Wednesday, December 25, 2013

This past week has been awesome! It was a hard week but it has been an awesome week.

Elder Brown, one of our assistants, went home this past week. That was kind of a bummer. It has been awesome working in the offices and getting to know him and go out on splits with him. He has taught me so much. One of the few missionaries I know that I can say was the 4th missionary. 

After that, elder Nilsson went home and sister Britsch went home. We are going to miss them. Especially Elder Nilsson working in the offices with us.  

This change has been crazy with different people leaving on different schedules because they extended their mission or had to start school early, o lo que sea. It’s been a fun one though. 

As Christmas gets closer, life gets more hectic. We have calls basically everyday saying we need to go get mail, we have different deadlines to get to before people close for the holidays, getting changes done and figured out because buses don’t run when we needed them to run, working to get missionaries from different countries so they arrive on time, etc. It’s a lot but we are somehow getting it all done by putting in extra hours. 

Something cool that happened this past week was my old ward from Salto came down to Montevideo to go to the temple so I got to see them! I feel like I have never missed somewhere so much in my life. I love my area now but there is nothing like seeing the people from your first area and remembering all the experiences that you had with them. It was cool seeing all of the awesome people that we worked with at the temple. And it was cool because I actually could talk to them now jaja. I have been so blessed to be able to meet and build relationships with the people down here in Uruguay. There are some of my best friends now. Hermana Silvia even cooked me a cake! jaja I got to see my best friend Thiago too. He drew me a picture and wrote me a letter. I was soooooo happy to get to see all them again. 

So yesterday was awesome. Elder Woods hit the streets hard. It started off interesting because we were walking down this street and this guy calls us over and starts asking us who he can talk to to sell the church land to build a new chapel. It was an interesting contact to say the least but we gave him an invitation to this activity we are having in the temple gardens tonight and tomorrow night and he said he would go. We kept walking and about 15 minutes later we walked passed this older lady (later told us she was 93) sitting on her front porch who looked so sad. We walk past and Elder woods commented about it and it kinda hit me that we needed to go back and I said "lets go talk to her. wanna do it?" he just goes ill follow you" so I was like "LETS DO IT!!" we turned around and went back and started talking to her about how beautiful the day was and everything. Then we started talking about Christ and the meaning of the Christmas season and everything and she went on to explain that she was catholic and wasn’t going to change but we stayed and bore our testimonies of Jesus Christ and left her with a smile. I was kinda bummed wondering why we had felt so strongly to go back and talk to her if she was just going to reject us. Well I got my answer a few seconds later. As we were walking past the next house, a man on a moto yelled at us and called us over. He and his daughter took off their helmets and introduced themselves. He said that he wanted us to go over to his house and give his wife a blessing because she was sick. He told us that his wife had told him that the next time he saw the mormon missionaries in the streets to stop them and tell them to come over. So we set up a time to go by today and he was really grateful and left. Then it hit me. We talked to her so that we would be there when this guy passed on his moto. If we had kept going, we wouldn’t have been there when the guy came through the intersection. Now we are going over to exercise the priesthood and teach a family. The Lord really does provide as we work with all diligence and follow the promptings of the Spirit. It seems as though every time something like this happens I am always overwhelmed with gratitude for being part of this great work. Then right after that, we met a guy on the streets and made a contact and taught as we walked about 8 blocks to his house. We went on after that to teach some menos activos and finish up the day strong with some other lessons. I love the mission!!!

Tonight and tomorrow night we have a huge Christmas program in Carrasco at the temple. It’s going to be great. We have the assignment of giving tours and answering questions. It’s a big program of choirs and Christmas videos. It’s going to be such an uplifting experience for all those that go. 

My spiritual thought today comes from Mosiah 2. The last verse in the chapter, verse 41. It says:

41  Y además, quisiera que consideraseis el bendito y feliz estado de aquellos que guardan los mandamientos de Dios. Porque he aquí, ellos son bendecidos en todas las cosas, tanto temporales como espirituales; y si continúan fieles hasta el fin, son recibidos en el cielo, 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.

(41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, 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 testify, as King Benjamin did, that as we keep the commandments that God has set forth for us, we will find this happiness. We will live in this happiness. We will receive all of the blessings the our Heavenly Father has prepared for us. This is my testimony that I leave you with. I know that Christ lives. I know that He loves us and knows us perfectly. I hope that we all can take time this Christmas season to think back on what He really means to us. Pray and think about what influence He has had in our lives. Do your best to REMEMBER this as we go throughout this season and into a new year. 

I love you all so much. Thank you for all you do. 

Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better this week. 

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Con Cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sorry I didn’t write last week. We had a crazy p-day full of sports and stuff and we didn’t really have time to write. But how is everyone?! I hope that everyone has been getting into the Christmas spirit and not forgetting what the real meaning behind the Christmas season.

This week has been really good. We have been working with ward lists a lot more. Our ward secretary gave us lists and we have been heading out to go find. It’s a lot easier finding people to teach when at least you have a name. We have been finding more menos activos and incomplete families to work with. LA OBRA VA BIEN EN BARRIO 5! We got an awesome reference this past week from other missionaries that had found him contacting in the street in another area. His name is Manuel. He is about 25 years old and is looking for more peace in his life. We went to his house to find him once and he wasn’t there but the second time we went, he invited us right in. We didn’t have the most organized first lesson with him because he had a lot of questions and doubts. After the lesson, we asked him to pray, and he said that he felt better after he had prayed. We testified to him that as he continues to pray and learn more, he will begin to see how the gospel brings peace of mind and surety in his life. We have a lot of faith in him that he will progress and one day have full access to the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

