Wednesday, August 5, 2015

8.5.2015 Santiago News

Dear Everyone, 
    
Hi, well i honestly could not think on what to write. But i have a lot of feeling of gratitude, especially being here and seeing the sacrifices families make to be members of the church. Its humbling. It honestly them that drives me to work. This week almost every night we have held activities at the church leading up to stake conference. Its going great. Yesterday we had game night, Gabi was in charge. It was lots of fun. We went with a member, Enrique Sandoval from Peru, hes a great leader and very funny. The humor here is just off the wall strange, but funny. We went with him, and the other elders. Lots of members showed up. We played many games, to support the ward. We played this wrestling game, where you place a flag on your belt, but behind you, like a tail. your objective is to snatch the other persons flag. It was fun. I won in that game. I went against Elder Ramirez. Great fun. 
    
My companion goes home in one and half weeks, im trying to learn as much as possible from him. The mission is honestly the hardest thing i have ever done in my life. wow. I honestly never had to focus this hard, thats my biggest weakness. I have the capicity to understand and speak the language, and learning the lessons just takes practice, but the socializing has been the biggest challenge for me. 
    
Remember Rosa, the elderly women who lives with her daughter and the daughters family. We had a noche de hogar, the family night with them. It went really well. THe family is great. The daughters name is Gladis, and the husband is Herado, the kids are Fabian, Luicho, Victor. The family gave me the nicknames Pancho VIlla and Pedro Fernadez. haha  I have noticed no one here every calls me by Elder Rivera or even Elder unless they are a member of the church. Always nicknames, or by my first name. We have been trying hard to get the whole family to church, only Rosa goes. My companion and I know for sure Gladis and her whole familiy will be baptized one day. Herado is  the toughest of the family in terms of accepting the gospel. But what i Love is they listen to us because they want their family to be more unified and happier. And Rosa, keeps reading and praying and its been incredible to see how the God has helped her. When i first met her, my companion and I knew we would have to teach very simple, because she didnt understand much. Trying to teach her was very difficult, just simplying every down to the bare minimum. But now she reads the book of mormon and the bible, the very little that she can and tell us what the verse is about. WOW! I know its because she has allowed the gospel to enter her heart again, since she is a less active member. ANd her great force to read and pray has brought her blessings of understanding and great faith. I love her and the family! Rosa is a big child, always joking with us. Thats something about the Chileans, always joking around and very very very direct. Especially in the City. 
   
One of my favorite things here is divisions, when i go to other sectors or areas for the day. Well, i always stay here and another missionary comes to sector where i am. I enjoy the divisions, because i get to see the strengths of other missionaries. And how extremely unique each missionary is, i love it. See there strengths and try to aplpy what they do to how i work. Each person i write at least one thing i learned from them. They tell me they can tell i am trained by elder ogden, because im always on the move. Oh fun news, this Friday i am going to train someone from the MTC for a few hours. I go pick him up and then he and I will work in my sector for a few hours. I want to take him contacting houses. It will be lots of fun, and they told me he is gringo. sweet. Oh activity this Thursday, is a cultual night. Where different groups will represent different countires, since there is so much diversity in Chile. My companion and I are United States along with two other members. Magali and Deborha, a single mom and her daughter. They are from the south of Chile, mom Magali reminds me lots of you. We are going to make brownies. Yum Here everyone goes crazy for brownie, they always ask the american missionaries if they know how to make them. Also we are making corndogs, since we had to throw in something fried, unless its not truly american. Thats all for now, have a great day Thank you so much for the letters and photos! 

Love, 

Elder Rivera 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

7.8.2015 More Santiago News

Hollay! 
          
This week has been so interesting! First, fourth of july, i actually forgot all day it was the fourth of july, until another missionary from the south of chile stood infront of me and saluted me and then started to sing amazing grace. I just laughed, but i asked why are you doing this. He looked at me and then it just clicked. Its fourth of july! how stange!! My companion and I just looked at each other and just were stunned. haha But that day was crazy because we got special premission to watch the soccer game of Chile vs Argentina for world champs. It was the final game, if Chile won we were world champs!! We watched the game with some members, who are a great family and extremely funny and with two other elders, who are in my same area. We watched the game and we were just yelling, jumping, and just filled with energy watching. And we had to leave and return to the house before the game ended for safety, because if CHile won or lost the streets would be crazy. So we left running to the house, and all the houses, every building had the television on and full blast, so running we could hear the game still. We ran for a long time, since our house is actually out of our sector. Running i felt like i was playing, haha. Hearing the speaker and running made me feel i was in the game. When we got home, we just were waiting to hear if we lost or won. Then the city roared and we know we won. Fireworks all over the place. So i got to see fireworks for the fourth of July. haha 
     
