Wednesday, March 26, 2014

ARTIGAS IS SO AWESOME!!! We love it up here! La obra va bien!

We have changes today and I am going to.....stay!!!! WWWHHHOOOOOPPPPPP WWWWHHHHOOOOPPPPPP!!! And I am going to stay with elder Owen for another change!! We are super stoked to be together another change in Artigas barrio 4! 

There isn’t much to tell this week other than we have been working super hard. We have been going out with members basically every day after the conference, and they are catching the spirit of missionary work! We have had the opportunity to go out with the bishop and his councilors this past week and it has been awesome. We also went out with the relief society president and primary president to go on visits. We have been setting up to go out for more than just a lesson or two but rather a few hours. Its been a really cool experience. We have been seeing the blessings of working with members. 

We are still working with Adriana and the familia machado. They are super awesome. Every lesson with the familia machado is amazing. The mom is such a spiritual person and the anchor of the family. It is just a really prepared family. She found out that she has a second type of cancer and she is pushing through super strong. With Adriana things are going great. its hard to her to find time to read the book of Mormon so we are going to start teaching and reading way more from the book of Mormon to help her gain her own testimony of it. That has been the biggest obstacle with her so far. But besides that, she is gold! She understands everything and likes learning about it all, we just need to keep working with her.

We found an awesome kid named Alex last week. He is a joven that was taking the lessons from elders about a year ago but stopped for some reason. He is a really cool kid though. He has a lot of friends in the church. A hard worker. He goes to school in the morning, to fútbol, then to cut lawns with his weedwacker to help support his family. His family is everything to him. His mom is in a wheel chair and he has a sister that is 4 years old. The last time we went and visited with him, we read in the Libro de Mormon and he had lots of questions about baptism. We are going to go meet with him in the church today and give him a tour and talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I am running short on time so I have to wrap it up! I am sorry it is so short but we have a lesson in 30 minutes across town. 

I love you all so much. Elder Owen is a stud! The church is true! As Brent would say, the church is true, the book is blue, live it, love it, give it all you got!

Try a little bit harder to be a little bit better! Have a great week!

Con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri 

So this week in Artigas was soo amazing! I love this place so much! The people are so amazing and so loving! We have seen the hand of the Lord in the work this past week!

So to start, we had such an awesome stake conference! President Smith came up to speak to the stake along with the temple president and the stake presidency. They spoke so much about the importance of holding a temple recommend, repentance, and WORKING WITH THE MISSIONARIES!!! WHHOOOPPP WHOOP! It was so amazing. We had awesome attendance even though it was pouring rain. And the coolest part was, after, members were coming up to us offering to go out on visits with us. Actually, one hermana, la hermana muniz, who is in her late 60s, called us yesterday afternoon and said that she wanted to go out with us the whole night. It was raining like I have never seen in Uruguay, and that is saying something, I left my house and we were soaked to the bone within a block but she was so happy to go out with us! We had some great lessons! la obra va excelente!! :) I love the members up here! They are catching fire! 

Adriana is learning so much! She is so awesome! We have started taking members over to her house now too so that she will have friends as she comes to church. She was set to go to conference but her baby fell the night before and hit her head so she spent the whole night in the hospital. We went over to visit them after, and florencia was getting better. So that was a blessing in itself! 

During weekly planning, me and elder Owen had a great talk about all the things that we need to be doing better, one of which is planning. We have become too casual in planning over the past few weeks and our area had been suffering as a result of that. We committed to be better and to make it a priority over all and to change the way we are doing it. We had a great weekly planning after that and just as we finished, we were given a blessing, a reference for a family! It’s amazing how the Lord will begin to bless you immediately as you change to obey his commandments and strive to give your best to Him. 

This reference was of the familia Machado. We had gone a few times over the past week and couldn’t find them but then yesterday night, we finally got in touch with them! They are soo great! They were a reference from the sisters working in another ward. This family they had taught for a about a week or so and they had to move. And they moved right into the heart of our area that had been dead for quite some time! It is a family of 4, Paulo (dad), Claudia (mom) and two daughters, Victoria y Natalie. We had a great lesson about the Plan of Salvation and the spirit was soo strong. It was so strong in fact that they accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 12 of April. It is incredible, these charlas that we have been taught by president and the assistants. The spirit is so strong and we are seeing miracles as we continue to follow their direction! 

Well I am already out of time. Sorry this was a short one but time flies when you write your family and friends! 

Oh! I hit a year this past week too! Crazy how fast time flies! 

I hope that you all have a great week! i love you all so much! Get out of your comfort zone and share your testimony with someone! Go out with your missionaries! And lets
try a little harder to be a little better! 

