Monday, June 30, 2014

Faith Increasing & Back to the Basics.... 6-30-14

Wow I can't believe that July is already here! But I'm getting into the flow of things down here in Tigre! 
I am actually completely surrounded by water. I live on a little man-made island type thing so the weather here is freezing cold because of the humidity, very different than before. Every night there is a ton of fog, pretty cool and I like it! Bummer Uruguay lost, yes everyone was depressed after the game... It means so much for them! Hope USA can keep up the intensity and win again this week.

This past week was a huge change from what I was used to in Rivera, but the change is what I needed though. It is a struggling area, not only on the investigator side of things, but in the Branch status as well. We have a lot of Semi actives that come every once in a while and that even includes the Counselors in the Branch Presidency. I talked to President Smith this past week in Interviews and he told me that our primary work in Delta is to support the Branch President and work with every family that is Semi Active or even active: Tigre just needs to be strengthened as a whole. Sound familiar?Carmelo?

I have met a lot of different people this past week and every single one of our investigators has some sort of issue that truly requires a lot of faith to overcome. I can already feel my faith growing more and relying more on the Lord. I am growing as a person as well as my testimony.

My comp, Elder Del Castillo is awesome! He makes me laugh all the time and it is really nice to have someone who speaks Spanish as a comp. We get along really well teaching and trying to help every family feel edified by the Spirit with the desire to do something more to grow closer to the Lord. He has been a big help to me this week!

This upcoming week we have 2 activities that this past week we have been planning for. This branch doesn't have any young men and only 1 young woman going to church regularly, so we are putting together a mixed mutual activity with the YM and YW leaders this Tuesday. The other activity is for the Young Single Adults here on Thursday. It has been fun planning them and trying to include the members in having some sort of responsibility. We are really trying to get Moroni 6: 4-6 as part of this branches theme. The youth, as well as everyone else, needs to be fed by the good Word and trying to help others. We need to be talking and worrying about those that aren't going to church so we need to strengthen those that should be the backbone here. It is part of our responsibility as missionaries.  

Then comes the part that I didn't like about the week haha. So we were playing soccer and a whole bunch of people had showed up, even a few pastors, and in the middle of all of the fun I sprained my ankle pretty badly. It blew up so fast! I thought of you mom and how I unfortunately inherited your weak ankles... The members made me use a wheelchair for a couple days because nobody has crutches that would "fit" me. That was probably the most humiliating thing for me.  Not used to being the one that needs help. It was fun though because we contacted a few people and the wheelchair was a great conversation starter! Everything is okay for now. They took an x-ray and said it isn't broken, but they couldn't see very well if there was anything smaller because of the swelling. I have another quick visit this next week. It'll all be fine! 

Love you all and hope you have a great week. Be diligent in prayer and trust The Lord in everything. Thanks for your support in prayer! The church is true!
                         ELDER Devashrayee
My new mode of transportation - kind of sucks!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Felt like a Ping-Pong Ball trying to get to Delta del Tigre..... 6-23-14

This past week was probably one of the craziest weeks I have had in the mission. I got to serve in 3 different zones for at least a day. So let me begin from the beginning. Tuesday night. I had already packed up everything expecting to be leaving with everyone else that was going to down to Montevideo when I received a call from my Zone Leaders in Rivera. Needless to say, my plans were changed dramatically because in Cerro (the stake that I am going to in Montevideo) was going to be having a fireside like we did this past Sunday and President didn't want to take out those missionaries that had been practicing for it. I was sent to Paysandu early Wednesday morning and spent the whole day there. I did divisions with 3 different companionships within 9 hours. I felt like a little ping pong ball being tossed around, but the cool part was I learned a ton from each person and their style of play. 

That night I hopped on the bus again to go to Dolores- arrived there at 10 and spent the rest of the week there with Elder Muller. He is from Evanston Wyoming and has 7 months in the mission. We had some cool experiences those 3 days. A lot of work with recent converts which included watching the Uruguay game in one of their houses! That was memorable work done there! We won and wow did the world down here just explode into fireworks and car horns being honked! I was happy because everyone else was happy with their Country/Futbol pride is crazy! 

The coolest part though was Saturday and the experience that we had. So it was 4 a clock in the afternoon and the secretaries still hadn't called me to give me the bus schedule so I decided to call and bug them. Good thing I did, they had all thought that someone else had told me everything when in reality no one had. My bus was going to be leaving at 7. So I threw the little clothing and supplies that I had taken out into the suitcases and we went out to a couple of lessons. We were in a lesson with a convert, and the clock he had it his house was off... slow, the worst way a clock can ever be off. So we were finishing up the lesson and I looked at my watch and it was already 6:30. I immediately started freaking out because We were at least 15 minutes from our house and another 15 from the terminal where the bus leaves. 

