Thursday, September 20, 2018

4th Transfer in the offices...going strong and now I´m the DL

Well since last Tuesday, I have been planning and getting everything ready for this coming transfer week which is now in the full swing of things.

On Thursday we had our district meeting as per usual and also that same morning I had been studying in 1 Cor. 12:12-22 and about the "One Body" topic on how some people get confused on the Godhead as opposed to the trinity. Good stuff man. "The Lord knows the righteous intention of your hearts." That quote got me through today with being stressed out and not wanting to explode hahahaha.

Friday we had a cita with Rolando who has his baptismal date set for the 29th of this month and it went very well. He is a great guy, little odd, but still has a strong desire to change and go to church and be baptized. Very humble older man who works watching over cars and helping them park. He makes roughly 70Bs a week and lives in a very humble little home and love to crack jokes with us. He also came to church with us this Sunday and even though he only stays for 1 hour he still loves going and one of these days we will get him to stay all 3 hours with us!

Saturday we had to go to a baptismal interview for our Zone Leaders in their area at 11 am then @4 we visited with Sol Vargas who also has a baptismal date for the 29th of this month. She is 19 and has a 2 year old baby. The rest of her family are members and she also has really strong desires to be baptized and receive of a remission of past sins. @6:30 we met with our chatty Kathy,  Leonor Cruz, and we shared a cup of Manzanilla Tea and bread, chatted a bit then shared the message of the restoration with her and it was just amazing to see how well the entire lesson just clicked with her and how she told us that "this really resolved a lot of my questions I have always had about apostles and Christ´s church." Church is true, hands down. She also told us a parable she heard about a lifeguard and a person who was drowning which I loved and will 100% be using from now on to help explain the atonement and the importance of humility in repentance. It went something like this: "There was a man who was drowning in the ocean, thrashing around and panicking immensely, and from the shore watched the lifeguard from his tower. The people on the shore began shouting to the lifeguard to go and save the drowning man but the lifeguard stood still at his post and watched the man helplessly struggle and fight on his own the tempest of the sea. As the drowning man had tried to this battle alone, he finally gave in and began to sink finally realizing he could not do it alone and in that precise moment the lifeguard jumped in the water and went to his rescue. The lifeguard made it their just in time before the man slipped out of grasp and saved the man." She related the story to the atonement of Jesus Christ and his extended arms towards each one of us and how at times we try to fight the "tempest" on our own forgetting that without Christ we can not save ourselves, but once we humble ourselves Jesus Christ (our lifeguard) will always jump in the water to save us as long as we are willing to let him into our lives and save us from drowning in our own sins. Also watched this lizard (Chupacoto) eat bugs on the wall for a good 10 minutes waiting for the hermana Leonor to finish making the little pre-lesson snack.

Sunday in church we learned about Free Agency and the importance of Family History Work. Also took a micro to get to church today and it ended up leaving us all the way out in Narnia because there was a city wide 10k fun run going on so there were some major road blocks exactly in the path we needed to take to get to church. So we ended up having to walk from the 4th ring all the way to the middle of the 2nd ring to get to church in the drizzling rain. Good day today though and ready to take on yet another transfer week with the boys. Oh yeah and I´m the new District Leader so gonna be a great cambio. Had a bomb Pique Macho lunch today also with some recent convert members and ooooooooooooooooooo man that was some good stuff (Elder Berges´ hand for scale)

Attached are some pictures from this week and then from some old pictures a ward member recently emailed me.
What a difference a year makes :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Incredible Mission-Wide Conference with Elder Texeira of the Seventy

Lots of pics this week, but I didn't write too much.

So, one of the best parts of this week.....NEW SUIT!  I got it made for just over $100US.  It was time.  President Rodriguez recently asked me if my family was poor, to which I replied, "No", so he said, "I didn't think so.....go get a new suit".  Apparently my last one was in less than good condition ☺

We had an amazing mission-wide conference yesterday with Elder Texiera of the Seventy and got to be together as a large elder and sister group.  That's always fun and helps continue to build that camaraderie that is so needed for all of us.

