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

Friday, May 29, 2015

Email from el Presidente

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.

President and Sister Vasquez
San Salvador El Salvador East Mission

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Last week in the CCM

Hola familia!

Its so good to email you guys! I love hearing what's going on and your testimonies. Wow! Rebekah's going to be a woman when I get back! I remember my 8th grade graduation. So long ago... but I remember it pretty well. I love hearing those stories of listening to the holy ghost. I've noticed its really hard to listen to the holy ghost for me when I'm talking or preoccupied. I guess sometimes I  feel like someone is putting words in my mouth, but for the most part it's when I'm not talking.  That makes me really happy that my friends asked about me! I wish I had some wicked adventurous stories to share, but I haven't been out in the world the past 5 weeks. There hasn't been too much stuff going on in the CCM just the same stuff everyday. Read, study, listen, teach, role play.

BUT I AM HEADING OUT ON TUESDAY! Can I get a "Smolioli. Smolioli smolioli smolioli......" (From a favorite movie growing up)

I'm getting pretty excited to get out there. Theres a good amount of missionaries going to San Salvador este. Im the only North American going there, but there's a good amount of latinos going.
So we got a new district. Our district name is Moroni. We've got 8 elders and 2 sisters in our district. Probably my favorite missionaries in our district are Elders Zapata and Villalobos. Both
from MEXICO! What what! They are both converts and they are pretty good examples of how anyone can change. They both have been through tough stuff, but they've delt with it and done a 180. My new companion is Elder Flores form Gilbert Arizona. He doesn't know the Wards, sadly.

This week I've learned how important it is to stick to the basics while teaching. The people we will be teaching may say they know all about the gospel and God but what my teachers have been saying is they really don't. So while teaching we need to give the simple doctrine over a period of time. Not just sharing all that you know with them in one sitting. They will learn and retain more if the message is direct, short, and to the point. This week I have also learned that I don't know as much Spanish as I thought. Since we are in a new district with all latinos the clases are all in Spanish. No Ingles. nunca.
So sometimes during class the teacher will ask a question and I think I know what they are asking so I raise my hand. I give my answer. And I answered a completely different question... usually in the same ball park, but a little off. I think my Spanish has improved from last time I talked to you guys though. It's going to be a while before I make it all the way with Spanish though. I love you guys!

 I will have to send pictures when I write next since I will have my camera when I leave the CCM. I
am however not sure if i will be able to write next week. I leave early in the morning but I hope when I get to the mission home I will be able to at least send a quick email.

I love your guts!

Heavenly Father blesses us through our faith.
The more faith, the more miracles.

I love you guys.             

Elder Neifert

He attached this photo of the Elders and Sisters at the CCM. Can you find him??         

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Placing his first Book of Mormon

It was really good to hear your voices! It seems like Rebekah has changed a lot. I think she's just growing up. She sounds like a mujer (woman)! Bahahaha Who are the elders in the ward? Is it still Elder Hess and Elder Whetton? They are some pretty funny guys.

That's one thing I like - eveybody needs more faith. Its the first principle of the gospel. If the investigators or we dont have faith, it's hard to act like Christ and its hard to recognize answers without it. Faith to endure, when things are hard is something I've got to practice and learn pretty quick.

Today all of the Elders in the CCM left for their missions. So its just Hermana Powers, Elder Gneiting and me in the whole building. Well we are the only missionaries. So what do you do
when youre the only ones in the CCM? First I got to put all my clothes in any washer I wanted, I had privacy while I was in the shower singing, I got to collect about 10 hangers people left behind, I inherited a tie, a little baby plant and we got all three fans in our room. There isn't air conditioning in our bedrooms so it can get pretty hot some nights. The fans help a lot. Aaaannnnd I've got 50 pamphlets stashed up from all the missionaires. Since its our P-day us three
went to the temple this morning.

