Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Came A Little Late

Email written: 12/26/16

So Christmas came and went by really fast and it was a little hard to feel the "Christmas spirit" as I'm normally used to. Even though it was my second one here it still felt weird that it´s summer down here. But I was able to enjoy my Christmas because I did my best to focus on Christ. Being able to bear my testimony of Him this Christmas season was very special because I was really able to feel close to Him this month.

Just minutes ago I got the call and I´m leaving Urquiza and going to Neuva Pompeya. The thing is, it´s right next to Soldati. I´m even going to be living in the same apartment that I was in a year ago. It´s so weird to think that my time here has passed. I knew from the beginning that it was not going to be easy and it never was. I came to Urquiza with the hopes of doing big things and changing everything, but in the end I couldn't. I´ve learned that God has a bigger plan for each of us and that if we let Him, all the experiences we have, He will teach us and help us grow. I'm thankful for the trials I had in Urquiza and am ready for the next chapter in Pompeya!! 

-Elder Steele

Monday, December 19, 2016

Paging Doctor Steele

Email written: 12/19/16

This week there was no singing, well not as much. We did sing on the train one day and then yesterday in the ward Christmas devotional. But this week things got back to a more "normal" schedule. We continue being the "3 wisemen" because President said he couldn't make it work before transfers, so this week we had to balance covering the 2 wards. We continued sharing the Book of Mormon with everyone possible and really tried hard to be able to have people to teach. Not only because we are nearing transfers and I if I leave I want to leave the area better than I found it, but also because one of the biggest focuses now in the mission is developing more charity and love for the people and how I really want to be able to help them because everyone has their lives full of problems and everyone needs a relief and hope and thats what Christ brings. Like for example we started teaching a family from Venezuela and they started to tell us how it is over there and WOW!! 

On Thursday afternoon we got a call from the zone leaders and they asked if all 3 of us could go over to their area to do divisiones, but Elder Juzga had his planner full for Friday so Elder Spurling stayed with him Friday while I went to be with the zone leaders. It was a really hot day but they had a baptism then we found a ton of Paraguayos to teach. It was really fun because the villas are full of people from Paraguay, Peru, and Boliva where as in Urquiza they are almost all from Argentina. I got to brush up on my guaraní (the native language of Paraguay. #blessingsofthevilla). Then at night one the Elders started to complain about back pain. Now if anyone remembers some of my past experiences here in the mission, I´m basically an expert in back problems. So the zone leaders asked if I could stay until Sunday afternoon. Now normally divisiones last 24 hours, so one only brings stuff for 24 hours, so it was very interesting. All day Saturday and a good chunk of yesterday I just hung out in the apartment (well it was more like an oven but oh well at least they had not 1 but 2 fans so it could have been worse). Then I got back yesterday just in time to sing with the district in our ward devotional and the spirit of Christmas was so strong. 

pics- the Belgrano Choir and the "Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti" (Where River plays)

-Elder Steele

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Email written: 12/12/16
Los "pescadores de hombres" de Urquiza!

So this week we kept up with our area "blitzs" but with a little change. This time we went not only to contact and share the Book of Mormon, but we also sang Christmas songs in different parks and plazas! We sang as a district accompanied by a Sister with her violin and then some of us would go out and do some contacting. It was a little embarrassing at first and we didn't have the best start, but every day turned out really well. The spirit was really strong! That was basically all we did this week so we were left (again) with little time each day in our area to work. We still worked really hard and Saturday night we felt good because we had 3 investigators waiting to go to church (one with a baptism date!). Sunday came around and as it got closer to 9:30 we found out that none of them were going to be able to make it and it was hard because of all the work we put in I figured that we should have at least seen something. Then right before the meeting started, a recently returned missionary came up to us and presented her friend. He stayed all 3 hours and felt good. Who knows if he will progress or not (obviously we have the faith that yes) but it was at least a nice little blessing after the week we had.

