had about relying o our elders.  Our president not only made us share this experience with the zone, but he sent out emails (about this experience) to -all of the zones in the Bahia Blanca Mission [Blog Post in October] - story.  This experience built my relationship and trust within my leaders and members.  I learned that it's okay to ask for help or advice when I am stuck.  Because we can't always do things on our own, and when we need help, first ask God, and He will guide you to your answer.

So GUESS WHAT!  The family Spnelli is just about set to get married and baptised.  Just a few more papers to sign and all if ready.  The wedding is set for the 28 of November and the following day is the baptism 29 of November.  They are all super excited and are doing well.  This week they were mentioning all of the miracles that have been happening in their life ever since they decided to be baptised.  God is definitely watching out of them and even though all of the bumps and turns, with faith, God is making them stronger.  Something that really stuck out to me was that they said, "From the first day you (missionaries) knocked on our door, we have not faltered food or work and have been blessed every single day".  "It really does come down to faith in the Lord, but not only that, to act upon it as well."

Also Madia (The mom of Angie) who got baptized two weeks ago has been out of town but returns this next week.  So we are excited to start teaching her once again.  The family of (7) cancelled on the Family Home Evening because their cousin was born that same night.  Bummer :(! But, we were able to talk to the parents Thursday and they too want to get married and possibly baptized!  So who know, possibly another wedding???  HaHa

So most about mission work is sharing the fruit (eternal life/the gospel) with people.  To watch people change, to see smiles, to watch people grow and learn of the doctrine of Christ and to watch families pray together for the first time.  To experience so much joy and happiness than they have ever known.  To have the help of members and their testimonies of the gospel through mission work. This work is real!  These are our brothers and sisters who are waiting for us to help them out of the water.  Reach out and help them stand firm.  I know that god lives and He loves each and everyone of His children.  That as we strive to live worthy, He will bless us with unmeasurable things.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

1 Nephi 8:12
12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

Homework:  This week is fast Sunday (Share your testimony!)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Firm as the Mountains Around Us

Well I'm starting to wish it was winter again because my comp and I are literally dying of heat and the worst part about it is that it's only spring....My comp even carries around an umbrella to hide herself from the sun! "I don't care what the people think" she says, haha.  Anyways, this week we definitely ran into a lot of obstacles! We are working with so many miracles and the devil sure is doing his part as well. My comp and I got to a point where we were so tried of running into bumps and obstacles that our faith was running on training wheels. Not only were we struggling, but so were our investigators. During one of our district meetings this week, we sang "Firm as the Mountains Around Us," (Carry On)

1. Firm as the mountains around us,
Stalwart and brave we stand
On the rock our fathers planted
For us in this goodly land—
The rock of honor and virtue,
Of faith in the living God.
They raised his banner triumphant—
Over the desert sod.
And we hear the desert singing:
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
Hills and vales and mountains ringing:
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
Holding aloft our colors,
We march in the glorious dawn.
O youth of the noble birthright,
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
2. We'll build on the rock they planted
A palace to the King.
Into its shining corridors,
Our songs of praise we'll bring,
For the heritage they left us,
Not of gold or of worldly wealth,
But a blessing everlasting
Of love and joy and health.
As we sang this hymn, it brought me hope and as well faith that as as my comp and I stay firm and look to the Lord in every moment and every decision we will succeed in the mission work. I realized that not every moment is going to be easy when at first it seems like everything's going great, but that God is testing our faith and our ability because He knows we can learn more and make us stronger, stand firm, and conquer our difficulties as well as others around us. 

We had an experience with the family Spnelli, where they ran into not only one but a few very difficult situations. Not only did this make things very difficult for the family, but that they have been struggling with many things their whole life. At this point they were hanging on by a thread. This is when my comp and I needed as much faith as we could to help this family. My comp and I tried to think of the best thing we could do to help the family and that was to pray and fast. With the little energy they had, they decided to put their faith to the test. They had heard of the law of fast but never actually fasted before. We taught them the importance of fasting and we got the opportunity to pray and fast together with Cynthia and Marcelo, as well as many blessings were brought forth for this family. I have learned so much from this family and their faith and diligence, not only has the Lord sent my companion and I to share with them a wonderful message of the gospel, but I think I have learned more from them than they have from me. This family are definitely angels in my eyes as they strive to live the life that God wants them to live. I testify that when you are struggling and don't have anymore strength, look to the Lord, ask for help, He will hear your cries, He is waiting for you to communicate to Him. Have faith in the Lord, He is your father and He loves you. 

