Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm Home

Elder Boyce arrived home June 16, 2011 after a long plane ride from Uruguay to Sacramento, CA. His family was there at the airport to greet him and welcome him. He has grown so much and had the experience of a life-time serving the Lord. We know he will miss Uruguay and the people he came to love.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Knockin Off My Best Two Years

Hola from Montevideo. I had to come to have an interview with President Da Silva. We are waiting to head back to La Paloma, and will be heading back tomorrow morning after saying goodbye to a few people. These past few weeks have been I think some of the most challenging and emotionally stressful for me, but the Lord has really blessed us. I am so happy and content right now. I know I have done my best and have given my all. I love Uruguay and I know that this is the work of the Lord.
We had an AMAZING zone conference this past week. It was with three zones. Trienta y Tres, Rocha, and Melo. The same church building where I had my first zone conference with Elder Bowen of the Seventy. This time Elder Foster came, one of the counselors in the area presidency. He complemented the mission on the amazing progress it has had over the past years, and talked a lot about who we are and that Our Heavenly Father KNOWS us by our own name. He shared a very tender story about a man named Joseph Millet. I encourage you to look it up. It brought tears to my eyes. He talked about a day when the work will progress so much that the members will be doing the mission work, and the missionaries will simply teach. It was quite the meeting.
Although we weren’t able to get another baptism in La Paloma, we continue to progress in the area. We are no longer allowed to use bikes in the mission. A missionary had quite a spill and in another mission, I guess there was a fatal accident. Sooo..... no more bikes. That makes things a little interesting for La Paloma. Oh well, Elder Castillo will surely adapt. We already have begun to do so. Angel is doing great. His wife RenĂ© has started to come back to church again. That was a great miracle. She wants to get baptized, but she is elderly and wants to wait till the warmer weather comes..... figures..... :) It’s alright. We continue to be patient with her and we have been finding a few other families to teach. We met this family Rudy and Rosario. (Great name right?) They are pretty great people. They have been planning to come to church these past few weeks but there is always something that impedes them. Their family has been in town. They said next week for sure they will be coming. I hope so. That would be great to have another family coming to the branch.
Well, I think I am starting to see that the work will just go on without me. I was thinking a lot that I’m really just being called off to another place to serve the Lord. Even though I know that I will never again be able to serve in this capacity, you never know... I can still serve just as faithfully and willingly. This mission really has been the best two years of my life. I have never sacrificed more for anything in my whole life. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.
I am looking forward to seeing you all again, and I have really come to see the things that REALLY are important. I have changed so very much, but more importantly I am so happy to have helped other people to change as well. I testify that Christ loves us. Our Heavenly Father listens to and answers our prayers. HE loves us. I know it. I know they answered the prayer of a fourteen year old boy in 1820. I love them. I love you all. See you on Thursday, but until then, as always, KEEP THE FAITH!
Love your son and missionary,
Elder Boyce

Monday, June 6, 2011

Yo amo a Uruguay

June 6, 2011

Well, what you said Dad pretty much sums up all of the feelings I’ve had over the past few days. Its been mixed emotions and I’ve felt a couple of things that I wish I had done better and such, but then I realized that I really have been trying my best. I have learned so much, and I know I still have much to learn. But, I need to go where the Lord wants me to go. I still got a week left! I know its not over quite yet. I still have work left to do here before I get on that plane. I hope to tell you about it! This past week was filled with a couple of slumps, but lots of learning experiences. No matter how much it happens, it’s always frustrating when the difficulties come. We have a couple of investigators that are doing pretty well, only it’s really hard to get a hold of them. We’ve been trying to work with the members as well, but it’s going to take time and patience. I hope Elder Castillo or whomever the Lord calls here next change will carry forward with that. We’ve seen a few miracles with some of the members as well. The other week, we visited a sister Adriana Cardoso. She was going inactive, and felt the difference in her life when she didn’t go to church. We had a REALLY spiritual lesson with her, and her family has slowly but surely been following her example. She has started to come back to church and was recently called as the Relief Society Secretary. She is really excited and wants to keep moving forward. It felt really neat to have been able to help in a small way. I know the Lord sends us where He needs us, even if we aren’t sure if it is the right place. I love Uruguay. I love the people. They are really special, and the members struggle against difficult trials, but still hold on as hard as they can to the iron rod. I am so happy to have the Gospel. I am so grateful to our Savior who made it possible to return to live with God again. Without Him, life would be utterly meaningless.

