Monday, November 13, 2017

Week 17 Garupa "Last Email...Heading Home"

Hey guys, I just wanted to dedicate this last email to my family.

I love you all.

It's be great serving here in Argentina! I love the mission. In reality I love to be alive! Life in general is just wonderful now! My perspective has been illuminated and I can see straight now.

Paul, Mark, and Blake: you guys have to go out and serve the full 2 years. You will go through so many hard things, but you will LOVE IT afterwards! It is the marvelous work that God performs for his worthy young men of the last days!

I hope you guys are ready for me BECAUSE IM COMING HOME THIS SATURDAY!!!!


Monday, November 6, 2017

96th Week Out, Week 16 Garupa "Tour Guides"

I've come to the conclusion that there is nothing you can tell me concerning the Gospel that is not already written. Especially as we live in a time with the "fullness of the Gospel" revealed to us. Of course one could say that there are plenty of things we don't know. I see what Jarom means, "For what could I write more than my fathers have written? For have not they revealed the plan of Salvation?" (Jarom 1:2)

The prophets use so much intelligent/spiritual reasoning!! Looking over my notes, I came to the realization that many if not all of the things I have written down are thoughts that have already been made by millions and millions of other saints. Furthermore, I believe all of the thoughts I have made, like small discoveries of hidden riches, have ALL been touched upon by the prophets, seers, and revelators.

We might even stretch all the way out there and say that most if not all moral themes and ideas have been harvested by prophets of the Lord. The salvation of man-kind down to good manners, even positive thinking may have all been completely explored and put on display with tour-guides in the Book of Mormon! Why now do even our Latter-day prophets in 2017 urge us to read again the words of the prophets? The most recent general conference ended with Elder Anderson BECKONING us to search again through the other general conference talks.

"And whoso recieveth this record ... the same shall know of GREATER THINGS THAN THESE. Behold I am Moroni; and WERE IT POSSIBLE, I WOULD MAKE ALL THINGS KNOWN UNTO YOU." (Moroni 8:12)

I think if Moroni commenced in revealing "all things" to us he would start by reading the words already written by prophets, seers, and revelators.

THEREFORE, do we have any excuse to not read the words of the prophets? To be idle? To be less-active? To not magnify our calling? To go to church every Sunday and nourish ourselves with the sweet word? ETC...

If all things are pertaining to Perfection, Salvation, and just good living, THEN NO! As we are placed before the great bar of God He will ask us, what did ye do in the day of your probation? Did you take advantage of the most gracious gifts of knowledge that were given? Did you seek out all the gifts and talents that I gave you even before the world was?

I know that the Gospel is the university of God for all those who THIRST and HUNGER to SEE and to HEAR. The Gospel is what challenges men to walk uprightly. The Lord is a God of knowledge. He is so open to us.. I love our Heavenly Father. He wants us to walk, not crawl. He wants us to speak, to see, to feel, to understand.

It may be inappropriate to exercise my calling's power over written email but, I promise --- all those who desire and are willing to go and do all of the things that the Lord commands --- you will be lifted up on that glorious last day and every day before that. You will look back on the trail you leave and regret none of it. D&C 58:42; D&C 45:57; D&C 45:5; D&C 43:17,19; D&C 59:24. 

In the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Monday, October 30, 2017

95th Week Out, Week 15 Garupa "2 More Emails"

I'm already giving things away! I'm down to like 5 ties! My temple recommend expires tommorrow? I got like 18 days left! Apparently I can only take one bag home! How am I suppose to fit all of my toys in there!?

There will be a pretty sweet meeting before I go home --- A member of the presidency of the 1st quorum of the seventy will be coming to visit our mission!
I believe his name is Elder Christiansen? He will be accompanied by Elder Bragg; the counselor to the president of our area in South America. This will be on the 10th of November; a week before I'm on a plane to Georgia.

It's going to come with a few complications though. This mission has 2 countries, which means 2 visas, 2 sets of legal documents, etc... Our mission has difficulty driving this way.. The fast option for missionaries to get in and working already is to just send them out with a 90-Day Tourist Visa. Then the office works on achieving your legal documents withing that time period.

Long-story-short there are about 35-ish missionaries that will not be able to cross over to Argentina to participate in this almost once in a life time experience. Otherwise they will have to pay a fine for being illegal. The mission can't afford to pay simultaneously these fines as the price adds up to more than $2,000 dollars..

