Thursday, January 26, 2017

Week 53 - Calgary

Llegue a mi marca de ano! Eso es una locura!

Well, I do not have much time at all this p-day because Elder Sorvari and I accidently slept in! His alarm didn't go off so we slept in til 9:20!! Haha I guess we were pretty tired. I haven't done that since I was home! I have to admit it was super nice but now I don't have much time to email. Its ok though because not a whole lot happened this week. We were not able to meet with any of our investigators or less actives this week because somehow they were all busy. Carmen and Jorge had a reasonable excuse I suppose because Omaira had her baby on my year mark!! She had a C-section and everything went well. Tomorrow she should be back home so sometime this week we will go and visit Carmen and Jorge and their family. They are the best:)

So yeah sometimes that happens on the mission, you will have a week full of lessons and work and everyone will come to church and then the next be finding and contacting all week and not having a lot of success. But what is amazing is that if you are being obedient and really trying your hardest then there is always a really awesome miracle that happens every single day without fail. Whether it be an awesome service opportunity or having a really cool and nice member lesson or being able to help out other missionaries, the miracles I have seen are countless and they happen every single day. It really is a blessing to always have the Spirit to be with you if you are trying your hardest to live the gospel and be obedient to Gods commandments. Probably the coolest miracle this week was working super hard all week and to be honest feeling a bit down at moments, but last night we had dinner at la familia Morales house and after dinner one of the Hermanas investigators were there. Her name is Lula and she has a baptismal date set for the 11th of February as a goal. And also her friend was there who hasn't been taught or introduced to missionaries and her name started with an L but Elder Sorvari and I didn't really understand it haha. So we start with the lesson and share 1 Nefi 19:23 and explained a bit of the story of the Book of Mormon and talked about the importance of following the prophets because they receive the word of God and without them we would not have the Bible or the Book of Mormon. Lula really loved that and she is so sweet and was like thanking us during the lesson and what is crazy is that she has no religious background! She is the first person I have met on my mission without a religious background. Anyways then we turned to 2 Nefi 31 and talked just a little bit about baptism and Lula said she feels really good when the Hermanas teach her and its the Spirit. Then Elder Sorvari and I were like wow she is so golden! Then we closed with our testimonies of how reading and studying the scriptures and praying really works. They both loved it so much and thanked us like a million times. It was so sweet and funny.

Then as we were driving home Elder Sorvari and I were talking about what success is on the mission and how simple the gospel is. All you have to do is make the choice to live it and put it to the test and see if it is true. Then once you get on the path you will start to really feel the Spirit Galatians 5:22-23 and you will want to feel it more. You will realize how much joy and happiness the gospel brings to you and those around you Alma 27:18. That is really what the gospel is all about, love, peace, joy, and happiness. and sharing it with others. Coming unto Jesus Christ. I love the gospel so much and can not put into words how much I know it is true and how grateful I am for it. It is just incredible. Well I am running out of time now so its time to send some pics! I have the cord this time haha. I really love each of y'all so much and on my year mark I looked through my old journals and read a couple of stories that I wrote about each one of y'all. We really have such a great family and its all because of mom and dad choosing to live the gospel. I love you mom and dad!! 

Elder Ice Ninja

Spanish language Missionaries in Calgary


Calgary at Night!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Week 52 - Calgary (dad must be off a couple of weeks...)

I can't believe I will hit my year mark this week!!!!

So yesterday was definitely one of the most memorable days of my mission! It was fast and testimony meeting Sunday and this past week all of our lessons were pretty much all about fasting and prayer. Fasting and prayers are incredible!! Who knew right?? haha of course it works wonders. This week I have learned so much on how fasting and prayer go hand and hand. I have learned it all from Preach My Gospel and then applying what I learn into the lesson and then hearing all the amazing stories and miracles members have experienced and seen and then asking investigators to put it to the test and seeing it work is the coolest thing ever! And when they do not do it, well nothing really happens. So we have finally started to have consistent lessons again with Carmen and Jorge and we taught them all about fasting and prayer and what we usually do every first Sunday of the month. They loved it and it was so cool because we have to fast and prayer with a purpose and guess what!? Omaira, the daughter of Carmen and Jorge, she is due with her 2nd child for January 20th!! Sooo crazy hearing that date January 20th, 2017. So we all decided to fast and pray that all goes well because this is Omairas first time having a baby here in Canada. She has a 3 year old boy who was born in Venezuela, super funny and he loves Spiderman,  but yeah they all moved here just about one year ago in February of last year. Another thing is its super crazy hearing all the stories that members and all the Spanish people here have with being immigrants or refugees. Anyways the lesson was awesome and they also fasted to know if this is the right path to take with reading and praying about the Book of Mormon and coming to our church. They said they want to learn more now before getting baptized. I believe that they will be baptized soon. They are definitely progressing fast and the members are helping them out.

