Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Awesome Last Letter!

Hola Familia!
How are you all today? I'm great. Still enjoying life as a missionary, and anticipate enjoying it to the last second. And as indicated by the subject, I'm fairly confident that this is the last time I will be writing. Maybe for a second next week to tell you that all is well or something like that.

This week really has been amazing. Another roller coaster. I wouldn't have it any other way. I have mentioned one of our investigators, Heraldo Cordoba. He is so awesome and so ready to be baptized, but is struggling a lot with cigarettes. He’s smoked for years and is having a really hard time quitting. Tuesday night we had one of the most spiritual lessons of my mission. I really won't be able to do it justice, but I'll try. I was on divisions with my district leader Elder Soza from Nicaragua because Elder Pratt was sick in bed. It was the go or no go lesson for this Saturday for his baptism. We talked about the plan of salvation, then transitioned into a stop smoking talk. We started talking about his dad and how after not smoking for three years, went back to smoking, but worse. His wife then shared the story about her dad, how someone told him that how could some little 3 inch thing conquer him, being about 6 feet tall, so that day he threw his cigarettes out and never went back to smoking and is now the stake president in the other stake. We analyzed the differences in these two cases, then a scripture came to mind about the Nephites being motivated by a better cause, even though the Nephites were fighting stronger than ever. We then talked about his family and the temple and the blessings waiting. It was during this part of the lesson that I learned what Nephi was talking about when he said that the words that the children spoke when the Savior came were forbidden to be written. It’s not that they couldn't write the words, but that the words were sacred, and that’s how I consider the words she spoke, but I will tell you what they were (in English). His newly adopted three year old daughter spoke up and said, "don´t smoke anymore daddy." It broke my heart, and if it had that effect on me, I can't imagine what he must have felt. His wife then took him by the hand and asked him to stop to, if not for himself, then for their daughter. He is now motivated by a better cause, which is also now causing him even more heartache because it isn't easy to stop. His is trying so hard, he has received blessings of the priesthood and is united in prayer with his entire family-in-law and us. Even still, he can't kick it. So last night we talked about the purposes of the Lord, and how that someday he will look back on this time of trial and testing and thank the lord for it. For now, he has something to learn. We talked about the people of Ammon and challenged him to literally bury the weapons of his rebellion. I can't even imagine how hard this must be for him, but I know that he will pull through in the end. He really is so awesome and deserves to be baptized as soon as possible.
That was the bulk of the cool stuff this week. We also overcame two days of sickness to have our best week ever and get those famous standards of excellence for the mission, which is very satisfying. We also had some difficulty working due to the world cup of soccer. Everyone, and that means everyone is nuts about it down here. It’s away to find the chosen ones because if they are willing to listen for a bit during a game, they are very very interested in hearing what we say. Every single television was on the game when Argentina played and we heard the fireworks, gun shots and horn honks when they scored, then again when they won. It sounded like war had broken out. I guess the U.S. is looking pretty good too. Apparently, if you can tie with England you are really really good.
Another cool story. Here, you can order anything and have it brought to your door... including ice cream, and so we ordered ice cream once or twice last week. ON one occasion, the ice cream man asked us, if it wasn't a bother, if we could go by his house sometime in the week. We said ABSOLUTELY! Took down his address and everything and passed the reference to the area it belonged to. Conveniently, another time we ordered ice cream he came back and told us that they hadn't come by yet, and that he loved the pamphlets that we had given him. We didn't hesitate this time and gave him a book of Mormon. When he took it in his hands he had a look of awe on his face and promised that the first thing he was going to do when he got home was read it. We saw him in the street the other day, delivering ice cream on his motto and said that he really wants to tell us about his experience reading. We have to order ice cream again.

Well, I can't think of anything else to write about the week. The only other thing is to thank you guys so much for all of the letters you sent me during these two years. They really have helped me be better, even when they were trunky. I love you guys so much and am so glad that we are a family. We are so blessed.
I was listening to song "come thou fount of every blessing" and the words hit me pretty hard. In one of the verses it says "here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I'm come, and I hope by thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home." Obviously referring to our heavenly home. I remember learning that an Ebenezer is a stone that was raised by a biblical prophet, I can't remember who, as a sign of gratitude to the Lord for having preserved him and his people. I know that the Lord has brought me thus far by his grace and mercy and certainly hope that he will continue to bless me has he has thus far. Everything in my life has been such a blessing, from being born to goodly parents to suffering the infamous "plank" in my youth. It has all helped me be who I am, and it was really the Lord helping me become who he wants me to be. Even though I don't always make the right decisions, he is there to help me make up for it.
The church is true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Jesus Christ is our savior and Redeemer. Joseph Smith was a prophet and Thomas Monson continues the work Joseph started, and he does it under direction of the Savior. I know that this is true.
Love you all!
Elder Rau

Monday, June 7, 2010

16 DAYS!

¡Hola Familia!
How are you all today? Its another beautiful day here in sunny argentina! At least its sunny here, I hear that there is snow falling in other parts of the country. But anyway, thanks for all your letters, they were a little less trunky than last week, but still pretty trunky. Thanks...

So things are still goin great here! Kevin and Karen got baptised on saturday and confirmed on sunday. It was great. We had the baptism planned out really well, then everything went wrong right before it, so it was a little hectic, but still a very spiritual experience, and the ordinance got done, so I guess thats the most important part. I'll try and get some pictures goin after I write things. I got to baptise and confirm kevin. I really hope this wasn't the last baptism of my mission. We have two more posibilities right now. They look good, but still need some miracles in their lives. I'm confident that they can go through if the Lord approves of the time frame.

I heared some great jokes this week that Dad will think are funny. I'll give a translation, but I doubt you will laugh.
Why do the children of superman never fight?...porque son supermancitos (they are little superman, but can also be interpereted as very meek...)
Cuanta leche da una vaca en su vida?...la misma que en su bajada (how much milk does a cow give in her life (also could mean in her climb) the same as in her decent)

This week I had my last interview and my last zone conference. It feels really weird. They always ask the missionaries who are finishing to give a testimony in their last conference. I never though I would have to do it. Its amazing how many friends I am making right now! The funny thing is that all of them are asking me for stuff... Some peruano was like, hey elder I really loved your testimony (then in the same breath...) what are you going to do with your camara... I just laughed.

