Monday, January 30, 2017

La Obra del Señor

¡Buen día!

Well this past week was awesome!! First of all, we have some changes in the mission schedule, and p day starts at 8 oclock now, instead of 10:30!! Also, now we have a lot more flexibility in our studies and work, which is something that is really good here in Argentina because have yall ever heard of the "siesta"? Well basically, from 1 to 5 everybody goes in to take a nap, everybody closes their businesses and the roads look like one of those old western movies with the tumbleweed blowing across the street, except it is Buenos Aires, one of the biggest cities in the world! So now, we can adjust our schedules to work more effectively in the hours that people aren´t asleep. (Perdón Hermana Dedios, quizás eso fue una exageración ;). So the new changes are pretty cool, they don´t really apply to me yet because I still have to keep my office schedule, but it is still cool! President told me that I will be staying in the offices for at least another transfer, so I am not going anywhere, no changes there!

This week was another week full of miracles, and a lot of learning! We had a training by Elder Stevenson, in the quorum of the 12, and he talked a lot about the importance and power of a testimony from a representative of Jesus Christ, and promising blessings as a representative of Jesus Christ. As Elder Bednar says, we can only take the message unto, but the investigator has to take the message into. The only thing that can convert someone is the spirit. He related it to having Elder Holland as our companion. If Elder Holland was our companion, we would for sure let him speak. Now, the Holy Ghost is our companion, and is a member of the Godhead, and sometimes we don´t give him room to speak! The way that we give the Holy Ghost room to speak is by bearing strong testimony of Jesus Christ, so that the Holy Ghost can also bear witness! And let me tell you, trying to apply this principle as best as I can has made a big impact on me as a missionary, and has been such a blessing!

We went to Susana´s house, who is one of our investigators that we found last week that we felt the impression to just knock her door, and she has cancer. She was afraid that her sickness was going to inhibit her from being able to progress in the Gospel, and truly have all the blessings of the restored Gospel. I felt a strong impression to promise her that her sickness would not inhibit her from the great blessings of the Lord as she strives to be better and follow Christ, then I bore my testimony as a representative of Christ, of Him, and she began to cry. At that point I really began to understand what people truly need to hear and feel to want to change, and it does not come from me! The spirit touched her heart, and she was truly moved and influenced to change, and to come to church! She came to church by herself, without our help, and brought 2 other people in her family! I was sitting near the back of the chapel with another family, and I heard another missionary say to me "Elder Yeoman, here are investigators that are here from your area." Then the next thing I heard was "I came, it was all I could do, but I came." And it just filled my heart with happiness. It was during the opening hymn and Elder Lyon was playing the piano, so he didn't even realize it, until after I gave him the motion and he was elated! She told me that she wanted to bring her whole family but she didn't have enough money on her bus card, and I just wish she would have told me, but next week I hope they all come! She committed to be baptized, and we are teaching her family as well! This is without a doubt the Lord´s work. 

Another investigator, named Juan, was Susana´s ex husband, and they live next to each other. He is the one that we talked to first when we knocked on the door. We also went to visit him on Saturday, and he was drinking and told us that he was really bad off! He told us that he was already decided that he was going to kill himself that day, and that there is nothing we can do to stop him. I do not feel that it is necessary go into the detail of what was happening with him, but just a lot of problems! At that point I just began to pray because I had no idea what to tell him or say to him to make him change his mind, but then I just felt to bear testimony of Heavenly Father, and his love and plan for us, and I just felt so strongly his need for the Gospel! We talked about repentance, and testified that people really can change! We had a great lesson with him, and he calmed down a little bit and at the end said a prayer. I know that anybody who is willing to drop everything behind and follow Christ can change, and through the atonement of Christ, every wound can be healed, and it leaves no traces! He did not come to church this week, but he is doing a lot better and he understands that he needs to change! We will see what happens!

It is so humbling to be in situations like that, things that 2 years ago I could have never imagined. But one thing is for sure, the Lord is aware of every single one of us. He knows exactly what we need, because he has suffered for everything that we have suffered, are suffering, and will suffer in this life! There is nothing we could go through that he doesnt know exactly what we need, if only we choose to follow Him, and be perfected in Him!

