Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 38: The fruits of our efforts

Weeks fly by when you're having fun! This week we really started to see the fruits of our efforts in contacting. We found some great people to teach and we're hoping that we'll end this cycle with some baptisms! Every day when we get home and finish planning we crash in bed, but it feels so wonderful to return home without a single regret in the day. 

As I mentioned last week, the dreaded bed bugs have returned. They haven't infested to the extent that they had in my last area, but still annoying. I think that we'll be able to handle them, but for all the red itchy spots on my legs I'll just have to endure that until they fade away. 

Every day this week we seem to see or experience something very unique or different. Just little things, but things that don't happen every day. While we were walking down the street one day a bird flew into a window right in front of us and fell to the ground. 5 seconds had not passed before dogs came running from every direction. Another day we saw about 15 drunks passed out on the sidewalks, I don't know what the big event was, but they looked like they had quite a fun night *insert sarcasm*. Among other things that I'll save for the stories to tell in person after I return :) Don't worry, nothing dangerous, just things that I want to tell in person :)

My mind is all kind of a blur right now, I don't really know what to write. A lot has happened, but I don't know what I should write. 

My spiritual moment this week (there are many, but here's one) We were walking down a street that we have never walked down on our way to an appointment. When I felt like I should contact an older man standing outside on the sidewalk in front of his house. I pulled out a card of Christ and did the normal spiel, he listened intently and excepted a visit. Normally we put an appointment for another day to return, but I felt the need to ask if we could visit in 30 minutes. We had an appointment right then and they never are only 30 minutes with investigators. But we put the appointment and then heading on our way to our next investigator. Turns out she wasn't there, so we ran back and were able to teach the restoration. He's super humble and probably one of the most prepared people to hear the gospel that I've taught in my mission! He accepted the baptism challenge and is excited to start coming to church this next Sunday! It's such a privilege to be able to teach people like that in the mission! 

I really am enjoying my mission so much right now! It's hard work and all, but I'm super happy! Thank you for all of you emails! They really are super fun to read! Until next week! I love you all!

Elder Twede

Reading emails from home.

Father and son!

¨Is it any coincidence that the Oxford Dictionary recently proclaimed “selfie” as the word of the year?¨  
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

My shoes that I finally took in to get new soles. About time. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 37: I love training!

What a week! Possibly the best week of my mission yet! I love training so much! Especially training my companion elder Sanchez! He's super super awesome and we're working super hard! He's pretty much the perfect missionary and is super obedient. We get along super well and have had a bunch of great moments this week. You're all probably interested to hear about the earthquake. Yes. We did feel it. It was the most bizarre feeling in the world. We were sitting there studying in the morning when suddenly I felt like I got really dizzy because the whole room started swaying back and forth. But once I saw my companions face I realized that I wasn't the only feeling seeing it. I grabbed my camera and we ran outside the house. You can't really see how much it was moving in the video I took, but it felt like we were on a boat rocking back and forth. They reported that it was a 7.2, I expected that a 7.2 would feel a lot bigger... But I can now say that I experienced my first earthquake, I must admit that it felt way cool. The rest of the day my companion and I were saying that we wished we could feel it again. But it's probably better that it doesn't happen again, it shook up some of the people here pretty bad.

So I've talked about how making contacts has been something hard for me to do in my mission, well not anymore! We have practically talked to every person we see all this week! It's so wonderful! Now we just hope that we can find where some of the people live this week so that we can start teaching them! It's taking a bit of work to get the area up and running, but we're already seeing differences in the ward and we have a lot of potential investigators. Elder Sanchez is super humble and ready to serve the people here. He's constantly asking me what I think we can do to help specific people and it's clear that he already has developed love for the people in the mission.

We've discovered that we've been sleeping with our little friends again. At this point I almost don't even care that there are bed bugs in my bed, when we get home I'm so ready to sleep that it's the last thing on my mind. But my companion was a bit squeamish so we ended up putting chairs by my bed and both sleeping on my bed with our legs out on the chairs. It's wasn't the most comfortable night, but like I said, sleep is sleep and that's all that really mattered ;)

I've learned a lot about how to follow the promptings of the spirit this week. A lot of the time we try to express how we feel when we feel the spirit with our five physical senses. But the more that I've come to recognize the spirit, the less it's associated with how I physically feel. In Doctrine and Covenants 9:8 it says:
"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right."

