Thursday, October 27, 2016

Week 38 - Calgary

Muchas experiencias misionales y mucho éxito :)

This past week started off super strong. So last week when we were helping out at the food bank like we always do on Wednesdays, Elder Tate  was helping this one family who have only been here for 10 days!! They are from Venezuela and don't know English so Elder Tate asked the dad if we could help him with English and also share the gospel with him. He said yes!  He was so grateful. Also he needed help getting his food to his house because they couldn't take it all on the bus so we put their food in our trunk and dropped it off at the house they were staying at later that day. They all thanked us so much. Then 5 days later we go to their new nice little house to give him a list of jobs the church had posted up on the wall because he needs a job and then we would share a message. As we got to talking it turns out that they are refugees and he sold everything they had in Venezuela to make it here to Canada. Listening to how rough it is in Venezuela right now and some of the things he and his family have gone through was really humbling. Really hit me hard on how great a country Canada is and how blessed I am to be here. Then we shared a scripture on Jesus Christ and explained how even the Son of God was once a refugee and how the sacrifice He made for us blesses us so much and because He has been through it, He really knows the best way to help us overcome our trials. Juan 16:33 "Estas cosas os he hablado para que en mí tengáis paz. En el mundo tendréis aflicción. Pero confiad; yo he vencido al mundo." I really love this scripture and as I have been studying the New Testament I have been truly so amazed at the miracles and the teachings of Jesus Christ and how simple it is. We just go to Him. He solves everything. I told Hermano Volcán(the dad) this and he agreed 100% and accepted to take the lessons. Then he and his wife thanked us so much for everything we had done for them and pointed to all their food and said that's all because of you and said that this house is your house and told us really how welcomed we are. It was so nice and I really felt so happy that we have been able to help them. So yeah that's just one short version of the story and I still have like 4 more to tell!!

It is so awesome how many wonderful and miraculous things happen when you are serving God. It is the best thing you can do to fix your own problems and feel better. Forget about yourself and go to work and as you help others and love them then you will start to see that God blesses you by making you stronger. God might not make your problems or trials easier but He will give you His strength as you pray for it and forget about yourself and serve others. So I have time for 2 more stories. First was with the family Linares. They are really awesome but struggle some with the gospel. The dad is from El Salvador and the mom is Canadian. They have 7 kids! Some of them are young and while we were there they were running around playing and being crazy. It made me miss my family and being little and having so much energy and fun doing whatever. I really love kids (yesterday was the primary program at church and WOW! Incredible. An when they sang "Mi Padre Celestial Me Ama" I teared up. I love that song. Then Hermano Alvarez shared 3 Nephi 17, read it! It really shows the love that Jesus Christ has for kids) So Sister Linares has been struggling a lot with anxiety and depression and raising the kids so I talked with her a lot about my mom and how great she is and the similar struggles she has and then I shared some of my story with West Nile and anxiety and depression and how because of my mom I was able to have so much help to overcome my anxiety and depression. So I know that Sister Linares will be able to overcome it and be able to help her kids maybe one day and others. I really am so happy that I have learned and experienced this point. With the trials and problems and stresses we have to go through in life we are given the chance to turn to Christ and we are able to have that experience to help others and invite them to do the same, turn to Jesus Christ. So I have learned to realize that I still will have joy and happiness through any and every problem and trial I will have in my life because I can live the gospel and follow Christ. Juan 16:33 "Estas cosas os he hablado para que en mí tengáis paz. En el mundo tendréis aflicción. Pero confiad; yo he vencido al mundo." Jesus Christ has experienced and has overcome it all. What really blows my mind is how He was willing to suffer everything and also the penalties of sin for each of us even though He has never done anything wrong. I am now starting to realize how great the condescension of God really was. His love for us is something that I really want. I have a long ways to go and a lot more to learn though. So yeah sharing that with Sister and Hermano Linares and some of their kids was really awesome. I look forward to having a family one day and putting all of what I have learned here into practice. Living the gospel in your home is so important. I love the quote by President Harold B. Lee, he said, "The most important of the Lords work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes." I have seen this so much in my mission. Well I am about out of time but I want y'all to know that I love y'all and love being here serving in Calgary. I know that God has called me here and to learn the gospel and share it in Spanish and I really do love it. There is no other thing in the world I would rather be doing. The Lords work is the best work and gives you the most fulfilling and everlasting joy. 

