Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Arrived in Uruguay - 8/27/13

Received this email and photo from the Executive Secretary at the Mission Home.  So glad to know he is safe and in good hands. We should hear from him on Monday.... The Zone he is heading to is the closest he can be to Buenos Aires (where he just left the MTC) while still in Uruguay - just across the river.
Dear Devashrayee Family,
We would like to inform you of the arrival of your son to the Uruguay Montevideo West Mission. He arrived here safe and sound yesterday morning and met President and Sister Smith. He will receive some training in the mission home to help him get to know the mission and feel comfortable in Uruguay. The missionaries will have lunch with the Smith Family and, afterwards, he will meet his trainer and leave for his new area. It is such an exciting time for him, and we wanted to share it with you. We thank you for all you have done as parents to help your son reach this point in his life.  We have attached a photo of your son with President and Hermana Smith and his Trainer. Elder Devashrayee will be serving with Elder Nord in the Zone of Colonia.  Thank you so much for your support.
Uruguay Montevideo West Mission Office
                                        Sister Smith, Travis, Elder Nord (his trainer) and President Smith

Monday, August 26, 2013

Estoy Saliendo!! 8/26/13

Keep using the email address and for now only send mail to his mission home, address is on the right. Thank you all for your support of him! Until next Monday....

The day has come and it is crazy! 6 weeks flew by and now the next step!! So excited and nervous to get out into the Field that is White :) I leave the CCM at 4:00 in the morning and my flight is at 6:55am. My P-day is now going to be on Mondays so you won't hear from me until next Monday! Thanks for everyone's support and prayers. I'll need them tomorrow and the next few weeks a ton! Full immersion here I come! Love you all!!
        ELDER Devashrayee

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Charades, Snakes and Gaining Weight - 8/22/13

Travis is due to leave the MTC next Tuesday.  I won't have an address for him for a week or so. Just email or send any letters to the mission home address. Also, we won't know which day of the week will be his P-day once he is in Uruguay so not sure when we will get our next letter.... I will post it on here as soon as we hear anything.

Hello from the CCM! Best of luck with school everyone and tear it up this Friday D Bo and the rest of the Bengal gang. Justin, I heard you gave a killer talk last Sunday in Sacrament Meeting and I wish I could have seen it! I would have just smiled and stared at you the whole time ;)  And the pictures will come soon I promise! Once I am out I will have time to email them. 

This week was another fast one in The CCM! Can´t believe in 4 days I will be leaving this place to actually experience the mission life everyday. No, I really have enjoyed the time here and have learned so much about missionary work, my purpose, how to teach, and most of all the Gospel of Christ. Over these past 5 weeks I think I have gained a little weight too! You would be proud dad! 

We have had new Latinos in our room this past week and it has been really fun trying to talk (play charades) with them. They have some crazy stories and I´m understanding so much of the Culture in South America. The language is coming along well and it will speed up rapidly this next Tuesday when I leave. We have to get up at 3:30 in the morning, but I'm not sure of the exact time of the flight. 

Now to the good part. Saturday we went to a new area that had one section with really nice houses and another that was just shambles and half made houses. Me and Elder McRea were right on the border of these two neighborhoods. It started out well with people out in their yard working and they would talk with us for a minute or two and ask if we could come by some other time, which is better than being rejected even if they didn't really mean it. That was mainly in the poor section of the city. 

But things changed once we got over into the rich section. The second house we knocked at this older lady answered the door and was really excited to see us and she had another older lady there with her for lunch. They invited us to talk a little, which was a change for us! We were stoked to finally be able to teach a lesson! That was far from the truth though. We began and immediately one of the ladies stopped us and began to talk in a very loud voice how we were wrong with it all. We tried pulling out the Book of Mormon to explain it and she made us put it away because only the Bible is true in her eyes. We didn't want to disregard her request so we said we would talk about Christ in the New Testament. She was okay with that but then started asking why we were out trying to teach people if they could just find it for themselves in the Bible. "Our work was wrong. We were't doing the right thing. We shouldn't be out on the Sabbath." They were just trying to convert US! But we just answered her questions and tried to bear testimony whenever we could, if she would even let us talk. We finally just said we needed to go because it wasn't going anywhere. 

