Monday, June 24, 2013

Family, and Friends: 

This week has been kind of crazy but it has been good. We are beginning to see the fruits of our labors, SO IT HAS BEEN AWESOME!!!!

This week we found some good investigators which I have been so pumped about! One of which that I will talk about is Nadía. She is in her late 20´s and has two kids, April (7) and Benjamin (7 months). We found them one night when we were contacting and she said to come back another day, so we did. Then when we came back, she told us to come back another day, so we did. Then finally, she let us in! WWWHHHOOOOPPPP WHHOOOOPPPP! She is super awesome. She works two jobs to support her beautiful family. She has a sincere desire to learn more about the gospel and she said she loves reading. So, we talked to her about OLA (Orar, Leer, y Asistir) or in other words, praying, reading, and attending church. The lesson went super well and her kids were behaved the whole time, which is a miracle in itself because it was late at night. We talked how it was important for her to find out for herself because we are just young men preaching and the only way she can know is by praying to know if what we share is true. Anyways, she said that she was going to read and pray about what we had talked about! The only thing that is going to be hard is trying attending church because she works at the hot springs on Sundays but I know that if there is a will and desire to go to church, the Lord will provide a way!! So that was our lesson we had with her on Monday. I am so excited to go back and teach her and her family again! 

On Tuesday, we had our zone meeting. We talked a lot about families and the importance of the family. We learned a ton about Family Home Evening, and a ton of fun games to go play with everyone. So hopefully we can put those into practice this week coming up soon! Anyways, after we ate lunch as a district and headed back to Cerro to get to work. Right as we walk into our appointment and find out that he is canceling on us, we got a call from our zone leaders, they needed us to do splits with a companionship that was visiting for the next few days. So we went back to the house, planned for like 15 min then went and picked them up. Elder Rodrigues and I, he is from Bolivia, went through with our normal plans that we had that night. We taught a few lessons and contacted as much as we could. It went really well. We taught a lesson on temples to our recent convert Yessica! It went super well and was a bit emotional. I am so grateful I got to work in the temple for a few months before the mission. It has made all the difference as we testify of temples and the sacred work that is done there. AAHH it was so awesome! At the end of the night we dropped them off at the bus stop and headed home. 

Wednesday was super good too. We didn’t get that much done in terms of missionary work but it was a super spiritually uplifting day. President Heaton and his wife came and talked to us and we had an interview with them. They brought us in each individually and thanked us for the work we were doing and gave us some advice and sent us on our way. When we got home, all we had time to do was go to correlation with our mission leader. It went really well. 

Thursday we hit the ground running. We had so many lessons planned and just worked worked and worked allllll day. It was so awesome. We came home and were dead!! Best feeling ever!!

Friday was basically the same as Thursday, except we had a huge gap out of it for weekly planning. I hate weekly planning but it is such a blessing. When we plan well, our week goes really well. So is was worth it! 

Saturday was super good. Working hard and we had a really awesome lesson with our investigators Maria Eugenia and Rodrigo. They are awesome. I don’t know if I talked about them but they are super fun kids. They are the kids of two inactive members who went to church as kids but never go anymore and they were never baptized. They are really great kids. We watched the movie the restoration with them and bore testimony. Then we played a game about the restoration. They both shared that the felt that the movie they saw was true. It is such a powerful film. I am so grateful for those movies. When paired with testimony it is an amazing experience. We had a member from the young men’s presidency with us too who recently returned from his mission so that was awesome as well! They committed to going to church the next day too! We were super pumped up as we left that lesson! 

Sunday was great! We called Rodrigo and Maria Eugenia to make sure they were coming to church but they didn’t answer so we went by there house. They were both asleep but they got out of bed and came with us and were actually grateful that we came and got them! We were late to church but it was worth it because they got there!! And church was great as always! After church we had splits and I went and taught a lesson and Elder Kemp taught a lesson. We went to lunch after and hit the streets. Sundays are a great day to contact. We worked for 5 hours then got on a bus to Centro and went to the broadcast last night. It was inspiring. I was struggling to understand all of it because it was in Spanish but I was surprised at how much I understood! We all came out with pages of notes so hopefully we can apply all we have learned in this next week!

