Monday, December 30, 2013

Lessons On Forgineness And Counsel To Love The Lord

Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple
This morning when I woke up I had a sore throat. I said out load, "I have a sore throat," the same way Bill Cosby says I have a sore throat. Yep I'm sick right now. It stinks but it is what is, hopefully feel I will better soon.

Where to begin this week: I went on divisions but I didn't stay in Chichi; I went to Quiche with Elder Rodas. The Lord wanted me to be in Quiche. I know this because of one lesson we taught and an experience with another family. This is my experience--as we are walking up to the house of a family we are going to check on, we met this person walking down from the house and we were told the Dad had just died. Elder Rodas and I were like no. We walked up and saw everybody bawling, seriously this crying wasn't normal. I envisioned this family as when the Lamanites in the Book Of Mormon were mourning the loss of a loved one when they didn't have any knowledge of the gospel. My heart broke, it was so sad, there was nothing we could do or say to comfort them. To be honest it was uncomfortable being there and a bit scary because of their unbelief. This experience confirmed to me that the knowledge of plan of salvation brings comfort, families can be together forever. The next day was better, we went to visit an inactive and hopefully teach her. This lesson is definitely why I was in Quiche. As we were talking I could tell she had been offended and had hardened her heart. And she was not willing to forgive the person who offended her. This conversation was not a coincidence; that morning I read a talk given by Elder Boyd K. Packer, 'Guided By The Holy Spirit' Elder Packer said, "We are taught to love one another and to forgive offenses." He shared a story about how a man's life was shattered after losing his wife from an infection after giving birth. His heart was bitter and he wanted sue the doctor for not catching the infection. This man's stake president invited him to come visit with him. The counsel from the stake president was simply Leave It Alone. He struggled with the counsel but decided to be obedient and Leave It Alone. He said many times he has fallen to his knees to give thanks to the Lord for the counsel of his stake president. He said he would have ruined his own life and the lives of many others if he would not have Left It Alone. Elder Packer shared this, "If you are carrying some burden, forget it, let it alone. You will be watched over and blessed." I was thinking about this talk when Elder Rodas was teaching. I felt impressed to share an experience with her I had about 4 weeks ago. The Lord reminded me through the spirit I hadn't forgiven certain people for a thing that happened to me. Every time I thought about that experience I could feel my heart was full of bitterness, anger, and hatred. It was so hard to humble myself and ask the Lord to help me to forgive them. I know the Lord is continuing to help me soften my heart so I that I can completely forgive and won't be bitter when I think of them. As I'm talking tears are streaming down her face. I then share the story Elder Packer told from his talk. I also shared with her how Christ asked Heavenly Father to forgive those that crucified him. Luke 23:34, "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." I told her to let the Savior in to help her to take away the anger. I told her that is through the mercy of Christ atonement that we can find peace and forgiveness. As we were leaving I said to her in my broken Spanish one day Christ will wipe all our tears away. As we left I knew that was why I was in Quiche.
Our Christmas Tree

The nativities here in Guatemala are so different from back home. I love seeing all of them. Seriously everybody displays a nativity. The fair ended and I'm so grateful, it was so crazy-holy cow it was nuts. I can't even describe what it was like. It was so heartbreaking to see so many kids younger way younger than and probably younger than 12 years old with beers in their hands. It is so sad. Satan has so much power of the hearts of these people; it just kills me. I knew Satan had power but I didn't know he had this much. There is just so much alcohol in Chici. Everyone says Chichi has the most drunk people. Seriously there are bars on every street corner. At times you smell the alcohol in the street. It is so gross, I can't stand the smell. Anyway we had the branch Christmas party, it was great!! Everybody said they loved the potatoes I made, they were probably just being nice. I thought they were awesome, the only thing that was missing was Ranch! So I asked to give a talk next Sunday on my Birthday. It will be a good day. I'm going to try and make the cake you sent on Saturday night to share with members we eat lunch with on Sundays. 
Branch Christmas Party

