Thursday, August 28, 2014

dogs of evil come at you use your scripture power

wow well it is cool to hear what you guys are doing, Mom i love to read the scriptures you tell me about, last Sunday i talked about Alma 34 with my district, that and a personal experience have helped me have a stronger testimony of the Atonement, i especially like the verse that says ´´cry unto Him for He is mighty to save, the Atonement is real i feel like the more you act like the Savior the more you can appreciate the things He went through. also i am glad to hear some things going well with you and the family, i don't know if i will have enough time to respond to all the cool and funny things. so you say Hilary is writing a song, that is really cool, i sort of mis listening to Hil and Elder play the piano, i think now i would ask them for a few tips, in other words take advantage of piano time and what the teachers can help you with and im talking generally to the kids. Melissa is going to junior high i think she will really enjoy it and i am sure she will make some friends. thats cool that scott and melissa can walk with some people in the ward. jared i remember when mom showed me how to get gas for the first time and the next time when i went to do it myself  i forgot how to do it, i said a prayer and i think scott allen showed up in the gas stall thing next to mine so i was able to just ask him to make sure i did it right. i remember i rode my bike for a while before i felt like i could drive. oh yeah maybe dad can relate to this, i was going proselyting and we walk down this street, it looks like a normal street and this dog walks across and i say wow that is a big dog and we keep walking like we would do with any other dog and this other big dog comes behind me and starts barking so i and my companion start walking away and the dog comes at me, it was really funny because i held up my scriptures like i was going to throw a rock at it  and it would stop and act scared and when i would turn around it would follow me, me and my companion started to laugh about and we have been laughing about for a while, with the district they call me dog slayer sometimes probably because the story has gotten exaggerated a little bit, ´´ the dog was 15, 16, no 20 feet and it comes at me so i sent an uppercut to the jaw and tied him up with my belt, i saved my comps life that day and the whole village.´´ but seriously when the dogs of evil come at you use your scripture power and they wont even try. my companion pointed out that analogy. 
any way i love hearing what you guys have done keep it up i cant wait to hear that song Hilary is cooking up. in the words of my district leader ´´we are just so blessed´´ he says it all the time

Love you,
Elder Seffker

Monday, August 25, 2014

It was one of the best--if not the best--week of my mission!

