Monday, 27 June 2016

"What are some possible "nets" in our lives?"

      This week was amazing! We had some of the best church attendance by our investigators, less actives, and recent converts this week! It was so awesome! We taught a lot of quality lessons this week too. Elder Valladares and I have been focusing a lot on how we can teach a lot of quality lessons. Not just teach a lot to get numbers or something like that but to teach people and what they need. I know that the spirit was guiding us this week. It was very inspiring for me and helped me
grow a lot in the gospel. The part of my testimony that was strengthened a lot this week was how relying on the spirit brings miracles. During a lot of lessons we tried very hard to listen to the people that we were teaching but also to the spirit. We saw testimonies strengthened as a result. I loved it so much!
     We also went to temple square yesterday to watch Meet the Mormons with Juan Martinez and his family. That was a fun experience.
     I read a lot from the New Testament this week. I love reading about the a Savior and His earthly ministry. He is the perfect example for us and I know that if we try to be like Him that we will receive
Heaven's help to become better everyday. At the end of Matthew 4 I learned a valuable lesson. It's during the part when Christ commanded His future apostles to follow him. They were simple fishermen before they heard the call. Casting their nets into the Sea of Galilee, Peter and Andrew stopped as Jesus approached, looked into their eyes, and spoke the simple words, "Follow me."
Matthew writes that the two fishermen "straightway left their nets, and followed him." Now let me ask you a questions, If the Savior were to call you today, would you be just as willing to leave your nets and follow Him?’ I am confident that many of you would.
     Now, what are some possible "nets" in our lives? We might define a net as anything that entices or prevents us from following the call of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Nets in this context can be our work, our hobbies, our pleasures, and, above all else, our temptations and sins. In conclusion, a net can be anything that pulls us away from our relationship with our Heavenly Father or from His restored Church. Many of us enjoy watching television. But if this simple activity makes us neglect our families or ignore the opportunity to render acts of Christlike service, then television may also be an entangling net.
     Joseph B. Wirthlin stated the following; “It is impossible to list the many nets that can ensnare us and keep us from following the Savior. But if we are sincere in our desire to follow Him, we must straightway leave the world’s entangling nets and follow Him” (“Follow Me,” Ensign, May 2002, 15).
     My goal for the upcoming week is to identify some of the "nets" in my life and drop them. I want to invite all of you to do the same. It doesn't have to be something big. Pray and seek the Lord's guidance and I promise you that you will find some form of "net" to drop.
     Love you! Have a great week!
      Elder Derek Strate

       Someone surprised our car! I think they got the wrong car though because my companion and I aren't greenies! Hahaha

Monday, 20 June 2016

Missionary work = Basketball

     Hello everyone!

     This week was amazing. We had plenty of miracles and a great last week of the transfer.
      I'll start with the fact that we went to the temple with a recent convert from our branch! His name is Salvador Chicas. 

     We went to the Bountiful temple because they offer their services in Spanish there and he loved it! When I was talking to him afterwards he was so grateful for the temple. He told us that he is going to try and attend weekly! I am so happy for him. These last few weeks we have been going to the temple with a lot of recent converts, recently reactivated members, and so forth. It has been such a blessing for me. I know that the temples help the work of salvation on the other side of the veil, but they also provide us with strength and comfort when we need it. I know that Jesus Christ lives today and this is His church!

     We also found 6 new investigators this week! One of our investigator families, the Velasco family, had some cousins, aunts, and uncles move in with them that are not members of the church yet and they want to learn more! We also found a new family that wants us to teach them!

      The work is definitely progressing here in the Cannon Stake! I'm starting my last transfer this week. I cannot believe how fast the time has gone by. I love is work and I love the Lord so much. I'm going to work harder than ever before this transfer! I'm so grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to serve him 24/7 and I will not let this last transfer go to waste! I'm staying here with Elder Valladares for my last transfer, which I am pumped for! He's a good guy and we get along great!

     Have a great week! Congrats to the Cavaliers on their first NBA championship. They deserve it, LeBron has been trying for so long to bring them a title and yesterday it was accomplished. Now all the bandwagon Steph Curry and Warriors fans can go cheer for Cleveland now... Hahaha! I restate the FACT that LeBron is the best player on the planet, he has been for a while, and he will continue to be the best until he retires.
     Basketball is a lot like missionary work honestly. Ready for this cheesy comparison? Haha. In basketball it takes a great team effort to be the best. Everyone has to do their roles and fulfill their duties. We need to be selfless and humble as we try to help the team get better and work together. In missionary work we need to work as a team with the members of the ward. When the members of the Ward or branch (in this case) are working well together and are unified in bringing souls unto Christ, then the work becomes much easier. We can accomplish so much more together than alone. Our team leader or team captain in this game is Jesus Christ. He is our redeemer and our Savior. I know that because of His sufferings we don't have to suffer if we follow His gospel. I know that the commandments are for our benefit, to protect us and help us progress. I love God and I am so grateful for His love for me.

