Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye Carmelo - Hello Rivera! 12/31/13

Wow! What a week this past one was for me!! So I will start out from the beginning.
So the day of Christmas eve we went to go send a video to president and to our families in the cyber. The people that were working there asked us if we wanted to dress up as Santa for a little bit and wave to people as they drove by! We told them that we could do it for our service for the week! So we each did 30 minutes dressed up as Santa! I was definitely a skinny Santa. It was HOT! Later on for Christmas Eve we got to go up to that beach area again and have a huge dinner that was basically all great meat :)

It was so nice to be able to enjoy that time with a great family that is always doing things for others and wanting us to enjoy this Christmas Season. We had permission to be out later so we were there until 1030 and it was dark enough so Ezekiel their kid lit some fire works and threw some bombs - haha little did I know that this was just a small precursor to later. So we took the taxi back to our house and went to bed. 

That didn't last long! At 11:55 pm we started hearing a few fireworks go off and by midnight it was like there was a war!!! Almost every house in the town was shooting off fireworks! We quickly hopped up onto the roof and wow that was an amazing sight!! I thought we had Spirit and lit a lot of fireworks for the 4th of July... Not even!!! I have never seen so many fireworks at one time and how loud it was too! Was a fun Christmas Eve. 

Then Christmas came and I loved being able to Skype the family! Everyone was doing really well and looking a ton different too! Needless to say that Justin looks like a mofia member, that was the biggest surprise for me! The minutes flew that I was able to talk to them but I really enjoyed it! That night we then went caroling at some old persons homes and a few members too! It was way fun to be able to sing the songs and the Old People loved it!!

Then Saturday during lunch we got a call from President. We knew that Changes were the next Monday and that probably meant one of us were leaving. Well he told us that Elder Toledo was going to train somebody again and that I was going to go to Rivera. It was a little bit of a shocker for me and at first I couldn't really believe that I was going to be leaving Carmelo. This has become my home since the MTC. Ya E Toledo was a great comp and I am definitely going to miss him a ton.

But luckily I was able to have one last baptism there in Carmelo Saturday night. And it was one that I will never forget. Mirta is 88 years old and has Alzheimer's so some things she doesn't remember but she understood the lessons and remembered a lot of it. But interestingly enough she forgot about the baptism part when we opened the door to walk down into the font, she did not want to get wet! After 15 minutes of gentle coaxing she finally got in and both Elder Toledo and I were there. He took her in his arms and I took her legs while plugging her nose and we both just dropped into the water. 

Sunday was my final day and the President of the Rama gave me 10 minutes to speak to the Rama. It was a little nerve racking to have that much time but it actually went really well. I talked about Mosiah 2:41 and how we truly are blessed in everything if we follow the commandments. And how much I enjoyed being able to serve there and ¨grow up¨ in the town of Carmelo! 

After Church we borrowed the bikes again and went around to pretty much everyone to say goodbye which was pretty hard for me and then the last house was of Eduardo who was the convert that I was able to work with him and his family the whole time. They had an awesome cake for me. 
And they also told me that when they are going to get sealed as a family that they are going to invite me! I couldn't have asked for a better way to leave them hearing about their plans of going to the temple in a year to be sealed as a family! Carmelo said goodbye to me the best possible way it could have - I love SUNSETS!  It was unreal!  The entire sky was bright yellow and orange, the photo doesn't do it justice!

Rivera is awesome though! I have only been here for one day but I have already been into Brazil and dying of the heat. Its going to be getting up to 125 degrees here and last night I woke drenched in sweat, this is going to be interesting. My new companion is from Spain, Elder Zapata! He is way awesome and we are going to have a great time here in Rivera! Elder El Bakri & I are both up in Rivera together..... so we will get to see some of each other still.

I love this work! The blessings and Miracles that come through missionary work and the Gospel of Christ are amazing! There is only one path that leads us to Eternal Life and we need to do everything we can to help others find it and do everything we can to stay on it. I know that through Christ we can stay on the path by following the commandments and his example. We can get back onto the path through repentance, and move forward with growing faith in him and trying to perfect ourselves. Love you guys and hope you have a great week! Set Goals and lets make 2014 great!! Happy New Year from Uruguay! 
                             ELDER Devashrayee
p.s. Enjoy the last of the photos from Carmelo!  Here they come from Rivera now!  (I have updated the links to the side - Lisa)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Chat --- 12/25/2013

He was invited over to a members home so he and his companion could use their computer and Skype with us.  It was a blast to see him and hear him.  He was struggling a little to come up with some of the "English" words, which we all got a chuckle over.  He is doing great!  Very warm and humid but surviving. Can't wait for his next email :)
Thank you all for your support, prayers and love - he appreciates them greatly!

Monday, December 23, 2013

"Hot Potato" teaching, Saving the Fruit of His Vineyard, and Merry CHRISTmas everyone! 12/23/13

Christmas Spirit is in the air!!! I keep hearing Christmas songs in English and I just bust out singing them on the street!! Haha and the other thing in the air is definitely the heat! It is cooking me but at least I'm not the only one that is sweating badly. 

This week has been a little slower because of so many people leaving for summer vacation with school getting out a week ago. It has been rough with people not wanting to talk to us during the `Siesta` time because to battle the heat they just sleep. But we have still been going out with confidence in the Lord. Yesterday was such a great example of how things might not go how we have them planned but the Lord always blesses. 

So we had Church and fewer people than normal went but the talks were great and as missionaries, us and the Hermanas, sang Silent Night "Noche de Paz" for the Rama!  It went really well and was a great experience for us. After we had our normal lunch we left to go to our lessons and visits. For 3 hours straight nobody answered their door. We were dying of thirst so we went back to our house to drink some water and think of what else we could do. 

