Monday, October 29, 2012

2 Nephi 28:30 -- Receive the Lord and you will gain little by little

Hey family!
   Wow. Another week has already passed.  This past week went by crazy fast. Rapido Loco.  I´ve adjusted really well to the food, dogs, and people here.  The food is delicious.  Especially since I´m starving everytime I eat it.  The bread is going to be the death of me here. IT IS DELICIOUS!  I need to limit the amount of bread I eat or I will look like a different person 22 months from now.  The dogs all love me.  They leave us presents outside of our home every morning.  I love it. And the people are like family now!  They are really patient with my lack of skill in Spanish.  They always encourage me to keep trying and they usually understand what I´m ¨saying¨.  And everytime we visit a member or investigator, they always offer us some sort of food.  Usually bread and drink :)
   I had my first inter change this week!  I went to Ovalle South for a day and my companion was Elder Cordoba.  He is a native speaker and it was amazing that we could actually communicate with each other!  What an amazing day it was.  Before starting the day,  we set goals to have 2 Book of Mormons given out and 1 baptism date set by the end of the day.  Our present if we accomplished the goal would be completos, which means hot dogs in English.  We found a little park and began to proselyte the area.  The first person we talked to was a 16 year old chico who knew all about Joseph Smith and Nephi. He was super excited to have run into us because he really wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon.  He said that he had read it before and loved it but then some how lost it.  What an amazing example he was to us.  His excitement and love for the Book of Mormon was overwhelming and he wasn´t even a member!  We set up an appointment and left him a copy of the book.  The next hour and a half we placed three more copies of the Book of Mormon!  Once we ate lunch we began ¨knocking doors¨.  Here in Chile you yell ¨Allo!¨ at a door instead of knocking at it.  And there are fences around every house as well.  We had no success for probably an hour.  Then we turned down one street.  There was no one walking on the street but we felt prompted to go.  The first house we came to had its gate wide open.  This never happens!  Instead of yelling, we actually got to knock on this door.  An older man and his wife let us in and we did a brief lesson over the Restoration.  By the end of it, the man was excited to here more and he accepted to be baptized on 17th of November!  The Lord knew what street we needed to turn on.  For some reason the gate to this house was open, just beckoning us in.  It was an amazing experience.  At the end of the day, we visited one of Elder Cordoba´s investigators.  We taught about The Gospel and by the end of it, the investigator accepted the baptismal challenge.  At the end of the day we had placed 6 copies of the Book of Mormon, set 2 baptismal dates, and found 2 new investigators.  A successful day all because of the Lord.  We followed His promptings and He knew best like He always does.  What an awesome day it was.  Oh and we got to end it with some delicious hot dogs.  Those hot dogs were seriously amazing!
   One more cool experience.  I was back in my own area with Elder King and we had just been finished setting an appointment with a potential investigator.  We started walking and probably ten steps down the road, we stopped and realized we had no idea where we were going.  No sooner had we stopped when a window opened from a random house in fron of us and a man yelled out to us.  He asked if we played futbol... Slightly random question, but we answered and said that we only play one day a week.  He then told us to wait for him, ran outside to us, and started asking questions about who we were and why we could only play one day a week.  This, of course, was a perfect opportunity to talk about the Gospel.  His name was Renae and he didn´t believe in God, but he was really interested in our message.  We were prompted to ask him what his purpose on earth was and this question was what caught his attention.  He said he had thought about it, but had never known the true reason.  We told him that his purpose was to return to live with God, and that if he always remembering this, his life would improve tremendously.  We gave him a pamphlet, set an appointment, and then walked away.  Yet another experience where the promptings of the Lord led us to someone who was ready to receive the Gospel in their life.  I love it.
   I only can receive letters once a transfer here. So once every six weeks.  Don´t let this stop you from writing me though because I know all of you have a strong desire to send me a letter everyday!  But the letters need to be addressed to the mission home right now. The address should be on my blog.  I don´t know if this will change when I move areas in the future but for now this is how it must be.  Family, I also enjoy emails.  But I prefer both. Tehe. SO if you want to send me a package, say for Christmas or something, it´ll need to arrive here in Chile by December 1. And since it takes forever to attach photos, I´ll probably send photos home to Merle the Squirtle every once and a while and she can send them to the family. I´ll still attach a photo every once and while, but yeah... every once and a while. 
   I love you all and pray for you!
   Elder Weidman

