Monday, September 30, 2013

Life is Hard, the Secret to Happiness, and Send Letters!

Let's have a moment of silence for the recent tragedy that occurred in the Sun Devils Stadium at the USC - ASU game this past week.

There is a lesson we can learn from that game, and it is that sometimes, bad things happen in life. Sometimes life is just hard. Sometimes all we have to eat is rice and beans. Well actually that is always only what we have to eat here in Honduras, but sometimes we don't even have that. This week we have had a lot of problems with people that are just in rough situations. A family of seven with a Dad who can't find work and can´t even afford food or pills for his fever-laden family. Single moms who can't work and who have no idea what to do. Men who get drunk just to forget about being left by their whole family and being completely alone.

But the thing is we are never alone. Yeah sometimes life stinks, but the point is we aren't in this by ourselves. Life isn't just a rat race or a game of chance. Happiness isn't reserved for the rich and successful. Mosiah 2:41 in the Book of Mormon reads, "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

The "secret" of life is right there!

All we need to do to have a guarantee of happiness in this life is keep the commandments of God! We keep the commandments, and we are blessed in ALL things, both temporally, with the food to feed our family, the money to pay for a decent home, everything, and perhaps more importantly, spiritually, with the peace, comfort, and joy that accompanies a moral and religious life. The world offers us a myriad of short pleasures, mere experiences that come and go, but simple obedience opens the heavens and allows God to shower us with blessings. We have shared this message like three times every day this week just because we are teaching so many people that are struggling with various difficulties, and I know it is true. The above mentioned Father without work received an offer to work driving a taxi for the day on Sunday morning, but even though his family hadn't eaten in over a day and he had no diaper for his 6 month old baby, he refused the offer, saying he was going to go to Church and observe the Sabbath. Wow. And you know what? The very next day he got a job working in a higher paying taxi and now has the money to buy food and medicine for his family; now his family is all healthy again.

These blessings are real! No matter what your situation, it will improve if you put your trust in God and obey his commandments. What this gospel does, what God does, is replace the good with the best.

Favorite experience of the week: We were walking kinda aimlessly at 6 pm at night because a teaching appointment had fallen through and we were waiting for a few minutes to go to a different appointment when a guy stopped in front of us and stared at us sadly while smoking a cigarette. We said hello, and, feeling prompted to do so, started to talk to him, asking him why he was smoking and why he had been drinking. He quietly told us that he was doing so because he was having family problems. We told him briefly about how these things can give us pleasure for a moment but only that, and that we can help him change his life if he wants to to have the blessings of happiness in his life. He said he really wanted to change his life, and promptly took the cigarette out of his mouth and chucked it on the ground and asked us to follow him to his house to teach him. Along the way, tears flowed quietly down his face as we told him that he is not alone, that he is a son of God and is loved, and that there is a way to change his life. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.

Just a gentle reminder to everyone to SEND ME LETTERS OR EMAILS OR WHATEVER!!!!! I want to hear from you people! Even if you just send me your email or address so I can send stuff to you, DO IT.

Love you all!

Fight on!
Elder Moffitt

Fight On to my football team and trumpets from the rivers and jungle of Honduras

Exploring on our P-day with Elder Moreno

Mail Day! Thank you for letters!!!!!
My favorite haha
My companion Elder Moreno

Monday, September 23, 2013

Whom He Calls He Qualifies -- and Putting on the Armor of God

Ho to the La!

Well well well what to write, what to write. It was a crazy week this week, and I know that I write that like every week but pretty much every week is crazy here in Honduras serving a mission.

Despite all our expectations, my companion, Elder Moreno, was changed to a different area this week, leaving me to welcome 3 new missionaries (my new companion and 2 more that are going to work here in the barrio of El Iman in La Ceiba) and introduce them to the area and the ward and the investigators and the members and yeah. It was a ton of responsibility and I was kinda nervous about how it was going to go down, especially because I would have to pretty much be a senior companion to 3 missionaries completely in Spanish for the rest of the week. But I want to testify that those whom God calls, He qualifies. I was able to speak a level of Spanish I have never been able to speak and, more importantly, understand people that I have never been able to understand well, like the Bishop. I know that God does not give us any challenge that we cannot overcome.

