Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Week 22 - Calgary

Yo tengo 19 anos? Yo olvide :P y el Plan de Salvacion y Felicidad :)
Alright I am going to jump right in to it! This week was awesome and amazing and the best just like always but I also had the best lesson of my mission so far with Elder Windham teaching our new friend the plan of salvation last Tuesday night. I don't know if you remember but he has been going through family problems and we had our first lesson with him when I was with Elder Sanchez like 3 weeks ago and he cried and as we taught him about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon and the Atonement he was just taking it all in and thanked us so much for wanting to help him and teaching him. I felt the Spirit so much during that lesson.  After that we could not get a hold of him for a while but then finally we get a hold of him and we get a text from him that says "Hola hermano, disculpa que no he respondido. Anoche murio mi hermana y su hijo. Hoy voy a tratar de ver a mi hija. Manana estaria bien." When I first read this I had just went to go check the phone because we were playing basketball last pday and I was like nooooooooo am I reading this wrong?? and my heart started to sink and felt soooo sad and I was like nope... :( it says  "sorry that I have not responded. Last night my sister and her son died. Today I am going to try to see my daughter. Tomorrow will be fine."    Gosh I can not imagine. Things like this that happen, the only answer to why, is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. So then we send him a text and also call him that night and learn that his sister and his nephew died in a car accident in Nicaragua. Then we just try to do our best to say we are so sorry and we are here for you and to help and comfort you anyway we can and everything. So hard. And then we had the lesson the next night. Elder Windham and I get to his apartment building and we call him and then he lets us in. Then we sit and we can already see that his eyes are watery and we ask him how are you doing and he says fine and we ask him are you sure and he says yes and then we say "really how are you doing?" and then he gives us the whole story of everything. How he moved here from South America because of family problems and how he and his wife had a son and moved here and now she doesn't want to be with him and he said he feels like she just wanted him so she could move here and live in Canada and just used him. So now he lives alone and then his sister and his nephew die which he said he was the closet to die in the car accident and while he is telling us all of this he is just crying and tears are just falling. He asks why does this have to happen to me and why am I being punished for nothing and why would God kill my sister and her baby. After he shared all of this with us and I didn't understand a lot of it but I just started to immediately bare my testimony and share my story of experiencing the West Nile Virus and anxiety and depression disorders and having so many questions like his of why would God let this happen to me and why is it so hard and why does God want me to suffer and then I testified of how all of my questions were answered through the Book of Mormon and reading, studying, and praying about it and feeling Gods love for me and feeling the Holy Spirit. Then being able to go to church again and get my life back because of the strength that God gave me through the Book of Mormon and learning of His Son Jesus Christ. I was crying too. There is no doubt in my mind that the gift of tongues is real and true because I know that I could not explain my story as well as I did at my level of speaking Spanish without God's help. The more I am able to share my testimony and my story the more grateful I become for the super hard things we go through this life like cancer, sickness, death, things that we do not cause upon ourselves because of sin. We are able to feel for each other and help each other because of the things we go through. So then after that Elder Windham shared how he has had family problems in his family and his parents were divorced just before he left on his mission. He said it was a good thing in the end though. His dad struggled and did not live the gospel very well. It is absolutely amazing how much living the gospel changes your life and the lives around you soooo much. Agh I wish I had more time to write all of this story. I am not a good writer either. I feel like Nephi right now when he wrote 2 Nefi 33:1-2. I just pray you can feel the Spirit as you are reading my words. Anyways we testified this to Marlon and he took it all in and we taught him the plan of salvation and he took it all in also. My favorite scriptures that we shared with him was Alma 13:3 and how that we choose to follow Jesus Christ before the world was and had faith in Him and trusted Him that He would be our Savior and make it possible for us to return to Heavenly Father and experience and have what He has. He thought this was super interesting and he loved it. Then some of 2 Nefi 2. There is opposition in all things and this life is all about choices and helping each other and to become like God who is full of love and mercy and knowledge. Then we shared with him the Spirit world and the resurrection and the 3 degrees of glory and how all of this is made possible by Jesus Christ. Without Christ and His atonement this life and everything we experience would be pointless and be a waste. But because Christ lives we can live too. We promised that he would see his sister and his nephew again no matter what and that they would live again and be resurrected no matter what because they choose to have faith in Christ before this life and choose to come here. The more and more we taught him the more I could see hope in his face and in his eyes. It was so sweet. The gospel gives us hope. Then I started talking about faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Then I asked him "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and live His gospel?" He was nodding his head and said "Si" and I asked him "Not right at this moment but in the near future will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?" and he was still nodding his head and said "Si" and then we promised him that the pain and sadness that he is feeling now will be replaced with comfort and joy if he follows Jesus Christ. IT WAS SOOOOOO GREEAAAT!! :))) I truly love missionary work and preaching the gospel in the Spanish language. It is the most satisfying and fun and joyful thing to do. It makes me so happy. I have only been on the earth for 19 years now and have experienced a lot but I know that I still have so much more ahead of me. I am so excited for the future and if we live the gospel and are consistently improving and learning and repenting and becoming more like Christ, then the future is going to truly awesome and amazing. 
I love yall!!!!!!!!!!!!! and am so happy that yall are enjoying the summer and going to all these camps and stuff!!!!!!! Sounds super fun and awesome! Cant believe its the end of another email. Next week will be here just like that. 
Key is on the inside . . .

