Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blood money

Querida familia,                  26 de Noviembre 2013

We had a pretty solid week of finding new people to teach as well as having some great progress with one of the people whom we´ve recently found.

It all  started on MOnday night when we had an appointment to visit with a member, Nelly Lezama, who was going to invite her non-member sister to come and visit with us. When we to to the appointment, however, the sister wasn't there and wasn't able to make it. There was present, however, a friend of Nelly's named Monica Garrido. Nelly invited her to come into the room and talk with us and as we got to know each other and answer her questions about the church we ended up having a great conversation. 

At first, she was kind of closed, so we asked her about her family, work, and day to day life as well as answer the questions she had about the church. With a little bit more time, she told us that she had actually been searching for the right church for years and has studied with many different religions. As she began to trust more in us, so began to tell us us more until we finally got to the thing that really bothered her: she felt like God just didn't answer her prayers. 

So we talked about prayer and how it is that our  Heavenly Father answers and listens to our prayers. We taught her how to recognize an answer from God how the Spirit talks to us. We shared some scriptures and some experiences and then towards the end of our conversation she said, "I feel like God spoke to me through that verse." 

We haven't been able to see her since last Monday because she lives so far away, but we're just waiting for the opportunity to visit with her again.

We had a district conference (like a stake conference) this weekend in a nearby city called Saenz Peña. In order to help the members attend the meetings, I sent a letter to the super intendent of the state asking him to provide us with a small bus in order to transport the members from Campo Largo to Saenz Peña. 

Now this wasn't some crazy idea that I had come up with, it was actually a very plausible and good idea. Here in Argentina, the politicians always do favors for the people so that the people will re-elect them the next election.

So I sent the letter in and then two days later I went in to his office to check for the answer that our letter received. We were then told that he would have been given the bus to us, but the problem was that it was broken down in another city that wasn't even close. The super intendent's secretary asked if we wanted it for the next week, but that didn't really help us as much.

So the majority of the members went to the conference in train and some took a travel bus- We had to be to the conference a day early because I had to be in the session for Priesthood leaders with the other branch presidents in the district. 

So we had that session for leaders in the Priesthood and then a session for adults later that night. The next morning on Sunday we had the general session. It was pretty crazy to see that many people gathered together in a church, but it was before the session while talking to some other American missionaries that we realized we have more people come to our regular Sunday meetings every week in every ward back in the States. We are all just so used to seeing only thirty people at  church every Sunday that when two-hundred showed up it was incredible.

The conference was really fun though because we got to stay with a bunch of other missionaries, including one of my previous companions Elder Humphries. On Saturday night, we had ten missionaries sleeping in one apartment and we had borrowed mattresses from nearby members so that everyone could sleep relatively comfortably.

I don't think that I mentioned last week, but we found a girl and her sisters who had previously been taught by the missionaries. Their names are: Deborah, Ivana, and Rocio. We only have taught all three of them once and that was the very first lesson, but since them we've taught Rocio a couple of times. 

Initially, they we are very hesitant to accept a baptismal date, but when we had our second lesson with Rocio some things had changed. I asked her if she had prayed about the things hat we shared with her since our first visit, in which we taught about faith, repentance and baptism, and she said that she had prayed the night before. She then described how she felt after praying and she had indeed felt the Spirit. When asked how she feels about baptism she said, I'm getting more desires to baptize me."

So we proceeded to teach her about the Church and the prophet Joseph. At the end of the lesson we invited her to pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if he, in reality, restored the original Church of Jesus Christ. Two days later we went by to see how she was and to teach a little bit more. I asked about her prayer; if she had done it and how she felt. Of her experience she said, "it was as if God gave me a sign." She knows without a doubt that Joseph Smith is a  prophet and that he was the chosen servant to restore the Church.

Unbelievably, but somehow not surprisingly, we've hit even more obstacles in the marriage of Omar and Martha. 

On Monday, Martha went to the court house in the other city, Las Breñas, and was able to get all of the documents and updates that she need. So that was really great, but the next step proved to be a new challenge. They need to get a blood analysis before they can get married, but it would appear that the doctors and hospital are corrupt. A blood analysis is a free service provided by the government, but when Martha and Omar went to submit their papers, they were told that they needed to pay an additional hundred pesos or otherwise there could be "complications." 

