Monday, December 21, 2015

It was there. I felt it.


Family!
"Ohhhhh what a beautiful morning oh what a beautiful day!" HAHA Seth left me one of his cards he used on his mission and it has that on it. SETH, BY THE WAY I LIKE YOUR CARDS A LOT. They are great tools to remember important things. Bueno pueessss. There is good news - we baptized this week! and confirmed him! His name is Christian and yes he is Christian. He is a way awesome man. He hails from JERSEY. He speaks English pretty well. So we taught him the lessons in English. It all happened so fast. There have been years and years of missionaries working with Christian. He had a few difficulties so he just never wanted to be baptized. He got married and then the same day set his own baptismal date. He was a prepared man. That in itself is a testimony that the Lord is preparing the hearts of men. There are some good people progressing in our area. The Hernandez family came to church. They came! We taught them the doctrine and they lived it! I love that.  I felt the spirit in the confirmation of Christian. I finished the first set part of the ordinance and when I came to give a blessing I didn't know what to say. Then words just started to come out from my mouth. I love what Seth wrote me the other day saying he wished he would have fasted more. That letter came in to my mind on Friday so I had fasted to have the spirit during the confirmation. It was there. I felt it. I happy that I was able to feel that and be apart of that experience. Fasting and prayer works! 
 
I love you guys! I hope you get to see the great new videos of Christ's birth the church has.

Elder Neifert
 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Edwin Baptism

Greeting,
I love reading your letters too! I'm glad you are not worried. Its a lot less dangerous than what everyone says. God really does protect us when we keep our promises. We don't have His promise outside of His guidelines.
 
There aren't too many people writing consistently probably because I don't write consistently. People have written and I don't get to responding the same day so I put it off and off until I have forgotten. So I'm just behind. What do you think I can do to be better at writing more people during the 1 and 15 I have?
 
 
This was a good von (one)! We baptized Edwin. A youth who has family in the church. It was a great experience! Now we are looking ahead at a another awesome guy Christian who is practically begging to be baptized! He is super prepared. He's gone to church for a long time but just wasn't married. He finally got married and now he is progressing a bunch. Its awesome to see the fruits of the labors I gave a few months ago. Now its time to seed for the next year! Its such a blessing to see the harvest.
I will be here in San Marcos for the next change! Whoop WHOOP! I'm actually happy about it. Its because I know there are people still here for me! We made some pizza! Homemade crust and every-thang. It was way good!
 
I was also Jose Smith This week! We had an activity were we re-enacted parts of the Gospel! It was uncomfortable at first, but I could do it again. Lots of people wanted pictures with Jose Smith! bahaha
 
ANYWAYS, I LOVE YOU GUYS!
 
 
ELDER NEIFERT

Monday, November 30, 2015

3 in 1 Prayer

Greetings!

My new companion, Elder Clawson has right now about 18 days in the mission. It's going pretty good here. This week we visited these old ladies which live just above our house. They wear this white bandana on their heads for some reason. Anyways they are really sweet. We taught them and a visitor they had about the gospel of Christ. How we need faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and we need to endure to the end to receive the gift of eternal life. They understood and we were able to feel the spirit. Helping us know what to say and helping them understand. Anyways I asked the brother to say the closing prayer. He started sitting down then moved to a kneeling prayer in the middle of it. The two old ladies with white rag hats started chanting also while moving to a kneeling prayer. SO there it was. Three people chanting to Heavenly father simultaneously. The three-in-one prayer went on for a good 5 minutes. I got to wondering if they would ever stop so I just started to say my prayer out loud and made sure to end it with, "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen" so everyone could hear. When I ended they burst out into "AMEN, HERMANO AMEN HALLELULIA!" It was an interesting experience. I learned a few things. I've got to explain how to pray before I ask them. I assumed they knew how to because they are religious. So we've got a topic for the next lesson. PRAYER. 
 
People are coming out of the woodwork! An investigator got married! We went to his wedding held in the church. When he gave his speech he said it was a step towards being baptized. He put a ring on it and we put a baptismal date on it. He is a great guy named Christian. He's from Jersey. He speaks English really well and he is a really good man. We are very blessed. Before I felt like I wasn't seeing the fruits of my labors. This past few weeks I have been seeing the and tasting those fruits. Its a great feeling to be on the front row of the show. Seeing lives change! Seeing the power of the Atonement of Christ working. I love helping people be more happy! I'm happy because they are happy. I love the Lord. My love for Him and my brothers and sisters is the best reason to be out here. The thing everyone needs is truth. The Doctrine of Jesus Christ is truth. How blessed we are to be in the true church with the true doctrine.
 
Spirit up! Its hard to have the spirit when we are afraid! Faith is the answer. Tell me about something funny that happend this coming week! And tell me something spiritual.
 
 
Elder Neifert

Monday, November 23, 2015

Avisai

Greetings,
Hey i got the package! I got it last week. THANK YOU! I just loved everything that you sent! You read my mind with the socks and all! The best way to enjoy a package is to share! I have been sharing all of it with my companion.
This week was really great! We are helping a young man named Avisai get baptized this weekend. He is 18 and he has changed a bunch. I remember when I first got here we went to his house Elder Lauro and I. He didn't want anything to do with the church. He never joined us in the lessons to teach his aunt and he never came to church. Really its a miracle to see how far he has come. Now we talk about serving a mission and really it is something really possible for him. I am amazed at how his desires have changed. His heart has really turned toward the Lord. He has repented of things like all of us need to do and has moved on to new and better things. I'm reading the New Testament right now and I love the story of the woman who is caught committing adultery. The mob brings her to Christ asking what do we do with this woman? By the law of Moses says we should stone her. He says, "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Nobody is without sin, but Jesus, so they left. He tells the woman "Go and sin no more." He invites her to repent telling her he doesn't condemn her. She hadn't repented so he invited her to do so. Like the Apostles or like John the Baptist I've got to call people to repentance. Only as I do the same thing. I cant teach it if I don't live it. 
One thing that my companion and I are doing is we are being different! There are tons of missionaries which do the same contacts, say the same thing, or they follow the crowd of missionaries in many ways. From of working, or planning what they do everyday or going through the motions. Like a good Halloween costume - you've got to be different. Many times maybe we follow the crowd, but we have felt that we should change some things. Visiting members everyday, talking with everyone. Giving out copies of The Book of Mormon everyday. I think we will be see the fruits of our labors in the coming weeks. If not we will change our form of working again. Its awesome! I'm excited to see how this week goes.
I know the Savior Lives. I feel like He stands shoulder to shoulder with me as I suffer. Because He suffered it and knows how to succor me. I know He loves his sheep here. As I remember how much He loves them I am humbled to be here in the mission. I listen to a talk from Elder Packer saying that sometimes the Lord doesn't intend for us to succeed. What He wants is for us to sacrifice. The outcome is what it is sometimes. When you work hard to talk with tons of people and nobody wants to listen it stinks, haha, but many times I don't know the outcome. For instance Avisai. I didn't know or think he would change. But he did.
The church is true and built upon Christ. Not a beautiful building (which we just got). The priesthood is the power of God and the church has it. The keys and the power.

I love ya! Keep on reading. Sometimes I get pretty excited when I read. Its kinda weird. I never thought I would get to into the scriptures! Its something that the Lord has blessed me with. 
Elder Neifert

Monday, November 16, 2015

New Companion: Elder Clawson

Dear Mom,
My new companion is Elder Clawson! He is from Ogden, Utah.   Elder Clawson is very, very humble. He is a little quiet but he really listens. He's working on his Spanish with me. We are learning a lot together. One thing that I've learned form Elder Clawson is how strong a simple testimony can be. I'm not a super good teacher. I have some mistakes but I've seen how a simple conviction of what you say and do can really help bring the spirit and help people see that the gospel is something that I know. That I know through personal experience that is true. 
 
