28 July 2009

Dog Revenge and Other Interesting Experiences!

So let´s start off with the interesting experiences that happened this week. First of all, I got my revenge on the dog population of Argentina. All those dogs that bit me before now know not to mess with me. We knocked a door of a lady we have taught a couple of times and her six year old son came to the gate. He recognized us and opened the door to let us in but the only problem was that their pit-bull was off his chain and roaming freely about the yard. As soon as the gate was opened he ran out to the street around the corner and pretty soon you hear a bunch of people screaming. So I took off after the owner and Elder Jara followed behind me. When we found the dog, it had another dog, (a boxer), by the throat and was at the point of killing it. So I got down on my knees and took the dog by the neck and tore it off the other dog. So now I have an angry pit-bull in my hands so I grabbed it by the collar and twisted it tight so I had it in a choke hold and it couldn't bite me. Then I dragged it back to the house and tossed it inside the fence. Thankfully, I didn't get hurt and both of the dogs are going to live. It was a crazy experience.

Next, the wind that hit last week was stronger than I realized at the time and it tore roofs off of houses and destroyed a lot of stuff. Some of our investigators were affected. Yesterday we went to do service for a family in our ward and had to shovel dirt and move it around to fill in holes and level out the ground. Good thing I got some good practice with Brother Mcgarry before the mission! I was able to win the contest to see who could fill up the wheelbarrow fastest with dirt.

It got super cold here for a while and I mean super cold. One day it hit 8 degrees below zero Celsius. I’m not sure what that changes to but it was cold. (It is 18 degree Fahrenheit). We did divisions that day and I worked with Elder Lowder. I had a blast; he is a super cool kid.

Oh and I don’t know if I told you, but last P-day we went to the offices for a surprise birthday party for President Northcutt. It was pretty fun.

So transfers are rolling around again in about a week and a half, we´ll see how that works out.
At this point who knows what is going to happen, all the old patterns in the mission for transfers have been broken.

Alright, so now for the investigator update. On Sunday we had five investigators in church which was awesome because all of them have baptismal dates for this weekend or next weekend. Pilar and Maria Jeres are going to be baptized this weekend. Then next will be Gustavo Vilte and Isabel Cayo. And then Gonzalo, the younger guy that we are teaching in another area that needs to get married. He just has to wait for his new marriage date to come around which hopefully is soon.

Two very important things happened to me yesterday. First, we were walking down the street and I saw a man heading towards us and I said to myself, "I’m going to talk to him" and he got closer and closer and closer and as I was about to talk to him my companion said something to me and instead of talking to the man I looked at my comp and the man passed by. "Darn" I thought "I wanted to talk to him." We walked about 10 meters farther and then I hear someone yelling "Muchachos! Muchachos!" I turned after the second yell and I saw the man standing at the corner waving to us. I went to him and he asked if we were the Mormons. I said yes and he asked if we gave classes to the people. I said yes and he looked at me and said in a voice that seemed to be almost at the point of tears, "Could you give me the classes?" Of course I responded yes and we wrote his direction down. After he walked away I felt the feeling of a mix of guilt but at the same time amazement at how the Lord gives us second chances sometimes. The moral of the story is though, what if he hadn't turned around, I never would have talked to him and he may have never had the chance to listen to the message of the restored gospel. What should we learn? Don´t count on second chances. Do what you should do and do it the first time you feel that impression, because second chances are few and far between.

The second experience…. Elder Jara and I were in the street and it was getting dark and while walking to a lesson, I saw a lady walking towards us. I was about to open my mouth to talk to her because I felt that feeling again (this was the same day) when Elder Jara started to talk to her. When he had talked to her, even though she had no interest, I said to him "that’s funny, I felt like we needed to talk to her too." Isn´t it so cool how the Lord does that. It´s like he knows that sometimes we ignore those promptings and his children are so important to him that he has a backup plan. The even cooler thing is that we both had the same feeling in the same exact moment.

