Thursday, December 17, 2015

Week 15 - We Can Do More

¡Buenas noches! 

I hope you all had an amazing week, and were able to ponder on the importance of our Savior, Jesus Christ, in your lives. 

This week has been full of miracles, just like each week! We have been trying to work more with the members in this past week, and we were able to see the blessings truly come from it. We visit this somewhat less active woman, and she is raising her grandkids, and one of the two grandsons is not a member of the church. In teaching a lesson to her, we asked her if in our next visit she could invite her two grandkids to join us. And they did! They are both so great. They have picture books for the Bible and Book of Mormon that help them learn better, and we have assigned them things to read from there, and the next visit, they tell us what they learned, and it is amazing each time! They learn so much, one of the grandkids even told us from memory what it says John the Baptist ate and what he wore haha. I feel like a dork sometimes when Im with them, but I cant wipe a smile off my face when Im there (which I guess is a good thing, right? (: )! I was able to invite the oldest grandchild to be baptized and he excitedly accepted! It makes me so happy to see these blessings coming to families. 

We have also been teaching the hermanos de Alicia for the last couple weeks, but they don't always focus too well, so we've been praying to find ways to improve our teaching with them and help them understand what we teach. And we were able to find some things to do to improve our teaching to them. We had a really great lesson with them this past week about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I was able to invite them to be baptized, and they accepted! They are planning on being baptized the 26 of December. 

We had our Posada, or Christmas Party this week, to celebrate the birth of Christ, as a ward. It was a really great experience! We had some investigators come, and also several members bring friends, which was really great! And we had piñatas, which is always a good time.

This week has been full of miracles, just like each and every week. It is truly such a blessing to be a part of God's work on the earth today. It is incredible to be able to see children of God spark a desire in their hearts to come closer to Him. I know that this is God´s work, and I know that I am called as an official representative of Jesus Christ, and His Church. But I know I can do more. We had a Zone Meeting this week that the Zone Leaders decided to call (Zone is an area of missionaries), and we assessed how we are doing in the work. They really motivated me to not limit my faith and my expectations and hopes. I know that I have done good things, but I know that I could have done more. There is always more we can do! This week I am promise all of you that I will be better this week, and I will report next week how it went! You have my pinky promise! Haha. Would just like to end with sharing with you all that I know God loves us, He loves all His children, and He wants all of us to return to live with Him again. And He has provided us the way to do so, which is through His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Gospel. In this Gospel, in these teachings, we will find greater happiness than in any other place we search in this world. It is the only place that we can find not temporary, but eternal happiness! How great does that sound? Eternal happiness! 

Have an awesome week everyone! 

Elder Daines

The wind up!

It's Christmas in La Paz! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Week 14- Ha Nacdio Un Salvador

Hey there!

Its been a super great week! Coming into this week we had several appointments set for each day, and we were really excited to be able to teach a lot of people this week. Sadly, the vast majority of the appointments that we had fell through, people either were not home, or they were busy, etc. It was a little disappointing to have them all fall through, but we still found ways to be happy! We were able to find some more people to teach again this week, which was really good! Though the original plans we had fell through, God truly provided a way for us to be able to fulfill our duty, and find more people to bring unto Him. 

The Spirit of Christmas is truly in the air here (at least for me, haha)! I love it so much. We are already singing Christmas songs in most of our lessons with investigators, there are some houses with lights up, and oh my goodness it is just so great! I've been able to do some more studying about the birth of Christ in this past week, and it is so amazing! I am so grateful to have a Savior. The Church came out with a new video called, Ha Nacido Un Salvador (A Savior is Born--video below). It is so awesome. I am so grateful to have the knowledge that we have a Savior. Because of Him, we can be happy! Not only happy for a little bit, but for forever! Ahhh I just love the Christmas Spirit so much!

We were able to have a really great experience this week. Since the two new sister missionaries arrived, they have been teaching the 9 year old girl from the family we found a few weeks ago. It was so amazing, they were able to teach her everything and she said she wanted to be baptized this past Saturday! And she did! It was so amazing!!! What made it even better was that her father was able to baptize her. Such a special and spiritual moment for the whole family, and us too! Haha. I was able to see that God truly provided a miracle for us that day a few weeks ago. It was just a normal day and we were going about looking to find some less active families, and at the time we had no idea we were going to find the family, nonetheless, someone that had yet to be baptized. It was truly a miracle. God blesses us each and every day. And I am so grateful that I was able to be a tool in the hands of God to bring this whole family together into the Church, and they are preparing to be sealed together in the temple, so they can live together forever! I feel so blessed to have been given this incredible opportunity. 