We decided to call the President of our Rama, who is also a missionary with his wife, to see if he could go with us during the later hours to visit some people. He said yes so we went to the Church to wait for him. He showed up and then a member showed up who needed to talk to him real quick so he told us to wait for a sec and then he would go with us. It ended up being an hour and we really only had time to visit one family. Well that is where the Lord definitely blessed us and them. We showed up and a single mother of 6 kids was in their house. We talked outside and got to know them better. We soon found out that they hadn't been to church for 5 years because of problems that had passed earlier and HAD "0" desire to return. That desire changed and her heart was softened. We talked about how the Salvation really is personal and we can't stay offended for what others did and lose those blessings that are waiting for each of us. The Spirit was so strong. By the end of what really was a 3 person "hot potato" testimony meeting she said that she wanted to go back to church with her family! I know the Lord was aware of our efforts and waited until the end of what seemed like a "fruitless" day to bless us with the opportunity to visit this family that truly needed us. 

We truly are working in the Lord's vineyard and He is with us. I know that His Spirit and Love is with each and every one of us. We are called of God and a living Prophet to serve in these last days! Jacob 5:60, for the end truly is happening right now and we are the ones that He has called to work diligently and with faith to save all the Fruit in His Vineyard. I know that He lives and that His life was a perfect one for us to follow. He truly is our Savior and I am so grateful for His life that He lived and gave out of pure love for us and Our Heavenly Father. His Atonement is real and truly blesses us all with the opportunity to become better and live with our families at the Foot of our Father again!! Love this work and this time of year we have to remember Christ in everything we do! Have a great Christmas and BE GOOD! Don't want Santa to be giving coal!! haha :) Love you all!!
                                     ELDER Devashrayee

photos updated in the Carmelo link :)  For our Christmas Pday - our Mission President let us go to a movie - we went to Despicable Me 2.... weird watching it in Spanish.  We also went to the beach, we both wished we could go swimming, but we will be back to do that!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Guided by Leaders, Baptisms, Temple Session - a very lucky week! 12/16/13

First off, some answers to some common questions I have been getting: We do most of our own laundry by hand except for the white shirts- a member does that for us once a month usually.
We cook all our own meals except for lunches Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Lots of rice and milk, unless we splurge :)  We get about 150 bucks a month to use and it is for food, travel to meetings, stuff for our activities with the the Rama, and other things that we have to do as a Zone.  I haven't eaten anything extremely crazy yet (or at least that I know about). It has been really good actually! I have been getting a little chubby in the mid section..... not happy about that hahahaha.  Wow it has been hot down here......... sweating a ton!!! Maybe that will help the mid section. This could explain some of the mid section problems :)
Great on anything, but incredible all by itself! Doesn't last long!!!

Another Great Week!! Loved it! So we had a Conference with half the mission in Montevideo Wednesday and it went great!!! I got to see my MTC Comp Elder McRae.  Gonzalez from the 70 and his wife had a great message for us here in Uruguay! It was great to be reaffirmed that our work is going well and how we can do the work even better! I guess with some more focus on the Reactivation, some missionaries are worried about baptizing because they might go inactive after. He clarified to us all that we as missionaries are the ONLY ones that can open the doors of baptism and it is our first role. Every person has the choice to stay active and we are supposed to be a support for them in that process. Loved the Conference! 

Then we were able to do Divisions with our Zone Leaders the next day! Loved seeing other forms of teaching and it went really well!! We met a ton of people and had great lessons!! One of the Elders is actually from St Geezy- Elder Bulloch! He is an awesome missionary and it was great to be able to go out with him. 

Then Friday came. The day with another 2 baptisms!!! Niko this 9 year old kid who has been making so much progress and really has grown up a ton these past 4 months that I have been here. The other was Eduardo. He has been investigating for a long time because his wife is a member. He told us a while ago that after the surgery on his wife he would get baptized. Well the surgery went perfectly and she is healing rapidly! They also have a goal as a family to go to the temple in one year to be sealed as a family! Us and the hermana missionaries sang "Families Can Be Together Forever" at the baptism and the Spirit was so strong. Everyone there felt the power and we were reminded about the power of the family and how we really can be together for the eternities. Eduardo had the biggest smile and talked the most I have ever seen him talk! This family is amazing and I am so grateful that I could be here to see them grow closer together as a family and set that goal to be sealed! (photo included in the link under Carmelo)

And speaking of Temples... Saturday was quite the day going through the temple!! So to start off while we were going to Montevideo one of the Sisters in our Rama got sick on the bus and started shaking really bad, so we had to stop and go to the nearest hospital. She ended up being ok just had really high blood pressure. Got back on the road but we had missed our first session so we had to split the Rama up and half go earlier and the other half go later. 

Us and the Hermanas were given the 3 o clock session so we had some time to be able to go and talk with the President's Wife! What a treat that was! She had a TON of food and it was amazing! I already had my Christmas dinner I think :) She is such an awesome lady and truly does love us so much! 
Mini Marshmallow Fun at the Mission Home

After it was temple time :) It was so nice to be able to go through and have a chance to be at peace and think clearly of things that I can do better and receive answers to things in my life as well as what we can do better here in Carmelo! Definitely love being in the House of the Lord!! Even with the difficulties in arriving we had a great time and people left uplifted and fortified!! 

I know that we need that fortification in every aspect of our lives. We are constantly being tempted and attacked by the adversary. 2 Nephi 4: 27-30. We don't have time to let Satan get to us. We need to work to make ourselves better and more Christ-like every day. There is only one constant that will give us that strength to do that- turning to our Heavenly Father and Christ. 