Ya, we left the lesson running to get back to the house haha. I was just praying that the bus was a little behind or something because I couldn't miss that bus and right then a random guy passed us on the street in his car, stopped and asked us if we needed to get somewhere! I just looked at Elder Muller and started to laugh and we both said that would be great. He cheerfully let us hop in and took us back to our house. From there we were able to pick up my bags and make it to the Terminal just in time. That guy truly was a blessing and saved my bacon. He said that he likes the missionaries, never believed what we teach, but thinks highly of the work that we do. I'm so happy that he passed by! 

I spent Sunday with the Zone Leaders of Oeste there in Montevideo and then finally I made it to Cerro to see the Fireside. After one crazy week I am here in Delta and going to be enjoying the time with Elder Del Castillo! He is hilarious and we already had a great P day playing soccer in the rain with our district and a few other Missionaries. We have a lot of work to do here in Delta to help the branch. There are 2 Sisters that are working in this branch too. Our responsibility is to strengthen the members with a lot reactivation work- sounds familiar! 

I can't wait to get going this week! Love you all and I know that Lord makes miracles happen according to the faith that we show! Alma 37 40-41 really taught me a lesson about that the other day. There is no time to be lacking in our faith. It should be a continual process and we need to be diligent in growing it. Have a great week everyone! Love you all!
                          ELDER Devashrayee
My New Companion - Elder Del Castillo

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Heading to Delta del Tigre & Over 500 attended Our Fireside - Success!!!..... 6-17-14

What a week people!! To start off, YES I was able to watch the Uruguay World Cup game at a members home. President told us that we could/should do that so we stay up to date and informed because it will come up, no matter where we are. I look forward to the next couple of games. I included a photo of my game attire.... sweet!

Next, with the news that I received Sunday.... I am now heading to Delta Del Tigre, it is close to Montevideo! My comp is Elder Del Castillo from Mexico! He has 6 months in the mission and everyone has been telling me that he is an awesome missionary so I am excited! I will also continue as District Leader down there. It was a little bit of a shocker to be thinking that I will be leaving this area here in Rivera, but that is where the Lord needs me to work next, so I will go and I will do! 

Have I told you how much I don't like to leave people and say Goodbye. It was torture yesterday.... Mario told me that I am like a son to him and he is planning on going to Salt Lake some day! I told him to look me up. My last name isn't too hard to locate, and we are all related :) And the old couple I sent a photo of really are like my grandparents here. He is ill with Parkinson's and we have passed by to talk with them, given him blessings, and every Sunday we bring them the Sacrament. It was hard to say goodbye to them all. Cherished Friendships!

Now for the weeks update. Thursday we made the early morning trip down to Montevideo for the Mission wide meeting with President! It was great to be able to see all of the missionaries from our mission together, and feel of the power that we really do have from the Lord as Representatives of Him. President and his wife talked to us about the Tongue of Angels, and should be something that we are striving to have all the time. It changes attitudes and only elevates others. It is an attribute that we will be using for the rest of our life, and will only bring peace into every home and conversation. The talk that Elder Holland gave about this topic is incredible. 

That same day we went over to the other mission to have the 2 mission conference with President Robbins. Talk about even more power! He really focused on how we need to be searching for the Spirit in every aspect of the work and throughout the day, which includes speaking like Angels- It's cool how the Lord inspires. After we talked about how a testimony will never be gained through our 5 senses. It requires the Spirit and a belief in the Lord. We carry that Spirit to the hearts of the people, and they can decide to accept it and act or to leave it by the side. He also talked about how the mission is the Lord´s University with patience 101 cooking 1010 and communication 505. We have the chance to be able to develop these important attributes and enjoy every moment. 

Then it came time for the big event Sunday! We had a rehearsal Saturday and Sunday before the Fireside began, and we felt very prepared with our parts. The fireside brought over 500 people and every single one, including us, had an experience that we will never forget. Mario was invited to give his testimony/story of how he found the church, along with a few other recent converts. Our songs went perfectly and the Spirit was present there. All of the people there left really excited for the next fireside that we are going to have!! I know that that was what the people needed, and will be a lift to the members and how we can work together. 

Truly a great week, but I'm going to miss Chico 2 here and the great people that I have come to know. And after 2 changes with Elder Gropp it is going to be hard to leave. Such a great companion and now it is time to keep moving forward! I know that the Lord lives and gives us strength in every moment. This church changes lives, and we saw many examples of that in the Fireside. That only happens because the Gospel of Christ has been restored in its fullness and Christ directs the Church through a living Prophet that directs the work here on Earth. I'm so grateful for the chance that I have to be able to tell others that and testify of it. Every Day is important and our mission Motto has taught me that- Hoy Es El Día!! It is the day for our salvation and the day that the Lord is speeding up His work and we need to join in! Love you all and hope you have a great week!  
                     ELDER Devashrayee
Bert and Ernie have had a great run on Sesame Street!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fireside Prep & Helping Members Find Their Spiritual Side..... 6-9-14

Well it sounds like everything back in the 801 (and other zip codes) is going well! Everyone seems really excited for the summer, and I can't believe that school is already out again! Enjoy that sun and don't tell me too much about your crazy awesome trips... 

