Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week 89

October 27, 2014
God is amazing and really working with ALL of his children, his missionaries, members, investigators, less actives and everyone else. He really cares about all His children. I’m a witness. So this week was pretty normal which is the best!! No zone leader distractions or anything else. Just working!!
Wednesday, I had a very spiritual and uplifting personal study that left me thinking a lot. So I’m currently studying in the BOM. As I was reading in Jacob 5, I felt like the Lord lead and guide me in that moment. Jacob 5 is one of my favorite stories. The allegory of the olive trees. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to serve the Lord in any way. The first thing that caught my eye was that the Lord of the Vineyard constantly asks himself "What could I have done more for my vineyard?" or "what more can I do?" Obviously as a missionary I was left thinking the same thing. I prayed for strength and help to endure to the end. Then I read verse 71 and 72:

71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and laboring the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.

72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.

This was the Lord speaking and telling me, "It's not over yet, go and keep working." I’ve given it my all up to this point. It would be a shame to start slowing down now. I had my regular interview this week with president and he asked me how I would like to finish my mission. I told him I want to finish like I’m just starting. I want to just be a normal missionary. He said that’s exactly right. And if you do that, the Lord will be very pleased. It was a very eye opening experience for me.

On Thursday it was about 8 o’ clock and we were about ready to go back to dinner but we felt like we had not finished. We felt like there was more to do. We even asked each other, so what do we do? So we stopped and prayed and then started walking. As we were walking, we heard a voice. Hola Elderes!!! We turned around and there were 3 girls that had the missionaries and gone to church before but had not been baptized. They wanted us to meet their family, so they took us to their house and we met their mom and dad and grandma. Their grandma we later discovered is a member! The Lord helped us find them. We are very excited to get to know this family better, the Baptist family, and teach them.

I’d like to end with my thoughts after listening to the temple president, President Jensen, talk yesterday in our stake conference that we had. He is an ex general authority of 25 years that was recently released. He focused his talk on one phrase. "When your priorities are out of order, you lose power." Holy cow, how that touched me. He told us about divine priorities and goals. He said when he finished his mission 54 years ago he made 3 divine goals and priorities that he would not fail in.
1. Always be worthy to hold a temple recommend. (hasn’t failed)
2. Pray twice a day on his knees every day, alone and with his wife. (hasn’t failed)
3. Read the BOM everyday (hasn’t failed)
54 years!! Those are Godly priorities that are in order. And he has not lost his power. I could feel it in his word. It was a great experience!

Well, I love you all so much! I hope all is well!! Hopefully I get your letter soon!!

