Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 34 - Calgary

Hola!!! Mi familia!! Les quiero! 

Esta semana realmente fue la mejor de todos. Tengo dos historias/milagros para contar y también algunas historias chistosas. Entonces Rene was baptized and has received the gift of the Holy Ghost and also has received the Aaronic priesthood and is a priest!!!! Que increíble. Also we found such a sweet women from Ecuador at our ESL class and she is called Geomiara and is soooooo interested in the church and she's incredible. So first I'll start off with Rene's baptism. (Can't wait to send y'all the photos) First I just got to say that it was one of the most incredible, memorable, happiest, and best moments/experience of my life and I will always remember it. The amount of cool miracles and details throughout the entire day and especially the baptism is just too much to write, let alone the whole week! but I will try to tell y'all some! So last Friday at 11:00am we got to go to "Retrainers" meeting with President and Sister Miles and it's just a meeting of all of the trainers and new missionaries tell what they have learned and cool experienced that have happened since we started and how we can improve. The meeting was so spiritual and I was reminded of a lot of things that I should do to magnify and fulfill my crazy awesome calling as a missionary. Things like charity and really having charity and love for others and showing it, forgiveness, virtue, obedience, setting and achieving goals, and also having fun and enjoying my mission and being myself. I love all the meetings we have because they always drive me to be better and improve and also sometimes they make me realize just how imperfect I am and all the things I have to improve. But it's all good if I am really trying my best because that is what God asks of us. So after the meeting we went to go prepare for the baptism like 5 hours earlier to fill up the baptismal font because it takes forever to fill up and also to get everything ready and we also used that time to do weekly planning. So you know that feeling of waiting in line about to ride a roller coaster, that's the feeling I had as the time kept coming towards Rene's baptism. It was so crazy and it wasn't a nervousness of being scared but just being excited. I loved it. Then finally Rene arrived at 7:00 with his white shirt and we showed him how everything would go and how I would baptize him and everything. Sooooo cool. He said he was nervous and then I said trust me I am nervous too haha. Then at 7:30 we started to greet the members and then we went to go get dressed in our white clothes. In was so special to have that time with Rene and changing into white. Loved it so much. Then we went to greet the rest of the members and also President and Sister Miles! Yeah they came and that was super special. President and Sister Miles really are the best "mission parents" every. I love them so much. So then the program started and Hermano Ruiz and Hermano Miguel Pompa who is going on his mission to Argentina next month gave amazing talks on baptism and confirmation. Then it was time for the ordinance, Rene and I walk over to the font and step down the steps into the water and then I just had such an amazing amount of peace and joy that filled me and then I do the prayer "René Alonso Canales Valle, habiendo sido comisionado por Jesucristo, yo te bautizo en el nombre del Padre, y del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo. Amen." Then Rene submerges completely under the water leaving all of the sins and mistakes and wrong things in his life and bad and sad feelings and I brought him back up.. Then we walked back dripping wet to get dressed. I loved it so much. Really one of the sweetest moments of my life. Talking with Rene and saying we did it and we aren't nervous anymore and we just feel peace and joy was so special.

This whole experience has really strengthened my testimony a lot. The amount of symbolism in the church and especially in baptism is so cool. Because of Jesus Christ and His perfect love for us we can choose to follow His example and be born again. We can repent, we can change, we can leave behind all of the the sins and the sad and bad feelings that come from them behind and Christ will lift us up from the drowning feeling that life brings sometimes and he will give us happiness and peace and joy for the choice we made to follow Him. He will bless us and those around us if we do what He asks us to do. All He asks of us is to come unto Him and He will do the rest. He has suffered the penalties of our sins so that we may repent and has died for us and then was resurrected for us so we can be resurrected too and return to the presence of our Father in heaven and be with our families forever.

