Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Biking it and Liking it

March 28, 2011 Well, here I am in La Paloma. Its been quite an interesting week! One of lots of growth and trust in the Lord as always, but we are super positive. There is lots of work to be done, but I´m SUPER excited! La Paloma is pretty much like a Hawaiian beach town. There are about 60 members on the records and about 30 to 35 that regularly attend. We meet in a little house that the Church rents. It even has a little sign on it. The baptismal font is in the closest church in Rocha 30 minutes away or on the beach. Needless to say its a pretty interesting place. I love it of course! My oro is Elder Castillo. If you haven´t noticed, he has the same name as my trainer. However, he´s NOT from California he´s from Peru. The majority of the members are widows. The branch president is Elder Hegerhorst. He and his wife are serving a senior couples mission. We live with them for now. They are finishing their mission this coming month. So we´ll see what happens. We have to find a new apartment to live in! Oh well, its surely an adventure! The place is really calm. During the winter months, the town pretty much shuts down except for the people that live there. They pretty much make their living in the summer then close shop. They live off of tourists. There are about 5,000 people during the winter months, and 50,000 during summer. We´ve found some people to teach and we hope will progress. The Hegerhorst´s don´t know too much Spanish so I get to help them out. They are really sweet and have grown a whole lot here. I can´t imagine how difficult a job it must be to serve a mission in that way! This last week, we just tried to get to work and do as much as we could. Even though few people live here, the area is HUGE!!!!! I got so confused. Luckily Elder Hegerhorst was able to take us around to visit a lot of the members and to show us the area. We now feel a WHOLE lot more comfortable in the area. We even have bikes! My companion is an awesome hard worker. He´s from Lima. He´s a great sport about everything and is teaching me a whole lot, despite the fact that I´m his trainer. He´s got this down already. I´m so excited for what the coming weeks hold in store. I´m super excited for General Conference this Sunday. We will be watching it from the district center in Rocha. I am so thankful for this glorious gospel. It is such a great blessing to know that Heavenly Father lives. That He loves us. That Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins, and that He has a living prophet on the earth today. p.s. CONGRATS ON YOUR MISSION CALLS MITCH AND SARAH!!!!! The mission is the best experience you will have ever had up to this point in your life. Enjoy every moment of it!

Off to La Paloma

March 21, 2011 Well, my time here in Barrio 13 in Montevideo has come to an end. I have really grown attached to this area and have grown to love so very much all of the members and investigators. Its going to be super hard to leave. Thankfully I was a little prepared to leave. I was finishing my fourth transfer here. Elder Luke and I have had some awesome faith promoting experiences. I have grown to love the missionaries with whom I´ve served. I loved this area so much. The members gave me a cool t-shirt to remember the area. They were so gracious and were thankful for the work we had been doing. It just filled my soul with a sense of gratitude and love for this work. It is the Lord's work, and when we do it His way, we feel His love fill our souls. Graciela´s baptism turned out really nicely. Though as always there was a little bit of opposition. The pump to take out water got clogged as we were cleaning the font. Luckily some hermanos were there to help us out. I had to get my feet a little wet and take some gunk out of the filter, but it all worked out and we got it filled. Hot water and all! I got to perform the baptism. She is elderly, needless to say I was a little nervous. But we took it really nice and slow and it went perfect. Thankfully we only had to do it once. She came to church on her own again yesterday. She is really happy and the members are taking her in. That's been one of the best things about this ward. Everyone is really nice and willing to talk to new people. They have come up to us and have noticed that lots of new people have been coming to church. Sometimes its hard to get them to come constantly, but we are making progress on that part. We have a few baptisms lined up for the coming month. The Mother of a recent convert named Marta, and this woman we met named Maria de los Angeles. She came to church on Sunday and we will be working to help her read and pray. However, that will be stuff for Elder Luke. I'M OFF! Its sad, but I gotta accept it. I'm just happy I´ve been able to stay in all of my areas for so long! I´m heading off to a little tourist town called La Paloma right on the Atlantic coast of Uruguay. I've heard it has a teeny tiny little branch. I'm so excited.To top it all off, I'M TRAINING!!!!!! a new Elder. I get a little orito! I´ll find out who he is tomorrow. I´m so happy and blessed. I am so excited to make these next few months the best experience. I know that if we do our part and trust in the Lord, he will ALWAYS keep His promises. I love you all! Have a great week and KEEP THE FAITH!!!!Love your son and missionary,Elder BoyceK.C.