Dallan H. Oak s- Ensign May 2012 
"Why are so many willing to give so much in order to receive the blessings of the temple? Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessing. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure.. to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort." 

We have also been working with another family Zerom for almost 3 months now. They have 7 kids a total of 9!!! My comp and I have been trying and trying to get them to church but haven't had any success. This week my comp and I had an appointment with an investigator with one of our members in the church. Well the apt. fell through and we thought of the family Zerom to quickly pass by to see how they were. Well a miracle happened! In the first 5 min Hermana Marazita had everyone - all of the members in the family sitting down in a circle listening in on the lesson including the husband. When this has NEVER happened before. She also invited them over to her house this week for Family Home Evening. What a blessing it is to have such strong experiences with members of the church! Without Hermana Marazita we might have never gotten the family to listen. We are super excited to get this family going and active!! 

Homework: I invite you to give a prayer of only THANKS tonight, which means you're not allowed to ask for anything! :) in return, you will realize how many things you are blessed with in your life when you didn't see them in the first place. 

P.S. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone at home! Eat lots of turkey for me because they don't have Thanksgiving here :( 

ALMA 26:31
 31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.

Surprise Wedding Dress for Family Spnelli

The Family Spnelli

Our Zone

My Companion and her Umbrella :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

When Faith Endures

We have HOT water!!  For the past two weeks, my companion and I have been suffering freezing cold showers and yesterday one of our members in the church came to our rescue!  FINALLY warm showers again!  So first of all, Monday we found out that the family that is from the United States is exactly one street away from our that was kind of a bummer, which means we no longer are able to teach them.  But we had a wonderful baptism for our investigator Angie on Sunday!  Just about all of the members from the ward came to support, as well as wonderful talks and testimonies were given.  The spirit was definitely present and the room was filled with lots of tears of joy and smiles.  It was also wonderful to watch Angie's mom feel the spirit as she watched her daughter get baptized.

So this week we had a HUGE miracle.  My companion and I got permission to leave our area with our investigator, Cynthia (The mother of the family of 5 we have been teaching), to go to an area called, "White" to get a marriage date set.  When we got to White, Cynthia asked for the closest date possible and after getting everything settled, the date was set for December 17, almost 5 weeks from how.  Well my companion and I decided to call everyday for a cancellation if someone dropped out so she could take their spot.  Well on Friday morning, we called and they told us the earliest they could do was in 20 days.  Once we got off the phone, my companion and I only had 1 1/2 hours to get to White with Cynthia before it closed, or we would have had to wait all weekend and then the date would be delayed.  So my companion and I immediately left the apartment and ran to Cynthia's house to tell them the news and that they had about 2 minutes to be ready to leave....H  Anyways, we called a taxi and when the car pulled up he told us he couldn't take kids. So then, we had to go to plan B.  The bus which drives super fast and is always packed with a million people and with two kids and a baby....Good Luck!  Also, we needed to see how much money we had left in our collectivo card.  The closest store that had a collectivo machine (ATMO was broken and the nearest store that had one was about a 25 minute walk, so we decided to pray and have faith that we had enough.  Once the bus pulled up, we swiped the card and there was EXACTLY enough money on the card for all of us!!  We made it just in time before it closed and right when Cynthia went in and my companion and I started saying a lot of prayers and hoped that all would go well.  Once Cynthia came out, she immediately had a sad face and shook her head, "No"....I was about to cry and I was seconds away from pouncing in the office myself until Cynthia made a little smirk and said, "Yes", they changed the date to November 28!  She said the look on my face was sooo funny!  Once we found out the truth I couldn't hold in the joy and I started jumping and screaming for joy and running around like a three year old!!  I was so happy and so was my companion and Cynthia as well as the two little boys. :)  Through this experience, I definitely learned a lot of diligence and faith that when we have faith in the ord, ANYthing is possible.  I know that we could have not done it without the Lord's help, because we definitely had many obstacles that we had to go through and the devil is trying to do anything he can to stop us.  But as we are diligent in all things, we are successful with the Lord's help.