I hope you all have an amazing week and can truly remember why we celebrate Christmas. We have a Savior. I know it is true, and I love it. 
Elder Daines

A Savior is Born


"Get that corn outta my face!"


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Week 13 - Miracle on Palenque Street

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend with your families and friends. Sadly I wasn't able to do anything to celebrate Thanksgiving, but it was nice thinking about how much fun all of you must have had!

I had such an awesome week! I am feeling much better from being sick last week, and we were able to begin working in our new-ish area this week some more which was nice. It is nice to have some more time to focus in a smaller area where we can find more of the people the Lord has prepared for us, when otherwise before we may not have found them. 

We did quite a bit of finding and contacting this week because most of the people that we were teaching were in the other part of our area that the new sister missionaries have. Id like to share a cool experience I had on Saturday. In my personal scripture study in the morning, I was reading about the Miracles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also thought about what our mission president, President Velez always says, ´miracles should not be something that we see every now and then. We should be able to recognize miracles every day. There are scriptures that explain that if miracles have ceased, it is because faith in God has ceased. I decided I needed to have more faith in God. 

And so I left our house that morning with a renewed determination to be more faithful, by truly being happy in the work by sharing it with people we see in the street, and to be more hopeful. We were looking for some old investigators on a particular street, which is called Calle Palenque, and we found a couple of them with help from some people sitting outside their houses. After we found the old investigators, we talked some more to the people sitting outside, and we ended up being able to have a first lesson with two of them, in which we were able to share basic principles of the teachings of Jesus Christ, that they have a Heavenly Father that loves them, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God ,that families can be together forever, and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is restored on the earth. It was so great. I found as I listened to them with love I was able to identify their needs and share my testimony with them. As we were finishing up, another neighbor came out and started listening, and then he asked us for a pamphlet, when church was, and when we could meet with him. It was amazing! Something little, but for me, it was the miracle that I needed in my day to increase my faith. 

I believe in a God of Miracles. I believe that through our faith in Him, that we can work miracles and also experience miracles. God works miracles because he loves us all, we are His children, and He loves us. I am so grateful for this knowledge. I am so grateful for this Christmas season we have to remember the birth of the Son of God! How wonderful this time of year is. Everyone is so happy. I love it. I love life! I love being a missionary. And I love this Gospel! I love you all! 

Elder Daines 

Week 12- First Baptism


I had another great week here in La Paz!! This week we had quite a few pretty cool experiences! 

This week we found out that some sister missionaries are going to be arriving to our area, and so our area is going to be split into two. Which means we are losing most of our investigators and the less active members that we are teaching. It is pretty sad, but its also really great because that means the work is progressing well here, and now we can focus even more on the work in a smaller area, and can teach more people! 

On Thursday we were able to have a Family Home Evening with the miracle family we found last week. In this FHE, our goal is to help them grow closer together and also learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were able to teach them about the importance, and the blessing of prophets, especially modern day prophets! It was really great. Their nine year old daughter asked questions too. It was so great. The two children gave the opening and closing prayers, which was great! So humble and simple, and sometimes they needed help from Mom, but it was spiritual to experience! And FHE isnt FHE without a game, so we played ´Signs´ at the end, if you dont know what that is, Im sorry. I explained to them what it is, and understood it, but they werent very good at passing the signs. It was pretty sad, but also hilarious to see how much they struggled, haha. 

I was also able to do some service this week, painting a couple houses! That was pretty fun. Sometimes I felt like I was making it look worse than it did before though, haha. Oh well! It looked good at the end. 

Another great thing was that on Friday night we had Noche Mexicana, where a bunch of members from all around La Paz gathered together to celebrate the Mexican Culture. Of course like normal here from what I have seen, we started about an hour late haha, but we got to see some Mexican dances, songs, and at the end we had some food! We were able to interact with some investigators and less actives that came which was pretty great, and also got to meet some missionaries that meet in the other Church building! 

Then the cherry on top for this week, we had a baptism on Saturday! My first baptism in the mission! Alicia was feeling pretty nervous the couple days before the baptism, but she got to the Church early and was so excited! She was able to be baptized along with three other people that got baptized too! It was such a cool baptismal service, and at the end they all shared their testimonies of what they believe concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Such a cool experience.

