Sunday, September 4, 2011

Small world

Josh baptized this woman's grandmother in San Pedro.

Josh's travel plans!!!

We are so excited we can hardly sleep around here. We will only have four days with Josh before he leaves for BYU-I, but we are going to pack it full of check-ups and shopping and talking until we drop! He is flying through Dallas and is planning on visiting with Matt and Janet and kids for a while. Then he will be in Salt Lake and hopefully will get to do the same with the Knowlton and Allen families! Then home to Cedar City after about 28 hours of travelling!





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Josh's growth

As many of you know, I didn´t have very much confidence when I first started the mission. I feel that has changed. The Lord has helped me so much overcome this weakness. I sometimes still fail, but I feel the Lord has made me stronger. I have another secret! I also brought on my mission the lyrics to Go the Distance from Hercules! Hercules wanted to know who he could become and who he was. I feel I have gone the distance and I have gone to far off place. I have done things that I thought was possible all because the Lord decided to help me. I still lack, but I know I have changed into what the Lord wanted me to be. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and I am excited to still have his precence in my life when I return home

Dimas' baptism

The other elders in our branch had a baptism, but I feel like he is my convert because we taught him a few times. I guess he wanted me to baptize him, but he thought it had to be one of the elders who was teaching him. His name is Dimas and he is a stud. His girlfriend is a member of the Familia Galvez and a member of the church. They are going to get married in October. He told me how he met his girlfriend, which was interesting. He was drunk and he saw his future wife walking and told her that she was the most beautiful girl in the entire world! She kinda stared at him and told thanks for the compliment and I´ll see you later! Well, Dimas went over to the Familia Galvez´s house to drink with their son and his future wife, Deborah, was there! He went over to the table and once again told her that she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen! She stared and told him once again, Thank you. Dimas gained courage this time and asked her on date. Deborah´s reply was, I don´t date drunk men, when you are sober I will go on a date with you.¨ The next week Dimas was walking home from work and who did he see in the plaza? He wasn´t drunk, so he went and asked Deborah on a date and that is where the story starts. He isn´t fat, but he´s bigger. There weren´t any pants to fit him so he had to wear a tunic.....but what is important is that he was baptized! He is such a good guy and he has grown to be a wonderful friend!

Time to Say Good-bye

When I came home from college I was nervous about the mission. I was about to leave my family and I was about to start a new adventure. I remebered a song that I enjoyed by Andrea Brochelli and Michelle Brightman and before I left I listened to it frequently. There are points at our life when we have to say goodbye because we just have to. God has different plans and we are in his hands. I enjoyed the song , ¨Time to Say Goodbye¨ so much I printed it off and brought it with me on the mission field! I brought to the Cyber today to write the lyrics. They are in English because I don´t know Italian! These are the lyrics.

When I'm alone I dream of the horizon and words fail me.
There is no light in a room where there is no sun
and there is no sun if you're not here with me, with me.
From every window unfurls my heart the heart that you have won.
Into me you've poured the light,
the light that you found by the side of the road.

Time to say goodbye.
Places that I've never seen or experienced with you.
Now I shall, I'll sail with you upon ships across the seas,
seas that exist no more,
it's time to say goodbye.

Andrea Bocelli
When you're far away I dream of the horizon and words fail me.
And of course I know that you're with me, with me.
You, my moon, you are with me.
My sun, you're here with me with me, with me, with me.

Time to say goodbye.
Places that I've never seen or experienced with you.
Now I shall, I'll sail with you upon ships across the seas,
seas that exist no more,

I'll revive them with you.
I'll go with you upon ships across the seas,
seas that exist no more,
I'll revive them with you.
I'll go with you.
You and me.

know it´s romantic! But honestly I have grown to love these Argentines that robbed my camera. This week is a goodbye week and next week is seeing you. I am on the final countdown. My last 10 days. My two year adventure is finished and I am now about to start another adventure. The mission wasn´t a sacrifice, but a blessing. I didn´t serve my mission for my family or for myself, I served a mission for Jesus Christ. What a amazing I have had to be able to serve him. I truly do love him. When I was little I never thought that my mission would arrived and during my mission I never thought I would go home! haha. What a wonderful crazy life we have!

