Monday, February 5, 2018

February 5, 2018 ~ Transfer 13 Week 4

Hi all!

So big news!
They are changing up the Mission boundaries!
The Malaga Mission is going to be closed so we will receive some of Andalucia and some other areas of the Malaga mission but we will be losing the Canary islands (and this may not all be correct, haha these are just how the rumors go). The changes will be put into effect when the new mission president comes in July (I will only have 6 weeks with the changes before I return).  

Soo...If there was a theme to this week, it was failed lessons. If I could put a sub-theme to the week it would be getting patted on the head haha.

On Monday, we did normal pday stuff (cleaning, planning, studying) and then we hiked to the top of Pajariel (a mountain behind our piso and the church). I was super short of breath and it was really steep. But it was really cool and worth it. It was a nice view of Ponferrada.

We called to set up a bunch of lessons (with flojos we find out). And then we hit the streets. We passed by a neighborhood and tried to get into some of the buildings which didn't work. Until my companion got creative and said "soy yo, abre" (it's me, open the door) and people let us in hahaha. Or we asked for a made up name "Luis". It worked almost every time.

Then we headed towards home and on the way there was a piece of trash in front of me next to the trashcan. So I lean over and pick it up. I felt like it needed to be done. And an old man saw me and thanked me for my example and patted me on the back of the head. It was pretty funny. I tried using the opportunity to talk to him but he didn't want to talk haha.

We had intercambios with the Elders from Leon. I was with Elder Jones and while we were eating sandwiches on a bench a homeless/hippy man wearing rainbow coloured stuff from head to toe (a rainbow headband, pullover, pants) comes over to say hi. And he patted our heads and asked if we had any food. I had just finished all my food and then Elder Jones had an apple which he gave to the guy. The guy proceeded to say thanks to elder Jones and he smacked me on the back of the head lightly. And then he went away. It was kind of funny.

This morning we took the Leon Elders back to Leon. And we had District meeting. The hermanas couldn't make it on time to district meeting because they were about an hour away so we had to do a little switching around to make things work. The APs called while we were on the bus towards Leon and told me that they would be skyping in for district meeting. We had district meeting after working out the logistics with the hermanas and the elders. The district meeting went well but I think the APs really saved it haha. We talked about teaching people not lessons, how we can be more like Christ and Nefi (the missionary, 3rd Nephi) and goals. It actually was really interesting because I had forgotten about part of what I needed to talk about at district meeting and after the APs had their thought and that they needed to go, they led right into the idea that I needed to discuss with the district. But in the end it seemed like the district members were edified and strengthened.

We got a call from someone who took our number from one of our posters for conversations of English! We've put a ton up around town and in schools in hopes that someone is interested. That was awesome. Now we will see if they show up.

Then we had a lesson with Juan Carlos. Juan Carlos is making a ton of progress towards overcoming his weaknesses and he is preparing himself for baptism. It might take a bit but he's making so many changes in his life. His awesome.

A guy took out his cat to go pee as if it were a dog. It was hilarious because I wasn't used to seeing that.

No one came to English class so that was fun.

Nothing noteworthy.

Thankful that Azucena came to church and that Celia invited her! Azucena is a friend of a member and is super cool! We are meeting with her this week.

And a quick thought:
Sometimes it's hard to know if you are really making a difference. But the truth is that the Lord uses the weak and the simple to do His work.

Alma 37:6-7
6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.

Heavenly Father knows our potential and knows what we are capable of becoming. As we seek His guidance He will be able to use our efforts no matter how inadequate, small, or weak we may feel. He loves us and desires the best for us. 

Have a great week!
With love,
Elder Openshaw 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

January 29, 2018 ~ Transfer 13 Week 3

Hi all!

I'm going to keep the written part of this pretty short because I'm a bit short on time.

This week has been pretty exciting. We went to a tiny town (Villafranca) to go try to find people there earlier this week. 

We also went to Oviedo this past Friday (the same area where I started my mission at) for a missionary zone conference and that was cool to be there again in the same area where I started and to get to see a couple of old friends there. So it was a pretty exciting week! We are still working on finding new people to teach.

