Saturday, January 28, 2017

Week 33 Santa Fe Rural C Oficina

Hola mis amigos y familia!

It was definitely a notable week. First off, Nxxx and Dxxx are going to get baptized next Saturday! We are super excited!! We're not sure how it's going to work with the capilla abierta the same day, but we'll make it work. We taught them this week about the Word of Wisdom, and the importance of reading the scriptures and saying prayers every day. Their mom, Hna Mxxx is awesome, as well! She has been a member her whole life, but was inactive for a long time. Elder Thompson and Elder Llanos visited her a lot, and helped to reactivate her, and she is at the church all the time now. The other day she was here with the relief society president, helping to clean out the closets and organize all the teaching materials. And now her two sons are getting baptized! Woohoo!

We also continued our tour of the mission, passing by Rafaela, Sunchales and San Cristobal! It's pretty fun to get to know other parts of the mission, and see the missionaries in all the different parts.

In other news, I was basically confined to the office this week, because I got an ingrown toenail... I'm not exactly sure how that happened, but basically I lived the whole week in flip flops. I wasn't able to teach very much, but we organized lessons in the church, and we went to a couple of appointments in taxis, and then the rest, Elder Carrion did splits with other missionaries to be able to visit everyone. It's been a little frustrating, because all I want to do is go out and work every day and teach and invite people to come unto Christ! But. The Lord is testing my patience, and knows what we need to grow and progress. We only have to submit ourselves to the Lord's will, accept His timing, and then do everything in our power to make righteous choices, and we will be blessed.

This last Wednesday, we had a worldwide missionary training meeting. It was really cool! It was given by the Missionary Executive Council, which consists of Elder Oaks, Elder Bednar, Elder Andersen, Elder Nielson, Bishop Waddell, Sister Oscarson, and Stephen Allen, the managing director of the Missionary Department. They did it in a different format. First, Elder Nielson, the executive director of the missionary department, gave a video tour of the offices of the missionary department, showing the map of all the missions of the world, along with the wall with the pictures of all the mission presidents in the world. He then took us to the room where the council meets, and then it was basically like we were participating in a meeting of the Executive council. They started with a prayer, and then they had a normal meeting, presenting items on the agenda, discussing what they hoped that the missionaries could learn, and suggestions for how to better understand the doctrine of Christ and how to better teach it. Every once in a while, Elder Oaks, who presides the council as the senior apostle on the council, would say something directly to the missionaries, like, "I hope you caught that," or, "Please remember that...". They reviewed a lot of the points that they taught last year in the worldwide training, with the huge focus being to teach repentace and baptize converts. It was amazing. At the end, they announced two big policy changes for missionaries. First of all, after a lot of consideration, they decided to give more flexibility in the missionary schedule. It is now, rather than a set schedule that we follow every day, more a list of tasks that we need to accomplish each day, and we as a companionship take the freedom and responsibility to make sure we get them done during the day. We still have a set time to get up in the morning, and it is suggested that we do personal study and exercise in the mornings before going out, but then it is up to us to decide when we will do companionship study, when we will eat, when we will plan, etc. including more flexibility in how long we study, based on the needs of the day. They also cut down on the study time on pday, hoping that we can now accomplish everything we need to on pday so that we can have more time during the week to be focused 100% on the work. The other change was that instead of reporting 9 key indicators (numbers that we report each week like baptisms and lessons taught), we now only report 4, with the idea that we can focus more on our central purpose, which is to teach repentance and baptize converts. It was an inspired meeting.

As I was pondering throughout the week after the training, I thought a lot about why the apostles and prophets are putting so much emphasis on repentance. Repentance is a key and essential principle in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is basically the driving principle in the plan of salvation. Without repentance, we cannot progress, we cannot change, and ultimately cannot return to the presence of God. Without repentance, we are lost. Repentance is also more than something we do after committing a large sin. Rather, it is a manner of living, a lifestyle through which we constantly change and progress. It is being humble, teachable, relying wholly on the merits of Him who is mighty to save. It literally brings us closer to God every time we do it. It is how we turn to Him, and experience that might change of heart. Repentance is the action that comes from faith. Faith without works is dead, and as Christ taught repeatedly in His Sermon on the Mount, we must not be hearers only of the word, but doers also. If we have faith in Him, we will act and repent. That is the doctrine of Christ.

