Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Home Stretch! From the Office to Nauta

4/28/18   So in the jungle there is a weird tribal thing where they embroider things in bright colored designs that are weird, you can look it up online, its called "shepiva". So i sent in a tie for them to embroider, and i made it a "flower tie" which is like a fad that hasn't died out yet.... so this is how it turned out, its different but it looks kinda cool!

It has probably been the most tiring week i have had in a long time, but also one of the most edifying ones. We had another mission tour but this time it was with a general authority, Elder Falabella. He helped us regain our focus, and gave us some fantastic ideas to use in our work. If i had to use a word to describe him it would be WISDOM. He really is just walking experience, and boy does he put it to use. I will give a brief description of how this week was: 

Monday: we filled out the weekly reports and then set off for Tarapoto! Elder Falabella was scheduled to arrive the next day, Tuesday, but we made sure to get there a bit early so that we were ready for him. 

Tuesday: Elder Falabella got there in the afternoon, we spent the morning making preparations and getting ready for the meeting that he would have with the the branch council presidencies of the area. My companion and i were present at the meeting and even though it was more geared for the members, i learned a lot from what he said. What i liked most was what was mentioned about observing and serving, instead of observing and asking. We shouldn't wait for someone to ask to help them, just find simple ways to help when you see it! 

Wednesday: Multi-zone conference with the missionaries from 3 different zones, about 40 missionaries in total. That was amazing, he talked a lot about goals, obedience and what happens when we keep trying to do the same things to get different results. It helped open our eyes to see more than we could, and to really understand how to do it. He said that we need to not only convert converts, but convert missionaries. Most of the searching we should be doing should be done through others, if it is done in that way, it is much more efficient. At the same time, he made it very clear that we cannot expect to have results without putting in our own effort. It all depends on us, and how diligent we are in truly searching for those who are being prepared to hear the message. After the conference we rushed over to the airport bound for Lima, and then Pucallpa. but only found 2 delayed flights which caused us to get to bed around 12... That sucked, but on the bright side we totally got to eat McDonalds in the Lima Airport! That was something that boggled my mind, in all honesty it was a very strange experience. Its something that i will have to get used to again haha.

Thursday: After a couple hours of sleep, we got up and immediately began setting up for the conference in Pucallpa. While doing that, we got the news that Elder Falabellas flight was delayed and that he would be getting there 3 hours late! So what did we do? President Li stalled for those couple of hours while we went and picked up Elder Falabella and then we got to listen to him for about an hour. It was the strangest conference that i had ever been to... but at the same time it was pretty edifying, although he shared pretty much the same stuff that he did in Tarapoto. After that, we rushed over to the airport to come back to Iquitos.

Friday: The final conference was in Iquitos and it was like the gran-finale of the whole tour. Elder Falabella did pretty much the same thing but really just let us have it. There were quite a few times where he told us what we were doing was wrong, and as much as it hurt, it was still awesome. He put a big emphasis on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and how incredible it actually is. It helped me redirect my vision and refocus on the things that are more important. What really got me was what he said about goals and hard work. There is a quote in Preach My Gospel by Elder Ballard that talks about this, and summed up it says: If we dont learn how to set and reach goals, we will look back and realize that we only accomplished a portion of what we could have really achieved. Did i feel like that applied to me? In a way, yes. But its ok, thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ :). After the conference was the leadership council that we hold every month, but this one was interesting because President Li directed the whole thing! The assistants are usually the ones who direct the council, but President did it while Elder Falabella was there and it was interesting to watch. But in the end we got stuff done, there was a lot to talk about with Elder Falabella there. It was amazing to say the least. 

Today: we shopped and cleaned, normal!

In the end, the week has been an eye opener for us, and i am really excited to head out to the field with this new knowledge. I will be going to a new area with new opportunities and a fresh start. Cant wait to give it my all! Scripture of the week is Abraham 3:25. We are here to do everything that he commands!!! Have a great week!

photos: baptism of Maritza, the mother of a return missionary, it was definitely a struggle but totally worth it! Mcdonalds in the airport! and the amazon!!!

