Thursday, January 29, 2015

What was Witnessed in the Heavens

Bueno, so the mission is just fantastic as ever!  First of all, we had a hug rain storm this week.  That evening when my companion and I got back NOT only were we drenched from head to toe, but our apartment was too!  My companion and I were just joking the other day about how we wish we had a pool and we could go swimming because it's soo hot, well I guess we got our wish ;).  Not only that, but our pool smells like a sewer or in other words, a very stinky bathroom...haha  The streets were covered and you couldn't see the road, there was water spraying in our house from every corner and crack.  We borrowed buckets from neighbors and they too were struggling just as we were.  The best part is doing it in the dark when they cut the electricity!  It was a great time for my companion and I ;)

Also speaking of WATER, Mariana and Marcarena were BAPTIZED!!  They were baptized Saturday and confirmed on Sunday.  Everything was ready to go, except we were missing the baptism clothes.  Well we called just about every other church in our zone and either they didn't have anything or were out of town at the beach like everyone else! Ha, well, Saturday, my companion and I started looking in our apartment for things that people had left behind.  Well, we found a white dress which was perfect for Mariana (the taller one).  Well right before the baptism, we were still missing one dress so we just decided to use it for the both of them.  Once it was Macarena's turn, we put her in the same WET dress and it was about 10+ bigger than she was!!  But, she had the biggest smile on her face and didn't complain once, even though she was shivering as her teeth chattered.   What a great sport!  the best part is that everything worked out in the end.  I love finding little things and some how it all comes together.  The baptism was beautiful and the spirit was soo strong...their mom "Norma" loved watching her kids get baptized and she too can't wait, with faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, she too will soon be baptized.

So this week, we had to drop a lot of our investigators because they weren't progressing or just didn't want the gospel right now in their lives.  It was a little hard to watch people say No, right when everything was going just great.  But, God always places people in our path when people are ready to hear the gospel.  Some just need a little boost and in time they will accept.   We found a couple great investigators this week and were excited to start teaching them more and work with them.

So I have never had such great study hours with Hermana Chipman - she's FANTASTIC!  We just have a blast talking about the doctrine of Christ.  Some how everyone of our studies have all repeated back to the plan of salvation, hoe God has a plan for every single one of us and His plan is PERFECT!  That every single step He created has it's own unique significance and is soo defined that we can't even comprehend its beauty.  One of my favorite things about His plan is His ATONEMENT.  Sacrificing everything for us to be able to live again and be freed from sin.  I love the scripture in John 10:14-15

 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Think about all of the farmers and their animals, "shepherds and their sheep", they feed them, take care of them, care for them, etc., now if they had the decision to either let their sheet die or for him (the shepherd) to die, obviously he would live and let his sheep die.  But, I love that The Savior, is the ONLY shepherd who would die for His sheep.  The Savior loves us so much that He sacrificed His own life for ours.  That without His love, we would be hopeless as little sheep.  He loves us all equally and desires us all to live with him again - even the sheep who are lost and have forgotten His plan.  Before this earth life, God created His plan and we all chose His plan.  When we came to earth we forgot everything including His plan.  We are here to be tested and tried to have agency to choose between good and evil.  We are sent tools such as the scripture and prophets to guide us.  He sent us the Savior to once again remember His plan.  As a missionary and a member of His church, I know of His plan.  Study it, live it, desire, it, teach it, and share it.  Help those who don't remember His plan to remember it once again.  His plan is the only way to happiness.  I know that it is true and it is magnificent.  He has given us guidance to walk in His foot steps.  There may be times of hardness and grief, but think of what the Savior did for us.  He knows our suffering and pain, look to Him, ask for help.  Remember His plan - the way to eternal life.

As I was studying I came upon a scripture in D&C 15:4-6 and 16:4-6.

