Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Crashing Into Transfers

Email written: 5/30/16

First of all I realized that last week I put a subject line and then never explained what happened. Basically Locro is a traditional dish in Argentina that they eat during holidays like May 25 (when Argentina wanted to declare independence). And everyone spends the week before hyping it up and carefully planning the ward activity.

Anyway this week, just like the title says was full of crashing. It started Wednesday. We hadn't had hot water for 4 days and we wanted to shower so we called the other Elders and asked them if we could use their shower. They said only if we got up early to play basketball. After playing and showering we rode the bikes back to the pension and I was wearing my soccer shoes and my pedal is basically non existent so after going over a speed bump, my foot slipped and I lost control and crashed, but nothing too bad. Then Saturday it rained a ton and there was mud everywhere and my bike has no tread on the front tire, so I crashed 2 more times..... and also Elder Vides crashed pretty hard too. But we´re all good now. 

So today is transfer day, but Elder Vides and I are going to stay together another transfer. It didn´t really come as a surprise so we were ready. This last transfer was not the easiest (but then again I don´t think there exists an "easy transfer" in the mission) but although we didn´t have a ton of baptisms or the highest numbers, I did learn a lot. I really tried to study Chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel, which is Christlike Attributes. And then not only study them, but then put them into practice. The study part was easy, and these past 2 weeks have been the test of my studies. It seemed like after I had studied a section, something would happen as if God was giving me the opportunity to apply and have experiences related to the attribute. Most recently I was studying hope. Hope is a word misused a lot in today´s vocabulary, because the true definition of hope is the ability to wait and trust that all the promises and the blessings of the Lord will be completed in their due time. That applies to the mission alot, because I have come to realize that as missionaries we are not called to fail and suffer, but instead to succeed gloriously. So I have to keep going because there is something big coming and it will all be worth it. Another one of the little successes we had this transfer was Ariana, our only baptism. She was baptized only a month ago, but already has the Young Women´s theme memorized, is working on her personal progress, is halfway through the Book of Mormon, and has a huge desire to serve a mission. That´s why we do what we do. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, May 23, 2016

Loco for Locro

Email written: 5/23/16
This week was just another one of those weeks. Another one of those weeks where we are tried and tested and even when we do everything, we still end up with nothing. When every day gets harder and harder and more depressing to look at our agenda. But as we learn when we get discouraged there is no room for faith or a vision and it creates a cycle of hard times. Last night my companion had to call the sisters in our district to talk about their week, and they hard a week harder than ours, but they were talking about their goals for next week and they set them pretty high. I have to admit, it caught me by surprise that after the week they had, they had the faith and optimism and I had to stop and think where I am with those things and what am I going to do this week to change our possibilities for success. 
This week we learned that odd things happen for a reason. On Wednesday, Elder Vides had some problems with his bike and we went to get the tire patched. About 10 minutes later on our way to lunch his tire popped again and when we stopped to check it out the police rolled up and the officer yelled ¿De dónde sos? (where are you from) and when a police officer here asks this, problems usually follow. Elder Vides responded Colombia and then he looked at me and I said the US. He then asked me how long I´ve been here and when I leave. I thought he was going to ask for our documents, which is a problem because we only carry a copy and some of the police don´t like that. But in the end he said it was really cool that we were from different places and he started to ask a bunch of questions about the church and even the Spirit was with us which was neat. Then yesterday while waiting for a member to do visits with us, another member walked by and said he was ready to go out with us too, so we decided to do divisions to help us reach our goals and to find. But the other member took a while and in the time we waited, a police car rolls up and guess who it was.. our friend from Wednesday! I couldn't help but laugh and he again was asking about the church. 
One of the things that I was thinking a lot about this week was 2 Nephi 31:15 "And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." First of all there are not a lot of instances where God directly speaks because it´s usually Christ. So in one of these rare times when we had the direct words of God he keeps it simple but powerful. First he testifies of Christ and that we too need to believe and then that enduring to the end can be seen as the thing most important to Him. So in the end we need to have faith and endure (2 things I´m working on right now). I love the Book of Mormon and I know it's true.   -Elder Steele