This week has been so awesome. I am grateful every day for the opportunity I have to share the gospel in a full time capacity. There is no greater work! I love my Savior and am so grateful for all our many blessings. We are beginning to see miracles on the mission!! 

I love you all!! Thank you for all of your prayers!!

Elder Staffieri

Monday, June 17, 2013

Family, and Friends:

First off Happy Father´s Day to my awesome dad!! I hope you had an awesome day. I have been so blessed to have a father like you in my life. You have been such an awesome example to me throughout my life. I try every day to be a little more like you. I wish I could be there to give you a hug and thank you for all you have done for me, but this will have to do. 

So this week has been a growing experience for Elder Kemp and me. We always love it when our investigators get baptized and take that step towards eternal happiness. There is nothing that brings us more joy as missionaries. We love seeing the changes in people as they come to realize how magnificent the Atonement of Jesus Christ is in their lives, and how perfect it is. As our investigators get baptized, we begin to realize how important it is to go and find more investigators, and along with that, how difficult it is. So this week basically was devoted to finding people. 

This week we had splits. Elder Lopez, our district leader, came to our area of Cerro and Elder Kemp went to Ceibal. Splits are always growing experiences for me because I have to be the one leading. It is an awesome opportunity to check how I am doing as a missionary. What is my focus, how is my planning, how do I follow the spirit, how is my Spanish, and how well do I know the lessons and how I can apply them to the needs of our investigators and contacts. So Elder Lopez and I didn’t have that much planned out as set lessons. But we had a ton of people we wanted to go and visit on our lists and contacted along the way. It was super humbling. We spent literally all day in the streets trying to talk to people. We made a few good contacts and at the end of the day, we had two lessons that weren’t planned. We also contacted investigators that were dropped and set up times to come back and teach them. So all in all, it was a good day and a good split. 

Once Elder Kemp came back, it was time to hit the ground running. We had been kind of discouraged this week because we had not had a lot success finding people. 
Going door to door and talking to people on the streets is not the most effective way of finding investigators. BUT, you do find people! It just takes a llllooonnngggg time sometimes. We spent the majority of our time this week walking around in the streets doing the best we could to follow the spirit and find people. 

This week we also went to ward council and met with various ward leaders to ask how we can help their quorums. This has been such a blessing because it gave us direction of who we could go and visit to help the ward and also find more people to teach. It’s really one in the same. We have lists of people we are going to visit this coming week. I am so pumped to start over and begin a new week. 

I will say that this week, I have grown a ton in the mission. I have learned a lot about faith and staying positive when things aren’t ideal. Therefore, I want to share a thought about faith. I was studying in the 2010 General Conference address, I think the October session. There are some awesome talks in there. But my thought comes from Richard C. Edgley, of the First Bishopric. I can’t think of a better way to sum up what I have learned this week than from this quote. 

He said¨: Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today’s world, I wish to suggest a single choice—a choice of peace and protection and a choice that is appropriate for all. That choice is faith. Be aware that faith is not a free gift given without thought, desire, or effort. It does not come as the dew falls from heaven. The Savior said, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28) and “Knock, and it shall be [given] you” (Matthew 7:7). These are action verbs—come, knock. They are choices. So I say, choose faith. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism”.

Faith is so important in our daily lives. It never really hit me until the mission. Each day we walk by faith and it is so important that we strive to develop our faith every day. I have always been firm in my belief that we cannot be stagnant in our growth. We can’t just reach a point where we say to ourselves "yeah I am happy where I am at right now" Someone once said to me that if we aren’t getting better, we are getting worse. This is so true when it comes to faith. It is either growing or it is wilting. We have to actively take those steps to improve our faith each day. 

I know that this church is true. I know that through faith, all things are possible. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father, who sent His Son to atone for the world. Everything we experience in life can be made whole through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

I can’t wait to start a new week so we can try a little bit harder to be a little bit better! 

I love you all so much!

Elder Staffieri

Monday, June 10, 2013

Family, and Friend:

So this week in Uruguay was AWESOME!!!!!

We had such an awesome week this week. We have just been working like crazy. We did some service this week too. Tuesday was our p-day so it was super low key. We mostly just caught up on sleep because we both hadn’t slept at all pretty much the past two days. We had some really good lessons that night too. 

