Elder Bahr skyped home on Christmas Day. Here a couple tidbits of what he had to say.
" 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."
Sunday, December 13, 2015
My week was really good! I am finding joy in my service. I know that the missionary work that I am doing here is more that just sharing a few lessons. I know that the Gospel can lift the down-trodden and depressed. It brings hope into our lives in times of trial, and it helps us to fully comprehend the love that the Lord has for us. I know that He loves us, and He wants to give us His greatest blessings.
Even with all of the meetings and the craziness of December, we were able to teach a family this week, the B. Family. The dad is 24 and less-active. The mom is 21 and investigating the church. They have a daughter that is 11 months old, and are currently not married. When we first started visiting them a few weeks ago, they wern´t getting along very well. We began to invite them to start doing the daily little things that allow us to have the Spirit in our home. Now, they pray together every morning and night, and are reading the Book of Mormon as a couple. There is a huge change in their home, and I testify that "by small and simple things great things are brought to pass."
Life here in Quito is going great! This week we had a ton of meetings, so we were running around like crazy. On Tuesday we helped with a Christmas lunch (I love the food :) and on Thursday we got to help with a Christmas dinner (it ended at about 11:30pm). During the White Elephant exchanges, I came away with a sweet hat and a new tie. It was a pretty solid week :). On Friday, we had the Verification of the new missionaries and trainers, which meant we got wake up at about 5:30 to prepare the breakfast and all that fun stuff. I was exhausted. But, I love being able to serve the missionaries, and I hope that what I am doing is helping them to work more effectively.
Posted by Bahr Family at 8:09 PM
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Note from Hna. Williamson, mission secretary: "Elder Bahr and Elder Leifer were so excited to see their great taste in ties!! Elder Bahr is a very fantastic missionary. We really enjoy him here."
Throughout all of the craziness of this week, I felt rather calm and I know that the Lord was helping me to complete everything that I needed to do. Ever since I have gotten here, I have noticed how much I need His grace in my life. I am far from perfect, and I need His help in everything that I do. He gives me the strength that I need, and he will help me as I put my trust in him.
We are currently teaching a single mom (Elizabeth N.) and her 16 year-old daughter (Alejandra). The mom was baptized over 30 years ago, and soon after fell away from the church. Her daughter did not know much about the church until just a few weeks ago. They have a friend who is a returned missionary that currently lives in the US. She invited them to attend a couple of weeks ago, and they accepted. The mom, who had been asking to find the truth for a couple of months now, felt like she was able to find an answer. We started to teach the family, and the daughter currently has a baptismal date for the 17th. They read in the Book of Mormon every day, and truly have been prepared to receive the gospel. I know that the Lord is preparing people for us to teach, and as we keep searching for them, we will be able to find them and help them come unto Christ.
Posted by Bahr Family at 7:20 AM
Sunday, September 6, 2015
Sorry we've haven't posted an update in a while. Here's a condensed version of the past few weeks:
Mom: "Elder Bahr, tell us about the volcano we've been hearing about in the national news. It's just south of Quito."
Elder Bahr: "About the volcano, not much. We´re just supposed to buy extra water in case it becomes a problem to get some. The volcano is far enough away from us that it isn´t causing any problems. Life here is going well, and I am enjoying the service."
(Yep, that's pretty much all the volcano news we've gotten from him. The latest from the mission president's wife included the above pic and message below. Glad to know he and all the other missionaries are in good hands.)
From Sis. Richardson, "Cotopaxi from our balcony is indeed active. As I've mentioned, we are not in its path, but we are providing emergency training, goggles and masks (in addition to the food, hygiene, and first aid kits they already have in 72 hour kits) in case it erupts."
In the meantime, Elder Bahr has been busier than ever with working, learning, teaching and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"I´ve been learning alot, and I´ve definitely been seeing alot of my weaknesses. Hoping that will help be to both be more humble and to also improve in the areas that I need to work on.
I´ve been reading the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nephi these past couple of days for our Book of Mormon challenge. This morning, I read a scripture that I really liked. It is in 2 Nephi 20:15. It says:
Shall the aax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself as if it were no wood!
