Saturday, July 21, 2018

Week 85 - Roberto Cabrera's Baptism!!! The Murga Family makes a Big Eternal Family Decision!

Buenos Dias!!!

This has been an amazing week here in Primavera. Today was Roberto Cabrera's baptismal service and it was an amazing experience. Here in the ward there is a group that call themselves the "tios" who have incorporated Roberto splendidly. We met Roberto Carlos through his childhood friend Carlos Ramos (look for the Santa Claus look alike in the photos). They were best friend as kids and through college, but to finish his studies Roberto moved away to Colombia and later on Venezuela. Recently they have reconnected since Roberto has moved back here to Peru due to the situation in Venezuela. In Roberto's first week back here in Peru Carlos invited him to attend church on Sunday, and since that day 3 months ago Roberto has not missed a single Sunday. In our last visit with him he explained to us that over the past 6 years in his life God has been preparing him to receive the restored Gospel. It began with the passing away of his older brother due to alcoholism 6 years ago that made Roberto begin to rethink everything he was doing. Little by little he has been trying to be a better person since that time and he has finally begun to know what Christ wants for him. His baptismal service was amazing because we got to see the simple service and contribution of all of his friends here in the ward. Although there were more than a few hiccups (They had to repeat the baptismal prayer well over 5 times) it was so amazing to see the involvement of Roberto's friends in his conversion process. His best friend Carlos Ramos baptized him and another friend Carlos Quispe directed the service. Neither of them had never done such a thing before, but it was just so sweet to see their service. We are so excited and happy for Roberto and his decision to enter through the gateway of baptism. 

This week we also had an awesome experience with the Murga family. They did not end up getting baptized today, but they have all received firm answers to their prayers and know that they want to be baptized. Jessica and her family have always talked about their new found peace and unexplained happiness since learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ but finally they have accepted that as an answer signaling to them that what we teach is true. Just a little addition is that this week they all had dreams as well about being baptized or “cleaned” in some way (I mean we are in Peru so dreams like this are kind of now just expected haha). They are awesome and they are now just waiting to see what weekend Jessica's father can come to town to hold the baptismal service. It is awesome. 

Well this has been an awesome week here in Primavera with Elder Valencia and Elder Torres. It looks like Elder Torres may be transferred to a new area on Monday which will be a sad goodbye after 4 months together. 

Elder Vassau 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Week 84 - Teaching a Family That Families are Eternal - The Murga's

Buenos Dias!!!

This has been an awesome week here in Primavera (as always). This last Sunday Yesika, Juancito, and Daniel all came to church. The Murga family is awesome. Juan loved it so much that he wanted to go up to the pulpit last week to bear his testimony. In the end he was not sure if he had permission to go to the pulpit (which he had and anyone can do), so he will have to wait until next month. After the first meeting he came up to me and told me that he and the whole family are going to come the next Sunday, which is tomorrow. It was awesome. They even came all dressed up in their little suits. Hahaha. It was so great to see this family so happy getting to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ and testing what it is like to attend His church on the Sabbath day. This past Monday we had a family home evening with the Murgas and their neighbors the Rosales who are members of the church. The theme was service. We focused on the importance of Service and Charity in order to follow Christ and help out all of our brothers and sisters. We started off by reading a scripture that is found in the Book of Mormon that states, 

Mosiah 2:17 "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

When we serve others through simple things or great things we are not just helping out a friend in need, but also, we are serving our Heavenly Father who has given us all these things. It is the same with any parent and child. If someone goes out of their way to help out someone's child, the parent will feel as though they have vicariously served them as well through the service to their child. These services do not need to be something huge like a planned project in the park or at a homeless shelter (although those things are great as well) but rather they can be something as small as a smile to someone who has had a bad day. During my time here in Trujillo Peru I have been blessed with many ways to serve. I am currently serving as a missionary, at the start of my mission there were natural disasters which forced many people to rebuild homes which we could help with, and even now as I work in the office I am serving all of the missionaries here in Trujillo by dealing with the logistics so that they may work care free. Over the past year and a half, because of the political issues in Venezuela, many Venezuelans have been immigrating to other countries including Peru. I have met many who have come to Trujillo with absolutely nothing. Lawyers, Architects, Scientists, Engineers, who leave all behind and are willing to work hard here in Peru to start a new life for their families. We often find former lawyers who have taken up construction, engineers who wash windows, and Business managers who drive taxis just to help their family get started once again. It is truly inspiration. On top of all of that, the immigrant population here in Trujillo are some of the nicest and most servicial people I have met as they use the little they have to help out others in their same situation. When someone is willing to help out others and really sacrifice, in that moment someone really understands what it means to be Christlike. 