Sometimes it happens like that, well a lot of times. We have an idea of how something is going to work out and in the end it doesn't. When that happens one of two things can happen; we can either get discouraged because things didn't go how we had imagined or we can recognize and remember that someone a lot greater has a better plan and that if we are doing the things we should, things are going to work out better than we could ever have thought. It´s like what it says in D&C 58  "For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand."
I´m still waiting to see some of the blessings and fruits, but I have the hope that they'll come.  -Elder Steele

Monday, December 5, 2016

Be Careful of What you Wish For

Email written: 12/5/16

They say if you want different results, you have to do something different. So that´s what we did this week. All of the district has been struggling in finding and doing the contacts with the Book of Mormon, so we "blitzed" every area in the district. Each day we were in a different area from 3-5 just talking to everybody. It was crazy how much work we put in and how much it helped all of us work with a different attitude. Our unity and fire grew a lot this week. One of the little things I decided that I wanted to do this past week was to carry a Book of Mormon in Portuguese with the determination to find someone from Brazil. On Friday we were finishing up and one of the sisters asked us how many Books we gave out and we said only 6 because the 7th Book we have is in Portuguese. Then she told us that they had just found someone from Brazil who wanted a Book of Mormon in Portuguese. I couldn't believe it. I went with Elder Sousa (from Brazil) and we talked to him and I understood everything he said and I have my testimony in Portuguese. It was so awesome and a little fun miracle. Saturday was the day where the district came here to Urquiza and it was the hardest blitz because almost nobody was in the street and we were getting kind of down about not being as successful the other days. Then we walked by a bus stop and I felt like I had to talk to the lady sitting down. I started talking to her and noticed she had an accent and at first I thought it was from Colombia, but then I realized.... She was from Brazil!!! I didn't have another Livro de Mormon, but I still talked to her in Portuguese for 7 minutes! We still didn't have anybody show up to church but we feel that we gave it all this past week and that we have to start seeing something change. It was interesting to see that God really does answer our prayers based on what we want (so now I realize that instead of Brazilians I should have been asking for baptisms but it´s cool).

Pics of the 3 Nephites in rain and sun (and yes I did get sunburned because last week we played soccer) 

-Elder Steele

Monday, November 28, 2016

The 3 Nephites

Email written: 11/28/16

Have to keep it short because one of my companions is really sick and we have to go. Basically this week one of the Elders from Saavedra had to go home so we got put in a trio. While it was really sad watching the Elder go home, we realized how great of an opporunity we have to really do some great things here because it´s 2 big areas with a lot of potential. We had a lot of "fire" and desire to talk to the whole world because we want to find people to teach, but still nothing. It's really hard especailly that the whole zone except for us have baptisms these next 2 weeks. Well we had 3 but they fell through. Long story short this week was brutal and filled with trials of all kinds. I don't know how I've kept going. Everytime I feel like getting down or giving up, some scripture or quote comes to mind and we push forward. I know that every trial has it's purpose, the challenge is figuring out that purpose and being able to push forward with faith and hope. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Indy 500

Email written: 11/21/16

Perfecting my taco recipe!
This week being the start of a new transfer with a new companion we decided we were going to put in work. And that's what we did. We did more laps around Urquiza than the Indy 500 (because my companion is from Indiana) and just like the race, the only real prize we had this week was the milk in the fridge, not only because we didn´t have lunch but because also it was a very hard week in terms of finding. We decided we weren't going to be afraid to talk to anyone and that we wanted to make Urquiza the best area in the mission. We worked hard at staying positive and, well, we worked a ton. It was hard knowing we'd given our all, even if our results this week didn´t show it. But we felt so good (and tired) because we had given it our all this week, and that´s all we really can do. We can't focus on what didn't turn out, but on how we did and that we keep up the same attitude, faith, and diligence. Because sometimes, like Alma taught with faith and the seed (see Alma 32-34) things take time.
Just today I ran into an Elder who was in Savio the same time as me and told me about all the baptism they had from our area after they closed our side. One of the most surprising was one afternoon in emergency divisions after all our plans fell through, we were just kind of riding the bikes around figuring out what to do when we heard "Turn Down for What" and saw a group of skater kids. This Elder told me that we should contact them, so we did and out of the group of 6 one gave us his direction but I was the one who wrote it down even though he was from the other side. Then I forgot about it until a month later the elder called asking for the direction and it turns out now that he got baptized! No effort is ever wasted! So that´s what I'm taking in to this week. Hard times will come, but it's our attitude that makes the difference. We can either just wait it out or learn from it. This next week is going to be a good one. 

(Pictures of divisions and perfecting my taco recipe.)

