Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September 28th, 2015 --Weekly Update

Hello everyone,

It seems that there is a pretty close balance in everything on the mission. Everytime there is a stretch of time where it's stressful and seems like there are no fruits of success, something amazing happens. Or when you have a lot of completed goals, a tragedy happens. Maybe it's the Lord keeping me humble, but it has kept me more focused on the work until it is completely finished.

This past Friday, we went into a relatively new part of our area called San Isidro which has a huge Catholic church at the entrance to strike fear into the hearts of LDS missionaries. Nevertheless, Elder Berryhill and I go there to contact during slow days in the Terrenos, which is a 30 minute walk over (by the way I AM doing the miles for Jonathan this year, you all better watch out). This particular day we only had to say, 'have you talked to missionaries like us before?' for them to say 'now isn't a good time.' Not really what we asked, but it's a great way to judge whether or not they are prepared to listen to our message. One lady named Guadalupe and her daughter of about 30 years old sat down and talked about their tough experiences and beliefs of the Bible with us for about an hour! So amazing how prepared they were for us talking about repentance, humility, different themes in Matthew, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, etc. At the end they even asked if we could teach them how to pray and how we baptize. Kids included, they are about 7 and we're super excited to see how they progress.

The balance was when we got home that night and the first person we visited had a few neighbor kids over playing around. Not common at all, but they seemed to having fun, so I didn't pay much attention until they told us why they were there. The kids of about 7, 10 and 13 years old had just lost both of their parents in a horrible car accident and they wouldn't be told until the next morning. We shared our testimony to them about the importance and comfort that comes from the Book of Mormon in tragic times like these.

But please keep a positive mind, they have good friends with the family we were visiting and everything has a bigger purpose. Plus, this week is general conference!! I love listening to general conference talks, so I want to invite you to send me your favorite talk from this weekend. I have been told and tried it for myself, thus gaining a testimony, of having a question going into general conference and having it answered pretty specifically. Try it this weekend and it will be answered. Love you all!

-Elder Allgaier
Me, studying with my favorite hat
Elder Berryhill walking on the way to San Isidro

after a wall we jumped to get back to the Terrenos from San Isidro

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September 21st, 2015 -- Weekly Update

Hellos everyone!

I want to take a minute to tell you all about a super awesome investigator we found last week. His name is Braz and he has quite the story that he told us through our last two visits. Braz got into some early trouble and was sent to Juvi as a kid, maybe 8 years old or so. He later escaped and got a job as a truck driver at the age of 16 and finished after 59 years! After just a few years working, he decided to go back home and see his family again, only to find out both of his parents had passed away. On top of that, some other neighbors were upset that he didn't serve his whole sentence for what he had been sent to Juvi. They taunted him to the point where Braz bought a firearm, put it in a bag and offered it to the same people who were taunting him. He said, 'if you want to go through what I had to, the guilt and shame of what I did, go ahead and do it'. That boldness made them stop the taunting and they all went along their own ways. Braz continued to live in a forgiving manner, but developed up a bad smoking habit that he started when he was 8. At the worst time, he smoked three packs a day. When we visited him yesterday to address the Word of Wisdom, he said he was down to a pack a week. We set a plan for him to only smoke 3/4 of a pack this week and continue quitting. Braz is a super funny guy and recognizes that this is important. He also explained to us that he really enjoyes when we come to visit him because he feels good both during and after the visit. Braz lives pretty much alone on the pension of his truck driving job and after four heart attacks, he might not have too much longer to live. This is another reason to be a missionary.

I want to invite you to read Alma 30 (in the Book of Mormon) about the curse of Korihor and compare it with the miracle in Matthew 8 when Jesus healed the Lepor. It shows how we should always humble ourselves to the will of the Lord, something Elder Berryhill and I talked about when he was reading it in Jesus the Christ. Humble yourselves and trust in the Lord and miracles will come! Love you all!

-Elder Allgaier

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 14th, 2015 -- Weekly Update

Hello everyone!