Josh's 8-29-11 E-mail

My beloved family! and my beloved friends! Can you believe I am coming home to your arms in a few days? I cannot believe it ether and I am so greatful to have been able to have your support the past two years of my life. I don´t feel like I have been gone for so long. Mabye for you it is a different story. I honestly feel I have changed, not for the worst, but for the better. This next week should be fun, exciting, weird, and sad. I believe only in the mission field, one can expirience all these different feelings at the same time. I cannot describe my feelings that I am able to see you in a few days and I cannot describe my feelings that I am leaving another family. I will do my best to stay in contact with them and with you!

Josh's 8-22-11 E-mail

We had interviews with President Levrino ( I will have one more!) It went well. He is such a nice man and I know I would have enjoyed more time with him, but I guess the Lord wanted two months. I decided to send pictures to families and converts during my entire mission. It was a semi-good idea. I wrote on all the pictures today and it brought back a waterfall of memories, from the begging of my mission! From the MTC until now! I was awestruck and couldn´t believe that two years had passed by! I honestly cannot believe it! I still feel like a little kid, not a ex-missionary! What a wonderful adventure it has been. Serving people for two years, what other greater blessing could one ask for? I cannot think of one! The mission has been the best desicion of my entire life!!!! I remember when I would sing in primary I hope they call me on a mission. Well I guess my hope got completed! My heart aches! Yesterday is the Sunday dedicated to missionaries. We have to assign people to talk or we have to talk. Well, I decided to talk since it would be my last time to give a talk in the branch. I decided to talk about the importance of a example. A example is how we express our testimony. More people have been converted through examples and not through knocking doors. Being a good example is not just important, but vital in our lives. If we live the gospel, we won´t even need to try to be a example, we will be one without trying. Moroni was a example because he stood alone when it was hard. He still stands alone, showing his example to the entire world on top of temples. I shared many other examples and stories, but at the end of the talk the time came to share my testimony. I was even planning on out, but I started to cry! I felt so foolish! haha. It wasn´t rain tears ether, but it was like a river! It just really hit me how much I have grown to love the people of Argentina. I have given my heart to them! and now my heart has to leave! I love you so much family and friend and I truly am excited to see you. I am so greatful I can live with everyone in heaven if we obey the commandments. I am not planning on it, but I imagine I will shed a few more tears before I leave. I guess that´s a good thing! hahaha

Miguel's baptism

Can you believe you will see my little face once again in two weeks? The members remind me of it every day! Let me tell you about my week....ready?
First, WE HAD A BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His name is Miguel Soruco and it was awesome! He was so excited. Miguel was somewhat progressing, but a few weeks ago we went to his house and he said, hey elders...umm....I want to be baptized! We agreed and he was baptized! Elder Galvez baptized him and Miguel came out of the water and said in a very loud voice that everyone heard, ¨WOW! THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!! Can we do it again???¨ hahaha. I had the blessing of giving him the holy ghost which was a wonderful blessing. He was so excited! I hope he will stay firm. The Lord truly did bless us and God truly does love his baptism.

Magi's Baptism

Margarita Isabel Molina was baptized this week!!!!!! It was so amazing! Her family came except for her Dad, but her joy was immense because her brother, sister, and Mom came to her baptism. Her brother and sister were excited about the piano in the church building because they are learning how to play! Franco Lujan the member that introduced her to the gospel and the branch president in close by town baptized her. Her tunic was huge! She is skinny! She looked like she was being drowned! Many members came so we didnt have space in the baptismal room and we had to go to the sacrament meeting room to have the talks and songs. While everybody was changing we watched the restoration the pull down screen! It was great and the spirit was present! I hope Magi and Franco will do other covenants in the future. Well, I love you and care about you! I am praying for you and I hope all is well! Remember that God loves you!


