Thursday, May 30, 2013

Weekly Update 5/27/13

How are things down south? How's your new companion? We're you able to fill up any more seats on Sunday? Is it getting cold? How are the new priesthood holders doing?

My dearest family,

I've already been on the computer for over an hour, reading letters, writing President, updating mission files, and now writing you, and I still have a lot to do. So this letter will sadly be a little shorter than normal.

This last week has actually been much better. My new companion is Elder McNab, from the Seattle, Washington area. He's the second of five, loves rock music, and hates the cold and ice here while at the same time enjoying immensly "skating" on the streets in his shoes.

We also are hosting the newly assigned Assistant to the president, Elder Martinez, who is the travelling assistant for the south. He's visiting all the areas here so that he can give a report about each one to the new mission president when he arrives. He was also in the same house with me when I first arrived to Argentina in Pilar, so it has been neat to catch up with him a bit.

I have not been officially moved to the new mission yet, but I'm almost sure that it's going to happen. I also have no idea what will be happening with all of the changes. I suspect that this new transfer could very easily be only until the 15 of June, which is when President Gulbrandsen said that there would be no more changes made in the organization of the southern areas bafore the end of the transfer. I have no clue, but it is a suspicion of mine. (I killed the spelling on that word I'm sure of it.)

Things down here in the south are going well. We had a great Sunday yesterday. After a whole week of trying to find a place to meet, the community let us use one of the cultural buildings. We improvised the pulpit out of a trashcan, a bucket, and an empty produce box, covered with a thick blue curtain. It was the missionary show, since none of the leaders from Rio Grande could show up, so it was kind of interesting in that sense. I presided and directed the meeting. Elder Martinez and I blessed the sacrament while Elder McNab passed. Elder Martinez said the opening prayer and lead the music and gave the opening remarks in testimony. Elder McNab spoke on the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then I spoke on Agency and how to recognize the Holy Ghost, expounding Galations 5:22-23. It had one of the five investigators present tearing up a little towards the end. It was the first time in 5 weeks that we had investigators in church and there were FIVE! with a total attendance of 15. Every single one of them from Tolhuin, because no one from Rio Grande could come! SUCCESS!! We're planning on working a lot more with them this week and hope to see all of them baptized within the next three to four weeks. This of course very much depends on their agency and dedication to fulfil the commitments we will be extending to them.

Sadly, only one of the recent converts from the past year was in attentance yesterday. Not one of the people who has joined the church since I came to Tolhuin was present, and we will be verifying why this week. The new priesthood holders didn't show up either, which was wierd to me because we were with one of them an hour before church started. In fact, he was helping us go look for the investigators to remind them about church and to wake them up if they were sleeping. (You wouldn't believe how late people sleep in here!! Some of them until 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon!! Keeping in mind that the sun goes down at 6:00...)

It's getting super cold down here. I've even been thinking about buying a new pair of warmer gloves and a replacement hat for the one I just lost. I feel like an idiot for losing a hat I had just bought, but I can't find it anywhere and have no clue where I could have left it. While most of the snow we had two weeks ago has melted, all the water has since frozen, making the roads relatively slick. We've all fallen quite a few times. Luckily, nothing more serious than a few bruises, but we had a close call with Elder Martinez today. As he slipped, he almost hit his head on the curb. If he hadn't put out his hands and weren't wearing his backpack, he'd have had a super bad accident. Lucky for him (or due to guardian angels) he just left with a bruise on his leg and a sore ligament behind his knee. I'm keeping care of my self and avoid patches where I know I will fall, though there are places where I'm surprised and fall just the same.

Anyhow. That's about where we're at down here at the moment. I love you all and hope to hear from you all soon!

Elder Dewsnup

Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup
Misión Buenos Aires Norte
Gral. Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Transfer 5/21/13

Dear Family,

Well, this week the letter will be shorter. The internet café where I am right now closes in about 15 minutes. I'll be printing out your letters to read later.

