March, 2011

...now browsing by month

 

Felixs baptism!!

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Dear Family,

Well it looks like this week is the apostrophe key that doesnt want to work just so yall know for the mistakes. Anyways, this week was great!! Super stressful but awesome! Ill get to the details a little later but thanks everyone for the letters. It seems like Dad has a lot of time on his hands or is making really good use of it, I was thinking that I could do some sort of pushup competition with Dad because I need some more motivation, Im exercising but not as good as I should. Ive been in denial but the other missionaries keep tellin me Im fatter, I still dont think so… ok maybe a little bit. I was quite intrigued by dads Bible discussion and it motivated me to read some more of the Bible. I started reading acts and Im hilighting all of the evidences of the Ancient church of Christ and of the Doctrine of Christ. Its really quite interesting that if you really sit down and read the Bible it just yells in your face about the apostasy that is to come. I think a lot of times people try to escape that idea, but the the true seekers of the truth will find it, like Felix!

About this last week, I didnt tell yall a whole lot about these other 2 kids (there names are Augustine and Ezekiel) that we were teaching but we have been working really hard with them and their family since the death of their little sister. They were all kind of really struggling but since we started teaching them they were starting to feel a little better. They come from a pretty sad situation and weve really been working to love them because they dont have that kind of support. Now they think we are the coolest and all their little friends run up to shake our hands all the time. Both of them say they want to be missionaries… if they come back from the war alive. Haha thats what they tell me all the time. Also about Felix, we went by him every day the last week because it always seems like Satan is working harder on the people who are ready to be baptized and especially after what happened the other week when he got a little depressed. We taught him a couple of other things and we met his dad and when we were there he told his dad how excited he was to get baptized. This is a pretty interesting story too, his mom Ana told me that 3 times he was going to get baptized in the Catholic church but it seemed like something would happen every time and he never did. Apparently Felix also told to some other members that he wanted to serve a mission. I think that would be so cool, he also really wants to go to the temple. We had the interview for the 3 people and then on Friday we had the baptismal service on Saturday. The spirit was really strong there and the talks were great. I got to baptize Felix and Augustine (the younger one) and then I confirmed Ezekiel the next day. After Felix got baptized he said it was the best feeling he had ever felt in his entire life. I love it because he just fits right in in every way. The people, his testimony, everything, its what he was looking for for so long! He said he would go to lots of other churches and always said something is missing… Ana told us also for so long she was praying that someone would come and help her son out because he was going through a really hard time in his life and apparently we showed up the next day! Isnt that cool?! We are also going to keep teaching his mom, she really wants to go too, I think its because she is a little fragile and its starting to get cold again but she did come to his baptism so that was good. Basically, Felix is the man and teaching him was the best! I think he will make a great story.

Also we found some really awesome people this week! There were two less active families that contacted us and want to reactivate and have family members that are interested in the church too! It was great, I dont have time to tell the stories but it was way awesome too! I hope everyone has a great week and that you take good notes and tell me what your favorite conference talk was!!

Love,

Elder Singer

¡Es el fin del mundo! (its the end of the world!)

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Dear Family,

This week was pretty good. I took a nap today because I was feeling a little out of it and now I feel so attentive and awake but not in the letter writing groove. Anyways I was glad to hear everyone had a great spring break. Also that Josh found a eagle project! Hurry man. I wish I could be there for March Madness it sounds pretty awesome all the hype that BYU is getting. I think its great when the church gets lots of attention in a good way it definitely piques a lot of people´s interests. I feel really bad about Tasha´s investigator thats got to be hard but Jochen is in our prayers. Also just so yall know I´ll be staying in Chijra for at least another transfer more with Elder Kingsford. I would put an exclamation point but it looks like that button doesn´t want to work today so although you can´t tell, at some points I am very enthusiastic.

Here´s the Felix update. I think he just realized that his baptism is this saturday, like he knew the date all along but I guess he didn´t realize it was coming up so close. Its alright though because ever since he read Alma 32 he just shakes off any feeling of doubt and says well I dont have to doubt anymore I´m really impressed by his faith. On saturday we got together with him and our ward mission leader Luis and Felix and they made lunch for the 4 of us and Felix shared his favorite scripture with us 2 Ne 25:23 it was really cool, its the one about receiving grace after all we can do. I´m glad I´m staying because before Sacrament meeting started Felix came up to me and asked me is it true that you are leaving? Luckily I´m staying I really wanted to stay to see him be baptized he is such an awesome guy. There are a ton of other great contacts that we have taught for the first time we will teach and we are really excited. We are supposed to be baptizing this week 2 of the boys from the family that had their sister die whenever she fell from the bed. When we started teaching them they were both really rebellious but we have been working hard with them and they are starting to calm down and they really like going to church. I feel bad for them because they said they picked on their sister before she died and so they blame themselves for what happened. We go over the plan of salvation a lot with them and have to teach it really simply so they can understand the power of the atonement. We had fun night and we taught some of the members to play signs it was a blast and I think about everyone caught on. Also I went on divisions with Elder Carrillo he´s a really cool guy and he told me all about living in a Mexican family in the US. It made me want to work in the Spanish branch.