Only rough part of the week was that after the baptism, when we got home, I started to feel sick, and I ended up in the bathroom half the night throwing up, until I literally had absolutely nothing left. I was heaving nothing for what seemed like forever. I literally had nothing left, it wasnt fun! I went to Church the next day, which was rough. I hardly got any sleep, and I felt awful, and some people told me I probably had dengue, which scared me. We decided it was best we go home so I could rest. I ended up sleeping almost 16 hours! It was unreal, but it was necessary. I feel much better today. I think I just got food poisioning from something I ate. But feeling almost completely better today, to which I am really grateful!

Sorry to end on that note haha. But again, overall my week was really great! I am really excited to be able to continue to preach the Gospel in this area and continue bringing people to Christ. I know that this work is the work of God, and that there is no greater work we can do in this life. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be an official representative of Jesus Christ, called of God. I know that this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I know that living this Gospel will bring not momentary happiness, but eternal happiness! More happiness than we can find in any other place in the world. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know it is the true Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today.
I love you all and hope you all have an awesome Thanksgiving!!! I dont think Ill be able to celebrate with y´all, so enjoy it for me! Eat lots of turkey! 

Elder Daines

The 96 year old legend! 

The miracle family! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Week 11 - God loves His children


I had such a wonderful week! Each week I grow to love the missionary service more and more. I absolutely love the people and opportunity I have to dedicate all of my time to the Lord for two years of my life. There truly is no greater happiness than the joy found in serving others. 

I have many experiences this week have increased my faith in Christ and my love of this Gospel. One: this wonderful old man. He is 96 years old! He was just baptized a few months ago, but he already has such a strong testimony of this Gospel! He can still walk, but uses a walker. We got to his house just as his daughter was dropping him off, and we walked with him to his door. Its a few hundred feet away, and Elder Padilla told me it would take 15 minutes, and I thought it was an exaggeration, but it was no lie! It was incredible to see. But he is so happy. He told me of how much this Gospel has changed his life, compared to what he was before. And I just felt so grateful for his example to me. There is really no time to worry about the littlest things in life that so often bother us. The purpose of this life is to have joy! Why live life unhappily? 

I also have truly grown to love the time I am given to study the scriptures each morning. It is one of my most anticipated times of each day. I love it so much and am always disappointed when I have to stop. I was reading in 2 Nephi 31 in the Book of Mormon this week, and I was pondering about the importance of enduring to the end, or being faithful to God and His commandments for our entire lives. I began to think about it as a marathon (yes I miss running a lot). Just as marathons have a starting line, boundaries, race officials, and water and snacks along the way, God has given us many tools to help us in this life. The thing about this marathon though, is that it doesn´t matter how many times you fall, how many times you lose your way, how much help you need along the way, or how long it takes you to finish, the reward for all who finish the race is the same. If we run the race God would have us run, he promises the same gift to all of us, which is the greatest gift any race official could give, which is the gift of eternal life. To be able to return to live with God, Jesus Christ, and our families, in complete happiness, for all eternity. 

God loves His children. We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. This simple knowledge changes lives. God is aware of all of you. He knows your struggles, weaknesses, and circumstances. We tried to find a family this weekend that is in our church records, but nobody knows them. We went to their house and they did not answer. As we were about to leave, a car pulled up. It was them! They said they didn’t have too much time, but invited us to come back on Saturday! So we came back, and again they weren’t there. We were kind of bummed, we thought that they actually wanted to talk! We walked a couple hundred feet down the road, and guess what. There they were, driving home again! They apologized and allowed us inside. We were able to talk about when they were baptized a few years ago when they lived in Mexico City, but when they moved here, they didn’t come to Church. They just got busy with this crazy life. The missionaries here had never found them. But both times that we came, we ran into them at the perfect moment. God is aware of us and He loves us all perfectly. I felt prompted to invite them to not only come to Church, but as I testified of the truthfulness of this Church, I felt I should invite them to prepare to be sealed together in the temple for time and all eternity as a family. Doing so allows them to be a family not only in earth, but forever. The Spirit was so strong there. I know that God has prepared my companion and I to contact this family and bring them back to His Church. They came to Church on Sunday and loved it! We are going to have a Family Home Evening on Thursday and I am so excited for it! They have a 9 year old daughter that is not yet baptized and so we will also get to prepare her for baptism! 

The experiences I have had this week have not only answered my prayers, but gone well beyond what I could have expected. I know that God is our Heavenly Father and that He loves us all. He wants to bless us all, but we must come to Him! By obeying His commandments He will bless us more than we can possibly imagine. I am so grateful to be a full time representative of Jesus Christ. I know that this is His Church. I know it is true. I know that this Gospel changes lives. 