5/21/18   Well, first off, the internet here is pretty bad, so I don't think I
will have time to write a group email, I don't even think I can send
more than one email at once (you can pretty much say goodbye to
pictures...) Another p-day we will see if I can find a better place to
write. Anyyyyways, things are awesome! Its actually been very
different, especially as I try to readjust to life in the field. I am
loving having more time for simply working, studying and really just
doing more things! Less responsibility is also something new, in
reality its just a shift of focus, there's less that I have to take
care of so it gives me a lot more freedom to simply focus on my area.
My companion is another mind-blower, he is a whopping 5 feet tall!
haha its is a spectacle working with him. He is from Guatemala, and
his name is Elder Ordoñez. He is really awesome, same age as ty so its
kinda weird working with someone that's like my little brother. He has
a natural ability of talking to people, it is cool to watch, it is
easy for others to trust him, so for him contacting is a zip! The
branch is pretty small, around 80 people attended yesterday but
there are some awesome members, especially the branch president. Today
we are dedicating a lot to cleaning the house haha, it is very dirty,
and nobody has taken the time to really clean it for a long time.
(missionaries are dirty haha) It doesn't sound like there are a lot of
fun activities to do or cool places to visit, so the P-Days might be
kinda boring, it will also be interesting because I am far away from
an ATM that is trustworthy, so taking out money will be interesting. I
also think that I am going to be using everything that I have, as it
has been raining a lot and there's has been quite a bit of mud! well, to
wrap it up, I am stoked to work here, and I know that if I lose myself
here I will see miracles!!! I love you all and I hope you have a great

5/28/18  Well, in all honesty I don't' know what to say haha, 2 weeks back out in the field and it has been a ride already haha, I cannot believe how fast time has gone... but then again, whenever you are busy time always flies haha. There is A TON of work to do here, it really has been a blessing to come here, it is unlike anywhere else I have ever been and to be honest it is a blast. The branch is awesome, a lot of the members are old members, there are not a lot of recent converts who attend on a regular basis so that's kinda sad haha, but that's why were here! We eat with the branch president every day except for breakfast, which we cook haha and that's nice because I still have some kind of liberty with regards to my food. 

Regarding our investigators, we pretty much filtered the majority of them haha, we are now left with a grand total of 1 progressing investigator haha, and the funny thing is that she has been investigating for a looong time. When I first got here, everyone told me that she didn't want to get baptized because she had already been baptized in the catholic church haha, so the first thing that came to mind was the Book of Mormon. After asking if she had read the book, she said no, but she did pray to know if it was true! hahaha, I was shocked, so many missionaries and she hadn't even read the darn book!!! So we left her 3 Nephi 11, which talks about baptism and the authority to be baptized. After she read, she said that she felt the need to be baptized!!! And then after praying she had a pretty gnarly dream! She told us what she saw and I have no idea what any of it meant haha, so we told her to pray and ask for guidance so that she may understand what it meant! Every time I see the power of the Book of Mormon, it simply confirms to me that it is all true, that God lives, loves us, and has a plan for us. Our investigator doesn't have a date yet, but I know that if she keeps reading, that will change very shortly.

So I have a confession to make, I still haven't taken any pictures haha, but next week I promise to send a few!!! The scripture of the week is Alma 57-58, the story of the strippling warriors always blows me away. Have a great week!

(excerpt from family letter) 6/4/18 Its been kind of slow and even though we are searching every day its hard to find people who are really prepared. A lot of the people travel because of work opportunity and other don't even live here... Its been interesting teaching lessons to awesome families and then discovering that they wont even be here during the rest of the week... Well, all we can do is have faith, we have a few people who are awesome and are learning the gospel, we even have a married family that we are teaching, and just the simple fact that they are married is a miracle haha. I am really grateful for those blessings, if it weren't for the few that we do have, it would be a real struggle right now, especially because President Li has such high expectations of me... He really wants this place to be more productive and that's one of the reasons he sent me here, especially because this city has a long history of disobedience and other dumb things that have happened, he practically sent me in as the fixer-up guy haha. But in reality its a huge blessing to be here, and I cant believe how fast the time has gone by. I just hope to have a few more baptisms before I ship out!!!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Changing Gears

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!

