Who are we?

We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are currently serving in the mission field of The Church
for a period of three years. This blog represents our own opinions and experiences for these three years. And does not represent or speak
for the doctrine or opinions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Elder Neil L. Andersen visits Honduras

As a mission, and as a country we were greatly blessed to receive Elder Neil L. Andersen, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as a guest here in Honduras, and especially here in our mission. 

 He was accompanied by Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Dean M. Davies, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of the Church, Elder, Elder Adrian Ochoa of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy, and Elder Valladares, our presiding Area Seventy.  It was a great opportunity to hear from each one of them as they addressed the youth of the Church both in a special fireside, and a meeting of both missions here in San Pedro Sula.

Whenever you have many wonderful General Authorities gathered and more than 450 missionaries in one place . . . you can certainly feel the spirit of the great work of the Church on the face of the earth today.

I have been blessed to be in the presence of General Authorities in my life, but I will always remember the feeling I experienced as I first met Elder Neil L. Andersen.  My immediate impression was he brought with him the love of the Savior for each person there in the room. I never really comprehended what the love of the Savior might feel like . . . but I experienced it that day in some small measure through Elder Andersen.

His eyes sincere, and each immediately felt an overwhelming sense of caring and concern for the one.  He and the other visiting authorities began to tour the room when they entered shaking hands and greeting as many people as possible.  It was marvelous to be seated on the stand and watch the expression of the many youth who had opportunity to meet and shake hands with these authorities of the Church.  We could tell, it was a lifetime experience, they will not likely forget.

The following day, approximately 450 missionaries from the San Pedro Sula missions gathered to hear the words of the visiting General Authorities.  I hope to share messages from each one, but for now will focus the remainder of this post on the words from the special witness of Christ, Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife.

I was impressed with the words of Sister Andersen as she testified of the apostolic witness of her husband.  She spoke of how she studied the words of the apostles as a youth, never dreaming that she would find herself in a position one day, where she would bear personal witness of their great calling and responsibility.  She shared with us that she always takes notes, even though they have been married many years, as she always learns something new, something special and inspired, and that we should enjoy and make use of this great opportunity.  (What a great example for me of love and support in marriage!)

Elder Andersen clearly demonstrated the gift of tongues . . . he of course speaks English, he served as a young missionary in France, and later presided over the France Bordeaux mission, therefore speaking French.  Later he presided as the Area President in Brazil South Area, learning Portuguese.  And today he spoke to us in Spanish . . .  which kind of rolled off his tongue with a French / Portuguese sort of accent - so lovely.

Elder Andersen arrived with much experience of visiting Church members all over the world.  He acknowledged that each area of the Church is a little bit different.  In France it's difficult to find people to speak to, in Africa the people are very spiritual, in Russia, Americans can be unpopular and not well liked.  Each area has it's particular challenges . . . but here in Honduras, the people are very loving but they need help staying active in the Church, staying faithful forever.  Here it is not hard to teach the gospel, the difficulty lies in helping them become truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It's especially necessary for each missionary to be personally converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to truly help and convert and change the lives of others here in Honduras.  To help a person receive a change of heart, you have to have received that grand change of heart yourself first.  Each missionary needs to receive their own witness of the importance of the Atonement in their lives and put it into practice in their lives.  He taught the words from the Book of Mormon, the words of Alma the younger, speaking of his father . . .

 . . . "there was a mighty changewrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true.
     And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.
    And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" - Alma 5

How can we become great instruments like unto Alma, and Alma the younger?

By keeping our focus on the eternal principles that matter -
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor 4:18)
Each missionary is specifically called with authority, to act as a representative of the Church, and to teach with power and authority the principles found in Preach my Gospel.  We must teach the principle of the Atonement, as found in the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon.  Many many scriptures from the Book of Mormon teach of the Atonement of the Savior.  It's not just important, that today the Savior lives . . . but what He did.  What He accomplished through the Atonement for us.

We were so impressed with a challenge Elder Andersen left for each missionary to memorize 10 scriptures that teach of the Atonement.  To commit them to memory, to be ready to teach and to testify at a moments notice the power of the Atonement.  (Each missionary may choose their own meaningful scriptures.  Five from the Book of Mormon and five from other scripture sources.  We have been implementing this wonderful challenge and have already seen great and marvelous things begin to come to pass! For myself it has given greater meaning to my scripture study, and greater purpose as I have tried to commit these special scriptures to memory).

Elder Andersen also taught the principle taught by President Spencer W. Kimball -
President Spencer W. Kimball, who gave such comprehensive teachings on repentance and forgiveness, said that personal suffering “is a very important part of repentance. One has not begun to repent until he has suffered intensely for his sins. … If a person hasn’t suffered, he hasn’t repented.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, pp. 88, 99.)
The Savior taught this principle when he said that his atoning sacrifice was for “all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.” (2 Ne. 2:7.) The repentant sinner who comes to Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit has been through a process of personal pain and suffering for sin.