Until next week!
Elder Berrett

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 88

October 20, 2014
How is everyone!! I love all the fall and Halloween pics. Here, it’s hotter than heck and summer is underway. I’ll be all nice and tan when I see ya'll!!! haha Well it looks like everyone is wonderful. That makes me super happy!
So this week was so hot. I didn’t even use a backpack; I just took my scriptures and pamphlets in my hands. I don’t remember it being this hot last year. So we had a really good week. I’m really excited about the work that has been going on here and what we still have to do. We are preparing a girl named Maria Jose for baptism. I’m super excited for her. We are really happy for the work we are doing here because we are focusing more on less active families than ever before. When Elder Waddell of the Seventy was here, he told us that we need more active and faithful members.  And that we can compare it to an apple tree. When a person takes an apple off a tree, they start by taking the apples that are easiest to reach. In the Work of Salvation it’s the same. We need to save the people that are easiest to reach (the people that have a testimony and have lost it for a little while or the people that have recently been baptized and need strengthening). So that is what we are doing. We are focusing on them! We were planning on Friday night and for Saturday and we were truly inspired to visit a specific member, Bro. Mario Guzman. He’s active and very faithful. So we went and chatted with him for a good bit then he out of nowhere told us of 4 less active families that live in our area and have been less active for at least 5 years each. One family even 15 years. I love when the Lord literally just guides us to the people He is preparing. We then went and contacted each one of those families and one even came to church yesterday. This week we are planning on taking the Lozano family (Ligia, Ivan, and Nivia) to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. They want to take family names so bad so we are helping them do that this week through family search. I’m super excited. We've been having close contact with all the recent converts so they can know where they are going and what their main goal is, THE TEMPLE.
On Thursday we had some great experiences with the zone. My companion and I thought it would be a great idea to have weekly planning as a zone. So everyone went to their own rooms in the chapel and they planned for their investigators and area, etc. My comp and I passed by from room to room to answer questions and help them in any way possible. We asked that they share their goals as a companionship so that we can help them to reach those goals. It went super well and it was super cool to see and feel the trust that they have in us as we helped them with their problems. More than that, we could see that they trust in the Lord so much and really want his guidance. The Lord is really preparing his servants to have strong desires to do his will. On Friday, I had the chance to work all day with Elder Nazereno from Ecuador as we did a transfer. It was interesting to work in another area with another elder. It went super well. We had some great experiences contacting and talking with everyone.
From the past 21 months I’ve grown to love the people here. Even though I don’t agree with a lot of their ways and traditions, I love being here. I know the Lord sent me here because I had something to learn and someone to meet. On Saturday night I called the Salazar family from Quillacollo, remember them? I gave a baby blessing to their new baby almost a year ago. I think there are some pictures of us in the grass with their children after church one day. Anyways, we talked for about 20 minutes and I realized talking to them how much I missed them. I’ve never ended a conversation with so many tears as I hung up with Mariel, the 4 year old. They are still strong in the church and haven’t stopped going since they were activated a year ago. I have a very soft spot for them. I hope I can always have contact with them. I’m planning to visit them soon. Teresa, the mom, wants me to baptize her son, Pedro. I guess we will see if I can travel to Quillacollo for that next month.
Well, I love you so much! I hope all is well and everyone is doing great!! Mom, I love you too and I can’t wait to get tackled by you!! I’ll put my shoulder pads on! Until next week!!
Elder Berrett

Week 87

October 13, 2014
Hello family!!!
Wow!! It seems like everyone is doing great!! I am too!! This week was full of great experiences full of the spirit. I’m really enjoying the mission and being a part of the Lord's work, at such a crucial time in the work of salvation. I don’t have my notebook with me right now but I’ll try and remember what happened this week.
It was a pretty basic week. We had nothing but time to work and that’s exactly what we did!! My comp and I had great conversations in the street all week about general conference. I have come to love to talk about doctrine topics. My comp is a genius with that stuff so I really enjoy the conversations we have. I’ve learned a whole lot. My love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have grown so much and it keeps growing as I study it more and more.
It was a basic week so I don’t have much to say but I do have one pretty cool experience that proves this is the Lord's work and that he is preparing his children. Saturday we visited some old investigators that we haven’t visited in a long time due to them not progressing but we decided to give them a shot since we were close to their house. We walk in and they had some family members there helping them work on some cars. It was Victor Hugo (old investigator) and his brother, Sergio, with his two sons Ayden (cool right?) and Bronco (another cool name). Anyways Ayden and Bronco were very excited because they and their dad have talked to Elders before. So we talked a good while and then taught them a lesson. They loved it and told us they’d like to go back to church (they had gone a few times with the elders before). As I took down their information I realized they lived in my first area, Sarco! They are actually only a few blocks from my first house. So I anxiously called the Elders there now and they were in shock because they had been looking for the same family for about 2 months now. They somehow got a reference for that same family. I testify this is the Lord's work and church and that he is leading every bit of it. I don’t know what will happen with that family but I know that all that was no accident. The Lord used us to get to Sergio. And now the other Elders in Sarco with do what the Lord tells them to do.
Yesterday were the Bolivian Presidential elections so it was a little different. There were no church meetings at all and all the missionaries were told by president to stay in the house all day. So we had our normal morning schedule with studies and all but at about 12:00 we took advantage and slept a good bit. Then we, since we live with 4, played UNO for about 2 hours. It was pretty fun haha. I did realize how much being in the house bothers me now which I guess isn’t a bad thing. Today we had a great p-day with the zone. We went to Incachaca. Its 3 hours away but super cool. It’s the rainforest part of Bolivia that connects with Brazil. It was super cool. I’ll send the pictures. I love you all so much!! Have a great week!
Elder Berrett

