Monday, February 25, 2013
Feb. 25, 2013
|Garden gnomes hanging out in the snow|
This week was CRazzy. As in, we found out a lot of changes that are going to happen.
It all started with a fun night, Thursday, down at the mission office with the Church Service Missionaries, or the senior couples that work in our area. This was a meeting for Spanish elders only, and how they could more effectively use the "daily dose" English program. (The way in which the CSM missionary couples teach English, called Daily Dose, opens up another route to share the gospel). After the meeting, our CSM missionaries, Elder and Sister Bair took us out to Kneaders, a really fancy dessert place, where we got fruit smoothies. It's a personal triumph to choose the "healthiest" thing in a room full of cake and pastries.
|Elder & Sis. Clayton (First Quorum of the Seventies) and Pres. & Sis. Miller|
|Baptism of Juan Alejandre (with E. Smith)|
We were all very sad to hear of Pres. Miller's replacement, but then we realize we still have a good four months with him, so we'll make that time count! To make it count, we had another baptism last night of Juan Alejandre. He's a very accepting person, and with the recent passing of his father, he was ready to be baptized. We still have a lot of work to do with him though. Elder Clayton told us to not only look for people to baptize, but also for real growth in the Kingdom of God. This means, don't add people to the Bishop's welfare load, find people who can be leaders and take the church further. It's very hard to find people similar to that, because it seems anyone with that knowledge has too much pride to sacrifice their current habits for God. We're working with one Ramiero Rivera who has potential to be a leader in the church; however his SUPER Catholic mother-in-law who lives with him is preventing any real progress in him.
This week I didn't need to go on any exchanges, which was a nice rest being able to stay in my own area the whole week. The onslaught starts tonight with another exchange. (Exchange is a 24 hour switch of companions so that you can teach/learn from other people, called "diversions" in the South American missions).
|Dogs hanging out in the sun|
|Dogs hanging out on the roof|
Its fun to hear about the changes in people's lives, my mother updated me with her "monthly facebook stalking update." Most of everything was "so and so is going on a mission" times 10. I'm excited for Ben to go to an Asia mission, Spanish is great, but let’s get some other languages in the mix.
I've included some pictures of the seasonal changes here in Utah. There are some quite interesting things to see as you explore every inch of a .75 square mile area, while having a car. I feel as though I live in everyone's backyard, because that’s where we go to find the Hispanics living in the basements. What I’ve found is that everyone has an awfully old house on the outside, and a very modern, nice looking house on the inside (for the most part). Everyone, though, is in debt for their shiny new cars. One night we came outside from a lesson to a crowd gathered around our mission car and a Mazda RX-8 Sports car. My first thought was that they hit us (it was snowing outside) but they hit a curb and broke their axel in half and the car was just chillin' near ours. When the driver got out, a 20~ year old who you could tell spends too much on cigarettes and I just felt bad that he would be hurting financially because of the debt he got himself into. With that being said, I’ll buy a nice shiny car like that, when I’m 55 and I’ve sold my 4 companies.
Love you all!
Elder ToborgHope charity and love with an eye single to the glory of God qualify him for the work.
Here’s the latest from home and from stocking E. Daniel's FB page:Both Courtney and Rachelle Dotson are engaged.
Stephanie Hiltscher is “in a relationship” with Chandler Balkman (small world).
Hailey Bush is going to Japan Fufuoka on Jun 26Hayley Rozsa - OAKLAND/SAN FRANCISCO MISSION - June 5th
Lauren Mickelson is going to Brazil Florianopolis Mission on July 3
Jonathan Peckham has malaria (on his mission in Mozambique)- apparently he was warned he’d get one of two diseases and this was one.
Alex Johnson is in the MTC going to Chile Santiago.
Brianna Vail is going to Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission on July 17. (Interestingly, Jennifer Riding, new in our ward, is going to the same mission. Jennifer’s sister, Allison (who Dad wants you to meet ;) ) is going to Brazil Manaus about the same time that Christy Corbitt goes to Sao Paulo East.)
Monday, February 18, 2013
Feb 18, 2013
Family and Friends,
This week went by incredibly fast. The secret? : Work! Working hard for a righteous purpose, whether it be to provide for the family, or to bring people closer to Christ, will make your time fly by. Good thing we're promised Eternity if we keep it up! Our time here on Earth is incredibly important. We have but a few moments to change our eternal life to come. It's not worth it to stay in sin, for if something were to happen, you'd be miserable the rest of eternity.