Like always I don't have a ton of time so now I will tell y'all just a couple of funny stories. So Rene is a super funny guy and likes to joke and he's  just awesome. He asked if we could just climb onto the roof part of the baptismal font and just dive in because it would be more entertaining. Then after the baptism he showed us all a photo of him on his phone when he was like 18 years old and he had a 8 pack of abs!! We were all freaking out and then he starts to count in English "yeah! 1,2,3,..5,8!!!" And we were like what!!? Haha Rene! And then he says but now I just have one and points to his belly haha we were dying laughing. He is so awesome. Then also I forgot to tell y'all about Elder McLaren, my last companion, he sleep walks and sleep talks a lot!! It's super crazy and one night I was sleeping and our beds are right next to each other and all of a sudden he grabs all of my toes super tightly and holds them for like 10 seconds and then lets go real fast and flips around the other way like nothing happened haha. Tons more but gotta get going.

I truly love my mission. I really have developed a great an huge amount of love for the Spanish people here and also the members. I wish y'all could have been at church with me yesterday because it was alllll about missionary work, at the end of sacrament meeting all 8 of us missionaries in the branch sang "Llamados a servir" and some of the members started to cry and even Presidente Jaco our branch president was crying and then he gave his testimony on missionary work. Soooo amazing. I felt the Spirit so much. I truly believe that the greatest thing in the gospel and in the church for me is love. If we focus on and understand the love Jesus Christ has for us and what He did for us, life will be awesome and incredible all the time. Even through the hard times. Jesus Christ makes it all better. 

I love y'all and hope y'all are enjoying school and having fun and living the gospel. Share the gospel by being an example. It really works. Also I can't believe it's already general conference again!! So crazy. Well till next week! Oh!! Forgot to tell y'all about Geomaira and her kids and How awesome they are. I will next week!! Time for a ton of pics! 

Wonderful Experience!

Missionaries of the area with Rene.


He is Awesome!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Week 33 - Calgary

Ya es lunes y estoy escribiendo otra vez?! Como??
Entonces this week was really special and one of the best but I can really say that about every week of my mission haha. I don't have a lot of time because my zone is going to the Calgary Zoo!! So I will try my best to tell you just some of the miracles that happened this week and then send some awesome pics!! Oh yeah and I forgot to tell y'all that I am district leader too! Haha so when Elder Tate and I got the training call President Miles called me to be the district leader too and that has been pretty awesome and fun. Anyways so last Saturday we got to go to the Calgary temple!!!! We went because Miguel Pompa is about to go on his mission to Argentina and so he got his endowments done! A lot of the awesome amazing members in the branch went to support him as well. Let me just tell you that it was definitely one of the most memorable and amazing moments on my mission. It was just us from the branch who were there in the session and then at the end as we started to enter the celestial room each one of us walked over to Miguel and hugged him and then Miguel just started to cry and it was like the sweetest thing ever because Miguel isn't the type of guy who you would ever think to cry but he did and there really is just something about the members here that is so special. They are so close and love each other so much and are just so amazing. I felt the Spirit so strongly and don't have a doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us and if we follow Them and love Them and live the gospel then our families and friends will be blessed and we will truly find that happiness and peace and joy that our souls are looking for. I will never forget the incredible love and happiness that I felt, the Spirit I felt when we were in the celestial room. It was also super cool because along the whole process of Miguel sending in his papers and preparing for his mission we have helped him along the way and after he went through the temple he said he doesn't have any worries or bad feelings at all about going. He is just ready and super excited. He is going to kill it out there! I'm so excited for him. Now for another miracle, Rene is getting baptized this Friday!!! It's already here! I will be sure to send pics of it. He came to church yesterday and all of the members congratulated him and said they look forward to being there on Friday. So sweet and really he has already gotten comfortable with church and everything. He has progressed so much and so fast!! He talks during gospel principals class and in priesthood meetings and isn't afraid to pray at all anymore. And also last night we watched the movie "the Restoration" with him and WOOOW!! The Spirit was so strong in there and Rene said his favorite part was how Joseph Smith said that no book or anything can replace the bible and that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. That movie is so well done and we all loved it. And really Rene has committed to everything we have taught him and is keeping all of the commandments and still has not drunk since he called us, it really just blows my mind. In just the space of 1 month all of this change has happened. Watching him change/repent and show his faith in Jesus Christ has really built my testimony more of just how the gospel works. I have had so many investigators who say they don't want to get baptize until they know more or receive an answer but they don't do anything to receive an answer or know more! All you have to do is stop being lazy or don't overwork yourself to where you literally have no time which actually isn't true because you can always make time or you do have time, you just have to meet with the missionaries and actually do what they say to see if it really does come from God. Read and study the Book of Mormon and then pray about it. Keep the commandments. Go to church and learn and feel the Spirit. Alma 32:28 it's an awesome scripture. But still it falls short if you are not searching for the truth of it and are not trying to live the teachings of the gospel because you will not feel the Spirit and the Spirit will testify to you that it is true. So lose your pride and ask God humbly with real intent if you are on the right path and I promise you He will give an answer whether it be through the joy and blessings you are receiving from Him or it be through a miracle or through the power of the Holy Ghost. Just do it! And then once you do, don't stop. Live the gospel of Jesus Christ and you will experience a full joy and happiness that you can't find anywhere else. I am running out of time but I just want to say that I love y'all and am so happy that I am here serving Jesus Christ and others here in Calgary, it is such a beautiful and amazing city.
I love missionary work so much and am learning so many important things that I would not have learned if I did not choose to serve a mission. There are just a few times where it can be hard but really it is soooo worth it!! I love it and I love our Savior Jesus Christ and I know that He lives and His Atonement is real and His gospel has been restored through His prophet Joseph Smith and it is true. Because I know that this is true I am here and loving life. I hope and pray that as each one of y'all live the gospel that y'all will have that full joy and happiness in your life and feel the Spirit and truly love and enjoy life whether the times be rough or smooth, depressing or fulfilling, sad or happy, tragic or miraculous, living the gospel makes it all well. All is well because of Jesus Christ. :))
And also.    FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS MASÓN!!!!! "Estoy sintiendo 22 oooo oooo o ooo" :P

