January 26, 2016

Elder Arguelles

What a great week! Lot of changes, but it's been good. E Sugden took off Tuesday morning and E Arg├╝elles showed up! Three new Farsi Elders back to back to back, its crazy. Elder Arg├╝elles is from Orlando, Florida and his family is from Venezuela, first international Farsi, and he kinda looks Persian, and by that I mean he isn't white like the rest of us. He is in the same generation as Elder Wiedrich, 2 behind me. He is awesome! So full of life and brand new ideas, so energetic and excited for the work. I'm really excited for the next few transfers, I'm definitely going to learn a lot from him. 

Elder Arguelles and Sister Mead

The week was pretty average, contacting and fresh language studies, going through the alphabet and saying prayers again, which is great! We had two investigators come to church which was awesome. One of them, has been coming to English Class for along time, but never came to church although she has been taught nearly all the lessons. This week, she came to us asking if we could help her study for an english exam she has to pass to be admitted to college. We taught her some english then went to the visitors center. We had an awesome lesson about putting God first and everything will work out. We committed her to read the BoM and then come to church, and she did!! Super cool, tender mercy! 
Los Angeles

Overall a great week! The language is surprising me, I'm excited for the next few months and what is in store. The mission is a lot different than I thought, a whole lot of different challenges and growing experiences, but I'm so grateful for my opportunity to serve. There is power in the little things. Is the gospel working for you? Take a step back, remember to breathe and point out a few of the infinite number of blessings our loving Heavenly Father showers us with constantly. He loves you and He knows you. Do your best, rely on the Atonement, and keep going. You got it.
Palos Verdes

"Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." - Elder Holland
Persian BBQ

Have an awesome week! I love you all! :) 

January 18, 2016

Big Time Changes in Farsi-land

Things were pretty normal here in the Middle West this week. We had our share of contacting, and another share, and one last midnight snack of contacting to top it off. School started at UCLA so there are more people, back from the holidays, so that's been good. We seem to run into really prepared Chinese people, so we should be Chinese Elders, we practically feed their teaching pool. But we do also find lots of Persians who think our Farsi is super cool, but church is another story. 

It's been a good week! We taught some new people, one of which tried to convert us to Islam, as she knows better because she is older than us and another man who smelled like a bass out of the shop (very smoky, old BBQ kinda smell). We are still trying to meet with people. It's a tricky one because the Persians we need to be finding and teaching, are the ones who work all the time because they need to live long enough for us to find them.. haha Onward and upward! 

Probably the biggest news of the week is transfers! Surprise! I'm going Korean! Just kidding, they have given me a little longer to try and prove myself in Farsi and President has made me Senior companion and training a new Farsi Elder! WHAT?! It's been me, Elder Wiedrich, and now Elder Arguelles back to back to back, and I'm supposed to teach this guy Farsi with less than 3 months of it..? Hmm.. It'll be a fun ride for the next little while I think. 
Elders Wiedrich, Ekberg, McCracken, Sugden

As far as Elder Sugden goes, we all assumed it was time for him to leave for a little (all Farsi Elders get taken out of the program for 1 or 2 transfers) and so he will be going down to Redondo Beach in Torrance, near where I was. AND, Elder McCracken is also leaving!! WHAT?! Elder Demond, the Farsi Elder older than Elder Sugden is coming back with Elder Wiedrich. Two out and two in. It's crazy and everyone is still in shock. I have no idea how this is going to work, but I am going to be out of the comfort zone for a good long while I think. Doesn't the Lord prepare those with at least one more transfer of Farsi? :) It'll be good! A new adventure, I'm excited but kind of peeing my pants as well.

In Elders Quorum we were talking about finding peace through the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the elders initiated the relation between stress and peace. He had heard a quote something like "stress is the result of us not meeting the expectation". What is our expectation for ourselves? Does it match God's expectation for us? But I can't be perfect, so I should be stressed all the time, right? I think there is real clarity and understanding in the eternal perspective. We find peace in the fact that we can try again, we are progressing, it is a journey. We can be flexible yet strong and immovable. We can allow the Lord to shape and mold us and still have a firm testimony when hard times come our way. I have found peace here on the mission serving God's children and I know that by simply living the gospel, we can all find that peace. Start by doing the small things. 

