Thursday, May 29, 2014

This past week was so awesome! I love Artigas! Seriously this place is the best!! Always learning and seeing miracles. 

The cold started this week! On Tuesday and Wednesday it was pouring rain and bitterly cold. It came out of nowhere! For example, when we walked to church yesterday it was 2 degrees Celsius, which I think is around like 34 degrees Fahrenheit? I had to pull out my thermals, long sleeves, sweaters, and giant jacket for this past week. And we are only just getting started....whoop whoop! 

Bueno. So this week started out pretty good. Had an awesome zone and district meeting. And then had a string of divisions. Tuesday afternoon I went on divisions with Elder De la Cruz, one of the elders that lives with us to work in my area for the tarde. It was awesome: He is in his second change in the mission, so he is finishing up his training and is such a great missionary. We had a great day and i learned a lot from him as he testified to everyone we talked to. We had one of the most awesome lessons of my mission that night. Such a great experience. 

Then Wednesday, I went out on divisions with Elder Bulloch, one of the Zone Leaders in Artigas. We had a great learning experience. We started off the day awesome. We had a super powerful lesson with Jose and Mariana where the spirit was there and everyone felt it and Jose even accepted to be baptized! We were super pumped! Had some great contacts, great studies, practices, etc. but then in the afternoon, we had some awesome lessons, and some other lessons that were kinda just there. The spirit wasn’t there, we felt like we were just talking and giving a lesson to give a lesson. And then it happened again right after that. 2 lessons right in a row. I came out of both lessons feeling so bad. I don’t know why it happened but we both just felt terrible during and after the lesson. We talked about it after wards and asked ourselves and analyzed why that could have happened, where did we go wrong, what do we need to do differently, etc. and it was just kinda eating at me all day long. In the end, i don’t really have a straight answer yet. But i think it was because we had decided what we were going to teach before we went in and it wasn’t what they needed. We didn’t leave any room for the spirit to guide and direct us. The lessons that we taught was not the lesson they needed. It was such a humbling experience. But we ended the night strong with some great lessons before heading back to the house. It was one of the biggest learning experiences I have ever had in divisions. 

Thursday morning i woke up at 530 am sick as can be. I don’t think I have been that sick in the past 15 months. I was throwing up and my bowels weren’t too happy either all morning so I had to stay in. But after sleeping a few hours I felt a lot better and we left to work in the afternoon and had a great day! I have to learn to stop drinking the water from the faucet after it rains here...haha

Friday we had a great ward activity and SATURDAY WAS AWESOME! This past Saturday, Tamara y Taliha got baptized! And their mom and older siblings came too! It was such a great baptism. The spirit was so strong. There was a great turn out from the ward as well! They are such great girls! Examples for the ward and for their family. We are now teaching their mom and older sister for the example that they have set in their house. We could not have been more stoked Saturday. Words cannot describe...

Sunday was great. Church was awesome! The menos activos are coming back, the ward is coming together, everyone seems to be working together to help one another. The bishop is super excited. Bishop Rodriguez is such a humble man. He has been our biggest ally. He has helped this ward so much and is so eager to get out and visit with us. Every week he comes in from campaña to attend meetings and to go out on visits with us. He is with me in one of the pictures below. The bishop has come to be one of my greatest friends in the mission. 