The english fast is goin great. Elder Pratt talks to me in english, and I respond in spanish. It was hard at first to listen in one language and respond in another, but its easier now. Even after studying the language for at least a half an hour every day for two years, I still make mistakes and learn something new every day. that helps me not be prideful.

Anyway, I love you all a whole lot and hope you are well. The church is still true and the mission is still the coolest and best place in the whole world. I'm so grateful for having been alowed to serve. The lord´s work is the best work!

Love ya lots!
Elder Rau

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Today I start an English Fast

Hola Familia!
How are you all this beautiful Monday morning? At least its beautiful here... clear skies but still quite chilly. There is wind, so that doesn't help. So there you have the weather report from this side of the world. Its probably more accurate than google or the weather channel!

Anyway, I love your letters but I must admit you are all quite trunky. I guess I only have to endure your letters for another 3 weeks.... I guess I'm kind of excited too...ok, really excited, but I still understand that I was called for 24 months, and I haven't got there yet, so I will remain focused.

So we are very happy here in holy faith Argentina. We are dealing with a challenge in finding new people to teach, but the people that we are teaching are progressing right along towards the waters of baptism. I'm pretty excited. I'm still on the lookout for a complete family, but I have been thinking a lot about what dad said about finishing families being a great work too. Its true, it feels so cool. Just a few minutes ago I saw the elders that are currently serving in one of my old areas and told me that the last member of an awesome family just got baptized. Now they are complete and have the temple as their goal. That is sooooo cool! It made me happy. Also a guy I was teaching in Rosario got baptized and only has to wait the year to be sealed to his wife forever. They are a young couple and she was a member from before, but now they are the most active and participating members of the ward.

Today I start an English fast that should last until Monday in three weeks. I'm doing it for me and for my comp. I haven't spoken enough Spanish with him yet, so this should give him a head start for the next compañion (i have a feeling it’s going to be a Latin) The goal for now is not to say a word of English, but after the first week I will see if I need to make any changes. I foresee some potential communication/patience problems, so it will be a great opportunity to learn.

I must admit that i was pretty sad to hear that bishop Gardemann was released. As far as I am concerned he was the best bishop in the whole church. His example of optimism and excitement is admirable and the love that I felt when he was with us in church or on other activities is the love that i imagine feeling from the savior. I am glad to hear that he was assigned to keep working with the young men of the stake. Does that mean he will be at the encampment? Its weird that I don't even know the new bishop, but I'm sure he is awesome. I have also decided that to be obedient I will be attending the branch, at least for a while. (That decision has nothing to do with the change in bishop, just to keep the record straight.)

Well, we are looking forward to another baptism this weekend, which will be awesome. Kevin asked me to baptize him, so that will be really fun. I'm so grateful for being a missionary. It really is the best thing in the whole world! This is the true church, without a doubt! I know its true.

I love you all a whole bunch!

Elder Nate Rau

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where Else Am I Going to Have an Experience Like That?

So anyway, we had quite the average week. We are all systems go for a baptism this week. Two kids will be getting baptized and will be confirmed member of the true church. I will get to baptize Cristian and my comp will baptize Aixa. I am pretty excited. Two weeks later we should see another baptism, and then there is another guy that will get baptized just as soon as he decides he wants to talk to us. the husband of a member lady has been to church a hundred times, he just doesn't like to be rushed. I'm pretty sure all we are going to have to tell him is that his wife deserves someone she can be with for eternity and stuff like that and he'll be in the water. Another brother needs to stop smoking. He is the son in law of the stake pres in the other stake, and is the only member of the extended family not baptized. He really wants to but is having a lot of trouble. I give him three weeks and he'll have it beat.
It’s a miracle I'm not sick right now. Last night we all went out to a city called Santo Tomé to work in the hermanas area. We were there from about 4:30 to 7:30 and at about 6 is started to pour (rain). It was already really really cold, and once it got wet, my suit seemed to suck the heat out of me, but we kept working as any missionary would do...hoping and praying to get into a house! The bus ride home was pretty fun too. The bus was beyond capacity by about 20 people, so we were all scrunched up in the back of the bus. When else am I going to have an experience like that? I love the mission.
Our ward mission leader picked up some food for our lunch with him on Friday from an Arab restaurant. We ate what the Lord might have eaten in the last supper. Meat and trigo (sorry, forgot the word in English, ask dad), flat bread, garbanzo paste and some weird meat/trigo biscuit things. It was pretty tasty.
A family in our ward has a kid in a Jewish school. He would be learning Hebrew, but he has to focus on learning Spanish first. He got to go to a synagogue the other day and hear the real story of Noah from the torah. Cool huh. I would love to visit a Jewish synagogue, just to see how it is and stuff. I have started to be a lot more interested in Judaism. I can't wait to take a class about it at the Y or something like that. I know of a few, but I'm sure there are millions of things in the Book of Mormon that are common in Jewish culture and writing. Just more proof that Joseph smith was a prophet.
I am currently trying to read the Book of Mormon again before I get home. I kind of have a vision of finishing it on the plane right before landing. But anyway, I'm in Alma, and a verse from chapter 31 stuck out in my mind. I think it’s the last verse in the chapter, but it is talking about the sons of Mosiah and Alma and their compañions and how their trials were consumed in the joy of Christ, which I guess can mean the atonement. The part I liked was the fact that because they were on the Lord's errand, doesn't mean they didn't have trials and afflictions. Their afflictions were bearable, even unimportant, because of the hope that they had in the atonement. That all of the injustices and otherwise unfair things that happen will all be made right. They certainly had quite a few trials and afflictions, much more than I have had to face in my mission, but their joy is that much greater. Anyway, just thought I would share.
Anyway, that’s about all I can think of. I should have some interesting pictures for next week though. I'll see if I can get some off today. Just know that I love you all and love hearing from you every week, even when I don't hear from some of you....just kiddin...
The church is true and we have a prophet. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Jesus Christ is our Savior.
Elder Rau

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tomorrow Begins My Last Transfer

Hey familia,
How are you all doing? It was really a great time talking to Mom and Dad and a little to Jake and Annika and Anson. I was shocked at the conversation that I could have with Anson. He’s just so big now! What a cute kid! I hope all you mothers had an awesome Mother’s day.