So this time I do have my camera! So here come some pics!

-3 degrees - oh yeah!

Vin del mar

I'm in the car, and I'm singing!!!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Week 37 - Calgary

Hola!! Buenos días!!!

I love y'all! and like always it's been such a great week. I feel like I have really gotten so accustomed to missionary life now. Seeing miracles everyday and learning so much about the gospel and really getting to know Jesus Christ better by starting the day off everyday with studying the scriptures  and Spanish and praying. I loved the talk that Elder David A. Bednar gave this conference about actually believing and knowing Jesus Christ and our Father in heaven. If we know who Jesus Christ is then we will want to follow Him and we will know our Heavenly Father the same. I have been thinking how no one would follow someone who they don't trust and don't know. So many people don't really know who Jesus Christ really is so why would they follow someone who they don't really know. We have been doing a lot of contacting/finding this week because we dropped some of our investigators who don't progress. And pretty much everyone said "no not interested" or "we don't have time, too busy" this week. I have realized this that it all starts with hope and faith and a desire to know Him. It just depends on how big your desire is to know. If you really want to know Him you will search the scriptures and go to church and pray and keep His commandments and then start to know Him. I started studying the New Testament in depth for the first time and I am just on chapter 6 of Matthew. And WOW!!! I am feeling the Spirit so much and it's the same feeling that I had when I studied the Book of Mormon for the first time!! I love it so much and everyday in the morning I just feel so pumped for the day and to apply what I learned. I would love for all of y'all to study the Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5,6,7 of Matthew. It's so great and imagine if you were there with Jesus Christ listening to Him speak and how you would change your life after listening to Him. That's really what it's all about. Putting what you know and have learned into practice.

We had a lesson with Nedy (she is from Columbia and is really nice but her husband isn't interested in learning, we haven't been able to meet with her for awhile but we did) this week and I really tried to get this point into her head. I said something like this to her "Satan tempts us not to actually do anything about what we know we should do, I believe you know you should take a little time out of your day to just read the Book of Mormon and learn from it and pray about it because I know you have a desire to know, I know a lot of people who say they are too busy or too tired to do it but really that's not true. Also if it is true that you are too busy then you should sacrifice something to make time for doing the things of God. God should always come first. He has given you everything. He loves you and wants you to know Him and follow Him." I said that at the beginning of the lesson (we taught the restoration again because it's been awhile since we taught her) then at the end of the lesson she said she really loved what I said and she said that she knows that she hasn't been putting God first and that Satan tempts her to not read and pray. Also that she really does have time because at some points during the day she is just on her phone for like 20-30 mins on Facebook or whatever. She said instead of doing that she really will read and pray about the Book of Mormon. As she was saying all these amazing things I really felt the Spirit. There really is no greater joy than seeing people take steps to follow Christ, whether they be big or small, it's incredible. The same thing is happening with Geomaira. She is so awesome! She finished the Book of Mormon and is now reading it again and praying still and this time she is going in depth and she even wrote a full paper filled with questions prepared for us to answer our last lesson with her! She is so into it. Some of the questions were anti mormon stuff but I was surprised at how easy they were to answer. It is so easy to answer questions if you have the Spirit with you and have confidence. That's another thing. We are not the teachers. The Spirit is.

Well I still have a ton more to say but it's about time to wrap up again this week! Still can't believe how fast time is flying by. Life is so easy and amazing and great when you live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's just the way you look at things. Have an eternal perspective and the love of God in your mind and heart. All is well. Jesus Christ lives and His church is restored. This is His church and He leads it. Follow His teachings. Matthew 11:28-30. Come unto Him and He will make your burden so light, He will give you rest and peace from your troubles if you take upon His yoke, if you live His teachings, His gospel. Just take that leap of faith and do it, put it into practice and He will reward you like you can't even imagine. You will feel the Holy Spirit. And then you will just keep wanting to know Him and believe in Him more. This is where I am at and I still have long ways to go but I am loving the ride even though it can be hard at times. Really Jesus Christ makes it great and easy.

