Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 20, 2015 A Trip to the Beach and a Wonderful Week




MORE PICTURES BELOW THIS LETTER

     This coming week marks the end of yet another transfer cycle. Interesting to think I’ve been with Elder Caceras for 5 weeks now. When I think how I felt when one of the assistants called me and told me I would be training I remember feeling a little apprehension and unsure of what would happen, unsure what challenges and successes would confront me. Thus it is just before a change in our way of life occurs. We get comfortable were out and change can seem undesirable, but what I’ve learned is that when we just take that step forward with faith, trusting completely in the Lord, all will work out to our favor. Now maybe that won’t happen immediately, but there are many experiences waiting within those changes that help us grow better magnifying potential. Thus it has been with Elder Caceros. Sure we’ve had our challenges, our ups and downs, but along the way I know that I’ve grown a lot as a missionary and as a disciple of Christ and the he also has grown alongside me. This past week was great and some miracles were definitely seen here in the work as they are ever so present.

      Last P-day was actually rather special. Elder Caceras and I headed with a family (that have been members for 2 years) to a little town further up in the foothills of the Andes in their car. We found ourselves in a very peaceful place with fresh air and a great view. To pass some time we played guitar and ukulele which made for a lot of fun. It was a fun little getaway that brightened our day and let us adventure out of Casa Grande. We also got to teach J__, but I’ll mention him a bit later.
      Every Tuesday morning we have district meeting where the entire zone of missionaries come to Casa Grande to be trained once a week. We start off together as a zone then break apart into our respective districts where the district leaders lead a two hour training according to the needs of the district. So as a district leader I prayerfully prepare a class each week. This week I focused on the Book of Mormon and how like the Liahona it can guide and will guide us through this life if we’re obedient and if we give it attention. As missionaries we frequently encounter that guiding power and it is our responsibility to help others recognize that power, helping find answers to their doubts through that book. Getting to talk and teach about the power the book has to change the lives of those we teach is always something I love to explain as the spirit is ever so present.

       This week we also had a multi-zone conference in Trujillo. The focus was that of the temple and on helping those we teach understand the need to go to church. It was inspiring and I liked D& C 109:22 which mentions how we will leave the temple armed with power and protection being that we’re servants of the Lord. Sister Marler also gave each one of us a piece of the temple painting. Meaning that the paintings for the temple were printed in the states then shipped here and applied to the walls in some parts, the extra bits which were cut off were given to us. It was fun and I’m sure there are pictures on the blog.
     The Lord blessed us with several miracles here in Casa Grande. J____ is continuing to progress and told us that if he were married, he would be baptized the next day. We explained the law of chastity and he told us he will marry his partner very soon (money being the problem). We also explained the Word of Wisdom and he told us that “I am drinking coffee and tea, but I won’t from here on out.” He is so willing to change and it has been a miracle. His heart has been softened after several years. Another sister, I___, whose son is a member and who has listened to missionaries off and on for 13 years, told us that she’s willing to give up some worldly things and wants to be baptized on the 8th of August! The Lord is blessing us to see miracles for sure.
     This past Sunday was also a day of miracles as quite a few investigators and less actives came to church. I also gave a talk about the fundamental importance in reading the Book of Mormon each day. That if we don’t, we’re living below our God-given potential. That if we’ll but read it 15 minutes a day, our lives will change. I finished reading it again this past week and I can promise assuredly that it changes lives and that it, in combination with the temple, works miracles. Miracles that I have seen in the lives of many like J___ and I___ (they both went to the Temple Open House as well).
     I wish you all a great week!





Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July 13, 2015 Wonderful and Busy Week

That time has come back around and it’s time to look over the weekly letter of missionary work way down south in a little country called Peru. This past week was great seeing as though it was fairly normal and the Lord has blessed us to press forward with faith in our little part of his vineyard. Elder Caceres is becoming more and more adapted to missionary life and has passed through some rough patches trying to get used to being a full time servant of the Lord. But in these past few weeks, we’ve worked hard and have grown close together. The Spirit has also been so very present everyday as we set out to serve. It’s  helped to me to realize that every step as missionaries isn’t an accident and that the Lord truly guides us to those whom he has prepared and that every step fulfills our preordained mission for these 2 years as representatives of Christ.
      On Monday we headed to Trujillo as a zone which was pretty awesome. Though I was one of the few missionaries that actually knew Trujillo pretty well so I had to guide everyone around. We headed to a famous strip of stores called Espana Avenue and we headed to the mall. Along the way we ran into a lot of missionaries which was cool, but it did slow us down a bit. However, I got to by some Chinese food and some donuts so I was content. Later that day we visited the D___family to help them learn how to conduct family home evening. It was clear that there was a different spirit in that house. They had a large picture of the temple on the wall (a gift from one of the members) and they were noticeably happier. It’s hard to fully explain with words, but it’s been so easy to see how choosing to follow Christ has completely changed this family with a calming peace in their home and within their countenances. Experiences like this one are certainly a part of what makes these the best 2 years. As missionaries we help others come unto Christ and taste of his infinite goodness if they accept the invitation.