This family has had so much diligence and patience.  They have so much faith and humility.  Not only has it been such a great opportunity to teach them, but I have learned so much from them!  They are heros in MY eyes.  Every night we've gotten the chance to call them at 10:00pm to say bedtime prayers together.  They on the other side kneel and my companion and I do the same on the other and pray over the phone together.  It's been such a wonderful experience to hear not only the kids learn to pray but also the parents.

I have noticed that especially here in Argentina, it has been a struggle to find families who's parents are married civilly.  I was reading the talk, "Decisions for Eternity", November 2013 (General Conference) and I wanted to share with you a part that I loved.....

We are “free to choose liberty and eternal life … or to choose captivity and death.” When we choose the loftier path toward liberty and eternal life, that path includes marriage. Latter-day Saints proclaim that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” We also know that “gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
Marriage between a man and a woman is fundamental to the Lord’s doctrine and crucial to God’s eternal plan. Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s pattern for a fulness of life on earth and in heaven. God’s marriage pattern cannot be abused, misunderstood, or misconstrued. Not if you want true joy. God’s marriage pattern protects the sacred power of procreation and the joy of true marital intimacy. We know that Adam and Eve were married by God before they ever experienced the joy of uniting as husband and wife.
While we are to emulate our Savior’s kindness and compassion, while we are to value the rights and feelings of all of God’s children, we cannot change His doctrine. It is not ours to change. His doctrine is ours to study, understand, and uphold.
The Savior’s way of life is good. His way includes chastity before marriage and total fidelity within marriage. The Lord’s way is the only way for us to experience enduring happiness. His way brings sustained comfort to our souls and perennial peace to our homes. And best of all, His way leads us home to Him and our Heavenly Father, to eternal life and exaltation. This is the very essence of God’s work and glory.
My dear brothers and sisters, each day is a day of decision, and our decisions determine our destiny. One day each of us will stand before the Lord in judgment. We will each have a personal interview with Jesus Christ. We will account for decisions that we made about our bodies, our spiritual attributes, and how we honored God’s pattern for marriage and family. That we may choose wisely each day’s decisions for eternity
There are always going to be obstacles we are going to run into.  We have lots of decisions we have to make in life and we have to think "which path do I take?  or "What path does God have in store for me?"  As we strive to live worthy everyday, and keep God's commandments, we will receive so many blessings in our lives and in our families.  I know these things to be true with all my heart because I have seen it in my own family and also the people that I teach.  I have seen them grow and God has blessed them with unimaginable things.
Homework:  Read, "The Family a Proclamation to the World"

Sweet is the Work

Transfers!!  Once again we had transfers and I'm with my same companion Hermana Cruz in Pueyrredon.  I'm so excited to work with her for another 6 weeks as we have had so many miracles together.  This week we had stake conference on Sunday and once again the Family Spnelli came to church as well as two other investigators (Angie and Madia).  One who is preparing to get baptized this next Sunday after her marriage on Saturday.  I also had a wonderful reunion with many of the members in my first area in Pigue because they too are in the same stake that I'm serving in right now.  I got to see just about the whole ward as well as some great news about an old investigator (Leanor) who just got baptized two weeks ago!!

Our investigator (Angie) who is getting baptized this week has been preparing now for awhile but needed to get married first before she could take that step forward for baptism.  Her mom is also here from the Dominican Republic for 3 months for the wedding, so my companion and I got the chance to teach her about the gospel as well.  She absolutely loves the church and talks about how much peace and comfort she feels from it and what this gospel carries.  This week we taught her the first lesson as well as the importance of the Book of Mormon.  He daughter couldn't be there during the lesson but we got the chance to call her daughter on speaker phone as she bore a wonderful testimony about the gospel to her mom.  I love that Angie (daughter) has been such a wonderful example for her mother.  Not only did Angie find a testimony of the gospel, but she is acting upon it, she knows and wants God's plan, understands the importance of marriage to fulfil a commandment, to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood and authority of God!  It's been such a wonderful experience to watch Angie grow and not only her but her mother as well.