You are probably all wondering why my email is titled the way it is, well people are starting to get pretty serious about the end of the world its really funny, even the members. This one sister that is less active hasn´t been coming to church and now she wants to come back because she is convinced that it is the end of the world. I don´t really know if it IS the end of the world but if it gets some people to come back to church, good thing. As a matter of fact all of the missionaries got to speak in church in Sunday. I spoke on how service brings us closer to Christ. It was really fun to talk and all I did was read some scriptures and ponder it as preparation and it turned out I thought pretty good. I really enjoy giving talks now, I tried to apply some techniques I learned in the Liahona about the best speakers. Speaking of speakers are yall excited about General Conference? I sure am, its like the Superbowl in the mission and I can´t wait to go with Felix and the members from our ward. During the sessions, all the gringo missionaries go to this room in the back and we watch conference in English. Well I gotta go now and teach the good word. I hope everyone is doing great and am hoping to tell the good news for next week. I love you all, thank you for the prayers and support.

Love,

Elder Singer

March 14, 2011

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Dear Family,

Hey how´s everyone doing? I´m not complaining but I do believe that this was the least amount of letters I´ve ever had… but like Josh said… its cool. Sorry if this letter isn´t the most coherent, there are all these little crazy kids around me blasting music as always. Anyways, sounds like everyone is doing good and Tasha is holding up alright despite the opposition with Jochen, we had something similar happen but luckily on a lot smaller scale. The Alamo picture was pretty impressive, unfortunately this last week was short of family fun pictures, lately we have developed an obsession with taking macro pics with bugs we kill and then zoom in to see all of the fun details! Haha and the one with the tribal sun is Elder Kingsford doing an ancient Lamanite ritual dance, one day I´ll have to show yall the video.

I´ll start off with a story I forgot to tell last week. As I told you all, it was carnival (and continued all of the following week) and there were lots of drunk guys running around. This guy basically told us that he wanted our money and he was following us and yelling stuff at us. He was getting closer and closer within reach and further to our left up on a shallow ridge these 2 really drunk guys covered in mud ran down and grabbed the guy and didn´t let him follow us anymore. It was really really odd and I was just at loss for words as to why these drunk guys would help us out. I guess that just goes to show that the Lord will use whatever means to protect His missionaries, even the drunk guys…

About this last week, we had our ups and downs, we had a great zone conference this last week by the way! I can tell President Northcutt is going to be really sad to leave us all. O and this was fun, I got a call on Sunday night and they asked me to play If You Could Hie to Kolob on the piano to accompany another missionary and I said I would. I don´t think I have ever played a song so many times over and over in my life, I had never played it before, but by the time Wednesday came around I think it turned out pretty good. I was super nervous though and Sister Northcutt came up to me and congratulated me and said “O thats right you DO play piano!” I´m really going to miss Pres. and Sis. Northcutt, I have never known people (personally I guess) who work so hard like they do to serve the Lord.

The day after zone conference we did what we call a white storm and all of the companionships in our district go work in the same area. It was pretty fun and we did like a bingo that had funny random things to do like sing hymn 50, knock a green door, set a baptismal date for the 16th of April etc. It turned out pretty successful and we found some pretty interesting people too.

Update on the investigators. Felix finished the Book of Mormon!!! He was way awesome this last week, he is really starting to have a great love for the gospel. He said that he always believed that there was something beyond this life and know he knows! I thought that was so cool! He continues to have lots of questions but its great because he believes everything we tell him. On Saturday night he came to English class and had lots of fun and we told him we would see him at church. The night before church it rained like crazy and it got really cold over night and kept raining all through church. The amount of people in church was probably cut in half and Felix didn´t come. We went to visit him later and he was still laying in bed. We started joking around with him to make him feel a little more happy and then we asked him if something was wrong because I could tell he was feeling a little down. He then told us that he had some sort of girlfriend type of thing and had told her a couple of times about the church and how exciting the changes he was going through were and she told him if he chose this path, she would eventually have to leave him. We don´t really know why but luckily Felix was willing to except that. We talked about the Joseph Smith story and about all the opposition he would have to face to come to know the truth and he really liked that and then we talked about the power of putting on the full armor of God. I can´t remember exactly where it is but also Christ in one of the Gospels explained that when he came, he did not come to make peace but that he came with the sword. He further explains that there would be separation of families because of the Gospel. When I first read that I thought that that couldn´t be but being in the mission we find that this is very true. There will come a day when everyone will have to use their agency to accept or reject the Gospel and inside the family unit, there will be people who choose both ways and it will cause divisions. At the end of the discussion I think it helped him a lot but I was just really proud of him that he stood his ground and held on to what he knew was right. He said lately he has felt really worried about all of his family and friends whether or not they would accept or reject the Gospel and that this was something that he had never felt before. We told him that his worry was a divine worry and thats why God has missionaries. I hope this will be some of his first steps to serving a mission, he could still do it I think he is 22. Anyways I´m just about out of time. I started working on some of the letters I need to write people back. Elder Perez is going home this week and I wrote him a letter of gratitude, he is such a great guy I can´t believe how fast the time has gone! I love you all and I hope all is well!