A quick spiritual though from this past week that i have been trying to put into practice more and more this past week. 3 Nephi 17:1-3. Here Christ has just finished talking to the nephites and he tells them to go home and meditate what he has said and also teaches us how to do it as well. Before, I would always think as meditating as thinking and trying to figure out by my own understanding what something meant. But I love how He instructs us to ask the Father in His name so that we can understand. When we meditate, we need to think it out in our own minds as well as asking in prayer so that our understanding can be illuminated. And also towards the end, He tells us to prepare our minds for tomorrow because He will come unto us again. That made me think of 2 Nephi 28:30 and about how we are given line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. When the Lord reveals unto us thing, we need to take the time and ponder and meditate one what he has already given us. I feel like in my life, I have gotten so frustrated at times looking for more when I didn’t completely understand what I have been given. Just like a child asking for more food before he has finished what he has on his plate. Here in the mission, we are truly blessed to have the time to really study the scriptures over and over again. Even the smallest verses. And I have come to find answers just praying and meditating in a scripture that I have read 100 times. I love it! It is so awesome! And then after beginning to understand I have received more. One of my favorite quotes from Pte Smith is what he said to us as we were reading this scripture together when I was in the offices. There is a part where it says "le daré más" o en ingles "I will give more" and president smith just stops and shouts "EL SEÑOR TIENE MÁS!! EL SEÑOR TIENE MÁS PARA DARNOS!!" o sea "THE LORD HAS MORE!!! THE LORD HAS MORE TO GIVE US!" haha. It was so awesome. But it is so true. The Lord has so much more. If we put ourselves to study a little more deeply, to think and to pray over what we are studying or reading or feeling I testify that the Lord will give you more. He truly will. The greatest lesson that I have learned thus far and am still learning is the importance and power of scripture study. So my invitation for this week is that we can devote ourselves a little more to the study of the scriptures and also to the conference talks from last month. I know that as we do so, our minds will be enlightened and the Spirit will testify of the truth we are beginning to understand. Never be content with what you know. Always look for more. I know you will find it! 

Well that is all the time I have for this week. Sorry that I couldn’t explain everything that well. It’s a battle every week for time haha. But I love you all so much. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. 

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

And get out there and share your testimony! 

Con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Saturday, May 24, 2014

This week has been so awesome!!! Its starting to get colder in Artigas and it is well received for now. Its basically been perfect, about in the high 60´s low 70`s with a brisk breeze during the day and in the mornings and at night it gets pretty cold. But we are just getting a little taste of what is to come in the next few months. I remember last year I felt like I was going to die because it got so cold. I never expected to be freezing in South America but it gets down there.

So this week was a really spiritually uplifting week. To start it off we he had a great zone capacitation with the zone leaders and a few of the hermana trainer leaders. They talked about the importance of being obedient and how we can show more love for those who we are teaching. We had some great practices and leaned a ton. 

Then on Thursday, we woke up at 3 am to get on a bus to go to Tacuarembó to have a zone conference with 5 zones (salto, tacuarembo, artigas, rivera, paysandu) and elder and hermana zeballos. It was soo awesome!  They taught a lot about the importance of having the spirit with you as missionaries and as members of the church. They also talked about what someone needs to feel to be able to gain a testimony. Then pte smith and hermana smith talked a lot about prayer and how we can improve our personal prayers. It was something I really needed. I have been feeling lately that my prayers haven’t been as meaningful or powerful. I don’t really know how to explain it. Like I haven’t been feeling the spirit much in my prayers. But they talked about what it means to pray with faith and they shared a few scriptures and we meditated in what we could learn from them. I wish I had my notebook with me to share more about what really struck me. But it always seems like I forget it when I really need it haha. 

Then Saturday night, the bishop’s son got baptized. It was a really spiritual baptism and everyone loved it. There were a great number of family members there. I was asked to speak on baptism and it went pretty well I think.

Our area is going really good. Our investigators are so awesome. We have been seeing the hand of the Lord everyday. Tamara and Taliha are going to get baptized this Saturday and we are so happy for them. 

Well hey! That’s all the time I have for this week! But I love you all! 

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

Con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri

Sunday, May 18, 2014


We had changes this past week and I am training! So I got on a bus Tuesday night at 12:30 to head down to Montevideo to go pick up the new elder. We got down there and went straight over to the mission home from the bus station. We got there, got a little bit of capacitación and then went over in front of the temple to go meet our new companions. We all lined up behind our companions and sang called to serve and then our comps turned around and we all go nuts so excited to meet our new companions. My companion is named Elder Vasquez. He is from Chiclayo Peru and has 20 years. He played professional fútbol in Peru and gave it up to come out here on the mission.  He is the only member of his family and has been a member for 5 years. He actually moved from his house for a few reasons and is now living with another member family. He is such a great missionary. He has such a unique experience as a member and a powerful testimony that he loves to share with everyone. It is so exciting to see him get out there and share it with everyone. He is a really tranquilo guy but when he starts teaching he starts lighting up. As we have been practicing, he has been getting more and more confident and has been participating a lot more in the lessons. But anyways, back to Wednesday. After we met our companions, we took pictures with president and his wife and then got the chance to go through the temple together. It was a great experience. After the temple, we left to go eat lunch in the mission home and then we got on a bus to go to tres cruces to catch our bus out to Artigas. Our bus left at 6 pm and we got into Artigas at 3am. Got a taxi home, took a 2 and a half hour nap, and got up the next morning to get to work and had a great first day! 