For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.
 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments.
 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.
 For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.
 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given unto you according to my commandments.
 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

I received an answer I had a long time ago.  I never really understood why I took a certain road that I did.  But it always felt right and it felt good.  I knew it would do me good and bring me closer to my Savior, but never received a FULL answer.  When I found this scripture, I understand that as humans, we desire so many things.  Things that we think will make us happy.  It might make us happy - I don't know, but we just keep on wishing...but is it what we want for ourselves or what God wants for us?  We might desire a certain path but what path does God have for us?  In verse 6 in both scripture, it tells, "The thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to DECLARE REPENTANCE unto the people, that you may bring SOULS UNTO ME, that you may REST WITH THEM IN THE KINGDOM of MY FATHER."  God knows what is best for us, we should always take HIS road no matter how hard it is.  As we do, we will be blessed ten time more than we ever thought we would have been.  He will magnify us and the people around us whom we love.  There will be no better thing than to see our family in the kingdom together.  I'm so grateful for God's plan, for His atonement, His creations, His path.  He has so many blessing in store for us, I wish I could just understand everything He has in store for me and His doctrine, but it is beyond our intelligence.  I'm so grateful to be a servant in His hands and to share with people the things I love.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel

So my companion and I got to go on a cool little adventure with our Presidente and Hermana Parreno.  As we walked to their house for lunch the other day, they had a little surprise for us.  Well they took us to a golf course and played golf for about an hour and at lunch!!!  HaHa Just kidding, we did get to watch but not play, but had a great view of the golf course as we had a great lunch.  So, this week we got an emergency transfer and no, I have a new companion!  Hermana Chipman, she is wonderful and she is 23 and is from Idaho and has already gotten her Master's Degree at BYU Provo.  She too, has only 2 transfers in the mission so I'll be finishing her training :)  I'm super excited.  I was super sad to see Hermana Kroska leave for "Martaplate" (another area) as time just flew with her as we worked hard and had many miracles, but I'm excited to work with my new companion in the Falda!

As we have been working with our investigators a little more, we had a fun family home evening with Norma and her two little girls and another family in the ward.  We talked about the 3rd and 1st lesson and prepared them for their baptism this next week.  They are super excited about this.  As we are still working with Norma to stop smoking, which she has been doing GREAT thus far.  As well as decide to separate or get married, which she has been acting upon and wants to finalize everything so that she can be baptized.!!  We have also been working with John who I talked a little about last week.  He too needs to make many decisions, but with the help of members and support as well of Christ, we can do all things and accomplish the goals we want to accomplish.

This week we had Norma and he two kids in church as well as John and Luiz. My companion and I found a lot of new investigators and many of them committed to coming to church.  Well Sunday morning, we went and knocked and called just about everyone and we walked to the chapel "solas" :( (alone).  When we got to church an investigator we have been teaching for 3 weeks now came in 5 minutes later!!  "Luiz" it was one big MIRACLE! It was wonderful to see him and John and Norma and her kids in the house of the Lord.

As we have been working a lot with the word of wisdom this week, I thought I would share a quote I found. (Boyd K. Packer, CR, Oct 1979,29) 

I have come to know that inspiration comes more as a feeling than as a sound.
Young people, stay in condition to respond to inspiration.
I have come to know also that a fundamental purpose of the Word of Wisdom has to do with revelation.
If someone “under the influence” can hardly listen to plain talk, how can they respond to spiritual promptings that touch their most delicate feelings?
As valuable as the Word of Wisdom is as a law of health, it may be much more valuable to you spiritually than it is physically.
Even if you keep the Word of Wisdom, there are some things that can happen to you physically, but those things don’t generally damage you spiritually.
When you become a father or a mother, don’t live so that your children go unled because of habits that leave you uninspired.
The Lord has a way of pouring pure intelligence into our minds to prompt us, to guide us, to teach us, to warn us. You can know the things you need to know instantly! Learn to receive inspiration.
D&C 89:5-7,18-21

That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.
 And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
 18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
 19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
 20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
 21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

God has given us commandments because they are a perfection to us.  God created our bodies, now let us take care of something so valuable.  AS we do we will be free from addictions, we will have knowledge and power, good health and stability.  That many blessings will come to us as we keep the word of wisdom that "the destroying angel will pass by."