This week has been truly awesome as well with the progress of Roberto, a Peruvian Venezuelan we have been teaching. He has recently begun working harder to keep God's commandments, in turn feeling the peace and blessings that come with it.

On a slightly less spiritual note it looks like my new companion could be arriving this coming Monday so we will just have to wait and see who will be Elder Torres' replacement. 

Today we also got together with the office Elders from the Trujillo South mission to play some soccer and Volley. Although we do not keep score, I think we really showed them where the best mission in the world is. 

Elder Vassau 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Week 83 - Yesika and Juancito - Follow the Light!

Buenos Dias!!!!

This has been another awesome week here in Primavera. This week we had an awesome experience teaching Yesika Murga and her son Juancito. We visited them Thursday evening. The Murga family is awesome. The parents are Juan and Yesika with their two sons Juan and Daniel. They all listen to us and about two months ago Juan (the dad) contacted us while we were passing by his house. Well on Thursday we had a visit with Yesika and Juancito. This week we read with Yesika and her son 2 Nephi 31 where it is teaching about Christ's baptism and the Doctrine of Christ which is to have Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. We read the whole chapter with her and Juancito and as we finished the chapter of the Book of Mormon we asked if they had any questions about parts that they had read. Yesika immediately began asking about baptism, and more than anything if she could be baptized. She began to explain that since she has met us and begun coming to church she has felt something completely different in her life. She has begun to feel a peace and calmness even though so many things are happening around her. She also explained to us that since she has met us and begun learning more about Jesus Christ she has wanted to, not only to be a better person, but also work hard to keep God's commandments. She has stopped selling in her store on Sundays and she has even been trying to improve her relationship with her husband. When someone is prepared to receive the Gospel and they do not just understand what we teach about Christ, but they also feel it, desires to change and follow Christ just come naturally. When one knows the truth, one will naturally desire to follow it. I made an analogy to a bug with a lightbulb in a darkroom a few weeks ago and it is just so true. When someone feels Christ's love there is this naturally attraction to follow the light. It is amazing. Yesika is planning on getting baptized with her whole family near the end of July pending a possible move to Spain. Let's pray that she decides to stay around just a few months more here in Trujillo so we may continue teaching her. 

This past week I, as the secretary in charge of all of the flights, took all of the missionaries finishing their missions to the airport to send them home. It is always a sad but exciting moment for the missionaries. This time around we said goodbye to a real great group of Elders and Sisters. Many of them you can see in the pictures. 

Well this has been an awesome week here in Primavera. I would also like to wish a Happy late birthday and anniversary to Tucker and Caitlin as well as a happy late Father’s Day to the best dad there is. 

Elder Vassau 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Week 82 - Three rings on the Doorbell and we found Rebecca!

Buenos Dias!!!

This has been an awesome week here in Primavera. These week Elder Torres and I had a super awesome experiencing while contacting. Last Saturday we had our conference with Elder Stevenson and so after that we were super pumped for missionary work and to get at it. The following day on Sunday we found a short time to contact by knocking on doors here in Primavera which is not something we do to often because it is not usually too successful. Also when I say knocking doors I really mean ringing doorbells to speak through little call boxes that all of the really nice houses have. Well we were passing by a certain house and we began to ring the door bell. Once... with no answer... twice... no answer... and we decided to ring for a third time just in case. That is usually our rule of thumb. One knock to see if they are home. Two knocks just in case they did not hear the first one. Three knocks just for the sake of it/for Jeffrey because Jeffrey Holland once gave a talk to missionaries telling them to knock a third time, if for nothing else, just for him. Well the thing is that after the third ring of the doorbell we were about to move on when we heard a reply. A young ladies voice responding that... she was about to leave... it was like the majority of houses we contacted so we really did not think much of it, but seconds later when we were nearly at the next house she replied saying "Wait! I will be right out"... (Obviously in Spanish though). A young mother answered the door and invited us in. She told us that she was honestly getting ready to leave but seconds before we had knocked on her door she had been praying for help to be more patient. At first she did not recognize us as her response when we initially introduced ourselves via telecomunicator, but then it clicked and she realized that she needed to attend us. We then spent a nice short while conversing with