This scripture helps me to remember that we are only tools in the Lord´s hand. Everything that we accomplish is because of Him, and we should recognize Him when we see miracles in our lives, both big and small. As we do so, we will focus on the good things we have in this life, and we will be blessed with the guidance of the Spirit."
Posted by Bahr Family at 6:49 PM
Monday, June 29, 2015
Hey guys! I am really enjoying my time here in Ecuador. I love the people here, they are super open and loving. They live humble lives, and understand that happiness come from things bigger that those of this world. The food here is really good, especially in the coast where I am right now. Lots of fried fish! :)
During my time here, I have really grown to feel the love that the Lord has for me. I know that we have a Father in Heaven, that He loves us and wants the best for us. I know that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, here to earth to free us from the bonds of sin and death and to teach us the way back to Him. I know that as we follow His teaching, we will find happiness here in this life, and eternal life in the world to come.
He has a plan for us, and He knows how to help us overcome the challenges we face. Even though this life is not perfect, we can find joy and hope through Jesus Christ. I hope that each one of you knows that there is someone that knows how to help you through your trials. If we trust in Him, He will lift and strengthen us.
Wishing you all a great summer (yea, I know, it`s a little late:) and hoping that life continues to go well for everybody!
Posted by Bahr Family at 6:54 AM
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
(Note from Elder Stephen Bahr's mom: his birthday is on Friday, June 5th. The packages we have sent in recent months have not been getting through. For those who would like to wish him a "Happy Birthday", please email him at email@example.com - I know he'd appreciate it!)
Right now, we are teaching a couple of families and I am really excited! First off, is the L. B. Family, and they are just great. It is a mom (45ish) and her two daughters (23 and 17). The "husband" of the mom and the husband (they`re actually married!) of the older daughter work in Quito, and so we don`t know them yet. They are going to be coming out at the end of the month, and we are looking forward to talking to them as well. They are preparing to be baptized on the 6th of June (it`ll be a pretty sweet birthday present :). They are all progressing really well, just hoping that every thing goes well with the husbands.
Update: Yes, they are still planning on being baptized the 6th. I`m really excited for it. The family is showing great faith as they try to overcome the trials that they are facing. Their 18 year old gas stove died last weekend. They are cooking with charcoal right now. Hoping that they can get something better here soon. Just makes me think of how grateful I am for all that we have in the States. But, despite the challenges, they continue to attend church, read in the Book of Mormon, and smile. They are great examples to me, and I can`t wait for the 6th. It is going to be a truly wonderful day. They are all really excited to make this covenant with the Lord, and I`m really excited to be a part of the process. The mom has asked that I baptize her, my companion will be baptizing one of the daughters, and Elder T. (the district leader) will be baptizing the other.
We are also teaching the R. V. Family. They were a reference from the L. B. Family. It is a single mom with three kids (24, 21, and 19) and they too are really excited to be able to learn. They currently have a date for the 13th of June. The only challenge for them will be attending church. They live about 15 minutes from Quinindé (in bus) and they also seem to enjoy their social lives on the weekend :) But, I know that if they have the desires, the Lord will help them to come to church and receive and answer to their prayers. Just have to help them feel the Spirit and gain their own testimonies.
We are also teaching the M. C. Family. This family is a husband and wife (again, they`re married!) with two small children. The wife is progressing really well (her brother is a recent convert here, and he`s been helping alot). The husband has great desires as well, the only problem is he has to work on Sundays. We are praying that he will be able to find a new job so that he too can attend and they can begin down the path that will lead them to an eternal life together.
Update: The M. C. Family has been listening to us for a few weeks now. The wife has come to church a few times and absolutely loves it. The husband is really progressing as well, especially when it comes to the Book of Mormon, but given he works on Sundays, he can`t attend. This week, we were able to share with them a little bit about the Sabbath Day. He told us that he was looking for a new job so that he too can attend church. He told us that he trusted that the Lord will help him, and that according to His timing he would be able to attend as well. I`m really excited for this family, and I can see their progress. I know that as we trust in the Lord with patience and faith, we will be able to see miracles. I am most definitely seeing one in the life of this family.
We are also teaching several other families and we are very excited for everything that the Lord is giving to us right now in Quinindé.
These are pictures from our recent district activity and bus trip to meet with Pres. Richardson. Having a great time with those that I get to serve with.