 
Wow! That's pretty awesome you guys got to go to a game!!!!!! (His parents and sister went to a BYU football game) They played in Kansas City. I hope it turned out to be a good game! That must have been your first game which you've been to in a few moons. Did they sing the "Rise and Shout the Cougars are Out" song? That song came to my mind last Monday and another Elder who was from Utah sang it with me because I only remembered "rise and shout the cougars are out...."
 
This week was full of good ups and learning experiences. I never thought I would miss Elder Lopez! Its super weird. He was a really good guy. At the beginning of our 4 and half months together I just didn't see it. He wrote in my journal and what he wrote has helped me through the changes that happen in the mission. Really he is one of my best friends in the mission I'd say. 
 
Anyways this week we had a baptism! We finally were able to baptize Avisai. It was a really great experience. A lot of people came to the service. We had to put off the baptism a few times but it was worth is to wait. It was a really great experience. I feel like Avisai will be a great active member. He plans to go on a mission! He has been reading the Book of Mormon everyday and has been becoming more and more converted despite the adversity. We were able to help him join the church with the help of the Spirit. We couldn't have done anything alone by our own efforts. I just cant wait to see what the future holds for Avisai! He will be able to leave on a mission while I'm still out!
 
I think something that has help me back is fear. We had interviews with Presidente this week and he asked me what kept me from progressing. I told him fear. Sometimes I get caught up in what I will teach or what I will do and it sometimes causes feelings of worry, anxiety, and fear. So that's something that I've been taking out of my system. Fear and faith can be in my mind at the same time. So I've been saying my affirmation! I remember saying it everyday in the car on the way to seminary with dad. Its helped me to be more confident and remember who I am. 
 
I got to here the testimonies of the Elders going home. I love how simple their words were. The best testimonies I heard were about true things. The Book of Mormon, the first vision, the gospel, the church. etc. I could feel that what they were saying was true. It was really great spiritual experience. 
 
I know the church is true. I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is truth. I know the Book of Mormon is true contains the fullness of the Gospel! It was written and translated with our day in mind. God loves us and keeps us safe. We have his promise when we do what he says. I know that my mission president is called of God, with the keys to be here directing the work. I love Jesus Christ. I know he loves me. I have faith that he lived and died for me. I have faith that obeying the commandments and covenants with bring me joy! I know I'm here for a reason in the mission. I know I'm a child of God. I bear my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 
Elder Neifert
 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Cemetary Duty

Ho hola,
This was awesome! Sorry I didn't write yesterday we had a change of p-day because we had to take turns of Dead Guy Duty. Instead of celebrating Halloween the people here celebrate the day of the dead. Everybody goes to the cemetery (which is a stones throw away from our house) and they paint the graves and decorate with fake flowers! It turned out to be pretty awesome. As we planned out where we would put our table we talked with the Caldia or the Department of the City - haha (I think that is what you would call it). We talked with this super funny guy, Eric from Costa Rica who works there. Apparently the elders have talked with him before because he bent over and backwards to help us get the things we need. We didn't pay him either. Anyway he drove us to the cemetery one day to scout our the scene and to everyone that we passed in the street he said, "I'm with the elders, I'm going with the elders. Come and meet them" haha. It was pretty great. Anyways he gave my companion and I a speech about why I should send him money to buy a new car. bahaha I know he was just joking because we laughed about it. At the end he said jokingly, "You will remember me when you go home. You will say, aw I helped so many people but I've got to back and help Eric. You will come back Elder Neifert and you will ask for me but I will be dead." Haha, I thought it was pretty funny. He's a great guy and he reminds me of my old boss at the YMCA. He just talks and gets along with everyone.
Anyway, lets get down to the needy greety. The activity was great. Lots of people were there Sunday and Monday. We were there almost all day Monday. A few members helped out handing out cards and pamphlets of family history. It was a good duty. Bringing the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. We have a bunch of references now to look for and finally teach. I'm pretty excited to see the fruits of the seeds we planted!
Harvesting what we planted. Lots of people don't know where they come from and explaining that they could easily find out (and that it was free) really caught their attention.
Something that brought me joy this week was that I felt like we found people the Lord had planned for us to find. That's a pretty rewarding feeling. That same night when we found a good 5 solid people to teach I saw a comet! It shot across the sky and disappeared. I didn't wish for anything but I got showered by a little star dust. 
 That's great Ryan's coming home! WOOhoo! It doesn't seem like it has been 2 years because it goes by pretty fast. When does Amanda get home!? Its got to be pretty soon as well.
I love you, Thanks for writing me and telling me about your life! I love the pictures that you send! I've got to find a way to download them! haha 
Spirit up,
 Elder Neifert

Monday, October 26, 2015

Avisai

Greetings,

 I got the package! I got it last week. THANK YOU! I just loved everything that you sent! You read my mind with the socks and all! The best way to enjoy a package is to share! I have been sharing all of it with my companion.
 
This week was really great! We are helping a young man named Avisai get baptized this weekend. He is 18 and he has changed a bunch. I remember when I first got here we went to his house Elder Lauro and I. He didn't want anything to do with the church. He never joined us in the lessons to teach his aunt and he never came to church. Really its a miracle to see how far he has come. Now we talk about serving a mission and really it is something really possible for him. I am amazed at how his desires have changed. His heart has really turned toward the Lord. He has repented of things like all of us need to do and has moved on to new and better things. I'm reading the New Testament right now and I love the story of the woman who is caught committing adultery the mob brings her to Christ asking what do we do with this woman? by the law of Moses we should stone her. He says, He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone. Nobody is without sin, but Jesus, so they left. He tells the woman "go and sin no more". He invites her to repent telling her he doesn't condemn her. She hadn't repented so he invited her to do so. Like the Apostles or like John the Baptist I've got to call people to repentance. Only as I do the same thing. I cant teach it if I don't live it. 
 
One thing that my companion and I are doing is we are being different! There are tons of missionaries which do the same contacts say the same thing or they follow the crowd of missionaries in many ways. From working or planning - what they do everyday -  they are going through the motions. Like a good Halloween costume - you've got to be different. Many times we might follow the crowd, but we have felt that we should change some things. Visiting members everyday, talking with everyone. Giving out copies of The Book of Mormon everyday. I think we will be see the fruits of our labors in the coming weeks. If not we will change our form of working again. Its awesome! I'm excited to see how this week goes.
 
I know the Savior Lives. I feel like He stands shoulder to shoulder with me as I suffer. Because He suffered it and knows how to succor me. I know He loves his sheep here. As I remember how much He loves them I am humbled to be here in the mission. I listen to a talk from Elder Packer saying that sometimes the Lord doesn't intend for us to succeed. What he wants is for us to sacrifice. The outcome is what it is sometimes. When you work hard to talk with tons of people and nobody wants to listen it stinks, haha, but many times I don't know the outcome. For instance Avisai. I didn't know or think he would change. But he did.
 
The church is true and built upon Christ. Not a beautiful building - which we just got. The priesthood is the power of God and the church has it. The keys and the power. I love ya! Keep on reading. Sometimes I get pretty excited when I read. Its kinda weird. I never thought I would get to into the scriptures! Its something that the Lord has blessed me with. 
 
