Sunday, November 28, 2010

Teaching English to Soledad

We started giving English lesson! We had our first class this Saturday and we had success! One person came, she is a member and her name is Soledad. I just helped her the entire time with her English homework. While I was helping Soledad I felt a profound gratitude to my Heavenly Father. He truly helped me learn Spanish and helped me learned the importance of depending on Him. I know when we are humble the Lord will make us his instrument.

Josh's role in the ward nativity

Our ward wants to do a live nativity and needed an angel Gabriel…..guess who they chose? I think it´s because I am just blinding white to them, even the white people aren´t as white as I am. They also said that Gabriel speaks the most and is the most on stage. I am actually excited and I hope it will go well.

Humorous knocking in Argentina

We were knocking on a door this week of a less active and we heard a knock from inside. Everytime we knocked a certain rhythm on the door they knocked the same! It was so funny and we enjoyed it for about five minutes. Knocking different rhythm, but for me the funniest part was they never let us in! hahahahaha.

Melina and Noelia and their grandma

We are teaching Melina, Antonela, and Noelia again. I talked about them before and they want to listen again, but there is a difference this time we are not teaching in their house. We didn´t know it before, but her Dad didn’t want us teaching there. He is fine that she is listening, but not teaching in their house. We are now teaching in their cousin´s house. If we have a problem with something or someone I feel that we should not stay. Frequently we need to follow Joseph of Egypt´s example and just run away. It didn´t say that he glanced back, he just ran and ran. These three girls are progressing wonderfully and are a great blessing. They have a baptismal date for the 18th of December. This week we met Evelin and she is super nice! We knocked on her door, she opened and told us to come back. We came back , she opened her door saw that we were sweating and gave us juice and empanadas! I was so grateful! We were strangers to her and yet she wanted to help us. She´s listening now and we will see what happens, but Evelin has gift just to be nice to others and help them.

More of Megan's investigators

Last Saturday we fasted for this boy named Dennis. He had been living with a member for the past 3 weeks, quit smoking and drinking and had come to church, prayed with them, read from the Book of Mormon, and the day we came to commit him for baptism, he was taken back by his drunk mother. He's 14. His little sister is a every day smoker and drinker. I can't even explain the pain that I feel when I see these things. I want to ask, Why? Why do they have to live here in this place and have to suffer these things? In America, she would be put in jail and he would be placed in another least hopefully..there are so many things that so many people here even claim to be so corrupt about the Philippines. There are corrupt things everywhere in every place. But we fasted for him and he Came!!!! on Sunday! And that members son in law who was anti-mormon came and brought 4 of his friends that want to be taught the gospel. God truly does see our everyday sacrifices and he knows us. I love this scripture that I read the other day, "This is eternal lives-to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent. I am He. Receive ye, therefore, my law." (DC 132:24) My prayer is that I will never become distracted by the things of this corrupt world. That I will always be in tune-so that I can know Him. I love this gospel so much. We are a part of a legacy of love.

Megan's 11-21-10 E-mail

Family! Work is doing really really good! We have a baptism coming up this December 4th. He used to be Elsiaday(catholic breakoff) and he is progressing in an amazing way. President Malit dedicated our church yesterday and it was great. I guess people were crying because they were touched by the Dedicatory prayer. we sang Beautiful Zion. A less active that we've taught is going on a mission/putting in his papers in January hopefully. We have a new investigator who is doing great-except her husband, he doesn't want her to become a "mormon"...we've taught her 3 times now, but he won't join in and listen, so of course he would be against it, cause he hasn't had the spirit working on him like it has on his wife-she's so awesome and I honestly know/believe that I knew her in the premortal world, she looked familiar even the first time that we came up to her house actually looking for her brother who we had shared with 1 time. It's amazing to see it click in her brain the corruptness and wrongness of the catholic church, how it's opposite of what Christ's church was before. The more that I learn about the gospel and study, the more and better that our work becomes, I am filled with greater enthusiasm and desire and hope that even if those we teach do not accept it then, that they will someday. Right, Faith is to have a hope in things not seen? I can't see them get baptized, but I can have faith that God will grant me my righteous desires. I love these people. The church has brought us so many blessings!

Megan's 11-14-10 E-mail

Family! I have a family! I have a mom and a dad! That love me! I have a home where love lives inside! I have siblings that are nice to me, and pray for me, and they don't hit me or talk bad about me, they love me! I have a dad that doesn't drink or smoke! I have a family that has been my support! My whole family are members of the church and are active! I have so many blessings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I do not have the ability given me to COUNT all the things that I have been blessed with. This week has been undescribable. I have witnessed a family literally broken apart. I've never seen the things that I saw the past 3 days! They have 5 children, the littlest one being one of my friends. Their father and his sibling, and two other of their relatives have been fighting in a way that is just...unhuman!!! Or else I've just been so sheltered(thank goodness) the days of my life that I didn't know that humans acted that way. The mother and the children were banished from the home, now live in another place, and the father is just left with his sister to continue fighting. I've never felt Satan's presence so strong than when we woke up at 12 am Sunday morning to them screaming. I pleaded to our Heavenly Father that they would stop. I pleaded with him that I could do something for them. I realized more than ever that Jesus Christ could heal their broken hearts if they would just come to Him. I became so grateful so everything that I've even been given, every happy moment that I've ever been blessed with, for a family that I have always had to lean on and that I could trust and that loved me and wanted only my sucess in this life. HOW blessed are WE!!!!!!! Please, thank Your Heavenly Father for all that He, by His very Hands, has given you!!!! Look around, look at your family, look at your wife, or husband, Look at your children! Look at your father, your mother, Look at His Son, that he gave to the world!!!! I love all of you.

Josh's 11-15-10 E-mail-The 5 minute mile!

So this week I was doing a little spring cleaning. It´s spring in Argentina and I found a list of goals I had made when I started the mission! First, I thought how old I was and my second thought was why didn´t I complete these goals…. So very often we dream. It´s natural to dream of things we want to do. We start out wonderfully! We say I am going to do this and this, and yeah! WE start out and plan and set goals. After time what happens? We get busy and our dreams don´t seem like our priorities…..Honestly, sometimes, other things need to come first, but frequently not! It reminded me of High School. I wanted to run a 5:00 minute mile. I got close! I ran 5:01. 'Almost' I believe doesn´t exist in the dictionary of our Heavenly Father. He wants us to have dreams and he wants us to complete them. I believe God first imagined how he wanted the world and than he created it. I once again put these goals. I know they can make me grow for the better. I have very many weaknesses that I feel I need to overcome, right now. I came up with a personal quote. I stole part of it from the General Sunday School´s president talk last year. He had a teacher that drew an arrow that said , ¨Aim High.¨ Afterwards I came up with, ¨Reach Far,¨ Dreams Completed.¨ Don't forget to go the distance!

Josh's 11-8-10 E-mail

We have investigators named Ramon and Maria. Ramon this week became Indiana Ramon! His story is impressive, let me tell you a little. Ramon grew up in Ledesma, which is in Jujuy, but more in the mountains. He lived under a big mango tree with a house made of cinder blocks built underneath. I don´t know why, but at a young age his mother left. Ramon was left in charge of his younger siblings at the age of 9 years old. His father luckily only worked 100 meters away. His father told young Ramon to wave the lantern if they were in trouble and his father would come. The spirit taught me an important lesson at this time. Our Father in Heaven is just waiting to help, but sometimes we have to ask for help. The night is dark and there is danger near the mango tree. When we need help or even feel afraid we can wave our lantern. This could mean the scriptures or praying. I know he loves us and will not leave us alone in the dark. Another story Ramon told was the first time he met his Mom. So some how he found out his Mom lived in Mendoza Argentina. Ramon and his brother to go on a road trip during summer break to Mendoza to find their Mom. They traveled on a truck to Mendoza, dropped off at the terminal and went to go look for their Mom. Somehow Ramon´s brother found a uncle, went to their Mom´s house. When they entered their Mom was sitting in a chair, saw her sons and ran to them. They also found that they had a sister they had not known about. Ramon the next day found work and started to build his Mom a house. I learned another lesson. First, don´t give up hope on anybody. Maybe at times it seems that their future is hopeless, but it´s not. God doesn´t give up on anybody. Why should why? Everybody has the potential to do wonderful things, but sometimes we need the help of somebody else to spark our inspiration. I can relate because of Mrs. Smart.

