Monday, January 27, 2014

This week was awesome! Probably one of the best weeks I have had in a while. We got out and taught a whole bunch. Last Sunday we met with our bishop and he asked us to stop working in the area we were working in and start working in the old area that the sisters had when they shared a ward with us. It is an area that he said "hasn’t had success for missionaries in 10 to 15 years." There are no members that live in that area. That area is called Prado. It’s a really rich area with giant houses and big gates around every one. It makes working there a little difficult but there is still work to be done.  The bishop holds the keys to the missionary work in our area so we are going to go out and follow his council. HOY ES EL DÍA that we will have success there. We have been going out and knocking doors and making street contacts like crazy. We have found a few people that invited us back to receive the lessons. It’s been really cool to see how the Lord provides as we are following the counsel of our bishop. Even though we have been working a lot more in the streets, we have been having a lot of lessons. People are always there when we plan for them. I love being a missionary!! LA OBRA VA BIEN!

We had a lesson with Fernando this past week. It went really well. We showed up at his house and he wasn’t there but his sister in law was with her mom and some other people so she invited us in to wait. While we were waiting, we started talking to her asking how everything was and seeing how she was doing then she goes on to tell us how she used to talk to the missionaries too.  She in fact was the one who brought the missionaries over to their house in the first place. She went on to tell us that one day she was walking feeling really sad about what had just happened to her and then some missionaries came up and started talking to her and then walked with her to her house. She said that after they had finished talking, she was left feeling happy and at peace. We asked her if she would be willing to learn more and she said yeah. We sat down and had a lesson with her for 20 minutes and then just as we finished, Fernando walked in with his wife and son and then we had a lesson with them. We taught him the Restoration using a little more of the bible than normal to explain how the church was set up and line of authority and showing how it has gone from apostasy to restoration to apostasy, etc. We talked a lot about prayer and shared the Joseph Smith experience with him. He really enjoyed it and committed to pray. We taught two different lessons without even having to move a seat. 

This week I also went on splits twice. First off with Elder Lamb because his companion was sick. But we had full days planned in both areas so we decided to go out to work with the car. We had a different lesson in a different area every half hour. We were running back and forth like crazy but it all came together. It was actually one of the most fun days I have had. Teaching half the lessons with people I didn’t know and the other half with only people that I knew. It was good constantly switching off lead and learning from Elder Lamb and seeing different ways of teaching. It was awesome. Then I went on splits yesterday with our zone leader, Elder Miranda, de Colombia. It was a really good day. We went and worked over in barrio °4. It’s the middle of Montevideo, downtown. Its kind of different working there because everyone seems to be in even more of a rush than they are in our area. But we had a great day. Great lessons and ended with a ward activity. 

Last night we had to run to the airport at 12:30 and got back at 2am. It was a good trip though. Elder Woods and I always have a blast on those airport runs. There was a gnarly storm that came through Montevideo this week and there were trees blown down everywhere so that made it even cooler. 

So this storm that came through was crazy. Giant wind storms, lightening, thunder, pouring rain, etc. It was so bad, and part our fault for leaving the window open, that we broke our door. We have a glass door in-between our laundry area and our kitchen and someone had left the window out the laundry area open. So at about midnight, a giant gust of wind blew through our apartment, slammed our door shut and shattered the bottom half of it. In our defense, it was already broken. Now it’s just...a little more broken. 