Elder Neifert

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pancake Miracles

Hey,
I've had some hard days as well. Its stinks but looking back I wouldn't take away those hard days because I wouldn't have learned so many hard things!
Haha, I love the Shepherds! They are a pretty awesome family. Really they are super cool. I loved visiting them in their house.  They are good Shepherds for the ward  -  super awesome!  
Well I talked about feeding the sheep of Christ yesterday in church. Really there is a lot of room for improvement in this area. There are lots of less actives in our area. People who were baptized and then just fell away nice and slowly. Missing one Sunday then two then, "she gone". Our ward is putting up plans to reach out to those who are sick literally and spiritually. The Elders of Israel are marching on! It's going to be a good week! I'm excited to bring some mo people to church!
This week I've noticed a big change in the relationship with my companion and I and if you would like to know what the difference is its... its...pancakes! Yup. Eat them and weep. We bought a fat bag of pancakes last Monday and we have been eating them everyday! Alright there is more to it. We take turns cooking every day. I cook one day he cooks the other and we share! Its really awesome. We are also reading the new testament together. I think that we just have been blessed with the capacity to love! Its a little cheesy but its true! Really the Lord has changed our hearts. Through our prays and our efforts He has purified us! I've grown to love my companion and I know he has grown to love me as well. We still have mistakes but we are more patient! Really I can see now how the Lord has put things in my life, people, places, and even trials to help me! Its really awesome to be here!!! I love it! There isn't anywhere else that I would be!
My testimony has changed a lot. I think that before when I was went to bear my testimony it was "what will I say?" but know I feel it!  Its not just what I can say to look like I have a testimony its actually what I know and believe to be. My faith has grown! It continues to grow. There won't be a point where I can say "I have arrived".  At least not in this life. Discipleship is the journey! Exaltation is the destination. Our run of life, our testimony, really anything pertaining to the gospel is like a marathon not a sprint. All we have to do is finish with our torch still lit. It's like the Greeks in their marathons. The goal was to cross the finish line - yes,  but they also needed to cross with their torch still lit. Everyday here I have had to defend the church, Jesus Christ, the Gospel and it has helped me. Mutually it has helped everyone. I couldn't grow without people to listen or to reject me. It is necessary. I have found that my testimony in the Savoir has grown more than anything. I love a video we have of Jeffery R. Holland talking about missionary work. He says,"It was never easy for Him so why should it be easy for us?" When we ask why is it hard, is there an easy way out, can I skip the gloomy parts. WE SHOULD REMEMBER THAT SOMEONE A LOT BETTER; MORE PURE; SOMEONE PERFECT ASKED THAT QUESTION A LONG TIME AGO. He asked, Is there another way? Father take this cup from me. But he took it: So maybe we should take it too. Salvation was never a cheap experience. Missionary work isn't cheap either. It requires so much of us. Just as is costed so much for Him. Its symbolism. A token of what He felt. But that is really all it will ever be - a token. It would be wrong to compare our sacrifice to His. To complain of our sufferings compared to His. I know he LIVES. He is the mediator. He the the good shepherd. the son of David! He knows His sheep. And His sheep know Him. He himself has called us. He calls to us. I know it's His work. It is His church. I know he has chosen prophets and apostles today! They know His Will and make it known to us. I know the Book of Mormon is True. It is the keystone of the church, of the doctrine, of our testimonies. I bear my witness that I know these things are true.
These next six months I would like to read a lot. Reading all of the canonized scriptures. I need to finish D&C and Bible. I would like to continue the ponderizing! Throughout my mission. My scripture for this week is Matthew 21: 20 and 21. If you have a favorite talk or something of that sort it would be awesome if you could send them to me. Seth has sent me some and I love them!
I love you! Keep the Faith! It's such a small word that means a ton! Moving a mountain or shrinking a fig tree that doesn't produce fruit. Watch out fig trees here I come!
Pray on!
Elder Neifert

Monday, October 5, 2015

No Transfer

Greetings!
 
Things are going pretty well here in El Salvador. We got a call last night about the next change or the next 6 weeks and my companion and I are going to be together again this next transfer! Woohoo! Its been raining a lot here. Yesterday we look to see the lunar eclipse but the clouds were in the way so we didn't get to see it! I hope you guys got to.
 
Sometimes I've felt like I should have changes. Like I've been in my area a long time, but I read a talk from the June Liahona. I feel like lots of missionaries have thought the same thing. Waiting for the call and knowing that your going to have changes because it makes sense. I've been in my area a long time - 4 and half months. Or I've had the same companion for 3 months, but I think there's something else that I've got to do here before I leave. There is a door that I need to knock or someone including my companion that I need to learn from. Its a humbling experience to see that what I thought was obvious, "I've been here for 4 and a half months. I've got to be changed," Is not what He has planned for me. Knowing that I'm praying that I can find out why I'm here. Sometimes its a little daunting to think and remember, I represent Christ. All the people in my area are depending on me. Heavenly Father has a plan for me and Have I DONE IT? I think my brain has been on overload.
 
Some days its a little hard. I've found that missionary work is pretty hard. Elder Jeffery R. Holland puts it, in a strong convincing voice, "Salvation was NEVER a cheap experience. It was never easy for HIM. Why should it be easy for us?" In one way or another we've got to pay a token. If it can even be called a token of what He paid. I love when he says that when the missionaries feel discouraged they feel all that insufficiency that I've felt trying in my imperfect way to help others come unto Christ, that we are "walking shoulder to shoulder with HIM." I've found myself in some pickles of being discouraged.  So I guess that's what I've been learning. I don't need to be discouraged. Those feelings just take away from my faith.
 
I read this really awesome talk called tasting the light. In this talk he mentions really how blessed we are to live in these the latter days when the spirit has been truly been manifested more than maybe any other dispensation. Really he explains that faith is so much more rich without sight. There are so many examples of people experiencing the glory of God with their senses. That's not good enough on so many occasions. The Israelites, being led by a cloud by day and a cloud of fire by night, receiving manna, receinving water... Laman and Lemuel, with all the experiences they had. So where do we recieve conviction how can we be converted? The Holy Ghost!
 
Someone who's inspired me this week is an Elder who is going home in three days, Elder Clark. He's in my district and he's been a really good friend and example to me of a disciple of Christ. You can just see through his eyes and his actions his testimony. He has true intent. Not like a Pharisee!  I believe its Mathew 23 or 21 verse 27 If you can't find it it just is an explanation of a how people can look pretty on the outside but on the inside they are like a rotten tomb. Anyways... I had the privilege to hear his testimony. The spirit bore witness during his testimony of a few good things I can start to do. I don't remember all of them specifically but I have them written down. He's the kind of missionary I would love to become while I'm here. He's going to BYU and I asked him to look up Seth when he gets back. 
 
I love you guys! I hope you guys enjoy conference! its going to be interesting to see who are the new apostles. Talk about a overwhelming calling.
 
 
Elder Neifert

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Not about the Numbers

Greetings Family,
 
 
I just finished reading ALMA TOO! Wow, Moroni just blows away my mind. How mad he gets defending what he loves. How Teancum kills the king in his sleep, but he dies in the process. I think I might read in English the next time so more can sink into my brain.
 
I did see Parker Hendrix at the multi-mission! I accidentally called him Parker..... It just slipped out of my mouth. He's from the Santa Ana mission, I believe, in El Salvador.
 