A quick couple quotes from this week:
From a talk from October 1976 - Proper Self Management:
"Most people never fulfill their human promise and potential because they remain perpetually helpless children overwhelmed by a sense of inferiority. The feeling of being okay does not imply that the person has risen above all his faults and emotional problems. It merely implies that he refuses to be paralyzed by them. He is determined to accept himself as he is but also to assume more and more control of his life.”

Another from Elder Holland:

“You only get one chance to serve a mission; it is your responsibility, your duty, to use it to the fullest; to give every last ounce of energy until you collapse in exhaustion at the end of it.

All the hardships, all the tears, all the hard work will be looked back upon as the best thing you’ve ever done, not because you enjoyed it, not because you baptized everyone, but because you gave everything you had, even when you didn’t think you could, and especially when you didn’t want to.

You only get one chance to serve a mission; it is your responsibility, your duty, to use it to the fullest

Live your mission to your fullest, work harder than you’ve ever worked before. Let people know that this is the most important thing in the world to you…

If you do not run until you have nothing left to give, and then keep going anyway; cry and pray and work and sweat and plead until you are so drained that all you can do is turn to the Lord; if you don’t do this, then these people will not come to this joy because of you – their failure to come to Christ will be partially upon your head."

Romans 1:16
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

I hope you can get something out of that because I don't have time to fully explain it haha. Have a great week!

Elder Openshaw

January 22, 2018 ~ Transfer 13 Week 2

Hi all!

This week was a long but busy week.

This morning we went on a search to find opportunities to do service. It is so hard to do service here in Spain at organizations because they believe that if you are doing volunteer work you are taking away someone's job. It's a weird mentality but that's part of why it's so hard. So after going to various places to try to do service we got turned away many times and we are still left with what we started with - desires to help and serve but no organization here that wants/needs help. It can be a little frustrating.

We tried a bunch of new things this week. For example, we walked into random schools and we gave them English class posters to put up. It was a LOT easier than I thought it would be. It was actually super normal. We walked in and we asked if we could put some free English class signs up and they said of course! So we actually did it in quite a few schools and even the library. It was pretty cool. And there was one point where we were speaking in English in the street up to one of the bilingual schools and a teacher walked out and asked us where we were from. And she basically took care of the English posters and took charge of the advertising for us (because they is her job in her language department).  So that was super cool too. She took a few posters and a bunch of English class cards too. And there was also a mall across the street where we put up a poster there too.

Thursday: We had District meeting. We talked about the Book of Mormon, how to find by using questions of the soul and talk about the Book of Mormon more. The Book of Mormon is our most powerful tool as missionaries because it's the keystone of religion. Basically if the Book of Mormon is true, it means it really was translated by a prophet and it means that Heavenly Father guides his children by prophets as in the olden days. And today on intercambios we literally taught the restoration probably like 10x. It was a ton. But people actually listened and were willing to talk which I'm not used to. I even got to use some Russian (which I still remember from the MTC) when we found a Russian man who has only been here a few months. That was fun. And he understood me haha. I asked how he was in Russian and he replied good and that was it haha. We talked with a ton of people today. I thought I was going to dream about talking to people about the restoration but it didn't happen haha.

(If you don't realize, I've skipped a few days just because I've lost track of the days and that they weren't all that interesting either haha. Some days on the mission are just very normal. A lot of trying tk find new people to teach.)

And then Sunday (yesterday) was my birthday so that was fun. No chicken feet this time haha. And we ate some really good food with the members.
Something that I learned from my studies this week is about humility. Humility is (in one definition) the condition of being meek and teachable.

Other things that it is:
1) It is submitting yourself to the will of the Lord
2) ‎ giving Heavenly Father the honour for your accomplishments
3) ‎ giving thanks for your blessings
4) ‎recognizing complete dependence upon Heavenly Father's help
5) ‎trusting in God's servants - church leaders, the prophet, priesthood leaders and following their counsel
6) ‎praying for revelation and seeking His guidance

Somethings it isn't (AKA "Pride"):
1)Trusting in me (Elder Openshaw) more than in Heavenly Father
2)putting the things of the world (ie. Phone, tv, video games, sports, etc) before the things of God (prayer, scripture study, etc)

And some scriptures to add about being humble:
Matt 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Eter 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

So...basically rely on the Lord and turn to Him and He will lead you. You are a child of God and He wants to hear from YOU. I know that He is in the details of our lives and that He answers our prayers. If you ask specifically, you get a more specific answer, if you ask generally, you get a general answer. I know that He loves you and knows of your worth. He will guide you and help you as you turn to Him.