This week I also reread Elder Holland's talk about Peter. It is just the greatest talk. Elder Holland said, "We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord." This admonition is for everyone: We are all Disciples of Christ and it is not a call for one day its a call for forever. For all you missionaries that have left the church or came home early for some reason other than when the mission president was prompted to send you home but for other reasons you have broke the Lord's heart, my heart and the people your were serving. You went back to being be that same person you were before the mission and YOU CAN NOT DO THAT. Once you have been called by the Lord it is Forever. We all have been given commission from the Lord to feed his sheep. ALL OF US. So for all of you out there heed to the words of Elder Holland, "I'm asking for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally." The Lord needs committed disciples—and he needs them forever. The Lord needs disciples to feed his sheep and save his lambs. "I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned them to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world." We are called to be disciples to change the world and to defend our faith. We promised at baptism to stand by Christ in all things, at all times and in all places. So go out and FEED HIS SHEEP. He needs the very best to feed his sheep and that is each of us. We are representatives of the good Shepard. We need to act as he would so when others see us they will see and feel Him. We need to like him everyday. I'm not perfect but I try harder everyday to be better than yesterday. So I ask myself and you how much do we love the Lord? Peter, Alma, Ammon are all great example of loving the Lord through their commitment and dedication to serving the Lord. We can be just like them. By loving the Lord we will desire to dedicate our lives to becoming his disciples and feed his sheep like the ancients did. One of the best ways to feed the Lord's sheep and save his lambs is to unconditionally serve people. I have learned when I'm truly not committed to serving the Lord I'm not happy. When I serve with all my heart I'm beyond happy! Commit now to be Disciples of Christ to Feed His Sheep and Save His Lambs. 

What I love about Dad is that he sends me quotes from Vic, he seriously the best quotes. What I love about Mom is the ornament.  

Merry Christmas Everybody, I love you!! Ducks Forever!
Love Elder Mcilmoil
December 23, 2013 

I will Skype between 5 and 6 on Christmas day. I cannot wait-2 days!!!

Tortilla count for the week: 55 

Scriptures of the week: Always remember the true spirit of Christmas-Luke 2, 1 Nefi 15:25

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

"Each of us is an Innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus."--Neal A. Maxwell
"Feliz Navidad!" From Chichi Via Skype

Do You Have Room?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Go To The Temple And Put On The Lord's Jersey

Chichi Town Fair
I don't know where to start. Chichi is having their town fair and it is crazy. It is a huge celebration that takes place from December 13-21st. Seriously dancing, parades and fireworks every single day and night. It is so hard to teach since there is an activity every single night and most of the time all day. There is so much drinking, it is just terrible. I will be grateful when it is over. So the rama (Branch) is having their Christmas party this Friday. I going to make papas, which is potatoes with eggs, cheese, onion and bacon. It is going to be so good. I can't wait, it is going to be a great activity. Hopefully our investigators will come.
Had To Get A Pic Of The Minion
We have a new district leader, yep my companion Elder Navarro; and a new zone leader. The zone is completely different. Some of the changes are good others are so bad. 
Last Movie Preview I Saw Was Of This Guy Before Leaving On My Mission
I'm helping one of our investigators build a huge Nativity. (I don't have pictures of it but next week I will for sure.) It is going to pretty neat. What else has happened this past week, we took some investigators to the temple in Xela. It was amazing. The temple is truly the Lord's house. Just standing on the grounds you can feel His presence. Going to the temple every week is the one thing I truly miss the most. It is something my soul hungers for. My challenge for everybody back home is to go the temple! If you live close make the sacrifice and go every week! In the words of President Monson, "There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure to attend the temple. Set aside the time in your busy lives to visit the temple regularly. May we make whatever sacrifices are necessary to attend the temple and to have the spirit of the temple in our hearts and in our homes." President Monson also said, "The temple provides purpose for our lives. It brings peace to our souls. As we go to the house of the Lord we will be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation." I know from personal experience President Monson's are true. I also know from my personal experience of attending the temple every week we receive our best instructions in the temple. The temple is a small part of the kingdom of heaven here on earth. And as go we feel for a small moment at home, our eternal home. The temple brings love and renewed strength, so make the time to go to the temple. It will change your life.
More Craziness
We are having some struggles with our investigators. I will say it again, the Lord is truly testing us. That is ok because in time we or other missionaries will reap the rewards in Chichi. I'm learning how sometimes the Lord works and how we should labor with all our might first then we will reap the rewards. In the Book of Mormon the most special and who were the chosen few of the Lord always had the hardest missions but were blessed beyond belief. I have never experienced such heartache then being on my mission and serving here in Chichi. My heart hurts and that is what it must feel like for Heavenly Father when we sin. It is true, Satan can work and work but the Lord will always prevail, always. Elder Holland shared this, "The FUTURE of this world has long been DECLARED; the final outcome between GOOD and evil is already KNOWN. There is absolutely no question as to who WINS because the VICTORY has already been posted on the SCOREBOARD. The only really strange thing is all of this is that we are still down here on the FIELD trying to decide which TEAM’S JERSEY we want to wear!" So put on the Lord's jersey and fear not for the Lord will prevail. 
Just Something Different That Is Not A Fair Picture!
Yesterday we were teaching this guy, his name is Gasper. He said he believes the Book of Mormon is true. We then asked, "Do you believe or know that Joseph Smith is a prophet?" He said YES! Those words were the most amazing words of my life. I'm witnessing right know the prophecy about the Lamanites, it is amazing. But again I also get to see the works of Satan and how great his power is over people and how he controls them. It truly is heart breaking. I don't want anyone to suffer endless torment. I know with faith anything is possible, Ammon is a great example of that kind of faith. So keep the faith everybody.
Creepy Pink Cat
What I love about Mom is she put only my decorations on the tree this year. What I love about Dad is the quotes he shared with me. 
Much love and DUCKS FOREVER!
Elder Mcilmoil
December 16, 2013
Tortilla count for the week: 45
Mask From The Fair