Love y'all and can't believe it's almost Halloween! Oh yeah and forgot to say this last week FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS LANDÓ!!!!!! :D

Elder Proctor

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Week 36 - Calgary

Happy Thanksgiving!!! And I love snow!! Canada is the best

Alright so I do not have much time to write so I will try to do this fast! Here we go, so an update on Geomaira. She is soooo into learning and reading and praying and everything! We taught her the plan of salvation last Wednesday and during the lesson we asked her how her Book of Mormon reading has been going and how she feels when she prays about it. She responds like this "I am really sorry guys but I have only made it tooooo... (she flips to 3 Nephi) I have only made it to here but I feel good and peaceful when I pray and read." As you can imagine we were utterly shocked!! haha we gave her a lot of praise and we were smiling so much and so happy for her. Really such a great miracle because the night before I was really praying that she would read even just a little bit of the Book of Mormon and say a little prayer because I have really seen all the investigators who do not read the Book of Mormon much and do not pray, they do not progress and don't have their questions answered.

The Book of Mormon really is the key to conversion and the keystone of our religion. I love it so much and was so happy that she had read and God answered my prayer. God is amazing! Also an update on Rene, he is just incredible. We have not been able to meet with him hardly at all because now he has work but thats good! The last lesson we had with him was so cool just because now he is a member and is baptized and has the gift of the Holy Ghost and the Aaronic priesthood and you can really see the change in him. He is following Jesus Christ and His teachings and you can literally see the happiness in his countenance because of the choices he has made to live the gospel. For me that is literally evidence that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I love it. It really is bring me so much joy and happiness to be here living in Calgary and sharing the blessings that come from God when we live the gospel and choose to obey His commandments. Every single point in the gospel for me has been expanded in my mind and heart so much as I have been here serving this mission. I have been blessed so much to be able to serve here. There are many nights right after I pray and then lay in bed and just try to think how great God is and how He answers all of our prayers and how much He loves us. It really is incredible and I do have a testimony of it. God loves us and this is His church and He guides it everyday.

I am running out of time and have a ton of pics to send so I just want to leave you with this, that God loves you and that Jesus Christ is the leader and head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His gospel is true and if you change your life and come unto Him, all will be well and you will find the happiness that you have been looking for. I love each of you because I know that God loves each of you and His Son has suffered for you the same way He suffered for me. We are here to help each other out and serve and love one another so do it! Forget about yourself and serve and love one another.

Love, Elder Proctor

Happy Thanksgiving Canadian Style!

Notice the snow on my left shoulder...the Hermana's did that :)

Elders of Love

Perfect swimming weather!