Posted by Bahr Family at 7:14 AM
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Elder P. went home this past week. My new companion's name is Elder F. His trainer was Elder P. about 20 months ago. He too is from Peru (Lima), and he has three changes left in the mission. His a really cool guy, and I am really excited for the time that we will have to work together.
I really enjoyed General Conference (an opportunity every 6 months we have to hear from our Church leaders) this week. I enjoyed all of the talks but, my favorites where the two by Pres. Uchtdorf and the one by Elder Holland (however, the ones by Elder Renlund and Elder Ringwood really struck home too.) I really liked the general theme of both of Pres. Uchtdorf´s talks; we are obedient and faithful in the Lord´s work, not out of a desire of praise or numbers, but because we love the Lord and love what He did to save us. Elder Holland´s talk was just normal Elder Holland, pure testimony with lots of power :) It was a wonderful way to spend Easter - listening to testimonies of our Savior and how we can draw nearer to Him.
Here's a pic of the "gringos" watching Conference in English. Everyone else was in the chapel watching the Spanish translation.
I know that my Savior lives. I know that He directs His living church, and we need never fear if we are holding fast to His eternal gospel. I know that as we do our best to follow Him, He will make us stronger. I love the Book of Mormon because it testifies so clearly of the purpose of the Atonement. We are not only to go back to Him innocent, as we were before this life, but we are to go back to Him fully developed by His divine grace. I love Him for what He did for me, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to remember Him this Easter season.
Posted by Bahr Family at 8:59 AM
Friday, April 3, 2015
My week was pretty good. I was able to do "divisions" (meaning my companion and I met up with some other missionaries and changed who we were working with for the day) on Friday with an elder from Montana. He has been here less time than I have. It was the first time that I`ve been with someone with less-time that me during divisions. It was nice to be able to talk English and also to see how much I`ve learned to do as a missionary.
I felt pretty focused this week. With my companion so close to going home it`s a little hard, but the Lord`s helping. Definitely feel like He's help me to have the Spirit this week.
Physically everything is going well. Cross Country was very helpful in the preparacion of climbing a volcano every day. Mentally I am doing well. At times Spanish makes me a little tired, but I guess that`s why there are divisions with other "gringos" :) Spiritually I am doing fantastically. My testimony is growing everyday, and I can feel that now I have an even greater desire to talk to the people and help them receive the knowledge the Lord has given me. Emocionally I am fine as well. Doing what I love - what could be better?
To assist me you guys can pray for me and for the people that we are teaching. I know that prayer brings power from heaven, and that is something that every missionary needs.
The M. T. family is a family we've been teaching. We`ve been able to share with them the first two lessons, and they came to church again yesterday. On Saturday, we talked about the Plan of Salvation, and has we were talking about the Atonement, they both shared powerful testimonies of the Savior. I felt the Spirit very strongly. I know that Christ is our Savior, and that through Him we can overcome any difficulty or weakness that we might have. I know that He loves us, and He will always be by our side as long as we strive to keep His commandments.
This week it has started to rain alot more. On Wednesday, we woke up to a rain-storm, and it kept going well into the afternoon. We were walking down the mountain, and we came across a 15 passanger van that had gotten stuck in the mud. The driver was a member of the church that lives in Otavalo, and he was there with what I assume were his mom and his sister. We spent about 25 minutes helping to push them out of the mud. In case you were wondering, this has been my favorite service.
Posted by Bahr Family at 9:11 AM
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
14 Year Old Sister: Are you used to the water flushing the other way?
Elder Bahr: I`m still on the North side of the Equator, so it still flushes the right way. I`ve gotta go to Quito for that to happen.
Sister: What has been you favorite lesson that you have taught so far?
Elder Bahr: My least favorite lesson was the one where a bird pooped on my head. That was not a good day :)
Elder P. and Elder G. laughed really hard about it. The best part was we were teaching about the Holy Ghost and how it descended in the form of a dove. Don`t think that`s what Matthew meant. :)
Posted by Bahr Family at 9:05 PM
Monday, January 26, 2015
Life here in Imbabura is going well. I`ve readjusted to the altitude and am enjoying being able to serve and teach the people here. It`s almost like being in a different world than Esmeraldas. The people are much more conservative and very peaceful. When we go home at 9 every night, there is usually nobody in the street. Learning their native new language is going well. I can now say I know what 2 words mean! (Thank you, and brother). I really enjoy being here and have learned alot. (But, I do miss all of the delicious sea-food that was in the coast.)