Well, tomorrow begins my last transfer, and there will be no more changes for me. Me and my hijo are stickin together and will be able to see the fruits of our labors in the next six weeks. I am very excited for it.

Last night all of the elders in the zone came over to our house and we had a big sleep over. Kind of childish, I know, but it was a lot of fun. I don't know how they pulled it off, but the ZL got permission to use a portable DVD player and we watched the best two years. One of our zone leaders just became the new assistant to the president, so he wasn't actually there, but maybe he had something to do with it. Other elders are getting transferred, lots are staying. The only change is that I am no longer the district leader. The district stayed the same but me and elder Soza changed positions. I am going to be able to focus one hundred percent on the area! It should be nice.

So we are looking at four baptisms in the next 3 or 4 weeks. All are children, but we are going to be finishing, or getting close to finishing the families. The almost atheist dad of two of the kids said that he will come to the baptism! The kids are all really excited for it and love church. The Tira Family (the one that contacted us, I think I already told you about them) is doing so good! When we went to go pick them up for Church, we ran into them on the way to their house. I mean, we were walking towards their house to pick them up, but they had already left. I guess they wanted to get to Church earlier. They were all dressed up and everything. Kevin (9) was really excited to show us his tie. It was cool to see them all walking together.

We kind of got robbed again. Not really, someone just took advantage of a situation. We were in a taxi the other day, and when we got out, I guess our cell phone fell out of my pocket or something. We called it a few times, and when they turned it off, we called the offices to tell them about it and to turn off the phone. So now we will be without a phone for as long as I am here. Sad, but I guess that’s just how it goes. We have to share with the other elders in our apartment. I think maybe the Lord is punishing me. I haven't really been using the phone as much as I should have, to arrange appointments and so forth, so maybe he is saying, let’s see how you do without this great tool I have given you! I took it for granted...I learned my lesson

The mission is such a cool thing. I don't know what I'm going to do without it. It feels like my life has just been like this. All of the memories of my "previous life" just feel like dreams or something I saw on TV or something like that. I have to remind myself that it’s true. It still doesn't feel like I should be going home soon, but as everyone is quick to remind me, the time is getting closer. I'm starting to see "my lasts" Like last planner, last area, last comp, last "work Monday" (by the way, p day will be Monday from now on). This is all just too weird.

I still know without a doubt that this is the true church of Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was, indeed, a prophet, foreordained to bring about a marvelous work and a wonder in these days, and what a privilege it is to participate in it at such an intimate level as I have been.

Anyway, I love you all so much and look forward to hearing from you next week!

Elder Rau

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Mission is the Best!

Hola Familia!
Thanks for the letters again this week! I loved seeing the pictures Ari sent me of all the kids playing and stuff. Looks like y’all had a great time! We had a pretty good week here too. Not quite as much playing though.
Last Friday we were looking for some less active family that we had on our ward list. When we lack things to do, we just start looking for in-actives. It’s a great source of new investigators. So long story short, we found a family, but not the one we were looking for. Virginia Tira is a member of the church, but inactive for about three years due to lots of trials and difficulties in life. She lost contact with the church, then moved, so nobody knew how to contact her. We were walking by, and the kids yelled, elders! When are you going to come teach us the discussions? So I guess they contacted us. We talked, taught and set the goal to go back to church. Saturday she said good bye to the Jehovah witness’ that knew to come by, and Sunday came to church. The members were great and swarmed her. IN about 10 minutes she had met the entire relief society and a few hermanas set times to go over and visit her. Last night in ward counsel we talked about helping them out a little bit. It was such a cool thing to see the ward in action. Everything worked exactly the way it should, which is the way the Lord has designed it. Two of her 5 children will be baptized in the first part of june. They are already reading and praying together every day. Pretty cool huh.
That was the big story of the week. Everything else is going good. Two other part member families should become a little more complete next week. We have a baptism planed for Wednesday, but we’ll have to see if they can make it to church this week. The mom traveled this Sunday and couldn't bring them, so they didn’t come. They are doing great though. I love teaching and baptizing kids, but I have yet to see a whole family come into the church. I would love to see that before I go home.
News from other areas. I think I might have mentioned it a little bit before. Every week we get an email with a list of all the people that were baptized in the last week, as well as announcements and so forth. It’s been so exciting reading it in the last few weeks because a ton of people that I got to teach have been getting baptized. Last week a couple that has been investigating for a long time, but hadn’t been able to get married just got baptized. It makes me so happy.
From my first area, the dad of a young man (right now on his mission in Ecuador) got baptized. I think I might have told you that already. That was especially cool. It looks like his wife is also investigating.
The mission is the best!
It looks like p-day is going to change back to Monday next transfer, so I will keep you updated on that. As far as the call, I still don’t know anything. Ha ha! I’m sure I will be calling you later in the day. After 3 o clock your time. I’m pretty sure there is a four hour difference. I will write down that number mom gave me, and I’m sure it will work, but I will also have a backup plan. That is, I will buy another card just in case, and then you would have to call me back. I’m sure the Verizon card will work though.
Well, that’s all I got for this week. I love you guys so much and am pretty excited to hear your voices and talk to you on Sunday. I’m so sure that the church is true and that we can be a forever family! I’m so grateful for Christ’s atonement.
Love you guys!
Elder Rau

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm So Grateful To Be A Missionary, It's The Best!

HOla Familia!
HOw is everyone this morning? You are probably doing great... I hope so at least.

