Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Power of the Priesthood

Right now I want you to imagine if you were driving and all of a sudden some random person pulls you over and asks you for 100 dollars because you were speeding. What's your reaction going to be? Would you give them the 100 dollar bill? No........ But now imagine if it was a cop. You would then give it to him because he had the Authority, no? This plays in the rule of the Priesthood. A man can receive the Priesthood Authority by one who has the Authority...

D&C 13:1
Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

and in order for a policeman to wear a uniform, he has to go through many tests and obey the law. In order to receive the priesthood authority, you have to exercise worthiness, love, patience, and obedience. So what's so amazing to have this authority? Well the cop receives authority form the head chief, but the priesthood power authority comes from God. 
Two days ago my companion and I received a phone call from our district leader saying, "a young man that is 17 years old and is named Santiago is interested in coming to church this Sunday with the missionaries." After receiving the phone call we made quick arrangements to go visit him. As we walked passed his house his sister comes around the corner and yells, "are you Mormons?" "Mormons, Mormons, my brother, my brother wants to go to church with you!!" "He's not home right now but can you come in the afternoon." That evening the next thing we knew, he was telling us all about the pamphlet of the word of wisdom which interested him when two chicas dropped it off a month ago. He searched on the, website read all about our religion watched the Joseph Smith history video and was so interested in reading this so called book "Book of Mormon". So he went knocking on doors to find one. He has now read to 2 Nephi and can't seem to put the book down. WHAT A MIRACLE and what diligence he had! That night we taught him the whole first lesson, but for the first time it was more centered around "the authority of God." As we explained to him more about it, he became more and more interested. How it can bless him in this life and how it was restored back to the earth and the power it holds. Then the question popped into my head, "Santiago, you and your family can be blessed in so many ways - is this something you want in your life?" Before we could say anything more, the answer was immediate, YES!
That night me and my companion thought a little more about Santiago, only a 17 year old boy, very intelligent, and the effort he took to find a Book of Mormon. Not only that but a little word of wisdom pamphlet interested him in searching the website to learn more about it. We forget that just the littlest acts of missionary work can bring someone closer to God.
The power of the Priesthood is a marvelous opportunity in the hands of a worthy male. not only that, but they can fulfill sacred duties and help and strengthen others. It is a wonderful cycle when exercised correctly! Why is it so important for you and your family and in the life of others? This cycle starts with baby blessing, baptism, the girt of the Holy Ghost, partaking of the sacrament every Sunday to renew covenants, priesthood authority, patriarchal blessings, callings you receive in the church, temple ordinances, temple marriages to be sealed for time and all eternity, priesthood blessings in time of sickness, strength, and protection and for your children. The wonderful thing about this power is that the cycle recycles and it's all through the power of God! WHAT A GREAT GIFT!

John 15:16
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

I am so grateful to have a dad and two brothers who are worthy priesthood holders who hold this sacred power. It has strengthened me and my family in many, many ways. I'm so grateful that God lead us to Santiago and the people of Argentina to teach the importance of it, and also the blessings it could bring him and the people of Argentina.
Homework: Watch the Mormon message, "Blessings of the Priesthood"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Exercising Faith

My first week in Pueyrredon! The people are wonderful here.  Yesterday I attended church with the ward and the members are so strong, there are about 80 members total and lots of families kids youth and smiles!!! Pueyrredon is a big city in the middle of Bahia Blanca and I live in an apt now, without a washer and I may or may not have a shower.. ha Gotta love the mission. Anyways my companion is awesome and has taught me so much in only a week. She also loves to sing and we sing hymns to almost everyone we see! 

This week we exercised a lot of FAITH! Faith in our investigators, menos activos (less actives), patience, idoma (language), etc. During our personal studies, I read about the "broken bow principle." It's a story in the Book of Mormon and a prophet named Nephi, and his family left all of their belongings to fulfill the Lords' needs. They were without food and water and all of their bows had been broken, which hurt helping to find food for there family. 

1 Nephi 16:18

18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.

With the little faith Nephi had, he built another bow out of sticks and went to his dad and asked if he would pray for help from the Lord to know where to find food. 

1 Nephi 16:23 

23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?

With the faith Nephi had, he and his father were guided and directed by the Lord to find food for their family. 

1 Nephi 16;29

29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.

As missionaries we have to exercise faith EVERYDAY and EVERY MOMENT though out the day! Without it we would be a lost cause. 

On Saturday, I had my own little experience with faith. Before I came to the mission I wanted so badly to become a part of the Argentine culture and I was struggling with the fact that it was harder than I thought it would be. It becomes a difficult task when you look and act and sound completely different than everyone else around you. Blond hair, blue eyes, tall, etc. People are always making comments and I was getting a little frustrated with it. I took it to heart. and was in pain from it. At that moment I needed just a little faith and my companion said, "look", and as I looked up I saw a tree, not just an ordinary tree, it had a black trunk, and there were spring flowers on it that were pink and white. It was so beautiful and it stuck out like a sore thumb form the rest of everything else surrounding it. You could even see it form afar. It caught my attention. My companion then said, "see its okay, you may not look like everyone else around here but this is what you look like." 
I then realized that we are all God's children and he created us all different in our own unique ways.  Heavenly Father really is there for us all the time. It's ok to be the ugly duckling hahah we may stick out from the rest but we stick out because we have the GOSPEL. That is why we look different and act different and we shine in the crowd of many. We are happy and we have the best gift anyone could have. We have eternal life. While the rest are hidden and it's our goal to spread the flower peddles to the other branches in the forest. 