The way that it says that we will receive an answer or feel the spirit is that our bosom will burn, but more importantly, we will "feel" that it is right. First it compares it to what we physically feel, but then that it's a feeling of truth within us.

In Heleman 5:30 it says:
"And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—"

The people in this story first relate it to something that they heard like a voice (Physical) but then go on to say that it pierced "even to the soul". To really learn how to listen to the spirit we must learn to listen with our spiritual ears more than with our physical. When we really learn how to recognize the spirit that is how we can truly be converted as it says in D&C 6:23
23 Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?

When we pray for an answer or seek the guidance of the spirit, it may not be some grand vision that we receive as an answer. More likely it will be peace that we feel, this is what we need to learn to recognize as the spirit working in our lives. Once we're able to learn to recognize that simple peace we will find the guidance to do great things. As it say in D&C 2-3
"2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.

 3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground."

Moses in these moments most likely didn't have some sort of grand revelation. He had learned how to recognize and listen to that simple peace by which the spirit speaks and was able to free the children of Israel. 

If we learn how the spirit speaks to each one of us individually and that most likely it isn't some grand manifestation, we'll be able to find that perfect guide in our lives. I have greatly felt the influence in my life this week. I'm excited to see where it will lead me through my life :)

Love you all!
Elder Twede


The things the sisters make us elders do ;)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 36: A Pretty Incredible Experience

Well this cycle comes to an end. Tomorrow are the transfers and I'll be senior companion and training! Yep! I'm gonna be a father! I still don't know who I'll be training, if he's a Mexican or an American. But I'm just excited to be training! Of course there are a bit of nerves... He'll be looking to me to know everything, and the fact is I still don't know a lot of things. But I'm excited because I know that I'll be learning a ton this next cycle. All I hope is that my new companion has the desire to work hard and everything will be great :)

This week we had a pretty incredible experience with our recent convert Beatris who just barely got baptized. They didn't go to any of the conference sessions and we were concerned why, so we dropped by on Tuesday to find out. Omar (husband of Beatris) came out to greet us and when we asked how things were going he said "mas o menos" and told us that they were having some issues at the moment. We asked if we could talk with his wife and when she came out she was pretty emotional. Turns out that they are having financial issues. My companion invited them to pray and study the scriptures, and if they did so with faith they would find their answer. 

The next day came and we started the visit out by watching the talk by David A. Bednar in this last conference. It lead to a great discussion and the spirit was super strong. Elder Reyes extended the invitation that they could share their testimonies in church the following Sunday, and then Beatris said something that made my heart drop. "I won't be able to come to church this Sunday."... What? We just had a super powerful discussion about relying on the Lord and keeping his commandments, and you're telling us that you don't plan on coming to church? We asked her why and she told us that the night before she had read a scripture and felt that she received an answer, the following morning she received a phone call with a work offer over the weekend. We asked her to share the scripture and she opened to D&C 59. When she opened to that section I got a bit confused as to what kind of answer she had received. She read verse 13 "And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full." and then told us that she believed she needed to fast. We both sat there just kind of smiling and told her to read from verse 9.

"9 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;

 10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;

 11 Nevertheless thy avows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;

 12 But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High,confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord."

She sat there for a while and then said " I know what I need to do" 

On Sunday they all came to church. She had turned down this job opportunity so that she would be able to keep the Lords commandments. I learned a lot of different things from this experience. 

1. We can always rely on the scriptures to help answer questions. I'll admit that I doubted a bit when my companion said that if she prayed and then opened the scriptures she would find an answer. I will never doubt that again. If we truly seek an answer from our Heavenly Father with faith, all things are possible. 

2. Satan can even tempt us with what appears to be a blessing from God. If anything requires us to do something contrary to the commandments of God, it simply is not from him. He will never bless us in a manner that will require us to break one of his commandments. Beatris believed that she had received a blessing with this job offer, but her blessings are yet to come. She first had to make the sacrifice, but because she chose to turn down the job offer in order to keep one of Gods commandments, I have complete confidence that the true blessings will come now. 

