Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I know God listens, and I know prayer is powerful, so I keep praying, knowing that it can make a difference. Too cool. Prayer is the best. Never stop praying."

Da na na na na na na na BATMAN!!!

Guess what?!?... 


Y'know, I never know how to start these e-mails anymore. So I'll just get right to the rambling:

First of all: Oh noo!!!! Don't tell me sad stories about how Rocket can't walk anymore and how scary and sad it is!!!! Well, I assume by now he's mostly better. I'm a few weeks behind on the news. I hope he's okay. You know what's the saddest thing ever? That picture you sent me when I was in Provo of Rocket and I like two seconds before I left home forever. Rocket looks soo sad!! I mean, he always looks sad, but still. I miss that guy. :(

Anywayz, BIG NEWS! After twelve long weeks of not having one single investigator with a baptismal date, we now have two investigators with dates to be baptized!! The 21st of July. Two with dates, and another who's def gonna have a date in the next few days. Let me story you:

Last week we were tracting and we knocked this door and this old guy answered and let us right in without us even having time to say "good afternoon." He was really happy to see us and told us that the missionaries had been visiting him a while back and that he'd been attending the church in Lima. He told us he was even going to be baptized, but he had to travel or something and lost contact with the missionaries. Something like that (Haha, I'm still learning how to understand things. Gimmie a break. Of a Kit Kat bar. I miss good candy!! (Don't send me Kit Kat bars. Chocolate does not remain in a solid form in Peru.)). He already had his Book of Mormon and he already believes it's true and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church (by the way, if you think the name of the church is long in English, it's way unreasonably long in Spanish....). He's a little deaf, so after one visit that involved talking a lot louder than I feel comfortable talking, I popped the question, and he agreed to prepare to be baptized on the 21st! We'll see if it happens or not. We might have to adjust the date for him. But sooner or later I'm sure he'll get dunked.

Numba 2: Silvia!! Finally!!! After muchas visits and multiple attempts to get her to commit to baptism, she finally agreed to get baptized! This is way rad, because if she gets baptized, than that means this will be my first baptism of an investigator that I found and started teaching. Elder Villatoro and I knocked her door like our second or third day together or something and we've been visiting her consistently ever since. She's really great, and I'm so glad we've been able to help her get to this point!!

Number 3 (in the future): There's also this kid who's about my age (a lil' younger...) named Edwin. He's a friend of Wilson, a rad RM in the ward who always helps us out. He's come to church three times with Wilson, and the second time (and third) he came with a white shirt and tie and looked super Mormon. Haha. He's sooooo rad though! He also came to choir practice (we're helping in the choir for the upcoming branch conference this coming Sunday. I made everyone LOL with how low of a note I could hit. haha), and yesterday at church he stood at the front door with Wilson greeting all the members as they came in! He's more active than most of the members here. Here's the raddest part: He wants to be a missionary!!! He wants to leave home like us to share and preach the Gospel. We visited him and he was so stoked to see us and way excited about getting a Book of Mormon. Since our last visit I heard that he wants to get baptized. Gonna put a date on him next time we see him! Coolest guy ever. I suppose one would call this a "golden" investigator. Out of all our investigators, I'm most stoked about Edwin.

Soo... that's kind of rad. We also had our best week yet numbers-wise. Not that numbers matter, but still. I feel blessed. The work in Olmos is tough, but its worth it. "The worth of souls is great in the sight of God... And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! (D&C 18:10,15-16)" Oh yes oh yes. How great will be my joy to bring any one of these people into the kingdom of my Father!

Anywho, I read on the calendar that last week was the 4th of July. No fair! Nothing happened here!!! Uber boring. I hope it was fun though! I've come to expect July 4th to mean hanging out at home with my cousins, perhaps consuming mucha soda and chips and then having a fun night with the fam. I miss it!! Sounds like your first week of summer was pretty dang good. What week are you on now, like three of four? I'll catch up to you guys someday...

And Dad's on TV now?? And they film in the room with all my cartoons on the wall?? Haha too sick! I wanna see it! Record them for me!! When I was little my goal was always to eventually have a successful cartoon, either on TV or the internet. Shrimp and Hippo never really went anywhere, but there are actually some cartoons that I never finished that looked really good. I started getting pretty dang good at animating. But I never finished them and never put them up online for you to see. All that's up right now is the MS Paint slideshows. Haha. Good times though. So Shrimp and Hippo finally made it on TV... and I didn't see it. And I'm guessing Gordon the Pringles Giraffe too?? I dunno, Shrimp and Hippo are in one corner of that room, and Gordon is in another. I'm all about flooding the world with Gordon the Pringles Giraffe. I believe it was President Ezra Taft Benson who gave the talk entitled "Flooding the Earth with Gordon the Pringles Giraffe." Or maybe it was something else. My memory isn't too great. But I've taken that advice to heart. Make sure Gordon gets some airtime too! For those unfamiliar with Gordon, he is the result of I'm pretty sure two consecutive all-nighters. Or three days without sleep. Tyler and I get creative when we're tired. For a history lesson on the picture of a giraffe that Tyler and I drew and accidentally made famous, go here: Seriously I can't believe how much that thing exploded. So funny. Haha.