Elder Daines

My companion: Elder Padilla

My new sheets! 

Our house! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week 10 - La Paz


It has been an awesome week. Some news to start off: I got transferred mid-transfer! I left from Culiacan on Friday morning to the Baja California, and I am now serving in La Paz. I truly came to love the people in Culiacan, and right when I started to feel comfortable, I got moved! But in the last couple days I have been here, I have already come to love the people here! Here in La Paz it seems more like home to me! The people here are so incredibly loving, everyone. When we are waiting to cross the street, the cars stop for us, literally like every time! Everyone is willing to take time to talk to us. The members here are also so great!!

My companions name is Elder Padilla! He is from Barranquilla, Colombia. He has 20 months in the mission already. He was baptized in the church three years ago! He left on a mission just over a year after he was baptized. It is so crazy! I love him so much already! We are already becoming like brothers, and we really have a strong connection. He is a really loving and caring person to everyone we talk to, and is a great worker. He is such a wonderful example and trainer to me. I’m now living in a house instead of a teeny apartment, which is kind of nice! It feels more home-y. Sadly though, there are still cockroaches. But I have gotten better at not freaking out every time I see one. Still trying to gain the courage to kill them.

We had a great experience on Sunday to see the children in the church here sing and talk about their faith in Christ, as part of a Primary program. It was so amazing and spiritual to see these little children bear simple testimony to know that God and Jesus Christ live, and that they love us. So simple, but so powerful. We also had an amazing first lesson with an investigator yesterday. She read a church magazine and loved it, and she wants to learn more. We were able to talk about how God knows and loves her, and wants the best for her family. She is so receptive to our teaching and she gave an amazing prayer at the end. We are going to return to teach her again this week!

We also have an investigator with a baptismal date in a couple weeks! Her and her little brothers came to church for the 4th time this past Sunday! She is doing great and we are having a lesson with her and her family tonight. The members are so willing to help us with lessons, it is so great!

I also had a great personal experience in the past couple days. I miss home a lot and all my friends and family, and sometimes it is hard to think I wont see them for so long, so I prayed for help, and it came. I felt love and comfort from God to know my friends and family are doing well and my companion talked to me and helped me. The time we have as missionaries seems long as 2 years, but compared to eternity, it is nothing! I need to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, and I will be blessed for it! Just like all of us. This life is so short, but it is our time to prepare to return to live with God. We need to continually try to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and if we have faith in God, he will pour out blessings upon us. I would like to reemphasize what I talked about last week. This life is meant for us to be happy. There is no reason we need to dwell on the struggles we have, just be happy! Just love life. 

I love you all so much, and I am loving being a missionary, and loving life!

¡Hasta luego!

Elder Daines 

Culiacan Tomateros

My district in Culiacan

They tell me I have already gained weight....

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 9 - Finding Joy in the Journey

¡Buenas tardes!

I can´t tell you how many times I have said that this week. I love saying hi to people. I may be a little nervous still to tell them about the Gospel, but I can always be a good reflection of what a missionary is like by simply saying hi and smiling at them. I say hi to just about every person we pass. But don´t worry, when we see people that we feel we can talk to about the Gospel, we jump at the opportunity. I have taken the lead on some of them this week and it is really pretty awesome. Wh
​en people say yes to accepting a time to hear our message, it makes me so happy--because I know this message can change their life, no matter who it is.

This week in my companionship study, we sang Yo sé que vive mi Señor, or I Know that My Redeemer Lives, and I just felt overcome with the Spirit. I know that He lives. I can´t see Him, but I can feel His presence when I testify of the truthfulness of this Gospel. It´s such a simple statement, but it is so powerful. And because He lives, I have such comfort to know that I can live with my family forever. I testify that Jesus Christ lives today. 

We focused more on involving members this week, and so we did quite a bit of visits )(or trying to visit) members this week. We testified to several families in the ward the importance of member missionary work, and we were ale to invite them to find friends or family members with whom they can just show more love! The best way I can show my love for others as a missionary is by being like Christ. Always serving others. There is no greater joy or happiness that comes than from serving. And the best way I can think of to serve people, is to teach them that they have a Father in Heaven and a Savior who loves them, that they have purpose in this life, and that they can live with their family forever.