Add caption

Who's sleeping now Elder Ibanez??

Stadium Picture

Package time!!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Week 32 - Calgary

Muchas lecciones y experiencias:

Really, how is it Monday again!?!? It is so crazy and weird how fast the time is flying by right now. It seems like it's going by faster and faster and the days keep getting better and better. Yesterday at church during Sacrament meeting I got to pass the sacrament to Rene and then sit next to him during Sacrament meeting. He is progressing faster than any investigator ever and is a huge example of faith for me and just doing and following what the Lord has commanded us to do. And during one of the talks I just started to realize how far I have come and really think about our family and Mason going on his mission in Tokyo Japan and him being able to understand everything and speak Japanese now I am here in Canada and am able to understand almost everything clearly in Spanish and speak it. I thought of going to Mason's farewell talk before he left for Japan and that was my first time back to church in like a year and then I got y'all's package with all the pictures of us with Mason being home and our trip to Utah and that awesome Halloween last year and how next month it will already be October and all of the temples we have been to and just all of these thoughts and feelings of love and memories within our family (I love yall so much and Thank you so much for the package!!!) and I felt the Spirit so strongly and though all of this while Hermano Fernandez was giving a talk on the laws and ordinances of the gospel and keeping the commandments and agency. I really can't describe all the thoughts and feelings I had in that moment but really it was just love and happiness and peace knowing that God has restored His gospel through His prophet Joseph Smith and we have a prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, and if we live the gospel of Jesus Christ and follow the prophet and forget about ourselves and help others then God will bless us and our families and I really have seen the differences between families who don't live the gospel and those that do, I want y'all to always remember that we can't just read the scriptures and say prayers and have love and peace in home but we have to actually live it and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and love each other and show it! Be nice and don't be prideful but be humble and patient.