What an intense day. Okay now for the spiritual, i dont have a lot of time today. so here something short. we are teaching this less active member, she is an old lady. She is having laser surgery done to her eyes almost everyweek. So she can barely see and is almost completely blind. But we returned to her house yesterday and she told us she read. We were so amazed. She had read one verse in the book of mormon. She said, she felt better reading it and she even said the opening prayer to the lesson. , it had been more than ten years from the last time she read and  went to church. wow! Many times, well almost always no one keeps their promises to read or pray. And she did to read, and she is nearly blind and could only read one verse, because then her vision blurred to much to read more. Mircle, i love it when i can see that desire grow and the spirit work in their hearts. Also like Keri i have seen young adults are very open to the gospel. In this ward i am in, there are no young men, no boys at all. So one of my goals is to reactivate the young men in this ward, and God has blessed us to find many amazing less active families and teach the young men in this ward. We play lots of soccer games on pdays, so we can invite them to play. They are fantastic young kids, they just need support and good... shoot im forgeting words in english. Good influence ( there i remembered) because there are so many negative oulets out here, we have to be able to supply good ones. The more im out here the more i see how important family really is and how much the gospel is centered in families. 
        
Yesterday i hosted my first mondy family things, here its called noche de hogar, i cant remember what it is in english. It was fun, i got the activity from the liahona. good practice for my future family. I really enjoyed it and felt it helped a lot with feeling more unified as a family and honestly for in tune with each other and the spirit. I invite you all to do the little things in the gospel, because the effect our lives more than we think. And we always must pray, read the scriptures and go to church. And no matter what, if we do those three things our testimony will be able to withstand all things. I love you all! 
                                                    
Chau, 
                                                  
Love Daniel

Oh ps, everyone here says Chau, not adios. Also women here catcall! so strange, so strange. haha also please excuse any grammer mistakes. Also the swear word for butt, here is a sandwich, found in all fast food restraunts. its hilirious when the people say it, because they will say, i want a grande BLEEP, Or they will say, wow que rica BLEEP. i just look at them like, what! hahaha I know childish, but its the small things in laugh that truely bring joy. Winky face! 

6.24.2015 Santiago News

Dear Everyone, 

          
Hi! I love you all. This week has been filled with some many events i dont know where to start. First this week, its been filled with a lot of struggles. But as i have said before my companion and i have gone through similar things and he has been able to share things that helped him. He gave me a scripture to read and study. I studied it and in the end i found where i was lacking faith, and ever since that day i have been working to grow my faith to an unwavering faith in all things and in all aspects of the gospel. ITs been very helpful, it was like a lightswtich went off and it was very humbling but it felt it helped me find the peace i needed and desired. Its amazing to think that man can still receive revelation. I am very grateful for Christ and His infinite atonement. As i have been testifying and teaching more and more each day, its grown my own faith and testimony in the things i am teaching. 
    
After the first weeks of lots of miracles and sucess, we have truly felt opposition this week. From all aspects, its amazing how hard satan tries stop the work of God. But we have been working and giving are all each day, so I know more miracles and blessings are up ahead. I found out this week that one out of every thirty people in Chile are Mormons. But many, many, many are inactive. So we do a lot of activaction work, and as the days go by my partichal blessings and personal study has helped me a lot to see how i can help them. Its been amazing to see the blessings that come from the personal study that we do each morning. Oh i want to share a spiritual experence of peserving to the end. 

This last few days, we didnt have much people to teach. And one day we were walking all day, all our appointments fell and in contacts no one wanted to even talk to us. At night, we were heading to another appointment and were in a hurry. We walked quickly through a street and I said hi to someone, like we always do. We say hi to everyone, i mean everyone. And this man was there smoking, infront of his garage. I said, Hi. When i said, Hi, i looked at his face. Something just told me, ¨Talk to him.¨ I felt and heard the impression so strong, it was quiet, but it striked my heart. I immeditaily just stopped and said the first words that came to my head. I just asked him a random question. From there my companion noticed i had stayed behind. He walked back to me and we started to talk to the man. We found out he is a mechanic, lives with his wife, two kids. He invited us inside, we met the family, the wife was at work. We talked for a bit, they were really nice and kind. The first thing i noticed was the pictures on the wall of the family. Then the wife came from work, incredibily nice as well. We made an appointment to return and we left. We just left there smiling!!! We were so happy! They have so much potential and already are such a unified family. I really do enjoy teaching families, it brings much joy to my heart. Well, i just wanted to talk about the lesson. All day felt like a failure, nothing good was happening, but we kept on working, being diligent and following Christ. And Christ lead us through all that failure, to one family, that was just super ready, it was a huge miracle. 

I know life at times it can seem really tough, and looks like there is no end but i know if you keep pushing foward and trust in Christ and in God, you will receive and see so many miracles you never thought were possible. I know this from my own personal life and finding The restored Gospel, and to the miracles i have seen other peoples life and know from the miracles and blessings i see in my mission. I love it here, and each day i found a least one reason why i am suppossed to be here. I LOVE the mission. I love the people of Chile. 
       
