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

Monday, September 16, 2013

Desperado, Caballito and Be an Example Always - 9/16/13

If you haven't been on the "Desperado" roller-coaster in Prime, NV (just outside of Las Vegas) then you need to ride it! You will only need to ride it ONCE to understand his comparison. Also, uploaded more photos, you can find the links to the right - MTC photos and Carmelo ones. He is starting to put in Spanish words here and there, so I have tried to translate, added the English words in (Italics). Lisa

Well this whole Week I felt Like I rode the Desperado!!!! What a roller-coaster! So last week was pretty hot and I was in short sleeve shirts and actually sweating... but then a huge storm came in over night and It has not left!! Just rain and rain and rain. The funny thing is how rain to the people here is like the end of the world!! They just stay inside or wait in their cars for 10-15 minutes until it calms down a little bit. We are honestly the only ones even on the streets during the day. 

On top of that this week we were told from President Smith that we needed to start looking for another house here for another pair of missionaries. So as we left our house to start looking, right then our owner was walking in and told us that we have to move out in a month because she is going to give it to her son so he can be more independent... I'm glad independence still means she could yell through the wall at him :) This didn't make any sense to us, we had a good laughed about that later.
So then we were out looking for 2 houses to rent. Could have used you Mom! The Realtors here have no idea what they are doing. I felt like I could do their job!! 1. they go with us 2. open the house 3. say something like ¨this is great huh¨ 4. and then tell us the price. It was interesting!! 

But then we found out that we are having a missionary couple coming up to our area to be the Rama Pres (Branch President)!! They will be great and we definitely need them! It will push the work forward more and we think that the Rama will be more united and help us try and recover. It was great news and we might just get one bigger house and split it with all of us. Not sure what is going to happen yet but the house search is still on. 

Cool experience though with this. We went into one Inmobiliaria (Real Estate Company) and talked to a lady about houses and half way through she started talking about how she sees us all the time walking the city streets in nice clothes and was wondering what exactly we do. Right there in her office while she is working we had a lesson!! We talked about how we are doing the Lord´s Work and spreading the news about the Restored Gospel and the Church of Christ is here on the Earth. We also talked about family and how central the unit is to the Plan! We are children of God in one big family, and we are here on Earth with our families to progress together and have happiness! So simple, but there in her office we felt the Spirit. It was awesome and she seemed so interested! Going back sometime this week! 

During the week we are still trying to do our nightly activities to bring members back to the church. This week at one of the activities I was able to be this little guys "caballito" (rocking/riding horse).  He loved riding around the room.  He is 9 years old, and we are hoping that he gets baptized shortly.

So last week we got a message from an old investigator (before I got here) saying that she really wanted to talk to us. We went over and she told us that she is having a lot of difficulty with her work and health and she feels really strongly that she needs to follow her Father in Heaven! We explained to her the true power of prayer and that if she wanted to know if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was right for her she needed to sincerely pray, having faith it will be answered that night. We went back and it seemed that because things were getting better in her life she didn't need to have God with her. Such a sad thing but we hope next time we stop by we can talk to her and explain it takes a true commitment and desire to follow God. 

This week these scriptures stood out to me: Mosiah 24: 12-16. We truly have the greatest gift anyone has ever given right at our finger tips. If we have faith that the Atonement of Christ can help us: We will receive comfort with our heads up and looking forward, our burdens can be lightened, help during affliction, and strength to push forward IF we stand as witnesses of Christ. The Gospel of Christ is here. What we need to do is Stand As Witnesses of it! Be an example always and eager to stand up for what we KNOW is true. This church was restored though Joseph Smith who suffered immensely to stand up as a witness that he was doing the Will of God. I am so grateful for his strength and courage. I love you all and you are in my prayers!!! Have a great week!!
                        ELDER Devashrayee

Monday, September 9, 2013

Frankenstein Talk, Missionary Hunger and Start TODAY.... 9/9/13

Sorry I don't have any pics this week because we are in a different city for a conference tomorrow morning and I forgot my cord to send them! Next week though I will! It is much busier in the mission than the CCM. Double D that is awesome you are playing!! Keep it up and tell the WHOLE TEAM hi for me! You all need to keep winning and get that Title! Justin that's what you get when you go to a BYU game!! Are your shoes dry yet? By the way Elder El Bakri is in my area now and I will see him every Sunday, it has been fun to see a familiar face.

This past week was a great one! We had a lot of time with the members and I think we are going to be turning around the attendance here soon! Nothing crazy cool happened other than I can actually understand 75 percent of what they say now, even though I can't really reply that well and the Uruguayos think that it is hilarious too! I'm loving the people and they really are so nice and giving, once you get past that Latin pride. 

The best part this week was we went to Colonia to have a district wide meeting with the 8 branches in our section and It was really good! The speakers spoke clearly for everyone to understand except for this older guy who I swear just mumbled while at the same tone the whole time, kinda like Frankenstein. Don't think anyone even understood him, not just me. It was a different style of Stake Conference though. There would be 5 random people from the crowd picked to come up and bear their testimony and I really liked how it kept everyone on their toes and focused on feeling the Spirit!! We ought to have this kind back home for our Stake Conferences!!  

