Monday, June 27, 2016

A Remís and Bungee Cords

Well, it is still cold here. I see no end in sight. But our new apartment has 2 heaters so it is better! I have moved from the big city life of Merlo to the rural back roads of Loma Grande. I like it more here. I am also the District Leader here. There are only 4 of us in my district. My companion Elder Hammond and one other companionship, Elder Jacobson (Mesa AZ!) and Elder Cortes (Chile!) I enjoy being a District Leader as I have some more responsibility. I will also have more contact with the Zone Leaders. This area is more rural with many dirt roads. Our apartment is on a dirt road! It was a fun adventure getting here. I took a remís (basically a run down, cheaper version of a taxi). The guy put my luggage in the trunk but it wouldn’t close so he tied it shut with bungee cords! I was laughing and thinking in my mind, “Yep, this is Argentina!” The ride was like 30 min. But hey it got the job done so I am not complaining! A  remís is like if you made a bunch of flyers saying you can give people rides in mom's Jeep and put them all over the city. Except instead of a new Jeep it was a 1988 Fiat. 

My new companion is Elder Hammond from Mexico! He has been in the mission for 3 months! He arrived here with my son Elder Dominguez. He actually speaks decent English because for the past 3 years he lived in San Luis, Arizona! So now I have had 3 Latino comps in a row. We only speak Spanish together. I am forgetting English. 

I am trying to adjust to the new area. We visited the R. family last week and taught their kids a lesson about Nephi and his brothers. After the lesson, my companion offered a prayer and we got up to leave.  As we were walking out, I felt something tug at my pant leg. I looked down and saw their little 4-year-old girl holding on to me. She says, with frown, "Elder I wanted to say the prayer!" So I kneel down next to her and say "Ok I’m listening!" She said a little simple prayer in the way that only a four-year-old can. The one sentence that really made me smile was this: "Heavenly Father, thank you for sending the Elderes to my house." I felt very humbled to be there and hear this prayer. Small moments like this are why I am happy that I came on a mission. 

¡Hasta la Proxima!

Elder Gygi

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Transfer to Loma Grande

Well my time in Merlo has come to an end. After 5 months here I have been called to the area of Loma Grande, which means big hill (I don´t understand because there is no hill there). I am very excited to work there! I do hate packing all my things though. Amazing how missionaries can live out of 2 suitcases for 2 years! I can literally carry all of my possessions from our apartment to the taxi in one trip!

I am also sad to leave Merlo. Our investigator, I, will be baptized on the 9th of July! I will not be able to see it but I am extremely happy for her! She was very sad to hear that I am leaving as well. As a goodbye fiesta, a member made us asado which is traditional Argentine barbeque. It was sooooooo good. She even made guacamole which I haven´t eaten since before my mission! 

I learned something in my personal study this morning. I was reading Ether 6 and some verses caught my attention. Jared and his people are traveling by boats across the ocean. And it says:

5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

 6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.

What I learned is that the Lord gives us trials for a purpose. Why didn't he just send a gentle breeze and calm waters? It would've been a lot nicer. But probably a lot slower. The furious winds pushed them where they needed to go. In our lives, our tests and challenges push us where the Lord wants us to go. He is at the helm of our boat. Trust in him and he will guide you.

12 And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them.

Elder Gygi

Monday, June 13, 2016

Definitely a Week of Miracles!

This week was great! Definitely a week of miracles! 

On Sunday were had plans to walk with an investigator to church but she cancelled that morning. So we were a little sad because of that. But then as we were sitting in church, the relief society president came up to us said "Elders there is an investigator in the classroom waiting for class to start!" So Elder Dominguez and I walk in and find this girl sitting patiently with her book of Mormon open and smiling at us. We introduced ourselves. Her name is I. and she’s 19. She works in Moreno where her friend gave her a Book of Mormon and brought her to church, and then invited her to attend in her own ward. She loved church! After the meeting we asked if we could come by her house to teach her more and she gladly gave us her address and phone number. I learned through this experience what Nephi meant as he spoke of "the tender mercies of the Lord." This was a blessing that Elder Dominguez and I did absolutely nothing to earn. The Lord, out of His mercy, handed us a perfect investigator. We just need to accept it and take advantage of these blessings!

