Monday, March 30, 2009


It's change day once more!

Wow, it's change day once again. This whole mission thing is going by way too fast. It's kinda silly. However, I can honestly say that I'm putting forth my best effort, according to my ability. I get a little more effective each day. Each day, a little more like the Savior.

Anywho, this week has been a week of patience. Lot's of patience. About 90% of our working time is spent in the streets knocking/yelling at doors. And this week, was a week without any immediate results (I say immediate, because who knows what effect our work will have in the future! Not a single effort is "wasted.") But I'd for sure say that we're working harder then ever. You know you're doing what you need to be doing when you feel the Spirit testifying that what you're saying is true to other people. Not much more you can ask for. However, I have been meditating much upon the topic of "How and what to pray to have miracles occur. The first conclusion, need to ask with faith. OK, so one goal is to develop the Spiritual Gift of Faith. But here's one problem that I've been thinking about lately. What can I ask in a prayer to have the strongest impact upon the investigators/general people to have the spirit work upon them, without destroying agency. I've been reading the scriptures like crazy, trying to figure out what Alma, Amulek, Ammon, Aaron, and all the rest prayed for to work such a great change upon the lamanites, because that's who we're teaching... Lamanites. Hrm. Need to Study more, I suppose, Says I.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Starting from Scratch

With good spirits!

Thanks for all the great suggestions and tips, yall. We're going to put in most, if not all of them. Mostly Mike's. He suggested that, while knocking doors, to bear testimony more often. It seems to me that I had got comfortable falling into a rhythm of trying to small-talk people into their house, which works sometimes, but doesn't really get the message across. We had mission conference this last week, and they talked about the exact predicament that we're in... Running out of Investigators. Kind of odd, they didn't really talk much about bearing testimony too much, but they did talk about not falling into a routine. We did have some meaningful conversations with people after the conference, but we didn't get into any houses nor new investigators (after conference, before we did =D). But I have a really good feeling about the whole bearing testimony. Seems like missionaries don't really bear testimony enough in the mission. We do it when we're "supposed to," for example, when teaching the Restoration. It seems like we bear our testimony, but not in a direct manner... Hard to explain. But I'm going to be more direct with the people, tell them what God has told me is true, and invite them to learn the same.

Here's something else that we're starting to do. We're praying more often, and more sincere. Never before in my mission have we started a round of knocking doors with a prayer, but we decided to do that this week, and we had amazing results. President Wilhelm told me it was because we invited God to work with us, so of course he's going to give us success. This gave us a boost of confidence which we thought would give us success every time we did it. Not long after, we stopped having success, which left me slightly confused. In conference, Presidente Wilhelm touched on that subject as well. He read to us D&C 121, the following:

36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

So the jist of it is, we stopped having success because our sincerity went away in our prayers, we stopped working with the principles of righteousness, and started to work to satisfy a vain ambition, and gratify pride. Hmm.... Rather humbling. I must go pray.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's happening again!


So I seem to be finding myself in this situation a lot. Almost immediately after a streak of success, the investigators run out. Blah. I suppose there's a principle to learn in all of this, but not one that you can necessarily apply in the mission. In times of plenty, prepare for the famine. Well, in the mission you can't really prepare for a lack of investigators, as you are constantly looking for new investigators. Well, we're taking desperate measures once more. We're starting up English Class, and planning ward activities once more. Desperate measures indeed. Well, Preach my Gospel says that they're good means of finding new investigators so we'll leave it up to the Lord. Methinks we should have longer lasting converts this time. They're all signed up for Seminary and are Súper excited to go to church. Maybe recent converts would be a good source of references... So my homework for you all (especially those who served missions) is: What are some good ways to find new investigators?


Monday, March 9, 2009

So sad, I'm glad.

Personal Apostasy and Personal Salvation

Hmp. This has been an interesting week. So this week we didn't pass at all for the Pérez family to see how they'd react and all that ya? Well, I asked for the young men's president to go drop by their house and see if Jaime was planning on going to church Sunday Morning. Well he did, and he told me that the family was doing bad. Real bad. That they had no interest in coming back to church and that they hadn't received any sort of answer to their prayers and all that jazz. Well, having been a witness of every one of their spiritual experiences, I decided to go over there and help bring them back to a remembrance of their liberation. Well, the YM president wasn't lying. Never before had I seen someone completely forget the days of their captivity and freedom, forget all the miracles that they had seen, forget the spiritual experiences that had been given to them from God. It affected me rather deeply. We shared our testimonies with them, I shared a whole bunch of scriptures, but they didn't listen. Chao, I says to thems, I says. When you're ready to listen, we'll be ready to teach. Ignorance, they say to me. Ignorance that we could possibly be the one true church, that this is the church by which men may return to live with God. Well, I suppose it would be ignorance, if it weren't true. I recall Brooke a few years back saying that people had complained to him about how Mormons Brainwash their children to the Gospel. Well, I suppose that would be the case, if what we taught them weren't true. Hmph. Well, when they want salvation, when they want answers, they know where to find it. And what was the cause of this spiritual decay, you ask? We can find the answer in the scriptures. It was the exact same thing that happened to the Nephites.