Things are startin to pick up a little bit for us here. I'm startin to see the potential here. Its exciting. Apparently this is one of the oldest wards in the city. There are a few people here that remember an Elder Christofersen...yeah, elder D. Todd Christofersen! He was here when the entire city was two branches. Lots of people also remember his mission president. President Scott...as in Richard G. Crazy huh! There is an hermana here that was the first missionary to leave from Santa Fe, and her mission presidente in the Chile mission was the father of Bishop David H. Burton. She had some pretty funny stories about him. I guess he was a terrible little kid. He threw rocks and the american embassy once. Look where he is now! I laughed pretty hard. He was pretty young I guess. Like 5 or 6, so his baptism took care of all of that.
We are striving to establish unity in the work with the members of the ward. Once we get that down, things are gonna go really smooth. There are a million young RM couples. Lots of excitement...lots of referrals! Woo Hoo!

We did a service project last Thursday and I saw scorpions for the first time in my whole life! Live ones I mean. I killed them with a shovel!

I also got to do another baptismal interview last week. She lives a few blocks away from one of the big futbol stadiums here. They had a game that night against one of the biggest teams in the country, and we were right next to the field about an hour before it started. There were police in riot gear and tons of people everywhere. The police dogs almost attacked us. I had always wanted to go to a game but now I think I'm ok not experiencing it. People die sometimes after those games! Crazy huh.

Dad, I wouldn't be sad if you dropped that dance class. If you don't, its more than likely that I will. I'm cool with ice skating though...as weird as that is. It has always been a dream to play ice hockey. Maybe I'm the next Wayne Gretsky.

I got a cool letter this week...still no package though. I got a few more birthday cards, so thanks to everyone who sent them, but I have to admit the best letter was from Sebastain Montenegro. The second guy that I got to teach (that got baptised) in my first area. He is a stud! Hes doing sooooo good. Hes happy and loving the gospel. He told me that when I go home or when I teach that I should tell everyone that once he was a drug addict and did a bunch of evil things, but now his life is full of light and happiness. Hes so cool. Hes cousin, (the one that he baptised) is the secretary in his ward and in his free time he goes out and hands out church materials to the people in the city. He turns 19 next january.

Well, I guess that'll do for this week. I really do love you all a whole bunch and look forward to hearing from you next week. I'm so grateful to be a missionary. Its the best.
this church is the truest of all the churches.
Love y'all
Elder Rau

It Is Another Very Happy Day in the Mission

¡Buen Día!
Hey everyone! Hows it goin? Sounds like everything is goin great back home. Ari mentioned that its going into spring there, which means that yes, it is about fall here. Its actually quite chilly right now. I'm wearing long sleeves again! Its so much nicer to sleep cold than hot! Anyway, I'm just really glad for cool weather.

Well, I'm back in Holy Faith...crazy huh. I am pretty excited to be here. My comp is elder pratt, a great great great grandson of Parley and an awesome missionary. He really wants to do everything he can and be perfect, so I know he will have success in his mission. Hes commin right along with the language. I took my peruano comp for granted, I forgot what its like to do all the talking...basically. We are both adjusting. The area is called Ciudadela, and has been closed for between 10 and 12 moths due to lazy missionaries and indifferent members. Having not seen a single baptism in about 2 years, they are excited to have missionaries again and are more than ready to help us. We already have all of our lunch appointments for the next two weeks! Any dreams I had about loosing a little bit of weight before coming home have gone out the window. We are in the city, so naturally, the people are not as receptive. I have never been rejected so much in my whole mission, but greater opposition means greater blessings in the end.

So far we are teaching an incomplete family of like a million people. Two of the kids already have baptismal dates for may and the rest are coming along just fine. One couple is getting ready to get married and she asked us if she could get baptised after she gets married. I said no....haha, just kidding, I said absolutely! Her husband is a member, and I don't think he lacks that much to come back to church. He just needs some good friends to support him in his righteous endeavors.

Yesterday we taught a catholic missionary. It went way different than I thought it would. He really just wanted to find out what we really believed and say that he thought what we were doing was really good and that as long as we are all worshiping the same God, we all go to the same place....if only it were that easy. He had some correct theories about why there are so many churches, and when we explained the apostasy he looked like he understood. The only thing we haven't exactly agreed on is the need for authority. He just kind of started talking about other stuff, but its ok because he said that for sure he was going to read the BoM and pray about it, so I`m not really worried about anything.

It is another very happy day in the mission. While revising the weekly newsletter, I saw pictures of a few people I know from old areas. The mom of some kids in cabaña got baptised, Juan Pablo montenegro from paraná baptised someone, maybe even his mom and I saw the name of Oscar Duarte on the list of those baptised last week. That all just made me sooo happy! I think the dad of another guy from paraná got baptised too. His son is on a mission and I was in the area the first time he (the dad) came to church.

So conference was pretty much amazing! I kind of don't want to say it as to avoid offending the womenfolk, but priesthood was definitely my favorite! I kind of felt like a lot of the talks weren't written exactly for missionaries, seeing as they are about raising kids and stuff, but I guess I learned some good stuff. My poor comp didn't understand a word of saturday because we had to watch it all in Spanish. He was kind of jet lagged still, so he got some rest. Conference is different in spanish. I prefer hearing the profets actual voice, but thats just me. If you could, send me the first presidency's talks and that should do for now. I'll probably ask for more as I review my notes. Especially President Ucthdorf and Eyring from priesthood. I'm so grateful for modern revelation. I don't know how all the other churches do with out guidance directly from heaven.

Well, i think thats about everything notable from this week. I hope you are all doing great and enjoying spring.
The church is true, i have no doubt.
I love you all a whole bunch,
ELder Rau

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hola Familia!
Once again, I forgot to tell y'all that transfers are this week. I think, or did I tell you? Either way, its Tuesday and I'm writing. So transfers are in and I didn't get exactly what I wanted, but I am pretty happy/excited/nervous/scared to death. I will no longer be a leader of zone (or zone leader for those that are fluent English speakers) but will continue serving as a district leader. I'm going BACK to Santa Fe and will be opening an area that has been closed for about a year for various reasons. My new companion is Elder Pratt, and is fresh from the MTC. I get to train again! Unfortunately, I have heard alot about the area, both good and bad, but I guess that doesn't really matter, we are still going to rock it! I have the heart of down town in the area. Its a new challenge.
My first hijo is making a skyrocket climb in mission leadership. He is going to be a zone leader this transfer, which is as fast as any yanqui has ever moved up. He and another elder from his mtc group. I am pretty excited to see if I can train an assistant, thus vicariously becoming assistant! Haha, just kiddin.

