Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Letter 49 - 3/25/11

Almost everything in the last couple of weeks has been about the office. We are having a
baptism though! Finally! His name is Byron and is awesome! I always loved visiting him, but
I never mentioned him before because he wasn´t coming to church. He now completed the
requirement and is super repentant and has progressed leaps and bounds. He has truly changed
a lot to be able to live according to the commandments. There´s been a full change in his
countenance. When I saw his face this last Sunday he was beaming. He normally has a mohawk,
but did a come-over for church. We were talking before his interview about how he has felt
during the lessons, reading the Book of Mormon, and attending church. He replied that he has
felt a peace and a happiness that he hasn´t felt in any other part of the world. (GOLDEN) He´ll
be 18 next month and will be able to start going on visits with us. He´s a really great kid, and it´s
such a blessing to have known him and given him the chance to have repentance and baptism in
his life.

This week we´ve had come training meetings. They were great. We lost time in the sector a little,
which kinda miffed me, but they were really useful. They were techniques that I wanted to apply
from the MTC, but because of tradition I didn´t really experiment with it. We used one of them
Thursday night and it went great. All it really is, is getting to know someone/befriending them
then sharing the Book of Mormon with them according to their needs. The Spirit was very strong
in that visit, and I know that the investigator felt something that night. I´m excited to be able to
put this in full practice after the office and see how much success it can bring. What I like the
most about this is that we can much more easily express that we care about them. They are then
able to feel that love that comes from our charity, and with that are more likely to read the Book
of Mormon.

I really know the Book of Mormon is true. I feel it every time I read it. I don´t have a borrowed
testimony. Every time I read it I regain and refresh my testimony. I love and hold precious all the
knowledge it has given me. I know that it will bring peace and comfort to all those who read, be
it member or not. I especially invite all of my friends and family who don´t know the Book of
Mormon, to read it. It will bless your life incredibly because it was written for you. It applies to
your life, and you need it.

I love you all very much. Have another great week

Elder Vuinovic

Letter 48 - 3/19/11

Hey. This is a quick one this week. I don´t have a lot of time. I´m really sorry. It´s been a pretty
stressful week, we´ve had people that have had to stay in the office for various reasons and
playing babysitter isn´t fun. We´ve been running around everywhere this week, which has been
fairly stressful as well. Angelo won´t be getting baptized this week because he told us his parents
were signing the permission slip, but when we had him go get it for us he told us his Dad hadn´t
signed yet and didn´t want him to get baptized. So we have an appointment tonight to go talk to
the Dad to see if he can be baptized next week.

The good news is that we have been able to find new investigators this week and have been
able to put baptismal dates. One of them is a guy that is 20 and accepted his baptismal date like
nothing else. He truly is ready. He just needed to find us, which was by complete "accident". His
name in Ruben Ruiz, his girlfriend is a member and the mom of his girlfriend wants him to go on
a mission. So... we have some good work to do. In spite of how stressed and uptight I feel in the
office, without fail when we get to our sector I feel so much better. We have some great people
that I know will get baptized. So I look forward to be able to work with them every day. I only
wish we had enough time to be able to give them the proper follow up I deserve.

This week I had to do visa renewals. One of the greenies that got here at the start of this change
came because his comp was renewing his visa. I saw that he kinda looked down so I asked him
how he was doing. He dawdled a bit in his response and I knew that he was thinking of how to
phrase it. He responded that it was tough and was working on how to get through it. I could see
in his eyes exactly how I felt at the start of my mission. It was one of the few times I felt alone
in my life. I was so far away from home, and no one knew who I was. I expressed some feelings
that I had and they were exactly how he felt. I told him that it sounds cliche, but as you work and
give it all for the people you become completely filled with a love that fills up all emptiness that
one would feel. President Johns told me to serve with charity and then things would come clear.
I felt at first that it was just a generic response he gave me, maybe because he didn´t know me
well. What I found was that he was 100% correct. As I made it about other people it became all
about me and I received a mountain of blessings and felt a sincere love for all those I served. I
then invited him to do the same and to keep his chin up looking forward. It´s tough. Especially
accepting some of the assignments the Lord gives us, but as we work our best to fulfill them and
to learn we receive everything he has for us.

I love you all a ton, and hope this upcoming week is a great one.

Elder Vuinovic

PS- I like this one a lot. Save it for me.

You Will Be Freed

Letter 47 - 3/12/11

That´s crazy that The coast got whooped like that. We got absolutely nothing out of the Tsunami.
Zilch. The President took HUGE safety measures, but we didn´t get anything. We had so many
plans for that day as well. I was really sad, but we had a really good training meeting. I felt like I
did learn important things from it, but I´m a little worried that the drawback will be cramming to
get our baptisms in.

