Monday, June 29, 2015

The Book Dream

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


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

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!!

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.
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: