Sunday, September 29, 2013

So this week has been great!!  But first off, congrats to Krista Tenney on her mission call to the West Indies mission!! That is so awesome!! You will be so blessed as your serve. I am so pumped for you! And you get to speak French like you always wanted!!

 So this week has been awesome! Remember last week when I talked about how that family was so awesome that we found? Well one of her kids, Bruno; is getting baptized on the 12th of October!! He is super excited and so is all of his family. He came to church with us this past week when the rest of his family couldn’t and we took him to primary and asked him if he wanted us to stay with him and he just shook his head and smiled and said, "Nope, I’m good." The teacher said that he participated the whole time and was a stud! He got a worksheet from class and finished it during sacrament without our help. When we had lessons with him this week, he was the first to answer questions and was super excited to read. He is progressing super well and understands everything that we are teaching him and is applying the scriptures to him as we read. He is such an incredible 11 year old kid. He is such a good example for his family. And we are also teaching his sister who is 20. She has been opening up to us more this past week as their family has been passing through some severe personal problems but she is doing great. The whole family is super supportive of each other and just so awesome!! I cannot get over how blessed we are to have the opportunity to teach them. 

Daniel came back from Argentina this past weekend and we had an awesome lesson with him about keeping the Sabbath day holy. We committed him to come to sacrament meeting every Sunday with us and he said he was going to start bringing his four year old daughter with him as well. We pray for his wife everyday as we leave our apartment and she is starting to support him more. He has stopped drinking wine with his dinner and has dropped coffee. He has such a sincere testimony of the things of the gospel and has a deep understanding of the importance of the things that make up this gospel. He will be a powerful member of the church one day. 

We also have been having real great success with teaching less active members. We have been practicing our lessons a lot to be sure we can teach them and have the spirit present. We have been doing practices everyday during companion study and have been seeing the blessings. Last night we had one of the most spiritual lessons of my mission with a less active whose name is Juan Alvarez and his whole family came in and listened to us too! We taught the restoration but related it all to personal prayer and the power in personal prayer. We asked him to remember the night that the Savior came to rescue him and he began to tell the experiences he had with the first missionaries that came to his door and taught him and how it changed his life. He started explaining how happy he was and how much of a difference he felt. He then committed to be back in church by next month. The spirit was so strong and he bore testimony for his family. So amazing. 

Two days ago we had interviews with president and discussions with the assistants. It was a super spiritual experience like always and we all walked away feeling so amped up to go out and serve with all of our might. I love those conferences and the opportunities that we have to sit one on one and talk with president. He always has a way to help you improve and want to be better than you already are, to push you to be a better missionary and give more. I am so grateful for these opportunities. 

And...GENERAL CONFERENCE IS IN ONE WEEK!!! Man I cannot wait to go to conference. We are telling everyone we see about general conference and are testifying like crazy about the blessings of going. General Conference is the best 2 weekends of the year!! I am so excited to watch it in Spanish now that I can understand everything. It’s going to be so awesome. I can’t wait for the Spirit that is always felt and for the revelation we will receive. I can’t wait to see the ways we can all improve and put our lives more in line with that of God. It is such a great opportunity that we all have to listen to the Prophet and the Apostles.  I hope that you are all preparing for this weekend :)

Anyways, this week I started reading the book of Mormon over again in Spanish. I want to finish it by the end of the year and I think I can do it. So my spiritual thought from this week comes from 1 Ne 4:6-7

6 "E iba guiado por el Espíritu, sin saber de antemano lo que tendría que hacer"
7 "No obstante, seguí adelante..."

( And I was aled by the Spirit, not bknowing beforehand the things which I should do.

 Nevertheless I went forth...)

I love this. This is when Nephi had to go back into Jerusalem to go get the plates from Laban. Even though they had failed twice, he knew that he was commanded of God to go and get the plates. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but he went because he was prompted by the Spirit to do so. He went on pure faith that things would work out. I think too often we do not act on things because we do not know what will come from it. We live in the shadow of fear because everything isn’t perfect in our vision of what will come to fast. I think we need to learn from the experience of Nephi. Just go and do it. We learn the chapter before that God will never ask us, or prompt us for that matter, to do anything without preparing first the way we could do it. Have confidence in the spirit and follow the promptings fearlessly. He will provide a way for us. We will be blessed for our obedience to the promptings of the Spirit. Always act on the Spirit. Go for it. Give it your best and leave the rest up to the Lord. He will guide you. 

 Well that’s all I have for this week but I want you all to know how much I love and appreciate you. I know that the church is true! I know of the power of personal prayer and the blessings that come as we follow the Spirit. I know that God is our Heavenly Father. 

Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better and strive every day to keep the faith and a smile on your face!!

Have a great week!

I love you all, 

Elder Staffieri

Monday, September 23, 2013

SO THIS WEEK HAS BEEN SO AWESOME!!! ONE OF THE BEST WEEKS I HAVE HAD!! Aaaahh I cant even explain it. We saw some miracles this past week. It was amazing. I am so glad to have been a missionary this week, well I am always, but I am even more this past week. We have seen the hand of the Lord guiding and directing us in our work and it has been so great. We have seen the answers to prayers and we cannot be happier!!

Some fun facts about this week before we get into the good stuff is that we got an order of Books of Mormon, pamphlets and other missionary supplies 5 times as large as our normal order. It was so much we couldn’t fit it all in our huge van that we have and that we bottomed out over every speed bump we went over and had to make 2 trips to get it all. It was so awesome! We, Elder Bedke and I, got the assignment from president to call every single contact we have in the mission to make sure they are okay and that we have multiple emergency numbers for every missionary so that has been fun. We are not even close to be being done. But we get to call all parts of the world so that has been really cool. Making calls in Portuguese to the parents of our Brazilian missionaries has proved to be more difficult than we thought, but hey! We are learning a little Portuguese now so that is cool! Ha-ha. I went to go get my Uruguayan I.D. this past week and I will hopefully get my license next week. Things are going great in the offices. 

Now to the good stuff, when we leave to work out in the streets! Our investigators are progressing great but one bummer is that Daniel is leaving to Argentina this next week so he won’t be getting baptized this weekend, but next month. But we have found some awesome people!!!

So I will write about two of the miracles we have seen this past week that have made it especially so special to me. A week I will not forget. The first came when we were working on Tuesday. We had been trying to make contacts and we were going through all our plans when we left one house and felt that we should go visit an elderly lady who had been really sick a few weeks back. So we went. We knocked and the lady who cares for her, a member, opened the door with tears in her eyes and said "I knew you would come."  She had explained that the elderly lady was close to dying and her condition was worsening. She then told us that she had been on her knees praying, pleading for comfort, and 20 minutes later we showed up. We sat and talked with her and shared some scriptures and talked about them with her. She was more at peace and we left, grateful that we had decided to follow the Spirit and go to this home. 

The second came super unexpectedly. We had been going through our ward list trying to go visit some less active members and try to help them. We had been going pretty much all day with this list having little luck but working none the less. It was getting late and we were starting to head back to the house but we were contacting all the way home. We got to one name on our list of a lady in the ward who we didn’t know so we decided to go give it a try. We got the address, but it was a passageway into an alley with doors up and down on both sides: We didn’t have an apartment number so we just went to work. We knocked the first 4 doors on the left side, having 1 answered and said the lady we were looking for didn’t live in this alley, the others just looked through the window and left and we got to the end of the alley and the clouds looked super cool, so we stopped there and were looking at them for a few minutes ha-ha.  After we were about to go home, we heard this baby crying from inside a house, so we thought FAMILY!!! We knocked this door and a 20 year old girl came out holding her son, we asked her if she knew who we were looking for and she said no but we kept talking to her and she said that she had family that were members of the church up in Artigas and that her mom was actually a member. We saw her mom in the background and then she came out and talked to us. She said that she had been a member but had gone inactive when they moved a few years back. After that she said that she didn’t know how we got in because the gate is always closed at the end of the alley because people get robbed there all the time so its always locked. She said that she took us on her doorstep as an answer that she needed to go back to church and she wants her kids to be part of the church as well. Her children all had taken the missionary lessons and were about to be baptized but then they had moved and they had all lost interest. The expressed the desire that we need to teach her children and her husband so that they could all go to church together. Now at this point, Elder Bedke and I were smiling ear to ear in shock that this was actually happening.  We set up an appointment for later in the week to come and teach them and she asked if we could bring someone to the lesson so she could have a friend when she came back to church. We never walked away from a contact so happy in our lives. We went back and taught then and had an awesome lesson and actually went back today to celebrate her son’s birthday with their family. They are such an amazing family and we were so blessed to find them. 

I am so excited to be out on the mission and to have the chance to work with all of these wonderful people. I have been so blessed to be part of the Uruguay Montevideo West Mission and to be out hear teaching the gospel for two years. I cannot wait to see what the next 18 months have in store. I wake up every day with a smile on my face, so excited to see what we have in store for the day. 

