Monday, March 28, 2016

The March Madness Won't Stop

Email written: 3/28/16

Just when I was getting comfortable and starting to work in the trio I got a call from the assistants telling me that I was going to receive a new companion that night. It´s Elder Nina from Bolivia. So, this week was the week where we opened the Villa Oculta, and when you open an area you have to start from 0 and spend the first bit really working with members. It helped that I know a handful but we really had to work a lot this week. And because we focused a lot on members we didn't really find any new investigators. But we have seen small blessings in working with the members. First of all we have started to better the relationship between the missionaries and the ward (something happened in the past, and for that the ward has been kind of cold to missionaries even though us 6 haven´t done anything). Another blessing that we saw was that we received a few references without even asking. On Friday there was a ward activity and a family from our area brought their friend who was an old investigator. She wants to get baptized but her Dad is hesitant to give permission. 

This week got harder when we went to see a "golden family" that I found on divisions. They were a miracle and a really amazing family of 7, and almost all accepted baptism. But in these weeks they´ve been sick, and when we finally passed by the mom told us that they prefer the other elder. That one hurt because I had been so happy to find them and then praying and preparing for them so much, and to be told they just want the other elder was a big bummer. It´s been hard being in this Villa so long without a baptism and I don´t really know what I´m supposed to learn from all of this. But I've got to keep going.

Recently I've been reading in Ether and something that called my attention was that it says multiple times "and [this person] did that which was good in the sight of the Lord and[received this blessing]" I understand the importance of my call and know that what I am doing is "good in the sight of the Lord" and therefore (not to sound selfish) I will be blessed. Whether it be now, after the mission, or after this life. I just have to do my part to the best of my ability. I am grateful for this Easter time and for my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, March 21, 2016

We Found Jesús!

Email written: 3/21/16

This week was one that did not go according to plan at all. First of all President had said I should expect a new companion this week, but he still hasn't received the revelation of who to send so now I am officially in a new area with not 1 but 2 new companions! So I´m still in Parque Avellaneda but now I´m in another part of it with Elder Sherman and De Avila (the elders who were living with us in the pension). Being in a trio is fun because we can enter whatever house we need to and I like this area because it´s in Soldati. To get to this area we either have to cross through the Monoblocks of Soldati (my old area!!) or the Villa Soldati so almost everyday I run into somebody from Soldati and it makes my day. On Thursday I ran into Guadalupe and I just felt really good. 

But this week has been pretty rough in teaching and finding. Almost everyday the member that we would set up to go out with us would cancel about 20 minutes before and then we were stuck. All the plans that we made just didn't work out. We had some moments where we found people (including a kid named Jesus) but by Sunday we didn't have anybody progressing.  The ward situation has given us some hope because we got a new mission leader and he just finished serving his mission so we are going to really start to be able to work with the ward starting today. 

I have learned 2 big lessons this week. The first is that we normally talk about faith without works is dead, but the inverse is also true. Works without faith is also dead. And we realized that some days we are just going out to work without the faith that we are going to find. It is so important to maintain faith and a positive atitude. The other lesson I learend in talking with Elder Sherman is about success here in the mission. Elder Sherman although only has 3 months here already has a large vision and we both realized that true sucess here comes through diligence and obedience not titles or numbers (Elder Sherman is also a fan of Steve Nash so we used him as our example of true success). We both have realized that the transfers when we put in work and didn´t worry about numbers were the ones where we felt more successful. We both share that our greatest fear is getting home and realizing that we didn´t do everything we could have done and that has been our motivation to try to work and get better everyday. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, March 14, 2016

Adios Mi Parcero

Email written: 3/14/16

Parcero is slang in Colombia for best friend.

On Monday after I wrote we went to the pension and the assistants packed up Elder Troya and we said goodbye and then I got put in a trio with the other 2 elders who live with us (Elder Sherman and Elder De Avila). Yesterday after Stake conference I talked to President and he showed me the email he got from Elder Troya and that he made it home alright and is going to start treatments today. 

With me being in a trio, that means that the Villa Oculta is now a closed area. Yes that´s right. I am the Elder that closed the Villa Oculta. One of the most successful areas in the history of the mission is now closed. So add that to my list of why everyone knows me (throwback to October when I baptized the member). And I talked to President yesterday and he still doesn´t know who he is going to send to be my companion. 

It´s been kind of difficult with all the changes this week because I have done a lot of divisions with Elders in the zone and members so I don´t really feel like a true missionary because I´m just kind of floating around. On Wednesday night at 10:28 Elder Bustos (zone leader) called me and said he felt like we needed to do divisions the next day and that I needed good plans. I was really stressed because I have not planned a full day in this area for a month and we have nothing. So with A LOT of prayer and trying to put my faith in that we were going to find something. I planned for a little bit in the morning and after lunch we reviewed the plans and prayed again hoping for something. We left feeling really good and excited that we were going to find someone. For almost 3 hours we couldn´t find a single member, less active, or old investigator. We were losing our excitement but I knew I had to keep at lest a little bit of faith and stop to doubt because we needed to find someone. We had a meeting at 7 and our only set appointment fell through so we kept looking for people. Elder Bustos had read our area book and wrote down a few names and asked me if we could find them. The first one I thought I knew how to find but the house number didn´t exist. We saw a lady and I asked her if she knew where the house would be and she didn´t know. I then felt to just keep talking to her and I asked a really stupid question about the houses and then Elder Bustos gave her a pass along card and we both saw he kids kind of laughing at us, so we asked if we could enter and share with everyone. After teaching for a little bit we left with 4 people with a baptism date! They are such an incredible family. It´s so hard to explain and tell all that has happened with them these past few days, but they are such a miracle. This is where it´s complicated because technically my area is closed but I have permission to keep it alive. It´s going to require a lot to make sure I can visit them between now and when I have a new companion. But now the Villa Oculta has hope when it gets reopened. It was such a testimony that even when it all turned against us, we held on to the tiniest thing of hope that we were going to have a miracle and we ended up having one much greater than we imagined.   -Elder Steele

Pic: We found out how to get up on the roof and we have a good view of the Elefante Blanco! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Back to Work (Kind of)

Email written: 3/8/16

So this week was another interesting week. Pday was normal and fun but at about 6pm Elder Troya was complaining about having problems again. Tuesday we didn't get to do a whole lot of work. Wednesday we got to go to yet another doctor and got yet another opinion about his back. So finally Thursday morning he got to receive some injections in his back to help the problem, but we couldn't work in the afternoon. Friday he felt better and worked all day and we started getting back into the swing of things. Saturday we kept going good and visited a bunch of less active families with members. Sunday was another hard day and we couldn´t work and today we had to go back to the mission home to talk with President about Elder Troya. Nothing is final, but tomorrow I will have a new companion to be able to work in my area. 

We saw 2 big miracles this week with the ward. The first was on Tuesday we received a call at about 6pm from our ward mission leader and he told us we had our weekly coordination meeting which was a very good thing because just a few days ago he said he had quit. Then on Sunday the ward attendance jumped up from 100 these past few weeks to 170. And even some of the inactive families we visited showed up. We might not have had a lot of time to work or investigators, but we felt so good to see that the ward is progressing in a very good direction. It´s an example of patience, humility, and prayer.   -Elder Steele

We finally took a picture of the 4 of us in the apartment.