As we experience and use the Atonement in our own lives . . . we can then teach and testify with power of it's greatness, as we help others become truly converted, truly ready to make great changes in their life through repentance and bringing their lives into harmony with gospel principles.  We are the instruments . . . that bring the gospel of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to others . . . we are his hands.

He also shared Elder Bednar's quote from his wonderful address, "In the Strength of the Lord".

Thus, the enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement helps us to see and to do and to become good in ways that we could never recognize or accomplish with our limited mortal capacity. - Elder David A. Bednar

He closed with his greetings from the Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson and thanked the missionaries for their devotion, service and hard work, with a blessing for all that their knowledge would increase as they reach out to help all, to teach the Atonement, to strengthen the members, to elevate all together.  He blessed the missionaries that they might be able to see the things that can't be seen, to understand more clearly, to understand the situations of the people they will encounter.  He bore a powerful testimony that our Heavenly Father lives. He said, "Jesus Christ lives".  "I really know that He lives, was resurrected and directs the Church."  "One day we will all be in front of Him".  "This mission will be a great blessing".  "God is our Father".  "The Book of Mormon came from light".  "I love you, this is my witness of Christ, I testify He lives, I really know".

Powerful!  Yes, it was powerful.
The Spirit bore witness to us . . . that this apostle of the Lord
speaks and testifies as His special witness.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

So Much to Share . . . So Little Time . . .

Much to Share, Not Much Time . . .

A continual challenge that we have is to try to fit everything in.  The days are full from morning until night.  We are frequently on the road, traveling, in meetings, training, planning with missionaries, Church Leadership or members of the Church for various reasons.

We have so many messages we could share, so many experiences, trials, challenges, miracles, wonderful occurrences from our own happenings or that missionaries have shared with us . . . but we have so little time to put together the words to express what has come to pass.

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

During the month of March the mission has been very blessed!

The mission San Pedro Sula Este has been blessed to have several uplifting and inspiring visitors that have blessed us through their teachings and testimonies.

Our visitors this month include -

  • Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
  • Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy
  • Elder Dean M. Davies of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church
  • Elder Adrian Ochoa of the Second Quorum of the Seventy with their wives, and . . .
  • Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

This post will be about our visit from Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
(Because he came earliest in the month, I will also be posting the inspiring messages of the other visiting General Authorities of the Church soon)

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

Elder Kevin R. Duncan - 

Elder Duncan has much experience in Latin America and had much to share with our missionaries.  He served as a young missionary in Chile, then spent time working in Brazil, later served as a Mission President in Chile, and now is the President of the Central America Area, living in Guatemala with his wife and two youngest daughters.  We were very grateful to have him tour our mission and greet all our missionaries, as well as address them in three different meetings.

I'm going to share many of the thoughts he left with us . . .

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

Always begin and end speaking of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ was Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the New Testament.  He visited the American continent after his death and resurrection, he appeared to many so that there could be no doubt of his resurrection.  These occasions are recorded both in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon which is another witness of Jesus Christ.

He is our Lord, our Redeemer, our Advocate with the Father.
He ransomed us with his blood.

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

We can do nothing as missionaries except we teach and testify of the importance of the Savior, his atonement and the blessings of the His restored gospel to the earth.

Because of Him . . . all that is good in the world, has come to pass.

Testify powerfully of Christ in all moments.

Are you Living up to Your Potential?

You are very needed here - field is white and ready to harvest, have a great work to do, much potential!

Are we living beneath our privileges?
Do we have the faith required to live UP to our privileges?
Knowing that our Heavenly Father will bless us.

Elder Duncan - "I am here to invite you to receive the VISION of the work you can accomplish in your areas, branches, wards and stakes.  Through much study, and much work, I promise you can receive it!"

We need to envision each of our areas as the future Stakes of Zion!

We need good priesthood leaders!  Men who diligently pay a full tithe and offerings.  I particularly noted his next words . . . "think of the strength behind these faithful men!"  "Speaking of women, I know all the apostles, and believe it or not, each of their wives are better than they are.  My wife is better than me!"  "So think of the strength that comes when we find these faithful men!"

And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite agoodnessof God, and the manifestations of his Spirit, have great views of that which is to come; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things.  Mosiah 5:3

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

Envision the potential of yourself and your areas.

An Invitation . . . to be Better . . .

Get rid of those things in your life that are preventing you from accomplishing this great work . . . tablets, extra telephones, telephone chips, inappropriate music . . . inappropriate activities or thoughts . . . selfishness, problems with leaders or companions . . . just stop it, get rid of it today!

