Tuesday, July 30, 2013

This past week has been so awesome!!! 

But first off, HAPPY 25th ANNIVERSARY TO MY MOM AND DAD!!! You guys are so awesome and I have been so blessed to have such great examples in my life. I love you so much and hope you had an amazing time in San Francisco. 

AND CONGRATS TO ADDIBABY PULSIPHER!!! aaahhh I am so pumped that you got your mission call to the best mission in the world!! You are so blessed and I am so stoked that you are coming over here to the Uruguay Montevideo West Mission!!! aaahhhh stoked out of my mind. Start preparing now because we are going to do work when we are comps!! I love you brotha! Can’t wait to see you out here. 

This week has been a normal week in terms of events. We didn’t have any ward activities or anything like that so it was work as usual.  

So this week has been awesome. We have been working a lot with the members these past two weeks to try to gain their trust so we can work better with them. It has been going really well and we working nonstop lately. IT IS THE BEST EVER!!! There is no better feeling than coming home at the end of the day and knowing that you did all you could. We found 12 new people to teach this week just through contacting and two of them are potential priesthood holders. We are teaching more than I have ever taught before right now and we find more people to teach every day! 

This week for service we did more pruning of trees but this time in the house of Silvia. She had this tree that was growing through and over power lines so that was a little interesting hah. The guy that came with the chainsaw didn’t really care to much that there were power lines there and I will just leave it at that. But it went really well and no one got hurt so that is always a plus.

During soccer this Friday with the youth I pulled off a bicycle kick for the first time in my life. Or I think that’s what we call it in English? No se. it was legit though because every morning for part of our exercises Elder Calderón and I play soccer for a little bit and he has been helping me learn some new soccer skills. It’s been so legit. Me and Elder Calderóm are best buds. We talk nonstop all day so that has been helping me with my Spanish a ton. Spanish is coming along great and his English is getting better. It helps so much to learn a language when you are teaching someone of that language your own. I don’t know if that made sense but I hope so. I have finally put away my English scriptures and have been studying in Spanish in everything now. If I don’t understand how something is developing I will go back to English to review but now it’s just all Spanish. It’s been so awesome!!! 

This month that is coming we have two potential baptisms set up. We gave Carolina Garcia baptismal date for the 17th of August and are hoping her older sister Tamara will follow in the following week. Work has been going really good and we are looking to challenge others to baptism this coming week too!!! 

My spiritual thought this week comes from Mosiah. It is one of my favorite scriptures that I use all the time in lessons. Here King Benjamin is addressing his people and this is the last verse in the chapter.  It is found in Mosiah, chapter 2, verse 41.  Se dice: 

 41  Y además, quisiera que consideraseis el bendito y afeliz estado de aquellos que guardan los mandamientos de Dios. Porque he aquí, ellos son bbendecidos en todas las cosas, tanto temporales como espirituales; y si continúan cfieles hasta el fin, son recibidos en el dcielo, para que así moren con Dios en un estado de interminable felicidad. ¡Oh recordad, recordad que estas cosas son verdaderas!, porque el Señor Dios lo ha declarado (And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and ahappy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are bblessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out cfaithful to the end they are received into dheaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it)

I love this scripture so much because it is so simple. He explains the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments of the Lord and goes on to say that they will be blessed in all things, spiritual and temporal. I use this one a lot because people often view the commandments that God has given us as restrictions, pointless rules, or this that limit their happiness. They are those who look in happiness only for the moment. They are looking for momentary joy. When we read this to them we explain that it is actually the keeping of commandments that makes us happy. When we do those things that are pleasing unto the lord, we are going to have His Spirit to be with us in all things. He will give us the blessings that he has prepared for us. These commandments help us to be free and to feel the love of our Heavenly Father more in our life. The commandments are such a blessing to those who keep them. I testify that the only way to achieve peace in this life and lasting happiness is through the commandments of God. This is the only way. I have seen the difference it has made in my own life and in so many of the lives of the people we have taught and are currently teaching. 

Keep the commandments. Endure to the end. Receive the blessings. Be happy. 

It is so simple.