     On Wednesday, we had our monthly zone conference here in Casa Grande which was rather uplifting. We finally received information about temple attendance and learned that as missionaries we will only be able to attend once every 3 months as zones. However, we can take recent converts to the temple. So we can take P___ and Y____ soon to do baptisms. The conference also had a large emphasis on faith. We have the same commission that Alma exclaimed in Alma 5:49. Like the missionaries of old, we are called to declare “everyone that dwelleth in the land…that they must repent and be born again“ to be filled with true joy. We have the same power and authority as that of the missionaries of old and we are just as capable as they were. However, perhaps one of the limits we place ourselves would be that of our faith. As Moroni wrote, “it was by faith that they of old were called after the holy order of God,” “It was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought [such success with thousands].”  So if as missionaries we truly have faith in Christ, having hope and trust in his promises without doubt and press forward, we can and will teach with the same power and authority of those that have passed like Ammon.

     Returning back to the work here in Casa Grande, Jose continues to show a lot of pure desires and is progressing along. We had one special lesson in which we shared Mormon expounding upon the truth that God is a God of Miracles. He doesn’t change and if he called prophets before and worked miracles, why and how could he change if he is an unchangeable being. It was an impactful lesson and it helped Jose to see the importance in obtaining a testimony of Joseph Smith. We also met a young man named A___ who was completely prepared to listen to use and return to church. He is a young man who went inactive a year ago and lives alone with his mother who isn’t a member. We taught them both this week and went with them to church this past Sunday. The ward jumped in to welcome them. Now he and his mother will probably return to church regularly, because the Lord prepared them and blessed us with some awesome members. We’ll continue to work with A___ and his mother and who knows maybe Meli will want to be baptized. Only time will tell.

     It’s been a good week here in Casa Grande as we’ve tried to increase our faith and magnify our calling as messengers of Christ. I hope you all have a great week and recognize the blessings that the Lord pours upon us daily, be it during time of trial or times of peace. I also thank those that take the time to write emails.

iHasta la proxima semana!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 6, 2015 The Baptism of a Family on July 4

     Well this past week the Peru Trujillo Mission ceased to exist. With the beginning of July the Mission was finally split into 2 parts. I am now part of the Peru Trujillo North Mission. It ranges from Trujillo up north to Cajamarca. So I can say that I’ve been in 2 different missions with the same mission president, who will be finishing when I finish my mission. Of course the change of mission hasn’t really had any impact on my life as a missionary as I’m still here in Casa Grande with Elder Caceres with President Marler as my president. The work here in Casa Grande is going great as I’ll get into. Elder Caceras and I are teaching with more and more unity and are loving our time here. We had a tough week in terms of appointments falling through and having difficulties with finding people to teach, but as we preserved the Lord blessed us in a big way.
 
     Last P-day was good, the first P-day I had to organize and coordinate. We bought some pizza for lunch which was very tasty-there’s a guy here that makes pizza her in Casa Grande. Later that night was the Cup soccer games involving Peru so it should have been hard to find people to teach, but we were blessed to have 2 great lessons. Including one in which we talked in respect to obedience and it was something very simple, but the Spirit was strongly present as we testified of the first law of heaven.
     This week we had many excellent plans to visit investigators with appointments and with members. However, despite the fact that we confirmed appointments the day of and had members with us, almost every single appointment fell through - certainly a trial of faith which does happen fairly often in the mission. However, we kept pushing forward and we were able to teach __ and ___ each day in preparation for their baptism. We helped take them the last few preparatory steps toward that rebirth and it was great. All was looking well until Thursday night when ___ (their daughter) fell ill. Now this was the night before their interviews and looked like the interviews might be a little difficult as their daughter (who was also going to be baptized was sick). She asked us to give her a blessing so we placed our hands on her head and my companion nervously gave one of his first blessings. The next day came and at 7:30 p.m. all were present in the chapel ready for their interviews. She was smiling and laughing, she was completely fine and the first thing she mentioned to the zone leaders was the “Elders gave me a blessing and I feel better.” It was a touching moment.
     Then Saturday came and it was a day that was much anticipated. The baptismal service was to start at 3:00 but no one was there except the bishop was there. Luckily in Peruvian fashion everyone started coming after 40 minutes and we started at 4:00. It started off with 2 excellent messages given by ___ and ____(friends of the family who gave the initial referral). They also did a special musical number. Then the baptisms came and all went perfectly. I baptized the father and Elder Caceras baptized the daughter and a member baptized the mother. I’ll never forget the testimonies that they both shared afterward. The father who really isn’t one to show his emotions at all, got up to share his testimony and completely was overcome by emotion and gave a very impactful testimony. The members also went out of their way and prepared a special dinner and cake. They also got a large glass framed photo of the Trujillo temple which was given to the family. It was true when the mother said, “I don’t really know all of you that well (referring to the members), but I know and feel that we’re family. “ So the 4th of July is a day even more special for me, it also is the day in which this family took that step toward Christ. The following day they were confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and given the gift of the Holy Ghost.
     We had a week full of trials and challenges, but as Moroni wrote we’ll “receive no witness until after the trial of [our] faith.” Our faith was definitely tried this week, but as we pressed forward it is amazing what great blessings the Lord poured upon us. As the scriptures says, “if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me…how great will be your joy if you should bring [a family] unto me!” Perhaps I changed a word or two but I testify that there is innumerable joy in bringing a complete family unto Christ.
     I hope you all have a great week and I wish you a happy late Independence Day!
 