So this week I kind of had a little light bulb moment. So I will share it as a spiritual thought. I began re-reading Jesus the Christ in Spanish this past week and so I have been learning about the preexistence and the creation and everything like that. In the pearl of great price, we learn that Satan presented his plan in opposition to that plan the Father had set forward. In this plan, he would take away the agency of men to bring upon him the glory. I just thought about what that means and how that must have been when it kind of hit me. Satan is still doing that. He is going after our agency to engañarnos (i dont know the word in english and i think it is a lot more powerful in spanish). Think of some the sins that people commit. Drinking and using drugs. It goes after our ability to fully use our agency. They often create addictions that even lesson our agency, o sea, make it more difficult to use. Pornography and immoral media. They begin to bring people in and numb them. It’s incredibly addictive and is hard to break.  Even a simple lie. It limits the ability to tell the truth. People end up trapped in a white lie that they have told not being able to come out without losing all that they had built upon a deception. This fear makes it harder to use the agency we have been freely given. It goes on and on. He still works this way so that he can bring the "glory of man" upon himself. We understand that the only way to overcome the natural man is with the Savior. All of us at times fall into temptation in one form or another. We know that with the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all of us have the power to overcome anything that is put in our path. I think it is the most rewarding part of being a missionary is seeing the Atonement of Jesus Christ in action. People who are so burden ridden and feel they are too far gone to see the way out, those who feel too weak to continue, once they pray and come to know that Christ is their Savior and He has set forth the way, there is a change. This life once filled with darkness, captivity, and confusion is now converted into one with light, freedom and understanding. 

I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that He has given us the only way to return to live with the Father as eternal families. I know of the power of the Atonement. I have experienced this miracle first hand in my own daily life as well as those whom we have the opportunity to visit. I know that Joseph Smith was called to restore the church here in the earth today. I know of the divinity of the Book of Mormon. There is no way for a man to get closer to God than by reading and prayerfully pondering the message it contains. There is a difference of someone who is converted to the church through the Book of Mormon than someone who is not. I know that we have a prophet on the earth today, Thomas S. Monson. It is such a blessing to be able to receive revelation through him. We are so blessed. 

I am about out of time for today but I love you all. Thank you so much for all of your support. 

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

Con cariño, 

Elder Staffieri  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

So this week was really good!

Elder Woods gave a talk in sacrament meeting on the Book of Mormon. It was a great talk on why it is important to have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon as the key to our conversion. Everyone there learned a lot and the bishop was thrilled. He said it was exactly what the ward needed to hear. 

Then we taught the Sunday school class on the Law of Chastity. It was actually a really good lesson until we someone brought up birth control and things kind of went their own ways. In the end we wrangled it back and explained how it was a decision between husband, wife and God. So it ended pretty well. 

Monday, we had interviews with president. Interviews are always an awesome time for a zone. We all get trained by president as well as his wife and his assistants. We got taught a new way to teach tithes and offerings. It’s such an awesome lesson and it really helps them feel the spirit and understand why it is so important and the blessings that come as we are obedient. It’s kind of funny that now I cant wait to teach that lesson. Sometimes as missionaries, it’s the last lesson we teach and it’s a little touchy. But this new way to teach it is going to help a lot with that. 

Today was fun! We went out to go visit these Japanese Gardens here in Montevideo and then go to a museum. I wore my Brazil jersey today and this Brazilian couple came up to me and started speaking Portuguese and stuff. After a while, they knew that I wasn’t from Brazil, I wonder how they found that out....but we still had a great conversation. I am happy that we are teaching a Brazilian lady right now so I can speak a little bit of Portuguese. They asked us what we were doing down here and everything. It was a cool contact. The gardens were cool too. I took some cool pictures. We will send them to you. 

This week we had an interesting experience. We had to go over to another zone here in Montevideo and we didn’t have a car so we were trying to flag down a taxi. This empty taxi was driving down the road, as soon as he saw us trying to wave him down, he turns off his free light and shakes his finger at us and then keeps driving and turns on his light again. We just kinda laughed it off. We don’t normally get discriminated like that so it was a good laugh but then we just flagged down the next taxi. I got in the front seat and started talking to the taxi driver and asked him about his family and how work was and everything and then we ended up on religion....;) he talked about how he used to take lessons from the missionaries and how now he just started dating a Mormon girl and he just started talking to them again. We started talking about why he was talking to them again and how he was feeling to start over with them. He said that he was really happy to be learning about the church and it felt good. It was a short 10 minute drive but he was left with a little more animo, a pass along card, phone number, and the testimony of two missionaries. The Lord provides. 

