Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 25 (Sept. 30, 2013 Congreso, Argentina)


Great news!!! The great mission of Buenos Aires Norte has seen 201 confirmations this month! That is the new record for this mission!!! 201 of God´s children have been confirmed members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I feel so happy :) I think the past record was 199 or something like that. I know that God´s work is going forth and that He is preparing people to receive His everlasting Gospel. I know that this is the work of the Lord and that each one of us has the opportunity of being a part of it! We have been blessed with the truth and we need to share it! We also received about 33 more missionaries this past week and so now this mission has 235 missionaries :)
I really love teaching less active members for a specific reason. Usually at the end of  lesson we ask that the person that we are teaching says the prayer. Well when we teach less active members, they have the opportunity to pray and it is so wonderful because lots of them do not pray on their own and do not pray at all because they are super less active and do not have a desire, and so when we have a lesson with them, they have the opportunity to pray to their Heavenly Father and He gets to hear from them and I am sure He loves it so much. It is a special thing to witness and I am so thankful to be able to be a part of it! The other day we taught a less active named Bernice and she said the closing prayer and it was so sweet. She has been less active for a long time and so it was really special to hear her pray to her Heavenly Father. I love it! 
Our ward and mission in general has really been focusing on working with members. I really have a testimony of this. In this mission, we try to only have member lessons. In fact, they ask us to put 0 other lessons as a goal each day because all of out lesson need to be with members. It is hard to find members at times because everyone works here but the Lord is always helping us. We sure do have to work though haha When members are in lessons they have the opportunity to teach and testify and this really helps our investigators receive another witnesses and a learn to have trust in the members of the church. Pres. Hinckley said that each investigator needs a friend and having members in lessons is a great way for them to have friends! So I have an invitation for you all, please accompany the missionaries! You all have powerful and amazing testimonies because I have heard them and felt them and I know that people´s lives will be blessed through hearing and feeling your words. I know it is hard to find time, but even an hour is a great help! :) 

 Mom, no worries but I just wanted to ask you something. I don´t know if I should because my Heavenly Father is here to help me and I don´t think I am allowed to write about negative things but I just really need you! I am happy and I don´t want to return home or anything like that, but this past month has been really hard and I can´t really explain my thoughts like I want to but I think maybe I do have depression. And mom I really don´t want to think this if it is not true because that would create a mess. It is more of an inner thing I think because honestly i am happy and am loving my mission and all of my emails have been completely true haha :) And I am trying to work hard and I am happy outwardly But I have really been struggling inwardly or whatever the word is for that ha. Not my testimony or anything like that, but my worth or something. Ugh I just really want to talk to you mom because I don´t know how to explain it. I know my worth and that I am a daughter of God but I never feel happy with my work and I don´t know if it´s because I am not working hard enough or if I am doing okay and just a chemical imbalance or something. I always have wanted to serve a mission and thought that I would be a pretty good missionary but I see all these wonderful missionaries and I am trying not to compare but really I am. We have not seen baptisms for a while and I want to take the initiative and act and do but lots of times I don´t know how. I have feelings like I can´t do things and I don´t know if that´s just because I am lazy and need to try harder or if I really do have a condition. I just really don´t know and I am confused. I don´t want this to hinder the work and I want to serve with ALL i have. This past week I have really wanted to be with my family. I don´t know what is going on in my head! I am happy but I feel like I was happier the beginning of my mission and sometimes even at home. I don´t know, it´s like a different happy but I just want to LOVE my mission and enjoy everything and feel like lots of missionaries do about their missions. I really feel bad saying these things because I don't want you to think that I am not happy or that I am not loving my mission. Because honest I don't want to come home because I feel very privileged to be a part of this great work and to be teaching people about these eternal truths and helping them come unto Christ. I know this is a privilege! But we are not seeing people change. It started out so great but people are not keeping their commitments and not coming to church and I just think it is my fault and that I am doing something wrong. And I know you can´t tell me this time that I am doing okay because you can´t really see me. And so I don´t know what you can do but I just needed you mom. I am going to send this now so you can read it and reply and I will be writing more. But don´t worry too much mom, PLEASE. I just need to vent a bit and try to understand. 
Also mom, thanks so much for telling me that you are proud of me. That always helps me, more than you know. I really am trying and hope you know that I will be okay. Love you tons and am sending you hugs and kisses! :) 