-Elder Steele

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Doctrine and Covenants 121:7

Email written: 11/15/16

This week was the last week of the transfer and what a transfer. While I was able to learn a lot, it was not the easiest. Every day was getting more and more difficult and I kept asking "why?" and "how much longer?" and Sunday was something that really helped me finish enduring to the end. Sunday was the ward Primary program and it was such good work. To end the program they had us 4 missionaries come up and join the primary in Called to Serve and the spirit that filled the room was incredible. I felt that everything was going to be ok and that I really am in God's special work. Then at night, one of the youth (and one of our best friends in the ward) opened his mission call and is going to Brazil!! Watching him open his call and to see the emotions of him, his family, and the ward, reminded me of when I opened my call a year and a half ago. I remembered that it's not all about me being a missionary, there is a much greater plan and purpose and it is such a privilege and a blessing to be here in Argentina. 

And as for transfers, I stayed here in Urquiza and Elder Aguilar left. I'm now with Elder Spurling from Indiana. He has 2 transfers left, so if we stay together next transfer too, I will be here in Urquiza for almost 8 months!! But either way, Elder Spurling and I are going to work a ton this transfer and I'm really excited. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, November 7, 2016

Tacos + Members = People to Teach

Email written: 11/7/16

This week we started to carry out operation Taco Bell where we offered to cook Tacos for every member in their house as a way to gain their trust and to find others through them (and a way to make sure we eat everyday) and we've started to fill our planners and our stomachs. We started last week with Matias (a member who is returning to the church) and his girlfriend Veronica (an investigator) and it was a success. The only thing with them is that they have to get married before Veronica gets baptized. We did it with another family and we finally got a reference from them after 3 months of them promising to give it to us, and we contacted them and it's a family of 4 and they came to church yesterday. 

I can't believe the miracles we have seen this week and we are feeling good about ending this transfer next week. We won't baptize this transfer, but we have for sure done our part in preparing the area for next transfer and the long term future. And sometimes that's what we do as missionaries is prepare for the future. And sometimes we forget that, and we get frustrated when we don´t get the results or the "success" but the most important thing we can do is prepare and take care of this part so that in the future there will be plenty of "fruits" to harvest.  

-Elder Steele

Monday, October 31, 2016

Where's Waldo?

Email written: 10/31/16

Somebody finally got his package!
This week we calmed down a bit with our work and we focused on helping all of the people we had found progress. One of them is Rodrigo. He just showed up to church last Sunday and told us he wants to change his life, and he was progressing really well. Then we did divisions Wednesday (and I left for José Ladron Suarez) and when I came back elder Aguilar told me that Rodrigo had disappeared. His temporary house was gone and we had no idea what to do or how to find him. We decided that the first thing we were going to do would be find Rodrigo. We retraced all of our steps in all of the times we had seen him in walking in the street and we asked around and we ended up with nothing. We felt bad that we had lost our miracle and we decided we were going to continue with our other plans. I then thought, "if I was suddenly homeless, where would I go? A park!" and we happened to be between 2 parks so we kept looking and when we got to the end of the second park we saw Rodrigo sitting down reading the Book of Mormon while his son was playing!! We were so relieved to have found him, but then yesterday we couldn't find him again so tonight we are going to play detective again! 

And with almost all of the other possibilities we had, we lost so this week is going to have to be another week of trying to find and help people. It´s been almost 3 months here in Urquiza with little to show. We´ve had miracles and good moments, but not a lot of "fruits". But in the Book of Mormon in Ether 12:27 where there is a promise that our weak things will be made strong, and 2 examples of this are found in Mark 6 and John 2. When Christ fed the 5,000 or when he turned water into wine, he made do with what they had to offer him. He did not yell at them for their lack of preparedness, but instead served them. Being here in Urquiza I've realized a lot of my weaknesses and that I lack a lot, but I just have to keep going because the Lord always promises blessings for diligence and obedience. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, October 24, 2016

Like Kevin Garnett, Anything is Possible

Email written: 10/24/16

So I don't know if anyone remembers but a little more than a month ago, we received the goal of 5 copies of the Book of Mormon everyday or 30 in a week and how we struggled to just give out 1? Well I do, and this week we changed all of that. We decided we needed to do more if we want to see miracles and baptize. So that´s what we did. We made invitations and gave out over 600 and we were able to give out 30 copies of the Book of Mormon. By the end of the week we ran into the greatest problem you can have in the mission; trying to find the time in how you are going to be able to make it to all of your appointments. We finally had a large number of people to teach. The week flew by so fast and we felt so good knowing that we really did our best. We realized that the only thing that is holding us back from having success is us and that we have to be willing to do everything possible to find solutions. The truth is we really didn't do a whole lot. We aren't the greatest missionaries and we aren´t perfect, but the little that we can give, we gave, and we were blessed with a ton of miracles. 