Well I hope everyone had a great week! Have an awesome week!

Elder Openshaw

January 15, 2018 ~ Transfer 13 Week 1

Hi all!

So this week was a long but (fulfilling long) week! Lots happened and it was quite enjoyable.

So...our heaters stopped working and that sure was fun but we learned about how to fix them and got to talk with our landlord quite a bit because they kept dripping water and he had to keep fixing them up. Basically the heaters here are in the wall and the water heater heats water up (pretty unexpected right?) and it goes around to all of the house to heat the radiators. And the radiators kept leaking and the water pressure went to zero so nothing worked haha. But we are all good now!

Also we had snow this week! That was comforting to see and apparently hasn't happened here in 2-4 years (in Ponferrada)! So that was cool. And people were a lot more happy/friendly that day with the snow haha. 

And we had some cool miracles happen this week. One, we were going on the way to a friend's home to see when we could meet with them and we found them in the street and set a time up to go see them. The other was similar but even more amazing. We had been trying to get ahold of our investagator Angel for about 2 weeks. We had one quick lesson in a park and that we hadn't had contact for a really long time. We called him, sent texts and nothing. No response. And then this week we passed by his home and he wasn't there either. So I said a quick prayer. About 20 mins later while walking in the street, I turned to my left when I saw a "Madrid" hat that he likes to wear and I shouted his name and it was him. We almost didn't see him as he passed us. But we saw him and got to talk to him and set up a time to meet with him. He had a hard couple weeks and wasn't able to get ahold of us but still wants to continue meeting in the coming week.

So we haven't taught many lessons (I won't give a number but...2... for the week) so we are looking for new people to teach. And we've talked to a bunch of people and are still searching for people who want to learn more about the Restoration. 

And then we had the crazy and hilarious experiences like how we sat at a table at the mall and there is an abandoned drink 3 tables away. Some random guy comes up to the table, looks around and then takes a long sip out of it and walks away. So moral of the story, don't leave your drink abandoned haha.

We also tried finding places to go do service this week and without much luck. We got directed to a mess hall where a bunch of the people from the local penitentiary are sent to do community service and basically we got turned away from that one because they had too much help haha. And we went to some other places without much luck.

We also gave a donation to the local library of a Book of Mormon hahaha. That was pretty funny. We are just trying to do some different things that are a little more entertaining than just walking the streets here (which can be pretty empty haha). But they took the book and we'll see if it makes it on a shelf haha. 

And yesterday was Elder Kamber's birthday! And we got to eat with some members. It was great. And one of the families wanted to play a joke on my new companion (without knowing it was his birthday, but it made it so much better). I was told to inform my companion that they are a poor family and so we have to eat whatever they put in front of us. And so we go to their home for food and they bring out a pot of soup and plop it in the middle of the table. And then they proceed to dish out all the broth. Normal. And then they pull out and put on every plate, a chicken leg. And then, lastly they put the chicken head on my companion's plate and we say the prayer on the food. It was done super well by them and it was really funny haha. My companion was a bit scared (and I was a bit scared as to how far I had to play along with the joke haha). I will attach a picture.

Something I liked from my scripture study this week!

So here a prophet living in the Americas around 600BC, Nephi, prophesies about Jesus Christ:

1 Nephi 19:6-7, 9 
"6 Nevertheless, I do not write anything upon plates save it be that I think it be sacred. And now, if I do err, even did they err of old; not that I would excuse myself because of other men, but because of the weakness which is in me, according to the flesh, I would excuse myself.
7 For the things which some men esteem to be of great worth, both to the body and soul, others set at naught and trample under their feet. Yea, even the very God of Israel do men trample under their feet; I say, trample under their feet but I would speak in other words—they set him at naught, and hearken not to the voice of his counsels.

9 And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men."

Nephi recognized his weaknesses and trusts in Heavenly Father that through him, he could write something that would be of worth to those in the last days - when the Book of Mormon would be brought to life. And then Nephi talks about how even the Savior of the world, the greatest man who ever lived, was thought of as garbage, worthless, nothing. And to me it's amazing that even the Son of God had to suffer sooo much but He suffered it because He loves us. And we can show our love to Him like He asks in John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments". I know that Christ loves us and knows what we are going through. He suffered all things so that He could give us relief. If you need some help, turn to your Heavenly Father and prayer and communicate with Him. Ask for more strengthen and help and I know that you will recieve it if you trust in Him and His will. 

