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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our decisions determine our destiny

I hope everyone loved General Conference as much as I did! I loved the idea that they let the Apostles speak in their own native language. Something I never thought of until I met my native companion Hermana Cruz as she told me, "I want to learn English only because I want to hear the prophet speak in his own voice". It really hit me as I thought about how my companion has never actually heard the prophet or apostles of the Lord! It is always some kind of recording in some other voice. One talk I loved was from Russell M. Ballard. The story of "staying in the boat". When life tends to be good we get a little anxious and tend to jump out of the boat and suddenly drown. It is important to "stay in the ship" but the question is how? How do we stay in the ship? He mentioned three important things:

1. Continuing conversion (faith) 
2. Always wear a life jacket
3. Hold on with both hands!

These three things are our foundation in life but how can we stand firm and not be tempted? I listened to what was said and found that we need to,  wax strong in the knowledge of truth, search the scriptures diligently, study the doctrine of Christ, and exercise much prayer and fasting. Now why is it that we become tempted or stick our toes or fingers in the water? Because it is cool?! At times we forget what is really on the other side. Sharks, sea creatures, and the deep blue sea that can swallow us up in a matter of seconds! At times there are even things in the water we can't even imagine that are so deadly. They can easily creep up on us and quietly take us away from shore if we are not careful. I loved how Russell M. Ballard said, "avoid becoming easily distracted." This can apply to all things! Missionaries, members, life, school , etc. We live in a world full of distractions and we need to remember why we are here and what our purpose is. What are we trying to accomplish? I love how this can also relate to our decisions in life. 

This week my companion and I were teaching an investigator about keeping the commandments as he has struggled with many. He wants to change his life around and as well get baptized! Something that is so special and an example of our Lord Jesus Christ and be cleansed from ALL of our sins! But our decisions prepare us for Baptism. Do our decisions really matter? YES! YES THEY DO! As times we tend to become distracted in the choices we make as well. We tend to think not all of my choices depend on my eternal salvation such as "what color shirt should I wear" or often we tend to say I can repent of that later. It's ok. As we also have agency in this life to choose between good and evil I love the "strength of youth " "while here on earth , you are being proven to see if you will use your agency to show your love for God by keeping his commandments." As well as, "while you are free to choose your course of action you are not free to choose the consequences." So how do we get there? How do we hold on with both hands to the boat? Seek to avoid the bad and seek to ACTIVELY do good. Don't question yourself. "I don't want to go to church today," "I  fall asleep anyways - the same goes for seminary!" "I'll clean my room tomorrow", "or I can study for my test tomorrow", Or "I'll exercise Monday". Every little decision really does matter. Decide to ACT NOW! Because maybe you won't have the choice tomorrow. Instead consider the goals you want in life now and in the future for example, "Do I want to serve a full time mission" "Do I want to stop drinking" "Do I want to start going to church every day with a smile on my face and actively listen" Do I want to graduate college "Do I want to pay off my debts"?????? Stop and think. Also remember the outcome of what blessings come from these questions. 

D&C 14:7
 And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.

The strength of youth also says " observing the sabbath will bring you closer to the Lord and your family. The world of wisdom when obedient will help you remain free from harmful addiction and have control over your life." I don't know about you, but to me these blessings sound wonderful! As I have taught many investigators, to keep the commandments will bring happiness and joy in your life as well as being one step closer to God. At times it's not going to be easy to make a decision, it could be something you have struggled with your whole life, but why not start now to CHANGE. At times you many need to start over, but it's okay. We are not perfect only our Lord is perfect and our purpose here is to try with all our might to be like the Savior. Because you love Him. And He loves you. He will not abandon us, He wants to help and we can't do things alone. STOP and ASK for help. Remember that the Lord can't help us if we are not willing to change. So stop and think about the future and what you really want and make that decision now. I promise you that as we make the right decisions in our life it will not only strengthen you but also your family and the home and in the life to come. Follow the good shepherd, don't get lost in the fields or the depths of the great blue sea. If you see a friend or loved one tighten your life jacket a little tighter and stretch your faith (your fishing pool) and fish them out!!! IMMEDIATELY! They will love you for it. :) I know this church is true! I love the Savior Jesus Christ and I love what I'm doing. I love the missionary work and the people of Argentina they are my brothers and sisters and I love every single one of them. And I'm so grateful to teach them about out Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Homework: Think about a friend in need and fish them out of the sea. Invite them to a church activity or FHE !Or even share with them a Book of Mormon! 

 Birthday Celebration!

Fun in the RAIN!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Una Respuesta

This week was full of fun and exciting experiences! The mission Bahia Blanca and all the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Bahia Blanca got to be part of the "manos de ayudan" "mormon helping hands." Mormon Helping hands is a priesthood directed church program to provide community service and disaster relief to those in need all over the world! This was probably one of the best service project experiences I have had yet in the mission thus far. It was fun to work with so many missionaries and also members from all over Bahia Blanca, but not only that, the people we got to help serve! 

So my companion and I have been teaching Juaquin the less active family whose family came to church last week. Juaquin is 10 years old and loves football and is the sweetest little boy! For the past week and an half we have been preparing him to be baptized. He even got permission to be baptized a week earlier than his original date. Once the date was changed we ran into a few bumps along the way. We would have only 2 days to prepare a baptism, and we still had many lessons we needed to teach, permission from the bishop, and a patient mom with 6 kids. Not only that but she was worried that Juaquin wouldn't retain or understand the lessons taught in time. Many phone calls and prayers were said Wednesday night and Thursday morning. We needed an answer and we needed it fast! After my companion and I spent hours on the phone and trying to find a solution, I started my personal study and I was guided by the Lord and found some amazing scriptures! 

Daniel 1:17, 20 
17 ¶As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

Matthew 6:31-33
 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Moisah 4:14-15
 14 And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
 15 But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.

Proverbs 22:6 
 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

All of the scriptures I found right after another! God had not only answered my prayer for Juaquin but for Juaquin's mother also! As we have been teaching Juaquin he has remembered everything we have taught. At times he has shocked me and my companion about his intelligence in the gospel. These scriptures are true, the world that we teach come only from the Lord. Juaquin remembers them because it's all God's words and it's His power working through us and Juaquin. Juaquin was ready to be baptized and was prepared for it. 

The next thing we knew we got off the phone with the Bishop as he had an answer and felt the same! My companion and I looked at each other and said we have 2 days to plan a baptism! After that, the next two days we were literally running to and from finding baptism clothes that would fit little Juaquin, making invitations, teaching the last few lessons, etc! As Saturday came around the corner in a flash we had a wonderful baptism with many members, family, and friends, with smiley faces! 

I learned so much from the experience, one was I really had to listen to the spirit, the still small voice. What decisions we had to make in so little time and getting the work done! At times it is frustrating when there is so much on our plates and we don't know what to do, what decisions we have to come across, and trying to make the best decision. But I know that when you pray with all your heart the Lord will answer your prayers not always suddenly but listen and all things are possible with the Lord's help! 

Homework: This coming week is General Conference, invite a non member friend to come watch it with you at home or even better in the live conference! 

We finally got a washing machine!!