Monday, February 29, 2016

Bednar and More Bedrest

Email written: 2/29/16

So Wednesday we got to finally go back to the pension, but not before we got to have a meeting with Elder Bednar! It was a conference for all the missionaries in South America south area and it was really special. His way of teaching invited the spirit and allowed for an incredible learning environment. After the conference we went to the pension and I got to do divisions to work in my area once again. It wasn´t too hard to adjust back to working, but what was difficult was that this week I could only work 2 or 3 hours a day to accomadate the other elder´s schedules. So we couldn´t really find anyone new, and everyone that we had we lost. Carlos and Lunna relapsed and won't talk to us and Maria threw her Book of Mormon at us. On Saturday our ward mission leader just went up and quit so now its going to be harder than ever to work with the ward. Then to top it all off yesterday not only was Elder Troya in a lot of pain, I too was sick (but I´ve gotten a little better today). 

But even though it´s been pretty brutal these past few weeks and it looks like it´s not going to get a whole lot better this coming week, I don´t want to go home. I don´t want to quit. It´s such a weird feeling because as hard as it is, I still love the mission and wouldn´t have it any other way. There is something that´s keeping me here and I know that eventually the promise in Doctrine and Covenants 122:7 will be fulfilled. And also in reading in Alma and the 2000 young men that learned from their mothers has made me reflect on what my mom has taught me. And she always taught me that "I can do hard things" and to not give up, so that´s what I´m going to do. 

I can´t stop working just because it seems like the world is against me because my purpose and calling are greater. Sister Bednar told us that there will be times when we will say we can´t do it, and in reality it´s true. There are things that we can´t do without humbling ourselves before the Lord and receiving His help.  -Elder Steele

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Summer Vacation?

Email written: 2/23/16

So this week was probably the most interesting week that I have had. We started out normal, but then Tuesday after the district meeting, Elder Troya started to complain about some back pain. He's kind of been dealing with it since last Thursday but has kept fighting through it. That is, until Tuesday. I went upstairs to get reimbursed, and another Elder stayed down with Elder Troya, and by the time I went back down, this Elder was on the phone with Sister Ayre (she's basically the mission nurse) and we were told to go to the hospital. But the hospital is in the northeast corner of Buenos Aires, and we are in the southwest corner, so 2 hours later of working through bus and subway systems we got to the hospital and they checked him out and told us to come back the next morning for an MRI. So, Wednesday we did the same thing and after his MRI and a few ours of hanging out with other missionaries, he got his results looked at. The doctor told him he has a broken disc. So we only kind of freaked out. We called SIster Ayre and she told us to meet with the mission doctor Thursday to get a second opinion. She also told me I need to become some sort of back doctor because this is my 2nd companion with back issues and now I'm basically an expert. Thursday the mission doctor told us he's no specialist so he would have to send the results to salt lake city and in the meantime, 2 days rest.

So since Thursday afternoon, we've been in the mission home! We have nice beds, air conditioning, peanut butter, and so much more! We are going to be here until tomorrow because the doctor in salt lake gave him 10 days rest, but Elder Troya is getting well enough that we can return to the pension. I had the opportunity to do divisions with the elders in the offices and with the assistants which were neat experiences. But that was only Saturday and Sunday. The other days we've just hung out here and studied and slept. I had a lot of good time to study and ponder a few things so at least some good has come out of staying here. We spent a lot of time thinking and talking about how we can help our ward here (because they have surely been a very special people) and we realized in the end all we can do is pray for them and develop more charity within ourselves and that's just not a principle here right now, but a principle for life. Because we can either complain and try to get out of our problems or we can prayerfully and humbly seek the ways to make us strong enough to keep going and to learn from these moments.  It's been weird not being in the villa and I started to miss it. But tomorrow after our conference with Elder Bednar, it's back to the villa because transfers came in, but president wanted me and Elder Troya to stay together.  The pictures show the difference between when an elder doesn't have a/c in his apartment but the mission home does.   -Elder Steele

Monday, February 15, 2016

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

Email written: 2/15/16

As great as last week was, it just didn´t last. This week started good but by the end it was brutal especially yesterday. Yesterday none of our investigators showed up to church, we don´t have lunch this coming week, and we just can´t seem to work together with the ward. All of us just wanted to get transferred. But then we realized that we have to work and really do our best even if this isn´t our favorite ward or area because we can´t put these types of excuses. 