The Great Cause

May 30, 2011

Well, it’s been a few weeks since we got into this new house. It’s all going fine. The work now moves forward unhindered by the annoyances of where to sleep. As the Savior put it, ¨Consider the lilies of the field.¨ Anyways, we just keep working hard. Elder Castillo has really grown a whole lot and has a lot more self confidence. He teaches with a lot of confidence and we work really well together. He’s going to do so well. I’m really proud of him. The past few weeks have been full of trials as well, but nothing more than the usual. Just trying to help people come to Christ and be baptized. I love doing this. I really feel that I have a lot more love for the people and for others in general. I find myself setting more goals to think about myself less and think about others more. I firmly believe now that this is the key to true happiness. I had to give a gospel doctrine class on charity. It was really insightful and as I read over the manual, one of my favorite scriptures on charity came to mind. I probably have already shared it with you numerous times, but I love it so much. 1 Corinthians 13. And Moroni 7. Charity is the source of all we do as disciples of Jesus Christ. We must become perfected in Him and develop this unique and universal attribute. Once, I remember Elder Bednar state that the gospel is not just a check list of things to do, but rather an overarching spiritual question which there are steps we must take all leading to one goal. I hope I can develop even a fraction of the charity that I’ve seen in others in my life and my time here as a missionary. We also had the opportunity of watching the video of Thomas S. Monson, On the Lord’s Errand. It really led the theme of charity. He is another great example of what it means to serve the Lord and serve others. These past few weeks have been really insightful. I’ve pondered a lot over what I’ve been able to do these past two years, and I realize I’ve changed more than I even realize. I know that that’s not as important though as the people that the Lord has allowed me to meet and help to follow Christ. Once again, I testify that this is the work of the master. There is NO greater cause and no greater wonder on the face of the earth that compares to His mighty saving grace. I love Him. I know He loves us. Thank you for teaching me that.

All Moved In

May 23, 2011

Another week flown by. We FINALLY were able to move into the new house and are still getting it accommodated and ready for the future missionaries. It’s really nice! We were just cleaning today and trying to figure out how we are going to get the washing machine to work. (Thanks Elder and Sister Hegerhorst for leaving that behind!) It’s a real challenge, especially for one who is used to having the plumbing built INTO the walls. Ha-ha! Anyways, we’re all settled in and working hard. My companion got to go to his first future leadership conference in Montevideo. I got to work in Rocha for a day with someone else’s companion. It was really strange not having to go. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to be a leader and really see how the Lord’s work moved forward. I hope my companion has the same opportunity! This week, we have been focusing on finding people to teach. One night, making phone calls, I came across the phone number of a person who lives WAY out in another part of our area miles from the church. Her name is Isabel, and she has 10 children. Some of them are already grown. We have only really met 6 of them or so. They are a wonderful family. The only issue... how they can get to church.... They expressed desires to be baptized. They had listened to the missionaries before, but I think they stopped visiting them for the same reasons. We will have to pray about them and see what happens. They love to read the Book of Mormon. Also, we’ve found a few other people. Angel is doing GREAT! He is coming to church strong, but is a little nervous about receiving the Aaronic Priesthood. We talked to him about it and he wants to wait a little longer and learn a little bit more.Last Sunday, a few people who had been less active came to church. It was the first Sunday without the Hegerhorsts and the members were a little sad, but President Cal is a great guy and really has a desire to do all he can to help the branch. There are about 30 or so who go constantly, and it continues to grow. I love this area. It has had some interesting challenges and distractions, as have all my areas, but it has helped me to know many wonderful people and develop more charity. I love this work. I know it is the Lord’s work. I love you all. Needless to say, I have been a little antsy about the coming weeks. I really don’t want to be done, but I know it has to be done. I love baptism. I love the Gospel. I love my Savior. Have a great week, and thank you so much for your prayers and support.As always, KEEP THE FAITH!