 We also got to go to the city. I placed my first Book of Mormon! It was a pretty solid feeling. We went to the city plaza right in the center of town. People are kinda just chillin' everywhere. My companion goes to the first person he sees and that lesson went okay. We gave him a Book of Mormon, but he just didn't seem very interested. Then we went accross the plaza and I saw this
guy with a crutch just sitting down. I just felt like I should talk to him. After I decided I should talk to him I logically thought about my choice, and I thought 'well he can't run away too fast without hearing some stuff if he decides to leave'. Anyways, lets get down to the nitty-gritty. We started talking to him out God and what he believes in and then we introduced the Book of Mormon. We had him read a few sentences in the introduction of the LOM (Book of Mormon in Spanish is "el Libro de Mormon" or LOM). We talked about it being another testament to Jesus Christ and then he brought up a scripture in the Bible that talks about how we shouldnt take away or add to the Bible. We just didn't know how to solidly answer his question well enough in Spanish, so we kinda beat around the bush. I could tell he was still pretty sceptical about the LOM and if we left he probably wouldn't look
at the book.  Right when we were about to close by inviting him to read a woman holding this book comes and sits next to him. She starts explaining about Joseph Smith and and then she starts sharing
her conversion story and how cool the LOM is and his heart was softened. She shared a passge from her book which was some type of chuch literature book. It was pretty awesome. When she was done he gave us his name his address and his telephone. We testified really quick after she was done leaving him with a LOM and split. That lady saved us though. I can garuntee he wouldnt have given us his name and his address if she hadn't talked to him and shared her story. It was a blessing from God. No doubt. It was one of the coolest things thats happened to me since being here. Especially bacause these people we were teaching today are real! They are not our CCM teachers dressed in
a t-shirt.

The spirit is real. The feeling I had was so subtle. But it was still there. God loves all his children. I can only imagine the joy he has when seeing us do good things, and helping others along the
way.  I love you guys! I think that letter will make it. No worries! Keep on keeping on.

PS send me some awesome us president quotes. Or
just other stuff that's really inspirational. Via email. Gracias! And
ask me questions if you want to know something specific.

Elder Neifert

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Atonement

Hey Mom and Dad,

It is good to hear those blessings that are happening back home. I feel like (that teacher) asked that question before (asked who Joseph Smith was). I hope she keeps on asking questions.  I know McCall Donovan! She probably doesn't know me, but I know who she is. She's got a twin brother and they both are really tall.

I've felt a little bit like she did when I was sick. (Elder Neifert's mom wrote and told him that McCall spoke in their stake conference recently - "McCall Donovan told about a time on her mission in Utah when she was discouraged and wondered if God heard her prayers.  She felt she had no one to turn to, so she prayed fervently and was given an answer after a long season of trial. ") I just thought since I had the desire to study and work hard and I'm a missionary of the Lord that I shouldn't be sick. But it was only one super miserable day. I think I just forgot that we need the hard stuff. It doesn't seem important during the trial almost always but looking back I wouldn't take them away.             

I love Javier Detrinidad! He is one really kind guy. I will have to ask some of the teachers that work here if they know him.   

Life is really short! Every week keeps on getting faster and faster. This past week was a good one until the last day. My district is now down to 3 people. Probably the smallest district in the world! But we know have 3 because my companion, Elder Patterson, went home this morning at 3 am. The three weeks we've been here he's been really awesome. We've had some pretty awesome times together here. I love him. I've been praying really hard for him. I really want him to get his stuff worked out and come back out. I know he can do it. I know anyone can do it. I wish I could have talked to him a little more before he left. I gave him my email so I'm expecting to hear from him soon, but I wish I told him that God doesn't care about who we were as much as he cares who we are. We've all got the make the choice to be better! Until the perfect day. Everybody's got to repent. EVEEERRRRYBODY. The purpose of repentance is to make better choices, out of Love for God, to change and be as white as snow. I've felt the cleansing power of the atonement when I repent. Its a pretty awesome feeling when you choose to be better.

We listened to a talk by Elder Holland called The Atonement.  I like what he said, not word for word but something like this. "You missionaries can all expect to feel a token of what He felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. Really a minuscule part." But he just talked about expecting hard times among other stuff which I need to look at my notes for. But that talk is helping me understand probably the most central moment in history, the Atonement.

I bear my testimony that He lives. He is the director of the work. It's His church and His gift to us. This work is the best in the world! There is no other place on earth I could be that would be better than where I am right now. There's a lot of comfort in knowing that. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, Amen.
Elder Neifert