Have a great week!
Elder Openshaw 

January 8, 2018 ~ Transfer 12 Week 6

Hi all!

So we had transfers today!
My companion Elder Jarvies will be moving down to Parla and I'll be with Elder Kamber from Switzerland.

I'm short on time so here are snippets of the week. The ideas may not follow as well as they should haha.

Monday: And we went to the Pizzaro's for lunch. We ate butillo! It was sooooo sooo good. It may be my new favorite Spanish food. It's a stomach of a pig stuffed with ribs, tail, and other bones/parts and it tastes like chorizo with a little kick of spicy (but it's a Spaniard meal so it's really not THAT spicy). But really really good. The soup that went with it too was really good. I probably sounds terrible or inhumane but it's not haha.

Tuesday: Then we did some Pass bys in the center, not much luck, followed up by some calls. And we also saw Maria again! We ran into her near the bus station. She told us that she had given her number to some of our companions on the bus coming back from Bembibre and we said "you sure it wasn't us?". And she said "no". So we set up a time to visit her. Haha but she didn't remember us at all.

Then we saw the Pizzaro's for the third time today haha. And we met with Jose Mari at his home to bring us to a paper store to print English cards. He knows the owner and used it as a finding opportunity so that the owner would definitely know which church Jose Mari is from (and Jose Mari is also the name of the store owner haha). It was very interesting too because the whole situation worked out really well and we had a super good conversation (although if we hadn't been with the member Jose Mari, I don't think we would have made the friendship with the store owner that we have now). It was pretty interesting seeing that natives are more open to talking to natives and how if you are with a member they can help you out a ton to seem more normal haha.

Wednesday: Then we used some of our lunch time and we went to the Castle here in Ponferrada. It was soo cool! The coolest part was a really skinny spiral staircase that takes you up to the top where you can see all of Ponferrada. It's a beautiful pan-o-rama. And that super beautiful view got me pumped about finding people to teach, it makes Ponferrada look a lot bigger and we can see the places we walk maybe a little too often in the city and analyze better. It was cool.

Friday: At Joaquin's, we shared a quick message and they talked to us for 1.5 hours like normal haha. We sat in the kitchen around the old fashioned stove as Joaquin put coal in it to keep us warm. Great people, Joaquin and Loli.

Saturday: And then we started the fast with Juan Carlos. He didn't quite understand how we were going to do it but he locked himself in the bathroom and I start it and he ended it. And as he was adding to the prayer, he was praying and then one of his sisters asked what he was doing and he yells "I'm on the phone!" and continues as if nothing happened hahaha. It was pretty funny.
And earlier this week the prophet Thomas S. Monson passed away. Super sad but it's great to know that he is with his wife now. He was such a great example of always serving and loving. It's so comforting to know that we have a prophet who receives revelation from God to know how to guide His church. Heavenly Father has always worked through prophets.

In Amos 3:7:
7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
Luke 1:70

70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:

So ever since the world began, Heavenly Father has worked through prophets. And He has given us guidance to know whether or not they are a true prophet. In Matthew it says:

Matthew 7:16-20
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

So by their fruits you will be able to tell whether they are a true prophet or not. Jesus Christ established his church on the earth and gave the authority to Peter and the apostles to carry on his work after his death. But because the wickedness of the people (and as prophesied), all the apostles were killed and the church of Jesus Christ was lost. But because Heavenly Father loves his children so much and when his children were ready to listen, He restored that same church of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is a fruit of the prophet Joseph Smith. I promise you that if you read, ponder on the message contained in it and pray to God to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is true, you will receive an answer. Because I have. And I know the Book of Mormon is true. And I know that Jesus Christ guides His church, through prophets in our days. I invite you to read the book of Mormon and pray about it. And I'm you have any questions or concerns or whatever else, I'm happy to answer them :)

Have a great week!
Elder Openshaw

January 1, 2018 ~ Transfer 12 Week 5

Happy New Year! 