Rebecca about the Gospel. She said that she was raised Adventist and her fiancĂ© is Catholic but recently both of them began attending an evangelical church in Trujillo. They have one child together and after she was pregnant they realized that they had to change something to follow God. They stopped living together, he proposed, and they went looking for a church. Because of financial difficulties they are still waiting to be married but Rebecca is a person that just wants to do what God wants her to do. She then expressed to us how we were an answer to her prayers and that she would like us to begin teaching her and her husband. It was awesome. We shared a very spiritual visit and at the end on our way out the door Rebecca even told us that she was named after a LDS missionary that used to visit her family. It was truly a miracle how we arrived at her house just at the right time. Being a missionary is awesome for all of these tiny miracles that one sees. 

Well this week has been awesome here in Primavera. My companion (after more than 6 months here in the office) is NOT yet being transferred as we all had assumed. We celebrated his birthday last week and I made everyone pancakes. 

Here in Peru the people are a little depressed that Peru lost their first two games in the world cup, many assumed Peru was going to win it all. A real shame. 

The mission is going great and this has been an awesome week here in Primavera. 


Elder Jack Vassau

Monday, June 18, 2018

Week 80 - Mission Conference & Honoring the Sabbath Day

Buenos Dias!!!

This has been an amazing week here in Primavera. Today we had the privilege and blessing of having a conference with Elder Gary E. Stevenson who is a member of the Quorum of the twelve apostles of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. The conference was truly awesome. My mission, the Peru Trujillo North Mission, and the Peru Trujillo South mission we all got together here in the Primavera chapel to receive training from Elder Stevenson and his wife. For members of the church, these leaders are called apostles because, just like the original apostles of Jesus Christ, these leaders are imperfect men called of God to be special witnesses of Jesus Christ around the world. They travel all of over the globe visiting and teaching many other church leaders and people in need. It is truly a unique experience to have a conference with one of them and we learned so much. 

The conference started out with a message from the area President who is in charge of all that is Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. He shared the story about when he was 16 years old living in Brazil when he met the sister missionaries and decided to be baptized. He told us that when he got baptized he was a rebellious teenager with a pony tail. Everyone got a good laugh out of that. It was a little hard for everyone to picture. What he taught us though is that we should never judge others but rather through small and simple acts we should help all others to hear this message. The spirit will work with those that are prepared to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It does not matter where someone comes from, what they do, what race they are, what their profession is, when the Gospel and the light that it brings is presented one can feel its truthfulness and will naturally have the desire to follow it. It is much like a moth in a dark room. It does not matter what type of moth or bug it is, how far away, how large, how old, etc. when there is a light in a dark room the bug will be drawn to it no matter what. Any person, when the Gospel is presented to them, will feel the spirit and will have the desire to follow it if God has been preparing them to receive it. Just think about that the next time a decision presents itself, that naturally we are drawn, through the spirit, to what is good and one will be able to recognize the truth if they have true intention. 

What Elder Stevenson taught us as well was amazing. He really taught us about the importance of inviting others to change and promising blessings. He, as an apostle of Jesus Christ, can promise blessings in the Lord´s name, and I, as a missionary, have the same right to promise blessings. When God makes a promise He is bound to fulfill His half when we do our part. We can have confidence that the decision to follow Jesus Christ will always bring to pass blessings, maybe not immediately, but they will come. That is why we as missionaries are called to teach people repentance so that many may change their ways in order to enjoy the fullness of the promised blessings. It is an awesome privilege to be able to represent our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and promise these blessings, all the while teaching people so that they may follow the path the enjoy the fullness of these blessings. 
This week in our teaching we had awesome visits with the Murga family. We taught Juan and Juancito first on Monday then Elder Torres with Elder Rosenhan taught the mother Yesika yesterday. These week we focused on the commandment of keeping the sabbath day holy. This is a commandment that man has had since the start of time. Many may recognize it from the ten commandments given to Moses. That being said many people also do not understand it because what it explains in the bible in Exodus 20 is the following: 

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

To be honest these four verses may be very confusing for many because it talks all about manservants and cattle, but the idea is that we are given six days of the week to do all that we need to do. Our Heavenly Father just asks us to dedicate one day to remember him where we can devote ourselves to service, scripture study, church attendance, and family time. Here is a video that we used this week that I really love.