Mrs.Smart was my sixth grade special education teacher. She saw the things that I could do. We worked hard and dreamed big. She believed in me and thought that I could better things than I was doing. I left special education thanks to my ¨smart¨ teacher. She didn´t just change my life, she helped save it.

Paola and Daniela

Have you ever been able to see a change in somebody? Like they come back from the temple and you just notice something different about them or they came back from primary and they seem happier. This has happened to Elio. He is different. He is preparing to recieve the Melchizedek Priesthood. This has happened with Paola. She is different. She is preparing to be baptized. The gospel of Jesus Christ is just guidelines, they are commandments. When we try harder to keep the commandments perfectly, we change for the better. I don´t know if you remember the family I talked about a couple months ago whose mom died. Well, they are back together now and want to be baptized!!! A couple of the brothers also who didn´t want anything to do with the church before. They want to live with Mom, forever. They want to be members of the church.

Born to be a King...

I read the talk by Sister Dalton in the May 2010 conference who told the story about King Louis. His son was kidnapped and his kidnappers tried to have him do vile and horrible things. He would not give in and they asked him why. His reply was ¨ I cannot do what you ask, for I was born to be a king.¨ One of the most precious and sacred truths we have been given is that we are children of God. Do we truly understand what that means? I honestly believe not. If we knew, we would do the impossible. Impossible would not exist in our dictionary.

Josh's 11-1-10 E-mail

This week was adventure week! I have been with the two other elders(Macias and Carter) in my pension and they are great. We have grown really close. We have had to work in both of our areas, so every other day I have been getting to know new investigators and friends. It has been really fun. Elder Gutierrez should return Thursday. I am really proud of him, not very many people who come back home can leave again. I feel I have grown, which is wonderful.

This week I read a talk in the Ensign called the Quest for Joy(Ensign July 2005) I suggest you read it, if you want more happiness in your life. It was given at the MTC, but can be applied to you also. I really enjoyed it and I feel it will change my mission. One story to show the feeling of the talk is, the author's daughter was in a mission and was really sad because they weren´t having very much success. Her companion seeing this, said Sister you cannot be discouraged we are in the dispensation that people have waited for 6000 years. We cannot fail and be discouraged.! So true! I love this time because we know the end result. Satan will fail, we will win. The End. How can we lose hope when we know what we need to do to gain Eternal Life? We aren´t in a video game where we have to look for the secrets. We are here and I know we can win.

Megan's 11-7-10 E-mail

Family!! This week has been full of adjusting, but has been great. Sister Insong seems like she's been a missionary for a long time. She worked in Cebu and helped with the dedication, and talks about how beaufitul it is. I have an assignment for all of you..Will you figure out exactly how much it costs you to get to your nearest temple? A huge blessing is that I am so close to....I can't even COUNT how many temples at home!!!!!!! The pesos that these families have to save over years is eye can we take for granted our temples!!! How many, just in Utah??? How many of us live in Utah??? Please, GO to the temple! It's so exciting to help those on the other side! I love all of you and I hope that you are reading the Book of Mormon like it's life or death, 'cause it is. Our spiritual death, a life without the spirit, can come quicker than we think! I love the scriptures!!!!!

Melanie's comment: I had to look on the church website to make sure I counted correctly-There are 13 operating temples just in Utah. That truly is amazing. There are two being built-Payson and Brigham City. There will be 73 in the United States after the 7 under construction are completed. If you get on and go to temples and look at the map, temples truly dot the earth. When Lorenzo Snow was the prophet, there were only four temples, and all of them were in Utah. He knew that one day temples would dot the earth. In 1899, he prophesied, “The time will come when there will be Temples established over every portion of the land.”

Megan, the piano teacher

Sister Insong is from Davao, and she speaks Cebuano and Tagolog and English. She's great. I would think that her brother already knew English before since so did she. It is great that we get to teach piano! It's every Sunday after church and we do 30 minutes for one student, both of us teaching because we have 2 pianos! We are using our new chapel and it's so wonderful! We hope that they will be able to play after we're gone.

Things Megan misses

Know that I love the Book of Mormon and I miss yogurt and milk...and especially, your faces.

Megan's 11-1-10 E-mail

Hi family! This week has been really good! Last Wednesday, the Assistants called us, (Elder Cerdhe from Arizona and Elder Shelley from St. George) and said that we were both to report to Tacloban the following day, (Thursday) because Sister Blonquist was getting transferred and that we were both training! I remember her saying that that would just be too hard of a thing for her at the point that she was at, that it was just be a really hard thing for her and that she thought that that wouldn't happen to her....well news flash...The Lord knows best actually. And he calls the weak things of the world so that they can become strong. Her new companion is Sister Brinton from Arizona and they are in a Waray Waray area-they sleep in an apartment with Sister Farnworth and her companion-lucky! And they are actually reopening that area. My new companion is Philipina from Davao and her name is Sister Insong. Her brother is serving in California speaking English and Tagalog and her dad is the Stake President. I played piano in church so that was fun. We are going to teach piano every Sunday so that they will have a permanent player. I hope everyone is doing well and I love you. I keep opening my heart to people and then I get hurt. Sometimes I open up knowing for sure that I will get hurt but I still do it because if I don't then I'll never know what love is. It's one very difficult thing about missionary work.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Megan's miracle

We witnessed miracles this week. Sunday morning, I had an experience that I have never experienced before. We got into the new church at about 8:45, and everybody else was already there-most of them from Balaquid which is 20 minutes away...and we started teaching primary, when Sister Blonquist says.."Johnreys here....and Jaime!!!!" These two brothers we have been PLEAding for them the past 4 months, teaching them every week, encouraging them, serving them.....and when I heard her say that......I BuRst into tears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know that I have honestly cried tears of JOY before in my whole life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to leave the room! I couldn't beleive it! They promised us that when the new church was finished that they would come....and I'm thinking, if they won't go here when it's close, why would they go all the way to the new church?? Where was my Faith in them!!!!!!!!!

Megan's 10-25 E-mail

Sorry this is late, there is an election here so we weren't able to email yesterday because no buses were going to Naval-where we email. The work always slows down a bit around transfers....but we are kickin! We had a baptism last Saturday in our new church! And then we had church on Sunday in the new church. It was SOOOOOOO wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!....

Lake Carmen in Argentina

We went to the Carmen Lake today. It was really pretty and up in the mountains. It was wonderful to see the amazing creations of our Father in Heaven. How great is His imagination and wonderful His talent. Truly He knows true beauty. As beautiful are His creations, He loves us more than the mountains he created. His children are His pride and joy. He loves us more than Yellowstone Park and more profoundly than the Grand Canyon. How close He is listening when we pray and happy He is when we are obedient. Do not doubt that He loves you! We know how to show how we love Him. Our Savior Jesus Christ is the only person that showed his love for God perfectly. Take confidence in Him and learn how to trust Him. Let us show our love for our perfect Father.

Josh's 10-25-10 E-mail

Yesterday we had our ward activity. We watched Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration and it was wonderful. During the movie Elder Gutierrez recieved a phone call from President Northcutt telling him that his father had passed away in accident at work. He burst into tears and we went to go call home. The funeral of his Dad was today, so yesterday with the zone leaders we drove with a member to Salta, left him with some missionaries and then came back. We arrived back at 3:oo in the morning and we only slept for 4 hours because we had a zone activity. That is why I am tired! Before we felt we gave my companion a blessing and it was amazing the spirit that filled the room. It was touching and the power of the priesthood was shown. It also made me once again ponder deeply and meaningfully about my life. How do I treat others, do I show my love, if they passed away would they know that I had loved them? The actions we do and the words we speak to others, possibly may be the final words we speak. Honestly, they might pass away tommorow and we might not see them for a while. How sacred are our words and precious is our time with our loved ones? Let us watch our words and show our love and never think I can apologize for the things I said because there might not be one. Our words should be as Christ's words and our actions the same. Love as he would love and do as he would do. Leave no doubts, accept no excuses.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Josh's 10-18-10 e-mail

This week I was reading about Alma the Elder and the Younger. If you look closely, their lives before the gospel didn´t look very great. Alma the Elder was a priest for wicked King Noah who broke many commandments. It took Abinadi until the second try to convert Alma. Afterwards he became a prophet and very loved person by the people. Alma the Younger as we know enjoyed on the weekends to try to get members to fall away from the church. He was touched by an angel and also like his father became a prophet, a chief judge, and a respected person. One of Alma the Younger's sons didn´t do the greatest things ether. As a missionary he committed a serious sin. During these chapters I was thinking about how they repented, not what sins they did. I believe the same applies for us. We don´t look at these men with guilt or vengeance, we look at them with honor and respect. We look at what they did afterwards, not what they did before. They repented and I know God forgot their sins. We need to live without guilt in our lives. If we repent, the only thing we need to worry about is not to do it again, not that we did it. If God forgets, should we? How we need forgiveness in this days of trouble! Forgiveness for others, but also for ourselves. One of the hardest trials we can have in our life, is finding the courage to forgive ourselves.

