Monday, September 29, 2014

The Priesthood is real / faith urges you to keep the commandments

So, this week I'll have to do a quick little update but if I type fast it might be a long one (hopefully! There's always so much I have to tell y'all!)
One person I have to tell you about is Myran. The other day we had President Ashton out with us (he was in the area because he was doing interviews with the missionaries in the zone and he asked me after if we had any appointments he could join us at). We went and taught Myran. It was a great lesson. He's an awesome guy. He's probably about 5 foot 6 inches--pretty short, and he seems really sober whenever we talk with him but he's also a professional boxer. He was telling us about how he got into it and it's pretty cool. He was hanging out at a boxing gym one time and at this point he hadn't really boxed ever and didn't have any amateur experience but a pro boxer was warming up and needed someone to spar with. Myran offered and as he was sparring with him myran hit his forearm when the guy was trying to block a punch and it broke his forearm. The coach didn't know what to do because this guy had to go into the ring pretty soon so he talked with myran and he was able to be the replacement. He did really good and won the match. He said he punched the guy so hard that he literally knocked the snot out of him haha. Anyway, he's a really cool guy! We hope he's able to progress. 
Last night We were knocking on a less-active member's door and right before she answered a guy walked past and said, "I need a pamphlet." right then the lady answered the door so I started talking to her and Elder Theis started talking to the guy that had just walked by. The lady I talked to had been going through a really hard time and it was really good to talk with her and invite her back to church. While I was talking with her Elder Theis talked to the guy walking past, it was kinda weird, the guy told him how he'd just been jumped and stabbed in the arm three times and it looked really bad. But he hung around and Elder Theis taught him a lesson and prayed with him. The guy told him about his kids back home and cried as Elder Theis prayed with him. He said he was walking home after we met with him (which was about 15 miles away). He was a really cool guy.
We got a text earlier this week from the Alexanders and they asked if we could give their daughter a blessing of comfort (we didn't know how they really knew about a priesthood blessing, they said they just researched it. They are amazing with that stuff, they subscribed to the Friend magazine and the Ensign before we told them about them. They also watched the District (those reality missionary videos). They are amazing!). The blessing was really good. We really felt the Spirit. They are an amazing family. After the blessing they told us that they wanted to be baptized. Elder Theis and I just prayed and thanked God the first thing when we got outside. They have so much good ahead of them. I love that family. 
I don't know if I told y'all last week but Virginia (the lady who just got baptized) has had some health problems with her back lately and has had to be on bedrest. She couldn't even really move. It was really serious. She was constantly in pain. We gave her a blessing last week and I really felt the Spirit confirm to me that she would get better. This week when we stopped by she was sitting up more and said she can walk now. The Priesthood is real. It was a cool miracle.
Well, I love y'all!
Elder Russell, have a good week!

