Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015 - Trials and Blessings

This week has been a bit of a harder week. The week started really slow on the work side of everything, due to a couple of things that ended up happening. First, we had Zone Conference in the morning on Tuesday, and that went to about 5 in the afternoon. So we started late that day.

On Wednesday we did District Meeting in the morning, and in the afternoon some exterminators were suppose to be at our house at 3 to fumigate. We couldn't leave the house to go work because the other missionaries lost their phone, so we couldn't call them to let them know that the exterminators were on their way. So we stayed in the house until three, and the guys never showed up. Then we left, did a couple of lessons, including one with Francisco that went really well! He's still having a couple of problems leaving alcohol. He even showed us a big beer bottle that he had stored. I told him in order to start his repentance process the first thing to do was to dump out the beer. He said "okay", grabbed the bottle and dumped it right in front of our face. I have never seen such a desire to follow a commandment. Most would have said, "let me finish that, then I will start." But he went right to it. He knew drinking is a problem and he told us he felt bad when he drinks. So we promised him that with the faith he has in following the commandments, his urge to drink will leave. That was a blessing this week. Also, we gave him a brand new Bible from the Temple we just bought for him, and he was so happy when he got it, he kissed it, then sat down and said a prayer thanking Heavenly Father that he'd be able to be more filled with doctrine. Wow... this man has great faith. After that lesson, the exterminators called us, 3 HOURS LATE (That's so Dominican) and we went back home to open the place up. 

Thursday we planned for the next week in the morning, and in the afternoon left for our FIRST FULL DAY OF WORK! And when I say it was a full day, I mean it was a full day of work. We had 10 lessons. Therefore helping us with our low numbers. But it isn't the numbers that we are here for. It's to invite all to come unto Christ. And boy, was that day in itself a blessing. 

Friday was such a blur.... I don't even remember..... haha but it was a regular day.

Saturday I had to go have our first practice with the choir for the song we are going to sing for Jeffrey R. Holland. It was beautiful. My solo is fun, but it's scary. But I like the song. "How Great Thou Art." :) Then in the afternoon, we left with a member. It was going to be a really good day, until this huge storm hit, and we couldn't walk around do to the amount of water... haha patience Elder Weiss, patience.

Sunday was glorious! Francisco at the end of all the meetings came up to me and said "After you left, I had two chances to drink. And I said no!" He's truly trying to get in line with the commandments, and his baptism is coming up soon, the 7th of March, so we'll see if he'll be able to continue to do what he's doing. I believe that God will help him big time. The big big blessing was when I talked to Yeni and Nicolas. After a long wait, they were able to get the Birth Certificate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have all of their papers finally, so on Wednesday we are going to go down to the Marriage Office where they will get married!!!!!!!!!! Hallelujah! haha Then on Saturday they will have their baptismal interviews, then the next Saturday after that they will be baptized. Actually, it's the 7th as well! It'll be a big day!!!!! 

Today we got to go to the President's house with another zone and play volleyball, basketball, soccer, dodge ball, and we even had a water balloon fight! Also, we had a barbecue and it was just really fun and really took away stress! I love our President! And his wife is awesome too and I love her just as equally!

I am so grateful that Heavenly Father loves me and that I am here in Buenos Aires. I am learning so much here and I am constantly on my knees just giving thanks. I've noticed that I've been doing some "vain repetitions" when it comes to my prayers, so I am really trying to focus and put the faith I need in my prayers. Prayers without faith and without thought won't ever work. It is up to us to really desire what we ask for and to really know with the faith that we have that by the miracles of God, all things are possible. I know prayer is a real power that God has given man. It works. I saw it this week. I testify that this church and all that is taught by this church is true. I love defending the truths that have been restored to the earth, and I am so happy that I am a missionary. I love you all, God loves you that much more. Look for opportunities to serve and to be a missionary!!!
Con amor y cariƱo,
Elder Weiss :)