Monday, October 22, 2012

Alma 29:9-10 -- The Joy Investigators Receive

Hey family,

   I´m officially in Chile!  What a difference it has been here.  Let me share a few things have blown my mind. 
1. Dogs everywhere.  They all have flees and are wild.  They smell just as bad as Banjo and are about as smart as he was.  Just last night we saw a dog attack the front tire of a car when it was driving by.   But seriously, every corner we turn there are dogs.  No need to be worried for my safety.  I worked at Dog´s Day Out.  I know how to deal with these muts. 
2.  There´s only one meal a day.  And it´s a HUGE meal.  Chileans only eat lunch and they put their all into making it.  We still have snacks through out the day, but 1:30-3:00 each day is set apart for eating.  Oh and the bread here is delicious.  Delicious and fattening.  
3.  My pension (or home) is tiny.  And no air conditioning or heater.  We have a little heater that was bought sitting near our desks, but thats the only means for heat other than the shower.  It gets pretty cold during the night so I fall asleep wearing sweats and all.  LOVE IT! 
Those are the few things I´ve noticed so far.  I´m sure that I´ll notice more as I continue on.

   Now let´s go back to before I arrived in Chile.  It was really a bitter sweet experience saying goodbye to some elders from my district at the MTC.  They all have become my brothers and I will miss them.  But we are all serving for the same reason and I know the Lord will take care of them.  Driving out of the MTC was weird!  We drove a little through Provo and I saw all these places that I´d been this past summer.  Dollar Theater, Jimmy Johns, In N Out, Cafe Rio..... It was awesome to see Utah again as we were driving to the airport.  I love that I got the chance to see the SLC Temple one more time before I left.  What a beautiful buidling it is!  The airport was a really neat experience.  It was the first time that I had been out on public as an official missionary.  The name badge and suit attracted tons of attention, but not degrading attention.  Many people congatulated us and wished us luck.  I, of course,  had to get my Cafe Rio at the airport :)  While waiting in line, a random man behind us asked if he could pay for us! I was not expecting that.  He was a really nice guy.  And then of course the only table that was open was one that was right under the speakers.... I have not missed Kesha... While waiting at the gate, I had the chance to call the parents.  It was great talking to you both and I´m glad that life is going great!

   While at the Atlanta Airport, I had two really neat experiences.  The first was with a woman who was waiting for her flight to Guatemala.  I really wanted see if I learned anything at the MTC so Elder Miles and I decided to go talk to her.  It seriously took us 5 minutes to get the nerve to talk to her.  It was like talking to a girl when I was in 6th grade!  The name of the woman was Irma and she spoke both English and Spanish.  We bore out testimonies to her and gave her a pass along card.  ALL IN SPANISH!!  I realized that she was my first contact and I could not have asked for anyone better.  She was really open with us and caring.  The second experience involved a sergeant of the army.  A soldier came up to us and asked if he could buy us food.  Second time in one day! He payed for our meal and we had an awesome conversation with him.  He was a member who had gone in active and then been reactivated during his life.  I want to quote one phrase he said.  ¨You missionaries are fighting the other half of the war.  If you win your half than there is no need for me to fight my half.¨ Such an awesome and true statement!  It was great talking with all the siblings! Congratulations on all the news!