My new companion is Elder Sweat, which is super fitting because we do a lot of that here! He is a gringooooooooooooooo which means we can make inside gringo jokes that Latinos just don't get, like about how powerful Old Spice bodywash is. That and we get doubly targeted to be assaulted and robbed and are twice as likely not to understand what people say in Spanish. But we work really well together and I am super excited to work with him. We have a ward with a ton of promise and are ready to go to work!

I just asked Elder Sweat if we did anything cool or memorable this week and he hesitated and said, "Well, we bought a mop head."

And there you have it folks. We bought a mop head, and we taught the word of God to the dear citizens of La Ceiba, Honduras. Doesn´t get more awesome than that! We did a lot of contacting this week to find new investigators because we are dividing the area, which pretty much consists of just walking up to people on the street or in their houses and sharing a little bit about what we do and trying to get them to let you teach them. For a guy that didn't like Subway because he was afraid to go up and tell the worker what to put on his sandwich, that's a big step. But I really have come to develop the courage to share the gospel without fear because I really do know that it is true and that it will bless the lives of folks more than they could ever imagine; so when I think about that, I'm not afraid to go up to someone and just start talking to them. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power.

In our missionary activity this week we talked about the armor of God in Ephesians 6 and helped the members and investigators make their own armor of God out of cardboard. It was super sweet! I learned that the loins also means like the area around your spine on your back. I thought the loins meant like your pelvis area. My entire life has been a lie.

Teaching the children to put on the Armor of God
I know that this is the work of God and I love it. I learn so much every day. As my mom has often said, if you want evidence that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God on the earth today, just look at the fact that they have been sending out 19 yr olds as their primary representatives to preach the gospel, and the church still exists.

Thanks for all of your prayers and continue to Haz lo Justo!
Elder Moffitt
Haz lo Justo (Choose the Right)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kid Month in Honduras

Dear Family and America,

So here in Honduras they have a holiday just for kids called Dia de los Ninos, and I am pretty sure that most Latin countries celebrate it too, just on different days in the year. Pretty much what they do on Kid Day is just give their kids things. Not only that, but this whole month is Kid Month too. At first, I was kinda thinking "Shame on America for not having this magnificent holiday!!" But then I stopped and thought about it and everyday in America is give-your-kids-things-day, so it’s all good.

What’s more, yesterday was Dia de la Independencia for Honduras, so I got a good taste of the Honduran national anthem. That and like everyone ditched church to go march in parades haha so we only had 39 people in Sacrament meeting--and 16 of them were investigators that we brought!  

I love Honduras and it’s cool that they have an Independence Day. But they don’t have a movie with Will Smith and a white guy with a once-Jewish dad and a courageous crop-duster and an epic speech-giving president fighting aliens in the name of America and saving the world on July 4. Man I love that movie.

So with Kid Day and Independence Day and everything, this week was pretty weird. We are getting ready for 2 new missionaries to arrive on Wednesday, bringing the number of missionaries here in our area of El Iman to 4. WOOOO! We are going to do some serious work here with 4 elders.

We are teaching a lot of people. The thing I like about our area is that we don’t ever go tracting or knocking on random doors or really looking to find people; people just fall out of the sky and ask us to teach them. Like literally we have to constantly be watching the skies or else we get crushed by falling investigators. No, just kidding. But really the Lord just keeps leading us and placing prepared people in our way for us to teach. Doesn´t mean that these people don´t have problems we need to help them with or spiritual struggles they have to fight, but we just always have something meaningful to do.

For those who are curious, our missionary work is not to focus on baptism. Our mission president has instructed us to teach not to merely baptize, but to convert. If we were just looking to baptize, we could baptize five people a week easy beans. Almost everyone here knows that baptism is necessary and so they are totally willing to be baptized. The thing is that we want people to know that this is the true church in which to be baptized. We want them to receive a testimony, for themselves, by the power of the Holy Ghost through study and prayer of the Libro de Mormon, which is the evidence we have that the church and authority that Christ established really was lost and then restored through a prophet of God named Jose Smith. If they gain this testimony, and are willing and desirous to act on it and do the things they have to do with that knowledge, then we will baptize them. For example, a convert here is a girl that is investigating the church that we helped move out of her house with her one month old baby and a few changes of clothes on Saturday night because of serious problems with her boyfriend and, despite all that (and not knowing what she is going to do to earn money to live now that she is alone) goes to church the next day, and is one of only 39 people here. When we are converted, we recognize that we need this gospel, not just that it is an interesting little organization, and we do all we can to exercise our faith.
Jesus Christ is the bread of eternal life. By following Him, remembering Him, 
and having faith in Him we can change and become what we aspire to become

President Klein, our San Pedro Sula East Mission President
We passed by a school twice this week when their band was playing “Brooklyn,” a rock chart of my dear Trojan Marching Band, in preparation for independence day here. Naturally, I stood in the middle of the street and air-trumpet solo'd the whole thing to passing cars. Both times.

