Saturday, June 25, 2016

Week 2 Santa Fe Rural C/Oficina

Hola todos!

This is definitely going to be a different experience. It´s going to take a little time to get used to this assignment. We don't have a set schedule, and to be completely honest my studies have suffered a little bit this week, as I've come to realize that if I don't make time for my studies, they don't happen. We are still swamped in office work. As this is still a new mission, there are a lot of things that need to be set up, and especially since we're finishing up the first year, we have to have everything prepared for the first audit of the mission so that we can use that as a base to set the budget for the mission in the coming years. We are meeting with Presidente Perez and his wife weekly, and sometimes more, to continue reviewing the finances and making sure that we have all of the correct policies in place. Hermana Perez is super helpful, because before the mission she did a lot of accounting, so she knows what she is doing. Presidente up until now hasn't been able to be in the office very much, as he's had to travel a lot finding new pensions, getting to know the mission and the members, meeting all the missionaries, etc., and because there are three districts in the mission as well, which are under his direction. But now he has more time and is in the office more, so he really wants to get a handle on the finances of the mission and get everything going smoothly again. We're hoping to get everything good as fast as possible, so that we can really get out of the office and start working. Elder Thompson has a goal to baptize three people before he goes home, so we're going to do everything possible to meet that goal.

Last night, I was able to go out on divisions with Elder Blackmon to visit O*** and V***, the investigators that Elder Ramirez and I were teaching, and it was an awesome lesson. We were teaching about following the prophet, as well as the importance of families, and O*** started to ask us about the opinion of the church on gay marriage. We hadn't taught the law of chastity yet, so we started to explain how marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and that the family is central to the creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children. (Family Proclamation) He was having a little bit of a hard time accepting it, but Elder Blackmon and I both bore our testimonies, testifying that President Monson was a prophet of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the one and only church directed by Jesus Christ, and the Spirit filled the room. Normally when we talk to O***, he doesn't like to talk much, and he avoids our eyes sometimes, but as I bore testimony to him, the Spirit came so strong, and O*** couldn't take his eyes off of me. Those moments are honestly the moments when I feel the Spirit strongest in the mission, testifying and bearing witness of the Savior and of this gospel. I know that it is true, and I cannot doubt it. It is wonderful thing to be able to testify of those simple but profound truths to these people.

I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that he saw the Father and the Son, and that They called him to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. I know that Christ lives, that He is our Savior and Redeemer, that He loves us, mourns with us, walks with us, laughs with us, and rejoices with us when we live righteously. He is there in our lives. We only have to recognize it. I love the words of the primary song If the Savior Stood Beside Me: "He is always near me, though I do not see Him there, and because He loves me dearly I am in His watchful care. So I'll be the kind of person that I know I'd like to be, if I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me." May we always recognize the presence of the Savior in our lives!

Elder Meyers

Me, Elder Thompson, Elder Blackmon, and Elder Clayton in the pension (Elder Blackmon and Elder Robles stayed the night so that we could do things together for pday)

Selfie in the office

Looking out to the rest of the office

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Week 1 Santa Fe Rural C (4th area--mission office)

This week was even crazier than the last week. I just can't seem to catch a break. My companion's medical situation got a little worse, and he is in 15 days of rest now, and he can't leave the pension. Tuesday I was in a meeting with Presidente Perez, talking about the mission choir, and I told him about that situation, and then he kind of dropped a bomb on me. He said, Ok, this is what we're going to do.Tomorrow a mini-misionero is going to arrive, and he's going to be the new companion of Elder Ramirez. You're going to pack your things and move tomorrow, as I would like you to begin training tomorrow to be the new financiero for the mission (financial secretary). Wow. I was not expecting that at all. So I now live in the pension of the office missionaries with Elder Clayton (secretario), Elder Tello (historiador), Elder Llanos (bibliotecario), and Elder Thompson (financiero). Elder Thompson goes home August 9th, so we have about a month and half to do all of my training. Presidente wanted to start early, because in the end of August, someone from the church is going to come to do the yearly audit of the mission, so he wants to make sure that I am well prepared. Elder Thompson and Elder Llanos are my new companions, and Elder Thompson is my trainer. We dove right in on Wednesday, as there have been a lot of things that haven't been done right since the start of the mission, and a lot of the proof of purchases and receipts are all mixed and messed up, so we're trying to go through and clean up the whole system. This will definitely be a different type of assignment, as I'll be here in the office every day, and we only get to go out and teach in the evenings, and sometimes if there's too much to do, we don't get the chance to go out. We're making goals, though, to try and change that so that we can maximize our proselyting time. The pension is great, it's definitely the biggest pension in the mission, because whenever missionaries come to Santa Fe they stay with us (we have around a dozen bunk beds). It's basically a house, as it has a garage, two stories, a kitchen, and eating area, 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. We also have a washer and dryer since we have to wash a lot off bedsheets all the time, so that's nice. I won't have to hand wash my clothes for a while. Also, office missionaries are usually here for a while, because it takes a lot to get trained, so I will almost for sure be here until the end of the year. Luckily, we're still in the same ward, so I don't have to get to know a bunch of new members.

