Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Week 18 Concordia Nebel


Hola a todos!

This last week was a great week as well. It wasn't quite as amazing as the week before, but we know that life comes and goes, and some weeks we reap the rewards of previous efforts, and other weeks we work hard to plant so that we or others can reap in the future. I think it was a little bit of a sowing week, but those are good weeks, too. :) As far as investigators go, Vxxx and Fxxx are doing great, Fxxx continues to amaze me with his humble faithfulness. Everything we have asked him to do, he does his best to do. We invited him to read the Book of Mormon, and he has continued to do so since we invited him more than a month ago. He also prays every night, and is trying to pray in the mornings as well. He comes to church every week, and he even fasted with us on Fast Sunday so that he could be baptized. He committed to not drink any more tea or coffee, even though it will be hard. He wants to be baptized, and his parents still haven't given him permission, but we keep praying that all will turn out well. Tomorrow we have an appointment with him and his mom, so we hope that she will sign the permission slip. It's been such a wonderful experience to see the light in his countenance change. I noticed when we met him that he seemed a little dark inside. But this last week, as I observed him with the youth, he seemed to radiate a little more light than usual. I know that it is a result of the gospel that he is implementing in his life. What a blessing the gospel is.

On another note, yesterday Elder Streuling and I traveled to Santa Fe for a Self-Reliance class that the mission gives to all missionaries who will shortly be returning to their homes. It was to help us learn how to make plans for after the mission, set goals to maintain spirituality as well as obtain education and employment. It was fun to see all of the missionaries that had arrived in my group and the group that followed. It will be interesting to see how the mission changes, as this month almost all of my group will be heading home (about 24 missionaries). Lots of changes.

I know that this gospel is true. As we strive DILIGENTLY to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, no matter our circumstances, we are blessed. May we all live in such a manner that we can receive the blessings promised to Nephi of old:

Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments. And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.

Have a great week!

Elder Meyers


Divisions with Elder Chaname!

I organized my ties
Self Reliance class with Elder Streuling

All the newly self reliant missionaries :)

In the terminal in Parana on Monday on the way back to Concordia with Elder Frey! Elder Henrichsen, one of the new zone leaders who is with Elder Frey in La Paz, and Elder Brown, one of the zone leaders in Parana.

So, all of the buses were full on Monday because it was a holiday, so we had to wait 8 hours in Parana for the next bus, so we decided to go to lunch with Elder Frey and Elder Henrichsen.  It was fun :)



Monday, October 9, 2017

Week 17 Concordia Nebel

Hola a todos!