Hey mom!! Just wanted to give you a special shout out just because I love you!! I cant wait to hug you!! It's really the only trunky thought I get these last days. You're the best mom ever. Thank you so much for raising me to be a missionary. It's been the best experiance of my life. Im super happy to have been called here. I know you've preapred me my whole life to be here. I probably haven't been the most grateful child but I really am so grateful for you. I love you!! :)
The wobbly bridge!! It was actually pretty scary!

I love this picture of the zone. (most of the zone at least) Not all could come, due to sickness. But I love my zone so much. It's the coolest zone I've had yet!!

Me and my comp.

Elder Crankshaw (assistant) Sister Shultz (new girl just got here from Utah)!! We sang as a zone for a solid 3 hours in the car! Hey, if you can't listen to it you might as well sing it yourself!! 

Week 86

October 6, 2014
Family and Friends
Wow, what an amazing story dad! Thanks to all of you for being your brother’s keeper. I loved Elder Holland’s talk. Made me cry! The pictures look so cool! I’m so glad yall could go and have a fun time. This week was crazy and happened in a blink of an eye!! First off, my cool story!! So we had leader’s conference in the city on Wednesday. That day there were blockades on the main highway (the only way to the city) leading from Sacaba to the city. Blockades are basically a form of protesting here. The people protesting, block the highways with cars or rocks or dirt or anything they can every couple of miles. It happens quite often actually. Anyways, my comp and I had to be at that meeting so we starting walking what would have been about an 18-20 mile walk. After we realized we were late we called president and told him we'd be way late. He told us to just get there when we could, safely. After we had walked 2 miles we found a guy in a taxi sneaking people from blockade to blockade. So we got in and he got us through a few just by going around. The scary part was that every time we came to a road block there was a mob of people waiting, throwing rocks and trying to attack the car. He just busted through there and helped us. He took us as far as he could and then we walked about a mile before we found another taxi driver doing the same thing. He did the same thing as we just ducked in the back seat. It was pretty nerve racking but at the same time thrilling. We finally made it to the meeting only two hours late!! We caught the last 6 hours and it was actually a great conference. I learned a whole lot from president, he focused a whole lot on less actives. My companion and I taught more lessons to less actives this week than ever before and it went really well. We found more less actives and even investigators in the process.
So we had some small miracles happen. We had an investigator, Maria Jose, tell us she wants to get baptized. It was a powerful moment. We just stopped by to invite her to conference. I had a Liahona magazine General Conference Edition in my backpack and we showed her pictures of the prophet, apostles, conference center, etc. We somehow got on the topic of the Holy Ghost and she loved it. I then had one of the most powerful promptings of the spirit to ask her if any of these mattered to her and if she even cared about receiving an answer to know if these things are true. She then answered by saying," I’ve been praying and I feel its right. I asked my mom for permission and support to get baptized and she is willing to support me." We were so happy. We had no plans of talking about baptism.
General Conference was amazing. Simply amazing! I went into it with a personal question about my life knowing it would be answered and it was. Those men and women, and Thomas S. Monson are divine servants chosen by the Lord to lead and guide us in these latter days. I love the prophet. I know he's Gods chosen helper here on the earth. My favorite talk that simply manifested to me that the church is true was by President Henry B. Erying. I can’t even put into words the feeling I had listening to him. I was so touched by the spirit. I loved every talk this weekend. It was the best way to end my mission.
Everything is great with us. We are working super hard and doing our best. I love you all so much. I love the Savior Jesus Christ and know He died for me each one of us. I’m forever grateful for His amazing grace.
Elder Berrett