Josh's distaste for flan

This week a kid thought it would funny if he threw flan on me. Flan is a dessert in Argentina, but I don´t like it very much. We weren´t close to the pension so I smelled like Flan the entire day!!!! Yummy! Hahaahhaha.

Melanie's comment: When Josh e-mailed this picture, he said he thought the pig really liked him due to the smell of the flan.

Megan's reflection of General Conference

Just like President Monson said,something to this fact..."The human race has an incalculable ability to take things for granted.." We DO not realize what is around us! How we have been blessed literally beyond our own comprehension. I challenge you this week, to write down 500 blessings you have received during this week...and then tell me about how the experience went. It's amazing!!!! The Lord is so kind. Just like President Monson said, "He taught us how to live, he taught us how to pray," and then he taught us something else, that when President Monson said it went straight to my heart- "he taught us how to die." I heard once that if "we prepare ourselves to die, we prepare ourselves to live." He taught us that you die, giving everything you have, having given everything you've got. There's a term in the mission that when you're done with your service, you've died. I want to die like that! I want to die here having given everything I have for these precious people! Having done everything I can to help them on their long, but possible way back to Heavenly Father.

Megan's love for temple square

We watched conference this past weekend and it was like an old familiar blanket. the church is so true. How could you watch conference and not think it was true? How could you not walk away a better person- being uplifted and strengthened in every aspect of your life? It was so good. I have to say that it was a bit torturous at times. Not only just now, but for quite some time on my mission, I have LONGED for temple square. It's very strange, of all places, but I want to be there like I can't describe. Please, if you are within reach...GO!!! for me!!! There are moments that I am particularly longing for, and one of them is to walk into the conference center doors.

Philippine Home Construction

About the people that live in the houses that you saw getting built. Yes, they cook outside just with wood- no fuel. They go to the bathroom outside and yes, they all sleep in there on the floor.

Melanie's comment: We received a CD in the mail a couple of weeks ago that contained many pictures and a few videos of life in the Tacloban, Philippines Mission. I tried to upload one of the videos but it didn't work. This picture shows them installing the 'floor' of a typical house which is barely big enough for 2 people to lay down.

Megan's 10-18-10 e-mail

We may get to attend church in the new chapel this Sunday, and have a baptism inside this Saturday. The attendance is about the same...we'll see about when we are all going to have to for sure go to the new chapel..its takes 20 or so minutes on motor and there's no buses on Sunday so that's all you'll take. There were people that couldn't make it last Sunday-we watched general conference in the meeting house in Cabucgayan and there were a lot from our area that didn't make it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Megan's rejection

Yesterday as we were walking out of our gate to go to church, there seemed to be a great hustle and bustle around...I looked down at the road and to our surprise were written and drawn messages scribbled in white chalk that offended our spirit. Earlier that morning I had seen one of our investigators outside writing with chalk, but didn't realize until the time I saw it what he was doing. Later on that day, as we were trying to hold ourselves together in one piece, one of our other investigators who I don't have words to describe my love for, wouldn't get close to us because he heard from he said many people that it was not allowed... I just kept telling myself, Breath in breath out...!!
In all of this,I had the thought, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do.."They don't realize who we are..! Right across from our house for the past 2 weeks, they have been doing construction...Apparently every time we'd walk by or go inside or outside, talk to somebody that they could see, when we'd leave, their speech was far from appropriate and in that experience I rememebered the quote that had been said at one of our zone conferences..."If they accept you, they are accepting the Savior. IF they reject you, put you down, or talk bad about you, they are doing the same to the Savior." One day they will realize who we were, and what we were trying to do, and they'll know why we lived amongst them. I haven't felt very accepted lately, or even really treated nicely. We're too happy for them. seriously. We have been a little bit frustrated too because they don't realize that we have a hard life too! Our investigator's older sister still thinks that we are here so that we can get a promotion in school whenever we come home to the states. bah. It's ok! I just hope that someday they will remember what we said to them, and that we tried to show them the right way. I miss you! Things will get better! "There is great purpose in our struggle in life."

Megan's 10-11-10

Our recent convert family has been doing very well-they have been blessed financially in refection of their much that the mother of the family has been lending out money to a number of people, families, on their hill that promise to pay them back. Of course, they are not paying her back...Many people in turn of knowing about this have asked them...Where are you getting all this money that's allowing you to lend to so many people? They tell them that of course, it's from the Lord! But they don't believe them...they are convinced that it's from US!! I was shocked and hurt when I found this out.

Josh's investigator

Paola is gaining a testimony. She was one of the young women that went to conference and came to church this Sunday. We taught the Word of Wisdom to her, Daniela, and Abigail, knowing that some of them had problems in the past. The next day was the birthday of Paola´s older brother and there was alcohol, she didn´t drink because she wanted to be obedient. Some of the other people in the group of investigators decided to drink, saying it is only a little and it won´t hurt. Paola is gaining a testimony and it is changing her life. I love to see miracles and I am grateful to know we can change and others with our Savior.

John the Baptist

During our Elders' quorum class, I learned something new. Well, not new, but something I need to be more grateful. We ask who gave Joseph Smith the Aaronic Priesthood? John the a boring voice. I know I have done it. But this is JOHN THE BAPTIST!!!!!!!!!!!! He was born to prepare the people for Jesus Christ. He ate locust and honey! (That doesn´t sound very good:( ) He wore camel skin. Not very many people in the history of the world have been born with such a purpose like John. The thing I learned is when we aren't graateful for the little things we aren´t very grateful for the big things. It´s easy to say we are grateful, but do we show that we are grateful? Actions speak louder than words. I believe if we don´t show our gratitude that it can even lead down that we don´t feel grateful for Jesus Christ. Do you believe it is possible? I do because it happened with one of Christ's apostles. I hope this day we can be grateful for John the Baptist, other things, and more than anything our Savior Jesus Christ.

Josh's 10-11-10 E-mail

I woke up Thursday morning with a 100 degree fever. I wanted to work, but didn´t know what medicine to take so just went to District Meeting believing the fever would pass by. Well, Surprise! It didn´t! hahahhaa. That night we passed a member family who had me sit down for about two hours, fed me, cared for me, gave me medicine, and sent me to the pension to sleep. The next day I still had a fever, but I wanted to work, so I took Ibuprofen and left to work. During the day, I kept wondering, ¨Should I go back and rest? I´m sure tired....¨ But I kept telling myself no, you only have a couple of hours go. At this time I said a prayer in my heart asking for the help of Heavenly Father to help go on. Throughout the day, I was still weak, I was still very tired, but I felt somebody was lifting me up. I believe if I had different eyes, I would be surprised to find angels next to me. I know Angels exist today. I am re-cooperating still from the fever, but it is getting lower and lower every day. Thank you for being angels to me.

Melanie's comment: This story doesn't surprise me. On the rare occasions that Josh has actually been sick in his life, he has never wanted to stop. I would have to absolutely insist that he stay home from school because he would not ever give in to being 'sick'.

Megan's 10-11-10 E-mail

Last Thursday a horrible thing happened! I got my "trunky letter." !!! 6 months. So I need some info: What is your contact number? And what is the name of the Stake President, his email, and contact number? 3 months before my departure date, no changes can be made to our plans.

