Monday, October 28, 2013

Hello from Popayan

I’m not going to lie; This week has been the hardest week I have had in the mission. Today especially... 
Today I took Elder Borg to the bus terminal. Yeah, that was a lot of fun.

Not going to lie we had become really close friends, he is like a brother to me and we may have shed one or two tears…
Or it could have been the awesome cold flu thing I have contracted. It started Wednesday. I sound like a 100 year-old chain smoker, ha-ha.
It’s really easy for me to get tired which is AWESOME as I live in the hilliest area in Popayan, which I do truly love, really. I have the best area. 

Some cool stuff that happened this week:

I WENT TO TIMBIO, which is always a highlight for me. I really love Timbio… And drum roll please, are you ready:

Sergio Perez came back to church and received his mission call!
Can you believe it? The same Sergio that walked with us everywhere for like 1 month straight and then went inactive. He will now serve a mission and wants to serve a mini mission with me. 

This week:

The Familia Astudillo got baptized. Which is a miracle.
Camilo Astudillo, age 15, he has been my focus in this family. It is a family of 6 girls and him. He has been kicked out of every high school he has studied in for fighting, misconduct and the what like. 
We started with his ear piercings and then we worked on his language. Little by little we began to see a huge changes in Camilo. He is a little punk, but now is one of the only boys who goes to church in a suit. It’s incredible to think that he made this change in less than a month. He still has some work to do, but the change is real. 

Yersson Florez was baptized, the same Yersson who we met 4 months ago. His Dad is a less active member and his mother is WAY Catholic. His little brother is preparing to take the first communion. Yersson was baptized and his entire family went to the baptism and his father then went to church. 

Mario Bojorge got baptized. This is a family that belongs to the other missionaries but is really close to all of our hearts. The Familia Bojorge is huge now, about 20 have been baptized, and we are teaching 10 more right now.
Mario had a huge change in his life.
His son, daughter, and wife were my first baptisms I saw here in Colombia. Mario had a huge problem with alcohol. We were teaching him but it has always been a bit difficult because well, he would disappear for month at time drinking. After the change he saw in his oldest son, who was baptized a month ago, he quit drinking. The change has been incredible. 

We had more baptisms but these were my favorite.

I received a few incredible emails this week. 
These emails have strengthened my testimony, thank you.

Now what exactly is a testimony?
That is my job as a missionary. To help others understand what is a testimony and how to grow their own. As a missionary my job is not to convince you, it is to give you a few pushes, to tell people to pray on their own and ask God for help. That is my job. My work here is fairly simple. I do exactly what I feel prompted to do. I trust in the Lord. I lead others to help them achieve something that they can reach on their own, a testimony. 
To gain a testimony at first isn’t easy. Neither is anything at first. Is it easy the first few times you begin to work out? No. How does one get so strong?

In the scriptures faith-testimonies are constantly referred to as a seed.
We can plant the seed in our garden and wait for it to grow, but we will be ultimately disappointed. 
We can plant the seed; give the seed good water, good soil and sunlight. Then we can sit in front of the seed and wait again for it to grow and still ultimately we will be disappointed.
We must wait patiently, doing the things correctly, and before we know it our little seed has grown strong roots and will begin to bear leaves. Keep it up and soon the fruits will appear and the fruits to bear the tree through any storm. 

I know that this gospel is true. I live it every day. I see and feel its miracles. I know we can do great things in the Lord. Be useful in his hands. 

Read the scriptures, every night. 
Pray every night. 
Pray with your family every day.


Blessings are coming. 
Patience and endurance. 

I love you all 

Elder Lyle

Monday, October 21, 2013

Things are loco...

All right everyone. 
I just would like to say that things are out of control here. In a good way… ha-ha-ha 

Right now I am balancing 14 baptisms and teaching a ton of people without the help of Elder Borg. I’m going insane, but I love it. 

This week we will see the baptisms of:
Camilo, Natalia, Carolina and Natalia Astudillo. Yersson Florez and Alejandra Villarreal. 

I love my families 

Next week we will see the baptisms of the rest of the familia Villarreal and more. 

I love my area

We are teaching around 28 people who are moving forward with the lessons and I’m so stressed all the time because we don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish everything. It’s kind of awesome and stressful all at the same time. All these families are giving me tons of food and I’m gaining weight.