Week 85

September 29, 2014

Hello Family!!!
I haven’t got an update from you all yet but it’s all good!! I hope all is well with you guys!! This week’s letter will be a little shorter because we had some bad luck in our house haha I’ll explain! So on P-day we played futsal just about all morning. That’s the routine now haha we love futsal. Today we did the same thing! My legs are super sore...
Tuesday was transfer day. And although my companion and I didn’t have changes we still had to go take some elders that were companionless to pick up their companions. While we were at the airport Elder Porter (the other Elder I live with) and I both started to feel pretty sick. So after we did all our transfer stuff we were both feeling pretty bad, he was worse though. So we called Sister Hansen and she told us to lie down and rest. I threw up once and was in the bathroom a bit, but not as much as Elder Porter haha But by the evening I was feeling better. We think it was something we ate on Sunday. I got over it but Elder Porter no. He was with us all week because he is training this transfer, so he had to wait until Friday to get his new comp. So all this week we were basically with him in the house. Turns out he had parasites. I’m thinking I’ll go to the doctor just to make sure I don’t have them either. But he got his comp, Elder Hansen from Utah. He's super cool. It’s weird to live with 2 gringos, haha, but it’s cool. So my comp and I just went to work on Friday and Saturday, trying to make up for lost time. We got a lot of good done. I realized this week how much I hate being stuck in the house. haha  I’m too used to leaving and being out all day long.
So hopefully this week will be much better! I’m so excited, we have leader’s council with president on Wednesday, and of course as you know, GENERAL CONFERENCE this weekend! YES!! The super bowl for missionaries!! haha I’m so excited. I hope you guys can watch ALL the sessions. I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Berrett
I loved President Hansen's reply to my email this week, I thought I’d share it:

Loved your letter, Elder Berrett. I love baseball and am glad to find
out you love it too. Tony Gwynn was one of my favorite players of all
time. I loved his work ethic, and how he still practiced hitting off a
tee, perfecting the fundamentals of his swing, and analyzing his swing
through video, even late in his career after winning many batting
titles. He showed how hard work allows one to rise to the top. You are
a great missionary. I'm really happy that you are happy with spending
another cambio with your awesome companion, Elder Nicho.

Week 84

September 22, 2014
So this week, we had a lot to chat about and catch up on.  We had to get some information regarding school and housing, classes that he was interested in taking, so on and so forth.
However, he did send some pictures....
This is a family we are teaching that is progressing really well.
The dad and son weren't there for the lesson, but they're all awesome!!
They cried when we told them that one of us was going to change. We told them they could pray and fast and they did! And now look!! Miracles!

The Stake president baptized Ligia (amazing idea from my companion) and the ward mission leader baptized Ivan.

