Monday, March 19, 2012


Buenas Tardes a todos!                          19 March 2012

Well it is that time of the week once again. It feels just like yesterday that I was here in this same computer emailing, but another week has come and gone full of great experiences. We had a really great week over all. We did have some pretty crazy trials and weird things happen to us, but we were able to overcome those things and finish our week strong.
The weather here has been really nice until yesterday. Basically for the whole week it was in the 60's and we were wearing short sleeves and walking a lot, but Sunday morning we woke up to snow! (Which was not very funny!) You got to love the crazy Utah weather. So we thought that it was just going to be a one day thing, but this morning we woke up to snow once again. We are hoping that it will go away today or tomorrow and the nice weather will come back, but we will see how that goes.
Sr. George Temple In the Spring!
We were able to have our semi-annual temple trip as a mission this last Wednesday. (SEE PICTURE)  It was really good, and something that I really needed. I can always feel so much peace when I go to the temple. You can really feel that it is the Lord's house on earth. I remember just sitting in there and the whole time I felt like time stopped -that nothing was going on outside of the temple, that I wasn’t a missionary, but I was in the Lord's house and was learning from those sacred things. It is a feeling that is unbelievable. 
The biggest lesson that I learned this week was that the Lord truly provides for his faithful servants. As I said before, we had some struggles at the beginning of the week. We dropped 2 investigators that we were teaching, because they weren’t interested in doing anything or changing. We also had a family get evicted from their apartment and move out of state. So it was pretty hard to see 4 people that we supposed to be baptized be gone just like that. We were really wondering what was going to happen to us this week or how we were going to be able to find people to replace them, but the Lord provides a way to be able to accomplish His work.
You may remember the family of five that I talked about last week, the Calvario family. They are still going strong and progressing really well. We were able to invite the three kids to be baptized, and they accepted to be baptized of the 7th of April. I am really beginning to love that family so much. Bro. Calvario actually said something that was pretty cool and showed me how strong his belief in the Lord is. He said, "If someone came and offered you a million dollars, of course you would take it. The missionaries are here to help you and are offering you something that is worth way more then a million dollars. It is priceless what they are offering." Eternal salvation in the kingdom of God really is priceless, and it can only be obtained by following the principles and ordinances of the gospel.
We also were able to find another new investigator, Tanya. (Pronounced TAN-ya) She actually requested to meet with us. She has been going through some really hard times lately, and she knew that she needed to bring Heavenly Father into her life. She basically grew up in a semi LDS home, but was never baptized. She wanted to meet with us to learn more and to change her life around. We are definitely excited and willing to do that. She accepted a baptismal date for the 7th of April as well. I know that the Lord truly put these people in our path and He is there helping us to continually find His children and help them return to the fold of God.
We also had a pretty intense lesson with this kid named Carlos last night. He has a baptismal date for the 24th of March, but says that he still hasn’t received his answer. So last night we had a lesson just asking him questions and trying to understand how we could help him. The thing that changed the lesson was when his step-dad, who is a member, just opened up and started to bear his testimony. We have never really heard the step-dad say anything during the lessons and has always just been a silent listener, but yesterday he let it all out. After his testimony, almost everyone in the room was crying, but especially Carlos. Carlos expressed that he really wanted to have the same feelings that we all have; to have the happiness and peace that comes from the gospel. So we all knelt down and Carlos offered one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard in my life, asking to know if these things are true and that he would be able to recognize the answer. So we are really praying for him, and hoping that he can receive that answer and can be baptized this weekend. So keep Carlos in your prayers.
Well if those experiences weren’t good enough for one week, we also had two BAPTISMS!!!!!!!! Alma and Joselene (pronounced Jocelyn) were baptized on Saturday. It was such a great feeling to be able to have those baptisms. It was a great experience that Elder Pedersen and I each got to baptize one and to confirm one of them. It was a great feeling to be able to stand in that baptismal font with someone that I was able to find, teach, and help enter into the waters of baptism. I have said it before, but unless someone has experienced that, they won’t know the true joy that I am feeling right now. I am not going to lie, it was a pretty hectic time right before the baptism, but we made everything work and the ordinance was done by the proper authority, the Priesthood.
I was able to have my first Spanish baptism here in Cedar City. I was also able to baptize Joselene in Spanish, so that was a pretty cool experience as well. The confirmation was the thing that was nerve racking. I have only down one confirmation ever in Spanish, and that was about a year ago. So this time around I was more prepared with my Spanish, but I was still pretty nervous. The cool thing was that after I started to confirm Alma, my nervousness went away. It was at that point that I knew that it was the Spirit talking and not just me. After the confirmation, we also had to speak in the Spanish branch. We were given the subject of temples. So it was a pretty good subject that relates to missionary work.
My joy is full this week and the experiences are going to keep coming. I know that I am going about the Lord's work and that He is providing for me at this time. I wouldn’t trade this time in my life for anything!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!