Outside the house we both just looked at each other and could see how sad the other was. She didn't understand that we could have truly changed her life and she wouldn't even listen. That really is the worst part. People out here will reject our message and we both felt really bad about that. The rest of the day walking through the rich area was pretty much the same with nobody even wanting to say a word, other than this group of girls (snakes) whistling at us from a window haha. It was rough but that is going to be everyday. 

It is the simple truth, but I don't think I will ever be able to get over feeling bad after every single person who turns down the Perfect Truth. I know this Gospel is exactly what Christ organized in his day, and restored through the Profeta Jose Smith. We have a profeta today who truly does speak with God to guide those who want to listen. I know Christ is our Savior. His Atonement truly does cover every person individually for whatever pain, sorrow, or sin. Christ did this out of pure love and I can only imagine what it would be like to Love someone the same way he Loves us. The Church of Jesus Christ is true. There is no way I could be out here withstanding all these rejections if I didn't know what I was teaching was true. The scripture I have was one I read and it stood out to me so strong when I read it, Jacob 5:72. Christ is with us today. Love you all! God be with you all!
       ELDER Devashrayee

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Flooding the Earth Again..... 8/15/13

For those of you wondering this is a day in the CCM (this is what they call the MTC in Buenos Aires). We get up at 6:30 every morning and go to breakfast. Class starts at 8am and we have Personal Study time and Companion Study time along with a rotation of "IPs"  (which is the role playing that is done) between our district so every other day we teach in the morning. We then have some sort of grammar study from 10:30 to 11:45 and then lunch. Class starts back up at 12:30 and that is usually the time we are taught how to teach. It lasts until 2:15pm and that is when we have Actividad Fisica (fitness time) until 4pm. The basketball courts here are pretty bad so it is hard to play for real which is too bad because there are some decent players and I am really missing Competitive Sports! Instead, we either play soccer or volleyball. After the fun-filled activity time we have go to the Computers and use this program called TALL which helps us gain more Church vocab and simple phrases we can you use for the streets and in our IP time. A new teacher comes and we have the other IP which we get to teach every other day. During this time we usually get to plan lessons or practice, whichever we want to do. Then dinner at 6:15, ends at 7:30. After dinner we go over a Fundamental of the Gospel and practice those ideas in our lessons. We plan for the next day from 9 to 9:30pm and then we have time to get ready to go to bed with lights out being at 10:30pm. A very FULL day! There you have it folks! Its a thriller ;) but this past week was another good one! I'm getting used to the teaching style more but my brain has been fried with all the different grammar things we did this week. 

Oh and the Dulce I just can't get enough. The stuff is too good. I have these little 25 gram packets throughout the day! Since last P-day I ate 29 of them... haha They are just TOO GOOD! 

Now to the good stuff from last Saturday. So we went Pros. to the same little area we had last week (Villa Maipu) and went right back to Marcelo´s house who was the guy who spoke English last week. He was so nice and immediately let us go in and use the bathroom and talk to his mom! He then got pretty serious and we sat down in his family room and began talking about the Church. He asked the Golden Question right off the bat... What makes our church different?? Me and my companion were so excited to hear that and began to explain that we have the Fullness of the Gospel of Christ along with the Power of God through the Priesthood. He was very interested and we talked a little about those ideas and then he asked the next great question. So what is the Book of Mormon then? We explained to him the First Vision of Joseph Smith and where the Book of Mormon came from. It is ANOTHER testament of Jesus Christ which he was not liking at first because he said that only the Bible is the true book and God had no other writings. We told him about the people here in the Americas also wrote history and the Book of Mormon is about them. He had a really big change in outlook after this and said this. "I don´t know if you are right or I am right, but one thing I do know is God is right. I will do what God wants me to do." We told him Moroni´s promise in Mor 10 3-5 and how he can come to find the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon if he does those steps. He immediately said I will. Such a great experience and I wish I could go back this Saturday to see how it went!! But we go to a new area so I will never know, but I do know he felt the Spirit when we bore testimony of the church. He felt how sincere we were and I have no doubt in my mind if he read the Book of Mormon with a real intent to find truth, God answered him. 

