Monday, September 28, 2015

Leadership Council

Dear Family,

This week we had transfers. On Monday we were super busy switching all the missionaries in the city and trying to figure out the best way to organize flotas, flights, and stuff like that. The craziest part was that Monday morning were the transfers and then in the night we had leadership council. 

Monday night we talked about how to be a good leader. Leadership qualities, how to become more persuasive teachers, how to minister and not administer, etc. I love teaching. Ive never realized it until now. Its something that Im still not very good at but Im getting better. I realized that its even an attribute of Christ. We then discussed how to fulfill the vision of the mission which is help our investigators progress in their faith in Christ through Church attendance, reading the Book of Mormon, and praying daily.

Then we each went home to study and pray about the following day. 

Tuesday morning was a morning of demonstrating and learning. We divided the mission leaders (40 in all) into 2 "zones". I am in charge of 1 zone (20 zone leaders and sister leaders) and my companion the other zone (20 zone leaders and sister leaders). We teach them, they teach the missionaries and the missionaries teach the investigators. A huge challenge in our mission has been the way Zone meetings are taught so our job on this past Tuesday was to show how to give a great zone meeting so the Zone leaders and Sister leaders could go back to their zones and do the same. They weren't expecting it at all when they got here on Tuesday morning. They came in, sat down, started to study, and then we started the meeting like it was a normal zone meeting. They were a little confused but I think they caught on to what we were trying to do after a little while. The topic was Revelation through Prayer. I loved it so much. I had a blast teaching, reading Preach My gospel, the scriptures, watching videos of The District, etc. From 8:00 until about 10:00 we taught them and had a council about the chosen topic. Then we came together as the 2 zones and went over what we learned, how we will apply what we learned, what we have to improve, what to change about the agenda, etc. It was a wonderful meeting full of the inspiration and revelation. I am glad I got to be a part of it. Sister Willard attended my zone meeting and president went to the meeting of my companion because the previous night president went to my meeting when we talked about leadership qualities. 

The rest of the week we just worked and worked and worked more in our area. We found several families to teach, and they are progressing towards baptism. Daniel and Carina are a young couple who came to church even before we got to know them. They haven't been coming lately. Pray for them please!!! Also, we met the Saavedra family. They are wonderful. The only problem is that its hard to teach them. They don't understand exactly what we say.... mainly because the wife only speaks Quechua. I'm still learning Spanish!! It'll be a while before I can teach lessons in Quechua. Pray for them so they can understand at least by the Spirit! 

As I was reading the insert in the Liahona for President Packer I read this. He taught:

“Consider, please, that He has declared, ‘What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.’ (3 Nephi 27:27.) … “I do not hesitate to admit that I desire to teach as He taught. Though that may be far beyond my capabilities, He is, nevertheless, the ideal. ... “… It is not untoward for any of us to aspire to be like Him.”
As I have continued my time in the mission field, my desire to not only be like Christ but also teach like Him has grown. I know He was the perfect teacher and as we study His life, we can develop just a small part of what He is and was. I am grateful for Him and the things He teaches me daily. He lives!!
I love you all,
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Gehring

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Special Witness of Christ

Dear Family,

This week was wonderful. I learned so much. 

Ill start with an overall schedule of what we did.


P-day normal con trabajo normal en el área.


All morning in the Offices preparing Mission Stats (baptisms, progressing investigators, lessons taught, growth and fall of baptismal dates, etc.) We did it for the past 2 years, past 1 year, past 6 months, past month, last 5 weeks, and last 1. I'll explain what we did with all this info.


11:00 am - Meeting with President Willard, Elder Uceda and their wives. We talked about the whole mission tour, what was expected, we snacked on fruit and nuts, and had a great time

2:00 pm - Multi-Zone Conference in Santa Cruz. Missionaries from all the small towns and the ones inside of SC came and had a zone conference with Elder Uceda. His wife, President and Sister Willard and us had about 1 hour. He took the rest of the 4 hours to himself. What a wonderful 4 hours of learning.

7:30 pm - Ward Council and Leadership training meeting. The missionaries were invited to stay and learn from the ward councils. I am excited to learn so much about how wards function, what are important parts, how a ward council should work, who goes, what do you talk about, principles of a good council etc. 


9:00 am - Mission Leadership Council. We were in charge of presenting to Elder Uceda, President, and the mission leaders the stats of the mission. (what we prepared on tuesday) How we doing, are we progressing, going backward, numbers, graphs, percentage of increase/decrease etc. Elder Uceda loved our presentation and asked us to get him a copy so he could use it for the Area and for other mission tours. We were humbled by the experience to receive council from him.

The rest of the day, we worked in our area.

2:00 pm - Zone Meeting until 5 pm

5:00 pm - A fast and powerful lesson with Freddy Cuellar (a new investigator)

5:30 pm - Go to airport to fly to Tarija. Our flight was suposed to leave at 7. We got their at 6 to check in etc. We got through security and learned the flight was delayed. First until 8, then they announced its delay until 9, and then we finally left at about 9:30. Unfortunaltly it was just the beginning. The flight was through Cochabamba (not direct). We got to Coch. at 10:15 or so and then flew to Tarija leaving at 10:45 or so. We got to Tarija at 11:45 and then took a taxi to the Zone Leaders house. We didnt sleep very much that night. 


