Monday, August 27, 2012

Let Your Light Shine

They say actions speak louder than words. I´m a pretty firm believer of that. Often in life we´re given chances to teach others--through a talk in church, as a teacher, as a parent or even as a missionary. Even though we often associate teaching with some kind of lecture or explanation, I think our example often gets the message across far better than any amount of words. For example, parents teach their kids about the importance of prayer and reading the scriptures, but there´s nothing quite as powerful as when a child walks in unexpectedly on one of their parents praying or reading the scriptures. Such experience tend to have a much more profound effect. Jesus Christ was a perfect teacher. He used the perfect combination of words and imagery to get his perfect message across to those who had the privilege of listening to his sermons. Yet, the words of his teachings were always supported by his perfect actions. There isn´t one thing that he taught that he didn´t live. He was the perfect example of how to talk the talk and walk the walk. On the sermon on the mount he taught us about how to forgive, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any" (Mark 11:25). It´s a pretty basic teaching we can all easily agree with, if any one has done us wrong, forgive them. But it takes a new meaning when we read the prayer he offered while upon the cross, after being beaten and spit upon: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). In the same way our actions back up or words, they can also destroy them. Imagine a father that tells his kids not to smoke, as he has a cigarette in between his fingers. It doesn´t matter how well he explains the damage that smoking does and how they will live fuller lives if they avoid it, the smoke coming out of his mouth speaks louder than his words. That is way Jesus often denounced hypocrisy. Paul warned, "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him" (Titus 1:16). It´s pretty simple, some will some will say they believe in God but their actions show that their belief is empty. So the question is, do we profess to know God and show it too? One of my favorite scriputres is one that was recited various times last General Conference: "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). That´s a lot of "in"s but wow, what a great thing to strive for. Often our example is compared to light, the EFY theme for last year was "Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations" (Doctrine and Covenants 115:5). And last but definitely not least, the Master said it best, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good words, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16). What an incredible teacher. Let´s let our light shine! With all the love of light, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, August 20, 2012

Welp, I don´t have a cool little email this week because I´ve been sick since Wednesday and my studies kinda went down the drain because I was just feeling terrible. But, the good news is we were still able to get a lot of work done and things are improving in both our area and in the zone. So all and all I can´t say it´s been a bad week because I´m finally working again how I´ve wanted and we´re seeing a lot of progress. My new companion is Elder Drennen from California, and so far things are going great. Basically all of our investigadors right now are part member families but the missionaries have kinda been afraid to teach them a lot (I don´t really know why) so we´re kinda starting from the ground up on a lot of them but it´s great seeing progress. A lot of hearts are being softened and we´re seeing a lot of miracles with dads who before didn´t accept us and now are way chill and nice so we´re really greateful for that. There still is a TON of work to do with both of our branches so we´re staying plenty busy. Like I´ve said before one of them is pretty close to qualifying as a ward so we´re trying to do all that we can to get the priesthood we need to make it a ward. Anddd the other branch is REALLY suffering. I don´t know if I´ve said it before but there´s like 700 members on the member lists and about 15 go every week. Hopefully we´ll be able to start making some progress with that branch as well but it´s just more appeasing to work in the area of the other branch a lot more because we´ve got boss members families to work with etc and it just seems like our efforts go further there but someone´s gotta start taking a big iniciative with the other one or it´s never going to improve much. The great news is that one of our branch presidents specifically asked us to play soccer with the young men that play every wednesday because there´s a lot of non members and inactive members that go. He wants us to play to see if we can make any progress with them. Pretty much I´ve been waiting my entire mission for someone to tell me that so I´m stoked out of my mind to start balling it up. In other news, Alex (our baptism last week) got the priesthood on Sunday so that was way cool. Other than that things are pretty chill, there´s not a whole lot more I can think of to tell you all... We have a way sick family home evening planned with a member family and a part member family tonight so hopefully next week I can send you some pictures of that. Oh, and i´ll send you some pictures of when we went to Cerro Arco a couple weeks ago, With all the love of a really long hike, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, August 13, 2012


sorry, i forgot these....we baptized this weekend! we baptized the two kids, Alex and Karla (I baptized Karla) the mom is already a member and has been since she was a little kid, all of the kids but the smallest one were actually born in the states when they used to live there. they moved here about 3 years ago because he wasn´t legal and they wanted to do things right. pretty much all of the mom´s family still lives in Utah and yeah! that´s the story haha. I want to start working with the dad but I´ve been told he´s a little relucant to get baptized because his dad is pretty catholic (and lives way close) and he doesn´t want any problems. But he is such a nice guy. really really great. Hopefully we can start helping him get a testimony. We´re also working with two other girls who are also the kids of a member. one of them acepted a baptismal date for next month and the other one has been to chruch like 5 times. unfortunately they didn´t make it to chruch so hopefully we can get them there next week. Other than that we´re kinda struggling with the whole teaching people thing....haha but this week is going to get better. Love you!!!!

