Thursday, November 28, 2013

CUSCO. 11.25.13


 Happy Birthday Bud! I can´t believe that you are 13 YEARS OLD!!! I am sure that the change has been not so drastic for the family because they have been living with you for the past year and a few months, but I haven´t so the change has been HUGE! You look like a little man now! You are now in your last year as a Deacon and I hope that you are loving your chance to pass the sacrament and collect fast offerings from all of the old people in the ward that have a difficult time making it to church. Keep on serving! You are such a loving kid that I know you do it well.

I saw your new bow and that was pretty great, I hope that you are an expert in archery when I get home.

( note: I feel really weird writing Ben this letter because I feel like when I left we still couldn´t have a normal semi-adult conversation but when I look at the photos I can´t believe how much he has grown!)

Well Ben I love you soooooooo much. Before I go to college we will have at least one month in the summer to do all the fun things we have ever wanted to do!

Can´t wait until you are a missionary and have the same experiences that I have had.

love you bro!

Elder Neff

p.s. Ben you have my full permission to take a razor and cut off ALL of Garrison´s hair.

And Gannons too it looks like it is on its way to get to that same extreme. ;)

Well Mom and Dad, I am way happy that I get to write you today. We were technically supposed to be going to Puno today to have a zone conference with the two zones there, but there is a "paro" or better said strike and they aren´t letting any cars pass through... so we are going to go later on this week.

Want to tell you all about a cool experience that we had this week.

We were able to meet again with our investigators Americo and Jovana. If you remember, they were a young couple that we have been teaching for some time now. They fell off the map a little, as our travel plans and Americo´s work travel made it almost impossible for us to meet with them.

Finally we met with them saturday evening were able to talk about how they have been for this time that we haven´t been able to meet with them. They were so happy to meet with us. and we were able to jump right back into the teaching norm with them in spite of the long break that we had had from regular visits. I had some wonderful feelings as we were teaching them and I feel very strongly that they will be able to be baptized... there conversion is pretty evident... but they still have a few things impeding them from being able to be baptized. The first goal is going to be to get them married. They understand the law of chastity, but it is many times difficult to help people to get married. It isn´t cheap and there is quite a culture of costly weddings with a lot of beer. We´re working on that one!

My new companion is Elder Romer from Paraguay (he is on your right in the photo that sister harbertson sent you) He is a wonderful missionary. He was my zone leader for three changes while I was in Izcuchaca, and so we have been friends for quite a long time.

Sad to see elder Castro go. But he is training in a sector in Valle Sagrado with a new gringito kid Elder Olsen.

Love you all so much

Elder Neff

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Eating pizza in Quillabamba

Sister Harbertson sent this picture to us just out of the blue.  What a treat!!  We think Sam looks so good!!!  We aren't sure who his companion is yet........

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cusco 11.19.13

Mom and Dad! Hello! How are you??? I am doing great :)

The travel schedule is getting a little crazy this week so you are going to recieve a letter from me a little early this week. 

There were a lot of neat experiences this week. Mostly that had to do with elder Gomez and his family. I had that blessed experience to be there in the exact moment that he needed... I´m not sure that I quite realized the impact of our relationship on the situation until I was able to talk to president Harbertson and sister Harbertson a day or two after the whole situation. 

President expressed to me that it wasn´t providence that I was serving in the office when elder gomez had to pass through this tragedy. He was already passing through a difficult time in his mission, can you imagine the hurt and pain upon hearing that his mother had passed away?

I have made a LOT of long term calls to Chile in the past few days. I am going to send you the copy of the letter that elder gomez sent to me from Chile. (Elder Gomez returns tomorrow at 6 AM from Chile).

 Hola Elder Neff, estoy muy bien, ahora comprendiendo mas las cosas y tranquilo aunque se extrañe tanto, nos consuela saber que nos volveremos a ver, mi madre a la cual amo y que aprendí amar mucho mas en la misión lleno mi vida, tenia grandes planes al volver como te contaba de darles a mis padres todo lo que tenia y lo que nunca les di, pero aun así he encontrado la paz que necesitaba, fue muy difícil todo desde el viaje en el cual tuve tanta oposición y el llegar por lo menos unas dos horas antes de que le sepultaran, ella es tan especial, la mejor persona que he conocido en toda mi vida y toda la gente lo sabia y le amaba, fueron tantas las personas que nos acompañaron que parecía una gran conferencia llena aun hasta la calle, todos preocupados de que llegara a tiempo, mi padre estaba muy triste pero no por que ella se halla ido a otro lugar porque sin duda esta bien, es que tendremos que esperar un tiempo sin su risa, consejos, amor y servicio que entregaba a todos conocidos y no conocidos así es ella, para mi, la mejor, la mas fuerte y especial hija de dios con la cual he sido y soy muy bendecido, las familias son eternas esa es nuestro gran tranquilidad y tendremos que trabajar duro aunque es muy difícil seguir el camino, pero si duda es posible porque no estamos solos, querido amigo tienes un gran futuro, tienes que seguir adelante fuerte en tu misión, con todo, cumpliendo tal como lo estabas haciendo y tendrás mucho éxito, de verdad no sabes cuanto te quiero y agradezco tu gran paciencia

sorry... gota go :( Dad pls translate! 

