We, as a house at 1260, have decided to share some of our experiences that we have had with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Once a week we will write about an experience that we have had concerning a gospel topic that will change each week. Since most of us were blessed to be missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a lot of the stories will stem from our experiences there; however, not all stories will be from the mission. We all have had great and awesome experiences with the gospel, and we hope this will help our friends and family if they ever find themselves in need of a spiritual boost.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Scripture Stories from Italy
                I never really was able to comprehend the true value associated with being able to study the scriptures on a daily basis until I went on a mission and had the opportunity to do so every day for two years. Every day as missionaries we had the privilege to wake up early and open up the scriptures and study gospel principles that would bring happiness and peace into a person’s life.
                In my first area I had the chance to learn how to use my time effectively and really dive into the scriptures and feast upon the inspired words of the prophets. I was always somewhat disappointed when the time would come for my morning study time to conclude and I would have to finish getting ready for my missionary day. I loved my time with the scriptures and each day I wished that my scripture study sessions could always be longer than they were.
                I distinctly remember that in my second area my personal scripture study time seemed to be for whatever reason much more productive and full of inspiration. I don’t know what it was! And it was something that I was never really able to ever replicate in any other city of my mission. Each morning I would arise and read from the Book of Mormon. I would write down thoughts and impressions that I got while reading in a study journal. I was nearly able to write a chapter-by-chapter analysis of the Book of Mormon from my point of view. I would read from and learn so much from Talmage’s commentary on the Savior’s life, Jesus the Christ (a feat that I am fairly certain can only be accomplished under the mantle given to missionaries and other general authorities of the church). I would even have time to study from Preach My Gospel or other church manuals. Each day I would seem to have an unlimited amount of time to perform my personal study. I really can’t explain why I was so productive and efficient in my studies. Maybe it was the clear mountain air, maybe it was the beautiful scenery that I could see from my chair in our study room, or maybe it was me just “catching my missionary study groove”. While I never was able to put my finger on the reason for my efficiency and productivity I soon discovered that the Lord knew that I needed the scriptural preparation. While in my second area I trained a missionary. He had a difficult time adjusting to missionary life and at times even questioned his reasons for being on a mission. I had to be a source of great strength, wisdom, and guidance during these months not only for our investigators but for my companion as well. It was a very difficult period of my mission. At times I felt depressed and alone. I had to shoulder the burden of our missionary work almost single handedly. I soon realized that the Lord knew that I would face such trials and had prepared me by providing me with the doctrinal and spiritual foundation that would sustain me in my moment of need. The scriptures became my refuge, my confidant, my source of peace and comfort. I learned to love the scriptures so much during this difficult time of my mission. I saw their true value, and I thank the Lord that He was wise enough and that I was teachable enough to learn from the inspired words of the prophets.
                Like I said before, I was never able to be quite as efficient and guided in my scripture study as I was in my second area. I know that it was because the Lord knew that I would need this added guidance and support. Support that we can only find in the scriptures and guidance that we can only hope to learn from the Holy Ghost. I love the scriptures. What more can I say?
-Bradley Zentgraf

Scripture Story in Switzerland
Finding just one story that teaches of the power of the scriptures was a hard task.  There were many experiences I had on the mission that demonstrated the importance and the power that the scriptures (especially The Book of Mormon) can bring into one’s life.  Whenever people had objections, concerns, questions, or if we just needed someone to feel the spirit, we would always bring out the scriptures and most of the time it was the Book of Mormon.  I remember one family that was going through some rough times so we invited them to read daily from the Book of Mormon.  After a few weeks of that they bore testimony to us of how the scriptures gave them the extra strength that they needed to go on. There was also one investigator we had who believed some majorly wrong interpretations of the fall of Adam and Eve, and with the Book of Mormon we were able to show her that through modern revelations we know the truth of what the fall was really all about. 
