Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bigger News! 6/24/13

Dear family,

Well, I've been blasted with quite a bit of a shocker. Last Monday after writing to you we went back to the pension and I started cleaning a little bit. Then we get a call from Elder Tippets, the mission secretary. His words, "Hola, Elder Dewsnup. You're coming back up north. I'm calling to give you your flight information. Do you have something to write on?"


I waited, thinking he was joking. We had been told that if we didn't hear anything by the 15th we were good to go in the new mission. This was the 17th. Needless to say, I though he was messing with me


I was wrong. "Yeah," I said, "hold on." Flight AR 1846 leaving from Rio Grande at 16:50.

aw dang

At the airport, before boarding, I then get my funcioning camera stolen out of my carry-on. Poo. Luckily, I'd already backed up all the pictures on that memory card up to three weeks before, so I didn't lose too many pictures, maybe about 30, but the most important ones I can ask from other people who took them as well.

Then I get to the offices (Tuesday night at about 9:00ish) and see where I'm going and who my new companion is going to be. Grand Bourg with Elder López. The information I see on the special organizer marks me as a senior companion, nothing new there. I also find that I have an entire other duffle of stuff waiting for me that I left behind in the north when I went south. So I went through all that that night and the following morning trying to decide what things I was really going to need and the things I wanted to pack rat, getting rid of a bunch of other things.

Now, another surprise came. Wednesday afternoon at about 4:00 I get to my new area, bags and all, and get partially settled (pull out my proselyting materials) and we hit the streets. When we get home at night, I send a message to our district leader letting them know we are home. Ten minutes later I get a call from the Zone Leaders, asking, "Is your district all in their houses?"

"...._____]!!!! (empty space in the conversation as what they said hit me) What? What district?"

"They didn't tell you?"

"Um, no."

"Oh," a slightly uncomfortable laugh, mixed with surprise, "Well, you're a district leader."

... ... ... ... ... ...

Oh great, goes through my head. That was a lot of change all at once. I get a surprise call that I go back north, meaning no change to a new mission. Then I get a surprise call saying I'm a district leader. A lot of new things to deal with now, and yet, not so new all at once. The only slightly annoying thing about it now is that my district (of one other companionship) lives almost a full hour away by bus.

Ah, well. Goes to show ya that the Lord's ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts.

The new area is pretty cool. I met the Branch President the night I got here and enjoyed a pleasant discussion with him about his vision for the branch. It is so very close to that same vision that President Gulbrandsen has been teaching me for two years. I also missed half of the conference yesterday. That's how we found out how long it took to get to the area of the other elders in my district. We missed one bus, got on the other one after the training meeting started, then got there halfway through Elder Nelson's message. We'll hopefully be able to find the rest of it online, and the Branch President said that if we could, he'd show it to us in his house. The things that were said perhaps are old messages to us, but are not all the things that we hear about in General Conference also? There must be something that we just aren't getting. And here, it still hasn't been applied as much as it could be.

Perhaps we can do all of those things with the less active members. There are more than 350 names on the records of our branch here. Yesterday there were only about 50 in attendance. And the 300? Where were they? We have been working with the Branch President closely about that and we are putting into action a new ward mission plan to be able to find new people through visiting the less actives, not just us as missionaries, but also several couples from the branch and also a few companionships of the young single adults. We are hoping to see a great increase in the attendance and participation in the ordinance of the Sacrament.

Well, that about sums up the week. I got to know a whole bunch of the members and the few current investigators that we have. The work moves forward.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!!!!



Friday, June 28, 2013

^-^ 6/17/13

Dear Family,

Well, here we go again.

Mom asked about Luis and his family in her letter to me, so I'll let you know a little about that situation to start with. Luis hasn't been coming very regularly for a while to church. He's only been once in the last 6 weeks, and the majority of the reason he hasn't come has been for work in one way or another. His son hasn't come even once in that time. Nor have his nephews. But we're working on that. It's hard to get in to see them now because it seems that Luis has more work now than he had in the Summer!

Andrés is progressing slowly. He still finds it hard to believe in Joseph Smith, which is a big stumbling block for most people. We're trying to reinforce the necesity for reading and prayer in obtaining any answer, but he's still reluctant to even do that. I think it's because he values a whole lot the teachings his mom gave him as a child, raising him as a Catholic. We're trying to share with him that we are not trying to trample or even set aside his beliefs, but rather to build them up, but I don't know if he really sees it that way. We realized in our companionship study today that perhaps one of his biggest doubts is that a belief in Joseph Smith is denying everything that his mother taught him. I also think that he still thinks that we worship Joseph Smith. Obviously, we know that's not true. He's been telling us that he doesn't think we need someone to tell us God's will if we have the scriptures (which he still doesn't like to read much of anyway). We'll be trying this week to focus on the Restoration and the need for a prophet, as in old times.

