My Last Week & The Guerra Family

Salto de las Rosas

LAST WEEK… signing off 😦

Wow, I can’t believe it. I’ve waited my whole life for the day to come where I would be able to serve as a missionary, and now, in the blink of an eye, it’s all coming to an end. Over the past two years a lot has happened, there have been so many hard moments and challenges, so many learning experiences. And on the other hand, so much pure joy from being able to meet all the people i have and seeing investigators accept the gospel. Right now im filled with so much joy of all the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me and the mercy he has had in letting me teach the people I have taught. But I also feel a lot of sadness knowing I won’t be able to dedicate all my time to this work and I wont be able to keep helping people come unto Christ in the way I have over the past two years. Feelings come that there is so much more for me to learn and so much more for me to do… but I’m satisfied in knowing the Lord has a personal plan for each of us and it’s time for me to start a new chapter in my life! Knowing that makes me happy and excited for the future. Argentina will always stay in my heart.

They really were those “best two years” everyone talks about.

This week we were blessed to see the marriage and baptism of the Guerra Family! They have progressed so much and were SO prepared to receive the gospel. The mother was the driving force in their family and is who influenced them all to learn about the gospel and get baptized. They have an inner drive to have a happy family and an eternal family. This past week they suffered many challenges as they have prepared for their baptism. They lost their house this past week and Alejandro a few days later lost his job. This could have been an excuse for them to postpone things while all this was happening with them. But it was amazing to see they faith they showed throughout all of this and they went through with everything as planned! They have strong faith and hope that in following the gospel, everything will be resolved. On Sunday we participated in 6 blessings! Four for the baptism of the family, and then, Alejandro Guerra , the dad , received the Aaronic priesthood, and Francisco, who got baptized last week, also received the priesthood. A meeting full of the spirit. I’m amazed by all of the miracles that are happening here in Salto de las Rosas. A super small population, but recently there has been so much growth here!!!

The little branch is doing so much to help these new members. On Friday they are going to host a special family home evening with the whole branch in the chapel and we are going to all bring a present to give to them for their marriage.!!

They are going to be well taken care of in this ward 🙂 They have plans to get to the temple and get sealed as a family in a year from now! I’m excited for this special day to come!

Well as I finish my last week I will definitely bring myself to a lot of reflection over whats happened in these few years of my mission. It’s the definition of bittersweet, but nonetheless, I’m excited for my next chapter!

See you all soon!

Elder Skonnard

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Week 98: Francisco’s Baptism

Salto de las Rosas

THIS WEEK!

Ok I’m going to go straight to the highlight…

Francisco got baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He’s been an investigator for four years. He’s known the missionaries for so long, and now he finally decided to get baptized! He always has had a testimony of the church, but he’s just always been afraid to take the next step and get baptized. Elder Rodriguez and I visited him and were a little frank with what he needs to do when he feels something is true, and at the end of the lesson we invited him to pray to be able to make a decision on whether or not he needed to be baptized into the church. That was 2 weeks ago. He prayed, and since has been super excited and more confident with his decision to be baptized.

We planned it out with him and he only wanted his closest friends to be there at the baptism so we respected that, although it caused some problems (long story). In the end everything worked out well. It gave Elder Rodriguez and I a lot of stress and by the time we got back we fell like bricks straight to the bed. Francisco was so happy and felt the spirit super strong. Before going in the water he gave me a hug and said for four years he’s never known when the right moment was or which missionary should baptize him until I got to the area. That meant a lot to me, it filled me with the spirit and helped me realize the Lord sent me to this area for a reason.

The next day Francisco got confirmed a member of the church and received a very inspired blessing from the which he started tearing up a little bit. It was fast and testimony meeting and I actually got a little emotional from all the mixed feelings of going home and the spirit of the baptism.

Just super grateful for how much mercy the Lord has for us in our imperfect state. I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot to do begin to repay the Lord for what He’s done for me.

Then Luis and Francisco made us an asado after church.

This week the Guerra family gets married on Friday and on Saturday gets baptized!!! They are such a special and amazing family. I’ve been praying to be able to find and teach a complete family throughout my mission and this is that family! I’m so excited for them! I love the Lord and this gospel!