Gravy Fries and curds . . . whaaa?

Downtown Calgary - Beautiful!!

Rut row!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Wee 21 - Calgary

No puedo parar sonriendo ‏           

Alright, so tons of things happened this week but as always NO TENGO BASTANTE TIEMPO! pero esta bien. So TRANSFERS!!! I love em but I hate em.  Elder Sanchez left to the North to serve in the Spanish ward. I miss him. But my new companion is Elder Windham and he is pretty awesome. He has been here for 18 months and his Spanish is super good but not as good as Elder Sanchez of course haha. He is from Blanco Texas and loves basketball! So we have started playing basketball in the mornings for exercise because the church is just right across the street and I love it!!!! I am looking forward to playing basketball today for pday with all the new people in our zone. The zone has changed so much since I got here. I miss people but always gain new awesome friendships. Be friends with everyone! Everyone is awesome :)
Ok soo last Saturday the whole mission got to see the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. YEP!!!!!! It was absolutely incredible. Elder Russell M. Nelson and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson are sooooo amazing. Here are some things that I have learned on my mission and gained a testimony of, first is that scripture in D&C 88 I think about the priesthood and being able to have strength when you wake up every morning because Elder Windham and I had to get up at 5:30 in the morning to drive about 2 hours to Lethbridge. I prayed the night before and before we left to not fall asleep while driving there and to just have that time to ponder about how amazing Gods creation is and how I am about to see President Nelson and how wonderful it is to have the gospel in my life and the family I have and know that he is a special witness of Jesus Christ and everything. So on the way there I was alert and was feeling the Spirit and felt so happy. Oh and another thing! The sun rises at like 4:45 in the morning here now! It is crazy so the drive there was super beautiful and bright and seeing all the fields and mountains on the horizon. Then the sun does not start going down until like 10:30 at night. It is pretty crazy and I like it. So I know the Spirit of God is real and without Him we could not know any truth. We could not know Christ, we could not know our Heavenly Father and we could not be truly happy. I know so many things and am so happy because of the Spirit. I felt it so much Saturday and that is why it was one of the best days of my life. So here are some of the things that I really loved that President Nelson shared, first was Doctrine and Covenants 31 and how he said if you are worried about your family right now then don't, if you want to help them right now, this is the best place you could possibly be to help them. God will bless them so much. On the drive down to Lethbridge I started to think about y'all a lot and also that picture of y'all at lake Ratcliff. Wow now I am already tearing up. I really hope y'all can really feel how much I love yall through my emails. I know I say it at the end of every one of my emails but I just want y'all to know how much I love each one of you, Dad, Mom, Mason, Chrissy, Landon, and Bryce, our family is amazing and I am so so happy to be serving here because it is the best place I could possibly be right now. God has blessed us so incredibly much. I see the blessings when we live the gospel. I wish I could give y'all a huge hug right now and cry and thank you for living the gospel and raising us so well. Every single members home I go in to I can tell if the Spirit is there or not and how strong it is. When we live the gospel to the best of our ability and do not fight and do not complain and actually clean the house and keep it clean and have a grateful and happy attitude the Spirit will come and be strong. Chrissy, Landon and Bryce, listen to Dad and Mom, they know so much more than you and me. Do what they say even if you do not like it. "Choose the harder right than the easier wrong" do not be lazy and do not complain. We really do not have anything to complain about in this life if we truly understand the gospel.
Life is absolutely awesome and amazing and it is because of Jesus Christ. I love yall so much and want to continually improve and grow closer to Heavenly Father and be more like Jesus Christ. Then also Elder Ulisses Soares and Sisiter Soares and Elder W. Mark Bassett and Elder James E. Evanson and thier wives, all from the Quorum of the Seventy spoke and every single one of them had something awesome to say that caused me to feel the Spirit and it felt just like this burning love in my chest. I have such a strong testimony of the prophets and apostles and leaders of the church. They are called by God to serve in that position for a reason. I also know that I have been called here to serve in Calgary for a reason. There are reasons for everything. If you are going through something hard or sad right now I am here to tell you that it is going to be ok and you will get through it as long as you want to. Also that what you are suffering is nothing. Doctrine and Covenants 122:5-9, Jesus Christ has suffered the consequences of our sins and also our sicknesses and sad feelings and depression and anxiety and everything. Alma 7:11-12. You are suffering such a small portion of what Christ suffered but get all the reward. Eternal Life if you follow Him and come unto Him and let Him help you. Read the word of God, the Bible and the Book of Mormon and the words of the prophets and then pray to Heavenly Father about it. Ask for help. Ask to know things. Ask for help to change and become a better person or in other words repent. You can do it. I have and I know for myself that we have Heavenly Father, our Creator, who loves us like we cant comprehend along with Jesus Christ, His Beloved Son, who helps us and knows what's best for us. I know that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that we have prophets and apostles today and I sustain them. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is the word of our loving Father in Heaven. I know that Jesus Christ is Heavenly Father's Beloved Son and without Him we could not live again and death would win but because of Jesus Christ and His Atonement we will live again. We have the opportunity to live with Him again and with our families. I love the gospel and love all of you. I pray everyday that you all are growing closer to God and improving and enjoying life. Same with the Nacogdoches ward and branch. You all are awesome and I miss yall. Do missionary work. It truly is the best. Tonight Elder Windham and I finally have a lesson with Marlon Gaitan de Nicaragua and we are going to teach him the restoration. I am so excited. 
I love y'all and can't believe how time is flying by, before you know it I will be writing again next week! Its crazy haha well time to send some FOTOS!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Week 20 - Calgary

