Monday, October 24, 2016

Safety for the Soul - October 22, 2016

Hello Everyone!! Well this week I was really influenced by a lot of testimonies that I heard about the Book of Mormon, and something that I have been really looking forward to sharing with you all this week. But first off Ill let you know how everything is going in Casa Blanca. Anyways so this week we continue to progress with Madai. It is pretty amazing the missionary work that she is doing and she isnt even baptized yet. A few weeks ago when we started talking to her I have said before that she invited her cousins and grandparents, and uncles, everyone that she knew!! Our work in this area has mostly been based on teaching her family just because her influence has been so strong with them. This week we found her great uncle named Gabino, he is 80 years old and lost everything that he had when he got sick a few months ago. He said he would do anything that was possible to take away his burden and pain that he has and we testified to him of the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement of Jesus Christ in that plan. In each lesson he has opened up to us and cried about how painful it is for him but we know that God still needs something from him here on the Earth. This week we also found Madai´s cousin named Josue, he went to church with her a few weeks ago but after that we could never find him. When we were in splits the other day my companion found him in the street and asked when we could talk to him, he set an appointment the next day and we taught him and he accepted baptism. Something really amazing from all of this though is 3 weeks ago we left a homework challenge in the youth Sunday school to share the gospel with their friends that they have in their contacts or on Facebook. We hadnt heard any results until Thursday when we had a family home evening with Eloy and invited some members and Madai´s family. Madai showed up alone and said that the rest of her family was busy that she wanted to be there. When she got there she said that she had done the homework and had invited 3 friends to listen to us and go to church with her, as well as her parents and her whole family. She was a little sad because a lot of them rejected her and said that they didnt have time or that they werent interested, but that she had never been happier before because she was happy that most of her family was listening to us now. It has been amazing to see the door that has opened up through her to her whole family that is now interested, and the influence that she is having in all of them. This morning we had a soccer tournament and Madai´s brother and cousin showed up to play in it. This is the work that we are doing here right now, is working with all the parts of Madai´s family just because she is so willing to share it and she knows that it is true. We are looking forward to her baptism in a few weeks. Some of the other progress that has been made, with Jose and Lulu, the couple that needs to get married, last week we were at church and Jose didnt show up. We asked Lulu where he was and she said that he was sick, but that he wouldnt take any pills because he was fasting and he wanted all his papers to get through faster. Fasting had seemed to be his biggest challenge but he did it and we know the miracles will come soon. Then there is Angel, he is 10 years old and is part of a less active family that is currently in the process of reactivation. This past week he took us around his apartment complex and showed us all of his friends and asked them if they wanted to hear us along with their families. He is pretty awesome and is always inviting all his little friends to listen and go to church. Then Pamari, she was the reference that had been going to church in a different ward for the past 6 months and she continues to progress and has invited her family to listen to us as well. She put her own baptism date and we are just making sure that she knows everything. Now, what is amazing in all of these is the willingness to share the gospel, and they arent even baptized. When we went and helped Hermana Angela cut her tree down the other day she said that the Book of Mormon bore witness that this was all true, and we worked hard this week to make sure that our investigators read the Book of Mormon and then asked if it was true. The ones that I mentioned above have done it and I have seen the change in their hearts. Madai for example, I know I have said her story before, but my companion and Elder Madera had dropped her before, then she found a Book of Mormon in a bookstore looking one day for something that could help her and felt prompted to buy it. She read it and had a change of heart and began to share it with everyone. Angel, read it with his Mom and had a desire to share the gospel as well. I know that it is a book inspired of God, I know that it is revelation for our day and for each one of us. I know that this world that we live in is a world that is filled with doubt and hopelessness, especially what is happening now with the Presidential Election, Wars, Lying, Stealing etc. The Book of Mormon, I know without a doubt, is our protection that we have if we read it and study it as families and individually. It is our direct conduit towards heaven to receive divine protection and guidance in all things. And I challenge you, I beg you all to read this book. It is true. I know it and just as Elder Holland said, I want it to be clear when I stand before God that I testified of this book as well. Just something I would like everyone to see and read is the video and talk that I am attaching to this email, if you have trouble or difficulty reading the Book of Mormon, please take the time to see or read what I have attached. It will help you and bless you. I know that this work is a divine work that I am so blessed to be a part of.
Picture at Hermana Angela´s House this week.

