Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pictures from the Field


Elder Rau with Elder Grassi (his "favorite latin") who is from Argentina.

A group picture of 2 zones that had come together for zone conference. 

A candid shot of President and Sister Villalba.

Our Elder with Elder Redmon - a friend from the MTC. 

Here's part of Elder Rau's letter home on December 1st:

Our Thanksgiving was pretty exciting. We had a long zone conference, and with studies, we didn't really get to go out and work, but zc was a blast! The talks from President and his wife were awesome as usual. I think a major theme was about sacrifice and blessings. The turkey lunch was amazing! I think I told you the hermano that cooks is in my ward so we got to do a little preview on the gravy. It was really good, but instead of pie, we had pan dulce...I would rather have pie. There were a lot of competitions and we watched the Christmas dvd, which is a slide show of pictures from all over the mission. It was really cool. I had almost forgotten that there are other areas in the mission, not just mine. It feels like I have been here forever, but the time is still flying...I know, that probably doesn't make sense, but that's what it's like.

So yesterday, Sebastian asked me to be the voice for his priesthood ordination. Needless to say, I was pretty stinkin nervous. I think I was shaking and grabbing our elders quorum president's shoulder pretty hard. The words came and the spirit was absolutely guiding, but I still think I was a little to nervous to be as in tune as I should have been. I guess that will just come with more faith and time. It was a very cool experience that I hope I never forget.

So Edgardo is back! He is the guy that was progressing really really well, then had to leave for work on a fishing boat. He is back in town, and we talked to his wife and left a note on Saturday, but haven't been able to amke contact with him yet. I am really excited to see how he is doing.

the Lord answers prayers. I told you last week about how hot it is here. Well, we prayed for rain, and it came. It has been raining off and on for the last three days. I'm actually kind of cold right now and it actually feels like fall. The bad news is that Argentines are made out of sugar and if they go out in the rain they melt. We had a terrible turn out for church Sunday morning. Something about separating the wheat from the tares comes to mind...

We also had prayers answered in other ways. We have been doing lots of looking but not so much finding. That changed this week. We found a bunch of people that let us in, among which are two small families, one of which is part member. 

So yeah, the work is going forth boldly, nobly, and independent. Satan is good at his job, but he can't win as long as we have the spirit. I hope you are all having plenty of missionary opportunities, they are pretty cool.

Elder Rau

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sebastian's Baptism and big scary spiders!

"...The baptism (that's right...baptism!) was awesome!!! Everyone we talk to says they have never seen anything like it. There are always stories of miracle investigators, but I didn't think I wold actually get to be part of teaching one! He asked elder brooks to baptize him, so I got to watch and be a witness. It was interesting to see him as he cam out of the water, very emotional, but I could also see his tattoos through his shirt. He didn't go into great detail about his life before he met us, but we pretty much know that he was not involved with the greatest crowd and did some stupid stuff. He has an 18 month old daughter, and my theory is that when she was born, he looked at his life and realized he was a mess. He started studying with various religions, including the testigos (JW). Then his friend, who was baptized last january, introduced him to the church, but specifically to us. After a completely random/divinely arranged meeting in the street, he started learning about the gospel. I think I mentioned I wasn't present for his first lesson due to divisions, but we saw him pretty much every day last week, and will continue to do frequent visits until his confirmation on Sunday (for which he is very excited). He is without a doubt the most prepared person I have ever met. Teaching him isn't really teaching. All we do is tell him about a doctrine, then he just runs with it an instantly understands why things are a certain way. Honestly, he already knows all the answers, we just give him a little push every once in a while. Thus far, his biggest doubt was the use of a certain word, and only because he didn't understand what it meant. I just can't say enough about it! I am very grateful for the opportunity tI had to be part of his conversion process. He bore his testimony at the baptisms, and after expressing gratitude to everyone who came (which was a lot! Including his father and brother) he said, I know that this church is true, and nothing else matters! It was so perfect.  .....I mentioned his tattoos earlier because of a story elder brooks told me about another convert. He literally had satan tattooed on his back and arm, but was baptized. Such is the forgiveness of God, that he will let even a man with satan on his back enter into the waters of baptism and be eligible to receive eternal life!" 



