Monday, April 24, 2017

Way Up, I Feel Blessed

Email written: 4/24/17

This week started out as a learning one. We did divisions and the zone leaders were talking about how the whole zone could end up baptizing this week and we had 2 possibilities. We haven´t really taught them for their lack of time but they've come to church for the past 2 months. And we got permission from their parents and everything seemed good. Then as we realized that neither of them were ready, but we felt a lot of pressure to do everything possible to get them baptized. I kept feeling that we should wait but everyone else was telling us it was ok. I thought a lot and prayed a lot about what to do. 2 things helped me: this article which talks about sometimes the answers we get are just feelings of peace  and this talk which asks the question "which way do you face?" (in referring to if we try to please God or people first). We made the decision that we were going to wait, they both felt happier and we felt at peace. 

We still weren't 100% confident in our decision until Saturday morning. We were going to have an activity with the youth to go out and share the Book of Mormon, and as we were waiting a kid showed up asking about the other ward. He then saw the other Elders cleaning the baptismal font and asked what they were doing. He talked about how it´s where we do baptisms and he said he only got baptized by having water sprinkled on his head as a baby and asked if he could get baptized that very moment. He said he´d been coming to church for the past 4 months and really likes it. We figured he was from the other ward, but then he said where he lived... OUR AREA! We then talked to him about meeting his family and last night we met his mom and brother and they are an awesome family! Then the activity started and the youth gave out 25 copies of the Book of Mormon and now we have a lot of people to visit this week. On Sunday another member brought her friend for the 2nd time and we are going to start teaching her too. The bishop´s wife then asked us if we eat dinner and we said we can but no one ever gives us dinner. So then she said she put a new goal to serve every day
and said that every night we could pass by for a tupperware of food (the best part is that they live half a block from us). So now we have 4 great people to teach and a ward that loves us and is so excited about missionary work! 

Pics- we made zone shirts (zone Chacabuco + baptism = Chacabaps) 

-Elder Steele

Monday, April 17, 2017

Better Than An Easter Egg Hunt

Email written: 4/17/17

These past few days were just the greatest. So like I had talked about the miracle last week about finding Agustin in the street, he got baptized on Saturday! It was such an amazing moment, and the ward was so happy! The best part was Agustin, we can already start to see changes in his life. He is a lot happier and recently figured out better what he wants to do with his life. And the ward has been very supportive. It´s still hard to believe how great a miracle could happen. We knew we were working but we hadn't seen the results we wanted until recently. Our faith and patience were tested and all the work we put in, in part paid off. Now we just have to keep going! This Sunday after Agustin was confirmed, 3 young men received the Aaronic Priesthood. This made me think and remember about what happened 4 months ago. When Elder Howard and I started we had talked about putting goals towards baptizing priesthood and youth outside the villa. And we hadn't seen a lot of results until this Sunday. Agustin, and these 3 young men (who's family we had visited and invited back to church and they just started coming back) were us reaching our goal. And it was a great lesson to me about goal setting and work. 

This morning we had the opportunity to have a meeting with President Nelson and 3 other general authorities (Elders Texeira, Bragg and Packer) and it was incredible. Everyone and their wives spoke and there was so much I learned. Some of the things I really liked were how there was a focus on our premortal existence and how truly great each and every one of us is and the potential we have. They also talked about how to get wisdom we need experience and to get experience we have to act, and that has inspired me to keep working even harder to have these experiences that are waiting. President Nelson also encouraged us to do our family history work, but not just from familysearch but also in studying our patriarchal blessings and the Abrahamic Covenant and he said that as we learn more about who we are and where we come from our lives will change and in turn we will help change the lives of others. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, April 10, 2017

This is no April Fool's Joke

Email written: 4/10/17

This week after being built up spiritually after conference we were so ready to work. But as the week went on I was just exhausted. We had been walking around and talking to everyone non stop and even though we are so happy, it drained us. After lunch I was just like "Can I get a miracle today? Just something to give us more energy" So we set out to our first appointment, who didn't answer. We kept on and we felt impressed to talk to someone outside their house. About halfway in the contact I saw someone walking on the other side of the street and then recognized the hat. It was Agustin! He was our investigator in February who almost got baptized and then moved to Bolivia. He came back last week and he said he was ready to come back to church! I seriously wanted to cry I was so happy. And then on Thursday there was a nation wide strike so there was no public transportation and we had to walk everywhere and of course it was the day we had appointments all over the place, but then we realized the opportunity that we had to find basically everyone in their homes. So then we went to some old investigators and the member with us invited them to be baptized! The work is exploding here in Nueva Pompeya and it´s incredible to me because we haven´t really done anything different than before.
This week the senior couple missionaries told us they would come to inspect our apartment so we made extra sure to keep it clean and every time it got a little dirty I would stress out. There came to a point where I just said, "Forget it, there's not point in cleaning because we are going to make it dirty again" and then my companion said "That's silly. Just think of it like repentance. We always need to do it." and that really stuck with me (and not only to keep cleaning the apartment). We always need to repent and it is always a blessing to do it! 

-Elder Steele

Monday, April 3, 2017

Can't See The Haters

Email written: 4/3/17

So this week started out pretty interesting; I was attacked (still don't know if on purpose or if it was an accident) by a blind guy on the bus. He was walking around and then started swinging his fists, and my stomach caught one of the blows, then a minute later he swung his cane around and luckily my shoulder protected my face. And that's when we knew this week would be very fun. On the brighter side, Elder Comp and I have been learning how to cook better and have created an amazing dish that combines Peruvian, Mexican, and American food (picture attached). 

But even with the fun this week, we learned quite a bit this week. One day this week we got a dinner from one of the members and she gave it to us in a glass bowl with a glass lid. The next morning while getting ready to leave, my companion accidentally bumped it and it fell on the ground and broke in half (it was a miracle that it didn't shatter). We didn't know what to do because it was obviously not cheap. So after buying super glue and some time of putting it back together, we got it fixed. The other elders who live below us came up to help and one of them said "Well you could give it back and tell her that she had plastic wrap on top of the bowl and not a lid" We thought about, because we knew she would be made and complain to the other members of the ward, but we decided to fix it, tell her the truth and offer to replace it. So that night we went to her house, a little scared, and gave her her bowl. She just laughed and said "Elders, do you know how many of these I've broken. Don´t worry!" We were so relived! Another very important lesson I learned this week was doing splits with members of the ward. I went with David, who recently got his mission call to Mexico. We were going down the street and he was telling me how hard it is to do contacts. We kept going and talking then a little bit later he stopped and looked at me and said "Hey man, I feel really bad. I feel like I am rejecting Christ because I´m scared to talk to these people." He then talked about Luke 9:26 "For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels." And it made me think a lot about what I was doing and we made a goal to talk to every single person and by the end we felt so good. 

This weekend was general conference, where the prophet and apostles spoke, and it was amazing. This was the 1st time that all the questions I had found answers! One of the things that I liked most was how many of the talks mentioned the importance of reading the Book of Mormon as a family every day, and it fit right in with what we are doing with the ward here. It was a confirmation to me that the plans we had made for this ward are what we are supposed to do and that we are close to seeing miracles! 

-Elder Steele