Monday, February 23, 2015

Double Prizes!

Due to last weekend being ¨Carnaval¨ a sinful Bolivia holiday, this week you get a two-week update! (that's if I can remember all that happened...)

Friday the 13th I got more sick than I think I ever have!  I woke up at 1am and puked my life out until about 8:30am.  Then finally tried to sleep.  Then 48 hours of not being able to keep anything inside of me.  All in all, I was humbled to my knees, literally.  After it passed its 3 or 4-day cycle I was back to 100%! (luckily it was right before the 3 days scheduled carnival time period so I didn't lose proselyting time.)  Sadly, President Willard got the same thing I had right after me and was also down and out for 3 days.  Looks like the Lord needed us both to be more humble.

Well starting with Carnival, o sea, Carnival.  It's a party where one ¨gets rid of the natural man¨ by drinking, partying, and living sinfully for three days with the hope of purifying yourself before Easter.

We as missionaries had strict orders to stay inside these three days and had a lot of time to study the scriptures, watch church movies (on the mission projector), etc. It was good.

They have the tradition during carnival to throw water balloons and paint at each other in the street.  (Not quite sure why)  But everyone goes out in the street and makes a big mess.  We may or may not have thrown from our 4 story roof a few water balloons at Babylon down below. ;)  Good times.

Thursday-Friday my companion and I flew down to Tarija to do some investigation in a few clinics down there.  Basically, that means being copilot I learn a bunch about health insurance and other random legal doctorish stuff.  The best part of it all was that I was able to visit the Castillo, Ledezma, and Rojas, families!  Three convert family I had the privilege to teach and baptize while I was in Tarija.  9 Months after their baptism they ALL are doing great.  The Ledezma family and the Rojas family are disciples and faithful students of the Book of Mormon and study it every day.  The Castillo family is a staple in church, and are give great service in their callings as each member of their family holds a key role in Elders quorum, Relief Society, Young Women's and Young Men's.  I am honestly so happy to be able to feel like my effort has made a big change in the Lord's vineyard.  The Central Ward will be sending a lot of families to the Temple this year!

The Lord lives.  It is His work and His glory.
Elder Bender

I sadly didn't bring my camera to the offices today to send pictures of Tarija,  however, these are a few pics my companion took.  Next week I´ll send pictures with all the converts and stuff!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Not so less active


It's something really special to see the gospel of Christ change people's lives.  

This week I participated in a zone conference with President Willard where he taught about the Doctrine of Christ.  It was so great, there have been few times where I have felt the spirit so strongly.  I learned that EVERY Christlike attribute is present in the true doctrine of Christ.  

It's intriguing how in any scripture ANYWHERE, you can see how the doctrine of Christ really is in the heart of why it was written.

I firmly know that the Gospel/Doctrine of Jesus Christ is a clear path that guides us towards an eternal joy.  

It's been a pleasure to see David and Mari Pardo really apply the Doctrine of Christ in their lives.  They are so lively and excited about each gospel principle and really strive to put these principles into their daily lives.  It's safe to say that David is not so less active=)

We also have been teaching Luis, a 39 year old less active returned missionary.  He hadn`t been active for more than 10 years, but with all enthusiasm he is doing all he can to LIVE the Doctrine of Christ on a daily basis.  It's safe to say that Luis is not so less active now either:)

I invite you all to truly strive to live the Doctrine of Christ.  As you study it you'll feel the guidance of the Holy Ghost showing you in how you can better live the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

-Elder Bender

Pictures are from last week's baptism of Yonnathan and Paola Espanda and Mari Pardo.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Os amáis unos al otros

Dear Family and Friends,

It's been a great week.  Lots of trips to the airport, Cinnabon, and baptisms.  ¿My letters are getting quite repetitive now'a days aren`t they?  Hmm. let's see how I can spice this one up.

Wednesday I went with my district leader to his area for a quicky exchange.  At 8pm my bishop called me and said, ¨Elder Bender!  I have two baptisms for this Saturday, I need your help, can you baptize two more on Saturday?¨  Umm...  ¨Of course bishop!  As long as they fit the area baptism requirements and pass their interview!¨  

The Espada Family attended church for 20 years in Cañoto.  My ward.  They moved out of the ward boundaries and didn't want to go to their new ward.  They wanted two of there kids to be baptized in Cañoto who hadn't been baptized yet, however they couldn`t due to the fact that they lived outside the boundaries.  However they continued attending in our ward. Simply enough, they moved back recently and wanted to be baptized on Saturday, and they were!  Yonnathan and Paola Espanda accompanied Mari Pardo and made the baptismal covenant on the 31st of January.

It was a beautiful baptismal service!  I am so grateful for my awesome ward, their support, and the miracles the Lord is working here in our area.  It has been all His work, we are simply just instruments.  

February 1st 2016 the Pardo Family will be seal for time and all eternity.  Shortly after David (Mari's husband) will be bishop.  No lie they are the best!  They teach us every time!  My companion and I have been ¨watery eyed¨ more that twice this week due to the exceeding joy the work of salvation brings us.  I invite you all to participate in this marvelous work and feel the spirit in its purest form, serving others.

With all my love,

Élder Bender