Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Horned Melon and Frixion Pens

Kiwano Horned Melon
On lists of the world's most exotic tropical fruits, this crazy oddity will be among the top 10. It's called a Kiwano, also known as "Horned Melon." I recently tried it.  The taste is a weird mash-up of banana, cucumber and lemon all in one. 

Fun fact:
The Kiwano Horned Melon made its television debut in 2000 on an episode of Friends.

It rained a lot this week. I have never heard of rain pants before, out here they seemed to be a necessity. Mom, you were right about the scarf thing. Getting those too.

In other food news:  Ate horse jerky and it was really tasty!

Rest Unto Your Souls
We had a cool Family Home Evening with a member and their inactive family - their daughter was there with her boyfriend and 4 year-old son. We shared a message about trials with the whole Frixion pen thing.

Here's how the analogy goes: 
On a sheet of paper we took our pen (which looks like a normal every day pen) and asked the group to tell us what makes Trials so awful. They called out words like: pain, stress, worry, anxiety, fear, burden, suffering, and we wrote the words clearly in black ink on the paper. 

Then we talked about the importance of looking to Christ during our trials and how the Holy Spirit can bring us light and comfort.

This is the point in which we took a lighter and held it underneath the paper - close enough to warm it, but not burn it. As we talked about the warmth of the Spirit (with the flame under the paper) the words disappeared from the page, leaving a completely blank page.

Our point was that the Spirit may not be able to remove the actual trial, but he will be able to erase the negative feelings of trials, so that our burden becomes light.
Come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:28-19

Here's how the Frixion Pen works:
It uses thermochromic ink (the same kind of ink in mood rings) that is sensitive to heat. At temperatures between 15-140 degrees Fahrenheit the ink will appear black on paper.  But when you heat it warmer than 140 degrees Fahrenheit (like over a heat source: light bulb or lighter), the ink disappears.

Cool, huh.

At the conclusion of our lesson, the boyfriend said, "It's amazing how you guys knew exactly what I needed to hear!"  The Spirit was strong in the room.

Thing is - we didn't know what he needed, we were just guided by the Spirit to share a message.

Have a Great Week Everyone!
Elder Connor Nef

Monday, April 18, 2016

Staying in Quillon

Transfer calls came this week, and both Elder Cowley and I are staying here in Quillon.  Only, Cowley will now be the District Leader, and a sister from my CCM (MTC) group, Hermana Manwaring, is joining the sisters in a trio.

It's been a good week. We committed four people to baptism! We hope to keep it up this week.

me and Elder Cowley with Mario the Ward Mission Leader

Have a great week everyone!
Elder Connor Nef

Monday, April 11, 2016

Progressing with the Less-Actives

with Elder Fernandez from Australia

This week was pretty good!

We taught a total of 18 lessons, eight of which to investigators and eight to less-active members.

I really appreciated this week thinking back on General Conference and remembering the talks shared. The messages are still resonating inspiration to me.

Ah, Progress
Two of our less actives are showing a lot of progress. Pascual was already being taught when I got here, but was not attending Church. Now he attends every week, has read the Book of Mormon, and has already begun digging onto the Doctrine and Covenants. Lessons with his less-active girlfriend are starting to pick up too.

Carlos is another who is progressing really well. He was a 68 year-old single guy with no friends and no church activity for 18 years, until we met him.

During our lesson with him on Sunday, he shared his testimony about the need to endure through all things. He understood the gospel plan. Through the hard stuff, if we can just hold out hope and look to Christ's example, He will always help us make it through to the other side where we will find ourselves stronger and wiser.

We shared the scripture in Nephi.
Wherefore, ye must press forward
with a steadfastness in Christ,
having a perfect brightness of hope,
and a love of God and of all men.
Wherefore, if ye shall press forward,
feasting upon the word of Christ,
and endure to the end,
behold, thus saith the Father:
Ye shall have eternal life.
2 Nephi 31:20

Dinner at Manuel's

Well, we may not have gotten any baptisms yet, but our work with less-actives has been awesome!

Have a great week everyone!
Elder Connor Nef

Monday, April 4, 2016

God Can Turn Any Situation into Good

President and Sister Arrington with 2 Zones in Chillan

Zone Conference
The two zones of Chillan combined for Zone Conference. It was awesome.  President Arrington did a workshop on the Apostle Peter and how his experiences relate to us as missionaries.

His recommendation: Do things the Peter way - give it your all. Then he had us study our Patriarchal blessings and note all invitations, because that's how God works - with invitations to act.

Next, we played a game where we gathered boxes labeled with challenges. I won the 1st round for my team by doing 30 push-ups and having my camera on hand with a picture of my family. After classes, our zone sang the "Come Thou Fount" mix, and it went well.
Elder Regan (he trained Cowley), Elder Cowley, me
God Can Turn Any Situation into Good
You're gonna like this story.  Got a call from the sisters that Luis (our newly baptized convert) needed a blessing. Some symptoms from his accident were back, making him unable to walk or even stand.

The sisters explained that when they arrived at Luis' home for their scheduled visit, they not only had a run-in with the wife (she was unhappy about Luis' baptism), but the wife's pastor showed up and started telling Luis that his ailments were the result of his being baptized into the Mormon Church. That God was displeased. After berating the Church, he then belittled the hermanas, and stormed out.

When I heard the story I was fuming, but on our way over, I calmed myself down so I could be ready with the Spirit to pronounce a blessing of healing upon Luis. After the blessing, we made sure he was comfortable, then left.

The next day, guess what - Luis was fine. Only feeling a mild headache (hurray for the power of blessings!).

It started raining on Wednesday
As the sisters were visiting with recovered Luis, a knock came at the door. It was the pastor. Luis simply opened the door a couple inches, politely said hello, told the pastor to go away, and then shut the door. Made the sisters smile.  What made the situation even sweeter was when Luis' wife apologized to the sisters for how she had acted the day before, adding how appalled she was at the pastor's behavior.

Unexpected blessings. God can turn any situation around into something good. Perhaps this will lead to a change of heart for Luis' wife and an even greater blessing for their family.

Trainee is Trained
I am officially done with training! But because of long transfers I get to stay with Elder Cowley for at least 2 more weeks. Pretty awesome.

Not Budging
Taught the familia Sanchez and it was both good and bad.  They consistently follow Mormon principles, read the Book of Mormon daily, and have a testimony of priesthood blessings (because we have given them blessings of health).  And yet, their minds are set on staying Catholic. We'll see what happens.

General Conference
Oh my gosh - General Conference was the best weekend of my mission and the best General Conference! Lots of talk about families, and forgiveness and obedience and overcoming.
Here are some of the messages that stood out:

There is a mural two blocks from our house.
"Your liberty arrives where that of another starts"
I thought the message was kind of beautiful. That's what I am here trying to do - liberate people through Christ.

So grateful for Conferences that inspire, teach, and motivate.

Love you All,
Elder Connor Nef