Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 24, 2012

We have had a great week. On Tuesday we had interviews with President Alvarado. I always love meetings like that becuase we learn a lot. Especially during interviews, because it's always more personal. Anyway, I learned a lot and we've already been able to apply things with our investigators and we're seeing a lot of success.
On Wednesday we went and taught Anibal. We had talked about prophets and left him Mosiah 2 to read, so he could see an example of what a prophet is. When we went to his house on Wednesday he told us he had read and he felt something special. Then he prayed about it and he felt the witness of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon was true! That was so cool to hear. He said, "I know King Benjamin was really a prophet of God" we talked about baptism and he still has a few doubts, but we're going to teach him about the plan of salvation this Wednesday and set a baptismal date. We had a great lesson with Alexis Vicil's mom too. She told us she really wants to recieve an answer that the Church is true. It was a powerful lesson.
And the best thing that happened this week was Jairo's baptism! It went perfectly. We finished teaching the commandments and he had his interview and the baptism went perfectly. I could see a difference in him after and he was so excited. His 12 year old brother who hadn't been there for the lessons told us that he wants to be baptized next month, so we'll be working with him now too. Anyway it has been great. Arroyo is progressing really well. I'll try to get some photos of the baptism sent.
Elder Duclos

September 17, 2012

Well this week has been great. Yesterday we had stake conference. I've been in the same stake my whole mission, in three different wards, units I guess. But it was good to see all the ward members I've worked with my whole mission. I love the Caguas stake, the stake President, President Santos is awesome. He is one of the most humble leaders I've ever seen. He makes frequent trips to the temple in the Dominican Republic. Things like that strengthen my testimony that the priesthood really has been restored to the earth. I also got to see Edgardo Mercado, and his family. He was sustained in the conference to recieve the Melchizedek priesthood! It was really exciting. More Melchizedek priesthood holders in the stake!

Things have been going really well with our investigators too. Jairo is going to be baptized on Saturday. It was so cool because the stake conference was focused on the family and teaching children. I thought of how Jairo is learning the same gospel he'll be teaching some day as a missionary and as a father. It was a cool thought. He's learning the basic principles now that will become even more meaningful later in his life. He's really excited. We're working with some other investigators too. Tomorrow we're going up to the office for interviews with President Avarado. Those meetings are always good. 

We're riding bikes a lot. I spend an hour a day on the bike just going to and from my area. It's great though, the views are good, especially going to Patillas. It is hot but no hotter than it's always been. Anyway, the Church is true. 

Elder Duclos

September 10, 2012

Well this has been one interesting week. On Wednesday we biked all the way from our house in Guayama to Patillas, two cities over. It took about an hour. We were there contacting for about ten minutes when Elder Bryant called and said that I had to go to the office with his companion Elder Isaksen (who is from Norway) he said that Elder Isaksen was going to work on making a DVD for President Alvarado and that President had some problems with his iPhone and iPad that he wanted me to fix. (Somebody told them that I knew how to use Apple stuff so they always ask me to fix things for them). Anyway they said that I'd need to bring enough things to stay the night. We got to the office and started working together on the DVD, we only had about half the videos President wanted on there but he said, "Just get it done" so we had to be creative. It ended up that we were there from Wednesday morning to Friday night working on all the projects they had for us. We fixed one of his computers, we made the DVD, we fixed the calendar syncing on his iPad and iPhone and all kinds of stuff. So that was pretty different. Elder Bryant and Elder Arteaga stayed in Guayama and Arroyo and worked in both areas for those three days.
We have been doing really well in Arroyo. We're teaching Jairo, who is the nine year old grandson of a member of the branch. It's really fun to teach him because we use a lot of examples and everything. He is a really cool kid and it's cool to think about how he'll be able to receive the priesthood and go on a mission, and that the things he's learning now with us will be the base for everything he does later in his life. We weren't able to teach Daniel, our investigator with a baptismal date, last week but we have an appointment with him this week. We have been working really hard at finding new investigators and helping the ones we have now. I think I mentioned this in the last email but we are working a lot with Eugenia, the mother of Alexis Vicil who was a missionary in the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission not too long ago. She has been taking the missionary lessons for about 7 years now but we really believe she can be baptized. We have been praying so much to be guided to what it is that she needs to understand so she can be baptized. It's been amazing how much I've been able to learn about helping others to come unto Christ. It is the most rewarding work I have ever done. It is so special to feel like somebody has learned more about Heavenly Father and gone further in their eternal progression because of something you've taught them.
Well, that's how this week has been. I wish I could write everything about that has happened in this week, but I'd be here all day. But I know this is the Lord's work. I know this is His gospel and His Church. There is no way these things are not true.
Elder Duclos

September 3, 2012

Well they finally took me out of Juncos. It was a lot of fun there and I loved that area but I'm excited for what's ahead now. On Wednesday night they called and told me I was going to Arroyo. It's still in the Caguas stake so I'm in the same zone but it's about as far from Caguas as the stake gets. It's in the southeast corner of Puerto Rico and our area covers Arroyo, Patillas and Maunabo. We live in Guayama and we don't have a car so we have to bike about half an hour every day to get to our area and another half hour the days we go to Patillas. But it has been great so far. My companion is Elder Arteaga from Bolivia and he got here at the same time as Elder Raymundo.