Well how are you guys doing? I am really doing good, this is a picture of me if you couldn't tell. the man on my left is my boy marvin breton and to my right is the boss . just kidding on the left is president McMullin and his wife, as i said they are really nice people, my companion Elder Breton has told me some really funny things about them. He told me once that president went up and asked a random teenager if he sent him a text about the lds church, and then when he was finished he was proud that he got the reference, he isn't that crazy though and he and his wife are really nice. i know i said that but everyone says that, they actually are really nice people. My companion is really cool, he has been out here for a bit longer than a year and he really is a good missionary. I have learned a ton, not just of Spanish, i have really learned about the Gospel, yesterday when i was studying, i read in d&c and it sort of seemed repetitive and i started to wonder what Joseph Smith was doing while He received the Revelations,  i opened up in the book of mormon to one of my favorite chapters, alma 34 and i read around there and other alma chapters, it talked about faith and i could really feel the Spirit strong. the gospel is simple. The first principle of the gospel is faith, then of course it is repentance then baptism so on, but you start with faith, that faith needs to be in Christ, alma 32, D&C 93 talk about it, Christ is the word, or truth you need to plant in you heart, the faith nourishes it, your faith urges you to keep the commandments as you grow, you grow in all sorts of things including knowledge even until it is perfect. I think i had this experience so i could understand better how i gained a testimony so i can help others to gain it. We often challenge people to learn the gospel is true for themselves, now i get it better, if they exercise only a tiny bit of faith they might figure out why they are here and who they are, also what to do in life. lately i have been reading the book Jesus the Christ and D&C, especially section 93 it is really awesome there is no way Joseph Smith ever could have come up with that. 
right now we are teaching someone named Daniel he is really cool,  he is a great kid, he is humble and usually does what we ask for him to learn and know for himself, you can tell he is developing a testimony by the sacrifices he makes for the gospel. he has become my friend along with others we are teaching, This guy that lives across the street to him named Estan is really cool, they both have been baptized and Estan showed up at Church yesterday even though he wasn't feeling very good. if there is one thing i am learning right now it might be to have faith, 
it takes faith to understand why people don't except your message sometimes and why an angel doesn't appear to people when they pray all the time, i am also learning that this life is all about faith, we need to walk with faith rather than sight, anyone remember this "feel don't see" from that guy at olive garden a  little while ago, i think his name was justin, 
By the way something maybe some of the boys might find pretty cool is i think i saw a cicada, it was dead on the road, we noticed it because it was huge it is probably as long as my palm and half as wide and that is when its wings were not open. they make noise at night, they have a bunch of cool bugs here. i think it was Mom that asked me about the rain, it rains a lot it is nice that it does that because it is hot and very humid, at times it rains while the sun is out and it just gets more humid, also the roads are dirt so a lot of times they are muddy, it is sort of like in elder Russell mission when he talked about wearing his shoes out on  the way to the mission home to make it look like you've worked hard, because my shoes are always muddy and some of my books get wet on the cover so it looks like they have been used a ton
hmmm what other things have happened, a yeah  i was thinking the other day about a dream i had, jacob was in it and i was helping him and then he started talking to me in english, in the dream i remembered the scripture when Christ came and the babies could talk and they said things that were to great to be written so i decided not to ask jacob about that. Ha Ha It is funny what you know in your head without learning it,  here is an example sometimes when people learn the plan of salvation they say it is like they learned it for the second time, interesting.  i have had a lot of cool dreams, i want to tell you about another one i had, i was in my dream and i noticed i was dreaming, in my dream i thought it was interesting how i could think and watch my dream, in the dream when i noticed that i realized i had control of my dream and i started to move things around. i moved the walls out of the way and there was a landscape i started to destroy everything and then i had a good thought, what is the point of destroying things so i started to create things then my dream ended interesting i feel like i should tell you when i started to create things i saw a picture of the temple and then everything went white that is as far as i remember i think my dream was over. but anyway i found a cool scripture  about it the next day i think, I'm pretty sure that it is in D&C 93  the last part. yeah verse 35, well love you guys, i really like it when i get your letters most people don't get that many in one envelope, it takes a while for letters to get sent around, as i said just so you know it takes around a month or so for letters to get here.
Love ya,
Elder Seffker

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

God is really efficient

in Paraguay the temple i have seen is finished. yeah i feel like a lot of times i can catch what is going on when people talk here but i just am not sure what to say. if i had to guess i would say i understand maybe 50% or so when people talk. last night i rolled of my bed and realized i was thinking in Spanish, or something super crazy because i had no idea what i was saying, it is like your head plays some of your subconscious thoughts while your asleep or something, really interesting, i am not sure maybe i was just thinking random spanish words but i cant remember them now,anyway while i have been out here it seems like i have come across a lot of interesting things. did i tell you the people here think that if you have water melon and milk at the same time you will die, can some one google that one for me ha ha , yeah a lot of the people here are sort of funny like that, they are really good people though. 
also here at the churches they have pianos, they have fair attendance here in our building, there are a few buildings in concepci´on the city we are in, just something funny, we sang families can be together for ever in priesthood a week ago, it was almost all monotone, they didnt know how to sing it, the guy leading got mad and was asking the president later to get released as the elders quorum president, of course the president didnt release him ha , that is just how a few of the people here are they are almost like red necks but they are not, they are just Paraguayans. the nice thing about the people here is they all are really nice, pretty much everyone, i dont think i have met someone mean yet. lunes just means monday it goes Domingo then lunes, domingo is Sunday. the mail here takes around a month for me to get
i like your pictures they all speak thousands of words, when you learn a language you learn a word speaks a thousand pictures jk but seriously, i feel like i am learning good, it is little by little, that is how we learn i think if people knew that they wouldn't waste time trying to get an immediate solution. God Lives. This is His work.
love ya 
Elder Seffker