As I was thinking this week about my new assignment, I started to think about the gospel applications. I was studying in Doctrine and Covenants about our stewardships, and what the Lord entrusts to us. The Lord entrusts us with many things in this life, be it money, friends, family, material goods, talents, etc., and we will be held accountable for what we have been given and what we did with it. It's amazing to see how the gospel applies to everything, and how the Church lives those principles even down to the finances of the mission. We have to be held accountable for the money that the Lord has given us to use, and it helps me remember that the Lord has given me many other stewardships, as a missionary, brother, friend, etc. that I must fulfill to be able to achieve exaltation. We must be faithful in all things, because "he that is a faithful and wise steward shall inherit all things." D&C 78:22

I know this church is true, and I am so grateful for everything that the Lord has given me. I know He lives and loves us, and wants us to be just like Him, and that we only have to follow Him to do that. I love you all!

Elder Meyers

Me, Hno Quiroz, Elder Llanos, Elder Thompson, Elder Robles

The asado

Elder Ramirez with his mini-misionero, Alejo Quiroz and his amigo who is going to start listening to the missionaries!

We had an asado in the house of Hno Quiroz this week, who is ward mission leader.  It was a great party with all the missionaries. :)

We had this awesome cake because it was a cumpleanos (birthday)

Elder Blackmon taping his shoes because they broke

Elder Robles likes to take random pictures with missionaries' cameras jaja

Elder Robles

Elder Robles

Elder Robles has a minion as well, and he had a fight with the two minions jaja

We had an ice cream party the night before I moved pensions

Elder Blackmon

Elder Robles

Typical Elder Blackmon...

McDonald's! We finally found it!  They also told me there's Subway here as well...We'll definitely have to go searching.  Probably my favorite thing from the McDonald's ad is where it says Mas Big por $10...jaja

Me in my new office in the mission office

Me and Elder Thompson with the money :)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Week 2 Santa Fe Rural

This is definitely going to be an interesting transfer, but awesome. I'm seriously having the time of my life in the mission, and there's no place on earth that I'd rather be in this moment.

My companion is having some medical issues. He has something wrong with his hip and leg, and also might have scoliosis. He's been going to the doctor a lot, and now is to therapy sessions 3-4 times a week. Because of that, he can't work very much, so I have been doing divisions like its the end of the world jaja. I think I have had about 8 different companions this week. It's definitely an adventure. It's a little difficult, because with the people we are teaching, there's a different missionary almost every time, it seems, but we do our best. Luckily we are in Santa Fe, super close to the mission office, so there are almost always missionaries available to do divisions with us. We are also having a blast living right next to the asistentes. Elder Blackmon and Elder Robles are hilarious, and we have a great time.

It's honestly really fun to work here. The people seem to be more open to listen, there are a lot of members to help us, and because it's the city, there is never a shortage of people to contact. Our investigators O*** and V*** are doing great! They are a family of 4. C*** is their 10 year old daughter, and she is a fireball that never runs out of energy and loves the missionaries. The other day she made us roses out of paper to put on our nametags. :) We have visited them almost every day this week. V*** is reading the Book of Mormon, and really wants to go to church. Unfortunately, they are not married, so that is something that we will have to work with, but that's ok! They almost came to church yesterday, which is awesome, because before, O*** told us no every time we invited him to come. They were all dressed and ready to go, but they had a family emergency last minute and had to go to the house of V***'s mom. But next week!

Other news, Presidente Perez is putting me to work with music! In July, we are going to have two big mission conferences/celebrations to celebrate the first anniversary of the mission, and at the beginning of this week, Presidente invited me to come talk to him in his office, and he put me in charge of the music for the celebration. We decided that we wanted to make a mission choir, so Elder Blackmon and I have been working together like crazy going over a list of all the missionaries, seeing who's good at singing, calling missionaries and asking them about their experience singing, and trying to get it all organized. It reminds me a little bit of before the mission when I was always making musical groups and trying to find people jaja. It will be a great experience.

This week I was studying the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy. It is one of the most important commandments the Lord has given us. As we, the members of the Church and disciples of Jesus Christ, have been set apart from the world, the Lord has given us that day to help us retain that setting apart, to rededicate ourselves to the work of the Lord. As it says in D&C 59:9,"that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day". Observance of the Sabbath day is how we keep ourselves free from the trappings and temptations of the world, and the level to which we observe the Sabbath is one of the best measures we have of our personal conversion to the Savior and His gospel.

I know without a doubt that the Savior lives and loves us, and that His plan truly is the plan of happiness, the plan by which we may obtain the greatest happiness there is to be found in this life and the life to come. I love you all!

Elder Meyers

My companion (Elder Ramirez) and I found Havanna alfajores!  So good...