Alright so I do not have much more time because Elder Sorvari and I have to clean our car and also our pad(apartment) today because we have house inspections and also car inspections tomorrow. So I will share all what happened yesterday and then... dang I forgot my camera cord.. Oh well. Yesterday was incredible. So sacrament meeting starts and then all of us missionaries get super excited and happy because each one of our investigators came to church which hardly ever happens. So we had a lot of investigators at church. And it was awesome because la familia Penagos was there! They were investigators I had in the beginning of my mission. I am able to understand them so well now!! haha and then 2 new families have moved in from Mexico and then some less actives that we work with also came to too and they have committed to come to church all this year, probably partly because church now starts at 1:00 in the afternoon instead of 9:00 in the morning but thats ok haha. So this was the first time ever that I have seen all the sacrament meeting room filled in the branch. So the meeting starts and President Lichfield, our stake president is there along with one of his counselors and I was hmmm that's interesting. Then President Lichfield gets up for some announcements and then he says "I am pleased to announce that under the direction of the First Presidency and their approval, the Elbow River Branch.. will now be the Elbow River Ward." And then you could just feel in the room the excitement and the Spirit and happiness of everyone. I looked around and I see everyone else looking around and smiling and wow it was so cool!! Then after the Sacrament was passed everyone bore their testimonies on how much growth they have seen in the Elbow River branch, now Elbow River Ward and how important missionary work is and testifying of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to testify that Heavenly Father loves us and has restored His gospel through His prophet Jose Smith. It was soooo incredible and I really felt just so accomplished because I am able to understand them so well now and I have really gotten to know them since I have been here since like March 2nd. Then I started to think, I have come a long way but I also have so much more to learn and really its just the start. There will always be more to improve on and to get better at and to progress in the gospel. We can always live it better. We have a perfect example to follow, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It can be a hard process to become like Him and to live the gospel and to lay aside some of the things in the world, but I have found that with prayer and fasting and studying and understanding the scriptures, Jesus Christ makes it easier on us and He makes it possible and within our reach to find true happiness in this life and to eventually live with our Father in heaven again. All we have to do is accept His invitation to come unto Him and to take His hand and He will make the journey easier on us28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30. I love all the symbolism in the gospel. Just think of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the scars in Jesus Christ hands and feet. In Isaiah Jesus Christ says "Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands," so as we take His hand of help, He knows us perfectly and loves us perfectly and knows how to help us perfectly and if we have our foundation of our life built on Him, we cannot fall. Helaman 5:12. Satan will have no power over us, because he has no power over Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. Alright I gotta get going now but I gotta let yall know that I love all!!! And Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love all too and if you don't know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you, then put the gospel to the test, put the Book of Mormon to the test and I promise you, you will know. Tengo que despedirme ahora! Les quiero! Hasta la proxima semana!! 

Love Elder Proctor

He forgot his picture cord, so no picts this week :(

Friday, January 13, 2017

Week 48 - Calgary

I hit my year mark next week.. what!?!?!

Hola todos!!! Esta semana fue muy genial y teníamos mucha diversión! Alright so this week we got a new Elder in the Spanish program and his name is Elder Fish! He is from New York and he's hilarious. Elder Ibañez is training him. It's so crazy because Elder Ibañez is my "son" in the mission because I trained him so now that Elder Ibañez is training Elder Fish that makes him my "grandson." I'm already a "grandpa!" Haha but yeah Elder Fish is awesome.

So I'll try to email this fast because Elder Sorvari and I got a lot to do today for P-day. So I'll share just a few stories. So first y'all know how its kinda cold here and people are slipping and sliding while walking on the snow and ice and driving here in the snow and icy roads is super crazy. So this past week I avoided 2 car crashes!! The Lord is definitely watching over us. And also Elder Sorvari says I'm already a pro at driving in this weather :P so the first one was when we were driving to the church to have correlation with the other Spanish missionaries in the branch. We were on deerfoot trail(highway) taking the southland exit and this big red truck just turns on his blinker and tries to come in our lane and he did it really fast so I turned a bit to the shoulder of the lane and honked and slowed down. He was soooo close to us for a good 3 seconds. Then I was behind him because I was slowing down and then got back into the lane. It was crazy! Then the other one was driving on a little bit of black ice. Black ice is terrible!! So I almost rear ended a guy because apparently I didn't have enough space between him and I when there's ice on the road but you can't see black ice! But I patted the brakes so I didn't hit him. So now I'm keeping like 5 second distance from the car in front of me. So driving here is crazy right now but fun!