So I talked to President Heyman about what had happened and he said that we shouldn't pay the money. So we'll just turn in the papers and see what happens. I can't imagine that the staff would just refuse to do their job since we didn't pay their blood money (that pun was intended).

os amo,
Elder Burt

Monday, November 18, 2013

Building a house and clearing the ground

Querida familia,                                                      18 de Noviembre 2013
In our efforts to make the marriage of Omar and Marta a reality, we've hit some obstacles. On Monday we tried sending her documents that need to be updated to the city where her records are and the Elders who are there received them. So they took the documents to the court house and while they were there they received some disappointing news: there are no existing records of Marta in the court house. But they noticed that on her birth certificate that she was actually born in another city, so they called to the court house there to ask for information about Marta and they answer that they gave was, "we don't have anything about her." So it was quite the dilemma and we came to the conclusion that there are errors either in their records or in the documents that Marta has (both of which are very possible options).

So in order to remedy the situation, Marta personally went this morning with all of the personal documents that she has in order to see what can be done and if they can maybe find some correlation among her documents that will lead to finding her original records.

Last week on Monday night, we watched the movie, "The Testaments," with Omar, Marta, Rosa (Marta's mom), and Yanina (Marta's eleven year old sister). It's about a family living in Ancient America waiting for the coming of Christ. At the end of the movie, the father, who has been faithfully waiting for Christ's coming his entire life, is blind and can't see Christ when he finally does come, but the Savior heals him during a sad moment. So after the movie I asked if anyone cried and everyone said, "yes."

Later on, I gave Omar and Marta some scripture marking pens to highlight the verses that they like and Omar immediately started turning to the things that he's already read to mark them. They've learned so much and are just waiting to get baptized, but the government of their country just isn't very efficient at getting things done.

We also met Marta's dad on Saturday night. He is rarely ever around because he basically lives in the fields where he works; he goes there for fifteen days and comes back for a weekend and then goes back to work in the fields. The only trouble with him is that he spends all his time drinking and doesn't want to learn anything from us. He started off by asking us how old we were and then told us that he is seventy-two years old and because he is so much older than us, there is nothing that we could possibly teach him or do to help him. He did, however, invite us to the party, but just as friends (there was no party, he was just drunk). He then bid us farewell with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

We've also been trying to help a bunch of kids get baptized and their parents reactivated. Right now, there are five kids, ages eight to nine, who are all related and wanting to be baptized. So we've set the goal with them that they can all be baptized together on the same day. We're just going to need to find a lot more white clothes for kids than what we curently have.

We're about to get really busy though with things pertaining to the branch. The tithing settlements have started, so now I have to interview every single member that we can find, show them their tithing records that are recorded on the church's records, and decide if they're paying a full tithe. I got started on it yesterday, but there is still a ton to do (there's two hundred members in the branch).

We also have the district conference this weekend, so I wrote a letter to the superintendant of the state asking him to provide a small bus so all the members can travel to the next city where the conference will be held. That way, the members won't have to pay and we won't have to worry about everyone not being able to make it because of a lack of available seats on the commercial buses.

We're also trying to get everyone ready to go to the temple next month; getting interviews for recommends, making travel plans, and setting appointments.

So the pictures I sent are of the service project that we did on Saturday morning. One of the members is building a house, so we helped him with some heavy lifting and preparing the land. I was put to work cutting down the weeds and clearing out the grass of where the floor was to be put in which is actually a lot harder than it looks; it is, however, as inefficient as it looks. 

Afterwards we had some trees to get rid of. There was two of them, so we each cut one down and then dug up the root. I was actually surprised that the machete was able to cut down a tree. 

I have a video of my cutting and hacking (which I can't send) in which I finish off the tree with a solid kick. Unfortunately, the tree nearly fell on the neighbor's fence, but luckily it didn't.

 Afterwards I was left with a missing chunk of skin from the handle of the machete.

os amo,
Elder Burt

Looking for a reason in Campo Largo

Querida familia,                       11 de Noviembre 2013

This week we had transfers and... we continue without any changes. Tuesday night, Elder Marilaf called us and asked, "so do you know who is going and who stays?" I just told him that neither one of us would be leaving and suprised he said, "who told you?" No one had told us, I just knew. So Elder Miramontes and I are going to be together until the fifteenth of December, if not maybe a little longer.

So we were in a member's house,waiting for them to get ready to go out to do visits with us, when a man walked out of the house who is a friend of their dad. I greeted him by saying, "hello brother, how are you?" and we shook hands, but he answered me back and said, "I'm not your brother." "Actually to the contrary, we are all children of God." The members just said that we "don't have to talk to him."

