Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Fear No Man! (Week 34)

This week......Wednesday was my birthday. We had interviews with President Robertson. The others Elders had a baptism for a lady named Jorgelina. Hermana Cheever got Flashed out of the area and we have a new Hermana from the United States named Hermana Lloyd and.......... I think thats it, well I hope thats it, i always forget the cool stuff and remember the boring stuff. 

But, whatever, down to the details. First off the Elders Quorum President gave us a Ping Pong set, that belongs to the church, because we had planned to do an activity this Saturday but it didn't pan out so we have been playing ping pong all week!!! We play Right before bed, While our food cooks, all P-day, when someone is using the bathroom, And after i write this email we´re going to go play Ping Pong WOOO!! 

In the continuing saga of our missionary bicycles, Elder Wihongi's handlebars literally broke off while he was riding his bike. he super-humanly strong or are our bikes pathetic?!?!  (Picture below) Nothing better than your handlebars breaking off while you're on your way to an appointment. And an added's still mud-central here! Woop-didi-doo!

Also it was my birthday on Wednesday. I'm 19. My dear sweet companion made a giant, 2-inch thick, pancake for me and then we also had our usual giant heap of potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and eggs scrambled together (picture below) It was a good day!!! And we sang a rowdy round of "Happy birthday to you" in Spanish. It was Super Awesome!! 

The best part of that day though was when we had a cool experience....
We were biking out to an investigators house and along the way my companion had the impression that we needed to stop and pray. So, we stopped, took 6 really cool photos and then we prayed. After our prayer we got back on our bikes and, once again, started heading to our investigators house. About 5 seconds in we received a phone call. It was a member of our ward calling to say that some new people were moving in next door to them and that we should come help. So we promptly dropped our current plans and went right over. When we arrived we awkwardly introduced ourselves and asked if we could help. The lady we were talking to said "Uhh...No!" But we didn't let that detour us. We just changed tactics and asked her where she was from and we struck up a conversation with them. After a little bit, right as the conversation was about to die, the husband of this lady who had been unloading while we talked, looked at us and said "so are you guys going help or not?" Haha. We immediately dropped the conversation and picked up a box. After everything was unloaded the husband was talking to us and he seemed impressed that we had rode from out of nowhere to help them with their boxes. We said "Well, yah....we heard you needed help and we like here we are." He was a super friendly man and he promptly said we could come back anytime and to talk to him and his family about the gospel!! Super cool Experience!!!

Elder Wihongi and I have a new saying now that we always use. I Fear No Man! We use this phrase whenever we feel scared to knock on a door, or to contact someone, or to teach someone. We simply look at eachother and whisper-shout "I FEAR NO MAN" and then we practically run at the next door looking for the next person to baptize or call to repentance.  It does wonders for our fears. A good part of the inspiration for this phrase comes from Moroni 8:16
 16 "Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."
Powerful!!! Love that scripture.

I Fear No Man!!!!!

This work is true! Its hard, but there is a never ending supply of hope that Christ offers us. 
I love you guys. 
Elder Ren Porter

Taking the time to appreciate the sunrise!
My birthday breakfast!!
Ping pong
New sister missionary
Elder Wihongi's handlebars literally broke off while we were riding!!

No More Sugar! (Week 33)

For some reason I was really really tired this week, like “first week of the mission tired”!  I kept thinking… what in the world is wrong? why am i so tired? And then I realize, it’s probably because I ate A LOT of sugar this week!! Haha. Did you all know I’m allergic to sugar? And wheat, dairy, grains, nuts, and everything else that tastes good!!  I’m definitely going to try and cut off the sugars this week, but its super hard because my companion loves the sugars, as do I!

Also, remember how I said it was raining like crazy here and we were worried about it flooding? Well it didn't flood, but I now live in a mud bog. It's been really interesting trying to get places on our already pathetic rust bucket bikes through dirt trails and roads that our now giant mud pits. I will be an expert in all bicycle related evasive maneuvers involving dogs, handlebar riding, and mud cycling by the time my mission is over!  Many different missionaries told us I would need really tall boots in my mission. My mom ordered these sweet boots from, they're for mucking out horse stalls on a farm, and in my case, they are for getting anywhere in our area without sinking through the earth or being covered in mud. Thanks mom. Sadly, they are very nice boots (even covered in mud) and everyone who sees them says "hey, those are really nice boots! I like them"! Which in my area translates to "hey, those are really nice boots and if you don't get away from me fast, they will be mine!!!" I'm constantly paranoid that someone is going to jump us one evening and demand to have them! Haha. 