The family Spnelli who we have been working with has attended church twice now!  We ended up having family home evening with them on Thursday night.  They have 2 little boys and a baby girl who are into everything all the time, just like any other family.  So my companion and I knew that we needed to do something that not only involved the parents but the children as well.  So we decided to watch "The Restoration."  By doing so, 30 minutes passed by and not one of the kids made a peep!  The spirit was so strong and even the parents were in shock.  After the movie we discussed the restoration and also talked about the Holy Ghost and how it brought peace and comfort into the room.  In this moment we also asked the family to be baptized as well as commit to being married.  Suddenly, they agreed!!!  My companion and I are so excited and because of their faith and action, they will be a family eterna!!  That night we all prayed as a family on our knees and it reminded me of my own home and my own family.  I'm so grateful for the family I have now, but how wonderful it is to have the opportunity to bring other families together and one day be sealed in the temple for time and eternity.

I also ran into my first English speaking investigator!  She is from Maryland and her family has now lived here for almost a year now.  The family hardly knows any Spanish and the mom has been searching for a church for the family to attend.  My companion and I have an appointment with them on Monday.  It was the weirdest experience to speak English again.  Not only that, but I couldn't get the words to come out of my mouth.  It was like trying to learn how to speak Spanish for the first time, but English....OH NO!!!....

I can't express how happy I am to be serving as a missionary in Argentina to share something that is so important in my life with my brothers and sisters here in Bahia Blanca.

1 Nephi 8:12

 12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

I have never felt so close to my Heavenly Father, He hears and answers all of my prayers and always has an answer in His own time because He knows my needs more than I even do.  I have loved every moment of the mission and that I get to communicate and share my love of this gospel with others.  I have never felt so much love and happiness when people accept this gospel and reach out to their Father in Heaven.  I also testify of the importance of marriage and what it can do to bring families closer and happier, as well as the examples of others in standing in righteousness and diligence.  There is nothing that has ever brought me more happiness than this gospel.  My family and friends, and missionary work, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Matthew 14:26 (Mateo 14:26) And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 

Homework:  There are many people who need a smile on their face, go doorbell ditch someone with a plate of goodies!!!!  :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Keystone of Our Religion

Homework:  Give a Book of Mormon to a friend or loved one and remember to always keep a BOM with you, in your car, backpack, purse and even by your bed.  You can even buy a military sized one!

Hola familia y amigos!  Guess what?! I can't even express how happy I am.  We had miracles one right after another.  We taught lots of investigators as well as families.  The best part about it is, that we ended up having and ENTIRE family of 5 attend church yesterday, plus two other investigators!  I haven't been able to keep a smile off my face this whole week. My heart is so full of joy and happiness to see investigators progressing and following Christ's footsteps.  This coming week as well we have many dates with investigators as well as a family that we found last week.  I'm super excited to get to know them.  Yesterday, my companion and I got to make breakfast with this family that we a re teaching.  It was so fun to see their smiling faces and their excitement to go to church for the very first time!

So this week I wanted to talk a little about the Book of Mormon.  I had some wonderful experiences to testify of the importance of it and what it can do for us in our life.  First I wanted to express three important things that President Ezra Taft Benson mentioned in his talk, "The Book of Mormon-Keystone of our Religion". 
1.  The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Christ
2.  It is the keystone of our doctrine
3.  It is the keystone of testimony

My companion and I got the chance to teach a mother and her daughter all of lesson 1 as well as tell them of our testimonies and the importance of the Book of Mormon.  As we offered the book, the daughter turned it down and then the mother did the same.  The same memory of what happened last week when one of our investigators turned it down as well.  During my first 5 months in the mission, these have been the very first times when someone has said, "no", to a BOM.  I have never felt so saddened and heart-broken.  Why would someone say no, to something so valuable.  In this same day, we taught another lady, and got on the topic of personal answers to prayer and how she has never felt like she can find many answers to her solutions.  We shared with her our belief and what the BOM is and testfies and what is can do to help us in this life.  As we offered her the book, her eyes lit up with start and she said, "really, this is for me!"  In that very same moment, she opened the book and read a verse and right then she had found an answer or words of comfort to something she had been worried about.  She couldn't express how happy she was to receive such a wonderful thing!  

