Saturday, November 29, 2014
"16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever lasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
So my week has been way awesome and it all started Sunday as we start planning for the Christmas season. Everyone if you haven’t heard of the He’s the Gift initiative you will hear about it today.
This Monday we had to prepare the mission for something, something that the church has never done before called:
He is the Gift.
So we did something that we had never done either while I have been here in the mission, we brought the entire mission to Cali for a meeting.
In the meeting we presented the initiative to the mission. He is the Gift has 3 parts.
Discover the Gift
Embrace the Gift and
We talked about how Jesus Christ is the greatest gift of all. How it is the gift of salvation that our Heavenly Father gave to us. Then we talked about some of the awesome things that the Church is doing, like buying a billboard space in Time Square for 1 month. How the 7th of December the advertisment spot on the home page of Youtube will have exclusively He is the Gift. How there is an incredible video about how Christ is Christmas under the same title, "He is the Gift", "Él es la Dádiva" in Spanish. It is in 20 different languages. Every missionary in the world has 10 cards that they have to share everyday, 70 people for every missionary companionship every week all over the world. It’s so awesome. Officially the missionaries started with the cards the 28th of November. It’s incredible to see how many people are accepting The Gift here in this mission.
We are all in charge to share The Gift with others. What we are doing as missionaries (who aren’t allowed to have Facebooks or Ipads, hahaha) is that we are making sure that all the members, less active members and investigators share these things by Facebook, Twitter, and any other social network possible accompanied by #SharetheGift. Videos, photos, inspirational quotes, scriptures, it all must be posted for the world to see.
Today is the Day!
David Bednar said:
“After the announced birth of the Christ child to the shepherds on the plains of Judea, “there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13-14).
This Christmas season, we can fulfill a similar role as the multitude of the heavenly host did more than two millennia ago. I invite each of us to flood the earth with the message of righteousness and truth found in the He Is the Gift initiative.
Visit http://www.mormon.org/christmas to find inspiring content to help discover, embrace, and share the gift of God’s love for us, made manifest in His Only Begotten Son. By using the hashtag #ShareTheGift, we can sweep the earth with timeless – and timely – messages of the Savior Jesus Christ.”
I have loved this initiative. We have had only one day so far to use it and we already have had people calling us to see what time church starts tomorrow. We contacted 25 people in our area yesterday (one who just called me asking about church tomorrow) and who knows how many more we will find today. Amazing things are happening, I love this time of year. It is going to be so awesome to share such an incredible message in terms of the real reason we have Christmas with others.
I love Christmas, and I love my Savior.
Remind others the importance of this Christmas
I challenge everyone who reads this to post something:
Every Monday and Friday until Christmas concerning He is the Gift and that directly after reading this post you can all visit the page.
and watch the video and share it with one other person.
Take advantage of the blessing of technology and give everyone a reminder just as the Savior did to Nephi.
Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into this world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.”
I love you all
Get yourselves ready
Cause here comes Christmas and we have a message to share.
Elder Rawly Lyle
Saturday, November 22, 2014
These boys cooked up a storm!
Elder Jones washing the turkey
Making the stuffing
Stuffing the turkey
This is one BIG turkey all wrapped up in bacon
Elder Jones blessing the turkey
More epic food we made
(Not sure what this is...)
Wow asparagus in Colombia
We burnt the almonds so we went to throw them away and they burnt through the bag...
What a mess
This is one BIG turkey!
Checking on the turkey
Mission Home Elders
Elder ?, Elder Jones & Elder Rebolledo
Elder Jones & Sister Pricoli
Delicious epic Thanksgiving dinner in Colombia!
The Thanksgiving Table
Elder Jones & Elder Lyle getting ready to enjoy this awesome spread
And a few fun pictures from the
Oldest Bakery in Cali
These ladies are so cute
Elder Jones in the background ordering something up
Well another awesome week here in the mission, never a dull moment...