Mother's Note: Parker and I were e-chatting and we were discussing Nephi and his unwavering faith. I mentioned how I would have complained if I had left my comfortable home and lived in tents for 8 years before even crossing to the promised land, giving birth and many other afflictions and to top it off, I had not realized they were eating raw meat the whole time because Nephi only made a fire the 1st time when he needed to melt the ore for the tools to build the ship and the Lord made the meats "sweet" for them. Nephi's faith astounds me.  Parker replied with this:

That part is also in Power to Become, the part of them eating raw meat. David A Bednar says the way we should pray for blessings shouldn't be that the Lord makes the bad go away, but like Nephi did, pray that they'd be able to endure the bad. That is the correct way to pray. I have been trying it a lot as I pray, and I have seen a huge change! Like I don't pray that Francisco won't drink, I pray that he will have the strength to say no when the offer arrives. :)

Parker also mentioned when Elder Holland comes to visit, Parker is singing in the choir and they asked him to sing a solo part in the song...well he said they are thinking of having him do the soprano part because Parker can sing his falsetto that high. :)  I thought that was cool. He'll try to record it during one of their practices, so hopefully he'll be able to send it to us. 

"Our P day group today!!!..." (Mon.)

"...En la Casa de la Mision."

"Picture from zone conference! MY ZONE!"

"Elder Hope and I at conference!!!"

"The tallest Elder/Person I have ever met!
He is super awesome, his name is Elder Parker.
 Hahaha super awesome right? He's 6'8" I believe!"

All of my Liahona's I've gotten
 in the mission!

"Random monkey man that was on the street as we were in the exterminator's car.
 Hence the monkey, and the random Dominican is the exterminator. haha"

"I rode a bike.... I felt like an Elder in the states! haha"

"Elder Cambell, he is awesome!"

"Our District at our little fun day today!"

"Elder Wagstaff from my group!"

"Elder Bruno and I. He jams it hard! 360 dunks and everything!"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015 A WEEK OF MIRACLES!!! and love...... ;)

A big Happy Valentines Day to all! I know I am late but it doesn't matter. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! 

This week has been a miracle..... It really has.... I believe the Lord is really with us in every step of our lives at this point. 

The first big miracle was a lesson we had with Fransico. We have known for a time he is struggling to keep a couple of commandments, and we had been focusing on how to help him to overcome temptation. He has been paying tithing and fast offering through faith that he has had, but he as only done it out of kindness of his heart. So as we talked about that with him, we invited him to pray to the Lord that because of his sacrifice he wouldn't have so many temptations, and that the temptations that he has he would be able to overcome. He had told us that some things had been of less temptation this week, so we already see that our Heavenly Father is watching over him, but then he did a prayer with us and it was the most sincere and beautiful prayer that has ever entered into my ears. But that prayer didn't stop there, it came in and hit me right in my heart, and I felt an overwhelming love for Fransico. A very powerful feeling I haven't felt before. I just wanted to tell him it would be alright, that the Lord is here to help and that I loved him. He finished his prayer and I just jumped up and gave him a really big hug. There was a definite power there, and I told him how much we love him and I told him that any time he has a temptation, of drinking beer or anything, to give us a call and we'll drop everything to be by his side. That's when he said "That's what I need. A friend as amazing as you." And I said "We are friends." The Lord prompted those feelings and due to what I did, he hasn't drank or had any problems this whole week. It was a touching moment for me and I can only thank my Father in Heaven for that beautiful experience.

Second big miracle was our Zone Meeting on Friday in the morning. Our President came to talk to our zone, and Elder Millward and I did a practice in front of him and our zone about how to invite someone to baptism. When we finished, we were appraised by our President. But the true blessings came from the success our zone has been having. All of our numbers have doubled since last month. The Lord is hastening His work!!!! The President invited us to go have a P Day at his house next week, and I am so excited! Dodge ball, basketball, football, barbecue, water fight... It'll be legit. Another thing that happened... in the Zone Meeting they told us that next month, Elder Jeffrey R Holland is coming to our mission to talk to us as missionaries. What a blessing that will be to be right in the presence of an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am sooooo excited for that. I was also personally asked to be a part of the choir that will be singing one of my favorite hymns, "How Great Thou Art", in the meeting, and they asked me to sing a solo in front of Jeffrey R Holland.... Yeah.... I am really nervous.......... REALLY NERVOUS. But what an experience that will be. Wow.