Right now we are working with the family of Fernando. He is a hard worker, rides his bike an hour each morning to go to work in the home of a family and then an hour back each night. He comes from a family of strong religious beliefs in another church and he really wants to be certain of what is right. His wife is a great support to him. They had gone to the church several times before and now they are working their way back. We will keep you posted. 

We are still working with our investigator Bruno and his mom to try to reactivate her and get a solid example going for him. It’s a work in progress :)

Well that’s all the time i have for this week. Its crazy how time just sneaks up on you that fast. I am going to attach some pictures and get off. I love you guys! Have a great week! 

Try a little harder to be a little bit better! 

Con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sorry this one is going to be short, we got into the offices late and we have people to teach so bear with me. LA OBRA VA BIEN EN URUGUAY!!!

This week was so awesome!!! It was a week full of thunderstorms which meant a week full of service. We had a few members whose houses flooded so we went and helped them clean it up. In one sister´s house, her sewage got clogged. that one was fun jaja. we took a good long shower after that one. 
We finally picked up the mission calendar for the year of 2014. It was quite the process in getting it done but we finally did and all the work paid off. We went and delivered some yesterday to an area where president was doing interviews. When we were there the assistants told us that we needed to go find lunch for everyone so off we went. we needed to feed 32 people in about 45 minutes. we went to the store, got 16 pre-made sandwiches and then 16 loaves of bread (kinda like french bread), ham, cheese, and mayonnaise. sped over to the church only to find that there were no knives to prepare the sandwiches. being eagle scouts, we found a pair of scissors and went to work. it all turned out pretty good. we got the whole zone food under the hour and it didn't taste half bad. 

We had concilio this past week so i got to go on divisions with elder Castillo!! whoop whoop. we had a blast together as we went out to teach. we taught some great lessons together and i learned a lot from him. He is from my group, meaning i came to the mission with him, he was in the ccm with me, and it was just a blast. Such a great missionary and an awesome example for all those who are around him. 

We received some great references this week from members. We went to go find one yesterday and they are awesome. It is of a man named Fernando and his wife and child. They had talked to the missionaries before but with changes and everything, had gotten lost. They were excited to see us walk up to their apartment and eagerly accepted a visit. They are a great family that really wants to see the difference the gospel makes in their life because they have seen the difference in the lives of their friends. 

A recent convert, Yoshua, has been inviting friends to lessons at his house. He has really caught the missionary spirit and is so happy to share what he has with everyone. His fiend Florencia saw us coming over to his house and then followed us in asking if she could listen again. We are going to go teach them again tonight at 8. WE cant wait! They are such great youth.

Yesterday we had an amazing experience as a result of a prayer. It is amazing how the Spirit will guide you if you are willing to listen. We got to the house we needed to be at when we needed to be there. I don't have time to explain it all. 

We have found some good people this past week and i am sorry i cant tell you more about them. Next week i promise i will. We have got to go. We have a lesson here quick. I will try to load up some pictures before i get off. 

I love you all so much! thank you for all you do to support me out here on the mission. Time is ffllyyiing by.

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

con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri


Thursday, January 9, 2014

This week was awesome!! I honestly couldn’t tell you why it was so special or great but it just was. We have been working a ful! We have had some great lessons this past week which has been a product of better planning. Elder Woods and I have been really focused on planning a more complete day with back up plans for our back up plans and everything and planning lessons for every single person, we have in our planner. We have really been hitting the ground running every day. We are getting out of the offices earlier, working more efficiently, and teaching with more unity. Now having been together for a change, we have gotten our teaching down together so we are super pumped up to get out and teach as much as we can.