So here's another story. Elder Ibañez and Elder Fish get a random text from this Spanish lady and asks to meet and talk about our books "Mormon, Doctrine, and Pearls of Price" and also to eat dinner. It sounded really weird and a lil creepy though. And none of us knew who she was so they invited Elder Sorvari and I to go to. We get there and I was like no way!!! This is Ricardo's house! Way back in July, Elder McLaren and Elder Tate and I taught a lesson here to Ricardo but his wife wasn't there and she's a member who had just been reactivated, she went to Sundance (an English Ward). We just taught Ricardo that one lesson then he wasn't interested anymore and never got back to us. Anyways so turns out it's his wife who texted and she just wanted to have dinner with us and she had some questions about the church that she wanted answered. Her name is Sandra and she is super nice but a lil crazy. Ricardo wasn't there for dinner but their kids were. They have 3. So we eat dinner and we figure out why her texts sounded weird because she is still learning English, she has been here for 4 years from Colombia. (Makes me wonder how weird or sometimes creepy we sound when we text in Spanish haha.) So half the dinner was in English getting to know each other and stuff and then when she asked us all her questions we spoke in Spanish. Some of her questions were hilarious, like, "why do Mormons have so many kids? Do they not study science and realize that the world is being overpopulated?" and, "Why does the Book of Mormon say that God doesn't approve of black people? Do they not know science proves that Adam and Eve were black and overtime there became white people?" and lastly a legitimate question, "why aren't women allowed to have the priesthood?" So I believe each one of us answered them all really well and at the end she seemed more humble and she was pondering about it. It was pretty cool because each one of us testified of temples and prophets and of Jesus Christ at the end. Super awesome how powerful testimonies are. I love it. And I testified that it's great to have a testimony but it is what we do with it is what really matters, we have to live our faith and follow the commandment Jesus Christ gave to us "Look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not." Doctrine and Covenants 6:36. And follow what President Uchtdorfs advice, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." I really love every aspect and concept and principal of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It all fits in and works together. All scripture, all prophets, all temples, all commandments, it all leads to the the Atonement of Jesus Christ so we have the option and choice to return to live with our Heavenly Father in heaven again and have eternal life. It really is so miraculous and awesome.

Yesterday was stake conference and it was all about faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, prayer, and miracles. So amazing hearing different peoples stories and miracles they experience in their lives because of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. We just have to be exactly obedient to Gods commandments and follow Jesus Christ. Well I can't believe this is the end of another email. Still have a couple pics to send but wow time goes by so fast and even faster when you live the gospel and have fun. I love yall so much and hope y'all have a great week and have fun and live the gospel to the fullest!! 

Love,   Elder Proctor

The Family...

Nice weather in Nacogdoches!


I Love Canada!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Week 47 - Calgary


Ya es Enero 2017!!! No puedo creer que llevo casi un año en mi misión!!! Wow it's gone by insanely fast. We went grocery shopping and the milk expires on January 17! And I was like dude that's 3 days before my year mark!! No way!!! And its already been a week since I was skyping with y'all. How crazy is that!? I just have a feeling that this year will go by even faster and I will enjoy my mission even more. So I will be home before I know it so I got to use the best of my time! So the past 2 days have been pretty different because on New Years Eve we had to be in our apartment by 7:00pm and then we were strongly encouraged to hang out with members and not allowed to hacer proselitismo, also church starts at 1:00pm in the branch now instead of 9:00am so that's really nice because we don't have to wake up at 6:00am and be at the church at 7:00am for branch counsel! Anyways it was really nice taking a bit of a break and today is P-day so it's like a 3 day break! Super weird but nice. New Years Eve was super sweet but I do have to say I got a little homesick that night just for like an hour. I have only felt homesick maybe like 3-4 times on my mission. It's not a bad thing at all. Just want to let y'all know that I really do miss and love y'all and especially have missed y'all over the holidays but it's all good!