This week was quite a long week. I'm going to share snippets of the week so bare with me:
On Christmas we ate rabbit with a member family. The texture was like a mix between chicken and frog. It was pretty good, it was a fun experience.

Then we had intercambios (exchanges) on Tuesday in Leon. A funny moment that happened is that I asked two teenage dudes about where a fake street was - "calle Martínez Gómez" and they decided to look it up on google maps and didn't find it haha. I didn't get a good transition either haha. It was an awkward but funny conversation haha.

On Wednesday, we were getting ready for Juan's lesson but we felt unsettled. We felt an uncomfortable feeling. So we got down on our knees and prayed. We prayed individually. And when we stopped we both felt the same - we felt that the whole family was there at home and that it was okay to go over but that something unexpected would happen that we couldn't control. And at this point we still didn't know if we had a member so we were just acting on the faith of those feelings. And right after leaving the apartment, the Branch President calls us and says that he is on his way - a tender mercy for sure. And sure enough we get to the home and everyone was home. The unexpected part is that only Juan and his nephew were really present, not all of the family wanted to participate this time. That was pretty sad. But it was a miracle that we both knew that everything would work out and that the whole family would be home. The lesson went really well, we talked about the Book of Mormon and we did How to Begin Teaching again but this time a lot better, helping them to understand that they need to act. And then that was the day.

Thursday: Weekly planning. It was alright. I was pretty drained after it just because it took so long. And we threw in a chicken so it would be done after we finished weekly planning. It worked out pretty good. The only issue was that when we were sitting and planning I had the odd feeling to check the chicken...and so I did. And I opened the oven and saw that the end of the plastic bag had melted because it was too close to the heating thankfully we found it before it was a big issue.

Then we did our studies and we get a message that says "hey I'm luis, can we meet today at 4:30?". (It was 3pm at the time). And we didn't know any we were wondering who he was. And we were pretty sketched out. And we found an Antiguo investagator record of Luis and figured it was probably him. But he would text us, we would call and he wouldn't answer and then he would keep texting us. But in the end we prayed about it and felt good about it so we met up with him at 5:30. And so we met with him in the park (Plantio) and he told us about how he wants to change. And it was cool to see that he wants to change. We got to know him a little better and told him we would be happy to help him find his faith. And funny moment: we start talking and he tells us he's very awkward talking to girls and he wants us to help him find a mormon girlfriend. I told him I am bad at talking to girls too so we couldn't help him out with any more then teach him about the gospel hahaha.

Friday: We met with Luis again and then we had a lesson with Miriam. It went well. She's a great lady. We invited her to be baptized and she said she would be "encantada"/pleased/delighted to be baptized. She wants to but she can't quite get to the capilla.

Also a funny moment: while out on the street today I was talking to an old guy who asked why we were here and I told him that we are missionaries. "Somos misioneros" le dije. Y él me dijo "no, no los sois, nadie es prisionero aquí" jajaja. I had to correct him and tell him, no not prisoners, we're missionaries! Haha it was pretty funny. He thought I had said "Somos prisioneros"/ we are prisioners.

Saturday/Sunday morning: Apparently I woke up at 2:30am, turned the light on and started praying. My companion was so confused and told me that he asked me for the time and I just grunted and kept praying. And then we checked the phone and his tablet to make sure it was 2:30am and sure enough it was. So he goes to the bathroom, comes back and I'm still praying haha. And he tells me to go back to sleep and that we still have 4 hours to sleep. Apparently I just flopped back down and went right back to sleep haha. I don't quite remember all of it happening haha.

Well that's the week in a nutshell. I've learned a lot listening to the spirit this week and trying to be sensitive to even the slightest impressions or thoughts. Every week in the mission is a learning experience. A quick scripture I would like to share for this week:

1 Nephi 1:1:
"1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; having seen MANY AFFLICTIONS in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been HIGHLY FAVORED of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days." (I had to make the words BOLD the old fashioned way haha)

I just started reading the Book of Mormon again this week and I thought it was interesting that the prophet Nephi starts by writing about how he had "many afflictions" but yet he had been "highly favored of the Lord" all his days. I think that is very common in our lives. Life isn't meant to be easy. We can be very blessed by the Lord but bad things will still happen. Keeping the commandments doesn't make us immune to trials in life. Trials are helpful and help us to grow. I know that our Heavenly Father knows us personally and that He always has what's best for us in mind even if we can't see it ourselves. And He has promised that He won't give us more trials than we are able to bare.