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Gospel is an Invaluable Gift!

1/13/18 Today we had a very interesting experience with someone who literally came to us looking for help. While re-watching the funeral for President Thomas S Monson, someone knocked on the door to the offices to ask for help, he recently had been dumped by his girlfriend of 10 years and his job of selling burgers wasnt going to support his family of him and his 2 kids. He also had a past of almost a satanic lifestyle where he liked everything "dark" and "malicious" and now that hes hit rock bottom, he realized hes been wrong for a long time. After calling our bishop, we were able to talk to him about forgiveness for our sins and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and how we can repent to make things better. He then accepted to read a Book of Mormon, to attend church, and expressed very openly his desire to change. It was a miracle to be able to be there for him, and i was privileged that God allowed me to be there in that moment. I know that this gospel is the cure-all for anything that we are going through. Christ knows us and wants us to be happy, that's why he gave His life for our sake. I hope that we all can learn to use this gift more often so that we can feel the peace and joy that comes from sincere repentance. I love you all, sorry for not writing very much, I'll write more next week

1/20/18 Well, I haven't been sending pictures lately, and I am sorry to inform everyone that once again I don't have any pictures to send... all we've been doing is WORKING AND WORKING. And boy what a life it is! Not too much interesting happened this week, but I will tell you about a contact that we had that was probably one of the most interesting contacts that we've had... 
We knocked on a door that opened very quickly and a young bearded guy walked out shook my hand said hello and invited us in in the space of about 2 seconds... we didn't get anything more than a hello out! So a bit shocked and quite apprehensively we entered his house, he pulled chairs out, shook our hands again and invited us to sit down. After sitting we finally got to introduce ourselves! And just as soon as we said our names he asked us what we do! After a brief explanation, we learned he was catholic and studying biochemistry! (someone to be studying something like that here is very rare...) We were able to get to know him a little more and shared our message, he knew almost nothing about the "Mormons" but he accepted a pamphlet and said he would read... So if the first visit wasn't crazy enough, the second was even crazier! we came back and it was the same "come into my house" in 2 second thing and he told us two things: 1. the Pope is in Peru and 2. He had read the entire pamphlet and understood EVERYTHING. he recited pretty much all of lesson one to us without looking back and reading... It was incredible! We had to explain a little more in depth to help him differentiate between the pope and a prophet of god... but he understood it all and then accepted a Book of Mormon and the baptismal invitation! i was blown away, but only time will tell if he will be able to progress and repent to get to be Baptized!!! 
All i know is that the work we do is the greatest work there is, hands down. I love it here, and it is not easy in any way. But if it were easy it really wouldn't ever be worth it. I hope you all have a great week and that things are going well. 