I know that the Lord answers prayers and that He is aware of everything we are going through. Sometimes we may not know what is best for us, but He always does. If we will put our trust in Him and actively seek to do His will, we WILL see the blessings. I have such a strong testimony of this principle of obedience and blessings. It has grown so much on the mission. I love every minute of it. There is no better place than on the mission. I have never been so happy in my life. 

Anyways that is all the time I have for today but I love you all and hope you are all doing great. Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better. KEEP THE FAITH AND A SMILE ON YOUR FACE!!! :)))

Con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Elder Daniel Staffieri
La Mision Uruguay Montevideo Oeste
Enrique Martinez 1167
Montevideo, Uruguay  11.800

Monday, September 16, 2013

This week has been awesome!!! We have been working really hard in our area and have found some really amazing people to teach. Our investigators have been progressing rather awesomely as well! The work is good over here in Barrio 5. BIG THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN THE MISSION!!

 HAPPY SIX MONTHS TODAY!!!! its insane how fast it has gone by!! I feel like i have been out for like a month. time is going by sooo fast. I kinda wish it would slow down. I'm not ready to have six months in the mission. i wish my time could start right now...but oh well.

So this past week, we received the new guidelines for the mission. These are going to change the way we work as missionaries and the way the work goes forth in our mission. We are so excited for them. On of the biggest changes was that we are going to have 15 lessons with recent converts and less actives. This is going to be super good because it will focus us in on those who really need our help to stay strong in the gospel, not just enter through the door and stop. We are going to be working a lot more with members and we have different standards on what counts as lessons with member and stuff. There are a lot more changes but I am pretty sure you don’t want to hear about numbers and goals and stuff. BUT WE ARE SO EXCITED!!! We are going to leave the church stronger than when we got here and not just put more names on a ward list. We are actually going to go after those who have strayed to strengthen the wards and stakes here in Uruguay. This is going to focus us up and we are going to see miracles! 

We have already received fruit for our efforts to go visit less active families and new converts. Many of the people on our list have moved away so it is a really good way to meet other families as well. On example of this happened this past week. We were going through our plans of who we were going to go visit and we came across a name and an address of a less active member. We went over there and they had moved but the people in the house invited us in to share our message with them. We now are teaching Elsa Paz and Maria de los Angeles. We probably never would have found them because their house was a little hard to find back in an alley but we found them and now we are teaching this family of a mother and daughter! How awesome is that???

We also found two brothers this past week that we are teaching. We were just walking in the street we saw kids playing soccer so we went and joined in for a few minutes and they started asking us all kinds of questions and we all ended up sitting on the side of the road talking about the restoration of the gospel. We are going back tonight and hopefully we can talk to their whole family.

We also found a man and his wife this past week as we were walking in-between lessons. He actually approached us and invited us over to his house to talk to him. We set up an appointment and went over to his house yesterday. It was a super humble home of two rooms with one light and a flashlight. He was the kindest hearted person I have ever met. He insisted on feeding us what food he had and insisted that we take a bag of potatoes as we left. He even tried to give us his TV. We had a good lesson about the bible and he has really strong beliefs. He is going to be a great member of the church one day. 

So probably the best moment of the week happened this past Wednesday. We had a lesson with our investigator Daniel. Daniel is probably the most well prepared person we have ever taught. He has been an investigator for a few months now and is progressing super well. He reads and prays everyday and you can see how much these things mean to him. He is super concerned about his family and being ready to make this decision to be baptized. We have had some really spiritual lessons with him and he came to sacrament meeting this past week when the new office couple went up to share their testimonies. Little have I ever felt the Spirit so strong. I really learned the power of "Yo se que..." (I know that...). They bore their testimonies so simply but I cannot remember feeling the Spirit so strong during a testimony in my life. I felt the Spirit so strong i could not deny it. I know that Daniel felt it as well. He was sitting right next to us and he told us before that he had to leave but after that he told us he wanted to stay. So that brings us to Wednesday. We had a great lesson with him about putting your faith in the Spirit and the blessings that come from following the promptings of the Spirit: The Bingham’s, the new office couple, shared their testimony of this as well and how it has blessed their family and I know he felt it. Elder Bedke asked him "Daniel, will you put your faith in Jesus Christ and follow the example that he has set for us, being baptized by someone holding the proper authority of God?" 
He accepted and has a date for the 28th of this month! We could not have been more excited! We were on cloud nine for the next few days! He is going to be such a good member of the church and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day he is a stake president. He has that kind of faith and testimony!!!

This week has just been super awesome! One of the best weeks of my mission! We have been working our hardest and have been blessed for doing so. I LOVE THE MISSION!! It really is the best two years.

