Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weekly Newsletter 3/19/18--keep draft

Dearest Family,

Yesterday was a day filled with inspiration and revelation, received by the Holy Ghost through God's servant called to lead this Mission. As I mentioned yesterday, we had interviews and a training meeting with President Gulbrandsen. We learned plenty of new material. Actually, almost none of it was new, but it was presented in such a way that I have understood the plan of salvation in a way that I never have before. Everything that God has given us, physical and spiritual, gift, blessing, and commantment, has been extended to us with the purpose and end that we return to His presence and live in the Celestial Kingdom. More than just that, He desires more than we can possibly imagine our exaltation. That exaltation is the highest degree of glory that we can receive.

In Doctrine and Covenants, we learn that in the Celestial Kingdom, there are three degrees or glories, and for a man (or woman for that matter) to obtain the highest, he must enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage (which is the sealing ordinance given in the Temple). That was more or less paraphrased because I don't have an english copy of the scriptures in front of me right now. So, in order to obtain exaltation, we must receive the sealing ordinance as man and wife. Sounds simple enough. But not so.

That was the purpose and divine end since before the council in heaven. When we were present in the council in heaven, we listened to God explain that purpose and the way in which we could obtain it. We were explained that the road would not be easy; on the contrary it would be one of the most difficult things that we could choose. But we were promised that if we followed the path He set, we would obtain that most wonderful gift, eternal life, "which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God" (D&C 14:7). Once the debate was over and those who opposed the plan had been exiled, according to their own agency and choice, creation began.

From the Bible and the Pearl of Great Price we read in three places the story of the creation and understand that God the Father created the world and all things that reside upon and around it through His Eternal and Almighty Son, Jesus Christ. To pronounce the creation complete, God created Man and Woman, with the end that through their differences, they could participate in the creation of life. Yet, while in the Garden of Eden, they were innocent and knew not the difference between good and evil. With the commandments given, and the consequence of breaking either being death, they lived for a time in the Garden, having everything given them, and yet at the same time having nothing. Because they could not know evil or bad, neither could they know righteousness or goodness.

Then came the tempter, through whose cunning words persuaded Eve, and through her, Adam, to partake of the forbidden fruit, thus disobeying the commandment of God. Keeping in mind that they both chose to partake--either one could have said no at any time--they wilfully broke a commandment of God, and knowing the consequence, and discovering their nakedness, they tried to hide. But God knew them and knew that, even though He loved them and would surely miss having them in His presence, He would have to expel them from His presence, for He has said "No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God."

Thus, having chosen to disobey, they were cast from the eternal and loving presence of God; but not without help. After this Fall from immortality to mortality, Heavenly messangers were sent by God to teach them the plan of Salvation. They were taught that they would need to exercise faith unto repentance, be baptized by immersion, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end faithful to the commandments of God if they were to hope to enter into the presence of their Loving Father again. They were also taught the consequences for disobedience to this plan, and the way through which one can be forgiven.

The plan they were taught is the Gospel, the Good News of Christ. In their fallen state, Man could not ever enter into the God's presence, for "No unclean thing can enter into the Kingdom of God." They were also explained that "the natural man is an enemy to God and has been from the fall of Adam..." The natural man was described as sensual and devilish, full of all kinds of evil, and they were told that only by putting off the natural man could they become saints, or holy, and pure enough to enter into God's Kingdom.

But in and of themselves, they did not have the power to overcome the punishment of their own sins. The eternal law of Justice demands payment for all debts, and no matter how much a man tries not to, he will sin and cannot erase the stain of that sin. Thus it was necessary that a Savior be prepared, a Redeemer, a Perfect Man, one who could resist all temptation and be an example unto all. Chosen before the foundation of the world, Jesus Christ came to earth to atone for the sins of mankind. Suffering an agony that no human mind can even conceive, so much so that he bled from every pore and plead with God that if it were possible he could be spared this pain, nevertheless, he fulfilled His work. As Mormon tells us, quoting the words of Christ himself: "Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works" (3 Nephi 27:13-15).