I'm really grateful for what you guys are doing behind the scenes. I recognize that maybe you can't measure some of the things we do in numbers and statistics. But the Lord knows. It's something that my companion and I have noticed this week. We count lessons. We count how many new investigators. How many invitations to the church. We then report those numbers and more every night. But some things we can't count. Like testimony, faith, service, showing love and much more. I've been so happy to not only have good numbers this week, but really do some things that the district leader won't know, that nobody in the mission will know. Maybe its just my companion and I or maybe its just the Lord and I. We've helped a lot of people this week. On our way back from church we helped a blind man get to his house. We went to go visit some members who were sick. I remember the quote you sent me from Thomas S. Monson saying that we shouldn't let our purpose keep others from feeling love. Really the numbers don't matter. Its been a really quick week. I think because of the service and the joy we felt honoring our covenant at baptism and our covenant we made taking the sacrament, taking upon ourselves His name.
 
Our mission President is really awesome. He came to our District meeting and talked to us about what really is doctrine and how we can help people understand that the doctrine isn't ours - personally ours. John 7:16 17. It's His. And when people understand whose it is, they feel they should do things because He is inviting, not just two missionaries.
 
 
I love you! I cant wait to hear from you next week. I will keep and eye out for the package. Thank YOU!
 
Elder Neifert

Monday, September 14, 2015

1 Day Old Nicole

Ho ho hola!
 
This week was a good one. Apparently I am getting fatter. Go figure. A couple of members in the ward hear have said to me,"Wow Elder Neifert you are getting more fat!" Other missionaries have told me the same thing. I really don't think so. If it's happening it's because of the papusas. They are super good, and super fattening. I'm turning into a Salvadoreno, eating everything with my hands, talking with my hands, and getting nice and plump. 
 
This week I had a really awesome spiritual experience. I had an interchange with our district leader. So I went to his area and his companion went with my companion in our area. I got to go up in the mountains and see the beach from a far off. But what was much more satisfying was that we were able to visit a family with a brand new baby that had just been born the day before. We just stopped by to talk a little - getting to know them and sharing a message from the Book of Mormon. Throughout this lesson with them I had the strong impression that we should give the baby a blessing. This happened a good 5 times during about 10 minutes of talking. Finally just knowing and having the courage to do what the spirit directed, I asked if they would like us to give the day old baby a blessing. The parents said it would be okay, so I laid my hands on sleeping Nicole's head and gave a blessing. It was by far the most satisfying experience this week. Being able to bless someone who was so small, innocent and pure, who had just the day before been in the presence of our Heavenly Father. As we left their home my district leader said he had the same impression during the lesson. So we shouldn't doubt the spirit! Have the courage to act on what He directs. I'm glad the spirit is here to guide me. Or I would be lost. There is so much joy that I found helping other people. Its so satisfying to know that you have done what the Lord wanted you to do as directed by the spirit. I love the Lord, I love this work and I love the people here!
 
I love you guys, spirit up!
 
Elder Neifert
 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Elder Nelson Visits El Salvdor

Hello Hooville!
Woohoo this week was a scorcher too. Its been hot here since day 1. I think that I won't be feeling cold while I'm here.  I don't know how much in Fahrenheit but its like between 35 and 40 Celsius. It's a beautiful place!  I've been giving ties to people in the ward who don't have ties! Some of them just don't use a tie. But at least they have one! I still have a bunch!  (he asked for donations in ties to take with him before he left on his mission)
 
I really don't know what I need. I'm really alright on everything. Maybe a pair of socks. I like socks, but Mom I'm doing great. I've got what I need over here.
It was just the area in our ward so now we will be the only ones in the ward. Our area is the ward boundaries.
 
 
This is what I ate today! They call it a papusa loca. I has beans, chicken, cheese, and jalapeno. Its was really rico! 
Inline image 1
 
This week was a really good one. Wednesday we went to the Temple with just about half of the missionaries in the Mission. I was really awesome. There is so much that I can learn there. It's a really special place. We also had a baptism on Wednesday! The baptism of Jesus Hernandez. Believe it or not there are a ton of people named Jesus or Savior here. The baptismal service was really good. The primary sang, the relief society sang, and Jesus gave his testimony after his baptism. He is the investigator that had a dream about the Book of Mormon. He's progressed a lot this past month and has been going to church without us calling or stopping by to bring him. Instead he gets to church 30 minutes early so he can be there to greet people.
 Inline image 2
 
This week we also had the privalege to have a meeting with President Russell M Nelson on Friday with all of the three missions in El Salvador present. Around 600 missionaries and an Apostle of Jesus Christ. I was able to sing the the mission choir during the conference. How firm a Foundation - All 7 verses. It was really powerful. We sat on the stand right behind Russell M. Nelson and while we sang he turned around and looked at us from his knees. It was a feeling and experience I wont forget. He also shook our hands. I shook his hand! I told him is was nice to meet him, my name, and where I am from. And he said to me, "Bless your heart." What he said was nice but really his eyes caught my attention. As I looked into his eyes I thought about what he has seen with his eyes. Maybe, probably his eyes have seen the Savior. It was a blessing to hear him speak and hear an apostles witness of the Savior, Jesus Christ. One of the things he said was that the biggest accomplishment a man or woman can achieve is father or motherhood. He talked of marriage a little and of the Abrahamic covenant. He said, "I'm excited every morning to wake up and see what's happening with the gathering of Israel." As missionaries and disciples of Christ we are fulfilling the covenant made with Abraham 4000 years ago. I felt the spirit as he talked and I felt the spirit as we sang the closing hymn "Oh Savior stay this night with me". It was so powerful! My testimony and my faith was definitely strengthened through that experience.
 
 
I love you! I know there are true apostles of Jesus Christ on the Earth! How exciting it is to be here in the last days and to be apart of the work.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"How can I be Baptized?"

This week was a good one. We got a bigger area. There use to be two pairs of missionaries in the ward, but now its just me and Elder Lopez. So our part of the vineyard just doubled in size! It's a good opportunity to talk to new people and find lots more to teach. We are preparing our investigadores for baptism. Jesus Hernandez will be baptized this Wednesday! And a lot of our investigatores went to church. We have found and will continue to find prepared people. This work is pretty exciting! Lots of good people here who need what we have. One person we found named Selia asked us a question that took me back a little. She asked how she could be baptized! That was the first time anyone has said that to me. She's reading the Book of Mormon, and looking to support her family in ways beyond food and shelter. Its one of the tender mercies I've seen this week. Really there are a lot of little tender mercies that have come from the Lord-so many. I gave a talk yesterday and I prepared every word I would say. I got up to speak and I didn't look down once to see my notes. Just to read the scriptures. I talked about the significance of the prodigal son, the missionary objective, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a thrilling experience to be prepared to talk and feel the spirit even though I was a little nervous before. Prior to getting up to talk I offered a simple prayer to help me say what He would have me say, and to comfort me as I talked. It was a testimony builder that He answers my prayers and He comforts me and makes up for my shortcomings. I know there is a God. Every time I look up at the sky I'm amazed at how beautiful and organized everything is. It didn't just happen. Everything is organized with laws. Its what keeps everything in balance. 
 
 
Love,
Elder Neifert
 

Monday, August 10, 2015

David Ayala's Baptism

 I saw someone with a small guitar case and asked if it was a ukulele but it was some other type of instrument. I don't know if I will find one to be able to sing "How can I Be". But if I can't find a uke I will try to learn on the harmonica. I would love that mom! Thank you! But I have been singing! I'm in a mission choir that's preparing to sing for a general authority that will come on the 22. Rumor has it that it be Elder Bednar or Elder Holland.  But I also sang for the baptism of David Ayala and also for sacrament meeting yesterday! I think my voice has changed since I haven't sung in choir for a while.  