It has been very rewarding this past week, despite a couple of tough experiences. We took on a couple of divisions or splits, one with the Zone leader, Elder Lofgreen and the other with the district leader where I stayed with his companion, Elder Chan. Elder Lofgreen lives closer to the city which was super fun for me, talking to some interesting people. The last lesson was very interesting when he told me we were going to teach a Jehovah's witness who had trouble with accepting the Book of Mormon as more scripture. Going in, I didn't have much to go off of, but we just bore testimony and at one point he asked for MY take. I said that all we wanted him to do was to pray to see if what we had taught him was true and if the Boom of Mormon is true with a sincere heart. Pretty simple, but very direct. I'm pretty sure we all felt the Spirit pretty strong then. He took that in for a minute and Elder Lofgreen followed with his bit and asked him to be baptized. Then he asked him "And hermano Bernie, how long have you been a member of the Church?" To which Bernie answered, "56 years." I didn't even have to look at the camera, now out of the hiding place of Elder Lofgreen's bag and into his hand pointed at me for me to throw down my pamphlet in embarassment. They had both punked me pretty good. 25 minutes worth of teaching and it was a prank they played on me. Still, we all felt the Spirit and Bernie has actually had some time without going to church, so it was good for all of us, even if it was embarrasing for me, they were nice about it.

Yesterday, all of Mexico got to see the dedication of the Mexico city temple with President Eyring and Brother Holland among others speaking. Super great experience and I was even able to see some of the members from Escobedo! My favorite part was probably when we meshed with the choir singing "The Spirit of God"

Contacting one day, we were heading back to our house when someone from a house shouted to us "Hey, what are you guys doing here?" In english, in a perfect accent. Turns out, there is a North Carolinian here who leads a church just minutes from our house who also teaches a Bible class. After some talking he told us that he had met some other missionaries and really like what we do and even invited us to teach a class on our beliefs and give a Book of Mormon to all of his students! What an awesome opportunity and we're asking President if we can actually do it in October/November.

I finished reading a short talk by Gene R. Cook called "The Missionary Purification" and have felt that I should invite you all to read it as well. It talks about obedience as a missionary, but I'm sure that anybody can get a lot out of it as I have. As we become more and more obedient to the rules our leaders have set for us through inspiration and care, we can have the Holy Ghost with us more fully. This gift is so precious to me as someone who relies on inspiration in all that I do. Love you all!

-Elder Allgaier

Monday, September 7, 2015

September 7th, 2015 -- Weekly Update

Hello everyone!

I feel like recently I haven't been sharing the good parts about the people here, which is tough when you are seeing the side where a lot of the pressure is put on them and I have probably been a little small in my perspective. Really, they are a general good people, Friday night when our bus passed for the second time without stopping to get us home on time, a couple of guys had stopped a little bit away and called us over for a free 20 minute ride to our house. They weren't investigators or anything, just lived across the street from one of the members and saw us on occasion. When we tried to pay them, they told us to just keep them in our prayers. Nice guys. I failed to be able to see that they have their beliefs as well as I and just because it is my calling to talk to them and try to share with them my testimony, it is not my calling to get frustrated or discouraged when they continue in their own faith.

Before we left for the area to try to catch the bus, we had an hour or so to wait because we had taught all of our lessons and were just wanting to do some more contacting. We found a local cancha or soccer court and some kids were playing again. Some of them knew me when I came last time and started calling me 'Lewandowski' probably because it was the only other German fútbol name they know and it was easier than 'Allgaier'. We played for a bit until it was time to go and we talked a bit about who we are as missionaries and invited them to church. They asked when we could come back to play again and we told them about our real purpose, also that if they all came to church, we could play all day. Not sure if President McCarthur would like that, but a few of them actually said they would come and accepted what we do as something really cool. We have cards this week with the address and time of the church so they can actually come, but wow, fútbol is awesome. With the 15 kids that were there, if just 5 of them came with their parents and even just two continued to be baptized, how cool would that be to say that it started with Elder Berryhill and I playing fútbol with them.

So for the invitation this week, play a game of fútbol... Just kidding, that's extra credit and I will give you a Mexican high five if you actually do it when I get back. I want to extend the invitation to watch a few videos on Mormon.org or mormon channel on youtube about how to strengthen the family at home, escpecially with the relationship between Parents and Kids. Happy 6 months!! Love you all!

Siento que no he estado compartiendo los partes buenos sobre la gente aquí, que es difícil cuando vea el lado donde mucho de la presión esta sobre ellos y tal vez, he tenido un perspectivo pequeño. La verdad, son personas buenas en general. En la noche de Viernes cuando nuestro camión pasó para la segunda vez sin pararse y no pudimos llegar a la casa en tiempo, unos hombres han parado un poco más adelante y nos llamaron para un ride gratis de 20 minutos a la casa. No fueron investigadores, solamente viven en frente de un miembro y nos vean en ocasión. Cuando tratamos a pagarles, nos dijeron a orar para ellos. Hombres amables. Yo fallé a poder ver que tienen sus creencias tal como yo, y solo porque es mi llamamiento a hablar con ellos y tratar a compartir mi testimonio, no es mi llamamiento a llegar a ser frustrado ni desalentado cuando siguen en su propia fe.