¡Man! How time flies. At the start of this transfer, I will once again be staying in Tolhuin!! Elder Johnson, however is heading for Buenos Aires on a plane in four hours. Due to that, we're at the moment in Rio Grande in a small cyber cafe waiting before he has to go to the airport. The only thing I know about my new companion is that his name is Elder Macnab or Elder McNab (both of whom are Elders in this mission). We've got a lot of work to do in Tolhuin.

We've been finding a lot of people but the hardest thing for all of them is making the sacrifice on Sunday to go to church. We've now had four weeks in a row without a single investigator in church. That and soon we will be moving locations. The hope is that the new location is more towards the center of the town, but we'll just have to see what happens.

I got my package from the office on Sunday, five weeks after it was sent. It sat in a warehouse in Buenos Aires for two weeks, then took two weeks to get down here, then another week before we finally asked someone to get it from the shipping copmpany because it was taking forever for them to get it to us. I called and complained a few times to no apparent avail. After several promises of "oh, it'll be there in... (a few days, tomorrow, later today, etc.)," I'd had enough. So, Thanks Mom, I've received what you sent three months ago and I'm enjoying every second of them! I never thought I'd be so grateful for new underwear! ;) Nor had I ever thought that I'd be asking for them for birthday or Christmas either. Interesting how interests change over the years...

We've got several new people to teach this week and we're going to be working hard to get them to understand the importance of coming to church, so that they chose for themselves to come this Sudnay. Last week, I wrote a bit about that and I'm sticking to what I said. The Sacrament is the most important part of the week. It is in those moments of reverance and reflection that we often can and will receive the revelation we need from God to be able to get through the week.

I'm looking forward to reading what you have written to me and I want you all to know how much I love you!!! There is not enough room in Cyberspace to count the number.


p.s. Mom I saw the picture of the flowers as I went to copy and paste to Word. They're lovely!!!

Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup
Misión Buenos Aires Norte
Gral. Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Saturday, May 25, 2013

So.... 5/13/13

Dear Family,

Well, another week is gone. The last phone call has passed. So little time remains, 'til I'll be home at last.

Ok, so maybe not at last... but it was a good rhyme.

Well, we had the first snow fall today. Nothing big enough to really stikck to the ground but a couple of flakes. The problem is more in the ice on the dirt roads and the frozen mud. Once the snow really hits and starts to melt and freeze, we'll be putting on our ice walkers. I loved seeing all your faces yesterday!!! I was a little bummed about the lack of a good amount of time, but that's life and things move on.

We've seen a hard week. After meeting a whole bunch of people and two new families, we had a record low of attendence in my time here. Nine in total, four being leadership from Rio Grande and two being us. Not the ideal, especially since not a single one of the investigators or future investigators showed up. Despite best efforts, not a big turn out. But we've got another week to really try and stress the importance of the sacrament and church meetings. Something that I recently wrote to Joseph is still on my mind. And it also happened to be the topic I was asked to speak on yesterday, since almost no one showed up.

The topic was really the blessings that I have seen in my life from living the Gospel and the effect it had on my and my siblings. I sorta morphed it a little bit, because I came up with two of the most important things and focused on those. Daily family scripture study and daily family prayer.

We all have memories of the successful and not so successful moments of daily scripture study, and I'm sure Mom and Dad remember more than I or any of the rest of us kids do about those. But I do remember and will value forever the consistancy and lessons learned from those moments. I will also always remember the love felt in those moments. We had our rushed days when we would just read to read, and we had our time days when Dad and Mom would ask us understanding questions and would understand our questions respond to them. I also remember when learning to read the love and patience that all had with my halting language. I also still remember and will never forget that once when it was my turn I misread the word bond for blonde, making the phrase "both blonde and free, both male and female," or something like that. That phrase is said a lot in the Book of Mormon, and every time I come to that point I smile and remember the laughs we had at that! :)

With our family prayers, I shared with the congregation about the twenty to thirty minute prayers that we had and with a mix of tears and chuckles told them of the love I felt and the Spirit that was present. It's something that Dad about a month and a half ago commented to me about as well. Dad, if you ever thought those moments were irreverent, I cherish those moments as some of the closest moments we had as a family. The joy I still feel at the memory is filling. I also shared an experience in which I learned from Mom and Dad, from the two of you, the importance of prayer and the love and blessings that it can provide for your children.