I know that this church is true. I know that we have a Heavenly Father that knows each and every one of us and loves us more than we can even imagine. We are all sons and daughters of our Eternal Father. Have faith in his plan. Seguir  adelante! 

I love you all so much. I can feel your prayers. Thank you for taking the time to write me! I have never been so happy in my life. The mission is so awesome. 

Let’s all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better this week! 

Have a great week, 
Elder Staffieri

Monday, July 22, 2013

This week has probably been one of the coldest weeks of my life ha-ha. I never thought it could be so cold in South America. The humidity makes it so freezing down here. Every morning in my studies I wear 3 pairs of pants, two shirts, a sweater, a sweatshirt, and my huge jacket with a beanie and a scarf ha-ha. It is soo cold!!! But besides that...

This week has been so awesome!!! Ah I love the mission sooo much! 

This past week i got a new companion. Elder Calderón!! He is such a stud. He is from Peru and loves to work. We have been getting along so great. We have just been going going going, trabajando a full!! I have been learning so much from him and it has only been 5 days. My Spanish is improving like crazy. I have been speaking without having to think that much so that is a good sign. We are really good friends already so we are talking all day long. I can’t wait to see what we do in these next 6 weeks together. And to see where my Spanish is at after this change. 

So this week we had a ward activity. Noche de Barrio: La Mejor Torta. It was about missionary work and was super fun. We had so many non members come that we had found in the streets the past week so it was awesome. Elder Calderón and I did two skits and then we had a few games, had a video, and shared some scriptures at the end. Everyone brought a cake so it was pretty awesome. 

We have found so many new people this week so these next few weeks are looking promising. It is so much easier getting into doors with Elder Calderón because people always want to know why a gringo American is doing with a Latino ha-ha. So that is a plus. But our lessons go super well now because now that I am speaking Spanish all day I can understand a whole lot more of what people are saying. We teach with really good unity too. This week has just been going awesome so far!!

We did service this week at the house of the patriarch. We pruned his trees and then chopped it all up to make fire wood for him. 

This week we have been having new foods. While we were doing service, the milk man came by and to deliver his milk (down here they deliver it in old 2 liter bottles that they have) straight from the campo. We have never used that because, Well I don’t really know why, but we always by the stuff in the bags. Anyways, the guy liked that we were doing service so he gave us a bottle of strawberry yogurt. Hah it is kind of sketchy but it tastes all right. We just have to drink it pretty fast to avoid the after taste. 
The other funny experience we had this past week was at lunch. We were eating lunch with one of my favorite families in the ward. They are so awesome. Anyways, we were eating the normal, a stew and bread because it is really cold. The stew was really good. It had mondongo (cow stomach), chorizo, and a whole bunch of rice and veggies. But in the middle of lunch, the dad gets up and starts tying the bread bag and I think what the heck, that’s kind of random, why is he doing that? Then he turns the bag and I see this rat in the bag ha-ha. He just ties it, sets it on another table, and then comes back and keeps eating with us like no biggy. Ha-ha. Hilarious.  I hope it wasn’t the same bread that we were eating. Ha-ha i just love being a missionary and having the promise that no matter what we eat, its going to be for our good. 

Anyways, on a more spiritual note, I was reading in 3 Nephi this past week and came across a scripture that I love. It is found is 3 Nephi 5 verse 13. Se dice:

He aquí, soy discípulo de Jesucristo, el Hijo de Dios. He sido llamado por él para declarar su palabra entre los de su pueblo, a fin de que alcancen la vida eterna. (Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been acalled of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.)

I just love this scripture so much. it describes the purpose of a missionary. We are called to be Disciples of Christ. But not only missionaries have this same charge. Every one of us at baptism made this promise, to be a disciple of Christ. I believe it was Joseph Smith who said at baptism we stepped out of neutral territory. We covenanted with God to be a disciple in all times, things, and places. We should want to share the knowledge that we have with others. A simple testimony to a friend or coworker, simple acts of service, just being the person that He expects us to be. Through these actions, we testify of Christ. People notice the difference and will often want to know more. Just this past week, a member bore his testimony with a friend, and now we are teaching him. It is so simple but powerful. So this is my challenge for you this week. Find opportunities to serve and share your testimony with people. I know that if you do that you will be pleasantly surprised at the response. Your testimony grows every time you share it. You never know what can happen. 

