June 25, 2012

"Please Hold," New Area, New Companion, June 23, 2012

Munoz Family
WOAH.  Lots of things are changing.  Lots and Lots.  But first, let me say thanks for the DearElders, and I just got the invitation from Demarie's wedding.  CONGRATS!

So, Elder Guzman is officially home.  He was a great comp.  We worked, and we both got to know ourselves better.  I think we both helped the other come unto Christ and to know more about Heavenly Father and His love for us.  I hope he is doing well and continuing on the path he was on
SO.  on P-Days we always get emails back from President.  On Monday he said, among other things, "Good luck with your new assignment. It will be a great learning experience."  So I was trying to think what that could possibly mean.... Monday night, after we got back to the pension, I got a call from President King.  Usually the Assistants call the Zone Leaders who call the District Leaders who call the missionaries who have changes.  President King calls missionaries when they move to Senior Companion, District Leader, Zone Leader, or something special like that.  So when I got a call, I thought, "Woah!  I´m going to move to senior comp!  or something like that."  But no.  "Elder Moffat, I´ve prayed a lot about this, and I would like to call you to be the next mission secretary."  And then he went on to tell me of how he received the impression to call me, and all the pressure I´d be under to keep all 180+ missionaries legal in Chile--visas, passports, carnets, etc.--  along with doing a lot of other office stuff.  But he thinks I can do it.  So that was pretty cool.  And judging from past office elders, I have big shoes to fill.  A lot were ex District Leaders and ex Zone Leaders and I was able to work with some of them, and they were just spectacular elders! 

So, I´m the new mission secretary here in the office in Maipú.  I just ordered my international drivers license, and yes, I will be driving all over Santiago.  The van (automatic) or the truck (stickshift!), depending on what´s available.  My comp is Elder Gimenez, from Argentina.  But he speaks pretty good English, too, and we´re getting along great.  He was the old Mission Secretary, and this change he´s "training" me on all the stuff I need to know how to do.  So really, there are 2 secretaries this change.  In the office, there are basically 3 positions that are filled by the Elders: Secretary; retention/references/pedidios; and medical/pensions.  But there are always 4 Elders.  The next one leaving and the newest one have the same position and are comps, and the other 2 are comps.  For Example.  I´m with elder Gimenez, and we´re the secretaries.  Elder Wharton is the references guy, And Elder Wheelwright is the medical guy.  Next change, Elder Wheelwright will be with his replacement, and I´ll be with elder Wharton.  The change after, Elder Wharton will be training his replacement, and I´ll be with the new Medical guy.  and my 4th change in the office, I´ll train my replacement, and then I´m out.  So I have a pretty good idea of where I´ll be for the next 6ish months.  We wake up, get ready, all that, personal study from 9-10, then come into the Office and start working.  That can be on the computer, that can be going out and doing legal visa stuff, that can be going to the Area Office over in Providencia (Santiago East Mission), or doing a bunch of other necessary things.  Usually (I´m told), we go out and start working in the sector around 6 or 7.  Yes.  in addition to all the office stuff we have to do, We have a proselyting area with our ward and members and investigators, and all the normal missionary stuff.  AND.  this change was special.  because President King changed which sectors the Office elders worked in.  SO Elder Gimenez and I had to whitewash a sector--meaning we´re both new to the sector.  and it was Elder Fuhriman´s sector!  My Trainer!!  it´s pretty nuts.

So this week, for example, we have sent in 8-10 visa applications, I went to presidents house to help with a presentation to the new Latin missionaries who just got to the mission that morning, I also ate lunch there, we met a few people from the ward, Maipú, in the Maipú stake (HEY can you get the address of Brother Silva´s family?!?  I´ll go visit them if they´re in my sector!!), I went to the Area office, bought some things in the distribution center, taught some lessons to some really friendly inactives, and today, Saturday, we had P-Day.  We went to the "feria," or the street market, and it´s NUTS.  lots of people, lots of types of people.  yeahhh......  but I bought 2 Mate cups, a bombilla (straw), some yerba, 2 ties (200 Pesos/50 cents each), and some comfy wool slipper things.  oh yeah.  cheap, good stuff.

So that´s what´s going on here in my life.  yep.  I hope you all are doing well, and that all your camps and trips and all that go well!!

