Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Meet President and Sister Catala

Our Zone with new Mission President and Sister Catala
Our new mission president and his wife arrived, so we had a conference meet and greet conference with everyone.

President Nelson Catala and
Sister Liang-Fan Wu Catala
Meet President and Sister Catala
President Nelson Catala is a real high animo guy, loves numbers, loves music (can play around 6 instruments and can sing - so can his wife and 16 year-old son). He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has previously served as stake president and bishop. He's pretty awesome.

Sister Liang-Fan Wu Catala, from Taiwan, is pretty awesome herself - speaks Spanish and has this happy-go-lucky attitude.

President Catala has had a pretty rough life. His father died before he was born, and because his mother wasn't able to care for his, he spend the next dozen or so years being passed from one grandmother to the next until he was completely orphaned by the age of 13. That's when he joined the church.

Church Family
Shortly after baptism, his aunt forbade him to attend Church, but because he had made a promise to God, he defied her order and went anyway. So she kicked him out of the house, and he lived on the streets for a few weeks. When members of the Church heard about his plight, he was invited into their homes, which made him realize that his real family was his Church family.

250 is the Goal
That experience is the driving influence behind his goal-making for this mission. He sees real power when we work with members. His weekly goal for the mission is to have every zone have 200-250 lessons to investigators with members present. That means every sector needs 9 lessons per week.

To help with the goal, president suggested that every recent convert be a ward missionary. Good idea.

Happy July 4th!
The 240th birthday of our beloved United States of America. I've quietly been looking forward to this day, wearing red, white and blue, and changing the ring-tone on the cell phone to America the Beautiful (the only American song we have).

And, like a patriotic nerd, I doodled America on my agenda. FREEDOM!

Our zone celebrated with hot dogs and floats, soccer and monopoly. It was fun.

A Question About Trials
Went on an exchange with my District leader, Elder Barson, and stopped by Ezekiel and Fabiola's. They are struggling right now and wondering why life is so hard. So Barson and I ended up tag teaming between scripture, inspiration, and testimony.

I agreed with them - life is tough and no one escapes adversity in this life. Why?  Well, basically, we are here on earth to learn, and God gives us tests so that we can learn through experience. Wish that our "education" could come in a pain-free, worry-less, free-ride scholarship, but that's not how Heaven's scholastic works.

And this reminded me of a video telling a sort of modern day parable about a currant bush.

Trials are designed to be difficult so we can exercise our character muscles, tone our temperament, and build our spirit.  But we're not left without help. Christ provides the grace and power and comfort and peace - everything we need to get through the tough stuff and come away improved.

For an hour and a half we answered their questions, and in the end, left them with a really good spirit and no more questions.

Sometimes I feel like the currant bush, but like they say, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." The Lord's got my back.

Love you all. Until next week,
Elder Connor Nef

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