From the ward Family Home Evening last night, to our progressing investigators, this week was a week of blessings and one that really built our faith. Wednesday (well I think it was Wednesday because the days are all blurred together) it rained a ton and we didn't have our umbrellas or our coats and we were tired and I thought just how easy it would be to give up and take some easy way out, but then an impression came to me that made me think. I thought "how can you just give up? What kind of standard are you going to set for your future self?" and we just kept moving on. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, October 17, 2016

Taco Tuesday

Email written: 10/17/16

So this week we kept up all our efforts with the Book of Mormon and we are starting to see some miracles! On Tuesday we were really excited to be able to contact everyone, and one of the people we ended up talking to accepted a Book of Mormon and on Saturday we passed by and she had already read the first 11 chapters and accepted a baptism date. And at the end of the lesson we asked if we could invite her cousin (because she told us that her cousin was in the other room) and when he came out, it was an inactive member who the ward council had been looking for because he had moved and no one knew where he lived. So now we are going to activate him while we teach his cousin! And then on Sunday we had another investigator show up to church. It was the first time in months that there have been new people in the chapel and the ward got really excited. 

One of the things I learned this week from the Book of Mormon is that (at least) 29 times the same idea is repeated " that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence" and I know this to be true. If we want blessings, we will be obedient. 

Pic- We made tacos because we didn´t have lunch #texmex

-Elder Steele

Monday, October 10, 2016

1 Nephi 4:6

Email written: 10/10/16

Coming down from the awesomeness of General Conference, we got back to work here in Urquiza; well the first 2 days my companion (and one of the elders in the other area too. Because now we share an apartment with the elders who opened a new area) was sick and we couldn't do much. But the good news is I was able to guide us through the area and also show the new elders part of their area without too many problems. The other good news is Elder Aguilar came here to work and we are trying a lot of different ways to work. Some days we are able to give out a lot of copies of the Book of Mormon and other days we just end up walking around but we put in a good week of work.

Something interesting was that these past few days we were guided very strongly by the Spirit. One day everything failed on us and instead of stressing, I felt we had to visit 2 certain members, and both of them live alone, and both of them needed blessings, and both of them told us they were praying that we would visit them! Then the next day we had to change some of our plans and we were with a member and he wanted to visit a less active family and when we went by their house, no one was home. So we continued walking and a few blocks later we ran into the family and we walked back with them and they let us in (after 2 months of trying) and we had a really good lesson and the member who was with us gave his first ever blessing and it was such a cool experience to see him learn more about the Priesthood.

and now everyone knows the difference between Chile and Texas. 

Peruvian Food
-Elder Steele

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

TexMex part 2

Email written: 10/4/16

Another 6 weeks have flown by and today is transfer day. And now I'm with Elder Aguilar from Mexico, so it's TexMex all over again! 

This past week was conference week where the Prophet and apostles deliver inspired messages to teach and help us and it was (like always) incredible. There was a lot learned and a lot of questions answered and a great way to end the transfer. It was interesting how the conference focused on prayers, the Book of Mormon, and the Plan of Salvation.
As with the days before conference, we just kept going. Things didn't get any easier, but we finally have a number of people to teach and the ward is getting more involved. It´s incredible to see how months of hard work pay off, and will continue to pay off because the miracles will start coming and, well, I'm ready for whatever this transfer has to offer!   -Elder Steele

Monday, September 26, 2016

Can we Get a Nike Sponsorship?