This was an AWESOME week. I couldn't even begin to tell about all of the things that happened, but I'll try. So, Elder Streuling and I were talking one night after General Conference this week, and we got talking about faith. We decided that we wanted to see more miracles, and we knew that miracles can only come as a product of faith. We felt like we were being good missionaries, obedient, working hard, fulfilling our responsibilities, but we felt like we could do more. We knew that we weren't going that extra mile, stretching our faith to be worth to work miracles. So we decided that the new theme for our companionship would be that we were going to search for ways to exercise our faith every day. The next day, we passed by a family that we had been visiting for some time. We had had difficulty setting an appointment, and it seemed like they always had excuses. As we headed to their home, we already were feeling a little bit like we wanted to drop them as investigators. As we talked with them at the door, the offered a few more excuses about why they couldn't receive us in that moment, and as the conversation was wrapping up and we were about to say goodbye, I felt an impression to testify boldly to them that they needed to listen to us because it was the most important thing that they could be doing, and that they needed to put God first in their lives. At first, I didn't want to, because it was a pretty direct thing to say to somebody, and I didn't want to offend them. But I remembered our goal to have faith, and I testified. I think I did, in fact, offend them a little. :) They protested a little, saying that they always gave thanks to God for all that He gave them, maybe a little annoyed that I would suggest that they weren't putting God first. But we agreed that we would pass by the following day to visit them, and we left. As we left, Elder Streuling and I talked about the Spirit that we had felt as I had offered my testimony of the singular importance of the message of the gospel, and we decided that it had definitely been an impression from the Lord. When we arrived the following day, they let us in immediately, and when we entered the house, Gxxx (the husband) told us to take a seat. The smart TV was on, and he was in youtube, and he told us that he was looking for the Joseph Smith movie we had told him about. We looked up the 20min. video of the Restoration and watched it with him and Gxxx (his spouse). After watching it, Gxxx told us that during the video he had felt something that he had never felt before, pointing to his heart. He explained it as a happiness, a gladness, a peace, something that really touched him. We eagerly explained to him that he had felt the Spirit, and that that had been God telling him that what the video showed was true. We could tell that it had really impacted him. We set up another appointment for a couple of days later, and as we left, we began talking, we had both felt the impression that the next time we should go with Hno. and Hna. Caceres, recent converts of just a year, who had gone to the same evangelical church that our investigators had gone to. Following our goal, we decided to exercise our faith and act on the prompting, and we invited them to go with us to the next lesson. Fast forward. We arrive to the lesson. Hno. and Hna. Caceres immediately hit it off with Gxxx and Gxxx, and they find a bunch of things in common. Hno. Caceres offered to help them with some repairs that they were wanting to do on their house, and then during the lesson powerfully testified of the truthfulness of the gospel. We could tell that Gxxx and Gxxx felt it, and when the Caceres invited them to come to church, they accepted. We had invited them many times before, and missionaries had taught them on and off for years, but they had never gone to church once. But we had faith that this time would be different. On Sunday, we received a text message from them telling us to wait outside the church because they were on their way! We were still walking to the church, so we began to walk very quickly so that we could get there and receive them. They showed up! We went in together, and they sat down with the Caceres family. They really enjoyed church, and were able to feel the Spirit. It was a miracle. I know that when we actively exercise our faith, the Lord can work miracles. I know it because I have experienced it.

So much more to say and so little time. We also saw other fruits and found a young man of 13 years that is SUPER prepared! We found him this week knocking doors, he came to a youth activity and church and already asked us when he can be baptized. And his parents want him to be baptized! Blessings.

Other blessing: this week Maira, an investigator that Elder Frey and I had been teaching and then passed to the hermanas, got married this week and then was baptized!! I was so happy for her. She is an example of faith for me. She had to pass through so many trials. Her father is an evangelical pastor, and did everything but support her. He told her that she was committing apostasy, that it didn't say anywhere in the Bible that you have to be married to be baptized, that the Mormons were leading her on, etc. Her family has been very against everything, and it has been hard for her, but she told us, I know this is the right thing, so why should I worry about it? She was very excited to be baptized. I also testify of the promise in D&C 18:15-16 how great is our joy as we bring souls to Christ! There is no other comparable joy. I am so happy for Maira.

So many other faith building and inspiring experiences, but no time. As I studied about the 2.000 stripling warriors this week, I realized that they were miraculously preserved because of their faith. All of the Nephites were in the same cause, fighting for the same things, but many died. Why didn't the stripling warriors die? "[For] they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them."

May we all exercise our faith daily, that we may work miracles in the work of the Lord!

Elder Meyers

The wedding of Maira and Esteben

Esteben, Maira, and their baby Sara with their wedding cake

The wedding cake



The car decorated at the wedding

Maira, Esteben, and the Nebel missionaries: Hna Iquic (new from Guatemala), Hna Ceron, Elder Streuling, and me

Missionaries and the married couple

Elder Streuling with a pizza

Maira's baptism

Me and Maira at her baptism

Esteben, Maira, and Sara
Maira asked me to baptize her

After the baptism!  So much joy :)

Presidente and Hermana Perez visited us in Concordia

Monday, October 2, 2017

Week 16 Concordia Nebel

Hola a todos!