I remember once I had some dort of question and I was coming to you later on in the evening and still being younger I just opened the door without knocking. I saw you two kneeling side by side at your bed in prayer. I closed the door most of the way, but remained standing there and listened as you prayed for each of us in turn and I felt your love for me. I still don't remember what it was that I needed in that moment, but I have a memory of receiving something better; the testimony of love from my parents and the knowledge that they lifted their voices to God for me. The Book of Mormon testifies that children are blessed by the righteous prayers of their parents, as shown by the story of Alma the prophet and his errant son Alma.

I shared those experiences and a few scriptures and ended with a testimony of the importance of the sacrament, which I want to emphasize here a little more. As Elder Oaks taught us several years ago (don't remember how many) the sacrament is the most important part of any of our meetings. It is the time in which we have to renew our baptismal covenants with God, and a time to receive a new forgiveness for our sins. It is in the moments of the sacrament that we can perhaps feel the Spirit the strongest outside of the Temple, as we contemplate the atoning gift of our Saviour and partake of the emblems of His flesh and blood. We take into ourselves, figuratively and spiritually, His flesh and blood, symbolizing a becoming one with Him. The promises of the sacrament I still remember from a Family Home Evening when we lived in Hudsen as AKT-always remember Him, keep His commandments, and take upon us His name. We are promised in turn His Spirit, that Holy Guide and Comforter, as a constant companion, as in the words of the prayer, "that they may always have his spirit to be with them" (Moroni 4:3, italics added for emphasis).

When we do each of these things with diligence and consistency (as in constant, not as in the cooking term for how liquidy it is, not sure of the spelling), we are promised the Blessings of God. "And when we obtain any blessing from God it is by obedience..." for, "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." When we obey God's commandments to study the scriptures, pray, and renew our covenants, we will receive the blessings held in store for us. I know it.

I love you all and will talk to you again next week!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Hollar!!!!!! 5/6/13

A shout heard round the world!!!

That's a phrase around here used for a guy with the last name of Favaloro who denounces the Cleveland hospital for claiming a bunch of things. He was apparently a doctor raised in Argentina who invented the heart bypass surgery. There's a really big memorial to him here...

But anyway...

My shout for the week is that: "TIME IS GOING TOO FAST"

Mother's day is only a week away!!!!!!! :D / D:

double emotions on that one. I'm trying to avoid becoming trunky, and every time I think about the slowly decreasing amount of time I have left in Argentina, I have a big mix of butterflies and anxiety, and maybe even a few crocodile and water buffalo fights, that go on inside.

Crocodiles are very astute creatures. They lie in wait, motionless or almost so, as the prey gets closer. The last possible second, they attack, opening and slamming shut their powerful jaws, utterly refusing to let go until the prey either dies from loss of blood or drowns. Then, snake like, the crocodile slowly swallows the creature.

It made me think of the story shared by Elder Packer several years ago that has become a very widely known story and even a seminary video. It's too long of a story to put in, nor would I do it justice if I tried, so I'll leave you to look it up if you don't know it, but he compares Satan to crocodiles.

Spiritual crocodiles lie in wait all the time, waiting just long enough for us to wander a little too close to the water's edge. If we aren't careful or cautious enough, we can quickly and suddenly be caught in the crocodiles powerful and relentless jaws, and without divine help, those jaws will never release.

The Atonement, which was prepared and planned from before the foundation of the world, has been effected by a loving and every merciful Saviour, through whose grace we can become clean and perfected. We have no power, once in the jaws of a crocodile, to release ourselves. But there is a way that another can open those jaws and provide us an escape. The hands of the Master and Healer of Souls can open the jaws of hell enough for us to escape it's grasp, but on certain conditions.