As a representative of Jesus Christ, I know that He lives, I know that He sacrificed himself for all of us and that because of that we can change, be better, and live again in the presence of God! There is no other plan more perfect than the Plan of Salvation, and the Atonement is the base of it all. As we repent daily, and try to be better daily, we will continue in our progression to Eternal Life. This is a promise that comes straight from Jesus Christ, the promise of Eternal Life to those that believe in Him, and follow Him! I know that this is the true church of Christ, that has been restored in our day so that we can have all we need to be able to complete the grand plan of our Father and Heaven, live with Him eternally, with our families!

I hope that all of us can do some things different this week to express our gratitude to Heavenly Father for all the things we have, and all of our many blessings! 

Sister Smith told me to put down goals for my last 6 months, to pray about it and write them down, and it kind of took me back a little bit to think about how fast time goes, and how much I have changed, but I just want you all to know that you don't have to worry about me letting up at all! 

 Dejaré todo en la cancha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

¡Les amo mucho! Gracias por todo :)

Office Elders with President Smith
President and Hermana Smith
Breakfast at President Smith's home this morning!
The Smiths make a famous Buttermilk Syrup that is Amazing!!!
It is actually sold in stores in Utah!
Elder Stafford and me!!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Muchos Milagros

Hello all! I hope everyone had a fantastic week and that everything is going well up there North J. This week was one full of miracles! Something that I have learned a lot on my mission is that as we try our best to do the Lord´s will and work hard despite the circumstances we may be in, we will always be blessed with miracles, however small or big they might be! 

Yesterday, Elder Lyon and I got to a point that we just really didn´t know what else to do. We had planned the night before as always, but for some reason we just felt that we could work differently, and see better results. As we were thinking about that, a phrase that my basketball coach always told my team in high school came to mind. It is “If we want different results, we need to do something different.” Sometimes, we always just do the same thing expecting a different result, but as we try new things trying to have even more success, we will always be very blessed! I used this example in a lesson yesterday because it is the best example to get people´s attention – If you want to be able to play soccer like Messi, you have to practice like him, but if you want to play better than him, you have to practice differently and harder than him. It is the same in the Gospel, and in life. We can just go through the motions, being like everyone else, reading the scriptures once every month, praying once a week, going to the temple once a year, and chances are we would probably just stay stagnant, without much progression. So the thing most important in this is our consistency in always trying to be better, and always doing a little more, and it may even require change and doing things differently!

Elder Lyon and I started doing things a little differently, and we felt that we were guided far more than normal by the spirit, and we were able to meet some great new people. We decided to work in some different parts of our area, and we focused on just listening to the promptings of the spirit instead of focusing on our plans. We were lead to a particular house and here in Argentina there aren’t really ever door bells, so you have to clap your hands to get someone to come to the door. So we clapped our hands and the guy that was sitting there in his little humble house told us to come in. So we went in and began to talk to him. He told us of all the deaths he has had in his family, all the terrible things that he has gone through, how he was in the war of the Islas Malvinas, and how now his wife is sick with cancer. His question was “Why?” And that is a question that I have gotten a lot as a missionary, ¨why do all these things happen to me, why does God punish me?¨ There are many people who do not have a sufficient eternal perspective to be able to comprehend why we have trials, and that this life really is a test. I began to testify to him that God loves him, and knows him perfectly, and knows what he needs to be able to progress in this life, and that Heavenly Father gives the hardest trials to the strongest people. But then I explained to him the same principle, that if he wants something different in his life that he needs to do something different, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what can make all the difference we need! “Remember, He gave his life so that you can change your life.” We will be returning to their house this week and they have a really big family so we are excited to be able to help them!

Last night, we were walking to go to an appointment and we were near our area limit, and I see someone out of the corner of my eye with a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation. I was thinking, "well,  I don’t remember talking to him, so we need to go talk to him."  It turns out, that not 5 minutes before, he went up to the sister missionaries needing some help with some things that were going on in his family, and then we just happened to be right there, talk about being in the right place at the right time! He and his family are going through a really rough time because his nephew is dying and is only 10 years, and his family is completely destroyed because they have no knowledge of the plan of salvation. We were able to talk to him a little more and we scheduled an appointment with the family this week. I can´t imagine how anyone would be able to overcome such a tough trial without the knowledge of Heavenly Father´s perfect plan, that enables us to live eternally with our families! How blessed are we to be able to have this knowledge!