Wednesday. On Wednesday we had a pretty good day. We had lessons with a few in active families and had lesson with the family Escobar. They are so awesome. We had such a powerful lesson. We first contacted the family when the mom was sweeping outside and we were just passing buy and we said hi and asked her how she was. She responded and started talking in English so we stopped and ran back to talk to her ha-ha. I have already told you this but it’s just a recap. She said that she wanted us to come back and just talk to her son in English, but not about the gospel because she "wasn’t interested". So we agreed. We have gone back a few times and just talked and talked about their life and the US and stuff. She started asking us about our missions and everything. But on Wednesday, she got super interested. We had left her with the articles of faith card because she had asked us what we believe a few times before. So this time she had a ton of questions. We didn’t even bring up the church and she went into how her husband was baptized and all of that. She asked us a ton of questions about families and being sealed in the temple and about the restoration and all of it. I swear she was just coming at us with questions. It was so awesome. Then we just went into the first lesson. It was one of those experiences where the spirit was just there, like whoa!! At the end of the lesson she told us that she wanted to go to church and feel these things. We came out of that lesson on cloud 9!! It was one of those lessons where you felt the Spirit so strong you couldn’t deny it and you knew everyone felt it in the room. It was so awesome!!!

Thursday. Thursday was good. We have a new district now because it’s a new transfer. Our district leader is Elder Lopez from Washington. He is a super nice guy and is excited to preach. I am way stoked to be in his district. After we had lunch as a district, we went about our day finding people. The lessons we had planned went well as others fell through. But we have come to realize we need to get pumped when our lessons cancel or fall through because that means the Lord is preparing someone else for us to teach. So we just went around contacting and we found Maria Eugenia and her brother. They are 19 and 15. They are super awesome and were super excited about the church. Their parents are members but way inactive. They were really eager to learn more. Awesome!! Then we had correlation with our ward mission leader and cleaned the church. It went really well. It’s a good way to bond with the church members. 

Friday. Friday was awesome. We did our studies in the morning and then went down to go do service for a convert, Nell. She is an older lady who got baptized a few months back. We tore down a shade structure that was in her front yard and pruned the trees over her house. I think next time we are going to build a new shade structure. It was a blast though. That night we had Yessica´s Baptismal Interview!!!

Saturday! AAAHHHH SATURDAY!! BEST DAY OF THE WEEK!! I couldn’t tell you what we did all day Saturday but we had a baptism! My first one in the water!! Ah it was such an awesome experience. All day I had been practicing the baptismal prayer in my head and with my comp. I was super nervous. We got to the baptism and she had a ton of family there to support her. It was so cool. A ton of her family has been members already so they were all there to support her. I was so happy to see them all there. Anyways. So a little bit about Yessica. She has been such an awesome investigator. She has been searching for the truth for such a long time. We have been teaching her for about the past month. I remember after the first lesson with her we asked her to pray about the Book of Mormon and about our message and she agreed. The next time we saw her she said that she thought she had her answer but didn’t know for sure. Over the next few weeks, it was so awesome seeing her testimony grow in the gospel and in Jesus Christ. She got to the point where she was reading way more than we gave her and she had so started applying the principles to her life. She was just so awesome!! 

Anyways. So Saturday she was baptized!! It was a beautiful baptism and I was so excited that when it got time to do the ordinance I fell into the font ha-ha. I caught myself on the rail but I slid down all of the stairs. Ha-ha. But the service went really well. She was crying before she got in the water and the smile on her face when she came out was indescribable. It was just so amazing!!

Oh and guess who came to the baptism!! JULIO!! He is the boyfriend of Jaclyn, whose kids got baptized a few weeks back, Soledad and Gonzalo. Anyways he said that he felt really good and that he was going to come to church the next day. 

This week just rocked. I cannot be more thankful for the blessing it is to be on the mission and to see the changes in these peoples live. There is no better place to be. I wish I could give everyone the same happiness that people feel each day as they live the gospel. I know that we are all children of our loving Heavenly Father. I know that he has a plan for us all. I know that all can know of the truthfulness of all things through the feelings of the Holy Spirit. There is no better work!!!

I love you all. 