Love,

Elder Singer

Felix is my hero!

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Dear Family,

Loved this weeks letters! Luckily the website permitted me to see the video of Josh playing waterfall and I thought it was awesome! You are the man Josh! You made me proud and I can´t stop thinkin about how we could be at BYU together thats going to be so cool man! I thought that was pretty sad with what happened to the BYU team but hopefully that doesn´t cause too much problems. I was blown away at the stats from Jimmer again, pretty incredible guy, I hope he stays playing at BYU before he goes pro when I come back. Anyways, I have lots of great news for everyone and some good stories to tell. Also I would like to say to some of the friends that have written me that they have not been forgotten… I will get to writing them soon…er or later… :) We have been quite busy actually. We went to the chapel to learn some breakdancing moves in the cultural hall today! It was pretty hard because I´m still pretty inflexible but I´m gonna try to get better at that. Sounds kinda random, breakdancing, but it turns out that Elder Carter´s comp got here Wednesday night and he´s from Tennessee, he´s a breakdancer (sorry, its B BOY just so you know). We went to the chapel and he taught us some stuff along with one of their investigators because he´s trying to learn it looks like.

About the week, we had to part ways from the Trio this week and we had our last 3 days together this week and we ended it with our fun night. Fun Night (Noche Divertida) was started by us and its basically an FHE but we changed the name so more people would go. We had to team up in groups by animal noises with our eyes closed and I was assigned the cow. It turns out that no one did it because they were too embarrassed and I was in the middle of a big circle Mooing all alone and Elder Carter kept mooing to keep me going. I think I was standing there for a good 30 seconds before I realized I was the only participant. When I opened my eyes I realized all of the laughter was for what I was doing. I imagine it was quite a sight. Down to more serious stuff… we were walking and this Policeman called me over and we went and talked to him and he talked to us for 5 minutes about how we need transmit to youth that suicide isn´t the way out and I really felt like he was just wasting my time, a lot of people just like to talk here. Thats what I said to my comp and he told me, “well, everything happens for a reason…” 5 minutes later up the road, we run into a woman from Bolivia who had gone inactive a while back and she said she wanted us to come to her house and she had 3 kids that wanted to get baptized that were about to but they moved and lost contact with the missionaries! It was awesome, we haven´t been able to teach them yet but we were able to take 2 of the sons to church and they were asking me when they were going to come back after. We having been especially working in one area and all of the people that are from Bolivia treat us really well. We were able to find another huge family that listened to the sister missionaries in another part of Jujuy and apparently they had been reading the Book of Mormon! Our mission goal is 9 (used to be 8) and we found 14 new investigators this week!

Well, here´s the part you have all been waiting for, Felix! He is the man, as of yesterday he is in 3 Nephi 19 and he loves the Book of Mormon! To start off he has been facing some opposition from other family members and they told him to not read it and he was also reading on the internet about people who tried to prove false the Book of Mormon and I got a little nervous and then he said, I just thought why not? why couldn´t it be true? And then he said after he read Alma 32 he said he didn´t have to doubt any more, he just needed to search for that light and let his seed of faith grow! This was cool too, we asked at the end of one of our lessons if there was anything we could do for him and he said that he doesn´t have any nice clothes and was wondering if we could get him anything. Elder Kingsford gave him a shirt and I gave him one of my pairs of pants that I haven´t used and he was at church before we were and I could tell he was really happy to be there. The testimonies at church were great and at the end he came up to me and said “Man I´ve never been to a place like this where I have felt such a peace. There are so many terrible things going on outside in the world but when I come here its like a refuge from the world.” Then I told him, “Exactly thats why we want everyone to come here so bad!” and then he said to me, “Will you baptize me?” I felt really special in that moment. The thing about finding guys like him I just feel so blessed that the Lord ever placed him in our path. We just showed up and said what we needed to say, gave him the Book of Mormon, and Felix basically did the rest. I really hope I stay the next transfer. Ana his mom has been sick and we gave her a blessing, she got a lot better but still didn´t feel up to going to church. I think the best thing about teaching Felix is to see the change in his countenance because he has finally found what he has looked for for so long and now he is realizing it. Him and his mom are really poor, they live in a one room house, its probably the size of Megan´s room, and he asked me about Tithing. We explained it to him and then at the end I did the commitment and he said of course he would pay his tithing. O something I forgot, with the Book of Mormon he has made like a personal study guide with questions and answers of things he has found. He also said about the Book of Mormon that he has never read something so powerful that talks so much about helping out our fellow man. Thats about all I can remember but he is amazing huh? Thanks for all of your emails again, also from Grandma and Grandpa they were excited to see that Grandpa and I visited the same places. Btw, I have been parting my hair all week, Elder Kingsford convinced me to do it haha, unfortunately this morning I gave myself a buzz but I hope you like the parted doo look :) I love you guys!