What an eventful week! So much to say, but never enough time. It was a wonderful week. We started off with zone conference, which is always an uplifting and inspiring experience. We talked a lot about baptism, and why baptism is so important. For a powerful personal study, study the connections between the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the ordinances of baptism and confirmation. That night, after zone conference, we found out from Hna. Arriola that Olga, who Elder Frey and I had taught and was baptized just two months ago, had passed away unexpectedly due to a pneumonia. I was saddened by the news, and especially for her family, but at the same time, I was so happy that she had had the chance to be baptized before she returned to her heavenly home. I am confident that she completed her earthly mission honorably, and that she is now resting in paradise with other righteous spirits. What a wonderful woman she was, so sweet, caring, and genuine. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to know her, even if only for a short few months, and for what she taught me, and the privilege it was for me to teach her a little more about her Savior. On Wednesday, we had the chance to pass by as they held a viewing, and we visited with her daughter and grandson, who also are investigators. We had a chance to share a brief moment with them and testify of God's plan for us. During this experience, the Spirit reaffirmed and strengthened my testimony that God has a plan for every one of us, and that we are not here by coincidence. Our loving Heavenly Father knows us, and loves us, and wants us to return to Him. I feel to say as Jacob said, O how great the plan of our God! Truly he loves us.

On Friday, we had a unique opportunity to go with the elders in La Bianca to Chajari, a city to the north of Concordia, where the Church currently does not exist. We went with the purpose of gathering information and creating a report to present to Presidente Perez so that he and Elder Levrino can evaluate if Chajari is ready to receive missionaries and an organized group. How cool is that?! There is currently one member family living in Chajari, Familia Ventura, along with another brother, Hno. Conforti, who lives with his family, who are not members. We visited them, along with a handful of referrals that we had received over time for Chajari that had never been visited because there are no missionaries there. It was a great experience. Hno. Ventura accompanied me and Elder House, one of the La Bianca elders the whole morning, showing us around Chajari. As we visited with him, and later with his wife and children, I realized that it would be rather difficult to find a more converted family in the Church. Hno Ventura is about 35 years old, is from Montevideo Uruguay, and his father is a former mission president of Mision Rosario and former temple president of the Montevideo temple, and currently serving as an Area historian for the church. He served a mission in Mendoza, and recently finished an MBA at BYU. He and his wife and children lived in Wymount for two years while he studied at BYU. They all speak English after having lived in the US for more than two years, so of course we talked a little bit in English. :) Just a few months ago, moved back to Chajari, where the family of Hna. Ventura lives. The interesting part of the story is that they were praying and fasting to know where to go. They had gone to Montevideo, but decided not to stay. They had gone to live in Chajari temporarily while Hno. Ventura looked for work in Buenos Aires. A few days after they arrived, Hna. Ventura's mother was killed in a motorcycle accident, and they were left with her store that she had had. They tried to sell it, but nobody would buy it, so they decided to start running the store themselves. As I talked with the hermano that morning, he told me, I don't really know why we are here. But it would seem to me like the Lord needs us here for some reason. I could sense the faith he had in the Lord and in His plan. How interesting it will be if we end up putting missionaries in Chajari! Another testimony to me that God is conscious of all of His children and works through those who are willing to follow the promptings He gives them to bring about His marvelous work.

I have no time left, but to finish off the week, we had an incredibly inspiring and Spirit-filled General Conference. What a blessing it is that we have prophets, seers, and revelators who speak for God today! I want to bear my personal testimony that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when we act on the words of the prophet and apostles, the promised blessings come. May we each follow more closely and diligently all of the inspired counsel we have received from the prophets and apostles, that we may also be instruments in God's hands. This is the work of God, and this is His Church, and we are His children.

Have a great week!

Elder Meyers

Me with Hna Arrua!!

I saw Hno and Hna Arrua!!  They were visiting Concordia for the weekend and stayed for conference. (Hno. Arrua is from Concordia).  It was a happy reunion. :)

Running adventures

Can you find Uruguay?  :)

Divisions with Elder Rojas!

With Elder House in Chajari!

Chajari!

Chajari!

One of the elders made cinnamon rolls for General Conference!  That's a tradition I miss :)

General Conference!  In the English room with our lunch that a nice member brought us :)

Us four elders with the Conforti family in Chajari

Another picture from the service a couple of weeks ago


Me and Elder House with the Ventura Family


Monday, September 25, 2017

Week 15 Concordia Nebel B



Hola a todos!

