" And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again."
Alma 5:49

Thursday, September 18, 2014

So, I'm not in the US anymore

The above picture is of Quito.  I was there for a few days as I entered Ecuador.

Now, I`m in the coast in a city called Esmereldas. It`s really hot here, I`m sweating like crazy. I hear that stops after the first few days once your body adjusts. Right now I`m just trying to drink a ton of fluids. 

My "padre misional" (trainer) is Elder Mazzerelli. He is from Chile and he is an awesome trainer. I`m really enjoying being here with him, I`ve already learned alot and I know that he can help me become a truly powerful missionary if I choose to listen to him. He speaks a little English, but less than I do Spanish.

The food here is really good, lots of fish, rice, and soup. I like it alot. The weirdest thing I`ve eaten so far is chicken-foot soup... it was pretty intersesting, but I enjoyed it. 

We live in a third stroy apartement that is one of the nicest homes I`ve seen while I`ve been here. Other than the church and super market, I don`t know if I could name a nicer place to live.  Scary thing is, it still doesn`t compare to anything in the US. We found a little lizard today that was living behind our trash can, that suprised me a little.

There are dogs and cats everywhere here. Katelyn, my little sister, would love it (except we are supposed to get near them in case they are rabid). 

My Spanish is alright. The people understand when I speak, and for the most part, I can say what I want. The only problem is I have very little idea what they are saying. We will be in lessons, and my companion will speak 90% of the time because I dont know how to answer the questions that I haven`t understood in the first place. 

I love the people here, they are really receptive. Almost everyone that we talk to is willing to let us come and speak with them. The only problem is they have a really hard time to keep commitments. 

Yesterday we were walking down the street contacting, and we decided to talk a family that was in their casa. (It turned out that we mostly taught three "hermanas" who are friends and one of their sons. Despite the fact that I have limited Spanish, I felt the Spirit during the lesson. I was actually able to participate more than I had in any other lesson, I felt the Spirit alot during the lesson, and I know the Lord can help me teach those He has prepared.

I am so grateful for the Atonement. I know that this work is not going to be easy (that`s why they call it work). Yet, I also know that there is nothing greater that I can be doing with my life. Even though this is the hardest thing I`ve done in my life, I know that the Lord will give me the strength. I love the scripture Phillipians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". These two years will be the hardest of my life, yet I also know they will be the Best Two Years for my life. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Made it to Ecuador

I made it to Ecuador. I´m really tired, and I´ve been wearing the same clothes for 32 hours. It was great to talk to you last night... hopefully nobody´s too tired for school today.

The city of Quito is a lot drier than I thought it would be... reminds me a little of Beijing when we visited (except a few more mountains). That´s probably because they are about to end the rainy season.

Talk to you again soon,
Elder Bahr"

Monday, September 8, 2014

As I Complete My Training

"Today, I leave the CCM in Mexico City to go to my mission in Ecuador. The CCM has been a wonderful experience for me, and I would like to share with you one of the biggest lessons that I have learned here. 

I would like to center my message around the scripture Matthew 11:28-30. It reads, 

28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 29 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.  
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The first thing I learned from reading this scripture is that Christ is always there, and that he wants to help us. He has suffered for us that we might not have to suffer. Alma, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, taught this about this about our Savior,  " And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people." (Alma 7:11) Because of Him, we can overcome the trials that face us in this life. I have felt this power in my own life. I know that every struggle I have ever had, whether it was at school or on the track, it has been He that has helped me to get through it. And I know that He can help you too if you are willing to come unto Him.

This leads to my second observation... to receive His help, we must also act. We cannot sit idly by and expect for him to do everything. He is willing to help, but He does not come to us, rather, we must come unto Him. This requires that we come before him being "meek and lowly of heart". This process is called repentance. Repentance is when we show sorrow to God for the things that we have done, and the opportunity to repent is one of God´s greatest´s gifts. 

If you don´t believe me, consider this. Without repentance, we could not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Isaiah taught us this about what happens when we apply the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." But, just like our bodies can´t be clean without actually using the soap, our souls can´t be clean without actually repenting. And if we are not clean, we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. (See 1 Ne. 10:21, 15:34, Alma 7:21, 11:37, 40:26, Hel. 8:25, 3 Ne. 27:19) 

I would that all men would partake of the joy that comes from repentance. Alma explains the change repentance brought to his life in the chapter 36 of Alma in the Book of Mormon. A little background. As a young man, he "went about... seeking to destroy the church of God" (verse 6). He was visited by an angel, who boldly commanded him to "seek no more to destroy the church of God" (11). He was struck with "such fear and amazement" that he completely lost the ability to move (11). He says, "And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.
And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!" (16-20).
I know that we all can feel the same joy and peace that Alma was able to feel. I know that we can each become clean as we humble ourselves before the Lord. I know that through His help our weaknesses can become strengths. I have seen this in my own life, and I know that it is true. I would that you all would follow the advice of the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni and "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God." (Moroni 10:32). 

I love you all, and I hope that you each can feel the truthfulness of my message. And I testify that as you kneel before God in prayer, humbling yourself before him, asking with faith, he will show the truth of these things unto you."
Elder Bahr

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fun & Learning

This week has been really fun. On Friday night, the power turned out as we were getting ready for bed. My companion, who was showering at the time, thought we had just flipped the breaker in our room, and wasn´t very happy. We had a little district party in our room until the power came back on. The funniest part was when Elder C thought he heard something outside, so he went to go check it, and Elder V snuck up behind him and scared him. Elder C chased him back to the room and threw his water bottle at him. We were all laughing so hard. 

On Sunday, we heard an old devotional from President Scott about prayer. He talked about how we can have a personal interview with our Father in Heaven any time we want, and we should treat it as such. I´ve really been focusing on making my prayers more personal, and I can definitely see the benefits in my life. I feel the Spirit more, and I am able to see the things that I need to work on. 

I leave the CCM really early Tuesday morning, and then it´s off to the real work.  It's a little scary, but I´m really excited for it at the same time. 

I love you and miss you, and I hope all is going well,
Elder Bahr