During these times of celebration and enjoyment of the Birth of Christ we should give them a gift through trusting in them more and following Their direction for us, as well as be grateful for the Sacrifice that Christ made for EVERY single person. His love for us incredible! I know that this work is true and I am loving every minute of it!! Love you all!!!
                               ELDER Devashrayee

Monday, December 9, 2013

Santa Hats, Cool Experience = Gospel & Basketball finally come together, Pray - it is that simple! 12/9/13

First off, the haircut (from the photos last week) Elder Toledo gave me was so bad that a member just pulled out her little buzzer and just about shaved me bald!  Very nice of her :) Easier to take care of and cooler in this heat - but which is worse? You tell me, I have sent photos.

Well we had another great week!! There is never a dull moment with Elder Toledo and I. He is hilarious and such a good missionary too! We have fun and are able to convert the energy to others and invite the Spirit too. I love teaching with him and he is definitely a great comp! Haha we bought little Christmas hats the other day and then wore them one evening walking over to the Church for a meeting. The looks and laughs we got were great! Almost every person who saw us said something nice and left with a smile! I enjoyed being a "Flaco Papa Noel!" (Skinny Santa Claus) But we have been able to meet so many people these past few weeks and just give them a simple invitation. It is our role as missionaries. Invite and Help others come unto Christ. 
   Our  Birthday & Thanksgiving Feast (thanks Mom for the extra money to splurge with) 
and our Santa Hats :)  Great Burgers -  but it wasn't turkey!

We had a really cool experience and of course to have a REALLY cool experience it needs to include the Gospel and Basketball!! Haha Yep the day finally came when Basketball played a part! We were riding on our bikes again to go around to some of the less actives that live farther away and we passed this little fetcher playing some ball solo in front of his house. I looked at him playing longingly and once we had passed him I had a feeling that we should go back and play but in my head I was telling myself, "Is this feeling just me really wanting to go play again (especially after hearing that Brighton and the Bball season has started up again) or is this something different that I am feeling". Elder Toledo then turned to me and said in his English "I know you want to go play" and then said that he felt we should go too. So we went back and played on the 8 foot mini hoop (better than nothing) and this chico was good too! He also got to dunk for his first time with a little boost up :) He was stoked! After we asked if his parents were there and he went and got his mom. She came out and said that she saw us playing and was really grateful for our time with him and she will bring him over for our sports night. 

We are going to go visit them again this week and I don't know if something will happen or not, but there was a good experience planted and they were able to 'meet the church' and know that we are there and really just trying to serve and do good works! That is something that I have learned. It doesn't have to be a huge miracle that the Spirit whispers to us. EVERYTHING good is of the Lord and the way the Spirit works is always good whether it be a little wave, cleaning a yard, or playing some ball with a kid! 

Yesterday we were able to have President Smith come to our Rama to do interviews for the temple. The branch here in Carmelo has planned this next Saturday a trip to the temple, and after all the interviews President gave us permission to go with our Rama!!! "There is no way that I could keep you two missionaries here from going with your Rama!" Way excited to be able to go the Temple this week!! And this upcoming week is going to be great! We have a Conference with Walter Gonzalez de la 70, baptisms Friday, and the temple Saturday!!! I will let you know how it all goes! 

I have two scriptures this week from D&C chapter 10 that were both really powerful to me. Verses 5 and 33. The power of prayer really is amazing and is what we have to keep us on the path. Satan is out in full force to try and tear us down, especially through our testimonies. He wants us to stumble, doubt what we have, and leave that Rock of Christ that we have built on. He doesn't want us to be a part of this work in the last days and is trying with everything he has to make us fall. I know that through sincere prayer we WILL overcome him and only strengthen our testimony of our Heavenly Father and prayer. I know that he really does listen to us and answers our prayers. He is waiting there to hear from us and bless us. Pray! It is a simple request he has asked us because he truly does love us. We receive blessings, answers, guidance, comfort through praying, why not do it? I am loving the work and truly appreciate all the support and love you have given me!! Have a great week and lets start up that Christmas Spirit!
                                           ELDER Devashrayee

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thankfulness, Iron Rod Activity, and Meekness 12/1/13

First off, hope all had a great Thanksgiving! Hope everyone thought of their many blessings and talents they have been given. I missed not celebrating it down here, the food was definitely missed!  I was explaining Black Friday to a member down here..... SO funny to see her reaction to what we do and suffer through to buy things..... gotta love the good ol Viernes Negro! Missed it this year!!!

Well the heat has officially hit here in Carmelo! Faaaa it has been cookin!! But what a great week of work we had!! Elder Toledo is such a funny guy and has so much animation and love for the work!! Every moment with him is a good moment! We are trying to work out the cleaning part :) Haha 

So we were planning for the Iron Rod activity this past week and inviting everyone we see to the event. Friday came around and we put up the rope through the whole church along with obstacles. Those that came we blind folded and then had two people leading them, one trying to deceive and the other trying to lead! It was so fun to be able to do that and see them try and figure out which voice was the good one at the beginning, even if meant running into a wall or something :) 

We made a little tree at the end of the ¨rod¨ along with a little chocolate ornament to represent the fruit. Elder Toledo and I dressed up in all white to accept them at the tree!! Our President then explained the dream and what everything represented!! For the 35 people that came it was such a great activity!!! 
                                  The "Tree of Life" with the Sisters

Then Sunday We had Fast and Testimony Meeting. The Testimony session was extremely powerful with the Spirit and one of our investigators, Julieta bore her testimony and WOW how strong it was! Everyone was still and so intently listening. The members are growing closer together along with Christ and it is seen in their faces, actions, and testimonies! 

