Monday, March 31, 2014

Rain, 6 Elders in the house now, Prepare (the right way) for General Conference. 3-31-14

The time just keeps flying by! This past week was a fun one with all of the rain that we have been getting at random times during the day. Haha have a great story about that! So we went Sunday to pick up one of our investigators whose mother is a member, but hasn't gone to church in 5 years and told us that she probably won't be going back anytime soon even though she told us how much she loved being in the temple and feeling the peace there... Not quite sure what is holding her back, but we had an awesome charla (lesson) about the Atonement of Christ and how everyone can apply it in their life through a small act of faith and hope in Him. But anyways back to the story. We picked him up and then his little brother and sister wanted to come with us. So we were walking to the church and all of the sudden a huge wall of rain coming in sideways nailed us! We started booking it to the church, and our umbrellas did absolutely nothing. We arrived there soaking wet and laughing. Unpredictable weather here but lovin' it. 

This week has been very busy with yet another set of Elders living in our house now. Yes 6 elders in one house. I thought 4 was bad enough haha. The other elders are both Opening areas, and We only have 2 sets of keys and 2 phones for 3 companionships. A lot of planning every morning for times one of the keys or phones has to be in a certain area. Very confusing but we are working on it.

The highlight of the week for me was the Charla that we had with the Braga family about the General Conference coming up. We talked about King Benjamin and how in Mosiah 2 verse 3 it talks about bringing our sacrifices. If we are not sacrificing we are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is part of who we are and what we have to do. There is that type of sacrifice, and then That Sacrifice that Christ asked us to make in 3 Nephi 9 verse 19. We need to have a broken heart and contrite spirit before the Conference if we truly want to receive the guidance and answers in our lives. The Spirit always testifies stronger when we are humble and open to its influence. That takes us back to Mosiah 2 verse 9. Listen with an open heart. We need to act on the promptings we receive because even though the person might be saying one thing, we need to follow through with what we are feeling and thinking. An open, broken heart is receptive to the healing we will receive. We will be strengthened in our testimony and our "heart" will be stronger too. 

Mario is doing well also and just telling everyone that has been bashing on him that he knows the church is true and can't deny it. Great example of patience and conviction for me. He doesn't ever get mad at them, just testifies. The mission never ceases to teach me new things and allows for my testimony to keep growing. I know the Book of Mormon is true and I love how much it teaches us if we spend the time to meditate the words and apply them to our every day life. Christ lives and His Atonement is real. We just need to humble ourselves and let the Atonement of Christ take part in our life. He heals, strengthens, and forgives. Love you all and have a great General Conference Weekend!
                         ELDER Devashrayee

My New Companion - Elder Gropp

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Change Week - new Comp and made a D.L..... 3/25/14

Well this week was an interesting one! Elder Mandujano got back in time for the last week before the new change. We had a great one, and to be honest nothing new has really happened other than Mario is moving along so well! Because of being a former Evangelical Pastor he knows a lot of people, potential contacts, and has been sharing the Gospel with them! He has lost a few friends for joining the Church, but he knows that it is the True Church, and wants to spread the word with everyone. He even wants to go with us and meet the less actives and tell them "How could you go inactive?! You are missing out on the happiest time of your life!" I know he will be such an asset for this area, and a source of references for the missionaries. 

But now here is the news for this upcoming change....... I'm staying and Elder Mandujano is going to Montevideo. The funniest part is I already know my comp really well hahaha. It is Elder Gropp. He is from my same group and we have been living in the same house for the past 6 weeks, now he just needs to change rooms! 

Another update, I will be a District Leader this change too. I honestly couldn't believe it! I have been really nervous for this the past couple of days, but I know that the Lord wants me to do it, and I will learn and grow from it! One D.L. per district. 4 districts here in Rivera with 2 Zone Leaders. Each district has 4 companionship's.

The scripture for me this week is one that I happened to come across and really hit me hard how simple and powerful it was Romans 8: 16-18. I know that we are Children of God, our Heavenly Father. The Spirit testifies of that. We might have struggles ahead of us, but nothing compares and shouldn't distract us from the Glory and Happiness we will have for the Eternities. The family is central to that happiness and fundamental in the Plan that God has for us, and I know that Families can live together forever through diligence in following the Gospel and applying the Atonement of Christ. So grateful for this knowledge and for the time that I have had so far on the mission to learn and feel it even more. Love you all and hope you have a great week!!
                      ELDER Devashrayee
Our District BEFORE changes.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Repairing, Painting, Baptism and Speaking... a full week! 3/17/14

Another crazy week went by, but I really enjoyed it!! I was with my Corto Plazo (temp companion) for the whole week and it was actually really fun teaching him the ropes and how much enthusiasm he has to be a missionary! He will be putting in his papers here in a few weeks and he is already a TON more prepared than I was.  I'm actually a little jealous of him! 