Love you all and thanks for your prayers!
Elder Moffitt

P.S. Annie Ortiz--Thanks for your letter! You’re the best. Buena suerte en Argentina!

Monday, September 9, 2013

No Time for a Title

No Time for a Title. Another sweet future movie project. Details to be developed.
Pretty rough week this week but it is only through trials that we learn and grow! One thing I have definitely learned this week is that missions are HARD. Like legit super hard. Not really physically, or maybe I am just an absolute demigod in terms of physicality and athleticism (probably true), but spiritually and mentally and emotionally DIFFICULT. You have this idea in your mind of how everything should work and how everyone should act and then when things don´t go the way they show in the General Conference mission videos with MoTab "Called to Serve" playing in the background, the fall from ideal to reality hurts. And then you are left to wonder what you could have done and should do now to keep fighting for those scraps of the ideal that you still hope for. Wow, that was depressing. 

I have learned that the best way to endure trials and difficulties is to develop the attributes of Christ. Only in this way will you ever be able to be happy when things don't go your way. The humility to learn from others. The patience to endure delays. The love to accept mistakes of others and weaknesses of yourself. And the list goes on and on. There is a God in Heaven and I promise you that He hears every word and every desire, spoken and unspoken, when we pray. He. Knows. Us. I don´t know how He can pay infinite attention to every single person on this planet but He can and He does. I also had the best day of my mission this week so just goes to show you how confusing life likes to be.

But, before I tell you about that, there was a futbol game between Honduras and Mexico this week and it was crazy!! We were in the street when Honduras scored and everyone ran out of their houses shirtless and started blowing things up and screaming and kneeling in the streets in front of oncoming cars and waving Honduras flags. When the game ended, Honduras winning, everyone went even more crazy and because they had blown everything up already for the first 2 goals that Honduras scored, they brought out their AK-47s and pistols and started firing them in the air hahaha. I am glad they weren't playing USA because they probably would have grabbed me and offered me as a sacrifice to the Catracho Futbol gods.

So, now, cool story of the week. We were waiting for the last bus of the night to take us to the church for a meeting and a taxi driver pulled up on the other side of the street and started gesturing for us to come over. We waved No. No we don´t want a taxi. But he kept beckoning wildly so we went over. He said super energetically that he wanted us to come over and teach him and his family super bad and we were like "Sure, sure we will come. Where do you live?" and he told us to get in the taxi and he would show us where he lived. (There are no street signs or names here so it is super difficult to describe where people live). We were torn between going with him and missing the last bus or taking the bus to the meeting, but we felt that we should go with him. So we hopped in and he took us to where he lived, a tiny concrete shack, and then told us he would drive us to our meeting on the other side of town for free. On the way, he told us over and over how he wanted us, he needed us, to come over and teach him and his family. Then he told us how last Christmas eve, he and his family had practically nothing--no food, no presents, no nothing. He had no job, so it was looking to be a desolate Navidad. Then two elders (Mormon missionaries) showed up with a candle, rice and beans and some food, and some little games for his 5 kids. By candle light, they ate together that food and sang hymns and celebrated the birth of our Savior. He said he will never ever forget that Christmas and it was the most joyful, most beautiful Christmas he had ever had or will ever have. Wow. And though those missionaries didn't get to see the fruits of their labor in him wanting to enter the waters of baptism and make that covenant with God, now he has such a strong desire to come unto Christ it is incredible. He pretty much asked us to baptize him right then and there and we were like, "No, we need to teach you first." Ha. He asked us to pray with him when we arrived at the church building.  We did and during our prayer he began to weep. We met with him on Saturday and despite him working all night (6 pm until 7 am), he came with us to church in the morning and stayed awake the whole time, telling us that no sacrifice was too great for God. Yeah.