While I`ve been here, my testimony of Jesus Christ has grown substantially. My mission president challenged each of us to memorize "The Living Christ" in Spanish. As I have been doing so, I have felt a greater love for all that He has done for me. I know that He lives and that He loves each one of us. Through Him, we can be redeemed from all of our sins and weaknesses if we will just accept His invitation to follow His perfect example. Through Him, we can find new beginnings and hold fast to the hope of a better world to come. Here on the mission, I`ve grown to see my own weaknesses, yet I know that as I do as He asks of me, He can make of me something greater than I ever could imagine.
I hope that you guys are all doing well, and I thank you for your prayers and support while I am here doing the Lord`s work! Have a great week everybody!
Posted by Bahr Family at 3:04 PM
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Life is going well. It`s most definitely a lot colder here than it was in the coast. (I`m finally putting the sweaters to good use :). We have an electric shower head that is supposed to heat up the water, but it`s broken. But that`s ok, our bathroom "window" is a hole in the wall, which makes showering at 7am all the more fun :) (Did I mention that I`ve started to use the sweaters).
Other than the fact that showering isn`t very fun, the house is really nice (for Ecuadorian standards... won`t quite make it into the Challenger lineup :). The walls are cinder-blocks that have been coated in cement and then painted. We have an avocado tree in our front "yard". Maybe they`ll be ripe by the time that I leave.
Our sector is at the base of a volcano. To walk to the top of the sector it takes about an hour (did a mention that it`s all up hill). We go there about everyday. It was cloudy today, but I`ll try to send a picture of the volcano next week. It rains a little more often here, but it isn`t too bad. I have my umbrella and my shoes are doing great.
My companion is from Peru. He has two more changes left in his mission. He has a really great knowledge of the scriptures and is very good at using them to respond to the concerns of the people. I`m excited to be able to learn from him and his strengths.
The food here isn`t too bad. Yes, it`s lots of rice and potatoes, but I`ve gotten used to it. Haven`t eaten anything too wierd yet (still waiting for the cow-foot soup). So far the worst has been heart. It was ok. (The members gave it to us at like 8:30 at night. I ate my in like 10 minutes. My companion stalled for a little while and then used the excuse of "we have to be back at the house on time" to get out of eating his.) Oh, and yes they do eat guinea pig here. It is supposed to be somewhat of a delicacy. Next week I`ll try sending a picture of some live ones for Katelyn, and maybe a cooked one for dad.
Here are pics fo the food. Heart, and then a fried corn thing called tostado. It`s really good, and the people here eat it with almost every meal.
Here are pics fo the food. Heart, and then a fried corn thing called tostado. It`s really good, and the people here eat it with almost every meal.
The work here is going along well. The people here are a little less open than the people in the coast, so it is hard to find new investigators, but those that we do find progress more easily. Right now that are several converts here in the ward, including a family that was baptized just a few months ago. The dad was telling us about how before he started talking with the missionaries he and his brother would go and get in alot of fights. He said that one time is was almost killed during one of the encounters. He then said how much of a change the Gospel has made in his life and the life of his family. Hearing about their conversion makes me want to find and help convert "my own" family. There are a few investigators that have potential here, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to help them be able to progress towards baptism, and more importantly, toward the temple.
I love you all and I hope that you have a great week.
Posted by Bahr Family at 9:33 AM
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Well, I`m getting transfered. I`m going to San Roque in the Imbabura East zone. It is in the "Campo", or the field. It is one of the more rural parts of the mission. Apparently their lunch is a giant mountain of rice. Oh, and most of the people speak the native language of Quichua (and Spanish). Quichua is the more popular of the two, and I`m told most of the church meetings are in Quichua. So, yea, that`s what`s up. It`s gonna be fun.
Here`s a pic with the O. Family. They are really great. The son will be leaving on the mission in a few months, and the mom always gives us something to eat.
Posted by Bahr Family at 10:58 AM