Monday, October 17, 2016

One More Story - October 15, 2016

This week we had a Sister in our ward that had a huge branch on her tree that was about to fall on her outhouse, so she asked us if we could come cut it down for her, when we got there it was out of the reach of everyone else but me, and she just gave me a dull machete. It took me 2 hours to get it down and my arms were killing me but we eventually got it.

Onward in the Work - October 15, 2016

Buenas Tardes! Okay so this week was a busy week for us doing divisions with a lot of the zone leaders and having to go to all of the zone conferences. The fun part about part of that though is this week I had the chance to go back to Nochixtlan and it was fun to see part of where I was for the change that I was there. We also got to go to 2 other zone conferences and it was a great opportunity to be able to learn in different ways the way that we need to do the work in this time. Really the theme for this week that has kept coming back to my mind is just doing the work with no fear. A lot of times we get scared to invite others to be baptized, or invite others to go to church or an activity because we are afraid of what they will think of us. But in each conference that we could go to the spirit kept saying to us that we shouldnt have any fear to do any of the things that we are sent here to do. It has reminded me of my favorite scripture this whole week, in 2nd Timothy 1:7: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. We were really able to apply this this week with all of the blessings that the Lord has given us to teach. He has put so many opportunities into our hands and sometimes we dont have the faith to have the courage to continue on in what we need to do for him. Yesterday I was in splits with Elder Weaver from Roy Utah, and we had to go out and look for new people to try and teach. And for the first time in my mission, in each lesson we were able to invite someone to be baptized, no matter how strict or how closed off they were to us. We invited them to be baptized on a certain date too to test their faith. It was really a step outside the comfort zone but President Madsen has taught us that if the investigators dont know we are there to baptize them then we have no reason to teach them. It was really a test of faith but the joy that we felt afterwards was worth it. Sadly this week we recieved some bad news, Eva told us that her Mom was getting really mad at her and her kids for going to church with us and listening to us. It was really hard to hear that after all of the miracles that we had seen with her. She told us that she wanted us to keep sending her messages to help her to progress because we couldnt come by her house anymore. Yesterday in splits my companion found her daughter in the street and her daughter said that she wanted us to come by their house again. My companion asked her if they had prayed to know if this message was true and they said that they hadnt, but that they were going to do it and let us know when they did so that we could come by again. It is something so simple but it is the only way we can recieve the greatest blessings in our life, by coming to know of the truthfulness of the gospel through our communication with Heavenly Father. This week we have been able to see all the progress that Maddie is making with her family. She continues to invite everyone in her family to come to church with her. On Thursday we had the chance to go and teach her cousin Gaby for the first time. When we asked Gaby why she wanted to be taught she said that she had seen the change in Maddie and wanted to have that same change in her life, she accepted to be baptized immediately and we will start working with her to help her come to a knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel. The two of them have been going to all of the Young Womens activities and are always asking what more there is to do in the church, truly this story is a miracle to see the way that the Lord truly cares about each of his children and how he puts the way forth for each of them to recieve the eternal blessings of the gospel. These past few weeks I have become an expert in Mexican Law and Politics. We have a couple in the ward that isnt married, Jose and Lulu, and they have been waiting 3 years for the chance to get married. Last week I started doing some research to see if there were any judges in Oaxaca that were members and we were able to find 1! We called him and he said that he was willing to help us in whatever we needed to be able to help them get married and be baptized. The only thing that we are waiting for now is for the papers to go through so that they can get married. We know the only way that they are going to go through faster is through more fervent prayer and fasting. Hopefully it can pass this week. These are all the experiences that we are having, it is a test and blessing of faith to see all of these miracles that we are experiencing. This work is true and I have no doubt about it.
The famous Oaxacan Chapulines (Crickets) and yes I ate it, the sensation of little legs in your throat is not the greatest
Pizza night for Splits

The Blessings of the True Church - October 8, 2016

Hey Everyone!!! Well Conference was awesome, it was just another reaffirmation that God really is still taking care of us and that he continues to speak directly to his Prophets today. Their messages brought peace and comfort to all who listened. Although the problems and challenges continue to increase in this world and as Satan continues to torment the children of God, the comforting fact that I know is true is that there is a man called and chosen by God on this earth today that had spoken with him to know what was needed to say so that we can continue to receive this protection, and I know that all of those who follow his guidance and put it into practice will receive the protection and divine comfort in their lives, no matter what happens in this world because that council came from our loving Heavenly Father. It has been an amazing week for us. Something that has really been brought out to us from a few meetings that we have had is the joy that comes through the gospel. The talk by President Nelson in the conference was an affirmation of this topic. What was even greater was the way that Heavenly Father put his path forward for our investigators to hear these divine messages. We were worried last week because we had not had the chance to teach any of our investigators, and we knew that they had to go to conference to recieve their answer. On Sunday we stopped by their houses and we had 8 people come to church, Eva and her family and a girl named Maddie with her family. It was so amazing and afterwards Maddie asked us where she could read the talks again because they impacted her so much. I could see the change that was wrought in the hearts of those that were able to listen to the words of the Prophet, and the spirit was so strong with these people afterwards and in this past week that we have been able to teach them. One thing that really helped us as well was all of the talks about the member missionary work. I know that the Lord really is hastening his work, and it is and always has been a work not just of 80,000 missionaries, but of 15 Million missionaries. I challenge you all to pray for opportunity to share the gospel with someone this week. And remember, something that President Madsen has always told us is that we should always share the gospel, and if it is necessary use words. I know that your own confirmation of these things will be reaffirmed as you try to share the gospel with those who need it. The gospel is a necessity for all and there are many who dont know where to look or where it can be found. Anyways for this week, it was our first completely normal week that we have had in the past 3 months where we havent had to worry about meetings or splits or anything. It was nice to just be able to go out and focus so much on the people. We are continuing trying to work with Eva and her family, they have had a lot of fear thinking about being baptized. It has once again shown us that we need to do all we can and the Lord will do the rest for us. And literally we have done all that we can. We left her with a Book of Mormon this week and committed her to read it. In my studies this week it has been amazing to see the promises that all the prophets have of the power that the Book of Mormon has in the lives of each person. Some may think that it is just a story, but it is a way in which we can recieve divine power and guidance in our lives, and when we recieve these things we are able to live in a never ending state of happiness. We are putting all of our faith in this sacred book to help Eva come to a conclusion of the truth of this church and its teachings. With my last story of the Book of Mormon for this week, with Maddie, we taught her the importance of the Book of Mormon this past week as well. When we pulled one out to give to her she told us that she had a copy. She went and got it and we asked where she got it. She said that she found it in a book store and she had bought it for 10 pesos (About 60 cents). She said that she had begun to read it when she was struggling in her life and wondering what her purpose was. She said her perspective changed and she didnt know that it was our church that had the book. It was how she recieved her conversion and it was amazing to see the way that the Lord worked to provide her with that Book. She is only 14 years old and had gotten to Jacob when we taught her. The Lord is continuing to prepare the way for us to work and see miracles and I know this work is true.
Hermana Oris coming with us to teach
Oaxaca Sunset

Week of Travels - October 1, 2016

Happy Conference Weekend Everyone!! Well this week was a really long week with all of our travels that we did. But before that we had an awesome Sunday. This week the whole chapel was filled up with people that had not come to church in a long time. The bishop was so excited that afterwards we got everyone together to take a picture and it was awesome to see the spirit so strong there with everyone that came to church. It was a little hard though because on Saturday night Eva and her family expressed a lot of doubts with us and told us that they were really struggling to know if this is what they needed to do because it would be such a huge change in them. It was sad to not see them at church but it was an opportunity to exersize our faith to know that the Lord would put the path before us to help her recieve this conversion that she needs. It was harder thinking that we wouldnt be able to do anything about it having to go and be outside of the area for the whole entire week. We knew that if we were able to serve the other missionaries with all of our heart then everything would work out and the Spirit would work miracles with her. Anyways we got to travel to Huatulco for a day and do divisions with them, that was an awesome experience to see the fruits of a little bit that we did while I was there. We traveled after that to do training meetings in a city called Salina Cruz, and afterwards we had our council meeting with all of the zone leaders in the Itsmo. It was an amazing experience to hear the same principles explained and it really affirmed to me the importance of helping everyone to know our importance of why we are there. It helped my faith a lot to recieve inspiration of what we need to do to help Eva and the rest of our investegators grow and be strengthened in the church. Afterwards we got to do divisions with Elder Madera, the old assistant. And in each lesson we had it was amazing to see the way that the Lord prepared the people to accept a baptism date. It was something that I learned in the meeting that we had. If we prepare and study and do all that we can, then the Lord will as well with the people we are going to teach. In each lesson we challenged people to baptism and we set dates with them of when they could be baptized. It was such an amazing experience. When we returned to our area we had the chance to meet with Eva last night. She still had the same doubts but the miracle that we saw was that she told us she wanted to go to conference and see if Thomas S. Monson really is a prophet. It was a huge miracle even though she is not sure, and we promised her with everything we know that she would recieve all the answers that she needed. I know that the Prophets and Apostles today are called of God, and that leading up to this conference they have had direct communication with Jesus Christ, to lead and guide us today. God still speaks to us, he has not abandoned us. Even though this world is in turmoil he still has his church who is being guided by his one and only perfect son, who has communicated to our prophet President Monson for this conference. I know that it is true and I know that answers will be recieved by all who listen and believe that it comes from God himself.
It rained and literally flooded the streets, here is our selfie of us getting soaked because we couldnt cross the street to get to our house!!
Eating dinner with Elder Madera and Elder Ibarra in Juchitan

