Wow, i don't know why but this letter didn't send, it was just chilling in the drafts. Happy reading!!
Dearest Family and Esteemed Friends,
There's a little town up the Paraná river called Santa Elena. I had the privelege of doing divisions with one of the Sisters from Peru, Hermana Siapo, in this little town this week, and discovered that they make milanesas de crocodilo, in other words, crocodile patties there--cooked like chicken fried steak. I didn't even know crocodiles live in the Paraná. Argentina. New things to be seen and learned every day. I love serving a mission in a foreign country because it's really taught me to CHILL OUT. We see so many strange things every day that it's just taught me to go with the flow and just rejoice in the oddities of life, like street jugglers that juggle in between red and green lights to earn a little money, the greasy shirtless tire-changing man who we pass every day, horse drawn wagons that pull up next to a corolla in the street. All kinds of everyday adventures! :)
This week was truly a miracle. Every day I have woken up so much more excited to be awake than to be asleep, and gone to bed wanting to hurry up and wake up again to see more miracles. I wish I could describe it. Life in Paraná is like living a storybook. It's far from easy, but it is so much fun! I love how the gospel makes life not just livable, but full of joy and adventure and memories and lots of love. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY, and I love Paraná, and I love my companion. I have a desperate, hopeless wish that I can just serve here for the rest of my mission. We'll wait and see.
Saturday was the baptism of Giovanni, Soledad, Stefano, and Gabriel. Words can't describe the joy. It was a wild day, full of looking for keys to fill up the baptismal font, later cleaning out crickets and cockroaches and spiders from the font, filling it up, talking with the stake members who had a stake-wide youth activity the whole day before the baptism and trying to convince many of them to stay and offer support, running back and forth between the church and our apartment getting white clothes organized for 4 people of various sizes, cooking pizzas and cake and banana bread for refreshments, making phone calls because many people canceled on us to give talks, etc. Needless to say there was a LOT of opposition, and we had even been planning and preparing all these things for the whole week! Mom, I don't know how you did it for our baptisms. So beautiful, so organized, with marvelous music and talks and books for people to write us notes in, etc. THANK YOU! But it all worked out. At 6 o clock, everyone began arriving at the church. Gabriel was first, and he just grinned. He has changed so much, and the punk in him is turning soft. He got changed into his baptismal clothes, and when he came out all in white instead of his torn up jeans and polo shirt, my heart rejoiced! I felt the spirit so strong and sent up a prayer of gratitude and mutual rejoicing with my Heavenly father. He had taken out his eyebrow piercing and everything. He looks really serious from the pictures, I wish you could just see him smile.
Mario B., my recent convert from Venado Tuerto, ended up giving the talk on Baptism. Another moment of happiness :) To see this miracle of my early months of the mission standing strong in his Faith.
Soledad--What an ALEGRÌA filled my heart to see her in white with her large, round pregnant tummy of twins. Her little boys were so excited to enter the waters of baptism to, we had to all but hold them back so their mom could go first. She was all smiles as she walked in to the warm water, and so calm. Her little 4 year old Adriano wanted to climb in, too! The spirit was strong, there was a peace amongst all who watched This mother enter the gate. Her two sons followed, and Giovanni is still so little that the water came up to his neck. They were all smiles. Gabriel was baptized last, and the joy that filled me to see my Spirit Brother be washed clean--there aren't words supernal enough to describe it. He had truly repented, and left his old self behind to become a new creature through the atonement of Christ. After the baptismal service, Elder Vergara gave him a hug and asked, "Como se Sintió? Bien?" or "How did you feel? Good?" Gabriel smiled and said "Mas que bien." "More than good." We got talking about learning languages, and Gabriel told me I'm getting better and better in my Spanish. I told him it'll be the same for him with a language if He goes on a mission to another country someday. Elder Vergara asked him "Servirá la misión?" "Are you going to serve a mission?" and Gabriel responded "Si, por que no!" "OF course!" I about fainted again of happiness. The Ammon effect has had a real hold on my lately!