I was reading a talk, well my companion was listening to it and I was eavesdropping, and I cannot remember who it is by, but just listening to it a little bit I heard something that I really loved. “We cannot let ourselves lose sight of our eternal identity.” And I was thinking about this a lot this past week! We cannot let anything keep us from remembering and always thinking about our eternal identity! That is one of the biggest things that the adversary will attack! The fact that we have a huge potential to one day live eternally with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and alongside our families! We have to strive every day to keep that in sight, being consistent in our faith and love in Jesus Christ, always trying to be better, and always obeying the commandments! As we do so, we will have a hope and faith that will be an anchor for us in all that we do, and all the struggles and hardships that will come, like it says in Ether 12:4.
Never forget how merciful and loving the Lord is, and how much he wants us to comprehend His mercy, even though it is hard at times! I have met many people who struggle understanding this doctrine, that no matter who we were, what we have done, the Savior will always have his arms of mercy extended towards us in our quest to change and become better!

Alma 33:16 - 

 “For behold, he said: Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son.”

I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves us, and that He is the most merciful person that has ever existed, more than we can imagine. We must work to be able to understand His mercies, and accept all that He has given us! This is His true church, and priesthood keys have been restored so that we may receive the necessary ordinances that enable us to live eternally!

I love you all! Have a great week!!

Elder Yeoman

Monday, January 16, 2017

Una Buena Semana!

Hello all!

This week really just flew. Every time I blink it is Monday again. For some reason, the past like 3 months it has rained every Sunday. It is a big trial of faith for the people here to get to church, because not very many have cars and have to walk to church or take a bus. Nevertheless, we had a pretty good turnout of investigators and members yesterday! 

The other day, the secretary from the Buenos Aires South mission called me and his name was Elder Marsh. We had talked a couple times before about some office stuff, but this time he asked me where I was from and I told him North Carolina, and he said “me too.” Then he told me he is in the Winston stake and I was like..wait a your dad the stake president? He said yes, I am Chris Marsh and then we made the connection that we went to scout camp together and that I am in the High Point ward and it was pretty cool. I had no idea he was here in Buenos Aires. He told me he has been out there about 14 months. It was a pretty cool and funny experience! Haha!

I was walking in the street the other day (imagine that) and I felt a strong impression to talk to someone that was sitting down outside her house. It turns out that about 10 years ago she was attending church regularly, and even remembered some of the missionaries names that were teaching her. Her and her family went for about a solid 6 months straight, but then her mom got really sick and other things happened and they were unable to keep going. When I was talking to her, she told me that her mother died about 6 months ago, and that she even thought about going back to church. Since then we have had some incredible lessons with her, and she has committed to be baptized and came to church on Sunday. That was a big testimony builder for me that Heavenly Father knows His children, and is aware of their needs, and that He has given us the perfect plan of happiness and eternal life that is needed to be shared to all!

My Bishop called me on Friday and told me that he wanted me to speak this past Sunday and told me to just say whatever I wanted. I’ve never received that topic before so it was fun preparing for it. I prayed about it and felt that I needed to talk about all the blessings we have, and how important the Gospel really is in our lives in an eternal perspective. We have a prophet that is called of God that receives revelation to guide us in these days. We have the scriptures as well to guide us and in the scriptures we can find the answer to all of life´s difficulties. We have the opportunity to pray to our Heavenly Father and give thanks for what we have, and also ask for the things that we may need, or help for the problems we are facing. We have knowledge of the great Plan of Salvation, which enables us to live forever with our families, and gives us all the hope we need to get through the challenges of this life. We know that the Gospel has been restored, and we have the fullness of the Gospel here on the Earth, with the keys and authority of God that enable us to receive the saving ordinances necessary for Eternal Life. Basically, my point was that we have EVERYTHING! Every single tool needed for our happiness and success in this life, and the next life as well! Everything depends, however, in our diligence and obedience to this Gospel, and all that the Lord expects of us. But as we try every single day to be a little bit better, our happiness will increase a whole lot, and we will always be improving!

