Monday, June 20, 2011

God sent us a TRAIN

Hey Family:

That first one was taken at 1:18 on June 2, 2011.  Got me?  Notice the asado in the background.
A street called Justo Daract in Villa Mercedes.
Just a quick foto summary.  Disfrutenlas!
Alright here we go.  That’s so crazy to hear about Dad sharing the experiences in a talk. . .  and crying.  Sweet though.  You’re great Dad.  I would give you un abrazo if I could.  I love you.
Some items of business.  Don’t sent g's or anything, just marshmallows and other fun foods, so common to you, but stuff no se puede conseguir aca (can't get here).  Underarmor received, I love it.  It works.  Worn it once.  But you’re right, it’s getting cold.

Last week when I said we taught the proud, I was talking about him.  Hermano Figueroa.  I’ve had 3-4 lessons with him.  Just a man with no faith.  Would not even pray.  It was so sad, but last week as we were about to leave his house, I told him that if he would not humble himself and pray, I would not pass by again.  And he didn´t pray.  So sad.
Mercedes, Japan.  I’m feeling it.
Confession and disclaimer.  I mentioned liking the song teenage dream a while back.  Well now I understand that it is a very bad song.  I don’t like it anymore.  But I do like a song called dynamite.  So great.  I hope it’s not bad.
Amanda, I loved that picture!!!!!  So cute!!  I thought of you on you birthday, and I hope turning 22 was great.  And I thought about you yesterday Dad, on fathers day!  Happy Fathers Day.
We had another amazing week.  When I picked Elder Moon up, President Lindahl told us something interesting that has stuck with me.  We are living what President told us to the fullest.  And for our prayers, and obedience, we are having the coolest experiences!  After each day, we laughed and marveled and wondered that the next day couldn´t possible get better.
The week started out with divisións, with Elder Austin.  That day opened my mind.  We talked and thought out of the box.  Different ways to be doing missionary work.  We shouldn´t do the same things 2 years in a row.  We should constantly be changing the way we work, the way we teach.  Obviously some stuff should always stay the same, but there are many things to improve, TRY, and experiment with.
For example, on a hard morning last week, after a friendly introduction with a grumpy old Argentine, I asked if he had a family.  I whipped out my funda of fotos of the family and started talking about our hermosa (beautiful) family.  I asked him about his family, if he had pictures, as he said yes, I invited myself into his home to see his pictures.  And he let us in!  And we were about to teach the Restoration.  So cool.  Always changing, always trying new things.
Also, with Elder Austin we Confounded a J Dub.  So Sweet!!
And the final experience with Elder Austin was that we found Marta, the 10th member of our family, as she corrected me when I told here somos nueve.  It was the most incredible first lesson ever and I was in Heaven and came back to the pench on cloud 9.  This was the woman I thought I was going to baptize in Justo Daract.  She is a firm believer in Jesus, aside form the 4 foot statue of the virgin, encased in glass in her home.  But it was great, after awhile we shared a powerful restauración and she believed.  The Spirit was Incredible!  And then I put a fecha, and she accepted.  And then she got scared, and thought she was going to have to change her life.  ‘No’ I tell her.  All you have to do is quit smoking.  And that scared her.  And we haven’t been back in her house, a pesar de countless attempts.  She’s scared to repent.  But I love her.  She is a dry Mormon, that smokes.  I hope she gets wet someday.  Everyone will eventually have to get baptized, whether in this life or the next.  So why not sooner than later.  Baptism is never a bad thing.  And encima, if you don´t get baptized, you go to Hell.  Ha.
Now some Reuben and Daniela información.  On Wednesday, with Elder Moon,we walked out to Villa Salles, hoping for a miracle.  And we had several.  First off, just that they were both home was a miracle.  And then I ask if they read, and they did!!  And they explained it to us!  O it was just amazing.  We shared a powerful restoration, and they believed it.  Without hesitation they told me they believed Jose Smith fue un profeta de Dios.  Then we went through a little of what they read and talked about baptism.  Will you be baptized by someone holding the proper authority of God, I ask.  Yes they say.  And then I dropped the word.  Casarse.  As a law of God, you gotta get married first, I say.
O, if you could of only seen the look on their faces!  They weren't sure, and said they needed to talk it out.  And Daniela especially was not sure.  She wants a perfect relationship, no problemas before she takes the plunge.  And then I was filled with the Spirit of God and said this.  “Marriage IS the solución to your problems.”  It was powerful.  I explained more on that and it was amazing.  But they are still not sure.  There is always still hope.
So we planned Wednesday morning in such a way that we were going to sacrifice a good chunk of our siesta to go to Villa Salles.  But I didn't even care.  Didn´t even think about it.  I have really been trying to lose myself and go to work.  Not worrying about what I’m going to eat, what I’m going to wear, where I’m going to sleep.  And that day, the Lord Provided. He sent us a TRAIN.  The ferrocarril used to be THE Industry in Justo.  But when the government hosed itself, the railroads got hosed too.  A track runs through Justo 3 blocks form our pench, and there is descent train flow.  We always see them.  Anyway, right as we left Villa Salles and started the trek back home, God sent us a train.  The conductor stopped and waved us over (if he hadn’t waved, I was going to ask anyway, because he was stopped) he said, going to Justo?  Yup!  I say.  Hop aboard.  And the spirit told me to take my camera that morning, so I took video and pictures, in the conductors compartment of a train, and off we went to Justo.  It was the coolest experience EVER:)

