Monday, April 21, 2014

Salta, La Union - April 21, 2014

Hello Family!
Happy Easter yesterday!
I had my interview with President Levrino the other day. It was a fun opportunity to see how much I've grown over the past three months. We talked about some of the things from the last interview that were keeping me from having more success, and I've been able to improve all of them! I love the way that the gospel gives you opportunities to not only improve, but to see that improvement every once in a while. It's also very nice to receive advice from someone who knows a lot and receives revelation at regular intervals.
The district we have is awesome! Everyone has more than a year on the mission. Well... I think. This morning we experienced the third emergency transfer in the last two weeks. I think the new missionary also has more than a year...
We found a really cool girl named Tamara the other day! She was the sister of a referral we received. We left her with a pamphlet and when we went back, she'd read the whole thing and could remember it all! We couldn't spend much time teaching, because she was home alone, so we left a Book of Mormon with 3 Nephi 11. When we went back the next time, she'd read until 3 Nephi 14. And without having received a single lesson! It'll be fun to see what happens this week!
We lost our map on Wednesday. We were kinda living off of that. When we went to look for it, it must have fallen out or something. We went by a few book stores and police stations to try to find one. After trying four places in various different corners of the area, we ended up at one of the bigger police stations. They didn't have one, but they knew where one was, and just happened to be going over there. So we got a police escort to go find a map! That was fun. We contacted all the officers on the way.
We had an awesome family night the other day. The stake counselor in charge of the ward organized it. There was such much priesthood in that house! President Albornoz really has an awesome vision of what he wants to do with this ward. Good leadership is always a great thing.
Speaking of him, he gave an awesome talk the other day on hymns. He's known for being very direct in his talks and I never thought I would have heard someone call the ward to repentance on not using hymns correctly. It was such a fun thing to listen to! He talked about how it's scripture and how you should have your own copy. He talked about the importance of knowing lots of them, and not the same ones every time, and knowing the messages as well. They really do invite the spirit!
The stake presidency is frantically begging for an exception to the rules here so that we can have a bishop. I didn't know that in addition to being a full tithe payer and married, you had to be sealed to be a bishop. Among the other many requirements. While in Utah the men abound, here we're a little scarce. There are so many people that are so close with just a thing or two preventing them! Just goes to show how important it is to keep ALL the commandments and not just those you feel like keeping.
Our star investigator right now is Yesica. She's the girlfriend of a less active. The other day we taught the Law of Chastity and it was slightly uncomfortable. We brought a young married couple with us, so the lesson itself was really great! She just seemed a little... uncomfortable. The next time I was a little apprenhensive going back, but when we taught the Plan of Salvation she received it so well! She committed to be baptized, then went to watch the baptism the next day. She even got to church pretty dang early - baby and all! I love seeing when people progress like that!
My testimony has grown a lot. We talked to a guy that said that he had a lot of faith, but that he couldn't go to church because he had to go buy stuff in the flea market so that his kid had clothes for school on Monday. We promised him that if he put God in first place, the rest would work out. He said something along the lines of, "I believe in God, and I trust in him completely, but he's not gonna make the tennis shoes appear on Monday!" I just got to thinking how important it is to fully trust God, and keep all his commandments no matter the cost. If we do that, everything will work out.
We had a district fast for two people this weekend that were on the verge of baptism, but were having problems. You know what? Fasting works!
We talked to an active family the other day during lunch that have a less active son that came back from the mission a few years back. They talked about how they wanted so badly that he could come back to full activity, so we got to talking about family scripture study. It's something that's hard for even the best families. I think a lot of people don't realize that it's a commandment, something that God has asked us to do through his prophets, and one of the basic committments we have on our teaching record. I know it's hard, but the scriptures bring so much power into a home! It's much harder for kids to stray if they're reading the word of God daily with their parents and brothers and sisters.
There are just lots of great people in this area! I don't think I can mention all of them. But anyway, this past week I was thinking about something I could share in the newsletter, and five points of missionary work came to mind. I'm not sure I'll be able to share all of them in one letter due to time, but I'll try to do at least one a week.
Point number one: Pray. It's what the prophets and apostles are asking us to do (see Trust in the Lord by Elder Ballard and the talk from Elder Neilsen about the game plan from the October General Conference). They've promised us that if we ask in prayer every day for missionary opportunities, we'll have them. We have to have confidence that God will help us with the goal to bring at least one person to church every 60 days (see the talk from Elder Ballard from this conference and 1 Nephi 3:7). We should pray for the missionaries and their investigators by name. Something that I love that our mission president said was that too often, we try to complicate things. We make lists of people and try to select names, we talk about praying a certain number of times per day, and a bunch of other stuff like that, but all the prophets are asking us to do is pray, ask for an opportunity, and then go out every day and look for it. I love the simplicity of the gospel! I know it works. I've seen that formula work on a daily basis, and it's even better when I see it work for the members.
Anyway, I'll keep sending the other four. I hope you all have a good week! I know I will!

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