Date

August 19, 2015

Area

Resistencia

Companion

Elder Karmanov

With love from Russia

Hello mother!

Whats new? Hows my mom?  Hows the family doing?  Yeah, today's wednesday.  Its been a crazy couple of days, but now we are kinda settled down and so today is our pday.  

So, monday was a holiday so Elder Whiting and I ended up working like it was a normal day.  In the morning Pres. Franco called us and said that he wanted to eat lunch with us, since elder Whiting was leaving.  So after working in the morning we went to resistencia to the mission office.  Pres. then took us in his car to THE nicest hotel I have seen here and we ate in an upstairs restaurant.  So nice and soo good.  I ate raviolis made with chicken.  It was a great opportunity to just sit and chat with president.  He asked us both about our missions, about the things we have learned up until now in our missions.  
So Elder Whtiing and I got up early yesterday and went to the office, where we met up with PRes. Franco.  We loaded up his bags and said good bye and then presidente took him to the airport.  He should be in the States by now.  So, my new compa is Elder Karmanov!  He's RUSSIAN!  He was born in Russia and grew up in Buenos Aires. We have known each other for quite some time now, so we are pretty excited to work together.  He has been in the office for about 10 months, so he is super anxious to get out and work...Honestly, i have never seen anyone with so much excitement!  I am now determined to learn to pray in Russian!  Ask me when I get home.

So its been another hard week.  We have been working hard - doing a lot of contacting, searching, etc - but we havent been able to teach as much as we have wanted.  It's actually been pretty chilly this week and it has rained EVERY day.  And, even though I truly love the rain, sometimes it makes it hard for people to get out of bed to answer the door. Funny story, the other day we were contacting in the POURING RAIN.  We were getting soaked. We decided to knock a couple of houses.  The first lady said that she couldnt talk to us because it was raining, and then hurried back inside.  We already knew it was raining.  Then we go next door where we had seen a man drinking mate in the doorway.  The door was  wide open so we clapped and no one came to the door.  WE clapped and again.  Nothing.  Suddenly the man came running out, grabbed his mate that he had left outside and ran back inside as fast as he could to avoid talking to us.  Sad that he hid, but it was a comical sight.

This week we did divisiones with Elder Leoni and Elder Escobar.  I went with Elder Leoni and Elder Escobar went with Elder Whiting.  It was a great experience.  I was able to teach Elder Leoni a little bit more about his responsibilities as a new District Leader and Trainer and he was very excited to ask a ton of questions.  Elder Escobar and a great time with Elder Whiting and they had a great lesson with Vanina about obedience.  Elder Escobar is new, this transfer.  I really admire the desire he has to work and serve others.  We found out that his dad passed away last week, but he has been doing so well.  I admire his faith.

So Vanina is doing well, but she didnt make it to church....AGAIN. Pray that she gets there.  There is always something that gets in the way.  Obviously.
I have been studying several General Conference talks this week.  I have been specifically studying 3 talks - "Latter day saints keep trying", "where justice, love, and mercy meet", and "the gift of grace".  I love these talks co much and I want to invite you to read them . All together.  In that order.  The Atonement is incredible.  One of the lines that really caught my attention in Elder Renlund's talk was "President Thomas S. Monson has taught, “One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final.” Even if we’ve been a conscious, deliberate sinner or have repeatedly faced failure and disappointment, the moment we decide to try again, the Atonement of Christ can help us."  What a huge promise!  We make mistakes (big and small) every single day.  Often we make the same mistakes over and over, which is extremely frustrating, right?  But He never ever gives up on us, and His Atonement never runs out.  Thats why it is infinite. 

Yesterday we didnt have pday because we had a multi zone conference in Resistencia.  The spirit was super strong and I learned so much.  During the entire conference we learned and were taught a lot about faith (which I found rather interesting).  Presidente franco talked a lot about not getting discouraged and obedience.  Obedience is a law of the heavens and we must obey to recieve blessings.  He also said something that got everyones attention.  "La obra misional no es complicada. Es dificil."  --> "Missionary work isnt complicated. Its hard." So true.  He also taught that our faith needs to me strong always and in the right things.  OUr faith needs to be in Christ.  OUr faith needs to be unconditional.  He talked about Daniel 3, and the 3 who were thrown into the fire.  Before being tossed into the furnace they claimed that they knew that their God would save them. Then comes the famous and simple statement of faith.  "And if not..."  What incredible faith they had.  Their faith didn't depend upon the blessings that God gave them, or the blessings that they wanted to see.  They had faith in Gods will.  I want to have faith like that.  I strive to work hard, to be obedient, to study and to help my zone.  There are things that I would like to see happen in my area and in my zone, but if those things don't happen, I will be happy with my work and I will thank my Heavenly Father for all that He has given me. Because, in all that process, I have learned and grown.  My faith wont depend on the things I want.  Only the will of my Father.
I know He loves us so very much. More than we really know.  Sometimes we think we understand the love that he has for us, but I have grown to understand that His love is FAR beyond human or mortal comprehension.  I love Him and I thank Him for sending us his son. 

Elder Gabriel Christiansen
Misión Argentina Resistencia




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