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Serve Christ As He Served

Master Chef
Fries, Just Like Home
This week I made hamburgers and homemade fries for the family we live with. Let me just say I'm one sweet chef. Anyway they are a católico familia (catholic family). Every time we have lunch with them we always have some kind of lesson. Every night I plead that the Lord will pour out his spirit upon them. They are so awesome and I have so much love for them. I just love that 2 Mormon Missionaries can sit down with a católico familia and have lunch. The mom is so kind to me, she is the one who gave me the early Christmas gift: A&W Root-beer!!!
Last Tuesday was a multi-zone conference. Seriously it was legit. I understood about 80 percent. It was amazing! I even participated by reading and I also gave some advice. We got a little picture booklet that is amazing. We call it the doctrine of Christ. I can't say it enough, it was a very good conference. I loved it. The next day I got way sick. I slept for half the day. I had zero energy. I was able to do some work in the morning but after lunch I couldn't go back out. I had a huge headache, fever, stomach issuses and I was aching so bad. But that night I was able to leave and do some work. I taught my English class, it was a packed house with ONE person in attendance. Way better than last week's attendance-0! It was sweet to have someone come. I think this week we will have more. Anyway when I woke up the next morning I was fine and felt normal. I also watched the Christmas devotional on Sunday in Spanish. I understood a lot of what was being said. I thought the messages were great and I loved the music. A great way to end the day.
Parade In Quiche
The Fair In Chici: Craziness!
One Of The Many Decorations At Fair
This week the fair of Chichi has started. Let me tell you it so crazy!! You want some straight up illegal fireworks come to Chichi. I have never seen such amazing fireworks. All I can say is if you had them in the states you would have the cops on you instantly. I want to send some home so you and Dad could have some fun. You could go to some dump place and light them off, it would be so awesome!

Loving Some Sugar Cane
So this week we have had our ups and downs. The Lord is definitely testing us. My patience is truly being tested. Which is funny because one of my gifts to the Savior this week was patience. I have also been studying patience. In my study it suggested to read the story of Ammon and boy did Ammon and his brethren have a truck load of patience. The Lord promised them if they had patience and kept their patience he would bless them with many souls. I broke down my mission scripture, Alma 17:11, and there are four things that are said, I won't tell you what the four things are because I want to know if you can find those four things. I will say the fourth is the reward. It is up to you to find the last three. In my study I have learned the Lord does promise his servants that if they have patience they will reap the rewards of patience and reap the harvest. Also I'm starting to break down the vision of Nephi, chapters 11 thru 14. His vision has some very key points to prove that the Book Of Mormon is true. As I'm constantly thinking about my investigators and their needs I always end up going to the Book Of Mormon for help. I just love that the Book Of Mormon provides answers to questions and brings peace. I will say it again those investigators that read the Book Of Mormon progress so much faster and understand Christ's doctrine so much more. I'm also studying from the book Jesus The Christ and reading more about Peter. Peter's true turning point in his life is when he denies Christ. That is when Peter changes and realizes his love for Christ. The tears he shed were tears of true repentance and tears of a broken heart and contrite spirit. Mom when I opened day one from my days of Christmas and I saw the picture of Christ washing the feet I started to cry. That picture brings tears to my eyes. That picture makes me feel the spirit so much stronger and it is a reminder that we must always serve. My challenge to you is to serve as Christ served. President Monson has warned us as members not to let the opportunity pass by to make room for Christ in their lives through serving others as he did. “The innkeeper missed the greatest opportunity that an innkeeper could ever have had. Years later it would not do him any good to say, 'If only I had known who they were.' In our busy lives it is essential that we make a conscious, committed effort to bring Christ into our lives and into our homes. We need to follow his example. As we follow in His steps today, as we emulate His example, we will have opportunities to bless the lives of others. We can extend the helping hand, the loving heart, and the willing spirit—in other words, to follow the example set by our Savior and to serve as He would have us serve. As we do serve Him, we will not forfeit our opportunity, as did the innkeeper of old, to make time for Him in our lives and room for Him in our hearts. … May we follow Him, serve Him, honor Him, and receive in our lives His gifts to us.”
What I love about Mom is that she still carried on the days of Christmas for me and what I love about Dad is that he send me the Vic quotes.