Mom I hope I haven´t worried you. Goodness I was really debating telling you about my crazy feelings and maybe it was a bad idea. I have been debating it for a while and really praying about it as well because I don´t want it to seem like I need a pity party or anything like that, especially if it really is just me. I am sorry I have not written much today. I didn´t get to see the broadcast :( :( and general conference will be in a chapel just like you said :) oh my I am SO excited for conference. It will be different to not have it at home with the fam but it will still be the same message and I just can´t wait! I know how much you love conference and remember you always looking forward to conference time :) good memory of you mom. I have not read all the letters yet but oh my goodness thank you so much for all of them! And for the package! Ah I am spoiled!! I almost fainted when I saw those reeses  (I never know how to spell that word haha) pumpkins! They were not too mushed. Wow thanks so much mom, I sure appreciate all you do. I really want to respond to things that you write and that others have written me! And that is another thing that I have been wondering about...if depression would affect that. I just have so many things in my brain that I want to do and say and I want to respond to people and my brain has really closed minded I think. I have so much to say, but can´t. It is super hard. I promise I take interest in all that you write me! And I want to respond like all other missionaries do because I know it would be nice for you all and I really want to! But the time goes by so quickly and I can´t say too much. My thoughts are always scattered. Mom please let everyone know that I love them and am so thankful for them. Love you so much mom and hope that all is well at home. Tell baby Axel happy birthday for me :) Let dad know that I love him so much and that I could read his dear elders all day. What great angels I have for parents. You are amazing mom. And I don´t think you are stagnant at all. That is definitely NOT how I would describe you. You are an angel and amaze me so much, as does dad. I hope to REALLY reply to some of the things I have wanted to next week. Ugh so hard, but it´s worth it :) Love you mom and thanks for everything. I know that I am a daughter of God and that He loves me and all His children and that He has a plan for us. I know that His son Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He lives! 

End note from Mom:  we all kept Katelyn in our prayers with the hope that something in General Conference would touch her enough to help her.  When Elder Jeffrey R. Holland got up to speak in Conference he said that his talk was on Depression.  I couldn't believe my ears as he addressed the exact thing that Katelyn was struggling with.  It was an answer to our prayers and also a confirmation to us that we do indeed have a very loving and caring Heavenly Father who knows our needs and blesses us through others.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week 24 (Sept. 24, 2013 Congreso, Argentina)

Hola Ma and Pa! Wow what a crazy day it has been! I literally have like 10 minutes left to write and about 100 things to tell you! Honestly, I wrote down a whole list of things that I was going to tell you and fill you in on, and I was determined to write about everything today. But nevertheless, I learned today that I have to do some other things on the internet each p-day. We write to pres. like always, and now we have to do some other things in order to provide information about our investigators, less actives, and recent converts. And after doing all this and reading my emails, there is not much time to write! One day I would just like to sit down and write a wicked awesome email with everything that I want to say in it. That would be the best haha. Man I don´t even know where to start. I know I won´t be able to say everything this week but hopefully something in this email will help someone. First, transfers were today and I am staying in the wonderful city of Congreso! Mom Hermana Leiva was never my comp, we just lived in the same apt :) and Hermana Herrera was my comp until today. She is going to a different area. I had a great transfer with her and learned some very valuable things. I am going to miss her prayers. Goodness she is so close to Heavenly Father and her prayers are beautiful! I love praying. It is a tremendous blessing. In one of the district videos a missionary says that of course we need to pray lots on our missions because this is God´s work and he know how to do it! And we will know what he wants us to know when we pray to Him. I know that this is true! My new comp is Hermana Velazquez!! She is from Paraguay and is great! I love her already! She is 26 years old and has been a member all her life. We have not taught together yet because today is p-day but tonight we are going to teach and I am excited to see how it goes! I received ALL the letters and the package from you today mom! WOW!! I have tons of reading to do and I don´t know when I will get to do it! haha THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE FOR THE LETTERS!!! I really fell so blessed to have the family and friends that I have. Thank you for your prayers and support and letters and love and everything. I appreciate it SO much. I had a neat experience this past week. A small miracle that made my day. One morning I prayed to have an opportunity to provide service to someone because we have been trying to find service opportunities here and it is hard because no one wants us to serve them or no one is home. But anyway, we were walking down the street and there was this sweet older lady in front of us. She had some groceries in her hand and a walker as well. I felt like we should help her but i had not idea how to because she was doing fine. But as we passed her I just gave her a quick smile and hello and she piped up and said oh can you two please help me cross the street because I get scared when there are so many cars and I am a slow walker. Man what a blessing that was! This caught us by surprise but we were so happy to help! So my comp and I took her arms in ours and helped her cross the street. This experience was only like 1 minute but it was a blessing from Heavenly Father. I hope she felt Heavenly Father´s love for her. I know that I am only an instrument for Him and I was thankful to have that opportunity and receive an answer to prayer. I know that Heavenly Father will provide us with opportunities to serve His children when we have a desire to do so, whether big or small. Goodness I am out of time. I love you all so much and hope everyone is doing well. Mom I will respond to your email next week and tell you more things that I wanted to I hope! Thanks for everything! God loves us and we are His children. We have His Gospel and for this we always have a reason to be happy!
Con Amor, 
Hermana Katelyn Syphus :) 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 23 (Sept. 16, 2103 Congreso, Argentina)