SO, President Svec has a problem. The Elders who are coming to visit are on a massive trip to many missions so they can't stop and go to Paraguay also. He may need to broadcast the meeting to Paraguay or find some other solution. He has communicated the situation to Elder Bragg and Elder Christiansen. As of now they have planned to fast next Sunday (the 5th of November.) Infact the whole mission has been invited to fast so that a door might be openned.

Luckily I am in Argentina, so I will be participating on the 10th of November!

Aboiut my area, we continue to look for those prepared persons who hear the voice of the Lord. We found a lady named Susana! She has a daughter who recently got baptized in the church in Buenos Aires. She then moved out here recently, like not even a week ago, to live with her mom. We just happened to show up. Susana received a baptismal date and we left! The neat part is that her daughter wasn't even there! So she probably freaked out when her mom told her that she has already been visited by the missionaries and is going to get baptized!!

Here's a cool study:
1. How can I be gentle?
- Write the different synonyms to being gentle that you can think of
2. In what ways is Heavenly Father gentle with His children?
-Write as many as you can think of
>Love is His first commandment
>He teaches precept upon precept
>He works by small and simple things
>He desires that we call Him Father
>He wants daily verbal communication from us
>He sent His son so you wouldn't have to suffer
>He is patient
>He cringes not at our ignorance/lack of understanding
>He lashes not out in wrath as we sin continuously before Him
3. Take all of those things from #2 and try to apply that gentleness in your own life!

Cool beans.

Impressions of Garupa:
-I made freaking strawberry flavored pancakes today, and strawberry syrup!

Monday, October 23, 2017

94th Week Out, Week 14 Garupa "3 Letters left..!"

I only have 3 letters left after this one..! THIS 4th last week of my mission my companion and I have decided to contact 1000 people in 1 week!! Brennen had challenged me to set a crazy goal before I go home so here goes nothing! (It may be a norm for some missions to get 1000+ a week but in my mission there is a different population and culture.)

We heard some guy say something cool this week:

You want to know why I believe in God?... Everytime someone here tries to make light, it goes out... UNLESS they feed it and keep it going... It will go out... Who makes that light run up there? (the sun) That light never goes out.

It's interesting how questions can cut your way through the jungles of knowledge. For every solid question there is a solid answer. For every answer is an opportunity to make another solid question based off that answer, and so forth. I think I admire a lot what intelligence is and how God has structured our thinking ball-field. If your brain painted a picture, what would it look like? If you had the ability to think up a color that doesn't exist, what would it look like? (you probably couldn't answer that..!)

On top of all of this is that fact that we are all individuals. We are all "different." How does God make so many different faces? Different finger prints? How are there so many views and perspectives of things?

Questions and answers, decisions and choices, the ability to compare/judge, agency --- is what makes you alive --- participate in life --- join the symphony that God has composed. I look at it all like the stars in the sky! It's so FUN to be an OBSERVER! Watching GOd paint the sky everyday. Having the sensation of discover constantly. Sometimes I feel like the gate keeper from the Azguardian realm with the all seeing eyes.

So I guess --- keep your eyes open --- don't be blinded --- you can't afford to waste anytime! --- Because soon there won't be time ever again --- Do things! --- Be alive! --- Understand the value of what you are --- Take advantage of Life.

Impressions of Garupa:
-There are people who have served missions in the church here, and just leave the church.... And we find them in the street while contacting.......... I dislike that... They need to still be at church...

Monday, October 16, 2017

89th - 93rd Week Out, Week 13 Garupa "Last Transfer, will stay in Garupa"

So yea! Wonderful week! I'm loving my companion! I've been here with Elder Houston from Houston Texas! Seems he will be my last companion as today is the first day of my LAST TRANSFER! WOW!

We moved to a new apartment and we have nothing. We have to buy all new things! ITS SO EXCITING TO BUY NEW STUFF ON THE MISSION! After living on the floor and in my bags, ironically I did have a wonderful week!

We don't have very many investigators... At least the number that I would like to have. It's challenging to find people that really are excited about your message and don't doubt everything that you say.

I LOVE being a missionary.. It's such a delight and a pleasure to me! It's so full of THINGS! *In all of your gettings out here you get understanding*! It's neat to feel worthy everyday, to not feel anything holding you back! To understand the power and solemnity of your calling even down to the very area you serve in.