There have been some rule changes in the missionary dress code! Elders can now use sunglasses and sun hats due to exposure and dehydration. Sisters can now wear pants instead of dresses. President Robertson, laughing, said he was very glad for these changes because sometimes we look too much like Jehovah’s Witness missionaries! 

One last funny little story. I was talking with a member and I asked how he joined the church. He told me that the missionaries knocked and their door and invited them to church. He was religious so he accepted. This particular Sunday happened to be fast and testimony meeting. The first person to get up was a little kid from the primary. He said, "I know this church is true" and ran back down. Then another little kid up and said, "I know this church is true," and ran back down. Then a third kid! "I know this church is true." The guy was thinking the whole time, "these poor kids, they’re all brainwashed!" He later felt the spirit during the rest of the meeting telling him this church really was true. I was laughing so much and he told me this!

Hope all is well back home and in other parts of the world where all my friends are!

Elder Gygi

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Learning Patience

So we had a very successful week! Elder Dominguez and were just walking and he felt that we should knock on this door. So we do and a girl named C. came out. We gave our little dialogue (who we are why we’re here) and she let us in. We taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the story of Joseph Smith and asked her to be baptized and she said yes! Without even a question! If she reads the Book of Mormon and comes to church she will be baptized of July 2. 

We then had an appointment with a man named R. who was baptized 3 months ago. We went but he wasn’t home. So we just decided to go visit some other members. We get to a members house and knock on the door and Ruben is there! With his cousin C. who is not a member. We taught him and also committed him to be baptized on July 2 as well. He said yes! We are very happy for the success that we have been blessed with.

Elder Dominguez and I have been praying and fasting for a long time to find new people to teach and we have been rewarded. I understand the words of Alma in chapter 26:27

"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."
Halloween Companions '13

I know that the Lord is truly mindful of all of his children. My experience as a missionary is definitely not unique. There are 18-20 y/o kids doing this all around the world (including my best friend Brig who just got called to California Oakland/San Francisco Mission!!!!) This is the Lord’s work not ours!

Elder Gygi

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Missionary For Life

May 30, 2016

I think I have adjusted to the cold! It was a very great week! We had stake conference presided by Elder José A. Teixera (pronounced taisheda) of the seventy. He is from Portugal. He gave a fantastic address on missionary work. He shared a story of a mom and her young daughter’s first day at school. She woke her up and got her all dressed to go to school. After school she asked the daughter how it went. "Fine!" she said. The next morning, mom woke her up early again saying "It’s time to go school!" to which her daughter replied "I already went to school yesterday!" The mother had not explained that she needed to go to school 5 days a week for many years. Elder Teixera then related this to us and missionary work. Sometimes we think "I already gave the missionaries a referral" or, in some cases, "I already served my mission for two years" when in reality missionary service is something we will do for many, many years. He stated very directly that once you are a member of this church, you are a missionary for life. He challenged each of us to attend church every day in June with a friend. We are very excited for this new surge of missionary work.

Ok now one funny experience this week. Elder Dominguez and I were just walking to an appointment when some guy across the street yells to get our attention. He says "He do guys have ‘that book’ for me?!" He crossed the street, stopping traffic in the process, and I pulled out a Book of Mormon from my bag. He says, "Yeah!! This is the book about Nephi right? I had one of these a longtime ago but I lost it!" So we gave him the book and wrote down his address. Sadly he lives outside of our area, but we gave it the other missionaries. I was very grateful that the Lord placed in this man’s path. 

chao chao (that’s how you say goodbye in Argentine Spanish)

Elder Gygi

Oh also I forgot, after stake conference, D. came up and talked to me! She is the girl Elder Estrada and I baptized. We talked for a bit and I asked if her parents were here. She said that they are sick at home. So I asked who she came to church with? She said she came alone! This 11-year-old girl, who has been a member for like 2 months, took the bus by herself to get to church! I was so impressed. When I was 11, I didn’t go to church until mom or dad woke me up!

A few days after stake conference, this invitation and photo was sent to Jared. The girl is the 11-year-old Jared mentioned and it is her father being baptized.

Hello Elder.
I wanted to invite you to the baptism of E. Saturday June 4th at 18hrs. We will be very happy to have your presence. God bless and take care.