Let's open up to 4 Nephi 1:24
24 And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world.
That's right, clothes. It all had to do with clothes. At least, superficially. They rebelled against the church because they didn't want to have to wear church clothes, which caused them to harden their hearts with pride and vain things, which caused them to go Inactive. GG.
I talked with the Bishop about this matter. He explained to me very clearly that everyone has Agency, and even if you teach everything in a clear and understandable matter, they're going to still have their agency. "Don't you think that God taught his son Satan everything well, nay, Perfectly? If we try to compel people to do what is right, we are becoming as Satan." I love this Bishop. He's awesome.

However, this week was also a time of rejoicing. For the first time in years, Villa Norte is going to have 3 baptisms at the same time. The Bishop is pretty stoked, and he's throwing a party for the converts (they're 3 girls... the daughter of a less active - Daniela, the Sister of a recent convert - Franchesca, and a friend of the same recent convert - Nátalie). The mom of the latter, Nátalie, invited us over for lunch today, so we're pretty stoked. Turns out the Mom is a less active. It was pretty sweet. Last week, we went over to ask permission to have her get baptized, and she bore her testimony to us in front of her Super Catholic friend, who slightly objected. I thought it was funny, especially since she hadn't been to church in over 30 years, but still has a pretty strong testimony.

That should do it for this week. I'm doin fine folks. I lament the decision of some folks, groan and grow weary in spirit, but did not the Lord Himself say, Blessed are the Poor in Spirit? Yea verily.

Matt. 5: 3
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
3 Ne. 12: 3
3 Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
D&C 56: 18
18 But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Leaving it to Him

Learning all the while...

Hi all! How is everyone doing!? Good!? Great. I'm doing just fine and dandy o'er yonder. Tons of work, tons of learning and spiritual experiences, and all that song and dance. Elder Aaron Adams, The Zone Leader from Villa Alemana (I'm in the Zone of Villa Alemana Oeste), just informed me that our two companionships had the lowest sums of Houses Entered on Contacts, a Key Indicator in our mission. Houses Entered (or CE, for Casas Entradas) is where you knock on a door, and get into the house to teach a lesson when you meet someone for the first time. Right off the Bat. Well, Him and I tied for last with 6 Houses Entered into for the month of February. He informs me that I was THE worst in all the mission with 5 Houses Entered for January. But whatever, because we both baptize people and get references from the members, so it's all good. But enough about numbers, they don't mean anything except whether I get yelled at or not.

So this week I learned a lesson. From a certain blessing which I received a few years ago, it told me that God would always give me answers to my sincere prayers. I find it interesting that it specifically mentions receiving answers from other people. For weeks now I've been praying and fasting to know what to do with the Pérez Family, who have been the center of my letters home, prayers, and thoughts for a few months now. Well, we had long talk with them for a while, mostly the Mom, who's not a member yet, and about her doubts. We taught a very slow, clear, unmistakable lesson about the Restoration, wherein the Spirit was felt very strongly, and she expressed her concerns about the Word of Wisdom. Actually, she said that there was no way in heck that she was going to give up Tea. We asked her to try it for 14 days, and said that we were asking her to do the impossible. I found the entire thing very hypocritical because all she ever talks about is how much faith she has, but refused to test God in this Trail of Faith. After about an hour and a half with them, we were feeling pretty discouraged about it all. I was baffled as to what we should do to help her. After talking with my companion for a little bit, he said, "It might be best if we just drop them, we're wasting way too much time over there." The thought had yet to cross my mind, and appeared very absurd to drop an investigator who was willing to have us in her house whenever, but I knew it was the right thing to do. We were spending about 5 hours each week over in there house, a considerable amount of time, and she wasn't progressing. She doesn't view us as missionaries, but rather calls us, "My little ones," calls us by our first names, and doesn't like to shake our hands in a conventional manner. All in all, the situation had become way too casual. We weren't the teachers to her. We were kids practicing Spanish and sharing good principles. So what we're going to do, we're going to drop them. Not for good, but for a few weeks, with the challenge to continue to read the Book of Mormon, and to Pray always. We'll see how the Spirit works within them in our absence, and see their reaction in a few weeks. In other words, we're leaving it all up to the Spirit and the Ward for a little while. Just have to Trust in God.