This is God´s work. He is preparing the people, He is the one putting them in our path, and He is the one converting them. In reality we just wear ties and nametags and walk around. God is a God of miracles, and this is His gospel and church.
Love you all and invite everyone to do some real pleading with God on your knees tonight and every night.

When life gets too hard to stand, kneel.
Elder Moffitt

P.S. Shout out to my USC friends starting the school year and football season, especially my Trojan Trumpets! Fight on!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Machetes, Marshmallows, and Missionary Work

Hola from Honduras!

The weeks here literally fly by. Seems like I was here writing the last email home 10 minutes ago. At this rate I will be home by next week. Anyways, this week was pretty crazy. We lost almost two days of working because my companion was sick, but we had 17 investigators at church on Sunday! 17 investigators in a ward that usually has 70 people at each sacrament meeting! This week we had 91 attend! It was crazy and a real testimony of who is at the head of this work--Jesus Christ. This is His church and He wants way more than us missionaries for His children to have the blessings of His restored and full gospel here on the earth. Those who want to find truth and are willing to search, ponder, and pray about it are going to receive an answer. Some people we hadn´t even talked to for several weeks showed up, and it was a testimony meeting so it was super powerful.

Also that Sunday we taught a lesson on missionary work to the Relief Society because the president said that was how we could help her. We have tried to change the mentality of the ward leaders from them helping us to us helping them, because we are there not to be a burden, but to be a blessing and leave the ward stronger than we found it, and each of the leaders thought of ways we can help them. I am seriously convinced that this ward is going to grow miraculously. 
 My companion, young friend, beach ...

 and mountains of beautiful LaCeiba.

Every Thursday we have a fun and spiritual activity for members and investigators and this week we had an activity about how the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way we can be firm in this life and support the sometimes crushing weight of temptations, trials, and problems of the world. The three teams first had to try and build a tower with only marshmallows to support the weight of some pamphlets, and no one could do it because their towers kept collapsing under the weight. This is like our lives without the gospel. Then we gave them chocolate squares to use with the marshmallows and everyone was able to build tall towers that could withstand the weight placed upon them. Along with the story of the wise man and the foolish man in Matthew 7, we shared this scripture in Helaman 5.12 in the Libro de Mormon:

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
Our Thursday night activity this week for church members and friends, 
titled "Supporting the weight of the world," or "Mantiendonos con el peso del mundo"

I am not here in Honduras for the yummy baleadas or for the beautiful scenery. I am here because I know that only by building our lives on the teachings and church of Jesus Christ can we have true stability and peace and happiness in our lives. I know that this is true, and I love spending all day every day helping people and families realize that. 

Funny story of the week: We were meeting with a family whose mom was baptized when she was 14 but has not since gone been active in the church. They are a super awesome family and they really want the blessings that the church and the gospel have to offer them. Anyways we were meeting them and she sent one of her kids to buy us something to drink and he returned with a bottle of Lipton Iced Tea as we were leaving. Paula, the mom, poured us both glasses and we were like "ahhhhh what do we do?" because this mom is super nice and just wants to help us and we didn't want to embarrass her and make her feel like some sort of sinner for just offering us iced tea and we were panicking and she saw our faces, which probably looked like we were in some late stage of constipation, and said, "Oh are you Elders fasting?" And we replied, "Si, Si Hermana!! Forgive us!!" and she was like, "Oh, no problem at all" and we left. Oh my!  We will definitely explain the word of wisdom to her a bit later but we didn´t want her to feel like a terrible church member for knowing that we don't drink tea. No, it was not a lie, it was a loving bending of the truth as it was Fast Sunday that week so...

Interesting lunch combo

Also my companero and I spent about 6 hours using machetes to cut a backyard for an investigator. It was like the worst and most inefficient thing ever. If you want a nice dose of empathy for everyone here, because no one has lawnmowers or anything, try taking a sword (or a pair of scissors if you don’t have a sword) and cutting your entire lawn. It is super fun, I promise. 

Doing service ... cutting a lawn... with machetes. Don't try it at home.  
It makes mowing the lawn sound like a reward for completing your other chores.

Super long letter but so much happens each week I can really only ever give you guys a Costco sample of life over here as a missionary. 

Livin and lovin da mishionary life. I really do know that what we teach is true!

Love you!
Elder Moffitt

La Ceiba at sunset. Beautiful.