So we started off the week painting the inside of our house white. Luckily we had a professional or I think it would have been an absolute disaster.... I now understand why I was never invited to the painting parties. But I did learn so now you can invite me!  I have also been the money man for all of the expenses for the Bathroom repair work. Once again I feel like I am a missionary Realtor (haha Mom, ready to help you out when I get back) but things are calming down and our Owner is really content with the work we have done so I don't think we will be yelled at for awhile. 

Now for the Spiritual side. We had a week full of visiting Mario and preparing him for his Baptism. Every lesson and moment we had with him I was just feeling better and better because of the strong Spirit and excitement he had for his baptism! He passed the Interview with Elder El-bakri with flying colors and that's when once again something had to go wrong. We went Friday to make sure everything was working well with the font, and there wasn't hot water again... 2nd baptism in a row with Cold Water! But we didn't tell him that until he was already changed hahaha :) 

The Spirit was really strong, and everything went perfectly with the baptism. It really was amazing because the 75 year old man Hermano Dumas, was able to baptize Mario by himself! I was dressed ready to 'hop in' if I was needed. I was a little worried that one of the 2 were going to get hurt, but the Lord really did provide the strength! And after the baptism Mario gave an awesome testimony and his whole family was listening and felt the Spirit strongly. That's our next work! 

I was asked to give a talk here in Chico 2 ward last Sunday about the mission work. I was thoroughly surprised to get that topic. But it actually went really well. I talked about Jacob 5: 70-75 and the Call from our Prophet about the Members and Missionaries uniting and working in the Lords vineyard. I know that this work is for every member! Even though we might be few in number we have the Lord at our side to do this work. I want to be able to see Him face to face and have him say 'blessed art thou' because of my diligence in working. The joy in that moment, knowing I have done all I can and seeing 'the good fruit' we have saved is what I want! I know this work is of a Divine Nature. It builds our testimony, and brings miracles into our lives! The Lord lives and walks with us in these last days! Love you all and have a great week!
                       ELDER Devashrayee

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week of "Locura", switching comps, baptism set for Mario..... 3/10/14

Well I'm just glad that I got my Eagle and learned the phrase ¨Be prepared´ in Scouts because I have been on my toes this past week! So let us start out with the last P Day in the night. My comp started to have some pain in his lower stomach and groin area. He woke up Tuesday with more pain, so I talked to the mission's nurse who can only speak English, haha so I was the middle man translator! That was actually really hard because I would start speaking to her in Spanish and my comp in English but she didn't have anything that could help us so we went to the hospital. He needed to see a specialist and the next appointment that they had open was the 29th of March. The next day he could barely even walk, so The Zone leaders called in 2 Corto Plazos (substitute/short term companions) to our area. That is when more "locura" (madness/craziness) started. 

We were in our rooms peacefully studying when this woman came screaming and pounding on our door. I think every single one of us got startled by her. We went down the stairs and it was the Old Lady that lives below us.... Water was just pouring down her walls in her front room! Right then when we were already freaking out our owner shows up (another older woman who yells really loud) and just EXPLODES on us. We tried explaining to her that we didn't do anything crazy, it just happened. She wasn't having any of it. We then called our friend in the ward who luckily is a plumber to come as fast as he could. It ends up being that there was a valve for the hot water that came undone and hot water went down the cold water one and the glue that held them together practically melted and water went everywhere in the walls and floor. So this week we were also without a shower so we were showering with buckets out back. THAT was quite the experience! 

But back to the Corto Plazos- One would stay with my comp during the day and the other would go out with me. One of them is a convert of 3 weeks so whenever I was with him we were just talking about the basic Doctrine of Christ which was a great Refresher for me about the importance of the basics, and how that is really what we should focus on improving in our lives, and helping others understand it too. My comp wasn't getting any better so our leaders organized things with Montevideo and the buses to get him there so he could get into the Hospital and see the Specialist he needs. 

So right now I am with a kid from Rivera who is getting his mission papers together. He is an awesome dude, and unfortunately he has to go this week. Looks like I will be finishing out the next 2 weeks of the change switching around with different people and areas! I Like the Action...... But on the Upside, sounds like Elder Mandujano will be better here soon! 

Now for the update on the area. Mario Romero is officially going to be getting baptized! We have it this Saturday and he can't wait for it! After 4 years that he has been in contact with the church and being an investigator he now knows that this Church is the Church of Christ on the Earth! He has been inviting everyone to his baptism, which ends up being an interesting group. He was an Evangelical Pastor just 2 months ago! The happiness he has is obvious and he can't wait to start the conversion process with his wife and kids too! He truly is a testimony of how the Seeds are planted! He remembers the first Elder he talked to by name, and is so grateful for what he did! 