But anyway, besides that, the week was fantastic. We talked with the Family Quevedo this week and it looks like they are going to wait to be married after all. Jorge, the father of the family, has a lot of fear about rushing things to much because of his past marriage experience.  Elder Wihongi and I have tried to guide them to have more faith and to just go for it but they are firm, it seems, in the decision to wait. I believe  they have also started to get annoyed with us a little too because of how much we are pestering them to get married.  We have heard stories about some missionaries who would be to aggressive and incessant with their  investigators and it winds up pushing them away from the church and not towards it. We don't want that happening with them  so we decided to drop it for now and just be their friends and support them as they progressively move forward. We feel fervently that in the near future they will be married and Augustina baptized and they will be an active amazing family here in the church.  For me and my comp It doesn't really matter if WE get to baptize them or if WE get to take credit. It’s the Lords work and they are the Lord’s children.  I'm  just thankful I was able to meet them and share the gospel with them. They are my friends now.  We are happy that they have progressed and we pray that that will continue and that the gospel will become a part of their eternal progression.

Our Good friend Luis is still Progressing!! Slowly but surely he is progressing and though he cant really hear us at all because his hearing is going or read the book of Mormon because his sight is diminishing and the letters are to small, He has been feeling better and better every visit.  And his smoking habit is improving,  cigarette by cigarette. It’s a kind of funny and not the usual way of teaching someone, but because he can’t really understand most of what we say, in our halting Spanish, we have become his friends. When we’re with him, our time is spent cheering him on,  making him laugh, trying to motivate him and trying to help him know that we are here for him and love him and, more importantly, that our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ love him. 

The Family Fernandez is finally showing some signs of progressing as well. We finally got to talk to the Hermana and we were able to bear our testimonies and share our beliefs. We also took the opportunity to teach her that the church she belongs to is wrong and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is the only true church on the earth. We invited her, as we have done a million times before, to read the Book of Mormon, to pray to our Heavenly Father about it and find out for herself it is true. She finally agreed and said “Well if i read this book, I’m not going to do it because i like you guys or because i Like how your church smells (apparently our church smells good! Just FYI)! I’ll read it and if I find it to be true I will be a member and not a fake member!” Ha, we stopped in our tracks and practically yelled at her that that is EXACTLY what we’ve been asking her to do!!  We are hoping this will be a big step for her in coming closer to the waters of baptism. It was kind of funny and a little uncomfortable in how we approached this lesson with her. As a missionary, sometimes you have to go slow, sometimes you have to back off and sometimes you have to be brutally honest. This was a “brutally honest” time for us, as we lovingly destroyed the church she belongs to!  I spoke very directly about the gospel, why I know its true, and why she needs it in her life. We were very direct but it’s because we love her and her family. We want them to be happy and we know that true happiness is found when you seek after and follow our Savior Jesus Christ. 

We also performed a Heroic Act Of Service, Like super heroes almost. We were heading to our area and a man called us. With not even an instant of delay we slammed on our breaks and swooped into the rescue. The man said “help! this lady has fallen and she cant get up!!”. WE looked over the fence into the yard of the house he was pointing to and saw an elderly lady sitting in her door way.  We asked her, over the fence, what we could do to help? She said “Can you get the keys and open the door?”  Why, of course, random citizen.  Step back!  And  with the assistance of my faithful sidekick Elder Wihongi,  I scaled the fence and landed, light as a feather,  on the other side of the ….Like Batman!  I then began the mighty search for the infamous keys and i could not find them…haha…Not so much like batman! A little crowd of similar elderly people had gathered to watch my heroics and they were all yelling at me, in Spanish,  saying…”the keys are in the door! The keys are in the door!”  but the lady had like a million doors in her house and apparently I was looking at every door EXCEPT the right door! My Sidekick Tried Helping me by telling the crowd that i didn't speak Spanish, I only spoke  Chinese! haha. A few minutes later I located the keys and opened the  impenetrable gate, thus saving the day.  Before they could give us the key to the city, we got onto our faithful rust buckets  (bikes)  and rode off into the sunset to the sound of five old people yelling words of praise (I’m assuming) in spanish.

