Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 1 Nogoya (2nd area)

What a baptism by fire. This week has definitely been an adventure.

I got my new companion last Wednesday who I'll be training! His name is Elder Marquez, he's 20 years old and from Colombia. He has great desires to teach and be a good missionary, and I know that we can accomplish a lot. A little bit about Nogoyá: There are now six missionaries in the city, but it's a small town of about 30,000 people I believe. There is a branch here of about 20 active members, and 250+ inactive members. So we're going to try and do a lot of reactivation here as well. When I first got here it was a little disconcerting, because I was used to Paraná where everyone is always out and about, and there are always people in the streets talking, and buying, and there are stands everywhere, etc. So my first days in Nogoyá it felt like a ghost town haha. Life is a lot more tranquilo here, and people don't go out nearly as much. Because of that, it's a little harder to contact, because there aren't nearly as many people in the streets to talk to. But we'll figure it out. I feel bad for my companion because I'm supposed to be the trainer, but sometimes I feel more lost than him. Definitely a growing experience.

Our pension is brand new, and super nice! Everything we've bought (fridge, fans, water dispenser, oven, etc.) is still in boxes because it's all new. So it will be fun to live in a super nice pension. Right now we're still waiting for them to turn the electricity on, so we're staying with Elder Gomez (DL) and his companion/new trainee Elder Mckell, who are just around the corner from us, like literally a 30 second walk. We only have lunch with members once a week here, so we'll probably end up eating together with them a lot. Both of them are super cool, and we all get along really well. It's been fun living with four missionaries. Elder Gomez has 6 months in the mission and is from Buenos Aires, and talks super fast, but he's super funny and friendly and loves talking to people. Elder Mckell is brand new from the MTC, and is from Idaho. I see a lot of myself when I first got to the mission in him, if that makes sense, so it's been good to help him a little as well. Also, I've become the official translator, so that's been fun. I feel super useful doing that, haha, since a lot of times I don't know what I'm doing. So when Elder Gomez is trying to say something to Elder Mckell and he doesn't understand, I translate for him. It's really helped me learn the language a lot better.

I also met a super awesome member this week! Well, 2. Hno. and Hna. Arrua are pretty much the two most active members in the branch. They're both returned missionaries, and they're the ones who feed us once a week. They're both about 40, but don't have any kids. Hno. Arrua used to be branch president. He really understands how missionary work works. When he was branch president, he worked super hard. He spent 4 or 5 nights a week visiting less active members, and whole weekends just visiting and serving the members, and got the branch up to an attendance of about 80 or 90 consistently every week. Since then there have been some leadership problems in the stake, and all of the wards and branches in the Paraná stake have suffered. He really wants to help us work and get the branch back where it used to be. He's an almost perfect example of a Christlike missionary. He talked to us about how he would always focus on the good things with his companions and make sure they knew what they were doing well, helping uplift them and want to be better, and as a result, his mission president trusted him a lot, and used him to help strengthen missionaries who were struggling. He really gets charity. And most of all, he said when he finished his mission, he was able to say, I did my very best and there's nothing more I could have done to do the Lord's work. I hope I can be a missionary like him someday. Charity is so key. Like Moroni said, without charity we are nothing. We have to learn how to truly care more about the people around us than for ourselves. Because that's how Christ was, and shouldn't we want to be more like Christ?

The Church is true!
Elder Meyers

Me with my new companion, Elder Marquez

President Perez, me, Elder Marquez, and Hermana Perez

All of the new 26 arriving missionaries and their trainers

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 6 Parana Terminal

Well, biggest news, I'm getting transferred, and I'll be training this next transfer! I'll be going to a little town called Nogoyá, and I'll be opening a new area. I feel completely unqualified to train, with only a month and a half in the mission, and still learning the language, but I know that this will be a great opportunity for me to grow my faith in Jesus Christ and to trust in Him and rely on the Spirit. The truth is, since this mission is still new, there aren't nearly enough missionaries to go around, and since about 30 new missionaries are arriving this transfer, Presidente Perez has to use some of the missionaries who got here last transfer to train now. So this next transfer will be a baptism by fire! Any extra prayers would be appreciated haha.

