La Dadiva

Did I already have this as a subject title before?  I can’t remember, but “La Dádiva” is on my mind 24/7 so it fits.

La Dádiva means “the gift”.  And the Gift is Christ this Christmas season and forever onward.  Go here for the reflective 2 minute video of Christ and Christmas,
We had a rough week!  You learn a lot of patience and long-suffering as organizers of a branch.  (I say organizers because the “leaders” really should be the members of the branch.)  There’s a lot of planning that goes on and a lot of people fall through on their commitments.  We are all in the process of becoming diety and some are still just getting started.  Whoo!  What a process life is huh?  But it’s glorious!
We were supposed to have 2 baptisms this past week, but the day before, Mily (the recent 18 year old) had to suspend it for the next week.  So we will have 2 baptisms this Friday instead!  (Her and the 9 year old Eliana.)
We were planning on going to a training meeting for leaders of the district (district because La Paz isn’t a stake quite yet).  A meeting for members with callings.  We went from a handful of people going.  And then the day before, bloop, bloop, bloop, people dropped out and Elder Lopez and I couldn’t end up going.  We only had one truck to use with 5 seats and 6 people.  We thought we could stuff all ourselves in but we realized it just wouldn’t work so Elder Lopez and I hopped on out of the truck.  “Now we have an afternoon to work!”, we thought.  That’s one of the blessings of being a missionary, you really learn to take things as they come when the circumstances can’t be controlled.  And you are just a happy bean!
That night (Saturday night) we walked through “la plaza” or rather, the park in the center of the city, and began talking to a young man.  As the conversation continued he admitted that he felt it was destiny that we had found him.  He’s 19.  He easily came to church the next morning and enjoyed it.  He said he wants to come again and we will be visiting him again tomorrow.  —> so there WAS a reason for us staying that saturday night and passing by the plaza!
You all are the best!  Stay strong, be humble, forgive, and have a blast!
Elder Orme IV

Voy como cordero al matadero

Hola familia y amigos!