This week we've been really focused on Omar and Marta; we're hoping to get the marriage done this week and maybe the baptism as well. But once they're baptized we won't be needing to teach them so often, so we have been working with them to help them invite their friends and family to participate in the Gospel and the Church.

On Tuesday evening, we talked with Marta and Rosa, the mom of Marta, about missionary work and sharing the Gospel with everyone else. Marta had the idea that we start teaching Omar's sister and mom. So we talked about how they want to approach them and what things they want to share with them; Marta specifically asked for pamphlets of the Family Proclamation because she and Omar like it so much.

Hugo and Belqui have also been in missionary mode, but more so Belquis. But a few weeks ago we gave Belquis some pass along cards that have the Articles of Faith and she gave them out to some friends and family and then asked us for more because there were more people that were asking about the Church. So we might be starting to teach some brothers of Belquis here soon; we have planned to show a movie in their house this Wednesday and they are going to invite some  people to come see it and also to meet us.

It was actually really funny what happened the other day because apparently the culture here is that if someone says that they liked the movie that you watched with them, then you are supposed to let them borrow it. So Belquis said that Hugo was upset because we watched the Joseph Smith movie and didn't leave it with them to borrow it and watch it again. But even if he didn't get to see it again, at least he liked it and now we know for the next time.

The weddings have been an interesting thing though. We need a more updated birth certificate from Marta so that we can get their papers ready for the marriage, but we have to get it from another city. So this morning we sent the necesarry documents to Las Breñas where two other Elders recieved the papers and took them to the court house for us; tomorrow when we go there, they're going to give us the papers that they received so that we can bring them back with us to Campo largo and make this wedding happen.

This last Thursday we got some service hours in a brick making place. There is a member named Epifanio who makes and sells bricks for a living and we helped him with the processes of carrying the bricks and loading them into the oven to burn them (so that they become hard and durable). We didn't do everything that he had ready to go into the oven, but he said that we had loaded up about 2,850 bricks (the oven holds about 14,000).

This week went by so quickly that everything just kind of blurred together and I can't really remember what we did and when we did it. We've been trying to find lots of new people to teach, but it's been difficult; sometimes we make jokes that every righteous person has already been found or we compare Campo Largo to Sodom and Gomora in the sense that we can't find any more righteous people than are already with us. But I know that there's a reason that we're here, even if it's only to help the branch grow and continue; without us, the branch would most likely close. That would be really sad too because there are some really strong and faithful members; one of the young women said that she was going to be moving to another province called Entre Rios in a city called Chajari and she asked us to ind where the chapel was so that she could attend the meetings. Well we looked it up and the closest chapel is eighty kilometers away (there's one in Argentina and another in Uruguay).

os amo,
Elder Burt

Pictures of district meeting

4 de Noviembre 2013
 Elder Humphries, Me, Elder Sacalxot, Elder Miramonts (two previous companions and my current companion are all in the same zone now)

 We had what might have been our last district meeting together last week, so I said that everyone should bring jerseys to wear for the picture

 We both wore our Argentine gear to the activity on Saturday

Pizza for Mother's Day

Querida familia,                                        5 de Noviembre 2013

So we've been working with this girl named Gisel who is twenty-five years old whose mom was baptized just a few months ago and her grandpa a few years ago. Well in order to help her feel more comfortable in the church and to know more members besides her mom, we started asking the young women to accompany us in our visits to go and teach Gisel. So far it has been really great; the one lesson that we've had with her with another member was great and Monica was a big help. So for the next lesson we asked Monica's sister, Abigail, to come with us and she said that she would be happy to come. So then we told her that we would be teaching the law of chastity and the next thing she said was, "actually I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it; maybe Monica could go with you." She was totally joking, but the next day she did send us a message saying that she wouldn't be able to make it.

The lesson with Gisel went well anyway. We explained why it is that she can't live with her boyfriend if she is going to be baptized on how living the law of chastity will prepare her for marriage and will allow her to also marry in the temple after a year of being a member. She seems like she really wants to be baptized based on the questions that she asks us. She had a concern that maybe her boyfriend would brake up with her if she told him that she wanted to live separate, so we told her that if that's the case then maybe he isn't the guy for her. She didn't like the idea to much at first, but as she thought about it become more and more clear that it was actually a good idea.

That was the last time that we were able to talk to Gisel however, so it's been almost a week since we've seen her. We're going to be going over on Thursday to keep teaching and see how she is progressing.