One story however, that proved to me that there is something special about the scriptures and what they teach about Jesus Christ.  We had one investigator who was an immigrant from Iraq, but he was already a Christian, which was good because we weren’t allowed to teach Muslim’s without special permission and about 99.9% of Iraq is Muslim.  So, this is one guy we could teach! But since his native language wasn’t German, there was the obvious language barrier, so we gave him a Book of Mormon in Arabic.  When we gave it to him, he had let us in and we were talking about the book, and we began to read 3 Nephi 11, the story of Christ visiting America.  We had him just read it in Arabic aloud, and we would follow along in German the best we could.  My comp and I had read that chapter quite a bit so we knew what was going on in the Chapter.  When our investigator came to the part where it describes Jesus Christ descending from the sky, he stops and just says, “WOW!” and he also had a shocked or a surprised look on his face.  We asked him about it, and he explained to us that the way that it describes Christ when he descends is very powerful, and that when he reads that description he felt something overwhelming that he had never felt before.  It was a cool experience to see how in shock and awe he was at the description of Christ.  The spirit was definitely strong at that appointment.  Unfortunately however, he didn’t show up for his next appointment, and we couldn’t get a hold of him after that.  It was a great experience to have nonetheless that taught me about the power of the Book of Mormon and the scriptures in general.
-Ryan Hutchings

Scripture stories in Guatemala
Scriptures are the word of God and the only way to learn what it is our Heavenly Father expects of us. His words have always been given by the prophets that he specifically elects whether it be in a mountain or in an adytum it is the same. Some people may not believe what would typically seem like cultural paradigm, but in my experience in Guatemala I can see why it is true. So many times I was able to share something spoken by a prophet centuries earlier in such a personalized way to someone in need of it that it changed the way they lived. I’ll give an example…when I was an in area called Carcha’ I had the privilege of teaching a man named Juan Carlos. Juan Carlos was an extraordinary man that…to be honest reminded me a lot of me and my attitude in life. As a prospective biomedical engineer I tend to rely a lot of facts, theories, and evidences that infer what little empirical truths we can acquire. Juan Carlos had to learn that the scriptures are a powerful tool when seen the right way. With so many different versions of the bible it is almost impossible to decipher who is right and who is wrong. With the Book of Mormon though, we can define specifically how we can interpret God’s words. He spent hours looking at the bible and trying to figure out what was true and what wasn’t. His knowledge far surpassed my own, but there was one thing he had to learn about the scriptures. It is that it has to be interpreted by the spirit of God and not by men. After an apparent internal struggle, he trusted in what he felt was right and decided to be baptized. I love how the scriptures were that tool necessary for him to see the path that God had prepared for him. I trust in God and in the prophets he has sent for us to hear. I know that they can be a huge tool for us to progress if we utilize it in the right way. I know it cause Juan Carlos taught it to me. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Repentance in Italy
Repentance is the changing of one’s soul that brings about a new attitude towards, God, oneself, and towards life in general. Repentance entails an obligation that one will distance themselves from and abandon wickedness and turn one’s heart and mind to God. True repentance is a natural result from our love for God and our desire to obey His holy commandments.
Repentance is a process.
True repentance can be very hard.
One of the greatest joys of being a missionary is that you get to help people discover what a glorious and amazing blessing true repentance can be. The changes that people often need to make in order to reconcile themselves to God can be very difficult and painful. Our personal vices and desires may appear to bring happiness, but this “happiness” is often fleeting and does not last. Happiness that the world promises will never satisfy; it will leave you empty. Only the gospel and the love of our Heavenly Father can bring us true joy and satiate our quest for happiness. This is both the blessing (I say blessing because the joy of success is almost indescribable) and curse (I say curse because it is a process that is not so easily accomplished) that we missionaries have to help our brothers and sisters throw off the natural man, be born again changed from their carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming and recognizing their true potential as sons and daughters of the most high God entitled to everything that He has.
I would say that on my mission 3 individuals stick out as teaching me the most about repentance. These three persons helped me see how great and miraculous repentance can be when applied in our lives. Maribel was a Peruvian who had been baptized at age 16, but in her 20+ years living in Italy had lost all contact with the church. Silvia was a woman who had been found street contacting. She had an addiction to smoking and lived a very stressful and trying life. Diana was a mother of 2 who had learned of the church as a teenager, but had not joined for various family reasons. All three of these women changed before my eyes. Their lives all improved and became filled with joy as they embraced the gospel and repented of their sins. Silvia and Diana were baptized. Maribel returned to full activity in the church and had her 8 year old daughter baptized.
I loved these people with all my heart, which is why it is so hard for me knowing that each of these people also fell away from the church. Each took back up their old lives, returning to the things that they had known before finding the church. They had seen the positive changes the gospel had brought into their lives, and in spite of this they still decided to turn away.
