Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Week 53 Layco District, El Salvador (Zone Leader)-July 25, 2016

Livin on a Prayer

Hey! So this week was awesome! A lot happened but i have a lot of pictures to send so i will make it a little brief. My companion and i were flying around this week because we had two interchanges with the district leaders. On Tuesday I stayed in the area with Elder Rubio (from Honduras (we even got some comida hondureƱa, baleadas)) and on Thursday i worked with Elder Castellanos (from Guatemala) also in the area. We were able to get a lot of work done those two days and saw many miracles. One of the best things was that when i was with elder rubio, Michelle agreed to be baptized and was baptized on Friday! The best way to celebrate my one year milestone with a baptism! And the baptism was great! Her grandmother (not a member) even came and at the very end her grandfather (inactive member of 21 years) surprised her and came as well. they both were crying and sooooo happy! at the very end we even had planned to sing Families Can Be Together Forever so it was perfect and so spiritually powerful. She was even able to go with the ward youth to visit the temple on saturday (not enter of course). Unfortunately, she didnt come to church yesterday so we werent able to have her confirmation yet but we are anticipating to continue with her for the next sunday. overall it was a great week. this is the last week of the change so we are buckling down to get a lot of work done. i am planning to go and work in my first area of layco again this week on interchanges so that will be fun. we will also be having a baptism for this little girl nicole on saturday so pray that everything goes well for that service. i hope you all have a great week as well! love you all!

Pupusa Count: 32
Baptism for Dennis! (July 15)

With his mom and Michelle

Baptism Selfie!

Overlooking part of our area

Michelle's baptism! (with family)

Michelle's baptism! (as companionship)

As always, baptismal selfie
baptismal service selfie ft. julie (la investigadora fiel)

just before the service selfie ft. michelle
with the whole family
just after baptism
it rained buckets so we used appropriate hair drying methods

with the youth and familias martinez y amaya
more jovenes selfie

celebratory 1 year edance

they got me cake and rubbed my face in it!

such love
burning that 1 year shirt!

it went up in flames crazy fast

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Week 52 (ONE YEAR!) Layco District, El Salvador (Zone Leader)-July 18, 2016

Am I Nothing?

Hey guys! We had a baptism this week! Dennis got baptized! The bad news is that literally 4 days before he got baptized we found out that his mom is in fact a less active member of the church (we had only talked to her like twice before and she never mentioned it) so the baptism didnt count for the mission because he is only 8. But hey, he still got baptized! It was awesome and his mom came and is happy to be included in the church again and i think it will help his older sister michelle a lot to decide to get baptized as well. this past week we had a whole lot going on. leadership meeting, interviews with president and hermana adams, and also our zone meeting. very busy week. well as some of you may be able to notice (if you have a calendar and/or are interested in the time i have been out) i will be hitting a year this week. As I already hit a point where I have actually less than a year left on the mission, I have definitely been thinking about what is it that i lack to allow this last year of the mission to be the most productive and beneficial for my life. one of the greatest realizations that i made in all of this, and a topic that has almost haunted all of my studies for the past week or so, is charity. Charity. what greater gift than charity? I have read and pondered and analyzed and prayed over this for quite some time. I have studied and learned much. Especially from one group of scriptures in particular. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7. (you can look it up to save me the time of copying it all down). But just look at that. Is there a more powerful scripture written that can cause man to reflect more on his pitiful self? To wonder in all reality, Am I nothing? I, as a missionary and as a man, can talk with the Spirit. I can speak another language. I can give all of my strength and time to the work of the Lord. I can sell my goods and give to the poor. I can sacrifice my very body and life to save another or for the cause which I stand for. But if i have not charity...I. Am. Nothing. But here is something more. Charity is a very, very delicate thing. Notice the qualities of charity. And reflect. How imperfect are we? How close to nothingness are we? Charity suffereth long! How long have we suffered? How long are we willing to suffer? If it is not long, it is not charity. Patience is a factor. Charity is kind! Speak unkind words, lose charity. Act unkindly, lose charity. Charity envieth not! Love yourself, or lose charity. Envy not, or lose charity. Charity vaunteth not itself! Humility, or lose charity. Be not boastful. Charity seeketh not her own! Be selfless, or lose charity. Be self-centered, and lose charity. Charity is not easily-provoked! Anger is not charity. Frustration and malice is not power. It is weakness. Sister Wutkee once wisely taught me (and my mother may remember as well since she was present in this chat) that anger is not an emotion. It is in fact a reaction to an emotion. Reaction to fear, disappointment, annoyance, etc. Again, be not patient, lose charity. Stir yourself to anger, lose charity. Charity thinketh no evil! How fickle are our minds? How easy is it for us to just think bad on someone else? What harm could it actually do if they know not? Think evil, lose charity. Charity rejoiceth in the truth. Rejoice. We have the truth. If there is one key in life to really be like our perfect Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I am personally convinced that it is charity. The all-encompassing trait of our Redeemer. Now I can in no way say that the path to acquiring charity is easy. In fact, I could say that this attribute would take a lifetime to attain. But I have a year left. And this is my goal. My mission will profit me nothing, I will be nothing, if i have not charity. Do not be disappointed, I will not be perfectly charitable in a year. No one can. But, if I can just be more charitable through all that i accomplish and endure in the mission, my joy will be full. So now the invitation is to join me. Please join me in my own quest for perfection. Our quest for charity. I know that it is worth it. I know that it is hard. Perfection and salvation are not easy. But that is why the reward is so great. I will hit a year this Friday, but my new vision and quest has already begun. Let today be the starting point for your new goals and visions. We mustn´t wait. I love you all very much. Thank you for all of the love and support this past year. I look forward to what more we have to learn in this next one. Have a great week!
Elder Abilez