My one year mark...... I´d rather not talk about it. I know what you mean though, and it´s
exactly what I´ve been feeling. It´ll go by fast. It´s inevitable. I just want to make sure that I do
everything I possibly can in that short amount of time. I´ll just play it out as it goes. I don´t want
to talk about it much more. Saying 1 year instead of how many months kinda trips me out.

This week has been very busy with doing things for the people who ended their mission and the
new missionaries. It´s always a great experience to welcome in new missionaries. They´re a lot
of fun. This group seems like a really great group too. There´s something very simple and sincere
that I like about them. One cool thing about my job is that I can keep tabs on people. I do it all
the time with Elder Shannon. It´ll be great to see how this missionaries progress while I have the
time to watch them. I think the new missionaries are my favorite part of being secretary.

We have two baptisms coming up this next week, but we need to do a lot to assure them. It´s
been tough this week and I want them to be well prepared; not a rushed experience for them that
leaves them questioning what happened. So we are going to be focusing a lot them. If you could
keep them in your prayers I know it will help out a ton. They´re called Byron and Angelo. They
really need the prayers to make sure that everything goes smoothly. They really don´t have any
problems. They´re great kids.

Well that´s about it. Not a whole lot that´s adventurous from this week. I´ll have more time
in my sector next week I hope so I´ll have a whole lot more to tell you.

I love you all very much. I truly hope that all is well, and that God blesses you all during this
next week.


Elder Vuinovic

Letter 46 - 3/5/11

This is how missionary work should be. Make sure the all of the youth see this. There are so
many good people on our town waiting for this, and starting with the youth will get our ward a
great boost.

Inviting All to Come unto Christ Sharing the Gospel

That video is everything that our ward should be and can be. I just imagine how powerful
the youth program is and how much more it really can be. They´re not just youth. They´re a
potential mode for the salvation of their friends.

We did have the baptism of Alex this week. I felt terrible because we had scheduled everything
with the ward so we could show up after the adult session of stake conference, have the baptism,
and we would go and make it home before curfew.

Well we show up early to make sure everything was actually set up, and it wasn´t. Elder Silva
and I were looking desperately for the spigot that emptied the font. Nope. so we wait and the
bishop get there and we find out it was broken. So what do we do?...... We take it out bucket by
bucket - AGAIN!!! I don´t know what´s wrong with me. It´s a terrible curse I have. But he did
get baptized, because we weren´t going to make him wait again, which made his family very
happy; especially his daughter. I had to baptize him in about two feet of water, because there
jsut wasn´t any more time. I basic laid him down on the ground then lifted him back up again.
He´s doing great. He totally had the missionary spirit, and we´re going to work so he has that
spirit forever. He gave us a reference this week and said, "Well that´s the idea right? Now that
I have this I need to share it with other people." I found I had dirt in my mouth because my jaw
was on the floor. I can´t understand it. It´s like he was perfectly programmed with an instinctive
knowledge of the commandments, and had only been looking for the church that would reteach it
to him.

During the week I was pondering some things; principally about something that Elder Villalba,
the materials secretary, said. He said that he had heard that we as missionaries are not here to
have spiritual experiences. Rather, we are here to help others have spiritual experiences. That,
of course, made me think about Alex. I thought, "During his spiritual experience I had one of
the greatest of my life." Which made me think of why. Truly watching Alex go through the
repentance process gave me a true and firm testimony of the Atonement of Christ. I had already
had a testimony of the Atonement. I have felt the immense power that envelopes he who has that
true repentance. The difference is that what I saw in Alex confirmed what I had previously felt
in my own life. I saw it with my own eyes. I watched as the hand of God worked in his life and
blessed him with the remission of his sins. And as such a case I don´t believe I can say I merely
have a testimony of the power of repentance, rather, a knowledge. I know what I saw and I saw
a man embrace true and full happiness through the Atonement of Christ. The light of personage
is now exceedingly bright, and I can stand before any man and testify that I know of the power
of the Atonement of Christ and that he is our Savior. It is now impossible to deny or doubt these
teachings, because I truly know they are true. It gives me great happiness to be able to say this to
all of my loved ones, and I hope that all may be able to exercise even a drop of faith to be able

know of the same things that I do. I promise great happiness as a result of such a trial of faith.

I love you all so much and hope you have a great another great week. (I finish a year this week.
Yikes!!) - Elder Vuinovic

Letter 45 - 2/26/11

Hey Fam!

