Monday, June 26, 2017

Pictures Are Worth 1000 Words

Que chevere el saco 

Singing at the senior home- Peck, Blackham, Graves, Morrison, Willardson 

getting creative

Holmstead & me on exchanges

morning service selfie

What happens during studies...

Tree farm- tons of those

Our friend, Jonathan

It's a bugs life I guess

It's HUGE- look at the eye

Wolfpack Pride!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Farewell Turners

This week marked my last time seeing President and Sister Turner. We had zone conference on Tuesday morning. It was great. They trained on faith as a power, which has been a huge theme in the mission since they first arrived. Many people don't understand this kind of faith. It's the kind of faith that causes things to happen that need to happen. I have used tis principle throughout my mission and it has been a huge blessing. For this faith as a power to work, there is a little bit of a process. First we have to prayerfully figure out what righteous desire we have. It can be anything. As long as it is good. We then go and do what we can that will directly effect the result you desire. Along with that, we take a sort of spiritual inventory and figure out what we can do to better qualify for the Lord's help in accomplishing this righteous desire. Maybe it includes specific fasts, or maybe one works on a christlike attribute, or if one struggles with having effective prayer or scripture study this commitment can be to improve the quality of those things. 

Throughout this process we exercise a "hope" type of faith where we believe that all will work out for our benefit. A trial will ALWAYS come in the course of this process. This trial or trials will help us really determine if going through the trial is worth the desired outcome, if that makes sense. It is what makes our resolve stronger I believe. Expect the miracle at the end, because it will come! I have had many experiences with this, from learning Spanish, to finding my lost wallet in an obscure place! I trained on this a bunch as a zone leader, and I'll attach my notes and references! President and Sister Turner have been such a blessing and guide in my life. They make the gospel fun. I have learned much about virtue with president turner, not only in MLC, but in interviews and zone conferences. 

President made a promise to us. He said that he promises that whenever we meet again, and whatever circumstance he may be in, that he will still be our brother in Christ. He asked of us the same, that whenever we meet again, and whatever circumstances we may be in, that we will still be his brothers and sister in christ. He then left us with a special blessing. I felt an overwhelming sense of love and encouragement. When we shook their hands and said our goodbyes, sister turner told me how grateful she was to have me. She said that I have a great countenance and that She has always thought I had a special spirit. I never realized that. It made me so happy to hear. I know I am in the right spot in my life doing the right things. We visited many less actives and had many discussions about the restoration. One lesson we were in this week almost became a sort of bible bash. It was a less active member who had left the church to be baptized into the pentecostal church... tons of hispanic pentecostals here, and they LOVE to bash. We started to talk about the book of mormon and he immediately brought up his concern there. I don't have my journal with me right now to tell all the details, but I talked about there being an apostasy after the death of christ. I showed him a scripture in 2Thessalonians 2:2-4. It literally says the word "apostasía" or in english "falling away". We talked more about it, went into discussing prophets, and  he asked his son to bring his bible. I was like, oh crap... but surprisingly, it never became contentious and I actually learned from what he had to say. He also mentioned that there was a time of silence where there weren't prophets on a small space between the old and new testament. I then shared Amos 8 where it is prophesied of an older apostasy. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and will always bring a prophet back to the earth. At that point I testified that there was an apostasy after Christ and his apostles death, and because of that, there was a need to restore what had fallen away. Brother Treadway always said that having a testimony of a great apostasy was important. I have scripture to back up that belief, and it logically made sense to me. But as I testified, mFy Spanish was clear as ever, It was concise and I felt that what I was saying was pure, true and it felt right. I felt the spirit testify to me that there was an apostasy. I was so excited. I can now say for certain that because of how I felt, what made sense logically and because of this experience that I know there was a great apostasy! I am out if time, but I hope all will sincerely seek a testimony of this doctrine.
Greenville East Zone
President is NOT a hugger #wedidit
Saying bye to President & Sister Turner. I love these two. They are going home in about a week.
Pic that Sis Turner took in the last training in zone conference. Sis Vorwaller in tears- she is going home too.

Pres. Turner gave this to all his youth when he was a bishop

Monday, June 12, 2017

100 days to go!

So the last few weeks, we have stained a lot of things...not white shirts, but paint stains. We stained a ramp, a gazebo and the backyard fence of our ward mission leader. Learned a new skill, I guess! Once again we did lots and lots of finding this week. I love talking to people man. I have definitely learned how to make friends with someone right when I meet them. We went with a member family yesterday to a lesson we had set up, but the lady was sleeping. We went to go visit a different investigator family with them but the son was only home, and he let us in. We talked about the Book of Mormon and it was really good! He committed to read and to night we plan on meeting with him and his mom, Dominga! Dominga is who we taught last Monday. We saw her again on Friday and passed by to just talk to her and follow up on her reading. She makes the best tamales con la hoja de platano! She used chile and pork/ chicken. Wish y'all could have tasted them. 