Third big miracle is what happened Sunday.... After having a hard Valentines Day of work, due to lots of drunks and crazy girls wanting to marry the white boys walking around, we saw a true blessing. Elder Millward and I had seven of our investigators come to church, and five less actives come as well, making a total of twelve people that we are teaching come to church. It was so amazing to see how most of the congregation was people that were just visiting, and people we are teaching. I began to cry... I won't lie, because it is such a blessing to see so many people showing their faith to God to come to church and know if it is true. Also, it was Ward Conference, and us, as missionaries, were part of the Ward Choir. They made me sing Soprano, yes like a woman, but it turned out quite beautiful, but what made it truly rewarding was to look out at the congregation and see so many faces of smiling investigators and less active members, looking at me and feeling the spirit. I know they felt the spirit. 

I know this church is true. There were so many miracles that happened this week, but those were the big three, but I know the small and simple things are the biggest miracles. I am so happy to be a part of this work. To be out here in such a crucial time of the world and to invite all to come unto Christ. I couldn't be doing anything better right now. I missed you all on Valentine's Day, but I hope you know that I truly do love you all each individually and I am so grateful for the support that you give me. I truly feel like there are helping hands pushing me along, and I believe its the prayers that come from you guys that are just inviting helping hands to keep me going. May God bless all of you in your needs. Be Faithful, Be Valiant, and Be Strong. The Lord's work is growing, become a part of it. It will change your life. I have a strong testimony that God loves each and every one of us, and is placing us on His path for us to follow. I hope we are all humble enough to accept the path that He is giving us, so that we may grow to our full potential. I love you all, I pray even more for you all, and I hope that you all have a great week!!!

Que Dios les bendiga!

Elder Weiss :)

I am still a little weird if you can't tell.

Oh and the guy with the warlock shirt (super funny) is Hermano De La Rosa, a less active member that has now come to church twice in a row after a year and a half of not attending!

Just a bunch of random pictures..enjoy

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Monday, February 9, 2015

What a week. Being a missionary rocks!!!!

This week was a great success! We have seen some amazing blessings this week. We have been working really hard with Fransico on preparing him for baptism and helping him understand that everything is possible with God, and he told us that he is struggling with some things, so we focused on the commandments and he promised God that he will try hard to keep all the commandments. He also had a bishop interview on Sunday and the bishop discussed on how he could help him out. We have high hopes for him to succeed in his goals.

Yeni and Nicolas continue waiting for those papers... as do we... but we continually pass by and keep their hopes high by reading the scriptures with them.

We saw some miracles of the Lord this week. We have been working hard over the last couple months with some menos activos that had been menos activos for well over a year. We had been talking about all the things we could do to help rebuild that testimony again, and we decided to really dig deep with some inspired questions, to really find out their needs. After asking both the menos activos, and the surrounding families who are members, we learned these people hadn't lost the faith, just a desire. We have been speaking boldly through scripture to these people for the last couple of months, and we saw the miracle of the Lord this Sunday. Two of them, one who hasn't been to the church for a year and a half, decided to show up to church, who told us he'd never come back. And he loved it. The spirit touched him deeply and we can already see a change after passing by later that night. The Lord works in mysterious ways. This man is sealed in the temple to his wife, who is still a faithfully active member, and we are really hoping the two will be able to become, once again, promised with the blessings of a temple marriage. That was a true miracle for us this week. :)