As we met with the Alexander family this week all I can say is that they are so amazing! They are some of the best people I've ever known. We met with them twice this past week and they are really making progress. They seem to enjoy church too. They read a chapter of the Book of Mormon together as a family every night. The other day brother Alexander asked us a question about a quote that Joseph Smith said and we didn't know which one he was referring to and later that night he texted us that it was on pg. 82 of the book, "teachings of the presidents of the church: Joseph Smith." He studies a lot and really has a clear understanding of things. 
We also met a really prepared guy named tony this week. We found out about him through a text. (we get a text from the office whenever church headquarters has info for someone that had gone on or something like that). When we went and visited Tony he told us how he was actually wanting a Bible so he could give it to one of his friends who was needing one. he told us how he had totally changed his life around recently (quitting drinking, quitting smoking, changing his group of friends, coming back to church and reading the bible). He said for the past 4 years or so he had wondered why there had been so many different beliefs and churches in Christianity. He loved the teachings about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We're excited to start teaching him. When we gave him the Book of Mormon he told us he'll finish it in 2 or 3 weeks. at the time we met with him we were with a member from the ward named brother Anderson. He's great! We went with him and tried a person we had helped in moving a piece of furniture into his apartment. He ended up being a less-active member of the church. When we tried him the other day he took a while to come to the door after we knocked but when he opened it he said, I'm so glad y'all are here." He explained to us the situation he was in and he said that his son (who he was staying with temporarily) stole his phone, glasses, and a bunch of other stuff and ran off with it. he said he was on drugs the night before and seemed like he was up to something. The guy said he was left with nothing and no way to contact anyone and he didn't know the area or anything because he wasn't permanently living there. He's a little older so it was really rough for him. He said he felt stranded and knew no way to contact anyone so he tried googling "send help." He was resorting to anything. He said this added up with everything else going on was enough to make this the deepest pit he's ever been in in his life. He kneeled down and prayed and asked God for help. Soon after was when we knocked on the door. We were able to help him a bit, the member with us gave him a way to contact him (he lived across the street from the guy luckily). The thing that helped him most was the message we shared with him though. The word of God really does heal "the wounded soul" (Jacob 2:8). When we were talking to him and bearing testimony to him at one point he stopped me and said, "you're speaking to me right now, I can feel it. Keep going." It was really different. I think he was feeling the Spirit really strong. It's true like Nephi said that, "when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men" (2 Nephi 33:1). 
On thursday it rained really hard and the streets got a bit flooded. I'll send some pictures. We were really blessed to be teaching most of the time during it. It was a great day. That same day we had a really cool experience towards the end of the night. We were really anxious all day because we had lined up an appointment with a girl named Anaya arouond 8 or so and since she is a single women we need another man with us if we are to teach her (one of the missionary rules is to always have another male 18 or older in the house so it's not just the missionaries and a women for safety and respect). Anyway, we had called and texted so many members and everyone seemed to be busy on that day. No one was available. We tried doing our best and really trusting in God and when we got to her apartment about 5 minutes before we had an idea to call a less-active man who happened to live in the same complex. We called him up and he didn't answer. We prayed and asked God what to do. We had thought maybe we could just ask this guy named David who lived at the complex--he's not a member, just a guy we've taught before. We asked God to help us and told Him we'd try asking David. We went up to David's door and before we could knock he opened it up and seemed ready to come with us. He was a little startled we were standing there. I forgot why he said he even came out at that time but we explained the situation to him and asked if he'd be willing to come with us to teach her. He said, "yes, can I bring my son?" He brought his young son with him and we went and taught a really spiritual lesson to Anaya and her kids. After the lesson David bore testimony to her of the truth of the things we taught. It was amazing. We haven't met with him that many times. He really felt the Spirit too. He's such a nice guy. It was a great miracle that we were able to teach Anaya and David was able to be there too! (two birds with one stone). God is really efficient. It's cool to see how when we try our best then He comes in and has us accomplish more than we could have by ourselves. " is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23).
We had another amazing miracle. (there are so many miracles in missionary work. Elder Theis and I were talking about how you here stories like these and think that they are rare. they aren't! Miracles happen all the time! And I don't have time to even say them all. I am only mentioning a hundredth of them if that! "And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles. And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles" (Mormon 9:18-19).)--anyway, on to the next miracle...
We got a referral from the sister missionaries of a family with a mom named Lakshmi. They're an indian family and the mom wants her sons to come to church each week. She is really excited about the church and they are an awesome family!
another miracle--we had an appointment fall through the other day and we tried their neighbors (whom we helped move the other week). Their names are Erica and Dennis. We had a great lesson teaching them about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. A day or two later we were in the area and had just stopped by Virginia (the women that was baptized last month)--she is having some rough health problems and we had stopped by and given her a Priesthood blessing and it was so powerful. She is going to heal--anyway, after we walked out of that feeling really great and really feeling the Spirit we got a text from Erica saying, "OMG it's so much information. I feel like Gods throwing me emotional curve balls, I prayed an God gave me convictions that brought me to tears... I need the book!!!" We walked straight over to her apartment and gave her a Book of Mormon (we had only previously given her a pamphlet). We were equally--if not more--excited after hearing her personal experience as to what happened that made her send the text. 
ahhhh. I'm outta time... I love y'all!! oh and sarah's baptism was really good!! I love this work the church is so true!
Elder Russell

