Sunday, April 27, 2014

This week was amazing! Working hard and loving every minute of it! 

Elder Vargas, my new companion got in to artigas on Monday night. We almost went to the wrong terminal to go and get him though. We were on our way to the terminal to pick him up in artigas and then we realized that he was coming from Rivera and was going to be coming into Brazil. We called a taxi and got over there with a few minutes to spare. We came home, dropped his stuff, and went out to work for the last hour of the day. Elder Vargas is a stud. We came here to Uruguay together a year ago. It’s been awesome to talk about what we have seen this past year in the mission and everything we have learned and how we can aprovechar of the time we have together. We have been teaching some awesome lessons. Elder Vargas is from Chile!! whoop whoop! We have 3 Latinos in my house now! I am the only gringo! yyyyeeeesssss! This is the first time in like a week that I have spoken English hahah. But he is a stud. We have been having so much fun together. 

The first lunch we had with Elder Vargas, the members planned a prank on him. The hermano invited us in as we pretended to contact his house and then tried to rob us. I am just going to leave it at that. It was pretty good. Elder Vargas got a kick out of it. 

This week has been awesome teaching wise. With bikes we are a lot more efficient but at the same time, we aren’t finding as much because we are flying to and from lessons. I think we are going to go back to walking or maybe do half and half because we need to keep talking to everyone to keep finding people to teach. And now we have acquired 6 bikes in our house hha. So we are going to start returning some. 

So happy Easter a few days late! Easter Sunday was really good in artigas. Super tranquilo. They celebrate it just the same basically as in the states. But it’s not as big. Like they do the whole Easter bunny thing with all that stuff but it’s not a huge deal. The have what they call the "semana santa" o "holy week" en ingles. It’s super sad though because the younger generation just knows it as "turismo" when they get a week vacation and they all go travel everywhere and don’t really know what happened this week or what it is important, we kind of got hit hard in the church because everyone was out traveling or visiting with family. There were only 49 people there. But the reuniones were really good anyways. After church, we went out on divisions with some youth.
I went out with Santiago. He is 16 and is a little autistic, nothing too severe but he can’t read, doesn’t really think straight, he has a hard time speaking and just kind of says whatever comes to his mind first, but he is such a stud!! I loved going out with him so much and learned a ton from him. Every time we went into a house and sat down, the first thing he did was ask who all was there and invited them all to come into the lesson. He was just so open and frank with them. The people loved having him there because he bore such a pure testimony of what he knew to be the truth and he shared it with such excitement for the work. We had an awesome time. While were were riding our bikes going to lessons he would always say "elder staffieri, hoy es el dia!" o "elder staffieri, today is the day!." it was just so awesome to be with someone that has that much excitement about the work all the time and just lives so purely. I honestly want to go out with him again next week. And after divisions we left with the relief society president to go out and visit some people. We had a super full day of teaching and had a lot of success. So it was an Easter full of sharing the message that our Savior aun vive, that Christ lives. ahh i love it so much! And some members gave us some chocolate too :)

On Saturday night we had an awesome ward activity! We all sang karaoke, danced, did the limbo, played a whole bunch of games, ping pong, etc. everyone loved it. We made some tortas fritas and just had a great time. There were members there who hadn’t come to church in months. They were making friends with the active members the investigators that came were well received. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see our ward coming together like it is. We may not be the biggest ward in artigas, but we are building on firm foundations, and I know that the ward is going to grow stronger and stronger. 

Well that’s all the time I have for this week. I love you guys so much! And congrats to Carter on his marriage! I am super pumped for you! 

Get out there and share your testimony! And let’s all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better this week! 

¡que pasen bien! 

Elder Staffieri

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This week has been so awesome. It’s been a little crazy but it makes it that much more fun. We have been working in 3 since elder Owen left to go to Montevideo. My comp still hasn’t gotten here yet so we have been working both areas. Thank goodness that we have bikes. We have been going back and forth the entire week depending on the lessons that we set up. Its been a blast! Its also been a great learning experience for everyone. I have been learning a ton from elder Espinoza about asking for references. That is something he really excels in. and we got a ton of references this past week. And the majority of them were in my area, así que, we are going to have a ton of work to do this week!

We have been trying to get better on our exercises too. Just do more cardio.  Every morning, we leave to go running or play soccer. We have been having a blast so far. We usually play with all the elders in my house, and the elders in the zone leader’s house and then Finnegan and pulsipher. Its an awesome way to start the day. 