AND LUKE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!! 9 years OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I´d like to share a scripture with you that I read this morning.  Mormon wrote his son, Moroni, and said, "I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end."  I hope you´re praying for me, and I hope you know that I am mindful of you always in my prayers, praying continually that God will bless you and help you keep going in the faith forever.  That is my prayer.  and I also know that all over the  Book of Mormon we find things we can relate and apply to our lives.  I hope you´re reading the Book of Mormon and not shrugging it off as something that you should do, but don´t always do.  I hope you realize it´s something you need to do.  So, as a missionary of Jesus Christ, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon and treasure up the words of life.

I love you all,
Elder Cole Moffat

June 18, 2012

Woahhhhh News!, June 18, 2012

HEY FAMILY!  lot`s of news to share.  But first, I want to say that I just got the letter from the Rubows.  yes.  the one that was written on January 9th.  arrived to Chile the 20th of January(stamp).  to Maipú the 21st (another stamp).  then it got lost  (i`m guessing) because it has another stamp from the Maipú mailroom from JUNE.  So I just got it.  Good to hear from the Rubows!

Yay! Hayden has his license!  Yay, day camp!  yay ma-ka-ja-wan! Dad, get a project going in Santiago (you can go visit my baptisms)!  Mom, you`re great.  Thanks for yelling at Dad on Father,s day, telling him not to help.  that`s the spirit :P

Okay.  Valeska Cruz de Muñoz is a sister in the ward.  that family is just awesome!!! I told her to send you some of the pictures because there were a few I didn`t get on my camera.  could you maybe forward them to me?  thanks!  But here`s the deal.  Elder Guzmán left this morning.  But we found out on Monday night that I also have changes, because President is putting sister missionaries in the ward! 

 Last week after church, when we had a really good Sunday, I told my comp, "I think I have changes-- a whitewash. Not because we`re not working, but because it looks like the ward is changing for the better, and they need a change in missionaries to help them continue on their progression.  

Then on Monday, the promptings I had were confirmed-- but even more of a change: Sisters!!!  But that also implies a lot of things.  For example, the phrase "deep cleaning" has taken on a new meaning.  In other pensions, we deep clean, and it`s clean for the next change, and it`s great.  but when Hermanas are moving in, you really have to deep, DEEP clean.  Great.  That was a few days in the making.  

Also, we had to go around to the leaders and prep them and get them excited for the change in scenery.  The way we worked this past week was very distict of that of other weeks.  interesting.  They also told us 5 days earlier than all the other sectors that have changes because of the need to prep the ward and the sector.  AND on top of all that, It was week number 104 out of 104 for Elder Guzman.  All kinds of craziness running through both of our heads.

A few months ago, I would have been so giddy to have changes, to be honest.  But I have grown to love this ward.  I have grown to love the members and the investigators and the people here in Las avenidas, San Miguel.  I will miss working with them, strengthening them, helping them, and also receiving inspiration, love, and encouragement from them.  I have learned a lot from this ward.  From comps, other missionaries, families, members, investigators, everyone.  I have loved seeing people´s lives change by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ more fully in their personal lives and family lives, by holding fast to the iron rod-- the Word of God-- and applying it in their practical lives, and by really serving and loving one another.

I have seen the ward come together.  I have seen the ward become more unified.  I have seen a distinguished, elderly gentleman humble himself before God and enter the waters of baptism.  I have seen this same man come to church for 5 months straight, even though he lives in a rest home. 

 I have seen a single mother realize that she needs to get active again and live the gospel in her house-- with the hope and faith that her 6 year old son will one day serve an honorable, full-time mission.  I have seen this same, humble, teachable woman accept God´s commandments that many view as too hard-- and it´s not blind obedience.  She does it because she has faith in her Loving Father, and trusts in his promises.  She obeys because she can truly see. 

 I have heard some of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard, in which a witness of the truth was asked for.  A  testimony of a certain principle of the Gospel.  and I have seen those prayers answered by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And I have seen that woman apply that God-given testimony to her life, by following the Spirit and being baptized by someone holding the divine priesthood authority of God. 

 I have seen the priesthood in action as a blessing was given--based on his faith-- in which the man was promised that the chronic pain he always had would leave for this particular weekend so he could go about his necessary activities: serving and lifting others.  And because of his faith, It happened just like that. 

I have seen a humble, loving mother search for comfort and strength in a moment of difficulty, and finding it in the Grace of Jesus Christ.  

I have seen a 10-year-old boy cry because of the love he feels for those who surround him. 

