Saturday, September 24, 2016
Chad and President Madsen share the same birthday, so we bought a BYU shirt for Chad to give to President Madsen on his birthday! President Madsen is a big BYU fan!
This week was a crazy week with all of the changes and recieving new missionaries here. The last weekend we were hurrying to organize everything with changes and get everything ready for the new missionaries to come on Monday. On Monday they got here around 8 and we were with them all day training them about the mission and everything that they needed to know. That is one of the best parts is being able to see all the new missionaries come in and get to know them and see why they are there, and then it is also really weird to think that not that long ago I was in their same position. But the new missionaries that came are awesome and it was fun to see their excitement to be here. Throughout the week we had little time to be able to go to our area and work just with all of the meetings that we had. There were more training meetings for the new trainers, and council meetings with the zone leaders yesterday. They were really uplifting and gave my companion and I a spiritual boost that we needed. We are fighting with everything we have to make sure that we set the example for the mission the way that we are working in our area. The thing that President Madsen stressed the most in these meetings that we had was the faith to exemplify our purpose as missionaries. He reiterated that our purpose is inviting others to come unto Christ through invitations to baptism and repentance. He said that each investegator that we have should have a date to be baptized and that they should know what our purpose is to be there. It was a huge wake up call for us and we knew that President Madsen has the keys and authority to recieve revelation of how we can have the most success. We started out our 3 days of work by going by and teaching Gil and his cousin Daniel again. We were a little dissapointed because they didnt go to church last week. We taught them about Joseph Smith and the Restauration and afterwards testified as strong as we could to put a baptism date with the two of them. They both accepted and realized that it was the thing that they NEEDED to do. It was an awesome lesson that we had with them and we felt like we had done all that we could do. We continued in this pattern as we worked with Eva and her family this week. It was a harder week with them because Eva expressed a lot of concerns and doubts, at times nearly coming to the point that she wanted to tell us that she didnt want to hear us anymore. One of the greatest miracles that happened was on Sunday we stopped by their house to invite them to church. When we got there Eva wasnt ready but her two oldest kids were. They came with us and after sacrament meeting we turned around and there was Eva and her other daughter. It was one of the greatest sights to see and then also to see all the members get up and make a beeline to meet her. It was a testimony to me that she really is a prepared person of the Lord that has been prepared for us to teach, serve, and help. After Sunday we had a hard time finding her. Yesterday we went by her house and found her ready to hear us. She asked us to pray to help her faith and we taught her about Joseph Smith. I dont remember what was said in that lesson. We took a member with us named Miguel and together the three of us testified of everything we know to be true. I had never felt more full of the spirit in any lesson that I have ever taught here in the mission, and talking to my companion afterwards he said he felt the same. We promised her everything that has need of, that we know God will give her to act and be baptized. And afterwards, she was doubtful once again. We had done everything possible, the Spirit was present, yet we couldnt seem to progress with her. Afterwards the spirit touched my heart to remind me of something that I had learned in the MTC, a teaching from Elder Bednar, and something that we saw with Eva at first. It is this from one of my favorite hymns Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, For I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,… Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand. … When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design … Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine “The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.” When we first found her we didnt make any progress, we did all that we could until Heavenly Father put the way for us to make a first step in her life. Once again, she is at that point, and we know that Heavenly Father will put another way forth that we can have the blessing of making an influence on her once again. It is a test of patience and faith, but the greatest tests of patience and faith bring forth the greatest miracles, it is something that I have seen and I know to be true. I know that Heavenly Father will make the way possible for Eva and her family to be baptized someday, and thanks to the enabling power of Jesus Christ, all that we can do is do all that we can, and have faith in the Lord to work miracles in the lives of these people. It has been an amazing journey these past few weeks, they havent been the easiest, but they have been the weeks of the most miracles in my life. I know that the Lord is working wonders among us.