     Oh yeah! Btw Happy Fathers Day dad! Hahahaha you have been such a good influence to me throughout my life. Thanks for all that you do Dad, I don't want my mission to end because I love it so much but at the same time I am excited to see you in like 6 weeks. It's going to be awesome. Hopefully we will win the family softball tournament in Cardston this year! Hahahahaha  Have a great week everyone!
                    Elder Derek Strate

Monday, 13 June 2016

Importance of Prayer

     We had a very interesting week! I went on three different exchanges this week because some missionaries in our zone needed some help. It's good that Elder Valladares is a good companion because I was in other people's area for almost half of the week, so he still did good work in our area while I was gone. 
     Our zone is doing good! We have seen a huge improvement this last week. Our zone put a lot of people on date for baptism last week and I'm so grateful to the Lord for helping us in this work. I have been trying to do the work more spiritually by involving more scripture study, prayer, fasting, and being open minded as I receive counsel from other people. I've come to realize in my mission that one of the most important things we can do in life is listen. As we listen intently to others we will be enabled to learn from them and from the Holy Ghost. I'm so grateful for that.
     Our area is doing well! We had stake conference yesterday and one of our recent converts got the Melchizedek priesthood. He is planning on going through the temple in Saturday for his endowments. We are so excited for that! His name is Salvador Chicas, he is a branch missionary and comes to lessons with us all of the time. He has family
members living with him that aren't members of the church yet and they came to Stake conference yesterday! We have been working with them and they are doing really well! We also have an investigator family that was in California for one week and they got home yesterday! They also brought more family members with them, so we are going to start teaching them. I know that God has a plan for everyone. I know that he puts specific people into our paths for specific reasons. We are hoping and praying that these people came from California prepared to receive the gospel.
     I want to congratulate my Great Uncle Sam and Aunt Mona for being called as temple presidents in Mexico! That's so awesome! I know they will do an amazing job. I had no idea that they were mission presidents before! That's super cool! My prayers are with them at this time as they are preparing to serve the Lord. I know that the temples are for our benefit and they will protect us from the adversary. Our covenants are for our protection, and I know as we keep them that we will not fall into temptation. 
     Transfers are next week! We will see what happens. I can't believe how fast my mission has gone. It's ridiculous. I'm going to work the hardest I have ever worked on my mission these last few months! I love the Lord and I am so grateful for all he has done for me. Words cannot adequately describe how grateful I am for my Savior and for His Atonement.
     Yesterday at stake conference our stake president talked about praying effectively. One of my favorite things he talked about was praying out loud and expressing our desires to the Lord in that way. I tried it yesterday and I found a lot of power in doing so. Sometimes when we pray in our hearts and minds it is easy to get distracted or wonder off into never never land, but when we pray out loud it is easier to stay focused. It is also and act of faith to do so. The Savior prayed vocally a variety of times, and usually he did it before critical events of His ministry. I think if you read the New Testament you will notice that! I testify that prayer is vital to our salvation. It's not simply something we do when we feel inadequate for life, but it's something that we should yearn to do everyday. I know that God the Father loves us, and he loves to listen to our prayers. 
     Speaking of prayers... Go Cavs! Haha hopefully Draymond Green being suspended will let LeBron do a little bit more offensively. He can also guard Steph Curry or Klay Thompson now so I think they can win tonight! Who knows, maybe they can get on a roll and win three straight! I have faith. Go Cavs!
     Have a great week! I love you all so much, thanks for all that you do!
           Elder Strate

Monday, 6 June 2016

Wedding and a baptism

     We had a really good week this week! We had 4 investigators at church yesterday and they are doing really good! We also taught a good amount of lessons this week. We are doing really good in our area right now!
     We went to the temple and did baptisms for the dead with some recent converts in the branch! It was an amazing experience! 

     We also had a wedding and baptism on Saturday in my last area for Julio Garcia. He and his wife Keyshla are from Puerto Rico. It was really fun to teach him because he always came into our lessons with a lot of questions. He studied the Book of Mormon a lot and always had questions for us. I know that if we diligently study the scriptures that we can find peace, joy, and comfort through them. I also know that they strengthen our knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ.

     I read the talk, "Mountains to Climb", by President Eyring from the April 2012 General Conference. It's now one of my favorite talks. I love the message it brings about trials and challenges in our lives. I know that the Lord will give us mountains to climb for our benefit. I also know that he will never give us a bigger mountain than we can handle. We must rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ for strength in our difficult circumstances. The Lord will very rarely change our circumstances because he knows that our faith and progression will be strengthen as we rely on His son. I know that Christ lives. I know that he is our Savior and Redeemer. Through Him we may be saved and perfected. I'm so grateful for all that he has done for me. Not just for hard times, but also for the amazing experiences I have had on my mission. My mission so far has definitely been a refiners fire, and I'm so grateful for that! Please take a look at that talk. I know that no matter where you are at right now in your life that it will help you! We all have our occasional struggles, and we all need comfort. Please read it!
     I'm going to make sure and wear my Cavs shirt today for p-day. I realized that I have been jinxing them by not wearing any of their gear. Hopefully they will turn things around on Wednesday. I’m sticking with them and being optimistic. #GoCavs!
     That's about all for this week! Take care everyone!

        Elder Strate