Monday, October 30, 2017

Week 20 Nebel Concordia

Hola gente! :)

Well, I have no time, so this week I'm just going to let Google translate do the work and send you most of my letter to my mission president this week. I love you all!

Dear President,

So many things that I want to say. It was a week of blessings and learning, of spiritual experiences, of faith, diligence, and weaknesses and repentance. In other words, it was another week in the Lord's work, and there is no other place I would like to be. We had a baptism this past weekend of a 13-year-old boy named Victor. It was a miracle, and I am very grateful for the mercy of the Lord in allowing us to find him. We found him knocking on doors in search of a less active member, and a month to the day after we found him, he was baptized. He was very prepared, and the youth have done a fantastic job in including him in their activities and in the youth group. Now Victor has a shirt and tie that he can wear to church, and he is excited to receive the priesthood and help with the sacrament. Also, the young men are working so that he, along with some other young men that we are teaching, can attend PFJ (like EFY) in January. Victor is very excited. He's such a great kid, it was a blessing to meet him. I love the mission. Victor's baptismal service was excellent, we had a recent convert of about 10 months perform the baptism, and for him it was a very special experience, being the first time he had baptized someone. After the baptism, we were delighted to see that the members, without asking, began to fellowship the people who were not members who were attending. The kids from the Primary started playing with the other kids, the youth started playing soccer with the youth, and the sisters of the Relief Society sat down to drink mate there in the chapel with the women that were in attendance. It was such a blessing to see the members helping so much with the missionary work without being asked. Also, we were able to use the service as an opportunity to find, and we found a new investigator there at the baptism who also went to church on Sunday! It was a very successful baptismal service.

I discovered many things about the missionary work in this past month, and the truth is, I feel that I am a better missionary than I was in September. I learned a lot about faith, diligence, and the doctrine of Christ, and I hope to continue applying those things during November, December, and the rest of my life. I have come to feel a deep desire to "declare repentance." This week I was reflecting on the scripture found in Helaman 5: 9-11, which says: "yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world. ...therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls. " What a joyful duty! The duty and calling to declare the good news of the conditions of repentance to the whole world, because there is no other way by which they can be saved. My testimony of the uniqueness of the way, and the exceedingly great importance of following it, has greatly increased, and I feel to repeat the Apostle Paul's words: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for [I know that] it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. " This week I was listening to a song too, called Better than a Hallelujah, which talks about many times the tears of repentance, sincere and anguished prayers in times of need and despair, and changed hearts are more pleasing to God than a praise, and for me it was only added to my testimony of the beauty of repentance. What a great blessing is the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In divisions, to train the missionaries, I have been using a scripture that I found in my Preach My Gospel study that I loved. It is found in John 15: 1-16, and it speaks of Jesus Christ being the true vine, and that we are the branches. If we disconnect from the vine, we will lose all nutrition and power that only comes from the vine. So, being branches, our purpose is to bear fruit, and in v. 2, Jesus Christ tells us that those who bear fruit will be cleansed (or purified), so that they bear MORE fruit. Then he tells us that He chose us, and He put us here so that we may bear fruit, and so that the fruit may remain. I loved that analogy so much, and there is so much to learn, that I decided that I would share it in every division I make. It also helps to teach the new focus of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to baptize MORE converts. To be able to do that, we will have to be clean, and connect 100% to the power of the real vine, and thus we will be able to bear more fruit.

Elder Meyers

Baptism of Victor!

Me, Victor, and Elder Streuling

Baptism of Victor!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Week 19 Concordia Nebel

Hola gente!

