Thursday, January 21, 2016

Week 20 - "I KNEW there was someone in Chametla!"

Scripture of the Week: D&C 6:36 -- Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

Such a great week this week! I truly know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. I know that He is aware and each and every one of His children, and that He wants the best for each and every one of us. 

Remember the guy in the car that stopped us last week in Chametla? Well, he is truly a miracle that has been placed in our path. We headed out on the bus to Chametla on Wednesday, and we got to his house, and it wasn't just him, but his wife, son, and nephew! We were able to talk to them about why he contacted us, how they got in contact with the missionaries, and lots of things. They are truly a miracle sent from Heaven. They moved here recently from the mainland of Mexico. He is in the military, and in some areas they live as families in private areas only for military. And in that area, there was a member that the sisters were visiting, and one day his wife was heading to this member´s house, and so were the sister missionaries. And so the sisters talked to her, and the wife ended up going to church twice there and also had a couple lessons with them. But they moved here in the past few weeks, and didn’t have contact with the church here. And so we taught them on Wednesday, and the lesson was so great, I invited them to be baptized, and they all said yes! They came to church yesterday and they are all just so great! It was quite a miracle.  I’m getting goosebumps writing this!! It is so cool. We are thinking to invite them to be baptized on February 6!! I am so grateful to be able to be a part of blessing this family with the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through them, I have been able to feel how much God loves His children. It makes me so happy to be able to bring the happiness I feel from this Gospel into their lives. I know it will change their family forever. They are such precious souls of God, as each of us are. I know God is aware of all of us and He loves us all. 

I was able to do my first “divisions”, or missionary splits this week. And so my companion, Elder Islas, stayed in our area, and I went to another area in La Paz with Elder Alvarez, and Elder Alvarez´ companion went with Elder Islas in our area. It was so cool to be able to learn from other missionaries! I felt the Spirit really strongly throughout the day, and Elder Alvarez really helped me strive to be a better missionary! This week we were also able to do some service at the church, doing some landscaping and cleaning of the outdoor area of the church. It was a lot of fun, and afterwards, the ward cooked up some heavenly carne asada tacos <3. 

I am so grateful to be serving here in La Paz as a missionary, and each week I feel more and more the love that God has for me, and for all of His children. I have been able to see the fruits of our hard work here in this area, and I know that as we continue work with all our hearts, we will be able to bring more souls unto Christ so they can feel the same joy we feel. 

Elder Daines

Pretty Skies

Breakfast with the Boys

Officially a Packers fan (despite the loss).

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Week 19 - New Transfer, New Hopes!

¡Hola hola hola!

Scripture of the Week: Helaman 3:35 -- Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." 

I had a pretty good week here in La Paz, beginning a new transfer here, with a new companion, Elder Islas. He is pretty good! We teach pretty well together. He has almost 18 months in the mission. He is a little timid and quiet though. But I took advantage of it, and I was able to interact with more people this week, and contact some more people in the streets! 

We had some more success this week in finding people to in their homes; people are finally calming down from the New Year´s parties. But we also had another holiday on the 6th, which was Día de los Reyes Magos. We had quite a bit of Rosca, it was pretty good! This week I guess was also the week to take down the Christmas trees--we helped take down three Christmas trees with members and investigators this week! It was a good time, but I personally felt kind of sad. Putting away the Christmas decorations is like putting away a piece of my heart. I loved Christmas time so much this year, and putting the Christmas decorations away is just a reminder that it is no longer Christmas. But I’m keeping the Christmas spirit in my heart!

This week I had some pretty neat experiences. On Wednesday, we ate out in Chametla, a pueblo of La Paz, and there the streets aren’t marked or anything, and it seems like dead. We don’t go out there too much. We arrived at the member’s house a little early and she still wasn’t there, and so we decided to go looking for some people to talk to! I remembered one time over a month ago, we taught a lady out here. After walking for about ten minutes, we were about to turn around and head back, when I was looking down a street, and I said, “its this way.” We then walked down that street, and I turned down another, and all of a sudden I stopped in front of a house, and I knew it was the one. We knocked, and I felt a little nervous, but it was the right house! It was incredible. She answered and we had a great lesson. More than the lesson though, I just felt so blessed that I was able to be guided to find it, there was no way I could have done that all on my own. And on our way back from that house to go eat, a car stopped us, and rolled down its window, and the man started talking to us, and he asked us where our church was, and we set an appointment with him. I was a little sad when I didn’t see him at church on Sunday, but as we were about to leave, an Hermano told me that he was in the other church building and he was there! He couldn’t find our building, but was still determined to go to church! Really cool experience, and I’m super excited to meet with him this week.

Don’t have too much time left, but I had a good week! I wish we were having more progress with the people we are teaching though. This week I am looking forward to hopefully seeing some miracles in finding new people to teach, that are waiting to receive our message, and just don’t know where to find it. I know that if I have enough faith, I can see miracles happen in this work!

-Elder Daines

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Week 18 - Party for New Year's Day...or week?

Hope everyone had a great New Year's celebration and had lots of fun! 
We had a lot of fun here down in La Paz, people down here really now how to celebrate the new year: with food. Lots and lots of food. And as the title shows, they don't just party for New Year's Eve in the night, but people celebrated for days. It was crazy. 
Because of the craziness of the atmosphere down here in this past week, we were not able to find most of the people we were teaching at home. The streets were pretty much dead! It was unreal. It was nearly impossible to find people walking on the streets, and so if our plans failed with the lessons we had planned, we were not able to find people to invite to learn more either. Ultimately, for our safety, and to be a bit more productive in finding people in their homes, we spent some more time with members this week. I ate so much food this week, including, (but not limited to) lots of rice, beans, chicken, and menudo, pozole, and so much more. For those of you that may not know (like me when I ate it), menudo is a soup that contains cow stomach. It´s surprisingly pretty good! I only lost my appetite a little bit after I found out what it was that I had just eaten. 
In other news, we found out this past Saturday that Elder Padilla is getting transferred out of the area, and so he is no longer my companion ): . He is so great, after just a few hours of not being with him, I already miss him. It was so sad saying bye, but I have a new companion now, named Elder Islas! He is from Mexico City and has 17 months in the mission. I am pretty excited to have a chance to work with another missionary and learn from him. 