We did have one very odd thing happen this week. For some reason a bunch of the missionaries in our district decided that  Elder WIhongi and i weren’t happy or excited about our area. They said we were “dis-animated” about our area or something like that.  So they organized a district wide meeting to help Mercedes A (my area) to boost our morale. Haha. Their hearts were in the right place, they were just wrong.  It was a very confusing experience because, up until that moment,  i had thought that i was very “animated” and excited!!! hahaha. It was probably all the sugar induced tiredness that made them think we were “dis-animated”!! 

On a whole this week was amazing and I learned so much!! 
I love you guys,
Elder Ren Porter

This "road" is actually not that bad, compared to some of the other ones!
My sweet "horse-stall-mucking" boots.

What I Know For Sure (week 32)

SO this week was full of Rain, Rain and more Rain. It's weird for me because I'm from Arizona and it would rain like once a year there so I'm really not used to everything being so wet all the time. I feel like I'm starting to sound like my brother Cole who's on his mission in Tahiti because he talks about how much it rains in Tahiti in his weekly emails! Haha. The streets, or should I say "dirt trails", that we ride on are giant mud bogs now. Good times. Luckily elder Wihongi and I always seem to be in a house, or in church or in our apartment just as the rain starts to pour down on us. We are hoping it doesn't rain to much because that would probably mean an evacuation of Mercedes. Mercedes is kind of like a big bowl. I was told that Mercedes is infamous for being a frequent flooded area, like really bad flooding, up to a one story house bad, I'm told. So with some luck and prayer mercedes will stay safe. My first companion, Elder Ortolano, served in Mercedes this time last year and I remember him telling me that one time Mercedes Flooded and everyone was emergency evacuated. Him and his comp lost contact with all their investigators and all they did for a few weeks was service to help clean up the mess and help people that had been misplaced from their homes. I pray that it won't get that bad but who knows, it could still happen. 

This week was a little difficult, the family Quevedo are having some troubles getting their marriage papers turned in because they have to wait a month. And once they are married they then have to take 10 days off of work, as mandated by the law. And they are a little worried that Jorge will be fired because of that and also because his work, right now, is already laying off some people because of some growth happening within the company. There is just alot of uncertainty in their lives right now. Satan is trying so hard to dissuade them from getting baptized! We have been fasting and praying about it and we are hoping to push them to be married this next month.

A mission has been the best and hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Its the first time in my life that I've been both sad and happy at the same time. So physically and emotionally tired and yet so energized at the same time. The people here befuddle me sometimes. As a missionary, my sole purpose here is to teach people about Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. About the joy and happiness that can fill their lives by following our Savior. But most people don't want to hear it.  The things people say and the things they do are so frustrating to hear and yet so exciting because it provides a challenge for us as missionaries to overcome, which then helps us to rely more and more on faith and Jesus Christ as we venture out each day to find people to teach. 

I do not know everything and I am so imperfect but what I DO know is that God exists. God Loves us. Jesus Christ is His Son. I am a Missionary. The Book of Mormon is true. Peace and comfort and a safe haven from the storms of life are found in Christ. He can Help us. He wants to help us. We can ask for help. He will give us what we need. Reading Scriptures, Praying to God, and Going to Church are vitally important. I left my family and home to come to Argentina and teach the gospel. I love my family.  I love God and Jesus Christ. I love Argentina and its people. I have been called by a prophet of God to be here In Argentina and I'm here to teach people and families how they can be eternally happy. And I am a son of God. 

THis work will always progress. 
i love you guys. 
Elder Ren Porter

Zone conference (I know I look short in this pic but it's only because I was standing behind Elder Wihongi. He and I are actually the exact same height. Haha)