Monday, December 28, 2015

Weekly Update -- December 28th, 2015

Hello everyone,

Kind of a crazy week with the Christmas festivities from the Regios (people from Monterrey) and from the mission. However, despite the difficulties, we had TWO investigators at church!!! WHOOO!! That is the biggest payoff to a week of mission work for me. One of them was an investigator, named Anahi, who had come two times before, but this times she brought her Mom named Juany. I was given the opportunity to teach the class on how we should pray to our Heavenly Father and Juany felt the Spirit in the class strong enough to share her personal testimony and experiences of prayers being ansered as well.

As far as Christmas stuff goes, we had a mission party where half of the mission came to our stake center to do some skits, have some dinner, chat and get a neat giftbag that President McCarthur and his wife were so nice to give us. Fun time to see so many missionaries together apart from changes, especially the new missionaries. We had a district Christmas party at our zone leaders' house where one of the Elders had been sent some Christmas money to use strictly on food. Weather (spell check that please Mom :)) or not his parents knew, it was enough to feed the entire district a ham, mashed potato, soda, tuna caseroll and meatball dinner. We accomplished what their wish was: eat well. At the same party we did a gift exchange which was super fun with the reactions us Elders give at the 100 peso (6 USD) maximum gifts we receive. Elder Lopez and I also got bikes!! Super happy about that because it gives us exercise and saves the mission money. Thanks Mom for the Christmas money to make it possible!

Of course the part of the week I was most excited for was the skype call home. Even though there were some techincal difficulties, it was the highlight of the week to hear and see them again. They say I speak English like a Mexican now... Anyways, before New Year's hits, I'll make the invitation to make yourselves a list of goals or personal traits you would like to improve on this year. I want to read the Book of Mormon and Jesus the Christ and become fluent in Spanish this year. What do you think? Love you all, happy New Year!

-Elder Allgaier

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Weekly Update -- December 22nd, 2015

Due to computer problems, Elder Allgaier wasn't able to send out his update until today. Happy reading! 

Hello everyone,

Fun week seeing a lot of people getting preparations up for Christmas. Oh, I'm staying in Salinas Victoria another seven weeks (long change due to the timing for those going home by airplane) which will permit me to work more with a few investigators with a lot of promise we found these past couple of weeks. One of the families we found of six people was after Elder Lopez and I were waiting for the bus to go back to our house when he turned to me and asked if we had contacted the house right on the other side of the road. I said we hadn't and we decided to knock on the door. They ended up having a lot of good questions about prophets, the life of Christ, some of our beliefs and where the church was. Over the next couple of visits they have been keeping commitments as well like reading the Book of Mormon, praying, reading the pamphlets, even marking them! Those are the kind of things that we, as missionaries LOVE! That is just one family of a few other scattered investigators we have to work with this change so far. I'm excited.

Of course, Christmas is this week and I am SUPER excited to skype with my family this Friday! One of my friends recently emailed me and said Christmas was a little less magical as we get older. It is so gratifying when I'm able to serve others in this season because it really is about celebrating the life of Christ. He who served others more than any other person who ever lived or will live. I want to invite you to find a little service opportunity to really feel the Christmas Spirit. I would love to hear what you have done to do so. I know that you will feel a greater sense of joy apart from giving and receiving gifts. Love you all! (Pictures coming next week)

-Elder Allgaier

Monday, December 14, 2015

Weekly Update -- December 14th, 2015

Hello everyone,

Elder Lopez and I had a fantastic week where we saw a lot of miracles. I think difference was when we had divisions this past Tuesday with our district leader Elder Long and a returned missionary who served in Las Vegas. A few small things we changed was praying with the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood stated in the prayer. Also, using representatives of Jesus Christ in place of Missionaries.

The biggest thing, however, that made this week so successful was starting the 40 day fast of anything we could think of in our current actions that wouldn't invite the Spirit to testify of our words. We each wrote down our own lists and ended together the 24 hour fast with a prayer and asked Heavenly Father how many of His children He had prepared for us to be baptized this week. This is how I really believe prayer is meant to be a communication between Him and His children. We received an answer of one for this past week when we prayed on Wednesday which meant someone already had to have been to church a few times. I realized that our neighbor, Juan, had already been to church with past missionaires and was also going through some trials with learning English, trials with his family as well as with his job. After realizing he could be baptized this week if we were inspired to do so, we did EVERYTHING within our power to make it possible, which is when Elder Lopez and I really understood faith on a much more profound level. Peter said even the demons believe in Jesus and the Son of God, but the difference between belief and faith is similar to the difference between knowledge and wisdom (there's a T.S. Eliot quote that I really like similar to this concept). We talked to Juan right then and answered a question he had about a chapter in the Book of Mormon and felt the Spirit very strong. We were inspired to put the baptismal date for the 11th, just two days later and he accepted! After his fair share of trials and a guiding hand from us, we were able to have a baptism just as planned two days later. One of the most special lessons I've learned on my mission so far.

Tonight we find out if one of us is leaving Salinas Victoria and I'm thinking I'll have a 50 50 chance of taking on a new area. I've really learned a lot here and a lot with Elder Lopez and my companion. As an invitation, I would like to recommend studying on the topic of faith and answering the question that I will also try to answer better this week. How can we exercise faith in Jesus Christ? A few chapters can be James chapter 3 and Alma 32. Feel free to use the footnotes. Also, why did Jesus Christ say that Peter had little faith. Thanks for everything, love you all!

-Elder Allgaier 

A future missionary and recent convert in our branch -- Lupita.

Zone Conference

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Weekly Update -- December 7th, 2015

Hello everyone,

Kind of a tough week, but I made it to Pday and was able to talk it out with some great Elders. One big part of serving a mission for me is building mental muscles. Just like with physical muscles, your mental muscles go through exercise, working out how to solve problems, deal with stress, talk to a wide variety of people and building a huge pool of doctrinal information that the Spirit can pull from at the exact moment you need it when someone asks you a tough question. It definately exhausts your brain, which is why I need eight hours of sleep every night. But, I believe that one of the reasons the Church chooses younger members to be missionaries is to build the testimonies, because this is the truth. All of the answers are there, one just has to need it, needs to be pushed a bit to be strengthened. Just know that the Church is awesome.

More frequently, we have been going to lessons with a recent convert of about eight months named Lupita. Super strong in her testimony and doesn't have a lot of fear of bearing her personal testimony in front of strangers. She wants to serve a mission as well and I'm pretty confident she will be a pretty good one. We have talked to her recently about getting her patriarchal blessing and a temple recommend apart from getting her mission papers in. Also, this last Sunday, Arturo came to the Gospel Principles class and bore his testimony at the end to the three investigators that were there about how happy he has become in these last few months after being baptized without even being asked. He fully takes on his new responsibility as a Melchizedek Priesthood holder with scripture study, activity in the church, missionary work and personal dignity. It's so rewarding to see the progress of converts' testimonies.

The new church video for Christmas came out and I invite you to watch it if you haven't already and then share it with a friend. The Church is putting a big emphasis on referrals this year to help us missionaries out. I like to think about how we can find more people like Lupita and Arturo, but who are just waiting for someone to give them a little push start. One thing I read about in a talk named 'the consecrated missionary' (or something like that) is that this work is changing lives, changing the world. If we want to have a result like that, there has to be a price. 

Love you all!

-Elder Allgaier
me with a machete

after we made the elote stand
(Oops! I missed these few pictures from last week.  Sorry!)