Dear Sweet Mom,
We have very little time today and so I am so sorry but this email will be short. First, please do not worry about the mail issue. I wish the same thing as you and I don´t know why they cannot give it to us more often but I promise you that I am doing fine. I sure do appreciate everyone and their letters. Wow I am going to be reading all week! I can´t believe that I haven´t received anything so far. But transfers are on Tuesday next week and so I will getting everything then I believe. Thanks so much mom :) The mission home is about two hours away. But please don´t worry. I am doing just great my mission is keeping me very busy and my head is always filled with many things and so I don´t really have time to think about not receiving mail and things like that. This is the hardest thing I have ever done but I am so happy here mom. I still get homesick which is weird because there is no time to be homesick haha but I wouldn´t change anything that is happening and I feel so blessed to be serving a mission. I am sorry for my past few emails, they haven´t really been the best and this one is going to be hardly anything. I really want to send pictures to you!! Maybe one week I will just tell you a few things and send pictures for the rest of the time? I don´t know. This week we were able to go to a hospital and do a lot of painting. Pillars and sidewalks and such needed to be painted and so we were able to have that service opportunity and it was a great experience. There were so many missionaries and it was so fun! Jonatan and his family are doing okay. We want to work with his son Franco the most because we have prayed and feel like he will progress and help his parents see the blessing of the Gospel more. This past week has been pretty rough but it is a mission and so there are going to be rough days. We didn´t have anyone come to church on Sunday. Juan has been progressing really well and his date for baptism was this coming Sunday but because he didn´t come to church on Sunday, he can´t be baptized until the next Sunday. We did everything possibly we felt in order to have him come to church. Later that day we found him and he told us that he didn´t hear our phone calls that morning because he was sleeping. :( We are trying so hard and I keep thinking that I am doing something wrong because we haven´t seen as many baptisms as this area usually has. We have seen so many miracles and I am so grateful for each one but these miracles have not lead to baptisms...yet. I have thought and prayed to know what I am doing wrong if anything in order to help this work progress and maybe I need to have more faith. I feel like I am being obedient and doing all that I can but I guess I need to do something more. Of course I need to always be improving and changing and I am going to try super super hard to give more of myself in order to help God´s work progress! I am sorry ma but I need to go! This email is more for you than for everyone because I wasn´t able to write lots of experiences and such. Like always I wish I could respond to all the happening at home. Thanks for the news and I sure to love you and the family so much!!! I hope Kam is doing okay after that date poor thing :( Love you mom and know that all is well with me! :)
Con Amor,
Hermana Katelyn Syphus 

This was a very special email we received from a member in Argentina.  Katelyn was interviewed in it for a few short seconds but OH HOW NICE IT WAS TO SEE HER!!!!  Bless this sweet man who posted it for us!

Full length video of some missionaries who are serving in Argentina North Mission while they were providing help on the Day Of Service (14 Sep 2013) painting and beautifying the local hospital.

I hope you enjoy and see you own missionary. Video is in Spanish you may get a glance to your son/daughter given service. Some were interviewed by the brother who is making the video.

If your missionary was laboring in Liners, Belgrano or Congreso stakes he maybe in the video. There are other associated short video links related to this activity from this YouTube page.

Rafael Diaz
Dad – Elder Diaz – March 2012-March 2014

Links to You tube:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 22 (Sept. 9, 2013 Congreso, Argentina)