I've never been the kind of missionary to be patient...... I like to get out and go do it.... but I feel like in this area, the Lord is really teaching me that principle. Being District Leader and all that, and trying to help prepare people for baptism, at times I just want to kind of grab them by the ankles to the church and toss them into the baptismal font. But I know that is not the way. I am definitely trying to find a patient peace in everything. Also, sorry if I am spelling patient wrong, but I've kinda forgotten how to spell in English... haha but anyways, I know that the Lord is teaching big principles on the mission that I wouldn't be able to learn anywhere else. At times I feel like I am progressing in my own spiritual way as fast as a snail going across the driveway, and other days I learn things instantly, but I know that it is all important, regardless. I love the gospel. Hopefully we will see the fruit of our labors more and more every week, but I have faith that big things are soon to come. Love you all, may the Lord bless you in all that you do. Don't ever give up on the faith or on the church, it is the most perfect thing that anyone can have in their life. I encourage everyone to invite their friends to know of the truth. :) Do the Lord's Work. :)

Elder Weiss :)

Mother's Note: These first 3 pictures Parker just sent to me to show me some "inside jokes" and an Americanized home as well.

"there is me with a freaking orange in my mouth. WOOHOO"

I must explain... this picture is a really americanized house... weird..... so I took a picture

I know you'll love this picture. I have never seen any other family with these duck measures, and here in the DR, my "Dominican mom" (that always takes care of us and cooks for us from time to time, and our next door neighbor) Hermana Taveras is her name, has these in her house.
 It was awesome.

"This thing is called a empanada, really good. It's full of pizza stuff. We pass by this store from time to time and the owner loves us, so he gave us an extra big one this week...

"So yes, I wrote my name in Ketchup and Mayonnaise,..

"and I did indeed snarf it down. It was great."
I asked Parker if he's wearing a Dallas Cowboy's tie here and he said he was. :)

Mother's Note:  I asked Parker during our e-chat what his favorite food is there and also his favorite part being on his mission.  Here was his reply:

My favorite food here is definitely the Empanadas. They are tasty!

My favorite part of the mission so far has been the amount of changes I have seen of people, including myself, come closer to our Heavenly Father. It has been great to go through all the areas that I have had and see that no matter what, the doctrine doesn't change and that the gospel is perfect. I love helping those "lost wandering sheep" to help find their purpose and bring them back to the fold. It has definitely been challenging but oh so worth it! That has been the best part. Helping all to come to Christ. :)

I also asked Parker to tell me more about the Elder that moved in with them after Elder Mortensen went home and how Elder Millward's Spanish was coming along...

The new guy is Elder Perez, and he is really cool and chill. I like my time with him. He's fun! I miss Elder Mortensen big time though!

Elder Millward's Spanish is getting better every day! It's awesome to see!!!

Then we talked a lot about the car he wants to get when he comes home. :) And journals and what the families been up to and Parker mentioned he's still in good health. A great e-chat this week!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015 - A Week of Work

I am so happy this week. So many good things have happened and I couldn't be happier with how happy I am! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY! haha :)

We have a goal in our mission of trying to get a certain amount of every key indicator as a missionary. For example, 10 lessons with members, 15 other lessons and 10 with less actives in one week. Well Elder Millward and I were able to not only do what has been set as our goal, but actually do more than what has been asked! I am both humbled, and happy. To be honest, I was a man of little faith. I didn't think it was possible to do it, especially here in our area, but the Lord gave me a bit of a boche, or talking to, by giving us the best possible week ever. It really bumped up my spirits and now I know it is possible now. And I testify that we can do it! The Lord provides a way for everything.

Man..... I am still eagerly waiting for the day that Yeni and Nicolas tell us that they got their papers.... I am hoping it will be tonight when we go over to do a FHE with them.... 

As we were contacting this week, we found a really cool girl, named Anabel, that is about 26 years old. She's got all sorts of piercings in her ears and when I first saw her I thought, "we probably shouldn't bother her..." We are way out in the boonies of our area at this point, and I said hello to her and she told us to come in. We were asking if there had ever been missionaries that had passed by before... turns out we are the first missionaries she's ever seen, well to be honest, that all the people on that street had seen. We hit a new area.... Anabel was really interested in what we had to say, and although her look seems to make you think "there is no way" she is realllllllllllyyyy and I mean REAAALLLY prepared. Again, God humbled me... She reminds me a lot of some of my friends. She's funny and very bubbly but gets very serious and down to earth when it is time, and she is the kind of person that I connect with, so it has been awesome. I feel strongly that the Lord is preparing her for great things. I am excited to work with her. 