Transferencias este semana! Estoy animado y nervioso jaja
Wow! I really can not believe that I am already sitting here again. It is crazy how fast time is going! Ya es Junio!!!! This week I will no longer be a "greeny" and I will be done being trained and I have no idea where I could go or where others will go this transfer. Half of the Spanish program thinks I am going to the north or east part of Calgary and going to work in the Spanish ward and the other half thinks that I am going to stay and Elder Sanchez is going to leave. I have no clue what will happen but I will know tomorrow night and let you guys know next week! I am really excited to see what happens because no matter where I go I know I will be happy.
"A donde me mandes ire, Senor, a montanas o islas del mar, Dire lo que quieras que diga, Senor, y lo que Tu quieres, sere" I love this song so much. We sang it during zone training meeting and while everyone is singing in English I always pull out my Himnos and sing in Spanish haha I love it.
So this week we were not able to meet with any of our investigators because they were all too busy or on vacation or sick but that did not stop us from working. We taught a lot of less actives and members this week and all of them were awesome. No matter where you are along the path of conversion, know that there is still so much more to learn and things that you have to work on and things you can improve on, everything we do in the Gospel is to show our love for Heavenly Father and really effects our life for the better because Heavenly Father blesses us. Every prayer we say, every scripture we read, every person we help, every smile we give, every commandment we keep, every time we go to church, there are awesome blessings that God gives to us. And one thing that I have really noticed this week is how true Moroni 7:12-19 is. Even if people do not believe in God, He is still there and they are created by Him. They have the light of Christ with them. Every good thing that we do there is a feeling that comes with it. Every bad thing we do there is a feeling that comes with it. Because we have the light of Christ with us we are able to discern between good and evil. But now you have to figure out what is good and what is bad. You can figure it out by experimenting with different things. I have experimented with different things and now that I have experimented with the Book of Mormon there really is no question for me that we have a Heavenly Father and a Savior and Creator. All things good come from God. All things bad come from the devil. There is a lot to learn about this and that is why we have to experiment with it like Alma says in Alma 32:27. If you just exercise a particle of faith then it will grow, we will learn. And as James 2:26 says "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead" so we have to work for it just like with everything else in life. If you have faith that you will be the best at something like football, basketball, fixing cars, racing, teaching, or anything and do not work for it, you will not succeed. If you have faith that you will be saved by Christ but do not exercise and show your faith then you will not succeed, you will not be saved. There are so many amazing things to learn and it is all in the word of God. If you experiment upon the word of God like Alma says in Alma 32:27 I know your faith will start to grow no matter where you are in your path of conversion. I know the word of God comes from prophets. The prophets wrote the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Their words are the word of God. I know that we have prophets today. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We are blessed to have prophets today. I know that some people do not believe it but I know it is true for myself because I have experimented it. My life has changed so much because of this. I am happy because of this. All we have to do is have faith and work and experiment and as we do we will be happy. We will have true happiness. I know that I have true happiness right now because of this gospel. I just want to share it with others and help them feel what I feel which is the Holy Spirit.
I am running out of time again! I have like 3 awesome stories to share but not enough time! Agh well just know that I am learning so much and enjoying my mission and experiencing amazing things every day. Canada is absolutely beautiful. After my mission we have got to come here as a family. I love you all so much and am so happy for all of yall. It sounds like yall are doing awesome and enjoying the start of the summer. I am too :)))))
Zone Training Meeting