We had super good salads the other day.  There's this super good salad place close by, and I think we're going to get lunch there every pday now.

Elder Llanos (bibliotecario, from Peru, super awesome)

Me and Elder Clayton (secretario y lider de distrito)

Three of the missionaries I did splits with this week. Elder Jensen-My claim to fame. Went to Bingham High (pretty sure) and played quarterback and safety.  He has a scholarship to play safety for BYU after the mission. I had him sign my planner just in case jaja. He's super nice and fun. He is also just starting his second transfer (graduated early this year).

Elder Ozuna- I already knew him from Nogoya.  Paraguayo, and he's in Victoria right now.  He was here in Santa Fe for tramites.
Elder Morrill (with the hat)- just starting his second transfer, from West Valley.  He loves singing, and did madrigals and things like that, as well as played tennis.  Also here for tramites.

Me just before daily planning with our new desks.

Us and the asistentes having an ice cream party jaja

We were trying to take a picture with me and Elder Blackmon with our papers we were using to plan the mission choir, but Elder Robles...jajaja

Me with my sweet Argentine tie that Elder Gomez gave me. :)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week 1 Santa Fe Rural (3rd Area)

Wow, another crazy week. We got here Monday night and started moving in to our pension and everything. Tuesday was pday, and then that night, we had all of new trainers stay in our pension and the pension of the asistentes (because we live across the hall from each other in the same building) so that they could go and recieve their new companions Wednesday morning. That was super fun, because Elder Gomez and Elder Fajardo are training, so I got to seem them again! After that, we cleaned up the pension a lot Wednesday, and then Wednesday night the zone leaders stayed with us, because Thursday morning was consejo de la misión (mission council), and that was fun as well, as Elder Gonzalez and Elder Rocha were some who stayed with us. Thursday we weren't able to go out and work, because we still had no idea how to get to our area, and the asistentes had to show us, but they were super busy this week, and on top of all of that we don't have a cell phone for now. Friday we were finally able to go out and work in divisiones with the asistentes, get to know the area a little bit, meet some of the investigators and members. Saturday we were able to work as well, and we had fun getting a little lost, and then doing divisiones with the asistentes again.

Sunday was awesome. We got up early and traveld to Paraná for stake conference so I could play the piano for the Nogoyá choir, and it was great. There were two sessions, and they were presided by an area Seventy from Chile. He spoke both times, as well as Presidente and Hermana Perez. I was also able to see all the members of Nogoyá, and from Terminal. I was super excited to find out that K***, the daughter of E***, got baptized last week, and that E*** and J*** will be getting married in a week or two and getting baptized as well! They were there for both sessions of stake conference, and they're just awesome. I was super happy. I definitely have come to love the people in those two areas a lot. I couldn't stop smiling, and just wanted to spend hours talking to each one of them. It was also very gratifying to see the smiles on the faces of all the members from Nogoyá. There was definitely a change. They are so much more united, and happy, and I love them all so much. It will definitely always be a special place for me. I also found out that the C*** from Terminal reactivated, and that Hna. C*** is the teacher for Sunday School now! Lots of good news. :) After that, we went back to Santa Fe for our own ward meetings, which go from 3-6. It's a little complicated because they are renovating the chapel where we normally meet (where the mission office is), and will be doing that until November, so we meet in another chapel in Santa Fe. For that reason we meet so late in the day. We got to meet the bishop and some of the members. There is also an Area Seventy that lives in our ward, and he taught priesthood, so that was cool. Basically I'm super excited to work here, and start another area! Woot!

I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ, and that He restored the truths of His gospel through His servant and prophet, Joseph Smith. I love Him, and this gospel, and I love being a missionary. It's the greatest thing ever. Love you all!

Elder Meyers

All the trainers (sorry it's a little blurry)

Me and Elder Fajardo!

There's a railway that passes right in front of our apartment, and huge freight trains pass by two or three times a day.  It's brought back a lot of memories from my childhood wanting to be a train engineer. :)

Me and Elder Ramirez with ice cream (it was on sale...)

Me and Elder Gonzalez and Elder Rocha

Selfies with our clean apartment

My first birthday package got here!  I didn't want to wait to open it. :)  But don't worry, I saved the decorations for the big day.

Elder Blackmon and I decided to start running in the morning three times a week.  He was half asleep in this picture, but it's great fun. And cold. But still great fun.

I finally received my Swiss Medical card after 5 months (we're supposed to get it when we arrive), which is our card we use from our insurance when we go to the doctor.  According to them, I am now Elder Wooley.  Maybe it's a tribute to Grandpa. :)

Me and President Romero in Parana (Branch President from Nogoya)

Me and Elder Robles (other asistente from Mexico) with our purple ties for fast Sunday

Me and Elder Garibay (from the MTC) who I saw today in ciber!

Playing piano for Nogoya choir at Stake Conference in Parana

Playing piano for Nogoya choir at Stake Conference in Parana