This morning we went and helped our bishop roof a house for someone. We did it with cement. Construction is very different here. Everything is with bricks. At first I was up on the roof receiving a bucket of cement and handing it to someone else, then receiving the empty buckets and passing them down the line. After a little while I got called down to the cement mixer. UP until this point I thought the job was pretty easy, but then they told me that I would have to receive the empty buckets and put them on the ground for someone else to fill with cement, then pick them up and lift them as high as I could and pass them to another guy who passed them to someone on the roof and so on. I will be very sore tomorrow. It was a great experience though... I think my hands took the worst of the beating. I got like a million blisters that all popped and got sand and cement in them. I got home and thought it would be a good idea to put straight alcohol on them.....possibly the worst decision I have made in a really long time. It burned really bad. So that was my morning. I love service...really, I do.

I got one of the best phone calls in the whole world the other night. An elder called from Concordia and told me that the dad of a family there has decided to get baptized. He had a date earlier this year, but I don't know what happened. The good news is that this time the elders didn't ask him if he would get baptized, he asked the elders if he could get baptized. I would absolutely love to be there this week end, but I guess someone will just have to send me the pictures afterwards. That family is so going to the temple next year! I also heard that the mom of a few kids that got baptized in Santa Fe got baptized last week. She wanted to get baptized so bad while I was there, but for a while she was under the impression that she couldn't go to church if she was still smoking. We felt really bad for having miscommunicated, but either way, she got baptized. Now the whole family are members, they just have to activate the dad. He was baptized as a kid, but hasn't really gone to church in forever and doesn't remember anything except maybe his baptism.
OH yeah, I totally forgot, I turned 21 this week! Crazy huh! It was a pretty normal day. My comps birthday was the 27th, so it was a birthday weekend. An hermana made us a super huge awesome cake and we have been eating it for every meal for the last few days. Your birthday is a really big deal down here! Everyone was really excited and greeted us and stuff. It was cool. Saturday we had an activity. We watched the lion king. I think it’s like the third time I have seen it in the mission. Its amazing how much you can relate to the gospel/plan of salvation from that movie.
Love you all,
Elder Rau

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Church is True, Jesus Christ is our Savior, and He is, Undeniably, the Jehovah of the Old Testament

When I got my call to Argentina, I knew there was a pretty heavy Italian population, but I didn't realize how large the "white" population would be. Just about everyone has Italian, Spanish, German or otherwise European in their blood. The point of the story is I thought that I would never get to teach any Lamanites. The book of Mormon was written for them, so I kind of wanted to take it to them. Well, my dreams have been completed! There is an Indian tribe here called the Toba. They are very much Lamanites. They all moved here to Rosario try to get out of a very poor situation in other parts of the country, and live in the humblest of neighborhoods. Our contacts have changed. We were inspired by a Peruvian elder in the mission who is straight up Indian... elder Humañahui it means eagle eye... but anyway, when he knocks on a door, he introduces himself and talks about a legend from his people about a white God that visited his people and that their records have been preserved in the Book of Mormon. We try to apply that same approach talking a lot about the personal ministry of the Savior here in the Americas. Anyway, we have some pretty promising contacts so far.

Other than that, we are seeing other small miracles. A few days ago we were just walking down the street, when we heard someone yelling, ¡ey, muchachos! That usually means that there is a drunk man or some punk wanting to rob us. I usually don't look, but this time was a little bit different. I looked back to see 3 teenagers on the curb looking at us. One called us over so we went. When we got there, one said, what are you preaching...so we told him, the word of God. It was then that I saw the bible in the hands of one of them. We shared the first lesson there in the street and set an appointment to go back tonight. I'm pretty excited. They are honest seekers of the truth! They are the funniest to teach.

I did get an interesting phone call the other night. Elder Hildreth, the assistant and one of my old zone leaders and possibly the most influential missionary in my mission, and by that I mean one that has helped me be better, asked how everything was going and if I had a preference on where I finish my mission. The obvious answer was where ever the Lord wants, but I gave a suggestion for president to pray about, so we´ll see what happens. I would love to go back to Entre Rios.

We had a way cool two day zone conference in the mission home. We played games, learned cool stuff and above all got animated to be better and lose ourselves in the lords work. We gave our little portion as zone leaders and I got to talk about pole vault! I also talked about high jump. I talked about how everybody thought that the events had pretty well reached their potential and that the world record wasn't going to go much higher. I then talked about the Fosbury Flop, and the invention of fiberglass poles and stuff like that, then gave another analog with the whole, look to the sky thing, instead of looking at the bar. We have to set our sights higher than the minimum. (I think I already told that analogy to you, but if not I can tell you later.) But it was great and we talked about goals and other good stuff like that.

I'm pretty much out of time, so I'll end it here. I love you all a whole lot and hope that everything keeps going well for you!
The church is true, Jesus Christ is our savior, and He is, undeniably, the Jehovah of the old testament (the JW´s knocked on our door this morning while we were cleaning...so that topic is fresh in my mind).
Anyway, I love you all a whole lot and look forward to next week’s letters!
Elder Rau

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Every Injustice, Hardship and Trial in this Life will be Made Right, Even More, it will have Been a Blessing