This week we had a ward activity. We were sitting in planning last week and decided that we needed to start doing them more frequently. We threw one together really quick. We talked to a few members, got some speakers, got some music, a TV, a computer, and had a blast! After karaoke we started playing other games. Towards the end, the bishop showed up (he lives 2 hours away in campaña), and everyone got so pumped! The bishop was so grateful for the activity and is committed to doing more with us. Also as a result of the activity, member’s menos activos came to church. One is preparing to go to the temple now. Blessings! The mission is so awesome! We were so stoked how the members responded. Now everyone is so excited to invite everyone to other activities and even to the Sunday meetings. 

Funny story of the week. So the bikes we have are kind of...not the best. So we took them over to a shop to get them looked at. They fixed up the brakes as none of them had any. so we were riding down the street after lunch one day and elder Espinoza was talking to me and he goes "he watch this!" he was going to try to do a slide using the back break but he forgot what one it was and he jams on the front break and flips over the handle bars and takes the bike with him doing a front flip type deal and sprawls on the asphalt. The funniest part was seeing how his face changed from like "man this is going to be so awesome" to complete horror. hahahaha. Its only funny because he didn’t get hurt. All the people in the street got a good laugh at it too. We all picked him up and went on our way busting up laughing, all 3 of us. 

Last night I got to go on divisions with hermano Duarte, from the high council. After ward council he offered to go out with and teach with me so we went out for a few hours and had a great time teaching together. He was a missionary here about 23 years ago. He is a stud and still has the missionary spirit. 

Sorry but this is all the time I have for this week! I love you all so much! Have a great week and take some time to go out on visits with the missionaries in your ward and stake! Share a testimony with a neighbor.

Let’s try a little bit harder to be a little bit better this week! 

Con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Monday, April 7, 2014

CONFERENCE WAS AWESOME!!! I wish I could have time to write up all my notes but I am sure you all have your own. But i cant believe that conference already came and went. Some of my favorite talks were by Richard G. Scott, David A. Bednar, M. Russell Ballard, and of course, President Monson. I cannot wait to continue studying the conference addresses and sharing them with everyone here in Artigas! Who is pumped to start studying preach my gospel?? I know all of you are! WHOOP WHOOP!!! Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to the work of salvation!

This week was great apart from the conference as well! We had some really interesting charlas this past week, from the really spiritual to a youth that was in tears in fear of going to war with Korea...for no apparent reason...pobrecito. 

This past week we also had interviews! Interviews are a great chance to learn directly from president. We talked about focusing on teaching real doctrine. We read a lot in 2 nefi 31 as well as 3 nefi. We studied a lot together about what it means to really follow Christ. We also talked a lot about how to give feedback to our companions, leaders, districts, other missionaries, etc. Elder Owen and I taught in front of the zone and got a lot of really good feedback on how we can teach better. We had to leave in the middle of interviews after a call from one of the members to go give a blessing and president let us take his car ;) blessings of working in the office and getting a guayan license I guess. The blessing went extremely well for how serious the situation was. The zone leaders and assistants went with us. After, we went out to grab some lunch and then went back to finish the capacitation. Interviews were great! 

This week we also went to the extreme limits of our area, well our area doesn’t really have a southern limit so we have a giant area to work out in the campo. A member fixed up some bikes and let us take them out. We have never had so much fun in a long time. Also, I cannot remember sweating so much in my mission. But her son was showing us ex investigators and menos activos that live way out there. It was really good. We found some new people to teach and had some great lessons. We are going to have to start going out there more to teach them more consistently but it is worth it. 

I WENT TO THE DENTIST!!! I had a tooth that was bothering me so I talked to my stake president and he set me up with an appointment for this morning. We showed up and it was a small office behind her house. I was a little scared everything went good. She was a super nice lady and did a great job. We might be going back to teach her. 

So that would have been it for this week if I would have written about an hour ago...but there is more! so in the middle of catching up in my journal and writing some letters while elder Owen was taking a nap, we get a phone call from president. He told us that there were some problems in other parts of the mission and that Elder Owen would be leaving tonight or tomorrow morning. He is going down to Montevideo to go work in Oeste 10. I am going to be staying up here with Elder Vargas, who will be coming in from Rivera, for 4 more weeks and then next change, I am going to train. BBOOOOOMMMMM! haha what seemed to be a tranquilo day just turned into a lot of last minute running around. But its awesome. I am bummed that we aren’t going to have another change together and work here but I am stoked for Elder Owen. He is going up to senior comp in an area that is having a lot of success. He is going to tear it up. And I was in the ccm with Elder Vargas if I remember correctly. So it will be a blast working with him again. And now our house is: Un español, Un peruano, Un Chileno, y Un californiano. jaja. Its going to be a blast. All spanish from now on out. Got to love it! I am excited for this though. It’s going to be a fun challenge to get to learn from and teach with Elder Vargas and get to work here in Artigas for 2 changes more after this change. It’s the mission! Got to love it! 