For many people today, they don't even realize that they are in the grasp of the crocodile's jaws, and are slowly bleeding or drowning to spiritual death. But once we are brought to a realization of our trapped and helpless condition, we can immediately cry for help. The Protector will only be able to come to our aid if we call for Him. After all, He has put in place more warning signs than one sees for roadwork and blasting zones (after all, at the last one, we lost Billy...) It is obvious when there is roadwork taking place, with easily visible, in both light and darkness, bright orange cones and barrels. Everyone's favorite color... We are given the signs and many times we choose to ignore them and we boldly and brazenly walk right into the crocodile's mouth.

When we cry for help, we can receive it, but once we escape those sharp and deadly teeth, more is needed. That Master Healer gives us the opportunity to be healed and at our further plea offers and applies the healing balm of Gilead, dressing the wounds and anointing them with oil. But even after the healing process is complete, there will be ugly pink and red scars that may not fade for a very long time. Those scars serve as an everlasting reminder to us that we must avoid those crocodiles and the memory of those events is permitted to remain so that ever we may distance ourselves from the gaping jaws that hang open wide.

I have many scars, and some have reopened from time to time, due to my lack of watchfulness. As the healing process continues, I look to my Saviour and His teachings, through which I can even find teatment for those scars to hasten their fade. In the books of Mosiah and Alma, we find example after example after example of persons or cities or nations who realize their perril and cry out for help. The wounds of some are larger than others. Alma, the sons of Mosiah, Lamoni and his people, his father and seven Lamanite lands, even several of the Zoramites and later generations of Lamanites all find refuge in the arms of His matchless love and receive treatment from His healing hands.

I am currently reading the Book of Mormon in both English and Spanish. In one, I just reached the book of Alma, and in the other have made it halfway through Alma 5. From King Benjamin to now in these parts of the Book of Mormon, we find many evidences of the mercy of God in liberating His people from physical and spiritual dangers and bondage. In Alma 5, we read the question that this morning made me pause and think a lot.

"If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" (Alma 5:26)

I imagine that the oldest people among the audience at this time of widespread pride among the members of the church were some of those youngest souls who heard the words of King Benjamin and felt that redeeming love as they received a forgiveness of their sins. They received in that time, so long ago, a remission of their sins and had the Holy Spirit poured out upon them as they faced the holy Temple. In this moment, I imagine that those older men and women remembered that moment of inexpressable joy and reflected on the answer to the question in their hearts.

"Can ye feel so now?" How profound! We often feel the affects of the atonement in our lives, and then, due to our human state, are quick to forget those experiences. Asking that question to ourselves can keep the remembrance of our Redeemer in our minds always.

"Can I feel so now?" I have asked myself that question several times. Sometimes I am ashamed of my answer, and at other times less so. A few times I do feel that way. I am beginning now to keep that phrase, that priceless question, in my mind always.

I know that God loves me and that He sent His Beloved Son to die for me that through Him I might be made free and find refuge from the storms of the world. I know that in these days, even if we cannot hear the very voice of God or talk to Him face to face, we can feel of His endless love and perceive the voice of His Spirit, comforting and uplifting us. I know it is true.

That was a long story that I had not intended to write, and many times I think that I get here intending to write one thing and then the keys just start to press themselves as my thoughts are released. Mentioning a crocodile at the beginning was just an expression, but it has become more than that. I know that we can be a forever family, if we all strive our best throughout the entire length of our lives to live the Gospel of Repentance.

This is God's church and His gospel. This is His will. I know it, I live it, and I love it!

I love you all and will speak with you on Sunday!



Thursday, May 23, 2013

3 "x7" "x7" 4/29/13

Dear Family,

I have three weeks of weeks left. That's a scary thought. I've already had my last conference in the mission, my last Christmas, my last New Year's, Valentine's, St. Patrick's and April Fool's days. In two weeks I'll have passed my last Mother's day as well. Things are coming to a close. It's almost like I got hit in the face by a board of the dimensions in the Subject line. There're also only two months left before President Gulbrandsen goes home. I still have no idea if I'm going to be staying in the south and become part of the new mission or will head back north to finish out my service. Things are becoming even more uncertain for me. But there are a few certainties that will never change.