Impossible is Nothing

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they´ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it." Adidas was really on to something when they came up with that advertising campaign. However, Jesus taught us the same concept some 2000 years ago, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed...nothing shall be impossible unto you" (Matthew 17:20). Nothing shall be impossible unto you. And again, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23). All things are possible. That´s a pretty incredible promise! Paul in his epistle to the Philippians reiterates Jesus´teaching, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). I can do all things. Now the qualifiers: only "If ye have faith" or "if thou canst believe" and only "through Christ" is this promise fulfilled. Jesus teaches again, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me...the same bringeth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). Without me ye can do nothing. Obviously a branch can´t do anything without a central vine to receive nutrients etc; that´s exactly how our relationship is with Christ. He further explains, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7). Ask what ye will. Do we understand how enabling the gospel of Jesus Christ is? With it "impossible is just a big word." Ammon explained this concept perfectly, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; but in [God´s] strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12). There it is again, all things. After witnessing various miracles through Ammon´s faithful service, Lamoni convincingly declares, "I know, in the strength of the Lord thou canst do all things" (Alma 20:4). Oop, and again--all things. From Samson who was given strength from his youth for obeying God´s command to never shave his head to captain Moroni and the 2000 stripling warriors who were strengthened and preserved for relying on God, the scriptures are not short of stories where the seemingly impossible is made reality. "Yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him." (Helaman 12:1). But let us be aware that only through God are we given such strength. Often those who are blessed to witness such miracles soon forget the qualifiers they met that made the miracles possible and start relying in their own strength and wisdom. "Yea, and we may see that at the very time when he doth prosper his people...that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God" (Helaman 12:2). The consequence of this is fit, because of "bosting in their own strength, they were left to their own strength: therefore they did not prosper" (Helaman 4:13). I love the promise found in Ether, "my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27). It´s like a formula of how to strengthen our lacks and reach the impossible. This gospel is so empowering! With all the love of a big word, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, August 6, 2012

Viva la Vida

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. It´s a fairly simple saying and we´ve all heard it before but how exactly do we turn lemons into lemonade? How do we take the "sour" experiences of life and turn them into something good? And once we do that and have our lemonade are we drinking it too? Making Lemonade Sometimes life gives us a sour batch of lemons. But as we understand why we get lemons, we can turn them into lemonade. Lehi explains why sometimes life isn´t always the easiest thing, "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so...righteousness could not be brought to pass...neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad" (2 Nephi 2:11). Later he explains that if we never have opposition we would live "having no joy, for [we know] no misery; doing no good, for [we know] no sin" (2 Nephi 2:23). Without knowing misery, we can´t have any joy. Without the sour we can´t have the sweet. Although it´s easier to understand this concept than to live it, it´ll help us turn those lemons into lemonade. Although lemons are a part of life, they don´t need to last forever. We can turn lemons into lemonade by understanding the nature of our hard times. Jesus explained to his disciples, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament...and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20). Isn´t that great? Even though sorrows will come we can look forward to when they´ll be turned into lemonade--err, joy. Then he gives us an example, "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world" (John 16:21). And finally these words of comfort, "And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you" (John 16:22). Alma after his life changing experience comments, "and oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain" (Alma 36:20). Drinking Lemonade Whether life gives us lemonade or we make it ourselves, if we´re not drinking it we´re not getting everything out of life. Often we might dwell on how great our lemonade used to be or how great our lemonade will be some day and we don´t realize how great our lemonade is now. Being grateful for the now is how we have our lemonade and drink it too. For the Strength of the Youth says, "Live with a spirit of thanksgiving and you will have greater happiness and satisfaction in life." How great is that? I don´t think it could get much clearer than that. Gratefulness = happiness and satisfaction. What a great little formula! By being grateful we give value to the present tense. Whether we´re getting hit in the face with sour lemons or someone´s serving us cold lemonade, by being grateful we enjoy life more fully. "If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful" (D&C 136:28-29). Too many times we take for granted what we have or we don´t realize what we have until we don´t have it anymore. James notes, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14). Jacob makes a similiar observation, "the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream" (Jacob 7:26). We don´t know how long life will be giving us lemons or lemonade, so let´s squeeze out all of the flavor while we can! With all the love of a sour lemon, Elder Lounsbury