The Enabling Power of Jesus Christ - September 24, 2016

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.
One of the streets here in our area after all the rain
A cool animal that we found, good thing in scouts we learned how to catch them

And I Will Prepare Ye the Way - September 17, 2016

Well this week was a very busy week for us. We have been preparing the changes for the next change and have had to prepare all of the logistics for the missionaries to travel on Monday. It has been a very long process with a lot of revision just to make sure that all missionaries get to where they need to be and with who they need to be. But other than that this week has been so amazing to see the progress of everyone and how the Lord has prepared the way for us to do this work even with our busy schedule. Each day that we have worked in our area we have seen a huge progress of some of our investegators. This email I am going to give the follow up for the stories that I told about last week. First off starting with Adelina and Gil and their family. On Sunday after we had had amazing lessons with them, we stopped by their house so that they could come with us to church, and we were just expecting Adelina and Victoria (Gils Mom). Anyways when we stopped by they were cooking breakfast but they told us that they needed to go and that they would be there as soon as they could. So we went to church honestly doubting that they would show up, but half an hour into Sacrament meeting the back door opened and the whole family walked in! Adelina, Gil, Victoria, and her other son Daniel! It was so aweome to see and you could feel the spirit just flow into the room at that point because everyone there knew how much they sacrificed to be there. We went through the whole day with them at church and when we stopped by a few days later we asked Gil what he had learned. And he told us "I know that I need to be baptized now, but my only dilemea is that I dont know why you say your church is true" So we began to slowly teach him the principles of the restoration of the gospel. We left him with a pamphlet and told him that it would answer his question if he read it. We prayed and as we were leaving Gil was immerged in his pamphlet. We are so excited to see what progress that he has made tomorrow as we have invited him to come to church again. All that has come to my mind this week is what Elder Andersen taught us in our conference. He said that the greatest missionary miracles are when the investigators read their homework, when they pray, when they have a heartfelt question, and these are the true miracles that bring about conversion. We have seen that with Gil, and all that we could do with him is have patience and love for him so that he could feel the spirit with our desire for him to have these teachings in his life. We have seen each of these miracles this week with Gil, and it has opened my mind to know that there are angels of the Lord on our right hand and our left helping us and ministering to our investegators, especially Gil. The other story is Eva. She is the single mom that we helped last week shovel her gravel. I had said that she was really closed to us and didnt want anything. Well on Tuesday we stopped by her house hoping and praying that she would finally accept us. She let us in and she was waiting there with chairs and her 3 kids were also there waiting to hear us. We taught an inspired lesson on the importance of the family and the blessing that it could be to her as a single mom, that she would live in the strength of the Lord when she felt alone raising her kids and that one day she would be with them forever. You knew at that moment that the Holy Ghost had touched her heart, and it is all because the Lord put in our path the opportunity to serve her. It wasnt a planned project for her, it was something we were willing to do at that moment, and something that was a blessing to everyone who was involved. We have seen miracles from Eva and we are hoping and praying that she and her family will come to church with us tomorrow. She has been full of questions, on Thursday when we went by again we asked her if she had read her pamphlet, and the first question she had was "Who is Joseph Smith?" We knew from that question that she had read the whole pamplet after we had only assigned her to read the first page. Not only that, her and her family had read it out loud and each kid had a question. This family has been the greatest miracle in our work this week. And it is all because we needed to learn charity. In my studies I learned that the true conversion comes by only charity, so that the spirit can work in the hearts of the people. I love this scripture talking about this saying, 46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity,ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleaveunto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things mustfail— 47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endurethforever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day,it shall be well with him. I know that by serving this way then nothing will fail, and that they will be in the presence of God forever and ever, because they had a conversion that lasted forever. I know this is true because I have seen it in this work. Elder Peterson Sorry there arent pictures this has been really busy but I promise some for next week!