Funny story,  i said a word in spanish for empty, during bearing my testimony apparently here in Chile it a slang word for gay. So the whole time i am saying ¨{i felt really gay. hahahahaha Not only did i say it once, but i said it three times during my testimony. And the first two times the people didnt laught, but the third they just busted out laughing. man, i was so so embarrased. well thats Chilean spanish here, there are so many words that only exist here. Working on my columbian accent. 

I love you all i got to go! bye! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

6.17.2015 Santiago News Continued

Funny thing happened this week. I went to one house, where this cute old lady lived, shes a member and she was in charge of giving us food. I was excited because i was really hungry. I went with my comp and with two other missionaries, latinos, one from peru the other from Chile. And also a member from our barrio, caesar, to give an imagine of this kid, he is about to leave for his mission, hes barely reaches my shoulder, he loves rapping, freestyle, and its one of the biggest personalities. lots of fun, he helps us a lot when we need a member to come us with to lessons. Well we all went, when we got to the house, it was very very short. I couldnt stand up straight. All the people of chile are just tiny, just tiny. haha So we all sit down, and she serves us this huge portion of stew. Just an awful amount. i prayed to finish it, haha, and it was a miracle i did. I was so happy i finished all the food. 

Then the old lady takes our plates, and tried to take ceasars spoon . HE said no, dont take it. She said, No you need a knife and fork for the steak. I just froze, like a deer in the headlights. The old lady left the room, and i just grabbed his shoulder and asked if their was more food coming. He said just smiled and so did the rest of the missionaries, I was like youve got to be kidding me. She came out, with new plates for each of us, rice and steak. IT was if she cooked a crockpot of rice for the each of us, and two pieces of steak for each. I thought i was going to die. haha I couldnt finish it, so when ever the old lady wasnt looking, caeser ate the food. Just grapped the spoon, and just poured the food down. hha After eating his own plate as well. I dont know where he put it all, it was actually amazing to watch. haha 
    
There are many spiritual moments, funny moments, difficult moments, sad moments, happy moments, and there all memories that i will cherish. Its been humbling to see the power of the Spirit affect and change hearts. This elderly lady we taught, first time just contacting on the street, we talked to her, and i just could feel the spirit guide everystep, evening to asking her if she would be baptized by the restored authority. You could just feel the spirit reach her heart, i could just see it work in her. She didnt say yes, but she is coming with us to church and accepted other invitations. Just from one contact, one lesson the spirit was so strong it changed her heart to action. Amazing to witness. There are many times where i know this mission is exactly where i need to be, there are many times where investigators, contacts, open their hearts and i know exactly how they felt, or feel. ITs growing my testimony in revelation. That my calling comes from God. 
      
I really do enjoy p-days, but i more enjoy the other days more, there are just so many unbelievable moments, where i just cant resist smiling and just saying, oh how i love the mission. Even in the bad moments. My partiarchel ( i dont know how to spell the word in english) blessing, helps me a lot to grow my testimony in Christ and their are words from God. Then i learned the greatest love is the love that drives us to action. That is the love i am trying to develop for all i come in contact with, its hard, but i keep trying. My invitation is to grow and develop that love, always remember Christ, when you say you have faith in Christ, follow Christ, and take His name upon you,  you are a representive of Him. So this week will you serve all that you meet? It doesnt how much, or how little, just serve in the name of Jesus Christ. 
                                                                        Love, 
                                                              Elder Rivera

6.17.2015 Testimony

 "Dear Family, 
          
I first bear my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its truthfulness, happiness and it is the one way to reach our goal to live with our Heavenly Father. Second, i bear my testimony of Jesus Christ, He is our Elder brother and our Savior and only through Him can we be saved from our state of corruption to perfection and happiness. The power of His atonement is infinite, it covers, expands further than we can imagine or comprohend. Confind in Him, and He will rejoice in your faithfulness. And know I love you all so much, and the greatest gift i can give to you is my own testimony. So i say this all in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." 

6.17.2015 Updates from Santiago

Dear everyone, 
           
I love you all so much! I hope you all had a fantastic week like i have! First this week I really took to heart that in order to come unto Christ I must know Him. I decided to study Christ and His works. I decided to read in the Bible. i read this great chpter in John 15. I realized as a disciple of Christ, i am a branch, while Christ in the ¨"vine."As a missionary, i have the privledge and calling to represent Christ. It helps me act the way i need to. One part of verse really hit me, verses 14 and 15. Christ refers us as friends, "YE ARE MY FRIENDS" These words touched my heart and grew my testimony of His love and that He is the Savior. And in verse 15 He states clearly He doesnt consider us servants, because servants dont know what their master does, they do things blindly. Thats not what Christ wants, that why Christ invites, invites. He wnts us to use our agency to choose Him, because only through that true faith can we grow. 