God loves me. He loves you. He has a plan for us to be together eternally. As long as we always strive with all the energy we posess (spelling?) we will be able to take part in the wonderful gift of the Atonement, receive Mercy, and be welcomed into our Father's kingdom.

This week, we have not been as "successful" as we would have hoped, but we are working with a few new people and hope that soon we will be able to enjoy the full benefits of a branch here in Tolhuin. Luis has recently been interviewed to be ordained to the office of Elder and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and will be ordained next Sunday. With that, we will have two Melchizedek Priesthood holders here aside from the missionaries, which as far as I understand it, is just enough to organize a branch of the church: four Melchizedek Priesthood holders, with the missionaries counting as part of the four. If I'm wrong, meh, it won't change the fact that we're still trying to find more men and families to share the joy with. We want to be able to take people to the temple. Perhaps we won't see it, but that is the goal that we want to leave in the people's minds.

We have also been told that the Area offices have approved a budget for a rent here in town for a meeting house. The property guys will be coming either this week or next week to look for a suitable place, but that means that now we won't have to meet in people's homes! I'm still not sure as to when the rent will start, there is still the whole process of paperwork and contracting and negotiating and all that that I became very familiar with while I was the housing coordinator, but the area continues to grow.

AND!!!! We had three young women come to church this last week that haven't come in almost two months, perhaps more! AND!!! Two of them have given us referrals to contact and are talking with people. The young men and young women have chatted a little bit at school, although I don't think they had much communication between themselves before the boys were baptized.

Sadly, another two families are moving though. Antonela has almost officially moved to Rio Grande, since she's super involved in politics. She's still leaving the house for us to use for church until we have the rent, but I haven't seen here in a little more than a month now. And Francisco has been transferred to Rio Grande as well, at least for work. He wants to work there during the week and return here for the weekends, but it's something that he still isn't sure about.

So, life moves on. I also have recently come to appreciate the Sacrament and the covenant renewal that we make through it each week. I made the comparison to one of the young women that when we are baptized, it's like we sign a contract, promising to be called in the name of Christ, remember Him, and keep His commandment, and He in turn promises us His Spirit. This contract we have expires each week, so in order to maintain the contract current, and to keep the Spirit with us, we need to partake of the Sacrament, which is the weekly renewal of the contract. It helped here to understand better, and at the same time, it helped me as well. Having worked a little more with contracts now, I understand a little more the gravity of a contract. And it also puts a little more perspective on covenants. The consequences for not fulfilling our part of a contract is spelled out within the same, and can include fines, jail time, or other punishments.

With a covenant, the disobedience is rewarded with eternal punishments. Whatever disobedience is met with an equal punishment, reminiscent of the first law of motion. However, no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. Any sin, no matter how small, already condemns us to live without God's presence eternally. However, a Mediator or Lawer has been provided for our defense. If we have tried sincerely to put off our natural instincts and become holy (something extremely hard in these days, though not impossible) mercy will be extended and we will be permitted into God's presence, there to live forever more.

I love you all! See you in two weeks!! (by Skype, not in person...)
Elder Dewsnp

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let Us All Press On 4/22/13

Dear Family,

I've got a lovely bunch of newsy bits, deedle-e-dee, here they are for you to read today...

If they didn't show up, there are supposed to be music notes at the beginning and end of that phrase.

Ok, so I got strep throat this last week. !GASP!! 8O (look at that as if it were a face) First time that I've been medically diagnosed with it. It's mostly gone now that I've been on amoxicilin (pardon the spelling) but I still have a few days to take the pills before it's suppose to be completely gone. It was an interesting feeling having the sensation of knives being slowly dragged along the sides of my throat. I didn't feel it much when I talked, just when I tried to swallow. In spite of that, I don't think I lost weight this week...