That is all the time I have for this week but I love you all so much. Thank you for all of the letters and emails. I hope you all have a great week!!

Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better!!!

Con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Family, and Friends: 
This week has been so awesome!! I feel like I say that every week but it is true every week. The mission is just awesome!!! It wasn’t as humid this week as it was last week so that was a plus. At times last week, I felt like I was swimming through the streets. It was so gnarly how humid and hot it gets here after it rains and its only winter. Plus, it the rain comes out of nowhere too!!! I had all of my clothes on the line and it was perfectly sunny and they were almost dry but I decided to leave them out for a few hours while we went to lessons that day after lunch, and it started pouring after our second lesson. Ha-ha. On the bright side, my clothes got washed twice as well and I didn’t have to do it so that is good! 

So this week was really really good. We worked really hard and things were just working out for us. Things that seemed like they weren’t going to be successful worked out so good. Better than we could have ever imagined. I think the blessings have just been coming because we have been trying our hardest to be as obedient as we can lately in everything we do. it’s not like we were not obedient before but now just putting a more of an emphasis on it. And we have been seeing the blessings! We found 5 new people to teach so that has been so awesome!

This week we also did a lot of service. We did service projects three days this week. Two of the days we spent our mornings chopping up wood for people in our ward because it has been getting crazy cold at night. Then another day this week we helped a family in our ward build an almacen (kind of like a shop in front of their house). It was super fun and I felt like growing up building things really came in use ha-ha. 

Also this week elder Kemp hit his year and half mark in the mission so we went over to our neighbor’s house and burned stuff!! That was fun. 

This has been my last week with elder Kemp. He is going to tacuarembo and I am staying. I am a little bit bummed that he is leaving but at the same time I am so pumped to get a new companion and learn from someone else. You learn so much from your companions it’s crazy. You pick up little things that you don’t even notice until they point them out. They shape you spiritually and build who you will become as a missionary. You can learn things from every companion so I am way excited to learn from my new companion. 

My new companion is Elder Caldaron. He is a red headed Peruvian ha-ha. I have heard great things about him and he is going to be a district leader too. So that means this change I will be doing a lot of splits with other missionaries. I am so pumped because now I don’t have the option to speak English!! That is the part I am so excited about. I can’t speak English even if I want to. I am going to be force-fed Spanish and I can’t wait!! I have been feeling confident in Spanish already so hopefully I will take off and learn so much more. 

This week we have had one of our recent converts bounce back to receiving us again. She hit a really rough patch after her baptism and she was just being attacked on all fronts. Her mom has been getting in her head saying that she got baptized too fast and that she didn’t know what she was doing. And her friends have been giving her a really hard time for a super long time too. They were bagging on her just for taking lessons. And to top it off, her boyfriend is a preacher from another church. So she has had her work cut out for her. We were at the point with her for the past few weeks that she would not meet with us and said that she was in-between the two churches. She wouldn’t answer or return any calls or texts. I have never felt so sad, concerned, worried, etc. in my life!! I have never spent so much time on my knees and in fasting for one thing. And this week, even though she didn’t go to church, she started meeting with us again. We have had some really powerful lessons and we are seeing her testimony grow again. She opened up to us all over again and is letting us know what is going on in her life so we can help her. She knows that she has a testimony of the things we have been teaching her and she told us that. Now is just a matter of rebuilding her faith. I have never seen such temptation after a baptism. But she is going to be so much stronger after it. She is so strong to begin with and I am so grateful that we have the opportunity to work with her again. This is just one of the miracles we have seen this week. We have had some miracle finds on the street this week that if we weren’t there at that time then we would not have gotten into that house and taught that person. It has just been amazing seeing the hand of the Lord in his work. 