1/27/18 Well its been a very fast week, I feel like I was just writing yesterday! Anyways this week all of the missionaries in Iquitos had their interviews with President and we got to help him out with that, revising area books and stuff like that. Its  alot of fun but kinda hard cause we cant leave for two whole days, and to top it off we had the zone conference this week that we organized. Busy busy! But even with the little time we had we were still able to go out and have family home evening with a family who will be going to the temple this next week! Super awesome experience and even President Li came with us. It was a very special experience, because this family was a family that the President himself baptized! There was a strong spirit there and we were even able to receive a few references! 
Lately I have been focusing on doing the little things right and making sure that I am ready to help when I am called (pretty much always haha) Reading every day and having fervent prayers are what keeps me going during the day, and whenever I don't get to recharge my spiritual batteries for time reasons or schedule complications it really drains me by the end of the day. I know that the simple things are what help us solve the biggest problems and that if we dedicate the time to do them, many blessings will follow. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is the inspiration that we need to stay spiritually alive during our time on this earth. It is the only book that has the answers to the deepest of questions, and anyone who really reads it can find the answers to what they need.  
2/3/18 Well another crazy week, we had our Leadership council again here in Iquitos and boy was that full of fun stuff, 8 hours of straight meetings haha. It was a fun time, definitely a spiritual experience and I think that it helped us get our minds and hearts set on what we are here to do. the main focus was time management, plans and goals. I loved it and giving a pretty lengthy training with my companion was also a great time. I really am grateful for the help that we received, I definitely felt that it was guided, and I know that these things do not happen if it weren't the Lord's will. He has his hand in everything. Every time I see it I am humbled to know that He is our Father, and He loves us so much. It really is a miracle to be here and to have the opportunity that we do to make correct choices.
This week we have been working hard to find more people that are really being prepared, and is it an easy process? No not at all, it never has been, but it is always worth the effort. We have found several interesting people to teach this week, alot of them are good people, very receptive but the key will be getting them to act! As missionaries we teach faith, repentance, baptism and the recieving of the gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the end. When we find people to teach, mostly what they say is that they have faith and they believe in God and(or) Jesus Christ. But when the time comes for them to really act and start repenting, they don't do it! I know that its them using their agency but its so frustrating when someone doesn't make the right choice! We have the restored Gospel, we have basic truths that others in ancient times have tried to decipher and solve for centuries, and we teach it all to primary children!!! And when we start helping others to understand the greatness and simplicity of the gospel, they simply don't see it! They don't act to receive the blessings that they could so easily receive!!! I now understand why King Benjamin said that its so much worse for someone who knows that doesn't act than for someone who never knew... The Gospel is a invaluable gift, and not living it is so unfortunate that it makes you want to go crazy!!! But i know that God has a time for everything, and in his time everything will work itself out. I am so grateful to be here and for this chance to teach this Gospel. Its the Truth!!! Have a great week! and sorry again for no pics, haven't gotten the conference pics yet!
2/10/18 This week in Iquitos was FSY (basically small version of EFY) and we were invited to participate, President Li, My companion and I got to give quick talks about a few basic topics!!! it was an awesome experience and kinda crazy cause all those Kids went nuts over how tall we are haha, it was kinda embarrassing, they almost treated us like famous people... super weird! But yeah here is a pic (finally) of all of the kids, counselors and Us! Enjoy!
2/17/18 WOW, I have no idea where time goes, the days blend in to weeks and the weeks into months... Already halfway through February and last I remembered we were just starting February! Man, well its still a blast out here and they say that if its going by fast its because you're working hard! And ain't that the truth... there's always a lot to do! 
This transfer has been lightning fast, and its definitely been a bittersweet one... firstly, things are going much better in the mission... As Old missionaries are finishing up and the newer generation is coming in force, and that new lets go get it attitude is really helping us get the wheels spinning again. We've given several trainings this transfer about goal-setting and the importance of the spirit, and from what we can see, missionaries are being more obedient and diligent in their work and studies! So happy!!! but like I said, its not all sweet, the bitter definitely has been our area. We usually go out to work in the afternoons around 4 until 9, and some days we don't even get that much time to work. The limited time doesn't help us out so this whole transfer we have not seen a single baptism, but the good news is that this next week, we will have a baptism! Finally! I am so grateful for that, definitely a tender mercy, she is a single adult that was a referral from a member, and she has progressed so much since we first found her... She still does funny things like the Catholic cross thing they do when they pray and other things that don't make complete sense, but she has changed a lot and really has a desire to follow Christ. Its awesome to actually find someone who has that desire! Its been a Crazy week and i hope this next week goes by smoothly, the new missionaries will be getting here so that will be awesome and that always means pictures!! Have a great week! 
Scripture of the week: Proverbs 6:9 -we have been getting up at 6 to work out, so when someone "sleeps in" until 6:30, this is my favorite scripture to use. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

"Peace, be still. Peace, be still."