Snow Day!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Week 35 - Calgary

Hola familia! Les quiero y les extraño!
So I'll jump right into it! During general conference this weekend I felt the Spirit sooo much and at times I thought of y'all and us all sitting together and watching it and even though we are in different places I felt that we were together still. During the talk by that Japanese seventy Yamashita really got to me. I thought a lot about how much going on a mission blesses all those you serve, even sometimes your mission president (such a cool story), and also it really blesses your family. I thought of when Mason left to Japan and the hard times he had had and also the language. (Japan is so cool) Then how immediately after he left I started to gain my testimony of the Book of Mormon by studying it everyday and praying. Also I just felt a big change with Mason being gone.  Now I am gone and serving my mission and have gone through some hard things and have had a lot of trouble learning the language. But now I am able to speak it and Mason can speak Japanese! Really we can do anything if we have faith in Christ, everything is possible if we have faith in Christ, even learning a language you never thought you could learn. Then tons of other thoughts and feeling came to my mind about how much living the gospel blesses the family. Then I said a quick prayer of gratitude during his talk to Heavenly Father for my family and the gospel and my mission and then the strongest feeling of.. well Galatians 5:22-23 and Philippians 4:7 describe the feeling I had. It surpassed all my understanding. I felt the Spirit like I never had before. I felt the pure love of Jesus Christ that He has for all of us. I was just so happy and content and felt so much peace. When I felt it I said to myself "this is why I am here, to share this with others." 
I'm going to try to write fast because we are going to do a service at 11:45 for this lady who has one leg, her name is Mary and she is awesome and she's a long story haha so maybe another time I'll write about her. So I want to tell y'all about Geomaira and her kids! So. Two Thursday's ago we went to ESL(English class) Usually about half the class is Latino so about 8. There we met Geomaira who's been in Canada for just a month! She is from Ecuador. It was her first time at the class. She speaks great English considering on how long she's been here. At the end we talked to her and offered to teach her and her kids English. She was so happy and that made my night because we had had a long day with people rejecting us. Her kids are Danny she's 9 and Mateo he's 5. They're so awesome and cute and just speak Spanish. So last Wednesday we went to the house of her brother-in-law where their family is staying and taught them how to say I am hungry, tired, smart etc. and it was great. It blew the kids minds that "ser" and "estar" are the same word in English haha it means "to be." At the end we shared with them who we are and all that we do and why we are here as missionaries and Geomaira thought it was really cool and said we can meet again next Wednesday. But then last Sunday we get a call from her and she said that she has been looking into our church and she is super interested and needs questions answered!! (Missionaries dream) so we meet her at the library and teach her the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and she loves it. It was such an incredible first lesson. We answered all her questions and one of them was "so girls aren't allowed to play sports or workout in your church?" And we were like what???? Of course girls can play sports and workout! Haha we told her about and and that's where you will find the real stuff.  Anyone can say anything on the Internet. So she was happy about that haha. She was supposed to come to conference yesterday but she called us and said she was busy at the house and couldn't make it. Sadly her husband is completely against religion and she told us that so that's pretty rough. It's ok though, I really feel like she is going to progress.
Alright so here is the crazy cool things that happened this week! I got to do 2 baptismal interviews this week! Well 1 and a half. The half one was with the Hermanas Amaller and Calls investigator who is 95 years old!!! Yeah 95. Her name is Mama Lola and she is so cute. Like in a old way haha she's so funny. I also gave her a priesthood blessing before the interview because she kept saying "tengo miedo tengo miedo no puedo no puedo hacerlo" she was scared about going under water but after the blessing and Hermana Amaller talked to her she felt better. So she can't really see out of one eye and can't really hear out of one ear so we kinda have to yell at her and be close to her for her to hear us. So I had to leave with the zone leader when the interview started because we went on exchanges (btw exchanges made me so happy that I serve Spanish speaking! English was still fun though). So here is Elder Tates words from his email of how it went - "That 95 year old who got baptized.. Well I was asking her questions and she could barely hear me. So her grand daughter who's like 35 was there to help ask the questions(she's not a member) usually that's not allowed but I the zone leaders said it was ok. We got to question 3, have you ever committed a crime? She said yes and then the grand daughter asked it again and Mama Lola said oh oh no!!
So crazy right!? So the next day she was baptized and it was sooooo sweet and I'll never forget it. She got permission from Salt Lake City to have to go all the way under the water but she ended up getting all the way under. Elder McLaren and 3 Hermanos in the branch were all in the font to help with the baptism. So cool.  
Then the other baptismal interview I did for the Hermanas in north Calgary, Hermanas Dean and Ratliff. They were a beautiful Columbian family and it was so amazing to see them all say yes to following the example of Jesus Christ  to be baptized and obey Heavenly Fathers commandments and everything. I could really tell they were ready and excited about it all. And this time there was no abortion so that was good. So yeah I am loving being district leader and enjoying my time with Elder Tate and Ibañez. This week is already transfers!!! I don't like 5 week transfers. I might leave or Elder Tate might leave or we might stay all together. Personally I would love to stay all together but we will see! Alright time to get back to work and to have another incredible week and have more crazy awesome experiences! I love y'all!!!! Time for some pics :)
Temple Trip

The Temple is Awesome

Wonderful "young at heart" new member baptized

Mission home dinners are the best!