I had an eye opening experience this week. I haven´t been able to run hardly at all on the mission, which I expected, but I translated my love and drive for running into the missionary work. For any of you know that know me, if I put my mind to something I am going to give it 100%. So that it was I have been doing. I have been trying to be 100% obedient and be the best missionary I can be, but I kept finding myself displeased with myself, or just unhappy. I talked to my companions this week, and they advised me that I need to allow myself to be happy. I need to enjoy this work. I was so focused on being so serious and focused, that I was forgetting the central part of what we teach: happiness and hope! I have found in the last couple days that as I allow myself to be happy and to enjoy the journey, that I love the work that much more!

Don´t get so focused on doing everything you have to in life, that you forget the central purpose of this life--to have joy. Be happy. Smile more. and Have fun. 

I love you all so much!!

Elder Daines

"Late night stretches" 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week 8- Member Missionary Work

Howdy y´all!

This week flew by! It seems like just a couple days ago I was writing about my first week in Mexico.
I have learned a lot this week about my duty as a missionary. It is kind of hard for me to get the courage to contact people in the street and ask if they would be willing to meet with us and learn more about Jesus Christ and His teachings. It is so much easier to say ´Buenas tardes´and just let them go by! But I realized this week, that that is exactly what I shouldn´t be doing. I have felt so much peace, happiness, and even joy from the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and there is no reason that I shouldn´t want to share that with others. I have gotten better this week at getting the courage to speak to people and bear simple testimony about God´s love for us, and the blessings that can come from this restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
On a less formal note, every night when we get back from our proselyting, it has become habit for me to drop my bags in our study room, then begin the search for cucarachas (cockroaches) in the kitchen. Its normal to find about 5, and so sometimes I get the courage to kill 1, maybe 2; but most times I say, "Elder Velez, tengo un trabajo para Ud.! " And then he kills them, then I sweep the dead devil up and put it in the garbage. It is a nice little system. I repay Elder Velez for his services in quesadillas. 

We had some really good lessons this week! We stay busy with visiting less actives, having lessons with investigators, and doing contacting in the streets. But I´d like to share a short experience I had in one lesson with a great lady. She has two young kids, and her husband serves in the military. We were able to share a lesson about faith in Jesus Christ. I was able to testify of the blessings that come from having faith in Jesus Christ. I know that as we show our faith, He will bless us. He always has His hand extended, we just have to come to Him.

I also had a really neat experience in sharing a spiritual thought with a sister in our area after eating lunch in her home. I shared Mosiah 4:9, which describes that we simply must believe in God, and believe that He knows better than we do. As humans, we tend to rely so much on ourselves. But we must humble enough to recognize that God knows better than we do. God has a plan for each and every one of us. All we have to do, as the scripture says is believe in Him. Believe Him. Believe He has a plan for you. He will bless you as you do that, I promise you. I have seen the blessings from doing so in my own life. So much happiness in relying on God!!

We had Stake Conference this weekend which was way good! Elder Ortiz from the Area Seventy spoke, as well as President Velez and his wife. We had an adult meeting on Saturday night, and then the normal one on Sunday. It was really really cool because the whole focus was on missionary work, ESPECIALLY member missionary work. I want to share a couple paraphrased and (attempted) translated quotes. ´Missionary service allows us to feel the love that God has for each of His children´. President Velez talked about all of the RMs (returned missionaries) in our stake, speaking directly to them. He was relatively straight forward when he said, "Great, you´re a returned missionary. What are you doing today to continue this work?.....Members have an equal duty to do their part to share the Gospel with others....Missionary work is not completed in this world until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ." Elder Ortiz talked about the importance of having members work with missionaries in going to lessons with investigators, and loving the investigators. That is so huge. If members don't do their part, so often the investigators don´t feel included. The work is supposed to be hastening, we live in the last dispensation. What are we all doing to be a part of hastening the work? It is our duty to share the Gospel with others. We should want to share the blessings we have with others. We have no right to deprive people of the blessings of this Gospel. D&C 123:12 says, 

´For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—´.

I promise you that you strive to come closer to God you will be blessed! For those of you reading this who are members, share your beliefs with others. It is not just a suggestion from God, it is a commandment. And a blessing. For those of you who aren´t members and always dread reading me saying these weird things about what I believe: yes I know they are weird. But I know that they are true. God loves you. Jesus Christ is the Savior. He died for us so that we can be clean and be happy, not just in this life, but forever!

Love you all! Have an awesome week. Seek to find God´s love for you each day this week.

Elder Daines

"I've still got it."

"The missionaries in my ward (area)."

"My companions Elder Velez, & Elder Henderson"

"First haircut in the field! At home!"

"I felt so cool walking through here!"