After that nobody really talked to us on the streets, but I will never forget my first real lesson in the Mission. That was such a great experience knowing that we were bringing one of God´s Children the Truth. I know this Gospel is true and I know God and Jesus Christ live today. They want every single one of us to be happy and come unto him is a closer way. The only way that is possible is through Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is simple, through him we can become perfected. There is no other way to become stronger in the Gospel then to gain a stronger testimony of Christ. 

The Lord isn't flooding the world with water this time, but with His Gospel!! Grab your life jackets though just in case.  

These past 4 weeks have been one of the best times of my life. Being able to gain a little bigger, but true, testimony of Christ. Love you all and wish the best for those of you starting up school! Have a great week and may God be with you!!  My scripture this week is Mor. 10 3-5. I challenge people to read this and truly ponder those words and take action in Faith.
                 ELDER Devashrayee

Thursday, August 8, 2013

6 by 8 block radius in Buenos Aires - 1st time out

He mentioned that if you write, please include a standard 1st class stamp and your address inside then he can write back. The missionaries in his mission have their own mail system and it is only a standard 1st class stamp that is needed to mail something back home.  Also, it is taking anywhere from 7-10 days for mail to get to him.  He still loves emails, just has limited time to read and reply. Once he gets to his mission he can print off emails and then read them later on.

Family!!! Friends!!! Everyone!! Well another quick week for me and its crazy how fast it really does go... Days have been blurring together and I can´t keep the dates straight!!  It is pouch the whole mission I think, so when I get a letter I hope there is a stamp in there also for me to be able to mail back! 

There are probably a lot of stories out there with all missionaries struggling with the language and not feeling good enough because I really felt that the first week and even now I will have times when I get so frustrated with the language, especially when I am practicing my teaching with IP's and I can´t express myself like I want to. That will get better though and I have already made a lot of improvement so there is no way I could be mad.

And that Dulce was amazing huh?!! I really do eat a TON of it and it is how I keep myself full. I had my first battle with the disposable razor and the razor most definitely won... People were relentless when they saw that I had cut myself shaving especially when they heard it was my first time ever haha. 

Ok now onto the good part about last Saturday. So we just hopped on a bus and drove out to a different part of town that was pretty run down, to say the least. We were dropped off and given a little map of a 6 by 8 block radius that we had to stay between. At first, me and Elder McRae were a little nervous to start talking because people would honestly see us walking and purposely cross the street to the other side so they didn't walk by us, or they would hurry and run into their houses and as we walked up we could here them lock the doors, or they would yell out their window something we couldn't understand and then say they were Catholic. It was a huge reality check too but then we started warming up to it and we never stopped smiling. 

Our first contact was this guy talking with his drunk friend (who was drunk out of his mind) about what we were doing. It took awhile to explain but he definitely was interested because he took so much time to just explain and say things slowly in Spanish. We told him about the Book of Mormon and how it is like the Bible and testifies of Christ. He was immediately hooked and asked for it! Pretty cool feeling to give away our first one! He said he had to go but wanted us to come back next weekend. As we were walking away we heard some papers hit the ground and the Guys drunk friend had tried to throw the Book of Mormon at us... Max ran to the book though and said he was so sorry and kissed the Book and promised he would read. 

We then ran into some missionaries who were the actual ones for the area so we stopped to talk to them. I couldn't help but look at them and start laughing when I thought of them as Dad 28 years ago roaming those exact neighborhoods!! Such a cool thought and I really felt special to be able to be walking and teaching the same people my Dad did. 

The next guy that actually talked to us was this middle age man that could actually speak a little bit of English! He said he was Catholic but was so happy we actually cared about others and bringing them to Christ. We talked for quite awhile about Christ and explained what out church believed and he said he loves hearing about other religions and we could go to his house anytime. "my house is your house elders"... "Hang on, you guys can´t be elders! Way too young!" We all laughed at that one but set up a meeting to meet the next Saturday when he got home. 