Therefore, we are left to choose our path, but the consequence that we must understand is that whatever disobedience that we perform, it makes us unclean and unworthy to return to live with God. That unworthiness also prevents us from ever living with our families again. We are taught by modern revelation that only in the Celestial Kingdom can we live with God eternally and together with our families. Thus, disobedience prohibits us entry and damns us, or stops us, from ever seeing Gods face or those of our loved ones again, for the rest of eternity. ...That's a long time.

But Christ continues: "And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father. And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end. Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day" (3 Nephi 27:16-17, 19-20).

When we stand in judgement before Christ after the resurrection, we will see the face of Our Father in Heaven. We will know exactly the condition of our guilt or innocence. We will look wildly for one who can intercede for us, but none shall step forward... Except One. If we have followed the prescribed path--faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, complete repentance of all sins, baptism by immersion by someone who holds the authority to do so, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by the same authority, and our failthfulness and endurance until the utter end of our lives--Christ shall intercede and before the Father testify that He has already paid the price and punishment for our wrongdoing. Then we shall hear the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matthew 25:21). Then we will enter into the Kingdom of God and be reunited with all those loved ones who have also met those requirements.

On the other hand, for all of us who have not followed the straight and narrow path taught by Christ, we shall also appear before Christ, and we shall see the face of our Father. We are taught that "Nothing will surprise us more than when we get to heaven and see the Father and realize how well we know Him and how familiar His face is to us" (Ezra Taft Benson, not sure when, look it up on internet). So, to see that face, so familiar, so full of love, we will be devastated to know, also knowing our guilt before Him, that we will never again for all eternity see that face. We will also never again see the faces of our loved ones and feel their love, for only within the bounds of the Celestial Kingdom of God can families live together forever. How utterly sad, depressed, and tormented will we be in that day if we have not followed the ways of God.

That is what was explained to us before coming to this earth. It is that plan, that reality, that blessing or doom that we claimed to understand when we accepted God's plan and chose to come to earth. Those who rejected this plan before the creation met an early damnation by their own choice. But in the justice and the mercy of God, we were presented and knew His plan and in the hopes and desires to prove ourselves, we accepted the challenge to come into this life.

For all those who never in this life heard of this marvelous and merciful plan, God has, in his love and mercy, provided a time and place in which they can hear the plan, accept it, and receive the ordinances necessary for salvation and exaltation. The time is now, and through the milenial reign of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The place is the Holy Temple. We have been called and chosen to come forth in this day, to be in this family, and to have these callings which we now hold because God knew and planned before the foundation of the Earth exactly that path. He knew our abilities, and because of that, he reserved us for now.

I feel blessed to be a son to you Ron and Sharon Dewsnup, and brother to Sarah, Megan, and Joseph; to be connected through holy sealing marriage of my sisters to Brandon and Marvin; and to witness and participate in the furthering and advancement of the next generation, more prepared than my own, which up to now includes our beloved Anika, Zayne, and Royce. How grateful I am to be at this time one of the Lord's chosen messangers to take this Gospel, this Good News, to all the world: That Christ lives, and that through Him and the Mercy and Grace of God we can become clean and pure--prepared to face the judgment and enter into our Father's presence, enjoying eternally one another's presence as well.

I love you, each and every one of you. This is much longer than I thought it would be, but it is something that I felt I needed to share with you. This revelation that I have received through the teachings of President Gulrandsen, you, My family, and the Holy Ghost, is helping me to become a better servant of the Lord. Thank you for being part of my family and for the love, encouragement, and Spirit that you share with me always. I thank you for your prayers and want you to know that I feel them. I want you to know that whatever happens, I am trying my best to work towards that end goal.

I love you. I pray for you. Know that God wants for each of us to obtain the same goal and that in His mercy and love, He is guiding and directing you.

As a forever family, I hope to be privileged enough to live with you forever and for always. As long as... eternity, My Family you'll be.

With all the love I can share,

p.s. this letter can be excluded from the blog, if it is still being updated.

Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup

Misión Buenos Aires Norte
Gral. Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sad Face 3/18/13


This is a notice that I will write you tomorrow. We had interviews and a training meeting with President for the majority of the day, so we will have Preparation day tomorrow. I'll write more then.