Another week down, even closer to Christmas and I AM SO STOKED. Im pretty dure Christmas eve will be one of the most interesting days of the mission, because here, Christmas eve is when the real party goes down, there's tons of fireworks and parties and food (and most of the time lots and lots of beer) so yeah, dont know how it will be to proselyte in that mess, but I'm sure that it is going to be the best day ever! (every day is the best day ever). So yeah, lots of fun, im already out of candy so thats sad and not really a big surprise but ill last. All I know is that I am happy, even though things arent working out all the time and theres always problems and people dont make very good choices, but really all I can do is my best, and I know thats why Jesus came down to this earth to die for us, because without him even my best wouldn't be enough, and there really wouldn't be any hope for us. It would be all or nothing, and its because that the Father loves us that he sent his son to save us in the fallen state that we are in and to make it so that perfection isnt what is required of us. The spirit of Christmas really changes to something more significant when you really discover for yourself why we celebrate it, and to make things even better, I have the best "job" in the world where I get to help people understand that for themselves. My only wish this Christmas is for everyone to truly understand why Christ came, and that we all share this with others. Merry Christmas to all, and i hope that you have a wonderful Christmas day. 

-Elder Grover

enjoy pics from the Christmas conferences!


Sunday, December 17, 2017

12/17/17 Never, ever, EVER have i EEEVER gone pretty much 2 weeks in the mission and achieved pretty much NOTHING in my own area. But i will have to admit, its been a super fun week. Traveling really is a blast, and if it wasnt for my own area it would have been a successful week. So yeah, heres the quick rundown of what happened.

After finishing up in Tarapoto, we pretty much had to immediately start getting ready to leave for Pucallpa, and that really isnt al that tough, but there were some minor complications that kinda messed everything up. So we spent last weekend fixing everything and getting the programs ready for the Christmas conference. We left on Monday and flew to Pucallpa, and it had not changed one bit! Pucallpa was the first city that i was in, i started my mission there, and its a hot and muddy mess, so going back was a very cool experience, not only for the memories but also for the conference. There were many missionaries that i did not know, so getting to know some of them was great, and we had alot of trainings given that were very edifying, we were able to share some words (i had a good time remembering my time with dengue) and overall it was great. 

Upon returning to Iquitos on Thursday, we jumped right back into action and helped president with transfers (always a good time) and we went to the small city of Nauta again. There have been missionaries with some seriously problems were there and theyre making it really hard for the work to get going... the trip was fun and edifying.

This Christmas season has really made everything change around here, theres a huge amount of beer consumption, families get together, and us as missionaries love teaching at this time of year because its so much easier to teach about the Savior! Almost anything will take a sec to listen to us give a quick message about what the savior did for us, and i am so grateful for the opportunity i have to be here at this time. There really is nothing else like being on the Lords errand, and i wouldn't rather be in any other place. I hope you all have a great week, especially with Christmas quickly approaching. Love you all! -Elder Grover

p.s. PICTURES: map of the mission (blue dots are where we do the conferences) ,giant santa in pucallpa, the Elders of pucallpa (most of them), Elders from my group with President Li, and finally the ties ive gotten in my packages!
  • -Quick shout out to My uncles Ryan, Kenton, and Josh, Grandma and grandpa Grover, Brother Oreilly and Brother Lay. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT!!!

12/10/17 All in all, its been a crazy week, and I've loved every minute! The mission is the best, changes lives, and even saves lives (like mine). I love the work, and I hope that we can all share the Christmas spirit and help others feel the light of Christ. Have a great week!

Finally we had the Christmas Conference, and that was a blast to listen to hymns, carols and watch the missionaries act out scripture stories (I got to take part in one!). We ate good food, cake hot chocolate and watched a slideshow of pics from the entire mission! The Christmas spirit was strong!

We also had the opportunity to travel to another part of Perú where the church hasn't gotten to yet, its called Juanjui, and there are already some members that live there, and it was one of the most incredible experiences ever. The people who live in that area have a very basic knowledge of the gospel, mostly based on catholic principles, and it was amazing to teach some families who were so interested in our message of the restoration. An area that is so untouched is honestly a gold mine, and whoever opens that area is going to be BLESSED. No idea when we are going to do it, but i hope soon! There were some other experiences that were also really special, visiting a less active who broke down because she was so grateful for our visit, Other investigators who were begging for return visits, and another member who had about 5 friends who wanted to listen. It was a very edifying visit.