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

i really do feel like angels are with me at times! /Don't forget to read the Book of Mormon every single day!

oh yeah here is a report yesterday we ate at the branch presidents house it was good food, the culture is not to crazy sometimes you just need to expect the crazy, we talked with him on dinosaur theories and deep doctrine it sounded interesting but it was in Spanish so i started to zone out after about 15ish minutes or so
emailed Mike
ha ha ok well yeah he is really a cool person, mikes water jug, he only takes pictures of random things it is pretty funny
so this week was really cool, my companion is really great, he speaks English and Spanish and i am learning a lot.ha ha i bet the people here are wondering why i am laughing so much, that reunion thing was really funny in your letter, yeah that thing you were talking about at the first is interesting, how the Spirit just tells us what we need, i guess it is the same principle as parent, you know, parents that always tell their kids what to do and the kids cant do anything.
also what is going on at the house 
so do you have any questions, maybe like why i haven't sent pictures, well i don't think the camera is working but ill probably give you some soon from other peoples cameras
well yeah p days are on Monday, the Spanish is going good, want to know something interesting Monday in Spanish is lunes sort of like moon day. so i can speak very little and understand little, i can probably understand more than i speak. oh yeah there is a temple in Paraguay it seems like it will be nice i haven't seen it in real life yet, my mission president and his wife are really nice, thanks for putting my name in the temple, i really do feel like angels are with me at times, the living conditions are really nice,thanks for your example. love ya
Elder Seffker