Quick requests:
Joseph, write about Prom please.
Mom, we just received word that we can write other people besides family by email (which is faster in so many ways than written letters, I can write more and can send faster and cheaper). If you have the email addresses, could you pass me those of Nataly, Mary, and Michal? You should be able to find them on facebook. I'll check and see if I can get to an orthodontist, but unlikely. Might be doing some shopping tomorrow for shirts average cost about 40-50 bucks-heads up.
Dad, Could you tell me a little more about Frau Hoelderl and Gabby?
Meg, thanx for the note, and good luck with Minion. I'll be praying for you as always. I'd love a walk when I come home.
Marvin, I appreciated the letter, and I'll keep in mind what you said. What kind of differences are there to making houses out of metal framing?
Sarah and Brandon, what news on the kidlets and life? Sarah-Are the students still proving a challenge? Brandon-What are law classes like?

I love you all and you are all in my prayers.

Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup

Friday, March 29, 2013

So.... We Meet Again!!!! 3/11/13


Dear Family,

This week has been quite a bit better. Not so much in the numbers of lessons as in the number of people that we've been able to find and get to know. We wrote out all the names of the people that we visit or have visited in the last couple of weeks and the list was more than 50 people. The majority of them are grouped as families. So we're finding families!!!!!

A few of them already know the church in part and it'll be interesting this week to see how much they remember and how sincere they will be in their commitments. With a sufficient amount of the Spirit and testimony, we will be having a few more baptisms in the next few weeks. We're really beginning to see more enthusiasm here as well. At the same time, it's still hard to get things started from almost nothing. We also found out that the southern most town of the world, Puerto Williams, which has less than half the population of Tolhuin, already has it's own branch, and has for at least 15 years.... -.- So where's ours?! We're working on it.

One family, a mother with two of her children, were willing enough to accept a baptismal date last week, but since they didn't come to church we'll have to extend that date a little bit. They're a very intelligent family and love reading, so we're both hopeful that they will have been reading in the Book of Mormon when we pass by for our appointment tonight.

Another family of four, though the youngest os only 4, has also opened their doors to us... and he has a wood shop out back!! He said that any time we wanted we could come and use it if we let him know first. I know what I'll be doing for at least one preparation day sometime soon... But they've heard the missionaries before and went to church in Buenos Aires (the souther part of the area) when their grandmother was baptized about four years ago. The brother of the mother and his family did the same and we also met them and have an appointment with them tonight. We've got plenty of hope that these families will begin to keep their commitments and start the process that leads to eternal life (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). We'll be working with these and a few other families and people this week, and of course, always looking for more.

Another family that we started teaching the other day went to church yesterday and they said they really liked the meetings. Well, the kids went at least. The parents were working night shift from 11:00 pm to 10:00 am (she's the supervisor and had to take inventory and report any needs once her shift ended at 7:00 am). They had recently eaten and were about to go to bed, so they sent their kids to get to know the stuff. And we have a visit with them planned for tomorrow.

So, the work progresses. In spite of the few who decide to leave, the number of people who witness their testimony of Jesus Christ by entering into the waters of baptism will continue growing. As prophesied of old, the boulder cut out of the mountain without hands will continue to roll forth until it has filled the earth. It will happen because God has decreed it. Now, I just wish it would move more on my timetable. But that's the joy of learning the virtue of patience. Yes patience is a virtue, and no I will not get out. (I know that at least one of you thought of that movie quote. The first to reply it wins!)

So, I hope that all u'yall have been having a splendiforous time in your lives. And I want to hear all about it... Without fail and forever I love you all!!! Get those kidlets a runnin', 'cause their uncle's a comin' (but we're not going to mention the time).

I love you all!

Elder Dewsnup

Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup

Misión Buenos Aires Norte
Gral. Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pictures 2/26/13

P.S. Here're the photos.

P.S.S. Sarah and Brandon, Inna short video of Annie saying hi and Brandon, congrats on being able to sing with MoTab!

Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup

Misión Buenos Aires Norte
Gral. Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires, Argentina

I'm ok 2/26/13

Dear family,

Sorry this is a day late. We did some sight seeing with a brother here and we were out much longer than planned or wanted... And despite a few attempts at rushing a bit to get back on time to write, we only got back in time to go proselyting. We got permission from President Gulbrandsen to write today.

But as a consequence, this will be a shorter note, I mean letter.

Sarah will be pleased to know that we got to know Hidden Lake and more of Lake Fagnano (khami lake). There's another lake called Cami Lake, but I'm still not sure where that is and we didn't visit there. Some pictures at the end of the message.