Love,

Elder Singer

humamarca!

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Dear Family,
Well I think the best news that I have heard from you guys is that
Josh got into BYU!! Im not lying I literally jumped out of my chair when I saw
that I was so happy. That would be so cool if we could all go in together at the
same time! I just don´t think I´m gonna make it back for the winter semester
but I think I´ll definitely come up and stay with you guys for a bit!… Thats
probably a little ways away though :) I can´t believe Josh will be going to
college already… weird! It sure sounded like this last  week was an
adventure for everyone. This week was quite the adventure for me too there
is so much to tell! I was excited to hear the news about BYU winning so much
so thats cool. Also I think this will be one of Grandpa´s favorite emails
because I took pictures by the same statue that he did when he went to
humamarca! I saw it and I instantly recognized it from the picture he sent me!
Wow so as I was saying this week was another adventure. To start
off I´ll remind you about Felix. He went to church this week and he really
liked it. He said he had never been to a church before that helps you become a
better person. Also on Sunday morning he was about to start reading Alma! Its
so cool to see how far he has gotten in his reading in the Book of Mormon and
he marks it up and shows us all the parts he liked. It was awesome too in the
Principles of the Gospel class he was making lots of comments when we talked
about prophets. He named like 5 Book of Mormon prophets and he said what he
thought some of their main teachings were. He said he was impressed by the perseverance of Abinadi. Also the other investigators are doing good
but both Teresa and Gabriela didn´t go we aren´t sure why still. We are hoping
we will be able to contact them more frequently because we believe that Elder
Carter´s comp will arrive this week but we dont have any details.
This last week we probably worked the most in the other area too
because my comp and I got to be a part of the baptism in Elder Carter´s area.
Their name is the Ramoa Family and they are way awesome. We went by a whole lot
during the week to help them get ready for their baptism and teach them a
couple of more things. They had their interview on Friday and got baptized on Saturday.
I got to baptize Luis Fernando Ramoa and then I confirmed him the next day.
He´s the older looking son. It was a really fun experience and really special.
The next day we confirmed them and later at their house we talked to them and
they were really grateful and the mom and daughter were in tears. Mariana the
daughter started to cry and told us how good she felt when she got baptized.
She said she never thought she would be a person to go to church but after her
baptism she felt so good and that nothing else mattered and she was so happy
she made some of the changes that she did. I didn´t get to teach them as long
as Elder Carter did but I did meet them when we went on exchanges and they have
changed a lot.
Here´s the other crazy thing that happened in Elder Carter´s
area. There is a family, the Cruz family who makes like 50 pesos a day and
there is about 6 of them and they live day to day on that money because there
mother has drinking problems and nothing gets saved. Its a pretty bad habit of lots
of people here and it causes lots of problems for the family. Anyways, they
live in a house of cement blocks and all together the house was about 1230
pesos ($300) and the mom didn´t pay back any of the debt over the course of a
year and after many fights with the true owner of the house, the owner was
going to tear down the house and sell the blocks (this was on their contract).
We have been teaching the daughters of the family and we knew we had to help
them or they would have been homeless and the  mom got really stressed out
and started bawling. We started praying a bunch to figure out what to do for
them and we tried to make a deal with the owner. Not a whole lot was working
but then they found out their father would be able to send half of it to his
children and a member loaned them the other half. We basically did the conflict
resolution and we were able to find roofing for their house (from another
member that loaned it to us) because the owner was going to take that away too.
I´ll have to send pictures to yall next week of that but it was a great
experience. We ended all in smiles with both of the families shaking hands and
when we were walking away I said to Elder Carter “Elder… I feel all
tingley inside!” It was funny but it felt great to help them out! It made
me realize how blessed we are in our home and what a blessing is to have a
living prophet who helps us avoid such dangerous economic situations like this
one, and in so many other things. We also talked about Pres Monson´s talk the
divine gift of gratitude in church, he said the more we are grateful, the more
we will recognize how merciful our Heavenly Father is with his children. I love
you guys and I hope you all are doing great and making the Lord´s priorities,
your priorities, its the easiest way to live a happy life :)

Love,
Elder Singer