So anyway, we have had another great week. I forgot to tell you last week, but I had a once in a life time experience. You know the rhinoceros beetle from ants, well, those bugs actually do exist, and we found one the other day. I had seen them before and didn't think they could pinch with their very sharp horn, but as it turns out they can. My comp was inspired to tell me not to do it (stick my pinky finger between his forehead and horn) but I did it anyway and it clamped down. It hurt real bad and I think I accidentally killed the poor bug because I threw him afterwards. It was a pretty funny experience.
We were waiting for about 14 people on Sunday and 6 of them came, which was pretty cool! We didn't even have to go out and look for anyone, so I bet we could help some more people if we got out and brought them. Its pretty cool to see an investigator arrive on their own. They are the chosen ones.
Other than that its been a great week full of really cool lessons and substantial personal revelation. Lots of things are just occurring to me right now. I guess I am in reflection mode. I like it and am writing it down, trying to show the lord that I appreciate what he tells me and am willing to receive more. One of these revelations came in the middle of the night. We have always repeated a passage from john 15, every night before going to sleep. Verses 4 to 9 I think... not sure though, I just know it. But anyway, I was thinking, what does that mean? I had never really thought about it, but then it hit me. Those who do not abide in the savior, dont love him, and don't keep his commandments. They will be cast out...(como pampano, y se secar, y los recogen y los hecho en el fuego y arden...not sure how that part goes in English) A verse then came to mind from Mathew 7, when the lord tells someone that had done many good things in his name that He never knew him. I then thought of the number of disobedient missionaries that I know that still have a ton of success. The bottom line is that the fruit is acceptable in the way that it is harvested, as far as the personal situation of the missionary. Obviously everyone gets blessings for getting baptized, but it is important for us as we participate in this great work, for our own salvation and for the joy that is promised to those that are called to the work. I hope I am doing things right! On the other hand, those that do abide in him and love him and keep his commandments will be blessed with one of the greatest blessing, which is aligning your desires with those of the Lord. Wanting the same thing, which allows us to ask for anything and receive it because we wont ask for anything outside of the will of the Lord. Something like that....
Something interesting happened with a couple we are teaching. My first couple days here we taught a couple and she didn't really want to listen, but he was all for it. One thing led to another and we didn't get back to their house for about two weeks. His mom is a member and they live with her, so they weren't without contact from someone from the church, but still, I felt really bad. I felt worse when we found out that they had actually separated for a few days and were not doing too good. Odd change of events, all of a sudden she is really wanting to go to church and he is back to his old ways. She recognized the difference from the time that they were going to church every week to the time when they didn't want to go or keep the commandments, and so now she really wants to go to church and get married and baptized and stuff. I'm confident that he will return to have interest soon enough. It was more than likely part of the lords plan for them to go a little while without much spiritual support so that they could see the difference and be more motivated. I was telling someone the other day that the coolest part of the mission is recognizing the way the Lord works in the lives of the people. Its a big blessing of being a missionary to see that.
Well, I think that's about all I have time for for this week. I love you guys a ton and hope you have a great week! I know that this is the true church and that God loves us and has a plan for us that extend much farther than our current capacity to comprehend. Every injustice, hardship and trial in this life will be made right in the life to come. Even more, it will have been a blessing. Cool huh.
Love you guys!
Elder Rau

Friday, March 5, 2010

How blessed we are to have a Father that will always do what is best for us.

Hola Familia!
How are you? Im fine. Things are great here. Luckily we didnt feel any shaking physically at least, emotionally, I think so, at least in the mission. There are some chileano elders that have missing family members, but thats the worst I have heard. One elder in the zone said that his family has seen lots of fallen buildings. This is probably the first time in my mission that I actually watched t.v. Its bad I know, but for about five or ten minutes at a members house we saw some footage of the actual quake and the aftermath. Very, very crazy. It turned into a really spiritual lesson about following the profet and being prepared and stuff. We have shared a lot about 2 Nephi 2:11 and alma 34:32. Opposition and being up to date on the repentance. Stuff like that. I thought that maybe we would get into some new houses with all this, but it seems like a disaster like this make people even less receptive because they cant bring themselves to believe in a God that would allow so much suffering. Im so grateful to understand just a little bit about the eternal perspective of things.
It has been a little cooler here, not so much rain, but every once in a while we have a 3 or 4 day cool streak, but the heat comes right back. Summer is on its way out. I am in the south western part of the city of Rosario. This is the biggest city Ive ever lived in.
This week has been pretty good. We found out that a law here in argentina changed. The marriage age used to be 21. You had to have both signatures from your parents to get married earlier. Just a little insight to the culture here, couples usually just move in together. Marriage used to be something really difficult, and to avoid the headache, they just got juntado. Now its getting a little easier. The age just recently changed to 18! That is incredibly good news for one couple that we are teaching. He is like 23 but she is 20. They were planning on waiting until November to get married so that he could be baptized (she is already a member) but they went and checked things out and will probably be getting married in the next four weeks! Wooo hooo! We also have another couple that is going to get married in the next few weeks. We are teaching the kids of some recent converts, but they are being kind of rebellious, so we are gonna keep workin with them. Other than that, the usual family finishing with little kids. There are so many people that are prepared, they just have to realize it! They also have to go to church! Thats the problem right now Me and my comp just keep laughing and havin a great time. We are going to focus on the YM in the ward. They are all really cool and want to go on missions, so we are going to start doing divisions and stuff like that. Its gonna be way cool. Im pretty excited.
Anyway, as always, I am praying for you. For those of you that are having a tough time right now, just ask jake to tell you the story about the little engine that could, that will animate you to overcome any difficulty in life. I often reflect upon that story and it motivates me to keep on chuggin. (that was specifically for annika).
Anyway, I do love you all a whole bunch and hope everything is going great. Ill be praying that the cascadia subduction zone doesnt slip or that yellow stone doesnt explode, because if that happens, Im pretty sure the earth will roll up like a scroll and the earth will sway back and forth like a drunken man and the stars will fall from the heavens, then you know what comes next. Maybe I should re think that.maybe I should pray for all that to happen. Ill think about that one.
Anyway, I know that this is the true church and that as we apply the prophets counsel, we will be blessed. The Lords times are different than ours and he sees a lot further into the future than we do. How blessed we are to have a Father that will always do what is best for us.
Elder Rau