This week was amazing! It was one of the best--if not the best--week of my mission! We have seen the hand of God in this work. Elder Theis and I were reviewing over the things that have happened lately lastnight before we went to bed and we were just talking about how there are really so many good things that happen that we can't really remember any bad times--the good ones outweigh and cover any bad time or hard time if we have had any, I don't think I really remember any. We talked about how this work is just amazing and we love this mission. I am so thoroughly convinced that the Texas Houston South Mission really is the best mission in the world. I wish everyone could have the experiences that we are having out here. It would change their hearts and lives forever. It's done it for mine. 
So I'll just go through the week and hope that I have enough time to include everything that I want to--likely I'll forget many details that I wish I could tell you but this will get the point of the week across. 
On tuesday I mentioned how we had the opportunity to go to the temple. I love the temple. We went with this awesome couple--the Edwards. 
This week we have had days FULL of appointments. I think the fewest appointments we would have on a day was maybe 4; some others would have 7 or 8 appointments. We have been teaching so much! It has strengthened my testimony being able to share it constantly and really helped me as I've tried to become more familiar with the Holy Ghost as He works in our lives and teaching. 
Wednesday we had a great District meeting. Oh and this little tangent is necessary to throw in: We have been waking up earlier 2 days out of the week to do a couple long workouts. Wednesday was one of those days. It was really nice and we were feeling really fit and healthy and then after district meeting we needed to do a really quick lunch and Elder Theis had never eaten at Church's Chicken (it's a southern fried chicken fast-food restaurant here kind of like KFC). I felt obliged to give him the full "houston experience" which encompasses eating all the good southern food (including Church's chicken). We ate there and I forgot how greasy it was. That morning I had been counting up as we were doing sit-ups or whatever the exercise was and when were were eating I felt like the count was going down and just canceled out our workout haha. It was good though. 
On wednesday we also had a great lesson with this amazing family--the Alexanders. The alexanders just showed up at church a couple of times and we lined up an appointment with them. They are a family of 6. They are so prepared! They had been Pentecostal but felt that something was missing. They had interest sparked in our church after seeing anti-Mormon stuff. When they saw and heard the things that some of the Anti-Mormons were saying they were like, "hmm, that actually seems not too bad." They said one of the videos they saw had a guy with a creepy voice saying, "They will lure you in with their focus on families and tell you they are eternal. they also have to do a family home evening every single monday..." they loved it. So they looked us up and found and the 16 year old girl read 22 chapters of the Book of Mormon already and the dad read all of the lessons in Preach My Gospel so he'd know what we'd teach. When we set up an appointment for tonight (monday) they said, "will that interfere with your P-day?" haha I guess they know about P-days too. We are teaching them the plan of salvation today. It's at the church building. We have an awesome member family joining us for the lesson and we're going to be going through the rooms of the church and each room will be a different part of the plan. We went around the church this morning and wrote stuff on the boards and got a video ready to watch in one of the rooms and then we'll end by teaching them about the celestial kingdom and eternal families in the chapel and I'm going to play, "families can be together forever" on the piano and Elder Theis is going to read the words to the song to them. I'm so excited for it! The family has come to church for the past 3 weeks. 
alright I'm running out of time but I will try to hurry and get some of the other important details in:
Another one of the amazing people we met was Ray. We met him as a referral from a guy named Jesse. Jesse didn't really seem like he was too interested but I think God led us to him to be led to Ray and hopefully Jesse will progress too. But anyway, Ray is the most humble man I think I've ever met. When we knocked on the door we saw this older man open it up and allow us in. His apartment was really really messy and there are a lot of bugs on the ground but as we started talking to him we found out that the women he called his wife died 5 months ago and it has been so hard for him. We learned how he hasn't had much love at all in his life. His wife who passed away has kids but they all resent Ray and treat him really bad. His own kids don't talk to him really. He has no support and very few people he can call friends. He cried as he told us about his wife and how much he served her because of his health problems. He cried and told us he knew we were men of God and he could see it. The next day we came with our vacuum and cleaning supplies and cleaned his apartment. We've gained such a love for him. We told him this and he humbly thanked us. He told us he hasn't heard that for a very long time, not even from his own kids. He is progressing so much! He's going to be baptized on the 14th of september. He is amazing! 
Ah well I'm outta time. I love y'all!!
Elder Russell

Thursday, August 21, 2014

best parts of my mission so far

i went proselyting on Saturday, it was really fun, i thought it was going to be harder than it was, although the reason it wasn't to hard is because i think the people were so prepared to receive what we gave them.

me and my companion fasted a couple days before and it went really well, the first few people we talked to we just said hola and some of them responded, then we walked past these two old guys, one of them was smoking and wearing a grandpa hat, he was a little bigger, the other looked like a skinny old guy, when we started talking to them they did not really want to hear about the Gospel, we asked them if we could practice our Castiyando with them and they were pretty nice about it, since there were two of them i ended up talking to the guy with a grandpa hat for a minute, he told me how obama was bad, how his kids live nearby except his daughter or something, he told me he thinks England is alright, they seem to be more interested in politics in america more than a lot of americans, eventually i was talking to the other guy and we starting talking about religions in the area, we talked about what books religions have, we showed him the book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ and layed the Moroni 10 promise, he seemed really happy, they were both really nice, they said we could come by sometime and eat something at one of their houses.
oh and we talked to a bunch of other people also, we talked to this police officer guy, he wasnt in uniform though, we probably got his address in like 2 or 3 minitues, before we walked up to him i think i had a feeling to just give him something, like a pass along card, i didn't do that right at first but i did give him one by the end, he didn't talk to us for very long i think he said he had to help his mom or something like that, i was really amazed at how nice so many people were in the area,
also we talked with some other people i dont have time to write too much about but one was this really nice lady who was selling stuff, we starting talking to her because my companion was getting some ice cream, everyone in buenos aires sells ice cream i think, she was Catholic and we didnt get to talk about the Gospel a lot but we got to give her this sort of card thing with info on it, people really seem to like getting presents even if they are small pieces of paper. we talked to  this kid and gave him a pamphlet, i remember telling him not to throw it away, expecting him to go show it to his friends and laugh as they threw it in the garbage, i was so happy when we saw him walk by about an hour or two later with his friends still holding the pamphlet. i think that and when we were able to give the BOM away were the best parts of my mission so far
i am out of time, Love you all see ya
Elder Seffker