When we truly understand all that we have, we have a desire to share it, and that was another point that I wanted to make yesterday, that we can't just keep all that in. We need to share it! All of us can make a great difference in the lives of those around us! 

In my studies this week, I read a scripture that I wanted to share with you guys. I was reading a talk by Elder Holland that was one of the best talks I have ever heard, and he cited a scripture in Hebrews 10:

35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.
 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

I was thinking about this a lot. Sometimes after we have experiences that greatly increase our faith, that we feel the spirit a lot, and that we feel greatly edified, the adversary attacks us even harder to make those feelings and experiences disappear. After receiving an answer from Heavenly Father about a big decision we need to take, or after feeling the peace about the decision we have made, then the adversary brings us doubt, and we begin to doubt what we once thought was a sure answer from Heavenly Father. 

In the talk, it says “In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul was trying to encourage new members who had just joined the Church, who undoubtedly had had spiritual experiences and received the pure light of testimony, only to discover that their troubles had not ended but that some of them had just begun.” 

I loved this, because it is very true about our day! We all have spiritual experiences, but we all have other experiences that bring us down and sometimes make us doubt the spiritual experiences we have had!

Well Elder Holland says it better than me – “The reminder is that we cannot sign on for a battle of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight—a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless. Paul says to those who thought a new testimony, a personal conversion, a spiritual baptismal experience would put them beyond trouble—to these he says, “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” Then this tremendous counsel, which is at the heart of my counsel to you: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.”

Like it says in the scripture, we must be patient, trying to be better every day, trying to do the will of the Lord, and after we can accomplish that we may receive the promise! We can´t ever forget that this life is not easy, that even after the most spiritual experiences, we will still have difficulties, and we know that in this life that will never cease to be the case!

But we can never cast away our confidence, for there is a great reward awaiting us!

I know this life isn't easy, not even for a missionary. But we have everything we need to have hope and be happy, and return to live with our Heavenly Father again, so we can never cast away that confidence, and always rely on the Lord to help us keep moving forward and slowly but surely becoming the sons and daughters of God that He needs us to be!

I love you all! Thanks for all the support and all you guys have done for me! Nothing goes unnoticed! 

¡Que tengan una buena semana!

Elder Yeoman

Elder Ayres (my MTC companion)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hola Todos!

Hello Everyone!!

I hope everyone had a great week! I can't believe that it is snowing so much in North Carolina. The Panthers went to the Super Bowl last winter, and this winter it snowed 9 inches, well that's just interesting, haha. Anyways, I hope you all are enjoying this winter season and a little time off of school and work, because I know everything is shut down for sure! 

This week was pretty good. We are still seeing some effects of the New Year. There still were a lot of people that didn't come to church this past week. We had about half of the normal attendance. We had fast and testimony meeting this past week because it was moved from the week before. As everyone was sharing their testimonies, I was sitting and listening and pondering on the things that were said and I started to think a lot about testimony and conversion.

My favorite thing I have ever heard in respect to the difference between conversion and testimony is a talk that was given by Elder Bednar. He said "A testimony is when you know the gospel is true, and conversion is when you are true to the gospel." I love that quote and I remember it often as I distinguish the two. Conversion is driven by our obedience and absolute willingness to do the will of the Lord and being true to Gospel principles, and by our consistency in doing the small things like reading, praying, and attending church on Sundays. I love what it says in Alma 5, talking about a mighty change of heart that leads to lasting conversion.

14 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?

15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?

33 Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.
 34 Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely.
I love this scripture, because it shows that conversion requires lasting change, that results from sincere repentance and obedience to the Lord's commandments and His Gospel. 
As we try our hardest to be better everyday, repenting of our mistakes, and truly trying to change, we will experience this mighty change of heart. We will experience lasting conversion, which will be our biggest treasure in this life, and help us to stay motivated to keep improving!
I love you all, Have a great week!!
Elder Yeoman
Eating Burgers on P-day with the office elders

Monday, January 2, 2017

¡Feliz Año!