Also, once again, we were the Sacrament program. We're working on getting the men and priesthood holders that we have here more active and participating, but we're still having a few problems with that. Most of it revolves around work, but there are some other existing problems.

I will tell you this, if I finish my mission here in Tolhuin, I'm going to have a culture shock when I come back home going to a ward of almost two hundred people. I'm used to about 13 right about now, including us.

Ah, well. Things will be getting better.

This week, we'll be finishing the mission challenge to read the Book of Mormon in 90 days. I read the second half of Mormon and the first three chapters of Ether this morning. I find it strengthening to me to read that even in his moments of deepest grief for the slain of his people, Mormon feels to reach out to us and emphasize the need for us to follow the Gospel of Christ in order to be saved. That and Moroni's testimony at the end of Mormon, explaining to us that al of his people have been destroyed because of their pride and their wickedness. They continue to exhort us to diligence in keeping the commandments of God and to remember Him in all that we do. It's something that we need as a constant reminder because it is also something that we don't do with all that much consistancy as human beings. But we are promised a multitude of blessings for obeying and keeping the commandments of God.

I thought it was interesting that from 3 Nephi 18 to the end of 3 nephi, we are told fifteen times in one form or another that we need to pray unto the Father in the name of Christ. Just an interesting point that I noticed, especially with all the people who say that we need to say memorized prayers in order to be heard, or recite the same things over and over. Something to think about.

Tonight we have a full night, working with a few less active members and a few new investigators. Hopefully there will be bigger and better news next week as we increase our efforts to find new people to teach.

I love you all!

Happy Father's Day to Dad, Brandon, and Marvin!!!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Let It Snow! 6/10/13

Dear Family,

The heavens are being a little bipolar today. Almost literally. It's been indecisive about rain/sun/snow all day. It hasn't really snowed uch, but we saw some flakes. It's the first time we've seen snow in about three weeks.

Ok, Mom mentioned that I haven't sent pictures in a while. Well, here's our zone last transfer two hours before three of them boarded a flight headed north...Inline image 2

No one laugh, I know I've gained weight. I'm working on it....

This is a picture of my current companion--the one in the middle--and one of the assistants who was with us for a few days. This is in the house of Andrés and Liz...
Inline image 1

Speaking of Andrés and Liz, they are a wonderful couple. Liz is a less active woman who greeted us in the street one day. Now her husband Andrés has a baptismal date for this Sunday. Things will depend on if he returns to smoking, but he is working on quitting. Maybe I should work with him on quitting some of the things that I eat.... Maybe I'd drop a few pounds.

Mom said I once mentioned a young teenage recent convert, but not any more information than that. Her name's Nancy, 17, and super cool. She's got a great testimony, and I think I mentioned before that she read the Book of Mormon twice in one year. She's working on inviting a friend of hers to church and the friend has gone once. Now we're just trying to meet the girl outside of church and get to know the family so we can share with them the message of the Gospel.

In three weeks from today, the chances are very high that I will still be here. The reason that is somewhat important news is that the mission is splitting. In three weeks I will belong to the Argentina Comodoro Rivadavia mission, consisting of the three southern provinces of Argentina; Chubut, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego.

More news next week! More questions!



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This Week.... 6/3/13

Dear Family,

Once again another week gone.
Does life ever quite slow down?
At moments it seems to drag on and on,
but at others flicks by...

and I can't think of word to rhyme with down that'd fit. Dreams of being a poet, slashed to pieces... ;)

Anyway, golly jee whirllickers batman! WE'RE IN JUNE! Where have the last two years gone?! They disappeared! I protest! But I guess it won't do any good.

This week has been a very interesting one. We had much less time to actually do work in our area this week and ended up not teaching much. We did a lot more walking than talking.

Yesterday at "church" we only had 8 people (including us) show up, and one of them left early. We ended up only doing sacrament meeting, and that shorter than normal, just because everyone who wanted to bear their testimony went and it was done. Short meeting, but it was worth it. The sacrament is so important. One of the recent converts, a teenage girl, bore her testimony about prayer, sharing the story of her sick little brother who got better after she prayed for him all the time. She's super strong in her testimony and will definitely be a great leader among the women in the church here very shortly.

Another piece of great news... The one investigator that went to church yesterday has accepted a baptismal date!!!! He has been reluctant for a long time to accept a date, but yesterday we explained and taught him about the priesthood. This entire last week has been a very spirit filled week in teaching him. He's enjoyed it all and yesterday accepted a date for the 16th of June. Of course, we still have a few things left to do to help him prepare, and we especially want him to feel the change within himself, but he has taken another step towards baptism and eventually eternal life!

I've been thinking a lot recently about things that have happened over the course of my mission and I can see that I have progressed a lot, but still have a long ways to go. I feel apprehensive about the future after the mission, and it keeps looming closer on the horizon.

Well, I have to be going now, we have a few other things to do before we close off the day. I love you all!!!