Monday, July 13, 2015

Obedience & Blessings

My new companion, Elder Bartholomew
Pontevedra is the best. What a great week we have had full of miracles and amazing people. My new companion, Elder Bartholomew, is amazing. He is a great missionary who is excited to work hard and be here in Galicia. He has been out about a year and I'm excited to be able to work with him. 

This week has been a week of contacting in the streets. Every week we spend a lot of time contacting but this week we made the effort to try to talk with everyone as much as we could. I have seen the Lord put people in our path that are prepared to listen. There are a lot of people who don't want to listen to but every day the Lord has put people who are willing to talk and are great people. Elder Bartholomew and I have made a goal to be as exactly obedient as we can be in all that we do and we have seen the results in that. Besides just seeing the people that we have met and the miracles with our investigators I personally feel happiest and most confident when I know that I am doing all that I can do to obey the rules that have been set out. I know that the same is true for everyone. When we are obeying the commandments from God we feel the true joy that comes from having the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

This week with Pili we had another great lesson about the plan of salvation. I love this lesson because it always gives me a better perspective on life. When we have this perspective about life it is so much easier to be obedient. We are here to learn, progress, achieve eternal life and help others to do exactly the same thing. It is harder to be disobedient than it is to be obedient because when we are disobedient we miss out on the blessings from God and especially the Holy Ghost.

We have seen the blessings showing forth in the life of Victor as well. He continues to feel the spirit as he comes to church, reads, and prays. I am grateful for him and his desires to be better and be obedient to the commandments of God.

This is a great time in Pontevedra with great things coming up and I am super excited to be here with Elder Bartholomew.

Elder Gustafson
A park in Vigo we visited last p-day.

Went to the American store!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Lessons from Elder Giforos


 These last four months have been the best in my life. I am extremely grateful that I am serving here in Pontevedra and that I was able to be trained by Elder Giforos. I wanted to share this week some of the lessons that I have learned from him over the past months.

1 Open your mouth and share. As we are willing to open our mouths and have prepared ourselves always the Lord will fill it. Whether it is out contacting in the street, teaching a lesson, participating in a
Sunday School class or in whatever other moment the important thing to do is to open our mouths. When we do this we can feel the Spirit guiding us in the things that we should do. I admire Elder Giforos for always being willing to open his mouth to share even when it is hard. He was always sharing the feelings of his heart with those around him.

2 Have a purpose in what you are doing. If you don't know what your purpose is why would you ever do it? When we can see the vision for our lives, for the area that we are working in, for our investigators we can then understand what we need to do to accomplish that purpose. When we lose that vision or purpose in our work we are not effective.

3 Love is the key. We first have Love for the Lord and then for our
fellow man then we will be effective servants of the Lord. I saw this this last week as we went to visit a member of our Rama who has health problems. When we got there he was visibly shaking and very sick. We sat down with him and tried to calm him down, made him some food to eat, gave him a blessing but still he was not doing well. Eventually he agreed to let us call an ambulance that came and picked him up and took him to the hospital. I am grateful for that moment that we had to be instruments in the Lord's hands. As we went and visited him at the hospital over the next couple of days I felt so much love for him and I saw the way that my companion worked with love for this great member. The member has recovered and is doing better resting in the hospital for a couple of days. I am grateful for Elder Giforos and all that he has taught which is far more than I could ever put in any letter.

I look forward to meeting my new companion tonight, Elder Bartholomew who actually went to High School with Elder Giforos. I look forward to being able to see a different way of doing missionary, work to learn from another great missionary.

Our investigator Victor could use your prayers to help him continue feeling the spirit and have desires to be baptized. Pili is amazing, as always she has really great questions and continues learning and understanding the doctrines. It is like light bulbs of understanding
keep going off.

I am grateful for all of you and your prayers on my behalf and on the behalf of those we have the opportunity to teach.

Elder Gustafson

Burger time!

Selfie with friends!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Milagros y servicio

This has been a great week of miracles and service here in Pontevedra. First miracle in Pontevedra was our investigator Marilo. We have been doing service for her and teaching her family which has been really a great opportunity. On Tuesday we went and taught her and her assistant in her flower shop the plan of salvation. During the lesson she stopped us and turned to her assistant and explained the Restoration to him perfectly. It was super cool and showed us how much she is learning comprehending and understanding what is being taught to her. At the end of the lesson she started taking pictures of the plan of salvation drawings that we laid out on the table and told us that she was going to go home and teach it to her daughters. It was definitely a testimony builder that service is a great way to find and create connections with people and then we have the opportunity to share this message with them.

On Thursday we went to Villagarcia to visit a recent convert family and got to teach them and help them in their garden which again was a great opportunity for service. Doing service has gotten to be one of my favorite activities of the mission because it always helps us to grow better relationships with the members and investigators. We also went to a less active member's house and worked in his garden tearing down thorns and weeds and are working to build our relation with him. I hope that the work that we are doing to clear the thorns out of his farm will eventually help him clear the thorns out of his life that are preventing him from returning to church. I know that this is possible and will only bring happiness for him.

Another miracle this week was with Victor. In order for him to get baptized this week he had to come to church on Sunday. So on Sunday morning we went to his house to pick him up but when we got there he told us that he was sick and weak because he didn't have money to buy food. He told us that he would see if he could come at 11 for the second half of the first hour. When he didn't pick up his phone at 10:50 and then didn't show up at 11 I lost hope. I was so sad because we would have to move his baptismal date again and that would not have been good because he is ready and has desires but just wasn't feeling good. At 12:45 he walked in for the last hour of church. I don't think that I have been so happy. I am grateful that the Lord helps people to do the things that sometimes seem impossible. It also showed me again that always we should believe and have a hope for those things which the God can do, specifically work miracles to help His children find the path that they should follow.

I love being a missionary and I love being able to serve here in Pontevedra where the members are amazing.

Elder Gustafson