Have a good week everyone!

Elder Skonnard

Week 97: Love of the Lord

Salto de las Rosas

Hello! This was a good week!!!!! I love our investigadors!!

We’ve been working with a few investigators, Francisco, whose been an investigator for over 3 years and we’re finally getting him decided on baptism. He’s prayed about it and now he wants to get baptized more than ever. We have his baptism planned for this Saturday but the problem is he hasn’t been able to come to church for about 2 months now… we’re gonna have to pray and make a decision on if we should wait a little longer which would discourage him a little bit since he’s super set on getting baptized now. We’ll see what happens this week!

We have been teaching familia Guerra who are amazing. I LOVE their family with all my heart. They are amazing investigators. They came to church on Sunday and all four of them are preparing for baptism. They are hopefully going to get married on the 6th (if they can sacar turno) of July and on the 7th they get baptized! I feel so happy being able to finish the mission with their baptism. This week when we went and visited them they made us a ton of choripan and Alejandro, the Dad, took us for a ride in his semi truck!!! I’ve never been more excited to ride in a car. Wow. 7 investigators at church this week!

Gloria and Jesus are amazing they have SO much faith. Last Sunday they came up to us saying that they wanted to pay tithing. “Me quede mudo” hahaha I was in shock they aren’t doing so well financially and they arent even baptized yet! They are coming to church every week and are anxiously waiting for the divorce to finish so they can get married and get baptized! They’ll be done with all that in August! Sadly, I won’t be here for their baptism, but I’m happy for just being able to teach them and become their friends.

Wow I love these people with all my soul! I feel the love of the Lord for me as we teach people like them! I love the gospel! Have a great week!

Elder Skonnard

Week 96: Rosana’s Baptism

Salto de las Rosas

THIS WEEK!
It’s been a little hard for my comp, he’s been a little sick and injured from falling off the bike a few times 🙂 We’ve been able to work pretty well despite and we finished off the week with a baptism!

 

Rosana’s baptism was super special. She was super excited but nervous…. the hot water is broken in the chapel so she had to get baptized as if she were in a cold river. But she was a trooper and I know she felt warm inside if not during, then after! haha. A lot of members came to support her. She was already keeping the commandments before we even began to teach her. The next day after her confirmation, she began to cry! She feels so much peace and Elder Rodriguez and I were so excited for her. What a blessing!

I love this work and the short time I have left to give the lord! Have a great week!

 

Elder Skonnard

Week 95: Rosana’s Prayer

Salto de las Rosas

HEY!

This was a great week! Elder Rodriguez and I have been working a ton and have seen many miracles! This Sunday 10 investigators came to church! It was crazy! We have a few amazing families who are progressing a ton.

This week the highlight would be teaching our investigator Rosana. We started teaching her after Fernan’s baptism, and she’s already ready to be baptized!!! We made sure to focus on her being able to receive her answer on the truth of our message. At the end of our lesson on the restoration, we invited her to say a prayer on her knees and it was the most spiritual prayer I’ve heard. You could feel that she really had a strong desire to know which was the true church. After the prayer, she didn’t feel anything right away, but I already knew she was going to receive her answer!

During the next lesson as we talked with her, she told us she had felt a ton of peace while reading the Book of Mormon and we helped her recognize that she had received her answer! She’s excited to be baptized this week, as long as she doesn’t have cold water like Fernan did. hahaha.

Its been amazing seeing my comp push through a lot of challenges this week. He fell off his bike twice this week and hurt himself up pretty bad, but he keeps working through it all and because of it were seeing so many miracles!

I love this work! Have a great week fam!

Elder Skonnard

Week 94: Fernan and Dilan’s Baptisms

Salto de las Rosas

THIS WEEK FERNAN GOT BAPTIZED! AND DILAN! WOOOOO

It was a special week. Fernan had been a little depressed when we found him, but the gospel has already changed him so much. There is a new light in him and now he has hope for a very bright future. We taught him in 2ish weeks and he progressed super fast! What a miracle! We just barely met his mom at the baptism and she also came to the confirmation on Sunday. She got emotional during the sacrament meeting, and after came up to us and thanked us for teaching him. She had tried many methods in helping him overcome the depression he was having, but now is so grateful for the gospel. She loved church and of course we set an appointment to teach her. Now Fernan can help us teach the lessons and maybe she’ll decide to be baptized as well 🙂 I’ll send photos!