Josh's 8-15-11 E-mail

HI FAMILY AND FRINEDS!!!!!!! THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS! THEY HELPED! I feel so much better now! I woke up and I had a fever, my body hurt, I was dehydrated and I just did not feel well. Every day passed and every day I felt better. It taught me a important lesson! I made me think about repentance. When our sins bother us we want to change and repent, but it is easier to just do it and not procastinate our repenting process. I proabably should have watched my body better and done other things to become better. Repentace frequently can be hard, but it is worth it! We feel better in the end! Leaving our sins is like leaving food in the fridge to rot! It´s just gross and we wouldn´t do it if it knew what a problem it would be!

Josh's 8-7-11 E-mail

I am not feeling do good right I don´t know how long this letter is going to be.... :) Well, I guess the biggest piece of news is Magi is going to be baptized this saturday! She is so excited and so are we! Well, like I said, I don´t feel well....i love you until next week! If you could say a litttle prayer for me!

Melanie's comment: I got on to e-mail Josh on Monday morning instead of Sunday night and to my surprise he was 'on'. So we e-mailed back and forth and he never mentioned that he felt ill. Then later in the afternoon he e-mailed this note and my heart sunk. That was the last we heard until the next week. I really tried not to worry, but my mind came up with all kinds of scenerios. Of course, I took comfort in the fact that no one from the mission called me, so I knew 'no news was good news'.

Miguel Socorro

Miguel Socorro is a good guy, just when you first met him he is interesting….Our lessons before have been different. During one lesson, he agreed to be baptized at the beginning and at the end he refused to be baptized and called himself a child of the devil. That was crazy lesson! We have been working with him since the first week I came here. He surprised and came to churched and stayed the entire time! He also is reading the Book of Mormon and is in Second Nephi. He shocked us in our last lesson! We came, we started with a prayed, and Miguel surprised us by telling us a experience! He was laying in his bed and was just thinking about church and what we were teaching him, when he felt he should be baptized! When he told me this, I was just smiling! He received an answer! Miguel wants to be baptized! We are hoping for the 13th of August or if not the 20th! The Lord loves us so much and loves to bless us!!!

Franco and his pet pig, Juana

We were looking for less actives this week and we found Franco. Franco is a stud! He is ten, but is super smart! He loves English and his Dad is a member. His best friend is a member of the church. Luckily this family is active and Franco came with them this past Sunday to Church. Franco has a powerful spirit! I imagine him one day serving a mission! He also has a pet pig named Juana, who likes to scream if you pick her up….Franco should be baptized the 20th of August. Our goal is his entire can become active or baptized. Franco is the oldest! He has a sister that is 7 named Olivia, and a brother named Moses, who is 4. I am so grateful we were guided to Franco. The Lord wants Franco to be baptized and become active in the church.

Magi's progress

Magi is so excited to be baptized! She had a wonderful experience with prayer! She had to a test this week and was so nervous because it was her hardest subject in school! She was worried and she decided to say a prayer to be calm and to be able to take her test well! She got to school and found out it was oral test and not a handwritten test! This made her even more worried and started to pray even more! She had studied a great deal knowing that prayer without works is dead! In the end her group was the only group to pass! Magi knew that it wasn´t luck, but that she had received God´s help. Magi is also starting to be a missionary! She brought her Mom to church! Her Mom is a die-heart catholic, but she brought her anyways! Asking what Zodiac sign you are is a fairly common question here and Magi´s Mom asked me what sign I was. Thanks to my time in Argentina, I knew that I was Cancer which is crab. Magi´s Mom gasped and replied, ¨ CANCER! OHh!!! Cancer are the most wonderful people and the most nice and….she just kept going on! Apparently she really believes in the signs! She gained confidence in me quickly because I am from Cancer! She liked church and hopefully will bring her family next week to church!

Josh's last transfer-staying put!

