Monday, August 25, 2014

Elder Adamson's Letter 8/25/2014

This week has been another good one.  Things are coming back to normal a little more because beach season is going to be coming to an end here real soon.  I´m in Cádiz right now writing you, and there is a big European bike tour going on and they´re leaving from Cádiz this morning.  It´s called La Vuelta Ciclista but I have no idea what it is in English.  There´s a big aircraft carrier in the bay right now where the race is going to start.  Anyway, that´s what´s going on right this very minute.

This week I got to do an intercambio with one of my very best friends here in the mission.  His name is Elder Allsop and I´ve talked about him before, but he and I sat next to each other on the flight from SLC to Atlanta and have been friends ever since.  Later he was in my district in the MTC and now he´s my Zone Leader here in the San Fernando Zone.  On our intercambio we were able to FINALLY get in contact with a less active named Guillermo.  When we knocked his door, he let us right in without even saying anything.  I´m guessing it´s been a LOOONG time since missionaries have visited him because his address was wrong on the member list and we had to do a little investigation to find him.  He is a return missionary and went inactive pretty much right after he got home from the mission and got married.  We started to share a scripture with him and half way through the message he gets up and says "wait..."  and he got up and opened up a huge drawer and started to pull out books.  After a bit of digging, he pulled out his old Book of Mormon from the mission, and but a bookmark in where we were reading so he could read it later.  Then he told us that after being on the mission he wanted to see what "the world" was like, so he did it, and after figuring it out, he learned how important it was to be in the church to him.  His whole family is rooting for him to come back and he told us he wants to, so we´ll start passing by there more often.  Cool miracle.

We were also able to get in contact with Jonathan and Victor this week.  They are 2 really good investigators that have both just taken a nose dive.  We stopped by Victor´s house by surprise and he told us that for now he´s not really interested because he´s not getting any answers.  You can probably guess why.  He´s not reading or praying.  That is THE WAY to get an answer but he just hasn't taken the time to do it even though we try our best to explain it to him.  Agency is one of the greatest gifts we have, but we have to use it wisely!  Sometimes I wish I could just suspend an investigator´s agency just long enough for them to read and pray and gain a testimony and then give it back to them... ha ha ha  As for investigators right now, we don´t have too many, but we´re working to find them.  We've met a few friends and family members of people in the ward that we´re hoping to start teaching as well.

You are gonna love this story.  So this Sunday, we show up to church and Israel, one of the counselors of the bishopric, came and asked me if I could give a 10 minute talk in Sacrament meeting--the meeting was going to start in like 10 minutes.  He said one of the speakers wasn't going to be able to make it because the roads were all blocked off because of the bike race this weekend.  I said I would do it, but I had no idea what I was going to talk about.  Me and Elder Buttars started scrambling for ideas and I remembered a conference talk given by Elder Ballard on Follow Up that was similar to a lesson I had just given in district meeting, so we ran upstairs to the computer, printed off the talk, and found a Preach My Gospel in one of the closets that I could use for my talk, because I only had my triple and my bible on me.  I sat down in the chapel and starting throwing together a few scriptures and parts of the talk as well as Preach My Gospel.  By the time the sacrament started I was pretty calmed down and had a decent idea of how I was going to do it, but I had nothing organized.  My turn came to talk and, and I got up for 10 minutes and sat back down, and somehow I did it.  That was a miracle in itself. hahaha  After the meeting, a few members came and told me I did a good job and then Stake President Morales came over to talk to me and asked me to give the same talk in Stake Conference in a month, so I told him I would.  Elder Buttars and I had a good laugh about that after the meeting, and then recited the scripture in 1 Nephi 4:6 that says
"And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do"

 All jokes aside, I really did receive some help there.  I had nothing really planned out before I got up, just a bunch of chunks of information. But everything turned out well in the end :)
Part of my talk was this scripture:
"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." D&C 123:17
Speaking of invitations this applies well.  As missionaries and members, there isn't much more we can do than invite and follow up,  but God works miracles with the people we invited when they accept the invitations.  We don´t convert, the Spirit does.  There is no way to counterfeit the power of the Holy Ghost, so we should let Him take care of the conversion, and we can do "all in our power" to invite people to Christ and follow up with them to assure that they receive a proper chance to accept the gospel.

Have a great week! Love you!

Elder Adamson

Monday, August 18, 2014

Elder Adamson's Letter 8/18/2014

This has been a great week and we´ve had some cool experiences here in San Fernando.    Here´s what happened this week.

This week we had a really great district meeting and we talked about Chapter 10 of preach my gospel and "How to Begin Teaching" or what my mission calls the "Lesson 0", and we also talked a little about diligence and read the scripture in D&C123 that says:

 12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—

 13 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—

 14 These should then be attended to with great earnest.

That is what we have to do.  Like obedience, we aren´t going to be able to be perfect at being diligent in this life, but that doesn´t mean we shouldn´t try. We should be obedient and diligent as the Lord was obedient and diligent. 