   I arrived in Chile and right away President Kahnlein put us to work.  We drove to Vina (about an 1 1/2 car ride) and then got dropped off at the ¨clock of flowers¨.  He gave us an address, two copies of The Book of Mormon, and a few pass along cards and then drove away.  The address was that of the mission home and we had to ask for directions on how to get there.  I was paired with an elder from Mexico who didn´t speak any English!  It was such a cool experience! We gave out all the copies of The Book of Mormon and after an 1 1/2 hours of walking, we made it to the mission home.  The elder I was paired taught me a lot of Spanish and I taught him a lot of English.  He was legit and I could tell he was going to be a great missionary.

   Oh I forgot to write something.  SO while we were going through customs, guess who was at the end of our same line.  Elder Oaks, his wife, Elder Bednar, and his wife!  I had no idea but Dad served in the same mission as Sister Oaks.  She got really excited when she saw my name badge and I got a picture with her and her husband.....WOW. I also got to shake hands with Elder Bednar.  And I´m sure that I looked GREAT having just woke up a mere hour earlier. 

   Elder Oaks and Elder Bednar were in Chile because they each had a mission that they were going to visit and speak with.  And guess which mission Elder Oaks went to... VINA!  I´ll talk a little about this later.  The first night in Chile was quite something.  My companion had not arrived from our area yet, so I was assigned with another missionary for the night.  Who spoke no English. Wassup! I loved that experience with him.  We talked to every single person we saw on the street.  And did it for 3 straight hours.  They went by so quickly and I could tell we were being guided by the Lord. A ton of missionaries came down to Vina the night before the devotional with Elder Oaks was.  We had 17 missionaries sleeping in this small little apartment in Vina. The next morning we arrived at the church and I finally got to meet my companion, Elder King.  He has been out for a year and a half and just got finished training a newbie.  Now he get´s another, which is uncommon but lucky for me.  Elder Oaks expained the distinction of how our church not only believes in Christ but we follow Christ.  Then he had missionaries ask him questions and he answered them through the Spirit.  Such a cool experience.

   I´m assigned to a small area in the northern portion of the mission. It´s called Ovalle and has tons of little casas stacked on hills. The ward is really welcoming as well as the people.  Most of them... But the investigators love that I´m learning Spanish and they are always encouraging me to speak.  Again there are dogs EVERYWHERE.  

   It has been a little tough adjusting to the new culture and realizing how long I´ll be here but through the Lord I have overcome this challenge and begun to love the people.  The Lord has given me comfort and I have realized that it is impossible to do this without Him.  He is my guide and light here. 

    Again it was awesome to talk with all of you!! I pray for each one of you everyday. I´ll send a follow up email with pictures in it. 

I love you all!

Elder Weidman

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alma 26:27 - Turn to the Lord for comfort

Hey family!

       What a crazily fast week it has been.  I leave for Chile tomorrow and I'm super excited to get to talk to you all!  Cafe Rio at the airport is also going to be delicious.  And of course the first time that I'll be in public as an official missionary.  What a crazy thought!

       Over my time at the MTC I have learned that patience is truly a virtue.  It is a hard attribute to gain, but it is possible through Christ and Heavenly Father.  I have realized that as I am patient that Lord will grant me blessings.  Blessings that only come from being patient.  Everything is on the Lord's timetable.  I am the means to which His timetable can be fullfilled.  Not all of it of course, but the segment of it that He needs me for.  The Lord knows all.  He knows when a certain person needs the Gospel.  The whole earth is on the timetable of the Lord. 
       I have also learned how to endure trials through patience.  The trials of Spanish, lack of sleep, home sickness, and of course the food have all been a present at the MTC. The Lord has a purpose in all things.  This thought brings me comfort. Also, the perfect example of Christ has guided me along this experience.  His pure example of love has made me become not only a better leader, but a better brother.  Both a physical and spiritual brother to all.  The Lord has provided me with comfort and I truly thank Him for that.  I would not have been able to survive these past 2 months without Him.  Now don't get me wrong, I loved the MTC!  But there are some challenging times that every missionary faces, and I realized how the Lord is always there is be your leader.  To be the most faithful companion there is. And I must be a faithful servant to Him.