It’s really such a great blessing to be working with Elder Vasquez. He has learned so much in the past few days that we have had together and I have learned a ton from him as well. I honestly don’t know who is learning more, elder Vasquez or me. haha. It’s been kinda funny too because there are words in Peru that they use all the time that are really bad here. So we will be in a lesson and he will be talking and will say something that is totally innocent in Peru and is super bad here and we have had some pretty interesting reactions. But little by little it is getting better. He has such a motivation to work. And he loves to go running in the morning too! So we have been getting a long so great. He is so willing to keep learning. We are so pumped for these next two changes we have together! WHOOP WHOOP!!

I got called as district leader again this change too which is always a great responsibility and a blessing to be able to serve the other missionaries. My district consists of 4 companionships, and they are all such studs! 

This week has also been full of miracles! Tamara and Taliha, the girls that are getting baptized the 24th, are doing awesome. We were teaching them this past week, and their mom (who has always rejected talking to us) was there and we invited her to sit in and listen to us and she actually came and participated. As the lesson started she was really reserved, but as the spirit touched her heart, she opened up and started to tell us her life story of how she got to where she is now and everything. IT WAS SO AWESOME!!!! I have never seen anything like that from her and I don’t think her daughters have either. And now we are teaching her mom a long with her daughters. 
After that, we left the lesson and went to go contact some references that we had received and on the way we contacted a lady walking in the street and she invited us into her house to talk to her daughter and husband. It turns out that they were investigators from another ward but they gave us some other references for their siblings and we set up another time to come back and visit their mom. Then we went to Alex. I think I have talked about Alex before. He is such a stud. I can’t write enough about this kid. But we went into to their house to teach him. As we sat down, you could kind of tell that they all had been fighting, Alex and his family. And we decided to teach the restoration and talk about the families. We invited his mom into the lesson and her friends as well and after that we had everyone in the house sitting in on the lesson. As we started, Elder Vasquez shared his testimony on how the gospel has blessed his family. It was so powerful. At the end of the lesson, after the Jose Smith experience, one of her friends asked how we knew that it was the only true church and he we could say it so confidently. We testified about the only way to know is through prayer and shared our personal testimony and story of how we got our testimonies of the church! At the end of the lesson, Alex prayed so that his family could know as he does. IT WAS SO POWERFUL!! And all of this happened in a day. Our week has been full of experiences like this! New missionaries bring blessings! aaahhhh the mission is so awesome!!!! 

Sábado we had a ward activity of cakes and pizzas. It was so great. So many people came and almost all of our investigators as well! We are really seeing some great growth in our ward. Sabado de mañana we went to do service to build a septic tank for some members. It was pretty cool. We were mainly just mixing concrete and passing it in buckets to the guys that were working in the tank. And after we had a meeting with our stake president to talk about the goals and game plan for our ward. 

And Sunday!!! MOTHERS DAYYYYY!!!!! AAAAAHHHHHH!!! It was a great day. Elder Espinoza and I taught gospel doctrine and then the bishop asked me in the middle of sacrament meeting to give a talk. So I shared a little bit about the stripling warriors and what they learned from their moms and then what I learned from mom and ended with the importance of scripture study. It went pretty well. After we went to lunch, and then went out to work. And the best part....TALKING TO THE FAMILY!!!! I was so excited to talk to you all on mother’s day. You all looked so awesome. I can’t believe that my 3rd call has already passed in the mission. But it felt soo good to see all of your faces again! 

This week has been so awesome and I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for this change. It’s going to be so awesome. 

Sorry but that is all the time I have for this week and I have to get going! But I love you all so much! I hope that you are all making the most of every opportunity that God has given you to make a difference. 