This week we made headway in the branch.  Remember I said that we were lacklusterly received when we first arrived here…but that’s changing.  We’ve gotten to know the members here, have spent time with them, my companion the Branch President has been having good interviews with them, giving out callings, we are delegating, allowing them to be their own agents to do good, putting the branch in their hands, and having activities.  All of this has been giving a new hope and energy to the branch…they are smiling more, more open in conversation and ideas, more coming to the activities, more participation during church meetings and classes.  A lot of GOOD flippin stuff basically for the branch in Feliciano!  We are seeing that the people have ideas and energy and want to put it to use!  And that they love the church.  Our poor reception was due to rough experiences and happenings in the past that have knocked them off course a little bit (some mistakes by others, some misunderstandings, some natural life heartaches).  But we are helping them find their foundation on Christ and Christ only! (Helaman 5:12) so that the winds of the adversary don’t knock them down again but only makes them stronger!  and stronger together!  So we have high hopes for the growth and general welfare of the people and the branch here.  Good stuff eh!?
Photos below are of some members (notice our humble meetinghouse), some asados, and of course photos of THE SHIRE!
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There is this one family that were basically the pioneer members of the ward.  Their name is Kavafian…it’s armenian. They are the backbone of the branch.  All the children are adults now and have some small families of their own. The head of the family and the one that brought them all to the church and made them strong in the was the father.  He passed away a year ago and it was a very rough hit for the family.  Now the mom is the head of the family.  They are a confident family, strong in familial ties, blunt, sturdy, to-the-point, are well-off because they work for it, AND have very strong and deep testimonies of the church!  Because they are the backbone of the branch…much of the bad experiences in the past have been directed to them, but they continued going to church because of their testimonies but basically shut off much communication with the other members because of how much they have been attacked, and also some mistreatment of the past missionaries towards them. But now, due to what I believe is our help, Elder Lopez and I have been showing to all the members equal love and willingness to work with each one of them, and to put the branch in their hands.  And now they have been responding back positively!  Like I noted earlier, much more hope, energy, and love is entering the walls of the little house chapel here and in the hearts of the members!  Onward and upward!!!
Funny story: At the end of an activity when we are hanging out, eating and chatting, one investigator of ours yells out, “Okay, I’m leaving!!!!!  And I want to say that if I don’t get baptized by the 20th of November…I WON’T be baptized!!!  Okay…see you all later!”  Everybody was like, “whhhhhatttt???”  Background on this woman…she has been taught by the missionaries for ages…she’s 60 something, quite a funny character; stubborn, and because she is, doesn’t understand basic doctrine.  She’s had about 4 baptismal dates in the past but they have all fallen through for some reason.  We have been teaching her here and there, but she’s a stubborn one.  She said…”I’ll be baptized, BUT I ‘ll only come to church sometimes because there is always something to do Sundays!”  “Well that’s what you think huh” we thought among ourselves.  Well now she has put her own baptismal date…but we are not inclined to do it because she hasn’t put forth any works.  She’ll always be around and once she puts forth works we will be happy to baptize her then.
This morning we witnessed something LOCO.  Elder Lopez and I headed to a member’s house to witness the slaughtering  and skinning of one of his lambs.  He’s going big as it is his birthday today.  Later today, we will go back to eat it asado style!  It’s not the tastiest meat there is, and he doesn’t prepare it with tons of spices, but it’s an experience.  I’ve already eaten heart and kidney.  And boy was it an experience to watch upclose and personal how meat is REALLY prepared from the beginning.  I’m not going to include the pictures in this email but I’ll make one for my family.  Let me know if you want to see pics.
The slaughtering and skinning happens much different then I thought!  It was…if it’s weird to say…pretty spiritual!  Our friend, captures the lamb with his lazo, ties one leg to a rope, and hoists it up.  The lamb makes a couple “baaaaas” but is really calm.  Our friend grabs one of his big knifes, situates the neck, and swiftly and accuaretly slices the throat…the lamb doesn’t make a sound nor moves!  Only twitches because of natural nerves.  The blood drains into a bucket and the lamb quickly and peacefully dies.  WoW! we thought.  Just like that!?  And then he begins to skin it and it’s a completely clean process!  I was expecting blood to fly everywhere! But there was none.  Our friend quietly removes the skin, humbly and respectfully it seemed.  He then opens the stomach. It was amazing to see EVERYTHING.  He takes the insides out and we see the lamb completely skinned.  He takes off the head…I take off a foot (my souvenir!) and then takes the lamb inside. WOW.
Spiritual point of view…CHRIST is the LAMB of God.  He was perfect, innocent, white, and when taken to the slaughter…was as peaceful as a “may morning.”  He did not fight but allowed the will of the Father to be done.  Read Doctrine and Covenants 135:4 for what Joseph Smith said right before his death.
Don’t let Christ’s sacrifice be for nothing!  It was done so that if we had faith in His name and repented, we could be saved from spiritual death!  I thank God for giving His Son for us.
Hey!  Love you all!  Onward and Upward.
Elder Orme IV

Wow o Wow

Can I just start off by saying how wonderful my family is…  And my friends…  And perhaps all the people in the world.  Wow, people are so cool.  I just love them!

I’m still learning a ton.  I love the people I interact with here at the MTC.  I especially love it when I am filled with the love of Christ.  Because when I do I only feel goodness towards people.  I am learning to be more humble with people.  Sometimes they bug me when they seem to do selfish things.  I selfishly do things sometimes too and it’s so dumb! But I love people.

Can I also say that I wish the best for everyone!  It is so hard to see people suffer, sometimes for their own decisions and too many times because of other’s.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t change people!!  People have to change.  This life is all about agency and learning from it.  Albedrío is what it’s called in spanish.  It is hard to change.  But the only way to feel Christ’s love is if we let him in.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ only changes people who choose to change.  They may feel it’s good affects, but cannot grasp its entirety until they try it out for themselves.  With this mindset, it is so much easier to love people for how they can change and for what they can become.  The only hard thing is to watch those that could have a much better life, suffer for their poor decisions.  Deep down I feel like that is the only main hard thing in this life.  God is so loving to give us the opportunity to learn to choose good.  “He’s da beist!”

I don’t have very many exciting stories to tell yet, haha, the only thing that changes here at the MTC is yourself.

I can’t say much more in spanish than “muy bien!” when I’m asked “Como esta?”  But I can tell you in spanish how God has prepared a way for us to live fulfilled, happy, lives with our loved ones. That’s pretty cool “in’t it!”

Loves to ya’ll! :D

-Elder Orme