This week we had to say goodbye to 18 missionaries
Elder Lyle & Elder Rocha
Hermana Cruz & Elder Lyle
And we said hello to 24 newbies
Honestly, my favorite day is when the new missionaries get here. My job is to bring all the new North American missionaries to the notary to get their Colombian ID's.
So while we were there I realized that this time I didn’t have any secretaries with me to help with the Elders. I needed to keep the Elder's busy that were done while I helped the others. So I grabbed some pass-a-long cards from my suit pocket and told the Elders that when they were finished with their paperwork that they couldn’t go far but they had to contact at least 1 person before they could come back. The truth is... it was awesome. Such an awesome experience for them and in less than 20 minutes we had like 12 referrals to pass along to various missionaries in Cali.
Afterwards we took them all to Cristo Rey and then to a baptism.
The following day was transfers.
Transfers are always so hard. We have 190 missionaries gather together in one terminal and all the terminal police are like, “we need you out of here”, and the new missionaries are so hyped on the pass-a-long cards that they are talking to everyone in the terminal and people are complaining. I love it, I’m not going to lie, it’s one of the things that I like most to do here. How great to have people complaining that we are talking to too many people, hahaha I love it!
You Go Colombia Cali Mission!
After all the new missionaries had left Elder Jones and I got prepared. Prepared to have Thanksgiving. We decided that due to so many things that will happen next week we had to do Thanksgiving this week. So we did Thanksgiving a week early, it was epic.
We started early Thursday morning; Elder Jones and I cooked up a storm and made an incredible Thanksgiving for all the missionaries in the office, no recipes, all creativity and a spatula. Not going to lie it was a lot of fun. We cooked a turkey, wrapped in bacon. I’m sorry but you can’t get more American than that.
Elder Jones with the turkey
We felt it was naked...
So we wrapped it in bacon
Thursday night we had a great night. We all sat at the table like a big family and talked about the things that we are thankful for.
We talked mostly about the incredible sacrifice that our Savior made for us, and His atonement. It is incredible all the things that we have in our life because of Him. At times we don’t realize exactly how incredible His life was, how it started and how it ended.
I love this gospel.
Yesterday President called us to his house. He had recently learned of a program that the church will launch concerning Christmas. Truth is that it will be amazing. It’s called...
“He is the Gift”
Things are happening that have never happened before in the history of the Church. This Christmas will be excellent and many people will hear about the real meaning of Christmas. So we are starting this program here in Colombia on Tuesday. We will be bringing the entire mission to Cali on Monday so that we can train them about what we will now do in the mission. It will be incredible.
So that is pretty much my week.
I love you all and all the things that you do.
3 Nephi 12:15
15. Behold do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;”
So this is what you all should do this week for Thanksgiving:
It’s easy to just say thank you around the table Thursday night, but this week what we should do is something more...
This week, show your gratitude and share what you are thankful for with others. Make it a weeklong experience if you can. Who said you could only say you are thankful on Thursday? Show others that you are grateful for what God has given you.
I am thankful for my Family.
I am thankful for this Gospel.
I am thankful for the incredible opportunity that I have received to serve a full time mission.
I love you
I hope you all have a great week
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Well this week was super fun.
The week started off on Saturday with President Prícoli’s birthday. It was pretty fun to celebrate President’s birthday.
This week we spent practically the entire time in the area, we loved it. We also called two more missionaries to the office, Elder Roman and Elder Rojas, from Argentina and from Bogotá. I’m so excited for everything that is changing in the mission. The missionaries are becoming excellent. We are creating Zion here in Colombia.
This week our time in the area we had some awesome experiences. I love being in the area. We had a baptism today her name is Sonia Escobar. She got baptized like 2 hours ago, awesome baptismal service.
I love my mission.
This week I have had the chance to talk a lot about temples and how incredible temples are. So this week I would like to talk just a little bit about that.
“A temple is literally a house of the Lord, a holy sanctuary in which sacred ceremonies and ordinances of the gospel are performed by and for the living and also in behalf of the dead. A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.
Whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples in which the ordinances of the gospel and other spiritual manifestations that pertain to exaltation and eternal life may be administered. In cases of extreme poverty or emergency, these ordinances may sometimes be done on a mountaintop (see D&C 124:37-55).
From Adam to the time of Jesus, ordinances were performed in temples for the living only. After Jesus opened the way for the gospel to be preached in the world of spirits, ceremonial work for the dead, as well as for the living, has been done in temples on the earth by faithful members of the Church. Building and properly using a temple is one of the marks of the true Church in any dispensation, and is especially so in the present day.”
The temple is a sacred place. We are doing just as the Lord commanded us long ago as we find in
2. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
This week go to the temple and take advantage of what you have.
Please watch this video
(I love that this video is filmed at our family's temple)
I love you all
Saturday, November 8, 2014
So this week was awesome, super busy but awesome.
This week we had leadership council, and we had a lot to talk about. Like how we are going to start use pensionistas in the entire mission. Pensionistas are the sisters that will be cooking for us. We are going to put pensionistas into practice in the entire mission. We started with Buenaventura while I was there and now that I’m here in the office they asked me to help them put the program in effect for all of southwest Colombia. So that’s awesome.
This week we worked like dogs in the office putting together 95 binders for the pensionistas. We wrote 45 pages worth of recipes, rules, and regulations. It was awesome but the good thing is that it’s all finished now.
We had everything ready for the leadership council. AWESOME. Leadership council was pretty cool. This time we started it off in the house of the Prícoli’s because we broadcasted it to the entire mission. Then Elder Walker and I gave training on how to make goals into plans.
Sometimes we as human beings have lots and lots of goals, they are just so fun to make, and easy. However, many times when we set these goals we fail in terms of the plans on how we are going to reach that goal. Goals and planning is a divine skill to acquire in this life, something that we have to develop. This is what we are teaching the mission right now.
Honestly I love the mission we get to have some incredible experiences that many people don’t always get to have.
About 3 weeks ago my companions and I (I have 3 here in the office) were making our way down from our area when someone stopped us and started to talk to us. His name is Miguel.
We started to talk to him and tell him what we do and why we always wear white shirts and ties. Then we found out that he is homeless. He is 22 years old, has 2 children; he had a good life until he started using drugs. When he started using drugs his whole life fell apart and now he is living by himself on the street.
We started to tell him that he could change, that no matter how big the problem that our Heavenly Father is there to help us. We told him that he should start to change by trying to clean up a bit.
Well 2 days ago we found him again. He had cut his dreadlocks, and found shoes. He called us over and we started to talk to him. He was smoking a cigarette. I told him that now that he had started to clean up on the outside he should start to clean up the inside. He threw the cigarette away and I gave him hug and told him how much God loves us and that He has so much in store for us. That we have a potential so large and all we have to do is follow the things he has commanded us to do. We started to talk to him about how his children will need a good example, and he started to cry. He then took all the drugs out of his pocket and showed us. We told him to get rid of them. It was such an amazing moment to see how we just had to tell him that we loved him and that God loved him and his whole world changed. I saw a huge change in him in just an hour of talking to him. Then yesterday we saw him again and he told us that he was already planning on meeting us outside of church on Sunday so that he could go with us. I know that he has a lot of work to do to build his life up again but I know and I feel that God has such a huge plan for him. It’s hard to explain it but he is so special. I know that he can overcome all the difficulties in his life. The truth is there is something about the homeless that always gets to me. I have to tell them that I love them; many people look at me with disgust as I greet Miguel with a hug, but I can tell you all that it makes the difference for him, and that is all that matters. Sometimes the biggest help that you can give someone is to just show them that you care.
Today I am going to talk about a talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland in the last general conference; it is called "Are we not beggars?"
