Monday, December 29, 2014

Successful Fireside & New Appreciation of Christmas..... 12-29-14

Merry Late Christmas everyone! Hope it was a great day and everyone enjoyed it! 

Now I will start off by giving the much needed sorry for not writing last week. I'll make it up by filling in a few of the past 2 weeks events. That fireside that we were putting together turned out to be a complete success. We practiced the songs repeatedly for that whole week and Sunday it all paid off. About 300 people went to the activity and everyone left saying "Thank you for the Spirit you guys brought". That made all of the stress, set-up, calls, and rehearsals worth it! 
Our Fireside Choir

The temple trip that we did as a zone was also an experience that I won't forget. We did the work for our ancestor starting with the Baptism. I got to baptize my comp Elder Johnson and he baptized me as well. It was just like what Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry performed during the Restoration of the Priesthood here on Earth. What a blessing that was for me.

Christmas Eve and Christmas were a blast. So Christmas Eve day? That was a lot different for me than the past one I had on the mission- I could see where my level of understanding was then and now, and this one was a lot better because I understood :) We spent the whole afternoon walking around in the streets talking to people about Christ's Birth and if they would like to watch a new video about the importance Christmas. It was tiring because nobody let us in and it was hot, but we were able to meet a lot of people and share our testimonies of Christ. That is why I didn't write - we were out all day.

Then the actual Eve part of Christmas Eve came. We went to a less actives' house to celebrate and eat with them. One of her daughters was there that has been inactive for 6 years and pretty soon we got on the topic of "Why we were celebrating Christmas?" She began to open up, and her boyfriend was listening and participating a lot too. They both asked questions and wanted to know about experiences we have had with Christ. It basically turned into a testimony meeting of the life of Christ and the mission He completed. We bore testimony through our personal experiences of the power of the Atonement and how everyone can change and have new starts thanks to what Christ did. The Spirit was there testifying of that truth and I will never forget that Christmas Eve - Testifying of Christ's cleansing power as a Missionary. 

Christmas morning was also a treat :) The custom to go around singing at doors doesn't exist here which made our Caroling experience even better! We just walked around looking for open doors and people sitting out side (Everyone pulls all-nighters partying so those that were actually outside or even awake in the morning were scarce). Everyone was a little timid at first when we asked if we could sing, which I really don't blame them because I know I would be too haha, but once we sang they had a different attitude and people began to ask more questions. 

Then to top it all off! The talk with the family right after the "Departments Armed Forces" had just recruited me ;) That was great!!! What a great Christmas it was! I love you all and hope you all have a safe New Years! Talk to you in 2015!
            ELDER Devashrayee
"Tree Huggers" - Elder Johnson & Travis

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Joy!!! He hasn't lost his humor..... 12-25-14

It was a great day today.  After an hour of trying to fix the connection and be able to hear each other we got 1 hour to talk to him!  He is doing great!!!  The photo below of him is what he was wearing when we first connected with him.  He told us that Uruguay had gone to war the day before and he was drafted since he was considered a "resident" per his visa.....  


Then he couldn't keep the smile back and took it all off....  his humor????

Had a great chat with him!  He was having a hard time thinking in English at first, and when he spoke in Spanish he was very fast.  Can't believe he is home in 6 months!

Thank you all for your love and support of him. He said  

"Please tell everyone thank you very much for all of the cards, emails and notes you have sent me. They keep me going and remind me how much I am loved and supported out here. I love you all and miss you all - even the ones I don't know.... I hear there are several cousins and friends fiances & friends spouses I haven't met yet :)  Stay strong with your family AND strong in the church!!! See you all soon! Love, Travis"

Love that kid!  We are looking forward to his email next week.... until then - 
            ELDER Devashrayee     (by his mom - Lisa)
Travis' first Snap Chat....  

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Good Moments ERASE The 100 Bad Ones...... 12-15-14

Another week down and already halfway through December... With how fast it goes it makes me appreciate even more the moments we have. This past week was quite crazy and was a good prep for this crazier upcoming week! 

So I'll start with another experience we had. It was a "harder" semana (week) in regards to the work, but we kept pushing forward and just like all of the stories in the scriptures of Christ coming at the last hour- it happened to us. We had spent the whole afternoon in the heat walking around to appointments, knocking doors on the way, and calling others with no avail. It was a bit discouraging but we kept going, trying to find people to teach. It finally came to our last "set appointment" at 8:30pm that we were both looking forward too. Turned out that just like the rest of the day it fell through. We sat there and we tried thinking of where to go. Nothing came. We didn't know what to do, but there was a gal sitting outside her house next door and we decided to go talk to her. She was really nice and talked to us for a minute or two behind her locked gate and then randomly got up and went inside. Haha, ya from the rest of the experiences of the day, and several I have had on the mission, I wasn't expecting her to come back out- but she did, and with the key too! She opened the gate and grabbed some chairs and we began to talk. 

She said she believed in God and sometimes goes to the church that her mom goes too. She has a 1 year old kid and her husband works in the outskirts in the fields. We began talking about the family and the plan that God has for them. She listened so intently and every time we asked a question she would think about it and then answer with what she felt. It was going so well and she was understanding that this life really does have more of a purpose than to just live. It was going great and that's right when the husband returns in a car full of other workers. He hopped out of the car quickly and made his way up to us. Honestly I thought he was going to ask why we were there and that he doesn't want us there anymore. It ended up being the opposite. 