Fransico is just a progressing machine. I love it. I love him... he is really good at understanding the doctrine. He looks at things in a different perspective, and really opens up my mind to new ideas. He also has cool cars that come into his shop every now and then, and while we were teaching him this week, he had a 1980 or 1970 (I can't remember) Honda is his garage, so I took some pictures of that. Sorry, getting sidetracked... it was just cool. Anyways, I really hope Fransico keeps moving forward. He is a little afraid of baptism. He feels like he needs to keep repenting and we are supporting him in every way of his desires to change for the better. 

So Sunday was the Conference of the Caribbean, where out in good old Utah, they shot the conference for here. Jeffrey R. Holland and Boyd K. Packer spoke to the Dominicans in a bold way. Also, did you know Jeffrey R. Holland speaks Spanish??? You can totally tell he is still learning, but it was really amazing to hear him bear his testimony in broken Spanish. He said something that was really amazing though. He said that there is one temple in the Caribbean, here in Santo Domingo, but that the Lord is preparing many more to come, by the hundreds..... A revelation in the future??? I thought it was really cool and I felt that special cold chill of the spirit, or as some call it, goosebumps. haha Either way, there are big things in store for the Caribbean. The Lord is planning his work to continue progressing.

I am so happy to be part of the restored and perfect church of Jesus Christ, and to be out here on my mission. The months are passing by quickly, but I know that I still have plenty of time to change both myself and invite others to change through the mercy of Jesus Christ, our Savior. I am so happy to be a part of thousands of missionaries around the world sharing the gospel to the beautiful children of God, and I hope that everyone finds and opportunity to help in the work and do the Work of the Lord. Being a missionary is an honor, and I will forever give thanks for the things I am learning and have experienced. I know God loves each and every one of us. I know God guides us and has given us Jesus Christ to be our model and our way to coming back to live with our Perfect Father. May we all find a way to share our glad message with those that we love, and may we all continue on our on personal paths to that great salvation. I know this gospel is true, of that I do not doubt, but I do testify with all love in my heart, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Elder Weiss :)

Mother's Note: Parker responded to my email and I told him my goal of actually getting on my knees to pray instead of quickly saying it in bed and this was his response which I also shared on FB:

I am glad you are getting on your knees. Also in a book I read, "Power to Become" the one you sent me, talks about how all of Gods biggest revelations are given to people while they are "humbled and kneeling". That is why when Jesus Christ and God appeared to Joseph Smith he was not standing, he was still kneeling. Also, we can receive the divine revelation and a clearer message and answer from God when we are on our knees, because we are humbling ourselves before Him. Just remember part of the covenants you have made with your Lord. :)

I also mentioned how I ran into an old friend of mine who is now divorced and feels worse now than when she was married and I commented on how divorce seems like the easy answer to so many, even good LDS people and how sad that is. Parker said this which I thought was very inspired....

Mom, I read something about marriage while on the mission. It's a very interesting topic to me. I was reading about divorce, and it is something very serious in God's eyes. In the book "True to the Faith" it talks about doing everything you can to not have to go into divorce, because it is mocking God, basically saying that the divine relationship that you have is not ordained by God, therefore mocking God. Divorce is not the answer. Even in Matthew he talks about divorce and how it is a last call. God ordained their marriage, it should be God that decides if it wasn't right or not, not them. Also the book talks about those who talk badly of their spouse have not yet found true love for themselves, God, Jesus, or for their loved ones. It is something serious that Satan puts into our head. Satan is trying to win a battle that is not his to win.

Pictures of that car...

I wore crazy socks one day. In honor of Elder Mortensen.

I'm Nuts...

A picture of my eye just to scare people.... haha

I cooked Beef Stroganoff, but not as good as you mom! :) haha