As far as Omar and Marta are concerned, they've been doing really well. We taught them about the temples and the work that we do there. They both really want to go so that they can be sealed, but Marta especially wants to go because she has a brother that died young and she wants to be baptized for him. Omar asked if he could baptized Javier, his one year old son, in the temple when is eight years old, but we explained that the baptisms that we do there are only for the dead, but that when Javier is twelve then they can go and do baptisms for the dead together.

On Thursday, Marta and Omar had their baptismal interview with Elder Marilaf and they did really well. There was only one problem, Omar has been having more trouble giving up smoking and had smoked one cigarette on Wednesday night. So on Saturday afternoon we talked to Omar about quiting smoking, but it wasn't the usual fun and happy conversation that we usually, but was rather serious. We talked about how his smoking hurts him physically and spiritually, but more than affecting him it also damages the people around him in the same way: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. During our conversation, Marta began to cry and started telling us how she was had arrived at the point of leaving from the relationship because Omar was such a different person after having smoked; that he was short tempered and angry and would yell at everyone, including their one year old, Javier. So the real hard part about trying to teach and be supportive at the same time was making sure that Marta felt comforted and had hope while at the same time supporting and encouraging Omar to be better without making him feel horrible. A seemingly impossible task, but we did it. The key was what Elder Holland taught, "he was charitable with both his sons and his expressions of love towards one did not require a withdrawal of love for the other."  

So we made plans with Omar; we talked about his weaknesses and what caused him to fall. Then, we made plans on what he is going to do, where he is going to go, and who he is going to be with so that he can avoid and protect himself from that evil at all times. As part of the plan, Omar has new employment and has already started working there in order to avoid the people who had previously invited him to do things that he didn't have to do.

The next Sunday Omar and Marta both came to church and stayed for the classes for the first time. So we got them the books that they needed and helped them get to where they needed to be and they really enjoyed it. Javier even went to the primary, even though he doesn't have the age to be there. He didn't cause problems though, but rather just played and colored.

With Hugo and Belquis things have been interesting, but not bad. Well, kind of bad, but not because of them. The letter that we sent about a month ago to request the forms we needed for Hugo to get married was returned to us because it never actually arrived at it's destination. So now we're not really sure what's going to happen. They people in the courthouse said that we should just deliver it personally, but that's kind of impossible for us to do and very difficult for anyone else to do it. We're looking at our options to see what we can possibly do.

Other than that, we've been teaching them things outside of the normal lessons because we've already taught them everything that they need to learn from missionaries. So we taught them about family home evening and the purpose that it carries. We also gave them a huge book called "the Manual of Suggestions For Family Home Evening." It looks like a book that the Church put out thirty years ago, but nevertheless it should be helpful for them to start teaching their kids the Gospel.

On Wednesday night, while Elder Marilaf was with my companion doing the baptismal interviews, Elder Beach and I went to do some service for Hugo and Belquis. They have an oven made of bricks and glued together with mud that they wanted to move so that they could add a bathroom onto their house. So we took it apart brick by brick (so that it can be rebuilt in another location) and got rid of the extra dirt. Of that occasion, Elder Marilaf said,"I never thought I'd see that day that I'd see two Americans working physical labor." He thinks everyone just works indoors in the United States at a computer.

On Sunday night, as part of our continuation of teachings outside of the missionary lessons, we watched the movie "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration" with Hugo, Belquis, Omar, and Marta. They all really liked it, but I think Omar payed the most attention; afterwards he said that the movie was very emotional for him.

On Saturday night, we had an activity in the Church for Mother's Day, which is in October here. It was simple enough, all the sisters wanted was basically a pizza party. So we got everything together and made and ended up with some sixteen pizzas and tons of sandwiches. The next day in church the youth and primary had pizza for a snack between classes and we had lunch for Sunday and Monday.
It was during this activity that one of the young women said that she wanted to have an interview the next day on Sunday. I really wasn't sure what she wanted to talk about, but the next day we met together in my office to talk. When we first sat down I asked her what was on her mind and she asked if we had a copy of the Liahona because she wanted to talk to me about an article that she had read. I figured that maybe she had a doctrinal question about something she had read and maybe didn't understand, but that wasn't the case. She opened up to an article entitled, "Confessing to lift burdens." She then began to tell me about something that had happened almost two years ago just after she had been baptized. So we talked about it and the efforts that she has made in order to correct her mistakes. On my part, I was so unsure of what I needed to say and fervently asked that the answer would come, but as we approached the end of our interview I was able to tell her that she had been forgiven for what had happened and that now it was required of her to continue in righteousness and sin no more. I felt like that was what I needed to tell her, but even as I started to say I was still unsure, but after I had told her the Spirit filled the room and there could be no doubt that her repentance was sincere and complete. Afterwards she said that she could feel a heavy burden that she didn't even realize that she was carrying be lifted away.

os amo,
Elder Burt

Who pays the power bill?