Why?! I don’t have a good answer to this question, but I do know that even in these seemingly hopeless circumstances, there is still hope. For I know that repentance is a continual process. It is not a one-time event of “being saved”! It is something that we work at daily, and work hard at, daily! I know that these individuals can still be reconciled before God and return to Him, and that He will welcome them with open arms and say as the father of the prodigal son said to his son, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” I know this to be true! 
-Bradley Zentgraf 

Repentance in Switzerland
                First of all, I want to write a quick two cents about repentance. Repentance comes with such a negative connotation, and I hope that this can change.  As the Bible says, we are all sinners and come short of the glory of God; and then it also says that God so loved world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe on him should not perish but have everlasting life.  Although we all sin and come short of the glory of God, our Father in Heaven knew that this would happen and therefore prepared a way for us to be able to reach that goal of everlasting life. Jesus Christ suffered for our sins so that we can repent and become clean of our sins. Repentance is the only way that we can receive this forgiveness.  The invitation is given to everyone to repent, or to change, or to become a better person. That is all that repentance is. Changing one’s life to bring it back onto “the path” that leads to eternal life.  I love the idea of repentance, and I am very grateful that the Lord allows us to change, and when we do change we can receive the ultimate gift of forgiveness. Amazing! 
                This story is about a prime example of a family who repented, and the changes that were made in their lives and the blessings that came from these steps of repentance.  Last week I told the story of the Kargbo family, and when they made the decision to be baptized and this week I want to talk about the changes that this family made before they made that decision to be baptized. 
                When we first met the family, Augustine was a smoker. He didn’t smoke a lot, maybe a few cigarettes a week, but this needed to stop since it is a commandment to take care of our bodies, and more specifically not to smoke.  We talked to him a few times about this, and we went through a program and he stopped smoking! It was a great step.  He was a smoker and stopped. He had changed his life in that aspect.
                There were a few other aspects that the family changed in order to bring their lives into accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They started coming to church on a weekly basis.  I remember one week they told us that they were going to come to church and right before church started I saw Augustine and Thomas walking to the door in the rain and we could tell they were in the rain a little longer than expected.  They then explained to us that they missed the train and so they had to walk. What a great example of faith.  The town they lived in was a few kilometers away and they walked it in the rain to come to church.  They started to read in the scriptures daily, and they started saying their daily family prayers.  The changes were remarkable and we could notice a difference in their lives.  Then, as was explained last week, they decided to get baptized to cap off their repentance process. 
                I remember the day after Augustine and Margaret were baptized, Augustine showed up to church in a new suit wearing a white shirt and a tie, whereas weeks before he would come in a colored button up shirt with jeans. He looked nice the previous weeks; however it was no suit and tie combo.  When he showed up that day in the suit, and was talking to him and I told him, “Hey Augustine, looking sharp today!” and then he responded with, “I’m a new man!”  That day in church he bore his testimony about how the Gospel had changed his life.  I could tell that this man had repented, and he felt the wonderful feeling of forgiveness that comes after one repents.  Augustine had become “a new man” just like everyone one of us can become if we fix what needs to be fixed in our lives and live more in accordance with the Gospel.  
-Ryan Hutchings

Repentance in Guatemala
            One of the best gifts that our Father in Heaven regaled us with is the miracle of forgiveness. I think that forgiveness is so cherished because of the difficulty of acquiring it. Repentance isn’t a moment in which we enter water and become automatically perfect, but rather it is a change in lifestyle to perfect every moment we have. No matter at which angle we approach repentance we must take the acute or ‘strait’ and narrow path. God provided this way of escape from the evils that envelop this world. As a missionary this was the message that I brought to every Q’eqchi’ family imaginable.
            One of my favorite stories of repentance occurred in my second Polochik area called Sajomte’. A strong LDS man seemed to shine like one of the brightest stars in the jungle’s night sky. He was constantly making appropriate and inspiring comments during class and always willing to help the missionaries. One day I went to visit his house (he was reading his Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith book) and I heard his story and why he was so strong in the church. He was excommunicated when he was younger for a heinous sin he had committed in a time of weakness. He separated from the church but always wanted to return because he knew it was true in his heart. Instead of running away from this impeding step in his eternal progression he started to contemplate what it is he really wanted. He mentioned the pain and fear that we all know too well that accompanies sin. He didn’t want those feelings to engulf him in this life or the next. He started his attempt to return to the church. I may not be an expert in psychology of excommunicated people but I can only imagine the many opposing influences he faced. Whether it was the members who look down on sinners, other church influences, or the devil himself...he faced them all. His process was arduous but to this day he loves the decision he made that day and lives up to all of God’s standards. I even have confidence that that man will end up in the highest of God’s mansions possible. He is a true inspiration to me because I can see how the atonement has worked in someone’s life to where they are in a state of peace. I’ll always remember him and what I learned on the top of the Ch’ulak mountains. 
