Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 01, 2014


This week has been so great. It has probably been one of the most unique weeks of my mission but it was great. I learned so much and had a blast. This past week we had the Charla Fogonera here in Paysandú so the assistants came up to help prepare. We basically had divisions with the assistants all week long and it was a blast. My comp was Elder Bulloch, who was my zone leader in Artigas. He is such a stud and a blast to be around. We spent all week working with the converts who were going to share their testimonies and traveling to different pueblos to work with all of them. It was such an enriching experience to get to go and meet all of these awesome converts. 

One convert, Karla, got baptized 3 years ago, then got sealed 2 years ago, and is now in the presidency of the sociedad de socorro. She shared her conversion and her testimony of the temple and of her sealing and of family history, tithing, service, etc. At one point, elder Bulloch and I just sat back in awe. She had the strongest testimony of just about everyone I have met here in Uruguay. She is such a stud! She spoke of all the blessings that she receives as she keeps persevering until the end. Then we went out to Young, a pueblo outside of Paysandú, to meet with alfredo. He is a baker who got baptized 2 months ago with his wife. He runs his bakery from the front room of his house. He bore his testimony about how the gospel gave him strength to overcome himself and his natural man. He testified of the process of repentance and the healing power of the atonement. He then explained how there is nothing more important during the week than Sunday. He talked about how before he was baptized, he always thought he could never get along without working Sundays, but ever since he committed to not work on Sunday and to comply with dia de reposo, he has never come up short on money. What he has gained working 6 days has been sufficient for his family. We also visited Lucia. She is an older lady who dedicates her life to taking care of disabled children. She has a daughter who is extremely disabled. She spends all day in bed because she cannot move her limbs as they have all turned stiff, she is blind, and doesn’t speak basically at all. She is 16 years old and is the size of a 7 year old. But she is such an angel. The hermana spoke about how she lives for her daughter. And she really does. She spends 24 hours a day taking care of her. Every Sunday, her son brings her the sacrament so that she can partake of it. She bore her testimony about the importance of always partaking of the sacrament every Sunday. we visited so many amazing people this past week that I wish I had time to write a little about each and every one of them but I don’t have the time to. Sorry! But if you have a little time, go and talk to the converts in your ward and hear their story. It’s probable that your testimony with grow too! 

This week we also found a woman named Laura and her family. And when I say family, I mean a family of 10 children. Ha-ha. It was insane. It was 8:45 at night and we were just about to finish for the night because we had a long walk back home and a whole lot of stuff to plan for the charla fogonera when we decided to keep working in the area we were. The second house we knocked after deciding to keep working, we found her. We had one of the most powerful first lessons I have ever taught in my mission. She explained that she had been searching for the true church but had given up because ever church she went to didn’t feel right and "didn’t fill" her as she said. Well we shared the restauración and the Spirit took the message to her heart. She felt like the joven joseph smith. She related herself directly to the experience that he had. Every single person in the room felt the spirit as she began to pray at the end of the lesson. I have never met someone so sincere in their desire to find the truth. It was so perfect! 

Other things that have happened this past week is that we helped a member move and the son of the familia mederos (quien se llama Daniel también) returned from his mission in Buenos Aires, who is super stoked to go out on visits with us. 

The charla fogonera went off without a problem! it was so great. I feel blessed to have participated in 3 of them! The whole stake loved it and the stake president is excited to have another one in the future. 

We also did some service for president smith this morning. We were just about to start our studies and he calls us to put on some old clothes and run over to his hotel. We get there and he had a popped tire and goes "id do it but I’m in a suit and late to go to mercedes" haha. We changed his tire nascar style and ran back to the apartment just a few minutes late for studies. Oh! And he told us that elder marín and I are going to teach the doctrine of Christ to our stake presidency and high council. So that will be a cool experience. Our relationship with the leaders in the stake is so great. They are supporting us a lot more than they ever have. Things are starting to change in Paysandú! whoop whoop! 

So my spiritual thought this week comes from a talk in sacrament meeting. It was a story that the hermana mederos shared. Ill copy and paste it and you can change the copy for something else if you like:

 A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one would pop up.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire, and soon the pots came to boil. In the first pot she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs and coffee," she replied.  Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft.  The grandmother then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell she observed the hard boiled egg.  Finally the grandmother asked her to sip the coffee.  The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma and then asked,

"What does it mean Grandmother?"

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water.  Each reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting.  However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.  The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.  The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they had been subjected to the boiling water, they had changed the water itself.

"Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter.

I love this story because it talks about the attitude that we have to our circumstances and how we react to everything around us. We have to learn how to manejar la adversidad, o sea, take control and make the best of it. (sorry, some things work better and spanish and idk how to translate them with the same strength o sentido en english). But how can we make the best out of adversity? One thing we can do is pray. Another is read and meditate in the scriptures. Another is partaking of the atonement al arrepentirnos cada dia y go to the church every Sunday to renew the convenos sagrados that we have taken upon ourselves. This keeps us strong and gives us the strength that we need to remain happy in our adversity. Attitude is everything. Everything starts and ends with your attitude. When life gets too hard to stand, kneel. Never give in. stand for what you know is right. Stick to your morals. And doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. 

I know that Christ lives. And because He lives, we can walk hand in hand with him. Through His infinite Atonement, everything that appears to be unjust with is rectified. He will strengthen us if we permit him to do so. He overcame the world to help us do the same. It is impossible to do it solo. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel to the earth. It is here in its plenitude! I know that the Lord is hastening His work because I can feel it every day! As missionaries today, we are so blessed to be part of this great cause. I know that without members, the missionary work cannot progress at the rate of the Lord expects. The Lord is hastening his work, and now it is just a question if we can keep up! The day has come; it is here, now is the time! Let’s get to work! I love being a missionary! Seriously the best two years! 

Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better! I love you all so much. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and for all you do to support me. I am honestly so grateful. I know that I don’t have a full picture of all that you do for me but I feel it. Thank you!

I love you all so much! 

Until next week!

un abrazo grande, 
Elder Staffieri

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