More nxt week

Elder Neff

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cusco 11.15.13

This day, has been, really tough. What I have to say is a little delicate, but I have learned so much from this experience. Yesterday afternoon my companion and I were leaving the pension after lunch when we get a desperate call from presidents personal secretary E Brey (p.s. my best bud ever Elder Brey) He had just gotten off the phone with the branch president of Elder Gomez (elder Gomez is the missionary that I trained while I was in Izcuchaca) His mother had suffered a severe complication from her pancreatic cancer and they told us that she was at the point of death.

We went RUNNING from the pension, which is about 10 minutes from the office. I started to call frantically to all of the members in Sicuani That I knew, hoping that they could find elder gomez and his companion working in some part of there sector. When we got to the office we got the phone call that Elder Gomez´s mother had passed away right after they called us.

 Later that night, I had to call Elder Gomez to inform him about what had happened. I remember when he would always talk about his mother and how much he loved her. He is an only child and doesn´t live with his father. His step dad is a wonderful man, but I couldn´t get my mind off how much elder gomez had lost.

 This morning Elder Gomez arrived from Sicuani, and we talked for a long time in Presidents office one on one. I was amazed by his strength and understanding about the plan of salvacion in this difficult moment. He has always been a missionary of dedicated service and excitement about the work. I was quite nervous about what his reaction was going to be. I was afraid that his feelings were going to bring him to want to end his mission. After a conversation with president harbertson and Elder Gomez's stake president, the decision was to send him home for a short period of time to be present at his mothers funeral.

 This afternoon I am trying to work out flights and tie up other loose ends so that we can get him to his mothers funeral.

 Often times, I miss being out 100% of the time working in the streets, but I get to dedicate about half of a day every day to that type of work. I am happy to say that my investigators progress in spite of the fact that we dedicate much of our time to other issues. I am also grateful for that constant feeling my father in heaven gives me to strive to proselyte as much as possible. I love the people of Perú and am grateful for the opportunity to serve them. The missionaries are wonderful. It is so great to have the opportunity to serve them together with president harbertson. I am grateful for the personal relationship that I have with him as well. As we were waiting for news from Elder Gomez´s stake president, President and I talked for a good little while about the trials in our lives and how the Lord molds us and puts us, often, through a fiery furnace of affliction,

 I just love E Gomez sooooooo much, my heart is really hurting for him right now. more on that later,

I am basically stuck in the office. And need to let E Gomez get on to give him a chance to send some emails, but I really love all of you and hope you are all doing great!

 Elder Neff

Sunday, November 3, 2013

CUSCO 10.31.13

President Harbertson has given me some amazing thoughts/teachings on faith that have been so great. Basicaly it goes upon these lines. We should always hope that our dreams se cumplen and that we have all of our good desires come true... many times it seems like what we are asking for is very justo, when really the Lord can see the whole picture from the beginning, and maybe we need something else.  That´s why I love realizing that he really does answer all prayers if they always end with "thy will be done".  True faith can be hoping for the best but knowing that "the best" comes from God and that only thing we can really have faith in is Jesus Christ and in his will for us. 

We JUST got back from Puerto today. I will send some great pics your way. (If we can ever get this drop-box thing to work).  I was really impressed with our trip to Puerto this week. The missionaries are really doing a wonderful job. I have a lot of love and respect for missionaries who have never known anything of church administration, and of course haven´t ventured to overstep their bounds, but who have learned so much simply to help local church leaders who may not get it 100% yet.  These missionaries are troopers who are helping not just people who do not know the gospel, they are helping less actives, recent converts, and even just everyday members keep and make covenants. 

We had the oportunity to attend the District Presidency mtg with President Harbertson and the zone leaders. Great mtg. lots of talk about coordinating efforts to reactivate and retain.  

We had two great days of training with the missionaries. Elder Castro and I give a training about becoming missionaries accordign to preach my gospel while President interviewed the missionaries. The next day we helped president do a zone conference with the zone leaders. One of the practice sessions that we have is practicing doing a ward council mtg. It is so interesting! I never thought that so many changes would come about in my mission in just the short time that I have been here. 

Truly, the time has felt short. I feel like my feelings are deepening every single day, about this work, about my goals for later on in life, about my family, and especially about the savior. I love being a missionary because we try to emulate the Savior in every act, thought and deed, I feel like I get to know him more the more that I try to be like him. 

While we were in Puerto the quick chance I got to escape and go and work we went to a family home evening or as the members called it "noche de hermanamiento" (fellowshipping night) with a less active family. The thought that impressed itself on my mind was that many times we don´t know why people have left the church, or why they aren´t coming. I think many times we would be surprised to find that they aren´t there for a problem that they really needed a helping hand to get out of. In this family that was the case. The mother had a big tumor growing next to her eye from an accident, they seemed to be in financial problems, and simply some circumstances had changed.  They needed people to come and tell them that they were loved and needed, that someone was there looking out for them and that they could count on us to fullfill the promise that we would "mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those in need of comfort." 

The greatest missionary work is done as we serve in the way that Christ would have served. I love thinking that we can shout out the gospel to all the world simply by the way we treat our fellow man. 

Ok this isn´t my sermon, even if it may sound like it. I just LOVE THIS. I love it all! And most of all I love all of you. 

Oh ya happy Halloween.... wasn´t to exciting here..... 

So much love!

Elder Neff