Another great week! We did lots of teaching and lots of finding this week. We've been trying to get better at talking with everyone, and we have been doing our best to talk with anyone and everyone about the gospel. We've been filling up our planners with appointments everyday, and even though a lot of times the appointments fall through, we can often talk to other people that answer the door or that are nearby, and it isn't uncommon to find someone even better prepared than the first pass. It can be hard work, it can be long (especially on hot days when nobody lets you in), but the satisfaction that comes from spreading the gospel doesn't compare. Even when people reject us or avoid us or hide from us inside their houses even when we know that they are there and they know that we know that they are there (that happens more than you might think jaja), the joy and fulfillment of doing God's work is 100% worth the price. We've also been teaching our investigators that we have right now. This week we had lessons with Txxx and Fxxx, who are two friends of Franco. Txxx is 14, and is the grandson of one of the recent converts in our branch. He recently told us that he had been praying and that he felt that he had received an answer to his prayers and that the church was true! This last week we met with his parents (who are not members) to explain what we are about as a church so that they could understand what it was that their son wanted to join. We had the meeting in the Arriola home with Hno. and Hna. Arriola, Franco, and Gabriel, the YM president in the branch. The parents had lots of questions, but everyone in turn had a chance to testify of the truth and goodness of the church and to put their doubts at rest. I have hope that in the future Txxx's parents will open up even more and be baptized as well. It was a great meeting. Fxxx also told us that he wants to be baptized! We will have to meet with his parents to see if they will give him permission or not, but if all goes well, he will be baptized on October 21st! I am so excited for Fxxx. He is still somewhat shy with us, but he is a great young man, and I know that he will do great things in the church.

We had district conference yesterday, and they changed the district presidency. It is always an interesting and uplifting experience to see the mantle passed from one member to another as they accept new callings and assignments to labor in the Lord's vineyard. What a great privilege it is to labor in the great harvest of our God! In the testimonies of those who were released, each one talked about similar things, talking about the great sacrifices that they had had to make, but the great blessings that had come in return as a result of those very sacrifices, and how the reward was much greater than the price, and that the Lord is the best paying employer of all. I know that that is true. I have seen so many blessing that have come from the sacrifices I have made during my mission, and what a great joy it is when those blessings come.

This last week I was studying a little bit in the war chapters of Alma, and as I was reading about the preparations of Capitan Moroni, a particular verse caught my attention and impressed me deeply. In Alma 49, Mormon relates that "the armies of the Lamanites were seen approaching towards the land of Ammonihah... and because [they] had destroyed it once because of the iniquity of the people, they supposed that it would again become an easy prey for them... yea, and they had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates; and they had also prepared themselves with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness. And being thus prepared they supposed that they should easily overpower and subject their brethren to the yoke of bondage, or slay and massacre them according to their pleasure.

Then comes the part that caused me to ponder: But behold, to their uttermost astonishment, they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi.

As I thought about the application of this scripture to our daily lives, I realized that this has everything to do with our daily spiritual preparation against the temptations of the devil. He knows our weaknesses, because he has probably exploited them before, and he is going to keep coming back to those weaknesses stronger each time because he knows he can get us. So what do we do? We prepare ourselves, but not just in any way. We fortify our weaknesses, and trust in the promise that the Lord will turn our weaknesses into strengths (Ether 12:27). Moroni understood this, and as it says in the chapter before, he "had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God. Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting [fortifications]... And in their weakest fortifications he did place the greater number of men; and thus he did fortify and strengthen the land which was possessed by the Nephites". Remember, this is before they even knew that the armies were coming. They knew the danger, and they knew it would come, but they did not wait until it was there to prepare. Thus, when the armies did arrive, they were prepared for them in a manner which had never been known, and "the Lamanites were disappointed in their places of retreat and they could not come upon them. Therefore they retreated into the wilderness". And then, after this great victory, what did Moroni do? He kept fortifying! They had been prepared in an outstanding way for their enemies, but even after the victory, they continued to prepare and to fortify. The same goes for our spiritual preparation. We must prepare ourselves before the temptation comes, because if it comes and we are not spiritually prepared, it will overcome us and we will lose the battle. And when we do prepare ourselves sufficiently to win the battle against temptation, what do we do? We keep preparing. We continue to fortify. May we each fortify ourselves continually that we might never succumb to the temptations of the enemy of our souls, that we might come out victorious and unscathed as the Nephites did under the direction of Moroni.