Canada is Awesome!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Week 19 - Calgary

Me encanta mi mision. Esto es todo yo puedo decir ‏
So much happened this week and I don't know where to start! So this week I went on exchanges with my district leader, Elder Christensen, so I had a full day to see what it is like to be an English speaking missionary. To be honest I didn't like it - haha. I would have never thought that I would have loved Spanish and learning more everyday and messing up everyday and the people so much before my mission, now I do. I love them so much.  Well, I still loved speaking English but Spanish is just so much better haha. During that day we spent 2 hours downtown contacting and it was crazy!! So on the train ride there there was this big white guy listening to music with his headphones and he looked super mad. He was just standing in the middle of the train just kind of bobbing his head and then all of a sudden he screams "what are you looking at!?!?" to this Chinese guy and then it sounded like he said "are you alright?" and then the big white screams "don't tell what to do!!" and then the Chinese guy kept looking at him and told him to calm down and then all of a sudden the big white guy just grabs him by the neck and starts swinging him around!! and then puts him on the wall and screams.. well pretty much all he did was curse. It was crazy and I pressed the emergency button and security came. It was so crazy and I feel so bad for that Chinese man.
So after that we went to go share the gospel downtown! It was so amazing because in just 2 hours we got 5 phone numbers and addresses of people who were interested and gave them Book of Mormons! Prayers are answered. If you pray to find the people who are searching for the truth and talk to EVERYONE you will find them. We literally set the goal to talk to everyone and it worked. Now 2 of the companionships in our zone have new investigators. Also even though it was just 5 there were many many people who I could tell were effected by us talking to them. Like one of them was this fairly old man who was smoking and looked kind of sad and then once we started to get to talking to him we figured out that his mom died from cancer when he was younger and that his dad is really sick right now. He had questions like why do awful and terrible sad things happen to people if there is a God and if there is a God why would he let all these awful tragic things happen. He said that there was no God but I think really deep down he was just mad at Him. Then I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and shared some of the trials I have been through and how through them I have become so much stronger and have grown closer to God and now I am way more happier than I would be if I had not had those trials happen to me. Because I turned to God and read the scriptures, now I am truly happy. The Book of Mormon answers so many questions that people have. I love chapter 5 of Preach My Gospel so much. I shared a little bit of it with him and then finally he started to lighten up just a little bit and said that he respects us for what we believe in and then we gave him a Book of Mormon and he actually took it! I was sooooo happy. I have so much more to tell you guys but not enough time!!! Every week haha.
So Elder Sanchez and I met this family at this wedding reception at the church last Friday and they are from Colombia. Adam is the father Lucina is the mother and Valentina is 18 years old. Btw Spanish people now how to throw a wedding reception and party - haha. Anyways, we sat with them and talked to them all about missionaries and how we are called and about the prophets and we got into the restoration and the gospel too. The whole process is incredible. It was so awesome and then at the end of it all we got there number and address and they said we could come over sometime next week!! So we are getting new investigators! Gosh missionary work is the beeeesssttt!! So this is just like 10% of what happened this week of what I have written so far. Every week, every day, every moment and second I am feeling so happy and it is all because of Jesus Christ. Doctrine and Convenios 6:36. Look unto me in every thought doubt not fear not. Dont fear of messing up or not fitting in or being yourself. Doubt not that you are awesome the way you are. Christ suffered the entirety of the Atonement just for you and He wants you to use it and repent and be baptized and go to the temple and renew your covenants every Sunday by partaking of the sacrament. He wants you to have faith and show it. He wants you to read the scriptures so your questions can be answered and so that you can learn. If you do this you will experience the most sweetest and happiest joy. You will feel the Holy Ghost. Lea el Libro de Mormon y disfruta el gozo que viene y va a sentir el Espiritu.
I love y'all so much and am so proud of yall. Dad and mom thank you for your amazing support and prayers and love. Mason it looks like you are having a blast at the MTC teaching those Japanese missionaries. So crazy! Chrissy I bet you are having fun with being a lifeguard and getting tan. I am doing quite the opposite. I am getting fat and whiter - haha. They feed us demasiado here. Landon enjoy playing baseball and sports. You are super good. Bryce keep reading and add the Book of Mormon with your reading! Use that Book of Mormon stories book for kids. I have one in Spanish at my apartment haha it is really cool. I love you all soooooo much and hope y'all are enjoying lake ratliff with the sisters!!!!
Attempting to teach Primary Class

Thick and juicy Steaks!

Ground hogs - potguts
Elder Tate

No swimming