Through out the day, me and my companion like to read a scripture a day to "recharge our batteries". The other day the scripture was Moroni 7:33.

Moroni 7:33

33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.

We need to have faith in all things. As missionaries faith can become a roller coaster. Faith that our investigators will go to church, faith that I can learn the language, faith that my legs will make it to the house at night, faith that my investigators will read and try and the list goes on and on. But as we have faith in the Lord, He will bring forth miracles. We had another experience with an investigator who knows this gospel is true and believed in the Book of Mormon and loved God and needed to be reminded of faith to take a step forward in baptism and the importance of it. 

As an example of faith I like to relate it to exercising, The first time you workout it hurts, it's not fun and you wonder why so many  people enjoy it. You might feel like nothing is changing and you can't see results, but after a while as you continue to exercise a muscle it gets stronger and your endurance improves. It takes patience and a lot of hard work. Everybody is different and has different challenges to overcome. but you will start to see the results by exercising it daily. You also have a personal trainer who is the Savior in your life. Think of eating a piece of cake. When you look at a piece of cake that looks awful what is your first opinion?? ewww Well how will you know by looks alone? You have to try it right? Wouldn't you be sad if everyone else tried it and said it was so good but then when you went to get a piece of it, it was all gone??ahhhhh

Life is hard and it's not easy. When life is hard and we get discouraged our faith decreases and it's hard to bring it back all of th time. But I know from my own experience that if we just ask God to strengthen our faith it will be magnified. If we have faith in God he will have faith in us and bring us many, many blessings. I love this gospel and what it does for me in this life and in the life to come. I'm so happy and not only that I get to be the Ugly duckling and share my beautiful feathers with others!!!  

Homework: Read Alma 32

Monday, August 11, 2014

y coso.........

Wow what a week! So this week I had the chance to reflect on, THE GOAL OF SALVATION  and how important it is in our lives! It is so important that we all reach the goal of faith, repentance, baptism, receive the gift of the holy ghost, and endure to the end. As we reflect on that we are able to understand the importance of returning back to our Father in heaven!! What greater gift can you get than that! Not only that but we are able to live with our families for ETERNITY. Just take a minute to let that sink in, and then think about your life without that knowledge. It is heartbreaking! I have been so blessed to grow up with such wonderful parents and grandparents that have raised my brothers and sisters and I in the gospel, and that is all I want for all of the people in Argentina, and the world. I want everyone to experience the same joy that I know. 

As a missionary in Argentina it is so hard to hear the problems people have in their life and in their families. There is no doubt that Satan absolutely does not want families to be together forever, to be happy. But what better motivation than that? The greater the opposition, the greater the blessings. One of my favorite lines from the Joseph Smith Restoration video is, ''When we are doing the most good, we experience the most opposition''  and it's so true. This week has really strengthened my testimony of the family as the central focus of Heavenly Father's plan for us, Without the goal of salvation there would be no purpose in this life! This week with my investigators I got the oppotunity to teach multiple lessons to families who are so excited about the gospel and share with them that they can be together forever. 

This week Hermana Vincent is leaving her 18 months as a wonderful missionary, so me, Hermana Peterson and the ward decided to get together and create a little surprise party. Here in Argentina they like to have a little fun with eggs, and flour on every 15th birthday. On Sat night we got the oppertiuniy to throw eggs and flour all over Hermana Vincent and not only that did it turn into a big egg and flour flight! What good times. She was covered from head to toe and it took us about an hour to clean it all up. ooops. ha 

and Guess what!!!!! Its my 2nd transfer already,,,,We got a phone call Saturday night around 10:30 and they announced that My companion was Hermana Cruz..........what!!!!? Going to Bahia Blanca. WHAT!!!!  I was in total shock, I knew in my heart that I was staying in Pigue for at least a couple more transfers. I felt as if I wasn't ready for this change, I was heart broken, I have to leave my companion aka trainer, the members, and my investigators.  It was very hard for me to understand that I had to leave all of my investigators that me and my companion were doing so well with. That is when I had to realize that I did my part here in Pigue and that God has other plans in store for me. That my job was done.  These investigators will always be in my heart. I can't wait to hear all about there progress towards the goal of salvation. Pigue will always be my home.

Although leaving was hard I'm super excited for this next transfer. I am now with Hermana Cruz and she is a Latino from Honduras. She is super smiley and happy all the time and I can't wait to get to know her better and also get my Spanish so that it is picking up even more!!! 