How are those New Year Goals? What about ponderizing? haha :) 

Have an awesome week! I love you all! 

January 12, 2016

Read the Internet

Salam! Another week goes by in Farsiland! 

We had exchanges early in the week and I spent the day with Elder Ham, one of our Korean elders! Since I've been on the mission, I've been introduced to so many different people, languages, cultures, opinions and I love it. Honestly, probably one of my favorite parts of the mission, I feel blessed. I've come to appreciate the beauty in different cultures and languages and have begun to see how the Spirit, no matter the culture or language, can touch someones life. Its SO cool. Also, Im grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has given us the gift of prayer and we can KNOW for ourselves the restored truths of the gospel. Elder Ham and I had a wonderful visit from a man who seemed to think that yelling at us out of his car on the street to "read the internet" was going to prove that what we believe is false. I invite anyone who is wondering about the truthfulness of this gospel, to simply ask God yourself. 

We had zone conference! My first "official" one! I was sick my first one, then we had our general authority visit from Elder Clark, and then Christmas, so my first normal one! Emphasis on teaching simply and setting goals and a little surprise. On Jan 20th, Elder Oaks and the missionary department of the church are broadcasting a church wide mission conference. BOOM, insane, <insert cheering>. It'll be sweet, I'm super excited! 

Then, Elder Sugden and I both got sick. El Nino is on its way, Elder Sugden bought a huge oil-skin trenchcoat (it gives him special powers to convert) and I dropped my Farsi notebook in the water, of course. So a little stuffed up this week in the face, BUT we had an awesome week! We were able to go to a little Baha'i prayer meeting and last week we went with a Jewish friend to the synagogue! Now we just have to go to mass and a mosque bahbah. 

Also, Persians like to play backgammon, so naturally we acquired a board and have become pros. 

We hadn't seen our friend Hamed in a while so we went to the VC this week with him and watch the Testaments with him. At the end, where Christ ministers to the Nephites, Hamed goes "woah, my skin feels all weird, what is this?!" It was super cool and were able to help Hamed understand more about how the Spirit works. 

The work goes on! I love the mission! It has its challenges, unexpected ones like having people who want to be baptized but can not out of their own safety is hard, but I know that we have a living prophet who is the mouthpiece of Christ himself, who leads and guides this church. I love the conference talk from Elder Keetch, about the sharks and the barrier. Although we may not see or understand at the moment, the Lord always does what is best for us. Yes, there may be times in our lives when it tests our faith, patience, charity, understanding, but it always works out in the end. 

I love you! Thanks for everything! :) 

January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!

Dear Fam and Friends,

Happy New Year! What a good week! Everyone seems to be super busy and gone for the holiday break and we were sad not to see too many of our friends at church, but it only gets better from here! Progression is a beautiful thing and we can change because we have a loving Heavenly Father! I love being a missionary! 

In church we talked about progression and setting new goals for the year. I think most of us can relate to setting goals and then 2 weeks later thinking they are crazy and never look at them again. The thing is, we can take them step by step! If you have a goal to read a book, one chapter at a time! Its easier to read it throughout the year than in 2 weeks before the next new year! I heard somewhere if you grow or improve by only 1% (1.01^365) every day for a year, by the end you are almost 38% a better from where you started! Try to be at least 1% better than you were yesterday!

Im super excited to be a missionary for this full year of 2016. Im excited to see what adventures, trials, and opportunities there are in the next year. Im grateful for this opportunity to serve. I can say with confidence that Im where I need supposed to be and I am truly happy, but even more important, Im where the Lord needs me. Its by and through Him that Im able to be out here. We all make mistakes, but I know that we can all change, become better sons and daughters of our loving Heavenly Father and still find true happiness and joy here in mortality. The gospel works! 

Thank you for all your love, support and prayers! Y'all are the best! Make this year count! Be better today than you were yesterday! Be the best version of yourself! :)