Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 32 - Elder Nunez from Argentina, Diana the Teacher, A boy named Brando

Buenos Dias!!

Well this has been an absolutely awesome week here in El Milagro. This past Monday I said my goodbye to Elder Bedregal after 3 transfers together and have now sent him off in the hands of another really good friend of mine from my group Elder Peterson. I am now currently with Elder Nunez who is just awesome. He is 23 and from Merlo, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is awesome. He loves Rock music (we love all the same bands although we cannot listen to them right now) and studied Advertisement and Photography before his mission and has plans to study anthropology after his mission. He also loves to Juggle, spent the past 5 transfers in the mission office, and finishes his mission this transfer. Well to say the least we have had a great week. 

One particularly special lesson we had this week was with a 25 year old kindergarten teacher named Diana. We found Diana while we were actually trying to contact her older sister Ruth who missionaries had been teaching a couple years back but sure enough I do not think it was a coincidence that we found Diana. Elder Bedregal and I taught her just once about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she understood it perfectly. She understood that Jesus taught and established his church while he was here on the earth and that this same church, exactly as he organized it, we have in these latter days. As proof of this message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ we have something called the Book of Mormon which is another testament of Jesus Christ. Well just like we do with many investigators who want to know if these things are true or not we invite them to read and pray to see if the Book of Mormon is truly a testament of Jesus Christ, and therefore with it, if in these days we have the authority and organization of the church of Jesus Christ. We invited her to pray but our luck we had just gifted our only Book of Mormons and so we could not give her one at that time. Well sure enough in the days following our visit with her she prayed and asked if these things were true she received an answer. Although she did feel the spirit while praying, she did not recognize her answer until moments after her prayer when she went out back to feed her dogs. She went out back to the storage shed and crouched down to give her dogs some food. As she stood back up there it was, sitting on the corner of the table right in front of her, an old copy of the Book of Mormon! I suppose missionaries had given it to her sisters years ago but how just in these moments it was all alone on the corner of the table right in front of her, unopened in years, only God knows. Sure enough she picked up the book and began to read, and after a quick visit with her this week she, with tears in her eyes, promised that when she knows that this book that God has put in her path is true, she will change her life and get baptized.  She was so excited about what God had put in her path that she even offered us a wonderful lunch afterwards which we had to regretfully decline. God clearly had a plan for Diana and it is just testament that when we ask with faith and with real intent we can see miracles, whether they big and obvious, or small and simple feelings, God will help us to find the truth. Milagro is awesome.

Well looks like Brando is going to get baptized this coming week here in El Milagro and there are a lot of truly amazing things happening in this area. This has been a truly amazing and miraculous week with Elder Nunez. We are seeing the growth of seeds planted in these past transfers and now with new invigorated energy and ideas I am sure the best is still yet to come.
Elder Vassau

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 31 - A New Companion from Argentina!!!

Buenas Tardes!!!!n!!!!

This week is transfers... and there are a lot of transfers. It looks like I am going to be in Milagro for quite some time because Elder Bedregal today got transferred to Porvenir with a friend from my group, Elder Peterson, and today at 6 we are going to go pick up my companion Elder Nuñez. He is from Argentina and has just one transfer remaining in his mission. For the past 7.5 months (since I arrived in the mission) he has been the President´s assistant and now for his final transfer he will be with me here in El Milagro. It is going to be awesome. About the other missionaries here in El Milagro, Elder Maddock´s companion, Elder Zavalaga, finished his mission and he is now going to be training a brand new companion that we will meet tomorrow. Lots of changes throughout the mission and here in Milagro but I am super excited to get to work with Elder Nuñez. 

This week was our ward conference and so we had a lot of special activities this week including a talent show where missionaries of Milagro put on a little skit about the life of a missionary. It was pretty hilarious stuff. 

Sadly we were not able to have our baptism this week, because of some complications with Brando maybe moving to live with his mom but we did get to go to the Temple. As a ward, and with the other missionaries we attended the temple because some of our recent converts were attending the temple for the first time, so we too got to come along in the bus. It was awesome to visit the temple and show Franklin around for his first time and share that spiritual experience with him. 

This week we have been teaching a young lady named Alejandra who just accepted a baptismal invitation. We found Alejandra about 3 weeks ago when she attended church to make sure her grandma was safe. We introduced ourselves to her and chatted for a little, then she asked ´´sooooooo what is the purpose of this church´´. It seemed like a strange question at first but the more we thought about it the more we realized it was a valid question. Well while we thought of an answer during the week we realized the purpose of church is to prepare us and help us follow Jesus Christ so that one day when we are in front of our Heavenly Father we can be proud of the way we lived our lives. Going to church helps us not only learn about our Savior and remember why he is important but it also helps us to change our habits and change ourselves to follow his example. It is pretty awesome stuff. 

Well this was another great week here in El Milagro and this will be a great new week with my new companero who we are going to pick up tonight. 

Best Wishes!

Elder Jack Vassau

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 30 - Preparing to say goodbye to several other Missionaries

Buenos Dias!!