He sat down and talked with us and offered us food and a place to stay if we needed it! He said he would listen to us and wants to know more about God! It really was such a blessing! We were able to go home excited and happy not even thinking about how long, hot and tiring the day was. The Good Moments erase 100 bad ones. 

So update for what we are going to be having this week. Sunday is the Stake Fireside that we are in charge of. We have been having a lot of rehearsals with the youth and to be honest we are sounding pretty dang good ;). There is a lot of planning and organizing still to be done. I now appreciate more all of the big activities that I went to without thinking about how it came to be! 

The other part is this Thursday and Friday we are going to the Temple as a zone and going to do the Temple work for one of our own ancestors we have been looking for! I can't wait to go! I know that this work is true. It is the Work of Salvation. I am so grateful to be a part of it and for the experiences that I have been able to have participating in the Work of the Lord. These 2 scriptures have helped me see how I can keep with the Lord and sacrificing what I need to. 2nd Nephi 2:6-8 and 3rd Nephi 9:15-22. I know He is the Savior of this world and we can enjoy the blessings He has promised us as we strive to follow Him the best we can. I love you all and hope you have a great week preparing for Christmas!! 
                                ELDER Devashrayee
We had fun setting up and decorating the "Ward" Christmas Tree.



Monday, December 8, 2014

Welcome to Salto!....... 12-8-14

Aloooooooha! Wow it is another level of heat here in Salto! This past week I tried hard to get used to it again. But I have absolutely nothing to complain about because it has been a great time starting in a new area. My comp Elder Johnson is a great missionary and I'm learning a lot from him! We had a crazy week with a lot of random changes of missionaries. We have been waking up and going to bed at some weird times every single day this past week. "Welcome to Salto" is all he told me! Its going to be a great change:) 

We are in charge of planning the upcoming Christmas Fireside in the Stake. All of the missionaries are singing and each companionship has some youth to sing with us. It will be the 21st of this month and everyone is being invited. I hope it turns out like the one that we did in Rivera 6 months ago! 

We did have a really cool experience this week though. We were walking in the morning trying to pass by to visit some people we had planned for, but they didn't answer. Elder Johnson turned to me and said "we need to find someone." There was a house ahead of us with a random arm sticking out the door and we knew that we needed to talk to the person. She was very nice and started to talk to us about things that have passed in her life. She told us that she believes in God, but has resentment towards Him because of certain experiences- Her mom died a year ago from Cancer and she doesn't understand why He would take her with such a terrible disease when she was such a great woman. She was a well known teacher and had made a big impact on a lot of peoples lives. We just sat and listened to her rant so she could get it out. 

That is when something really interesting happened. She told us about a dream she had a week after her mom had died and it was something she had never shared with anyone else and didn't know why she was sharing it. She told us that she saw her mom just as she was here and was completely happy. Her mom was telling her that she was in a place even better than paradise resting free from pain, suffering and worries. It is exactly what the Book of Mormon says about the Spirit World after this life. Alma 40:12 We testified to her about the Plan that God has for us and she accepted to listen to us this week!

I am so grateful for the knowledge of the Gospel. It really does give peace to every worry if we search and apply it. I know that this Work is Gods Work and I have the blessing of being a part of it. It makes one change and Alma 5:14 becomes a reality. I know that serving our Lord is how we truly come to know Him -Mosiah 5:13. I love you all and hope this Holiday Season is full of the Spirit of Love for God and for one another! 
                  ELDER Devashrayee

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

He Is The Gift & "Oven of Uruguay"...... 12-2-14

What a week it was for us here in Delta. We saw some great events and had experiences teaching and sharing. So First off I want to set a challenge- or better said I want to go with the Challenge/Initiative that the First Presidency has set for this Christmas. Everyone look up the video "He is the Gift"
in  Christmas.mormon.org. It truly is an inspired video and will help many see the true purpose of Christmas. With that same Spirit make the effort to share that with others that might not have taken part in the Restored Gospel and the Atonement of Christ. Then comes the most important part. Make a follow up and ask how the video went and if they would like to know more about Christ and how he can take part in their lives by listening to the missionaries. 

This time of the year has many people thinking about Christ and there isn't a better time to bring them the way to have COMPLETE access to His Sacrifice. This Initiative is the focus of all 400 and something missions and really could have a huge impact on the work if every member made the effort to take part. I know He lives and what He can give us brings more happiness than anything else. John 14:6. 

This week we were also able to go visit a 14 year old kid with the Young Men's President. He listened to us talk about Baptism and progression and he said that he feels that he is already growing and learning what the truth is. The YMP testified to him that there isn't a better path for him to take at this time in his life and challenged him to pray about it and feel for himself that it is true. That was a powerful lesson and Martin wants to get baptized soon! 

Another "couple" where he is a member and she isn't has really been moving along. It has been a month now that Pablo has come back to church and is feeling the Spirit in his life. They are now at the barrier of Marriage. She wants to get married so she can get baptized, but he isn't feeling the same way. Time and the Spirit will change that :) The Lord definitely has His time and His way of doing the Work- That is what I learned this week.