Well have a happy first week of January! 

Love you all!
Elder Openshaw 

December 25, 2018 ~ Transfer 12 Week 4

Merry Christmas to everyone! 
I hope everyone has a wonderful day and week!

This week was a pretty eventful week. We are still searching for people who we can teach and how we can help out here in Ponferrada. We are trying new things and switching things up so we can do things better had how we are doing them.

Early this week we went to the food bank to see if we could volunteer there and we are able to! We did everything necessary and now have service to do every Tuesday even we can (a really slow time)! That was a blessing! I have never had such an easy time finding service and signing up for it here in Spain! And the lady helping us out was super happy.

Tuesday morning we set the goal of sharing the Christmas initiative and sharing the restoration. And we met the goal this morning! We showed the video and shared the restoration, and we got a fake number hahaha I called it and he tried to cover it up...haha but we gave him a book of Mormon and at least he walked away with that.

That night we went to an investigators' home and we taught the whole family! We were so excited to be able to teach his family! The family was so interested about what we wanted to tell them with the restoration and about how the church of Jesus Christ has been established again on the earth by a living prophet. Nicolas (the 14 year old) asked when church was even before we asked! They are a great family. I don't know if I've seen a more excited to family to hear about the gospel. And even with little kids they all were listening very intently. It was a wonderful experience and we will see how it continues.

Then we had intercambios (exchanges) with the elders in Leon. It went well, all fairly normal until the bus ride home. I stayed awake (miracle) and was finishing up some things I needed to do on my tablet. And then, when almost home (about 20 mins away), a lady hops on the bus and she sits across from us in the aisle. She's super drunk. And she sees us and says in a really loud voice "hey, you're the Mormon missionaries aren't you!" (all in Spanish). "Well I talked to some missionaries a while ago (Elder Jarvies and another on intercambios but she didn't remember that) and I want you to visit my home, here's my address and number and here's my full name". And they she told us she was looking for a new church. And she kind of went off and starting saying a bunch of things and she started singing songs about Jesus but really really loud. She also told us she wanted to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and Virgin Mary. Suggested "the Spirit" as part of that list haha. It made people on the bus really uncomfortable that she was talking about Jesus and talking so loud (keep in mind, this is 20 mins). And then when leaving she says to the lady sitting behind us "these are good boys, you should listen to them". It was great.

We met with quite a few (emphasis on few) of our investigators this week. I was very thankful for the help we had from the members we invited to be with us. They really helped us teach what was needed and to help relate to the investigator better than we knew how (they explained things using examples from their culture that we don't fully understand but that the investigators did understand haha). The members saved us. We had some really awesome lessons.

We were on the way to a members home and we heard revving engine noises. And really loud engines. We go up the hill and there is a rally car race going on! It was super cool! We were able to have some conversations with people about what it was and I learned a lot of new words about cars haha. And the members live right above where the track was so we had a nice view haha.

Yesterday my companion gave a talk in church and I told him about the scripture in Doctrine & Covenants 38: 30 "...if ye are prepared ye shall not fear". I suggested that he read that scripture and then say, "I know the counsel in this scripture is true because I didn't prepare my talk and I'm really scared". He went up and told the joke and nobody laughed hahaha. Most were just stone-faced. A couple of smiles but not much hahaha. I was laughing so hard because no one else laughed.

I'm so thankful for the members here who have fed us this week and who invited us over to share Christmas eve with their families so that we didn't have to just spend it alone at home. We are well cared for.

Christmas is such a special time to spend together as family and to remember the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ. He paid for our sins and suffered so so much so that we can return to our heavenly home. We can't repay Him for His sacrifice but we can do what He has asked us to do, keep His commandments. And by keeping the commandments, continuing in faith, repenting and being baptized, receiving the Holy Ghost and continuing until the end, we can return. I know He has restored His church on the earth once again through a living prophet as He did in times of old. Here's a beautiful scripture about Jesus and His earthly ministry:

5 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
6 And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.
(Mosiah 3:5-8)

I know that Christ knows us personally. That He suffered for us and gave us a gift so valuable that we can't even imagine it fully. He did what we could not do ourselves. I love you all and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy week!

Elder Openshaw