Soledad gave Hermana Diorio and I a gift yesterday, two pencils. She began to get a emotional as she explained that they are two pencils with erasers on it, and she thought before she found the gospel that once something was done and written and said in life, there was no erasing it. She expressed her gratitude to have learned from us that there was a way for her to be clean again and erase the mistakes of the past, and start new. It was another supernal moment.
God is Good! We have challenges, we have moments of weaknesses, and we have personal Gethsemanes. I want you to know, I want to testify, that God also gives us moments of Celestial glory in this life. They are his tender mercies to us, to help have the joy as promised as a result of Adam`s fall. I experienced a little piece of Celestial Glory this past weekend.
Study on Preach My Gospel-- DILIGENCE. Paragraph 1--What type of work is diligent work? This paragraph expresses later that diligence in missionary work is an expression of your love for the Lord and His work. My current calling in the church is to be a missionary, so this applies to me. But if you take out missionary and put in any other calling, it means the very same. Diligence in your work as priest`s quorum president or passing or blessing the sacrament or young women`s leader or nursery teacher or webelo´s leader in scouts or home teacher or visiting teacher or Bishop or organist--diligence in every calling in God´s church demonstrates our love for Him, and each is highly important, because in each calling we are serving, directly, one or more of God`s children. And when we are in the service of our fellow beings . . . I know you can finish this line with me . . . we are only in the service of our God. The last part of the paragraph states that "when you are diligent, you find joy and satisfaction in your work." This goes with any work, but especially on the Lord´s errand. My high school choir teacher, Ms. Lois Johnson, once taught me "doing something really hard and doing it really well, that's real fun." I feel that this line describes perfectly the work in the Lord´s kingdom. It's hard, but when we do it well--we do so diligently--that's true fun.
Paragraph 2--LEts take a look at D and C 58:27. This goes for not only the Lord's kingdom, but our little kingdom of the Boren bunch on C. Drive, doesn't it? We do and should do many good things of our own free will to glorify God & bless others. We must also work when we are tired. Sometimes I am BEAT when we come home at night, having walked at times 11 or 12 miles in the day with hours without sitting down and talking with dozens of people. And when we come home there are still clothes to fold and phone calls to make to investigators and dishes to wash. I have come to accept that If I want to be a diligent servant of God, I will NEVER stop being tired. But we can pray for guidance /strength in all things, all our righteous efforts. And we WILL receive it.
My example of diligence is JORDAN PHILLIP, my Brother. Jordan, remember the Basketball season of 2012-2013, right before I left on my mission!? Your poor team was getting creamed when you started. And I remember you initiating practice after practice with Ty, Jordan, Jake, Josh, and the rest of the Gang in the church. You would go after school, on the weekends, Saturday afternoons at times for 3 or 4 hours at a time. Your Diligence in bettering your game was a serious drive for you and for the other boys. You kept practicing and kept going, and though you lost every game before I left, you won almost every game after I left. You were killing it out there! I was sad to miss seeing your hard work pay off, but so proud of you and the work you and your team did, the diligence and hard work and HEART you offered. You didn't give up or get discouraged, you saw the goal and you went for it. I hope you will guard this Diligence in your heart always, bud. Keep being diligent in making us smile with your marvelous jokes, your incredible comics that I treasure in the letters you send, diligence in your church callings and your responsibilities as a Teacher, diligence in your school work, diligence in your work and love in our home. You are my dear brother, my friend, and my Diligent example.
Scriptures: D&C 123:12-13 Why diligence in God's work is so crucial. Save our brethren and ourselves from the bonds of sin.
D&C 123:14-17 Why we CAN be diligent, why we MUST be diligent.
D&C 10:4 For when we are tired
D&C 127:4 For your diligence in Temple Work :)
Mosiah 4:26-27 How diligence relates to Agency.
I love you ALL! Giant group hug from real far away. In 3 days I will have had 1 year entirely of the greatest adventure and blessing in my life. Thank you for your support and love during my mission, lets make the next 6 months the best yet!