Pondering the Atonement

May 16, 2011

Thank you for letting me know how things are going. It really makes me so happy to know that all is well and that the Lord is taking such great care of you all. I have been thinking a lot about that today. I was studying in personal study a little bit about the atonement and thinking about how I can better teach the eternal importance of that singular act. I was reading in Jesus the Christ. It just strikes me how Talmage describes the emotions that Christ must have been feeling at that moment. It really made me ponder and think about it for a moment. It wasn’t just an act that let us come back to live with our Father in Heaven. It was the supreme act of love ever to take place. I love thinking about the effects it has had on countless lives. As Talmage puts it, it is unfathomable to the human understanding the fullness of His suffering and the far reaching effects it has on all of us. Just something I was pondering. I love Him. Today we had to pull some strings to store some of our stuff in the new house. We can’t move in until all the owners of the new house have signed the contract. There are some that are in Montevideo. It’s a long story.... ANYWAYS... we at least got to have them agree to let us keep our furniture there. We are going to be living in a little house a member usually rents for a few days until the contract gets signed. The Hegerhorst´s are leaving Wednesday morning, so we had to get out now. It’s all resolved though. Thank goodness! The work has hit a few little bumps, but we are moving forward. Its normal and we just keep going. Angel is doing great. Rene has slowed down a bit. She came to a baptism that other missionaries had in Rocha. We went and she felt nice, but there is still something holding her back. Well, we are just going to have patience and let the Lord do His part and just keep helping Angel. She’ll come around.

Awesome Members

May 9, 2011

It was great to get to talk to you. It was really strange and it really left me thinking about how fast time has flown by. I still have much to do before, well, yeah.... It’s just so hard to think about it. I really am so happy to be here in this branch. The members are so awesome. The majority of them are single or widowed women. They are all so special and the majority of them are members of just a few years. Some are what you would call ¨veterans¨ or Pioneers. But, most of them have been around a short time. One of the people not in the picture of the branch is Ruben Bica. He has a constant battle with diabetes, and as a result of it, every wound he gets takes a long time to heal. He had both his legs amputated thanks to just a few little wounds that wouldn’t cause problems to anyone else that wasn’t in his position. This happened a while back. He is our Elder’s Quorum President and just has the strongest testimony of the church. He is also a convert of just a few years. He is quite an inspiration. He had to go to the hospital to get a little more of his leg amputated due to another wound he received. He always has really high spirits and is someone I definitely will never forget. One of the many here in Uruguay... The baptism went, well half great! We are still super pumped for Angel. He was confirmed yesterday in church and was accompanied in church by his wife RenĂ©. Hopefully she will come along. She is really sweet, but sometimes she can forget a little bit or she gets a little nervous. I hope we can help her understand the Love that Heavenly Father has for her. We will be visiting her tonight with the Relief Society President Lillian Curbelo. I have been thinking a lot about how my testimony has grown about the gospel and how we should never be ashamed or scared about the things we know to be true. Sometimes as a missionary, it gets pretty easy to get shy and not share your full testimony. Sometimes people reject it and no matter how many times it happens, it still hurts. Its like you wrap up a present to give someone, and they just throw it on the ground. Even if that’s not their intention. We just need to be patient and love others and understand that we are all different. The Lord prepares us to hear His word. There are many in the world who do not want to hear, but I know that if we pray for them and do our part to be an example and love them and extend Christ like love to all, the Lord will work miracles in many many people. Just because we don’t wear the title Elder doesn’t mean we are not a representative of Jesus Christ. I love the Hymn Love One Another. It really typifies the essence of all we do as Disciples of Christ. Just some thoughts....