Homework:  Change one thing about your health to help better yourself physically and spiritually. (Food, exercising, alcohol, being, clean, addictions, etc.)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Let the Holy Spirit Guide

"Now is the moment in the time table of the Lord to carry the gospel father than it has been carried before...Many people in this world are crying, knowing and unknowing, "come over...and help us!"...They might be your neighbor, might be your friend, might be a relative, might be someone you met yesterday, but we have what they NEED>  Let us take new courage from our studies and prayer as did Peter and now Lord,...grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word."  (Acts 4:29)

I totally made EMPANADAS for the first tim!  It's an Argentinean food that they eat almost like tacos but 100 times better!!  It was super fun but even better it was with a less active family and they came to church that next day.

I have never experienced a week like this one...We experienced some real highs and some lows.  First of all, I have been studying the topic of faith this month and I found in PME "Discouragement will weaken your faith" and a scripture in Ether 12:27

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
This month I've been trying super hard to apply faith in the mission work but not only that EVERYTHING. To always have hope and to act and be diligent.  We had interviews with our president this week and I asked him the question, "What is the significance of faith for you?"  It cam down to FAITH=WORKS not FAITH-Harry Potter - Ha!  We can't just sit at home and hope for this to work out or get done on their own.  As sometime I wish they would....Well this week, I had to really apply faith because it just kept getting harder and harder, hotter and hotter!!!  Dates just kept falling and falling and by the end of the week on Saturday, my companion and I kept praying and praying.  During the day every time something didn't work out, I sang "A Child's Prayer" to myself.

"A Child's Prayer"
  1. 1. Heavenly Father, are you really there?
    And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?
    Some say that heaven is far away,
    But I feel it close around me as I pray.
    Heavenly Father, I remember now
    Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
    "Suffer the children to come to me."
    Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.
  2. 2. Pray, he is there;
    Speak, he is list'ning.
    You are his child;
    His love now surrounds you.
    He hears your prayer;
    He loves the children.
    Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n.
Well as my companion and I kept our diligence, God answered our prayers.  He started walking with us and guiding us.  Our investigator, "Norma", that came to church with us last Sunday was no where to be found as well as a boy we found that lives about 5 houses down.  "John", he is 20 and lives with his 83 year old grandma and takes care of her.  Well, we probably passed by there three time that day to invite them to church.  I felt the urge not to give up and go pass one more time that same night.  As we started to go back for Norma, I felt to go knock on the house of John and right as we came up to his house, he was just about to leave.  So we hurried over and were sooo excited to have found him.  Next we went to find Norma and guess what??!!!  Norma answered!!  We had found her too as well as her two daughters whom we got to talk to them and get them excited for church.

For the HIGHLIGHT of the week, SUNDAY!!  It was one day of beautiful miracles.  We had 6 investigators - Norma, Margunna, Mariana, her two daughters, John, Agoustin (another investigator this week), and Nora who is also some one we started teaching this week.  All attended church yesterday.  WHAT BLESSINGS!  None of this could have happened without God's help, His guidance, and his LOVE.  Without relying on Him, we would have been sooo lost.  Two wounded dogs in a wild forest - Ha.  We were soo happy and so excited!!  I can't even explain the joy that we both felt.

This week we also taught an investigator named, "Glond".  She is awesome, she is super religious and is Baptist.  We taught her the first lesson and she had tons of questions.  WEll, my favorite part of the lesson was when we talked about prophets and we told her we have a living prophet, TODAY who speaks to us and guides us.  Well, this is when she started freaking out and asking "Well...What is he telling us these days??"  "I want to know!!"  I started getting super excited and couldn't keep a smile off of my face and she looked at me and said, "Why are you grinning?"  "I'm serious!!"  Well, I told her, Hermana, this is wonderful!  I feel the exact same way, I'm happy you want to know because I know he is our living prophet today.  We told her we would get her a General Conference talk magazine so she could read ALL about it.  She said - OK - Hurry.