I know that repentance brings us closer to Him, and that through it we can become like Him. May we repent every day, constantly relying on the power and grace and mercy of our Savior Jesus Christ!

Elder Meyers

Finally pulled out my gray suit again!  I hadn't worn it for a long time because I had gained a little too much weight...But now it fits me again!  Huzzah! jaja

Argentina now came out with the 200 peso bill.  It has a whale on it. :)


Random picture of Elder Henriquez

My ingrown toenail with antiseptic soaked gauze to separate the nail from the infected skin  (not sure if you really want to upload this one...jaja)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week 32 Santa Fe Rural C Oficina

Saludos!

First off, shout out to my sister Emily, who turns 18 YEARS OLD today! Where does the time go??

We keep going strong here in Rural. Unfortunately, our investigator Gxxx that was going to be baptized this coming Saturday didn't come to church today... Satan is real. We were pretty sad, because we were so excited for her to be baptized this coming week, and because she has gained a great testimony of prayer and scripture reading. She knows that the church is true, and that coming to church will help her, but sometimes family activities on Sundays can make it hard. We're going to visit her today and hopefully we can set another baptismal date for the coming weeks.

We continue to receive referrals like crazy! It's awesome, but we can barely keep on top of them all. It's great, because it stretches us to use our time wisely and not lose a moment. We have a capilla abierta in two weeks, so we are also working like crazy to invite everyone to come, and to get all of the members excited about the activity. I know that if we work together as members and missionaries we will see many miracles in that activity. So excited!

Also, Dxxx and Nxxx came back from vacations, so we can start visiting them again! They are super ready for baptism, so we're excited to start teaching them again and help them make those covenants. Mxxx and Dxxx just need to get married. They are seriously like members without being baptized. They know pretty much everything, they come to church, they pray, they feed the missionaries, sometimes multiple times a week. They are prepared!

Yesterday, Elder Carrion and I did a tour of all the apartments in the Concordia zone. We woke up at 5am to leave at 6am (it's about a 4 hour drive from Santa Fe to Concordia). We got there about 10am. We spent most of the day passing by apartments, Elder Carrion making sure to take notes of everything, and then we headed back, getting back to Santa Fe about 10pm. But we had a great experience, after leaving one of the apartments, as we went to the car, we ran into a police officer who was on patrol (here in Argentina, most of the police are on street corners, or have a block that they cover by foot). He started to talk to us, asking us if the missionaries had changed, since where they lived was his block and he saw them almost every day. We started talking, and ended up having a 40 minute conversation about the Restoration. In the end, he didn't accept the invitation to visit him at his home, but we planted the seed, and he seemed to think about it a great deal. It reminded me of the importance to be missionaries at all times and in all places, even when we're doing office work and apartment inventories, we are still missionaries, and are still called to share the gospel. I love being a missionary.

As I was reading and studying this week, I learned something that really changed my perspective on how I live the gospel. I was reading a talk by President Eyring called Priesthood and Personal Prayer, and he shared a quote from President Joseph F Smith that says:

We do not have to cry unto him with many words. We do not have to weary him with long prayers. What we do need, and what we should do as Latter-day Saints, for our own good, is to go before him often, to witness unto him that we remember him and that we are willing to take upon us his name, keep his commandments, work righteousness; and that we desire his Spirit to help us.

As we pray often, we witness to the Lord that we always remember Him, and that we are worthy of the blessing of His Spirit. It is less in what we say in our prayers, or what words we use, and so much more in how often we do it. When we cry unto the Lord day and night, we come closer to Him, and we truly come to understand what it is to "always remember Him".

May we each pray a little more often and a little more sincerely every day, that we may come to know our Father in Heaven and His will for us.

Elder Meyers


Last p-day we spent with Elder Parker and Elder Gifford.  Elder Carrion made this delicious Peruvian dish called aji de pollo.  Spicy and good. :)

Aji de pollo

Ok, so this sign is a sign for the coordinated traffic lights here called onda verde (green wave, more or less).  Basically if you hit a green light, you hit the next twenty green lights in a row because it's all coordinated that way. 