Melanie's comment: Someone asked me what 'trunky' means to a missionary. When Rick (and previous generations) went on a mission they didn't take suitcases, they took a trunk to pack all their belongings in. So, being 'trunky' means they are packed and sitting on their 'trunk' waiting to go home. Obviously, not a compliment. I know everyone says that the time has gone so fast. Not so for me! It seems like she's been gone for years! I am so happy that she said this was a 'terrible thing' though. I am glad she is not anticipating coming home. She has expressed a desire for us to come there to meet the wonderful people she has met.

Wings to fly...(Josh)

We had transfers or changes and I am staying with my same companion! This is now the longest area that I´ll be in. I´ll be here in this area for six months! I am excited and I feel blessed. This is where the Lord wants me and need´s me. We planning for Paola, Daniela, and Abigail to be baptized. They are a tender mercy of the Lord. They love church, they love prayer, they love the Book of Mormon. I guess we will just have to say what happens, but I know whatever happens it is the Lord´s will. From when I first got here until now, I am one of the few to stay. I have the longest time in the same area and in the entire zone! This morning we went to the terminal to say goodbye to the leaving elders and sisters. As we stood in line to help the missionaries load their things on the collectivo ( the bus). I was surprised to find about 30 missionaries in line to say goodbye. I was watching some missionaries crying and saying goodbye, others smiling and laughing because they are excited to stay. I thought of a parable. In life we often don´t want to leave our comfort zone. It´s where we are safe and we know everything is great there. We don´t want to go. But, we have to leave the nest. We aren´t meant to stay in one spot. The Lord wants us to fly. So fly we will and we have to learn. Growing is part of life. Leaving the nest is part of life. Missionaries grow comfortable in one spot in their area. They know they are safe and that they don´t have to leave, but at one time or another they have to leave. They need to learn how to fly. Don´t be afraid to leave the nest because you were given wings to fly, not just to sit in the nest.

Josh's 10-4-10 E-mail

Conference was wonderful! I listened in English, until the final session of Sunday because we had investigators come and I wanted to sit with them. Paola and Danielle came and listened. It was really fun to sit next to them because they were so focused! They kept asking, ¨Is he the prophet?¨ No, he´s an apostle! When they heard President Monson´s voice, they were focused and listening. I know that they know that he is a prophet and that his word´s are God´s words. We had another investigator come, his name is Ramon. Ramon usually says that he´ll come, but doesn´t show up. Well he surprised us on Sunday! He came and he loved it.

Filipino excuses for not attending church

Our very promising investigator and another older man who we committed didn't come to church because one was playing billiards and the other had to skin a dog he was gonna eat later. Obviously not good reasons to not attend sacrament. I told them last Friday before Sunday that because they had decided this that Satan would try them and so they needed to continue to pray and that they would be able to overcome all that was to be set before them. And then look-they both didn't come to church!!! I spoke too soon! bah!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Josh's encounter with the 'giant'

So this week I almost got killed! Not really, but I thought I was going to be punched in the face. I knocked a door and a great giant tall man came out. I asked if he had talked to missionaries before. He didn´t say anything, just came over, touched plaque and stared down at me. By this time my face described by my companion was pure terror and ready to flee at any moment. Afterwards the giant man said in a low deep voice. I have children your age and I have talked to you. We drank milk. Tea and Coffee you don´t drink. He was doing hand motions at this time, believing that I didn´t understand. Luckily he didn´t punch me and I didn´t run away. He was big though! hahahaha

Josh's 9-27 E-mail

We found three young women. Their older brother was recently baptized and I guess he is trying to share it with his entire family. Great missionary, huh? Their names are Paola, Danielle, and Abigail. Our second lesson was really neat. I shared my expierience about prayer. I have always known the church was true, but at the age or 14 I needed to know more profoundly that these things were true. After reading Joseph Smith´s experience I said a prayer, and afterwards I felt that these things were true. I could not deny the feeling I felt, only truth. The spirit filled our room and it was beautiful. I looked at the faces of Paola, Danielle, and Abigail and you could tell they were feeling something different, but a good different. They went to church and we are planning for their baptism the 23 of October. They seem excited and ready to learn. Truly the gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives.

Megan's 9-27 E-mail

This week has been better. Our less actives are doing better and I had an experMMnce last Monday I'll never forget. We asked one of our less actives that wants to go on a mission if we could teach him. He said yes. At this point, we knew and he knew that we knew that he was drinking again. He knew that we knew who he was with and that it happened to be 3 of our INVEstigators!! He had come with us to teach and we had shared our concerns and feelings about it to him. We knew what was going on, and he knew that, but we had never talked about it to him. (Did I mention that he knew that we knew?) He had been coming back to church, to meetings, activities, and he had come a few times working with us to gain experience teaching and to fellowship our investigators, and yet was still struggling with this problem that we had only found out about recently. It broke our hearts! But we wanted to show him our love and that we knew that he could do anything if he Let God help him. So we came inside, sat down and asked him if before we started we could sing a hymn?? He agreed and so we sat there for a moment trying to pick which one. We decided on 'I stand all amazed'. We only had one hymn book, so me and sister blonquist sang a duet. We sang the first verse and finished the chorus when there was somebody at the door, somebody wanting to buy something at the tindahan, and so he had to get up and the spirit was broken a little bit. There seeemed to be a lot going on outside and it was just busy sounding. but he came back and we started the second verse over and everything went quiet. the spirit truly was like a fire burning, and he felt it too. The tears started and they only got more abundant as we kept singing. By the time we sang the last time through the chorus, his face was wet and his face distorted. I gave the prayer and he continued. After the prayer he expressed his feelings that at that time he was fasting for 2 days so that he could show God he was sorry for what he did. He still went to work even though he was weak and hungry. I can't explain the love that I was filled with for him at that time. I truly felt as if I was possessed by something higher that myself. We explained to him about repentance and God's love. He gave thanks for us for visiting him and teaching him. We expressed to him that we loved him and that we were here to help him if we could in any way. I know that he will go on a mission. He'll go to the temple. He will raise his family in the gospel. I have an unwavering belief in the power of faith. God will grant his missionaries their wishes for those they teach if they remain faithful. I love this work!!

Philippine transportation?

This picture is a picture I take in my head every day here!!!!! I have to admit that I have not yet quite seen the actual baby in the bucket but it's been that level of 5 o'clock traffic badness!
Melanie's comment: this picture was in an e-mail sent by my parents. When I forwarded it to Josh and Megan they both commented that they had seen very similar transportation styles in their respective countries!

Computer parable-Josh

Another story they shared is in computers they have many signals to send to other computers. One signal a computer sends is that he sends the sign and waits for the other computer to accept, and keeps waiting, and waiting, until the computer accepts. Another signal sends the message without waiting, he just sends it. The Lord works in this way. He´ll send a message and wait until we accept the message. Others he just sends, not because he is mean, but because he loves us. My coach in cross country at the beginning of summer practices had us run twice a day for good reasons. It was one of the fastest ways to get used to running fast. We need to learn from the Lord.

Josh's 9-20-10 E-mail

This week we had district conference and there was one story I greatly enjoyed. Penguins live in one of the coldest places on earth, but they have developed a tactic to survive. Millions of penguins huddle in a circle and rotate to keep everyone warm. The ones on the outside have their back to the wind and the ones in the center are the warmest. They rotate so everyone can have a turn against the wind and have a turn in the warm center. We as members of the church have to be united. Another lesson we learn is the Lord permits the cold wind to blow against us and allows to also rest in the center. We are meant to grow, but grow closer to the Lord.

Melanie's note: I think I will have to rent that movie (documentary about penguins) when Josh gets home. I think he would really enjoy it!

The Monument

Today we went to the monument: the Indian. It´s where the original jujenos fought against the Spaniards for their freedom. It was a pretty big monument and pretty neat trip. Once again there was people from the United States visiting Argentina. Crazy huh? I never thought it would be such a big tourist spot.