I also gave my first blessing in Spanish. We have given so many blessings together but I have never actually been the one to seal the anointing until this past week. I had always been the one just to anoint them and that is super easy. But it’s a whole other thing giving a blessing with limited vocabulary when they really needed it. I gave a blessing to a toddler in our ward that had a super high fever and having a really hard time. He was just crying and crying and crying since the moment we got in the house. He wasn’t going to let us give him one unless I did it because he says that we are "mejor amigos" ha-ha. He is a stud. But anyways. As the blessing started he started calming down and fell asleep. I have never seen anything like that happen. It was such a testimony builder of the power of the priesthood when it is used righteously and in faith. I am so happy that the Lord was able to work through me. 

This week has truly been awesome. I have grown so much and hope to be able to continue to grow as time goes on. I know that Christ lives. I know that He came into the world to save it. All things can be made whole through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know families are eternal. I know that the priesthood power and authority is the power of God on the earth today. 

I have been so blessed to be able to serve a mission. I love you all. Thank you so much for your letters, emails, and support.

Let’s all try a little harder to be a little better. 

Con Cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

First off felicitaciones to the Livingston family, especially to Peter and Seth. I am so happy for you guys!! There is nothing better than living the gospel as a family!! and to Noah tambien! I am so stoked that you got ordained to the office of a Priest! You will be so blessed in your life as you seek to bless others. My testimony of this has gone through the roof during the mission thus far.

Anyways this week has been super awesome!! There isn't a whole lot to write about but it was just really good.

This past Tuesday, it was me and Elder Kemps job to cook for the district so we made chili!! and a whhhoooollllleeee ton of it ! we put 1.5 kilos of ground beef, a medio kilo of chorizo, 3 onions, tons of beans, tons of tomatoes, spices i dont even know the name of, and a whole bunch of other stuff. We made 2 gigantic pots of it. soo good. and sooo worth the p'day spent making it. I have been blessed with a comp that knows how to cook so hopefully a little of it can rub off on me hah.

This past Wednesday, we met our new mission president! PRESIDENT SMITH!! We had interviews and they told us all about themselves. I was so stoked to see them and they were equally stoked to see me. Hermana Smith said that she was going to call you mom so stay by your phone. It was nice to see someone familiar again. We have been truey blessed to have him as our president. He has a great vision and amazing enthusiasm and passion for the work. He said something interesting that I want to share. Elder Perry, in the MTC with all the mission presidents said that "2013 is the year the Lord has chosen to hasten his work."  That was basically the overall theme of what he had to say to us- just get excited and have this craving to work and work and work and serve to the best of your ability. I have never come out of a meeting so amped up to work in my life!! I can’t wait for these next 20 months of my life!! I wish I had more time to be honest but we will work with what we have.

We have found some really good families this past week and some really good people in general. I can’t wait to get to know them more and see the changes in their lives as they live the gospel. It has been a challenge being in the streets so much but it has paid off big time!!

My spiritual thought this week comes from a conference address by President Uchtdorf in the May 2011 conference. It was given in priesthood session but we can all apply these principles in our lives. He said "The words written in the scriptures and spoken in general conference are for us to “liken them unto [ourselves],” not for reading or hearing only. Too often we attend meetings and nod our heads; we might even smile knowingly and agree. We jot down some action points, and we may say to ourselves, “That is something I will do.” But somewhere between the hearing, the writing of a reminder on our smartphone, and the actual doing, our “do it” switch gets rotated to the “later” position. Brethren, let’s make sure to set our “do it” switch always to the “now” position!

As you read the scriptures and listen to the words of the prophets with all your heart and mind, the Lord will tell you how to live up to your priesthood privileges. Don’t let a day go by without doing something to act on the promptings of the Spirit."
I know that if we learn to apply what we learn in the scriptures and in conference in our daily lives we can draw closer to the spirit. I have seen this working in my life the past 4 months and I have never been happier.

Well that is about it for this week. Sorry it has been so short but there wasn’t that much to write about and I am out of time . I hope everyone had an awesome 4th of July!! GOD BLESS AMERICA!! it was super cold and rainy down here but it was good!

I love you all!!

Let’s all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better!!

Elder Staffieri

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 01, 2013

First off, congrats to Vance Lund on your baptism! I am so pumped for you! I could not be happier for you as you have made such an amazing decision to be baptized and confirmed. You will be so blessed I am so excited for you. Words cannot express how stoked I am for you! ¡¡¡¡Felicitaciones!!!