So I'll go on with the news.......... I am going to Salto with Elder Johnson as the Zone Leader! It was a complete shock to me to be honest. I was totally expecting to have another transfer here to settle in the changes we have made, that was the plan from the beginning when they called me as 1st Counselor. I was a little upset at first because things had finally started falling in place but I learned quickly that this isn't my work or my way, but His. I know that this is what He wants and it is time for me to move on to another area and keep taking steps toward being more like Christ in the Oven of Uruguay ;) Love you all and wish you a great week from the Uruguayo land!
                      ELDER Devashrayee

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sacrament = Access to His Sacrifice.....11-24-14

2 0..... Two numbers together that I didn't think would ever come! Crazy. Thanks for the Birthday wishes.... My comp made brownies last night for me, delicious! And we are heading to a home for lunch today which will be very good... then dinner tonight with a bunch of members.  

But this week honestly flew by! I couldn't believe that I was already writing again and I had to start thinking about what I could share because the experiences are starting to get jumbled together and I don't want to share the same ones haha- boring. But we were able to see some great progress in the 2 converts here in Delta that has been a huge blessing to me. Gladys has now been baptized for 2.5 months and has been looking for work. She decided to fast back at the beginning of the month and a couple days later got work! It then turned out that she was going to be working on Sundays. She went forward with it and a week ago worked on Sunday. It was a hard to see it and we were praying like crazy that she would find a way to be able to come to church on Sundays. We went to her house during the week and we received quite the surprise. The first thing she told us was that she already quit her job! She said that she didn't feel good working on Sunday and wants to be able to go to church- she feels that it is part of her. I know that the promise in D&C 59: 9-10 is true. We are forgiven of our sins and through taking of the sacrament we are able to be found spotless. I'm so grateful for the sacrament and how it gives us access to the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is an Ordenance that is needed Every week. She had a great personal experience which is how we all grow in the Gospel. She is now looking forward to go to the Temple here in December!

And Mathias is doing awesome! He has set the goal to go out on the mission in a year!! He wants to study Preach My Gospel with us and learn how to teach the lessons. He was called as the 1st counselor in the YM's presidency Sunday as well. He also taught me a great lesson with the Sacrament. While I was helping him prepare the Sacrament for the first time the Mantle for the Sacrament table wasn't put away very well from the meeting prior to us and had a lot of wrinkles- He took it home after church to iron it. He understands the importance and I was able to learn from him. 

Examples can be given from everyone! I know that this Church is true, because it isthe church that gives us the chance to LIVE the Gospel and help grow and progress towards our Heavenly Father. The Lord Prepares us and wants to see us change. I learned that from Acts 9 and the story of Saul this week. Love you all and hope you have a great week and enjoy the Turkey Bird Thursday!! :D
                ELDER Devashrayee

Monday, November 17, 2014

Change is a GOOD thing....... 11-17-14

Hey hey hey! What a week here in Delta- actually better said what a week in the Lord's Work!! So this past Wednesday we went to a Priesthood Leadership meeting with Elder Christensen from the Presidency of the 70. All leaders in the Priesthood from the Montevideo area were invited. It was a great experience and it was cool to see how the Lord sends his servants to lead and inspire the rest of us in His work. The Branch President here said he felt some things really strongly and more changes are going to be coming :) Just love that part! Change is the purpose of the Church and the Gospel. If we don't change and take advantage of these resources our Heavenly Father has given us we won't be able to get into His Kingdom. That has been on my mind a lot lately. 

Thursday we then had a 2 mission combined conference with Elder Christensen and his Wife. The big focus for us was the truthfulness of Light in regards to the Light that our Heavenly Father gives us. Then Sister Christensen gave 3 scriptures to study. D&C 93: 38-40, Mosiah 3:19 and 2 Nephi 2: 25-27. I know that we all have light within us from Christ and we can continue growing in the Light as we learn to follow the Spirit and apply the Infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ in our Life. It made me think about what Christ tells us to be in Matthew 5. We need to be a light to the rest of the world. That light can truly be seen!

I was personally able to experience that with a cool experience. Her name is Marlene. She was a contact that we had made some 3 months ago and it just never worked out to find her, until this past Saturday. She was there and let us in! She told us that she used to go to an Evangelical Church but had strayed away. She believes in God and wants to be in His path. During the lesson her cousin also came and was interested as well. She then went on to tell us that she had never let anyone into her house to teach her before. She had always talked to the carriers of the Word, but outside on her patio. She said that she felt something different and could feel it when we got there. I know that the Lord prepares hearts and the Spirit is what touches the people's heart. That Light is REAL. 

The other cool part about this week was the excitement that Matias Rios has had since his baptism! He has been nothing but smiles and wants to do everything he can to help in the work, activities, and visit those that didn't go to church! He also received the Aaronic Priesthood and is a Priest! He is going to be a big fire here in Delta :) 

I'm so grateful for the countless blessings I am receiving. I know that my Heavenly Father lives and that Christ is my Savior- The Savior of this World. All the hard times and struggles are basically nothing in comparison to the happiness that knowing those two things He has given me. I love this work and the chance I have on the mission to grow and change. Have a great week and enjoy the cold weather- haha its the opposite here!!
                            ELDER Devashrayee
My District!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Blessings, Pure Happiness and Joy...... 11-10-14

What a week! Time just keeps slipping by and I'm enjoying what I have been able to learn. The Lord is blessing Delta more than I can believe and the growth it is going to see in the future just makes me appreciate it all.