This morning I got up at 1 oclock in the morning because a missionary went home! We had to stay with his companion. It was kinda funny because we went in our PJ´s…Our leaders gave us permission because we woke up so early! A few people gave us a few funny looks, but that´s normal! It was so insane and the other missionaries there commented on that I was part of the oldest group in the entire mission and that I was the next to die. We had transfers and I am staying with Elder Galvez! I am so happy! I love this area and he is such a great friend! Well, I love you!

Friend Day!

July 20th ,at least in Argentina, is friend day and the branch had a activity to celebrated friend day. It was so funny! My stomach hurt so badly at the end of the activity. They played sherads, but on one side where almost all the young women and the other side was the the older members of the church, with a few young people which saved their team! They had to act out movie titles and they were screaming so loudly!!! That´s why I was laughing so hard! They got so intense in the game, that there were no other distractions. Just the game and trying to win. The winning team got pizza first which gave excitement to both teams, so both tried harder!

Magi's story

Magarita is a tender mercy from the Lord and let me tell you why! This week we recieved a reference from a branch president who presides in another area. His close, ;), friend Magarita wants to know about the church. Not because of her close friend, but because she has a sincere interest to know the truth. We met with her Thursday and I was left in shock! She knows everything and believes everything! Her friend recently got back from the temple trip and brought her a triple and she is reading with him! They have read until 1 Nephi 17 since Thursday. She prayed, she recieved a answer, she knows the church is true and she knows she should be baptized. She comments everytime that she feels happier when we are talking. When we are not with her, the branch president is helping her along the way. She very likely could be my last baptism i have in my entire mission! Magi has a easiness to believe and loves to believe it! Her testimony is solid and she hasn´t even been baptized yet! The Lord truly does love you and cares for us. I don´t feel like I am teaching Magarita, but that she was prepared to recieve the gospel. She probably is the most prepared person I have recognized in my entire mission!

The Barbershop Man

I would like to tell you about the barbershop man. He absoutley loves his work!!! He has been working as a barber since he was 16 and he is now 56! According to him his entire family knows how to cut hair, but not all work in a barbershop. You have to have love and you have to have the gift to cut hair. He loves his work because he loves his customers. He uses his gifts to help others. Now Mr. Barber cut my hair today and told me this analogy from his life. God I believe is in agreement! Every person has a gift from God, but not all know what are their gifts. For example, I am not sure what my gifts are! But I have faith when I return, I will fast and found out what my gifts are. Bruce R. Mckonkie give this suggestion. Gifts should be part of our work. Gifts are to bless others. If you dont know what your gifts are, dont feel bad! Just be glad! Have confidence you have gifts and in one way or another God will show you what they are because he loves you!

Josh's 7-25-11 E-mail

Thank you so much for all your birthday wishes, that is the best gift I could have asked for! I love you!

The branch president had a surprise birthday party for me…and like last year, they once again smashed something in my face. This time instead of being eggs and flour, it was cake! Luckily the cake tasted good, so it wasn´t a problem! Haha. One family in the branch gave me a wonderful gift! They wrote me a note and just put it inside a picture frame. It was so simple, but meaningful because they were willing to sacrifice their time to do it!

Salta,Argentina New Mission President!

We talked to our new mission president this week! President Levrino! He is such a stud and I love the way he teaches. He is so excited to be here in Salta with us! The Lord sent him and called him. He has five children, served a mission and was a the director of institute where he lived before. He talked about our importance as missionaries and how we are the only people in the entire world whose work is in the work of the Lord. He shared with us that not even President Monson can do this because he has to watch after his wife who is ill at this moment. Not to critize President Monson in any way! President Monson is the prophet and I am just a missionary. I love you so much and thank you for everything!