Arroyo is awesome, it's a branch that just opened up in the past few months - it used to be part of the Guayama ward, so it's small but really great. One of the members here was an AP in the Puerto Rico San Juan mission that just finished one transfer ago. He's the first counselor in the branch presidency and the ward mission leader so we've been working a lot with him. His mom isn't a member and has been taking the lessons for about 7 years. Yesterday we went over and had a really good lesson about reading the Book of Mormon with real intent. We explained that when somebody wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true, they need to read it really seeking that revelation from Heavenly Father. It was so cool to be able to help somebody use the Book of Mormon to find guidance for their lives, especially something so significant as finding the restored church. During that lesson, I think I learned more from what was said than I ever have in a lesson. 

We also taught the boyfriend of a recently reactivated member in Patillas. His name is Daniel and the missionaries have been teaching him for about a month. He always had problems with coming to church and they couldn't ever get him to come. On Friday we went by and had a really powerful lesson about the sabbath day and baptism and invited him to come to church he came on Sunday. and he accepted the 23rd of September as a baptismal date! It was awesome and we are really excited for the 23rd. 

Well, I am as happy as ever. I like the new area and I am excited to see some real growth here. 

Elder Duclos

August 27, 2012

Wow, this week has been eventful! We heard about the hurricane at the beginning of the week, everyone we contacted was telling us that a hurricane was coming, some people said Wednesday, some people said Thursday. Even the ward members called us to ask if we had enough water stored up. But nothing happened; all we got was a lot of rain, not even enough to stop us from going out. It was good that we didn't lose any time working but it was almost impossible to talk to people during those days. Almost everyone told us to go home because Isaac was coming. But I survived, so no worries.
We saw another miracle this week. So on Wednesday we were riding our bikes in Juncos to go make contact with some old investigators that we had lost contact with. While we were riding we saw a couple walking, and we stopped to talk to them. Their names are Luis and Dorca, and they told us they were walking all the way to their house in Las Piedras because he had a job interview in Juncos that he'd just finished. Then, a member, of the Church that lives in Juncos pulled up in her car. She asked if everything was all right because she thought maybe something had happened. We told her everything was okay and that we were just talking to the family, and she bore her testimony about how she found the church and asked where they were going. They told her they were walking all the way to Las Piedras and she said, "I'm going that way, get in" so we set an appointment and they drove off. Anyway on Friday we did a trade off, and I was in Humacao, Elder Raymundo, and Elder Lopez from Humacao went to the appointment with the ward mission leader and had an awesome lesson. They told us about how they moved recently and have gone through some hard times and they had been praying to find someone that could help them spiritually. They were both pastors but had some really negative experiences. They said they'd been praying and we were the first people who stopped to talk to them. They came to church yesterday and loved it. All the members welcomed them and they felt really comfortable. It was so cool. We've been fasting and praying so much recently for a miracle to happen in Juncos, and they've been praying too.  So it's been great. We're going to go over there this week to teach them more about the restoration and help them to know for themselves that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that our Heavenly Father has sent prophets to the earth again with the fulness of the gospel. I love the mission.
So everything has been going very well here. I'm happy and we didn't even see the hurricane. I hope everything is going well at home.
Elder Duclos

August 20, 2012

The meeting we had with Elder Zivick was great! We were there with another zone. He talked a lot about the goal we have as a mission to have one baptism per companionship per month, and he talked about how we need to break old mindsets and do new things and that when we do that, we'll be able to have the success we need. It was really inspiring, and I've been able to see how I can improve and grow to be a better missionary. Every time we have a meeting like that it seems like exactly what I needed, especially because President invited us to fast every week to prepare for Elder Zivick's visit. I was able to prepare spiritually for the meeting and go with the right questions in mind to be able to recieve guidance. It's awesome how that works.
We had another good lesson with Francisco, we finished teaching the Plan of Salvation, we explained about what happens after this life. He's been doing well, but says he doesn't want to commit to any church, but he's been reading and praying and waiting for an answer, we trust that will be powerful enough to help him overcome anything that's holding him back.
Anyway, things have been pretty busy here, we've got a lot of people we're working with and a lot to do every day. I love being out here serving Heavenly Father and helping His work move forward.
Elder Duclos

August 13, 2012

We've been doing a lot of preparation this week for the visit from Elder Zivick. He'll be speaking to our zone and the Ponce zone tomorrow. It's going to be pretty awesome, I'm not quite sure what to expect but I do know it'll be a great opportunity to learn and improve. 

We had an awesome lesson with Fransisco this week. He is the investigator that we found awhile ago but was gone on vacation for a few weeks. Anyway, we went over again and taught the plan of salvation. It was a really cool lesson and he had a lot of questions about agency. It was so great to be able to explain the Atonement and how central it is in everything Heavenly Father has prepared, and also to show what our potential is as sons and daughters of God. We prepare a lot for every lesson but usually when we get there and start to teach, it's something we hadn't expected. It's also amazing how much the Spirit teaches me every time we teach. There's nothing that builds a testimony more than testifying of something and feeling the Spirit testifying that what you are saying is true. I love it. I know this gospel is true and I know Heavenly Father's plan is perfect. 

We had another cool lesson with the Fernandez family. I wasn't there for the first lesson, because we were on splits that day. When we went over for the second lesson, the wife wasn't there and they asked if we could come back later that day. We had planned to teach them the plan of salvation but when we went over at 8 o'clock, the wife was just getting home from work, and seemed a little bit stressed out. They told us they hadn't had time to read the Book of Mormon so we decided to read the chapter with them. We read 3 Nephi 11 and the Spirit was strong. The words of the savior in the Book of Mormon changed the mood so much and everything was calm. We could tell the wife was more interested after because she was asking about our beliefs in the Bible and everything and they both recommitted to reading the Book of Mormon. That book is true. 

So anyway, everything is going really well here, and we are really excited about how well the work is going. The Church is true.

Elder Duclos