Re: letter from Mom

To: harry and Patti seffker


Hey thanks for the emails and letters. I love em!
So this last week was a great one as usual! I'll just go through the update in random order.
The other day we were out trying some people we had talked to and we were in Ray's apartment complex (the same Ray that told us he didn't want to meet anymore that we had been teaching a lot) and while trying some people we saw that his car pulled up and his door opened. He seemed to be waiting to get out so Elder Theis and me just knocked on his neighbor's doors (luckily we knew all of them), we were able to stall enough time to catch him walking in and got to talk to him. He invited us in and had us sit down. We were able to talk and he told us how he has had a hard time sleeping because he told us he didn't want to meet anymore. We learned a lot of the reasons for why he had done what he'd done and it makes a lot more since. Shortly put he's had a very hard life which has cause a lot of skepticism with anything or anyone good and that was a big factor for him telling us what he had. He said now he wants to learn more and start reading and meeting again. It was a really spiritual lesson and at the end he gave one of the most heart-felt testimonies I've ever heard. It was amazing. 
Another night we were out and it was getting close to the time when we needed to head back to our apartment and we had been trying to find another person to teach because we had prayed the night before and felt that there was someone we would find to start teaching consistently. We only had a little bit left in the night and wondered how we could find that person. We felt like trying by a girl we had passed by a few days previously. Her name was Celeste. We went over to her complex and apartment and as we walked up to it the lights were off and as we approached the upstairs neighbor of her was on the porch and said, "she's not down there she's up here." Then she walked inside. (this neighbor happened to be the wife of a man we had met the week before and had taught a little bit). Out came that man (David). He started talking to us a little bit and mentioned that Celeste was sick and probably wouldn't be up to talking. He started asking some questions about missionaries and the church though. We were able to talk about a lot. David is very intelligent and really likes to thoroughly research things. I love him. He knows more about the Bible and our church than some members haha. We explained the whole organization and structure of the church and explained the line of authority of the Priesthood (which he asked about). He has read the introduction of the Book of Mormon and the testimony of the 3 witnesses and the 8 witnesses and the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. Next he's going to read 3 Nephi 11. As we were teaching Celeste came out and joined us. We were able to talk a lot about their experiences with gaining their testimonies of what they believed and it was great. We set up return appointments with both of them. 
We also helped Brother hammond this week with tiling again. It looks good. 
On friday I was on exchange with Elder Kemp (an exchange is when you switch companions for a day and one of the missionaries goes to the other area of the other missionary). I went to Elder Kemp's area. It was a good day. his area is a bike only area and that day it down-poured so we got soaked. My planner and handbook I had with me are still a tiny bit wet or damp from it. haha I love biking. When it was raining me and elder Kemp were having a blast and surprisingly there were still some people we were able to talk to outside. I loved it. We had a great day. 
Well I gotta get goin. I love y'all! Have a good week! Don't forget to read the Book of Mormon every single day!
Love Elder Russell
 An investigator makes these. Cool

 Piece of cake! Ha Ha

 Best weight training so far...

Monday, September 8, 2014

I love missionary work.

This week was really good. We had some cool miracles. We found a lot more new people we're teaching! It's been great. Unfortunately we're not teaching Ray anymore. He called us the other morning and he has a lot of health problems right now and I don't know why but he said he doesn't want us to come by anymore. It's really sad when people we love so much don't receive the blessings that we know they're get from this gospel. There was so much good in the week though it was impossible to stay sad from things like that long at all. We were able to serve a lot--we helped a less-active put in tile in his living room (we're now "professionals" at spreading the mastic to lay the tiles on haha), we also got to help a family move, they're really awesome. We're excited to start teaching them. I love missionary work. 
We had a cool experience the other day. We were going to an appointment we had set up and we were meeting a member at the complex of the person we were going to go see and the member was pretty late and while we were waiting at the front by the gate where the cars come in a guy pulled up by us and rolled down his window and said, "Hey are y'all from the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints?" We talked to him and he told us to come over to his apartment. We went over when the member got there and had a great lesson. When we started teaching about how the church was lost from the earth after the death of the apostles and leaders of the church he said, "it was kind of like a big apostasy then?" (i haven't met anyone before that knew what an apostasy was). He's really solid. We're going to go see him this week. 
Well I gotta get going. I love y'all. Have a good week!
Elder Russell 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Lord trusted me

