2/24/18 ALRIGHT, so its been 3 weeks since ive sent out a picture, so my update will be a bunch of pictures with a brief explanation about each one!!! READY, SET.... GO
1. CHANGE NIGHT: we get to do all the calls for changes, and it is always a blast to have missionaries guess where they'll be headed in trembling voices haha. Its especially fun to mess with them and have them pass around the phone, thinking that they have a change when its really their comp who has one. We also always buy food! this time we ate "rico-rico" which is rotisserie chicken, french fries and fried rice!!! it makes no sense and the combination is the weirdest thing but it is one of Peru's pride and joys, and oh my goodness is it delicious!!!
2. NEW MISSIONARIES: a new group of missionaries arrived and it is one of my favorite days of every transfer, so much excitement and wonder haha, i still remember my first day and oh boy was i freaked out! boy what a blessing it is to give insight to the new missionaries before they head out to their areas. Here we are eating lunch with President Li, his wife, and the newbies!
3.DONUTS AND THE ZONE: Well these were absolutely delicious haha, a newer Elder had a birthday so we bought a big thing of amazing donuts that a member prepared. This is also a picture of our zone, the Iquitos Zone. we all work in the center of Iquitos and it is awesome to serve with these elders. There are 2 districts, the offices and another called Sachachorro. (we took this pic today so thats why we are in Pday clothes!)
So yeah, its been an awesome week, working hard and doing our best! Unfortunately the baptismal date that we had fell through due to family issues, and we are in the process of helping her back! Scripture of the week is found in DC 108:7 Strengthen your brethren in all that you do! It's been my personal goal this week and I have seen blessing as I have tried to apply this scripture! Have a great week!
3/3/18 Well this week has flown by and I always feel like they do, if anything it just keeps on going faster. We had our leadership council this week where we mixed things up a bit and tried changing the way we solve the problems in the mission. Usually we get everyone together and ask a question and listen to everyone's ideas about solving the problem. We usually have a problem with participation haha so we put together smaller groups and started talking about simpler problems according to the needs of every zone. All in all it came out all right! I just hope that we start seeing more progress because of it. We also got to train and its a fun time haha, but it will be even more fun in the Zone conferences that are coming up because we will be traveling to Tarapoto again and even JuanJui! It hasn't been opened yet and there are people there who want to hear the gospel! I can't wait to see that place again! I will also be going to Moyobamba! (my old stomping grounds!) I'm super stoked for the opportunities that I will have to visit and teach! Lately I've been studying the wars and Captain Moroni... He was 25 when he started as a general! I can't believe that! He was so young and yet was able to command thousands! How I wish that I could be like that haha, it would definitely be exciting! But really all that we need is faith, because "without faith, you can do nothing" DC 8:10. I love you all, have a great week! And enjoy the fun office moment when we bought half the mission new mattresses!
3/17/18 I say winding down, but in reality I am only changing gears haha, travel mode to office/area mode. You never really wind down here, it's always going 100 mph, just in different ways.This week was fun! We got back from our adventures and we are on the grind again, planning, organizing, contacting, teaching. Its a non-stop ride but definitely a fulfilling one.
We were able to recover our old baptismal date, Hilda is an investigator who wanted to postpone her baptism, but recently set a new date, so we are working with her trying to help her get ready. It's very interesting the way she sees things. The whole time we've been teaching her, shes been doing everything but treating it like it's a class haha. After leaving a chapter for her to read, she'll come back with notes and weird questions haha, and pretty much be expecting us to give her a test on the chapter, and after asking her if she prayed she goes, "I ALWAYS pray". The fact that shes keeping her commitments is awesome but she sometimes does it for obligation, and not out of a sincere desire to progress. Sometimes i feel like we do the same things, we try to complete with the bare minimum grudgingly and expect the full blessing from doing it, when really we can only enjoy the full blessings when we do it willingly, and with a humble heart. I know sometimes I fall into that temptation, but when I correct it, the blessing come flooding in. Hilda was also looking for a "sign" during this whole thing... and we have kept on telling her that signs don't come to those who lack faith, but rather signs follow those who exercise their faith (DC 63:7-11). This past week, she got a p/t job after praying for help and guidance and she took that as her "sign". If it works for her, it works haha. All I know is that she is experiencing a change in her life and I hope she keeps on changing. She'll be awesome.