Things are going good here, it is crazy, but the Lord definitely takes care of us. I used to say that the mission is hard. But it really isn’t. It is hard if you think of it as something that you have to do, but it becomes easier when you think of it as something you want to do and as soon as you gain a true desire to work and the love for the people. There´s that love for the people that everyone always talks about. I always thought it was so cliché to say that, but it really is so true.
If you don´t love the people then you don’t have anything. One of our investigators, Isabel, said something the other day. She was talking to us about going to church and how people have been telling her she is crazy and all that we always hear. And she said this: "at this point it doesn't matter whether you two (me and my comp) are here, if someone comes by to pick me up for church or any of that. At this point, I’m committed; at this point I am going all the way and never coming back." That hit me hard. The question is the following, are we at that point in our own lives? Are we that dedicated to Christ and to this church that we can say that as well? I hope we all are.

I want you all, each and every one of you to know how much I love you and how grateful I am for the support you give me, your emails, your prayers and your thoughts for me. It really does work miracles. The wife of a good friend of mine in the mission passed away recently and something he said hit me hard and is sort of my new theme. A simple two words. With tears in his eyes he yelled to us all "fuerza chicos!" “Strength boys and girls.” It´ll get us all through this. I love you all. My thoughts are with you.

Elder Jeffrey Rose

22 July 2009

MTC Experience

I had a couple of cool experiences with helping out some missionaries in the MTC. Don´t get me wrong, being zone leader in the MTC is nothing like it is in the field, but there are a couple of responsibilities :). There was one night when one of my roommates wasn't in the room after the hour and I went looking for him cause that was me and my companion´s job. I found him in the hallway sitting on the floor with his head in his hands and could tell that something was wrong just by the situation. I sat down next to him and started to talk to him. He told me about how he was feeling and how he felt like he as a missionary couldn't do anything, that he wasn't strong enough.

At that time he had just had his pacemaker removed and I had spent a couple days in the hospital with him. He said that following the accident which resulted in him having a pacemaker, he didn't understand why the Lord spared his life. He didn't know what his purpose in life was supposed to be, he said he just felt lost. At that point his companion found us sitting outside and sat down with us. Now I don´t profess to be some super wise all knowing person, but I tried to offer him some sort of encouragement, a helping hand. I bore my testimony to him of how I knew what he was doing was right and that the cause we stand for as missionaries is a true one. Along with his companion, I talked with him for about an hour and helped him to gain a little bit of hope, at least enough to stay. "If I can do that" I said to myself "I can at least have more time to help him." So we did that and then for the next couple of weeks his companion and I helped him constantly to realize why he was there and how much he really can do in the work of the Lord.

Sometimes I think that we as humans think in the same way as that Elder was thinking that night, that is, that we can´t do much, we don´t know what the Lord expects of us or what he wants from us is too much. And that is probably right, what the Lord asks of us is too much, for us alone that is. But with the help that He gives us each and every day of our lives he strengthens us and makes us able to stand up and rise to the task. I have seen that so much in my mission and in my life in general. When we think we can’t, we´re usually right, because those thoughts of inability come from a lack of faith, a lack of vision. What the Lord requires of me I will do, and I will hold him accountable to fulfill with his promise to fill in the gap after, and only after, I have done all that I can do. The lord has told us time upon time that nothing is beyond his power to accomplish and that if something seems to be beyond ours, if we call upon Him for the help we need, never doubting, rather trusting in Him, we will receive. As sure as I stand here as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ, I promise you all that when you need the Lord´s help, he WILL be there for you IF we are there when he asks us to be. It is a two way relationship, we cannot expect to always be able to ask and never give, just as we have to serve the Lord in order to merit his love. We can never repay the Lord for what he has done, and he doesn’t ask us to. He only asks for everything we have and nothing more. Are we willing to give Him that? If the answer is yes, we have the promise of the scriptures that we will be blessed and he will never suffer that we perish or suffer that which is beyond our ability to bear. This is my testimony to all of you that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior and He loves us and we sure better by doing the things He asks of us if we want to receive the blessing He has prepared for us.