Megan's 9-20-10 E-mail

This week was hard. It seems like the harder we try to get help these people, whom I love more than I think I've ever loved, they choose to not follow our teachings. It's truly a heartbreaking experience. We have been trying to fellowship a less active that wants to serve a mission. It's been such a struggle but I know that he'll come around SOME day. I love him so much and I want so much for him and his life! We keep seeing him smoke when he tells us he's not and we heard yesterday that he started drinking again. baaah! We don't know for sure but one of our investigators who's 12 may have joined them. I think that something happened to my tear ducts on the mission... because I can't cry! Maybe I was so depressed that my body just forgot that that's what you do when you're sad. We've been applying these trainings that weve been taught from the First Presidency these past few weeks, but our work has not improved!...There must be something were forgetting. We are sad to see the digression of some of our investigators, but Heavenly Father knows me so well, that when something like that happens, when that has happened, and we are so down, he puts someone in my path that is happy to see us or that does come to church, and all becomes well.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Together Forever!

I have been teaching the gospel doctrine class the majority of the time I have been here in Alberdi Jujuy. Yesterday, it was about how families can be together forever. I had just ordered a dvd called Together Forever. Perfect, huh? Anyways, I felt I should show this DVD to our little class of less active, new-members, investigators class. I had never seen it before, but took the chance and it was great! It shows about 4-5 families and the comfort they found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mainly focusing in the plan of salvation. I honestly hightly recommend watching this DVD. It is wonderful and very inspiring. It made me want to try harder than ever before to strive to have all my family members with me in the eternities and for a temple marriage.

Melanie's comment: Wow, do I feel like a bad mother. That DVD has been around for ages and we never showed it to our kids? Well, at least the younger kids...I know the older ones saw it because when Heather was leaving for college we listened to the 'theme' song and cried our eyes out!!

Story from April 2010 General Conference

Drawing upon his experience as a rancher, Elder Foster told a story of a cattle drive where he rode behind keeping track of stray calves.

"Because it was so hot," he said, "the little calves kept running off into the trees to find shade. My thoughts turned to the youth of the Church who are sometimes distracted from the straight and narrow path. I also thought about those who have left the Church or who may feel the Church has left their heart, while they were distracted. I though to myself that a distraction doesn't have to be evil to be effective — sometimes it can just be shade."

He continued, "After several hours of gathering up stray calves, and with sweat running down my face, I yelled to the calves in frustration, 'Just follow your mothers! They know where they're going! They've been down this road before!' Their mothers knew that even though the road was hot and dusty now, the end would be better than the beginning."

When the cattle arrived at the corral, three cows paced nervously at the gate; their calves were missing. Elder Foster and others found the calves in the shade back up the road, but the calves resisted them.

So they rode back to the corral and got the mothers.

"The cows knew exactly where to go to find their calves," he said, "and led them back to the corral as I had expected."

Then he said that because of agency, "some of our loved ones may stray for a season. But we can never give up. We must always go back for them — we must never stop trying."

He concluded, "My mother assured me that if I stayed on the road of truth, even when it seemed hot and dusty, even when there were distractions, the end would be better than the beginning."

Elder Bradley Foster

Elder Foster of the Seventy came this week and talked to us how God loves us and answers our prayers. It was amazing! Some Elders and Sisters didn´t like it. They wanted him to talk about some deep doctrine, but my opinion is if we don´t know and apply the simple doctrine, why should we know the deep? I need to first live by perfect faith, and than I can learn more deep doctrine. I know from Elder Foster taught is true. God loves us so much, he has provided prayer and answers our prayers. He listens and is listening. He loves us so much, he provided Earth for us to live on. He knows us and the way we need our prayers answered. Don´t be afraid in your prayers, just be sure to ask with faith.

Josh's 9-13-10 E-mail

This week we had many powerful lessons with our wonderful brothers and sisters investigating the church. First of all, with David and Maria. David recently lost his work. He worked as a miner and I guess was doing very well, but was kicked off the team. He was devastated and worried. I was able to share the story of what happened to you Dad in Los Alamos. He had a couple of the same feelings. Worried and not sure what to do. After I shared this story with David, he started to bawl. I just looked him for a while, and then realized I was crying too. Afterwards we read the scripture how Christ has his arms stretched out to us. The Holy Ghost filled the room and we all felt His love. I don´t know if David and Maria will be baptized, but I know we left a lasting impression. I have confidence that one day they will, maybe not with us, but with others. Sometimes we are meant to be seed planters.

In the service of your fellowmen...

So yesterday my three companions in the pension ganged up on me! I had to lock myself in my room! I was sliding and running all over the pension. Well, maybe it was because I was trying to shine their shoes. It was really funny because I was wearing my flipflops, fell and hit the door. I didn´t hurt, but I couldn´t stand up because I was laughing way too hard! Hahahahaha. It´s also getting hotter here, but strangely of turning red like I usually do when I am sunburned, I am turning brown. Weird.hahaha.

Megan's 9-13-10 E-mail

This coming Tuesday night we will receive a text that will determine the next six weeks. Transfers! I would be shocked if I left, but we are both thinking that Sister Blonquist will be leaving. It'll be 5 months now for her here and there are 3 new sisters coming in from America this Wednesday. I might be training again. I don't know! But all is well. Our church will be done they say this coming October. It will be a huge blessing but a trial for some.

The Tizon Family

This week we have been repeatedly taken aback at the progression of one of the families that was baptized last month. They come with us working, they are fellowshipping their friends, they are firm in their testimony of the Book of Mormon, and Eugene, the Father, blesses the sacrament. We feel so lucky to have witnessed this miracle. Gingging, the mother, cant stop explaining his story and the kind of person that he used to be, only 4 MONths ago! He was a preacher for 10 years to a break off of the catholic church and stopped for a reason we haven't been able to find out. He then ended up with no religion but alcohol. She constantly tells us about how he would every day come home drunk from work, then he'd drink in the morning and go climb coconut trees(his work) drunk. She said that their neighbors were scared of him because he'd sometimes come home drunk, carrying a gun, and singing loudly, staggering. I have witnessed miracle after miracle after miracle with this family. They are a strength to the branch and he already has a calling. THey both know that the Book of Mormon is true. We were literally only a mouthpiece, we sat down, spoke words to them, and the spirit did EVERYTHING else!!!! I don't take ANy credit whatsoever for their complete conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes I have to remind myself that they are converts and that when I met them, they weren't members of the church. I want this to happen to the Monton family, but it's harder than it was with the Tizon family.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The District

I don´t know if you return missionaries have seen the district, which is filming missionaries to do a certain principle and afterwards we are supposed to apply it. Well, The District 2 just came out and it is awesome! As I was watching the video I remembered something. Not every 19 young man or 21 young women has the chance to give up their life for a period of time for our Savior Jesus Christ. This time is more than important, it is sacred. As I was thinking about this, another point came into my head. Missionary work is not just for 2 years, but for a lifetime. When we are in our ward we are supposed to always be activating our brothers and sisters who have gone away, looking for opportunities to share the gospel, and always maintain our highest conduct so people will see that we are different. Missionary Work is a lifetime work.

Challenge from Josh-Spiritual Journal

I have started a spiritual experiences journal and I suggest it if you are trying to recognize the Holy Ghost. Honestly it helps me see my blessings and the Holy Ghost in my life. Not only feeling the Holy Ghost in my testimony, but when I recognized his voice and the other ways to feel the Holy Ghost.

Josh's 9-6-10 E-mail

I have to tell you about Clodia! We were looking for an old investigator and found Clodia! Our first lesson was amazing and our second she told us that as she was reading the pamphlet that we had left she felt something that she had never felt before. I was looking at her with my mouth open! She´s sincere and loves the Book of Mormon, it is wonderful!

I don´t know if I have told you about Nahir, but....Nahir came to church by herself without being invited. She came with a friend in the ward and has also gained a testimony about the Book of Mormon. She seems perfect for baptism, just the thing is her father might not give her permissioin, but fast sunday I fasted for Nahir. She needs the gospel in her life.

Pray for the Monton Family!

Mark Anthony is Martin's older brother and he wants to get baptized. but his dad won't allow it. I asked him if he had actually asked him that and he said no. They are all scared of him. I told him to just explain to him and this is what you want. I need your help!!!!!!! Please keep his name in your prayers. I can't explain to you how much I love them!! It actually kind of hurts! Me and my companion say sometimes that it's like we're in this strange relationship! 2 months ago we were strangers, and now I have grown to love them so much!!! That has got to be from Heavenly Father!!! I hope something happy happens soon because my heart is low! One of our less actives has been really struggling and consequently, so have I !!!!! I ask for help SO many times in one day I can't even count, and I hope with all of my heart that this precious family-the Monton family, will all be baptized one day!!!!!!!!!!! I pray that God will grant me the desires of my heart.