This is the work of the Lord

March 14, 2011 Glad to hear that all is well at home. I received a letter from the Stake Presidency this week. It was a wonderful reminder to me that you all support me and this work. Once again, thank you for all your prayers. They really do help and sustain me. I know the Lord blesses us all so very much if we keep His commandments and follow His direction. This week was filled with great experiences, many of which humbled me HARD! One experience in particular I think was one of the most humbling if not THE most humbling experiences I have ever experienced. My companion and I learned a whole lot. I would like to tell you about it in person because it was kind of personal and special, but I have it written down in my journal. I would like to tell you about it some day. Just know that it REALLY humbled me and reminded me that this is the work of the LORD. We depend completely and wholly on Him and His influence in the lives of others. I will tell you of another experience though. This Saturday we had a huge rainstorm that of course SOAKED us! Haha! I love it! Nothing beats getting everything wet, of course our scriptures and pamphlets were in plastic bags. Anyways, it made things a little chilly and complicated for a couple of investigators to get to church. However, Graciela, this elderly woman we´ve been teaching, was set on coming and getting baptized this coming Friday. First off, the brother who was going to help us pick her up slept in and didn´t come to church in time to take her. We called her and she said, ¨It doesn´t matter. I´ll just walk.¨ We went to go meet her, and she just walked all the way to church! She got on for a little bus ride and made it. We met her on the way, but she was just determined and wanted to get there. She is really excited for her baptism and has made a few friends in the ward. She has a few neighbors that are members that have been visiting her with us to teach. Its amazing how much she just accepts what we teach her! Where there is a willing heart, the Lord pours out His blessings. That is what I´ve really been relearning lately. The Lord truly knows our hearts. He knows what we really want, or if we really desire something of Him. Graciela will be baptized this Friday. I´m so excited for her! On the other hand, our other investigators are hanging in there. We are doing all we can to help them develop similar faith, but we are all different and have different experiences. We will see this coming week who we will be able to keep teaching and maybe a few people we will have to leave for a while. A couple of people like Richard and Grisel fell into old habits, but we just can´t lose faith in them. Maybe now they wont get baptized, but the Lord knows them and will take care of them. We just have to keep going and finding those people who the Lord has prepared.One of the members of the Stake High Council spoke on Sunday. He spoke of missionary work and what each of us can do as members to open our mouths and just share the simple message of the gospel with others. He shared a couple of personal experiences that really touched me and helped me to realize that this time out here is almost like a boot camp for future opportunities. I know it will never be the same as always focusing completely, but I know that if I´m always willing and prepared to share the Gospel, the Lord will always offer me the opportunity. Also, another AWESOME thing happened in church. Brian Medeiro, our recent convert that got baptized in February, a young man, gave an AWESOME talk in church! He just looked so much like a missionary. He was so confident and has learned so much! His family was so excited and so were the members! It made me feel so happy to have been a part of his conversion. I went up and gave him a big hug after the meeting. He is so awesome. The stake high council member said ¨ we look forward to the day when you will be Elder Medeiro, serving the Lord.¨ I do too. Anyways, I will let you know how the baptism goes. Until then, we continue to press onward, finding, teaching, and of course, baptizing! I love you all! Take care and have a wonderful week!Love your son and missionary,Elder Boyce

