Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Week 78

This week has been great.  It was awesome being able to see my family through Skype and being able to celebrate Christmas by serving others.

Skyping on Christmas
Zone conference

Christmas gift exchange


Week 77

We have been working around the clock to try to help our area become a stake.  We will send our reports in the beginning of January and hope for good news.  The members out here would really benefit from becoming a stake.

Elders from Las Vegas

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 76

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is often referred to in the scriptures (Isaiah 33:20; 52:20, D&C 101:17–21) as a tent or tabernacle which extends the blessings of the Restored Gospel to all the inhabitants of the earth.  As the Church is introduced in new areas, countries, states, and cities, a stake is established, which provides support and a foundation for the figurative 'tent' or 'tabernacle.'  This establishment of a stake provides many people with needed resources, support, leaders, and other blessings which helps to 'cover' and protect them from the dangers of the world while providing opportunities to grow and progress spiritually as we serve one another in our daily lives.

Zone meeting

Week 75

In order to qualify become a stake, a district must have 5 unities or
branches (we have 6 currently), and must have a reach a minimum
membership.  Also, there must be a ratio of 1 worthy Melchizedek
Priesthood holder for each 20 members.  For our district
to qualify to become a stake, there must be 1,900 members and 99 worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders.  We already have 107 Melchizedek Priesthood holders and about 3,400 members, which qualifies us in all aspects except for the ratio of Melchizedek Priesthood holders to members.  To qualify, we must 'depurar' or clean up the 'sime' or membership list (which is in some serious need of 'actualización'-it's a long story) and reactivate Melchizedek Priesthood holders in all the district within the time frame of December.  We've been planning with the district and branch presidency as well as with the zone to work with all the members in the district to work together in this great assignment we've been given.  We've started to 'execute' the plans, and so far, everything is going well.  However, the task is not going to be easy, and we will have to be very diligent to have success.  I feel that this assignment will help us in much more than qualifying us to become a stake (which is a huge blessing) because it requires us to unite our minds and efforts to work.  For this month, we'll be shepherds looking for the lost sheep, but more united in our cause.  It's interesting to see how a little motivation, necessity, and organization can make a big difference.

Something that I've been learning in the mission, and especially from my companion is that we don't need to worry about what
others tell us or think about us.  We only need to worry about what
our Heavenly Father and those that truly love us think about us.
It's a waste of time and can diminish our potential if we pay too much attention to the negative (and sometimes positive) commentaries others make about us.  We see so many people that abandon their eternal progress and salvation because someone told them something one time one day.  They'd put more attention to one negative commentary than to the things that really matter.  It destroys their potential.  It's just not worth our time to pay attention to them.  We need to have faith and not worry about them.  We need to be confident in ourselves and base our self worth on something better than what others think of us.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 74

Things are going well here.  My companion and I have been able to work well.  He's a hard worker.  I enjoy working with him.  I like the confidence he has in his calling and the message of the gospel.  Unfortunately, many investigators have been having problems with work.  We've had to move the baptisms back a couple of weeks.  We are also working to get some investigators motivated to go to church.  One investigator is doing great fighting against his addiction of alcohol, and just got a job after years of unemployment.  We do short visits with him daily.  The biggest struggle for the investigators here is attending church because of work. We've found several people who are interested in the Church this week.  We're hoping all goes well!

Birthday lunch

Cutting grass with a machete

Service project

Friday, November 27, 2015

Week 73

This week went well.  Thank you for all my birthday wishes! We have been super busy finding new people to teach.  My companion Elder Oliveira got transferred.  My new companion is Elder Rodriguez from Guatemala.  More to come next week!

20th B-day

Elder Rodriguez
Garrobo in San Pedro Central Park

Week 72

Everything is going well. We are planning on having a baptism this Saturday for M. She is a great investigator and will surely be a great addition to the branch.

This past week has been busy. We didn't have much time to work in the area. We did divisions. I went and was able to visit the missionaries and members there. We spent a lot of time helping the district get set up for the conference, especially with the chairs!

My companion leaves for Brazil this Saturday. We had a good time working together as companions. I wish I could have learned more Portuguese haha.

I received the great news that the M. family from my old area were married and baptized. I am very happy for them and proud of them. Wish I could have been there, but that's not a big deal.

M family marriage 

M family baptism

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Week 71

Things are going well here.  We are continuing to find new families to teach.  I'll write more next week.  I love and miss you all!

Mango trees 
Bus stop 

A convert's daughter

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 70

Everything here is going well.  The activity for the obra misional from the district was a success.  We did three workshops.  My companion and I with the president of the Elder's Quorum taught how to start a conversation about the gospel.  