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This week was amazing! Virginia had her baptism! She was so happy. It has been so cool to see her progress and change to make it for that day. She will be a big influence in God's hands now. The way we actually found her was through a less-active women. She gave us a napkin with a name and address written on it and said, "hey this is my friend. Y'all need to go see her." about 7 weeks later she is baptized. Virginia said, "I'm going to get Delightra (the less-active) coming back now." It's funny how God works haha. 
So I sent y'all that picture of that orange kool-aid rice. Ya that wasn't very good so I wouldn't try it. I think we'll stick to normal rice and roman. 
We had this cool experience the other day. We had been studying about family history work for the training program for Elder Theis and did a little online program to train him on it. Some of it we really liked but we weren't too intent on using it as much as we should have been in our work but God showed us how it really does work that same day. We went out after that and tried to talk to a couple people about family history and gave them a card for the website. We next went to an apartment that we thought was the right one but it wasn't but this lady answered. After we started talking we mentioned that we were from Utah and she said, "oh I do genealogy with a friend in Utah!" we were really surprised haha but we talked a bit about family history work and mentioned the church's website and she said, "Ya I love your church for that site! It's great!" so we set a return appointment. Her name is Valerie and she's one of the nicest, most personable people I think I've ever met! We also had a great lesson with this lady named Becky. She's getting baptized on the 14th of September. She loves the lessons. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she said, "wow, I even payed attention all through Lutheran school and I never learned this! I don't know how I missed it!" Me and Elder Theis looked at each other and had to smile haha. She really loved it. It's great having such a full knowledge of God's plan and the Gospel because of the Restoration of the Gospel and Living Prophets and leaders for modern revelation. I love it. Well I love y'all. Oh and we went to the temple today and I loved it. It's such a good place. Y'all have a good week!
Elder Russell
So this one lady we ate with made chicken and rice that was really good and I asked how she made it and she said that she cooked the rice in orange juice. We tried it but we didn't have orange juice...only this koolaid stuff, but it was orange flavored. Then we cooked up some chicken and peppers to go with it..and ....

VIRGINIA'S BAPTISM! it was so good. Brother Davis is the one who baptized her. I love him. He is so awesome. I'll have to tell y'all about his reactivation process, he has an amazing change that he went through. Him and his family were huge in helping Virginia feel the necessary love and support for her to prepare for baptism. She is so solid.
Elder Theis and I managed to build a time machine and we traveled 6 months in the future and saw me and evidently I was doing a pull up and so we took a picture. We also got a pull-up bar so I guess we're going to be using it a lot in the next little while.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

do your best and the Spirit can be there

this week at the ccm or mtc has been really cool. we get to go to the temple on p´days because it is right by the building, they have a really awesome temple. by the way the language is coming along, i still cant talk  more than a little kid but i am starting to understand more.
the latinos that were here a whille ago left of tuesday and the new group came yesterday. the ccm is really cool there is always something to look forward to if you are keeping the rules. i have noticed that the missionaries who really enjoy it keep the rules more. 
the district i am in is really awesome we have some really funny guys are district leader is very smart and reminds me a little bit of the rabit from hoodwinked, but in  a good way. a lot of people are from utah, so we can relate. a lot of people are not from utah too so we get to hear cool stories from where they are from.
yesterday i learned, when me and my companion taught a fake investigator, the lesson doesnt have to be perfect you just have to do your best and the Spirit can be there. i knew that before but i think  you learn things more if you experience them for yourself, i wonder if that is why Adam and Eve went through the whole garden process.