This week I started again to study the topic of grace. Reason being because it came up again. We were in a trailer park street contacting and met a guy named Mauricio who was born in Bolivia! He is married to an American and his English is pretty good. We went by the house, and the mom was outside pushing her daughters on the swings, and told us her husband was in the community pool next door with some friends... so we went to the pool deck (closest to being near a pool for a long time) and talked with him. We taught a pretty detailed restoration because he was soaking it all up! He learned from his church leader that there is no more revelation. He said God does NOT speak to us. He said He can speak to us through scripture, but there is no modern revelation. He thought that was chistoso that the day after he was told that, we teach him that there is more scripture, the Book of Mormon. He works a lot, so it will be hard to catch him. His wife came in halfway through and asked why we focus so much on works, and I tried to help her understand that we don't believe "works" can repay anything Christ did. We are not doing it for repayment, but to show gratitude for what we have been given. We are becoming like Christ, changing our natures. It all starts with the creation, and has much do to with agency. That's what grace is about. Defeating the natural man.

I read in Romans chapter 1-8 this week. A lot of good stuff in there. Tuesday we got to the temple! It was an awesome experience! It had been like 21 months since I last went! I learned a whole ton about the creation...stuff I never saw before.
Speaking of temples, our body is a temple as well as it says in 1Corinthians 3 "16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

Many defile their bodies these days and that is something too sad. I was listening to a BYU devotional this week by Elder Christofferson and he talked about the huge pornography industry. Those who are involved in that business are doing it for greed, but proclaim that a beautiful body shown be shown off. What Elder Christofferson said struck me- he said that once again, money changers were defiling the temple. I never thought about the temple in that way. Our bodies are sacred, and so important to take care of! Exercise, eat well, get enough sleep and be modest in appearance. Doing these things show respect for the gift of our body that we have recieved. We needed a body to have experiences that we would not have without one. It is necessary in our progression. I am grateful to be healthy, and for the experiences I have had. I am grateful for sadness, and joy, peace that comes after confusion.
100 days left... I cannot believe it. I am still going strong, working
as hard as ever. A member in the ward told me she noticed when we
first met that I was a hard worker. She said she could tell I had a
good spirit by the way I conducted myself. That made me feel super good... sometimes I dont feel like I work hard enough, but I guess I am too hard on myself sometimes.
Well, out of time!
Love yall

Stained a gazebo, ramp, & a fence
Hiking at Croft State Park
Nelson & Lecheminant

Jaw bone & Jamón negro

  1. Me, Willardson, Kempton, Young, Lecheminant, Sheen, Blackham, Nelson

Holmstead & Peck decided to bike the trail

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Experiences like these are what help me stay humble...

Hey y' I will be having my pday and consequently, my email
time tomorrow. This is because we are going to the temple in Columbia (mission policy to take pday when we go to the temple). We don't get to go to the temple unless a recent convert is going
for the first time, or if a member who was less active that you played a main role in reactivating is going through for the first time since activated. Elder Willardson has a member who is going who he helped activate in the branch in West Columbia (west Kolob is what we call it). You'll have to wait another day I guess.... oh yeah, we had a baptism on saturday too! Here is a pic to settle your anxiety to talk to me... Danny Colecio was baptized (last in the family of recent converts..far left.

Colecio Family
Danny Colecio

me, Danny, Elder Willardson
So, we found some really cool people this week! One is named Esther. She is not attending a church, and wants to. She has a pretty young family- might I add, very energetic! Her 5 year old is the cutest Mexican little girl ever! There are so many cute Hispanic kids. Can't even handle it! We taught the restoration and after Elder Blackham (we were on exchanges) shared the first vision, there was a pause and she asked "well, what did Jesus say?" I thought that was cool. She was very good at listening, and we focused a ton on the family as we taught the restoration. 

We also had a baptism this weekend! That was awesome! We did not do too much, since the elders before us had done a great job at preparing him for baptism, but we have become close to that family. The parents were baptized May 13th. Their conversion story is really cool. One night at their house they shared with us how they ultimately knew that this was the right path for them. Through a dream they had was how they received their answer. Over the course of my mission I have heard many Hispanics tell me about answers to their prayers through dreams. It is something so special, and for sure a way that God speaks to us. 

This family, the Colecios, are studs. They have strong testimonies, and want to share what they have come to find as true, with others. So, they have been talking with one of their friends, Dominga. They set up a lesson at their house last night, and invited another member family to come to the house. (The Ramirez family- mom you are Facebook friends with her). Dominga told us that
she has felt for a long time that we are the most correct church. She
noted that she has been friends with the Colecios and seen them
change, and she wanted to learn how she can be like that. We shared the restoration with her (we were there a while because we had a lot of good comments and shared testimonies and experiences from these recent converts and the Ramirez fam) and the spirit was strong. I felt the gift of tounges, the first time since being back into teaching in Spanish. Many of us were in tears as I shared the first vision with her. She accepted July 8th as the day to be baptized. 

The entire lesson, I felt a sort of anxiety for her to be touched by the spirit. I feel like she was. I am grateful for these members who desire to share their testimonies with others. They truly feel that the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness has been restored through a prophet. I was thinking last night, and experiences like these are what help me stay humble... it is hard to, but the feelings of the spirit in a lesson in throughout the day make working at being humble so worth it. This area here is special. There is a unique spirit here in Spartanburg. It is hard to expalin it, but many good things are and will continue to happen.
Another church marquis: iPod, iPad, try, iPray
sick graffiti!
me & Elder Holmstead
went on a hike with this beautiful scenery last week