In the talk by President Ezra Taft Benson, he said, 
"Once we realize how the Lord feels about this book, it should not surprise us the He also gives us solemn warnings about how we receive it.  After indicating that those who receive the Book of Mormon with faith, working righteousness, will receive a crown of eternal glory (see D&C 20:14), the Lord follows with this warning:  "But those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation" (D&C 20:15)."

D&C 6:12
12 Make not thy gift known unto any save it be those who are of thy faith. Trifle not with sacred things.

Some people accept the book and others decline it.  Some take it for granted and others look at it like it's a wonderful gift.  Some read it, and others don't.  Some look at the book and judge its cover and some believe it's true before even opening it.  I never really fully realized how important and how powerful such a little book could be until I came on my mission. The praying and studying its words have brought me and have opened my eyes and ears on a whole other level.  I have known that reading both the Bible and the Book of Mormon was something that was always important, it was something my mom always taught me, but how many times did I end up falling asleep or making up excuses or reading and my mind somehow tended to wander off into space thinking about what I was going to wear the next day.  Or about school or how I want Wendy's french fries and a frosty for lunch tomorrow, the list goes one and on.  But the moment I actually sat down and read the Book with an open heart and clear mind, I never realized how precious such a thing could be in my life.  Today I hunger and thirst to read more!  I have watched investigators do the same.  As they open the book and open their hearts to learn, they receive inspiration and conversion.  I testify that this book has brought me personal revelation, knowledge, understanding a closer and greater love for God and the people I teach.  As missionaries, many people ask questions we .  We can answer them, but what a privilege it is to read a book from God and read His own words to find answers...even better!  Your own knowledge will grow 10 times stronger as you find the answers.  It's like a test at school....What is going to help you get that straight "A" you've always been looking for?  Looking at your text book cover and walking away saying you already know all of the answers?  or Shoving it under your pillow and hoping the answers will magically flow through you brain?  No, neither is asking for the answers from other people going to help! Opening the book, searching, pondering, studying and practicing!  This book was so special that it was made just for us in this time and this generation.  From the same talk it says....

"Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations.  Nephi said: "The Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation" (2 Nephi 25:21). His brother Jacob, who succeeded him, wrote similar words:  "For [Nephi] said that the history of his people should be engraven upon his other plates, and that I should preserve these plates and hand them down unto my seed, from generation to generation" (Jacob 1:3).  Enos and Jarom both indicated that they too were writing not for their own peoples but for future generations (see Enos 1:15-16, Jarom 1:2)."

I know and testify that there is a unique power to the Book of Mormon and of the Bible!  That it really is the keystone to our religion and our salvation!  Without it, we would fall.  It has helped me to draw nearer to God and be more like Him and His teachings.  To feel the spirit as a companion more strongly and its protection!  As God knows me personally, I'm striving to know Him.  I have found answers to many questions.  As well as this, I can apply things I learn in my daily life.  I love the words, "there is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book, greater power to resist temptation, avoid deception and stay on the straight and narrow path."  The Book of Mormon can do many things for us, for our families and loved ones.  I testify that it is one of the most sacred gifts in my life.  I love that I am serving the Lord, Jesus Christ and I get to share the Book of Mormon with others and help them follow Christ's footsteps.  I leave with you a testimony from President Marion G. Romney:

"I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein.  The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow.  The spirit of contention will depart.  Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom.  Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents.  Righteousness will increase.  Faith, hope, and charity--the pure love of Christ--will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy and happiness." (Ensign, May 1980, p. 67.)

P.S.  For all of those Twilight book lovers.....As I once was.  Remember that time I tried to explain to you how awesome those books were and you all looked at me like I was some weird girl from Utah????  Well, what happened?......You all became addicted to them and became weird like me!  I now invite you to read the Book of Mormon and I promise you will find more joy and hunger and thirst our of that book more than another other. Thanks so much for your emails and cards!!  Love you!!