Happy New Year! I still cannot believe that 2016 is over, a year that I will be extremely thankful for, for all eternity. It was a year full of growth, trials, and helped me to know who I want to be the rest of my life! And also the year that went by fastest in my life. Hope you all had a wonderful year 2016 and a happy start to the year 2017 and that all your resolutions can be fulfilled! 

Hopefully you all were a little bit more lively than everyone here yesterday .I was walking the streets all day yesterday, and finally everyone started to wake up and come outside at about 8 pm, haha. I don’t remember that at all last year, so it was a little bit of a surprise even to me this year. And well, our sacrament meeting attendance was not the best either, the bishop stood up to give his talk and talked a little bit about the Restoration then said “And our congregation today looks a lot like it did in 1830, about 10 people”, haha. Needless to say it was a pretty tough one yesterday, but sometimes that happens! 

This past week was pretty crazy busy with the transfers, and I think we only really worked in our area 3 days. So, a lot of new details about that I don’t really have sadly. We are still working with Alan, who is from Perú and is awesome. It has just been a little tough getting him to church with Christmas and then New Years, as it has been for everyone these past 2 weeks. He is very sincere and wants to come closer to the Lord, but he is having some problems sacrificing time to do so because he works a lot, and he is in the process of building a new house as well. We have also been working with 2 other couples to get them married, and help them to get baptized! I feel like a marriage counselor sometimes haha, but I have realized that the answer is always very simple. Many couples want to be happier, want to have a more loving relationship, want to live more comfortably, and fight less. The answer to these problems are very simple, and really it is the answer to many of life's problems. The only complicated thing is us!  But we as missionaries have the same invitation to all who want to improve their quality of life, marriage, and whatever needs they may have – that they can repent and come unto Christ! I love the scripture in Mosiah 2:22 

 22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.¨

The Lord has given us the answer, and it is a very clear and simple one. The thing that we should be doing every day is trying our best live the way that the Savior has asked, and that is what really determines our true happiness, and the relationship that we have with our spouse and kids, and the quality of life that we have. It is the only way to truly live happily. I remember in my first area, Elder Kelly and I were teaching a couple that ended up getting married and baptized, but they had a ton of problems. And I remember always thinking to myself, being a new missionary and coming from the family I came from “Why do the littlest things bother them and cause them to be mad at each other and want to get separated every other day?” It would be things like one of them didn't help do the dishes, or one of them cooked 3 days in a row, or one of them always changed the diapers, small things like that. And of course there were bigger things too, but mostly the smaller things were what really set them off. And I remember telling them that they are missing the point! Instead of thinking about all the things that your spouse does you don't like or that bothers you, you can instead spend your time trying to live in harmony with Heavenly Father's commandments and in turn reap the blessings that come from righteous living, and then you can really be happy. Heavenly Father has given us commandments so that we can be happy, and so that we can also be guided in our daily lives! Other scriptures that I love that help us to understand this a little more include one that is at the end of this same chapter of Mosiah:

41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven,that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

There is another promise from the Lord that those that keep the commandments will have a state of blessings and happiness, far different than those that do not. And the blessings come spiritually and temporally as well! So our biggest effort should be put in trying our best every single day to be better disciples of Christ and obey His commandments!
In D&C, we see many promises of those who are obedient, including this one: 

10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

I know without any doubt that this is the true Church of Christ, and this is His true Gospel. As we strive every day to live in harmony with Heavenly Father's teachings, we will always receive the blessings that we need in this life, maybe not everything we want, but definitely everything that we need! I am so thankful for the guidance I have because of the Gospel in my life, and I don't know what I would do without it! Jesus Christ lives and died for all of us, and all He asks is that we follow Him, and we will live our earthly lives happily, and also return to live with Him, in a state of everlasting peace and happiness, alongside our families! 

I love you all, and thank you for all the love and support that you guys give me every week! I am incredibly blessed with the best family and friends! 

I hope that 2017 can be an incredible year full of progression and happiness for all! Always remember what is truly important! J

Elder Yeoman
Elder Ayres and Elder Hendricks (from the same MTC district)
Elder Ayres (MTC companion)😊