The work has been going really well with service still. Every Saturday we have something to do and it is becoming something that those outside of the church are seeing! We were mentioned in the newspaper here for our contribution in the plaza nearby and how we fixed up us ¨Mormones¨! There is a picture of Elder Nord and the Hermanas and then a list of the names of everyone who came to help!!! Service really does go a long way and is what Christ always did! 

This past week I also had great studies of one topic for each personal study day. I studied Meek. I read D&C 1:23 and it made me want to figure out what it meant by ¨weak¨. It lead me to a full week of scripture chasing and pondering. I have a few of those scriptures and it was very interesting to study them and apply meekness to them. Helaman 3:35 Mosiah 3:19 Ether 12:27 and Moroni 8:26. Meekness truly is one of the greatest characteristic of Christ and leads to every other attribute that we might want from him. 

I know that Christ is our Savior and truly is the perfect example for us to follow and develop those characteristics. This church is His church and he is leading us through the modern day prophets we have. They speak his words so that we can understand the direction. I know that this church is true and everyone is a Child of God and it doesn't matter what anyone has done, He still loves us perfectly. The Atonement of Christ is truly a blessing in our life and we have the chance to better ourselves every day and every time we turn to Christ in Meekness we can be forgiven and receive strength. Miss you all a ton, but I am loving the work here in Uruguay! Thank you for all your support and prayers! They are felt here and give me strength! Love you all and have a great week!! :)
                           ELDER Devashrayee

Did add more photos he sent this week :)  Beautiful Country!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Birthday Dinner, Elder Toledo, Work side by side to do the work.... 11/25/13

First off, thanks for all of the birthday wishes!  I had a big bowl of sweet rice and milk... note the candle I even got to blow out!  It was a good day!!!

What a crazy week!! So now I understand why missionaries never look forward to change week, haha it was chaos!! I went down to Colonia with Elder Nord and we had to sleep in the church there for our last night together as Comps - Describes our 2 changes running around and no beds - remember the bed of chairs - night 2 on them! But he left early Wednesday morning and I waited there in the Bus Terminal with the other missionaries to get our new comps! My new comp is Elder Toledo from Chile! he has been in the mission for 8 months and is 19 years old too! He was in a heavy metal band and still has the scream for it, really took me off guard the first time he did it. 

It has been a long first week and my brain has been fried from thinking in Spanish 24/7  but I can already see a difference in my Spanish so I'm grateful for it! He knows English too so he tries to talk to me in English every once in awhile which has been really funny! His trainer was Elder Jake Davis from my home Stake! I thought that was way cool to have another connection here down in Uruguay! 

Got a young crew here in Carmelo though!! He is an awesome comp and we will keep working hard to bring to pass the work here! There is definitely one difference that has already been noted... It is going to be a messier house this change. He isn't like Elder Nord in how he is organized and cleans but He has a ton of animo (spirit) and is always looking for ways to make the work.... work better, that is really what is important! We even organized with other missionaries in our District to come to Carmelo yesterday night and go out to the houses of less actives to invite them to the activities we are having at the church! It was great! Found a lot of people and left a ton of invites for them with the 8 companionship's that swept through the town!! Hopefully we see results from this effort! 

We have also seen a ton of miracles this week! Two people are preparing to be baptized this December!! And another one of our investigators can now come to church because her parents finally let her and are beginning to have their hearts softened! She 16 and has an amazing testimony of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost! We are going to be working with her and now we can talk to her parents and maybe they will feel of the truthfulness and want to be baptized too! 

I know that these are the days for our work to be hastened in EVERY member of the Church! There is no time to waste! Get involved in missionary work! Be looking for ways to visit less actives and helping them out, showing them that we care for them, and serve them. There isn't time to waste and I have already seen the blessings of having members work side by side with us! 

I know that this Gospel is True and there is no doubt in my mind that Christ and our Heavenly Father love us. The Gospel of Christ changes lives and brings miracles to everyone who has faith and truly wants to come closer unto Christ. His Atonement is for everyone and that will never change. No matter how serious of the sin or how lost we may feel, He is always there for us and wants us to take his hand and lift us from our despair. Moroni 7:33 sums this up. If we have faith in him. We CAN do anything to change our lives for the better. Love you all and Miss seeing you guys! But the mission has been such a blessing and being able to spend time serving the Lord every day to help others see the true happiness that comes from this Gospel!! Have a great week!! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  I have a lot to be thankful for!
                                    ELDER Devashrayee

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Goodbye to Elder Nord, Miracles around us, Ether 12 11/19/13

I don't have much time today because of all the craziness with Changes and Elder Nord leaving so I don't know if this letter will be very long and I will have to send the pictures next week with my new comp and everything! I am staying here in Carmelo! 

But this past week has been a crazy good one! We had 52 people in church Sunday because everyone wanted to come and listen to Elder Nord speak... haha.  Wow were they smart to come! The Spirit WAS SO STRONG in there and I really don't think one person didn't at least tear up. So many came up after and told us that they wanted to start coming back and have callings and prepare to go to the temple!!! The miracles have been incredible! One lady who has only been twice in the past 6 months came and after Sunday she went to work the next day, came home, and told us that she wants to start preparing to go the temple and wants to talk with our Branch President!!! I cannot believe the changes that are taking place here! 

I am so appreciative of all that Elder Nord has done and his Spirit and Love for the people here! He has truly been following the Spirit and showing that love and desire to see them happy and people are returning! I have learned so much from him and I won't be the only one that misses him and that's a FACT! Everyone loves the guy and hope I can keep doing what he did and keep the work moving forward with my new comp! 