After that we really didn't even have anyone who wanted a thing to do with us. One lady was walking with her kids and when we passed saying "Hola" she told them not to speak to us because we are bad people. This went for a while but when we had about an hour left to go we told each other we can´t leave until we give away our last Book of Mormon. As we said this we turned the corner and on the opposite block there was a lady just staring at us. It was actually extremely creepy because I don´t think she even blinked as we made our 30 second walk while having a staring contest. But we got to her and told her who we were and she said she wanted to know more. We talked for a bit and she said she wanted the book and all the pamphlets that were in my hand talking about the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, Word of Wisdom, and Tithing. We handed it all to her right before she hopped on a bus to leave and we would come back to see her the next Saturday and talk about what she had read! 

I know that God lives and truly does have a hand in our lives as well as those he places in our path. We truly are Representatives of Christ and the people who we talk to and will listen about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will feel the truthfulness in those words. I know that Christ lives today and wants us to come closer to him by being examples of his attributes as well as using the Atonement he prepared for us, and performed so willingly. I love the work and this past Saturday just got me more excited to get out into the field and teach Actual Uruguay people. 

The scripture this week is 2nd Nephi 33 1-2. So true. Love you all and hope everyone is doing well :) Until next week God Be With You!!
   ELDER Devashrayee

p.s. - I don't know what IP's are, so if you know please share.  And thanks to those who told us Dulce de Leche can be purchased at Smiths.  It is rather tasty!  On ice cream, in oatmeal, or just a spoonful of it, etc... Lisa

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dulce de Leche - MTC week 2 - August 1st 2013

Another great letter from Elder Devashrayee:

Well this Week went by so fast! It seems like just a few days ago I was writing to you guys. The days seem to just combine together and blur a little because we are doing the same exact things everyday. Its a great time with everyone and I can see how they say it happens so fast! My district is awesome. We have 14 of us in the same classroom 12 hours of each day and we haven't had an argument or even any tension yet! District leader Gummersall and his companion Elder Hall are probably my 2 best friends here at the MTC. Me and Elder McRae are always talking to them about different doctrines and how we can say those things in Spanish! Elder Hall has a great sense of humor which is great because there are times when we just need to lighten up and have a laugh. That's been my goal this week, to not get so overwhelmed and not have any fun, luckily for me Elder Hall is pretty darn good at it. 

The Spanish part of it all is the hardest part for me. Its been 2 weeks and I wish I was better but I keep telling myself that it will come at some later point and all I can do is just practice and learn. My companion is picking it up really fast which is great because it has been motivating me to work harder and be better in Spanish. 

The Latinos that I came with left 2 days ago which was extremely hard! Those guys were awesome and I honestly loved being around them so much. It was hard to say good bye but what a feeling to know they were going out into the real world to teach and help those in need of the Gospel and Jesus Christ with them! 

I have pictures so I will send them when I get out of the MTC because it takes forever to send them here and we really don´t have much time to email. 

I am way excited for this Saturday because we get to go out into the city and proselyte! Its going to be great to get out and talk (at least try to) to everyone we see! This will happen every Saturday until I leave the MTC so there is always something to be looking forward to! 

I have a confession to make though... I think I'm addicted to Dulce de leche!! That stuff is AMAZING and I have some with almost every meal! I can't get over why we don't have more of that in the US because it is far superior to regular caramel. Hands down. 

This week we have been focusing more on being able to clear our minds and just listen to the investigator and the Spirit instead of thinking about what we are going to say. It is a little tough for me to do that because I want to be able to translate a sentence in my head what to say. The Spirit is the most important part to Conversion. I can already tell how much it makes a difference when we are speaking. All of these things or difficulties I have been having I just think of this Scripture of the Week for me. Its Alma 37 6-7. So simple yet I know that through small things great things come to pass. 

Yo se que Jesucristo es mi Salvador. Yo se que la iglesia es verdadera y por medio Jesucristo Expacion veré Él y mi familia para siempre. cuando lucho yo puedo orar para paz y consuelo y Dios bendicerá mi vida. 

I'm so excited for the work ahead and I know I need to just put my trust in the Lord that he has a plan for me and those I will meet. The Atonement is so real. No matter what we are feeling or what we need in our life, the Atonement of Jesus Christ covers it all. How simple it sounds yet incredible to think about. He truly has pure love for us to die and suffer like he did so we can live with him again. He is the best Big Brother EVERYONE has. Love you all and can't wait to here more updates!
                              ELDER Devashrayee