"...I almost had a minor panic attack the other day...we were eating lunch at a members home and I randomly glanced up to the ceiling to see a very large spider. Then I saw another, then another, then another...in all, there were about 8-10 very large spiders hanging out a few feet above our heads... scariest moment of my mission. Then if thats not enough, last night as I was laying in bed after lights out, I thought I saw something moving on the wall next to my head. There was just enough light coming in from the neighbors to see another very large spider cruisin down the wall towards me. I freaked out...Elder brooks made fun of me. I decided that I pretty much don't like anything that crawls, including scorpions." 

This was Elder Rau's caption for the above picture: "How we deal with spiders ... we have not yet resorted to flame, but I'm not too far off..."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A great story from this week....

"We had district meeting on Tuesday. While my comp and another DL were preparing the meeting, I was doing comp study with another elder. While we were studying, (at the church) a member dropped in and introduced his friend, Sebastian, to my comp and the other elder. He showed mild interest. Wednesday morning, as we were walking down a street that has never yielded a successful contact, we saw a guy feeding a hourse...Edler Brooks said he looked like legolas... so as we prepared to contact him, he turned to us and said hola hermanos! It was Sebastian! He walked with us all the way to his friend's house and talked to Elder Brooks (I couldn't hear what was going on) and gave him his whole story. Just a few months ago he was involved in all sorts of junk including drugs, but had a big spiritual experience and cleaned up and decided to search for the true church of Christ!!!!!! We set up an appointment for Thursday afternoon.

We had divisions on Thursday/Friday, so I was in another area and a Zone leader was here and he went with E Brooks to see him. Apparently, it was the most amazing lesson ever and he is now set to be baptized on the 9th after church (because he needs to attend church twice before baptism)!!! He is the most golden person ever! I finally got to sit down with him on Saturday morning. He is reading more than what we assign him and already has a testimony of everything we have asked him to pray about. The lessons are actually really hectic for me because he can't just sit and listen, he has so many questions and is so excited about everything that he justs keeps talking the whole time. To make this long story a little shorter, I'll just say he showed up early to the baptism (an 8 year old baptism the elders took charge of) to tell us he couldn't make it, but met a few members. He came to church (all 3 hours) and made friends with another member who will likely baptize him. He came to our fireside that night where we watched the testaments and he was crying at the end. Also, he is 22 and had the attention of some single sisters i the ward..haha! Honestly, everything is so perfect, I can't even believe it. He has friends and the members are doing such a good job of taking care of him. We hardly spoke to him at the fireside. We will more than likely see him every day this week. He is having some family problems, but they in no way are affecting his choice to be baptized.

He will be baptized about two weeks after our initial contact. He is completely opposite from Daniel. Daniel was talking his time and wanted to know everything before his baptism, but Sebastian is ready now and wants it so bad. All the elders in the city are way jealous and tell us that they have never seen anything like it." 

Rain!

Here is a story from Elder Rau's letter from last week....

"I think I mentioned last time that it has been raining quite a lot...that statement is still true. Of course, we got caught in the worst of it, haha. We were out just after the siesta and were about 8-10 blocks from the church when the sprinkling got a little more intense and the wind picked up. Before we knew it, we were running to find shelter. The good news is that there is a kiosco every 50 feet here, so we took shelter under a little awning. Eventually the wind shifted and we were forced to run to another. By this time we were completely soaked, so we pretty much just waited for it to let up just a little bit, then started to walk to the church. You wouldn't believe how much water was moving down the street! It was seriously a river. Little kids were trying to fight the current in the gutter, and I actually thought one of them was going to eat it, and the possibility of him drowning actually existed!"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Daniel's Baptism!

Here is part of Elder Rau's letter from today:

"Daniel got baptized on saturday and everything went according to plan! The baptism was awesome and his confirmation on Sunday was equally cool. However, the week leading up to the baptism did not go as planned. We went out to his house last Saturday and had an amazing lesson. Tuesday was a little different. He was feeling a little conflicted and confused about how he was feeling. He thought that he needed more time. We explained that he was probably just feeling a little nervous and it was perfectly normal. He was also having trouble sleeping and wasn't sure that he was ready. This is where the spirit took over. This was the most powerful and spiritually guided lesson of my mission thus far. The promptings were so clear and made so much sense. I was learning as I was speaking to him. My spanish wasn't perfect, but it improved significantly. We explained that maybe this was just a trial of his faith. Maybe the Lord was testing him to see if it really was a desire of his heart. We also shared some personal experiences that related to how he was feeling. At the end of the lesson, he still wasn't feeling awesome, and this feeling continued until his interview on Thursday. It was an hour long. One of our zone leaders, Elder Kibler, did an awesome job in the interview, because he felt better still afterwards. He still wasn't sleeping well.....Saturday morning we called him and he was on board, 100% and ready to go. The baptism went forward and was almost perfect. the only thing that was wrong was our starting time. We started ten minutes late...not bad huh? Elder Brooks (who is still my companion...and will be until about november 12th) said it was the smoothest baptism he has ever seen. I was privileged to be the one to baptize him. There is so much power i that ordinance. I felt the spirit so strongly as I raised my arm to the square and called him by name, then performed the ordinance in the name of the Father, the So and the Holy Ghost. I still can't really describe my emotions, but it was an experience that I will never forget." 


Elder Rau cleaning dead cockroaches out of the font

Elders Brooks and Rau with Daniel

A picture of their church building

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Letters to Home

Part of a letter from Elder Rau on 9/30

Daniel is doing really well. We had to re-commit him to baptism. This has happened before, obviously because he has been investigating for over a year, but instead of saying I will try, he said, I want to!!!! This came after an awesome lesson in which we were able to explain very thoroughly what it means to have a testimony and all of that good stuff. He finally has the desire to make his covenant and he will be able to make it on the 11th of this month. We have been watching some of the segments from special witnesses of Christ, and he enjoys them and I think will be able to watch most of conference this coming week. We get it live feed here, which means we are going to be home late on Saturday night. Even better, the elders get to watch it in ENGLISH!!!

We have some big news with one of our menos activo families! They came to Church!!!!!!! Its been almost a year and a half since the last time they came. He is such a stud, spiritually. Every time we go over to see them (we eat with them every other Sunday) he bears his testimony and talks about his mission. I guess they just had a lot of bad experiences with the members and their feelings got hurt so bad that they just didn't want to go to church anymore because they got offended every time. Now they realize that the people don't make the church true!! We are really excited for them. 

The work continues and is still true! Miracles happen every day and I know that the lord is mindful of his children here. He is preparing them and us so that we can meet and we can help them return to him. I'm so grateful for my testimony and the chance that I have to share it. I konw that Moroni's promise works, and that it can work for anyone!

Part of a letter from Elder Rau on 10/6 

So general conference was pretty much amazing! We got to watch all five sessions even though priesthood got over at 11 and we were only allowed to go to sunday afternoon if we had an investigator present (we were waiting for about 10 but Daniel is the only one that came). We definitely learned a lot about how we can improve the quality of our work here. President Monson's talk about finding joy in the journey was especially important for me. I also really enjoyed the entire session of Saturday afternoon. Elder Worthlin and Elder Corbridg's talks were really awesome, and Elder Holland was also very powerful. I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, but the words of the prophets have taken on a lot more importance while I have been on my mission so far. Maybe I didn't study them enough before the mission, but right now I love listening to and learning from living prophets. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Last weeks letter

I forgot to do a post last week so here it is! 

A lovely picture of Elder Rau with his shower in the background. :)

Elder Rau sitting on (but not using he was sure to specify) the toilet while doing the dishes. In case anyone is wondering, I think the reason he hasn't sent any pictures of the people over there is that he's not allowed to bring his camera when they go out teaching. 

Here's some of his letter:

"...As far as an average day here...We get up at 6:30, have comp prayer, then personal prayer. Then we plug in the shower and wait for it to heat up... Elder brooks showers first and I pretty much eat breakfast then get down to personal study. By the time we are both showered and studied and everything, its about 9:00-9:15. We then plan and head out. We have a lot of investigators and so we do everything we can to see as many as we can, but we do a lot of walking so we can only do so much. They usually are not home, and our backups usually fall through, (so we are working on setting solid appointments) and so we just knock doors until our next scheduled thing. Lunch is at 12:30 to 1:30, then we do language study and comp study because its in the middle of the siesta. We leave the pencion at around 4, then do the same thing (knock and go to appointments) until about 9."

