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

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