Querida familia,                  30 de Octubre 2013

We've been having some interesting problems this week with our land lady that all started on Monday. Just a few hours after waking up, the power in our apartment went out, but we thought nothing of it because the power always goes out in Argentina. So we carried on with our day and saw that other places also had lost power and so we figured that it was nothing more than a city wide issue. Well when we returned later that night there still wasn't power, but everywhere else had lights; including the land lady whose apartment is ten feet from ours.

So the next morning we went to talk with our land lady and found out that she doesn't actually pay our electric bill, but rather we are the ones who need to pay for it. Well that was new information for us because no one had previously told us that. What's more, every single apartment that I've been in has the land lord pay the light bill and we just pay him the rent to cover the electricity. So we went and payed for the electric bill and got our lights back.

Well the next day on Wednesday, the land lady had sent an electrician to come and do maintenance on our air condicioner and he was supposed to come at a certain time, but never showed up. So we wasted time waiting for him. Then he showed up unexpectedly the next morning on Thursday during our studies and made it impossible for us to get any of our own work done. On top of that, he took three hours to do a twenty minute job that I could have done myself. On one point during the cleaning of the air condicioner, the land lady came to see how the progress was going and also to ask how much he was going to charge. Fifty pesos he told her.

Well once he was finished he told us that it was going to cost one hundred pesos; fifty for his labor and fifty for a part that he installed. So we told him to go tell the land lady that he needed to be paid, but he insisted that we were responsible for any repair in the apartment. So we made him give us a receipt of what he did and we took it to the land lady to get reimbursed. 

So we studied the contract of our apartment and found that she indeed does have to pay for maintenance of the apartment. So we gave her that receipt and asked her to reimburse us, but she told us that we had to pay any fees like that. So we told her that the contract says otherwise and she demanded to know where we had come up with an idea like that. So we showed her right where it says that she is responsible for repairs and maintenance  She knew she had to pay, but instead said, "How about this: we'll pay half and half."

Well half and half just didn't cut it when she has to pay in full, but to make it worse the next day she asked us, "why did you ask that electrician to come and do maintenance without authorizing it with me?" What an incredible lie she had concocted. She was now denying that she had even requested the maintenance and was not going to pay a single cent.

We were so bothered by the situation that we started looking for  a new apartment, but the problem is that the apartment we are in is nicer than any of the other apartments that we saw. So we decided to just be meek and accept the charge. If she loves money that much well she can keep it, but it won't serve her at all in the next life.

The strange thing that happened was that we just keep being nice to her and completely dropped the topic. We have since had our usual conversations with her and on Sunday afternoon she said that she feels like moving to Buenos Aires and that if she leaves she is, "leaving us in charge of the door because she has never had problems with us." In other words, she would leave the apartment to us or the mission.

We are pretty excited for Omar and Marta though. We taught Omar about the Priesthood and its functions. We explained that it's the power that we used to give him and his son a blessing, and that it's the same power that we will use to baptize him and his family, and it's the same power that Jesus Christ Himself used to work miracles among the people. After teaching and explaining to him how the Priesthood holder only has power based upon his own personal righteousness and obedience, we invited Omar to receive the Priesthood after being baptized. Without hesitating he said that he would like to receive it and even asked if he would be able to baptize his family (his brothers, sisters, and parents) after receiving the Aaronic Priesthood. We asked Marta is she could support Omar in his Priesthood duties and help him to stay clean and pure in order to always have Priesthood authority and Priesthood power.

On Friday night we did a baptismal interview practice con Marta and Omar in anticipation of the real interview that they'll be having this coming week. Omar's reaction to what we told him we would be doing was, "oh, is that when we have to confess our sins or something like that?" Somewhat jokingly, but somewhat seriously, I asked him "why, what did you do?" He quickly responded, "nothing, nothing.... it's just that one time I found a toy tricycle in the road and couldn't find the owner, so I brought it home and gave it to Javier." So we explained what the interview was, did the practice, and they both did just fine.