I love you all so much! La obra va excelente en Artigas! HOY ES EL DÍA!!!

Elder Staffieri 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This week has been amazing! It has been one of those weeks that just makes you sooo happy to be a missionary!

This week I went on divisions with Elder Lopez, one of my old district leaders in Salto who is now one of my zone leaders in Artigas! It was a blast and I learned a ton of things from him. We are blessed to have such great missionaries to learn from in the mission. We focused on being more of ourselves in the lessons. He taught me that God put us all here for a reason and we can’t become robots when we get into a lesson. We were put in the paths of people so that WE can help them as the missionary we are. We cant go in there and just sit down with a straight face and talk for 25 minutes, we need to show them how much it has blessed our lives and give them the lesson from our heart being who our Heavenly Father knows we are. I don’t know if this makes much sense, but it has made a big difference. I didn’t really think I was doing it before but he pointed some things out that I do change in lessons that he thought would be better if I didn’t. I have found that teaching has become a lot more fun and that the spirit has been more present in our lessons. I LOVE TEACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!! There is honestly nothing that brings so much joy to my life! The gospel is so awesome and when you see people accepting it, there is a literal change that takes place within the person and they become so much happier with a different light about them. I wish I could do this for the rest of my life in a full time capacity like it is in the mission! 

Something awesome that happened this week is finding Adriana. It was a longer day that we had and we were going from fallen appointment to fallen appointment wondering why that was happening. We were just walking on the street talking about it and then we just decided to make a contact on a door we say. We stopped, clapped, and the most adorable toddler runs out with the biggest smile on her face followed quickly by her mom. We just started a conversation with her mom talking about her family and about her life and then she asks us why we are her in Uruguay. Right in the middle as we start explaining, she goes "What are we doing talking through these bars? Do you guys want to come in and sit down and talk?" We accepted the invitation. We talked about how we are here because the gospel of Jesus Christ has been the one thing that has blessed our lives more than anything else and how much happiness it has brought to our families. She then goes into her family story and explains everything that has passed in her family life and it hasn’t been the happiest of stories we have heard. We go into the first lesson and the spirit was super strong! It was so awesome! We went back the next day to teach her about the Plan of Salvation and she jumps right in asking if she could offer the opening prayer. It was such a great lesson. She asks so many questions and, as the lesson progresses, finds her own answers. She is so well prepared. We are going to go back again to teach her and her family today. Elder Owen and I are super stoked for the chance we have to teach her! 

We had an awesome lunch with one of our investigators this past week. It is a family of 4, all the kids have been baptized, and now we are working with the dad. He shows up to this lunch with an older woman (70 years old, mas o menos) and introduces her to us as one of the best family friends that they have. She also happens to be an extremely faithful member of the church as well. We had a great lunch with them surrounded by family and friends. I honestly felt like it was a family reunion back at home with the craziness as more people showed up at the end with about 9 people in a tiny kitchen with a table right in the middle passing food and talking over each other. It sounds kind of hectic but it was awesome. We are continuing to work with Ernesto and we are really hopeful for him. 

Jorge left this past week to go to work in another department so it’s been kind of hard to find him in his house. Kind of a bummer but he should be getting off work sometime next week so we can find him again. 

Well I am just about out of time! Sorry it’s been kind of short but I love you all so much! Thank you for all the support that you always give me and for all the prayers you send my way! 

Get out there and share your testimony! 

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

Con Cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mom, Family, and Friends:

This week was so awesome! I love Uruguay!

On Monday, we left to go down to Montevideo. We rode down on a 24 seater bus 8 hours with 22 missionaries. They way down was a blast. We left in the middle of the day and got there at about 9 at night. We slept over night in the Hostal del Templo. In our room were Elder Owen and I, Elder Finnegan, Elder Pulsipher, Elder Draper, Elder Harbold, and one of our zone leaders, Elder Aqueveque. It was a blast. It’s like the gang got back together from Temecula, ccm, and elders from my past zones. In the morning, we got up and studied the creation and the first part of the plan of salvation. We honestly had like a 3 hour scripture study session with president. Blew my mind how much stuff we learned. After that, we went in to the temple to make the 11 o’clock session. It was amazing. We came out with such a greater understanding of everything.

