Monday, March 30, 2015

That's right, I'm going English.


Mom,

We had a Luau (loo ow?), with all the hispanics this week (anybody seen District 1?). It was tons of fun. That's a picture of me and Hna Miranda who was baptized about two months ago, she's
doing awesome!!!

Until this week I'd never had someone have such a hard time with fasting before! "!No quiero dar mis bienes!" It was really funny and surprising when we found our investigator protesting fasting and fast offerings. I guess it's just the perfect commandment for him. I saw how important it was not to explain, beg, and drag, but rather to teach, testify and invite. He's just a simple guy who likes his water in the morning and to keep what he earns to himself. God wants to make him a whole lot more. He didn't get to be baptized yesterday, yes, after agreeing to fast, because of a Stake Easter conference. It'll happen the 12th. Elder Strong and I got talking about fasting as well, and both agreed we needed better testimonies of it as well. It's not really hard for me now, I just know I should and do it. I fast with a purpose, but am not wholly dedicated to it. I know we follow Jesus' example, who not only fasted 40 days, but took a lot more for you and I:

  2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—

Abinadi then explains that Christ is literally:

3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the 
Father and Son—

4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

 5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation,and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.

 7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

Christ's Spirit was and is Jehovah, the very Father of Heaven and earth. His body was the mortal Son of Our Heavenly Father. Christ made his Spirit (the Father part) overcome his body (the son part), so that he could complete the Atonement for each one of us. So too we must overcome the natural man, fasting being one way to do that, if we are to follow Jesus Christ and accept His Atonement.

An incredible example of that is our Hermana Mercedes, who made  a miraculous recovery from Bronchitis, came to the Ward party of Thursday, she fed other missionaries on Friday, fed us on Saturday and was teaching her class yesterday! She is incredible.

Your experience at Women's Conference sounds great! Our Hermana investigator would have loved it, she would have loved the Hawaiian party too, and Easter Conference, and the baptism, and Hermana Mercedes' class and a lot of stuff, but she works. Work is the worst. She's a little sad that I'm getting transferred. I fasted that she'd get baptized this transfer, so we'll see if I can come back to "Spanish Land" to see it. That's right, I'm going English.

Love Elder Decker

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Choose to see the evidences

March 23, 2015

Mom,

Zone Conference was a lot of fun, it was a relief to get our part done, and enjoy the rest. We did a segment on making specific lesson plans based on "The District" (I love using those videos) We saw a lot of progress in the zone. I really felt the Spirit. One of my favorite habits I've picked up is taking notes wherever I go, I know it really give God the chance to teach me. I learned a lot about the power of faith, and the potential we have to change wards, other people, and the world.


Zone Conference
The greatest member of the entire church: Hna Mercedes, has bronchitis, please pray for her. She's the single mom of an autistic child, convert of about 5 years who teaches Gospel principles, used to to do our laundry,visit teaches the whole ward, fellowships every investigator, is starting a new business, tries to get to the temple twice the week, and makes really good flautas. She's looked out for me since I got to Lockwood in Dec of 2013.

Our investigator couple who got baptized in Jan, are doing really awesome. I finally taught him that the BoM in his phone and the one on paper are the same, just that he can't go looking for page numbers in the app. She is making about a thousand aprons for trek, and she fixed one of my shirts. I told her, you and her would be really good friends. Her other son is going back and forth between church and his old life, most lately because he got embarrassed when he couldn't make it to church to clean it for his calling when his car broke down, for the 800th time. It's his Birthday today!

 Our baptism this Sunday should be epic! We're having fun inviting members of the ward to do as much as possible for him, we invite them to teach him with us, we invite them to call him and follow up with commitments, we invite them to feed him when they feed us, pretty much every opportunity we can get. I used to like to jump into the ward and give blessings, do home teaching, and do a lot of stuff for the ward, now I see a need and invite a member to fill it. That way they make relationships with each other and investigators, become more converted as they sacrifice, their testimony grows, and I have more time to talk to hundreds of people on the street.

I had the chance to go on an exchange with an Elder whose mom just got Leukemia. He is upset by the news about his mom, but determined to keep going. He admits he wasn't very "spiritual" before the mission, but now has grown a love for the Gospel. He has a great strength with people and wants to follow the spirit. I was impressed by the experiences God puts in our lives for us, and know that the Atonement can carry both him and his family. 

Our new investigators loved Stake conference yesterday, and so did I! Elder Richards was there, the whole thing was centered on the family and the Book of Mormon. She took two pages of notes. She wrote us something which I'll never forget. "In the movie we watched (finding faith in Christ) the woman said that faith isn't faith until it has been tested. Do you think that's true?" Our investigator has a love for the Lord, and loves His word, but has a lot of faith to be tried before she'll be able to be baptized. I know she can do it. I know we can all do it, a lot of the time all we need to do is choose to see the evidences all around us of God's promises to us.

love Elder Decker

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gorojos!