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Church is Undeniably True

Hola Familia!
It was great to hear from you all this week! I must admit though you are all trunky! I would be too, but to be honest, I don’t have time for stuff like that The mission just changed from being in a transfer mentality (6 weeks) to a monthly mentality, which means instead of 3 transfers, I have FIVE whole months! Woo Hoo (the bigger number helps me think that its farther off) But anyway, writing about this stuff is starting to make me trunky. (but while we are on the trunky subject, yes, I would love to live with Sean again! I’m cool with whatever, but would probably prefer an apartment...they are easier to clean... I had always thought I would drop my argentine accent when I got back, but if I’m living with a bunch of peruanitos,(missionaries who served in Peru) I might keep it just for pride...) It’s good to know that everything is safe and secure at home. I hope everyone is feeling good and moving forward.
We had another great week here. I just love the rain, which is a good thing because we’ve been getting a lot of it. My shoes have slowly been losing their tread, which means I can practically xc ski in the mud. I really am having the time of my life right now. There is so much cool stuff going on. Even with huge opposition, we are getting close to our goals. We have adapted the technique of setting really high goals and working for them, but the thing with that is that you don’t always make it. Sometimes I feel like explaining our goals as ridiculous, but that’s just because I don’t have enough faith! The idea is shoot for the moon and land in the stars...if you get the idea. Another lesson learned in my youth. In pole-vault, we would set a cross bar at a height we wanted to jump, then put a practice bungee up way higher and shoot for that. Long story short, if you are looking up, you go higher, so you have to not look at the real goal and have your sights set on the higher one. And who knows, you just might end up getting the higher one...
Well, this one is going to be short... even though dad threatened me, it took me too much time to fill another assignment he gave me, so I’m gonna have to end it here. I love you all sooooooo much and look forward to hearing from you next week.
The church is undeniably true and Jesus Christ is our Savior, Lord and Redeemer. The Book of Mormon is true and I know that Thomas Monson is a prophet.
Elder Rau

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fun Baptism Day!

I'm Just Grateful For The Lord's Help and Everything He is Teaching Me Right Now

Hola Familia!
How has your week been? Things are going just great here.
I guess I’ll start with the big news. We had four baptisms this week. We had six planed but one decided he was going to move back to his old area and I’ll tell you about the other one in a sec. Danilo Arredondo, Miriam Vasquez, Sofia Gonzalez and Guadalupe Pedrozo were baptized this week. Miriam wanted one of the elders who found her to baptize her, and it just so happens that he was in town on Friday for zone conference (he is one of the assistants now) so it worked out perfectly. My comp baptized danilo, 20 years old and married, and Guadalupe, a hermano baptized Sofia and I was going to baptize Leo. I felt so bad for him. He’s nine and deathly afraid of water, so when he got up to his chest in water, he freaked out. We are going to be practicing in the coming weeks and we will probably find a shallower place to baptize him. Any ideas in overcoming fear of water for kids? Anyway, it was a really cool experience. I was very happy to have participated in the teaching of these people. They all got confirmed by members, so it was a real treat just to sit down and listen and feel the spirit. It’s fun to participate in the ordinances but it’s better to see the members participate, especially since they are the ones doing the long term fellowshipping. I am very content.
We got a bunch of our goals this week. We got that super standard that I told you about last week and we also got a thing called the district standard, which means our three companionship district averaged the old standard. It was pretty cool. Things are going good right now.
So yesterday I came to realize that the Lord taught me SOOO much stuff when I was a kid, I just didn’t recognize it. All the major experiences of my life like track, scout outings and school and stuff like that has dramatically changed who I am and how I understand the Gospel. It’s been really cool to think about some of these things. One that stands out in my mind came to me yesterday as we were teaching a less active family. They got baptized, went to the temple and had callings, but then they lost steam and have been inactive for quite some time. I started to tell them about that time that we climbed Shasta for our high adventure thing. So we woke up super early and started to climb. We climbed all day, working for what I thought was the summit of the mountain. I was crushed when, upon arriving and the top I saw that it actually continued. I had my sight fixed on a false summit and got really discouraged when I realized that I was going to have to keep going. I was really tired, discouraged and had a killer headache, so I quit and waited there for the others to come back. Interpretation: I think a lot of new members have their sights fixed on the temple and everything like that, which is perfect and right! They might, however, feel discouraged when they come to the realization that there is still quite a ways to go, and it’s not going to get any easier. That’s when everything takes its toll and they decide it’s time for a vacation.
This helped me to understand better how this couple felt and made me more able to help them set goals to go back to church. Enduring to the end is so key. Anyway, I’m going to start writing this stuff down.
We had zone conference last week, this Friday we go to Rosario for mission counsel, then we have zone conference again, mixed with divisions and keeping track of investigators and stuff makes for a busy week, but I love it so much. There’s no way we could do it all alone, and when I try, things go wrong. I’m just grateful for the Lords help and for everything that he’s teaching me right now.
I love you all a ton and will be praying for you all. Send greetings to all the rest and let them know that I’m thankful for the letters they send (specifically this week from the Laytons, Briggs and sister bean).
The church is true and God has called prophets to guide us in these last days. I know that this is true!
Elder Rau

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm Just Going to be Happy I Live on the Second Floor!

I’m glad to hear that everyone is doing good and happy. I hope everything keeps going like that.
This last week was pretty much a roller coaster. Last week I wrote from Rafaela because we were on divisions up there, and Monday and Tuesday I was in two different areas here in Santa Fe (which is where I live). I got to go back to Yapey and see some members and stuff like that. We spent a good part of the day looking for some of my old investigators and some other people that I knew here and found a few. When I was here, it just wasnt there time, but maybe something has changed and they are ready now...who knows?
On Sunday a kid that I baptized in Yappey got the priesthood and I got to stand in the circle for another kid, that I actually did the baptismal interview for, when he got it. Did I tell you about that? I did the interviews for almost all the recent converts in my ward because I used to be the DL over Cabaa (my current ward). So I already knew a good portion of the members and even a few investigators, which is really helping a lot.
So the mission just came out with a new super standard. A while ago I talked a lot about the standards and how hard it was to get them, well... it’s not hard anymore. Our mentality has changed and we feel bad if we didn’t get the normal standards. Again, this isn’t all about the numbers. The indicators were designed by prophets, so if those numbers and high, that means that they say we have a progressing area. And we do. We were going to have a baptism last week, (kind of a free number) of a guy that moved in, but he couldn’t make it, so we have 6 for this week. I am very excited. Baptism is so cool, and it’s even cooler to see a lot of people do it at the same time. The spirit is so strong. But anyway, I got off track, basically we are going to be the first companionship to get the super standard, especially because when we checked the dats we had last week, we were above and beyond in only 2 areas. I would like to close this portion of my letter with a scripture that will appropriately convey what I would like to say next. Alma 26:12. you’ll have to look it up though, I don’t have it in English here in front of me. The miracles will continue because we arent going to let up.
Anyway, Danilo Arredondo, Miriam Vasquez, Claudio Loseco, Sofa Gonzlez, Guadalupe Pedroso and Len Pedroso will be baptized by someone that has the authority to do so, for the remission of their sins and allow entrance into the Lords kingdom. Len (leo) is 9 and I get to baptize him. His name means Lion...sweet huh.
We also have a couple that will get married in march. They just went and set up a date to get married in the registro civil (which is where everyone has to go to get married), so their baptism will be around the 20th of March. I’m pretty excited for them. They are excited too.
Anyway, I guess that’s about it from me this week. Just know that the church is true. We have been hearing about all sorts of catastrophes all over the world like freezing and earthquakes and stuff like that. Things are getting sketchy here too. I guess we are on the brink of a flood here in Santa Fe, which is bad because the city is shaped like a bowl... but the good news is that we have a prophet that has told us not to be scared, just be prepared and keep living the gospel...stuff like that. And in the meantime, I’m just going to be happy that I live on the second floor...haha.
I love you guys a lot!
Elder Rau