I got to talk with y'all on Skype and that was really the best thing ever and also because I have been able to make so many amazing, fun, and awesome memories here and learn so much that I would not have if I was at home. The amount I have learned this year of Spanish, how to be a missionary, how to come closer to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, how to love and serve others and preach the gospel, it all blows my mind and I know I miss y'all but deep down I am just so grateful for all that has happened this past year and for being here in Calgary and am filled with joy looking forward to what I will help the Lord do this year and how I will grow closer to Him and help others do the same. It's the biggest blessing ever to be on a mission. I am super excited for Jared to go on his mission. It will be 3 years before we reunite and it will be like the story of the sons of Mosiah in Alma 17:2-4!!! 
"2 Estos hijos de Mosíah estaban con Alma en la ocasión en que el ángel se le apareció por primera vez; por tanto, Alma se alegró muchísimo de ver a sus hermanos; y lo que aumentó más su gozo fue que aún eran sus hermanos en el Señor; sí, y se habían fortalecido en el conocimiento de la verdad; porque eran hombres de sano entendimiento, y habían escudriñado diligentemente las Escrituras para conocer la palabra de Dios.
3 Mas esto no es todo; se habían dedicado a mucha oración y ayuno; por tanto, tenían el espíritu de profecía y el espíritu de revelación, y cuando enseñaban, lo hacían con poder y autoridad de Dios.
4 Y habían estado enseñando la palabra de Dios entre los lamanitas por el espacio de catorce años, y habían logrado mucho éxito en traer a muchos al conocimiento de la verdad; sí, por el poder de sus palabras muchos fueron traídos ante el altar de Dios para invocar su nombre y confesar sus pecados ante él."   It will be so cool when we get to see each other again and share all the miracles we have seen. Can't wait. Still can't believe you will know and speak Tagalog. That's soooo crazy! Dang I love ya Jared.

So anyways I was thinking about all of this New Years Eve and then my homesickness went away real quick. Also it was nice because I spent New Years with Elder Ibáñez and Elder Sorvari and we played games and talked. And it was so crazy watching Elder McLaren and Elder Bailey(one of my trainers) both go home this week. In 3 months I will be the oldest Spanish missionary when Elder Sorvari goes home. So crazy! Alright so I have one cool story to share and then I will send a ton of pics. So when I first arrived here in Canada with my trainers Elder Sánchez and Elder Bailey. We taught the Plan of Salvation to Alex, this guy from Colombia who is Lutheran and who is really respectful but he liked to bible bash us and just kind of try to prove us wrong and half way through the lesson he told us, "this will be last time we will be meeting, just to let you know." (This is just what my trainers told me because I didn't understand Spanish at the time) So now when Elder Ibañez came with us he said that him and Elder McLaren sent him a text to visit him. He said yes!! So we went over there and it was soooo weird and crazy driving back over to his house again, it being like 10 months since I was there! So we get there and we talk and Alex says my Spanish is "muchísimo mejor" and now he can even see it in my face that I understand him and I'm more confident now. It was so cool to hear him say that because I remember my first time there, I was feeling pretty down about not being able to help anyone or teach anyone because my Spanish was so bad. So I have learned to never give up on anything!!! You can do anything even as crazy as learning a new language. So we started off sharing the Christmas video because he asked why exactly do we celebrate Christmas and then after that we started to talk about tons of other topics because he kept asking questions which is good. Some of them were pretty funny like why do we break the 2nd commandment of not worshiping idols by going to the temple with the angel Moroni on the top.. and other things like that and we used the scriptures and our testimonies to answer his questions and then the next lesson we had with him he did the same thing but this time it was even more bible bashing and the Spirit was not there so I just raised my voice a little bit and testified of the Book of Mormon and how God has always called prophets and that has always been the way God has revealed His word to His children and that is how you are able to use the Bible and hold it in your hands and read it, it is only because God called those people who wrote it as prophets and revealed His word to them.
I testified how it is the exact same with the Book of Mormon, how did we get the Book of Mormon? God called the prophet Joseph Smith to be the prophet of the restoration and he translated it. Then I shared just how much studying the Book of Mormon along with the Bible has helped me through my life and understanding and living the gospel and going to church and following the prophet. After all of this we invited him to pray with us on our knees and to ask God if the Book of Mormon is the word of God because he said that it isn't. We read Moroni 10:3-5 and then he prayed and wow it was super cool how the lesson changed. The Spirit was there and his countenance changed. I really have learned how powerful testimony is. No one can deny it. You have God on your side testifying with you. It is so cool!! Well I am running out of time but I want to let y'all know that your testimonies are super powerful and do not be afraid to share them. I love y'all and am super excited for all that is to come this year! Y'all are the best :)) time for pics.

Elder Proctor