I know that this week has been a crazy one, but the Lord has blessed us during all of this with a strong (huge too... 300 pounds probably and baptizing him will take all the strength I have!) Convert to the Gospel! I know that this the True Church here on Earth and I'm so lucky to be able to know it. The Atonement of Christ changes and saves lives. That is what we are spreading- the happiness of Repentance and making Saving Covenants with our Heavenly Father. The Faith that we grow in Christ only leads us to more Change and a Desire to repent and be better. Alma 34 says it better than me! Thanks everyone for the prayers and support! Love you guys and wish the best for you all!!
                ELDER Devashrayee

p.s. Did find a calm moment to relax and take a deep breath.  Love hammocks!

Monday, March 3, 2014

One incredible week & the Braga Girls baptism... 3-3-14

What a week here in Rivera!! I definitely needed a week like this last one. We started Tuesday doing a Zone Wide fast to prepare us to go to the Temple on Wednesday. There is such a strong Spirit when you know that every other person fasting is doing it with true intent. We took a bus ride down to Montevideo Wednesday (7 hours) and then stayed the night in the Hostel right next to the temple. 

Thursday morning really started such an amazing day. We had a 2 hour conference with President Smith and his wife about the Plan of Salvation. A subject that truly covers every subject and every Doctrine is placed there to accomplish that plan. We focused on the importance of this life and how much of a blessing it is to be able gain experience through difficulties- something that Satan and his followers will never be able to experience. We already chose to follow Christ in the Pre-mortal life, and it is our goal to be the best follower of Him in this life. The way to include Christ more and more is through his Atonement. Our time here is prolonged so we have the ability to repent and apply the Atonement in our life. 

I went into the temple already feeling the Spirit really strongly, and the time inside just gave me an even bigger boost. I felt so at peace with the trails that I have had, and the comfort of knowing that our efforts are not unnoticed. I have never felt such a strong presence of Peace and Comfort. I really didn't want to leave! But after we had a few more hours to talk with the Assistants and find things that we can improve in Rivera. 

Oh, and I know you guys will like this. Haha president called on us to give a "practice lesson" in front of everyone about the Plan of Salvation, and it went really well, but he gave us something that we could do better. He wanted us to sing I Am a Child of God in front of everyone. (keep in mind there wasn't any piano or tune) Presidents' glasses weren't shattered! And the Zone Leaders here were just laughing after. We then got onto the bus to take the long ride back when I saw Elder Davis England from the other Uruguay Mission!!! That was a treat! 
This is Elder Nelson (from St. George) this is in the Hostel before heading over to the temple. 
We are running every morning and playing some bball in the church 
really early some mornings - while our comps sleep :)

The Adversary knew that we had an awesome experience and Friday - man was he at work! We were trying to prepare for the baptism of Jaqueline and Beatriz Braga, and our church had NO water. So we went to another church and cleaned the font, but Green water started coming out.... Ends up being a problem underground with the pump or something, so we went to another church. This one had Clear Water!! We informed everyone about the change of place, and went back Saturday morning to fill the font. But..... It only had cold water. My comp and I couldn't believe everything that was happening to try and stop this baptism. Everything went well though, and even though the water was really cold haha they both left the Font smiling! Such a great feeling to see the parents smiling and crying while their kids were just loving the experience. The Spirit was really strong, oh and I can't leave out a detail! The little Girl Beatriz asked if Elder Zapata could come and baptize her! It happened! Last Changes switch paid off :) 
Braga family 3-1-2014

That wasn't the end of the Bomb Week either! Yesterday we had fast and testimony meeting, and Mario showed up again. And he got up to give his Testimony too!! He talked about the past 4 years he has had contact with the church, but these past few weeks he has been gaining even more feelings through the Holy Ghost that this is the Only True Church of Christ. He gave up being pastor in the other church, and at the end of his inspirational testimony he invited everyone to be at his Baptism the 15th of this month!! He is really excited for that, and I definitely need to be doing more exercises to prepare- haha he is one HUGE dude! 

I loved this past week and really gained a stronger testimony of the Plan of Salvation. 2nd Nephi 2: 6-8. We need to spread the knowledge of Christ and his Atonement so everyone can be saved through Him. He is our Savior and if we put our faith in Him with a desire to be saved, It WILL happen. Families are essential to this plan and I'm so lucky to have such an amazing family as examples! Love you all and have a great week!
                           ELDER Devashrayee