-Will Valdez

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Faith in Italy
        For the first 6 months of my mission I lived in the Piemonte region of Italy. In my 1st area we were teaching a young man by the name of Samuel. He was about 12 or 13 years old, and I always saw him as the little brother I never had. This is probably why he was one of the most favorite persons I taught on my mission. When I first met him I learned that he had been listening to the missionaries already for about 2 years, but was unable to get baptized because even though his mom was fine with it, his dad was adamantly against him joining the church.
        I loved our appointments with Samuel. He had a real love for the scriptures. I remember him saying, “Anziani, I really want to read Alma 32. All the missionaries talk about what an amazing chapter it is.” But Samuel wouldn’t just read the chapter, he wanted to read all the preceding chapters and then he would read Alma 32. We helped Samuel make daily reading goals, and finally about at the half way point in my time in my first area Samuel finally made it to Alma 32. I remember our meeting with him that day. He went on and on about what a beautiful chapter it was. I could tell that Samuel really had felt the effects and blessings that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brings into one’s life. I remember thinking to myself, “Why doesn’t God let Samuel get baptized? It’s a righteous desire. He obviously has faith, and I have faith that it could happen. So why doesn’t it come to pass?”
        About a year later in my mission, I returned to Piemonte to oversee 5 different areas as a zone leader. Samuel still had not been baptized. I had continued to pray (however, probably not as fervently as I had done in my 1st city) that Samuel would get baptized. I remember that about a week after starting my work as a zone leader we got a phone call from the missionaries that were in my 1st city. They said that Samuel was going to talk with his dad the next day about wanting to get baptized. The missionaries were asking all of us in the zone to pray that night specifically that Samuel would be able to soften his father’s heart and finally get baptized. I called all the missionaries in the zone. I pleaded with them that we all might unite our faith so that this righteous desire could finally come to pass.
          That night in my own personal prayers I wrestled with the Lord. I pleaded that He remember all of the times that I had prayed for Samuel and all the times that previous missionaries had prayed for Samuel. I remember saying that I had faith. I knew it was possible. I knew God wanted it. And I knew that it was right. I said, “Father I know that with Thee all things are possible, and Thou knowest the desires of my heart and of Samuel’s heart. If it be Thy will, let this wonderful thing come to pass that Samuel can get baptized.” I felt very calm and comforted, and I instantly felt that whatever happened would be for the best. Somehow I knew that the time had finally come, and Samuel would be getting baptized. I felt the added strength and faith of the missionaries in the zone. Together we were united and full of faith that this miracle would finally come. The next day we received the most wonderful news. Samuel’s dad had given him permission to be baptized. I was overjoyed. I had learned a valuable lesson about being full of faith, doubting not, and being ready to accept the Lord’s will in all things. For faith is not to have a perfect knowledge but to hope for things which are not seen but which are true. And eventually if you hold out faithful until the end God will bless you to see those things which you most desire which are in accordance with His will.       
                                                                                                        -Bradley Zentgraf
Faith in Switzerland
                When I was in my first city, Winterthur, we were teaching this awesome family from Liberia, the Kargbo family.  There was Augustine and Margaret, and their children Thomas and Dominique. They grew to become some of my best friends in Switzerland, and the closest thing to a family that I had over there. They are great people.  There is one night that we shared with them that I will never forget. 
                I first arrived in the city in June, and we were teaching them up until the end of September when this story took place.  For most people who served missions, this is a long time to be teaching one family who did not make any progress (come to church, read daily in the scriptures, or accept the invitation to be baptized).  I remember one time we thought about not going back to teach them because they just would not progress, and we needed to spend our time elsewhere, however, they started to read in the Book of Mormon every day, and prayed as a family every day. It was great! So we continued to teach them. 