The Savior of the world made an interesting comment in Mathew 8:20
20. “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
We know that Jesus Christ, the Son of the one and true God in his adult life was homeless. Throughout his entire ministry he helped and aided the impoverished of home and spirit.
Elder Holland said in his talk:
“ Down through history, poverty has been one of humankind’s greatest and most widespread challenges. It’s obvious toll is usually physical, but the spiritual and emotional damage it can bring may be even more debilitating.”
Here on my mission I have been able to see more poverty than I have ever seen in my life, and I attest to what Elder Holland says, the blow of poverty sinks far beneath the temporal and burrows it’s way into the very soul of the person at times, leading to feelings of helplessness, lack of self worth even at times self-loathing.
Brothers and sisters, they need our help.
In D&C 38:35 we are commanded to
“Look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer:”
Since I was very young my mom taught me the principle of service. She would always bring me to the local St. Vincent de Paul’s soup kitchen to help her cook for the homeless. As I grew up I started to love the service we gave and came to love a few of the “regulars” who would come to eat. But also as I grew up I became more and more aware of the amount of help that was needed, that the needs of these people go beyond a plate of lasagna and a slice of bread. I would often think to myself how can I help them more? What can one person do when faced with the sheer immensity of what is world poverty? Elder Holland addressed this subject in his talk and compared it to the moment
“Prior to His betrayal and Crucifixion, Mary anointed Jesus’ head with an expensive burial ointment, Judas Iscariot protested this extravagance and “murmured against her.”
And Jesus said; “Why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work. She hath done what she could”.
Mary did what she could and that is all that is expected of us; honestly how many times in the week do we do what we can to help others?
A journalist once questioned Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her hopeless task of rescuing the destitute in that city. He said that statistically speaking, she was accomplishing absolutely nothing. This remarkable little woman shot back that her work was about love, not statistics. Notwithstanding the staggering number beyond her reach, she said she could keep the commandment to love God and her neighbor by serving those within her reach with whatever resources she had. “What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean,” she would say on another occasion, “But if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less than it is.”
We must put in our drop.
We must pray for those in need so that we may know better how to help them.
In the book of Mormon (Alma 32) a group of people called the Zoramites were in a state of utter poverty, and on one occasion it is noted that they tried to enter into the house of prayer but the people told them to leave “because of the cooseness of their apparel”.
Let us not do the same, remember there is much to do to help these people and many ways to help them. The prophet Mormon said those that are “poor as to things of the world; [are also] poor in heart”.
We each have something to do to help others, a lunch, the gospel, even if it is as simple as a hug and words of encouragement to someone you don’t know. We know what our talents are and how we can help others. There is not one thing that I can say that we have to do to help others in specific but you should pray and ask God what is the thing that YOU can do to help others.
Elder Holland said
“I don’t know exactly how each of you should fulfill your obligation to those who do not or cannot always help themselves. But I know that God knows, and He will help you and guide you in compassionate acts of discipleship if you are conscientiously wanting and praying and looking for ways to keep a commandment He has given us again and again.”
Ask for the personal revelation to know what to do
Remember these words
“Although I may not be my brother’s keeper, I am my brother’s brother.”
I love you brothers and sisters
And I leave these things and I testify of them in the name of Jesus Christ
Every one of you must do something to help someone in need. Someone you’ll meet for the first time this week. And write me what happened, who was it and how you felt to act upon the impression of the spirit to help them, temporally, emotionally, or spiritually.
Love you all
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Elder Lyle & Elder Walker
Elder Rebolledo & Elder Lyle
Cristo Rey from the house
I love the missionaries here in the office
At the airport in Cali
Cali and the flight to Bogota
The plane coming into Bogota
Pasto and Cali are very different
Arriving in Pasto
It's cold so we bought hot chocolate
88 interviews down and we are losing our minds!
I love this photo of them traveling in the van with their food :)
It's official we finished the interviews...
Onto Leadership council next week
Where the office is
What it is like inside the office
Where the mail packets come to
Such a great week of photos!