Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tree stumps for service

We did service this week. A hermana needed help. She is going to build something, I think a patito. So we rolled parts a of tree to her house. They were huge and it was really funny because we were rolling and running with these tree parts to have them not fall down.

Josh, the kitten rescuer

Well, this week I felt like I was on a Animal Rescue show. We were walking and we heard this crying from the bank and we couldn´t tell what it was. We finally figured out it was a cat, but on the other side. So Elder Hall stayed on the side where we heard the crying and I went stepping on rocks in the canal to see where the cat was. Well, we found it and it was a kitten. The owner had broken its legs and put it in the river to die. We took this poor baby kitten to basically the city hall. At the city hall they have a place to watch animals who are hurt. I know it was cat, but it also is a creation of our Heavenly Father. They deserve respect. The owner could have given it to family who would have liked to have a cat, instead of throwing it in the river.

Josh's 7-5-10 e-mail

We had an amazing powerful lesson with our investigator Cristina and her husband Elio. The times before that we had lessons with them were rough. The spirit was there, but it wasn´t touching their hearts. We asked Elio to read the restoration pamphlet and afterwards we would return and talk about it. I have to admit I was a little nervous when the day of our lesson came, but we went. We sat down and Elio told us he had read the pamphlet and understood why this church was true, why he needed to be baptized in the correct form, and how that the Book of Mormon was scripture like the Bible. We looked at him, with our mouths open. The spirit was there the entire lesson, from the time he told us he had recived an answer to the other time I bore testimony that in truth this church was the true church. When they came to church Sunday Elio was ecstatic he learned about temples, the Sabbath day, and the priesthood. Afterwards he told me that he wanted to bring paper and pencil the next Sunday. It was a special and sacred time when we gave that lesson and I left edified and knowing with a surer conviction that I was in the right place and doing the Lord´s will.

During this week people have also been coming to us. Yesterday and the day before a elderly lady asked us to come in because she used to be friends with the missionaries thrity years ago. A grown man told us he wanted to come to church and promised us he would come the next Sunday. This church doesn´t just makes a difference in the lives of people, but it can make their life and give them something they have been thirsting for.

Josh's 7-5-10 E-mail-Sunrise in Alberdi

Today for p-day we went to the cross. It is huge and we wanted to go early to watch the sun rise because you can see all over Jujuy. Well we got up at 6:30 and took a remes to the bottom of the cross. We took a hike and we were amazed by the site! The city of Jujuy with all it´s lights on and it was amazing! We waited up there and waited for the sunrise and that was worth it also! I loved it so much and was extremely grateful for God´s creations. The cross was pretty neat also, but did they have to build something so big to help remember Christ? How wonderful it is that we can remember Him through prayer and scriptures. Simple and small things.

Josh's 6-28-10 e-mail

I had another baptismal interview this week for a man named Carlos. He is such a stud! When I was talking with him, his testimony seemed to be burning! He smoked before and now he doesn´t. He chews alot of gum to not smoke, but when we said the prayers he took of his hat both times. That shows a lot of respect.

There is a song that I would like you to listen to, if you have time. I listen to it every day to remember why am I here. It is called ¨When All Is Said and Done.¨ I know it is a EFY song, but maybe you can find in another place. The words, at least for me, are really profound and has made me think deeply about my life and how I am using it. Have I been faithful friend? When I die will people say I loved my family? I want at the end of my life to hear the words, "Well Done." This is one of my deepest desires. To live with Christ again.

Katherine Nelson sings this for EFY 1999, A Season For Courage:
When all is said and done as the season slips away
When I've taken steps beyond my sight
Will I find my strength in greater light?
Will my courage grow with every passing day?
And will my faith be constant as the setting sun
When all is said and done?

When all is said and done and the years have turned to gold
Will my life become a legacy of the things that matter most to me
Will the fire of faith burn bright as I grow old
And will I want to be the person I've become
When all is said and done?

When all is said and done when my eyes can finally see
Will I glory in the sweet release?
And will mercy fill my soul with peace?
Will I kneel and wonder at the Savior's feet?
Will I hear Him say, 'Well done.'
When He sees who I've become
Will I live with Him when all is said and done?

Josh's 6-28-10 E-mail

For p-day today we went to Cow Skull City. It is at the end of our area and there were a ton of cow skulls! It was really neat and to be able to go somewhere. I wrote a couple of sand messages that I enjoyed. I almost got robbed by the gypsies! Well kinda… The gypsies here sell their daughters to men for a ton of money! So they usually sadly are the only ones with a nice car. But this morning they pulled over and started asking questions about the church. I knew what they wanted right away, so when they asked to shake my hand, I told them no and we had to go. So I gave them a word of wisdom pamphlet and went off. I knew if they shook my hand my CTR ring would be gone.

Argentina world cup soccer

All of this month is the world cup for soccer and Argentina is doing a good job. So everyone watches…which means people don´t like missionaries at this time…..It was really funny though because we kept hearing people scream randomly as we walked down the street. We figured that´s when Argentina scored and when it was quiet Mexico scored. If they are going to playing for the world cup, it will be on a Sunday…..We figure it will only be me and Elder Hall at church because they play in the morning…..Sadly, we might start praying for them to lose because church is important!!! Just kidding! It´s actually kinda exciting that they are playing so well.