President Smith then talked and he really got everyone, who came, excited to press the work forward and hasten the work too! Hopefully the members who came will be ready to help us more with the other less actives so we can change the attendance of 30 people each Sunday out of 500 members to 90-100 over the next month. 

The food has been incredible down here though and I am really surprised by it! They have a lot of pasta and love chicken and hamburger! I only wish I could have more of it, haha.  I have been learning the missionary hunger that I will have the whole time here even though I have a little more of gut.......... don't understand it!! 

There is one thing that I have noticed a lot over the past week is how much Satan is really trying to attack the Family structure. Those that don't come or don't want to listen have almost all had some sort of family problem. As I was reading in Alma 28 the versus 2-6 stood out even more. Not as a literal battle, but a spiritual battle in the last days. It will be the time with the most mourning and ¨deaths¨ and the family will be the one that is attacked the most. I had such a strong feeling about this and I wanted to share it with everyone! I want the best for my family as well as the rest of you. Family is the Plan of Salvation. Family is more than just a unit, It is an Eternal Unit that needs to function and work to be that. 

We have been challenging everyone to work out their problems and start today. Hoy es el Dia!!- Our Uruguay Montevideo Oeste motto!! I love you all and I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I have felt the Lord´s mercy this week when I had times of sadness or trail not knowing how to speak and I have just turned to him. He is WAITING for us to come to him and help. This Church is His Church and things work in His time. This is the time where we all need to step up and help him press the work forward. Love you all and hope everyone is having the best of time this new school year and fall! It is starting to get a little warm down here... Haha pit tacos and swamp rear here I come!! God be with you all!!                      ELDER Devashrayee

Monday, September 2, 2013

Rescue Mode and Smile Always - Carmelo, Colonia 9/2/13

Man I love you all!!! I am missing all of you so much right now!! It has been a tough first week especially when the thought creeps in that I can't see you all for 2 years... or watch my brother play football or basketball or talk to you guys!! That has been really tough for me but I have such a great companion and the work here in Carmelo is going to be awesome! 
So I guess I have really bad luck with traveling haha.. because the day I got my companion we took a bus North to the Colonia Zone, but our bus got there too late so we missed our connection bus to Carmelo. We ended up taking a taxi to another Missionary house to sleep and took the next bus early that morning, I hate traveling!! 
My companion, Elder Nord is from Alaska and is actually 28 years old! It surprised me a little but he is definitely an example and I have already learned a lot from him. Our house is not too bad and has really tall ceilings too :)  These first few days we have been buying, installing, and situating the Hermana's new house in our area because they split the area recently.
The work we are doing now is a different type of missionary work than I expected. We are in more of a rescue mode right now.... with members. The ward had some terrible things happen and it imploded on itself starting from the president of the branch and other leadership positions on down. I'll put it into perspective: There are about 500 members but 25 go to church regularly.  We have also been going to each member's house and talking (at least trying to for me) with them. I really can't understand anything they say... and that is pretty hard for me to not understand because then I feel like I can't help, but Elder Nord has just been telling me to not worry, listen, and smile always. Really has been great advice to hear and I have been doing that! I'm the town's smiler :) 
Cool experience though the other day. We got a call from a person who had a sister in the hospital so we were able to go over and give her a blessing after we went through 10 steps of washing and putting on nuclear protective gear. I had the opportunity to anoint the oil and do it in Spanish. 
Another experience is this new convert who is 11 years old, named Ivan. He is huge!! (bigger then Justin.... I didn't think that was possible :) ) but he loves walking around with us at night when we are going to talk with people in the ward. We also had a lesson with him on Aaronic Priesthood and I could tell how excited he is to be able to become a Deacon. Such a strong kid who is loving the Church. 
This week we are setting up a bunch of activities at the church to include people like English class one night, Scripture reading another, and then futbol every Saturday night on the small, little concrete floor they have in the back. We really want to get people to have good feelings about the church again and forget the past. I guess I came at a good time too because a few months ago the area had a really strong contentious spirit about it, but it is starting to turn for the better. It will be tough but I am looking forward to the work! 
I heave emailed some pictures from the MTC, hope you like them.
2 Nephi 9:40 was a scripture me and Elder Nord talked about the other day and I really liked how is has many parts to study and ponder on. 
Love you all!  And I really do miss you guys a lot and hope everything is going well! This work is true. The Church is of Jesus Christ and that is truly what our purpose is here. Give people the opportunity to come to Christ and be saved. The Atonement of Christ is incredible. It covers anything and everything. Any doubt, pain, sadness, sin, imperfection, fall can be overcome with Christ. It is up to us if we want to accept him in our lives more and use the Atonement to bring us closer to him and perfection. I know this church was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith and he went through a ton of persecution to stand up for what he knew was pure truth.
                                         ELDER Devashrayee