So excited for the future and being able to bring more into in the Arms of Christ for this Christmas Season and the Birth of our Savior! Truly so grateful for the blessings and miracles that are happening here! We had two baptisms Saturday too! Both of them were so happy to be able to be baptized and are gong to make huge differences in their lives and in helping the Rama grow and strengthen! It really makes me think of Faith and Works. There is no way Faith and sitting around will bring to pass miracles. It only comes through our hard work and trusting in the Savior that HE WILL make up for our weaknesses and failures. Faith is key for all and truly with it we can do anything that the Lord asks of us. 

Ether 12 was such a great chapter to read and study this past week. There are weaknesses in everyone but that only means we have more opportunity to grow and become better! Read this chapter and ponder on ways that you can better YOURSELF and then think of ways you can help others become better too! Do the Works with the Faith and great things will come to pass! 

Time to meet a new comp and he is Latino too! My Spanish is going to be getting a lot better this change :) Love you all and truly hope you are enjoying life and the time we have here to be happy, grow, and come closer to Christ and our Father in Heaven! Have a great week! and smile too ;)
                        ELDER Devashrayee

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bacon Pizza, Addictions in life, Firm in our Callings, Armour of God 11/11/13

What a booster of a week!!! The weeks just move and it is only faster when I am busy and having a blast doing it!! So last week after P Day everyone here in the Colonia Zone went to Mercedes to meet up with that Zone and have Zone Conference with President Smith and his APs! I'm an, oro, or a "nubee", so after everyone got there I had to go up and bear my testimony in front of them! I was pretty nervous but it went really well and I got to hear the other oros give theirs too! But that Conference really just gives you such a boost of energy and excitement from hearing President speak inspired words and give us suggestions on how we can do better in our work here! 

When we had our last "change" a shirt was made. Finally got a photo of it to send.  That is me right above the "sun" along with Elder El Bakri :)  Can you find Elder Nord???

After we had bacon pizza and it was sooo good!! It gave us the strength to win the tug of war battle. We split up into 3 teams for each Zone and Colonia went 3-0!!! After the meeting before our bus left we walked around the city and Elder Nord got to talk to his converts and members that he worked with in his first months of his mission!! It was so cool to see people and the excitement they had to see him! He was so happy to be able to get back there before he left and be able to communicate well with them too. 

The things in Carmelo are still going great! Another week with people coming to church and really becoming firm in their callings. Our investigator is still on track to be baptized this Saturday and she really wants to be able to do it too! She just needs to hold out strong on quitting smoking. The addictions of this life really are so strong and I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be to overcome them without the help or hope of the Gospel and Christ! 

We also have this kid, 13 yrs old Edgar, that is planning on getting baptized too! I have known him since the first day I got here and he has grown so much! He even drew this picture for me and gave me this half coin he cut out! The kid has a lot of energy but really has a huge heart to do what is right. He isn't afraid to pray in front of others and is learning the lessons and remembering them too! Whenever the baptism is he asked me if I would baptize him! 

Things have been going so well and Carmelo is turning the Corner and I am lucky enough to be right in the middle of this change! Miracles are happening and families are growing closer together. Those who have been doing their own things for the past years are coming back to Christ and realizing that the true happiness comes from doing this! So grateful for this opportunity to be able to Spread the Word of God here in Uruguay. 

My scripture this week is in 2nd Nephi 25: 25-29. Such a reminder of everything Christ has done for us and how we should do all we can to share the happiness that comes from His life and sacrifice for us. I know that this church is His Church and there is no doubt that he is leading it. These last days are when we are going to be tried the most and like Conference said: Satan is out in full power deceiving and trying to bring down those who doubt and lose faith. Lets fight against that! Lets build our Faith and Testimony and truly put on that Armour that will protect us! Love you all and hope everyone is doing well too!! Have a great week! 
                                            ELDER Devashrayee

Added more photos again this week - love it when he sends photos.  There is a Zone Conference photo - Elder El Bakri is in it also!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hosting a Cooking Class, First Baptism, Carmelo is being blessed... 11/4/13

Well another crazy week of weather, news, work, and members! We had a huge storm roll through and the streets were literally rivers. I was so glad to have my boots. The nice part about that is the weather has actually stayed pretty cool and the summer won't be as brutally long like everyone has been saying. 

So for one of our activities this past week we had a night for people to come and learn how to make something North American. We showed them how to make Lemon Bars and the Hermana Missionaries in our area translated the recipe into Spanish to give to those that came. It has been way fun to have been learning how to cook better with Chef Nord around and the Lemon Bars were amazing! 
 If anyone has Ideas for cheap, easy "American" meals let me know! 
We are always searching for new things to make and try out! For us and for the class.

The next day I went on splits and I got to stay in our area and go around leading my companion! It was an interesting exchange because he only has 1 more change than me so the Spanish part was a little bit of a worry for us when we started but it ended up going really well and it was fun to be able to play a little bit of charades to figure out what they were saying exactly! :) 

The next day was another great one as we set up for the Halloween party at the Church with a little scavenger hunt, bobbing for apples, and then a Karaoke. I went as a soccer player, Argentine one, I was really thinking outside the box on that one! Everything went really well and turned out to be an activity that people want to do again especially the Karaoke  We have been trying really hard to have activities that people will enjoy and include little testimonies of the Gospel or comparisons from what we are doing to the teachings of Christ. It has been fun being able to have activities and be thinking of new ways to help people have experiences at the church and grow!! 

We had 43 in church and that was even missing a family who the mother went in for surgery that Saturday. She is doing great and the tumor was taken out from behind her eye without a problem! So the investigator that accepted fecha (date to be baptized) has been growing so much!! She really is a different person and it is so easy to see it in her demeanor and how much she is dedicated to overcoming her addiction. The Gospel is truly changing her life! 