Riding on a train!!!
Then as we were eating lunch, some amigos randomly came over to fix our calefactors (heater), (Sweet!) and some other amigos came form Buenos Aries to build us a rostrum!  Or a legit pulpit deal!  We made friends with these sweet guys, 2 RMs, and Thursday day, they cooked us and asado, and when we acabared the dadat 9, provided the coke and pan and we asadoed!!!!  It was so so so so sweet.  Their nonmember, Tio was So Funny!  Just a great time.
In my teaching this week and last week I have been focused on FEELING the truth.  To some it is given the gift to know, and to others it is given the gift to believe the testimony of those who know.  And so many times this week, after teaching the First Vision, I have asked, “Do you believe what we have taught you is true?.”  Or, “Do you also believe Jose Smith was a profeta called of God?”  And the results were amazing.  Every single person told us Yes.  The baptismal question is not do you Know Joseph was a prophet, it is do you believe he was a prophet.  And I do.  I believe that Joseph Smith was called of God.  But at the same time, I Know that Joseph Smith, when he had 14 years, kneeled in prayer and saw God.  I know that is true.  That is the reason I’m here.  Jesus saved us from the Fall.  I have shared that with so many people this week.  For sure I have recited the first vision over 10 times this week.  A true miracle.
We qualified 8 people as News this week, but taught 34 lessons.  34!!  We set the goal high, and almost reached it.  This week, and last, we lived, Teach when you Find.  When we bought alfajores at kioskos, and the people flow was a trickle, we taught about Joseph Smith.  When we went to help an inactive, Laura Barrozo, and she was honestly just leaving the house (I say that because a lot of people, when we come to the door are ¨just about to leave¨ yeah right!) so we walked with her and taught her until she got to the school to see the kids.  It actually was a great lesson.  And so many other things like that.  I probably shared the first vision 5-6 times in the street this week!  Teach when you Find, we lived that this week.  Almost any opportunity to teach this week, I jumped on it.  Looking back, there were a couple I missed.  Like being in the train.  I was just to much in awe.  But that’s only an excuse.  Excuses are for Argentines, not missionaries!
We are teaching a woman named Cecilia.  I love her.  After we shared the restoration, I asked her if she felt what we had taught her was true.  And she said yes I do.  Wow!  It was amazing.  But it le cuesta para creer.  Because she is so evangelical.  But the Lord is working with her.  I showed her evidence of the restoration in the bible I carry around, and she couldn´t deny it.  It’s true!  But when we went to teach her with Elder Austin, she honestly wasn´t there either, but 5. 8-yr-old kids were in the street and had a pelota.  O I accepted the challenge.  I told them I was Tevez, and my comp was Messi.  So watch out!  But we lost!  Can you believe it?  It was way fun though.  I love stuff like that.
Teaching Moises has been a roller coaster.  We had the best lessons, and then our last one, he tried to drop us.  But I wouldn´t let him.  He also feels it’s true.  He loves the baptism pitch I throw, and totally agrees it is wrong to baptize los ninos pequenitos.
I finished the Book Of Mormon in Spanish today, and read Moroni 8.  That is so powerful!  I’m going to use it to teach this week.  So bold.  So wonderful.  I love bold.  But Moises’ deal is he doesn´t accept asistir la iglesia as a commandment.  No one does.  Yesterday we had a great talk about that, Elder Moon and I.  We got some good ideas and are going to try some new teaching tactics this week.  Just come to church.  Please, I plead with you, come to church!
We got a new rostrum!  Even, when we had some great lessons with Ernesto and set to come get him in taxi, he didn´t come!  We were there at 9 am Sunday morning, in the cold.  And I could see him sleeping.  So I knocked and knocked and made some noise, and called his name.  But he just stirred, and slept.  We were so close to having someone in church.  Aside from that, we made a calling list.  and I called 8 people Sunday in the morning, para animarles to come to the church.  And 3 gave me yeses!!  But alas, nobody came.  No investigators or inactives came to church.  This week I did all I could.  I worked the hardest I have ever worked in Justo.  One day our siesta was only 30 minutes.  The next we didn´t take a siesta.  We just worked.  And taught.  And showed our faith, and had the best experiences.  But we’re slowing down a little.  Or going to slow down.  Elder Moon rightly wants at least a little bit of a siesta.