But anyway, on to the most important thing of the mission: the blessings and miracles that God gave to us this week. This week we were walking by after having a lesson fall through, and we decided to stop by the house of an investigator. It turns out it was her birthday! She opened the door to us, and she let us in, even with all her family there! We were able to teach her, along with her family, about the basic principles of the teachings of Jesus Christ: that we have a Father in Heaven that loves us, and that He loves us so much that He gave us His Son, so that we can be guided in this life. 
In other instance, just yesterday, we were walking to church, and we passed a man that was standing on the sidewalk, and I felt I should have talked to him, but I just said good morning and was going to keep going. Instead of me talking to him, he contacted me! He asked us a couple questions, and we were able to explain our basic beliefs in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He explained to us that he was looking for that source in life to be able to have true peace and happiness, and I was able to testify to him that the only true source of eternal happiness is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is found in this church, and then we invited him to come to church with us (which began twenty minutes from that point). He accepted the invitation and came with us! And it was one of the most powerful church services I've felt, as we were able to see members from the congregation testify of their belief in Christ. 
I am so grateful for the many blessings that God has given me, and the blessings that God gives to all of His children on the earth. He is aware of each one of His children, and wants all of them to be happy, because he loves us all! I know that so often we can feel lost and confused and even unhappy with our lives and the way the world may be, but God has a plan for all of us. He has provided a way for us to enjoy increasing happiness! I know that this plan is real, that the fullness of His plan of happiness is found in this church, and that He loves us all. 
Have such a wonderful week! 
Elder Daines

"The zone." 

"The District." 

"My cactus friends and me." 

Week 17 - Feliz Ano Nuevo!

Hey everyone!! Happy New Year!
I know it's not quite the new year yet, but I figured it's better to start now rather than wait till the 1st to do it, so I have a new goal! I'd like to share a scripture that I have felt was special to me during the week. This week I found a scripture in the Book of Mormon, in Mosiah 5:2, which is the response of the people, after having heard the prophet speak, and it says, "And they all cried with one voice, saying: yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." I loved this scripture so much because it describes the change of heart that they have, and their change is so strong that they have no desire to do evil, but always do good. I have really been focusing this week and striving to gain that change of heart, and this scripture has been really meaningful to me, and I hope it can be the same to you!

I hope you all had such a wonderful Christmas! I definitely did. On the 23rd we had the opportunity to go with Santa to sing at an orphanage, which was a ton of fun! We played games with them and gave them candy, and it was so fun! They were so happy and it made me so happy. On Christmas Eve the ´G´ family invited us over, and we had so much fun! We had a ton of food! We ate cochinita, lomo, spaghetti, mashed potatoes, and chocolate chip cookies, and probably more that I can´t remember haha. It was so good! I had a lot of fun. They had all six of us missionaries over. We were also able to talk a little bit about why we celebrate Christmas. It was so great to be able to have a family to be with at this time, as I was able to reflect on being with my own family at this time of year! On Christmas Day we had lunch with an hermano from the ward and he let us use his computer to Skype our families after we ate. It was such an incredible experience to be able to talk to all of them and just see their beautiful smiling faces and hear their voices. I was so overwhelmed with emotion when I first saw them, I miss you all so much! But I know you are all happy and doing well at home in Wisconsin. And I was also so grateful that the packages from the fam arrived just on time this week, thanks for everything! Especially the Reese's, there is a severe lack of those here in Mexico. 

On Saturday, we had the pleasure to baptize the two younger brothers of Alicia. Alicia has been such a wonderful example to them, and she has been helping us teach them in these past few weeks, and on Christmas weekend they were able to be baptized together! It was such a wonderful experience. I was able to baptize one of the brothers, and Elder Padilla baptized the other.  It was so cool! It was the first time I was able to baptize someone, and I was kind of nervous for that, and to make it harder, it was in Spanish, but it was so great. We got out of the water and he had the greatest smile on his face. It was so amazing. I want to be able to have experiences like this every week! Baptism is so important, and it is just the beginning. It the first covenant, or promise, that we make with God, that we are willing to follow His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a way to show our faith in Him, and it is the gate to so many more blessings! One of the greatest of them is the gift of the Holy Ghost, which the scriptures promise us, will be our guide. I have felt the Holy Ghost (Spirit) guide me when I needed it most. I am so grateful that God has given me this gift and that I have also been able to bless other people´s lives by giving them the Holy Ghost as well. 

We had such a wonderful week here in La Paz, I really love it and I am so grateful to be here. It is so wonderful to be able to be a missionary here, and to witness the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not only in my life, but in the lives of others. I am really excited this week to be able to start a new week and be better than I was last week! We are really hoping that we can finish out this week strong, because it is the last week of the transfer, before they change where missionaries are serving. This next 6 weeks is the last 6 weeks in the mission for Elder Padilla, and we are really hoping we can have a great week this week to prepare to have a great next transfer! We aren´t sure if he will be leaving or not, but either way, I have been able to learn so much from being with him, and we are going to work our hearts out this week!

I hope you all have a happy new year!! 

Elder Daines

"It's not what it looks like..."

"The packages arrived just in time!" 

"Skype-ing with the family!" 

"The wonderful baptism!"