Oh why hello again my dear sweet mother :) Thank you for always telling me that my emails are sufficient haha. I really do appreciate it because at times I don´t feel like they are good. And thank you for your email and dad as well!!! I have not received any mail yet and I think it IS because we onl get mail every transfer. And yes mom, what you are doing with my letters and such is perfect thank you so much!! I can´t believe that Kylie fit into that dress!! Actually YES, OF COURSE I CAN BELIEVE IT! She is SO BEAUTIFUL!! Now I know that I am a wee bit bigger because before I left on my mission that dress did not fit me I don´t think. Haha oh well. Thanks for the pics, I love them! And so happy for Kam as well, she will have so much fun!! I am pretty sure that I have the best family in the world and that I am the missionary that misses my family the most!!! I know that I shouldn´t be missing my family this much if I am working hard and I promise I am trying to work so hard but I still stinkin´ miss you all so much!! And it is because my family is the best ever! No one is allowed to change okay? ;) There is a scripture in Doctrine and Coventants 130: 2 that says "And that same asociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with beternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy." I love this scripture so much because when I think about how much I love my family already, this scripture tells us that our relationships after this life will be coupled with ETERNAL GLORY! Isn´t that so beautiful!? And along with my family, when I read this scripture I think about my friends, my companions here on my mission, and our investigators as well. I know that the reason that we will have this opportunity with the people we love is because of God´s perfect plan and because of Jesus Christ. He really is our hope in this life. The things that I hope for and look forward to most in my life are all things that can only be accomplished through Jesus Christ and His Atonement and Gospel. I was reflecting the other day on the Atonement and realized that I need to have a stronger testimony of it. I know what it is and I have a testimony of it, but I realized that my testimony of it is not what it should be. And if I want to do this work in God´s way, I need to develop my testimony of the Atonement. I am so thankful for Jesus Christ and I know that He is the way to everlasting happiness! I want these people that we are teaching to realize this as well and it is very hard when people don´t want to listen or when  people are not progressing because we as members of the church know that this is the only way. But the Lord is preparing people and helping us find them. So a quick recap of this week and our investigators:
Jonatan and his family committed to come to church but when we passed by Sunday morning to get them, no one was home. Later that day we found out that he was called into work. This family is so golden and I don´t think they are going to progress as quickly as we would like but they will be baptized! Jonatan told us that he feels something different when he reads the Book of Mormon and that he wants to live with his family forever but he has a son in Peru right now and wants to wait until he comes home in December to get baptized so his son can learn and be baptized as well. We taught the law of chastity to him and his wife (they are not married if you remembered). Our first visit with them they told  us that a piece of paper telling them that they were married was not important because they love each other so much. After we taught the law of chastity and asked them to consider marriage they said they would think about it. AAHHH!! It is so hard when people have families and when they feel the spirit and know that the Book of Mormon is true but they are not married! Satan needs to leave! We are praying for this family and have had many sweet experiences with them and I know they will progress! Heavenly Father has given us this opportunity to teach this amazing family and they are a miracle. I am so thankful for the experiences we have had with them!
We have an investigator named Juan and he is so great! He came to church on Sunday and also called us and told us that he received an answer that the Book of Mormon is true!! I don´t think that I have been told that directly from an investigator before and when he told us I was so happy and felt the spirit and had chills throughout my entire body! I will explain more about Juan next week because I have to go but he is the best!!
Well I just love you all so much and I am doing great here in Congreso. What a great time it is to be a missionary. I know that I am very blessed to have this opportunity to serve my God and His children. Thank you for everything!!!
Con Amor,
Hermana Syphus :) 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 21 (Sept. 2, 2013 Congreso, Argentina)

Dearest Mother,
Lots of things to say and little time as usual but I will try to fit everything in. I might not be able to write a separate email to the lot though so I will include what I can in this one to you if that is okay :) First to answer your question: yes summer is coming up and it is getting warmer which is nice :) I am going to freak out when I wake up Christmas morning sweating because of the heat haha. I have not received any letters yet :( I think it is because I do not get any of them until a zone meeting or a transfer. That is pretty lame but I am thinking that is the case. And since you asked ;) ...I need....ha actually nothing I don´t think. I am getting by okay with the things here although it is difficult at times to buy things like shampoo and contact solution and such because we only have a certain amount of money and things here are pretty expensive. But it would be hard to send stuff like that I really don´t know when I would get them so I think I am fine. Yes, I am fine ha. Thanks so much mom. I sure appreciate everything you do. One of my old comps is in Peru and she writes letters every week to her family and I don´t know how she does it! I don´t even know where to send letters here or how the system works or anything! I am very unlearned in many things and I hope it does not affect my future to much haha.