I know that this church is true. I know that Christ is at the head of the Church, guiding and leading it. I know that the priesthood power has been restored to the earth and that Thomas S. Monson holds all the priesthood keys of this dispensation. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families and that the ONLY WAY TO BE HAPPY is by living its principles. I love you all so much. I know you all have a testimony of what you know to be true and I encourage each and every single one of you to not fear and to get out there and share it! 

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

Until next week! :)

Elder Staffieri

Saturday, May 10, 2014

This week has been so awesome! I am not going to write much because I will talk to you on Sunday! whoop whoop! mother’s day is here already! I can’t believe that it has gone by that fast. It is insane. 

But this week was a great week for teaching and we have a lot of people that are making really good progress. One of which is named Hugo. I think I have already written about him but he has been surprising us a lot lately. He has been reading a lot more and has been praying, and has been even coming to church. He went from not progressing at all and we were going to stop visiting him to being really excited about the church. We are really excited to keep teaching him and see his progress as he grows closer to the Lord. 

Jose, the partner of Mariana, is such a stud. He loved the open house that we had in the stake center and has been participating a lot more in the lessons. He has been meditating while we teach and has been asking a lot of great questions. The last lesson we taught him was about repentance and everything we need to do to completely repent of all of our sins and be freed from the guilt and shame. We talked about baptism and we asked Mariana, who is menos activo, about her baptism. She remembered everything and testified about how great she felt, how excited she was. She said that she couldn’t describe how happy she was. We talked a little after that about all the blessings we receive as we follow the Lord. We are going over to teach Jose’s mom this coming week as well! 

Talia and Tamara have a baptismal date! They will be baptized the 24th of May. They are two sisters who have been coming to church since before I got here but their family has been against it. This past change, we have been visiting them a lot more in their house and we have started teaching their family. It’s a process that goes little by little but we are making progress. every time we go over there, we invite more and more to come and participate in the charlas. It started with Tamara and Talia, now we are teaching Adrian (her brother), their older sister and her sister’s husband, and we are working little by little to get to her mom. It’s been such a great experience seeing their progress and seeing the difference it is making in the household! 

Alex is doing so awesome! He was passing through some hard times this past week as there is little to no work cutting grass now as we are entering into winter and he has bills to pay to help his family out.  He called us an asked us to come over. He was really frustrated because he said that everything he was doing, it was like someone was stopping him for succeeding. Like, he tried to find more jobs cutting grass and he couldn’t so he asked his friend to borrow his horse and cart and went and cut a whole bunch of wood in a field and loaded it all up to sell. He said that he went around all day and didn’t sell a single piece. He was just really frustrated and didn’t understand. So we talked about trials and about prayer and faith, and about what it means to have real faith and to act. The next day, he found work in a mechanic shop. He called us so excited and so grateful for his Heavenly Father. Alex is such a stud! 

The work is going so great out here in Artigas barrio 4! We are loving every day and giving it out all! And the good news is that this week is change week and I get to stay another change here in this ward!!!! And i get the opportunity to TRAIN A NEW ELDER!!!! I AM SO STOKED! I cannot wait to get the chance to train an oro. President called us this past week. Elder Vargas is headed to barrio 6 en Artigas y me quedo con un nuevo elder! I am traveling down to Montevideo tonight to go and get him in the mission home and we well be traveling back up here tomorrow night and we will get to work Thursday morning a ful! 

Funny story of the week, actually kind of sad but here you go: we were teaching an inactive member this yesterday morning and it was going really good. He was telling us how he used to be ward mission leader and how he used to leave with the missionaries and how he worked so hard and burned through shoes working the elders and stuff. he really is a great guy he is just a little lost and as we were finishing up another menos activo walked in with a bottle of vodka to give to the man we were teaching. We all were just kinda like "nnnooooooo....." well we have some work to do with him. He says that he wants to come back so we are going to help him the best we can. It was just one of those awkward moments of the mission. haha. 

Well that’s all the time i have. I love you all so much! Have a great week! 

Try a little harder to be a little bit better!

Get out and share your testimony! 

Con cariño, 
ELder STaffieri 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

AAHH this week was so awesome!! I love Artigas! I love the mission! It is honestly the best 2 years! 

