Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27 2014

Super fast week! Was good, slow with teaching but that will get better. 

Last week we had a meeting with President Amaya, wow. Super strong chastizing. The work is slow in the two zones in Las Orquideas, yes Im still in the samw area, but he had missionaries stand up and asked them questions about this paper that they handed out bout 2 weeks ago and no one knew it.. Was pretty bad, but he gave a good talk about how we can do better. Funny how some of us miss the ovbious, he said, If you go out and contact, youll have new investigatores, a bit ovbious but answers the question that everyone asks, where can we find new investigatores? 

Rain is picking up and they are predicting that Feb is gonna be crazyyyyyy.
We are teaching a girl that wants to get baptized but her parents wont let her cause shes not 18. Other day we were there and she starting crying cause her mom said no again. The mom is so closed off and I had, had a little too much so I let the spirit flow and it was pretty  direct. We are really hoping that she will allow permissino and that later we can get the mom to act on something! 

Hope is something that I have trying to have. The truth is, it could be a lot better with teaching and life always seems to give you things that you need in that moment, but with that Ive been trying to learn about hope. Thought id share a lil take by Elder Uchtdorf: 

The Importance of Hope
Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time. The scriptures are clear and certain about the importance of hope. The Apostle Paul taught that the scriptures were written to the end that we “might have hope.” 1
Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. 2 Its absence—when this desire of our heart is delayed—can make “the heart sick.” 3
Hope is a gift of the Spirit. 4 It is a hope that through the Atonement ofJesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection, we shall be raised unto life eternal and this because of our faith in the Savior. 5 This kind of hope is both a principle of promise as well as a commandment, 6 and, as with all commandments, we have the responsibility to make it an active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hopeHope in our Heavenly Father’s merciful plan of happiness leads to peace, 7 mercy, 8 rejoicing, 9and gladness. 10 The hope of salvation is like a protective helmet; 11 it is the foundation of our faith 12 and an anchor to our souls. 13
Moroni in his solitude—even after having witnessed the complete destruction of his people—believed in hope. In the twilight of the Nephite nation, Moroni wrote that without hope we cannot receive an inheritance in the kingdom of God. 14
But Why Then Is There Despair?
The scriptures say that there must be “an opposition in all things.” 15 So it is with faith, hope, and charity. Doubt, despair, and failure to care for our fellowmen lead us into temptation, which can cause us to forfeit choice and precious blessings.
The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.
Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.
What, Then, Is Hope?
The complexities of language offer several variations and intensities of the word hope. For example, a toddler may hope for a toy phone; an adolescent may hope for a phone call from a special friend; and an adult may simply hope that the phone will stop ringing altogether.
I wish to speak today of the hope that transcends the trivial and centers on the Hope of Israel, 16 the great hope of mankind, even our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Hope is not knowledge, 17 but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. 18 It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.
In the language of the gospel, this hope is sure, unwavering, and active. The prophets of old speak of a “firm hope 19 and a “lively hope.” 20 It is ahope glorifying God through good works. With hope comes joy and happiness. 21 With hope, we can “have patience, and bear … [our] afflictions.” 22
Elder Strang speaking agian, we went yesterday with the elders quourn and brought this message to some of the inactive families which went way good. We have challenges but if we didnt have challenges, we wouldnt know the happy times. Have hope along with faith! We can overcome anything with the help of Christ and his infinite atonement! 
Love you all and hope you all have a good week. Thank you all for the support, 

Love Elder Strang

January 20 2014

Hola a todo en Estados Unidos y otra personas que est├ín leyendo mi blog! :) 

This last week was quite different for me. Its weird to see the big picture and see the district, zone and mission go from such a huge month in December to where we are struggling now. I cant testafy that it is quite hard to find new people to teach! We have looked and seached and nopeeee. We have a few that we are teaching and some that are progressing but we need more. 

Still in the same area, 5 months running! Haha the members say that I started in this area and that Im going to finish in this area ha :) I think that change is coming here soon! The weather is interesting. It rains most nights and is very nice temp until the sun comes out and cooks the water that has fallen, then its more or less like an oven :) but I like it! We swim to most appointments, not a big deal... ha Tons of people are sick with the ¨climate change¨ as they call it, including yours truly. Its weird cause you get sick feel terrible for a day then after youre good :) 

New Assitant in the Mish and new Zl for us... Wasnt exacly a smooth change with him but thats okay! We´ll live. Bought a straight razor and tried shaving... scariest thing.. open blade next to my jugguler vain.. not much of a fan, or maybe I jsut dont know how to do it right. 

Im reading In the Blue book in spanish, trying to better the spanish so I dont plateua. And this week realized that the BOM is so powerful and we cant learn something new everythime that we read. We are teaching this 16 year old girl and her mom a lil bit but the mom is so hard to deal with. Thinks that she doesnt need to do anything or change anything. So we had a lesson with her and it was the same old crap, so I thought to myself, self you need to say something. So I did. Probably was a lil strong, but it worked. The past two times we have taught we show up and shes reading the Book of Mormon! And went to church this week :) and the whole family is going to listen to us! READ THE BLUE BOOK. It will answer all your questions. 

Got to go. Love you all. Until next week, yours truly

Elder Strang

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13th 2014

This week has proved to be quite the challenge. We have been trying to find people to teach and they ones we finally found are just starting to progress, I have that feeling that there is a lot more things working against us missionaries and that being said it takes a lot to stay positive. Going from the cruise control life in Salt Lake to everything is your responsibility here is quite the change. Never will I ever take my parents for granted again, and no one should! They do so much for us. 