Anna Jurado

The culprit! Well one of them, Anna, she´s part of the Jurado family that did the ink prank. She likes to go with us for member present lessons.

Josh's 6-21-10 e-mail

First of all, the Lord blessed with a baptism! Her name is Griselda and she is 22 years old. She is super shy and doesn´t like reading scriptures in church! But she came, read, and was baptized. I know it's surprising that someone can be more shy than me, but she won the cake! She wrote me a note that said thank you for helping me stay on the road that leads to God. That touched my heart greatly.

This week I taught my district about having Faith in Jesus Christ and how important it is to have faith in the mission field. If you don´t mind I would like to share a few things I taught and learned myself. Faith is in every aspect of missionary work and we could say life. When we are looking for people prepared or maybe when we are raising are children. In the scriptures they are hundreds of examples of faith. The brother of Jared, Ruth, Sarah, Abraham, the four Josephs, Adam, eve, Nephi, Sam, ...hundreds! My district named many people and afterwards what were they before or are they different than us? No! We can have the same faith just the thing is to earn it. Faith brings us up when are souls are down. What is the hardest part of climbing a mountain? Well, for me the climb up, but the peak is the best. (sound familiar?) The climb is worth it. I hope this helped my district because I know it helped me.

Joke on Josh by the Jurado family

A family played a trick on me this week! Their names are the family Jurado and they are amazing. They had me and Elder Hall sit across from one of their daughters and sons. I kept following the actions of Anna, the daughter. I had a bowl of water and I couldn´t spill while mimicking her. We only had a candle for the light in the room. I kept mimicking the daughter and I couldn´t understand the purpose of the game. During the game they all started laughing and turned on the light! They took me to the bathroom and my face was covered in ink! The bottom of the bowl had ink and because I was following the example of Anna I kept touching and rubbing it all over my face. They also played another game where they put a blindfold on me and hit me with pillows. I preferred the first one.

Josh and the taxi drivers

I always end up sitting in the front and the taxi drivers are always weird-like one kept touching my knee, so I scooted all the way over to the door while everyone else was laughing in the back.

Josh gets taken to JAIL!

This week after getting done with service we were walking back to our pension and a car pulled in front of us. Well, we kept on walking, but some men got out of the car and asked to talk with us. Well we kept talking and they told us that they were the police and needed to talk with us because they had a prisoner that looked like us. We told them that we needed to go to our pension to go get our documents and afterwards we would be happy to help them. They responded that is not important we are the police, get in the car and we are going to the police station. I was so scared. We got in the car and instead of talking to somebody we signed papers, took pictures and fingerprints, and waited in the police station for three hours. During our whole adventure I kept asking myself, everything happens for a reason, why am I here? At the very end one of the workers asked at what hour we had church. He said that long ago he once went to church and now wanted to go back. Just remember everything happens for a reason even with the police!!

First baptism interviews

Well, first of all let me say I haven´t grown more than any part of my mission. Like especially when president Northcutt calls you and tells you your district needs to work harder.... That was scary!!! But growth is more than necessary, it is essential in this life. Everything will be fine, like it always is! This week I did my first two interviews for baptism. Both of them were for young men, Emanuel and Julio. Emanuel was really easy and he passed with flying colors. Julio was little different...Julio is mentally slow, but greatly wanted to be baptized. During his interview he didn´t answer any of the questions. Which kinda means I can´t pass him, but at the end of the interview I asked him to say the prayer. Julio started his prayer and ended 10 minutes later. Everything that was needed to pass he said in the prayer. He expressed his love for Christ, how he knew Joseph Smith was a prophet, how he wanted to keep the commandments...etc! Julio was able to pass, I knew he was ready at the end of our interview.

Great apartment 'mates'

Elder Labarca, in our pension, completed one year in the mission field. So wanting to congratulate him we celebrated with a cake, a number one candle, and a happy birthday princess balloon, but at 7:00 in the morning!!!

Josh's 6-14-10 e-mail

I really enjoy Alberdi, the members are great, but I know this area will be sacred to me because I feel I am growing and doing stuff that I thought was impossible, like speaking Spanish and being a leader in the mission. I still feel inadequate, but the Lord can still draw with crooked sticks.(Kimberlee B. Garrett, “Why Did the Lord Call Me?,” Ensign, Oct 2008, 22–23 I learned that the Lord enables imperfect people to work beyond their natural abilities.) Crazy how the lord can make us into people that we always thought were only in our dreams. Today we went to a mountain that has seven different colors in it. It was pretty cool and reminded me of when we lived in New Mexico. The place is called Puramarca. It was really pretty and I bought a little jar of all the different colors in it. I love you all extremly much!!!!!!!!!!!!