So for the update here in Rivera Uruguay! We had a great week of work with the normal ups and downs. Starting off with Monday night when we were finishing filling out the Baptismal Register for Arturo. He was really uneasy about giving all of this information, especially his signature, so we were there talking with him for quite some time trying to explain it all. It really is a blessing to have a church that cares about every person and wants to be able to help them. Christ knows us personally, so why wouldn´t his church? He understood and is moving forward with his understanding of the Gospel.

The week was a really cold with scattered rain which made it a little more difficult to work, but we have been seeing a lot of great things happening. First off, the Fireside is being prepared thoroughly and I can't wait for that night! The anticipation is high.  I feel like I am going to be playing a State Bball game! But no, it is a Fireside.  Crazy how the mindset of things changes with what is important. 

This Thursday we have a Conference with Elder Robbins with ALL missionaries here in Uruguay! That is something that I can't wait for also! It's going to be one great week of work and instruction.  But the other cool part was when we received a reference from the Elders that are in the area next to ours. We went that night and she wasnt there, but her husband was. He was really nice, but not interested to listen to us. He told us that his wife would listen to us though so we set up a lesson for the next morning. 

We went there and sure enough she was there and let us right in! We talked for a few minutes getting to know her, and we come to find out that she is a member. I just laughed to myself because of how many members we find that don't even show up on the ward list... But we did have an awesome experience with her. She told us that the other day one of her friends asked her if she wanted to get baptized in the church a few houses away and she said no. She later wondered why she said no, and began to think about the time that she was baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ. That next week we showed up, and she knew that it was the Lord trying to get her to do the right thing and start going to church again! She asked us if we could please help her to find her spiritual side again and of course we will! We told her that that is our role! Help others come unto Christ. 

Just like John 3: 16-17. God truly loves us and wants us to return to Him, and that Love He had and still has was sufficient enough to send His Son- Our Savior to the world. He came here to save us! We just need to accept Him and exercise of our faith and agency to act on that Eternal Truth. I know that he lives and knows us. His Atonement is what gives us hope and the feeling of forgiveness and comfort. I love Him and the love that my Heavenly Father and Christ have for me. Have a great week everyone and soak in those summer rays!!! Love you all!!
              ELDER Devashrayee

Monday, June 2, 2014

Zone Divisions & Arturo's Baptism and Change.... 6-2-14

Welcome in June!! While you guys are warming up things are staying cool down here haha. Love this weather, much easier than the heat.

Well I'll give you the rundown for our past week. So we started out Tuesday having a practice of the songs that we are going to be singing for the Fireside. While we were singing and making our parts for each song I was just messing around singing the melody in my low voice like I normally do and the Zone Leader heard... Well looks like I will be part of a Sextet for the Fireside Singing the base part.I told him repeatedly that I don't know I how to sing the Base part, I just sing in a low voice. That wasn't enough! 

That day we then did divisions with the Zone Leaders. I was really hoping that I would do divisions with the Elder that asked me to sing the part so I could "practice" singing the part and just sing it terribly to try and change his mind, but that didn't happen unfortunately. I went to an area on the outskirts of Rivera. It was a great Division and I learned a lot of things from Elder Fredes. He is from Chile and has 21 months in the mission. I love the chances we get to see how others work and try to incorporate the things that they do well into our work. Learning truly is the word that describes the mission. (I will probably say another word later on, but for now that is what I have come to understand). There are so many people that we pass by and things to take in that I feel like I still am a "greenie" in the mission. I like that feeling though, because that is what pushes me to keep doing better and finding new ways to do things and teach. 

The next part was the Baptism of Arturo!! Friday we went with a member who we found out used to go to that house and teach Arturo´s mom before she passed away and Arturo moved there! So Arturo asked him if he would baptize him! Well Brother Dumas said he would if the water was actually warm, So needless to say we had the Maintenance guy come to our church and he brought a brand new Water Heater! He put it in and started it up and... It wasn't working either. He couldn't believe it, and promised that he would get the part fixed that night and Saturday we would have warm water. He did just that! We were able to get the warm water going at 2pm on Saturday and the baptism was starting at 5. 

Well the attendance for the baptism was terrible. Only 10 people showed up, but I guess that is better than no one coming. But it still went really well and Brother Dumas did a great job! It was so much better that a member he will be able to see and talk with while he lives in that ward. Arturo told us that he is was going to shave his beard that night "so he could be a new man starting the path of God!" It was such a great baptism and the best part was to be able to think back to when I first taught him and he had no knowledge of this Gospel. He has been completely changed bit by bit as he understood it piece by piece. 

I know that the Gospel of Christ really is change. It changes every person who has the desire to believe it and apply it. That feeling that I had was one that I wont forget! There is hope with Christ. We need to be willing to believe, hope, and act as he did- with Charity! I love Moroni 7 and how it explains Faith, Hope and Charity with Charity being the most important of them all. What we need to do is ask for that Love, and we will be filled with it! What a blessing for us. Love you all and have a great week! Thanks for the prayers though! I love you all a ton, and it is so comforting to know that you all are praying and backing me up! :) Peace out from URUGUAY!
                         ELDER Devashrayee