I know that the church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that as we strive to keep the commandments, we will be blessed with all that we need. I know that prayers are answered. I know the priesthood is the power of God to bring about the saving ordinances of the His children. I know that families are eternal. This is all made through Christ. I know that He came to this earth to atone for our sins so that if we would come unto Him, we would not have to suffer as He did. I know of His love for each and every one of us. I know these things to be true. I have been called by a prophet of God to serve as a missionary, to bring this happiness and love I have experienced in my life to my brothers and sisters in Uruguay. There is no greater work. 

I love you all so much and thank you for all you do for me. I hope you know that you are all amazing. I would ask that we just try a little bit harder to be a little bit better each and every day. I know that as we do this, we will become closer to our Heavenly Father. Always keep the faith and a smile on your face. Today is the day! Be the best you can be!!

Con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Sunday, September 8, 2013

So this week in Uruguay was really good. Kind of crazy but really good! I never really understood what was in the job description of the mission secretaries but it’s a lot ha-ha. We are just working working working and there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done but we always have everything done at the end of the week that we needed to get done.

So first, my companion is Elder Bedke. He is a STUD!!! We hung out with the same people up at BYU so that has been kind of cool talking to him about it. We have a ton in common and we are working really well together and have a blast every day. He is helping me out a ton with what we are doing in the offices and we work crazy hard when we get out in the streets. We teach really well together and we feel the Spirit super strong in our lessons. It’s just an all around good time with him.  I LOVE MY COMPANION!! HE IS A STUD!! We also live with the other office elders in an apartment a few blocks from our office. They are Elder Gudmonson and Elder Running. They are awesome and we never have any dull moments in our apartment.

So on a daily basis what I do is put in baptismal records, look up and send our references, answer phones and talk to missionaries and get them what they need, do all things mail, drive around and run errands with the other office elders, send emails to parents, incoming missionaries, update church websites, and other things. We have more stuff we do weekly and monthly as well. We had concilio this past week so I had to compile all of the numbers from the mission and make graphs for President, the APs and the other zone leaders that came down to Montevideo to get trained. We go and buy bus tickets for everyone when they have to come down. Basically, whatever needs to be done, we do it ha-ha. But it’s good. We always have something to do and our area is awesome!

We love our area. We are in the zone of Oeste and our area is Capurro (barrio 5). It’s an awesome area with some really good people. Working in Montevideo is different than other parts of Uruguay but the work is good! I can’t wait to get out at 5 and go teach!! La obra va bien!! I love teaching so much. We have some really solid investigators too. For example, right now it is pouring rain and thunder and lightening out side and we just had 3 young investigators ride their bikes to church because there was supposed to be an activity. They were all soaking wet but loving life. Even though the event was canceled they just said well we will see you tomorrow in church!! When we came in me and Elder Bedke just smiled and talked about how awesome those kids are. I love being a missionary!!!

The mission has been way too much fun this past week. Lots of adventures. We pulled a bed up four stories outside of our apartment building off the edge of our balcony at 11pm with a garden hose. Yeah, I am not going to put much detail into that one....use your imagination. We had to sprint 5 blocks to our offices at 9 50 one night because a set of missionaries lost their tickets only to get there and have them call us saying that they were already on the bus and not to worry about it. Everyone thinks we are spies for the US so when they ask us we always tell them no...But if we were, we wouldn’t tell them. Ha-ha. It’s just been way to fun this past week but we have been working crazy hard and have been seeing the fruits of our labors. We have had an awesome week. 

My spiritual thought this week comes from 3 Nephi 12:6- 

Y bienaventurados son todos los que padecen ahambre y bsedde crectitud, porque ellos serán llenos del Espíritu Santo.
(And blessed are all they who do ahunger and bthirst aftercrighteousness, for they shall be dfilled with the Holy Ghost.)

I have really learned a lot about this in the mission and I know it to be true. As we constantly try to better ourselves and seek after righteousness, we will have the Spirit to be with us. It doesn’t matter what may happen in our lives, we need to keep focus on what is important. We need to literally hunger and thirst like the scripture says. If we do that, we will have the Spirit to be with us and we will be happier than we could ever be. I think this is why the mission is the best 2 years of your life. You are constantly trying to get closer to the Spirit and you are blessed for doing it. Sorry I am out of time....

I know the church is true. I know that we are blessed when we keep the commandments that God has given us. I know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church on the faith of the earth. This I know with all I am!!

I love you all so much.

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

Keep the faith and a smile on your face!!

Until next time, 
Elder Staffieri