Sorry I had to leave in a rush to catch the next bus so I couldn't finish haha. I will send a photo of my first baptism that I was able to do on the mission last Saturday! It was an investigator of the sister Missionaries and I had the opportunity to Baptize her!  It was awesome and a little nerve racking too, but was a special experience!

We are seeing miracles here and Carmelo is changing!! La Iglesia De JesuCristo es verdedera y la se que sin duda. Podemos llegar a ser como nuestro Salvador por medio de siguiendo los mandamientos que nos ha dado para nuestro beneficio. La Expìacion fue efectuado por nosotros para que podamos arrepentirnos de los errores y pecados hemos hecho. Se que Seremos bendecido por nuestros esfuerzos. Se ve en la iglesia los que están disfrutando esta vida para prepararlos por la vida que viene. Testifico que oracìon es tan poderoso y realmente nos communicamos con Dios. Les Amo mucho y espero que tengan una semana marvillosa!!  
                                     ELDER Devashrayee

I don't read Spanish, so I copied and pasted what he wrote on a site that translates for you, to get a "jest" of what he was saying.  Here is what it translated to... Keep in mind that it isn't 100% :)
The Church of Jesus Christ is presented and is without doubt. We can become like our Savior by following the commandments which he has given us for our benefit. Atonement made by us so that we may repent from errors and sins we have done. If that we will be blessed by our efforts. I have seen in the Church who are enjoying this life to prepare them for life coming. I testify that prayer is so powerful and really we communicate with God. I love you all very much and hope that you all have a marvelous week.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Service opens many doors, Constant Up-lifter, BE HAPPY! 10/28/13

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS hahaha that is so sweeeeet!!!!!!!!!!!!! BHS BHS !!! Congrats Girls Soccer for taking State!  Good luck Football at State! Bengal Train for me.....

What a week!!! Wow Carmelo is turning the corner! There have been so many blessings and miracles this past week!! We have been having activities every night in the church as a way to invite people to OUR territory haha. They have been doing really well and the members are becoming closer than ever! 

The biggest miracle this week came from this. We received a notice that a family had a house fire and the clothes of their kids got burnt in it. We informed others to come and help us separate and organize some extra clothes that were gathered at the church for them. The friend of the family that told us ended up being an investigator of the Church for a long time but never committed to anything. We talked with her once when I first got here and since then we haven't really been able to contact her until the fire came around. She came to the church and helped and enjoyed the atmosphere because we were having fun, talking normally, and giving service. We went by her house the next day to talk with her and her whole demeanor changed! She was bright and really talkative about it all. We shared our lesson and by the end we knew that we needed to ask her again if she would be baptized... She Accepted!!! She is going to be taking the steps necessary to reach her goal and going to overcome her addiction to smoking too! We set the date for the Saturday before Elder Nord leaves because she wants him to be at her baptism because of how persistent and kind he has been to her! What a blessing that comes from service and having a constant place like the Church to have us meet at and enjoy each others company!! 

We then had 45 in church Sunday and we were thrilled!! People who hadn't come for weeks, months, years were there for Sacrament meeting!! The Spirit is changing here and I am lucky enough to be a part of this! My companion has been a great example of never giving up on someone and being a constant up-lifter for all! We have a lot of work these next 3 weeks before he leaves and we want to do all we can! 

The scripture this week is Mosiah 2:41 Such an amazing promise that is given there and we have the chance to receive those blessings! The Church is truly a rock that we have the ability to choose if we are going to build our testimony on it. At times it may fall, but that only means we need to build it up stronger! The Atonement of Christ is infinite and was done out of pure love for us. I am so grateful that I can be here serving in these times and build my own personal testimony of this Gospel. Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be happy. True happiness comes from following his Commandments and Living the principles taught to us in the scriptures and through the living Prophets too! Love you all and have a great week!
                                 ELDER Devashrayee

He sent a few photos again this week - see the Carmelo link to enjoy them.... some classics :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

So Blessed, Graffiti Artist, Charity - Pure Love of Christ..... 10/21/13

He was able to send some new photos this week. Take a look under the Carmelo link. He got his first mission hair cut (BUZZZ)!

Crazy how much things change in just a short few months... I have been looking back this week and thanking my Heavenly Father for everything that I have been given. It is amazing how much love and patience he has with us! 

We had a great week here in Carmelo! People are starting to change and those attending church have been having great experiences with it too! The Spirit here is so much happier and it shows in the willingness they have to serve others and fulfill their callings! We had a service project this past Saturday in this small plaza that really needed some fixing up and painting. While we were doing it, kids of all ages started to come in and help us paint and were so interested in us ´blancos´  especially Elder Nord the "good ol´ rubio"! We had the opportunity to talk to them about the church and invite them to sports and the activities we are having at the church. We were also able to discuss the help that following Christ will bring in their lives. There are so many who truly will listen to us, we just need to open our mouths and Invite them! I had my first experience with Graffiti! It was approved and all of the kids loved putting their mark in the park as well.

Along with that experience there have been many great lessons this week with members who are really struggling with problems and trials in their life. The power of Prayer and gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon, the KEY to our church, is incredible. The Spirit can always be there with simple statements of truth and testifying of these things. There are changes in the hearts of Menos Activos (less actives), feelings of excitement for investigators, and strengthening testimonies of the faithful members! Carmelo is taking a turn for the better and the Lord has truly been blessing us in our efforts and leading us to those that need us most! 