So lets start off with the HEAVY hitter first! Mathias' Baptism was a complete success and he is so happy- with true happiness. Thursday he had the interview with another Elder and the Elder left marveled haha. He couldn't believe how prepared and ready he was to be baptized. He said that with every question Mathias would just testify of the truth and the changes he has made in his life. His excitement is contagious. Then Saturday we had the baptism :). His Dad and Grandma came who have never gone to any church and in reality never have wanted to step foot into one. The peace that was felt when Mathias came out of the water smiling from ear to ear was a testimony builder for everyone. His pure happiness and joy as he hugged Hermano Velazquez, who baptized him, was unforgettable.  

Baptism is the beginning and the Lord forgives, I know it. His Dad and Grandma said after that they felt so good there and were so excited for the path that their son/grandson is taking. The dad even came Sunday to the Sacrament meeting to see the Confirmation! It was a great day for him to come because I personally think that it was the best church reunion I have had here in Delta. The Spirit of unity and peace was present and notable by everyone. I left that meeting just excited as can be for the blessings that have already started to appear. 

Friday night we were invited to a Family Home Evening with the whole family of President Smith. The 3 zones in the Montevideo area went and we each brought an investigator or less active with us. We took Luis and Paula who have been showing real interest in progressing. It was great though because the focus was on the Eternal family and with all of Presidents 8 kids, 5 of them with spouses, it really helped everyone see the blessing of the Gospel on the Family. 

Then on a personal note I grew in my testimony of the scriptures. I know that they are the Word of God and have answers inside for us. Repeatedly I have received answers and strength from them. I needed that strength and the Scriptures were the way that the Lord gave me it. I'm so grateful to have them in my life and the importance they play in God's plan- If you want to know the Plan you need to read the instructions! I know that the scriptures give us that direction and knowledge we need. Read D&C 98. I love you all and I'm so grateful for your prayers and support. I have really felt them and I know that I need them! Keep the Lord close and I know he will answer every single one of our prayers.
                    ELDER Devashrayee
Had a chance to take a stroll through Montevideo. It is a different world than Delta :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Sail Away", Conducting Sacrament Meeting & Investigators Moving Forward..... 11-3-14

Anyone know the song that Enya sings "Sail Away"? Ya, that is what we are going to need to do here in Delta soon haha. It has rained now for a day straight and irrigation was far from thought of when this place was built... Half the place is below water and our street in front of our house is filled half way up the leg!! Today I'm writing from a tablet because all of the internet cyber cafes are closed due to flooding, so forgive me for errors and hopefully I can "one-finger type" rapidly. 

The week here was a little strange but at the same time we were led to answers to prayers and a lot of progression. The weird part for me was the trying to be counselor and missionary at the same time.  My mind has just been so missionary programmed that it was a little rough making the change. This change has been teaching me a lot though and I'm loving it! I have been able to see how the Lord works through His leaders to bless those in the Ward. 

We spent Wednesday night planning, thinking, changing ideas, new callings, and the whole direction of Delta was our focus. I was able to see how the Lord inspires and guides. We then took what we had thought of to the temple to see how we felt. Once again, I felt good and knew that we were headed in the right direction, but then the confirmation came Sunday. The Stake Primary president randomly showed up and talked to Matias, the branch's secretary, that she had been feeling that Delta needed her Stake Primary secretary here in delta. Exactly the same women who we had been thinking of and praying to see if she could be our new Relief Society President. I know that the Lord hears our prayers and works through those feelings and impressions. D&C 8: 2-3. 

Speaking of Sunday I got to conduct the sacrament meeting too... I couldn't believe how nervous I was! I couldn't speak! I enjoyed that time though being able to lead sustaining of callings and releases and move the program along- hopefully the President gives me another chance ;). 

This week with the investigators was quite the growth as well! This Saturday we have a baptism!! It is Mathias Rios,he has been gaining such a strong testimony this last month and he can't wait for his time to be baptized and enter the path! We also had a cool experience teaching that evangelical guy from nothing but the bible. He was a little surprised :)  We explained how the church is structured just like it was then and how there were prophesies about the restoration of everything. We left him to think about it. 

We also had a really good lesson with Estela. She is the only one interested in listening to us, but she told us that she feels the peace when we come and wants to listen to us. We talked about the Book of Mormon, but by the end we were talking about how she can act on those feelings by following the example of Christ and being baptized. She said she would think about it but she doesn't think her family would follow. That is when the member with us testified of how he was the first to be baptized in his family and through his example and time the rest of his family was baptized. It was a very special lesson and I know that the power of members who go out with the missionaries is what the Lord needs us to do. Call the missionaries and see when you can go out with them, talk to them about a friend or neighbor. That is how this work will move forward.  How President Monson said- members and missionaries working together. Love you all and I know that this work is true. I know that Christ lives and loves us. I know that this is His church and He has such great blessings in store for us as we show our faith and act! Have a great week!
                ELDER Devashrayee
Really enjoyed this Burger!!!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Elder Eiker, Branch Activity and Miracles.....10-27-14

Well the great week of changes has come to an end and things are starting to settle in - that feels really good! So This past Wednesday I had yet another experience with cars and traveling. Elder Abel and I were waiting at 6 in the morning for the Bus to pass by that lets us put the luggage beneath. There was another pair of missionaries that were also going to the main terminal in Montevideo and they called us when they got on and that is when we knew that it was going to be passing in about 5 minutes.... Well... that didn't happen. It took the main highway right before passing by us in Delta! I had to be in the Terminal by 7:30 and luckily we both thought about calling our mission leader in the branch. He was just leaving his house to go to work in Montevideo and took us there! We showed up at 7:20 :) Traveling in the mission has been quite the training for me. Then I couldn't even get to say a good bye to the kid, but I'll be seeing him again soon! 