"This week we had zone conference, and it was awesome! I got to see Elder Redmon from my mtc group, but no one else. We had a good time swapping stories and stuff and got some really good counsel from the president and assistants and zone leaders. Unfortunately, it was all in Spanish, so I didn't get as much out of it as there was to get, but I still think I did pretty well. the language is still coming along very well. I understand almost everything, but just don't have the confidence to try and talk back. I think I figured out how the gift of tongues works. I have found that my initial thoughts about how a phrase should work are usually right, but I disregard them and over think it. So, basically, I believe that a lot of first impressions are from the spirit, and if I can figure out how to really listen and use them, I will not only be able to speak the language better, but also be way more sensitive to the general promptings of the spirit."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Milenesa

I found this picture of Milenesa - Elder Nate's favorite Argentine food so far. I also found a recipe on recipezaar.com at http://www.recipezaar.com/78573 I think I'm going to try it. From the little research I did, I think there are several different forms of milenesa - using different meats (pork, chicken and beef) and different toppings. Wouldn't it be so fun to get the recipe from the sister that is feeding Nate every wednesday? Maybe I'll ask him to get it for me... :) 

Elder Rau Working hard!

Our Elder sent us a long letter and some pictures this week! What more could we ask for? :) The photo explanations are in his own words.

"view from our back deck thing (which is the roof of the house below us and also where we wash our clothes on occassion.....by hand. there is usually a lady from the ward that does it...usually).

"fruit salesman and cart (probably the same cart they use to collect trash)"
"dog on roof"
Nate told us in a previous letter that there seem to be more dogs than people in his area - they are all over the place! Even on the roof tops. He said he always wondered how they got up there. I wrote back and requested he get a picture of a dog on a roof and he didn't disappoint. :) How funny! 

Here is a part of his letter from this week:

"We are still working with Daniel. He is set for the 27th  of this month and totally has a testimony. He had told us that he does, and that he knows that he needs to be baptized. The problem is that he understand the covenant too well and is a bit scared of getting himself into it. We are just stressing the point that it is absolutely necessary and that it is the gate to the celestial kingdom and that kind of stuff. His family is still no help. 

I think I told you a bout Edgardo, but if not, let is suffice to say that he is pretty much golden. We were only in his area because of failed appointments and one or two miracles. We were walking right past his house, and I don't know why, but I stopped dead in my tracks right after I walked past his door, and went back and rang the bell. He came out and wanted to argue, but we testified and answered a few questions. Our return visit was amazing. He identified to everything that we were teaching and was pleased to find out that we were very different from the Catholic church. He is currently in BA (buenos Aires) because of a very sick nephew, but he left a note with one of the people he shares his house with that he will be back this week and really wants us to "keep helping him"!!!!! I think if we can get him to stop smoking, he will be an awesome new member. He is very smart and really wants to know the truth....

We just found, Saturday night, a man named luis. I was doing my best to introduce us and explain what we were doing and I hit a wall and just asked if he would be interested in hearing our message. He looked at the ground and gave an answer very different than the one that I get every time I ask that question. He said yes, but didn't have time and so we are going  back on Tuesday.

Do me a favor and look up a cumbia singer named Gerardo Farias. He as put out over forty albums, and we eat with him every Wednesday! He has an awesome voice and a strong testimony, but just can't make it to church because of his work. He comes whenever he can, and his wife is active. She also makes amazing!!! food. She is the one that made the milenesa that I loved, and as far as I know, milenesa here is just beef rolled out flat and breaded and cooked or something like that. Good stuff!"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Discussion

video

Here is a video I took while talking on the phone with Nate.....Elder Rau.....Last week. He is teaching part of the first discussion. Doesn't he sound so good??! Sorry about the bad recording and the background noise. I thought later that I should have put the camera on the tri-pod and focused in on a picture of Nate. haha. Maybe at Christmas. :)

President Villaba


Here's a picture that Elder Rau's mission president's wife sent to my Parents. His mission president is President Villaba and we assume that the other elder is Nate's Trainer, Elder Brooks.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Argentina!

Elder Rau left the MTC last monday for Argentina! He was traveling with several other Elders. They flew from SLC to LA then to Lima then to Buenos Aires and then took a bus down to Rosario. It was a long day! I got to talk to him on the phone while he was at the Airport. It was so much fun! He sounds GREAT! And his Spanish skills really impressed me. I recorded him and will put those clips on here soon.