Alma 51:26-27
26 And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.
 27 Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.
Homework:  Read Hebrews 11- (Faith)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Time is Far Spent

What a fantastic week!  First of all, my companion and I had cat food this that was tasty!  You gotta love the old ladies that don't realize what they are actually feeding you! My companion and I also had a fun time trying to keep smiles on our faces as we watched cockroaches jump all over the room and guarding our bags at the same time so that one wouldn't jump in and bring one home with us as a pet! Anyways....I'm super grateful for our members here.  They are always taking really good care of us, making sure we never go hungry.  Speaking of...we had a 5 course meal on Saturday.  I ate my first dish of food which was "super sufficient" and was getting ready to share a scripture and she said, "What are you doing?"  "There is still more food to eat!"  Well let's just say I'm super grateful that we only eat lunch on our mission because we are super blessed that we are "more than satisfied for the rest of the day and sometimes until the next week with all of the food they are feeding us...Haha.  

Also, my new area is also filled with lots of dogs - "my favorite", well my companion and I were walking and all of a sudden, I hear a really mean growl behind us.  Well there is a difference in every dog's growl, but this growl was the growl of a really big dog that could do a lot of damage and in this moment, the dog started running up behind us.  Well I suddenly FROZE!  I quickly grabbed my companion's arm and thought, "Oh....No,"  as she did the same.  All of a sudden, the dog stopped and both my companion and I turned our heads slowly and it was a dinky, tiny, little dog! We laughed sooo hard and were super blessed that what we both imagined was the complete opposite - and also that nothing happened of course.

Anyways, besides all of the fun experiences we had this week, my companion and I had a lot of miracles.  First of all we wanted to try a different way of teaching, with more excitement and center it around the "New Year'.  Well, we found a scripture in Alma 7:14

We shared this exact scripture because we liked that it talked about "being born again" and how we can be "born again" through baptism.  Especially with a "New Year" and why not a New You!  We ended up having a lot of success and miracles.  God just kept throwing one right after another at our feet.   This week, I cleaned out our binder full of investigators in the past and we found a family.  A mom named, Norma and four kids.  We visited the house and she immediately let us in.  She shared with us some of her goals for the new year, including the gospel!  Which we were super excited about.  We also invited her to church and she ended up waiting for us at the chapel.  She was already in a seat and talking to other members!!  On Thursday, we didn't have any success all day and it was already 7:00pm, so I kept praying and praying that we would find "someone".  Well, we walked next to a house and I was about to knock and then I realized there were a bunch of people inside and I started to hesitate.  I'm not sure what pushed me to have the confidence, but I knocked anyways and I asked if we could sing a hymn or a scripture for the new year and two seconds later, we were in the house talking, laughing and more importantly, sharing the gospel with a family of 4.  A mother and her two daughters 22, and 18 and their grandma.   They are fantastic!!!  They accepted to listen to the lessons and learn more about the gospel.

This month, I have been studying Faith.  As I was reading in Luke, I found a quote by President Henry B. Eyring.  "When you are in a ".....Time-blind...The Lord knew you would have such he gave you a story to encourage you.  It is a parable for overloaded priesthood holders.  We sometimes call it the story of the good samaritan....just remember that you are the samaritan and not the priest or the Levite who passed by the wounded man...(Luke 10:33-35)  First, the Lord will give you, if you ask, the feelings of compassion He feels for those in need.  Second, He will provide others, like the innkeeper, to join with you in your service.  Third, the Lord, like the good samaritan, will more than recompense all who join in giving help to those in need...much like the service and mercy given by the samaritan you will also minister to them with healing balm for their wounds in the time of cannot help people repair spiritual damage unless your orn FAITH is vibrant .  That means far more than reading the scripture regularly and praying over them...As we prepare to give succor for the Lord...there is a scripture to guide us: 

Moroni 7:45-48
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
 46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
 47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
 48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

As I had this experience of hesitation, I realized that I could have lost a wonderful chance to share the gospel.  It was definitely an act of faith to be the good samaritan and "not" pass the people in need.  It is so important to open our eyes and ears to the things God places in our path and to accept them.  To not hesitate, to take action and confidence and don't give up when you only have an hour or less because that is when you get your BEST work out.  A miracle can happen at any minute especially your last few minutes of diligence and obedience.  It will take a test of trial first before we receive the blessings.