That same day I went to the Temple to pick up my new comp Elder Eiker. He is from Los Angeles California and has quite the LA Lakers gear! He loves basketball :) We should be getting along really well too! He has 8 months in the mission and has a ton of fire coming back to the mission. I really admire him for the testimony he has for just being a 2 1/2 year convert. His faith is strong and he wants to do what the Lord has in store for Delta. 

We were able to go through the temple and the answers I received were amazing. I was thinking a lot about what we can do and how to do it better, and the same phrase kept popping into my mind ¨Have Miracles Ceased to Exist?¨ I know that the Lord has great things in store for Delta and is asking for us to act with even more faith so the miracles come. I know He works through our faith. We also planned with the New President and Matias how we can work better with all of the members in our branch.  We set up an activity for last Saturday night. We spent the week visiting members and inviting them, as well as the investigators we have. It turned out to be a huge success! Around 35 people came and everyone loved it! We made brownies too :) Those were gone pretty quick haha. 

We also had a cool experience Saturday. We had talked to this guy named Gonzalo last week and he is a Christian Rapper. We went back and we started talking about the Gospel of Christ and the importance of being obedient and faithful to those principles. But he soon started asking us questions about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and asking us for examples in the Bible where it says that he was going to be a Prophet, and where is the Book of Mormon. He actually got to the point where he told me specifically to stop reading the Book of Mormon. I was able to respond to him that I couldn't do that and he asked me why. What literally came out of me was ¨because I would be denying Christ.¨ I couldn't even believe what I said and I know that the Spirit works with us when we trust in him. 

It was one of the coolest experiences I have had testifying of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I know that it is the Word of God and another Testament of Christ and His Atonement. I'm so grateful to have that Book with me every day and then to be able to study it. This week Mormon 9: 27-28 stood out to me. Salvation needs to be worked for and the Lord will make up the difference. He loves us and wants us to make the most of the time we have here on Earth to do good and be obedient. I know this is His Church and he directs this great work. Love you all and have a great week!!
                 ELDER Devashrayee
My Mission President & Sister Smith, Elder Eiker (my new comp) and myself!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Farewell to Abel AND Hello to Big Shoes to Fill..... 10-21-14

CHANGES! That is truly the word to describe this past week and this upcoming week too! I'll start off the announcements received from President: Elder Abel is leaving Delta Del Tigre and headed out to Salto! I'm staying here and I'm going to do a "training" for an Elder who is coming back to the mission! His name is Elder Eiker (I think it is spelled like that) and I have only heard great things about him from President! 

But I'm definitely going to miss the wonderful kid I was "abel" (hahaha I don't know how many times other gringos made that joke) to be with for the past 3 months! He taught me a lot and was a great example to me of positive attitude and look for the good in everything. He shared with me a quote that his mom shared with him and I really liked a lot: "Don't shine so others can see you, shine so that through you, others can see HIM." He has been an example of that and I think that the last 3 months I have grown the most as a missionary and disciple of Jesus Christ. 

Also, we were able to reach our goal of running the 5K in under 18 min.  The last time we ran we did it in 17 min and 43 sec. I was absolutely dead but we got it!!! :)  To top it off we had an incredible sunrise to cheer us on!


And now time for the other breaking news. So here in our mission we just opened areas in Brasil and Argentina.  With that news we needed to send missionaries to those parts so here in Cerro we are back to one Zone. Cerro San José had a great run for one change (six short weeks) and I loved it! Live and Die. But my stint of Zone Leader is done. I learned a lot in those six weeks!

But with that news comes another one. Here in Delta we have seen quite a bit of adversity with members and leaders, and this past week the Stake Presidency made some HUGE changes. They came Sunday with a bomb. After priesthood the 1st counselor in the Stake Presidency called me aside and asked if he could have an interview with me. I was aware that changes were going to be made to the Branch Presidency here in Delta, but those ideas were made real then! They released all of the Branch Presidency we have now and called a family from another ward to come here and he will be the new President- President Curbelo! 

He is from the Stake High Council, and I am going to be his 1st counselor in our Branch. It filled me with excitement to be able to learn and help Delta grow, and with those thoughts "How in the world am I going to be able to do that??" I quickly asked for a Red Manual for Leaders so I could study it.  I have already got some cool things that I have learned from the Scriptures and studying that manual: Jacob 4: 10-13. We can't counsel the Lord because He is the one in charge and has the answers and wisdom. We can learn that through studying and allowing the Spirit be the one who teaches us the things clearly for our Salvation. The Spirit will be the one to teach and guide 1 Cor. 2: 9-16. I may not know many things, but I know that He does and will be ready to guide me as I trust in Him and His Spirit with an open mind and heart. Delta is going through Radical changes, and I know that they are changes that are going to help a little branch reach its potential. 