 
    
 

June 29, 2015

SEE PICTURES ON THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST    
    Well as you read this letter June will be coming to an end, so I’ll once again mention how fast time flies by.  It’s been a month I won’t be slow to forget.  To think that I had the privilege to be here in Peru as the Trujillo temple was dedicated is extraordinary.  I could have gone to my mission at any time, but the Lord has placed me here in the Trujillo, Peru Mission between 2014 and 2016. It’s been no coincidence and I am confident in the truth that I was supposed to be here in the past year to do things that only Elder Pulsipher could do in San Jacinto, Trujillo, and now Casa Grande to meet prepared souls, to help prepare some more, to make lasting friends, and to grow personally. What a wonder to think of what the Lord has in store for me, especially as a temple now stands in operation.  I’m sure many miracles are waiting ahead in the future, but I’ll have to magnify every day to find them.  This past week has been a lot of fun since Elder Cacares and I have really set to work here in Casa Grande.  He’s getting more and more accustomed to missionary life and does require a little patience at times, but we’re great friends and the Lord is blessing us.  It wasn’t by happenstance that we’ve been put together as companions during this time.
     This past week was actually pretty normal without any major happening outside the ordinary and last P-day was pretty uneventful.  So I’ll just hop in to how some of my investigators are doing. ___ and ____ are still on track to be baptized this coming Saturday!  There are still a couple things we need to teach them, but they’re prepared.  These past few weeks haven’t been easy for them as they’ve past through several trials. Their families are strongly opposed to their decision to be baptized and have made that well known. They’re passing through economic challenges as well, struggling to make ends meet. They’ve gone through more, too, and in ____'s words “these weeks have been the hardest of my life.” However, during this they have been holding firm to their testimonies that they’ve obtained through the Book of Mormon.  They say that even though they’re passing through hardship, they’ve never been happier as a family.  Keep them in your prayers this week.
     Another family, who I mentioned last week, is the family of ___ and ___. ___ has attended church for quite a while with her baptized daughter, but hasn’t been able to take that step because of her husband.  However, as I mentioned last week, Jose has changed completely.  He told us on Friday that he is being tempted a lot each day, but as he reads the Book of Mormon and prays, he’s able to overcome those temptations.  He told us that he’s willing to do anything to continue coming unto Christ and enter through that gate that is baptism.  If I’ve ever met someone who really demonstrates true intent, it would have to be him. The largest obstacle we have to overcome is that of marriage, but I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to. They’ve been talking about taking that step in order to get baptized.
     This past weekend we had stake conference which was awesome. Our pensionista gave a talk about temples and started by singing a hymn which was certainly memorable.  I was also impacted by President Marler’s remarks on obedience.  He said that if we only want immortality we need not worry. All will be resurrected through the merits of Christ’s infinite atonement.  All will be raised into immortality regardless of how they used their agency.  However, if we want eternal life, if we want joy in this life and the life to come that lasts more than a moment, we’ll have to be obedient to God’s laws. We might try to work out way around or look for loop holes that don’t exist, but true happiness come from diligent obedience to the laws and ordinances that Christ established.  I was also sad to learn that despite the fact that so many attended the cultural event and the dedication, very few attended the temple this past week. The temple is very close now but maybe it’s being taken a little for granted.  It’s my prayers that we might live up to our potential and use what the Lord has given us to bless our lives.
     I hope you all have a wonderful week and that the Lord blesses you in whatever you do. I Hasta La proxima.