I know I´m writing a little earlier than normal. I want to be able to write a lot of letters today
so we´re doing all of the basic stuff early. fun story. Our washer broke. So NO ONE has clean
clothes. We´re scraping to the depths of our suitcases to find something to cover ourselves. The
down side of being in the office is that you don´t get all the cool stuff that the other missionaries
get from the wards. For example, lunches with them or sisters that wash your clothes. It´s getting
fixed today so we´ll see when it gets back. As for right now I´m wearing a garment top from an
elder half my size. I´m sure you can imagine how that feels. Haha!

As far as the week goes we´ve done pretty well. We haven´t found a lot of new people or had
a ton of lessons because we are trying to bring a lot of people to the stake conference this
weekend. President Montalti will be there to speak specifically to the investigators. I´m really
hoping to be able to bring a lot. We´ve organized really well with the ward, but with the little
time we have we can´t do everything so we´re going to keep inviting people throughout today
and we´ll see what happens tomorrow.

Alex is getting baptized today! Can I get a “what what!!!!” He is SO stoked, and so am I. He´s
one that has made the long walk of repentance. Watching him has uplifted me show much and
given me even more of a testimony of the power of repentance. To add on to how great of a day
this is, the weather is absolutely beautiful. It´s one of those Saturday mornings were there´s a
good breeze. It´s warm, but not hot. Much like a Saturday morning baseball day towards the end
of the season. yup.... kinda like that. Gorgeous.

The Book of Mormon continues to amaze me. I´ve learned more in Spanish than I have in my
native language. I think it´s because at the beginning a few scriptures caught my eye about
the purpose of the Book of Mormon, to convert the Lamanites to believe in Christ and repent.
After that I looked deeper into that purpose and what it was saying to convert the Lamanites.
It´s absolutely amazing, especially the scriptures that prophecy about its coming to the light
in these days. The most recent, as in this morning was something in Ether 11. First of all, the
Ether chapters from about 6 and onward can appear to be a genealogy of wicked rulers and
nothing else, right as I started thinking that I realized some cool scriptures. Today it was chapter
11 verses 8 and 20. Verse 8 says that as long as the people repent God will show them Mercy,
but in 20 we see that if they deny repentance God will have to exercise Justice. Lightbulb! I
remembered Alma 34 13-17. Which fully explains the relationship between mercy and justice.
This chapter was just a chapter to show how it plays out in real life. When the Jaredites repented
all was well because they had the mercies of the Lord, but when they had forgotten those things
they were smitten with a perfect justice. Great isn´t it? There´s always something to be learned in
the scriptures. Especially the Book of Mormon.

I love you all very much and pray that all is well, and that you have a great week. btw? what´s
the haps with Dad´s certificate. Anyway, loves!

Elder Vuinovic
PS- Watch this video

Absolutely incredible. I cried when I saw it. Twice. I have such a grown appreciation for the
temple. I can´t wait to go there some day for mission 2.0 haha!
Kyiv Ukraine Temple Cultural Celebration

Letter 44 - 2/19/11

NOOOOOOOOOO....... Kelsey´s getting married. Freak, that´s why she never wrote back. She
told me she´d be single when I got back. Haha! I figured she wouldn´t last long anyway.

Thank you so much for your letter. It feels SO great to hear about your health and the progress of
the boys. To be honest I´m not feeling very well, and it´s going to be a very short letter.

In short, Alex and Christian aren´t getting baptized this week. I´m very, very upset about
that. There were problems in the baptismal interview that they didn´t tell us when we asked
them the questions. I felt like dirt. It was a rough week. I know that Satan was working HARD
against us. I know we tried to stay organized, but it slipped by. We couldn´t do anything about
it because it was last minute. They´re so sad. Alex has cried two times that I know of. When
I talked to him today he started apologizing for not being able to be baptized this week. He
said, "I´m so sorry it´s just when he asked me the question I felt like I couldn´t tell him no. I had
to tell him the truth." I wanted to cry with just those words. He thought he couldn´t be baptized
at all. I reassured him that all will be fine, and that the fact that he felt that way was a good
thing. It means he´s truly repentant and that he sincerely in every way wants to follow Christ. He
deserves this baptism more than anyone I know. I don´t think I´ve ever seen anyone so repentant
in my life. It´s really hard to have to watch someone you love like that have to suffer. It´s been
really hard. Not to mention Christian, who was so excited, but the Zone leaders didn´t tell him
it was a no. So who had to call him afterwards and spoil it? Us. He´ll get there though. We´re
going to go talk to him today. I want them to be baptized not for the number but because they
are repentant people looking to follow Christ. Not meeting the goal is such a secondary (not even
secondary) thought.