I have got to say that this week has been one of the most special of my mission, what an opportunity it was to travel to Tarapoto and have the conference there with the missionaries form Tarapoto, Yurimaguas, and Moyobamba. It was also one of the most busy times of my mission haha, traveling and doing stuff with president is seriously a blast. It also really made me appreciate how much work goes into all the little things, like how all the conferences and stuff are organized (we do it all!) and it has really made me think how do big conferences work, there's so much background work that goes on and it has boggled my mind! Sop yeah, really what we do is small scale stuff but its still been pretty dang busy! 
fotos- 3 form juanjui (river and ice-cream shop) and the last from the conference.

Wow! Has this week been busy! safe to say one of the craziest of my mission, and I am so tired haha. Definitely been a fun time but at the same time its been really tiring... maybe a taste of the real world? probably haha. So everyone's probably wondering, what happened? Well now, where do I begin...

This week there were transfers, so the assistants have a huge part in doing all of that and we have to send people home and pick up the new guys (one of the attached pics) and that's always a blast, kinda interesting to see the difference in potential and interest that they all have, most of them are pretty good, but there's always a few that are kinda disinterested, we gotta help them out a bit... We always get to eat lunch with them and then we give trainings and the missionary "starter pack" (a folder full of information). 

On top of transfers, there was the Leadership council here in Iquitos, where all of the zone leaders and some sister leaders come here to give a report and to work out the problems that were having (biggest ones being laziness and discouragement) which is really dumb because those are problems that they themselves cause when they don't do what they're supposed to do. It was crazy, and there was also a problem with missionaries who don't trust President Li. We had a lot of straitening out to do, especially when you have to direct everything... Its a mess. Brings me back to conference and what elder Eyring spoke about, sustaining and respecting your leaders. The root of the problem really is just pride and the missionaries being immature and not being able to lose themselves in the work... Man we got a lot to do. 

Anyways, to top it all off, our mission trip is around the corner, and next week, we will be going to Tarapoto to visit the missionaries there... a lot to do! I'm going to be spending my P-Day getting ready for that and working! Hope you all have a great week! Chao

-Elder Grover

Mosiah 18:19-20 (my calling)

pics: new guys, leadership council, thanksgiving day (we ate turkey!!!), and what all Peruvians think about white people

11/25/17 So this week has been frantic haha, all the missionaries of Iquitos has had interviews with the President and we had to be there to help with his schedule and revising the area books of the companionship! ON top of that, my now companion got here!!! His name is Elder Jacobs, from Idaho and he's TALL, not taller than me but my first tall companion! I'm super excited to start working with him to help make the mission better, but its also sad to see Elder Culquicondor leave, he's finishing up his mission on Monday haha, so its been kinda weird seeing that happen (the whole ending process) and i am very grateful to have been able to learn a ton from him. He's been a huge help for me and in helping me develop my own abilities as a leader and as a problem solver. Its been a blast and I'm really grateful for the time that we've been able to spend together.

President Li recently traveled to Colombia for a Conference and he came back with some interesting news! The mission offices is going to be changing a lot, there will be 2 secretaries less, so my comp and I will have to learn more responsibilities to keep the mission running smoothly. But that's not all, apparently there's a lot of changes that are happening with the way we work, with technology and other means, so we should be seeing improvements in those regards... Ultimately there's a lot more that were going to do, and I cant wait to be a part of it!

All in all, the mission just keeps on getting crazier! To be a part of it is a privilege and a blessing. I know that I cant waste this time, and I need to use every minute to do something more! I Hope you all Have a great week, Scripture of the week is Mosiah 16:9-10. Christ is the light and life of the world, and only through him is our redemption possible. Love you all!

-Elder Grover

pics: Zone conference of Iquitos, The 3 Assistants, and the Offices with President Li!


11/18/17 Well this week has been very productive in regards to working in our area. I'm really learning a lot in the area of Castañas, and I am always grateful for the opportunities that I have to help and serve others. We did a lot of exchanges this week and so I wasn't with my companion very much but i was able to work with a lot of other elders in the mission and see how they were, how they were working and how they can improve. More than anything I always love learning from the others, its very interesting looking at the diversity there is in all of Gods children, how every one has their own strengths and weaknesses. I know that I am no different in that aspect, and I need the help of my Savior just like everyone else... Just like how Moroni explains it in Ether 12:27.

