Thursday, July 12, 2012

Another Week 5/21/12

{Sorry about the lap in posting but here are his letters...}

Ok, so we're not going fox hunting, nor are we riding horses from a Mary-Go-Round, but I hope you've all chuckled at the reference.
So, to begin this letter, Mom asked me some questions that I thought would be better to answer here seeing as how you all probably had similar questions.  And so the Q & A begins:
Q: How do you like your new area?
A: I love this place.  It's very different from my other areas and is in that respect providing a bit of a challenge.  I am once again in a biking area, since this area includes two rather large suburbs, Tortuguitas (tohr-too-gee'-tahs) and Alberti, both of which have their own seperate train stops on the same line, so it's big.  Did I mention it's a large area?  The one thing that I'm not all that enthused for is that several of the roads are dirt roads, and we're on bikes, and it's been relatively rainy in these parts for the last four days.  So the mud has had fun with us.
Q: How do you like your new greenie?
A: Technically, he's not a greenie.  He's only got two weeks left of the new missionary training program, following the end of which he should be able to be a senior companion and trainer himself, if it were required.  So in that respect he's awesome.  He's already got great control of the language and has a really strong testimony.  He works really well with the members and knows how to teach.  He also has a strong testimony of the Spirit and its role in everything we do.  I've really been learning a lot from him.
Q: What's your companion's name? Where's he from?
A: Elder Buxton from Orem Utah.  I already asked him what ward, and he answered ward, so I knew he could be in the same branch as Brandon and Sarah.  But I told him generally where you two are and he said he knew the place.  So that's an interesting bit there.
Q: How have you been received by the members?
A: Well for the most part.  There are very few members who don't like missionaries, and they usually don't talk to us in the first place, so we rarely know that anyway.  There's a member here in the ward who served in the same mission as my MTC teacher, Brother Robinson, and was actually his companion when the two were assistants to the President.  So he comes with us to some appointments and he's a beast.  We've got a lot we can learn from him.  The Bishop is really cool too and is really concerned with helping the people we teach gain their own testimony so they can become faithful members of the church.  And there are several families who just about fight to get lunch times with us.  So we're well fed in this area.
Q: Are you working with contacts or do you have to start from scratch? Investigators, less-actives?
A: Yes.  To explain, there were a few investigators when I got here who had baptismal dates, and we've been trying to work with them, but we've had a really hard time actually getting appointments with them.  The majority of those appointments that we've had have fallen through for one reason or another.  So we didn't have very many people to teach last week, but we did various contacts in houses while looking for investigators, and we have been working with several less active members as well.  Yesterday we found a former investigator who lost contact with the missionaries when she moved but wants to restart the discussions.  We also found some former investigators who just needed to get married before they could be baptized, and they recently set a date to get married, so we'll be working more with them over the next while.  Also, the mother of one of the Bishop's counselors, who is a recent convert herself, invited two friends to listen to the missionaries and they are anxious to meet us and learn about the Gospel.  So the work is moving forward in this area.
So that gives a little bit of a report on what we've been doing here, but in some sadder news, when I got here to the area, the other couselor to the Bishop was in a coma.  He woke up the day I got here, but he passed away on Thursday morning.  Brother Alegre was his name.  He preceded a family of 7 kids raging from 22 to 4 years of age, and his wife.  It was a really sad funeral, made sadder by the fact that he and his wife are the only members of their families who are members of the church.  His brother and sister, who shared a few comments at the funeral service last Friday, are really supportive of his family, but they don't have the same beliefs we do about eternal families.  It seemed like they didn't have much hope of seeing their brother again.  How grateful I am for the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, which tells us that we can be together forever as families!
I love you all, so very much and am so very grateful that I know that when we die, we will not be separated forever, rather just for a short season until we also pass on.  Then we shall be reunited eternally.  The biggest part of this is that being a forever family is only possible according to our obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Through following the example of our Savior, having faith in him, repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, we can be together forever.  Through the ordinances available to us in the Temples, we have to promise from God that this will be so, as long as we are obedient to the covenants we make with Him.  I know this is true.  I feel it with my whole being.
May we all be faithful to our covenants that we may be together forever.  I love you.  I pray for you all.  Until next week.
With Love,
Elder Matthew Dewsnup

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