Saturday, August 17, 2013

6 8/13/13


Here goes another week and the beginning of the last transfer of my mission. I am no longer a district leader, not my job any more! Elder Florez has been transferred. I'm staying in Grand Bourg and my new companion is Elder Perez. He's also from Colombia, has the same birthday as me (a year later), and I don't know much else about him. He's been on the mission for 6 months today.

Well, Mom sent me a few questions to guide my mind. First was about pictures:Inline image 1
(this is Megan, I'm not sure why the image didn't come through on my email)
This is my district from the last transfer.

My area is a branch with about 60-75 members assisting regularly. It's pretty big, about four or five kilometers from one point to the other, perhaps bigger. We walk everywhere unless we can take a bus, but that costs money. I found out that this area is about half way between both Tortuguitas and Lopez Camelo. We are part of the Sarmiento Stake. We're beginning to work harder as a branch to find people.

As a district leader, it was my privilege to do exchanges with the elders in my district, lead the weekly district meetings, receive reports about the efforts of the other missionaries in my district and other such things.

We've still been having problems finding investigators, but last night we found a woman in the home of an active woman with whom we had organized a family home evening. We had previously planned other activities, but in that moment we changed all the plans to teach the restoration. We invited this wonderful woman to be baptized in that occasion and she accepted, on the condition that she could learn more (or course). We told her that of course she could have time, and we shared that we wanted to help her in her preparation for that moment. We'll be working with her and continue with our efforts to continue finding.

I love you all!!!! Know that, and that I will do what I can to not come home bigger than Aunt Marge...



Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hola 8/5/13

Hola mi bonita familia!

I love you all so much!!

I have now had a brain toot. I had a bunch of things i wanted to say, but now I have no clue what to write.

We're working to try to find new investigators. We had one investigator come yesterday, who has had problems with faith. Last night we went to their house and we watched "Finding Faith in Christ." We want to help her to understand that she really has faith and help her to understand that God really exists and loves her.

Know that I love each of you and that God and Jesus Christ love you as well.



Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Dear Family 7/29/13

My Dear Family,

I'm struggling, but I don't know why or with what. I think during the week about things I want to share and then when I get to the consol, my mind goes blank; I think of nothing and everything all at once. I have conflicted feelings and opinions about several things. I'm also gaining weight, a lot. I struggled to fit into my only pair of jeans that I brought with me that were a little big when I left. And I broke one of my belts trying to cinch it with these pants............ I guess the pants didn't like the belt...

Well, we were able to find a few people last week and we set baptismal dates with all of them. But all of them lost those dates because not one of them was able to go to church yesterday. One is a pastor of another church, the other two are the children of a less active member who has been such for more than 15 years. I'll fill you in with more details as the story progresses.

Apparently the ward loves me, or at least some of them do. I went on splits with another set of missionaries in my district the other day and before we got to church yesterday a member who saw that I had left the area complained to the Branch President that I hadn't come to say goodbye or even sent a message. Interesting development.

It seems like someone finally figured things out here as well and I hope that things change here. Yesterday the Branch President rearranged the schedule a little bit to be able to talk with all of the endowed priesthood holders and relief society sisters. He said he woke up that morning thinking about several things that he needed to change about himself and things that he felt he needed to share with the entire group of us. Much of it had to do with the temple reccomend interview questions. He read the questions as we thought about our own answers and raised the questions of "how many of us are actually committed to and live these standards?" and "how many of us really understand and fulfill the promises we made at baptism and in the temple?" It was interesting to here the silence that followed. It was obviously a rhetorical question, so the silence was warranted, but I looked around and saw that several of the members were pondering their responses. He mentioned that we covenant to give all that we have and are, even our lives if necessary, to the edifying of the Kingdom here on earth.

Among many of the other things that were talked about, the topics of pride and charity were mentioned as well. A member of the high council who happened to be present shared an experience he had as a young man. He and his brothers lived fighting, teasing, and competing one with another (sound familiar?). They also always complained about each other. One night, at a family home evening, his father placed a chair in the middle of the room. It was the recognition chair, or something like that. He recounted that one by one each person sat on the chair, and each person in the family had to share ten good qualities of that person. That member said that that one family home evening has had such an impact on his life that it has helped him to realize and find the good in each and every person he has come in contact with and withhold from criticising them.