My companion and I have really been pondering what we can do in order to help the mission in a productive way that still allows for the missionaries to use their agency. from what I've heard, the mission Peru Iquitos is a very strict mission, and there's a ton of rules that people get worked up over. Even though we have these rules to protect us from the harm of sin, sometimes it makes me wonder if it really helps in the conversion of the missionaries. I like to relate it to the law of mises, where the people were really stubborn and wicked, so they had a list of strict rules set to help them remember the Lord their God always, and even then the people fell in transgression and sin. when Christ came, he taught the higher law, the Gospel, based on repentance, made possible by the Atonement. And with the higher law set in place, it made room for the miracle of repentance, mercy and forgiveness. Makes me wonder which way works, because both were a part of Gods plan, and both have their purposes...Well, I only know that we live on this world thanks to Christ and what he did for us, And that we have a debt that we cannot and will not be able to pay. I love you all, and I hope you have a great week.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It's not what we do, it's what we become!

10/22/17 So this week has been unbelievably busy... luckily it was not overwhelming and we were able to complete all the tasks necessary to keep the mission running smoothly. I had the opportunity to welcome the new group of missionaries that arrived this transfer, travel to a small town called Nauta to help some Elders who were having difficulties with their house, and travel with the Mission President to meet with the Branch President of Nauta for a lunch-meeting. Its been pretty nuts, so that's why I'm writing today instead of Saturday like I said I would be... we were traveling yesterday and ultimately we lost P-Day haha. But its alright, there's always the next week!

I have been learning a lot about leadership and having more responsibility, and I think one of the most interesting thing that I've experienced is what its like to be your own boss. Up til now there's always been someone that is "in charge" so this is the first time that I don't have another missionary who´s in charge. Its just the President! how crazy is that! Its a huge responsibility to have and it requires a lot of self control and discipline. It keeps on humbling me to know that the Lord trusts me to be a leader here, and I know that he doesn't make mistakes in his choices, but it was still quite a surprise. 

to sum everything up, its been crazy haha, and never have I ever been more humbled for the responsibilities that the Lord has given me. I know it will not be easy, but oh will it be worth it! Quick scripture, Deuteronomy 4:31. Lovin it! -Elder Grover

AAAAND here we are again, trying to remember what actually happened this past week, which is actually really hard to do when it all fly's by in a blur. Well this week, my assignment and duties took the majority of my time, so I was not able to proselyte as much as I would have liked to... which in other words means: we got nothing done in the area. BUT THATS OK, cause were gonna hit it super hard this next week! 

My favorite part of this week has by far been the time we have spent with other missionaries, giving training and council. Sometimes it gets really frustrating when they simply don't do what they're supposed too, even when they know what it is and why. But the greatest help that I've received is living with charity, and a love for all of Gods children. It helps us view people differently, not who they are but rather what they can become. The greatest part about developing this attribute is that it doesn't only help with missionaries but with investigators too, especially when they have trouble progressing. It makes the difference for us and for them. The scriptures are always a great help in this aspect too, the basics being Moroni 7 and Corinthians 13 (with a hint in 2 Nephi 26) and wrapping it up with DC 121 36-44. Out of all the attributes of Christ, this is by far one of the most important to develop. Even President Monson gave a talk about it! We should all make a greater effort to love one another, as Jesus has loved us. (John 15:12)

I know this is the work of the Lord, and that my calling is divine. Christ died for us that we may have joy, and if we trust him we will find the joy we seek. I pray that we may always seek his guidance in our lives, and that we may find it according to our faith. Have a great week! -Elder Grover

FOTOS: lunch with the PRESIDENT LI HIMSELF, (it was reeeaaally good!)
homemade fajitas! and Me, my companion and the former Assistant to the President.