Love you all,
Elder Seffker

Monday, August 11, 2014

"that was amazing!"

Here's an update for this amazing week!
I wish I had more time to write more detailed on this but unfortunately I'm running a little low. But anyway some highlights from the week:
We went to the temple with Jeremy! It was amazing! He was a little nervous at first but as he sat in the temple he felt the Spirit and when he came out he was just smiling and said, "that was amazing!" the next day he left us a voicemail asking when we can do it again and how often he can go. I love him. It was such a special thing to be able to walk along with him in his journey of being baptized and now entering the House of the Lord. I feel so blessed to be able to know him. It's really humbled me in a lot of ways seeing the amazing blessings that God has been willing to give us. 
This week was one where the zone was focusing on finding more investigators. We had prayed about it and felt that that was an area that we needed to really focus on at this time. We had a meeting with the leaders in the zone and prayed together to confirm God's will with our goals we had set and knew that He was willing to bless us with reaching them. We worked really hard this week and we ended up with about 50% more children of God to start teaching than we set as our goal (which was high to start with). Elder Theis and I saw a lot of miracles in our companionship of amazing people being placed in our path and them in ours. 
Virginia is getting baptized next week. She's amazing. We had some really good lessons with her last week. Her main battle is just keeping away from cigarettes. We've been praying with her every day and doing all we can to help her. She's such a nice lady. The gospel has already changed her in a lot of ways. 

Well I love y'all! Sorry this isn't longer I'm outta time.
Elder Russell

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The key is just to read it / Purple intestine

I finished the Book of Mormon another time this week and today just started it over starting by reading through the introduction and the testimonies of the 3 and 8 witnesses. I LOVE that Book. It is true. I think I could easily read it all day. I read a little quote from Parley P. Pratt this morning telling about his experience, he told how when he first got his hands on a Book of Mormon he read the same as I did this morning but then continued on reading and reading. He said that eating was a burden and sleeping was a burden while he read so he just continued and when he had finished he had received a divine witness from the Holy Ghost that it was true. I too have received that witness. I think that's why I love that book so much. It is true. It's amazing. Last time though I was highlighting scriptures organized by three categories: Characters, Chronology, and Geography. Now I have a list of all references related to those topics and will study according to those. This time through though, I decided to read through my patriarchal blessing first and pray about what my potential is and who Heavenly Father wants me to become. I listed characteristics and decided I would highlight scriptures that had to do with those subjects to help me learn how to gain such. There are a lot of ways to read it, but I think the key is just to read it. I love the Prophet Joseph Smith's testimony in it. He really was a prophet. If we diligently read it and study it and pray we can know. 
I love y'all! 
Elder Russell

wow thats great, i love hearing the things everybody is doing and thanks for praying for me, i am doing good too. also the language is coming along really nice, i still cant talk that much but i feel like i have learned a ton. almost every day so far seems like two days, it is not boring though. oh yeah, my companion is really cool too, he is really nice and patient, he knows a lot more spanish than me so he has been helping me a lot, he is also an organized person so i have already started to be a bit more organized, he is from canada so i have caught a little bit of his canadian accent too mixed with a latino missionary accent. 
the mtc here is really cool, it is probably not half as big as the provo one, there probably are less than 70 people here. the Spirit here is strong. the spanish here comes quick because you can try to talk to the latinos all the time, they are patient and try to help you learn. the food here is great i think the cook is sort of famous, im pretty sure he used to cook for the pope. and the food is really good, if we would have bought it at a restaurant back home i bet it would have cost a ton, the only super interesting thing i have had so far was this purple intestine looking thing. it did not taste horrible it just smelled strange. they did not tell us exactly what it was until later, i guess they drain blood from a pig and they cook it then they put it in intestines and then tie it off like sausages and then let it sit for a couple weeks. dont let that fool you though the food really is good.
Love you
Elder Seffker