As a missionary i am here to invite all people to come unto Christ, through His teachings, and through His gospel we can know him and choose Him. Verse 27, "BECAUSE YE HAVE BEEN WITH ME FROM THE BEGINNING" I read this line I immeditely thought about the pre-life. We have been with Christ from the beginning, being on this earth is evidence of that. I cant imagine how it felt when Christ sid those words to His apostles. 
        
I love studying more and more every day, and my testimony has grown in Christ this past week. And i have learned more the missionary and man God wants me to be. This week we had an activity, called noche de hogar. In this activity i had a very short time to write a letter to my future family as if i was an old man and it was my last words to my family. Here it is, i want to share it with you. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

6.10.2015 Santiago News

Dear Everyone!
    
Hi, i love you all! So i just went through my first official week in the mission. It was full of ups and downs, miracles and amazing experiences. First, i want to share some spiritual experiences. First, we found this family while we were walking door to door. Well here everyone has gates, so we have to knock and then yell a couple times, hello!  i feel so rude yelling each time. haha but here its normal, its just how they get the attention of the people. so we met this family, a large family with a little girl, they let us in, which was a miracle itself, usually they never let us in on the first meeting. So it was exciting, the family turned out to be nonactive members of the church, newley discovered, miracle, then we started to share a message and the whole time it was really noisy with the little girls and the kids. But then my companion, started to share the first vision. And it became very quiet, and every just looked  at the photo of jospeh smith praying, even the little girl, Lindis age. She stood infront of the photo and just stared at the photo. Then when my companion finsihed the first vision, the little girl just looked up and said to my companion, el luz, the light. I was so atonished, the spirit testified so strongly the first vision to this amazing family. It had to power to calm the whole family. I testify of the power of the spirit testifying the first vision, its one of the things i read that testified to me This church is the Church of Christ. I truly do love reading Joseph Smith history. 

Second experience, we were teaching this other wonderful family, a great family, we they progressing great and they dont call me elder ever. They always call me Danny or Daniel. They know my first name and my companions. They call my companion elder, because they cant pronounce Ogden. Their own son is named Daniel as well, they like to call me their second son. They are sweet, and the father is a really funny, always teasing people, especially my companion. its really funny. Well, they were doing great, then we heard something had happened, the mother of the family told us she was told some stuff that made her mad. My companion and I knew someone had shared with her some false info on the church, we were nervous, but ready to help her. We went to their house, she then told us everything she was told and we were about ready to speak, when she spoke and said, I didnt believe any of it, its just not true, the person had no idea what she was talking about. I know you are representives of christ and are here to help. We sat their honestly astonished. 

Later my companion told me he never had a investigator react that way to false info about the church. She continued that with so much opposition in her life right now because she is progressing must be a sign she is on the right path. Again we were just smiling and astonished. We shared with her the frist vision of Joseph smith, she told she felt like joseph smith, that the darkness is coming right now, but the light will some come. My companion and I were just smiling the whole time, she has such strong faith, the family are so strong in faith, they were ready for christ to be in their lives. i am so happy for them. Also first sacrament sunday here in chile, i didnt expect much people since my companion told me only about thirty usually come. But we had the most people come, 58 people! it was another miracle, and we saw many inactive members we invited go to sacrament. Then to finish our sunday, the last contact we did, where we have gone often but were never invited in, we were finally invited in. 

We discovered a great family, we thought it was only one person living their. But an entire family was there, we talked for a long time, they are great parents with good kids. Teenagers. Sunday was filled with miracles with many new families to teach and investigators growing my faith. It was so great to see! I love being here. its great to see how the teachings of Christ help families be more united and really show their love for each other. One family we taught at a party, we didnt know they would have so much family over, but they wanted us to share a message, so we did. plan of salvation. an elderly lady

More info on my mission, there are many inactives here, many are baptized, but barely anyone actively participates, so we do a lot of visits with inactives. I have a great mission president , very wise. So like i said last letter in my mission we wake up at 7¨-30. Which is great, but my companion and i wake up ealier to have more time to workout. haha One of the passions we both share. We also in our free time at night workout more. haha we are probably the most fit missionaries. haha Also here the food is interesting,  Its like american food, i dont consider it latin. haha its american with latin influences, but trust me, nothing tastes like it does back home. haha its good, but man it can be so strange. Also i m drinking matte, its a herb drink. Its so so bitter, but its great for my stomach, and tastes better with sugar. And i have decided on a accent. haha Columbian. I want to have a columbian accent when i go back home, i dont want any other accent. haha Luckily my companion has a columbian accent. 

Till next week, i love you all! 

Love 

Elder Rivera