While studying, I constantly find myself meditating on weakness, and how we can overcome it. I think one of the most repeated councils in the Book of Mormon is that if we keep the commandments, we will prosper (Mosiah 2:22,41). Really it doesn't matter what weaknesses we have, if we do our best to keep the commandments and trust the Lord, we won't have to worry! I love you all so much, have a great week, and enjoy the pics of our sweet Golf sesh we had this morning haha (it was terrible, it was just a soaking wet field where we got sunburned and destroyed by fireants hahahah). CHAO
3/23/18 Aaaand I'm here again, don't know how when or why but another week is gone and I am still astounded. Well this week, was fun, but definitely has been a tough one. Our area is not looking all that hot after our trip and after the multi-zone conference here in Iquitos, and to make things worse the conference here didn't go all that smoothly like we had hoped. First off, our investigator is getting baptized today and we are stoked. We are truly grateful that she is making that decision to follow the Savior, and we hope that she will be a light of the Gospel for her family who wants nothing to do with the Church haha. Other than her, we have some prospects, some of the which are promising but in general I wish we could do more... Oh well, gotta learn that patience.
The conference this week was cool because we had a visit from the area doctor, Elder Mayberry, and he gave us a training on health and the importance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It was awesome, uplifting and enlightening (I definitely loved that we got to listen to another white person talk!!!). But like I mentioned, there were some complications that made things go kind of sour. All the technical equipment that we use (microphones and projectors) had problems, the conference started late because the keys didn't get there on time and we spent most of the conference running around trying to fix those problems. The worst part was that President was embarrassed and he told us we need to get that stuff completely taken care of for the next one... Especially because a General Authority may be coming soon and if things go wrong during that... yikes! So yeah, we are learning little by little, sometimes its rough but that's alright! That's why we are here!
Well, long story short, we are trying to hold our area together while at the same time taking care of the mission... Its a blast and also a challenge and I know that it wouldn't ever be worth it if it were easy! D&C 122:7. We are here to get experience, so every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow! Gotta make the most of it! Love ya guys, have a great week.
3/30/18 Well the blessings keep on coming, I am currently writing this between sessions of General Conference and I have got to say it has already been awesome, but I feel that the best is still to come! So for now I'll talk about the pics I was able to snag during our travels to PUCALLPA and during the rest of the week...
First off, Hilda got Baptized!!! oh my goodness finally, what a process it has been with her. She started learning in November, and now is an official member of the church, I hope she continues learning and that she is able to continue shaping her life based on the Gospel! She is learning a ton about being more independent of her family and how to lean on Christ in times of need. After her baptism, she expressed a powerful testimony on prayer. We were definitely happy with how it all turned out. Here's the pic!
Also while in Pucallpa, I had the opportunity and blessing to see my convert from more than a year ago! His name is Carlos, and he had a Family Home evening to celebrate his year as a member (it was the 10th of march haha) He has definitely made some huge progress in the church and was for a long time the Young men's President of the Ward! I remember when I left, he was still learning, but now he has a more profound knowledge of the gospel and how the church and Priesthood functions on the Earth. His mom and sister are now also baptized and active in the church! He is seriously the best!
To finish up I was also able to snag this very old picture from one of the Sisters who is finishing her mission... The craziest thing is that we all got here together! I cannot believe how fast it has been and how much things have changed. The picture is the first day we had in Iquitos, right before our lunch with President Li. In total we were 22, now we are 20, but will soon be 14 with the loss of the six sisters from our group... Now all that's left is the home stretch.
Finally, a quick thought on something that I have been pondering lately. Sometimes I have a hard time with feeling like what I do is correct or that it will make a difference, and I assume that it must be normal for many missionaries. Reading the scriptures has helped me think about doing the Lord's will rather than our own. Christ, in sacrificing himself did just that, and even though He knew it would be the most painful, excruciating experience known to man-kind, He came through and atoned for us all. Sometimes taking a moment and asking ourselves, "is this what Christ would have me do in this moment?" will help us focus on what is really important, rather than what we think may be best. prayer is always the way to communicate with our Father, and like our investigator has come to know it, we can be blessed if we learn to pray often and fervently. I know that God loves us his Children, and I know that what happened today in a "Solemn Assembly" was the Lord's will. He chooses his prophets to guide us and help us return to him. It is our duty to listen. Have a great week and i hope you all are watching Conference!!!