That was the highlight of our week, besides that its been raining and super cold here. We had exchanges with Malargue they told us it was snowing over there….. how much I long to see snow. We ate choripan with them argentine style 🙂 We also had transfers and I’m going to finish my mission off with Elder Rodriguez another missionary from Guatemala! 3rd comp from guate hahaha. He’s super funny haha. I just met him today and we are already having a blast.

Can’t wait to keep working my butt off over here! CONGRATS MICHELLE ON THE BABY! Saludos a Willy 🙂

Love Elder Skonnard

Week 93: Fernan

Salto de las Rosas

OK, so this week went by super fast! We’ve continued to find some new investigators and all that but the highlight for me was being able to see the progress of Fernan.

It was crazy, we found him two weeks ago and since then he’s kept EVERY commitment. He’s come to church with us twice now, and this week he’s planning on being baptized. He has the beginning of a testimony and loves coming to church. Wow I feel so grateful every time the Lord guides us to people like him. So merciful.

We’ve given him papers with chapters to read in the Book of Mormon and questions to answer. He’s answered them all perfectly . The other day I told him in order to get baptized he needs to prepare by reading, praying, and attending church. He looked at me and started laughing and said “duh obviously” haha he’s a capo.

That was the miracle of the week, along with many other spiritual experiences and tender mercies. I love the Lord and I love this work!

P.S. Gloria and Jesus came to church again this week! They are making progress!

Love you all!

Elder Skonnard

Week 92: Fernan & Basketball

Salto de las Rosas

This was a great week!

We found a new investigator named Fernan who came to church with us this week! We taught him a few times, in the beginning we didn’t think he would progress very much. He looked uninterested and pretty shy, but then he seemed very interested in figuring out the true church and in reading the Book of Mormon. He read and said he felt the spirit when he prayed! He loved church and he told us he would like to be baptized! I hope we can help him get prepared and that he can gain a stronger testimony and join the church!! That was the miracle and highlight of the week!

WE PLAYED SPIKEBALL AND BASKETBALL!!!! on p-day an elder had a spikeball kit and a basketball. Can you believe it’s basically the first time I’ve played basketball since I left on the mission? It felt great. Better than the Latinos at something for once! haha

We set some new goals this week since we weren’t finding any new investigators and this week we made new plans and taught 11 new investigators!!! They all have a lot of potential! Now we have some work to do to get them progressing with the others we have.

Gloria is still working on her divorce so she can get married. We hope she gets it all situated this week!

I love you all! Have an amazing week!

Elder Skonnard

Week 90: 3 Amazing Baptisms!

Salto de las Rosas

It’s been raining a ton this week! haha Some elders came to do exchanges for us while doing baptismal interviews and they got so muddy on the bikes riding in the mud trails while elder kitchen and I walked around visiting people in the neighborhood. (elder kitchen lives in my stake by the way) like 2 minutes from my house.

THIS WEEK! Hernan, Jonaton, and Alvaro got baptized!!! They are all kids who we’ve been teaching for a while who finally were able to get baptized on Saturday! I got to baptize Alvaro! His parents still aren’t members because they still are working on getting married, so we went ahead with the baptism of their kid since that was the only thing keeping them from being baptized! All of their family who aren’t members of the church came which was amazing! They loved it and now we’ve made plans to go back and teach them.

The Fuentes, who were the 2 other kids that got baptized, were baptized by their dad. They are basically reactivated in the church now and are doing great. It was a special moment for their dad to baptize them. He almost didn’t do it, but we convinced him this would be much more special if he did it. They are doing great. The baptismal service was filled with the spirit, even though there were some stressful moments. We got to the chapel and we realized there were only 2 pants for the kids!!! We called all the other missionaries and finally got into contact with some elders who were at another baptismal service… they said they had some pants for us. They hurried over to our chapel, and when they arrived we found out the pants were wet!!! They had just barely used them!!! ahhhh! so stressful. So I decided to give Alvaro my pants and we rolled them up a ton, and I used some other pants that were a little bigger. He looked like a little white ninja walking around everywhere haha. There’s always something that doesn’t work out right in the baptisms hahaha.