We have a new office Elder!!! And it a....LATINO!!! WWHHHOOOOPPP WWWHHHOOOOPP! We are actually speaking Spanish in the office now which is helping all of us out a ton. Now we don’t really have to switch from Spanish to English because is all Spanish. His name is elder Castillo from Argentina. He is such a stud. Such a goofy kid but a great missionary. One of the best teachers I have met and always has a smile on his face and laughing about something. We love having him in the offices with us. OH IT’S MY LAST CHANGE IN THE OFFICES!!

So this week we had heard that is was going to rain, but didn’t really believe it because it was crazy hot and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky so we just headed out normal. We taught a few lessons and just as we walked out of our last lesson at about 8:50. BBOOOOOMM. Thunderstorm. Well my white shirt needed a wash anyways right? jaja. Luckily I found some plastic grocery bags on the street to put my scripture case in so not as much water would soak into them. It was a fun little walk. I ruined on of my favorite ties though but good thing that Christmas just passed and we got some more! bbblleeesssiinnggsss. 

We have been working with menos activos and this past week they have been giving us references! Its been great because they have been actually offering to go with us and teach with us. They are beginning to understand that the best converts vienen de referencias de los miembros!

We had a good lesson with Daniel yesterday. It has been a struggle to get to find him again. His business takes off in the summer and he works from the morning till about 8 or 9 at night sometimes. He will leave to pick up his daughter from school and then go back to work. Yesterday, he made some time for us and we had a great lesson about the blessings of the gospel and talked about finding his own testimony. We explained that we are here to help him come to find his answer. We had our ward mission leader there with us and it helped a lot. 

Yesterday we had an interesting experience with a Jewish man. We were walking by and said hi to him and then he started hablándonos en hebreo. We stopped and asked him what he was saying and then he invited us into his house for a glass of coke (they drink more coke down here than water). We agreed and then got a lecture on the Old Testament for about 20 min. half in Hebrew. jaja. But we learned some cool scriptures though. Even learned a few words in Hebrew.  

Today, we woke up and went and played soccer. Elder woods had to sit out because he has some pretty gnarly toes. I won’t really go into describing it just in case someone is eating right now, but lets just say that both of his big toes have really infected in grown toe nails. 

My spiritual thought today comes from un discurso de Pte. Uchtdorf in his message from this past month entitled "The best time to plant a tree"

He said:
"You don’t need an invitation before you start moving in the direction of your righteous goals. You don’t need to wait for permission to become the person you were designed to be. You don’t need to wait to be invited to serve in the Church.
 We can sometimes waste years of our lives waiting to be chosen (see D&C 121:34–36). But that is a false premise. You are already chosen!
 "An old proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”
 There is something wonderful and hopeful about the word now. There is something empowering about the fact that if we choose to decide now, we can move forward at this very moment.
 Now is the best time to start becoming the person we eventually want to be—not only 20 years from now but also for all eternity."
Well all i can say is HOY ES EL DÌA!! If you made a goal, get to it. It doesn’t make any sense to wait to start. If you haven’t made any goals, pray to find them. Then start. The purpose of life is to progress. We can’t be caught waiting to take the first step. Vamos arriba! Dalè! Let’s go! Tomorrow is the enemy of today. Starters are many but Enders are few. Stick to your task till it sticks to you! 
I know that this church is true. I know that Christ lives. I know of the cleansing effect of the Atonement. There is power in prayer. There is no better feeling than sharing a testimony with a friend, family member, or even stranger. I know that as we give our best, the Lord will always provide a way. I know that spanish is hard but its so awesome! I know that i love each and every one of you! 
Let’s try a little bit harder to be a little bit better this week. 
Keep the faith and a smile on your face!!

Les quiero, 
Elder Staffieri

Thursday, January 2, 2014

First off, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I know it’s a little late but I still want to wish it to everyone. And secondly, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! This year has ffflllooowwwwnnnn by. But it has been so awesome! I feel like I use that word a lot but it’s honestly how I feel. This past year truly has been AWESOME!!!