Week 83

September 15, 2014
Wow what a week!! It looks like everything is going great for everyone!! It’s crazy to see and hear about the changes that are taking place. Everyone is doing awesome.
Well, this week was great. We had some problems in the beginning but finished strong. My companion had more problems with his teeth and ended up having a surgery Tuesday morning. We were stuck in the house ALLLLLLL Tuesday and ALLLLLL Wednesday. So that was incredibly boring. But he is good now and ready to have a full good work week.
Thursday was for sure the highlight of the week and the day that changed my mission. Elder Waddell from the first Quorum of the Seventy came and spoke to us. He focused simply on the Work of Salvation. I’m not going to lie, he was a little strict with us but I loved it. Every missionary has one thing on their mind and that is BAPTISMS, BAPTISMS, and BAPTISMS!!! He told us that is over with. Done. Gone. Forever. We should now be craving TEMPLE, TEMPLE, TEMPLE!!!!! Here in the Northwest South American Area there are 1.5 million members and 230,000 are active. He yelled (with the spirit) THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. He told us something I’ll never forget, he said, "the purpose of the Priesthood is not to baptize, it is to seal families forever." That was so awesome to hear. I’d love to share my notes from this conference with you all one day. It really did change my perspective on the church and what the Lord's work really is.  Also, Thursday morning I was feeling really good but nervous at the same time about the lack of time I have here. So I asked my companion for a blessing to simply give me strength to not only endure to the end but only get better until the end and to apply what I’ve learned in the mission for the rest of my life. He asked for me to do the same to him right after. It was an amazing spiritual moment for our companionship. I’m afraid it may be our last week together since changes are coming up this Sunday. I’m trying to take in every moment with him. He has been an amazing influence in my life.
So we cancelled the baptisms of Ivan and Ligia again because this weekend was a holiday here and they both went on vacation with their families but tonight they should be back. We have an appointment later tonight to program their baptisms this week. Hopefully the 3rd week is a charm. haha
Well, I testify and know that everything Elder Waddell has said is true. I know Christ lives. I don’t doubt that for a second. The gospel is true. I’m so grateful for it.
Until next week!!
Elder Berrett

My buddies after the conference: Elder Porter and Elder Weekes

We had a sweet zone activity on Monday. We bought a whole bunch of fruit and yogurt and had fruit salad and pancakes!!!! Yumm

Previously, I sent a picture of myself with these girls in their house!!
Cool story: We told them that if they prayed every single night together so that their mom would give them permission to go to church, it would happen. Well, literally a month passed and they were STILL praying. This week we had an appointment at their house and they came running out the door yelling Elderes, Elderes!!!!!!!! Our mom gave us permission to go to church!!! God answered us!! So we got super excited and danced for a moment with them in the street. haha I'll never forget that moment. Yesterday they all came with us and LOVED it, especially primary. We aren't thinking of baptism right now with them, even though they are eligible just because they're so young and don't have much support from home. We've decided it would be better to have them just go to church and maybe in a few more months think about that. Saturday we gave them these CTR rings. 

Week 81

September 1, 2014
Whats up everyone?!!!

Looks like everyone is amazing. I'm so happy Kayden is up and off to Utah!! He's going to do great things. Berkley and Carston look like different people. Wow, I cant believe it. Everyone is growing up and doing great things.

So this week was WORK, WORK, WORK!!!! And I love it. I wouldn't trade my mission, my companions or anything for the world. I love where I am, who the Lord has made me become and I'm excited for the time I still have.  Please let me brag about my companion for a small moment.  He's amazing! We are going home the same day, so we are helping each other to not get distracted and it's working so well. This week we taught more lessons than anyone in the mission according to the assistants. I've never clicked with a companion (I have loved all my comps) like him. He's so spiritual and I've learned so much from him. This week we are excited about the two baptisms we'll be having for Ivan and Ligia. I think I told y'all about them. They are super ready and prepared as well. The bishop is already preparing their callings! 

I've really been focusing lately on Christlike attributes. If we truly strive to be more like the Savior we will naturally do what he would do. So I've been trying to apply the Christlike attributes in Preach My Gospel chapter 6, little by little so I can do everything I can to emulate the savior. I will never perfect it, but I can do my best to do what He wants. I know that is what brings true happiness. I know this is His church and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I love Him and will forever serve Him. Badge or no badge. I hope you all have a great week!! I leave with the words of Bruce R. McConkie, that I've memorized and constantly repeat when I wake up each morning and throughout my day. My companion showed me this:

My Missionary Commission

by Elder Bruce R. McConkie

I am called of God.
My authority is above that of kings of the earth.
By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him--to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me.
My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine.
My Commission is to do what He wants done; To say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous Latter-day work.
How great is my calling!

Until next week!!

Elder Berrett