Teach the members what are appropriate missionary activity and don't linger longer than necessary after lessons, lunch or dinner.  Teach and testify in every home, with every person.  Keep visits to less than an hour, preferably 30 minutes.

You are a representative of the Savior, you have been officially called by a prophet to represent the Church and the Savior.  Be an example 24 x 7.

We have the power to change the work here that is miraculous.

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

Do Your Part to Hasten the Work of Salvation

Elder Duncan shared Elder Bednar's words from the most recent Seminar for Mission Presidents in 2014.  Speaking of the scripture found in D&C 88:73 -

Behold, I will ahasten my work in its time.

It is very clear that we play a role in helping the Kingdom of God roll forth across the world.  But it is the Lord who hastens His work.  It is the Lord's work and he does the hastening.  It is the Lord who directs and moves His work forward.

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

Elder Bednar - 

"Will we keep pace?  Will we as individuals and collectively as a church keep pace with the Lord's hastening? Or will we insist on doing things the way they have always been done, or the ways we are accustomed to or comfortable with? 
Will we learn and teach the Savior's way?  Will each of us here today learn, repent, change, and teach more effectively the Savior's way? Or will we be so entangled in the traditions and patterns of the past that we will be unable to keep up the pace of the Lord's hastening? 
If we always do what we have always done, then we will always get what  
we have always gotten.   
May I suggest that what we have always done and always gotten were good in their time but need to improve as the Lord is quickening the pace.  The Lord's hastening of His work requires us continuously to learn, to change, and to press forward with faith in the Savior. 

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

The Lord's anointed servants are leading the way to more spiritually sensitive, rigorous, and demanding patterns of learning and teaching. 

You were not called to serve today because of what you have done in the past.  Rather, you were called because the Lord has confidence in what you can and will do in the future.  You were called because of what you will become! 
Will we keep pace as the Lord hastens His Work?  Will we shape ourselves to the majesty of our callings?"

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

Every Member a Missionary . . . and . . .
Every Member a Member!!

Elder Duncan shared a video with the missionaries of easy ways to involve the members more frequently in their teaching.  Encourage the members be active in teaching, attending firesides with investigators, inviting neighbors and friends into their homes for the missionaries to meet with.

Think how beneficially the time is spent if a member invites two families into their home for the missionaries to come teach!  Saves the missionaries a great deal of time finding, and they feel the Spirit of a warm Latter-day Saint home, as well as make very good use of the missionaries teaching time.

Continually invite less active members to come back.  Involve them in reading the Book of Mormon so they can remember that same Spirit that testified to them originally of the truthfulness of gospel principles.

Members are Key!

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

Always be Finding - Always!

During lessons, invite everyone in the house to participate.  Invite the the neighbors in.  Ask each person for references.  Point out moments when the witness of the Spirit is strong.  Invite everyone to come participate in the next lesson.

Elder Duncan brought an  example of a teaching sheet for all investigators, filled with lesson plans and gospel principles.

Our assistants have already created one special for our mission that each missionary will have available to use with each of their investigators.

Use the Area Calendars - 

Each missionary, investigator, less active or active member should have a copy of the Area Calendar to use to track their personal scripture study, prayers, Family Home Evening, temple work, family history work.

Use the calendars!

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth … : for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”—Matthew 6:19, 21

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

A Mission of Angels - 

We have a mission of angels on the other side of the veil doing their part to hasten the work.  They are preparing the hearts of many to receive the word of the Lord.  

 For behold, aangels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.  Alma 13:24

How do we work with these Angels?  Through the power of prayer, fasting, planning, study, planning to teach and praying for the proper preparation.  What would the Savior have us do so that we can be prepared to assist these missionaries from the other side of the veil with their work?

And there was ano inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their bhearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming— Alma 16:16

Today is a New Day! 

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

Faith is the key.  

Through faith we can overcome whatever challenges we may find in our paths.  It's easy to have faith when times are good, when things are easy, when our appointments come to pass, when our investigators come to church, when they progress and read and study and pray as we have helped them.  

Having faith during the hard times is hard!  But it is the most important time!  

Faith is the basis of testimony.
Faith represents sacrifice.
Faith is a miracle.

Faith is a gift from God.

"It is marvelous and wonderful thing that thousands are touched by the miracle of the Holy Spirit, that they believe and accept and become members. They are baptized. Their lives are forever touched for good. Miracles occur. seed of faith comes into their hearts. It enlarges as they learn. And they accept principle upon principle, until they have every one of the marvelous blessings that come to those who walk with faith in this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It is faith that is the converter. It is faith that is the teacher."
--Gordon B. Hinckley

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