Have a great week, and invite somebody to General Conference this week!

Elder Meyers


Me and my companion, Elder Streuling




Divisions

Franco Arriola and some of his friends!  (From left): Franco, Valentin, Giovanni, Facundo, Thiago, and Tomas

Me and Elder Perez from Chile (not related to Presidente jaja) after divisions

Pictures of our apartment

Entry/living room space with a couch we made out of an old bed frame and the two extra mattresses we have for divisions. :)

Our kitchen

Back patio (including some potatoes that Elder Frey planted jaja)

Stairs

Our Jesus Christ picture that we framed last transfer with the money we had left over.  I always wanted a framed picture of Christ in my apartment. :)

Storage/wardrobe/materials room

Our bedroom with our desks for studies

Our desks




Monday, September 18, 2017

Week 14 Concordia Nebel

Hola a todos!

This week was a GREAT week! For the first time in quite a while now, we were able to dedicate the whole week just to missionary work: finding, teaching, and baptizing. And we received so many blessings this week! We found seven new investigators, and 4 of them accepted baptismal dates! What great blessings. Nebel is progressing well. Also, Maira, who the hermanas are now teaching, is going to get married the 4th of October and is going to get baptized on the 7th of October!! I am so excited for her!! She is awesome. We ran into her the other day, and she told us how excited she was to get married, and then said, but really, I'm way more excited to get baptized than I am to get married. :) She has been wanting to get baptized ever since Elder Frey and I started to teach her, and now it is going to happen! Joys of missionary work. :) Franco Arriola (16 year old member) continues to help us in incredible ways. This kid is going to be a mission president some day, seriously. We had 6 lessons with him this last week, and he scheduled all six of them for us! And during the lessons, he taught half of the doctrines himself, and he was the one who invited them to read, pray, and go to church, and he even set baptismal dates! We didn't have to do much as missionaries. We only had to show up, teach, and testify. That is missionary work at its best. We didn't even have time to be in the streets some days because we had so many lessons already set up for us, and all we had to do was go and teach. If every member did missionary work like Franco, like it says in the Book of Mormon, the very powers of hell would be shaken. I hope that one day I can be a member missionary like Franco.

I had a couple of experiences this last week that have made me think a lot about the Spirit. I came to realize that during my mission, I have come to recognize and follow the Spirit with much greater frequency, and that has definitely been one of the most fulfilling and joyful blessings of my mission. I have received a greater testimony that the Spirit is always there. We only have to listen. Sometimes, the things we are prompted to do don't make any sense, but if we follow them, the blessings and miracles that come are real. We find ourselves saying things that we never could have known that we needed to say, finding people we might never have found, and helping people in ways that they need to be helped that we had no idea even needed help. I hope we can all find the Spirit a little more in our lives, and listen to its soft but powerful promptings. I know that when we do, we become true instruments in the hands of God to bring about His great work.

Have a great week!

Elder Meyers

Eating lunch at Hermana Vasquez' house

Lunch in a conference in Santa Fe!  Presidente surprised us all by taking us to a restaurant for the first time. :)

Me next to my companion, Elder Streuling.

Divisions in Federal!

Divisions with the asistentes Elder Oldham and Elder Carlassara

Divisions with Universidad!

Worldwide Service activity, we painted all of the waste bins on the riverside avenue in Concordia.  It was lots of fun, and all the members in Concordia participated.


There is a huge, beautiful park about 10 blocks from our apartment called San Carlos.  It is breathtaking.  Me and Elder Streuling often go running there in the mornings.  The pictures don't do it justice, but it is a great way to start the day.







Morning run in the park

Me and my companion, Elder Streuling.