       In order to have patience, you must have faith and hope.  A hope that something positive will come out of your patience. A hope that there is always a brighter future ahead. A faith that Heavenly Father is watching over you and truly loves you.  Patience is not possible without these two.

       I have also noticed the patience that others have. They are great examples to me and I strive to be like them. This has made me realize that other may be watching me.  I need to be patient.  I have no idea when someone is watching me, is looking up to me.  In Alma 17:11 it says "Ye shall be patient in long suffering and afflictions that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me."  Patience is a Christlike Attribute.  Others realize the love you have for them when you are patient for them.

        Patience for me all comes down to trusting the Lord.  Mosiah 7:18-19 has been a scripture of comfort for me this past 2 months.  We will always face trials.  It's impossible to avoid them.  But if we trust in the Lord and REJOICE then our burdens will become smaller.  He will lessen the amount of bumps that we face in life as well as lessen the size of them.  He is truly our Heavenly Father and his love unbelievable.
The city of Coppell is in my prayers.  During hard times like these, it is best to turn to the Lord. He is waiting for the prayers of His children.

        I'm also praying that the wounds BYU has received from Oregon State will be healed quickly.

I'm praying for all of you!

Elder Weidman

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Jacob 5:61 - The Lord's Call for Missionaries

Hey family!!
It has been an awesome week.  I wish I had more than thirty minutes because I don't feel like I'll be able to include everything.  Ok there are 4 things.
1.  First let me describe how the MTC reacted when President Monson announced the age change for missionaries.  Everyone was screaming and blabbering their mouthes off for 5 minutes.  Seriously though, it was slightly annoying because we couldn't hear what President Monson said those whole five minutes.  But the funny thing was that President Brown didn't do anything to calm the missionaries down.  I think he was just as excited as we were.  This announcement is so exciting!  The Lord is "hastening His work."  That puts a bigger responsibility on our part.
2.  General Conference as a whole was amazing.  First time I actually stayed awake throught the whole thing!! The main theme that I found was loyalty through preparation.  Maybe no one else saw this, but I felt that this thought was a prompting from the Spirit.  There were quite a few talks about parents preparing their children for the future.  Also there were a few talks about true conversion which I loved.  My favorite talk was President Eyering's at Priesthood Session.  Listening to his talk as a missionary really helped me realize how much I can do if I leave everything and focus on the will of the Lord. 
3.  Guess who spoke at the Sunday Night Fireside?!! CHAD LEWIS!! I got to chat with him a bit beforehand.  My companion is a huge fan so I wanted him to meet Chad.  He told me that he's gonna go golfing with dad in a few weeks. (jealousy)  We took a quick photo and then all these people started swarming him, so he had to go sit on the stand.  He recounted experiences in his life that really changed his look on things.  All of these experiences were in his book, but it was nice to listen to them again and see how they all applied to mission work. 
4.  Last and definitely not least was the Tuesday Night Devotional.  Guess who came to this.  ELDER BEDNAR!!! It was the coolest devotional I've ever been to. He taught us how he studies the words of the modern day prophets.  It's amazing to me that he shared that since he is one of the most doctrinal smart men on the world.  His study guide revolves around the doctrine taught,  the invitation said, and the promised blessings that will come from heeding the invitation.  Here are some inspiring quotes he said.
"The Lord can do His work. He can hasten His work at His own time."
"There are no assigned topics at General Conference."....."All the talks end up weaving through each other by the doctrines they teach."  To me, weaving reminds me of a rope.  The talks weave themselves into an iron rod that we "These blessings WILL come. These men all hold keys.  The blessings will come on the Lord's timetable."  I had never thought about that before but it is true.  These men of God know what they are talking about.
"We are raising the bar yet again."......
"The teachings of the apostles has influenced every aspect of my life"
It's amazing to me that each general authority practically follows the "doctrine, invitation, and blessings" path for their talks. I'm really excited to reread my notes and apply these steps to see what each general authority invites me to do.  Elder Bednar said to write down not what they invite you to do, but what the Holy Ghost invites you to do while listening to their invitation.   
Whelp there's a quick recap of this past week.  Best week so far in the mission.  BTW if you haven't heard, we're leaving 4 days early to Chile! Next Thursday!! I sent a letter to the parents with all the details about the phone call and all.  Time has seriously flown by at the MTC. I was blessed beyond measure to be at the MTC when the announcement about missionary age was told to the world.  The Lord has a reason to all things.  The bar has definitely been raised yet again.  I feel that this is a message from Heavenly Father that we need to work even harder.
Good luck this weekend BYU.  You are in my prayers. And so is the whole family. And you too Bishop Willey and Brother Callister.  Thanks for everything!
Elder Weidman

