Monday, February 27, 2012

Have the miracles ceased?

My Dear Family,

Hey guys what’s up?  Thank you so much for your uplifting and inspiring emails.  I really have grown to love Mondays.  I love you all so much.  It sounds like you really had an excellent week.  I too had a pretty amazing week.  We truly had a miracle here in Dean Funes.

Alright a little bit about my week.  We were truly blessed this week.  First off, we had a baptism.  I’m sure that you are very surprised.  I didn’t know until Friday night!  This is what happened.  Her name is Juana Rodriguez.  She has been an investigador for a long time.  I think about 2 years.  Not constant though.  Anyways, the transfer before I came she was attending church and talking with the missionaries.  But her husband didn’t want her to get baptized.  She went on a vacation to Buenos Aires and lost communication with the missionaries.  Last Wednesday we were walking in the street to an appointment and she saw us.  Later we went by her house.  We asked her if she still wanted to be baptized and she said yes and how about this Saturday?  As you can imagine we were quite shocked.  So we scheduled the interview for Friday.  Our District leader came to do the interview on Friday and her husband had totally talked her out of it.  So the baptism fell through.  She told us to come back that night.  So after lots of prayer we went back to her house that night.  She told us that her husband is completely against it and will be very angry if she goes through with it.  But she said that all of her kids were totally urging her to do it.  So she decided to go through with it.  She said she was sure that her husband would come around.  What great faith huh?  So Friday night we had a baptism again.  Our DL came and did the interview and it all went really well.  I’m sending a picture of our baptismal font:

Yep it’s just a little pool that we put in the chapel haha.  My comp is at the back with the hose, on the ladder is our DL and the Elder diving in is his comp.  His name is Elder Soto.  When they did the interview he and I were on exchanges.  He told me his story of how he got on a mission.  He is from Buenos Aires and is 21.  When he was 15 the missionaries found him by way of his Girl Friend who is a member.  He knew it was true and wanted to get baptized.  His parents told him that they would let him choose but if he did it they would kick him out.  So he did it.  He was 15 and his parents booted him out.  He had no job or anything.  His girl friends dad was the branch president at the time and they let him live with them in a little shack in the back of their yard.  He expressed so much gratitude for this family and all the love that they showed him.  Ok this is my favorite part about it.  He found a job when he was 16 that paid pretty well, if he won.  He started to box.  He got really good and by the time he was 19 he was in a pro league in Buenos Aires.  Then he felt like he had to serve a mission and so he and his girl friend filled out their papers together. She just left this last week for Columbia.  He’s been out only 2 months in the mission.  Can you believe that?  6 years living in a little shack in the back of a house just to be a member of the church.  What faith.  It gets better though.  The Elder that prepared him to leave for his mission was my Zone Leader in the MTC.  Pretty small world.  I really hope that if I was placed with a trial like that I could do as well as he did. (I’d play professional basketball instead of boxing :) ).  But it really showed me that with the help of the Lord we can do all things.  He surely didn’t do it alone. Pretty cool story huh?

This past Sunday la obra misional?  Me, my comp and our mission leader spoke in church on Sunday.  We focused on Christ.  It was really awesome.  I talked about the pre existence.  One thing I learned is that even the name Jesus Christ has significance.  Jesus is of Greek origin.  In Hebrew it is Joshua.  Joshua means "help of Jehovah" or "Savior".  It’s a common name.  I think that is to show that all though he is a God, he is our brother.  Christ is a sacred title.  It means mesias in Spanish, I don’t know how to spell it in English.  It means "anointed one".  Christ is the only one that has the ability to work in the name of the father for the salvation of his children.  I really enjoyed it.  We really can draw nearer to our savior as we learn about him.

Thanks for everything guys.  I love you all so much!  Have a great week.

Love Riley!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When it rains people don't come to Church

Hey Guys!

I love you all so much! I really can’t describe my love for you all in words. It just can’t be done. This past week I have had a really great experience. You know when we have those moments of spiritual growth when all of the sudden a principal of the Gospel just hits you? I had one of those this week. I feel like my testimony has really been strengthened that FAMILIES are eternal! We are going to live together, forever! It really has changed my view of people. I feel like my faith has really grown. People have to get baptized to be able to enjoy this gift. It’s the first step. This is the entire reason that we are here on the earth. Anyways, I’m so grateful for all of you. Thanks for being the greatest family on earth, and in Heaven.

Mom I’m so so excited about the orphanage! I decided that the first thing I want to do when I get back is go and visit it. That would be so awesome. I won’t worry about Joseph and Olivia. I know that everything will be ok. This week I have just been so grateful for everything that we have. Not only our family, but our country. We are so incredibly blessed. As I meet more people and take a look around I just feel so spoiled and cant help but think that its just not fair. I hope that my whole life I will be able to give back and help others. I still haven’t received any mail haha. Surprise surprise. But I think that this Wednesday we will. So I’ll let you all know.

