Monday, 29 February 2016

DR Independence Day

Hey remember my old companion Elder Jimenez? Well, on Saturday we went to lunch together with a member from our old area when we used to serve together. Saturday was Independence Day in the Dominican Republic, so we set up a special treat for him with some other missionaries. It was a great experience. The cake is his country's flag.

Busiest week in this area

     Sorry I don't have a lot of time to write this week, but I'm doing good! 
     We had a lot of lessons this week, probably the most I've had in this area. I also went on 2 exchanges this week which was a good experience. We also have a girl named Elaine on date for March 18th, yep she's on date for my birthday! Hahaha we invited her to be baptized on March 19th but she said that she is going to be busy that day, so we moved it to the 18th. She is attending Westminster College and has a very strong relationship with God. Her only struggle right now is working on Sunday, but she said that won't be a big issue. She said changing her hours shouldn't be a problem. We are very excited for her!   
      We have had a lot of less active members returning to church which has been great! We are here to build up the kingdom of God. Whether it is less actives returning or non members getting baptized we are still doing good work. I love it here!
       D&C 109:22, one of my favorite scriptures. This section is the dedicating prayer for the Kirtland temple, done by Joseph Smith. This scripture refers to us leaving His house with power. As we live up to the covenants we make when we enter the temple, we will have angels round about us. I have felt their presence during my mission, and I
know that as I am worthy for that blessing, God cannot withhold that from me. He has promised that to us as members of the church, it is up to us to be worthy of those blessings.
        Have a great week!
             Elder Strate

Monday, 22 February 2016

Ty Detmer Fireside

      This week was great! We focused on finding a lot this week which was awesome! We found some new investigators to teach and some of them are very receptive, so we're excited to see what happens in the coming weeks.
      On the weekend I met a missionary who served with my cousin, Ben Court in Alaska! A picture is attached below with him and I. His name is Chris Wolfgramm, and he's gonna start helping us with lessons. One of the greatest blessings that I have seen from serving here in Utah is the church connects people together here. I've met countless people that know one of my friends, acquaintances, family members, or something. I think the fact I'm from Mormonville, Canada helps too lol.
                                                  Chris Wolfgramm
       Part of our area was hosting a fireside with Ty Detmer, a former BYU and NFL quarterback yesterday! All of the missionaries that attended got a picture with him, it's also attached below. It was an amazing fireside. He spoke about his conversion story and experiences from football that related to the gospel. It was very similar to firesides I had with Chad Lewis and Vi Sikahema before in my mission. It was a neat experience!
                                                    Ty Detmer Fireside
        I've been on my mission around 18 months now.... wow. Time flies so fast. It's almost done and honestly it's a really bitter sweet feeling. I love the mission so much and I'm going to miss it once it's time to go home, but at the same time I'm excited to see family and friends again and to try and apply lessons I've learned on the mission into everyday life.          
         I had some amazing studies this week. I was reading about faith, and I came across one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament. It's the story of Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego. They were under the siege of King Nebuchadnezzar. The King had sent out a law restricting the worship of any God's that were not his God. His God was an idol, and these young men refused to worship this idol, because they knew of the true God. The King demanded that they be thrust into the fiery furnace, and be killed for their crime. But I love the example of their faith. Here are the following scriptures found in Daniel 3:16-18. At this point the King has asked them if they will bow down to the idol, I love their reply. 
     16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee ithis matter.
      17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, king. 
     18 But if notbe it known untthee, king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.          I put the phrase, "But if not" in bold on purpose. They made it very clear that they knew God could deliver them from the fiery furnace in verse 17. But at the start of verse 18 they stated, but if not we will stay faithful to our God. I love that. True faith is having faith even if an expected miracle, blessing, or event doesn't occur. True faith is being able to accept God's will for you, because you know that he loves you and will do whatever is best for you. I firmly believe that if these men would have entered into the furnace and died like was expected, they would have accepted the result because they had that much faith. They knew God was in control, always. I think we can learn a valuable lesson from this. Our faith can be improved as we align our will with God's will. 
     I hope that insight helps you out this week! Be willing to allow the Lord to influence your life, and he will take care of you.
          Love Elder Strate