This week I came across 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 and how strong this chapter hit me. Charity and Love are absolutely essential! Without them we are literally nothing and not able to feel the Spirit as much as we would have. Christ was Serving and Loving and is STILL serving and loving in every moment. There is a reason that Charity is called the Pure Love of Christ!! Love you all and hope that everyone is doing well!!
                                       ELDER Devashrayee
p.s. Since I am newer out here and most of the other Elders have been here for a while, I was able to pack more 'lively' ties with the new guideline change.  My colorful ties are great conversation starters! Love them! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

"I am Uruguayan", Spanish clicking, Teaching families, Re-read Conference talks - 10/14/13

This week was incredible!!! But now Soy Uruguayo!!! Firme mis Papeles de Residencia Hoy!!!  Haha, I traveled down to Montevideo to become a legal resident and sign my papers! A relief to feel that now I'm not running from the Government.

How great it is the opportunity we have to watch Conference and truly hear the words from the Profets of God. I know I am a week late but this past weekend catching up and watching all the sessions was so great!! There is a reason that Pres Monson said this was one of the most powerful, and inspirational Conferences he has attended!! So true. The Spirit was so strong and centered on Mission Work along with the strengthening of Family. Those two things are the center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and it was definitely stressed so much! 

Well this week along with Conference I have felt the greatest increase in my Spanish. All of the sudden I am able to put together conversations with little mistake, just a little slower then the Natives, but it was starting to catch! This new change I have more responsibility with helping with the lessons and being more integral in the delivering of them. We actually had a lesson with the Familia Isnardi whom I love so much. We talked about the temple and how significant it is. I joined in more on the lesson and the Spirit was so strong there! The two parents then showed up to church on Sunday!!!! What a feeling it is to see those less actives step into the sacrament meeting and start to come back to that true happiness they felt earlier in their lives. 

We then had a Family Home Evening with another Family about the Plan of Salvation. It was also so strong and the husband accepted the invitation to be baptized in a month!! Hopefully he continues along with everything and reaches that goal we have set with him! Teaching those two lessons which were focused on Family were so strong, and then to have that reaffirmed in the Conference Sessions was such a boost! 

There are changes coming here in Carmelo and people are starting to accept new callings in the church and the Rama Prez here is really building a place of peace and love that used to be of contention and un-forgiveness. 

My thought for this week is for all to go back and watch one of the talks from Conference for family night if you can. This WILL strengthen you and bring you ways to become better in different areas of your life. Take notes on what you feel and then do them! I promise you all that I will be reading them once I get the magazine this next month. This invitation isn't empty. It is something that I will be doing too and it will only strengthen your testimony and Faith in Christ. I Promise you this! Love you all and thanks for the support and love and prayers!! Push Forward and don't look back at what you have done! Look forward to what you still need to do!! Have a great week :)
                   ELDER Devashrayee

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Overstuffed Pain, Faith of 16 & 11 year olds, Two Powers - 10/8/13

What a week!!! I can't believe that my "first change"** has come to an end!! (That's why I'm emailing on a Tuesday, by the way mom - I didn't just forget ;) haha) But time keeps moving and it is October already and unlike you guys with snow it is starting to warm up here and I am actually kind of excited for it, even though I know I will take that back in a few weeks here! 

Last P day we met as a Zone and went to this All You Can Eat pizza place in Colonia!! The pizza here is more like bread sprinkled with cheese but it was great! I ate so much and it felt great to have that overstuffed pain again hahaha. We also took some pictures at this business who does 'old fashioned' photos and when we get them back I will take a picture of it and send it your way! 

So this past Conference Weekend I was not able to watch Conference which was a huge let down but we will watch it as a Rama this next Saturday and Sunday! From what some of the other missionaries have said it sounds like a great Conference focused so much on the Missionary Work that the WHOLE Church is needing to do!! Cant wait to see it! 

We had divisions this past Saturday and I was with Elder Mar who is from Mexico and only speaks Spanish. It was a great 24 hours of just Spanish and I was actually really grateful for that opportunity! He also has some crazy stories from his childhood in the Mexican Mofia/Gang. I enjoyed hearing those a lot! 

Nothing really big happened other than one of our investigators that has been wanting to get baptized for over a month but her parents won't let her because her father is the pastor of his own Church and her mom says we are just all lies. Julieta our Investigator has such incredible Faith! She told her parents that she knew that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the church she needed to go and her Father had two other pastors come and pretty much interrogate her and she just told them "I don't know the scriptures as well as you but I DO KNOW that I have received an answer through the Holy Ghost that the Church of Jesus Christ is true and nothing will change that. Nothing you say will take away the feelings that I have felt." What a testimony builder to hear that from a 16 year old girl who is just going to wait until she is old enough to legally do what she wants, reading the scriptures, praying, fasting, and talking to the missionaries too! Talking to her the other day had such a strong spirit! She has a boyfriend who is a member and he is definitely Kapo! Such a strength for her and when he bore his Testimony it was very strong as well! 

We had Fast and Testimony meeting this past Sunday and it was great to see 35 people there including a guy who hadn't come to church in over a year! He came to the Baptism last week and we talked to him and asked him to come and he finally did!! We also had Ivan the 11 year old who just barely got baptized and he gave his 1st testimony in church! Great to hear a simple pure testimony of Recent Convert! I love the Testimony Sundays! 

My Scripture this week is in DC 64 33-34. Things are brought to pass with small things that build upon each other for those that are willing to open their minds and hearts to the Savior. It is our decision to either trust in the Lord and come to him with all we have, or turn away. The world is full of two powers: The good Spirit of the God, or the Evil Spirit of the Devil. We need to fortify ourselves and build on that Foundation of Christ continually. It really is a foundation that supports the house we build on it with our own experiences,obedience, faith, repentance, and charity. Love and miss you all and hope you have another great week! 
                                ELDER Devashrayee

** First Change: This was explained in another one of his emails... It occurs every 6 weeks and is the day when Elders change companionship's, move areas, etc..  He is still with Elder Nord and is still in Carmelo.  Elder Nord will leave to go home at the next "change" so Travis will end up with a new companion and possibly sent to a new area.... When these occur all Elders then have P-day on Tuesday. He sent new photos - click Carmelo to view them.