Monday, May 16, 2016

Kick The Dust Up

Email written: 5/16/16

This week we had the opportunity to do service for a member. We originally understood that it was going to be to fix up the dirt roads in preparation for the rain, but in the end we just moved the pile of dirt across the way to make another pile of dirt #iloveargentina but seriously it was nice to finally do some service because we always ask but no one ever has anything for us to do. And I learned a lesson. So there were us 4 Elders and 4 other people. We started out alright and when we got close to halfway the other members started to say "Hey let´s take a break. We´re tired" and us 4 thought well fine take your break, but we´re almost done why not just push through?. Well they took their break, but we kept working and when we got close to the end they started to help us again. It´s like the mission. I´m headed for that halfway mark pretty soon, and it´s pretty easy to start thinking it would be nice to take a break and all, but I know that it´s a whole lot better to push through because I can rest later. 

It´s been necessary to push through this week because it got cold again and Elder Vides was sick. It was almost impossible to teach this week. It was easy to start feeling bad for ourselves and all. That was until we went to a member´s house and they had a "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" book and Elder Vides opened it up and pointed to a paragraph and told me to read it. This is what it says (It´s Joseph Smith talking to the 12 apostles)
"You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God, and (said he) God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God."
.......So yeah, that kind of puts things in perspective. 

On to the next week!

-Elder Steele

Monday, May 9, 2016

It's Already May?

Email written: 5/9/16

So this week started out with a bang. Well, it was more like a snap because somebody (me) broke the key that opened the bike lock. So we were 2 days without bikes and in the end we bought a saw blade and cut the lock. 

We had a really close call with Ariana´s confirmation because on Thursday she told us she couldn't go because Sunday was her Mom´s birthday and her mom wanted her to spend time at home. After explaining the importance of receiving the Holy Ghost and encouraging her to pray and ask her mom again. Saturday at 7:30pm she still hadn´t asked her mom so we were 50/50 if she was going to get confirmed. Sunday comes around and sacrament meeting starts at 9am. At 8:59am a car rolls up and out comes a member followed by Ariana! It was an answer to prayers and thanks to the help of the member who helped get her there.That really saved our week because that was about the only thing to go our way. 

This week although was not our best by a long shot, still was a good one. We maintained our diligence and obedience through it all, and although we couldn´t find anyone this week, we did get some small tender mercies to help us out. The greatest of those was that almost every night at 9:05 the member who lives below us yelled "Elderes!!" which means that he or his wife had made dinner for us! So this week we did not go to bed cold or hungry, which was something that really helped keep us going. 

-Elder Steele

Photos: the lock I broke, and the view of Savio from our pension. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Cold Air, Colder Hearts

Email written: 5/2/16

So this week was a pretty cold one and everyone is freaking out because it is a lot colder than normal. The worst part is at night, but we always seem to get through it so it´s all good. And referring to the subject, the people were colder than the weather this week. No one wanted to talk to us. We got lied to (more than usual), investigators and less actives hid from us, and we couldn't do a lot of contacting. But we just kept working and every day we felt good about the work we did given everything that was thrown at us.

And we know we were blessed this week because Sunday we had a baptism! Ariana was an old investigator from about 9 months ago and she couldn't ever get permission and it was hard for her to wake up Sundays, but this week everything fell into place for her and she was baptized. It felt really good knowing that there are blessings when we are diligent. I am also thankful for the diligence of the Elders before me who kept working with her to keep her prepared because she really understands and loves this Gospel. 

One thing I really tried to put into practice this week is to not complain at all or blame anyone when things get hard. It was difficult at first and I had to constantly remind myself, but it has payed off. The week flew by and it made going out and working everyday better. There are a lot of things in life that we can´t control and about 97% of the time things don´t go according to plan, but we can control how we react and that´s where we learn and grow.   -Elder Steele