Josh's 6-7-10 e-mail

....drum roll....I saw members from San Pedro!!!!! The branch president's (of san pedro) wife is the daughter of a member here!!!! It was so wonderful to see her! I wonder what she thought! Elder Hall said that frequently she eats with us. It was so great! and I guess another member recognized me because one time she was at the hospital in San Pedro and saw me walk, huh? This pension is also by far the funnest, I have ever had. It is three gringos and one Latino, but we all get along wonderfully. The other two elders are Elder Labarca and elder Warndahl. Elder Warndahl is the son of Elder Labarca. I am still learning how to do everything, but we are planning for three baptisms the 19th. They are a daughter and a mom and a cousin of a family in the church. They are the family members of two young men, Samuel and Bernabie. Samuel is amazing. He volunteers to go with us! Yesterday he saw us walking and just ran up to us and went tracting with us for the entire day! They need your prayers. The daughter, Evengelica, is influenced easily by her friends of other churches, but knows the truth. The cousin is Griselda. She lives with her cousin who is professor of english. She accepts everything and has a testimony. Good times!!!!

Josh's new area-Alberdi Jujuy

Well, like I said last week I am with my brother in the mission field Elder Hall. Elder Lugo went to zone leader and afterwards went to the father role again. Elder Hall speaks great. I guess all the time Elder Lugo spoke with him in English, we made goals and for this first week we talked in Spanish for four hours every day and we will continue to move up as the transfer moves on. The weather is about the same as Tucuman and it feels like Elder Hall and me are holding the companionship together. He knows the area and where our investigators live, but lacks confidence in the language. So we are working together. If you have a Preach my Gospel I can show you the activity I did for District meeting. It is in chapter 8 and at the very end. At the end it talks about how we want to return as a missionary and stuff like that. Ahh! It is so crazy for me that I am senior companion and District Leader. I have 4 areas including my own in my district. It is not small, but not huge. We have four hermanas and four elders. Well I guess it isn´t like I am senior comp it seems like I said before equal with Elder Hall. He also is my favorite companion.

Josh's 3rd Area

I am in Jujuy and my companion is Elder Hall, he is not from Bolivia, but from Bosie! Hahahahha. He is a stud. He is so awesome and I feel so blessed to be his companion. He´s ready to work and so am I. Alberdi is extremly small compared to my other area´s in Tucucman and San Pedro. I am the district leader over four elders and two hermanas. I am still nervous, I am excited to grow though. The members are nice here. We eat lunch with them every day and the members I love working with. It sounds like I am being babied in my areas. Hahaha. Awesome members and lunch every day. We share a pension of four elders and we live in an apartment. We have chango mas in my area. Which is like an Argentine walmart.

Melanie's comment: (Anyone notice the English getting progressively worse? Great sign though!)


Nieve's baptism

The Lord blessed us with a baptism. Her name is Nieve and the baptism was very sweet and simple. In our trials all we really can do is two things, depend on our strength or depend on the Lord´s strength. I know that everything will be wonderful! It always is! Thank you so much family for your wonderful love of Jesus Christ. I know he lives without any doubt. He wants us to come unto him and we need to come unto him.

Josh's 5-31-10 E-mail

I´m leaving again. My emoitions are mixed at this time. I am excited to go to Alberdi, Jujuy, but I love Manatial. I am going to miss it so very much. Oh yeah! I am going to be senior companion and district leader and my companion is my little brother, Elder Lugo trained another missionary. I am very nervous, but I keep telling myself just to have faith and everything will be great. Saying good-bye to all the members was very difficult, I even received a couple of going away gifts. The most difficult was Carla and Miguel. I didn´t expect it, but Miguel started to cry and afterwards Carla and afterwards I started to cry. Crazy huh? That you can get so close to some people in only 4 months. I know that everything will be great. This next transfer I am going to grow, and growth is essential for this life. Growth is a blessing.

Leonardo, the clown

We had a neat experience with Leonardo this past week. He hasn´t been to church for a while, but is now planning to become fully active again. His job is a clown for parties. He had a neat experience that I would like to share with you. He was coming home from work and got robbed! He was lying on the ground when two missionaries came and put him a taxi and brought him home. He thought it was us. When he got robbed it was about 4:00 in the morning. Missionaries aren´t out at this time. I don´t know who it was. Maybe one of the three Nephites were doing splits with John.

Josh's 5-24-10 e-mail

Today we went to the zoo! Yep, the zoo! I saw tigers, lions, bears, oh my! A hippo, llama, tucan, anteater, donkey, deer, jaguar, porcupine, and many other animals! It was really fun!

Enzo, Mimi and Norma get baptized

This week (e-mail dated 5-24-10) the Lord blessed us with three people who entered the waters of baptism. The three baptisms are Enzo and Mimi (cousins) and Norma. Enzo and Mimi were baptized by their grandpa. It took their grandpa a couple times to baptize Enzo and Mimi, but in the end they were baptized.

This upcoming week we are planning for two more baptisms, Nieve and Rode. Nieve is the daughter of an less-active family and Rode is the daughter of Norma. They are both wonderful and I am really excited for them.