The mission is awesome and God loves blessing us. All we have to do is complete with our part to receive these awesome blessings. 


Elder Vassau

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Week 79 - Preparing Ana for baptism and the visit of an Apostle

Buenos Dias!!!

This has been an awesome week here in Primavera especially with the exciting news that this coming Saturday we will be having a multi mission conference with Elder Stevenson from the quorum of the twelve apostles. Everyone here in the mission is super pumped. 

This week we have been working with a young sister named Ana Altamirano. She has been preparing for baptism for a few weeks now. We were rescheduling her baptismal date, because it was going to be the same date as the conference, when the impression came to me that I needed to ask her why she wanted to be baptized. Her answer was so simple but so true. She said "I know that getting baptized will help me to be a better person..." I thought about it for a few brief second and then I realized how true that phrase is. To be baptized is to follow the example of Jesus Christ, the only perfect person to walk the face of this Earth. If we want to be batter people our goal should be to more like Him, and the only way to be more like Him is by living His Gospel. This Gospel includes having Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to endure to the End. He showed us this formula as a way of little by little perfecting ourselves. When we have faith in Christ we desire to be more like Him, when we realize that we sometimes fall short we repent to make the necessary changes in our lives, when we try to be more Christ like we want to follow his example of baptism through which we make a promise with God to keep his commandments, after Baptism we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost to help guide us on the correct path, and finally if we are able to endure all things until the end we will be able to gain all that is promised to us. These promises include peace here on Earth and Eternal life in the coming life. To be a better person is to be more Christ like, and Ana´s decision to be baptized is one massive step to follow the example of Jesus Christ. It is an awesome privilege as a missionary to help people take the steps to begin applying the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives. When people are humble enough to take these steps, then they can see the blessings in their lives, but what happens is sometimes we are a little too stubborn and prideful to accept such a simple solution. 

As it states in Mathew 18:1-4 

1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The mission is just awesome and the Gospel is so simple when we do not over complicate it with our own ideas and opinions. This week has been amazing and everyone is super excited as we prepare for our conference this week. 

Elder Vassau

Monday, June 4, 2018

Week 78 -30 seconds (!!!!) of street contacting found a great man to teach!

Buenos Dias!

This has been another great week here in Primavera. This week I had a really fun time trying out a new way to contact people. Last sunday we, as an office, decided to go contact in a park using a big banner of Jesus Christ. We were going to test it out here because it is not something that generally is done here in Peru. Well we decided to give it a try for a short hour because we had an appointment at 4 where President Marble was going to accompany us. Well what happened was we got to the park at around 315pm and we found a nice spot to put up the banner. Within less than 30 seconds of getting the Christ banner up and going, someone walks up to me and starts asking what we were doing. I explained to him we are missionaries and I began to explain to him a little bit about what we do. He then said "Perfect! So you guys are exactly what I am looking for!". He then proceeded to invite us over to a near by bench to chat about numerous Gospel and Christ centered themes for nearly a half an hour. It was so crazy how fast God worked in our Park situation. We were there for less than 30 seconds before someone presented themselves. Someone who God had been preparing to receive this message. It was awesome. 

This week we also had a great experience sharing a family home evening with the Murga family where we taught them about God's Plan of Salvation. Nothing brings so much happiness and peace to a family as the knowledge and understanding that family life does not finish here on Earth, but rather that a family can be eternal. God's plan, although often we do not understand it while here on Earth, is something that shapes us into being happier and better people. The Murga family, like most families, has been passing through various challenges with health recently. Bother Hermana Murga and her dad have recently suffered accidents that have limited their mobility. When we see all that happens in this life in the perspective of God's eternal plan, it makes it just a little bit easier to take on life's challenges. 

Well another awesome week here in Primavera. Here in Peru everyone is getting super excited for the World Cup, the first in which Peru will participate in about 36 years. To commemorate that we bought matching office Peru jerseys (see photo). 

I hope all is well back on the home front. 

Elder Vassau