I'm grateful God allowed me to come here. It's humbling to think that I was chosen to do this. I know the Lord has invested a lot in me, and I will magnify my calling.

Have a great week everyone!

Impressions of Garupa:
-There is a church here that apparently got closed down because they had been selling illegal drugs on the roof...  :) 

Monday, September 18, 2017

88th Week Out, Week 8 Garupa "S.hort writes short emails...not"

I really try to think about what I write! That's a main reason why I don't write a lot :) haha! I'm still in Garupa. I probably wont be leaving untill I end the mish. Our mission president has put the big goal of getting 1 baptism EVERY WEEKEND! So that's the memo of here.

I'm not really struggling with anything. I've been just noticing a lot. Reflecting on the fact that I learn a lot of things all the time. I write them down, I re-read them often. It's really neat. I am 20 years old.. I don't know if I'm an "adult" I guess I don't know the definition. I don't feel like a teenager though. I give more attention to everything.

I'm so ready to take on the world! I bet it's going to hit hard! But regardless I'm excited!

One thing I get brought back to a lot is who I was before the mission. Oh how great the difference. I was an object. Long story.

You know what, I thought of a great question one time: How can everyday be like Christmas? I remember EVERY SINGLE CHRISTMAS being so profoundly set at awe and beyond my ability to recieve all of the JOYOUS feelings overflowing my SOUL when I woke up, each and every Christmas day. The night before I'm CRINGING with excitement! Even as I became more mature, I couldn't change the way I felt about Christmas! Although most of the excitement came from the fact that there were presents waiting for me, I do think there is such a feeling as this that is spiritual, and not just temporal.

How can you come close to this feeling not just because of adrenaline and temporary pleasure of material things? How can you wake up everyday maybe with just the solid, optimistic attitude to take on whatever the day has to offer, and with a strong desire to discover what you will behold?

There's probably a lot of answers to that, and a lot of obstacles too. But as the scripture says that "men are that they might have joy." Realistically it is going to have to do with things that aren't temporary maybe not even material, but that doesn't mean we have to exclude them from our search for happiness. For example, going to the beach with the fam. You are, in a technical sense spending temporary time and temporal money to get there at the beach with your family. But you also know that you are gaining an awesome experience and memory that will be carried beyond time.

Life is a balance of both your treasures on earth, and your treasures in Heaven. But you also cannot serve two masters. I'm not saying focus on saving your treasures on the earth, but to taking advantage of them, and using them while they are available in a prudent way. While also doing all possible to take advantage of eternal treasures that never will perish.

But yea. I don't know. I would just love to wake up everyday like it were Christmas! Haha!

Pictures some other time! CIAO!

Impressions of Garupa:
-Well, maybe this impression isn't from Garupa, but I noticed that a little Coca-Cola bottle over in Paraguay is 20 cents..... And here it's about 1 dollar and 20 cents.... :) ha!

Monday, September 11, 2017

87th Week Out, Week 7 Garupa "10 WEEKS LEFT!"

I don't have a lot of time! So I'm just going to say hi, and I hope all you guys are ready for General Conference coming up! It's going to BE THE MOST AWESOME OF THE AWESOME CONFERENCES! Because

It's my last one EVER during my time as a missionary! 10 WEEKS LEFT!

I love to be a missionary!

Here's a story:

A man goes to get his haircut! The barber is an atheist. The man is a member of the church! The barber is a good talker so they talk a LOT. They talk about politics, about the world, about history, about life in general. And then they get onto the theme about God. The barber says:

"I don't believe in God."

The man asked him why. He said "There are so many people in the world who suffer, with earthquakes and other disasters, even to unjust governments and drugs and other sorts of problems. I can't see that God can exist because of these things."

Then the man thought, and he responded, "Well.. You know what? I don't believe in Barbers."

The barber thought (how could this be?) And the man spoke again and said, "I see many people walking around outside with horrible hair! They suffer having their hair looking bad and different forms of weird shaped hair! People are in the street and can't afford their hair cuts and so they sit in their poor hair just like that."

Then the barber said, "But I am here! I am a barber! I can cut their hair! They just need to come to me !"

And thus the man helped the barber understand how to come to the knowledge of God.

We need to come unto Him, to know that He is there.