Email written: 9/26/16

It's already been a month since I've been in Urquiza and this last week I was reminded of a thought/feeling that I had when I had heard about the transfers that was "You´re going to Urquiza to grow and to learn" and well, it's happening. This past week we decided something had to change. Our studies and prayers were more intense and we were trying to figure out the key to make the week turn out better than the others. And the thought kept coming "Just do the contacts" and we kept denying that impression because these past few weeks, they haven´t really worked out. Wednesday we just felt destroyed and it was "well, I think we have to do some more contacts" and we put a goal of just 1. Just 1 good contact for the day. With a lot of nerves and not a whole lot of excitement we went out and tried. The first person we talked to accepted! He was really nice and interested (but he doesn't live in our area, but oh well) So we started to feel better and my companion was like "I think we were being tested with our bad experiences to see if we would really do them and now we are going to be blessed" then it was the normal no one listening. At about 8pm my companion was like "Let´s do 1 more." (he was referring to an older woman walking her dogs) so we went up and started talking to her and she is really amazing. She had a ton of questions, that we were able to answer using the Book of Mormon and she gladly accepted. Then Friday we went to visit a member and share our Ward mission plan with him and his wife and then we went with him to the church because there was an activity, but there was some downtime so he went to a closet and brought out some copies of the Book of Mormon and said "Elders. Let´s go!" And in 10 minutes we had already given them out, (he alone gave out 2) and they are some real possibilities and we all felt so good. The Ward has started to see our efforts and are starting to put goals in Ward Council so that everyone can help us. We didn't have a huge miracle this week. We still didn't have any investigator attend church, but we Just Did It and we are starting to see the Lord´s hand more here in Urquiza!
Something that really stuck with me was when I was reading Matthew 26 when Christ goes to Gethsemane:

38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup
pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.  
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, "What, could ye not watch with me one hour?"

It made me think, Christ has asked me to help Him for a short time, and am I staying awake or am I "falling asleep"?

-Elder Steele
Worldwide Day of Service with the Zona Belgrano

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Committee to Plan Parties

Email written: 9/19/16

So this week passed by super fast. Our biggest focus this week was our ward activity that we had planned for Sunday night. We had to wait almost 2 weeks for approval so we only had this last week to run around the whole area inviting people, but it was so worth it! We did an activity where the people "felt" the life of Christ. We even did a crown of thorns (don´t worry, no one wore it)! It seriously was so incredible the spirit that was there. We had a lot of members, less active members, and a few investigators and almost everyone was crying at the end. My testimony and gratitude grew a lot last night and I just felt super privileged to be a missionary and to be an actual representative of Jesus Christ.
The other part of this week is we keep trying to do our contacts and teach more people about the Book of Mormon, and Saturday we finally had someone stop and listen and we felt God´s love for him and a desire to help, but when Elder Matos pulled out the Book of Mormon he was like "Nope. A book isn´t going to help me change. I've killed people in Colombia, Brasil, and Argentina. You 3 (we had a member with us) don´t know anything about life." After showing us his scars he threw the Book at Elder Matos and we walked away. But I still know the Book of Mormon is true!!!  -Elder Steele
(Elder Steele did not give any explanation as to what this picture is about,
but he's smiling and that's good enough for me!)

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Flood

Email written: 9/12/16

Well, it actually didn't rain this week, but the flood we focused on this week was "flooding the world with the Book of Mormon" We had a zone meeting and they told us that we now have the goal of giving away 30 copies of the Book of Mormon per week (In my other areas it was maybe 1 a day) and we didn't know how to feel because the people in this part of Buenos Aires are very "special". We tried hard in contacting everyone and in all of last week 2 people stopped to talk to us. And only 1 of them accepted a Book of Mormon and an appointment to pass by the next day. So we passed by and the guy answered the door and he said they go to another church, but like always we tired to find something in common and he believed in almost everything we do. Then came the difference because we talked about the plan of salvation and that there is paradise/prison before the resurrection and judgement and the guy got really mad and said "if you are going to preach the word of God, do it right. Repent right now!" and I didn't know what to do. We tried to calm him down but he said "I condemn you two to hell" (among other things) My companion got super mad and walked away and I just stood there because I couldn't believe it. So I stood there, looked him in the eyes and said "I am a representative of Jesus Christ!" And the next part I don´t know exactly what I said, I just know I felt really good for standing up to him and he stood there fore a second and then got even more mad so we got out of there quick. I know my calling and my responsibility and am honored to wear His name everyday and I know what I believe. So maybe this week we couldn't ¨flood the world with the Book of Mormon" but we put another drop of water, and what happens when you put together all those drops? A lot of water. So now it´s just a matter of enduring!