We have some great progress in our investigators and on Nov 8th we are going to see Mathias Rios' baptism! He is so excited and we are seeing him grow in his testimony of Christ. This week we were able to go out with him for a couple of hours talking to people in the street and teaching. In one of the lessons we talked to Luis and Paula about the Gospel of Christ. We practically didn't teach!! We guided the lesson and Mathias talked about the 5 steps of Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, and Endure to the end perfectly! His testimony and excitement to be able to do what God wants and change through the Atonement of Christ is amazing. I know that this is the true church and the complete Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It brings peace into our lives. Love you all and have a great week!
                      ELDER Devashrayee

Us and Scooby Dooby Doo!!! Haha E Abel has a sweet impression of him so we had to take a picture

Monday, October 13, 2014

Love = Essence of the Gospel..... 10-13-14

What a week here in Delta! The Lord has a lot for me to learn here and I'm enjoying the lessons. The Branch has been going through some really rough times with some members and we were luckily able to talk to the Stake President and he came yesterday to talk with them and try and put things back into order. The Priesthood keys are real and I know that Delta is going to be able to progress through these times by using them righteously. We need more unity and love between us all especially during these times when there is very little love shown in the world. Like President Monson said "Love is the very essence of the Gospel." We keep moving forward in the work and miracles are going to come.

We actually had two awesome experiences that have really helped me keep going through all of the things that are happening here in the branch. So the first one was with a young couple that opened a cyber cafe about 6 months ago. Juan was born in Delta and his wife Estela is from Montevideo. They met there in Montevideo while working. That's the background story. So we have a young woman that is preparing for her mission in Chile in December. She served as a "mini missionary" for a couple of weeks and caught the mission Spirit. She talked to Estela and said that the missionaries could come by and teach and answer her questions better. We were finally able to track her down and they invited us to talk with them. The Plan of Salvation seemed to be the basis for their questions and they love having a tight knit family. We asked them from the beginning if they would like to have an eternal family and they said yes :) That just let the Spirit right in. We taught them how God has a plan and we went through it all explaining things and talking with them. Juan isn't as interested right now, but he stayed and listened the whole time. At the end Estela said something that has been one of the coolest insights/answers while teaching. ¨So you guys go around teaching people so they can get into the Celestial Kingdom?¨ EXACTLY. :) They are super great and hopefully they keep understanding and seeing the blessings in their life. They told us that there is peace in their home every time we go. Just have the next part to climb. Which treasures they are seeking for- here or in heaven. 

The other one is with Paula and Luis. She is a member but hasn't gone to church since she moved to Delta a year ago and her boyfriend isn't a member. This past week she had the baby and has been seeing a lot of answers to her prayers. They have also been reading the Book of Mormon together and she is helping him understand. They used to fight a lot and there wasn't very much happiness in the house, but they told us since we started going, there has been no fighting and Luis is interested in being baptized in the future! The Lord has been blessing and preparing their hearts. 

Such great experiences and just helps my testimony grow of the truthfulness of the Gospel and how it changes lives, homes, and futures when it is applied. I know that it is how we can have more peace in our lives and live the joy that our Heavenly Father created us to have! 2 Nephi 2: 24-27 Love you all and hope you have a great week!
                             ELDER Devashrayee

Hahaha I'm so glad I have boots!!!  They were a pain to pack, but well worth it. Thanks Mom for insisting! We actually had a really funny experience with this mini flood. So elder Abel doesn't have any boots, and we were just starting the day and wet feet would have been terrible, so he hopped onto my back and I carried him across the flooded part! We were just dying of laughter just wishing we had a picture of it. We tried to imagine what others were thinking while watching us give a piggy back laughing :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Conference Re-Cap = blessings directly for US :) .....10-6-14

Nothing better than being "Refilled with Conference"! What a week of work and there was a special Spirit felt this past weekend about Personal Testimony and the Restoration- That is our Message to the World! Things like those exist!

So I'm going to start off with a couple of cool experiences this week that we had. Actually first off, flash back time to a month ago. We were just walking to a lesson and there was this guy painting a fence out in front of a house. We decided to stop and talk to him, and he was very respectful. He said that he has this couple living there and she was going to have her baby in a month. We told him that what we have to share can help him and his family have success as a family and be together forever. He told us his address, but we weren't ever able to find him. Now back to this past week. We passed by again and this time he was there as well as this couple. She ended up being a member that was baptized in the north of Uruguay and then moved down here about a year ago. She stopped going to church, but as we talked with her you could see the happiness she knew she used to have and was thinking about the things that she had already felt and learned. Luis (his name) told us that we can stop by another day because they were off to the Doctor because she is due the 7 of October! 

Elder Abel and Elder Bulloch were then on divisions the next day and had a lesson with the couple, him and Paula! The next day we went to teach them about the Book of Mormon and he remembered clearly what had been talked about, and had prayed too. Paula had also prayed after a really long time not doing so. She prayed that the Lord could bless her and that her side would stop hurting her (it had been hurting for weeks). That next day she woke up without a pain. She knows as well as I do that the Lord answers prayers from the heart and wants to bless us! He just needs our action and faith to do it. They aren't married which is like the 5th couple that we have found that aren't married and this keeps them from entering the door of baptism! That's alright though because we are patient and they will be able to prepare well :) 