 Later on Tuesday we met with Victor again and brought Cristóbal with us to the lesson.  We talked about the 2nd part of the plan of salvation and a lot about temples since we teach lesson 5 before baptism now.  Temples fit right into lesson 2.  The lesson went really well and we brought Victor a baptismal calendar to help prepare him for the 30th and he said "You guys made this as if I agreed to be baptized on the 30th"  Well, yeah that´s what we made it for, because he did accept the date two visits before, but we softened it down a little and told him for now it was just our goal.  Later in the week we talked to Victor and he told us that he´s not going to be able to meet for the next two weeks and he pulled the classic "I´ll call you" card.  That was a pretty rough because he was the only person we´ve seen progress in the past while and he probably won´t be able to be baptized on the 30th with the way things are going now.  We´ll keep working with him though.

I got to do another baptismal interview this week for a girl named Isi (Isabel) that was baptized yesterday.  She is about 23 and was a reference from the Guttenbergers in our ward, but she lives in Cádiz.  The interview was amazing.  Being a missionary, we are representatives of Christ in a lot of ways, but I think being able to do interviews is one of my favorites.  She was really ready to be baptized.  We went to her baptism last night and it was a great service.

Another cool little thing that happened this week is that I was writing a few little emails back and forth with a friend, Hermana Munns who is in the Barcelona mission, from the MTC and she sent me back an email saying that her companions mom lives here in San Fernando, so we did a little investigation work, and we found her and passed her information to the Hermanas in ward 1.  That was a little miracle.

Another little miracle was this dish we ate that a member gave us called "Carne al Toro".  It tastes kind of like Chili but it is just really tender beef in a really good red sauce.  I´m going to try and get the recipe from them. ;)

This week I´ve been studying a lot about being born of God.  Before, I would just think about baptism when I heard it, but now I know it´s SO much more than that.  It has a lot more to do with being CHANGED into NEW CREATURES and CONVERTING ourselves into sons and daughters of God. (Mosiah 27:24-26)  Our baptism is the outward sign of an inward covenant that we are making to be willing to take the name of Christ upon ourselves, keep His commandments, and always remember Him.  If we are faithful to the covenants we make we will be changed, we will receive His image in our countenances, and become like Him, and for that reason, we came to this earth.

Thanks for everything!  ¡Os quiero muchísimo y que Dios os bendiga! (I love you very much and God bless you!)
Elder Adamson

Monday, August 11, 2014

Elder Adamson's Letter 8/11/2014

This has been a really good week for Elder Buttars and I.  It´s been tough work lately, but we´re starting to see a little more success now.  Here's the news.

Last week for P-day, we went to Puerto de Santa María and had a fun little get-together with the Zone and I got to chat for a long time with one of my great friends in the mission, Elder Allsop.  He is our new Zone Leader here and is doing a really great job.  Also, the Guffeys (a senior couple) hooked us up with some supplies to make a bunch of tacos for everyone there and they turned out really good. Later that night we had a Noche de Hogar with the Guttenbergers and did a little Preach My Gospel training with them about the Book of Mormon.  They´re on fire right now in the missionary work, but the thing that stinks is that their referrals don´t live here in San Fernando.. ;)

The highlight of this week was definitely the cita we had with Victor on Tuesday.  Elder Buttars and I went in to a GREAT lesson about the Restoration and Victor had lots of good questions.  Recently in the mission we´ve really been focusing on baptismal invitations.  We have been inviting everyone to be baptized in the first lesson and setting fechas with them no later than the second lesson.  It sounds a little crazy, but it´s a really good way to let people know what we´re here for and what they need to do.  In our cita with Victor we set a fecha for the 30th of August.  The thing I love about him is that  he isn´t expecting to see an angel or receive a big sign, but he just wants a confirmation that what we are teaching is true, and right now, he´s doing all the right things to get the confirmation he needs from the Holy Ghost.   He´s been reading the passages we´ve left him and is pretty comfortable praying and he came to church this week.  If he keeps it up like this, he´ll be very ready to be baptized on the 30th.  It´s been a long time since Elder Buttars and I have had a good fecha like this, so we walked out of his house pretty happy.  I´ll let you know how things go with him next week.

This week we also got to eat over at Luis and Johanna´s house.  They cooked up some fresh fish, and I took it like a man.  It was actually pretty good and I enjoyed it except for when I got a bone stuck in my throat for a second.  My eyes welled up for a minute and everyone saw me choke for a second, so that was pretty embarrassing, but after I got it down we were all laughing about it. Johanna said   "Elder!!  ¡No me digas que una espina te pinchó!!  ¡Por poco matamos a un misionero!" ("Do not tell me a bone jabbed you !!  I almost killed a missionary! ") After that we shared a message with them about The Family, because we're trying to get them to the temple here soon.

I also got to reunite with Elder Farrell this week for the first time in 8 months so that was a great time. We did a lot of catching  up at Zone meeting in Cádiz.  He´s a MAQUINA.  I´ll be getting to see him a little more often than before.

In the Zone...YES!!!!!