I just want to testify of how happy I am.  I love God's work, I love what he does for me in my life and the life of missionary work.  My heart is full of love, excitement and anticipation as I am a servant in His hands.  This gospel is a light and strength in my eyes and I want to strive to be more like Him this year as I strive to to live and understand His attributes.  Let us all this year for the "new year" become "new" like the scripture in Alma 7:14.

Alma 7:14

 14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.

Homework:  Do you have a calling in the church?  How can we better fulfill our calling from the Lord?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Improve the Shining Moments

So guess what?! I got to celebrate another birthday.  Hermana Kroska my new companion had a birthday!  We had soooo much cake, I tried to keep a smile on my face as we entered 3 houses that had a birthday cake ready for her!  Haha, but is was fun. 

So this week I got to know a little about "The Falda", first of all it's nothing like my last area, but the Falda pretty much has it all.   From one end great big houses with gated fences and swimming pools in every back yard to the other end with dirt roads, to practically nothing.  The other day my companion and I were walking to an investigators house and it was up a giant hill.  Well, when we got to the top, I turned around and there was an amazing view.  You could see all of Bahia Blanca, the buildings and everything.  It was super cool.  I also finally got to know the members of the ward and they are wonderful.  They have big spirits and the church here is pretty small like my very first area.  It's a branch and has about a total of 38 members (active). 

My companion is great.  This week was super interesting, we got to know each other super fast for all of the experiences we ran into this week.  first of all, we've walked into 3 houses that are caving into the ground.  I feel like at any second I might fall into a deep pit.  Second, we had our first electrical storm.  I don't know if you have ever experienced on before, but it's one of the scariest things.  Lightning flashing in every second, no rain, no electricity, super hot, etc.  So we were privileged to plan in the dark with two dinky flash lights we had.  Haha and Third, meeting a gypsy for the very first time in my life.  As I have now learned that there are actually quite a lot of them that live in Argentina.   But more importantly, I'm super grateful to experience all these great times with my companion Hermana Kroska.  She has a huge spirit and light in her eyes that I've never seen before.

So there aren't very many investigators we are working with right now.  We are working hard this transfer to find miracles and people ready to hear the gospel.  Right now we have one investigator named, Franchesca, she has been to church about four times now and loves the church. She loves it's doctrine and has just about all of the lessons.  But she is scared to take a step forward and be baptized.  Well, we had a lesson with her on Wednesday and for the first time, she let us talk about baptism and how important it is in our lives and how it is the first step of making it closer to our Heavenly Father.  She has a baptism date set for January 27 about a month from now.  It's a little far away but with much faith in the Lord and prayer and fasting, she will find her answer.

So for Christmas eve and Christmas, we went around Christmas caroling with my companion.  We had lots of success and it was super fun at the same time.  We also got the chance to go Christmas caroling with our mission president and his wife after we had lunch with them.  It was a BLAST!  They know just about everyone in the area.  Skyping my family was great to see their faces and smiles.  I'm also super blessed and privileged that my little nephew Bennett can say my name "Colie" and none of my families names yet :) Haha - just kidding.  I also hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with lots of food, family, friends and celebrating what is most important the birth of Jesus Christ.  Thank you once again for your prayers and love, I wish you all to have a wonderful New Year!  2015!

Alma 34:32
32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

President Kimball has said, "my brothers and sisters, we're away from home.  We're off to school.  Our lessons will not be easy.  The way we react to them, the way we conquer and accomplish and live will determine our rewards, and they will be permanent and eternal.  You are sent to this world with a very serious purpose.  You are sent to school for that matter to begin as a human infant and grow to unbelievable proportions in wisdom, judgement, knowledge and power."  I invite all this new year to remember why we are on earth; to accept our Lord and loving Savior.

Homework:  For the new year, write some goals you want to accomplish