Monday, 15 February 2016

New way to help activate

      Elder Haight and I had a great week. We had transfers last week so we were really busy for a few days, but we still managed to teach a lot of lessons this week. We have been teaching a ton of less active members of the church, especially return missionaries. We realize that return missionaries don't want to be a missionary project, they already know the doctrine. They don't want to feel like, oh I'm that guy I used to teach on my mission, because it's just a sad and depressing thought. So, we have been taking them on splits with us! 
     It's been miraculous! We get to do double the work and they have a chance to relive their missions, which is probably the best time they have ever had in their lives. It's been so cool to  work with less actives like that. Everyone wants to serve and help other people, it's part of our human nature. If we give others the chance to serve, teach, or be involved in the Ward through a calling, it tends to help them come back to church. It's been so cool to see that here, everyone is so selfless and it has inspired me to become better. During one of my personal studies this week, I read about virtue. 2 Peter 1:3-5
     "3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that
pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that
hath called us to glory and virtue:
     4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:
that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having
escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
     5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and
to virtue knowledge;" 
     Basically virtue is godliness, holiness, purity, chastity, cleanliness, etc. I love how in these scriptures we are taught to be "partakers of the divine nature" so we can "escape the corruption that is in the world through lust". If we can live worthy of the Holy Ghost, we will be virtuous vessels for the spirit. I also love how it talks about faith adding to virtue, and virtue adding to knowledge. When we are clean morally we are more susceptible to the spirit,
therefore we can be learn more. I love the scriptures! We can receive revelation and insights from them that will effect our lives forever.
      Thanks for all the support! Love you all!
           Elder Strate

1st picture is an old friend, Elder Montatip. He was chugging a bottle of soy sauce lol. 2nd one is Elder Haight and a huge dog!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Staying put

      This week is transfers! Elder Haight and I are staying together this transfer, which is great news! I love this area and my companion has been great so far. We're learning so much from each other and it's been such a blessing for us to edify each other. 
      We found some more less active members to teach this week. We found quite a few return missionaries that are struggling with church attendance at the moment and we are going to take them out on splits with us this week. We decided that might be the best way to help them feel the spirit again. It will also bring back memories they had from their missions which we both agree should help them come back to church. It's going to be a great week!
       I read a great talk this week by Elder Christofferson, it's called "The Divine Gift of Repentance." This week I was reflecting on what I could improve on. I read this talk and I realized that whatever I decide to improve on, I will maximize my success in progression with the help of the Savior. I know he can help us recognize and overcome our weaknesses through his Atonement. This talk was awesome, please read it!
     Thanks for all the support back you give me, sorry I know this letter is short but I will try to write a longer one next week!
       Elder Strate

Monday, 1 February 2016

Wing Eating Challenge

      Hey everyone!
     We had a great week! We had some awesome lessons this week, it was one of my favorite weeks in this area so far. We taught some very powerful lessons and I felt my own personal conversion grow immensely throughout the week.
      I had the opportunity to go on some Spanish exchanges this week, so it has been good to brush up on my Spanish again lol. We have one tomorrow so hopefully I'll still be able to speak well. We have a good amount of Spanish speakers in our YSA wards so that always helps, but proselyting in Spanish is the best! I'm pumped, it's going to be a sweet experience.
       I've been reading a lot this week about receiving revelation, and helping others learn how to attain it. Modern day PERSONAL revelation is one of the greatest blessings that came as a result of the restoration. The restoration of priesthood keys has brought back the ability for modern Prophets and Apostles to receive revelation for the entire world, which has also brought us the ability to receive our own personal revelation. One of the ways we can recognize if our revelation is correct or if our thoughts and feelings are from God, can be based off of how we feel as we pray (Galations 5:22-23). It can also relate to the fact that all good things come from God, so if something you're doing is consistently good then I think you're on the right track. 
       The reason revelation is so necessary for our salvation is because the gospel is something that is meant to be spiritually understood, not intellectually or temporarily understood (Alma 36:4). Trying to figure everything out logically in the gospel is foolish, because then the concept of faith would be in vain and we need to remember that we are still mortal. God does things that sometimes will make no sense to us, but since he is omnipotent and omniscient we have faith that whatever he commands and desires for us is for our benefit because he loves us and knows each and every one of us personally. 
       Those are some simple concepts I deepened my understanding of throughout the week, it was great! 
      Sorry I didnt the email off until tonight. We had meetings with President regarding transfers, transfer board, preparing for transfers, helping the Senior Missionaries in the office with upcoming housing and car issues, just stuff like that. Then we had a few lessons, went to a family home evening activity with one of our YSA wards and came here to the office! So yeah we had a crazy day, I'm so busy Dad with this assignment. I love it and it's great to be around President so much
      This past week I also did the Buffalo Wild Wings Hot and Spicy wing challenge this week with a member. The member is Alex Nunez, he's super cool and he actually grew up in the same ward as one of my former companions, Elder Firpo! There are pictures attached of our attempt, it was a difficult challenge to say the least haha but it was a blast!
       The challenge was 12 in 6 minutes, it was their hottest sauce and we had to do it without napkins, water, or ranch haha. It had habeneros, jalepenos, and ghost peppers hahaha - those are some hot peppers! It made me cry yes, but it was pretty hard.
      I got pretty close, I did 10 but it was a ton of chicken, and ever since I got to this area my stomach has shrunk a ton hahaha - because we don't eat dinner with members everyday.
      I hope you all had a great week! I had one that's for sure, and I know that as you place God first in your lives then he will bless you and mold you into something greater than you will ever become alone.
        Elder Strate