So ill tell ya about proselyting on Saturday, it was really cool like i have said before the people here are really great and they are very nice, we were walking by someones door and this guy came out, we felt like we should talk to him so we eventually figured out he was probably looking for the church, he said he had a book of Mormon but he left it in Peru or something, we were able to give him a book, teach him a bit, tell him where the chapel is and probably brighten his day a bit, he was very happy, he looked like he could cry. i remember right after that we walked down the street and saw this lady working on her garden, she was really nice, she talked about her church, the evangelists i think, she liked it but didn't really feel great there because the people were yelling all the time. we talked about the Spirit and showed her moroni 10:4-5 as i often do- it is a really great scripture while she read it i could feel the Spirit and she said she felt cold or something, i couldn't really tell what she said because it was spanish but we knew it was the Spirit, we bore our testimonies and talked about how God wants to communicate with us through the Spirit and prayer and we challenged her to pray and go to church. she was so happy, i didn't have time to tell you but last time we had a similar situation with a guy name edgar, he was so nice that when we walked away from talking to him he ran over to us and asked us if we wanted some water, he showed us his family and we were able to give him a book of Mormon. those things really have helped put things in perspective, the Lord sets people in places where they can be helped, the plan is perfect so all people will have a fair opportunity of receiving the blessings of the Gospel. it also helped me have more faith in the message we are sharing, like when we walked past that lady do her garden, she was called Neomy by the way, i didn't have to have the Spirit prompt me to talk to her because the Lord trusted me and my companion to be anxiously engaged in the good cause, i had to exercise faith that the Gospel would enter into her life. 
Love ya all,
Elder Seffker

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

always laughing and smiling

This week was great! I love this work. I can't imagine things going much better. Missionary work is so fulfilling. I am loving life so much right now. Elder Theis is an amazing companion. He is so funny, sometimes we get talking while working and are always laughing and smiling (we probably look a little weird to some people but that's ok. we're missionaries so it's hard to help that). We love this work. We moved apartments this past week because of some little changes in the zone at the transfer meeting. We were SOOOO glad neither of us got transferred. We love this are and love being companions. We didn't know for sure if we were going to leave because of a call we got from one of the assistants the night before transfers telling us to pack everything up and that we'd be moving apartments. We thought there may have been a chance that we'd be moving to a different ward. We were realized how much the people in this area and the ward mean to us. Anyway, I'm going on a lot of random tangents.
This week we had some good things happen (most of which I won't have time to cover). On friday we helped an older couple move. I guess things went a little different than they had in mind so it took a little longer than planned haha. It was a really good workout though. Elder Theis and I were pretty sore the next day. They were a really nice couple. A member from our ward knew the lady in the couple and had found out that she was moving but had helpers cancel and told her she'd make a call and see if we could help (of course we could). I love when members put us to use. 
We've been meeting with Ray still. He's doing pretty good but has a lot of things going on in life that have made reading and praying really hard. We had a really good lesson with him yesterday about it. He has some more hope in life and is making some plans to help some things that are causing a lot of stress and worry for him. The Book of Mormon would solve so many problems in people's lives if they just open it up. We also met with the Alexander family. They're amazing! I love them. They are so fun to have lessons with. We had a lesson where we watched a video called, "The great Apostasy." It's a really good video about how Wilford Woodruff was converted. He had a long search and finally found the church when it was restored. The Apostasy has been a subject I really have been interested in lately. It's a good topic and necessary to know if you want to understand the Restoration in its entirety. 
Well, I Love y'all. have a good one! 
Elder Russell

This is a picture of elder theis and me with shades I think I may have sent it before. Then we have our old district (ClearLake District)

Here's a picture of me teaching Benjamin the piano. He's an awesome kid. His mom is a member and his dad isn't yet but they're the nicest people. They're Vietnamese.

Most of our zone and Elder Albiston my zone leader companion for the last few transfers

This is most of the league city zone. Some couldn't be there for some reason.