Anyway that was way off topic. Not that there's really a topic to this e-mail.

I really like that the missionaries came over and asked you guys to start praying for missionary experiences. Know why I like that? Because, I've been praying every single night for you guys that you'll be able to have missionary experiences too. For realz. Every night I pray for that. I've read many answers to those prayers in your letters you send me every week. You're always telling me about how you have chances to share the gospel now. And then the missionaries came over and told you to look for more experiences. Too cool! Prayer works. That's probably the number one thing I've grown to learn on my mission. Prayer works. Yesterday in church Hermano Chicoma shared an experience with us that I really liked in priesthood meeting. He told us that when he and his wife were new members in the church (and two of the first members in all of Olmos) that together they made a list of people they knew and every night they prayed for those people. He told us that he knows it worked, because today many of the people who were on that list have been baptized and are active members of the church. I loved that experience because there are also some people I pray for every single night. I know God listens, and I know prayer is powerful, so I keep praying, knowing that it can make a difference. Too cool. Prayer is the best. Never stop praying.

Speaking of church yesterday, I got to be the chorister again, which was cool. Except not really because I was getting so frustrated about how I would start a song nice and slow and reverent, and then the congregation would just take off singing so freaking fast and in a million different keys and I knew it was a total waste to even try to direct the music, but whatever. When I get back to the states where people actually follow the chorister I can lead me some nice music.

One thing I'm really getting tired of is that here there are two churches that whenever we speak to members of those churches, they always, always, without failure start trying to argue with us. These two churches shall remain nameless (one of them is not the Catholic church. Catholics are generally pretty rad.), but they annoy the heck outta me. How can you even believe in a church that is so set on fighting against every other faith? The worst. Christ taught: "Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil (1 Nephi 14:10)" and "For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away (1 Nephi 11:29-30)". Churches that contend with other churches or other people are not of Christ. Simple as that. These are the churches that "draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me (Isaiah 29:13)". But God promised that he would "proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder (Isaiah 29:14)" to bless all the people of the earth. John the Revelator said that he "saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people (Revelation 14:6)", ushering in "the times of restitution of all things (Acts 3:21)" and "the dispensation of the fullness of times (Ephesians 1:10)". "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed... And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned... And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 29:11,12,18-19)". "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44)", "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3)".

There's one giant wall of scripture. God's marvelous work and a wonder is in progress right now. Starting with the angel he sent to Joseph Smith, to bring him the fullness of the Gospel in the form of a book, and blessing Joseph with the power and the authority of the Holy Priesthood like the prophets of old, in order to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness to the earth and then restore the Church that Jesus Christ himself established when he lived on this earth. Christ's church is again on the earth today, and it is a kingdom that will never be destroyed again. Temples have been built all over the earth to bless us with the most amazing blessings we can receive: the opportunity to live together with our families for eternity, and to help our family members who have passed away to receive these same blessings. God loves us so much. His church is not a church of contention. His is a church of love. Everything God does, he does because he loves us. I've been able to feel his love so strongly out here, and I'm so thankful to be able to have all of these incredible blessings in my life, and for the opportunity I have to be able to share them with the people down here in Peru. I know with all my heart that these things are true, which is why I was willing to give two years of my life to share them with these people. Because really, there is nothing better than the blessings I've received from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the testimony I've developed over 20 years that these things are so true because of all of the amazing and indescribable experiences I've had as I've learned of this Gospel and tried to tune into the Spirit for guidance and comfort. I've seen and experienced many miracles. All I want is for someone else to be able to have these same blessings in their life.

Well, and with that, I gotta get the heck outta here! I really really really like you guys and I miss you so much!! The mission is the coolest. I hope everyone who has the chance will take advantage of serving one. Including my sisters. haHA! No marrying early for you!!

Hehehehe okay bye. Heart.

-Elder Hemsley

Victor did send a bunch of new pictures that you can see by looking at the slideshow at the top of this blog.  Here are a few of our favorites:

"The Plaza de Armas in Olmos."

"Just to give you another idea what Peru looks like."

"Chillin' with William."

"I found this dead thing on the road."

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