Temple Trip Testimonies

The temple crew came back and a few were invited to share their testimonies. They were so simple and loving. Let me share a few of things they said and that I wrote done. First, Tatiana Cejas ( her Dad is the branch president), ¨ I have gone to the temple before and I have seen the outside, but I never went in. I went in and i feel different now. I want to go back.¨ Second, Maria Figurora, After the temple we had a testimony meeting on Thursday night and I didn´t want to go back! We suffered so much to get back and we just didn´t want to leave. I love the temple. Third, Noelia Romero ¨, When I was baptized, my goal was to go to the temple and be baptized for my Mom. I was baptized for her!!! When we had our testimony meeting, I had the impresion she had accepted the gospel and was happy and one day we can live together once again. ( Noelia is only 19 and her mom day when she was 12) There were many more testimonies, but the spirit was present. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to speak! I spoke on the importance of our callings. I commented how everyone has a calling because we are members of the church. We promised when we were baptized to help those who cried and to lift up their spirit! Everyone has a calling. I knew that the spirit helped me and that the Lord was merciful to help me. How loving the Lord is!

Gareka FHE

I have talked about the Familia Gareka before, but we learned something new this week! We have gone over to their house to have Family Home Evening every week since I have been here to help them, we just didn’t know how much we helped. This past Thursday when we went they were kinda discouraged, but I have learned when we talk about the gospel we feel happier because we feel the spirit. So we played a game to show the importance of the spirit. We finished and the parents were just staring at me! The hermana then said she was so greatful for family home evening. Since the beginning of the year they have had some trials that were unexpected. They had been fighting in their home and had not felt a sense of unity. The hermana had talked with the Branch President and he asked if they were doing the FHE and they had not been doing. My first week here we ate lunch with them and we asked if we could do anything …the hermana realized this was the answer to her prayer and asked us to do a family home evening with them. Ever since we have been doing it with them, they have been happier, more loving, and more positive. The gospel changes lives and makes us happier! The gospel is simple, but has eternal consequences. We are not just playing Monopoly!

Elder Joshua Alton Dustin
Go the Distance

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Tartagal trip to the temple

This week is vacation week for Tartagal! The members excited for their break, decided to go to the temple! It is so exciting! For many this is the first time that they will go! Some will go for baptisms, others to get sealed as a family and the majority has a name or two to do the work for an ancestor! What a wonderful service! 100 people went to the temple for their vacation! They filled two buses. Every Saturday we eat with the District President and he was worried because they still had not found all the hotel rooms. I just looked at him and smiled and told him everything will be alright. He looked at me kinda weird and then his wife said, you are right, everything will be alright! It reminded me when I was at home with Mom and she would be worried about something and I would say everything will be alright. It´s true! If we are obedient, everything will be alright!

Josh's 7-11-11 E-mail

This week was good, still scary, but we are being more cautious and thank you so much for your beautiful prayers. A speaker in sacrament meeting said something that shocked me! She was sharing her testimony and said, ¨the missionaries are the angels of God.¨ So just think that you are a angel for somebody else and you do not even know it!!! You are fabulous!

Well, this week I received a wonderful surprise! I received your letters that you made at Bridget’s wedding!!! I have to say it is one of the most wonderful gifts I have ever received in my entire life. They are from the heart and they made me laugh and smile. Thank you for sacrificing your time and that you were willing to write me those cards! Thank you also for the little Book of Mormon. It is pocket size and I hope it will endure for a long time! I just love the Book of Mormon so much!

Josh's 7-4-11 E-mail-Robbery!

Well, this week was scary. We were walking to a family home evening and this kid starting calling out names at us. This is not weird, but normal. We kept walking fastly and we had a safe distance away from him. But this punk came down to us and he had a knife. He asked for our cell phone, but we didnt have one. He didnt believe us so he searched our pockets and took 20 pesos from my companion and he took my camera. That evening we had a family home evening with a family and that is why I was carrying it. I never carry it, it just was that day and at that time. The pathetic thing was when it happened. It was at 6 oclock in the afternoon! The sun was up! Their were also people watching and all they did was watch. During this entire week we have been extremly nervous when night time arrives. We were careful before and now I feel like a deer in the headlights! hahaha. Thank you so much for your prayers and faith. Your prayers were answered and thank you for praying. A camera is not worth two lives, but i am still sorry i lost it.... I feel really bad about that.