Monday, November 10, 2014

An Apostolic Visit

Greetings to all who read my weekly emails.

This week has been a "long" one for me- lots of things have happened. But what outshines them all, by far, was the visit of a special witness of Jesus Christ to our mission. This week, there was a unique conference for the entire mission in the Mendoza stake center, with Elder D. Todd Christofferson presiding. It was an inspiring, uplifting, absolutely amazing experience. The highlight of the morning conference for me was when we were all given the opportunity to greet the Apostle with a handshake. Now, I've felt what could be called a penetrating glance before; but nothing compares to the sort of hammer-to-the-stomach feeling of having someone look right into you that I got as I looked into that man's eyes. What a powerful witness of the sacred nature of his calling I received. At the end of the conference, he also left a blessing on all of the missionaries of the mission. It was, without a shadow of a doubt, an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This week I was also transferred out to San Luis. It's very different form Mendoza- the land is hilly, and there is frequently strong wind. it's a good few degrees more reasonable right now in the summer, too.

I forgot my camera, so hopefully I will be able to send pictures next week.

For now, no one has put the picture that they took of the whole mission with Elder Christofferson on the blog yet, so I'll send one they took at the last zone conference we had:

Can you find me?
Using my amazing skills with paint, I obtained a photo of my companion from his last zone picture.

Elder Inca: It is of the highest quality; sadly, his eyes appear to be closed.
This week I read the whole book of Moroni as one of my scripture study projects. A number of things impacted me, and I payed attention to a few verses that I hadn't noticed before; however, I was inclined to ponder the general themes of Moroni chapters 7 and 10 -- that is, faith, hope and charity -- seeing as they where something specifically mentioned by Elder Christofferson as really applicable to all of the people we come in contact with. Moroni explains that anyone who cultivates these three most important Christlike attributes will not only have no problem cultivating others, but that such a person will be on the path to salvation. Elder Christofferson made mention of these attributes especially in relation to less active members who no longer feel the effects of the atonement in their lives- that these essential attributes are the fruits of true repentance, which true repentance can only make us more like our greatest example, which is Jesus Christ.

Let us all try, then, to develop our faith, hope and charity a little more fully this week as we strive to do the things that are always pleasing to our Heavenly Father, even as Christ did, (See John 8:29) that he may never leave us to face the challenges of life alone.

Elder Backstrom

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Picture Day!

Guess what day it is...

Picture day!

Good P-day activities
Me on top, then from left to right, Elders Sotelo, Felix and Fernandez; and behind Elder Perkins is lying down.

Here is me and my companion, as well as Elder Kahmann.
And I thought I would include a picture of my top-level exercise machine which helps me be super muscular.

Hermana Rosario's Baptism!

This week there was a baptism in the ward; I wasn't really expecting that the sister would be ready for this Saturday, but she passed her interview and made a lot of really miraculous progress the last week before here baptism. By limits she's in the other elder's area, but our companionship was teaching her because there had been so many special transfers in the other area.

The Sister Rosario Palma and President Luis Tapia, who Baptized and confirmed her.

Left to right: Hno. Alanis, first councilor in the branch presidency; Hna. Rosario; Pres. Tapia; Elders Fernandez, Backstrom, Perkins and Mulestien.

Groupo photos of everyone who came to the baptism (Except for Janet, one of our investigators; she didn't want to be in the picture because she's pregnant. So silly. So she took the photo-) Left to right- Tomas Olivera, Gabriel Alanis, Hno Alanis (his father) Hna Alanis (His mother) Cecilia de Alanis (wife of Gabriel), Hna. Alicia Alegria, Hna. Rosario, Pres.Tapia, Hna. Juana (friend of Hna. Rosario; also investigator) Elders Fernandez and Mulestien, Elias Neiras (Janet is his pareja), Me, elder Perkins.

Goodbye Elder Fernandez!

So we also bought a cake to say goodbye to Elder Fernandez. (Elder Fernandez was Dallin's current companion when he sent this letter and Elder Fernandez went home on the 5th of November)

The Goodbye Cake!

Left to right: Elder Mulestien, Elder Backstrom, Elder Fernandez and Elder Perkins

Elder Backstrom and Elder Fernandez just before Elder Fernandez goes home

So! It was an action packed week. We were busy preparing Hna. Rosario for baptisim. Happily she was able to make that covenant with her Heavenly Father and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost the next day. It was a very spiritual experience and I am very glad that two other investigators were able to attend the baptism to see that life-changing event in the life of this faithful sister.
Also, transfers came, and, surprisingly, I won't be staying here- they're going to wash the area. I'll be headed to San Luis, Ampia ward, with Elder Inca from Peru. It's cool that I'll get to see all three of the provinces in the mission in my first year here.
This week I've studied a lot of things, but something that particularly stood out to me was in Alma chapter 32, before he begins talking about faith and is talking about humility. Alma extols the blessings for those who are truly penitent, or, he says, those who are baptized without stiffness of heart, having to be made to know of the truth. the passage reminded me of the hna. Rosario (who everyone calls Meche. I don't know why.) who was very receptive during the teaching process, regardless of the many many doubts that she had, that we had to help her overcome; She was willing to do the things that we asked her to do to help her get an answer to her prayers.
Anyways, have a good week all,
El. Backstrom