So this week has been really good. We have been working hard and finding a lot of really amazing people to teach, including two families!!! Aaaahh I could not be more stoked!! There isn’t really a whole ton that I can pinpoint about what made this week so awesome. It was just overall really, really good. The best feeling in the world is just coming home just spent; knowing that you did all you could do that day to serve the Lord. I love having those days and strive to make everyday one of those days. I have been thinking a lot about time this week as it seems that the mission is flying, FFFFFFLLLLLYYYYYYIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGGG by. It is so bizarre how fast it is going. I wish it could slow down a little bit to be honest because I feel like I have been learning so much but I need to learn so much more so I can be more effective as a missionary. I hate feeling limited in my ability to teach, but I am progressing everyday so that is what counts!! 

So, notable events of the week include splits. We have gone on so many splits this transfer but it has helped me so much learning from other missionaries. I went on splits this week with Elder Laycock. He was the last AP and an awesome missionary. I went to his area in Salto Centro. We worked really hard and I learned how to consecrate my time and just work, work, work till you drop. We were just going going and going until we switched back at the bus. I love it!! I also figured out a good method for marking my scriptures and everything so it was a super effective split and I am so stoked that I got to learn from him. 

We also had stake conference this past week and they changed the stake presidency. The new stake president is from our ward and he is pretty young. He is only 34 years old. He is a really nice guy and I am so stoked to see what direction the stake is going to go. We heard from two area 70s and the spirit was super strong in that meeting. 

Also, we have a new mission president now. President Smith!! He is coming to talk to our area this coming Wednesday. It should be awesome!!

So this week we had an interesting experience. An experience I never thought would ever happen and never happened to my comp either. We had a lesson with the family of Nadia about faith and we watched this movie, finding faith in Christ. It is a super good movie and goes through all the miracles Christ performed in his earthly ministry. So we go through all of these amazing miracles and get to the crucifixion. Her daughter, Abril who is 7, just starts crying hysterically. Like balling. She couldn’t even breathe she was crying so hard. I just looked at my comp and he starts laughing and I was just sat there like "what did we just do" ha-ha. I felt so bad. She was like "why did they have to kill him, he was so nice, he doesn’t deserve that" and all this stuff and just started balling. I have never been so happy to see the resurrection in my life. We stopped the movie and showed her that Christ still lives and all this stuff. She got happier but then started analyzing it a little more. Crisis averted. She was saying that she wanted to pray to the virgin so that the people would all be burned so we have a lot more to teach in that family but hey! We are making progress. I was just happy that we brought a member with us so she could help comfort the girl while the mom was dealing with the baby. All in all a super funny experience. 

So this week I learned a lesson that is incredibly valuable and transformed a great part of my view of the missión, which is receiving revelation and doing things in the Lord’s way. When the prophet Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail, he felt that the Lord was distant and had forsaken him, but in that moment of anguish he discovered, through revelation, that it was not the Lord that was blocking him out, it was he. During the trying times in this life we feel that the Lord is far and uninterested with us and our lives. However, He is NEVER the one that puts a wall between us, but sometimes we, in our self-motivated and selfish nature, put a wall in front of him. When we cease to TRULY seek the Lord’s will, we thicken the wall that stands between us and Him. The moment that we truly put aside our will, however justified and right it may seem, we begin, brick by brick, to remove the wall that we have created that blocks out divine revelation.  Unfortunately, every brick in that wall is very comfortable for us. We have lived with this wall nearly all our lives and it is simply what we are used to! At times we have fear that if we remove this brick, we are going to see something that we don’t want to see, something we have to change, something we need to do, someone we need to ask forgiveness of, someone we need to forgive. However, the only way to truly punch through the wall and open up a fountain of divine inspiration and revelation is by submitting our will, our knowledge, ideas, and fears, and accepting the Lord’s way. In the prophetic analogy of President Henry B. Eyring, we have to remove the spiritual pavilion that is now covering us. It is a walk of pure faith, but if we will but have the courage to take hold of the Savior’s outstretched hand, He will guide us.

Anyways, that is all for this week. I love you all! thank you for all of your prayers!

Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better!! 

Con cariño,
Elder Staffieri