 Rebekah! What are your classes like and who are your teachers? Tell me about what you're up to sister Friend! Parkway North is a good place and really there are teachers there that care about your well being which is pretty awesome. Like Mrs. McCorkle or Mr. Johnson, or Mrs. Spanish teacher I forgot her name but it starts with a "t"! There's a lot more. But if I were to do High School over again I would have studied harder! I  I would try to share my testimony more. (READ MY SCRIPTURES AND PRAY EVERY NIGHT) Really it was hard to do that but God loves us and he can talk to us and instruct us through the scriptures. And a simple prayer can change your day. Rebekah I love you! I pray for you every night. I know God loves you more than you can imagine.

We baptized David Ayala! and he's really starting to be more and more auto sufficient. Days after his baptism, we passed by this house and he was inside SHARING THE GOSPEL! We taught him and his neighbor Rafael. Really this is the best was to do missionary work - through the members. In this change we found some good people that came from references the members had for us! Really teaching the friends of the members helps the members and their friends.   They get excited about the gospel and they can find joy in helping someone join the Kingdom of God on earth.

Monday, August 3, 2015

E-mail to his Sister

Hey,
 I've had the thought of writing in my journal lately! I wrote every night in the MTC, but in the field I haven't written at all. I will start today! And I will tell ya all about it.

Yes, I do love to dance on my bed! (his sister and nieces were having a dance party...in which the niece stopped mid dance move and told her mom "Uncle Aaron likes to dance on his bed, mom!")
I bet that was fun! This past week I was eating at a members house and they have two little girls who look just like E and E. It made me think about you guys.

A thought came to my mind - a solution for someone who struggling is reading the scriptures personally. If they do that, they can have a stronger testimony and can receive guidance in turbulent times.  That's how the investigators change their hearts, by feasting on the words of Christ. We had this investigator who was ready for baptism but she doesn't like to read. She's turned down time and time again opportunities to read. Its also one of the factors in menus actives (less actives). 1- they don't go to church, and 2 - almost one hundred percent they aren't reading The Book of Mormon.

I love you,

Elder Neifert

Monday, July 27, 2015

Talking in Chuch, Following the Spirit, and a Tribute to his Mom

Hola,
Wow that ward sounds pretty fun. Haha with his harmonica! That would be a sweet site! Kudos to him! (His mom and sister's family visited Elder Neifert's Grandmother in Santa Fe, where a brother played the harmonica as a part of his talk) I haven't had much time to practice playing the harmonica to much. Sometimes I miss singing in English, and I forget that everyone else is singing in Spanish. There are some hymns where I've forgotten the lyrics in English. Wow that would be a really cool assignment - teaching the atonement.  (In the same ward as talked about earlier, the Missionaries taught Sunday School about the atonement.)  I spoke in church yesterday on prayer for a scrambling 15 minutes. Sometimes I feel like time flies by, but the 15 minutes of discoursando felt pretty long. I talked about the prayer of Nephi to break the bonds his brothers tied him up with and also the prayers of Alma, the prophet, for his rebellious son. Both prayers offered with faith, were contested. Like Moroni 10:4 says when we have a sincere heart, true intention, and faith in Jesus Christ our prayers are more powerful. We pray to know Gods will and act on it, not to persuade him of our selfish desires. When we ask or pray while being directed by the spirit, we are completing his will. I think it's in Doctrine and Covenants 50:30 that says we will be lead what to ask. We should always pray for the spirit. We can't survive spiritually without the help of the spirit. We know we need His help, there aren't any doubts about that. 
This week we were walking down the street about to walk to a different area when I stopped dropped and prayed. Minus the dropped part. But I said a prayer in my heart to know where we needed to go. I looked at this house a little ways a way and searched my feelings. Does this feel right? I felt good. I took that as a yes and we knocked. A solo mom answered. We couldn't share a lesson because it's not appropriate to be alone (my companion, me, and one woman). So we talked from outside her house about how we can help her and her two children with the principles and Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know shes ready to be taught. She has cousins who are returned missionaries and other family who are members. We are planning on visiting her when her cousins visit. I think that the more I practice praying for the spirit and listen to my feelings I can receive help which comes directly from a loving Heavenly Father.
We talked with a member about his experiences in his mission and one thing that I liked which he talked about was service. He said that we can say "we care about you!" One true way to show love is service. When we serve, people really see how much we care or not. I like one of the note cards which Seth sent me. It says, "Nobody care what we have to say if they don't know how much we care."  I felt guilty because the first month I didn't wash my plate when we ate at the cocineras (cook's) house for lunch every day. I started to wash them and the cocinera told me to stop. I just told her that if my mom saw me, and I wasn't washing my plate she would be pretty mad. After that she hasn't bugged me too much about it. I think that's a pretty good excuse for doing a lot of things. I hope that's okay that I speak for you mom. I think about you guys sometimes and I'm super grateful for who you are, and what you've done to help me. Your influence extends to El Salvador. I think there is a good comparison between Alma the prophet and you guys. He prayed and prayed for the help of his son and an angel came to his son in response because of the prayer of the righteous who had faith. I love thinking about the power of your prayers. I think probably on of the most earnest and heartfelt prayer comes from siblings and parents for the other. I love you, and pray for you everyday! I know Heavenly Father Hears our prayers. He knows our hearts and our needs and He gives pretty awesome gifts! Matthew 7:11.

Elder Neifert 

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Book of Mormon

Hey Mamy,

Well that's is super sweet that you guys got to fly out to Utah. I hope Grandma and Grandpa are doing well. I've seen a couple gardens here and none of them look as neat and full as theirs.
 
There are been a lot of experiences with the holy ghost this week. Its almost like there are doves everywhere! Baha - well there are! As I was sitting in gospel principles this week a dove flew into the class. It just came straight in and went directly to the spinning ceiling fan. It got a good skinnin' and I got some feathers. I've grown to love the people here but I've also grown to dislike doves. I haven't been pooped on yet but I've had some close calls. They wait on the wires hanging over the streets for missionaries in white shirts. My old companion got pooped on his first day in the mission. I think I wont be sticking my tongue out anytime soon. 
We had a small uneventful encounter with a dog in the night. We were just walking and this dog just takes off in our direction. I didn't really think much of it at first but as it got closer and closer I started to realize how unhappy and big it was. My companion took off his backpack and swung it at the dog, while giving a good pirate sounding "hey". That's when the dog just turned around and ran back with its buddies. We in the mean time took off running because we saw this even bigger pit bull in the shadows.
 
I've started to study The Book of Mormon whenever I have time. We have an hour at night between 9:30 and 10:30 to prepare ourselves to sleep which is really broad. And in the morning there's prep time to be ready to study at 8. Well I've just started to use these times at night and before 8 to finish what I need to do and read The Book of Mormon. I've felt the power The Book of Mormon has and the small gospel truths which I've found tying to patriarchal blessings, Joseph Smith, the doctrine of Christ and maybe a couple words which just testify of the divinity and truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. The spirit is invited when we read and I've felt strength and power from the holy ghost as I read.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A More Effective Missionary

Ahoy!
Well this week was a change (transfers). There were a lot of changing things happening. I got a new companion -
Elder Lopez, from Guatemala, Quetsaltenago (or something like that). He's a good guy. Apparently he played semi professional soccer in Guatemala. We will see if he was lying or not today because were going to play after we are done writing. He's happy and I think we are going to learn a lot from each other and help some good people this change. He's new to this area so he doesn't know the people or the city. That means I've got to teach him. So it's been different to plan who we will teach and where we will go all by myself. It will get easier once I get some more practice. He speaks next to zero English which is super good. I'm going to learn a lot of Spanish this change. We have been working on finding new people to teach. This was what we've been doing - talking with lots of people and trying to teach them in their homes while asking for their references. We've found some people to teach! I have some good faith that some of them will be baptized in the future. We are going to find even more this coming week. Hey, if you have ideas of how we can work with and invite the members to help us out I love to hear what maybe the missionaries in our ward are doing and ideas you have.
One thing that I've notice about my companion is he knows a lot of scriptures and things about the gospel. I've started to make plans and ideas to use my time as a missionary more effectively. I've got a set plan for the mornings and the nights so I can study the scriptures more. I think that good habits can really help me in my mission - learn more, be more happy, and be more effective. These things don't come in one month like I'd like them to. I've got to consistently try and learn more. One thing I love to study about is Joseph Smith. There are so many testimony building facts and stories about his life. Maybe I won't share all of the stories with my investigators or anyone, but they've helped me feel more converted. One of the biggest conversion changers for me however is The Book of Mormon. I know it's true and I know anyone can become close to God if they read and apply the principles in their lives. It is the most correct book in the world, and there aren't many people who know it exists. 
I love you!