My face that I make when almost all of the missionaries forget to send me their rent receipts jaja

Concordia!  In one of the areas the missionaries live in an apartment on the 8th floor or something like that.  It was pretty cool.  In this picture you can kind of see a downtown area in the distance.  That's Uruguay!  Crazy!

Concordia

Looking out over Concordia

The drive from Concordia to Federal (a town that's part of the Concordia zone)

With the Federal Elders

Elder Brown in their apartment.  It was a pretty cool apartment, with a loft for them to sleep.

The sunset heading back to Santa Fe


Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 31 Santa Fe Rural C Oficina

Hola!

What a great week. We are really starting to get into gear with the members in the ward, and the work is accelerating. Last year as a district we averaged about 5 or 6 lessons with members each week, but this last week we had 14. As we've changed the focus a little bit to include members in the work, I have seen the change. It's all a part of the Lord hastening His work. As we all contribute to this great work of salvation, we will be blessed. I know it.

Unfortunately, yesterday, we had a huge thunderstorm in the morning, so no investigators came to church... The biggest problem is that most people walk to church because they don't have cars, so if it's raining buckets, they are most likely going to stay in their house instead of walking 20 blocks in the pouring rain. But we don't let that get us down, because a little rain can't stop the work of the Lord from going forward!

We had a great capilla abierta last Saturday in La Paz! La Paz is the biggest zone in the mission with 24 missionaries, so we had a lot of helping hands! It rained in the morning, but in the afternoon it was nice and clear, and we had a lot of visitors pass through the church. We ended up with many referrals and baptismal dates for the elders in La Paz. I also had a great experience during the capilla abierta. I am normally inside, since I help out with the technical part (turning on the audio track of Jesus Christ's words), and so I have the opportunity to be present during every tour that the hermanas conduct. On Saturday, as some of the hermanas were teaching, I was so impressed with their focus on the investigators that were in the tour. As they taught, they focused right in on the specific needs of each person there, and it seemed to be that, although they were teaching the Restoration, it was very specifically directed and personalized for each person in the room. It made me think about how important it is for us to minister to the one. President Monson is one of the very best examples of this, always looking to serve and minister to the one. I would encourage each of you to look for that "one"; one person that needs your help, one person that you can lift and inspire, one person that you can serve. As we serve the one, we become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Meyers

Bowling last week

Purple ties for Fast Sunday! :)

So, we had to say goodbye to our truck this week...they took it to Buenos Aires to do repairs, and it will be there for about a month.  So now we have an interim car, the white one.


Driving the new car!


Elder Carrion and I went to Galvez this week to visit their apartments and look at some repairs that needed to be done.

With the Elders in Galvez

Cool sunrise on Saturday! (we had to get up at 5am so that we could get to La Paz on time to start capilla abierta)


In front of the capilla de La Paz

Lunch with all the missionaries and members

Elder Santos, me, and Elder Fajardo

It was Elder Santos' 20th birthday!

Me and Elder Gomez (he did the baptism part with another Elder)

Me and Elder Clement!  Elder Clement got here with me, he and Elder Gomez are the zone leaders in  La Paz

With Elder Kotter!  One of the best missionaries I know for sure.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Week 30 Santa Fe Rural C Oficina

Feliz año nuevo!! Bienvenidos a 2017!

Finally back to a normal week. Things are starting to get moving again! As we've started to put more focus on work with members, we've started to see a little bit of a change in the ward. We are feeling a little more unity, a little more happiness, more of the Spirit in the ward. We've still got a lot we can do, but these little things are testimonies to me of the inspired counsel from the First Presidency to work together as members and missionaries in this great work. We are beginning to see greater trust between the missionaries and members, more referrals, more lessons with members present! This can only be going to one place: more baptisms, and more retention! As I think of the blessings that are in store if we keep on this path, I can't help but get excited. A greater number of people will come to know their Savior, and a greater number people will stay on that straight and narrow path that leads to the temple, that leads to eternal covenants of promise and blessings. It means more souls saved in the kingdom of God! If that isn't exciting, I don't know what is. :)