Anyways, this last week a lot happened. First of all, Juan became our new ward mission leader! He's the super cool guy who's a convert of about 3 years, but listens to General Conference talks all day during his work (construction), and can quote the prophets and apostles like crazy. I'm really sad that I have to leave now, but he will help the work so much. We've already set up meetings every week, and plans to do workshops with the members in the ward on how to better share the gospel with their neighbors, as well as how to do family history and FHE. He'll be a great strength to the ward.

This week there was a ton of rain!!! On Tuesday, early in the morning, we woke up to huge thunder and lightning, and it was just pouring rain. And of course all my socks were outside drying. At that point they were already soaked all the way through, so there was nothing to do. But Friday was even worse. There was a huge storm all morning, and we had to stay in the pension. The rain was literally blowing straight sideways. You couldn't hear anything while you were inside. When we went out after the storm, a bunch of trees had fallen down. This huge tree at the church split right down the middle, smashed the fence, and knocked over a traffic light. There was a menos activo we passed by, and an entire roof had flown off of someone elses house a block a way and landed on top of his house. Crazy stuff. So yesterday, we spent the whole day out in the campo. Our high priest group leader, Hno Uribe (who's one of the coolest people I know, super strong member) is building a farm, but the storm destroyed pretty much all his work. I felt so so bad. So we were helping him clean everything up and take down all the broken things. And I got burnt to a crisp on my neck of course. But that's just how it goes.

Anyways, this week will be an adventure! I know that the Lord can do anything, and that we only have to have faith in Him and do everything we can to do His will, and He will make up the difference. Let Him guide you, and He will do much more with you than you could ever do for yourself.

Scripture study idea: Study Ether 6 and how it relates to the Plan of Salvation. I learned a lot.

Christ lives! He is the way, the truth, and the light!

Elder Meyers

We looked up the weather one day last week for Parana, look at the entry for 9am!  I guess they weren't lying.

I tried to take a picture of the storm, but this pic doesn't do it justice

My socks drying in the kitchen

The fallen tree at the church

All the people who were working.  (Left to right:  Jose Rego counselor in the bishopric, Elder Huerta, me, Hno. Uribe's brother in law, Hno. Uribe HP group leader and choir director, Hno. Saucedo counselor in bishopric)

The farm where we were working

Working in the Campo in the middle of nowhere.

Me in the campo

Me with Juan, ward mission leader

At a park on the rio

At a park on the rio

Elder Arnold (ZL) in a tree (gonna miss him)

P-day at the rio

Letter from home and Valentine's Day package!!!!

My Valentine's day package from my family!!!  Thank you so so so much, it was absolutely wonderful to feel your love for me. :)

Contents of Valentine's day package

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 5 Parana Terminal

LA HUMEDAD ME MATA. (Translated: The humidity is killing me!)

Wow wow wow I have never sweat so much in my life. It gets to points where I can't even walk any more because my eyes are stinging and I can't open them because there's so much sweat, but I can't wipe them because everything else I have is wet too. It's the worst. Fall come faster please!!! But really. Humidity. It's terrible. Pretty sure Outer Darkness is made up of straight fire and humidity. Anyways.

What a huge week of growth. I have learned and grown so so much this week. Miracles are coming to pass and I know that God is at the head of this work. I tell you what, missions are so great. They're like this awesome two year workshop where you get to dedicate all of your time every day to the gospel and living it better. What in the world could be better than that? You're free of all worldly distractions and are able to focus fully on the things that matter. I love the mission so much, it's great.

A miracle happened to the family of E**. Her man, J**, had many problems with us and E** was about to separate from him. But last week, he was very drunk and fell from the second floor of a building, and also as I understand it, received electric shocks from a cable when he fell. That experience gave him a desire to change, and he has not drunk liquor at all this week, attended church with E** and her daughter K**, and also received lesson 3 from us last night. He is now starting to think about being baptized with E**, and we hope that K** will be baptized too. Now J** and E** are looking for how they can marry. Miracles happen in the mission, I'm sure of that. If we work hard and work together with the Lord, and if it is His will, I know we can baptize this whole family.

A couple of fun things from the week: As we were tracting in Colonia, a little pueblito in our area, we passed by a house, and they were playing jazz music super loud, and I was jamming out so hard! I thought of Amaya too, shoutout to her for her jazz skills. Man, I really like jazz. It was great.