So, I totally forgot about something from last week! The Saturday before transfers (the 14th of October), we did a Mini-MTC for the youth in Concordia! We ended up not getting it announced in time due to a district presidency change and a little bit of confusion about schedules, but in the end we had about 16 youth that participated throughout the day, and it was a great experience! The night before, we cleaned up the district center and organized the "MTC". The next day we started up with breakfast at 7am, and as the youth arrived we gave them a nametag, a calling packet with materials for the day, and a kit with missionary materials (a Book of Mormon, pamplets, pass a long cards, etc.). We started off with a devotional, a message from a couple from La Bianca that were the "MTC President and Wife", and then we gave a little orientation on how the day would be. They all then had a class on effective scripture study with Hno. Reyna, our branch mission leader, who served in Buenos Aires, and then we assigned everyone their companions and districts! They then went to rotation classes with three returned sister missionaries from the district, Hna. Burgui (returned two months ago from Brazil), Hna. Arriola (the daughter in law of our Relief Society President, returned 3 years ago from Argentina Posadas) and Hna. Alvarenga (returned 3 years ago from Argentina Mendoza). The classes were about the Restoration, the role of the Spirit, and the importance of the Book of Mormon. We then had lunch, prepared by some members, and then a time for them to do companionship study. After their study, Elder Streuling and I gave a workshop on the doctrine of Christ and how to focus on the missionary purpose while teaching, and then they had their district meetings with their district. We then had a workshop on finding, and we taught some basics of contacting people in the street, and then had a companionship demonstrate, and then had all the youth practice contacting the missionaries. They were nervous, but they loved it. Once we finished that, we gave an area to each companionship of youth, along with a list of former investigators, less-actives, and other people that they could visit in their area, and then they headed out for two hours to visit people and talk with them in the streets. As they all came back they were so excited! They loved it, and felt the Spirit strongly. We finished up the day with a testimony meeting, and each of the youth shared their experience that they had had as they had gone out to work in their "areas". It was nothing short of amazing. Each had felt the Spirit so strongly, and young men who were kind of on the border said that they knew for sure now that they wanted to serve a mission. Two of the young women related that they had been walking, and saw a woman get off a bus ahead of them. As they got closer, at first they didn't want to talk to her, but then they looked at each other and said, let's do it. As they got to where the woman was, they realized that she was crying. They began to share with her a message about the love of God, and the woman started to cry even more. She told them that she had just gone through some terrible things with her family, and that she didn't know what to do, and that to her these two young women were angels sent to her from God, because they arrived in just the right moment to help, just when she was feeling terrible and lost and lonely. As the young women told us about this experience, they both began to cry as well, and the Spirit was very present. At the end of the meeting, we finished with a video message that Presidente and Hna. Perez had recorded for us to show, since they couldn't be there in person. Overall, it was an awesome activity, and Elder Streuling and I loved the opportunity we had to teach other youth about missionary work, and that we were able to help plan an activity that would help them feel the Spirit in such a special way.

Well, I'm almost out of time, but a quick update, our investigator Vxxx passed his baptismal interview!! He is super excited to be baptized this Saturday, and we are excited for him, too. He is an awesome kid, and it's so fun to work with him. He doesn't always understand everything, but he tries his best to learn and be better. Every time we have a lesson, he always asks us if he can do the prayer, and he practices his prayers so that he can get better every time. We also gave him his first white shirt (donated by Elder Chaname, who is pretty small-sized jaja), and Hno. Reyna gave him his first tie. Vxxx is super excited to wear his brand new shirt to his baptism. When we taught him about tithing and fast offerings, he got so excited he told us that he was going to pay tithing every week, and that he was going to fast from Monday to Thursday! Jaja we told him that it wasn't necessary, and that he would probably be pretty hungry if he didn't eat for three days, but that's just a little idea of his enthusiasm. He's a great kid. And Gabriel, our YM president, who is a convert of just 10 months and is 19, has been helping us out a ton with our lessons, and he has personally taken charge of Vxxx, to take him to activities, to accompany him to church, etc. Gabriel is awesome.

I love this work, and I love the Lord! Have a great week!

Elder Meyers


This is our investigator Vxxx with his new shirt and tie!

This is a little 4 year old kid who was the best missionary of the day!  He stood outside of the church (during our capilla abierta) and literally every single person that passed by, he ran up to them, handed them an invitation, and pointed to the church and told them to come.  He must have handed out at least 150 invitations in just 2 1/2 hours.  I had to take a picture with him. :)

Capilla Abeirta in Universidad!  This is lunch.

Outside after the capilla abierta
Universidad had a huge baptism after the capilla abierta of a family of 8, 5 of which were baptized (the others are little) all together!  How cool is that?  I played the piano for the baptism.

Our weekly correlation meeting with our branch mission leader in his Mexican restaurant. :)

Two new elders came to Concordia this week, one of them a brand new missionary, Elder Gallart!  We shared some ice cram with them their first night to help them feel welcome.

Our church building

This morning we played basketball at the church, and we invited Vxxx, our investigator.  He had a blast. :)

Mini MTC!  MTC Concordia :)

Materials room
Entrance desk

The youth, instructors, and MTC President and wife

Lunch

After a class

The Restoration class

The youth returning from contacting!
The youth returning from contacting!
Refreshments

Me and Elder Streuling afterwards


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