Life doesn’t get any better than when you are in the service of the Lord. I am so grateful for this chance that i have to serve the Lord in Uruguay for these short two years. I have learned so much and hope to have helped at least some of Gods children. Everyone should go on a mission. 

Well I am out of time for this week. We have to go run some errands but I love all of you so much! Thank you so much for all the support that you always so willingly give. Get out there and share your testimony!

Try a little bit harder to be a little bit better! 

Con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

P.S. Don’t forget to study your Preach My Gospel ;) 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

This week has been awesome! But lets be honest, EVERY WEEK IS AWESOME OUT HERE!  I am so pumped to be in this ward again serving with Elder Owen. Last change we were getting to know the area, the members, the bishop and hiscounselors, the stake, etc, and now this change we are going on all cylinders. We have been a lot more organized in planning, diligent in the streets, and effective teaching.

The families we are still teaching are doing well. They are still having a hard time getting to church. It seems like Sunday is the day where everything begins to break down in the lives of our investigators. Claudia, the mom in the familia Machado, went into convulsions and lost part of her memory Sunday morning. Her husband said that it happens about once a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. She is just really sick and life is really difficult sometimes. But she and her family are doing so awesome. They are reading everyday, praying everyday, they have accepted the Word of Wisdom and are now living free of alcohol and coffee. They fully accepted the law of chastity and had a great testimony of things that have happened in their past lives that have helped them to embrace that law. 

Adriana is still doing well. She is really busy with her baby and has trouble feeling the Spirit in the lessons because she is constantly worried about her daughter running around in the house. We are bringing over the primary president and relief society president now every time we go so that they can help with that. We have been focusing a ton on the Book of Mormon lately with her. Every time we go, we try to read short passages and really meditate on what it says and how we can apply it in our lives. It’s so hard when you know that this book has the power to change her life, and she could be so much happier and feel the Spirit so much stronger as she reads and applies what she is learning, and she wont do it. I wish we could just go over there everyday to read 5 minutes with her but we can’t. We have been praying for a way we can help her. We feel really strongly about General Conference that is coming up! So we are going to do everything we can this week to get her there, a long with everyone else! I can’t believe that it is already here! Whoop Whoop! 

Alex is a stud. He reads everyday and is doing great with his prayers. The last time we went over to his house he had some friends over but he still invited us in. He turned off the TV and we sat down and had a great lesson. At the end of the lesson we go to say the closing prayer and he looks at us and asks "is it alright if we kneel?" MAN THIS KID IS SUCH A STUD! he gave the closing prayer, kneeling and praying for what he really needed in his life. He is such a great example for his family and for his friends. 

We were a little bit frustrated this week when they didn’t come to church but that just means we have to work a little harder to help them understand the importance of the Sabbath Day. And with conference this week, we are going to be working even harder. It’s like the Super Bowl for the missionaries jaja. We are going to be pushing so hard so that they are all there so that they can partake of the instruction we are going to receive and the Spirit will be felt there. It will bless each and every one of them as I know it will bless each and every once of us who go. There is nothing more important this Saturday and Sunday than Conference. 

This week i would just like to invite you to begin preparing to listen to the prophets and apostles, men called of God to speak His words, give His counsel, men called to be special witnesses of the Savior and of His loving Heavenly Father and to bless the lives of all who listen with a spirit of prayer and fasting. I encourage you to dig into your scriptures, read past conference talks, get spiritually ready to learn what God would have us do in these last days. 

I know that we have a living prophet on the earth today, Thomas S. Monson. I know that he holds all the keys to the priesthood power of God. I know that there are 12 men called of God to be His witness. I know that this church is true. I know that prayers are answered. I know that there is power in a testimony, no importa how small or simple it may be. Yo se' que hoy es el día!

I love you all so much! Thank you for all the support that you constantly give me. 

Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better this week! Go out and share your testimony with at least one person this week!

With all the love in my heart, 
Elder Staffieri