The other one was the night before Conference. We went to Matias Rios house with Matias Pedreira to start a fast with him and write some questions that we would like to have answered in Conference. The Spirit was felt as we pondered on what we needed and the importance of the decisions we make. That next day Matias had  every single one of his questions and doubts worked out through the Words of Living Profets and the Spirit. I felt the same way - amazed- at the way they seemed to be talking to me personally. There were some lines that I liked and I am going to quote a few of them.
¨His Mercy is the Mighty Healer¨ Packer
¨We need each and everyone of us in order to succeed.¨ Robbins
¨Lowering the Standards of God to the level of the World is Apostasy¨ Robbins
¨We cannot be saved as we are¨ Christopherson
¨God will not live our lives for us¨ Christopherson
¨Don't delay our work for a personal testimony of truth and light¨ Uchtdorf
¨Kindness is powerful, especially in a family setting¨ Oaks
¨Spiritual questions deserve Spiritual answers¨ Anderson
The Six steps of Spiritual Confidence 1. Take responsibility of your own Spirituality 2. Take responsibility of your own physical state of body 3. Embrace voluntary obedience- We can't love God if we don't love all of His Commandments 4. Become REALLY REALLY good at Repenting daily- it is a lifestyle 5. Become REALLY REALLY good at forgiving and then we will be forgiven 6. Accept trials with a smile and chance to prove ourselves.    His name I have no idea something like Jong Klingbal
¨Shall not suffer- That is God's language when he means business!¨ Holland
¨We obtain a remission of sins by talking to God and we retain a remission of sins by helping the poor and needy¨ Holland
¨The greatest teaching of all should be done by righteous example¨ Perry
¨Everyone has the duty to have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ personally¨ Christenson
¨Fasting is a sign of Spiritual Maturity¨ Davies
¨Look inside your heart and ask the simple question- Is it I?¨ Uchtdorf
¨Show me counts more than tell me¨ Eyring
¨The question is with whom are we going back to live¨ Hiumila
¨It is more important to walk as he walked¨ Monson
4 steps to success as a family. 1 Prayer 2. scripture study Daily- DO IT 3. Weekly FHE 4. Attend the Temple often    -  Scott
¨Devoted disciples always have been and always will be missionaries¨ Bednar

Quite a few but I loved these one specifically! Love you all and I know that their words are true and we need to trust in them D&C 124: 45-46 and what they say we need to apply not just hear and move on! Romans 2: 11-13. The power of the Atonement is true and I know that it is open for everyone to participate 2nd Nephi 26: 23-28. He loves us and our Father in Heaven does too. This is their true church here on Earth that allows for us as His children to be able to prepare and return to Him. Have a great week!!
                ELDER Devashrayee

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream - ya, we were good during Conference :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hearts need to be Humbled & Family History Work..... 9-29-14

Whats up people!!? This past week was very interesting and I enjoyed the blessings that we received as a companionship, and for the things that the Lord wanted me to learn personally this week through His Spirit. 

So I'll start off with the Leader Meeting we had as a mission with President. Each Zone was represented by their Leaders and I was just chillin' there solo :) It was quite the experience! I learned a lot. As a mission we are going to have a push in family history work. President explained to us the power of the Spirit of Elias- which is the Holy Ghost that testifies to us the importance of the family and how it has the potential to be an eternal unit. That moment of the training was very powerful for me. I felt the Spirit so strongly and I know that families are eternal. That is why our Genealogy work is so important! I'm excited to be able to share and animate the people down here to do some history work and feel a very special Spirit that just automatically brings a deeper sense of love. Everyone can use a little more love :). 

Then later in the week we had the privilege to teach a friend of a member this week. His name is Pablo and he told us that lately he has been feeling like God has been calling him, and wanted to know more. We talked to him about the Restoration and we were actually able to watch the First Vision in the house of the member. The Spirit just testified to him of the truth, and he even said that he felt something different and wanted to go church Sunday! The power of the Gospel and its restoration is real and will reach every single heart that humbles and is ready for it. I know that it is the true Gospel and the Spirit testifies it to us. He went for the full 3 hours and loved it! The only downside is that he doesn't live here in Delta, we have to pass him along to the other missionaries in Montevideo. 

The other cool part of the week happened Sunday for me. The president of the Branch had called me and the hermanas late Friday night to put together a talk for Sunday... Always last second :) but luckily as missionaries we are always prepared. I had been studying in James 2 and the importance of Faith and Works. I tied it into the Sacrament how being there in church testifies as the work that we remember Christ. The best part happened while I went over John 6 :48-58 where Christ compares the Bread and Water to Himself. I just read the 10 verses in a row and the Spirit filled me. I knew for a fact that what I was reading is true. Christ is the bread of life. His Atonement is real and gives every person the chance to have salvation through His Infinite sacrifice. It was one task that has Eternal consequences for every single person that carries his name and follows Him to the end fulfilling what He asks. 

This church is true and I love the chance that I have to represent Christ and do this great work of sharing the good news! Love you all and hope you have a great week! Enjoy Conference and Remember what The King Benjamin said in Mosiah 2:9. The words of the Living Prophets need to be remembered and applied! It is the evidence of modern revelation that we receive.
                    ELDER Devashrayee
Took a trip as a zone to the Beach today! 
(notice the white shirt tan line on my neck.... Its already gettin' bad!)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Training, Trials, and a Greater Perspective = An Eternal One..... 9-22-14

What's up people!? What a week this past one was! There was a little of everything through it all, that just helps to make things interesting. We had our District Meetings and everything that we had talked about in our little 3 man Leadership Meeting was talked about and I loved how the two District Leaders applied it! I learned a ton, and it was something that I had studied to talk to them about. We talked about the scripture/common phrase "many are called, but few are chosen." It is something that as missionaries and as members of Christs church we NEED to be those that are chosen. Not because we are prideful, but because we understand the importance of magnifying our calling and "choosing" to do what God Wants. He calls us all, but those that are chosen take that calling and chose to Work and give away their own desires. I loved it, and has been helping me as well as others give the best that they have. 