I suppose that there is no way to ever truly prepare for a mission. The things you see, expirence, feel.. all add up to be something you could never prepare for. Walking through the streets, getting denied and called names, being tired all the time, sweat running into your eyes... Well Eternal Life isnt easy, what Christ went through for us isnt easy. Just like Jeffery R Holland says: 

¨Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 11 then little wonder that salvation is not an easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
I testify that the living God is our Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is His living and Only Begotten Son in the flesh. I testify that this Jesus, who was slain and hanged on a tree, 12 lives. The whole triumph of the gospel is that He lives, and because He does, so will we.¨ Jeffery R Holland
What a message right? I truly believe this to be true. When all we are going through, in normal everyday life. Remember Him. Remember what he went through, Do not take anything we have for granted. I have seen first hand here what its like for people to struggle and not have the gospel in their lives, and we have this great blessing and we dont utilze these blessing becasue we are too ´tired¨ to read from 10 minutes? Get Real! And then Get going. 
This week not much has happened. The rain is incredible to say the least. The roads are more rivers and you could get away with running a boat in the road, there is that much water. I learned to drive a motor cylcle, pretty sweet! Im thinking that will be one of the first purchases when I get back! Our new mission presidnet got called and will be hear in July and guess what.... Hes a gringo! I think, I havent seen a picture but his name sounds white haha I beleive his name is Wiliam Riggins. So that wille interesting!
Resoulutions for this year: 1 Be fluent 2 Become Perfect 3 Baptize the World
I love you all and thank you all for the support! 
Elder Strang

New Years! :) 2014

What a week. New Years here is absolutely INSANE. To describe what goes on I will try my best in email, but it doesnt do it justice. 

About 2 weeks before New years everyone and their 19 cats start to make and buy these figures which are in every shape and form. You can buy ironman, superman, mairo, hulk you name it and they have it. On New Years they light these figures on fire with gas and all sorts of flammable things. Along with this they have every fire work that you can possible imagine and yes M80 are the old style M80s, and they can blow your hand off! They also have these ones that were described to me as like dynamite and they rock the city! Everyone buys fireworks and at midnight the city lights up. The air turned red, firsworks all night long and I kid you not you cannot breath haha. Every starts drinking and others start to light up other stuff. The next day we had free cause everyone either goes to the beach or is too hungover to want to listen to us, so we had it free. Walking through the steets the next day looking at the burnt holes and and blown out parts in the road and seeing people wasted outta of their minds was quite the site hahah. There was a group of guys having a conversation about Adam and Eve and they were all sooo gone haha. Anyways quite the party that they have haah :)

Another thing that started this week is the rain, yesterday and we dont know what rain is in Utah. We were walking through the streets and it started to spinkle and little which is normal but then it hit in a instant and we got drenched! We ran through the streets to a memebers house but we probably could have swam! The street in about 5 minutes turned into a 2 foot deep torent that washed out everything! We stayed at the members house cause the rain just got worse and we didnt have umbrellas with us! So when 9 oclock rolled around we were leaving and the rain had slowed down but the street had wahsed out and there were huge rocks just chillen in the middle of the road ha. I guess we could just baptize whenever it rains though right? ;) 

We are stuggling to find new people to teach. We dont have investigators cause we baptized them all ha, so we are looking for new ones. Not easy to do! But we will find them. I was reading in teachings of the profets of the church yes in spanish, I know, I am awesome ;) ha but its Joesph Fieliding Smith and he didnt baptize a single person on his mission, but he left seeds that grew the church into what it is today, and I thought, with this new year, we can do the same. We can plant those little seeds now in this njew year, they will grow into a huge part of our lives. Start with the small things and they will grow into the big things, just Like Alma says in chapter 32 ¨ 28 Now, we will compare the word unto a aseed. Now, if ye give place, that a bseed may be planted in your cheart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your dunbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to eenlighten my funderstanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
 29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
 30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.¨
This new year start to plant that seed and watch it grow! I love you all and know that the Lord does too! 
Thats for all the support and love you all! 
Elder Strang

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dec.  23 2013

Wow, another year down...? Where does the time go? I am at 5 months and it seems like yesterday I was freaking out flying over Mexico not knowing what anyone was saying, and then slowly settling in the the MTC and then aburuptly leaving again to a new country or rather a new world. With knowing nothing about what was going on, feeling lost and alone.... The only thing to do was drop to my knees an pray, I learned that lesson soooo much. When you feel alone and theres literally no one you can talk to, dont forget you have your father in heaven that always wants to hear from you. We always seem to forget Him in the good times, and only pray when we are in the hard times. Hes always there and alwyas willing to help us.

Had a poopy week with Christmas. Wasnt exacly easy! Soooooo good to talk with my fam! Thank ya tenology and the creators of Skype, but Christmas was hard! We had plans but they all fell though and so we just sat at home and thought about home. Not great! But we did get sooo much food, and Turkey :) I was a happpy camper! 

Im so tired. I just wanna sleep, but cant do that! We had two more baps :) We be baptizing like crazy! We had a goal of 3 for Dec but we hit 5! That was good and my district had a goal of 10 and we completed that too! we had 11 of the 15 baptisms in the zone! Good numbers! And more are on the way! :) This month we set a new record of Baps in the mission! They havent told us yet but the old record was 317 so we had more than that! Making history here in Ecuador! 

Still hot. Rain is not a good thing. It just makes it hotter. We had a tiny bit and it was do hot and I couldnt get dry, its unreal how hot it is. Everything else is good. We played some basketball and destroyed some kids today. I can get a clean dunk now so making them look like foooooolssss. :) Its unreal playing sports. My skin felt like it was going to burst into flamezzzz. And you cant breath its just so hot. But it was fun to play! 

Miss you all like crazy and am so thankful for all the support! I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year! Disfrutan! Les amos y estoy agradecido por todo! ( It says I love you all and im thankful for everything!) :) 

Elder Strang

Giv´n em Heav´n