But yeah I read this last week and it sums up Urquiza pretty well in Mormon 1:16-17 "And [we] did endeavor to preach unto this people, but [our] mouth[s] [were] shut, and [we were] forbidden that [we] should preach unto them; for behold they had willfully rebelled against their God; and the beloved disciples were taken away out of the land, because of their iniquity. But[we] did remain among them, but [we were] forbidden to preach unto them, because of the hardness of their hearts; and becuase of the hardness of their hearts the land was cursed for their sake"

But that´s not our excuse not to try. We know we have a purpose here and that there are people who need our help so we´re going to just keep swimming.

-Elder Steele

Monday, September 5, 2016

Divide to Multiply

Email written: 9/5/16

So this week went a little better in terms of being able to visit and get to know a few more members, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Yesterday they divided the wards of Urquiza and Nuñez to create a new ward called Saavedra. There were a ton of people from the 2 wards (including 2 old investigators showed up on their own) and it was exciting. Then we realized the reality. Urquiza is only going to have about 15 active families and we are going to have to start working in a different way so that Urquiza con grow again. The Stake presidency told us that they have to wait until the next transfer to have Elders in the new ward, so we get to work with both wards (because they will be attending the chapel in Urquiza) and Saavedra already has a baptism and a ton of references so this next month will be a lot of work then we will have to hand it off to the new Elders. I feel really good about all of this and that these next few weeks are going to be very interesting but I am really going to grow, and in turn help Urquiza grow.
A while ago I saw the Mormon Message "You Never Know" and made me think about my mission and I just have the hope that I have been able to do some good here even if I don´t get to see all the fruits. I had been kind of worried because it was like "well what fruits do I have?" and I think it was an answer to prayers today because for Pday we went to another part of Buenos Aires and ran into another group of Elders, one of which is in my old area of Soldati and I talked to him asking about everyone and he told me that in these past months there have been a ton of miracles and changes, and when he told me who and what happened it was a lot of people that first me and Elder Hatch, and then later Elder Garcia, had been trying to work with and I had no idea what had happened to them. I don´t want to sound prideful and say that it was me that did all of that, because it wasn't me, but a combination of other missionaries and God doing the work there, I just got to be a small part of it. We really don't know the results of our actions a lot of the time so we really have to make sure we do our best and the rest will be taken care of.

-Elder Steele
pic- zona Belgrano

Monday, August 29, 2016

Big Money, Big Vision

Email written: 8/29/16

So this week was my first week in Urquiza. And oh man, it is so different from Soldati, Parque Avellaneda, and Savio. It´s all buildings and you have to ring bells and the people talk to you through a little speaker (big money). And no one, well 2 people talked to us between Tuesday and yesterday. 2!! Only 2 people and then a handful of members gave us some time to talk. I was like what are we doing here?? Not even the members had time for us and it was just walking around trying to find something to do before going back to the pension at night. Elder Matos explained to me the ward mission plan and what he and his companion had been doing before and it´s basically what we had been doing in Savio, so I am very excited for all the things we have planned.
But now basically the whole ward knows me and already are joking about me because Sunday they asked me to go up and talk for a few minutes so that everyone could get to know me, and in part of what I said was that I have the vision (big vision) of filling the overflow with chairs (and people) and that the ward is going to grow and a lot of other missionary stuff. Well then they announced a combined sacrament meeting for next week because they are going to create a new ward using part of Urquiza and another ward. So everyone after came up to me and was like "hahaha Elder nice vision" and "hey what do you know, it´s going to come true". I don´t know if they are making fun of me or a being nice, either way I was serious in my goal to help this ward grow (but obviously I´m not going to do anything, it´s all the Lord´s work).
Yes it´s hard and this is going to be the most trying time in my mission (especially after Savio was seriously the greatest point of my mission) But for some reason I´m not scared or discouraged. I know that these experiences are going to help me (and in turn be able to help other people) now and later in life. I know I can´t control the thoughts or actions of others, but I can control mine. So if I do my part, I can´t worry too much. So now it´s all on me and my faith and diligence. This is going to be an interesting next few months. 