Well, Rocco was baptized last Saturday with his little brother who just turned 8 two weeks ago. So it was a double baptism. This time we went to the chapel in Chacra, one of the neighborhoods in Rio Grande. Elder Jackson is one of the two Elders there, so we had a short reunion during the baptism, since they had to prepare the building for the baptism. Pictures are also included. And I made the refreshments. Home-made frosted donuts. It turned out better than I expected, but not as tasty as I hoped. The powdered sugar here is not as fine as it is in the States.

Returning to the theme of the baptism, Elder Rosazza baptised Rocco, and his brother Valentin was baptized by a convert named Ramon. It was his first time baptizing someone, and he was a little nervous, but it went very well.

Um... Not much else exciting has happened, we've been walking a lot, and Elder Rosazza claims that I've lost weight, but I won't believe it until I see a scale. I still feel just as... round... as I have been for quite some time.

As for letters and packages, I think I have not explained myself well. Letters get sent directly to the mission office. Once there, they are kept in a file until there are interviews, a zone conference, or transfers. So while anyone is in the north, they get at least 1 and sometimes 2 chances per transfer to receive their mail. In the south it's a little more complicated. The letters still arrive at the mission office, and once there, they are kept in a box with our zone label on it. The second week of every transfer, that box is sent south with all other items requested for the area. Also, President and Sister Gulbrandsen often bring letters with them for conferences and interviews, which also take place once a transfer.

Packages, are received the same way, unless they go through customs. Every three weeks, the Elders in the offices go pick up all the packages that are waiting in the customs office. From there, they get to the mission office and are delivered as normal mail and packages. The exception is that with packages south, President and Sister Gulbrandsen don't usually bring them, because that is a lot of added weight to their baggage that they would have to pay, so if it's a larger package, it just comes with the requested items.

So, minimum time to receive a letter/package is about two to three weeks. Maximum time is about six to seven weeks, eight or nine if the Elder is not transferred from his area (therefore doesn't go to the offices to pick up mail).

Well, that about sums up the scoop of bland vanilla ice cream this week. I hope that next week it'll be something more exotic, like, strawberry cheescake, or maricuyá (a tropical fruit... Soooooo good).


Elder Dewsnup

Howdee 2/18/13

Well, Family,

BRRRR. It's cold here. I still haven't pulled out the scarf and gloves, but the coat, yes.

Moving on. I finally got a camera, so Mom's happy, and I'm sure all the rest of you too. Here's a foto that I can do with my cool new Samsung ST6B:

How's that for a gorgeos sunset and great landscape! And I've got more where that came from.

In a somewhat gruesome and yet cool in a way bit of news... I saw a beaver for the first time up close in my life. Well, I guess it was only half a beaver... A dog was eating it. And I've got a few pictures of that, but I judged it prudent not to include them here, I'll share those upon my return... ;D

This is a failed attempt of getting me with this sunset:

Well, things are slow here. We found a whole bunch of people to teach last week, but almost none of them ended up coming to church on Sunday. We're still gonna keep trying for a little bit longer, but coming to church is one of the main commitments that everyone investigating the church has to do if they are ever going to get a sure answer about the truth of the church. Without that step, one they won't know absolutely (normally) if the church is true or not, and second, they cannot progress towards baptism.

We did a lot of walking last week, more than I think I've done in much of my mission, but we keep praying to find and to get the things done that we have been assigned, whether it be by our leaders or our divine commision from God.

I don't have much time to share more, but I do know that this Church is true and that it is the only Church on the earth that has the keys and power of the priesthood. It is through those restored keys and powers that we have the authority once again on the earth to baptize and be baptized and to receive the other saving ordinances necessary for entrance in the kingdom of God. I know it is true, and that it was restored through God's prophet Joseph Smith. Do I know why him? No, but I do know that he was chosen and that through him, God has restored the sacred truths about our divine worth and eternal possibilities, if we follow His commandments.

I love you all. I hope you enjoy the photos. There will be more with the weeks to come.

Elder Dewsnup

Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup

Misión Buenos Aires Norte
Gral. Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires, Argentina

(Sorry I couldnt get the pictures inside the letter for some reason-Megan)