I am so privileged and blessed for this time I have to give everything I can and sacrifice everything I am for the greatest cause there has ever been. It has been a really hard time leaving investigators you love and want so badly to watch them progress. But To my friends on missions and preparing for missions, WE CAN DO THIS. We are walking the path of the only perfect missionary and person to ever live, and He is with us always, and He He will give us help and relief. Our sufferings, our doubts, our heartaches for the people we serve, will only be for a moment. Shall we not go on in so great a cause?
I love this gospel. I love this work. I love my Heavenly Father and my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I bear testimony of Him as our Savior in His name, amen.

Homework Mosiah 18 .. THE GOAL OF SALVATION 

Funny story of the dia...This week Hermana Vincent told us she was at an investigator's home and they said have you ever heard an ant scream before? If you take an ant and wrap it in a tissue and put it close to your ear... it SCREAMS!  Try it!!?? 

What a Crazy Week here in Pigue!!

Last Monday we had another zone conference in Bahia Blanca. The whole conference was centered around the Elder Holland talk, I believe it is called Feed My Sheep. It was about how it will help us as missionaries succeed in our own personal study and growth, as well as our investigators we are working with. One of my favorite parts he talked about was how important setting goals are in your life. That if we don't make goals, then we won't get anywhere in life. When we make these goals they should be realisitc. As missionaries we are constantly setting goals everyday, and as we do, we are able to look back at the ones we did really well on and the ones we didn't do well on and focus on the ones that are really important. As missionaries and as people in the world, we need to remember that when we make these goals that we need to be realistic in what we want to accomplish. We can't accomplish something that is above and beyond our reach. Something else I really liked was the we can't turn out back on God, you will break his heart. Not only that, but in the missionary world as well. When knocking on doors and finding investigators we can't turn our back on them if we don't think they will succeed. As well as..every moment is the right moment for missionary work. I thought a great deal about how important it is to remember that in any given situation, What would God do in that moment? 

On Tuesday, we got a call saying we had to go back to Bahia Blanca that night to get some paper work done for our Visas. Yeah! That means my Visa came through and I will officially be a legal. Right now I have been using a 90 day tourist visa. We left around 4 in the morning as it is an all day process and we had many missionaries opportunities. We talked to many people waiting in line and sitting waiting for their turn. We even met one guy from Columbia and some of his family is from the US. 

This week we also had some miracles with investigators and less actives. It started out as a struggle because of all the traveling to and from Bahia, which is about an 8 hour drive there and back. Which means we had to cancel on 3 appointments with our investigators. Which was very very sad. Although we were able to make next week appointments with them in return. We were able to get back from Bahia on Friday night so are goal for Sat was to invite as many people to church as possible. This is where the miracles came! On Sunday we had many of our menos activos (less actives) show up as well as ones who hadn't been to church in a really long time and were struggling a lot. We also had a progressing investigator who we have tried to get to church for three weeks now! I was so happy to see all of the people at church. I have noticed that one of the hardest things on the mission is to get people to commit to coming to church. But I have learned that commitments are what make the members stronger. 

My companion and I also had a really cool experience the other day with a sweet family. We knew very little of this family because we found them as a street contact about two weeks ago. The mother has two kids and has 7 jobs! As we came to the house we were afraid that they were going to shut us down, but the husband said pass in, pass in, and they all started clearing the table and popping pop corn for us. As they offered it to us, I looked at my companion with big stars in my eyes!!!!!!!!! THIS FAMILY is something! Something special. They all sat around the round table just waiting for us to make the next move. We got to know more about them and taught the whole first lesson, leaving them with a Book of Mormon and commitments! My companion and I left speechless giving thanks to God for the special opportunity as my companion looked at me and said that is the first time I have ever taught a whole family before. We came back a couple days later to ask how they were and unfortunately the Dad was the only one home so we were allowed to stay but he loves the Book of Mormon! We gave them a chapter to read and he read it ALL and was telling us all about it. But then found out he read the wrong chapter.  Right away he said well should I read it right now!!!!?? haha That's when we had to quickly make our escape and explain to him why we couldn't stay but that we couldn't wait to teach the family again!!!!! I envy these experiences so much on my mission and I leave houses just wishing and wanting the investigators to know how important it all is!!!!!! 

We also have an older man who is blind that we teach and he just got baptized two weeks ago and as we went to visit him he asked what day is was, because if was Thursday that means it is only 3 days until church! I love it there and it's a wonderful place! That moment crushed my heart to know that not only is he blind and can't see how beautiful the church is but that he can feel it in his heart! 

This week I just realized today I've been a missionary for a little over  2 months! 2 months ago I entered the MTC. I love the quote that this may not be the best 18 months OF my life, but it will be the best 18 months FOR my life. I'm so glad I still have 16 months left, because these first 2 flew by! It's kind of funny because sometimes it feels like this is all I know, like my life before this was a dream. I love being a missionary! I love this gospel and I know that it has changed my life forever!!! 

Story of the Dia : Me and my companion were knocking doors one day and my companion rings the door bell which was super loud! Anyways, this lady answers the door and my companion says out loud, "We are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!!!" As the lady quickly says, "shhhhhhhh, I'm just ending my yoga class right now and they are in meditation!" oooooops!!  :) 

Homework: To create one goal you want to accomplish this month and pray about it!

Pigs on the loose!

Great fruit and vege store!!

VW Power!