We  have been finding many new people to teach, but unfortunately, not too many are interested.  We will keep working to find new investigators with the help of the branch leaders and members.

We will be doing a fundraiser with S. and his wife, so that they can be married.  They are super pilas and have progressed a lot.  

Aaron and Elder Oliveira

A small grocery store

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Week 69

This week has been good but also difficult.  I got transferred to a new area.  I'm sad to miss the wedding and baptisms of my wonderful friends.  My new companion is Elder Oliveira from Brazil.  We are zone leaders together.  We're basically opening the area again.  We were able to locate most of the investigators and various converts.  This branch is stronger than all the other areas I've been in.  The leaders are more supportive here.  We have been looking for many new investigators to contact, but the results have been minimal.  We are making reference sheets so that members can help us to get to know their family members and friends and also (ideally) help us visit and teach them.  We also have an obra misional activity planned with the branch presidency for the branch on the 31st of this month.  

The M. family

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Week 68

This week has been very nice.  We were able to locate many new investigators and share second lessons with them.  We were also able to find families and people genuinely interested in our message.  We are looking forward to a baptism for the end of the month.  

After months of hard work, the M. family is finally going to be married on November 6th!  We are very proud of them and their hard work.  They both have shown their faith in following the commandments of God, and their success is evidence that our Heavenly Father will "prepare the way".  They have also helped us in the mission work by supporting their friend N. through difficulties.  We had initially attempted to visit N., but without success.  The M. family continued to encourage her and even brought her children to church a few Sundays.  With continued efforts, N. opened up and shared with us many of the trials she has passed through in the recent years, including the death of her spouse, the lack of support from her family, and the financial problems typically experienced by single mothers with children.  This last week we felt impressed to call her to visit her.  However, she told us that she was busy and had to fix up a yard lot by herself because she had to move there within the next few weeks, and there was no one to help her.  We offered our help and cut lots of grass and bushes with machetes and even cut down a tree with an axe to fix things up.  We were very happy to see her as the first person to greet us as we entered church this Sunday.

I've learned that we need not only to tell people what they must do to be happy, but we must also be willing to love them through our service.  Then, they will be able to comprehend that we share our message with them because we love them, and that they are children of a loving Heavenly Father.  

Elder Peterson

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Week 67

Hey everyone!

Everything has been going well here.  The  conference was excellent. I found many answers and much advice and encouragement.  I hope to put to practice what I've learned from the example and the teachings of those who spoke.  The investigators we are teaching are doing very well.  An investigator will be baptized on the 17th.  Two families will be married as soon as their papers are approved.  More to come soon!

Elder Peterson

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 66

We are doing very well.  I baptized T. on Saturday.  He is a very special man, and I am super excited for him to be a member of the church.  The baptism was excellent, and there wasn't a single problem.  I will write more about the baptism next week.  We went with the familia M, and we got all the papers taken care of.  They're going to turn the finished folder in this week, so they can process the papers.  The other investigators are doing well.  Unfortunately, some families have stopped to put much effort in changing, but we hope the conference will encourage them to continue.  

Helping at a fundraiser

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Week 65

Two weeks ago we found a man on the street a little drunk and contacted him.  Talking to drunk people usually leads to them asking you for money, but this man was different.  He gave us his phone number and his address, and we came to his house to visit him.  He had read all the pamphlet of the Restoration.  We had a very nice lesson with him and challenged him to baptism.  We were very happy to see him on Sunday at church.  For all the rejection and failed attempts to teach many people, having success with one person is worth the struggle. 

Aaron and Elder Queme

Friday, September 18, 2015

Week 64

They closed one of the areas here for the rest of the change, now there are only us and 4 hermanas in the district.  We have a baptism on Saturday.  I'll write a blog post later after he gets baptized.  His brother is a member. We have had several lessons with his family, but only he wants to get baptized at the moment.  One of his cousins was interested.  

The families are working for their marriage.  There will be another fundraiser this Friday.  They're working very hard.  We are making and selling donuts for the fundraiser.

I learned a story about baleadas. There once was a woman selling wrapped tortillas, and she was well known for her delicious food.  One day, she was assaulted and shot (with bullets:  balas in Spanish). She died, but her food lived on.  From that day on, people wouldn’t say, “I’m going to the restaurant.”  Instead, they would claim, “I’m going to the baleada" (literally: shot woman).  And that is how wrapped tortillas became baleadas.  A name that defines the favorite food of a nation.


Aaron picked fresh fruit