Megan's 8-30 E-mail

Bah!!!. Missionary life is hard!! I'm starting to feel the jerk back and forth from being so happy you could scream and then literally being in the depths of sadness when you see someone you love choose something contrary to what you have repeatedly taught them and committed them to stop doing...when people don't come to church that you've been praying for with all your heart and that you have tried to teach them the right way...when those that you've grown to care about SO much lie to you! I love these people. Maybe it's a blessing that I have no time whatsoever to just sit down and think about life because I'd just CRY! I am filled with almost a motherly love for these people-I want them to suceed in life, and go to school and go on missions and GO TO THE TEMPLE!!! And raise a family in the gospel and I just want them to bE HAPPPYYY and not to get involved in all the garbage that is offered to them every day.

Josh's Missionary P-day

I am sorry for the shorter email we had a zone activity and we are about to finish our day. We played soccer and what I liked the most was Ultimate Frisbee. They also had an awesome park with a alligator slide. Slides here are made from cement and hurt! I took a picture in the alligators mouth and it looks like I am being eaten! haahhaha

Josh's 8-30-10 E-mail

The Lost Lamb by Del Parson
This week we had a wonderful experience with a new investigator named Rosa. Rosa has a problem. Her son Samuel loves drugs, alcohol, and other things. She wants the best for him and we are here to help. We talked with her Wednesday and had another appointment Friday. Friday we introduced the Book of Mormon and a really neat experience happened. During the lesson as my companion was talking the story of Alma the Younger kept coming into my mind. Alma the elder wanted the best for his son as Rosa wanted wants the best for her son. We left this part to read, but even as we were explaining about Alma the Holy Ghost filled the room. It was amazing.
Their are three things that make me extremly excited in the mission, first, when they have an answer, second, when they come to church, and third, the day of their baptism. Those are the moments that keep me going when a single door doesn´t open in the day, when it 110 degrees and it seems you are in a oven, or the most difficult for me when another one of your spritual brothers or sisters doesn´t want to listen to a message that will change their life. Honestly as I think about now, these are nothing compared to what we truly should give to Jesus Christ. I read President Erying's priesthood talk. He related when he is tempted to rest from his prisethood duties, he has a battle cry, "Remember Him." I hope it to become my theme for life, Remember Him.

Josh's 8-30-10 E-mail

This week we had a wonderful experience with a new investigator named Rosa. Rosa has a problem. Her son Samuel loves drugs, alcohol, and other things. She wants the best for him and we are here to help. We talked with her Wednesday and had another appointment Friday. Friday we introduced the Book of Mormon and a really neat experience happened. During the lesson as my companion was talking the story of Alma the Younger kept coming into my mind. Alma the elder wanted the best for his son as Rosa wanted wants the best for her son. We left this part to read, but even as we were explaining about Alma the Holy Ghost filled the room. It was amazing.
There are three things that make me extremely excited in the mission, first, when they have an answer, second, when they come to church, and third, the day of their baptism. Those are the moments that keep me going when a single door doesn´t open in the day, when it 110 degrees and it seems you are in a oven, or the most difficult for me when another one of your spritual brothers or sisters doesn´t want to listen to a message that will change their life. Honestly, as I think about now, these are nothing compared to what we truly should give to Jesus Christ. I read President Erying's priesthood talk. He related when he is tempted to rest from his priesthood duties, he has a battle cry, "Remember Him." I hope it to become my theme for life, Remember Him.

Josh is 50!

Thursday I am having another birthday! I am going to be one year old. Crazy huh? I honestly can´t believe it. I want it to be the best entire year of my mission. I love it so much and it hurts my little heart that I am on "the final countdown." "Over the hill." I will be '50' in mission time. I have a new companion, Elder Gutierrez from Buenos Aires.

Josh's 8-23-10 E-mail

It was a dark and stormy night, not really, but we were waiting for the zone leaders to come and to do the interview for Elio. Well, they called and told us that they cannot come because they had to go to the hospital. Well they called a elder in our pension to come and to do the interview. By the time he shows up we are thirty minutes late, but we still went. The interview passed and we waited until the next day. Elio showed up on time, but told us something that was very sad and truly showed how great his testimony is. His wife didn´t want him to come to his baptism. She is very jealous and told Elio if he came back he might not have a home. Elio went and told me, "It makes me sad that she is angry, she puts family first (my thought, well shouldn´t we?) back to Elio: God is first in our lives, not our family. As I was walking into the baptismal font, I almost fell almost...hahaha..It was so funny. I had to take a couple of deep breaths before I said the words and baptized Elio. Elio also recieved the Holy Ghost, but an experience I saw that has never taken place before in my mission was when Elio received the Aaronic Priesthood. It was so awesome. The Holy Ghost filled the room and it was wonderful. It truly was.

No dancing? That's a different religion...

We commited two sisters(one being the mom of one the 7 that were baptized a couple weeks ago) for baptism and they accepted. One of them we've been teaching for a while now and she said, 'When I get baptized, I've got to really be ready...". I kept wondering what was her concern, why doesn't she want it now...or just what was wrong and then it came out yesterday and we all had a little chuckle....haha I'm laughing again thinking about it..she said that she is some kind of important canidate in her senior citezen club and that she dances the cha cha and that's why she can't be baptized!!!! She thought that dancing was not okay and that when she the dance was over then then she could be baptized...she kept saying she knew that she needed to repent and be clean before he baptism and so after she was done dancing she could be rid of her sins!!!! Hahahahah!!!

Megan's Monton family

Judith lives with her grandparents and they are...well, you can just tell that her living situation is difficult. She is so cute tho! She's truly my friend and I want to help her. She has a Book of Mormon and the pamphlets and we are teaching her tonight. She smokes and does drugs but I know she wants to change. I told Heavenly Father today, well, I'm always telling Him, the desires of my heart, and the things that I want for these wonderful people! We met 3 of the Monton kids through three different times places and with different people and only later realizing they were all apart of the same family. They are all three our investigators and I love them so much. They are Catholic and all three asked their dad about baptism and he got mad. I told Heavenly Father this and he told me to write them a note and give them a picture of Jesus. They can refuse our invitation to share the gospel with them, but who would refuse a gift?? So i will try this and I hope and pray that this family will be softened and will allow Jesus Christ into their lives and their hearts.

Megan's 'boys'

Marcela(18) and Gloria(13) Malit left this morning and the kids were sad. They bought three of our investigators clothes so that they could go to church. One of them is a tomboy and she didn't want to dress like a girl, 'cause they bought her a dress, and so she didn't come. She hasn't come yet to church. But the other two boys, Martin Monton, 12, and John Alfer 12? they came and after church, Martin said 'I brought my white shirt and tie ,but I didn't wear it 'cause I don't know how to tie it.' So we had a member help him and we got the best pictures that day.
I love them so much!!

Megan's 8-25-10 E-mail

Melanie's comment: We didn't get an e-mail on Monday, August 23rd and although I was very disappointed, I wasn't worried as I know there are several reasons she may not be able to e-mail. Then on Wednesday we got this e-mail from here. She references technology as I had mentioned it in my e-mail to her.

It's interesting that you talk about technology because being here has made me appreciate it at times, but also it's made me realize that our happiness should never depend on it because there are so many people that I know that have nothing but are full of joy. Our church will be done in September and we will all be going there and not having church in our little hut anymore. It will be a blessing as there will be rooms for every age group and a nice chapel and we are excited. It will be also a trial because of fare to get there and if they don't have money they will walk. There is always some kind of opposition in our lives. I didn't email on Monday 'cause we're at a training right now in Tacloban and it's been so amazing. President Malit's nieces from Orem, Utah lived with us for a week and are going to come back with us for another 3 days 'cause were fun, apparently. We are participating in a youth activity this Saturday and are hiking up to one of the falls in billiran island-maybe on of the ones that you saw a video of-I'm way excited. I hope that we make it!!!!! I have felt the spirit so strongly in the past 3days as we have done role play after role play, trying to apply the things that we have learned and I am excited to get working tomorrow.