con todo el amor en el mundo!  ELDER D

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Being POSITIVE, That is KEY!

Saludos de Cedar City, Utah!                       March 12, 2012
        Well the week has gone by super fast, and I still have the reality of my mission flashing before my eyes. This week was definitely a lot better than the week was last week. I think it has to do a little with our positivity. Even though things were falling through all around us, we stayed positive and we worked so hard this last week, and we definitely are starting to see the blessings. I like to think of it that we "weathered the storm", and now we are in that peaceful moment where the rescue comes into save us. The Lord is the rescuer and He provided us with some blessings and opportunities to teach and find. I am just grateful for a new week to continue to move forward and to progress.
        Well we have some pretty cool miracles to talk about. The situation with Selene, really hasn’t gotten better or worse. She still isn’t married and we really don’t know when that is going to happen, so we asked her if we could have her permission to baptize her daughter. I know that it was hard for her to say yes, because she really wanted to be baptized with her, but she agreed that we could baptize her daughter. The blessing came in the form of Selene's mother, Alma. She lives there with Selene and Jocelyn, and we have taught Alma off and on but not very consistently, and she agreed to be baptized with Jocelyn this next weekend! So the drought of baptisms will be over this next week! It was such a good feeling to be able to walk away from that lesson knowing that we are planning for two baptisms this next weekend and they are completely prepared. The Lord is truly merciful to His faithful servants!

Another miracle that we had was we found a family of five that is really willing to listen to us. The only problem is the distance to their home. They live in a place called Parowan, which is about 15 miles away from Cedar. You wouldn’t think that 15 miles was very far, but when you have a mileage limit for the month, those 30 miles there and back really add up. But they are super sincere and really ready to learn. There are three kids in the family, and they are really paying attention when we teach, which is kind of unusual. When we usually teach a family, the parents pay attention and listen, but the kids are just off in their own world. So it really is a blessing to have received this referral for this family.

