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 :)