Francisco and Ivan's little brother Maxi was baptized last Saturday and confirmed yesterday. The stories there are funny too. On Saturday, city wide, the water was cut about mid-day because of extensions they were making to the water lines. But no one told the Elders. So we get to Luis's house to begin filling the font/pool for the baptism and find absolutely no water pressure. Awesome, what now? We had the possibility of the lake again, but by this time of year the water has dropped significantly in temperature. So all involved nixed that idea. So how do we find enough water? We thought about trying to head up higher out of town where all the houses have tanks of water and don't rely on the city for that precious resource, but that would take even longer, leaving the baptism for midnight or later. ... Ok, what gives? At about 5:45 God decided to smile on us for our efforts and probably took pity on two young missionaries who were sick and trying their best to to His will. The water turned back on and immediately we began to fill the font.

¡Phew! one problem solved. Now how do we make it hot... They have about a 30 liter tank for hot water. -.- So for the next 4 hours we were turning the water on and off trying to give it time to heat up in between al the while boiling pots and kettles of water to add. By 9:30ish, the water level was half way up my shin, just enough for Maxi, who is 9, to be submerged, so we began the service. An opening prayer, two minute talk by Elder Johnson, and 30 feet later, we enter the water. In doing so, I cut my white pants and knee open on the "staircase" for the font, though no one else knew it yet. I knelt down (ow) and he sat, the ordinance was performed and we stood up, I trying to hide my knee in the corner of the pool without anyone seeing. I wasn't sure if he had submerged completely, and after a few seconds, the witnesses told us to do it again. Once again on my knees (double ow), I performed the ordinance again, this time trying to make sure that he went completely under, and after two seconds or less, I was helping him out of the pool, wet and shivering (the water wasn't warm... though the lake would have been worse. Fail on heat.) By now, my white pants were showing that I had cut my knee. I'm sure you can imagine. Not a bad cut, but just enough that I had a flap I had to cut off while changing.

While I wa changing, Maxi and his family made a quick escape, leaving us to finish the service with Luis's family. We said a prayer and departed for the night.

Sunday rolls around and we decide that for the first time in a long time, we're going to actually go look for our investigators to bring them to church. We were under the impression, based on a phone conversation earlier in the week, that a man would be at Antonela's house to open it for us when we got there, so we went looking. An hour and a half later we arrive at the house, having met with closed and unresponsive doors on the way, only to find that the supposed man was not to be found. Another call to Antonela revealed a miscommunication between us. You see, we normally go and help her clean the house and prepare for the meetings around 11:00 or 12:00, so she thought we'd be there at that time for the man to open up and let us in and told him so. We thought he was staying at her house for the weekend and would open up for us. (Quick aside, Antonela was in Rio Grande because of some politics thing she had to do.) Well, that man was waiting for us at 11:00 and when we failed to show up (due to looking for investigators) he left, taking the keys with him.

We arrive together with the Branch Presidency member, his two sons, and two other local members at about 1:45, with 15 minutes to go before Sacrament meeting was supposed to start. Trying to figure out what to do so that Maxi could be confirmed and the sacrament could be ministered to these saints, I suggested we meet in a number of other places. Adjustments would have to be made (all of the meeting materials were inside the locked house) but at least we could still have the sacrament meeting in some other place. Trying to think of the growing, yet still weak faith of the newer members, the branch presidency counselor wanted to cancel the meeting for this week and just wait a week for the sacrament to be administered and the confirmation to take place. .... Um, no. These saints have been without the sacrament since the moment they got here to Tolhuin, have waited anxiously to participate once again, and now we want to cancel it, just because the normal place is locked?! I don't think so. One of the other members had already offered her house as a place to meet for the day, she having waited 20 years without the opportunity to renew her baptismal covenants, so that we could partake of the emblems of our Savior. Still, for the sake of the new members, the counselor wanted to postpone. We called President Gulbrandsen trying to figure out what to do. A young man would be going a full week without the privilege and blessing of the Holy Ghost, for crying out loud! With the help of President, we were able to convince all present to regroup at the house of the earlier mentioned sister and we went to get Maxi for the confirmation.

The meeting was irregular; a song and prayer, followed by the confirmation and administration of the sacrament, then another song and prayer; but the two most important things took place. A boy was able to receive the gift and blessing of the Holy Ghost, and 14 people were able to renew the covenants they had made to God and be cleansed once more.