This week we had a bunch of meetings. We had our monthly meeting for the zone leaders with President Leonard at his home, and then we had a leadership training the next day back in St. George. One funny thing that happened on our trip to President's house; was that we stopped at a stoplight on St. George Blvd.(one of the main roads in St. George). And randomly I heard a knock on my window. There was this random guy there yelling, "ROLL DOWN YOUR WINDOW!" I really didn’t know what to think. I thought he was either going to try and rob us, or spit on us or something. But what he actually did was not expected. I rolled down my window and he throws a $20 bill at us and yells, "Lunch is on me Elders!" and runs back to his car. It was so unexpected and we just couldn’t stop laughing the whole rest of the way to President's house.  
       At the leadership training I learned a lot about love. The whole day was just an aftermath of that meeting. I finally realized the amount of time and thought that we, as missionaries, put into our investigators. We are continually praying for them, studying for them, and trying to discover how we can better help them. The love that we feel as missionaries towards the people that we teach is a love like none other. I have shed more tears for those people I teach than I have in any other moment in my life. It was a proven fast on that Thursday as well. I felt that after that meeting I was really in tune with the Spirit and was truly seeing every person that we taught that night as Heavenly Father truly would see them. I was brought to tears that evening by some very little things, but I truly knew and felt the love of God with each person we saw.
         I also hit my 18 month mark this week! I still can’t believe that I am 3/4 done with my mission. I still remember the day I went into the MTC thinking that I was never going to make it out of that place, and now here I am, 18 months later. The mission is truly flashing before my eyes! This next week should be another week full of blessings and miracles as well.
         NEWS FROM HOME:  Mom, thanks for filling me in on things that are going on at home. I am quite jealous that you had Chicken Broccoli Bake. (Chicken Broccoli Bake is our Family’s favorite!) It makes me hungry just thinking about it! Well I still think it is funny that Chay is having "Momo withdrawals". It was bound to happen, but she will be able to get over it eventually. (Since Emma, Keith and the kids moved out, Chaylyn has been calling me telling me she “wants her Momo.”  I suggested to Chad that he will fall in love with the kids all over again.  They have changed so much in two years!  Bryson will be 5 in May.  Chay was almost 2 when he left.)  But I know that I will have no problem falling in love with them all over again. I just am scared that they will make fun of my English.
        Well I hope all goes well this week! I know that I am in the Lord's army and I am serving Him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength! May God bless all of you!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!  de tu misionero gordo,  ELDER D

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Life of a Missionary! Ups and Downs in the same week!

Buenas tardes!                  March 5, 2012

Well it has been another week, and I still cant believe the time passing by so quickly!  I am going to be straight up - this week was pretty tough on me. We have had a ton of struggles and disappointments in our area. We just keep seeing good things come to an end, and people who say they don’t want to meet with us, but most of all we just haven’t had a baptism for a long time. That seems kind of selfish, but there is a lot of pressure to baptize in our mission and especially when you are leadership. We are supposed to set the example for the other areas, and we just haven’t been able to get a baptism. So all of these things combined have gotten me quite frustrated lately. There is always good in the weeks, and of course there was for us too, but I just think that the bad out weighed the good this week.
One miracle we did see this week was from a 14 year old girl. We started teaching her family about 2 weeks ago and we didn’t really see it going anywhere, but not my mind has changed. We had about 3 or 4 lessons with her family, but only 1 with her joining in. We came back and found out that she had been reading from the Book of Mormon every night before she went to bed. When we then asked her if she prayed about what she read, her response was a very quick, "Yes I did." We then asked her how she felt when she read and prayed and she responded that she felt very good and that she believes what she read was true and that Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God. We eventually invited her to be baptized on the 24th of March and she accepted. The only problem I can see for that not to happen is her parents. Her mom is not very interested and her father is semi-interested.