Yajaira Luque (E. Smith)
We use "Key Indicators" or numbers to help push our goals to help people make these steps. These numbers are essential in helping us progress as missionaries, though it's easy to fall into a "do it for the numbers" mind set. There are souls behind each of those numbers. Our zone leaders told us to think every night; "have I helped someone today?" Regardless of your numbers, if that is a "no" then the day might as well be a 0. Let's do the same things in our lives by asking if we've helped someone today in any way. Let's follow the example of Jesus Christ by assisting people change their lives for the better.
I'm very grateful for the scriptures and the examples that they give us. Recently I just read the whole history of King David, how he started as a shepherd boy, and made his way up, through the giant Goliath, onwards to king. Throughout his life, he was persecuted by the previous king Saul; thus fulfilling the general line of those who follow the Lord will be persecuted. All it took, in the end, was for David's pride to get to him, for his power to overwhelm him, and for him to break the law of chastity once. Right after this incident, it says he tried to repent, but it was all downhill from there. Let us not make the same mistakes as other people have. One of my favorite quotes by Spencer W. Kimble goes along the lines of: "Those who make mistakes are fools, but those who make the same mistake that someone else already did is stupid."
This week we got to eat a lot of cake on Valentine’s Day. Hispanics love any chance to celebrate. We found ourselves trapped in the Luque home, facing another dinner and dessert at 9pm alongside the zone leaders who were with us, and our ward mission leader. We downed a whole cake and who knows how many chickens. I hope everyone had a tasty Valentine’s Day. Just remember, it's a holiday brought about to increase chocolate sales, so I hope you ate well!
I'm working hard with the district to change their attitudes toward this work; time is of essence, we don't have much time to change people's eternal outcomes. Speaking of time, I don't have more time on this computer, which means I’ll leave you all with my testimony.
I know this is the work of God himself, guided by his Son Jesus Christ, and a living day prophet, Thomas S. Monson. The gospel makes life better. Fact. Don't believe me? Try it out. Live it.
Take care, family and friends, love you all! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Family and Friends,
Another week has passed her in the great Salt Lake Valley. This week can best be described as a blur of teaching, changing, and running. The week began with an exchange with Elder Salmon, an elder in my district. He was excited to "see for the first time a different missionary work other than his trainer." His trainer, Elder Kulu, is from Oakland California, grew up in Gangs, has a bullet in his arm, likes to break every small rule there is, but testifies very boldly. We taught a lot of people, found three new investigators, and helped three people set a specific date to be baptized. We always find miracles when we're on exchanges! Elder Salmon said he learned a lot from our exchange, which always makes me glad.
The second exchange I did this week (called diversions in Elder Maughan's mission in Mexico) was with my other zone leader Elder Talentino. He came to my area, and we went hard, teaching and finding people. We taught 5 lessons that day, and we were BOLD, denouncing people's old habits and commanding them to repent. It was a great day. Being bold is perfect for some people, and very destructive for others. One man didn't want to pay attention, but we were bold and when he said the closing prayer, he prayed that we would come back again. Another couple, who after hearing the story of the restoration, said we needed to leave after we said once the phrase "other church's baptisms are without authority and don't count." People are very different, and we have to be careful to teach the person, not just a lesson. I learned some great lessons from the Zone Leader's this week that helped me grow as a person.
Right now we have six main investigators. The one getting baptized next week is Yajaira, a 10 year old whose parents didn't want her baptized before for some reason. Two of the others are Edgar and Alan, musicians who didn't come to church this week, but we're still working with them. Juan Alejandre is a very interesting character; every time we sit down for a lesson, he first tries to sell us some Herbalife, telling us the same things each time, and then tells us what he learned from the Book of Mormon, and then says "oh yeah what day am I getting baptized again?" He's a good example of how drugs mess you up when you get to age 50, but he's repenting and will be baptized on the 24th. The last two are a couple; a rare occurrence in the Hispanic community, an actually married couple. The husband came to church, and in the 3rd hour learned by himself that his Catholic baptism was wrong and he that he needed to choose to be baptized. His wife was sick and didn't attend, but I’m hoping the husband (Ramiero) will really commit himself.