Monday, September 4, 2017

86th Week Out, Week 6 Garupa "New Companion Elder Houston from Houston, Texas"

And he said unto me: Knowesthou the condescension of God? (1 Nephi 11)

What is Condescension? Condescend means: to humble one's self insomuch as to descend to a lower plane to help someone or something.

Jesus Christ is the "condescension of God."

He came down here, a perfect being, put himself on our level by becoming mortal. He came here not as a super hero, nor a powerful king with legions of armies. He came as a lowly servant; suffered like us, with us, and by us. And performed a work so infinitely necessary to our race.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to bequal with God:
But made himself of no reputationand took upon him the form of servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion aman, he humbled himselfand became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him name which is above every name:
Can we just take two seconds here and remember who this is? This Jesus Christ is He who descended to our plane. "Even below all of us. And worlds without number have createdand also created them for mine own purpose; anby the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten." (Moses 1) THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS!
THE GREAT JEHOVAH! This is the man we are talking about! Who is this who has come down and oppened the doors of the higher plane to us?
God is likened unto the parent and the child in a household: When a parent wants to help his child he doesn't speak to him in a way that is stern and hard. For example, a small child of 5 years of age; when the child asks his father a question, the father will KNEEL DOWN AND DESCEND TO HIS LEVEL to speak to him FACE TO FACE. So that the child can understand and KNOW THAT HE LOVES HIM!
I testify that God is a God of condescension. He loves us. He waives rank, and raises his repentant, righteous children up to Him. These things I write in the name of that omnipotent being, Jesus Christ, amen.
Impressions of Garupa: I got a new companion, His name is Elder Houston. He's from Houston Texas ironically. My companion Elder Barrios just became assistant to President. (3 of my companions have been assistants) ( I feel like i was called to this mission to strengthen and edify leaders!)

Monday, August 28, 2017

85th Week Out, Week 5 Garupa "1 Plane, 6950 Miles, and 18hrs 30min of plane travel."

That's a long time before I get to stand on the dirt of my country! My itinerary got here! I'm going to leave in a plane from Buenos Aires, but I don't get off the plane for the whole trip.......... Only 1 plane. Wow.

So I've been working a lot, not really getting baptisms, but I don't even think twice about that. Knowing that the Lord commands when making covenants with His children makes it easy to understand progress as a missionary. We have contacted so many people in Garupa that we tract and find people who say "But you guys already gave me a card?" That's happened a lot actually.

Other than that, I am working on ways to be optimistic. (You can never be too optimistic 😀) It's really fun, I would recommend the study to all of y'all. I want to be the best me I can be. I find that some of my strengths have to with enthusiasm, loudness, and a sense of humor; Appendages to a lively character. 

I want to be conscious of my own behavior at all times. I want to recognize my uninvited pride before I make ignorant decisions! I really feel like ranting about how pride can ruin one's life. Honestly I need pride removed from my life. I know it is the strongest key that Satan has to chain me down. In my opinion if someone has the capacity to control THAT end of the many weaknesses of man, he or she is a master of his life. It's something that denies access to knowledge, to wisdom, to understanding. It just blinds, and affects all of your surroundings. If one can dominate pride, that person will enjoy this life more than anyone.

Pride has to do with the way you think, the way you act, the way you speak, the way you consider and ponder and study. EVERYTHING! It secretly plays with all the controls on the panel while you try to find the buggy virus!!

But my mission gave me an open mind. I am so blessed to have been able to look upon my sins, and my pride and to give it away. I NEVER WANT IT BACK! I want to love the innocent! The naive! I don't want to fight with the ignorant! The opposite end from pride is the beautiful, merciful, humble, love that God reigns with!

Oh how great the verse that says that we must become as the innocent child!

Here's an example I found:

That moment when your parents call you over and ask "Who did it?"

Good parents don't ask that question to know who it was, because they already know. They ask to give a chance for the child to repent.

Oh how one can apply that example to Adam when he sinned. He hid from the Lord. The Lord asked "Where art thou?("Who did it?")

But the wisdom of Adam is manifest when he IMMEDIATELY LEFT HIS HIDING PLACE and stood infront of his Father.

Now, we know that the all seeing judge will ask us "Who did it?"

Will you give in, will you give up your pride, will you come out from your hiding place, and take responsibilty for what your errors are?