Ducks Forever!
Elder Mcilmoil
December 9, 2013   

Total tortillas for the week: 40

Scripture of the week: Matthew 25: 40 
I Still Have Mad Hops!
Let's Roll Elders
Tunneling At The Park

 Missionary Love

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Faith And The Book Of Mormon

Teaching An English Class Every Wednesday At 6:00 PM
It Was Packed-No Empty Chairs!
No turkey, potatoes or pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, just a normal day here in Guatemala; at times I forgot it was Thanksgiving. This week was a tough one to start. We have had a lot of ups and downs this week. We have a lot of dates set for baptism but Satan is working really hard on some of our investigators and its rough. We were supposed to have a baptism this week but Satan won. It is so sad and heart wrenching. These past two weeks I am truly seeing why fe (faith) is the basis for our testimony. President Gordon B. Hinckley said,"Faith represents sacrifice." Sacrifice to know Jesus Christ and to trust in him and our Heavenly Father. Faith is the converter. Faith is the teacher. Faith can change our lives. I have never prayed so hard and so much in these past two weeks. I have learned how much fe (faith) is in prayer. We must pray with exceeding fe (faith) as Jacob the brother of Nephi taught, "Look unto the Lord with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith."-Jacob 3:1. If you don't pray with faith your prayer is wasted and doesn't show your true love and trust in the Lord. Praying with faith brings spiritual power and peace.
Homemade Guatemalan Chicken Tamales
So Good!!!!
This week I read in the Book Of Mormon about the tree of life. This is what I learned: there are three kinds of people. Number 1- people who hold to the rod and partake of the fruit but they are ashamed of partaking of fruit. Number 2- there are people who hold to rod and partake of the fruit and they stand by Christ in all things and all places and are not ashamed. Number 3- people who don't want to partake of the fruit because they love the world more than the Lord. What kind of people are we? Also when I was studying Preach My Gospel about the Book Of Mormon, it gave an idea to read some specific chapters and mark every name of and about Christ. Now every time I read I mark the names of Christ and just by doing that I felt through the spirit the power of this great book and can see what he is teaching me. I know the Book Of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.
I now understand how people become inactive. They stop reading the Book Of Mormon. This book is the keystone of our religion, it brings us to closer to Christ. Joseph Smith testified, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book on the earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." When people stop reading they stop nourishing their spirit and they start drifting away. For example we met with a sister and we asked if she reads the scriptures she said yes the Bible everyday. Then we asked the about the Book Of Mormon and she said very little. She said the Bible is my favorite. Because she is so focused on the Bible she has fallen away from the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We told her to read the Book Of Mormon more and more everyday. I don't get how people stop reading about the Book Of Mormon. This book brings us closer to the spirit and directs our paths. It is the greatest book on this earth. Joseph Smith found comfort in the Book Of Mormon before he died. I'm also learning the Bible doesn't have all the answers but together as I have said before both books support each other and both are necessary to teach and learn about the full and complete doctrine of Christ. I testify the Book Of Mormon is sacred and powerful and provides every answer. I always find myself praying and receiving inspiration to look in the Book Of Mormon for answers. If you want to strengthen your testimony read the Book Of Mormon. Drink from the waters of the Book Of Mormon and feast upon the words of Christ. You can truly see a difference in the investigators who read the Book Of Mormon and those who don't. The ones who read will understand almost anything we are teaching them.
Yesterday I bore my testimony. I have never shared a testimony with that much conviction  and power. I knew I have always had a testimony and known the church is true and had a firm testimony to build on. But yesterday was a testimony of a lifetime for me. Yesterday is where I received my true testimony. I can say with all my faith I truly have a foundation that can handle any storm and a foundation that is so firm I can finally build more and more on. My testimony has grown and I have the foundation of a testimony that Heavenly Father wants me to have. It was also one of the hardest testimonies to give. Before I started to speak I begin to cry. I thanked the rama (branch) for their love and I told them that this rama has the pure love of Christ and then my tongue was loosed, it was amazing. I have never said things with so much convection and power. As I looked down upon the congregation and looked at the people who have been with me since day one, I saw they had tears in their eyes. Yesterday I had a glimpse of how strong Joseph, Ammon, and Peter's testimonies were. I know salvation is not cheap and this church is the hardest most difficult church in the world but the rewards from la iglesia de jesucristo de los santos de los últimos días is the most rewarding. The greatest reward we receive is eternal life. This church is true. I have seen investigators receive that knowledge and are some what confused because of how powerful that knowledge is. Stay strong and read the Book of Mormon every single day!!! It will change your life.
What I love about Mom is she was able to get me two pics from Gramma's and what I love about Dad is he helps me with my money.

Love You So Much, Ducks Forever!!!
Elder Mcilmoil
December 2, 2013

Total tortillas for the week: 45

Scripture of the week: 1 Nefi (Nephi) 8: 24-34
Christmas Came Early This Year!
Best P-Day: Zip-line Park
So Fun!