You asked about the weather, and I will tell you that it is still as crazy as ever. Last week it changed everyday. We had everything from snow, rain, wind, hail, cold, sunny, and warm. Right now it is ridiculously nice outside. It is about 63 with a little breeze, and to think that less then a week ago it was snowing. I am sure the weather will change around a lot this week as well.
I did want to share a weird little food experience with you. This was probably one of the strangest dinners I have had on my mission. Just imagine catfish (I am pretty sure the whole catfish was used) and shrimp soup. So if that isn’t a weird enough, throw in some veggies and top it all off with some salsa! YUMMY!  (I think he is being sarcastic!)  So we just used the “eat and swallow quickly” technique. But to answer your question, the pancakes and strawberries (picture from last week’s email) was an actual dinner that we had with the family of the Branch President last Sunday. It was a nice change to have actual “breakfast” food.
Flipping Burgers at MARV'S Diner, Enterprise, Utah. 
This week was filled with lots of exchanges. For one exchange, I stayed here in my area and was with one of the Assistants to the President for the day. It was good. We were able to teach and talk to a lot of people that I haven’t visited for awhile. I guess those are the blessings that come from exchanges. The next day I went on another exchange, but I headed out to the great city (town) of Enterprise, Utah! It is such a small community. I think the 3 small places of Enterprise, Beryl, and New Castle probably have about 4000 people in them combined. It was interesting to think that Burbank is a bigger place than that. It did remind me a lot of what you would run into out towards Prescott and Dayton areas. They have a similar feel to them.  I was with Elder Cram. Elder Cram is from Hawaii, and I have known him for quite awhile, so it was a good chance to exchange and talk about things that need to be done and to be able to learn from one another.
The biggest frustration I have is that we have so many people that are so close to being baptized, but they just aren’t for random reasons. We have Selene who is so ready, but just isn’t married and still isn’t that close to getting married. We still have Cris who is the most prepared person I have probably taught on my mission, but just is still trying to work it out with his wife. We also have this lady that is ready to do everything that she can to come closer to God and His true church on the earth, but her husband isn’t letting that happen. She told us yesterday morning through tear-filled eyes that her husband has been lying to us the whole time we have met with him, and that he has really been drinking a lot lately and it is affecting their relationship and their family. So if that isn’t bad enough, he has been talking to another woman as well. She is trying her best to stay strong through it all and to do what is right for her and her kids, but he is making it hard. They have not been answering their door this whole week, and now we know why. So that will be another battle that we have to go through to help her and her kids still follow through with everything. After all of that, it didn’t stop there. We were sitting in church and the phone goes off. It is a text message from one of our investigators who is scheduled to be baptized this month.  She says she can’t come to church or meet with us anymore. We tried to talk to her about it, but she just kept saying no and giving us excuses. So just when we thought we hit rock bottom, we dropped down even lower. But the good thing about being completely on the bottom is that we can only up! J  So this next week we are going to put in the work to find new investigators and the people that the Lord has prepared for us. He is the paymaster, and we just work for Him.
On a better note, I did find out that Antonio, my convert from a year ago, received the Melchizedek Priesthood and is preparing to go to the temple in a week or two. I am so excited, because President Leonard told me that I can go if I just let him know when it is and we can work out all the details. So I am super excited to be able to do that.
Well there wasn’t too much news from home, or questions, but the story about Bryson asking if I was home was pretty funny. I got a pretty good laugh out of it. You are right; he will definitely know when I get home. It will be weird to see a little boy that can speak better English than me, compared to the toddler that he was when I left.  I just want to say thank you again and I hope that you all have a good week! Remember that "no matter how hard things get, they will always get better!"