-Elder Steele

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I Had a Dream

Email written: 8/23/16

So today is transfer day, and I already thought that I was going to be transferred, and here I am in Urquiza. It's in the rich part of Buenos Aires capital. I'm excited because it's a whole different type of work here. I already know Villas and Provincia so this is going to be fun. I´m in Urquiza with Elder Matos. He´s from Brazil, so I get to keep learning Portuguese. Also there are only 4 elders (including us) in the zone and there are 8 sisters. The other 3 elders are all from Brazil, so this is going to be interesting.
It didn't feel like another 6 weeks had passed by so in my last days we kept working. We baptized Tomas, Cecilia's 12 year old son. When Elder Adams came to do the baptismal interview, Tomas was upstairs sleeping. I went with my companion and Elder Adams´ companion to talk to Tomas. We pretended he was dreaming and that we were angels telling him he needed to get baptized (we´re terrible I know). We told Cecilia not to say anything. 2 days later Cecilia told us that Tomas woke up and told his mom that he had a dream and needs to get baptized. We couldn't stop laughing. But then we talked to him for real and he actually wanted to get baptized so it´s all good. We found a lot of new people this week, and in part by getting up in the front of the bus and inviting everyone (that was a very nerve-racking experience). The crazy thing is, Elder Silva also got transferred. They took us both out and now Savio is going to be 1 giant area for the other Elders now. We got the call last night at 11:30pm and were both really surprised. We don´t know the reasons behind it, but knowing that transfers are inspired, this is part of God´s plan and right now we don´t understand.   -Elder Steele

Monday, August 15, 2016

This Kind of Stuff Belongs in a Church Magazine

Email written: 8/15/16

What a difference this week from the other. We saw a lot (maybe too many) of miracles. I have to give a lot of credit to meu companheiro (that´s my companion in Portuguese) because of his example of simple humble faith. He just kept saying don´t worry Elder, the miracles will come. And then every day this week we did our part and everyday we were guided to where we needed to be. And Sunday was a good day for us and the other Elders because finally we had a baptism the same Sunday and the ward helped out a lot. We baptized another one of Cecilia's sons, Maxi. He´s 14 and is going to go to seminary starting tomorrow (and in 4 years is going to be Elder Guzman!!!) The crazy thing about Maxi is that he plays soccer and is pretty good at it. This Sunday he had a championship game and they were going to play in the River Stadium, a once in a lifetime opportunity. We asked him what he was going to do and he told us "i´m going to get baptized" and Sunday he got baptized and he said he knew it was the right thing to do.

Working with Cecilia has taught me 2 things. The first is what faith and goals will do. When we met Cecilia, she said that one day she knows all of her family will be members and they will get sealed and her 7 sons will go on missions. Slowly but surely that is being realized. To do great things doesn't always require a big show. But with humility, patience, and faith, so many things are possible. The other thing that I have learned is that God´s plan is perfect. 10 years ago an Elder Salazar from Savio, Buenos Aires, Argentina was serving in the mission Concepción Chile. He found a less active family and baptized their son Victor and 2 others. 10 years later this Victor, now Elder Monsalve was called to serve a mission in Buenos Aires and ended up in Savio, the same ward as the missionary who baptized him. One day Elder Monsalve was walking and talked to a group of kids and he took down their information. He forgot about the paper and when he left Savio, he gave it to his companion Elder Vides. almost 2 months later in divisions Elder Vides contacts all of the kids without any success. The last one was Macarena and Betty. Betty didn't want anything but at that moment Cecilia showed up and the elders set up an appointment to return the next day. Now Cecilia and 3 of her kids are baptized. This was 10 years in the making and it goes to show how God really does have a plan for all of us and we can't question or doubt when we have to pass through experiences. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, August 8, 2016

This Week Was a Weird One

Email written: 8/8/16

This week was a weird one (that´s why I couldn't think of a good subject). This week it was harder than normal to get up and get out to work and we don´t know why. We were sick and every day was hard. We were obedient and did everything we knew we had to do, but we just felt like we were in this funk. Friday and Saturday were days 100% guided by the Spirit and just everything we did we could see how God was working so we were in the perfect spot at the perfect moment because we were able to teach and help a lot of people. So after such a hard week we felt good about Sunday because the other Elders were going to have a baptism and we were going to have a lot of investigators at church. We got only 3 of them to church and then there wasn't any water for the font so there wasn't a baptism. And we all just felt done. And then there was a surprise party because a missionary in the ward in Savio came home (the 2nd one in a month) and we were all thinking about how great it would be to be home. But we pressed on and still tried to do our best. I don´t know why or how, but we always find something to keep us going, and I know that is because this isn´t about us and this isn´t our work, it´s God´s, and all He asks us is that we keep the commandments and exercise faith and we´ll get help. The Lord truly is with us in this work and it´s incredible to see. 

