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 HumaƱahui 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 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 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