Sister Madsen made Chad and President Madsen enchiladas (Chad's favorite!) and a chocolate hazelnut cake.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
This is my companion and I along with Elder Moreno doing a service that we found. We had a lady that had rejected us a few times but when all of our lessons fell through we felt like we needed to go talk to her. When we got there we asked her if there was anything we could do because we felt like we needed to be there to do something. She said that she is a single mom and she is paying people to build an extra bedroom onto her house for her daughter, but that there is a big pile of gravel there that needed moved by the next day and she didnt have enough money to pay the workers. Well we moved the pile of gravel, and lets just say I'm not in "Farm Shape" anymore!! It hurt the next day but it was so worth it to be an answer to someones prayer.
Wow this week was so awesome to be able to see just all of the blessings of the gospel in this work. To start off with, Eloy was baptized last Saturday right after I wrote my last letter. He was so ready to be baptized and ready to start his new life that he had lost after all of the trials that he went through. Honestly it was a miracle to see him baptized and see the humble way that he went about being who he was afterwards yet at a sense of peace and happiness that came from this long process that he has gone through. He had gotten into a drinking habit a few years ago, and he lost everything, including his house, family, and work. He found a friend who is a member who offered him a room to stay in and live in and he gave the reference to us. Anyways it was a long struggle but he learned the true principle of repentance and the ability to turn towards the Savior and away from the things of the world. It was so humbling to see the way that he was willing to be a part of the Church and follow the Savior. We have come to have a great love for him and his willingness to learn and change his life. The other amazing thing that happened this week was that we were able to see another amazing change in the life of a Sister in the ward here. Her name is Adelina, and we found her and her neighbors contacting doors. We started teaching them and we all thought that they were investegators. After the 4th lesson Adelina decided to tell us that she is a member that was baptized about 25 years ago. She had some bad experiences with the ward and told her neighbor that she was never going back. That is when we showed up. (Adelina is actually the neighbor of our investegator Gil who we have been teaching together during this time). At first Gil was the one that seemed like he was the most interested but we have had a hard time helping him get to church. We continued trying to testify of repentance to them and asked them to please come to church with us. We told them that we would stop by this last Sunday and we did. But when we got there Gil didnt want to come to church, Adelina was ready to go and we went walking to church in the rain and the mud. When church got over Adelina came out with a smile on her face and said that she was going to give us lunch for the next week, and that she was going to go talk to the bishop. We were so excited that the spirit had wroght such a mighty change of heart within her. When we stopped by this last Wednesday, Gil asked us if we noticed anything different about Adelina because he said that he could see a light in her eyes and a pure smile that he had never noticed before. That is when Adelina told us what had been happening. She said that for the last 3 months she had been battling severe depression and that she had completely stopped eating. She would get home from work and go straight to her room and not come out until the next day for work again, and that she had never felt anything worse in her life, that life didnt matter to her anymore. She said that after she left church she still felt this same sadness and wondered why she wasnt recieving those blessings that we had promised her. She continued on with her life until Wednesday is when she woke up and she said that she felt the spirit of the Lord upon her and that she had been forgiven of everything that had happened in those past few months. It is something that I realized as we were able to continue to find so many more people that were willing to hear us this week, all looking for happiness. And the happiness in Gods plan is the happiness that we can recieve as we are able to repent of our sins each and every day. That the pain of our sins is nothing in comparison to the happiness and peace that comes from being willing to humble ourselves and realize the power of the Atonement in our lives. On Wednesday we were able to share the epitomy of this principle with Adelina and Gil, that comes in Alma 38 8 And it came to pass that I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins. But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul. 9 And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness. This is what Adelina experienced. And as we continued to go by this house and see the sadness and literal dispair that they are going through, for the first time in 2 months we heard her testify of this promise of peace unto our souls. We heard Gil and his mom Victoria tell us that they hadnt sold anything for the past 3 days and that they didnt know what they were going to do for food. I felt moved upon by the spirit to promise them that if they went to church this week, they wouldnt have a shortage of food or money. They doubted it, until Adelina told them that this is true and it is what they needed. The spirit testified through the peace and joy that Adelina had recieved this week to help others begin this process of peace to them. To see this family was one of the greatest blessings that I have seen in my mission, only because the greatest miracle here was that they could repent and open their hearts to the spirit to bear witness to them of the love that our Heavenly Father has for each of his children.