This was another great week here in El Milagro. Last week we worked really hard to try and find lots of new investigators and to contact new people using the guidance of the spirit. We accomplished a goal of 20 new investigators and this week we have been working really hard to follow up with a lot of these investigators to see which of them the Lord has prepared to learn about and progress in his Gospel. Sure enough we have found a couple great investigators/referrals that the Lord has prepared. One of which is Brando Gallardo. He is the cousin of our pensionista's son and was a referral that we contacted last week. Brando is 14 and to say the least our Heavenly Father has been preparing this young man for quite some time to receive the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was so excited to learn about the Gospel and to accept the baptismal invitation for this coming Saturday. He began attending church and all church activities on his own after only one visit - Some serious desire to learn about his Heavenly Father and follow the example of Jesus Christ!    We have been teaching him just about every day in his uncle's carpentry shop and it turns out he has a stepbrother on a mission in Colombia... someone who was in the CCM with me!!!! It is crazy. On top of that here in Milagro there is only one active young man in the Teachers quorum (young men ages 14-15) and they have been working hard and praying that they can find new members for the quorum or reactivate some inactive young men, and sure enough, Brando is of teacher's quorum age. He is so excited for his baptism this week and is a definite answer to many prayers here in Milagro. 

On the slightly more P-day note, today is our zone wide Peruvian Parrillada (more or less a barbeque). There are a lot of Elders who are finishing their missions this coming week and it will be a bittersweet goodbye for a lot of them . 

Well another great week here in El Milagro and chances are this coming week either Elder Bedregal or I will be moving on to a new area. We will just have to wait and see. 

Until next week,

Elder Jack Vassau

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Week 29 - Julian the 82 Year-Old Construction Worker

Buenos Dias!

Well happy 4th of July. What a special holiday, the day where the greatest country on earth declared independence Yet another awesome week here in El Milagro. Well this past week was just awesome. We found so many new people to teach and serve. This week. Including an 82 year old CONSTRUCTION WORKER named Julian who we helped move some dirt and a super enthusiastic young lady named Patricia. I think one of the highlights of this week though was getting to know a 62 year old retired Police officer and his wife Elvia. He is a retired police officer and our neighbor. For those who do not know our current living quarters are just about 2 blocks west of the state penitentiary and he just happened to have worked in this prison for a couple of years of his service. Boy did he have some crazy stories to tell... Well we were visiting with him and his wife and as we were explaining a little bit about what we teach as missionaries Elder Bedregal made the comment that as missionaries we are representatives of Jesus Christ. Felipe was in awe for a couple of seconds then turned to his wife and said (in Spanish of course) "God has clearly sent these two young men here for a reason. This week we are going to church with them and we need to be listening to what they have to say". It seemed a little humorous at first but as missionaries we have this privilege to represent Jesus Christ and it a serious privilege. However not only us as missionaries can be examples, Jesus himself taught while he was giving his sermon on the mount in Mathew that 

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We can all be examples of Jesus Christ and let our light shine if we try and do what he would do in any given situation. As we choose to follow the example of Jesus Christ other people see it. We are like a city on the hill that anyone can see and as long as we do the best we can to try and be like our savior Jesus Christ people are going to see our "good works" and remember and "glorify your Father which is in Heaven". Jesus Christ was the perfect example and in this life we can be examples to the world as well to help others to come unto Christ through our service and everyday actions. It is pretty awesome stuff.

Well on a slightly less spiritual note as a district this past Monday we went to an all you can eat Chinese buffet (Chifa) in downtown Peru called Eating House. Well to say the least we ate a lot of food and the owners of the restaurant spoke a nice mixture of English, Spanish, mandarin and who knows what else because we could not understand a thing they said. 
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. Things are still going great here in El Milagro.

Elder Vassau

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 28 - Wilson Flores and Game Night


A great week here in El Milagro!  This week we put together a super fun missionary night activity in the church this week. It was basically all games and music. We planned a full night of games and each of us four Elders was in charge of two different games. We played charades, telephone, musical chairs, blindfolded bobbing for apples, blindfolded partner eating competitions, soccer with balloons, and we even brought a piñata. To make the night even better Bishop Escobar brought his son's DJ set and I kept every nice and entertained with some wonderful Disney music that I had (Thanks Tuck for the music). Well the night was lots of fun and it was a great way for us to bring the members and investigators together along with helping us to receive lots of new references to visit. 

This week we have been working a lot with an investigator named Wilson Flores. He is the husband of a returned missionary and they have two kids. He has never talked with the missionaries in all their time together and she has been inactive since starting to live together as well but recently, thanks to the invitation by their awesome 8 year old son Victor and his Grandma, we have started visiting them. Originally we started visiting Victor because he wants to get baptized, but we found his dad and mom and they have started listening as well. Well this week we visited Wilson with a couple from the ward that comes from a very similar situation (she is a returned missionary and he is a recently baptized convert). Well the lesson went super well and near the end of the lesson while we were explaining a little bit about the Book of Mormon Wilson interrupted us and said "What can I do to believe in this book".  He has seen how his oldest son who is about 20 and many others in his life have completely changed after meeting the missionaries and beginning to read the Book of Mormon and learn about this message of Christ. Basically he wants to know if this is all true or not so that he as well can make this change for the better. We were a little shocked at first but we went on to explain how we get answers to our questions. In the book of James in the Bible it says that "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him". We explained that whenever we have a question (lack of wisdom) all we have to do is ask God (pray) and he will answer our prayer.  In whatever moment we have the privilege to ask God anything we need. We can receive help or answers to any need or questions we have if we just humble ourselves enough to prayer, ask for guidance, and afterwards get to work. We always, after asking for help, have to do all we can to help ourselves, and after all we can do is when God answers our prayers and helps us with the rest. In this case Wilson now just needs to read and pray and if he puts in the time, God will respond to his question. 

God loves us and wants us to be on the correct path. He wants to help us with our challenges because he loves us, but he loves us so much that he allows us to work to solve our problems so that we can learn. It is pretty awesome stuff. 
Well all is still well here in El Milagro. 

Elder Vassau