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 compaƱion (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