What was a really great story that Marta told us while Omar wasn't there was this: Omar is always trying to help his family out and trying to get them interested in the Church, but they're more interested in drinking and not really doing anything productive. His family has even started making fun of him and trying to tear him down for what he is doing. Omar has really come a long way in a short amount of time; he stopped drinking, smoking, works harder, is happier, and has a more positive and hopeful outlook on everything. But now his family is telling him that he will always be the same and that he is never going to be able to change. So he told them, "I'm going to be baptized, and I'm about to get married too."

While things have been great with Omar and Marta, we've been having some problems with Hugo and Belquis, but more specifically with Hugo. Hugo has been having some problems with giving up drinking, or a better saying would be, he's gone back to drinking. He hasn't been reading the scriptures nor has he been praying, but instead he comes home from work and goes out to hang out with his friends who invite him to drink during their get togethers. So on Monday night, just two days ago, we talked with Hugo about what's going on. At first, he was angry and didn't want to talk about it, but as we talked, shared scriptures, and expressed our concern he changed and became more and more open until he had made the resolve to stop drinking. The problem is really his friends, so we made a plan with him of what he can do instead of being with his "friends" (using the word loosely here). 

When we first suggested that he stop hanging out with those friends of his he asked, "what, do I just tell them I don't want to be around them anymore?" "Well no," we said, "but you can tell them that you won't be joining them for the night because you prefer to pass the evening with your family." He said that he only drinks with them when they invite him because he doesn't want to offend him, but we taught that he needs to be even quicker to not offend his Maker.

At the end of our conversation, we gave him a Priesthood blessing and Hugo was more fortified with a greater resolve to do what was expected of him. 

We've also been working with the twenty-five year old daughter of a recent convert named Gisel. Her mom was baptized just a few months ago and her grandpa was baptized about six years ago. She has a pretty good knowledge of what we teach since she has already heard basically everything over the years, but now she just needs to put a few things into practice.

She really does have desires to be baptized, but her issue is that she has been living with her boyfriend for the last five years and he doesn't really have much of a belief in God. It's not that he is against the Church, but rather is just somewhat closed off. Gisel says that he won't change anytime soon, but we told her that if she wants him to participate in the Church and be baptized then she has to invite him to church, pray, and read scriptures with him.

We also went to talk to a boy who comes to church, but doesn't show up in the records; his name is Mauro. We asked him if he had ever been baptized, because he already is eleven years old, and he said yes. So we asked him where he was baptized and he said, Buenos Aires. So we asked him how he was baptized and he said that the pastor put a little bit of water on his forehead. Well all of the sudden it made sense why he didn't show up in the Church's records. So we explained why he needed to be baptized again and how baptism is supposed to be done. His brother, who is a member and was actually baptized, said that the two of them would start coming to church together. When we asked them if they were going to invite their parents, who are also members, to come as well Mauro said, "Sunday is their only day off from work, so they stay home and rest."

os amo,
Elder Burt 


There is a sister here in the branch whose daughter wandered away from the Gospel and moved out of the house and the mom was rather upset and distrught, thinking that she had failed because her daughter didn`t make the decisions that she had been taught to make. It wasn`t until she accepted that her daughter would always be the only one who could make her decisions and all that she could do as a mother was teach, instruct, and advise, then she was able to find peac knowing that she had done her part.

In his suffering and anguish after long months of being seperated from his family, the prophet Joseph cried out to God in prayer asking, "O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppresions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them? O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol—stretch forth thy hand; let thine eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion toward us."

In respons eot Joseph the Lord said, "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands. Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.

On an earlier occasion, the Lord reminded His servants of the sufferering that he endured in the garden by saying, "how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink."

In His divine love, the Savior has said to us and invited us, "I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer. Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. I am Jesus Christ."

Stand by my servant

28 de Octubre 2013

In response to Oliver´s pleas for answers to his prayers, the Lord said to him, "verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth;Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?(Doctrine and Covenants 6: 14-16, 22-23)

I was reading this verse and thought that it might be aplicable, so I changed the names from Oliver and Joseph to Cami and Cole. "Therefore be diligent; stand by my servant Cole, faithfully, in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be. Admonish him in his faults, and also receive admonition of him. Be patient; be sober; be temperate; have patience, faith, hope and charity. Behold, thou art Cami, and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Doctrine and Covenants 6: 18-21)
We´re going to be writing tomorrow, but I just wanted to send this quick note for now.
Love you,
Elder Burt