So here is an important question for you: Did you also receive my blow dryer and previous planners from my comp in WA? Because she was going to send those as well. Also another question, how is my dad doing? I know I don´t email him specifically and i probably should but it´s tough to do everything. Just wondering how he is and if all is well :)

Now I want to respond to some of things in your letter. Goodness I am so glad Celeste is okay and that things worked out and that people listened to their feeling and the promptings of the spirit! That sure is a miracle and I am thankful that you shared that with me. Tell Celeste and Nellee both that I love them so much and that they are still two of the greatest angels in my life. Is Nellee still planning on a  mission!!!???? 
I am glad Kams b day was good! That girl better watch it or I am going to cry buckets of tears worrying about her. I am glad she is being a good girl though. Where is she finding these guys and why are there so many of them?!?! Oh how I love that girl so much and hope that she will continue to be a good example to her friends. I want to have lots of fun adventures with her and Kendyl after my mission and I hope that they will not be too cool for me. I miss both of them and Joel and Shaun like crazy haha. The pic of Joel shucking the corn was hilarious the other week and I just wanted to hug that boy so badly!! What a handsome silly young man he is haha.
And oh my goodness Tonia Bennett is such an angel. Her reply was ever so sweet and I do not feel deserving of all the blessings I am receiving! I am trying my best but still I lack so many things and Heavenly Father is just so loving and merciful. But not everything here is daisies and roses each day. We have seen many miracles but we also have very hard days. I just don´t like to write about the difficulties and hardships because we are asked not too and also because the good things outweigh the bad anyway. And the tough things are just part of this experience and always help in the end. But I will say this, remember Julian? I don't even want to write about this because you and Tonia both mentioned what a blessing it was to have the experience with him. And it was a miracle I know it! But the news is that we have not seen him since that day that he accepted to be baptized on the 15th. I don´t understand it and hope it is not anything we  did because honestly it was a miracle and the spirit was so sweet while we were teaching him. I don´t know what happened but I have been praying to find him and get in contact with him. So that has been very rough on us. One thing I have noticed on my mission is the intense power that Satan had. Of course God´s power is stronger and perfect and I have seen that power on my mission as well. But I have also seen the power of Satan more on my mission than any other time in my life and it is so hard. I know that missionary work is how the Lord´s kingdom is going to grow and that Satan knows that as well and he is trying so hard to stop it. I learned something new about faith this past week and how strong it is. So as a companionship we have been praying to find people that are prepared and ready to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have fasted lots, prayed lots, and done lots in order to find these people. And here is the thing: God knows where these people are. They are His children and He knows them perfectly. He knows what they are doing, their circumstances, everything. He knows where they are. And of course He wants them to have the Gospel and accept Him and the Lord because this is the only way they can receive eternal life. And this is His work and glory. I know that if God wants something to happen, it will happen. But I have also learned that we need faith. In 1 Nephi chapter 7 verse 12 it says: Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him. This scripture says that He is able to do all things according to his will...if it so be that they exercise faith in him. God has a will and a way, but we need to have faith in the things we are seeking. We have been seeking people who are elect and we are only going to find them if we have the faith to do so. I want to hurry tell a few experiences. We are teaching the Salcedo family. This family was another miracle and I really hope that something happens with this family! Something meaning baptisms and the lot! We had a cita with an investigator but he was not there. A man looked down at us from the building and asked who we were looking for. We called up to the man that we were looking for Miler. He said that miler was sleeping. He asked who we were and so gladly and trying to talk loudly because he was maybe two stories up, we introduced ourselves as missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I asked his name and he told me Jonathan. He said that he was going to come down. We waited for a bit and he came down and talked to us and invited us  in. We were with a member so we were able to enter. We met his family. He has a wife but they are not actually married, and three children. One is in Peru and the other two live with them. One is 9 and the other 6 I believe. We taught them the first lesson and towards the end my companion and I just started crying and I didnt´t know why except for the fact that I felt the spirit so strong! We hadn´t really taught the lesson too differently than normal but I felt different. And it was because of this next part of the experience I believe. Jonathan told us that when he was up on the balcony and we were down below, he felt somethings inside of him telling him to come down and talk to us. He said that there had been many other people like us (maybe different religions) come to him but he never had allowed anyone into his home until this night. Oh my goodness I was just blown away once again at the work of the Lord. This was a miracle! And I don´t tell it to boast and hope it does not sound that way. It was ALL THE LORD AND THE SPIRIT. Jonathan felt the spirit telling him to come down, it had nothing to do with us. We are only instruments in the Lord´s hands and He does everything. He makes the changes in people. I love this family so much! Maritza who is the mom just had her new born baby yesterday and we went to visit them in the hospital! It was so great and was a wonderful experience. I want to tell more about this family and will do it next week because time is up! But I know that it is the Lord that is allowing these miracles to happen and although there are many hard times and rough experiences, He always blesses us with things like this and I am so thankful! I need to do more for Him because I do not feel deserving of the things He has given me. I know that this is His church and gospel and that people are going to change because of it.Love you all so much and thank you for everything! Especially your examples and testimonies that have stayed with me and helped me on my mission greatly.

Hermana Syphus :)