I have seen small child with special needs find joy in the littlest things in life, with a contagious smile.  I have seen this same 2-year old recognize the spirit and, though he still can`t talk, bow his head as he prays.

I have seen a less active young man, with a testimony he recognizes as weak, testify of the power and reality of prayer, one of the things he knows to be true. 

I have seen the spirit work in people´s hearts.  And I have heard both members and non-members say to me, "I feel the spirit right now.  And it`s telling me that this is true."

People are happier when they live the Gospel.  I have seen it, and I know it´s true.

I will let you know where I am next week-- I find out tomorrow.  I love you, I miss you, and I pray for you.

Do something better today.  Love someone.  Serve someone.  Be happy. God loves you.

Elder Cole Moffat

June 12, 2012

The "Killing," June 11, 2012

Hello!  Elder Guzman got the package and when he realized it was for him, he got a huge smile on his face.  And then when he saw it had a Bears shirt, he was pretty excited!  So, he thanks you!  Also, thanks Chelz for the letter!  I´m trying to do this thing where if I get a letter, I respond to it ASAP.  like, the following week.  So, I´m going to do that.

The Killing.  It has a double meaning.  1) Mission lingo.  You´re "born" in the mission when you start, and your trainer is your "dad." the other missionaries your dad trains are your brothers, and there is the trainer of your trainer who´s your grandpa, etc. (subtle geneology hint? no sé), and when you end your mission, your last comp "kills" you.  Elder Guzmán leaves next Tuesday (19th), and so all the final mission things-- going to the temple, having the "last supper" as they call it with the mission president and all those going home things, final interview next Monday, he´s writing his end-of-mission-report right now, etc-- are happening within these next 8 days.  So this week, I´ll be "killing" my comp.  2) Elder Guzman is from a town/part of Buenos Aires called "La Matanza," or, translated, "The Killing."  Fun Fact.

This is part of what I sent to President today:
"It looks like the ward is starting to respond a bit.  We had 6 or 11 retention," (55% is HUGE) "1 investigator, and 2 Permaneced in the chapel.  And the ward talked to them and made them feel welcome.  The high priest group leader also said that the Bishop was approving the home teaching companionships and would have the list next Sunday, and we just felt Good in the chapel.  With that I think they will start responding positively to our asking them to accompany us and give us references.  We have another Ward activity coming up, and it seemed to help the animo when we did it last month.  I don´t know if this is coincidence or not, but I took the last 2-3 weeks of studdies to study a lot about and write a talk for PME Maestro on "Patience."  I learned way more that what I put into the talk.  I´m pretty sure that helped me."

It´s been pretty cool to study a topic and go with it.  I´m still reading the Libro de Mormon cover to cover, really trying to get what it´s saying to ME personally.  and what I need to apply to my life, to the sector, to specific members or investigators, etc.  Pretty neat stuff.  This week, I read Alma 58:40.  It´s talking about the Stripling Warriors.  After they were all saved and fought with the strength of God, and they all lived, in a different battle, every single one was wounded, and even 200 fainted from loss of blood-- but not a single one died.

What was their perspective?  "But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgements, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come."

This applies to us today.  We will receive many wounds.  We will sin.  We will  have many trials.  We will think life is hard.  We will say at some point, "Oh God, where art Thou?"  How can we keep our head up high?  1) Stand fast in your liberty-- Use your agency to choose to follow the will of God, and thus be made free.  2) Remember the Lord daily-- This comes in personal prayer, family prayer, counting blessings, studying the scriptures, repenting-- all daily.  3) Consistently keep the commandments-- Basically, get converted (I´ll explain that below).  4) Have faith in the prophecies found in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets-- including the prophecy and promise that those who press forward with a steadfastness in Christ will reach eternal life (2 Nephi 31:20).  I like that verse.

This week we received the initiative for the mission for the Month of June.  It had to do with "Conversion."  In the Guide to the Study of the Scriptures (GEE in Spanish), is says (translated) "Conversion: Changing beliefs, feelings, and life to accept the will of God and do it.  Conversion implies the conscious decision to renounce (or abandon) the old form of being and to change to become a disciple of Christ.  Repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and continual faith in the Lord Jesus Christ make conversion complete..." 