Stand with God (Josh)

We received a reference from a member who works at a newspaper stand in our area. We went and met Julia. Julia has had a rough life. Let me tell you a little about her. She has 6 or 9 children. Her husband worked as a policeman, but enjoyed drinking. One time he came into the house drunk and shot his pistol running his family out of the house. Around age 65 he cheated on his wife with a 25 year old and ran away to Buenos Aires and has not returned since. One of her daughters got pregnant at age 13. She tried to give it away and even marry a couple of older, but nobody accepted her. One day Julia came home after her granddaughter was recently born and found her daughter in room with everything scattered and the baby nowhere to be found. She asked where the baby was to her daughter and she pointed to corner were all her clothes were piled. Realizing what happened she rushed over and pulled off the clothes to find her granddaughter suffocating. Now that granddaughter lives with her, but treats her poorly. Julia has learned to depend on God as she told us her experience. She stated, "without Him I am nothing." I learned two life lasting lessons from Julia that day. One without Him I am nothing and the second how do I treat others and Heavenly Father? How is my relationship with my Father in Heaven and my family and friends here? In the end will we be like Julia and stand with God?

Well done Josh!

Josh's Senior picture by Gugleman Photography in Rexburg, Idaho

I love you family and friends! I know that that we can go onward and forward no matter what happens. I remembered an experience from High School that gave me motivation to go on. As some and most of you know I graduated early from High School, but I came back to walk. For the graduation walk we come out of the gym, walk down the hall and afterwards into the auditorium. As I walked down the hall all around me were my teachers from Freshmen to Senior year yelling, good job Josh! , we know it was difficult, but you made it!, you have finally made it to the end! I imagine that is how the celestial kingdom is. All around us as we are walking into the gates the prophets are around us saying, good job Josh! We know it was difficult, but you made it! You have finally made it to the end! I enjoy that thought! Love you and I will talk to you next week! And in case I don't see ya, Good afternoon, good evening and good night!!!

Blessing of the Sacrament (Josh)

The Last Supper by Simon Dewey
We also had the blessing of giving the sacrament to a member who is temporarily in a wheel chair. There was only five of us, but it was very sacred and peaceful. I shared an experience I had in the MTC, while during sacrament meeting I imagined myself eating the last supper with Christ and His apostles. That experience helped me have more reverence and gratitude for the bread and water. I am very grateful that the Lord once again allowed me to remember the importance of the sacrament.

More missionary hating dogs...

Yesterday we went to go visit a less active family who needed a visit. After we left they came running out holding my Book of Mormon. I ran to go get it, but was attacked by five stinking little black dogs! My companion and the member we were with said it looked like I was dancing as I was avoiding the black dogs. I got to the end of the alley and bursted out laughing. We probably laughed for 5 minutes. I could not breath at the end! Hahaha. Two little girls also walked passed us, walked backed, looked up and said, Amor y Paz! (Love and Peace! ) and walked away. We started laughing again for 5 more minutes. My stomach hurt so badly!

Melanie's comment-I will have to 'make up' pictures for Josh's posts like I do for Megan's since he lost his camera cord.

Josh's 8-16-10 E-mail

We are planning for Elio to enter into the waters of baptism this Saturday! The other elders in our pension had a baptism, so we took Elio to go see it. He really loved it and it made him even more excited to follow the Lord. He loves church and everything about it! He even prepares for the Priesthood lesson! I love seeing changes.

Melanie's note: Josh lost his camera cord so we won't have pictures from him until we can figure out another way to get them...

Typical Argentina House

Every home needs a big screen television?

Is that a satellite dish attached to that shack?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Josh's Alberdi District

Family Jurado

This is the Family Jurado that Josh frequently mentions. The mom is the YW president. Josh asked me to write a letter to her with suggestions of how to help the young women achieve their personal progress goals. Only, he asked me to please write it in Spanish! Hmm, he has too much confidence in my rusty spanish speaking (writing) skills, but I will get Bridget to help me!

Megan's 8-16-10 e-mail

Melanie's comments: Rick was sustained as the Bishop of our ward on 8-15-10 and this is the response from Megan. I don't usually include her 'signature' but thought it was so special:

I am so excited for you Dad!!! That has a very special ring to it. "Bishop Dustin" WOW!!!!! I think I may have to call you that for a while when I get home just like you are all going to have to continue to call me Sister Dustin until... I don't know when, at this point. my heart is so full!!!! I love the Holy Ghost. He whispers to me things that I would never be able to know if it were not for him!!! I love the Book of Mormon and my testimony is stronger that it's ever been and that seriously if we have ANY ANY ANY ANY ANY ANY ANY ANY problem in our lives, if we pray, read the Book of Mormon and ask the Holy Ghost for the answers to our questions or for solutions, I have no doubt in my mind that you WILL receive peace. You WILL receive answers!!! You will KNOW what you need to do. This is an act of faith!! You have to believe that the Holy Ghost is going to answer you.
I CANT BELIEVE YOUR THE BISHOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH DAD!!!!!!!
i love you so much family and I have so much to say but I have to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your VERY VERY own
Sister Dustin (Bishop Dustin's daughter)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A La Iglesia

We saw this sign at Tilcara and thought we should bring the rock to our area and temple/monument place.

Melanie's comment: The sign says: "To the church"


TODAY we went to a place called Tilcara and it was awesome! They have these old ruins there from people like the Inca´s who lived there. The houses were really small. They rebuilt some that tourists could go in and I had to crouch down to fit in and I am not very tall! They also had a church and a temple. They also had a llama pen with four different kinds of llamas! I never knew there were four different kinds of llamas! But we stayed our distance after one llama tried to spit on a elder in our zone. Hahaha. It was actually really funny. He was just standing there and the llama ran up to the fence boundary and spit!

Josh's 8-9-10 e-mail

I sent a picture of Elio and Cristina. Elio should be baptized in two weeks. Their son´s name in the picture is Alvarado. Elio this Sunday said to me what am I going to do when you leave???? It made me feel very humble, grateful, and realized how much harder I need to work. I LOVE THIS WORK!

Megan's 8-9-10 e-mail

Our baptisms were a complete success. All 7 were baptized and then confirmed yesterday and it was an absolute miracle! We were so happy!! They all came up and bore their testimonies after the baptism and one of them cried. Her name is Gingging and she is the wife of the ex-preacher. I love this work so much and I don't want to go back to "normal life" This is the greatest work. Josephine and her daughter got baptised and we pray and hope that her husband and other daughter will follow their example in September. They're not just words when I say that I am constantly praying for these people..especially one of our investigators right now, his name is Martin. He's 12 and I have so many dreams for him. I love him! I told Heavenly Father what I wanted and I hope that my wishes are granted me. I want to help him with all of my heart. This is my wish: that he will be baptized, that he'll never drink or smoke, that he'll go on a mission, that he'll go to the temple, that he'll get married in the temple, and that he will never fall away from the truth and he'll raise his family in the gospel. I believe in miracles with all my heart and I am caused to believe more every single day and me and my companion are never alone...we have lots of other spirits with us helping us. Sometimes it hurts me how much I love these people because I know that I'll have to say goodbye to them, it's an inevitable event!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Josh's admonition

Another talk was by Elder Christofferson which was the story he tells about his father. It goes as the following , ¨ .Years ago, when my brothers and I were boys, our mother had radical cancer surgery. She came very close to death. Much of the tissue in her neck and shoulder had to be removed, and for a long time it was very painful for her to use her right arm. One morning about a year after the surgery, my father took Mother to an appliance store and asked the manager to show her how to use a machine he had for ironing clothes. The machine was called an Ironrite. It was operated from a chair by pressing pedals with one’s knees to lower a padded roller against a heated metal surface and turn the roller, feeding in shirts, pants, dresses, and other articles. You can see that this would make ironing (of which there was a great deal in our family of five boys) much easier, especially for a woman with limited use of her arm. Mother was shocked when Dad told the manager they would buy the machine and then paid cash for it. Despite my father’s good income as a veterinarian, Mother’s surgery and medications had left them in a difficult financial situation. On the way home, my mother was upset: “How can we afford it? Where did the money come from? How will we get along now?” Finally Dad told her that he had gone without lunches for nearly a year to save enough money. “Now when you iron,” he said, “you won’t have to stop and go into the bedroom and cry until the pain in your arm stops.” She didn’t know he knew about that. I was not aware of my father’s sacrifice and act of love for my mother at the time, but now that I know, I say to myself, “There is a man.”

