Monday, July 28, 2014

"one of the greatest lessons I have learned down here, is how to love..."

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Que tal todos? I hope you are all doing good. I got some letters yesterday that some of you sent in april so it was a long wait but i will be trying to get back to you soon! Its awesome to hear from you though. I will be staying another 6 weeks in La Costa in the bottom of the mission so my communication will still be a little bit limited. I am excited though for the chance i have to be down here though. 

La Costa is one of the hardest areas in the mission but it is also a really rewarding place because we are down here establishing the church. In all the other zones there are stakes but we are a district down here with only branches. the average attendance when i got here was around 20ish and yesterday we had 43 which made me really happy. We work a lot with the less actives but I have found a lot of joy in that. Less actives or new people. Its all one work. I never realized how big a deal home teaching really is, but now I am going to promise to never miss a month. I know that if this branch had home teaching there wouldnt be 250 somehing inactive members. I have had a lot of challenges down here but it has taught me a lot. One of the greatest lessons i have learned down here is how to love. Im not going to lie, before my mission i was pretty self focused. This area has taught me a new way. I could have gone to a new area but my comp was going to leave too and i didnt want to leave all these people who i had grown to love down here to get lost. If there were new missionaries they wouldnt have known how to find them and they werent going to recieve visits from anybody else. As i have heard about the struggles and stories of the people down here I have been filled with a love and desire to help them. Sometimes i feel discouraged like we arent making progress but this past week we have had people share with us the difference we have made in their lives and one of the families asked that we ask that one of us can stay. How could i say no to that? I hope that we can do more than to just help support them in these next 6 weeks. 

A cool story that happened this week. there is this family that is less active. They have two girls, 12 and 8. The dad doesnt want anything to do with the church and smokes but the little girl had hopes that her dad could baptize her. It was hard to see because we knew that the dad didnt want to change. this last sunday the two girls got up and went to church by themselves and the littlest asked me if she could be baptized by one of us. She told us she did her homework and prayed to her heavenly father and that she had read in the pamphlet we left for her and red the scriptues in it and wanted to be baptized. It is amazing to see how the spirit has touched her, even being so young she has the faith to follow the savior. I was amazed by that. 

Well thats all for this week. I hope all is well. I love you all.

Elder Whitaker
Ty made "slop" for dinner!

Ty lost a bet and had to shave his right leg...

Monday, July 14, 2014

"We got to see a guy that wouldn't go to church a month ago, give a talk in sacrament..."

Trey said Ty probably likes Argentina because he looks so much bigger than everyone there!  :)
Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Hope you all had a happy world cup. Argentina almost did! it was crazy. i was locked up in the pench but we could here everybody yelling and lighting off rockets and stuff which was legit. So close. In a way I am kinda glad its over though because people will start letting us in again and we wont have our appointments fall because people are watching the games. Less walking in the cold for me hahaha. 

This week was pretty good. We have been working with the youth a lot and im actually tutoring some adults in chemistry and math. Its pretty funny that i am having to remember how elements react and bond and stuff and how to work with equations after so long. Its been more than a year since i had to touch the stuff but my students are passing their tests so thats good hahaha. We had some more less actives come to church. We got to see a guy that wouldnt go to church a month ago give a talk in sacrament meeting this week which was super awesome. We had 2 kids that we have been working with get up early and walk to church without their parents which was pretty awesome. The work here is slow but it is progressing and it feels awesome to see the progress. 

One of the things that we have been teaching a lot to the people down here is that we arent just here to drag people to church. A lot of people think we are here to boost the numbers of the church but they dont understand that we dont gain anything from that. None of the leaders of the church get any money for their service. We are here because we want to serve them. We know that they are our brothers and sisters, children of God, and that we are here because we have prayed to know if this message is true and if it will bless our lives and have recived the answer, "YES". It is true because we have felt the spirit say it is and then we have lived the teachings and seen our lives be blessed. The gosple is simple. We are here in the earth to become better and return back to live with god and our families and the only way to do that is by following christ´s example. By following in christ´s footsteps and what he taught, if we have faith, are constantly repenting to change ourselves to be better, are baptized, and recieve the gift of the holy ghost and follow its promptings we become better people and will have the opportunity to live with god and our families forever. Its is something simple, but beautiful. And the best part of our message is not that we are trying to convince them we are right, we teach that they can know for themselves the same way we have come to know. Prayer and living the teachings. Thats the part that makes this work possible. If it was just me trying to convince people nothing would happen but when people feel that its true, that is where it changes their lives. Im grateful that God answers prayers and helps me out here everyday and i hope that all of you back home always remember that, 