Just Keep Swimming

March 7, 2011 Well, what can I say. Its been a wonderful week as usual. Things are going really well. Although I´ve gotta say that I´ve been really tired lately. Seriously. I don´t think I've ever been more tired my whole life. When I hit the mattress, I feel like a log! But it´s so satisfying and just makes me smile. We just keep going and doing it! I love it, and wouldn´t rather be doing anything else. Anyways, things are going well, and things keep moving along. Some of our investigators and recent converts have been having a couple of problems, but we just keep our heads up and continue to trust in the Lord. We had a very awesome Zone Leader Council on Tuesday. I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a zone leader. It has taught me so much and has helped me grow up a bit. I think the best part is getting to have a little more contact with President Da Silva and the assistants. They are such great examples of humility and service. At this past meeting, President shared a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3. And then we talked about the experience of Moses parting the red sea. There are some very interesting insights and details that he talked about. We just need to go. ¨Just keep swimming!¨ And trust that the Lord will open the way, even if we get wet all the way up to our necks. Sunday was AWESOME!!!! We had 9 investigators in church, even though they weren´t exactly the people we were expecting. This one woman named Graciela came. We have to bring her because she cant walk too far, but she is always ready to go. She understands perfectly what we teach. She had a super spiritual experience during sacrament meeting. She felt the spirit so strongly. She will be baptized next week. Testimony meeting was really powerful as well. I shared my testimony. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and has an immense love for each of us that we could never come close to understanding. I think if we really understood how much He loves us, we would do whatever it takes to return to live with Him again. Also a missionary that recently returned home came to visit the ward with his mom and dad who both served Spanish speaking missions. I knew him. His name is Drew Smith. He's from Las Vegas. It was pretty interesting for him I could tell. It was really cool. It added to the spirit of the meeting. He went up and shared his testimony as well. It was just an awesome Sunday! This last week, we had some very interesting experiences. I don´t know if I should really tell them to you in an email, but maybe one day I´ll tell you in person. They were just kind of interesting and a little eye opening and spirit strengthening. I know that the adversary has power, but like it says in Doctrine and Covenants 121, a man might as well try to stretch forth his hand to stop the Missouri River from flowing in its due course than stop the Lord from pouring wisdom and knowledge upon the Latter-day saints. We have interesting investigators, each with unique challenges and stories. I just know the Lord loves them and wants them to be happy. I have seen so many wonderful people accept the gospel here. I know its true. I know it. What more can I say?Well, I´d better go. I'm sorry if I don´t tell you very much or if I repeat myself a lot. I just sometimes don´t know what to tell you specifically. Just know that I love you so much. I love the Savior and my Heavenly Father. If it wasn´t for them, I wouldn´t have the joys I now enjoy. Thank you! I love you! KEEP THE FAITH!

I Love Being a Missionary

February 28, 2011 Things are fine here in Uruguay. More than fine, we are doing AWESOME! This past week brought lots of interesting experiences. We found lots of new investigators and had a few miracles happen in church. This elderly lady named Graciela walked to church with her cane and enjoyed the all of the meetings. Apparently her daughter was going to come as well, but she didn't get ready in time, and her mother lost her patience and decided to leave without her. Oh well, next time! But this woman is really amazing. She understands perfectly the Book of Mormon and really feels the spirit and puts it to the test. She is excited to be baptized as soon as possible. We have also been teaching the mother of one of our recent converts. Her name is Marta (Mariana´s mom). She also wants to get baptized as soon as possible. The miracle at first is that she really didn´t want to. But we left her 2 nephi 31 to read. The next time we came back she told us, ¨I want to follow the straight and narrow path. I want to get baptized.¨ IT WAS SO COOL! It also happened with a few of our other investigators after they had read and studied in the Book of Mormon. We have started teaching that woman named Grisel that we taught a while back. Her son, who has some problems, really wants to change his life. We invited him to be baptized and prepare himself. He also rejected the initial invitation. But we left them with Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon, and when we came back, he and his mother had read and expressed desires to change. He committed himself to prepare for baptism! We also have a few other investigators who have felt the same! Well, we have had no shortage of opportunities to teach and invite to be baptized. Now we just have to help them to keep developing their faith and to keep reading and praying. It amazing the power the Book of Mormon has to change the hearts of good people and bring them the light of the Restored gospel. I have been reading it again. Another assignment from President Da Silva. It is amazing how the prophesies are all being fulfilled and that the gathering of Israel has moved forward with so much force. I love being a missionary. I love this area. I love my companion. I love the Savior. We had a nice morning. We played some soccer (F├╣tbol) with the zone and had some lunch. Now we are going to go do our shopping and wash some clothes and clean house. Not much else to tell. Just the little but nonetheless powerful experiences that constantly remind me whose work this is.