Elder Estarita, my trainer and first comp !! 
Elder Ward and Elder Maravilla....I miss these guys

We have baptisms coming up again, which is very exciting.  We know that we are blessed with the very short time we have as mission office workers to go out and meet potential investigators.  Even with that short time, we are always led to find those who seeking out the knowledge of the gospel.

Since we passed our one year mark this last Wednesday, Elder Florence and I participated in the traditional, "Burnin' O' the Shirts" to celebrate.  We even got balloons to make it official.

Next week is going to be a ZOOOOO!  Transfers are up again and we are getting 21, yes 21 new missionaries.  But, I got this.  I'll be back and forth to the airport more times than I can count, I'm sure.  It will be good to have new elders and sisters and see them grow and love the mission and the people of Bolivia.  I cant believe I was one of them a year ago.....its gone so fast.  It seems like I just got here.

I'm loving my mission, I love my area and the people of Santa Cruz Bolivia.

I miss everyone back home and love you all,

Elder Connor deCocq

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Shirt Burning Time! ONE YEAR this week

Well, Wednesday (today, Sept 5th) is my one year mark.  I headed out on my mission a year ago today! 

I can't believe how fast its gone and the miracles I've seen and been a part of in that time.

This week was really good for us in our area Cañoto 1. We had a best week yet as for finding people to teach and having our investigators progressing. The Lord truly is bringing His prepared children into our path and i feel better than ever having this amazing opportunity and honored privilege to be able to bring them the message their Heavenly Father has for them.

We are currently working with a family named Padilla Cruz and they are a couple who have a little baby named Roberto. The wife Leonor is very receptive and is a chatterbox but learns very well and really wants to know the truth about the church. Her husband on the other hand is an atheist and just kinda sits their and sorta listens but the amazing news is that the both came with us to church yesterday and stayed all through sacrament meeting. I could feel something about the way Leonor was acting that I just knew she felt something during fast and testimony meeting.

Blanca Chuquimia who is an investigator like my dad has been listening to the missionaries FOREVERRRRRR (almost 5 years now) but she has been coming to church way more consistently with us now and even accepted our reading the book of mormon every day challenge so I have tons of hope for her in the near future.

Today we had a zone activity and had a giant churasco in the park and played volleyball, capture the flag and soccer and threw a frisbee around too. Pedro cooked up the meats and we grubbed out and just had a relaxing day. I brought my hammock and took a very needed break just relaxing in a tree.
Then we went down to the Piraí river and took some fotos and what not and I also went to the Ramada to get a suit today because the one i came to the mission in is looking pretty feo now.

Anyways i have some pictures this week (you´re welcome dad)

Here's some good video to laugh at.  I got Bean Boozled (the game) from Kolleen in the mail and of course we all played it.  (Sadly, things did not go so well for Elder Berges 😄):

If you are reading this on email, click here to see the videos

I just wanted to end this weeks email off with a small spiritual thought from some of my studies recently.

I was reading the book "Teach Ye Diligently" by Boyd K packer again yesterday (highly recommend it to anyone) and I read a little poem in their related to the apostasy and the creation of the thousands of churches we see in our day.

" It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined, 
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind), 
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind. 

The First approach'd the Elephant, 
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side, 
At once began to bawl: 
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!" 

The Second, feeling of the tusk, 
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp? 
To me 'tis mighty clear, 
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!" 

The Third approach'd the animal, 
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands, 
Thus boldly up and spake: 
"I see," -quoth he- "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!" 

The Fourth reached out an eager hand, 
And felt about the knee: 
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," -quoth he,- 
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant 
Is very like a tree!" 

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, 
Said- "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most; 
Deny the fact who can, 
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!" 

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope, 
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope, 
"I see," -quoth he,- "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"  

So, oft in theologic wars 
The disputants, I ween, 
Rail on in utter ignorance 
Of what each other mean; 
And prate about an Elephant 
Not one of them has seen! 