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Alma 5: 7-8 - "Their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word."

Hey family!
The time at the MTC is flying by.  It's crazy because the district that came right before me left this weekend, which means we are the next district to leave in the zone!!  Less than three weeks.  I should get my flight plans next week so I'll let you all know when I'll be at the airport so we can talk on the phone.  That will be so weird to be in public.  Not in the MTC.  The MTC is it's own little world.  It's weird that life happens outside of the MTC. In the outside world....
I tried sending pictures last week but for some reason they wouldn't send.  Dang computers.  They only thing connecting me to the outside world is always malfunctioning. 
This week I have learned the importance of trials in my life.  In Alma 13: 28 it says "pray continually that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear."  The Lord will never take away all of our temptations.  That would fulfill the plan of Satan.  Even though they are hard, temptations are vital for us preparing to meet God.  The temptations we receive are difficult but not impossible.  Heavenly Father would never allow impossible temptations to occur in our lives.  The we would succumb to Satan.  Every trial we face is from God.  He challenges us with trials out of love. He allows Satan to tempt us because He knows that we have the strength to overcome our challenges.  Heavenly Father knows that there is a way to overcome every single trial we face.  He is always there to help us.  Turn to Him for guidance.  He is waiting.  He knows what you need more than you do.  We will gain joy out of our trials if we turn to the Lord.  In 2 Nephi 2, the importance of having bad in our life is explained.  Without the evil there would be no good.  There would be no happiness.  In a way, all bad that we face in life eventually turns into good.  Turns into happiness.  We just have the see how.  That`s why we have trials in out life.  To grow. We need to put forth action in order to acheive our purpose.  There would be no work needed without the good and the bad.
I would also like to talk about the people of King Lamoni in Alma 24: 10-16.  What tremendous faith they had.  Their dedication and love to the Lord was unbelievable.  They sacrificed their lives in order to stay clean.  They would not allow blood to be spilled on their sword because it would separate them from the Holy Ghost.  They wanted to have a pure testimony before the Lord.   When they were killed, they died praising the Lord.  They died as examples.  There death was the cause of many Lamanites to be converted.  I ask myself if I would be able to do this.  Would I be willing to sacrifice my life for this work? For the Lord?  How can I know if I have that much faith?  When I read about these children of God who sacrificed their lives in order to come back into His presence, it makes me strive to follow their example.  To give my life to the Lord. To become truly converted as they had.  To have the tremendous amount of faith that they had.  I need to have the characteristics described in verse 18.  The characteristics of Christ.
Obtaining a body is the reason we came to Earth.  It's very ironic though because the body can cause us to be lazy or to strong.  It is our mind that has to take control  The mind always has to win over the body. But they must work together.  The body is an instrument of the mind.  But the mind has to be over the body.  The Spirit has to control the body for good.
I hope everything is going great!  It sounds like it. Congratulations on the kill dad.  I knew you had it in you. Marsh, I am glad that you are teaching your children to play Zelda.  You will see their minds grow as they truly discover the history of Link.
I love you all!
Elder Weidman