Because God does not ask to know who it was, but he asks so you can repent.

Therefore repent, and establish yourself on His side! Feel the righteous love that comes from the opposite end of pride! Love is such a profound word! Who can describe it!?

I think that's enough for today :)

Impressions of Garupa:
-I love Leche... I drink like 2-3 liters a day :)

Monday, August 21, 2017

81-84th Week Out, Week 1-4 Garupa "100km/h"

So I just want to say that I love the mission.

I am such a blessed young man. I have so much future to start up. How
wonderful it is the feeling of the Lord's hand over you. One day I'm
going to get home, and be infront of that pulpit. I'm going to try and
tell you guys in so way or form about this trip. 

I feel like the Nephite prophets that write and tell us of their weakness in writing
and how they yern to tell us in their sounding words, with their lips
and their face. But they can't, because we have to have faith! :)

Because otherwise it would be too easy to believe! 3 Nephi

Elder Stephen Horton

Monday, July 24, 2017

80th Week Out, Week 16 Puerto Iguazu "WEW...I'm being transferred and becoming ZL1!"

Hello! This is the week of transfers.
I will be going to a place called Garupa! I've been there before!
I was there a lot doing divisions with the zone leaders. But I guess
it's my turn now to be the zone leader as I will be moved up to ZL1!
They aren't even going to train me. I'm going to be straight up the
senior companion zone leader with a missionary that has only 4 or 5
months. My zone is also the 2nd largest in my mission. But everything's
fine, tranquilo! I'm probably going to end the mission in this setting.
So YEA MAN! I'm just going to go to work, and finish strong! I can also 
visit my first area and my first baptisms!

But to end my email I would just like to talk about an experience.
Over my mission I have noticed that I think more and speak less.
I think the longest parts of my mission are the hours and hours
spent waiting to board and to arrive in the large 2 story omnibuses
of South America! I decided one day that I wasn't going to be tempted
by the entertainment of the television screens but I meditated with 
Heavenly Father for as long as the trip would go. I think it was that
day that I really started thinking. I started my prayer and it was like
I had openned the fridge for the 5th time looking for some kind of food
that maybe I had missed again! My brain was as if it were, stuck on
windows 98 still! A barren wasteland it was. But I walked around it however.
Long-story short, I reached a new platform in my mind. It wasn't just a
calculator, or a memory card. But a stage, and a theater. A refuge, and
a classroom. A holy place, and a battle ground. I flew through dimensions
even as Doctor Strange! (yes I saw it in an omnibus, I'm a sinner)

May sound a little cheesy, until you experience it yourself.

What is the gift of knowledge?

Impressions of Puerto Iguazu:
I am the first Elder apparently in a long time to establish a relationship
with the Branch President here. He teared up my last day in his house. It was
over a small tie that he told me he liked a while back, and I gave it to him.

Monday, July 17, 2017

79th Week Out, Week 15 Puerto Iguazu "One time I thought..."

I love to exist.

What a priviledge it is to BE. To ACT and not be ACTED UPON. You can have REAL ZEAL to LIVE. To do things, to go higher, to be better. When you find out that you were alive before you were alive, and you're told that you were ordained to do great things... What is it that you need to know from that. Why does the Lord allow us to know these things? Why? :)

Someone once told me "Death exists not, for those who believe in Jesus Christ"

Impressions of Iguazù:
-I've noticed that mental and physical liveliness is healthy

Monday, July 10, 2017

78th Week Out, Week 14 Puerto Iguazu "O Meu Goodness!"

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The world goes round even when you're not there. Do we have flying cars yet? Robot butlers? Has chocolate milk made it on tap yet? What's happening on the front page of society? What are the cameras aiming at?

What's college like? What's my eternal companion doing? What kind of car will I drive? What's my next calling? Who are my children? How many will I have? Who are my ancestors that I am so blessed by?

What's going to happen in 20 years? Can I watch Chitty-Chitty-bang-bang on Netflix now? Have they brought back the Jetsons on television? What's it like to live on top of a super tall building looking over a huge city evey morning?

I know what this is. Endure to the end. It's fun.

Something that has helped me a lot this week is this phrase "Let the peaceful, happy moments roll!" 

Worry not: D&C 43:34-35

34 Hearken ye to these words. Behold, am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.
35 Be soberKeep all my commandments. Even so. Amen.