My parents got an Email from his mission president letting them know that he got there safely and we got a family email from him yesterday. It sounds like he is in high spirits! Here is a part of his letter:

"My trainer is Elder Brooks. We are getting along great and have been getting a lot of work done. We have one of the biggest areas in the mission, so we do alot of walking. I am currently in the city of ParanĂ¡, specifically in an area called cinco esquinas. Average attendance in our ward is about 35. There are so many inactive members in the area, I guess mostly because they don´t like the leadership of the ward. Obviously, our priority is finding people to bring unto Christ, but we are going to be doing alot of reactivating in this area.... I´m so excited to be down here and able to share the gospel and my testimony with these people. They need it so bad. I have the oportunity to introduce them to the gospel and thier lives are going to be so much better because of it. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ can and will change their lives."

Here are a few pictures of his apartment or "pench" as the missionaries call it - short for pencion (with an accent over the o). It looks pretty shabby but I imagine it's nice for the area he's in. What a great life experience! :)


MTC Soccer Team


Elder Rau sent this picture to us - He said that he really loves playing soccer now and wished he would have played in High School....but isn't soccer in the same season as Track? Hmmmm..... Do you see the two elders with mustaches??! It's gotta be a joke!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Latest from Elder Rau

Here is a portion of a family letter Elder Rau sent us last week. It sounds like he is doing so well! I've also put on a couple of pictures that he sent home. Enjoy! 

"Things are still going really well! We are transitioning into teaching the second lesson in spanish, and we are speaking more and more every day. "subjunctive" is the worst thing in the world, just so you know... I have really kicked into reading the book of mormon (in english) and will hopefully be able to finish it before I hit the ground in Argentina. And it looks like we will be landing about on time! Something happened, I don't know exactly what, but visas are coming in on time or a few days late. If anything, we might leave a day or two late." .....

"One thing that I have learned while trying to teach, especially in spanish, is that the gospel is really actually simple. We can get off and start talking about kolob and generations of Gods and other crazy things like that, but the real important stuff, the stuff that we are taking to the investigators is so simple. Not only are the principles simple, but the words we use to describe them don't need to be fancy. As you can imagine, we are barely getting by as far as vocabulary goes, but as long as the spirit is there, words don't really matter. I am reminded of the conversion story of Brigham Young. He heard all sorts of missionaries with varying levels of speech for about a year, but when he heard a man who could only say that he know the church was true, but say it with all his heart, he felt the spirit so strong in the conviction of this man, even though his testimony was simple." 

Nate and Sean! (I mean Elder Rau and Elder Layton, of course). I don't know the story here but it looks like they ran into each other at the Temple! How fun for them. 

Elder Rau and his companion Elder Hadley 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Classic MTC pictures

Elder Rau sent these pictures home to my Parents and my Mom scanned them and emailed them over to me....thus the blurriness. You just have to laugh when you see these because I think every single missionary who goes through the MTC gets pictures like these - one at the map and one in front of the Provo Temple. Now we just need some pictures of his companion asleep drooling on his pillow or something. :)

This is Nate with his companion, Elder Hadley.

More Elders going to Rosario.

They look so young! But they are the Lords Army and are carrying the message of the gospel to the world!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Elder Rau's Address

Elder Nathan Brant Rau
MTC Mailbox #164
ARG-ROS 0818
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Hello Elder Rau!


My mom sent me these pictures they took when they dropped Nate off at the MTC. The second one is with our Grandma Unruh - my Mom's Mom who flew in from Denver to see him off. 

We got a letter from him a few days ago and he said that the MTC isn't quite what he expected it would be but it is amazing. He said he's never studied so much in his entire life.Last week he saw 6 of the 12 apostles! He also got to sing Joseph Smith's First Prayer in the choir that preformed at a fireside that Elder Hales spoke at. He told me that that was amazing, too. He said he and his companion are already good friends and he can see them being friends for years to come. I'm hoping he'll be able to send some more pictures soon!




Sunday, June 22, 2008

Goodbye Nathan!


These are some pictures I took at Nathan and Sean Layton's (Nate's best friend) open house. Sean is going to Peru and Nate is going to Argentina. Sean will go into the MTC one week after Nate. I guess I need to start calling them Elder Rau and Elder Layton, right? :) Nate went into the MTC last wednesday. I'll be keeping this blog updated as much as I can.




the last girl he'll have his arm around for a LONG time. :)