That was obviously the highlight of the week! The next day at church they all came and Gloria and Jesus (Alvaro’s parents) had their son receive a baby blessing. It was a miracle, during the whole meeting their baby was crying, until the end, right when we presented the baby. That was probably a tender mercy for them and for me!

It was a good week! they are flying by! Love you all!

Elder Skonnard

 

Week 89: The Lord is on our side

Salto de las Rosas

This was a great week!

We’ve continued working with our investigators we’ve been teaching for the past few weeks and they are progressing really well. We hope they are ready for baptism this Saturday! We will see, but they seem super prepared.

We have been teaching an investigator who has passed 3 or 4 years investigating the church and has had several companionships. We are trying to help him realize he’s ready to be baptized now and hes starting to show encouragement towards this step. He came with us to church yesterday which was a stake conference and he loved it. We just need to make sure he keeps his commitments to read the book of mormon and pray, and he will most likely be baptized soon. We hope to have a frank talk with him this week to try to set a date with him this week or next week!

We also found a few new investigators which were tender mercies from the Lord! We taught someone named Lourdes, who we found when it was dark outside and she came out with a shovel in her hand because she didn’t know who we were 🙂 After realizing we were missionaries she opened up a lot and said this exact day she was struggling through a lot of trials and was overwhelmed. After leaving she said she felt a lot more peace and that was exactly what she needed. Now we’ve taught her a few more times and she’s told us she feels really happy when we teach her and she wants to come to church! We are exited to see what will happen with her.

We also one day were biking on a super long and deserted road one day when we passed by a house and knocked on the door. She told us she was Jehovah’s Witness and after trying a bit of persuasion she didn’t budge so we left. As we were leaving out of the corner of my eye I saw another house that was hidden behind a dirt trail. I felt a distinct impression that i needed to knock that house. I kept pedaling but realized I needed to turn around and go back. I had just been studying earlier in the day “how to recognize and feel the spirit” in preach my gospel. I’ll just say I’m glad I trusted that feeling, because the 17-year-old dude that came out was super interested in the message and told us he has been wanting to know which church is true. He felt the spirit and he has real intent. We’ve only taught him once, but I already know he will progress. As we left I was filled with gratitude for the Lord in helping me recognize the spirit and having the courage to follow it!

I love you all! The Lord is on our side as we make sacrifices to serve him! I know that!

Have a good week!

Elder Skonnard

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Week 88: The Spirit Works Miracles!

Salto de las Rosas

We had a pretty normal week… Basically we have been working a lot with our investigators and they have progressed…. still no baptisms for a few weeks but this Sunday two of our investigators came to church which is a good sign. Our investigator Victor fell off the face of the earth and we lost complete contact with him since he’s been working in Alvear. And it seems like he’s been going back to his old church which is not a good sign! We can only pray and hope well be able to teach him again! He was a great investigator.

We have a few other investigators who are basically ready for baptism and only need to attend church one more time before being baptized! One of them has the nickname “Pancho” which means Hot Dog (I don’t know why he’s called that) and he has been an investigator since he was 14…. but he’s still not baptized!! Pancho just barely turned 18 and now doesn’t need permission from his parents to be baptized, so we’ve been working with him.

We also found a family of 5 this week who are awesome! The first lesson she said she would listen to us but would never be baptized! We left explaining we would be talking about baptism a little more in the next lesson and when we taught her about the gospel of JC. She completely changed her mind about baptism and agreed for us to pick her up to go to church on Sunday! The spirit works miracles and we saw that with that lesson! I was not expecting that at all. She didn’t end up making it to church because something came in the way, but she’s still going strong with the lessons!

This week we had a zone conference with Elder Texeira (70 President of Area) it was awesome and helped me understand how to use my time more effectively. He opened our eyes to teaching in every moment and working with members in every conversation with them. It’s cool seeing the mission grow and to see how achieving high goals gives us higher motivation! I’m excited to apply what I learned!

I love you all and hope you are all doing swell 🙂

Elder Skonnard