Live it, Love it, Preach it!    From Cedar City, Utah, ELDER D

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Living it, Loving it, Preaching it!

Buenas Tardes mis amados padres y amigos!   27Feb 2012
Beautiful Cedar Sunset!!
  Well I still am surprised by how fast the weeks are really going by here on my mission. I guess that is what happens when you just thrust in your sickle and try to lose yourself in the work. It feels like just yesterday that I was emailing home, but here I am again.

Being FED Well!  YUMMMM!
This week was pretty solid for the most part. We did have our ups and downs, but we are really striving to be the best that we can be. We have been blessed with some really spiritual lessons this last week. That is one thing that has been pretty constant with Elder Pedersen and I, our lessons. Everything else seems pretty up and down every week, but we continue to teach with power and authority as did the sons of Mosiah. I will tell you about some of the lessons we had this week to give you a little bit of insight on what I am doing here in Cedar. Well the first lesson was with a new family that we found this week. Well technically we met them last week, but didn’t get to see them until this one. They really haven’t talked to missionaries much, so we just started from the beginning and it really worked out well. We taught the Restoration, and it was really good, but the lesson made a huge turn when we started to talk about Joseph Smith. As I quoted the First Vision, we used the picture of it in one of the pamphlets that we have and I think that made a huge difference. As I was quoting it, you could just feel the Spirit come into the room stronger, you could see the family just relax and they were at peace, and they were really paying attention. I am just so grateful for the Spirit and the power that it has to soften hearts of others. It would be impossible to help anyone be converted if we did have the Holy Ghost to back us up. Well the family is doing really well still, we haven’t been able to be a baptismal date with them, but we are still working on it. They are reading from the Book of Mormon, so that should produce some good results.
      Another lesson we had was with this 18 year old kid named Carlos. So some background on Carlos is that he just came up here from El Salvador to live with his mom and step-dad. His mom and step-dad are both members of the Church, so that is a good basis for us. He is really interested in learning, but he just is caught up with things that he was taught in El Salvador. We had a lesson that was completely by the Spirit. We didn’t know what to teach him or how to help him, so we started to teach him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the 5 steps that He taught us that we need to do to return to live with Him and Heavenly Father. The steps are faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We taught him each of these steps to his understanding. You could really tell that Carlos was really thinking and paying attention to what we are teaching him. He is really progressing and really wants to follow the right path. We just need him to receive that answer that this is the path that God wants him to follow. He did come to church this week as well and he really enjoyed it, so that will help him in his process.
     The last lesson I will tell you about is a lesson we had with a guy named Jose Luis. He has really had a problem to go to church. That is the one thing that he has left between him and baptism. His problem is that he works 6 days a week and works 12 hour days, so the only day that he doesn’t have to work is Sunday, so he usually spends that in St. George with his wife and son. We have really been working hard with him to get him to church. He is really sincere about everything and kept trying to find a way to still have that time in St. George and the time to go to church, so we told him that there is only one way to find out what church is really like. I kind of felt guilty asking him to give up his only time that he has with his family, but in the end it isn’t the missionaries that are asking him to go to church; it is God. So I learned a good lesson about the commandments. Commandments are something that God has given us to help us follow in the right path. He sets the commandments and the regulations for them and we can’t change them. The only thing we can do is either follow them or not follow them. It is black and white between those choices. In John 14:15 we read: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." So it comes down to the questions on whether we love God or not, because if we do, we will keep His commandments to the best of our abilities. But if we don’t keep His commandments, this is showing that we don’t love God as much as those other things.
       We are still waiting on the whole marriage situation of Selene and Omar, so Selene and Jocelyn can get baptized. I think it is starting to frustrate us all and it just needs to happen so they can get baptized and continue to progress in the gospel and then we can start to work on Omar. 
       I was pretty stressed as a zone leader this week. There are areas in the zone that are just not performing like they should be. They have some great potential in their areas, but they just don’t achieve it because of laziness or problems in their companionships. So I have been having to pray a lot for charity and to understand how to help these areas better. I guess sometimes the Lord just puts obstacles in our way to help us learn and grow. Obviously sometimes these obstacles are not wanted, but they do help us in a way. I know that we are having a lot of obstacles in our path right now, not only in our personal area, but with the zone as well. 
       NEWS FROM HOME - The Mom spoke to the primary children about her conversion.  She used a dish with one warm fuzzy and filled it with others as the gospel grew.  Mom, I really did enjoy your story about the fuzzy balls and how one righteous choice lead to numerous others. It made me think a lot about the lesson that we taught Cris a while back. How Abinadi helped one person to be converted and then it just kept spreading and spreading and spreading. I mean in your case you were baptized and then you helped others to become converted and they are helping others as well. Then you had your family that was raised in righteousness, and now I am here paying this forward as well. I am also a little alarmed to know that I am the next missionary to go home in the ward. That is a scary fact to know. But you are right, I am not going to dwell on that, but I am going to continue to work hard and not think about going home in 6 months. The time would go by way too slow if I just thought about home all day, and besides I am not here to think about home, I am here to convert others to the TRUE Church that is here on the earth today.
       I am also glad to hear of the anonymous donations to my mission fund. I know it has been a struggle for you to continually pay for my mission, but there are people that are conscious of this situation, mainly the Lord. (We have been blessed with regular donations from the Anderson's and Harvey's, but found out others have been donating to Chad's mission fund as well.  Wow!)  He always provides a way to accomplish these righteous things. Serving a mission is a commandment, and He will provide the way to accomplish these commandments. (1 Nephi 3:7). I am so grateful for your love and support. I know I am here for a reason and my mission is the greatest thing I have done in my life. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church here upon the earth and I am here in Utah doing His work!
Live it, Love it, Preach it!     ELDER D