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!)