Awesome, huh? We are a chosen generation and all of you are doing a terrific job, but I know we can be more terrific in following our Savior and we can know that Friday will come. We can fulfill our duty on how we treat others like Elder Christofferson´s father. I love that we can change for the better in our lives.

Josh's message for the week

This week I read two different conference talks that greatly changed my view on many things in life. One was by Elder Wirthlin, entitled, 'Sunday Will Come.' Elder Wirthlin said, ¨Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays, but I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.

Josh's 8-2-10 E-mail

Sunday during church we had a surprise visitor...a stinking dog! People kept letting it in the chapel and nobody would take it out, except me! I took it out four different times. Luckily, I was toward the back and didn´t disrupt any thing. I was a little frustrated at the end …hahaha. A dog in sacrament meeting. Insane huh? I will always remember this Sunday!

Melanie's comment: Bridget wrote home with the same story when she was serving in Honduras. I think dogs are closer to God than we give them credit for! After all, 'All Dogs Go To Heaven."

Friday, August 6, 2010

Megan's 8-2-10 E-mail

There is this little boy that keeps following us around and sometimes I don't know what to do with him...he doesn't know how old he is, he's only been to 3 weeks of school, he has no parents and hes always asking for food. I don't know what's right...we teach him the lessons and he lives with members but they are inactive and's just complicated. I know that he's been put in our path for a reason. I feel bad for him...his name is Robert and he's probably about 9.

All 7 of our investigators are getting baptized this Saturday and it's soo exciting!!! We were getting soo worried on Sunday because they weren't there at 9...930...940...but then finally they all showed up. I love these people so much and I know that it's been given to me because I've never really had a love for people like this. I've been praying that I'll know what to say, know what to do, where to go, and how to help and serve these wonderful children of our Heavenly Father... our attendance was 85 last Sunday in our tiny little bamboo hut for a chapel and it was really happy. It was testimony meeting and the spirit was there. I love being a missionary. I'm grateful for the chance I have to humble myself and strive to become more like Heavenly Father..

(Melanie's comments: I'd REALLY like a picture of that little boy and the little bamboo hut they have church in. She just doesn't have the time to upload pictures, I guess. Well, I treasure every word she writes and when she gets home we can go back through the blog and add in all the pictures!)

Snow in Argentina

Josh said snow is rare in Jujuy (Northern Argentina), and if they do have a storm it lasts at the most a few hours. He said this storm lasted for three days, but everyone thoroughly enjoyed playing in it.

Josh spoke at a Funeral!

Friday was a rough day. I don´t know if you remember me talking about Victoria and Angelica. Victoria was in the hospital to do with something with her blood and we were told she was supposed to come home this past week. Well, on Friday we recieved a phone call form Hermano Tataca and we were told she had passed away. She had a blood clot in her head or something to do with her head. Which was why it was sudden and unexpected. We were pouring our eyes out. It was like losing a family member or a best friend. We were extremely close to her. She had 9 children and after we found out we ran over to their house. We kept hugging them and told them that they would live with their mom again. The next day we received permission from President Northcutt to go to the burial. There was a pastor there and he asked us, the Mormons, to come and share a message. Guess who shared the message? I was so nervous, but I taught the plan of salvation. There were members there, but I believe the majority were evangelistas. It was only possible with the Holy Ghost as I shared the message. Death is not the end, but only a part of life. As I was sharing the message a couple of people started saying Amen and then it kept getting louder! hahaha. It was pretty funny and we did feel the Holy Ghost. Mabye it will help them know the church. All the children will live with their aunt, but she lives in another area. Hopefully one day we will be able to see their family again, but they are in safe hands and we sent the missionaries in their area to their house. One of them most impressive memories I have is when Angelica shared her testimony in Sacrament meeting and she is not even baptized. I can say she had a testimony.The death of Victoria made me think a great deal about my life and how sacred relationships are. I am eternally grateful for every one of your relationships in my life. You have changed me and have made me a better person. Never doubt that you haven´t made a difference because you have, never doubt that you can´t change a life because you can, and never doubt that being nice is at any time wasted because you never know when your loved ones are gone. I love you all so very much and I love you and appreciate you. You are doing a magnificent job. Love you!

Josh's 20th Birthday

Thank you so much for your birthday wishes and love. Let me tell what one family did to me on my birthday. So I have talked a ton about the Familia Jurado.They love the missionaries and missionaries love them. Well, we went to go visit them and.....they poured flour and smashed eggs all over my head.....I have pictures and they are awesome! Luckily I wasn´t wearing nice church clothes, but p-day clothes. My companions gave me a flower and a cake also! I don´t know why they gave me a flower....I guess just to be different. A couple of members also made a card and President and Sister Northcutt sent me candy and a card.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Snow in Argentina

It was a dark and scary night.... no not really! But it was really cold and we returned to our pension huddled around our heater and then jumped in our beds to get warm! We woke and there was snow!!!!!! SNOW! The Argentines said it never happens and if it does it only lasts for about 3 hours. It lasted for 3 days! Luckily I had that coat that we bought from Christensen´s that has two layers because it honestly was cold. Everybody made awesome snowmen and I only saw one that was really big. They kept telling us ,¨it´s like the movies!¨ We responded ¨ Come to Utah!¨ It was really special and neat. Everybody looked happy. I saw one Dad playing with his daughter in the snow.

Josh's 20th Birthday

I also received the best birthday present ever! We woke up and it was freezing cold! I ran to the shower to get warm and came out and everybody was still in their beds! So I took off my blankets and took off my coat and put it on top of my companion and then went to go study. By the time my study got over, nobody except me had left their beds! For good reason it was cold! I was prompted I needed to do something for them. We had herbal tea, so I went and made that for my companion. Afterwards I saw a potato soup package that was on top of the fridge. So I decided to make Potato Soup for everybody. As I was cooking I heard the Holy Ghost say, ¨ Happy Birthday Joshua.¨ I was filled with a burning that scattered whatever cold there was in my body. I recevied the best gift ever! I was able to serve my companions. I am not trying to sound prideful or bragful, but I am so very grateful Heavenly Father gave me this blessing, to serve others and that I have been able to know his church for the past 20 years of my life.

Josh's visit to Victoria

Victoria was put in the hospital this past week for lack of blood. We went to their house and found out that her children didn´t have any food, so we went to the grocery store, bought food for them and afterwards doorbell ditched the food. It was a blast and we knew they were grateful! The day afterwards we went to go visit Victoria at the hospital. Her kids told us that visiting hours were only from 1-3 in the afternoon, but we went anyways to the hospital. We were waiting in line, got to the front, and were told that we needed to speak with the supervisor and we needed to go to another part of the hospital. So we went and the same secretary lady was there and told us to go down this hall. Well we went and found out we were in the hospital! We went and found Victoria and read the birth of Christ with her. It was really special.

A parable in Argentina

I heard a really neat story in church that was a great example of the atonement. Once upon a time, there was a father who wanted a son. But when his new baby was born, it was a girl. Disappointed, but still caring the dad with his wife took young carmen home. Carmen soon won her father´s heart and his view began to change about his precious daughter as her warm smile and happy personality began to change his view. At age 10 Carmen asked her father about what he was going to buy for her for her 16th birthday. The father knowing that 16 was an important age for a young women told her something magnificentt and beautiful. Content Carmen went on with her ready for the feature. At age 15 Carmen discovered she had a problem. One day passed out in her kitchen and afterwards woke up in the hospital. Carmen discovered that her heart was failing and needed a transplant. Her loving Dad promised Carmen that she would have a transplant. After worrying for months Carmen was noticed that she had a doner. She went to the surgery and afterwards left the hospital only to find her Mom crying. Her Mom told what happened, Carmen started to cry and afterwards they went to the cemetery to her loving father, who knowing his daughter needed a new heart gave his to his precious daughter. Jesus Christ knowing that we needed help sacificed his life like Carmens Dad to give us something magnificent and beautiful. He sacrificed his life to allow us to have the opportunity to experience joy.