Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Letter 09 - 4/27/10


This week was interesting. It went by crazy fast. For the record, I leave two weeks from yesterday. Yikes..... I should get my flight plans anytime this week, and Wednesday I'm hosting the newbies. So It'll be awesome to see what I looked like SEVEN WEEKS AGO! yeesh.

So I saw this talk on following the spirit by Elder Bednar sometime last week or maybe the week before. I never know anymore. But he shared this story about how he felt like he should take this dad, who was at a priesthood meeting, to his son's basketball tournament where Elder (at the time Stake President) Bednar's son was also playing. They all had a great time and all was well. Elder Bednar got a call sometime later, I think five months, saying that the man's son had died. He was so grateful because that was the only time he ever would've had to see his son play. And it was a cherished memory for the father. Bednar said he didn't know it at first, but after the call he was sure that it had been a prompting from the Spirit. He told us that as long as we are doing our best to be "good boys, and good girls" we will have the Spirit with us and we will be guided and not know how or why. That was really important for me to hear. The Spirit is THE most important thing to have with me. Not even just now as a missionary. So everyone: be good, and good things will happen.

Last Tuesday was a really good devotional. Elder Pearson of the Seventy came and spoke about our Identity. He showed how our identity sets a chain reaction that determines our actions. And because we have free agency to make choices, those choices set off a chain reaction that decides our fate. It was something I really needed to hear. He said we can't just teach people about the Gospel. In order for them to want to change the way they live, they must understand, believe, and their identity must be that they are literal children of God, and are heirs to the Kingdom of that God and all that he has. We are all his children, and are all entitled to that birthright. We only need to live in that manner. Also, he said that we, as missionaries, can no longer be "Adam Vuinovic with a missionary tag on." I have to be "A disciple of Christ". Realizing this, I look at myself as a missionary sharing the gospel to God's children, and not Adam from Galt who's going to Ecuador (the coolest place ever). It was something that helped me immensely to "become a missionary".

Going along with identity, we also spoke about the importance of it in priesthood meeting this Sunday. After the French Revolution they took King Louis' son and in order to disgrace the family they tried to corrupt him by exposing him to the vilest of things and surrounding him with lustful women and things like that. After six months he hadn't broken in the slightest. They asked why not. He replied, "I cannot do the things you ask. For I was born to be a king." That totally rocked my brain. If everyone only knew who they really were, their true eternal value, life would be so much easier because we would know of the inheritance that awaits us from our Heavenly Father. Most importantly, the Adversary would have no power over us because we would have no desire to sin. It's one of his greatest tools to make you forget who you are, because then it is so much easier to get you to do what you would have otherwise refrained from.

I love you. Have a great week!

Letter 08 - 4/20/10

Hello again!
Just so you know the church is true and I love you guys.

The song this week has for sure been “Affinity” by red car wire, but we’ve been trying to keep focused on missionary work. So we’ll take songs and change the words so they’re in accordance with missionary work. For example the Pokemon theme song: “Gotta baptize them all, GENTILES!!!” Its pretty sweet. We’re totally brill.

The MTC has these pictures from missions ALL over the world. Every hallway has a few. And I’m the only person that I know who hasn't seen a pic from his mission…until Wednesday. Hermana Ampuño took us on a surprise tour. We went all the way to the top floor of this main building and she just stopped in front of a picture. I looked at it closely and saw it said Ecuador in the corner. I was SO STOKED!! Almost all the houses were made out of aluminum scrap metal and random pieces of wood. The missionary was standing next to this guy who barely had a shirt on and was holding a MONKEY! AHH! I’m so stoked…Ecuador!!! All the poverty, borrachos (drunks), and monkeys. O yeah, it’s gunna be awesome.

Thursday I had the chance to help out in the TRC for the first time. The TRC is where people go and do these tasks that missionaries do for real out in the field. So I was pretending to be a store owner they were inviting to teach. These guys had a week on me So I was a little nervous about helping them. But no. My Spanish was just as good or better the day before I came to the MTC. Seriously, I felt bad for the guys because they’ll be in the field soon, but it really gave me a confidence boost knowing that I’m pretty far ahead. I can understand natives for the most part now. I was at the referral center again, but this time I had to do calls in Spanish. Totally scared the pants off of me. But it was all good. I can’t understand every word, but I understand the jist of what they’re saying, so I can at least communicate. Btw, totally placed my first Book of Mormon. In Spanish!! On my first call!! Wahoo! Now she probably would have accepted it from anyone just because she was really interested already, but it felt awesome doing it then bearing my testimony of it. All in Spanish.

Sunday Stephen B. Allen spoke again for our fireside and talked seriously about our need to be obedient to the white handbook (missionary rulebook) and how we must be obedient for our safety and the safety of our companions. He gave two stories about missionaries who went to jail because they didn’t follow the rules. One set of missionaries didn’t follow the rules and ended up being REALLY stupid and made a bomb. The other just wasn’t thinking and got left alone with kids and was accused and sentenced for child molestation. It really shook me. I’m for sure going to be completely obedient. Man those were some crazy stories.

Last Tuesday Glen L. Pace from the Seventy came and spoke at our devotional. He wanted to speak about how much God loves us. But he went about it in a way I haven't really heard before. He spoke of the glory of heaven and how happy we will be when we are there. I got a LOT out of it. It was as though the air was thicker with the spirit as he was talking. He didn't just keep saying how much God loves us, over and over again. He brought the Spirit and we felt the love of God, and I personally felt so close to Him. It was a crazy experience. He also shared a personal experience about the other side. He asked that the devotional not be recorded because of the personal nature of the experiences, so I'm not going relay the stories. But the were incredible. Heaven is real.

I know a lot of people are going through some tough times right now. There’s this awesome scripture that talks about how God gives us our trials and afflictions for a purpose and how shouldn’t fight against his chastisement. (not a bad chastisement necessarily) It’s Proverbs 3:11.

My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction

I love you all.
Elder Vuinovic