Marion G Romney explained, "In one who is really wholly converted, desire for things contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ has actually died.  And substituted therefore is a love of God, with a fixed and controlling determination to keep his commandments... Membership in the Church and conversion are not necessarily synonymous.  Being converted and having a testimony are not necessarily the same thing either.  A testimony comes when the Holy Ghost gives the earnest seeker a witness of the truth.  A moving testimony vitalizes faith.  That is, it induces repentance and obedience to the commandments.  Conversion is the fruit or reward for repentance and obedience."

Elder Richard G. Scott continues, "Stated simply, true conversion is the fruit of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience."  I like the word consistent.  It is consistency, not perfection.  We need not be perfect to be converted; but in order to reach exaltation, or ultimate perfection, we must needs be converted.  This also shows the need for the divine gift of repentance, which is made possible through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  I know He lives.  I invite all to read the article by Elder Scott, analyze it, and look for the changes we need to make in our life to become fully converted.  I, too, will work to become fully converted.  and I know that if it truly is our desire to become converted, that is, to have sufficient faith to repent, thereby strengthening our capacity to consistently obey, God will help us.  God is always willing to help us, but we must let him.  May we start today.


Elder Cole Moffat

June 5, 2012

Aqui estamos en JUNIO, June 4, 2012

Well, hello, family!  Glad to hear Sherrie and Mark are all doing better.  Also, I got page 2 of your letter, mom.  I like that quote:  now that you know what you know and have felt what you've felt, what are you going to do?  I think that is a question I will start using.  Question: NATIONAL MERIT.  whatever happened with that?  Also in that next package, Mom, could you include a bag of shredded coconut?  Sweater size from Mr. Mac is Small.  And winter lasts through September, more or less (translation in my head of "más o menos".... does that sound right in English?)
This week we taught more lessons than the other 3 weeks of the change, and we were one lesson short of meeting the standard of excellence.  And they were all good lessons!  We left with a kind of less active, doesn`t know if he wants to go on a mission yet,  is 15 youth, and to our pleasant surprise, he just started testifying of the power of prayer and of the reality of a God who is our Father and who listens to and answers those prayers.  It was great!  
In another lesson, I realized once again the importance of knowing the Book of Mormon is true.  And gaining that testimony from God, and not from other people  Look.  To me it doesn't matter if you found some random unsupported study done by "scientists" that say something about something else and therefore the Book of Mormon isn't true.  I read the Book of Mormon.  I prayed to God and asked Him if it was true.  and He said "yes."  What greater testimony can you have than from God?  I`m so grateful that I have God, Christ, the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness, and the Book of Mormon in my life.  I know I have a Father in heaven who loves me and who will lovingly send challenges my way to give me the opportunities necessary to grow and progress.  I know that my loving Father in heaven also sent His only perfect Son for me to help me when I fall.  I know that I can get back up again, but only through His selfless atonement.  I know that the way to always have the motivation and the strength to get up again comes through Christ and His teachings, called the Gospel.  And I know that the Book of Mormon is a source of spiritual strength, and by studying it, I can come to know Christ even more, so that when I build my life on Him, my Rock and my Redeemer, I will always be able to keep going forward.  And I know that this can be true for everyone, should they choose to accept it.  That is why I want to help others come to know Christ even more-- to help them receive the blessings of the Gospel of Christ and the redemption of his Atonement.

Something from the Book of Mormon I read this week: Alma 53:20-21.  What is a good description of what God wants the youth of today to be like?  "And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity;  But behold this was not all-- they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.  Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before Him."  Hayden, Spencer, and Luke-- you have been taught, having been born of goodly parents, about God and what he wants for you.  Make sure you show it :)  I love you guys!

That's all for now, folks.
Elder Cole Moffat

The Avenues of Saint Michael, May 28, 2012

Hi there!  thanks for the handwritten letter, mom (I got the first page.... hopefully the second page will come this week).  also, I got the facewash/jelly belly/sweedish fish package!  (my comp was impressed with the jelly bellies.... although you should have seen the look on his face when I gave him a black licorice one hahaha).  Also, thanks for the notes, Myers family, with Captain Mark! (eye patch from detached retna surger - Cole's uncle)

 Dad, I´m impressed with your workout.  and I understand that Spanish may not be your study language anymore... but be sure to at least keep speaking so we can talk when I get back!  and maybe study in English, but read a page or a column or a few verses in Spanish every day to keep it up.
Nate Bennett.  For some reason if you read this post, wherever you are, I´m worried about you.  Write me a letter or email me or something.  I love you, man.