Also, there continue to be cockroaches everywhere. They breached a new boundary this week. As I was brushing my teeth, I felt one on my back. It had somehow gotten under my garment and on my back, so I reached in, grabbed it, and threw it in the sink and drowned it. Definitely a different world here.

Thought for the week: Covenants are crucial. We have to keep our covenants. But not only that, because we hear that all the time. Covenants are also a great source of comfort. We have a promise from the Lord of eternal life if we will keep our covenants, and that should be something we value and treasure above all else. We can take comfort in the fact that no matter what happens, we have that promise from the Lord, no matter what. I invite everyone to not only keep your covenants, but also: Treasure your covenants.

The Lord directs this church, and there is nothing greater in this life than the gospel of Jesus Christ, absolutely nothing. I love my Savior with all my heart! He lives!

Elder Meyers

Factura con dulce de leche (Katelyn asked me to eat one for her).

First haircut in Argentina

Last tootsie roll :(

Look at my tie (dark part is the sweaty part)

Look at the temperature on my clock, just look at it!

Our fan (literally one of my personal heroes haha)

Purple tie for fast Sunday


Shirley, who's a member of our ward, just got her mission call this week to Vina del Mar...who knows maybe she and Hma Kelson will be comps.

Zone p-day at Stake Center

Zone p-day at Stake Center

Zone p-day at Stake Center

Zone p-day at Stake Center
A better picture of our church

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Week 4 Parana Terminal

First of all, sorry for the delay, yesterday and today are holidays, so it's not exactly predictable when things will be open, since everyone is sleeping in and partying. Also the heat came back, which is no bueno. I used the thermometer on my alarm clock yesterday to measure the temperature, and it said 124F!! It was probably a little exaggerated, but regardless of the exact temperature, it's hot.

We got back to work this week, which was good. A couple highlights from the week:

E**, our most progressing investigator is doing so well! Her baptismal date right now is set for the last Saturday this month. She's nervous about it, because she doesn't want to rush into it, and she feels like it's something super sacred so she wants to make sure she's ready. We also have to wait and see what happens with her marido, since they're still living together. She's praying a lot to know whether she should separate from him or not, so we hope things can work out there. She said this week that she knows she needs to get baptized for sure, and that the church is true, it's now just a matter of when. So that's super awesome.

We also found a new investigator this week who's definitely been prepared! We are having trouble finding people right now, so that's a blessing. She said that she would be baptized if she came to know that the church was true, so hopefully our lessons this week go well.

The last thing was that Hno and Hna C**, an inactive couple, came to church this last Sunday, and both of them bore their testimonies! Hno. C** was bishop a long time ago, so we know they can be a huge strength to the ward if they will stay active. This was the result of a lesson we had with them last Thursday. We were actually on splits, and I was with one of the APs, Elder Blackmon. The lesson went super well, and we were able to ask some inspired questions. I felt strongly that I should ask Hno C** when he had felt closest to God in his life, and he said in the temple. We started talking about the temple, and he hasn't been for 10 years or so. But he really started to feel the Spirit, and he said he wanted to go back. Even though he had said we only had 10 minutes with them, we ended up teaching for about 45 minutes, and they came to church, so that was definitely a highlight.

A couple other things from the week: Like I said, we had splits on Thursday with Elder Blackmon, an AP, and Elder Arnold, one of my ZLs. Elder Blackmon es un capo!! He's from Florida, the only member in his family, and a member of about 3 years. He got here exactly a year before me, last January. We got along super well. As we were working, I don't think we stopped talking once all day. He's super pumped to go to BYU after his mission, and loves BYU sports as well. He's totally embraced Mormon culture since he got baptized and just loves it, which is good, because I'm a Utah Mormon who loves Utah, so we get along well, haha. The best thing, though, was that Elder Blackmon just loves the gospel. He delights in the scriptures and in spiritual things, and it was so great to be able to talk about all kinds of spiritual experiences during the day. I hope I can be more like him as a missionary.

Our adventure for the week was that our water heater busted. It started leaking and spraying water, and pretty much our whole kitchen floor was flooded. That took a while to clean up, and we ended up getting an entire new water heater.