Other cool things.  We went over to the Alaniz house Saturday, whipped up some pancakes and topped them with peanut butter and syrup!  Our syrup.  It was so wonderful!!!
Also, with Ernesto, I had him take us to the catolica church, down the dirt road, he has keys too.  It was so cool being in it with him!
So yes, Sunday I was a touch bummed out, because nobody came, but still church was great.  A high council men came from the big city San Luis, and gave a wonderful discourse of the priesthood and faith.  I want to develop and be given more faith.  And then I prepared for and gave a priesthood lesson on obedience.  I loved it!  I’m getting a little more eloquence in castellano.  It was just me, my comp, President Jose, Hermano Alaniz, and his son Samuel.  Just the 5 of us.  And that’s life Mom.  And you’ll see soon enough, Mom, if you know what I mean.  Just read Ether 6: 11-12.  No burning, just saying.
Then after church we went to eat with Jose and his wonderful family.  Remember that doctor I told you about?  Well he invited us over for a fathers day almuerzo.  And it was so so fun!  Meat, and chincolin.  Elder Moon’s first intestine!  Then, because he’s the pastor-ish for an evangelical church in Justo, they took and gave us a tour!!!!!  And they have an organ and so I got to play it!!!!!!!  It was the coolest ever.  So much more power than a keyboard.  I played ‘a poor wayfaring man of grief’ and it was amazing.  Then I played some restoration hims, and thought, if they only knew.  I got an invite to go play next Sunday night for their church!!  Sweet!!!  Also during the lunch, we practiced ingles with the daughters and it was way fun.  And then he pulled out is clarinet and the wife Claudia, rosined up her bow and they played alabanzas together.  They played ‘How Great Thou Art’ and mas creca dios de ti.  sSo so amazing.  Then they gave us a cake!
You see, each day was just full.... full and fuller of the craziest and coolest experiences.  We also found and had an amazing restoration lesson with Norma.  She just didn’t have the faith to come to church.  And also we found Sergio Lucas, he’s committing about every sin in the book, but WANTS to repent.  He just didn´t come to church.    Hmmmm.
I think we listen to satan’s lies too much.  We consider them our own thoughts or even from God.  I was able to teach Cecilia how to discern an answer from God.  I held out one hand and explained if it is a feeling of light, of love, of peace of joy it is of God.  If it is anger, hate, darkness, it is of the devil.  May we not give heed to Satan, in ANY FORM is my prayer.  I don´t mean that to sound like General Conference!
The Bee Gees.  I just can’t figure it out.  Please tell me the name of the song Casey and I loved!!!  What is it?  Something about a woman.
Mom, in stake conference, I watch with joy as Carolina Ponce walked in and sat on the second row with her 2 boys.
There is nothing more annoying than finishing the day, sitting down to plan, and then smelling dog poop and then finding that the odor is coming from the bottom of your shoe!!!!!!
I sewed quite a bit this week.  A nice size hole in my pants, right between the legs!!  And I sewed the hem of my pants.  Boys, please learn to sew before you hit the MTC.
I love Alma’s missionary prayer in Alma 31:26-35.  LOVE IT.
I pray for success, that I may bring souls unto Christ.  Also, I love a scripture in James 1:27.  Pure religion is visiting widows.
D&C 13 - You Aaronic priesthood holders have the right to the ministering of angeles.  Do you even know what that means!!??
For Sunday, the spirit told me in what order to put the hims.  And it was cool to watch church unfold.
Here in Argentina, they point with their lips.  It is so funny.
2 weeks ago, I forgot to tell this.  Well there was a promo at the supermercado and we bought carne so cheap.  7 pesos a kilo!!!!!  Under a dollar a pound!!  Jumped on that.
On google earth you will find the church by locating the roundabout, on the outside of the city.  Then follow that road that leads away from the town about 3 blocks.  And there is a white building surrounded by lots of camp.  We live there.  The haunted church.
I love you all.  I really do.  Have a good week and follow the spirit.  You can be exactly obedient too.  We become like Christ decision por decisión, y action por acción.  One decision at a time.
May the spirit be with you. 
Elder Ostler