Another thing that changed my way of thinking was at lunch one day, the 1st counselor in the bishopric was talking to us about the ward and how basically all of them are 1st generation members. And then it all made sense; they just don't know any better. They´re learning little by little and we have been impatient because we know their potential and all the great things they can do and we want them to do it right now and we forget that change takes time. And it's like for all of us. We can trust that God has patience with us and that He is helping us grow each day and we can't get mad if we don´t see the results or the blessings. I know that one day I´ll look back on this week I had and I will be able to learn a lot from it. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, August 1, 2016

We Do Not Desire to Murmur

Email written: 8/1/16

This week was a very interesting one. This scripture from Alma 56 sums it up (and also Alma 58:33-37, part of which I used in the subject); 

"... I found [the Elders] with their might to fortify the city [of Savio].
 Yea, and they were depressed in body as well as in spirit, for they had fought valiantly by day and toiled by night to maintain [Savio]; and thus they had suffered great afflictions of every kind. And now they were determined to [Baptize] in this place or die; therefore you may well suppose that this little force which I brought with me, yea, those sons of mine, gave them great hopes and much joy."

That´s how we felt this week. We felt like all the members were against us and that the week passed by very long. Saturday was especially difficult, but then I was reminded of Moses 1:39 and what we do as missionaries is not about us so I had to pick myself up and hope that things would get better. Just like in the end of the scripture, it was the tiny blessings that gave us hope and joy. One of those has been Cecilia. Even though the son (Uriel) that got baptized this week is 8, it was still a big blessing for Cecilia and that´s what matters. 

Picture of the baptism (Marcos, a member baptized because he helped a ton) and of Language study #trilingual

-Elder Steele

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Party Planning Committee

Email written: 7/25/16
This week started out with interviews with President Smith. He talked to all of us about how we need to forget about numbers and we have to find and help complete families. I liked that a lot and that was our focus this week to find and help families. We didn't find any new families, but we have continued to work with Cecilia and her family. Yesterday was supposed to be the baptism of her niece and another one of her sons, but about 100 different things happened Saturday and they couldn't come. It was really sad (and Satan is a huge jerk) but things look good for this Sunday.

The other big thing this week was the ward activity. 2 weeks ago we started to plan and invite people. It was a multi-culture night where the ward members (and us) brought food and other things from their country and shared it with everyone. The other elder from the US and I made chocolate chip pancakes and french toast and everyone loved it. Then the other part was a talent show. There was plenty of singing and dancing. We also did a little sketch of a normal day as a missionary (it started out with us doing a choreographed exercise routine to Uptown Funk, so yeah it was awesome). All the members thanked us because it had been a long time since they have had a big ward activity. It was cool to see all the members excited and how they all helped out.   -Elder Steele

Monday, July 18, 2016

Elder, Where is Your Faith?

Email written: 7/17/16

This week was the start of a new transfer with a new companion. We had a baptism set for Sunday and a ton of
 references to contact. Then Elder da Silva got sick with strep so we couldn't do much the first few days. 

Time for a new pair of shoes, Elder Steele!
We were going to have a baptism Sunday, but in the morning her parents yelled at us and Cecilia (her aunt) and said that she wasn't going. We filled the font anyway and Elder da Silva told me, Elder I know she will show up later. So the font was filled and we waited. At 11:50 we drained the font and at 12 Macarena, our baptism, showed up with Cecilia and told us that she had a problem in the morning but was all good. We then tried to refill the font and organize everything super fast. We also had a meeting with the ward leaders and it was super crazy. In the end she asked if it would be better to wait next week because she wants to have hot water, people at her baptism, and next week is the baptism of her cousin also.

 It was crazy though because we put our faith and trusted that she would show up. This past transfer I really focused on faith (and the patience, diligence, and hope that come with it) and now we are seeing the fruits. It's not that we do it, but because this is the Lord's work he will help us when we have righteous desires and the vision to do bigger things. One of the blessings besides the baptism is the ward. We started to pray for the ward and plan what to do, and without us saying anything to them, they have taken a ton of initiative and the ward now has a ton of potential. 

-Elder Steele