After the temple session, we ate lunch to break our fast and then went back in to the chapel to continue our capacitación de zona. We learned some new lessons and talked about the importance of planning. Sister Smith gave us a study journal and a sweet pen that says "Hoy es el Dìa: Misión Uruguay Montevideo Oeste." It was pretty rad. Now I have a new study journal too! WHoop Whoop. After we ended, we got back on the bus at about 7:30 to make the trip back up to Artigas. It started out pretty good, there may have been a few little pranks on sleeping elders, but then it just started getting really hot in the bus. So it wasn’t as pleasant. At about 1 am we hit this gnarly patch of road, it felt like we were off roading for about 30 minutes, in the middle of no where, no lights, not people, just campo and mountains. It was a Little bit sketchy but we got through just fine. We finally got back to the church at about 2:30 am and walked back home. We were in bed at about 3:15 and then got up at 6:30 to start the next day. That day it might have been a Little bit difficult to stay awake...

But all in all, it was an awesome experience! We all had a blast and learned so much. We got to learn so much more about what we can do as missionaries to help those we teach. We also got extended the challenge to talk to 10 people each (20 people per companionship) with 5 of them being guys over 18 every day. It was something that Elder Ballard challenged all the mission presidents to do so, in turn, pte Smith challenged all of us to do it. It has been pretty awesome so far.

This week was a really good week in our area as well. We could have done some stuff better but we will fix that this week. but a pesar de todo, it was awesome. We taught an awesome family yesterday. We had found them one day after one of our lessons fell through and we started making contacts around where it was. We clapped a house and found Jorge. He is 23 years old and his wife, Jessica is 24. Jorge is military and Jessica Works in a tienda and is finishing her schooling. They have a 3 year old daughter who is the cutest little thing you have ever seen. We talked to him for a Little bit and we found out that he had just gotten married 9 days earlier. He said that the missionaries had come by a few times in the past but they never came back. But yesterday we went in and taught them for the first time. We taught him the first lesson and explained the José Smith story to them and the spirit was so strong. He was shocked when Elder Owen recited the Fist Vision and when he flipped it over he saw it on the back. He was like "you just said that whole thing from memory!" We explained the importance of what happened that day and how it changed the world. The spirit we felt conveyed that to him as well. He participated in the lesson the entire time and had some really good questions. At the end of the lesson, we invited him to pray. He said that he had never prayed before and we could see that he was pretty nervous. We went over the steps with him like 5 times before he gained the confidence to do it. He offered a short, sincere prayer, pleading for his family. At the end, he was really grateful for having the opportunity to talk to his Heavenly Father and committed to pray every day for what he needs most in his life. We walked out of that lesson so happy. We knew that the spirit had worked in Jorge that lesson. We are going back today to present him the Book of Mormon before he has to leave on an assignment. Such an amazing family. They were an answer to our prayers.

Some random stuff that happened this week is that we were teaching this lesson out in front of a house and right in the middle, this branch falls of this 100 year old tree. As its falling, we see this cat clung to it and when it hits the ground, the branch explodes and the cat flies off and sprints back up the tree. We all just kinda looked at each other and busted up laughing.

Also, we went to go teach this contact we had made, an 82 year old man named Rojelio. When we were approaching his house, his wife gets up and limps into the house and we go and start clapping in front of his house waiting for him to come out. Then Elder Owen looks at me and goes “Hey Elder, what is that behind the tree back there?" I went over to where he was standing and I saw Rojelio standing behind a tree. We clapped again and just waited there. One more time, we clapped. Nothing. He stood there behind the tree. An 82 year old man was hiding beind a tree from two 19 year old missionaries. We kind just stood there and go " Rojelio! How are you doing?" He comes running (as best a man of his age can do) out from behind the tree and goes "my wife is sick, i have to take care of her, i cant talk to you" and then runs inside. We just kinda looked at each other and laughed and went on our way. Its stuff like that that makes the misión such a funny experience. But I think it a lot with your attitude about it too. I have learned to make the best and just love life out here. Life does not get any better than this!

I am so grateful to be out here. I love working here in Artigas. My companion is such a stud. I love Elder Owen. I have learned so much working with him. He is such a hard working kid. We get a long so well and we teach great together. He has helped me become a better Elder and want to push myself even further than before. We are always pushing each other and its been awesome!

Artigas is so great. Its a lot of work but that is what we are called to do. We love being out here.

Anyways, I have got to go. I am out of time but i would urge you all to read Alma 36 when you have some time. I re-read it this morning and it was awesome. Just meditate in it and think about how it relates to you.

I know this church is true. I know the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God. I have never gotten to feel so close to my Father in Heaven than by Reading this book. It has the power to change lives of those who do not know Christ and deepen the conversion of even the most faithful members of the church. Start today Reading everyday. You will notice the difference it makes in your lives.

I love you all so much! I hope you all have a great week!

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

Go share your testimony!

Con cariño,
Elder Staffieri