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 ConcepciĆ³n 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