Good Afternoon Everyone! This week was a week that was truly a trial of our faith for us, but the promise of the Lord is that through those trials we recieve miracles in our lives. We finally had the chance to work a full week in our area this week. It was finally a chance to get to know the members, the area and everything else. The problem that happened is that when we got back we couldnt find any of our investegators except Eloy and Gil. We spent all day Monday trying to look for all of these people who Elder Madera and Elder Valenzuela had taught and we couldnt find any of them. It was so frustrating for us to have so many people lie to us about being home, or just not open the door for us. On Monday night we got home mad and with a little bit of discouragement in our minds. We knew that we would have to go about it the hard way and have to completely find a whole new pool of investigators to teach. We went to work on Tuesday spending hours and hours trying to contact and knock on doors. And for 4 hours we didnt have one person accept us. Then we tried going and visiting the members to try to get references from them, and that day was the Ward Temple Day. We literally couldnt find anyone and we spent the whole entire day contacting, we didnt know what we were supposed to do and we wondered if we were even doing the right thing. On Wendsday we had our Zone Conference with President Madsen training us. My companion and I went in there truly with broken hearts and contrite spirits for the lack of success that we had experiences in the past few days. We were willing to accept and learn anything that President was going to teach us. When President got up he said "I know that you guys are all representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ and that you are the hands of the 12 apostles who are here on the Earth today. For that I am going to leave Elder Andersen to train you from a training that he did in June" This was so inspired by President Madsen and by Elder Andersen, we were taught in how we could increase our faith to baptize. He taught about miracles and that this is a work of miracles if we had the faith to believe in them. He taught that the Lord would bring us up after all that we had been able to do, through our obedience and faith in the work. Something that really stuck out to me was this quote that he left us with, “Miracles do change lives. I have experienced these miracles myself, and I have witnessed them hundreds of times in the lives of obedient missionaries, their spirits burning with faith in Christ. Let us always protect this precious flame of faith.” Our Faith was strengthened so much in this training, that we could set an inspired goal with the sole vision to help them become converted through their repentance and be baptized. We knew that miracles could occur with us to because it can happen with anyone who is a son or daughter of God. The next day we still didnt have any plans for appointments and we knew that it would be our chance to do all that we could. I contacted the most that day than I have in all my mission, we didnt teach the most but we planted the same seeds of faith in the hearts of all that we talked to. We were able to make other appointments and have a hope for a brighter future in our area. On Friday we got to go back for a lot of these lessons that we had scheduled and each experience that we had was one that was filled with the spirit and a desire to change from each person that we taught. The first lesson of the day that we had was with a teenage boy. We had contacted him the day before and he told us to come back the next day. When we went back he sent his little brother out to tell us no. And then all of a sudden he came walking out and told us to come in. We asked to start with a prayer and asked him if there was anything he wanted us to ask for. He expressed to us that he was living alone at 16 years old. That he had to support his little brother and pay the rent and all the bills. He said that he had become so stressed that he got into a drug addiction and that we were the only people that knew. He said he wanted to change and he knew that God was the only person that could help him. Our lesson with him was guided by the spirit and in the end he accepted to be baptized and asked when was the soonest possible that he could. We taught more lessons that day than we had for the rest of the week, and each one we were able to find a reason and a desire that they wished to change. Our experience these past 3 days is like the experience of Alma that he had in his missionary work, in Alma 26:12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boastof my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. The Lord helped us with our faith, because the only way to learn the greatest lessons in life are through the trials of faith that we are so blessed to have, because each trial that we have is a miracle that we are preparing to recieve. This afternoon we will be so blessed to have the baptism of Eloy, who has prepared so humbly for this opportunity. Ill be sending pictures next week in my email.