One good thing that happened was that when we were talking to Alex earlier in the week he was
talking about the truthfulness of the Church and he said, "This is it. This is the truth. Everything
I´ve seen in this church is everything that´s in the scriptures. It´s a completely selfless work. If
this isn´t it nothing else is." I really love that man. He´s the miracle story that every missionary
wants to have in their mission. I´m going to keep fighting for him. I know he´ll make it.

I´m going to go for now family. I love you a lot, but I´m kinda out of it. Take care and have a
great week.

You´re in my prayers

Elder Vuinovic

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Letter 43 - 2/14/11

Happy Valentine´s Day everyone!!! I hope it´s a great day for all of you. I´m sure it´ll be terrible for all missionaries in Latin America. The culture already doesn´t have any problems with public displays of affection and a holiday dedicated to love is an open invitation. The truth is, yesterday when an investigator mentioned that Valentine´s Day was coming up I froze. I was a crazy shocked that almost made my heart skip a beat. I remember exactly what I did last year during Valentine´s Day. It seemed so close but a year has gone by since then. I couldn´t accept that a year of my mission has almost finished. I really don´t want to. It was a frightening splash of reality, but at the same time nostalgic because I remember everything I did that Saturday night and Sunday while I was out visiting in Utah. I´ve developed this fear of time while being in the office. I´m slowly realizing how much time goes by and that with the little time I so have to teach I don´t want to waste it. At times I feel like I´m battling with nothing. As if there wasn´t any time and we have to get results anyway. With those feelings I have learned that God really does guide his work. I doubt that boys like us could turn out results with such little time. So more than anything it´s a blessing.

Last week I didn´t have time to put something in the letter. First of all, I saw Erick Sanchez, the investigator who got shot the week of his baptism. Elder Shannon and his comp Elder Arevalo came to the office one day and brought Erick with them. Man it was SO great to see him. I gave him a huge hug. He was all dressed up because he accompanies the missionaries on visits. He´s also getting ready to go on a mission. How awesome would that be to have a convert in the mission field before I even finish my mission? I think he might go out a little bit after I finish, but it´s a possibility.

I saw Hermana Ampuño this week. I knew that she was coming here because her sister is getting married. Élder Silva and I were walking over to the Civil Registry to withdraw some passports. I saw that we were getting a call from Juan Ampuño. I answered thinking he was going to ask if we needed his help. When I said hello Hermana Ampuño responded. I literally stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn´t even respond. She asked if anyone was there because I couldn´t speak. I responded that I was Elder Vuinovic, but couldn´t say much more. Later we needed Juan to help us out with a few appointments, so hna Ampuño came too. It was so crazy to see her! I loved the MTC so much. Everyone I met there helped me out in so many ways to be ready for the mission. I truly owe them a lot. Not to mention I had the best teachers in the world while I was there. I dare anyone to try and challenge me on that. Haha!

Christian Sari is an investigator that has a baptismal date this next week. Monday we went over to his house to teach him and we found him very sad. He was a little mopey so we asked him how he was doing. He told us that he fell, and that he had gotten drunk with some friends on Sunday. He really didn´t want to go. He was refusing, but he´s a little slow, so with time he gave in and just went with them. He told us that they weren´t true friends, and that he wasn´t going to hang out with them anymore. As he told about what happened we saw how repentant he was. I was touched to see how much he wanted to change. He told us that the next morning he felt terrible and repented by kneeling and praying. We taught the plan of salvation with the Word of Wisdom, and went over the part about our lives on earth, that we need to overcome the obstacles that we will face. It was a really great lesson, and I was honored to be of help to him in his path of repentance.

Something I´ve learned, more like realized, is how much I´ve learned about love. Nothing romantic, rather a true and eternal love. One day, I was sitting my room, at my desk, thinking. I felt really crappy because I felt like just cubicle slave, with little importance. Being able to look back on my time in the mission I realized how many people that have become a part of my life and how much I truly love them. Not just a casual love because we hang out and do cool things, rather a love that came from service and from having lived the Gospel in our lives. Understanding this I became very grateful for what I have received, and realized that I didn´t comprehend what love really was before my mission. Just know that I truly do love you all, truly.

In my scripture study this week we found a BOATLOAD of great scriptures. One that I´m really excited to use with investigators is Mormon 7: 8-9. TO be honest, it sounds a lot clearer in Spanish. It´s explaining that the purpose of the Book of Mormon is to help everyone believe the Bible, and if you believe the Bible than you will believe the Book of Mormon. SMACK! Also, it´s a great intro to the baptismal commitment.

Anyway I love you all and have a great Valentine´s Day/week!

Elder Vuinovic