On Wednesday, we had a special zone conference with Elder González, from the first quorum of the 70 and also president of the South America south area. It was such an awesome conference! He started off by explaining that he was a convert of the missionaries serving in our mission. He was baptized by missionaries serving here in his home country of Uruguay. He talked about our role as missionaries and where we need to be focusing. About helping people find their own answers instead of providing solutions to problems, as this allows for a stronger conversion. He also talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon and how we need to focus on using the Book of Mormon in every lesson as that is the keystone of our religion and has all the answers. We did some practices with him and his wife and we just learned a ton overall. He is actually such a funny guy. He was cracking little jokes the whole time and the way he says things really shows his loving character for all. The Spirit was so strong during that conference and we all walked out feeling ready to face whatever we had in store. It was one of the best conferences I have ever been to. He came in to the offices on Thursday to see everything and meet all of us. We took a picture with him but I don’t have it on my camera. Sister Bingham has it so we will send that to you guys later. It was just such a cool experience being able to talk to him and ask him questions like that. It made me really want to know the Book of Mormon front and back. We have seen a big difference in our studies in the past week. 

My spiritual thought from this week comes from 2 Nephi 31. In verse 16 it says: 

"16 Y ahora bien, amados hermanos míos, por estos sé que a menos que el hombre persevere hasta el fin, siguiendo el ejemplo del Hijo del Dios viviente, no puede ser salvo." 

o sea

"16 And now my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved."

I like this scripture a lot as I thought about it this past week. I never really understood what it meant to endure to the end as this scripture explains. I feel as if most of us just think of it as going to church on Sundays, going home/visiting teaching once a month, reading our scriptures when we find the time to read them, etc. I, up until recently, thought the same. Until it hit me. Enduring to the end is so much more than that. Yeah, those things a great. We need to do those things like going to church, reading our scriptures, doing our home teaching, etc. We should be doing those things. But what is more is who we become in the process. How are we changing on a daily basis to become more as the Savior is? Do we have a spirit of charity as the Savior did when he walked on the earth? Does our faith continue to grow?  Are we being diligent as he was and obedient to all of his commandments? With obedience comes blessings, with exact obedience comes miracles. I know that as we strive to become more like Him, as we endure to the end, this change will occur in us. It is then when we deepen our conversion. 

I know that the church is true. It has been restored to its fullness by a prophet, Joseph Smith, when as a boy he saw The Father and Son. I know that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book to ever be written and that a man will get closer to God by reading it than any other book. I know that families are eternal. God has given us a plan so that we may one day return to live with Him. I know this with all that I am. I love being a missionary and seeing the difference that the gospel makes in their lives. It is night and day. 

Well that is all the time i have for this week, I hope that you all have a great week this coming week. OH! I TURNED 9 MONTHS IN THE MISSION TODAY!! WHOOP WHOOP! Time is flying. I wish it would slow down. 

I love you all so much! You are in my prayers. Remember to keep the faith and a smile on your face! Life is awesome! 

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

Con much cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL FAR AND WIDE, every man, woman, and child, American, guayan, lo que sea. I hope you guys had an awesome thanksgiving this past week and remembered how blessed we all are. We don’t celebrate thanksgiving down here but we may have had an awesome dinner Thursday night cooked by Hermana Bingham. Probably one of the best meals I have ever eaten in my entire life. Sister Bingham made this like, ham laced with orange sauce (which reminded me of her orange rolls, so it was super good.) We had turkey, potatoes, standard vegetables (strange green uruguayan beans), yams, rolls, and the pies. We had a coconut pie, a pecan pie (which was AWESOME) and a oreo pie with huge cream on top. Everything she made us was like a step back into the states. We thank them profusely every single day. That woman works miracles in the kitchen. We were so blessed to have the opportunity to eat with them.

So besides that, this week has been really good. It has been a great learning and humbling experience. We have come to realize that a lot of the people we have been teaching haven’t really been progressing so we have been really focused on finding this week. We spent a lot more time in the street trying to find people. It’s a process but we are working hard. And we know that we will be blessed for our efforts as long as we are obedient and diligent. 

We have been working a lot with members. We had an awesome lesson yesterday with a less active. She came back to church last Sunday after we had gone by with a member the week before. We asked her how it went yesterday and she said that it had made all the difference in her week. She explained how she felt and how much peace had entered in her life (which something else). She expressed her desires to never miss another Sunday again. She wanted us to teach her boyfriend about the gospel so that he could one day be baptized and that they could be sealed in the temple. It was such a spiritual lesson. We taught her about the plan of salvation and about why were here on this earth. She came to understand why it was important yesterday. 

Sorry I don’t have much more to write about this past week. We have just been running around and working like crazy. 

So my spiritual thought this week comes from 2 Nefi 26. It says:

"23 Porque nosotros trabajamos diligentemente para escribir, a fine de persuadir a nuestros hijos, así como a nuestros hermanos, a creer en Cristo y a reconciliarse con Dios; pues sabemos que es por la gracia por la que nos salvamos, después de hacer cuanto podamos."

 (23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.)

Here we learn the Nephi had worked incredibly hard and diligently to keep this record. It was something really important for him and for his family. He wrote these things so that his children and brethren, his posterity, would one day come to the knowledge of their Savior. So that they could know how they can partake of His grace. My testimony has grown so much since I have left for my mission. I know that if we read the Book of Mormon, we will come to believe in Christ even more, our faith will grow. I know that someone will get closer to God reading this book than by reading any other. I know that it is true. I wish that everyone could know the same. So my challenge this week is that all of you could read the Book of Mormon every day. Start with this week. Take it as an experiment. I know you will feel the difference just as I have.    

I love you all so much. 

Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better this week. 

Until next week, 
Elder Staffieri