Unfortunately, Dxxx and Nxxx, the two boys we were teaching, unexpectedly went out of town on vacation until the 23rd... And they had a baptismal date for today... But that's ok. As soon as they get back, we are going to get right back to where we were so that we can help them reach that goal. We have also been teaching their cousin, Sxxx, who is 8 years old. He loves coming to church, and normally goes with Nxxx and Dxxx and their mom. But our goal has been to teach Sxxx's mom, as well, as it isn't usually wise to baptize an 8 year old by themselves if no one else in their family is a member, because they won't have the support they need to remain active through their childhood and teenage years. We had gone a couple of times over the last couple of weeks, looking for Sxxx's mom, but we could never seem to find her. But this week, Elder Carrion and I finally found her! Her name is Bxxx, and we talked to her about her son and about God. She was kind of hesitant to talk to us. It seems that she's had experiences in her life that have caused her to form resentment towards God and towards churches in general. But as we taught the Restoration on the doorstep and testified of the power of the Book of Mormon, she seemed to open up a little bit, almost like she wants it to be true but can't bring herself to believe it. She is still rather doubtful, but we are hoping and praying that her heart will be softened and that we will be able to help her enter the waters of baptism with her son. We've also been doing a lot of contacting this week, and we have several potential investigators that we plan on teaching the coming week. We continue to visit Mxxx and Dxxx, but they still need to get married. They haven't quite found the conviction to take the necessary steps. It hurts a lot, but we might have to drop them as investigators soon if they don't seem to progress more. They have made lots of changes, and I am convinced that they will be baptized at some point in their lives. We continue to strive to do everything possible to prepare them so that when that moment comes they will be ready to make the special covenant of baptism.

In other news, we had an amazing training meeting this week with Presidente Perez and Elder Levrino. It is a great blessing to have an area seventy that works in the same building as us, because he helps us and answers our questions all the time. Especially with his experience as a previous mission president, he has a special place in his heart for missionaries. On Thursday, we had about an hour meeting with Presidente and Elder Levrino in Presidente's office, and they gave us a training on how to work in the mission office, how to manage priorities, and how to use time wisely and plan effectively. Elder Levrino told us that he served in the mission office on his mission, and he shared some of the things that he learned during his mission, as well as during his time as a mission president. Presidente also shared some great tips and teachings on the importance of keeping our missionary purpose as our number one priority in everything that we do, and keeping the vision of what we want to accomplish. It helped us all a lot. It is a great privilege to have such close access to such righteous and inspired men, a mission president and area seventy! We have been very blessed.

As I have been studying the Book of Mormon, I have come to realize just how often it speaks of the basic principles of the gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, and the Holy Spirit), and how often it speaks of preaching and sharing the gospel with others. It is in almost every page! As Joseph Smith said, "After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel." As we come to have a testimony of the gospel in our personal lives, we can experience even greater joy as we help others to develop their own testimonies of the gospel, as we help them to make changes in their lives and encourage them to follow their Savior Jesus Christ. That is where we find joy. Share the gospel! It will literally change your life.

Have a great week!

Elder Meyers

**Here are a few pictures from Elder Maynard taken in December:

Transfer week and lots of meetings


Sleepy Elder Meyers jaja :)

Consejo de lideres lunch


Me and Elder Maynard

Christmas gift exchange at missionary conference

**Pictures from this week:

We saw this cool Paraguay license plate on the way to Rosario for tramites

A cool bridge on the way to Rosario

Rosario is way bigger than Santa Fe

Me and Elder Dillon (using the GPS)

Our route out of Rosario heading back to Santa Fe took us right past the Monumento de la Bandera!  It's a huge monument to the Argentine flag in Rosario, because that's where their flag was made.  Pretty cool!


A cool stone tunnel that reminded me of Europe

Me.  In my chair.

I made hot chocolate

Lunch time in the office (Elder Carrion, Elder Dillon, Elder Henriquez, and me)

Me with a really cool tie that Elder Carrion gave me for Christmas! :)