President Gulbrandsen has taught us, many, many times, that there exist two things within us: Faith, or Excuses. We can either find a way to fulfill our commitments and covenants, or let circumstances and excuses get the better of us. When we have faith, excuses, no matter how good or reasonable they may be, can and will be overcome.

No matter what trial presents us, we need to exercise the faith to do that which will be of highest value to us in the eternities: keeping the commandments and fulfilling our covenants.

We will be facing many challenges this week, seeing as how snow will be coming soon, work and school schedules don't like to agree with our proselyting schedule, and other things. I'm sure that each of you, my dear family, also can think of the things that you need to do and the challenges you will face. But when we exercise our faith to fulfill the commitments, covenants, and promises we have made, putting God and His glory above all else, we will be blessed beyond our imaginings. "...and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (3 Nephi 24:10, italics added for emphasis). We will be blessed for our obedience to the commandments of God. He loves us and wants to give us "all that he hath." But unless we keep His commandments, "[we] have no promise," and lose the opportunity to receive those precious blessings and gifts of our loving Father in Heaven. Only through exercising our faith in Him can we witness these blessings and miracles. As Moroni teaches us "neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith" (Ether 12:18, italics added for emphasis).

Through our faith in Christ, and in His Atonement, we can repent and are healed. Through our faith in God, and in His power, we are saved and receive the strength to cary on. I know this is true. I know it with all my heart.

If this sounds like a talk, well, I might use it sometime, but I felt like I needed to share it with you. Perhaps it was meant more to strengthen myself by getting my own thoughts out in words. But again, I know it is true.

I love you all. My prayers and thoughts are with you and I anxiously await the chance to talk with you all in a few weeks.

Elder Dewsnup

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tell Everybody... 4/15/13

Dear Family,

I'm on my way!! Mom let me know while telling me a story that I had 5 months left. It's a reality, and I'm more at peace with it now. I guess I have no problems with you talking about it. Besides, It's something that I have in mind all the time while trying not to dwell on it.

But in "cooler" news, we had another baptism last Saturday. Luis, who received the Aaronic Priesthood Conference Sunday was able to baptize his nephew, Francisco. He, along with Ezequiel and Ivan, was confirmed yesterday in Sacrament Meeting. We're planning on helping them receive the priesthood this week and we'll be teaching a lot about enduring to the end and missionary work, from the view of a member. These three youth will become the future leaders of the church and as such will need to start now to prepare for that responsibility. It's so cool to think about it all. The baptism was held in the portable pool in Luis' back yard. The water heater ran out of hot water earlier than hoped, so the water was pretty darn cold. However, the alternative was the lake, and I think the pool was warmer than that would have been...

I think I've caught the flu bug. I started to feel it this morning with a mildly scratchy throat, but as I write, my body aches from the waist up and I feel slightly dizzy with a currently mild head ache. Luckily no queasiness yet. If I'm lucky, it's just a small cold bug, but only time will tell.

Leter on today we'll be going over to Luis's house to work on the construction of a small warehouse in his back yard that could become the temporary meeting house here. It'll be about twice the size of Antonela's house, and situated almost in the middle of everything. For the moment, it's just going to be an extra warehouse for his work shop, but he said that if the church needed it, the warehouse would serve first for that. He's such a stud! He also wants me to cut his hair today... We'll see how much he has left. I'll be sure to take pictures...

Speaking of pictures, the ones I took of the baptism didn't turn out all that well, so I'd rather just wait to show them to you when I return home. Besides, I can explain all about it at that moment too.

I love you ALL!! Stay strong in the faith and Remember who you are!

Matthew Dewsnup

Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup

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

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekly Report 4/8/13

My Dear Family,

So, the news for this week includes a bunch of different things. One, Luis and Francisco received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday and were ordained to the office of Priest. Two, Luis' son Ezequiel and nephew Ivan were baptized (sadly no pictures of that one). Three, General Conference. Four, a lot of traveling. Five, new mission companion. Six, my head is still swimming after all of it!

So a little more detail about each one.