Every morning, the district gets together to work out. We have a great time playing different games involving basketball. On p-days we play all sorts of sports together, soccer, speed ball (combo of soccer and basketball) and basketball. We're really uniting ourselves as a district, but I need to motivate some of my elders to get going on working diligently. Elder Swainston describes missionaries as "the best people at wasting time...people at work don't waste time, but somehow missionaries seek to waste time." It's true. Sad, but true when a missionary doesn't have their vision set on bringing their brothers and sisters back to our heavenly father. I'm guilty of this at the beginning of my mission, and how slow the days went. When you lose yourself in the work, suddenly a month has gone by.
I'm so happy to hear that Ben Black got his mission call to Thailand. He's going to excel there, in spirit and physical stature. Where's Preston going on his mission now?
I heard news that the Pope is "retiring" or stepping down from his position. Sounds like he got tired of his job as CEO of a Man's church and decided to relax.
God's church is led by revelation and Prophets. Always has, does today, and always will be.
Church is true, I checked.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Feb 4, 2013
Family and Friends,
Each week in the mission field is so similar, yet so different. The schedule you have is the same, the scriptures you read are the same, and the lessons you teach are the same. Yet each person has a different spirit, different need, and different desire and dedication to follow the Gospel. Same scriptures can be used in different ways to touch the hearts of many or few.
I got to go on a 24 hour exchange with one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Swainston. He's been out 21 months and has a perfect Columbian accent. I'm now striving to have a similar accent. We were just running around finding miracles. We found a total of 7 new investigators, some of which were given over to English elders, but we were just focused on baptism, and ran around helping people.
The second exchange I went on, was with Elder Lopez from my district. He's from El Salvador, and obviously speaks Spanish fluently. We ran around looking for miracles and found some, but not quite as many as with the Zone leaders. After I thought I had slightly failed in teaching him anything, he told me at the end of the day "Today I really learned how to work hard." This is all I wanted to teach him, and I was so glad I was able to teach him that. I'll be looking forward to more miracles, as I go on two, 24 hour exchanges each week, one with the zone leaders and the other with a member of Kearns District One. It's a great chance to learn from others, and evaluate yourself as a missionary.
Elder Lopez and I had an encounter with a very angry old man who, at first, accepted us, telling us his history with the church and how he always had the missionaries over to eat, and to talk with them about the Bible. Then as we invited him to just pray about the Book of Mormon, he began to spew straight blasphemy, and making claims that "since he had read the bible" he knew this this and that. As his heart got harder, all we did was sit a listen, until at one point he pointed at the Book of Mormon in my hand and said "that book is false." That is when we stood up and testified to him that the Book of Mormon is true, and that he needed to ask God with his heart, and not only with his head. After kicking us out of his house, and saying that we could never come back, we looked at each other and realized how much stronger our testimonies were because of this experience.
The new area that I cover is pretty small. We're able to drive from one side to the other in about two minutes. Other missionaries, who have been here, have knocked every single door. All I can hope for now is a change of heart, and not a hardened heart like the man I mentioned earlier. This area will be a challenge, but challenge accepted!
Elder Smith and I had an interesting experience with some drunk Hispanics blasting Norteña music, which sounds like mariachi music. They confessed to us while they were drunk that they don't respect any white person who doesn't speak Spanish, and that we were their best friends because we spoke their language. They went on ranting about how everyone in the United States should accept them and learn to speak Spanish and that it didn't matter that they weren't legal in the country. We can seem some obvious flaws in this logic, but at the same time we should learn to be more accepting of people who are trying to better their place in lives. When we look at the perspective that they too are children of God, things change a lot. Accepting God's laws instead of man's laws help you love everyone, even if they drink and are breaking federal laws.
I find it amusing also how, because I'm white, all the members ask me "here's some hot sauce, but don't put more than a little because it's really hot, you won't like it." I then proceed to amaze them by putting spoonful after spoonful of hot sauce on my food, only to discover it's not hot enough. I learned from some Ecuadorians that only people from Mexico use tortillas and hotter sauces. People from South America like to taste their food, and they use rice instead. They say "pretty soon food tastes like nothing once you keep dumping more and more hot sauce on it!" which is true, but I like my Hawt Sauwce.
Take care everyone, read the Book of Mormon again if you just finished it, or start the New Testament. Both testify of Christ and his role as our Savior