So yeah anyways the past 3 days have been incredible because we have taught 8 lessons!! Most ever on my mission. 2 were with Rene and we taught him keeping the Sabbath day holy and the law of the fast and fast offerings and tithing. He loves it all and is ready to put it in practice. He has so much faith and is changing so much and it's so amazing! He still has not drank since he called us the first time and he said ever since we started to meet with him, his daughter has been doing better and went to rehab because she was addicted to drugs and he said she has been improving since we started to meet and when she gets out he wants us to meet with her too! Sooooo. Cooooool. Then one of our other lessons was with Omar and Beti. Omar is from Venezuela and Beti is from Mexico. We taught them the last half of the plan of salvation. It was so cool because they said that this is all new stuff and that we are teaching them and they said it was super interesting and they look forward to learning more and they finally said that once they feel the Holy Ghost that they know the Book of Mormon is true they want to be baptized. They are progressing slowly but surely. Then we also cleared up a super important thing with Beti, she thought we worshipped Joseph Smith! Haha and we were like nooooo and explained that Jesus Christ is our Savior and no one else and we just worship God, Joseph Smith was just an obedient man who followed Jesus Christ and just like all the other prophets who have lived. Joseph Smith is just the prophet of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She was like ohhhhhh because the other missionaries who taught us a long time ago made it sound like y'all worshipped Joseph Smith and we were like WHAT?! Haha so apparently missionaries from a long time ago like 5 years ago taught them the first lesson and then didn't meet with them again. But we are teaching them now so it's all good haha.

Alright so I don't have too much more time but I want to share one more experience. These past couple of weeks I have had a bunch of deep questions and thoughts in my mind about some of the things of God and how I don't understand them completely and I think it was really effecting me and me bearing testimony of what I know to be true like the plan of salvation and the restoration and everything and whenever I was at the top of the mountain Lady MacDonald I wasn't really doubting at all but I was just questioning on how God created all of this and how small people are and how He loves us all so much individually and knows us and answers our prayers all at the same time and helps us and how there are so many people who do not have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives. Then a couple of days later while I was doing my personal study of my scriptures I was just staring at the picture of Jesus Christ I have on my wall and of Thomas S. Monson and of the latter day prophets and of y'all, my family, for like 30 minutes just thinking about my life and God and then I prayed to have more faith and then I flipped open my Book of Mormon to 1 Nefi 11:17 and Nefi says, "Sé que ama a sus hijos; sin embargo, no sé el significado de todas las cosas." When I read that I just started to cry. The knowledge that God, all powerful all knowing, omniscient and omnipresent, loves me and all of us, for me, surpasses everything else, we don't need to know everything and know the why and how of everything, we just need to know that God loves us and with that knowledge we will really follow Him and come unto Christ and we will be happy and understand the great importance of living the gospel and being nice and loving to our family and friends and everyone and sharing the gospel with them. This is my testimony, that if we study the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His life and live His gospel, then everything else in our lives will fall into place, we will understand how life works and why we are here, we will change and the earth will be like heaven and we would all forget about ourselves and and be lost in helping others because we would truly love them like Jesus Christ does. We would not be selfish, we would not be prideful, we would only do the things that Jesus Christ would do, we would be more like Him. I love Him and will worship Him forever. He is my friend and my example. My greatest desire is to be like Him and show the love that He showed to the human family. 

My love for each one of you has grown so much since I have been out here serving Jesus Christ and studying His atoning sacrifice and His gospel and sharing it with others. I really can't wait to see y'all again on Christmas and eventually return home and hug y'all like crazy and share ALL the stories and memories I have made with being out here but right now I am here and I must share the blessings that we have, with others. I love doing this work so much. I hope y'all are doing missionary work down there in Nacogdoches too!!! Well time to send a bunch of pics now! :D

Viva Mexico! (in Canada)

Elder Tate and Me

Calgary City

Dinner Appointment


Had to sweep out the baby rats. . .