We had a good, but frustrating week. We taught a mountain of lessons and I felt like lots of success. But, apparently in Dean Funes when it rains it means you don’t go to church. We had 10 commitments of inactive families and investigadors. Not one came. It was pretty disappointing. I don’t know exactly what the lesson is, but we’ve just got to work harder this week. Success truly is a gift. The great missionaries of the Book of Mormon talk about how they are going to do this, this and this, that PERHAPS they people might come unto their God. We really need to do all that we possibly can so that our Father in Heaven can do his part. Sometimes we impede him believe it or not.
Success truly is a gift.

Ok, here are some pictures from my new area. 

The first is our apartment. Vidrios means glass. We live right there behind that big window. It’s pretty cool. But we are right in Centro so it’s always noisy at night and we have to sleep with the window open. But I like it a lot.

Ok our branch president and his wife are missionaries from Buenos Aires, remember? They had their 48th anniversary on Tuesday and a member did an Asado for them, and invited us too :). It was so good. This is me and my comp Elder Robbles with our sparkling apple cider.

The next one is of me, then from right to left our branch president and his wife, then the Hermano and his wife who made the Asado and then an inactive couple who came to church yesterday for the first time in years. It was really great.

Ok so with Rocio and Ana....  They are so great. I have really gotten to know them and they are so fun to teach. We had a really good lesson, but kinda frustrating. They said that they would get baptized tomorrow, but that they would do it for us - the missionaries. Not for themselves. If that is the case they would stay active for 2 days, maybe 3 haha. So we need to help them to find the desire. I don’t know exactly what it is that they need or what lacks. This week we’ll continue working with them. We really have a mountain of people to teach and that are so close, but they just lack one little thing here or there. It’s so frustrating sometimes! I have a good feeling about this week though. Thanks for everything guys. I really appreciate your prayers and all your love for me; yes I can even feel it here all the way in Dean Funes. Have a good week! I know that this is the only true church in the world, restored through Joseph Smith and has a prophet that leads and directs this church. I love you all!

Love Riley

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dean Funes

My Wonderful Family!

Alright my first week in DEAN FUNES! I really love it here. I’m so confused because every member that asks me how I like Dean Funes is really surprised when I tell them that I love it. They always get this confused look on their faces, like, oh really? But I really like it. We are lucky because we just got to move apartments.  Just down the hall so not too far. This time we live above a man that makes glass. He is really nice. The reason I say that we are really lucky is because the other one was bad... It didn’t have windows! It was like an oven in there. And also the shower was pretty bad. So now we have a big window and a good shower.  I am enjoying my companion. He is a really good guy. He knows a lot and is really good with the members. I was a little bit bugged with him at first but I have found that as I try to serve him I really feel more love for him. This place is night and day compared to Villa. WOW! We teach about 3 times as many lessons here than we did in Villa Maria. We have a baptism this Saturday for a lady named Nora.  Also she has 2 sons that are interested.  But we are working with them. In 30 minutes we have a lesson with them. Also right now we are teaching 2 girls that are 17. I was really surprised when I met them because they really are interested and always complete their commitments. They both really want to get baptized and know the ward members well, but they each have a family that is against it. Tomorrow we are going to challenge them with the baptismal date so they have something to work towards. Wish us luck. Anna and Rosio. They are awesome. I think my favorite part of my new area is meeting all the new people, and actually being able to talk.  It’s so nice and so much fun.  It’s like finally I can show my personality. 

I like my new district a lot. Remember Elder Edmondson? He was Elder Anderson’s comp in the MTC. He is in my District now so I’ll see him every week. Also we have 4 senior missionaries in our District.  The first 2 are Elder and Sis Maur. They are from Buenos Aires and he is the branch president. The other couple is from Arizona. The Hatches.  He speaks Spanish, but she doesn’t. I was really impressed how brave she was to accept this call and leave 39 grandchildren to serve the lord! Wow! They are really awesome.

I am really meeting some awesome families. The "Missionary Family’s” name is the Sanchez Family. They are so amazing. They really just made me feel at home.  Right when I got there they just sat me down, got out lots of food and some UNO cards! I feel like I have known them forever. But really there are lots of families here that are really special.

I went to church for the first time yesterday. It was incredible! Unlike in Villa Maria with a big pretty chapel, the church is a little cute house.  It’s so cool.  I  bet about 30 people went.  I really enjoyed it.  I have found out in the last week how much work there is to do here - A TON!  This branch has a mountain of problems and really needs help. They are really dependent upon the missionaries.  But I like that, its good to feel depended upon and to be pushed. I have really just felt like the Lord has something for me to do here.  I feel like more now than ever I just need to "thrust in my sickle".   More than ever I need to lose myself in the work.  More than ever I need to “Believe in God” (Mosiah 4:9). I just feel like I’m up for the challenge and that the time is NOW.  

We found out some sad news today. Let me tell you the story first. We were looking for this house the other day and a man sitting outside of a Carnaceria called us over (We found out that he owns it).  He told us that his wife is a member, and that he was listening to the missionaries awhile ago also. He gave us the direction to his house and then asked for something to read. We left him with the Plan of Salvation Pamphlet. Well this morning we got a call that he died this morning. Really sad! It made me wonder what all of this means. The Lord truly works in strange ways. It makes you wonder. 

Well I love you guys! Yes Dad you spelled gigante right haha. Thanks for everything. You are the greatest family of all time! I love you all. The church is true.

Love Riley