The need of a living Prophet with the all of the Priesthood Keys is so essential to lead us, being "spiritually blind" as we are separated from the presence of God. Although everyone of the blind men in this poem were partially right with their predictions, not one of them had the whole picture or the fullness of what was being analyzed. Many times this happens with people in our era. Good people want to follow God´s teachings, they want to explain God´s teachings, but sadly without the guidance of God´s hand and the proper priesthood authority, these people with potentially good intentions, are just as the blind men and the elephant: only partially correect. Thanks to our Heavenly Father, He doesn´t want us to stay blind forever. He has given us prophets just like in times of old to lead and guide us as we live in this temporary separated state while here on earth. If we heed to the prophets and their counsels, the Lord will manifest unto us by the power of the Holy Ghost the truth of all things and we too can walk through this life not as blind men observing the elephant, but rather as true disciples and followers of Jesus Christ and His church. Amen.

Elder Connor Ryan deCocq

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Finding Strength and Blessings Through Prayer....and Job!

Well this is another one of those no pictures weeks, sorry. Been really focused in the area and with investigators so haven´t had the time. Va a disculpar.

So this week was actually a really big blessing and answer to my and my companion´s prayers. With our area we have been really struggling to find new to people to teach, and the people who we are teaching are just having a really hard time progressing for some reason. Haven´t had many people with plans to get baptized because of this also so we have been fighting with that these past couple months, until the Lord led some new people and blessings into our lives. We have found some incredible people who I´m not sure how to explain it other than the Lord truly does prepare the hearts of His children in THEIR due time.

With a lot of hard work, diligence and patience Elder Berges and I have been doing a lot of things as a companionship to better help the work here in Cañoto. We now have a couple families on track to get married and then later baptized as well as some long time investigators who are finally keeping commitments, reading the scriptures daily, coming to church regularly, and growing their testimony of this restored gospel.

I have always looked to the story of Job in the old testament for strength even before the mission because of the principle it has taught me and continues to teach me on faith in the Lord even in our times of trials. That truly is my fountain of peace when it comes to tough times and tribulations in the mission and in life itself. Once we begin to understand the Lord´s will, understand his refining process in our lives and the truth "that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."(Ether 12:6) The Lord answers our honest and sincere prayers and He knows the righteous desires of our hearts. Once we put our trust in Him, and realize that even from the Fall of Adam and Eve until present time, there has been "an opposition in all things".

Love you all.
Elder Connor Ryan deCocq

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Two Weeks worth of stuffs

Well, as expected transfer week had its craziness, but for the most part I´ve got things under control so everything went smoothly (at least for the parts that were my responsibilities hahahaha).

Anyway, this week an Elder had his appendix burst so he was stuck in the hospital and had to get surgery and since we are the secretaries we went to go check on him and bring his companion lunch every day hahahahaha so that was an adventure.

The new missionaries came in this week too so we were pretty busy doing all that fun stuff with them. Passed out on the couch at the president´s house too while waiting for the food to get there.

This week threw some crazy curve balls at us that also gave us amazing opportunities to serve others.

Vanderlei, the man in the wheel chair who I was able to help baptize a couple weeks ago, had a very serious attack this week and wasn´t able to breath. He called the Sister missionaries over to his house to help him and when they got there they told us they were pretty sure he was going to die right then and there. But then Vanderlei wanted to say a prayer because "He knew that through prayer and his faith that if it was his time to go that the Lord would take him". The Sisters then called us over to give him a blessing and while we were on the way over they had said a prayer and the Lord, working his miracles, cured Vanderlei of his problem he was having and when we got there everything was normal again. We then gave him a priesthood blessing and he told us he knew the Lord had blessed him in his time of need. The healing power of the priesthood is real and here on the earth once more. I know it, I can feel it, and had many other opportunities this week to be able to go some hospitals here in Santa Cruz to give blessings to people because of their faith that they have in the healing power of faith.

The Lord is blessing us with a lot of many great families to teach and incredible miracles from our faith, diligence, and desires. Not gonna lie, it has been rough here these past couple months with the balancing the office work with the proselyting but now that we´ve got it under control and are working diligently, we are beginning to truly see some amazing blessings.

Today for P-day President´s son called us and invited us over to his house to watch a movie and eat some pizza with him so we went over there and chilled for a bit and relaxed. Also in the morning went out with Elder Berges and we got Pizza and climbed some crazy tall building to take some videos on the roof (see videos below). Other than that though the work is progressing and the Lord is preparing His children in these days.

Here's a couple of fun vids.  If you are reading this on email, click here to see the videos

 Chau for now,

Elder Connor Ryan deCocq