First, the ordinations to the priesthood. Francisco for a while has been hesitant, but after an interview last week with our Branch Presidency member, he accepted the call and was found worthy to receive the priesthood. I think he thought that the moment he received the priesthood he would be made a leader in the church here, but that's still a ways off, at least until we can find a few more men and really begin to organize a branch. Luis on the other hand, even though he didn't at first know exactly what the priesthood was, has learned a bit more during this last week and for sure we will continue right there to help him learn and understand more. Both are awesome and we are continuing to work with their families.

Second, speaking of their families... Ezequiel and Ivan were baptized yesterday between conference sessions. Originally, they also wanted to be baptized in Lake Fagnano, but when we went there for the service, the wind had wiped up some waves. The water was pretty cold too. At one point, while trying to coax one into the water deep enough for submersion, a wave hit me from behind. I was standing only a little passed my knees, but the wave hit me from the neck down and I almost added angle to my already crooked nose. After a few attempts, they decided just to do it in Rio Grande in the Font. And, sadly, I have no pictures on my own camera this time.

Third, with mention of the baptism between sessions... I saw very little of Conference this time. We had arranged to watch conference in Luis's house, but by the time the baptismal interviews happened and we returned from the lake it was already 2:30 (the session started at 1:00). While having internet problems, anti-virus updates, and errands that we had to run, we didn't start watching conference until about 6:30 (when the second session was already almost over). We were able to see the first hour of the Saturday morning session before connection problems forced us to stop and we went back out to the street. So I missed almost all of Saturday conference. On Sunday, we had chartered a small bus to take us to Rio Grande to watch conference. We were able to take Most of Ivan's family and a few less active members. During the first session, I missed many of the talks because we were having problems filling the font, but we finally got it going and I was able to see the majority of President Monson's talk. Mom mentioned Elder Uchtdorf's talk about patience through and healing from trials, and I only caught part of that talk. Once the baptism was finished we were a little more relaxed and were able to fully enjoy the last session. Even with that, I had a four year old next to me (Luis's other son) who was trying to imitate me by drawing rather than taking notes and I was distracted often. He's such a cool little boy. He even wore the tie that I gifted to his dad. To conclude this part, the talks that I enjoyed the most (of the ones I was able to hear) were by Elders Packer, Davies, Holland, and Falabella. I caught a snippet of Elder Clayton's talk and he was giving much the same story that he shared with us in the Argentina Conference two weeks ago. To continue...

Fourth, a lot of traveling. With all this weekend's action--baptism, conference, errands, transfers, etc.--I think I've spent about 8 hours in a car or bus within a period of two days. I hate how tired traveling makes you, even if you're just sitting there doing nothing, it's tiring. It doesn't really make much sense to me.

Fifth, part of the traveling was because of transfers. Once we got home from conference last night, about 45 minutes later, we received a call giving Elder Rosazza his flight information. He had 45 minutes to pack before we had to be out the door to catch the last bus to Rio Grande at 10:45. Because the last bus drops everybody off at their specific destinations, we didn't make it to the Zone Leader's apartment until almost 1:00 in the morning. We had to be up at 6:00 to get to the airport so that Elder Rosazza could check in for his flight which left at 9:45. I took the next bus at 10:30 back to Tolhuin alone to meet my companion who was coming from Ushuaia in the other direction. We met up at about 12:30 in the travel office. His name is Elder Johnson. From Arizona, he loves the warmth, so being here is a little interesting... He's the oldest of five kids and loves water polo. He's a cool dude. I will have a picture for you next week of the two of us.

Sixth, keeping up with everything is rough, but we're making it. Elder Johnson was in a similar situation in his previous branch as we are in here, so he already has a bit of experience in this kind of work. We've got high hopes for this area and we're making plans to continue building the kingdom. With the few recent converts that we have, we're hoping to begin teaching many of their friends, relatives, and acquaintances. More news will be coming soon.

Stay tuned for the following report!

I love you all!

Elder Dewsnup

p.s. before I forget, I've already downloaded all of General Conference with President's permission so that I can hear the talks. I'll be listening a lot this week in every moment I can.