Aaron

Tell Grandma Pam "Happy Birthday" for me!

Wow! I just realized your summer is almost over! What have you guys done for fun in the sun!?

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Lord Works Through People

Hola,
We had a few investigators a church, but I'd like to have more. They can't be baptized if they don't come to church.

I kinda like to clean. Saturday I was sweeping and mopping our floors. I've found it's something that helps me relieve stress and have a clean, more spirit worthy place to learn. 
 
 One thing that I like about the people here - They don't need much. Almost everyone has a tv with cable, but besides that they don't have all the amenities and digerydoos that we have.

Pretty neat that everyone believes in God and Jesus Christ. EVERYONE. Almost everyone has a church too.

I haven't been able to find a ukulele, but I sang in the mission President's home the first day in the field. I can't remember why I did that, but I sang Nearer My God to Thee. I think I could sing more. We sometimes sing hymns during lessons with this old man who is house ridden  - Hermano
Santiago. He was my first lesson in the field. We sing during every lesson with him. He is a really good man. I want to send a picture of him, but I really haven't used my camera too much. I have only taken it out on Mondays to send what I have, but I haven't taken any more pictures... I will work on that for next week. I bought a small solid harmonica last p-day (preparation day - when they shop, do email, etc). I've been fiddling a little with that. There's a missionary from Oklahoma that can get down with the harmonica with the best of 'em. So I'm going to ask him to help me start. I've got the whole set up. An elder who is going home gave me a hammock. So I've been practicing my harmonica in my hammock. I'm pretty excited to learn who to play that and join the harmonocans group in town.
The work this week was really good. We've got some good investigators with baptismal dates who are reading the Book of Mormon and beginning to change. We have changes this Wednesday and we've got a good amount of people that could be baptized this coming change. We found one of these people yesterday. We were visiting with a Hermana on her front porch because she was a little busy and we couldn't have a full lesson. So we left her a copy of lesson 1 to read a pray about. We couldn't visit with her more, but she told us we could visit her neighbor. The Lord works through other people because when we knocked a girl about 18 opened the door and started to cry a little as we told her who we were and why we are here. We knocked on her door right as she and her mom were talking about how she need to trust in God and remember Jesus Christ. She was ready to receive us. During the lesson she was crying a little about some trials she's going through and some questions that she has. We introduced the Book of Mormon and explained how the Book of Mormon has the answers she needs and the comfort she is looking for. So we will see how her reading goes this week. I'm excited to see what happens with the mom and daughter. They are good people, and they were prepared. They still have their agency (the ability to choose). That's one thing that I've learned. Everyone has agency to accept or reject the gospel. Maybe everyone won't accept the gospel, but they should all have the opportunity. I would like to see these people after this life and have them say, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to accept the gospel. Not "hey why didn't you talk to me?  I was waiting for you." The spirit is extremely important to know what to say and what to do because these people need the gospel. With the direction of the spirit we can say something that softens their heart, we can do something that helps them open their door to us. Without the spirit we can't do much.
So this next change we've got some good people to work with. But I will be getting a new companion. I will know on Wednesday who it it. So I will be in San Marcos Colonial ward, but with a new companion. I am excited to see who it is, but Elder Lauro was super good. He can really gain the confidence of the people.
By the way I got your letter last Monday! Thank you! I was good to have a paper letter. For the package, I'm pretty set with what I need. 
 
I love you Mom. I missed the fireworks. They didn't have a party or anything special for the 4th of July. It was a little sad, but surprisingly people wore USA shirts.

You are loved,
Elder Neifert

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Book Dream

Hohola,
I love you too, mom. Awe - I love yard sales! I haven't seen one here in San Marcos. I think that most of the people here just stash their stuff in random places in their houses or in the street. The life here is really different. There are houses everywhere. There really aren't front yards, back yards, or much grass. It's house, next to house, next to house, next to house. There are so many people living in a little area.
 
Annelise's Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow! That's super GREAT! 5 years old already. So she's going to go to school!! Wow and when I see her she with be almost 7. That will be a great day. TODAY IS A GREAT DAY TOO! GIVE ANNELISE A GOOD TICKLE FOR ME - right in the pits where there are squiggly worms. And tell her that I love her! I love you guys! I will eat a little ice cream today and think of you guys eating ice cream.

THE MISSION IS GOING SUPER FAST. I can't believe that I have been here a whole 5 weeks. I feel like I just got here yesterday. We been working hard in our area. The key is to work hard, but also work effectively. We are trying new ideas to find, teach, and find more people. We hope to work more with the ward. Get referrals from them, have lessons with them and yeah. Haha. There are so many ideas and we just need to try them to see if they are good. An idea only is bad if you don't try it. We were visiting an investigator yesterday just to see how he's doing with reading and all. And he told us this really cool story about a dream he had. Not just those weird dreams that we have where we wake up and can't get a clear message form it, like the king of Babylon, but a cool one that meant something pretty clear. He had a dream about two people giving him a book. And he had this dream the day we gave him the Book of Mormon. WHAT? Yeah it happens! So he was prepared by the Lord to receive the Book of Mormon. So we helped him see what the Lord wants for him, and why he should read the Book of Mormon. We have a date for baptism and we have good hope for him. I felt the spirit as we testified of God's love for him. I'm learning that we can receive answers specifically if we ask specifically. We can receive those answers and directions through prayer and through the Book of Mormon. A brother in another ward is being baptized because he read a verse in the Book of Mormon which answered his prayer. I love you guys!

The Lord is preparing people to receive His Gospel! Super cool work!
I love you guys!
Elder Neifert  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Coffee, Ward Party, and Escogidos

Hey,

Gracias por the update! Sounds like a groovy party - youth conference, the temple, and all that's going on!  I'm not super good at remembering birthdays and special days, so thank you! I wish we had a long trek like Rebekah will have. I think those kind of experiences are super good testimony builders. And also really memorable. 
 
 Yeah Rebekah!!!!! (She gave a talk in church on the Proclamation to the World on the Family.) That's super awesome! The Proclamation to the World is pretty awesome. Even if you don't believe its revelation you can see that, it's pretty special. 

Alright, lets get down to the neety greeety! This week - we were going to baptize this weekend but the hermana drank coffee. So we are working with her on that. We gave here spiritual medicine. Reading, praying, and no coffee. Sometimes I feel like confiscating their coffee! If I did that to all our investigators we would have a bunch... a bunch. More than I'd like to have.

We had a ward activity on Wednesday and our ward is super funny. Everyone loves lip sinking. BAHAHAHAHA!! Super hilarious. They had like 5 different people get up on the stage and lip sing famous Latino songs while dancing. They dressed up and all. I wish I video taped it. It was really interesting. Me and my companion were laughing pretty hard. Even though our ward is a little weird they are really great. I think a little weirdness never hurt anybody.