I´m so glad that Sherri Labrum is improving.  I definitely was praying for her, as well as my comp and my district leader.  So, Labrum family, know that you had at least 3 missionaries praying for you here in Chile.  And we´ll continue praying.

This week we had a few cool things happen.  A couple from Cali, Colombia moved into our ward this week!  They´re probably about 45-50 years old, super spiritual, really want to work in the obra del señor, and have really really REALLY thick Colombian accents.  Because I´m not used to it, when the mom started talking, I almost laughed outloud because it´s soooo different than Chilean Spanish.  woah.   Once I got used to it, it´s a nice accent -- pretty, but I can only imagine how it sounded when you guys went to go visit John and Judith with all of her family there.  woahhh.  But this couple is super legit.  I feel like they will be a huge blessing for the ward.

We also had our Ward Family Home (chapel) Evening, organized by us.  We watched this short little video about the importance of the Book of Mormon, some of the members shared their testimony, the spirit was felt, una hermana sang (really good voice), and then there were games and some grilled ham and cheese with hot chocolate. We had more people come than we thought would come with the rain and all.  There were about 35-40 people there, and from what it sounds like, the feedback is really positive.  It´s the first ward activity this ward has had in a long time.  The first one since I´ve been here-- so the first one of 2012.  Hopefully the Ward will keep going with the animo they got from the activity.  YAY.

A few things I read from the Book of Mormon this week:  Alma 47 basically explains the doctrine of how Satan works, and thus we can learn how to recognize and withstand the temptations of Satan to be able to follow Christ more fully.  Alma 48 talks about how Awesome Moroni is, and what he did to protect his people-- we can learn how we can protect ourselves, our families and our friends from what he did.  Last verse of Alma 49-- we have the promise of GOD that we´ll prosper spiritually and know what to do in life when we listen to, read, and apply the Word of God as given through the scriptures (words of ancient prophets) and those who have been ordained of God (Prophets, Apostles, Bishops, Missionaries, etc.)  Also, Remember that Christ is sometimes referred to as The Word.  Apply The Word (Christ) and His atonement to prosper in the land-- i.e. have the spirit with you always.

Love and Scriptures,
Elder Cole Moffat

Another Week in Las Avenidas, May 21, 2012

An OLD pre-mission soccer pic of Cole.
Hey family!  So here`s the deal.  on our Skype call you ask me if i`ve gotten sick since that one time. and I said no.  sure enough, this week I got a cold, my throat hurt, my nose was CRAZY, but i`m getting better.  I was able to play big boy soccer on a field of 11-- missionaries and a few members versus Members (all these super good Chilean kids and some old guys, still really good) with a crowd cheering and everything.  it was pretty neat.  I almost scored, and the missionaries won 4-3, two 30 minute halves.  it was legit and the member referee even had a whistle and called fouls and stuff.  YAY.

Usually I think of something to write about that happened during the week, and this week I felt like I was going to read an email today that would have big news and something to write about.  Turns out, I read that email.  and I got a little emotional.  Both what happened to Sister Labrum and to Mark Myers.  
It`s interesting that just last night we shared a lesson about tests and challenges with Mireya, and then went to another family and taught them about the need to endure to the end.  We asked Mireya, who has been really sick and had to have her heart shocked and restarted a few weeks ago, "why do we have trials in our lives?"  and the immediate response was because we were terrible people, that God was mad and is punishing us.  We had the opportunity to share with her the true and hope-filled doctrine of the purpose of trials and challenges.  That trials help us grow, learn, and appreciate the blessings we have, IF we have the right attitude.  Mosiah 23:21-22.  
Sometimes the Lord chastens his people to try their patience and their faith.  and if we trust in God, our faith with grow.  Our Patience will increase.  and those who rely on the Lord will be lifted up at the last day.  Maybe not tomorrow, but as we endure to the end, we will be developed enough to be lifted up at the last day.  Think of the prophet Joseph, a righteous man of God, unjustly cast into prison without reason, left with little food in the freezing cold for months while his family and his stewardship were being persecuted.  In answer to his heart wrenching prayer with patience and hope running low, his loving Heavenly father said, "My son, Peace be unto thy soul.  Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.  And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high."  
Labrum Family and Myers Family, know that "thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands."  
Trials are hard.  But, they give us an opportunity to come closer to Christ, to develop our relationship with God, our Father, and to apply the atoning blood of Christ in our lives.  May we do so.

Loves and prayers,
Elder Cole Moffat