I will start off with some funny stuff that started this past week. On Tuesday, after district meeting, I went out on divisions with Elder Bulloch, one of our zone leaders. He came to my area and we had a great day, I learned so much from him, like how to ask better inspired questions and being more direct with the people we teach. He is such a stud. We talked a lot about the way we teach and everything. We even taught a lesson sharing the same chair to invite more people into the lesson, and it worked! They filled up all the empty seats. If you prepare the setting, they will come. It was great. and we had a great planning when we got home and we stayed up talking for a while, and then right in the middle of the night, we heard our companions phone go off. We thought to ourselves, "what the heck? who is he texting right how?" so we got up to go check, and right as we walk into his room, elder Espinoza gets up, flips on the light, and gets on his knees and starts praying. We were super confused for a minute and then realized that he thought the text tone was the alarm and that it was morning, and started cracking up. We asked him if he was ready to get working out after he finished his prayer and went into our front room and started setting up p90x. He got dressed, came out, looked at his watch, and looks at us, back at his watch, back at us and just turns off all the lights and goes back to bed. ha-ha. We started busting up laughing. The little things make life so much better haha. He was a good sport about it though. 

Another thing that happened was elder Vargas and I were teaching a lesson this past week with a menos activo family, the familia rodriguez. we were teaching Brian, and the lesson was going great, the spirit was strong, we were teaching super well, he was into it and then his little sister comes out and goes "hey, i can finish here, you can go get started on your homework" and he gets up and goes inside and she sits down in his place. Elder Vargas and i looked at each other and then back at his sister and just started laughing so hard. It was funny how she thought we were there for us. We obviously have to start changing things up with this family so we can change that belief they have. It’s a work in progress I guess. But we started a new lesson and taught her. 

Oh and I met someone up here this past week during a contact and he said that he had a buddy that moved to the states to a town called Temecula. And then I told him that that is where I was from and then he asks me if I knew a man, member of the church, named Juan Sanders. And I couldn’t remember if I did or not but it sounds pretty familiar. So if you guys know a man named Juan sanders, your friends in artigas mandan saludos. Small world... 

So this week we had an awesome actividad in the stake center. It was a type of open house tour of the stake center with all of the organizations talking about their function. It was super awesome. We had a few investigators who came. One of which is named Jose. Jose is the spouse of a menos activo, Mariana. They came with their two baby boys. One is 18 months and the other is 6 months.  They walked over 20 blocks to get to the stake center in the cold with their two sons in different strollers. They were one of the first people at the activity. Even though their older son was running around crazy, they both really enjoyed it. Jose said that he felt really good in the church and even gave us references to go and visit his mom and others. Mariana also loved the activity and was talking all the books and folletos that she could. I think that it really helped them understand what it is to be a member of the church and how the gospel blesses the family. They were really excited as they left. Also, later in the night, we had a giant blessing. Hugo came to the activity as well. Hugo is the spouse of the family Vasquez. His entire family moved to Montevideo to find more work and it left him in Artigas alone. And he has been a whole lot more receptive to the gospel now. He has been reading, praying, and on Saturday night, it was the first time that he stepped into a church. He felt the spirit super strong and had a lot of questions at the end. He missed church on Sunday and was really bummed about it.

But the activity was really great. At the end, when we were all cleaning up, the zone sang happy birthday to me. It was pretty awesome. I can’t believe that I am 20 already. Time is flying. But then at the end of the night, we all took a picture doing the "elder Staffieri pose" ha-ha. I will send it next week. It’s pretty hilarious. But my birthday was awesome. We saw some miracles and got out to work. It was an awesome day. 

Also on Saturday, one of our investigators, Alex, asked us what he had to do to get baptized. It was one of the few times anyone has ever asked me that ha-ha. We were so shocked. We were riding our bikes down the route and he was cutting lawns and he stopped us and that was the first thing he asked us. He is such a stud! His only problems is he has a hard time getting to church. He plays soccer and all of his games are on Sunday. But we pray that the season will come to an end soon and he will look into other teams. But we are working with him.

And there goes all my time to write. I love you all so much! I hope that you all have a great week! Sorry that this is getting wrapped up so fast but we have got to run! 

I love you all! 

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

Con cariño, 
Elder Staffieri