The work is moving on in our area. In one day, we found a good number of new investigators. They are escogidos or people that are ready to change. With these experiences I've felt that these people are being prepared - whether by angels, other people, missionaries, etc. But people are opening up to the gospel because this is the Lord's work and nothing can stop it. Its been going on since the beginning. To bring to pass the eternal life of man. I know that the church is true. My testimony is pretty simple especially in Spanish, but they are things I know and feel.

I love your guts and your example!
Keep on reading the scriptures. There are so many little truths and testimony builders of the church, and of Jesus Christ.
Elder Neifert

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

More Happy

Hola!
Wow! I love that! One of my teachers in the CCM taught that we cannot grow if we are in our comfort zone. If we are laying on the couch watching movies or other stuff like that. Only when we are sweating, walking up hills every day! We walk up and down this valley of San Marcos multiple times everyday. Down to the valley... up the other side... and back up to our house. I think my walking skills have doubled. Sometimes we run because we walk all the time. I love that story about the rain boots. I can do more of that because I cannot always say all that I want to.


This week was a good one! I am pretty sure that we will have 2 or 3 baptisms this change. I hope they hold out! One of the big troubles almost everyone here needs to overcome is coffee. I remember asking a hermana "how are you doing with the palabra de sabiduria (Word of Wisdom)?"  She said, "I only drank once." My companion asked "once this week?" She then said "no, once today."  Haha Everybody loves it. Her mom was baptized last change and she had the same problem. I think she's going to help her daughter out. We have a big bag of coffee of maiz. Its not coffee coffee its a substitute that's okay to drink. I think I have learned a lot of spanish since I've been here. I can speak  a little bit better than I can understand. Everyone here uses slang and they have different accents. But I can understand my companion really well. I really like something he always says in lessons. We invite people to come to Christ - not to us. Because we are imperfect. Christ is who we all need more of in our lives. One of the best ways to come to Christ is by baptism! We receive a remission of our sins, we promise with Heavenly Father we will follow His Son, and with this we can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, a companion we can have constantly. John 14:17-18 We aren't alone in this life! We cannot see Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ physically but we can feel of their love through the Holy Ghost. Love, peace, warm, full, and just right. I cannot say that these feelings I have been able to feel in my life have come from myself and deny the Holy Ghost. That's no bueno. Thanks to the gift of the Holy Ghost I can be directed in what I need to say and where I need to go and where not to go. I need to search the Holy Ghost more. That's a rockin' missionary, someone who is reverent and has good spiritual ears.

I talked with a man yesterday about why he believes in Jesus Christ. He told me how he didn't really believe before. Then he had a personal experience with the Holy Ghost. He was in a church just praying to know that God and Jesus Christ exist. He described all the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22.  I love hearing peoples stories of the feelings of the spirit. They help me remember what I myself have felt. The Church is true. Christ was born for us, suffered for us, and died for us. He gave His life, so I can give 2 years. It really is a blessing to be here. Through Him our spots can be as white as snow. What an awesome feeling that can be?! Work great in the service of God. Helping to bring people to Christ. There isn't anything I could be doing to make me more happy!
 
 I love you guys!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Cowboys at Church and Some Photos!!


Hola,
I took some pictures, but they were last minute so they are just of things you can see from our casa. I really haven't brought my camera out at all, but I will take some pictures with my face in it for next week.



 My apartment:
Girls camp! That's a pretty cool theme this year mom! I think you're a pretty awesome instrument.  I love being an instrument too. It feels weird being a missionary because I have thought about being a missionary my whole life and now I'm here! I have to say it's not what I imagined. Its better! It is what you make it, too. The blessings we receive and the joy we feel as a missionary is almost incomparable because we are eternally making a difference.
Alright this week has been pretty great. Lots of walking and talking. We have some good investigators we just need to teach more. Probably my favorite lesson we had with someone was with this woman - Odelia Crus and four kids Dennis, Samuel, Allison, and Daniel. Anyways they were playing in this wooded area. We started talking to Odelia; looking for a way we could talk with her and the kids. Found some rocks in the woods to sit on. And all the kids came to listen! So there we were in the woods sitting on rocks in at circle. Pretty rad! I believe we talked about the restoration. Either Restoration or the gospel of Jesus Christ. Either way it was a good lesson because we taught pretty well, I could feel the spirit and the family on the rocks listened and participated. I'm looking forward to talking to them again. And all the kids are 9 and older! So we hit the jackpot. Good day.
This Sunday was a pretty good day. It was Stake Conference here and Elder Cordon from the seventy came to speak. To be honest, I don't know what he said. But it was a good talk. I've gotten to a point were I can understand a lot, but I have a hard time understanding context and the connection between each sentence. Another reason why this Sunday was really good was because our investigator came to church. David, this 74 year old man who is Catholic. Out of all our investigators he was ready when we stopped by his house to get him. Honestly, I'm not sure why he was so ready, but he is! We are going to focus more on him, I think. Because he's willing to keep the commitments. I'm excited to see what will happen with him.

This week I realized how much there is to learn from the scriptures. There are so many little testaments in the scriptures that this church is true... and the scriptures don't lie. I love you guys.

Scripture study on! Spirit on!
Elder Neifert

 And an excerpt from the email he sent his dad:
 We have had a good second week here. We've had some really good lesson and some new good investigators. Like David Ayala who is 74. We haven't taught him many times but out of all the investigators we invited to church(and stopped by their house Sunday morning) he was the only one sitting outside his house dressed and ready to go. The only one who went to church out of 6 or 7 people. He reminded me of Grandpa Whatcott. Cowboy hat, fat cowboy buckle, and a little short. Afterwards he said he really liked it. The church building itself is a selling point of being a member. Its a brand new two story church building. Almost every other church in our area meets in a little house like room. I think he like the building, but most importantly I think he felt the spirit. I love you man.  
Elder Neifert

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

First Email from El Salvador

Hey Familia!
I'm glad you got those pictures! That was a long first day! We left the CCM (training center) early in the morning, and drove 5 hours south into El Salvador. Then we were at the President's home for the rest of the day. The first night opened my eyes! We stayed at the office elders home and their house is disgusting. Nasty bathrooms dirty everything. I didn't really feel like I was on a mission until that first night.
Anyways, El Salvador is really awesome! The houses are really different here. Everybody has metal doors and barb wire around their houses. But the houses are really random. They are back to back side to side. No yards or grass. There is just a ton of concrete and metal everywhere! And there aren't rules or a specific way to build a house. They are all really different.

There are a ton of dogs here. They just roam the streets. Most of them are pretty chill. We haven't had a big conflict with them. But I've been preparing myself. I wield a mighty weapon. My bug spray! Bahahaha.  I haven't had to use it yet on a dog but I feel sorry for the first chucho (dog) that tries anything. Oh and I was worried about the gangs and stuff before, but in this area there really isn't any gangs that I've seen. My companion has been here for 6 months in the same area and he hasn't had an encounter. The people are just pretty tranquilo.  Its really different.