The Branch President also said that he was going to be the first person in the room to repent and he invited each and every one of us to do the same, so that we could really say, with complete honesty, that we were worthy to hold a current temple recommend.

A few days beforehand, I was thinking about covenants and their importance in each one of our lives, the impact that they have not only upon us, but also upon our descendants. I listed out all of the covenants that I could think of off the top of my head and looked up a few others. I also included a brief discription of a few of them. I came up with a good list and that has helped me to realize and think of more frequently the gravity and severity of those covenants, and the joy and freedom that we enjoy through our fidelity to each one. I have also returned a little to Dad's book on the chapter of "A Covenant People." It is really something very interesting and humbling when we come to understand more deeply the effects that those sacred promises have on our lives. On my life. In my life.

I also started reading a little bit this morning about Obedience and Revelation in the August Liahona. Elder Oaks' address was particularly interesting, as it made me remember a certain family home evening we had a long time ago when we discussed how each one of us comes to recognize the Holy Ghost and his promptings. He mentioned that many people mistake the phrase "burning in the bosom" to be literal. He then proposed that rather than being a literal burning in the bosom, it is a feeling of peace and warmth.

I was also touched by the story of Vinca, an older woman who only seven years ago was baptized after having known about the Church for the majority of her life. It hadn't meant much to her before, but when she finaly began to pay attention, she said that it just all made sense to her and it was logical (translating from Spanish). After years of trial--being a victim and survivor of the concentration camps of WWII and long term widowhood--she finally heard and understood the message of the Restored Gospel and was sealed to her deceased husband through proxy, one year to the day after her baptism, through the holy ordinance of sealing performed in the temple.

I have heard several experiences from people in the last week and a half about the church and their feelings towards it. I am still amazed at many things, but one things still rings deeply in my heart.

"I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me."

I love this song, and I have it completely memorized in Spanish, though not in English. I love my Savior. I know I am here doing His holy work and sharing His gospel; the gospel of repentance and forgiveness through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know we are here on this earth for a purpose and we are where we need to be, now.

I love you all.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Travel Itinerary 7/22/13

We have received Matthew's travel itinerary!!!!!!! :)

If you will be in the area when he comes home I'm sure he'd love to see you. This is mostly for his records though as this blog can serve as a journal for him to reflect back on.

He will be:
Departing from Buenos Aires at 825pm
Arriving in Atlanta GA at 551am
Total flight length:  A grueling 10 hours and 26 minutes!!

He will then board his next flight:
Departing from Altanta GA at 820am
Arriving in SLC UT at 1025am
Total flight length: 4 hours and 5 minutes
That should seem like a piece of cake! :)

Then his LAST flight:
Departing from SLC UT at 1101am
Arriving in MISSOULA MT at 1231pm
Total flight length: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Now that one might drag or it might be lightening fast depend on how exhausted/nervous/excited he is!!!!

TOTAL FLIGHT TIME 16 hours and 1 min!!! WHEW!!

Granted flights are always changing but this is what we are looking forward to!

10 7/22/13


This is an interesting time. I have two months left.

We're having a really hard time finding new investigators, but at the same time, we're meeting a bunch of new people. We've been going through the ward list trying to find out who really lives here and who doesn't and where those who don't live here anymore moved to. We're getting information through that and cleaning the list out and we've met a bunch of people through that. This week we actually have a lot of appointments set already with several new people. We're hoping that we can get those people going on all the different things.

As for the birthday box, I thought I'd mentioned a few weeks ago that I got it. When I came up from the south, it was already in the office waiting for me. I cheated and opened it right then. I kinda needed the socks that I knew were there ;) Thanks for the goodies, the tie, the socks and other items that were there.

I feel weird with this being so much closer to the time I will be coming home. It almost doesn't feel real to me yet. I know it's coming and I'm very aware of it, but it's still weird to me.

Not many people knew it was my birthday yesterday. I only told people when my birthday was if they asked, and even then, a few of them forgot. No biggie for me. One family did invite us for goodies towards the end of the night. Just as well, if all the sisters in the ward knew, they'd have made me something, and then I'd have ended up gaining ten pounds in a day... No joke, the sisters here love feeding the elders and some of them complain if they can't give the Elders food at least once a month.

Sorry, I won't be writing much more this time. My mind is really jumbled right now, thinking about a whole bunch of different things all at once. Know that I love you and my thoughts and prayers are with you often.