March 16, 2015

Mom, 

Gorojos: little tiny beetles that eat wheat and banana leaves. You aren't allowed to kill or sell them. They will heal AIDS and Cancer if you eat them live. That is what we learned when we asked a member about the bowls full of a shiny black, glistening mass we found in their armchair. You decide for yourself.

(Keep in mind that they live and breed in their own poo. (all of which you don't clean off when you drink them in your morning juice))

We saw a great miracle miracle! Our investigator has listened to the missionaries and known about the church for over 40 years. The first missionaries that taught him probably now have grandchildren on missions. He will be baptized on the 29th. It's a good story. Really all it comes down to is prayer and reading the scriptures. E Johnson and I taught him a couple times about a month ago, we lost contact and were about to give up on him, but then we called and when we came over he asked: "Can I be baptized?" 

I know that even if we don't understand perfectly how things are going to work out, that if we will even in the small, and simple things look for God's approval and His Spirit, things will work out well for us. We will be able to say that we did everything in our power to follow Him.

I love you all! have a great week

Elder Decker

Monday, March 9, 2015

Don't use a microwave.

March 9, 2015

Mom

We had a pretty fun week, we spent a lot of time away from our area preparing for zone mtg. We built "The Broadway Zone Beacon" and mounted it on PVC, made a T-shirt design, found the best weekly key-indicators for each area in the zone so they could start their own record boards, made programs and it feels like a thousand things more. It all went pretty well I think. President Rascon (famous Houston weatherman/ counselor in the mission Presidency) taught us about our "Unlimited potential" and reminded us of the Savior's promise: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." We also had a saxophone special musical number from Elder Danielson. One of our commitments was to make a "Personal Profile" after prayer and studying your patriarchal blessing full of "I am" and "I know" statements that represent the person we want to become, and to review it daily. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" Prov. 23:7 I know that we're going to turn into someone no matter what we choose, and whoever that will be is our responsibility. I know we have the power to be whomever we choose, and that Jesus Christ's atonement is always available so that we can leave our mistakes behind, have the guidance of the Spirit, and let our weaknesses become our strengths. 

The Cinnamon rolls we made totally got our investigator to church yesterday, even unaccompanied by his less-active wife. The funny part is, after we dropped them off at his house I took a big bite out of one of them and realized they were absolutely awful. Don't use a microwave.

Love,
 
Elder Decker

 

I might as well try now!

March 2, 2015

Mom,

We had a pretty fun week. It was cold, we ate Mexican food, we saw miracles, and learned from the Spirit.

The Dineharts sent one of the most thoughtful packages I think I've ever even heard of last week! They're awesome, you'll have to thank them for me. It came right in time for us to ask some missionaries to put away a grundle of Texan-style Texan-sized belt buckles that were becoming an epidemic around here. It all went over pretty well with a bunch of candy. "Correcting" is not fun. This morning I read Helaman 7 and wondered what would inspire Nephi to talk like that to his people. We're always thinking about "how to show love" when correcting and teaching; Nephi mostly just tells them they're condemning themselves: 

"O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God. Why has he forsaken you? 18 It is because you have hardened your hearts; yea, ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd; yea, ye have provoked him to anger against you.19 And behold, instead of gathering you, except ye will repent, behold, he shall scatter you forth that ye shall become meat for dogs and wild beasts. 20 O, how could you have forgotten your God in the very day that he has delivered you?"

Yea, he gets a little strong. Thinking about it, I'm sure Nephi had plenty of love. He easily could have ignored them or looked down on them, but he put himself in danger of ridicule and harm because he cared enough about them to try to teach them in the way the situation required. I've had several moments this last week, where I had the opportunity to be bold, hold them accountable, and call them to repentance, but I more or less held my tongue. It's something that I'm just barely learning about: boldness. But I'm sure if I'm a representative of Jesus Christ, the same Jesus Christ who twice cleared the temple, cast out demons, and was the only person to ever fairly use the word "hypocrite" a large number of times, I'd better do something about it. Luckily we learn from D&C 121 that we are to be: "reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost." It's good to know God tells us when it's appropriate. Often I think the Holy Ghost is really telling me to do something not by giving me peace and tranquility, but kind of a sick, anxious feeling that really motivates me to act! More important than anything is "then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death." It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend." Both correcting and loving are things I'm learning to do, and keeping in mind that God's plan for me is to become like Him helps me know that sooner or later I'll have to learn. I might as well try now!

And just so you know, it's always been your job to correct me because I'm your son, but please feel free to let me know if you think I can ever improve with something!

Love,   Elder Decker