                They were doing this for about a month, and Elder Bealer and I knew that they were ready for baptism, and to make that covenant with God.  We had brought up the topic with them before, and they were really hesitant about it.  One major concern was the language.  They were going to a church that spoke English (their native language) and we only had services in German, and they had responsibilities in their other church as well.   You can see why that would be a pretty big concern.  They believed in the Book of Mormon, and they enjoyed coming to church whenever they came. We really wanted to see them get baptized, so we decided to put God to the test.  We decided that we were going to teach them a lesson and then ask the father, Augustine, to say the prayer at the end.  We wanted him to ask God specifically if he and his family should be baptized.  The catch was that we didn’t want him to stand up, or get off of his knees, before he had an answer; whether it is a yes or a no.  We were putting our faith in God that he would answer their prayer! Kind of an ultimatum situation, but we knew that God would give them the right answer. 
                The night came to teach the lesson, and my companion and I were a little on the nervous side.  We showed up and taught a lesson about the plan of salvation. We also had Sister Sunke with us that night; a great member of the local ward. The spirit was very strong during the lesson, and my companion and I taught very well together that night.  Then, we talked a little about baptism again, and told them what we were going to do for the final prayer.  Augustine and Margaret, his wife, agreed to the situation.  So, we all got on our knees and Augustine said the prayer.  I was saying a little, alright, a big prayer in my heart that the Lord would answer his prayer.  He said a great prayer; he thanked the Lord for us missionaries, and for the Book or Mormon, and then he asked the ultimate question if they should get baptized into the “church with the Book of Mormon; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!” As soon as he said this, I had a very calming feeling come over me, and I knew that he had his answer and that the answer would be yes.  Augustine then closed the prayer, and we stayed kneeling for another minute or two. I would occasionally poke my head up to see if anyone got up or not, and then Augustine finishes “in the almighty name of Jesus Christ, amen.” He then stands up and says, “We need to get baptized.”  It was a great night, and the Holy Ghost was definitely there.  It will be a night I’ll never forget, that’s for certain!
                I know that the Lord lives and that He answers prayers.  My faith in Him was definitely increased that night as I experienced how much He cares about His children. He answered our prayers as missionaries when he answered Augustine’s prayer in a way that he would understand, and know what he had to do. When you put your faith in Him, He always comes through for you. 

                                                                                                            -Ryan Hutchings

 Faith in Guatemala 
            Faith is not a passive belief in an ultimate being nor is faith a submissive attitude in the gospel. Faith is an action that leads us to believe. I was an area called Teleman when I met a man who was unsure of what to do. He was an inactive member who didn’t know what to do. I felt drawn to him since the beginning of my time spent there. I first met him when I had about 5 months in the mission. I was on a division with the zone leaders and they were trying to talk to him. He didn’t seem too enthusiastic about returning and so they left. When I received my transfer to Teleman I could almost hear the Lord hinting me to find him. That was one of the first things we did. We climbed the side of the mountain to find him (name censored for discretion).
            He was once a very strong member in the church. His brother was branch president and his father also held a position in the church. However, we all make mistakes and he made one of his own. I could feel his pain and sense the unhappiness and gaping hole that his mistake left in his life. I didn’t know what to say so instead I left the speaking to be done by the Scriptures. Isaiah 1:18 “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” We prayed and prayed for him because he was such a great guy and deserved the peace and happiness the gospel brings to our families. That Sunday when we were arriving to church we saw him there walking his family into the doors of the chapel. I was so happy to see him there. We visited him constantly and I can honestly say he became one of my best friends. We worked and worked with him so that he could be worthy of his priesthood and take care of his family.
            After about 4 months he was restored to full status in the church and he was feeling really great. The sins that he overcame required so much faith. There is no way that someone who didn’t feel the strong promptings of the Holy Ghost would walk in the 100˚F weather up a mountain every week to hear the words of God. He didn’t just believe...he had faith. His story does not end here. He then helped us in that area to find the elect. He became the Sunday school teacher and enjoyed learning the lesson each week with us. He became as a missionary and was constantly wishing to be by our side. His wife was so much happier and they were feeling as sons and daughters of the Almighty. I love him and his family. They overcame the sins, distress, agony, and loneliness that wordly things bring to our lives. He showed me what faith was. 