This week with our investigators has been one of the worst. The two that were progressing really well and had their baptismal date for the middle of October decided that worldly things and happiness is more important. We are hoping to get back to them this week and help them to understand the importance of doing things with a greater perspective- An Eternal one. One of them we have been working with for over 3 months, and is such a great guy. He just has a couple of friends, and a girlfriend that keeps him from moving forward. He wants to get baptized and knows that this is the true church, he just needs to make the commitment and stick to it. But the Lord always comes in the "last moment" after things seem to just be going down hill. 

So last night we went out with the Elder´s Quorum President from 6 to 9 working. We went and contacted a house that a "member" (I will explain farther along) had just moved into. His Mother and Father were there and we began to talk about the Gospel and how we have a message that is Based on Christ and His Restored Gospel. That's when both Elder Abel and I realized that we were out of our Restoration booklets.... That's when Omar (EQ Pres) who was with us said "oh don't worry I have a couple here in my backpack." He was prepared!! He was a missionary in Argentina 15 years ago and it is cool how he hasn't changed that attitude. He loves to teach the Gospel and has a great knowledge of the Scriptures. The lesson went great too! All 3 wanted to listen to us again, and in that moment we found out that the guy was baptized, but never got confirmed..... He is a "member" but not really. They are going to be gone for the next couple of weeks, but there is a lot of potential in these people. 

Delta has been quite the challenge, but I know things can change here. We are just inviting everyone to hop on board and love this work! Oh and just to let everyone know me and Elder Abel have set the goal to run a 5K in under 18 minutes by the end of this change. :) We are already training in the morning and on our way to getting that goal! Its just unfair that this kid is in such good shape- he definitely whoops me every time! 

I love you all and I know that this is the work that brings true happiness. It is what Christ asks us all. Those that follow Him; preach His Gospel and share it with everyone! I know this is His church and was restored through Joseph Smith. We have all of the blessings we can imagine waiting for us. We just have to put in our part to be obedient, patient and keep enduring with faith.. D&C 103: 36  Have a great week!
                    ELDER Devashrayee
Came home to this scene the other day on our front step.  Even frogs give "bear hugs" :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Using Planners & Doctrine of Christ..... 9-15-14

Hey everyone! What a week and the funny part is that it seems like things have just been getting blurred together lately. The work keeps moving forward, and luckily I have a planner to keep me on target and ¨organized¨ haha!  I have truly been learning a lot, and I am really excited for everything that has been happening. 

The new zone is finally under control and things hopefully will keep moving forward smoothly. I have 2 great District Leaders that have been such great examples and willing to work and trail blaze here in Cerrrrrrro Norte!! 

So this past week in Delta. First off, we have 2 new Sister missionaries in our Branch. That has been very interesting showing them the area and helping them ¨open¨ half of Delta. They have a ton of animo (excitement) and we are going to go forward trying to get this place going spiritually. We have a couple of investigators that have potential of being baptized soon, we are just pushing forward to help them make those last couple commitments. I'm looking forward to that :) 

Gladys has been progressing so well and our next goal with her is to have her do some baptisms in the temple in the next month. She loved seeing the pictures of the temple and I know that she will enjoy being there and feeling of that pure peace that just radiates from the Temple. She has home teachers, and here in the next little while she will be having an assignment in the Church. 

We are trying to change the culture of baptism not being the only goal, this has left a lot of converts not being true converts. The Retention has always been low down here in Uruguay, but we are working hard to keep those that we baptize and reactivate those that are missing out on the continual blessings of living the Gospel. 

We actually had a training last night with all of the Bishops and counselors of the Cerro Stake with the Stake President and President Smith. We talked about the Rescue efforts that we need to make using the most powerful tool there is- The Doctrine of Christ straight from the Book of Mormon. We are going to do it together as missionaries and members to be able to grow that 10% attendance. 

It has been a couple of months that us, as a mission, have been focusing deeply on studying and internalizing the Doctrine. I can truly say that it has changed me. That Doctrine is so clear. Christ teaches us what our Heavenly Father requires of us in order to be saved. I am going to give a sequence of scriptures that we are using as a mission (along with others that we feel are right) to help those that are active understand what they are doing, and help those that are less active to return. 

2nd Nephi 31: 2-3. 2nd Nephi 31:10. 3rd Nephi 11: 32-35. 3rd Nephi 11:37-38. We become like little children through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 3rd Nephi 27:16  Enduring to the end is how we become innocent before God- Just like a little child is innocent. 3rd Nephi 18: 7-13 We testify to God that we remember Him and we will remember His Son Jesus Christ and we will keep His commandments through taking the Sacrament every week! We have to take the Sacrament or we are being disobedient and not keeping the Commandment that God has given us to take the Sacrament. By not taking it we are giving testimony that we have forgotten Him. I love it. 

It is so clear and powerful and we are already seeing fruits of this effort! I know that this is Christ´s Church and this is His Doctrine. The only true Doctrine=Way of our Heavenly Father. There is no other way than to follow the path that Christ has made for us to return to our Father. I love you all and encourage every single person to study the Doctrine of Christ and feel the power of the Atonement in your life. Have a great week! :D
                     ELDER Devashrayee
One of the Districts in the Zone. On the only "hill" over looking our area.