Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SICUANI 6.24.13

WOW!  All I want to do is talk about the broadcast that we were able to see last night.  How incredible.  I think the greatest message that I was able to get from the broadcast is that we are all missionaries for our entire lives, and that the work the full time missionaries do is something amazing, but that it is severely hindered if we as members don’t do our part preaching the gospel to our friends and neighbors.

I commented to president in my weekly letter that I have been feeling this change come for a long time.  I think the Lord goes preparing us for those changes before we realize that something is about to change!  I had these thoughts all the way back in Izcuchaca when we contacted everyday with very little success…. I am dreaming of the day when, as I believe Elder Nelson said it “The day comes when in one week the missionaries can teach a great number of people and not have to knock on one single door”

And that isn’t because as missionaries we want to be lazy!  We want to be effective, and the effective way is through loving members who decide to give the opportunity to their neighbors to listen to the restored gospel.  I thought a lot about the great opportunity it is to help the members participate in the work of salvacion as well… Think about this for a moment.  We all have received the commandment to be missionaries, perhaps not full-time but in one way or another to participate in the work of salvacion.  I have decided that I don’t want to spend another minute of my time here in the mission working just for myself when I could be blessing the lives of two people at once, a member, and an investigator.  When the members participate in missionary work they are able to work out their own salvacion while helping another find theirs as well.  

I have never found myself in a situacion so challending, but at the same time so rewarding.  Sometime I find myself in very difficult circumstances (well, mostly I find others in very difficult circumstances and it is hard to help them get out!)  but the Lord has always been there to support me in a difficult decision or situacion.  I know that he will do the same for all of you as you do your very best to invite others to come unto Christ.  

I think that the biggest change in my thinking has been, “ok I can accept that I won’t be a full-time missionary forever…. And that is OK”  (Even though it is hard to realize that this time will come to an end)  BUT I cannot ever stop being a missionary, because the change has been too deep and too profound that now the great duty and blessing we have to share the gospel.

I have a request… when you send the next package…. I gave away my sweaters and I am only using my coat…. What I would like is perhaps another sweater?  Pls?  Many missionaries here use cardigans and it is approved.  I would like one because sometimes you go out in the morning to proselyte when it is cold and you need a sweater… but when the sun is out blazing at mid day, the only thing that you really need to do is take off your coat, or even open it up so that its not too hot… I would love that thanks ;)

Love you all!

Elder Neff

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

SICUANI 6.17.13

Hey Family!

Feliz Dia Papa!  Happy Father’s Day Dad!  I hope that the waffles were delicious!  Also the waffle maker was totally not a lame gift!  Haha I would give an arm and a leg to have waffles right now…. But Peruvian breakfast can be quite delicious if you love avocado and fresh baked bread.  (I know that Paige’s mouth is watering right now hehe)

The weather is changing here in the mountains of Peru and also our animos!  We are really doing much better as a zone and I am so pleased with the way the elders are working and improving.

With respect to my investigators, we suffered a few let downs this week.  The parents of Percy have sort of lost their desires to be baptized.  For me this was VERY frustrating because I always have a lot of hope that a member referral is going to be baptized.  I think that I was perhaps a little too optimistic from the beginning with them because they have quite a few challenges to overcome… one of the biggest being illiteracy and a business that they run primarily on Sundays.

So now we are off to look even harder get more referrals from members that can lead to new investigators and baptisms. 

Sorry this week I had to do a lot of things in internet for the zone so sorry if my letter seems really short.  I also had to take a few photos of some of the sectors in the zone so here are a few pictures of the missionaries that are here working so hard here in sicuani.  Pray for them!

Love you all!  Take care and see you next week.

Elder Neff

Monday, June 10, 2013

SICUANI 6.10.13

Family, the first thing that I need to say to everyone is THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL OF THE LETTERS OF ENCOURAGEMENT! I was so happy to receive so much love this week in letters and pictures. WOW Eden graduated, Paige and John are in Atlanta and everyone else seems to be doing great.

The picture with ben garrison and gannon freaked me out, all three of them have grown up a whole ton. I can only imagine what it will be like in another year! 

This computer is terrible and i can hardly type, so i will have to make this one short. But i will tell you a little bit about the new change that started and my new companion!

Elder Calderon went off to be a zone leader in Juliaca. I really loved my time with him, but it was sufficient as we had almost four months together as companions. This change I received Elder Castellanos from Mexico! He is awesome, its a different dynamic then my old companionship with elder Calderón. He is just a way funny missionary with a really great ability to win the confidence of the other missionaries. He often says " no manchas man!" Haha which I love, I heard uncle michael say that quite a few times. 

We have a lot of improving to do here in the zone, and a few difficulties. More than anything we need to make sure that the missionary efforts are supported by the ward and the the members actively participate in the work. President gave us some council and had us implement new plans so that this happens. More than anything it has to do with the ward mission leader and the ward council. So this week my homework is to win the confidence of the bishop and actively involve the ward in what we do as missionaries. I am really excited about the change and think it is exactly what the church needs for missionary work here in Perú. 

Sent you some pictures! I hope you enjoy. You can see my new companion in the photo with the missionaries. And little taste of Peruvian KFC :)

I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful week! 

Elder Neff

p.s. Edna, send Sar a hello from me and that I say, GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!
WOW! I forgot to tell you that you dont have to put the pic of my foot fungus on the blog hahahahahahahahahah! I already got rid of it i just though you would want to see :)

Love bye!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

SICUANI 6.3.13

Queridos familiares y amigos....

I LOVE you all so much! And am grateful for the opportunity to write you today. 
I was doing some thinking about what I could send to you today... we had some wonderful experiences this week... all of which helped me to have a better focus about my time as a missionary and the blessings the Lord has given me as I have dedicated this time to his service. 

The first would be what happened this thursday when we got up in the morning... I went to go and fill my water bottle with water from the outside sink that is between our bedroom and the bathroom. To my surprise, whenI turned on the faucet brown water came out.... I started having terrible visions of months in Izcuchaca practically with out water flash through my mind....

and I was absolutely right there is NO WATER on our side of the river in Sicuani and they predict that it will be like that for almost the entire month of June. 
Obviously we aren´t dying, and we can get water when the fire man come around with giant tanks that they sell in all the home improvement stores in Cusco, but WOW it has been a super interesting experience. 
Dad! They need a good civil engineer in Sicuani, we would love it if you would come down and manage the construction project to change the ENTIRE MAIN PIPELINE that runs down the main street in Sicuani. Just remember that perhaps you wont have a lot of heavy equipment and a lot of workers who dont have experience changing pipelines. ;)

This experience helped us reflect on a lot of things. One of them remembering the good old days listening to Elder Harmon sing "I must go to fech the water" from the jungle book.... as we went the few sites in the city where you could find water. 

I started to think how much people stress to have their temporal needs met and how that compares to their needs to have their spiritual needs met. I did a lot of thinking... and realized that the people knew where to find the water that they needed to meet their physical needs, but often have no idea where to find the "living water" that Christ talked about.  The calling to share the gospel is unique and wonderful, I spend every week here in Sicuani trying to find people who will partake of the living water, and also help the missionaries in the zone improve in their ability to do the same. 

I love the Lord and know that He lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it will bring us closer to Him than any other book. I am not ashamed of the gospel, and I try every day to be even less ashamed to live it with all of my heart might mind and strength. Thank you for you love and support! I will talk to you all next week.
Elder Neff