Hermana Chesler

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

En Todos Lados!

Homework:  Pick a Christ-like attribute and strive to live it!

This week we had so many wonderful opportunities to teach!  Not only that but we almost had a member present for every lesson.  Lessons taught with members are always ten times better!  It's one more strong testimony, testifying of Christ's work!  On Thursday, we hadn't planned anyone to come teach with us and that morning we had 3 lessons with 3 different members present in a row - what a miracle!  On Sunday, Argentina celebrated the "dia de la madre" (Mother's day) and during Sacrament meeting we got to hear so many wonderful talks about mothers and how important they are in the world.  Without them we would not function!  My companion and I decided to find all the mothers and chicas in the street and share with them a scripture as well as our testimony.  I think yesterday was on of my favorite days in the mission thus far, because I got to witness some wonderful relationships and similarities with mothers, daughters and young women.  One experience reminded me of how important my mother is in my life.  She has been and always will be an angel to me.  She has always been my best friend in times of good and also in bad.  I also am so grateful for all of my grandmothers.  I have learned so much from them.  Their words of advice and the love they have is priceless.  "Feliz dia de la madre"!

For the past week, my companion and I decided to teach the 9 attributes of Jesus Christ - in Preach My Gospel, to every member and investigator that we visited.  As we did this, we let the families decide what attribute to pick from Faith, Hope, Charity and Love, Virtue, Knowledge, Patience, Humility, Diligence, Obedience. Out of the 9 families that we visited 8 families picked PACIENCIA! (patience)  I don't know if I learned more from patience this week or each individual family, or the fact that this was a sign for me to have more patience as well!!  Ha I have never done well with patience in my life. One area is that I have always had to be on time! I also lose patience with others inn their ability to not make a decision, the list goes on and on.  From this experience of teaching these families, I have realized that patience is hard for every one, but in many different ways.  Like I have patience in things my companion doesn't and she has patience in things I don't.  We help or compliment each other that way. One things that really stuck out to me that a family member said was that patience is an can be difficult because it's not "just patience alone", it's also faith, hope, love and humility.  Patience can be ALL the attributes of Christ.  I think there is only one person in this world who has ALL the attributes and that is our loving Christ. He is our example.  As we go about our day, we need to always remember Him and His attributes.  We are not perfect, but we can strive to be perfect as Christ is.  I ask each and every one of you as well as myself to try and have more patience with family members, friends and even with yourself.  We can even ask a humble prayer and ask for more patience to be able to relax and enjoy every moment in good and bad situations. (Our trials)  I promise you will be able to have more patience in your life, because it has really helped me!

There are so many wonderful experiences that happened this week that I wish I could share them all, but on in particular I want to share.  We have been teaching a 17 year old boy who we taught the first lesson to and this week we taught the "plan of salvation".  Well his brother died at the age of 22 about 5 years ago, and had many questions.  He read all of the pamphlets, and prayed, but when I offered him the Book of Mormon, he wouldn't take it.  This time we tried to offer him the Book of Mormon again and as I didn't want to get turned down yet again, I gave it to my companion and she tried, but to no avail he did not take it.  This lesson was very different from the rest and I felt like I was being told to offer the book again.  I tried to share the thought out of my mind and listening to the spirit.  By the end of the lesson, I finally couldn't ignore the prompting anymore and I started baring my testimony and felt a sudden peace.  Everyone in the room seemed to be at peace as well.  It was so silent!  I told him that his brother was so close to him and that the veil was thin and that all of the answers he was looking for were in this Book of Mormon.  This time I didn't actually offer the book again, I just handed it to him and he took it without a word.  This was an experience that I will never forget.  The spirit was so strong, but not only that, the spirit of his brother as well.  I want to testify of the importance of acting on a prompting. When you feel a strong feeling or prompting, do not hesitate because you can lost that opportunity to make a difference.  I sure learned it.  I know this gospel is true and I knew that the plan God has for us is beautiful.  That we can live with our families again as well as lost ones.  I'm so grateful for mothers/daughters/grandmothers/aunts/sisters/young women....  For their courage and bright smiles!  I love this gospel and what it does for me in my life.  Amen.