Antes de salir el area a tratar a tomar el camión, tuvimos una hora mas o menos para esperar porque hemos cumplido todos de nuestras lecciones y solo queríamos hacer mas contactos. Encontramos una cancha local y unos niños estaban jugando otra vez. Algunos de ellos me conocieron de la ultima vez y me empezaron a llamar 'Lewandowski' tal vez porque fue el único nombre de fútbol que conocen y mucho mas fácil que 'Allgaier'. Jugamos por un rato hasta fue tiempo para irnos y hablamos un poco sobre quien somos nosotros como misionarios y les invitamos a la iglesia. Nos preguntaron cuando podremos regresar para jugar, y les dijimos de nuestro propósito principal, también que si todos de ellos vengan a la iglesia, podamos jugar todo el día. No soy seguro si Presidente McCarthur le gustaría eso, pero unos dijeron que iban a venir y nos aceptaron que hacemos como algo cheedo. Tenemos tarjetas esta semana con la dirección y tiempo de la iglesia que puedan venir actualmente. Pero, hijole, fútbol es maravilloso. Con los 15 niños que estaban allí, si solo 5 vengan con sus padres y solo dos sigan a ser bautizados, que cheedo sería a decir que lo empezó con Elder Berryhill y yo jugar fútbol con ellos.

Entonces para la invitación esta semana, juegue un partido de fúbol... Estoy bromiendo, es crédíto extra y le haré cinco alto mexicano cuando regrese. Quiero invitarles a ver unos videos en Mormon.org/spa o canal mormon en youtube sobre como fortalecer la familia al hogar, especialmente con la relación entra los Padres y Hijos. ¡¡Feliz 6 meses!! ¡Les quiero!

-Elder Allgaier

Weekly Update -- Wednesday, Sept. 2nd, 2015 (Yes, Wednesday!)

Hello everyone,

First of all, SUPER happy birthday this past week to Kristyn! So excited for you to start YW this year and I know you'll make a ton of friends. Love you!

We didn't have p-day on Monday due to the temple trip today (wednesday) so we just did more proselyting two days ago in one of our sub-areas, the Carmen. I always love going to the temple and this may sound repetitive due to the other times I've said it, but it's even worth getting up before 4am to feel those feels. Elder Berryhill and I are super tired. Regardless, we had a very good week. One of the people we teach (I'm just going to call them by their names from now on) named Georgina didn't come to church on Sunday even though she said she would and I felt really confident about her interest. Later this week, she told a member that she forgot to tell her husband so she didn't feel comfortable going. Big relief to us and we even got to teach almost all of a lesson about the Book of Mormon with him last time. He gave us the green light and as soon as he gets a chance to sit down more with us from work, we'll invite him to be baptized as well. Georgina had a date for the 20th of September, but with missing church, temple rededication and a rule change from the mission President saying investigators have to be to church five times instead of four, we won't be able to do it until sometime in October. Still, she is our most progressing investigator, even read all of the testimonies in the BoM and the first chapter! Super exciting!

I've made an observation about the perspective on religion here. A lot of people, in my opinion, look at it as if it were the Harry Potter series. I cannot tell you how many people we have contacted saying 'it's the same God' or 'all churches are good, I have my Bible' and love talking about religion, but don't show a lot of interest in following the teachings. It's like if we read this series and loved talking about it, but know we could never become wizards and did nothing else but enjoy talking about the mysteries of Hogwarts. We might even name our sons 'Harry'. It's really sad how many people know the Bible and at least know of the life of Jesus Christ, but still don't partake in the message we have about the exact same thing. Action is SOOOO important. James 2:17.

A bit of a lighter note, Elder Berryhill got bit by a dog last week, included is a picture. He wasn't very happy and neither were the owners, our recent converts. They put it down... Happy note? Such is the life of a missionary.

I invite all of you to study about the Atonement in some personal time. I personally love increasing my gospel knowledge in study time, so I might have a few more invitations just on study topics. Study the Atonement, pray about it for better understanding and MOST importantly, act on what you learn to apply it in your lives. Thanks for all of your prayers! Love you!

-Elder Allgaier

My companion's dog bite

Looking at the baptism picture of our investigators with my old companion.

Sacrament room

Tired at the food table

Which one is the church?!