4/7/18 So we had transfers this week, and Transfer week is always a very busy week... we have to pick up the new missionaries (they were mostly sisters this time) and we have trainings and other things to give during their first day. But if that wasn't enough, we had the monthly leadership council this week and that meant MORE training's and MORE meetings and LESS time to go work. Really in short, the whole office experience is awesome, but there is a lot that I miss from being in the field. But then again, I won't be in the offices for much longer!!! President is going to be traveling a lot this month for conferences and stuff like that for the lack of time we will have in the future to work out next months transfers... so we did them this week, and knowing where I will go is a little weird, especially the fact that I have to wait 5 weeks before I leave haha. Oh well!
This week there have been several lessons learned and I am constantly being reminded how much I lack... Some days are easier, some days are harder, but every day I learn something new. Really that's why we are here isn't it?
President has been focusing on the importance of the spirit in everything we do and I have loved trying to apply it and learn more about it on a daily basis. The prophet and apostles also talked about it last weekend, and I know that it is so important for us to learn how to listen to the spirit. Here's an interesting observation that I made this week while reading a scripture in the BOM. In the Words of Mormon, in verse 7 Mormon talks about a wise purpose that God has for the Book of Mormon, but the way that he learns about it is interesting. He says that the spirit "whispered" to him, and that it was all done according to the spirit. Now, if I remember correctly, Mormon was a prophet... and the revelation of learning about the purpose of the Book of Mormon is something of great significance... After reading that, I thought about the conference and the revelation that President Nelson received regarding changes to the organization of the Church, and I thought... "President Nelson received revelation in the same way". So if Prophets receive great revelation through the whispering of the spirit, and that same spirit is what is promised to all who are baptized, wouldn't it be the same for me? In conclusion, we all receive revelation in the same way a prophet does! nothing changes! Learning to listen is something we really need to develop if we are going to follow his guidance. After all, the spirit can guide us in all the things that we do! (2 Nephi 32:5)
Finishing up, here are some pics of last Saturday. We cooked french toast and hash-browns!!! it was awesome! I love you all and I hope you had a great week!
4/14/18 Well this week went by fast, too, and really it was a week of just going out there and getting things done! We have been doing a filter of the people that we visit, and have been dropping people who really don't have the desire to learn anymore, and really doing that every once and a while helps a ton, it helps us focus on what is more important to us now. So, in the end we knocked lots of doors haha, and we did find some pretty cool people! Hopefully that will all pan out in the near future!
On the other hand, we recently just learned that a General Authority will be coming to the mission this month of May! Oh boy that is going to be a fun experience, the only thing is that we arent sure when he will be coming, and since transfers are smack-dab in the middle of May (the 15th). That means that if he comes during that week, a lot of planning will be required to make thing run smoothly. Oh well! I'm sure it will all work out. I am mostly excited to see what advice he brings to us, and more than anything in what ways we can change the mission.
Recently I've begun to read Jesus the Christ again, picking up where I last left off. Last I read was several months ago, and I had forgotten how in depth James Talmage goes with his analysis of the whole story of Christ and his sacrifice. I recently read the commentary of the Crucifixion, and not ever before had i realized what kind of details there were in a Crucifixion. An example and one of my favorite parts was when the explanation was given for the purpose of the vinegar. Before I had always thought, "why the heck was there a pot of vinegar at the middle of this execution scene?". The vinegar in reality wasn't just vinegar, it was a mixture of various ingredients and used by the executioners to dull the senses of the victims. So when they put it to Christ's lips, he rejected it, showing that he wanted to face this challenge with a clear mind and being fully aware. He didn't accept anything to make the pain go away, but rather faced it with his whole being and soul. I unite my voice to the apostles when they asked, "what matter of man is this... !?" He was absolutely marvelous, and learning more about simply his character and the way he acted has helped me so much in my focus as his representative. He is our Savior and I am forever grateful to bear his name.
If anyone is looking for a scripture to study this week, I would recommend the end of John, Chapters 18-19, which describes the arrest of Christ and his trials. Pilates behavior is also something to marvel, he did not believe in any other gods other than those of the Romans, yet he respected and revered Christ even more than the Jews did. It was a fun read for me, and definitely something worth a good study!