Things here are going good. We have a couple of good fechas that seem pretty solid and a couple more that are up there floating in the air that we are trying to peg down so they don´t float away.

A little more information about Salta. There are about a half million people that live in the city alone and in the roundabout areas there are about a million more. There are buses and such but we rarely use them because the schedules hardly ever work for us. When we have to go out of capital, like to teach our investigator who lives in rosario de lerma (wikipedia that) then we usually do take a bus, but that’s just cause a taxi would cost like 80 pesos. There are two stakes in the city; about 15 wards that I can count. My area, not counting the little pueblos that are a couple hours away, can be walked in about an hour. Then we also have a few places you have to take a 30 minute bus ride to get to. In our ward, there are about 500 members, around 60 to 70 of which are active. Most of the member help we get comes from the same 3 or 4 families. In Salta capital there is somewhere around 36 to 40 missionaries including the offices where there are 4 plus the assistants. It is one of the more concentrated areas in the mission. The 4 centro areas (Salta capital, Tucuman Centro, Jujuy Centro and Santiago Centro) are the most populated areas and thus have more missionaries.

Everything is going well here. Always improving in little ways you know... I have undertaken the task of teaching my comp English per the mission president´s wife, so that is fun and interesting. The weather here is super weird, the sicknesses are going strong but so am I so I have been lucky so far.

14 July 2009

A Baptism!

So everything here is Argentina is going well. I am happy to say that yes the baptism of Lucas Miño did go through. He was baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. It was a super cool experience and there was a pretty good turnout of people who went to see him. The wedding for the 24th is still on track as far as we know. He is out of work right now so that has been a struggle for him, but he is still going to church every week and we talk to him at least once or twice a week. He lives rather far away so it is hard for us to go visit him very often. Things seem to be on track though.

We have a few other investigators that are progressing pretty well. A lady named Isabelle seems really excited about it all and accepted a baptismal date for the 1st of August and committed to go to church for the next two weeks running. She has some really good friends in the church that include the bishop and his family. An older lady we have been teaching named Elva is moving along slowly but surely. We’re focusing on Joseph Smith with her, helping her to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.

There are various others that we are teaching at the moment. We’ve also been having a lot more results with members present at lessons finally. It really helps to have a member with you while you are teaching because they always have good insights and all that good stuff.

It has been a pretty uneventful week all in all. The baptism went well. We did divisions yesterday. We didn't really do anything today for p-day. Things are just super tranquil here. The flu is kind of bad and there are a lot of people who just don´t answer their doors or won´t talk to you cause of the sickness so that makes things different, but what can you do, right?

Take care. Till next week.


08 July 2009

I’m doing great!

The baptism last week didn't happen because the bishop didn't announce it in sacrament meeting and his grandma wasn't going to be home from work, so it is supposed to be happening this weekend. Fingers crossed right? But everything has been going well.

On Saturday instead of our baptism we took some of our investigators to a baptism in another ward in our zone and showed them that. I actually spoke for part of the time. That was exciting. It turned out good. We had a few people in church on Sunday, one of our investigators got sick so she left early and took her daughter with her which was too bad, but what can you do.

We have been seeing some better numbers lately and more interaction on the part of the ward so that is way good. For the Fourth of July we sang “The Star Spangled Banner” at the top of our lungs and just talked about our 4th traditions... the gringos at least.

Today for P-day we went to Centro, walked around, I bought a tie. Then we went to a restaurant called Viejo Jacks, which is amazing. A few years ago there were a couple of elders who went there all the time and one day they made a special order. They called it "el gordo" and it is now a part of the menu, well... not on the menu, but they know what it is by name and the missionaries are the only ones who ever order it I’m sure, but it is a huge steak, and by huge I mean like 1 foot square. Then it has onions and such on top and a fried egg and it is served with homemade potato chips and salad. It is huge so we split three of them between six of us. That was the celebration for one of the elder´s birthday.

Everything is just fantastic here. Hope everything is good where all of you are at too. Love you all.