                -Will Valdez

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Miracle of Italy
          A mission is a perfect time to learn about and actually live numerous miraculous events. Often times miracles are associated with baptisms. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this story, “One time on while I was living in (insert South American Country here) on my mission, my companion and I were out street contacting and a man came up to us and begged us to baptize him. One week later, we did.”
Okay, yeah sure this would definitely constitute a miracle, but serving a mission in Europe this was not something that EVER happened. Towards the end of my mission I had an experience that taught me a lot about seeking out and recognizing miracles in my life. I was on exchanges with a missionary, Elder Harward, who I knew from the MTC. He was a very outgoing missionary who had never been called to any leadership positions, but this had not mattered to him. He loved missionary work and it showed. At the time I was a Zone Leader and was supposed to be “instructing” this missionary how to be a better missionary, but this day he would be the one to teach me.
          As missionaries we made daily goals about how many people we would find and how many lessons we would teach. Elder Harward informed me that he had started a new category of goal: how many miracles he would see. I was intrigued by the idea. I looked at his agenda and saw that we did not have many scheduled appointments. This was always my worst nightmare as a missionary. An entire day of aimlessly walking the cobblestone Italian streets trying to find people and constantly getting rejected was not my idea of fun or effective work. It was something I had done it too much in my two years of missionary service! But Elder Harward was so excited about his lack of appointments. He looked at me and showed me his “miracle goal” for the day, which was set at 2. He said, “Look at all this time in which we can find and have a miracle. And both of us are experienced missionaries. We know what to do, so I have no doubt that we’ll reach this goal!” I, on the other hand was a little more skeptical about our prospects of reaching this goal. Elder Harward suggested that before we go out we sit down and pray that our goals be met. We did so, and then were off about our daily work or finding some miracles.
          That day I was continually surprised as at every turn we found opportunities to talk to people who were willing to listen to us. We stopped and talked to a man who was outside working in the hot summer heat. He listened for a bit, and then invited us into his home out of the sun for a glass of water. We taught him and his wife about the restoration of the gospel and why we had dedicated 2 years of our lives to come and share this wonderful message with the world. We knocked doors of an apartment complex (my all-time least favorite activities) but we were let in to 3 houses and able to talk about the church. This one day total equaled the number of houses I had been let into on my entire mission. It was an amazing experience to see the faith of this elder and the love of our Heavenly Father as he led us where we needed to go and provided us with miracles at every turn.
          After this experience, I made the idea of setting “miracle goals” became standard in our zone. And I know that if we seek out and pray for miracles in our own lives the Lord with bless us with these experiences. We may have to sacrifice and we may have to look hard to see the miracles in our lives but I know that they will come!
Bradley Zentgraf

Miracle in Switzerland
On the mission we were asked by our mission president to look for miracles every day.  At the end of the day we would plan for the next day, and during this time we would also tell about the small miracles that we noticed.  The miracles would vary from being able to give a lesson, to catching a bus, to just having one person listen to us for more than our introduction.  However, the miracle I want to write about was actually one that didn’t happen every day. 
                I was in the city of Frauenfeld, and it was my second area.  Our investigators were scarce, but we were teaching one guy named Ronny Koch, and I’m pretty sure he was our only solid investigator. He was a cool, but somewhat weird, guy who loved music and played some awesome blues on his guitar.  He had had a rough past with drugs and what not, and was still struggling with smoking and drinking, with which we were helping him to quit. He was a lonely guy who had no family around, and his girlfriend lived in another town. His loneliness was probably one reason he didn’t mind meeting with us.  We became really good friends, and he would actually call us by our first names, which we didn’t mind at all. 
                One day, we were on exchanges with the zone leaders and I was the lucky one who stayed in Frauenfeld and Elder Stout came to me.  That night we had an appointment with Ronny, and I’m pretty sure we asked our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Mueller, to join us. When we got to his apartment, Ronny did not sound or look good at all.  We talked him into letting us meet anyways, just to give him some company if nothing else; and it was cold outside so a night of doing doors did not sound like a fun idea.  He let us stay, and he told us that earlier in the day he lit a cigarette and started smoking it.  Three puffs later, he said, he started feeling extremely sick. He was nauseated, he had stomach pains, and he was weak; in a nutshell, he was not feeling good at all.  We tried teaching him, but he would either fall asleep, or just was not able to focus at all and he would let us know. He would stop us and say, “Sorry Ryan, but I just don’t know what is going on right now.”  At this point in time, Brother Mueller told him about a priesthood blessing and that we could give him one if he wanted us to.  Ronny agreed, and asked that I give him the blessing.  I felt honored, but it was my first blessing in German, and I got somewhat nervous about messing it up.  I was only out about 8 months on the mission and my German was good, but not great.