                        The Carmelo Zoo Building they have been painting on their Service day's.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Talk, Confirmation and Grab HIS arm...... 9/30/13

First off a few important side comments:  Glad to hear that Coach Shell is back!! He can't stay away from it! Please tell all of the basketball coaches hello from me. I am really missing not playing "real basketball" down here with all of the soccer fanatics! Trying to stay in shape! Brighton Football team - Congrats on taking down ALTA - that has been a long time coming. Bingham will be a test this week!! Best of luck to all of you and keep the season going! I do get bits of updates about the other sports as well, keep representing Brighton well! 

Well This week was absolutely crazy. We settled the contracts for the two houses and then had the missionary couple come from Montevideo to make the final signature. After that we were helping our Rama president and his wife move all of their stuff to the new house and made runs to buy new things too. Our contract was also finished and we moved all of our stuff from the old house to the new one. This house is small but really nice and comfortable. We cleaned the old house and organized the new house. On top of this... Elder Nord is pretty sick. He has been coughing and wheezing every night (which wakes me up because I think he is dying, haha) and it has been almost the whole week with this deep congestion. We are both dead tired from the past week with regards to that. 

Saturday was a huge relief for us though. We got a call Friday night from the family of members that was going to be having their twins and their other daughter baptized. They asked that I would give a talk at the service. My heart dropped. I couldnt believe that they asked me out of all the other people in their family. I was very grateful for the opportunity though and I think it went pretty well! 

Then another huge surprise Sunday came. The little girl of the twins asked me right before the meeting started if I would confirm her. Once again I was a bit surprised! Who knows if everyone could understand me, but I could definitely feel the power of the Spirit there. The family is awesome, and I am so glad that I could be a part of those special times for them. 

I was reading during the week in 1 Nephi again and in chapter 17:8 this scripture really stood out to me. The Lord is telling Nephi to build a ship and he has no idea how to. But the way this verse is worded really struck me. It refers to 'I' and that is the Lord saying it. He will lead them to build the boat correctly if Nephi will just follow his counsel and do it. Just like us with the Commandments. Christ then says he will carry them across the waters. Those waters truly can represent our life here, and if we will just turn to him and do all we can, He will carry us through the hard times and be there with us to enjoy the good times. I know that He has an arm extended always for us to just grab. His Atonement and Love cover all. Not one thing or one wave or one storm in our life can't be overcome if we turn to our Lord. 

I know that He is living and His true, perfect Gospel is here on the Earth for us to follow. Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and restored Their Gospel here for us. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve because that is all Christ did. That service doesn't always have to be teaching or preaching. He served to help others grow and feel of his love. Love you all!!! Wish the best this next week and enjoy the beginning of October...... So weird to say that.
                        ELDER Devashrayee

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hard work is Refreshing, PRIDE and Try Our Best! 9/23/13

No new photos today to send. We are down in a different city for the day. Well this past week has been a great one! We found the two houses we were looking for and now the whole process is out of our hands until we are told to start moving! It looks like it might be this week, so the Miskeeter net will be coming down soon unfortunately. It's a love hate relationship with that thing. Tricky to get up and deal with it but glad it is up!

The best part about that searching process ending was we finally had a few days that were totally for the Missionary Aspect of things. We could feel a difference and the numbers just added to the proof. At the end of the first FULL day of missionary work we talked about how refreshing that was.  It was so weird to lay down to go to bed and think that we had just been talking about a hard, long day as ¨refreshing¨. That's truly what the work does though!! 

We also had a HUGE change here in Carmelo. The old president of the Rama (branch) could only be there on Sundays during the Block of Church because he works in Buenos Aires... so it was difficult to work with him and the Rama was suffering from it. President Smith called a missionary couple from a different part of Uruguay to come to our town and be the new President!! It was great to greet them and to have a meeting the first night they arrived to talk about the Rama and have them tell us how they want to start working with us. President Ruiz Diaz and his spouse are really animated with the work and me, Elder Nord, and the Hermanas were so animated too!!! Things will be moving quicker now that we have a strong leadership to guide with inspiration!! 

Nothing crazy happened this week other than I learned that Elder Nord is a Chef. Haha!!! Last P Day for dinner he made some coconut curry chicken over rice!! I was just the cutter and cleaner that night. Perfect fit.

We had a service project at the Zoo again this week (the place is going to be nicer than Hogle Zoo soon).  This time we painted the buildings white! It was a great experience because we got 15 other people from the Rama there! Huge success and they had a great time working with us too! 

The Spanish is really kicking my butt right now. I can understand a lot, especially when they slow down a little, but the response part is pretty hard for me. I just know if I keep studying and trying it will come! Patience. 

But this week I was reading the Libro De Mormon more and I was reading about Nefi´s dream. I read chap 11: 36 and it stood out so strongly to me in Spanish. I could envision this huge building falling, which represents the Pride of the world. That building would smash anyone inside AS WELL AS those who were near the building. It just stood out to me even more that we really do need to rid ourselves of all pride because even if we aren't inside the building it could still take us down in it's ¨great fall¨. The pride cycle is throughout the Book of Mormon and is obviously a huge obstacle for us to over come, but God wants to keep reminding us to watch it. 

I know that this church is true. There is no other happiness like the happiness that is felt when we are trying our best to follow our Savior. Everyday we need to find something we want to make better in our life and DO IT. The Atonement is there for those who come short, but only after we have done all we can!! Love you all and hope everyone is healthy!! Until next week God be with you!!! :)
                          ELDER Devashrayee