Elder Staffieri

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Family, and Friends,

First off, congrats to Bennett Anderson on his mission call to Romania Moldova Mission!! Man that is crazy!! You are going to be such a blessing to those people as you learn to love them and give it all you got. I am so pumped for you!! And congrats to all those who graduated this past week!! Whoop whoop!!! And hello to the Downing’s and the Holmes! I miss you guys and I hope to hear from you soon!!

So this week has been awesome!!

Monday, we went out looking for these caves out by the river because it was our p-day. So we walked and walked and walked and an hour later and a few fences later we got there. There was no caves ha-ha. But it was still fun. We got to talk to the elders that went with us and we built good relationships with them, and took a few pictures and left. That night we had a few really good lessons. We had a lesson with the Familia Escobar, a family that we found that lived in the states for 10 years, which is super awesome because they speak some English. Anyways I was super pumped because they asked me to pray in English and guess what...I COULDN'T DO IT!! I was so pumped. I got like 10 words in and I just forgot how to say almost everything so I had to go to spanish!! I don’t know if I should be super happy or worried or what. Now I don’t know English or Spanish! But it means I am making progress in thinking in spanish. ha-ha. WHOOP WHOOP!!

But during this week, we had planned a whole lot better because last week was a rough one for us finding people. We are going through all of our lists of a thousand members trying to visit as many as we can and seeing what we can do to help them come back to church. It is crazy that when you are constantly working, running from house to house, appointment to appointment, how happy you are!! I seriously cannot stop smiling and it is incredible how awesome you feel! Time fly’s by! I am already done with my first transfer! How nuts is that?! Whoa. We found 6 new people to teach this week which isn’t amazing but it was still really good.

So Sunday night I went into Montevideo to sign my papers. I left Sunday night at 1230 and got into Montevideo at 6:45 that morning. I wish I could sleep on the bus, but I haven’t acquired that skill yet ha-ha. It was so awesome seeing everyone from the CCM in my group and elders I had met from the other mission. After we signed papers, we got the day to explore Montevideo. We went down to the beach and walked down the pier, went and saw the city square, just went basically all over the city. It was so fun. Then I hopped on a bus back to Salto and got in at 12:30 last night. So that is why I didn’t email yesterday. I was on a 24hour marathon with no sleep ha-ha. But it was worth it and now I am a resident!!

Oh, so a funny story.  My companion loves cats. Like loves them. They are his favorite thing in the world. So one day this week, I think it was Thursday, we were walking down the street and this baby kitten started following us. It followed us door to door for like 30 minutes. Hah. So my companion looks at me and says, Elder, we need to find this thing a home. So we start walking to members houses looking to give it to one of them and just as we are 4 blocks from the members house, it just leaves. We turned around on the other side of town and walked back like 12 blocks to find this thing a home and BOOM! It’s gone. So I look at him, honestly kind of bugged that we just wasted all that time walking back, and he just looks at me and we go, well let’s contact this house. It was a house we had already contacted earlier that week and no one was there. But we did this time and it was a lady and her visiting daughter. The lady who lives there was a member but couldn’t come to church because of work. Her daughter was only there visiting for one day and she was an inactive member because, well to be honest, a lot of things.

We started talking to her and sang a hymn and started with a prayer. We began talking to her about her life and about everything she was going through. Then we went into the Book of Mormon. She had a ton of questions, and one of which is how to get answers to your prayers. We started talking about the Holy Ghost and how it answers prayers and she went on to say how she doesn’t know how to recognize the feelings...WELL GUESS WHAT ELDER STAFFIERI STUDIED THAT MORNING!! It is so awesome how this happens so much. That was my exact question I had written down in my study journal that morning and had studied. It was such an awesome lesson and we got her more excited about the church. She says she wants to come back and she wants her boyfriend to get baptized. It was such an awesome lesson! It was such a miracle. She was only there for that day. We weren’t supposed to be working in that area. The cat left at that exact moment we walked in front of that house. She just happened to be going through the things she was to humble herself enough to re-accept the gospel.

THE MISSION IS SO AWESOME!!! I cannot get over how blessed we are when we are obedient and pray for guidance. The spirit directs all of our actions and when we following the promptings, that is when work gets done. So awesome!! Ahh I love this work so much!! THERE IS NO BETTER PLACE TO BE THAN ON A MISSION!! The church is true!! I love you all!!

Elder Staffieri