As you have read, this week has been ridiculously fast (the fastest of my mission), and I have no idea how I ended up back here writing... So yeah, things are kinda a blur but its alright, cause I think that just means that I'm working haha. However, there is one thing that never changes. Every week I learn something new... and the cycle continues every day. Its a good time.

Life down here is pretty swell, the mission is as interesting as always and we just keep on rollin. My  new goal that i started this week is to start from 0, like it were my first weeks in the mission. I'm gong to re-read the BOM, Preach my Gospel, the white bible and the bible, all over again, and I'm gonna mark the snot out of it! I'm actually really excited because after reading it so many times you begin to feel like you know the majority of it, but giving yourself a fresh start helps refresh you knowledge and helps you receive additional personal revelation. 

All in all I'm doing well, I'm always super busy so its hard to think about anything else (but that's the idea!) I hope all is well wherever you are and that your all reading the BOM! it helps so much, all you have t do is open the book and your heart! Love you all! CHAO
-Elder Grover

quick pics, one from the last change, doing service at a fish farm and a #superdopeselfie with the president and sister Li in the mission house.

11/11/17 well its been a week of wonders for sure. To be honest, not a ton has happened other than the usual stuff we do in the offices and the work in the field. Ever day is a battle of time management haha, sometimes its really hard to get everything done right when it needs to be. I feel like its giving me a taste of the real world... a lot to do with too little time. ah well haha, its all good, still happy and workin hard!

Recently while trying to find time to get my personal studies in, I was meditating on the subject of conversion, and how its a loooooong process and not just something that you can rush and get it over with. While studying the topic I came across a talk by Dallin H Oaks that's called-The Challenge of Becoming. That talk has changed the way I've looked at the mission, life and has made me reflect on how converted I've really become. It was especially interesting to read the story of Peter, and how his process of conversion is a lot longer than one may think.

Peter was called to the ministry while fishing and from there he had a series of experiences that helped him experience a deep conversion, but every time that he thought he was truly converted he fell (denied Christ, cut off some guys ear), even going back to the same boats that he started with. Took him a bit to get it together, but when he did he was one of the most influential people of the time, and a truly faithful disciple. Like Peter, I have had similar experiences where I feel that way, feeling totally faithful and boom, something throws you through a loop and you're back at square one. Well, after completing my year I sure felt that way, like I had "made it" but really I lacked so much more. Now I realize that its not what we do, rather what we become, and that's the goal to be like Christ, like it explains in the end of Moroni 7:48. If we continue making an effort, we will eventually get there, with faith and patience, and above all, Charity. I love you all and I hope you have a great week! -Elder Grover

11/18/17 Well this week has been very productive in regards to working in our area. I'm really learning a lot in the area of Castañas, and I am always grateful for the opportunities that i have to help and serve others. We did a lot of exchanges this week and so I wasn't with my companion very much but I was able to work with a lot of other elders in the mission and see how they were, how they were working and how they can improve. More than anything I always love learning from the others, its very interesting looking at the diversity there is in all of Gods children, how every one has their own strengths and weaknesses. I know that I am no different in that aspect, and I need the help of my Savior just like everyone else... Just like how Moroni explains it in Ether 12:27.

My companion and I have really been pondering what we can do in order to help the mission in a productive way that still allows for the missionaries to use their agency. from what I've heard, the mission Peru Iquitos is a very strict mission, and there's a ton of rules that people get worked up over. Even though we have these rules to protect us from the harm of sin, sometimes it makes me wonder if it really helps in the conversion of the missionaries. I like to relate it to the law of mises, where the people were really stubborn and wicked, so they had a list of strict rules set to help them remember the Lord their God always, and even then the people fell in transgression and sin. when Christ came, he taught the higher law, the Gospel, based on repentance, made possible by the Atonement. And with the higher law set in place, it made room for the miracle of repentance, mercy and forgiveness. Makes me wonder which way works, because both were a part of Gods plan, and both have their purposes...Well, I only know that we live on this world thanks to Christ and what he did for us, And that we have a debt that we cannot and will not be able to pay. I love you all, and I hope you have a great week!

enjoy the pic of jaguar skin! were gonna make ties :)