We Are Gonna Rock This Place!

Hola Familia!
How are you all doing this week? I’m great!
Well, I’m now here in Cabaa (thats the area name, it means cabin). Actually, I lied, I’m currently in Rafaela, a nice city about two hours north of Santa Fe. Apparently the zone leaders here promised an Asado (argentine BBQ) to a few companionships up here, and now I get to pay for it! I’m so gonna charge this to the other guy that left. But on a more positive note, I am having a great time with elder Sharp, my new companion. We are gonna rock this place! I always knew Cabaa was one of those legendary areas, mostly because the ward gives complete cooperation and feeds us and gives us references every day. But anyway, this is the first time in my mission I can 100% be confident that I can turn it over to my comp at any moment and he will pick up where I left off. Let’s just say that if this transfer goes like these first few days, we will be perfectly of one heart and one mind. I am very optimistic about this transfer. On top of it, we have 11 baptisms planed for the next few weeks, but I’m absolutely positive that 8 will make it. The field is white and we are ready to harvest. Our zone is also pretty much amazing! The only two companionships we are really worried about live with us, so that will be nice to be able to work with them more often, but other than that, it’s just gonna be a killer few weeks.
Another thing that makes this area so cool is the air conditioning. It’s really hot, but it’s been raining quite a bit, so it’s been really humid, then cold, then hot then humid and so on.
So a few of our baptisms One is a 14 year old girl that we taught for the first time Monday because a member family brought her to church and she really liked it. She told us at the end of the lesson after accepting the baptismal date that she is a new sister of us. We are also trying to teach her sisters and parents. I think the whole family will be in the water soon enough and on their way to being eternal. Another couple we have programmed will more than likely be baptized on separate dates. It’s a couple that got married so that they could get baptized, but when they went to go get married, the family of Romina (the wife) got all anti because they want to go to the baptism of the baby in the other church, and they want to be godfathers and godmothers and stuff like that, so she got spooked. Danilo will be baptized the 23 for sure. He doesn’t want to wait, so maybe if she stalls long enough, he might be able to baptize her. She lacks 5 months in her pregnancy, so it could be a long time, but she knows its true, she just needs to be brave and tell her family that baptizing babies is solemn mockery before God.
Those are just a few, the rest are part member families. The mom of one family and the kids of another, plus one that just got passed to us from another area. He is moving into our area on Friday and we baptize him the next day. Cool huh.
Well I think thats it for me this week. I hope you all have a great week. Don’t you worry about me, I’ll be just fine.
The church is true, baptism is the door and the priesthood is the key.
Love yall!
Elder Rau

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR to Everyone!

Hola familia!
Once again, I’m writing on Tuesday because I forgot to inform you about transfers. I’m really bad at that huh maybe I’ll figure it out someday. The good news is that today I am on a computer that can send pictures, so maybe I’ll get a few off.
Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone! We had a great time watching the fireworks from our roof. It was kind of eerie right before midnight because out of nowhere a huge wind picked up and only lasted for like a minute. We decided that that means it’s gonna be a big year, or something big is going to happen.
So about transfers I can’t believe it but I’m going back to Santa Fe living in the same pinch that I just came from, but upstairs. I am going to still be a ZL in the zone Recreo/Rafaela. The area is absolutely amazing. We will be baptizing quite a bit. My new companion was in my district in the MTC. Elder Sharp. He is an awesome missionary! I am very excited to work with him. He is from Preston, Idaho that right, Napoleon Dynamite town. He went to that high school, worked at that chicken farm and knew the real guy that was the inspiration for Lyle. He is actually part of the National Guard. I’m very content, but very sad to leave Concordia. This is one of my favorite cities and I’m really going to miss the members/investigators here. But I guess that’s just how it goes right
I can’t really think of anything else I wanted to write though I had some good stories, but I forgot. Just a few hours ago we got trapped in the elevator of our building that was funny. We were trapped in a little box and it was really hot. Yesterday we were clapping in front of a house and a big old German Sheppard came running at us, but luckily his chain stopped him. We started talking about how he was a mean dog and stuff like that, and then all of a sudden he charged again and broke his chain. It is possible that it was the most scared I have been in my mission. The dog took a few steps, then decided he wanted to go sniff around over by some plants, so he forgot about us. Close call
On a more spiritual note, we had to set goals for the month this week (even though we knew it was a possible that one of us was getting transferred). So we prayed and stuff, then wrote down our numbers and compared. We were exactly the same except for one of the three key dates, but we were only off by one number. Moments like those you can’t deny the inspiration. It’s always encouraging.
Well, I’ll end it here and try to get some pictures off. I love you guys a whole bunch and can’t wait to hear from you next week. I will be back in Santa Fe, so I will write if I haven’t been cooked to a crisp. It usually makes like 50Celsius which being interpreted is really really hot! Plus humidity
The church is true no matter where you go!
Love you lots!
Elder Rau