Pupusa Count: 23

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Week 51 Layco District, El Salvador (Zone Leader)-July 11, 2016

Weekend as an AP

So the biggest thing from this past week is that all day friday and saturday we had interchanges with the assistants. i went out with my bud elder leslie to his area so i lived the life of an AP. i didnt actually do anything that an AP does but i was there for the ride. and by ride i mean the errands trip we had to make all the way across the mission and back early in the morning saturday. the life of an AP is tough sometimes haha. But it was a great experience and my companion and i really learned a lot. One of the greatest things that i learned this week is the importance of consecrating yourself as a missionary. really huge miracles can be performed when your whole being is devoted to the work. But it certainly is not an easy task. Just imagine, an innocent thought or comment about home or your life before or after the mission literally takes your mind off the work for even just a moment. Consecration completely requires abstinence from even simple things like that. It isnt an impossible feat but it isnt completely easy. I do not expect to ever be completely consecrated to the mission (i am a very imperfect man after all), but the value of being that kind of missionary is extremely high. And we can be consecrated members as well. The church is not just a church. It is not just where we go to feel good and pump us up. It is a way of life. It is THE way of ETERNAL LIFE. and so, it makes sense to consecrate yourself to this church, to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That isnt to say that we shouldnt enjoy life or the things that the Lord has given to us in this world, but rather we should be more anxiously engaged in the cause and look to consecrate us just a little more. Imagine what could happen if instead of sleeping in an extra 10 minutes every day we read our scriptures for 10 minutes. Imagine if instead of watching our favorite show for 40 minutes we served our neighbor. Imagine if instead of playing games we planned a great family home evening. Now this is advice from a hypocrite. I am one who lived my whole youth sleeping in an extra 10 minutes, catching all my favorite shows at their debut times, and definitely enjoyed playing games. But for that purpose we just need to bind together and make this a reality. Consecrate ourselve more to the cause of the Lord and see what great good we can do in the world. Because really there is no greater good than this gospel. That we might be better servants of the Lord this week. I love you all! Salud!

Pupusa Count: 18

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week 50 Layco District, El Salvador (Zone Leader)-July 4, 2016

It's good to be free (from sins)

Hey happy 4th of July! I hope all of you in America are enjoying the festivities and staying safe. Those of you who arent in America (I honestly dont know where anyone is these days) I hope you will get to celebrate in some way today. This last week was great! But also like bittersweet. President and Hermana Hintze are now Brother and Sister Hintze back home in Utah. But on Friday we had our Multi zone and met President and Hermana Adams. To be frank, I absolutely love those two. They both brought in a great, unique spirit that i know is going to bless the mission immensely. they are both just spiritually impressive people. also, during the meeting i realized something that i hadnt really thought of before because president and hermana hintze were always just seasoned in the mission since i arrived. but the call to be a mission president is absolutely inspired and such a huge sacrifice and leap of faith. president adams was working when they received the call and sister adams doesnt speak a word of spanish. they have a huge family-17 grandkids with an 18th on the way next month. all of that they left behind for 3 years to direct an entire mission of nearly 200 missionaries. their faith is huge and a great example for me. president adams spoke a lot during the meeting about the importance for us to share and always use the book of mormon in our teaching. im embarrassed to say that it was a wake up call for me because i have realized that i havent been using the book of mormon as much as i know i can or should as a missionary with our investigators. i invite you all now to have a similar wake up call if you are at all faltering in your appreciation of the book of mormon. it is an inspired book. it is the keystone of our religion. and it is unique to us. a precious gift from God. Reread the introduction to regain an understanding of what the Book of Mormon really is and means for us. This past week i was also blessed to have been able to finish reading it again. I know now more than ever that that book is true and the word of God. And now, I am more desirous to share this great treasure to more and more people. I hope that in your new studies of the Book of Mormon you can also all feel inspired to share this book with others. Friends, family, colleagues, strangers. All people deserve to have this treasure in their lives. The Lord will direct you. Even if you dont have success in sharing so to speak, your faith will be rewarded. In regards to the title...today we are gonna have a baptism! it is a baptism for the ward because today is the little girl´s bday but we will be helping out with the baptism. what a great day to be baptized! truly a day of liberty. Love you all so much and hope you have a great week!
Elder Abilez

Pupusa Count: 11

last picture with president and hermana hintze

my posterity! and it is even bigger now! (4 children, 4 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild not all seen in this picture)

cool beetle that was crawlin around our house the other day

Dem pupusas (clearly i'm on a diet with just 2 here...)

President and Hermana Adams!