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Week 30 - Calgary

El bautismo y la confirmacion

I just have to say that every single week of my mission and every single day is like the best. I probably could not choose the best day or week of my mission so far, it is just all of it! This week was really incredible, so the night before the baptism of Gloria, we taught Rene the gospel of Jesus Christ and it was a perfect lesson like all of our lessons with him and we brought Hermano Ruiz who is a super strong member and is really funny and just a great fellowshipper for everyone. I have to say it was pretty weird not having Elder McLaren there. OH YEAH!! haha so this is soooo crazy!! So one of our Zone Leader Elder Moffit went up to be AP (assistant to the President) and so President Miles asked if Elder McLaren could go with Elder Winkle our other zone leader until the end of the transfer which is English speaking. Elder Tate and I were pretty shocked because our Spanish still is not the best and some people we can not understand well but we could struggle through it. So Elder McLaren had to pack up everything that night and leave in the morning. Then, that morning President Miles calls us again at 7:00am and asks if Elder Tate and I can train!!!! haha Elder Tate and I were soooooo shocked and President Miles said he has prayed about it and know that this is what the Lord wants and he knows we can do it. That gave us some comfort but WOW! I am the oldest in the companionship with Elder Tate and then this Wednesday we are going to pick up our new Elder we are going to train and teach him Spanish. My mind is just blown that I have been out for 7 months and that I can understand and speak somewhat good Spanish and that I am about to train!

So yeah anyways Elder Tate and I taught Rene the gospel of Jesus Christ the night before Glorias baptism and it was so cool to explain to him everything and how baptism symbolizes so many things like us dying in the water and then all of our sins are washed away and we leave our old life behind and make our first covenant to really follow Jesus Christ and his teachings. Rene just loves it all and really soaks it all in and wants to change and do everything we say. I have really realized with teaching Rene how little work I do. Really it all just depends on how worthy my companion and I are to teach and to have the power of the Holy Ghost when we teach because the Holy Ghost is the teacher. Also it just depends on whether the person is prepared to receive the gospel and change their life and come unto Christ or not. Let me tell you this, Rene is READY! So the next day, Saturday at 7:00, was the baptism of Gloria and Rene came and I just have to say that it was one of the best experiences I have had in my life. I was sitting next to Rene in the front row of chairs and then Gloria and Elder WIndham come out in their white baptismal clothes and Gloria site next to me so I am in between Gloria and Rene, I asked Gloria how she felt and she said really nervous. Then the service begins. All of the talks were so good and I felt the Holy Ghost so much. I could tell Gloria was really touched by the love the members in the branch showed to her. I love the branch so much. Then it was time for Gloria to be baptized and Elder Tate and I were the witnesses. The baptismal font area was pretty big so I was inside of the room and had a perfect view of Elder Windham baptizing her. It was so beautiful. Then right after they shut the doors immediately but I was still inside haha. It was perfect though because I got the sweetest picture ever of Gloria falling into Elder Windham's arms and giving him thanks and crying. Elder Windham started to tear up too. I will never forget that. Then I walked out and sat back down and then Elder Windham and then Gloria and I asked her how she felt now and she just whispered with a huge smile on her face "bien." :) Then after the service Elder Tate and I talked to Rene and he said he really felt the Spirit and is nervous about his baptism on the 24th of September but I told him what Gloria said and told him he can do it and he said yes I can do it. It was so cool and then we took a couple of pictures.

The work of the Lord is really the best. There is nothing better than it. All it does is bring you true happiness, invite others to come unto Christ and share your testimony that you have of Him. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He lives and because He lives and was resurrected, we will be resurrected and live again too. He has overcome death and has also overcome the penalties of our sins. I absolutely love this scripture Alma 7:11-13. We can repent and change and come unto Him and He will help us to do so. He knows what we have been through and what we are going through. He has a perfect knowledge of us and knows exactly what we need and how to help us. All we have to do is come unto Him. I love Him and know that His hand is always extended towards us and all we have to do is put just a little effort and reach for his hand and He will do the rest and save us. I know this because of the Holy Ghost and the joy that living the gospel of Jesus Christ brings to me.

Last thing is that I really love and miss each one of y'all a lot. I pray and think about y'all daily. But I also gotta say that serving a mission and forgetting about yourself and losing yourself n the work of the Lord is the best thing ever. It truly is the best :)) time to send the sweetest pictures ever!

Love, Elder Proctor

Gloria and her daughter

Elder McLaren packing up his flag

Wonderful member - Rene