The people here are really nice, too. We talk to a lot of strangers and probably 80 percent let us come back. We just say that we want to talk about Jesus Christ and God and they say "okay!".  Because of this we have a lot of investigators, which is really good, but at the same time a lot of them aren't solid. They won't read, pray, or go to church. Everyday we are trying to find the escogidos - or the people who are ready to change. 
I didn't take my camera with me these first days, but I will try to send some pictures next week of the streets, the city, my house, and my companion. His name is Elder Lauro from Mexico. He doesn't know very much English! Wooohoo! So I get to practice more. But he also wants to learn English, so we try to help each other out. We are in San Marcus, area colonial.  Its in a big valley, and we walk up and down the valley every day. It's always kinda hot here. Supposedly its the rainy season, but it has only rained a little bit during the night. I've learned that I'm a whole lot happier when I'm working hard, focused on others, and talking with the people. Another thing I need to work on is really making friends with the people here. If you are friends with them they listen better, they let you in their house, and they will help you out. There have been times when we pass a member's store and they give us drinks, food, and most important - references. Some of the best investigators come from references.
Our house is on this big hill. We have this big back deck which has guacamole trees (we assume this means Avocado trees), and this other fruit - I have no idea what it is. We have 4 rooms in our house not including the two bathrooms! Its definitely one of the biggest houses in the mission, I think. We have a good amount or ants in our house, but we also have a bunch of geckos. They are pretty cool. They eat a lot of the bugs in our house. I really haven't had to cook. We always eat at a member's house for lunch. The same members. We pay them - I think 15 dollars for the whole month. And for dinner each day we eat Papusas! haha. Everyone talks about them. I think they are okay. Not as good as all the people say they are. I have felt okay! Sometimes my stomach is a little weird, but it's not too bad. I love getting out there. Sometimes I wish we could skip studying a just go teach people. But over these past few days I've realized how much I need to learn.
I love you guys! Hey - I got a letter from the people in the singles ward - the Witts. I want to reply to them but I don't know if I can send a letter. Just tell them I love them! haha. Maybe I could get their email. Tell me about whats happening at home! It's summer already!?

I love you guys.
Love,
Elder Neifert

A snippet from an email he sent his sister -

It's a hard work, being a missionary, but man there's some cool stuff that happens, too. Like inviting Wilber and his cousin to be baptized! That was way cool. We taught them lesson 3 about faith, repentance and baptism. I was feeling the spirit really strong as I asked them if they would follow Jesus Christ and be baptized. They didn't come to church yesterday, but I can tell they both felt something different. We've just got to work with them and people like them more. I love you guys! keep sending me pictures! I love them! Maybe next week I will have some to send you. I love you guys!

He made it!!

We received this email from Elder Neifert's mission president:

Estimados hermanos (as)
 Es un privilegio y una gran bendición contar con su hijo en nuestra misión, gracias por el sacrificio que hacen al dar lo mejor de su vida al Señor y a su hermosa Obra Misional la cual preparará la Segunda Vendida de Nuestro Salvador, sabemos que ellos encontraran a los escogidos y estamos deseosos de ayudarles a desarrollar su potencial.
Deseamos que les apoyen con sus oraciones y consejos en esta hermosa etapa de sus vidas. Y que sepan que ellos son del Señor en este momento.
Somos Misioneros de Jesucristo y de predicad mi evangelio y con su autoridad convertimos bautizamos  y retenemos 
 Con Amor Presidente y Hermana Vásquez
 Translated by Google Translate ( and edited by his sister, so it obviously has some errors):
Dear brothers (sisters),
It is a privilege and a great blessing to have your child in our mission, thank you for the sacrifices you make to give the best part of his life to the Lord and his beautiful Missionary Work which will prepare for the second coming of our Savior, we know that they will find the chosen and are eager to help them develop their potential.
We want you to support them with their prayers and advice in this beautiful stage of their lives. And they know that they are the Lord's at this time.

We are Missionaries of Jesus Christ and preach my gospel and become baptized his authority and retain (I'm not even sure how to fix this. - Jessi)
With Love,
 President and Sister  Vasquez
We also received these photos in the email:
With the group he arrived with: 
 With Presidente and Sister Vasquez:


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Explaining what a missionary does to prepare for a mission and a big thank you!!

Some of you may have questions about what a missionary does. There is a link above called "About Missionary Work" that will give you a better idea of what missionaries do.

Before a missionary leaves for a mission, there are a few things that a missionary must do to prepare:
1. Demonstrate worthiness to moral standards set by the Lord.
2. Prepare physically and spiritually to go and teach the gospel.
3. Prepare financially. Missionaries spend 18 months to 2 years teaching the gospel. They do not have an opportunity to earn money while serving. They (and sometimes their families) work to have enough money saved to financially support them while they are gone. 
4. Attend the Temple to receive their endowments (more explained on this later).

This is a little bit of how Elder Neifert prepared for his mission: 

He worked both physically and spiritually to earn enough money to prepare for his call. He did lawn care, worked as a camp counselor, and other jobs to earn enough money to pay his way. He had doctors appointments and dental work done to ensure that he was healthy and strong enough to serve full-time.  He met with his bishop and stake president (local church leadership) to make sure he was prepared spiritually to go and teach the gospel.
Together they submitted an application to serve as a missionary.

Then they waited!! It can often take a few weeks to receive a mission call in the mail.
Here is a photo of the day Aaron received his mission call: 

Once his call came, Aaron had a few months to prepare by getting the necessary clothing, medical attention (shots, dental, etc), and other things ready to take with him to El Salvador. One of the most important things that he took care of was attending the St. Louis Temple to receive his endowments (see video below). You've probably seen the temple as you drive on highway 40:
 An Endowment is an ceremony that takes place in the Temple. In it, the person makes promises to obey commandments from the Lord, in return the person receives gifts and blessings if they live up to those commandments (very similar to the 10 commandments). This is called a covenant.   This video explains more about temples:
 Aaron and his friend Derrick after the temple:
 Elder Neifert gave a talk during church on a Sunday before he left. This is typically called a farewell talk. There was also a gathering for Aaron at his parent's home that gave friends and family a chance to say goodbye before he left. It was called "Pies and Ties". Guests were asked to bring a tie so that Aaron could take ties to those he visited with and taught in El Salvador, who are often too poor to afford something so nice as a tie. Below is a picture of Elder Neifert with all of the ties he received:

 A HUGE thank you to those who came to show support and love, not only to Elder Neifert, but to those he would be serving in El Salvador. 

The day before Elder Neifert left on his mission, he was set apart (given a special blessing from one holding the priesthood). This video explains more about blessings and Priesthood:

                                          Here he is after he was set apart as a missionary:

Being able to serve a mission is both a blessing and a sacrifice. One that will help him to serve others, but most importantly the Lord with everything he has. He will help others to come to our Savior and feel the peace that only He can bring.  It is a lot of hard work, but allows him to see the Lord's hand working in his life and those he associates with.

If you have any questions about Missionary work, Temples, or The Church, please feel free to comment below or visit www.mormon.org.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Email from el Presidente

Hello,
We are the Vasquez family in San Salvador. We received Elder Daniel Aaron Neifert here. He is very well prepared and has great faith. We are grateful to serve with him here in this part of the Lord's vineyard. Thank you for preparing him so very well - he is a fine young man. I hope your family receives many blessings for the sacrifice you have made to bring the gospel to many of God’s children here on earth. I know you will see God’s hand in your life and the life of your son during his mission. One of the promises of God to his missionaries is that they will be protected and watched over.

His preparation day is every Monday. He can write and read your email on that day. He sends his love to all of you.

The best way to send packages is by US mail as these will arrive directly to our office without any fees or problems. The address to send packages to is:

            Elder Neifert
Mision El Salvador San Salvador Este
PO Box # 3362
San Salvador, El Salvador
Central America

We love our missionaries. We love and appreciate their faithful families. We pray that, together, we will all grow in our personal conversion to the Lord. We are working diligently to convert more than just the people of El Salvador. We so appreciate your faith and prayers on behalf of all our missionaries here.

Love,
President and Sister Vasquez
San Salvador El Salvador East Mission