well I love you all and hope for the best with all of you. ¡Que esten bien!

Elder Whitaker

Monday, July 7, 2014

"I finally got a bunch of letters and stuff...Thank you!"

Hola mi familia y mis amigos,

Como están todos? We had interviews with the president of mission the other day so I finally got letters and stuff for the first time in a while! that was super nice. I got the letters that a bunch of friends and family wrote me back during conference weekend and I want to thank everybody for those. It was so awesome to hear from so many different people and the stuff you guys all wrote me really was awesome to hear. I will try to write back but i dont have the adresses of everybody so if you dont get a thank you note. This is me thanking you. It is golden to get letters! Hopefully people keep them coming hahaha.

Well this week was pretty good we had a lot of fun stuff. We played soccer with some of the youth, we got to walk around in a pretty awesome storm trying to find people that werent sleeping, and I found some sheep. Sheep are pretty fun to play with. It made me remember when my little brother Trey rode a sheep for the 4th of july rodeo up in utah and the sheep had "demon eyes" and bucked him off. hahaha love you little bro. We have been teaching a lot of less active members and we are starting to see some sucess. We have reactivated about 3 families and are working on getting some references so that we can teach their friends too. It is starting to work so hopefully we can find some people to teach this week thats coming. It was super awesome to be in church and have one of the guys we helped come back to church go and bear his testimony. Maybe we arent baptizing a bunch of people down here but we are helping in other ways and it feels good to see that work paying off. The woman that me and my last comp baptized like 3 months ago is still going really strong and now she has a calling as the secratary of the relief society which is super cool!

It was super weird to be outside of the states for the 4th of july. It is crazy that last year at this time I was back with friends and family. I was kinda tempted to buy some fireworks for 4th of july but i decided I had better not. Hopefully you all blew some stuff up for me. well i hope all is well back home!

Elder Whitaker

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"The best way to lighten your load is to lighten somebody else's..."

Hola mi familia y mis amigos,

I dont know how to describe this past week I have had because it was an awsome week but also one of the hardest i have ever had. Its weird how that works. I suppose it was a good week because I learned a little bit more about how to forget if it is a hard week for me and focus on making it a good week for others. 

This area is a really hard area, but i found a quote somewhere in my stuff that says "Bloom where you are planted" and "Lift as you have been lifted" Thats what I have been learning how to do. Sometimes the only thing you can do is forget

the circumstances and focus on doing the best you can. I have been trying hard daily to shift my focus from myself and how I feel to helping out others and because of it I have done a 180. The best way to lighten your load is to lighten somebody elses. The moments where I have felt the best is when I made a difference in somebody else´s life. 

I have also had some fun out here too. In the spirit of the world cup we gathered together some of the youth and we played soccer this past thursday. it was super fun to let loose and play for the first time in a long time. Im no soccer star but i can hold my own mas o menos hahaha. I think I´ll be ready for team USA if i keep practicing every week haha. We helped some people repair their roof and plant trees. We found this one member that has cows and they gave us real milk! (thats a treasure here becauseall the milk here is from a powder and comes in a bag).

We got our bikes robbed the other night so we are all on foot now. that was pretty awesome. My comp got mad but i just laughted because there is no point in being mad and now i can say i got robbed on my mission. fiesta. 

well thats my advice for all of you guys this week. Bloom where you are planted. Lift as you have been lifted. Sometimes thats all you can do and it makes you life a whole lot better. Love you all. Take care.

Elder Whitaker