3. That my faith still lacks a lot. I have so much to learn in relying on the Lord in all things. This whole experience has helped me strengthen my faith! We really can rely on the Lord to fulfill all of his promises, if first we do our part.  

I'm excited to go into this next cycle with a new companion. Especially someone that is new in the mission! I hope that we can see more miracles like this one. 

I love you all so much! Thank you for your love and support! I chuckled to hear the family is finally going on a trip with the Simpsons while I'm on the mission. I hope that you all have a wonderful time! Take lots of pictures for me! The play looked like quite a success from the pictures! That sure would have been a fun one to be in. I definitely plan on continuing theater when I get back! 

Love Elder Twede
My hero pose when I found out that I'm going to be a dad! (going to train)

Week 35: Conference was FANTASTIC!

I am now done with 1/3 of my mission. That's really weird to think about! Today I was talking to a missionary that is in his first cycle and was giving him a bunch of pointers and then realized ¨I remember talking to a missionary that had 8 months when I got here and thinking that he had been here for a long time.¨ It really has passed by super fast!

Today we had our mission wide fútbol tournament, this time my zone didn´t win... But I still had fun. I made sure to put on sunscreen this time so that I don't wake up tomorrow looking like a lobster. I'm not very good at playing fútbol yet, I guess I haven't eaten enough beans yet ;) 

So, conference, or missionary superbowl as Bryce calls it. Seems pretty appropriate, except for I've never seen a superbowl so I wouldn't know ;) As always conference was FANTASTIC! The opportunity to listen to the counsels of the prophet and apostles is such a blessing. The first hour of the first session was in Spanish because they hadn't set the tv up before hand, but I'm at the point where I could pretty much understand it all, but it's still always better to hear the prophet and apostles own voices. Us English speakers get treated pretty well as they set up a TV in the high counsel room and we get the big soft chairs, a lot better than all the hard chairs in the chapel. 

One of my favorite talks was by Elder Ballard. He spoke of how everyone should study preach my gospel and write the missionaries about what they are learning. Some of the most enjoyable letters I have received while on the mission have been about what you are learning in your studies and experiences. It brings me so much joy, as the scripture says when Alma met up with the sons of Mosiah
¨therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethrein the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of sound understanding and they had bsearched the scriptures diligently,that they might know the word of God.¨
As my life at this moment is filled with opportunities to have spiritual and faith building experiences, I hope that my loved ones back home can enjoy the same opportunities to grow and progress in the gospel. I pray every single night that you can all have moments to increase your faith and love for the gospel. What would truly give me joy would be to hear of those moments in your letters :) 

Another talk that really caught my attention was Elder Henry B. Eyring on the importance of our heritage and the heritage that we leave behind. It brought me to thinking about my heritage, and the truth is I don't know the exact story. I know that I have a strong heritage from both sides of the family, but maybe you could send me some of the stories Mom and Dad? I would love to read them :)

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf´s talk on ¨don´t sleep through the restoration¨ was simply wonderful! This truly is a time that we would greatly regret later if we don't now fully participate. I feel such an honor to be able to serve in this day and age, the church really is moving forward in highest gear! We can´t even afford to take a quick nap right now! Or we´ll be left behind. 

I had so much more that I wanted to write about what I learned in the conference, but I left my notes at home... 

A lot of the times that we go to teach investigators, we're the ones that end up being taught. Our golden investigator right now Ruth is a single mom of 6 kids. Only the two youngest live in the house with her right now, but the rest all live with their families in the same block. I don't know the specifics of what happened, all I know is that her husband left her. But as we started the lesson with the prayer I was humbled to see someone so forgiving. She started the prayer thanking the Lord for her blessings, and than asked for specific blessings for her run away husband. Even though he hurt her badly, she still managed to not only forgive, but express love for this man. It was a humbling experience for me as I reflected on maybe some of the people that I should more easily forgive. 

I love you all so much! Thank you for the letters and support! Until next week.

Elder Twede

THIS. Is a mango

Eating between conference sessions. 

High council room watching conference.

Our semi-annual fútbol tournament. Our zone was the only one that didn't get the jerseys. We played in white shirt and tie. 

My twin brother Elder Huefner. We we're both trained together.

My zone