Elder Adamson and Elder Farrell

This week we've been trying to work with a less active man named Julio,  He´s been going through a lot lately and has made quite a few mistakes in his life that are really coming back to haunt him right now.  While I was thinking about him the other day, I thought about a scripture in Romans 8 where Paul says "

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels,nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor  things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of 
God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

No matter where we've been, no matter how far we've strayed, His love can reach through the greatest depths of darkness to bring us back home again.  I testify of that.  As a missionary, I've seen a lot of different people in different situations, but the love of our Savior reaches everyone.  We should plead for His love and His light in times of darkness. 

Elder Holland said 
"Fighting through darkness and despair and pleading for the light is what opened this dispensation.  It is what keeps it going, and it is what will keep you going."

I know that is true.  Joseph Smith opened this dispensation by pleading for the light.  Ask and ye shall receive.  Knock and it shall be opened unto you.

Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Adamson

Monday, August 4, 2014

Elder Adamson's Letter 8/4/2014

Hello Everyone!  Saludos de San Fernando.  Here´s what I did this week!

Monday was a super low key P day.  We just emailed home, bought groceries and then just hung out in the piso for the rest of the time because we were really tired.  After p-day ended we went to visit Maricarmen Pampara and we´ve been trying to help her remember her testimony, but with not much luck.  Right now she just kind of fights against anything we say, and she´s only willing to believe in a God who doesn´t ask much.  Not very much success there.

Tuesday, we had district meeting in the morning and talked about diligence and obedience and it was a really good meeting.  Later that night we had a little Noche de Hogar with a few members and recent converts and it was a good time.  After that we stopped by a couple members in our ward named Jose Mari and Virginia.  They are bread makers so after we visited them, they sent us home with a loaf of bread that they got fresh out of the oven.  It was SO good.  People here on the Mediterranean really take their bread seriously. Those are the highlights for that day.

Wednesday, we visited one of the recent converts in our area who is named Luis and talked with them about the Plan of Salvation.  He´s really just beginning with his testimony, so he doesn´t know a ton about the gospel, but he´s getting there.          We´re trying to meet with them more lately.  After that, we went to have correlation at Amanda and Joaquin´s house.  After we finished, they had us over for lunch and made us Salmorejo and paella and it was all good.  Then, we had a little extra time after so we made some brownies with them and then headed out to visit a former investigator named Ora.  She is from Nicaragua and    I´m not sure what to think about her.  She seems like she wants to know if God exists, but she´s not really willing to put in the effort to find out for herself.  For her, the beach seems to be a little more important than that.  After that we taught English class and then went to visit another former investigator named Puri.  She´s a really nice lady, and she listens to us, but doesn´t really open herself up to anything we say.  She does have a few kids that might be interested though, so we´re going to try and find them.

Thursday after weekly planning we had a Noche de Hogar with Anxius and her family and afterward, she did her best attempt of making Mexican food with Spanish products.  Didn´t really come out tasting like Mexican food, but it was still good.  After that, we went to go visit a member named Juan Hidalgo.  He has a really nice house that´s in the center of the city and he´s one of the first members from the Cádiz area.  We sat down to talk with him and he  shared some really cool thoughts, which I will talk about later in this letter.  He sent us home with a bowl of arroz con leche that he made with a special family recipe, and it was DIVINE.  I got the recipe. 

Friday, we had a really awesome lesson with a man named Fernando and Puri and brought a member named Juani with us.  We talked about the Restoration and the Spirit was strong in the lesson.  Fernando is a special investigator because he´s actually looking for the truth.  He has real intent which is 100% necessary in gaining a testimony.  We´ve only seen him once, so           we´ll see how things go with him this week.  

Saturday morning was pretty slow until about 12:30 when we got in with an old referral that we were never able to contact.  His name is Victor and he is from Bolivia and has lived here in Spain for about 7 years.  He´s one of only a handful of South Americans I´ve seen here. In the lesson we talked about the Book of Mormon and how Jesus visited the Americas and it really sparked his interest.  Something I need to learn better, and ALL missionaries should do better is focus on the Book of Mormon because it´s the base of a strong testimony of the Savior and the Restoration and it´s what sets us apart from every other church. 

Sunday was a good day.  We got to hear a lot of great testimonies from the members. After church we went to eat with Nikolas and they gave us two HUGE servings and we pretty much rolled home after that. In the  afternoon We  visited a new menos activo named Marisa.  We tried to focus on the Book of Mormon more with her and the lesson went well.  Now she just needs to read.

One of the things that Juan Hidalgo told us that really stuck with me was that when we are confirmed members of the Church we are commanded to "Receive the Holy Ghost", which doesn´t mean that from there on out He´s going to be with us.  We have to actively receive Him in our lives and strive to have Him with us.  If we yearn for His presence and do all we can to tune ourselves in to His promptings, that is how we can truly receive the Holy Ghost.

So I´m for sure staying here in San Fernando this transfer and same for my companion.  Transfer calls came this week and we didn´t get one so we´re staying put.

These are two of Elder Adamson's teachers from the Madrid MTC.  They were married this weekend.