Last thought for the week: A lot of times, when missionaries get their mission calls, they talk about how they just knew that that mission was the right mission for them. To be honest, I never felt that. When I got my call, I was interested, but didn't have that confirmation. This week, that confirmation came. I know that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be, and where the Lord can teach and instruct me in the best way for me. I know that sometimes we don't understand the Lord's purposes for things that go on in our life, but if we go on in faith and obedience, the Lord will always teach us more and give us greater understanding. Follow Him in EVERYTHING, because He knows best. He really does.

Christ lives today!
Elder Meyers

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 3 Parana Terminal

Hola todos!

This week was definitely a little tougher. Last pday while we were playing soccer, my companion twisted/sprained his ankle, and we had to stay in the pension pretty much all week. The first day, to be completely honest, was nice, because I had some time to myself while my companion was resting to read and study, and think a lot. But as the week went on, I started to go a little bit crazy. I hated sitting around and doing nothing, because that's not what we're here to do as missionaries. I spent most of the week reading my scriptures and other books from the missionary reference library, cleaning the apartment, watching a couple of the videos we have (like the Testaments and the District), and cleaning up the area book (the elders who were there before were terrible at keeping the area book, so I did my best to clean it up and put it back together). I learned a lot in my studies and I feel like I figured out a lot of ways that I can be a better missionary. Hopefully I can implement all of those things this week.

A couple of interesting things. There is a ward choir in our ward, which is really fun, but to be honest they sound really bad haha. It seems like pretty much every Argentine is tone deaf. But that's ok, their spirit is good. I was able to go to ward choir practice last Sunday night and play for them, and then accompany them in sacrament meeting yesterday. It wasn't the most beautiful thing I've heard, but their spirit was strong and it was good nonetheless. It also helps me appreciate my MoTab music more haha. 

I also have been growing my alfajor collection. Oh boy, I'm worried I'm going to get way gordo because alfajores are just too good. Our bishop went on vacation this last week and brought us back a box of alfajores from Mar de Plata where they were, and oh my goodness they might have been the best thing I've ever tasted. Of course, they were super expensive and I'll probably never get them again, but they were amazing. Our bishop said he felt bad buying them because they were so expensive (about 30 pesos each) but when he tried them, he thought they were easily worth 30 pesos, and I definitely agree. Anyways. Enough about alfajores. 

Our investigator E is progressing a lot! She comes to church every week and reads the Book of Mormon every morning with her daughter. They had New Beginnings for the Young Women on Saturday night, and E and C (her daughter) came, and they had C sit up front with all the young women and take pictures with them and everything. Even though the ward is small, those who are active are like family, and it was an awesome experience to see them really bringing in C. It made E super happy, too, I think, to see such warmth and friendliness. Hopefully everything will work out and she can get baptized this month! She is definitely ready and has so much faith in Jesus Christ. I've felt of Christ's love for her and know that He is pleased with her for her choices.

Spiritual thought from my many studies this week: Gratitude is so key. Whenever we are down, gratitude will bring us back up. Every time. Period. No arguments, no questions. Sometimes, it can seem hard to find things to be grateful for, but they are there I promise. There was a time this week that I was just so down, and I didn't feel like I could do it anymore, but when I started looking for my blessings, it brought me back to my Savior and I was able to find peace. And it can start with the littlest thing. For example, it may seem silly, but I started out being grateful that the light in our study room is a nice warm yellow color and not one of those unfriendly blue white lights. And I was grateful for the stars, that I could see them that night. There are ALWAYS things to be grateful for. Look for them, I promise they will bring you back to your Savior.

Well, that's all for this week. Christ lives and loves each of us!

Elder Meyers

Alfajores from our Bishop

All the missionaries playing soccer at our Stake Center on P-day

David's duck on my desk (David gave Jonathan this duck for OHS graduation and it meant a lot to David that Jonathan took it with him on his mission)

After soccer today we all went to eat at a buffet.  It was super pricey but fun.

Elder Fajardo gave me one of his Columbian soccer jerseys to remember him. haha

Me and my companion, Elder Huerta, with the alfajores from our Bishop.

My alfajor collection so far.

Sorry, you just don't understand how good they are