Anyways. So this week has been great. I can’t remember what we did on Monday. I forgot my planner at home but I am pretty sure I was doing change stuff all day because we got the changes here in the offices on Sunday night so there went sleeping jaja. Monday we also sent out the Christmas bolsa run, seems like they just get bigger and bigger. Monday night I bought all the tickets for changes. As soon as they saw me walk up to the counter, they sent over another person to get it done faster. I sat there with two people on two computers blowing through buying the tickets we needed. I think it was a record time for ticket buying really. 117 tickets in about an hour in a half. vamos aribba Agencia Central and Turil!! 

Tuesday was Christmas Eve. We all went out to work as normal until 7 when we all met up to go Christmas caroling in our area. We spent an hour and a half in one area and and a half in the other. It was really good. We got some members to go with us and had a lot of fun in the financer’s area. Then it was our turn. We went over to our area at about 845 and started walking around caroling. At first people didn’t want to really listen but as time went on a few more doors started opening up. The cool thing happened when we saw a house and felt like we should go knock it and sing. we knocked it, no one answered, then we rang the doorbell and this guy about 25 years old opens up his garage and goes, "what’s up?" we explained to him that we were singing to celebrate christmas and everything and he goes "well sing then" and we started singing and as we finished we heard all these people clapping from behind the door. His dad come out and asked us if we want a drink and we all agreed happily because it was still about 85 outside at 9 at night. We walked back and they were having a family bbq. They all pulled us up chairs and started talking to us. They even fed us some of their asado! We had a good talk with them about why we were here in Uruguay, how long were here for, etc and then we pulled out "the living Christ" and explained that we were here sharing a message about Christ and that He lives! We all bore our testimonies of Him and invited them to listen to more. We are going back this week! Another cool thing that happened was that they are good friends with Daniel Nicora (probably spelled it wrong) who is in my ward back home! Small world huh? we ended the night heading back to the house and having dinner with a whole bunch of missionaries and the Binghams. We all went up on the roof at midnight to go and watch the fireworks! It was incredible. I have never seen anything like it. The entire sky was light up with fireworks. I think every single person in Montevideo must have spent a good amount of money on fireworks. For a good 20 minutes the entire sky was filled, 360 degrees around. Incredible. I cant wait till new years!

Wednesday was Christmas!!! WWWHHHOOOOHHHOOOOOOO!! We woke up at 6 in the morning, went to go open packages at the offices that we received earlier, then came home and did service for about an hour and a half. After that we went to watch a movie! fun fact! The miniones in despicable me speak spanish when you watch it in english! Who knew right? Then after that we went to lunch at the family Priggioni's house. We had a massive asado! it was soo good. Then after we came back, went out to work for a little bit, and then we got to come back and call home! Best time of the year: Christmas and Mothers Day! It was so great talking to family and seeing them all again. It really makes you realize how fast time is flying by though. I only have 2 more calls left in the mission. I feel like I just started last week. Crazy!

Thursday, all the missionaries that were going home came down to Montevideo and we had to take all their stuff to the mission home, but the back window of our car got blown out. jaja funny story but for another time. So we had to be really careful packing stuff in so nothing would fly out. Then it was work as normal for the rest of the day with a late night again. We had to drive over to the mission home at 1230 at night to take stuff and didn’t get to bed till 2. 

Friday, we worked all day and then went to take all the missionaries to the airport to get them home! Well they were supposed to at least. we were all speeding to the airport trying to get them there all on time only to get there and they say "they flight was delayed until tomorrow morning at 5" so we had a fun time on the phone with salt lake and parents until about 1230 letting parents know that they would be getting in later. It was pretty fun though getting to hang out with all the elders I knew for a little longer. 

Today was great. We woke up and went to go play soccer against the other mission and after played some basketball too. 

My spiritual thought this week comes from a Mormon message that I will paste in here about the new year: 

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

I love you all so much! Have a great week and we will see you next year!!! :)

Elder Staffieri