This week I was able to have an interview with President Prince the President of the Mission. He told me that I have been doing a good job and called my parents right in front of me. I really didn’t know what to do. I was just kind of speechless for a little while as I heard my father pick up the line and then I got to say hi to them. What an incredible experience. 
(I just have to add to this incredible experience. Craig & I were both home when the call came in. President Prince had us put it on speaker. He then proceeded to tell us what an amazing young man we raised and what an incredible job he was doing in the Colombia Cali Mission. He wanted us to know that although he had not been out very long out of the 200 missionaries that he was one of their number 1 baptizing missionary in the field. He then asked if we had another one behind him because they sure could use them. We then had to inform him that as we were sure he knew that Rawly is one of a kind. At this point he asked us if we would like to say hi to our son. Oh my goodness I cannot even express the joy it was to hear Rawly’s voice! I had been having a really, really difficult time and this call could have not come at a better moment for Craig & I. I am grateful for the Lord’s hand in my life!)

I love the mission

My families are amazing. They have such an incredible desire to serve and to follow Jesus Christ.

Okay, update:
Sandro and Yoneida. Both were sacked from their jobs immediately after baptism, it was a very hard time for them. Yoneida now has her own pizzeria and oh my gosh is it awesome pizza, I love it. Sandro has incredible amounts of work and they are receiving all the blessings of the gospel. 

Blessings are all around us we just sometimes have to look really close to find them.

Things that I have become accustomed to that I think I should tell you. 
My every day life includes:
Horses and carriages in the middle of the street, there is a horse and a colt in front of the Internet place by my house right now in the middle of the busy street
I eat chicken feet now like it's no big deal 
Everything is fried. The bread is even fried here
The indigenous people are pretty cool and the men wear purple dresses
The limes are orange
Blackberry is only used to make juice
Cheese is always accompanied by hot chocolate; the cheese is inside the hot chocolate or tea. 
The cheese doesn’t melt here
There are only two types of milk here, that of a cow and that which does not contain lactose.
Yeah, that’s all I can think about now. 

Lesson time: 

This lesson is about the purifying fire of God. 
How do you make silver or Gold?
You take a hunk of metal that contains these substances and heat it up to EXTREME HEATS. Way hotter than you would need to melt iron. The extreme heat separates the pure gold and silver from the rest of the metal deposits. 

Our lives sometimes contain the same. The question is how pure do we want to be?
Do we want to be of great quality? 14 karat, 16 karat, 18 karat and so forth. 
How much are we worth? 
Are we experiencing problems in our lives?
Are we experiencing the furnace that this life often offers us?

It is for this reason we are being refined. As long as we confront all issues with a mind set on God and eternal life we will always find that the difficulties of life will refine us. Personally I am experiencing a fire that was built well.
I’m feeling the pressure in all sorts of ways. But I know that if I can keep an eye on God I can continue forward unscathed like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

I love this gospel.
I know I can always be better.
I am grateful always but never satisfied in my own efforts. That is what makes the difference when facing the furnace. 

Face the furnace attempting to use an eternal perspective. Imagine a rope extending in two directions to infinity in space. Wrap a thread around a point in that rope and that is what this life is like. However we respond to the problems in that tiny part of our eternal existence makes all the difference. 
Today is the day.
Face the furnace with confidence that you will pop out the other side.
You will be different that is correct.
But if you keep an eye on God you will exit shining with glory.

Love you all
Elder Lyle

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sharing a letter to his sister...

Since Rawly didn't have a letter to share this week. We have decided to share the letter he wrote to his sister this week, mostly because it made us all smile:

I just want to say
And that I opened up one of your letters of encouragement and well......
It just exploded with love, ahahahahahaha
Little hearts went everywhere. It was the best!
I love you so much 
Thank you for being the best little sister ever
Study hard so we can burn down BYU, ahahah

Lots of love 

Tough week, no letter but GREAT pictures

This was Rawly's "letter" home this week:

I'm not sending a letter home this week. Nothing of significance happened this week. 
I ate food. 

I then asked if he had to send a letter to President Prince and maybe he could just copy that over. His response:

Yup.. I just said that I am doing the best I can President and that I will put my shoulder to the wheel.

We are guessing that this week did not go as well as hoped for.

On a better note. He sent some GREAT pictures! It does look like he is having fun, well at least on P-Day's.


So much FUN with the Bojorge's


My companion, Bryan Bojorge & Rawly

Back row: new companion, Bryan & Rawly
front row: Alejandro & Santiago

My companion everyone...
Elder Carrasco

Santiago, whose parents got married

Last weeks P-Day madness
Us: Yikes, are those your white shorts? Maybe black would have been more appropriate
Rawly: So much fun! It started with a little water, then rotten guava's, then mud and then buckets of mud!

My new family
I LOVE them!
Familia Astudillo

Jonathan got baptized

Adriana, Borg & Marcela
Us: Playing a little B-ball
Rawly: Elder Borg & I played baseball. I forgot I could throw the ball and make a strike, a skill that really is not common here. Then a little soccer, scored 3 goals. 
I'm becoming the ballster, although B-ball I am still horrid at.

Call home? 
Why bother when there is only 13 days left of your mission.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Marriage = Baptisms

It seems Colombia is full of marriage's

It happened... 
Ana & Samuel got hitched!

Just married
Plus Elder Borg

Ana, Samuel, baby Isabella & Santago

Party at the Borjorge's

Elder Borg & the Happy Couple

Change is Inevitable

Well hello family and friends,

This week was a very interesting week with my new companion Elder Carrasco. He is from Chile and is 22 years old. He is a little bit different from the normal person. However the coolest thing is that my old companion is now my district leader and we are still in the same ward. So we do divisions 3 times a week with the permission of President Prince. I have two companions now, kind of. I am with Elder Borg 3 days a week and Elder Carrasco 4. Elder Borg will go home to his island the 27th of October and I’m really not looking forward to that day. 

We as a district are still working very unified in order to help the people in our area but it still isn’t the same without Elder Jones. 

Friday we had our third wedding, ha-ha, of an amazing family and story. 

Santiago is 15 years old and wanted to be baptized but his parents refused to let him be baptized, so what did he do? He began to accompany the missionaries to his neighbors, (his cousins). The entire family is now baptized all 15 of them. Finally his mother, Ana, let him get baptized. His parents went to the baptism and felt a change. They got married this Friday in order to be baptized next week, the only member of the family who has not been baptized or does not have a date to get baptized is his uncle Mario, who has serious problems with alcohol, but don’t worry we are working very hard to help him and his family. 

This week was conference week. 
Oh how I love conference, as a kid I really only knew conference weekend as a fun weekend with the cousins. Every time we prayed we simply stopped yelling and running and when the prayer ended we continued on with our shenanigans. 
I now love conference. I was given the challenge to bring questions with me to conference because whatever the question is, for instance:
How can I be a better friend?
How can I find a stronger testimony?
How can I know if this is true? Etc...
It will be answered in conference.

I offered this challenge to all my investigators and all 9 of them received every single response to their question as well as myself. 

It really is a marvel to have a Prophet in this day and age to guide us. We live in a world were many of the morals of society are changing faster than the clothes of those who degrade them. We need help in this day and age more than ever. We need the church as it was established by Jesus Christ along with the three fundamentals he established:

1. A Prophet
2. Apostles 
3. The authority to baptize and bless the sick also known as the priesthood.

These are the three fundamentals of the church of Jesus Christ as he established them. If you don’t believe me search for them in the bible. 
Or here I’ll help you, ha-ha.

Ephesians 2:20 
20. And are build upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.

There you go folks. The authority was given to these people by the laying on of hands and the passing of this authority.
The authority has always been given in this manner with the laying on of hands over the head of someone.

In Numbers
18. And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him

 Not clear enough that’s okay

Acts 19:6-7
6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7. And all the men were about twelve.

This is called the priesthood and is essential for the church of Jesus Christ. I often refer to the priesthood as a battery in a television remote. 
The television remote can look real fancy like it can do maybe 500 things more than just change a channel. But without a battery the thing is useless. 

The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints has this priesthood.

We have Apostles
We have a Prophet

We have the Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days
We have reestablished the Church of Jesus Christ just as he had established it when he was here on the Earth… 
With a Prophet
And the Authority

This conference was amazing for me I received a lot of help. 
I think the most important help I received was the following: 

We are needed by our Heavenly Father
Now is our time

He needs us to be certain types of people, so he puts challenges in front of us to help mold us into who we need to be. We can except and become the new us that is needed, needed in our own lives. Or we can fight and think I don’t like this situation I just want it to change and for everything to go back to how it was. 

We need to change 
It is a part of this life 
Change is how we grow
And we grow through challenges

Friends and Family embrace the challenges of this life because you will grow

3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

You will receive the help you need because we have challenges for a reason to show these characteristics more.
To become Meek 
Be meek my friends and family.

I love you all so much

Here is my challenge of the week:

Now is the time to act

Have a family home evening this Friday and tell the missionaries to bring an investigator.
Make sure the family home evening is really awesome
Start with a hymn 
Then a game to break the ice
Then a spiritual message
Then another hymn and.....


Ahahaha, it's always better with food 

I love you all 

Elder Lyle

A Sad Day...Transfers

A Sad Day in the Americas

Elder Jones transferred to a new area
Elder Lyle & Elder Borg both have new companions

Elder Borg in front of their home