                I put my hands on his head, and I was just hoping that I would know what to say, and awesomely enough words and phrases were just flowing into my mind.  I remember saying at one point that he would be healed quickly, or something. I don’t remember much about the blessing.  However, after the blessing I remember that almost immediately Ronny was in a better mood and we were able to teach him a lesson about faith.  By the end of the lesson Ronny was joking around, and he even showed us some of his music and was dancing to it. He was feeling almost 100% better.  It was definitely a miracle that we were able to teach him a lesson that we feel he needed. 
                As we were walking home from that appointment Elder Stout and I were pretty stoked about the lesson and the appointment.  Elder Stout turned to me and told me that my German was flawless during the blessing.  At that point I knew that I was just the conduit for the Lord to say what needed to be said.  Miracles do happen when we put our faith and trust in the Lord, that’s a fact!
Ryan Hutchings

Miracles in Guatemala

            I experienced a miracle in Carchá that I’ll never forget. I had been working in an area that I really did not want to be in. Carchá was half-city half-jungle and extremely challenging. I had about 13 months in the mission and I never really had a trial with any of my areas. Everything seemed to come extremely easy, but then I was asked to serve in an area that was like a whole new mission. I had to learn a whole new language as a district leader. Also, I had to be a senior companion to a companion that spoke the language better than I did. I had so much responsibility that I really couldn’t fathom how I was supposed to get it all done. I was so tired. I was studying extra hard to learn Spanish, while learning to teach in Spanish, and communicate with the people in Spanish.
            In Polochik, it is usually the senior companion that talks and the junior companion tries to understand and bear his testimony. Once you are capable of speaking and talking then you are called to serve as a senior companion and teach a new missionary the language. That’s just how the mission worked. I just started to do well because of the help my companion gave me, but then President David Torres of the Guatemala City North mission increased the load that he had previously put on me. He gave me a brand new missionary. A North American that spoke no Spanish and obviously no Q’eqchi’. I was really alone. I had to speak 3 languages, work harder than I ever had before, and lead a district to reach our goals while opening a brand new area that no missionary in Carchá had been to. As overwhelmed as I was, I simply said that God would not command me to do something and not provide the necessary path that I should take.
            In a brand new area, there are no past investigators nor any new investigators. I thought that I would not have any success in this area until my second transfer. I was wrong. On a Thursday (just the 2nd day of work) I met a young woman, Delia. She was cleaning the outside of her house and talking to her son, Selvin. To my surprise, she spoke Spanish extremely well but preferred her native language Q’eqchi’. As I taught her I could feel that she was extremely interested. I invited her to read from the Book of Mormon and that we would continue on another appointment on Tuesday. I constantly thought about that lesson and wondered what was it that I should have done differently. I didn’t feel as if I did what was necessary. On that Tuesday she said the key phrase that would make any missionary happy. She said, “Where were you on Sunday? I wanted to go to your church but didn’t know where it was.” I was so astounded that I didn’t know what to do. I promised her I would pick her up on Sunday and walk with her to church. The next Sunday I was going to bring her again but we also had another family that we were going to take. When i noticed, we were already 10 min late to pick her up. Church started in 10 min and I didn’t think we’d have enough time. As I started walking with my companion to her house we noticed her walking and all dressed up ready for church. I asked her where she was going and she responded, “To church! You were late. So I decided I’d go on my own.” The lessons continued on greatly and then she had some trials of her own. A fight between her and her neighbor who was extremely rude. Delia had committed some sins that she was not proud of. Her neighbor felt the need to remind of her of that fact. She struggled to hold in her pride but after such antagonism she fell. I spoke to her and told her that joining the church is a new life. We leave the older sins, follies, and problems behind. The kingdom is not fit for someone who looks back. She came with new determination. She was then baptized and set an example for the whole ward. She did great things and I still remember feeling that I’d never have success. She was a miracle because in a time that I doubted, God delivered. All i had to do was be obedient, have faith, and work hard. She was proof that God loved me and that he hadn’t forgotten the task her laid before me.
                                                                                                                                     Will Valdez