But the good news is that Carlos and Lunna quit smoking! We gave them each a blessing to help them to quit and within 2 days they had both quit. The most incredible part was during the blessing of Carlos. I was the one who gave the blessing and during it I felt something that I couldn´t really explain. Then walking to the pension, Elder Troya started to talk about the blessing and how he too felt something really special about Carlos. It´s like we could see for just a second through the eyes of our Heavenly Father and understand this man´s potential. But the thing is, all of us have divine potential, and we just have to figure out what exactly we can do with our talents and life.   -Elder Steele

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Best Gift

Email written: 2/8/16
Not to make a big deal, but last week was my birthday and it made me think a lot. Because a year ago on my birthday I opened my mission call and now I have 7 months as a missionary (which kind of scares me). These 7 months have been incredible and incredibly difficult especially these past few weeks. We started this week sick and with no real possibilities for investigators, but we knew we had to work so that´s what we did. Then we don´t know how, but we found people. Or more so they found us:

Lunna and Carlos. Carlos is the son of a recent convert but is already inactive. So we went to visit his mom but she had to leave, but Lunna (the girlfriend of Carlos) was there and asked us to share with her. She loved it and then Carlos came from work and we asked "So if this is the true church of Christ, what would you do with this knowledge?" Carlos stayed thinking and then said "I´d repent" Now this is not something we see everyday, especially with someone like who Carlos used to be. It was incredible. Lunna loves everything about the church and on my birthday we went with them to start their papers for marriage (because it´s a weird process here) and they really want to change and do what´s right.

Maria stopped us in the street to ask who we were and she said she´s had bad experiences with other churches but wants us to teach her. She used to be into some pretty sketchy satanic stuff but now she wants to really change and has so much desire to repent. She almost didn´t come to church but following our goal to be more bold, we spoke with power and authority (and love of course) and then she showed up to church. She too loves it all and shared with her daughter (who is also named Maria)

Sara was outside her door and our member looked at me and asked if we were going to contact her and I said of course and we went and at first she was hesitant but then asked us to bless her house to get rid of all the "evil" and then she told us she couldn´t go to church because she can´t walk. We asked about her faith in Christ and the miracles that he performed and she said she believes it all so using our priesthood authority we gave her a blessing. Following her faith and the authority that we hold, Sara now can walk without any problems and has started to see other parts of her health improve. It was a true testimony of faith and the priesthood. 

This week Elder Troya and I felt so relieved and blessed. That finally we could see some results because we have prayed, fasted, and worked so much. We also came to understand that sometimes we have difficulties to be prepared to receive greater blessings. 

Picture was last Pday. We had a birthday asado for me and Elder Troya (because his birthday was Tuesday).

Thanks for all the birthday cards!

-Elder Steele

Monday, February 1, 2016

Guess Who's Back, Back Again?

Email written: 2/1/16

So this week was another rough week but the highlight was the MTC part 2 when we got to do divisions with our district leader and guess who his companion is... Elder Holtry! So Elder Holtry got to be with in my area with me for a day and it was fun. 

Other than that nothing really big happened. We started this week again with 0 possibilities and that 0 continued. We´ve gotten really close but we always end up with nothing. It´s especially hard when we are working the hardest and being the most diligent and obedient. But we talked last night and realized that it´s just the Lord´s way of preparing us for something greater later in this transfer, later in the mission, or later in life. That´s where the hope and faith come in.
We also have tried to work better with the ward leaders and we finally got invited to ward council. But there are things that because of other Elders from months and years past, we have some trouble in realizing our vision to work together. But we have made progress.
The last thought I had this week, was (I don´t like counting the months but..) that I have 7 months now in the mission. And it´s hard to look back and feel like I´ve done a whole lot. It doesn´t feel like 7 months and I don´t feel that great of a missionary. But I was thinking about Axel and Kiara (2 of our baptisms from last transfer). They both want to serve missions even though they are only 9 and 13. Kiara is going this week on a Pioneer Trek with the stake and the leaders told us how great she is. They are both reading and have testimonies. They have made their grandma (who was already a member) so happy and that´s when I realized that I have been able to witness a change in some people and if they can grow up to serve missions, that would make my mission worthwhile. That´s where we find the joy more than a bunch of baptism numbers.  -Elder Steele