8:30 am - Prepare the Chapel for the conference. After about 30 minutes of personal study, we went to the chapel to get the projector set up, the mics working, etc. 

Oh, also just a funny story. In the 2 Zone conferences (one in Santa Cruz and one in Tarija) with Elder Uceda and his wife this week, we were in charge of teaching a principle of Preach my Gospel with President and practicing with the mission. When we were in Tarija, we used the entire morning to practice, practice, practice, practice, and re-practice presenting and going through the 40 min of the presentation to the mission. In Santa Cruz we realized how unprepared we were. We were humbled by the experience and used the time in the morning in Tarija to repent and be better. In the end, we didnt even present it!! Elder Uceda arrived a few minutes late and chose to take all the time. My companion and I thought the other one would be mad but at the end of the meeting we just laughed together. We realized that the Lord works in mysterious ways. WE needed the practice more than anything. What WE learned changed us. It didnt matter if we had to share it with the mission. That wasnt the important part. We learned that the we are only in certain assignments to learn.

6:30 pm - Go to the Airport to fly back to Santa Cruz. No flights were delayed but going from Tarija to Santa Cruz, the flights are all later. We left at 7:30 pm and went through Cocha. again. Then we waited 2 hours and left at 10:40 from Cocha. to Santa Cruz. We got home very late again. 2 Nights with no sleep. Thats alright, we are blessed.

8:30 am - Church. We went to our area to pick up a few investigators. After being gone on Friday and Saturday it was hard because we weren't the only ones that traveled. A huge group of members went to the Temple and got back Sunday at 6:00 am. Church starts at 8:30. You can imagine how many came. There were 80 in Sacrament Meeting. The whole afternoon almost the whole ward was just sleeping. But still we saw miracles. Freddy Cuellar (that we taught quickly on Friday before flying) who is a neighborhood friend to many members came to church with us. He immediately felt at home. After church, one of the ward secretaries went by his house and introduced himself. We then passed by to visit him. Freddy was so happy. He felt the love of the members and committed to come next week with his wife and 2 kids. A family of members that live close to him explained to us that they had many time before felt impressed to invite Freddy to church but never did. When they say him in church, they were filled with joy and invited us to have a FHE with them today. What a blessing to have the trust and support of the members. I am humbled by the power the Lord has to change hearts. 

The rest of the in between moments went great. We had a few moments when my comp and I butted heads but I feel like he is teaching me more and more every day. Even last night at 9:05 pm he taught me how to be a blessing and not a burden for the bishop. What a wonderful example.

The time I was able to spend with Elder Uceda this week was incredible. I came to realized how insignificant I am and how little I can do by myself. I was touched by the pure love he has toward his wife. What a happy couple!!! Thats what I want! An eternal marriage! They are so happy and they both let the other one progress according to what the Lord has sent them here to do. I was moved by his true and only desire to serve God. And I learned from him the importance of sustaining the presiding leadership. Even though he presided the meetings I was impressed that several times he told the mission openly that he sustains President and Sister Willard as our Mission President and wife. I have a new vision of the work of salvation. My testimony grew of Jesus Christ and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been with one of His special witnesses. 
Hurrah for Israel!!

Elder Gehring
The Leon Family who were baptized 2 weeks ago and went to the temple this past weekend. They got us ties. I love them so much. 
This is us in Cochabamba eating dinner.

A weird bug I found.

A dangerous tree.

A field.

A man working.

A park.


Monday, September 7, 2015


Dear Family,

This week has been full of preparations for the Tour of Elder Uceda. He is going to come on Wednesday. We start with conferences here in Santa Cruz then we have ward council training. The next day he'll be in Puerto Suarez and my companion Elder Allasia and I will be in our area working like normal. Then on Friday there are a few other meetings and then on Saturday we are traveling to Tarija to be in the Zone Conference there with him and President. We'll come home that same night in time to go to church on Sunday. I'm nervous to say the least. President I think is a bit nervous too. I don't blame him though. I would be too if a 70 was coming to MY mission to see how its going. 

Our area is doing well. Elder Allasia and I have had a few differences a week ago. This week I fasted for us. We were struggling to come to common ground but this week was much much better. We started talking more openly, and really we get along much better. I think President knew that I was going to learn a lot about my pride in this companionship. I was so focused on me and not our companionship and it ruined us. As I fasted I realized that I really am nothing without Christ. I needed Him this week and because of Him our companionship is better and getting better aún. 

The area is doing well. This week on Monday and Tuesday we were in Tarija with President for the Zone Conference. It all went really well. We forgot the mics in the office (In SC) and were so scared that we were going to need them in the Conference but it turned out we didn't even use them. President had us direct the practices but luckily without mics! We were very grateful. We did intercambios with the Zone Leaders there in Tarija and I learned a lot from them. They really  are good leaders who love the people they serve. 

Also we talked to a family in the street on Tuesday night with Elder Murillo (my old comp). It was cool to be with him again. Just like old times. The mom was holding a baby in her arms and the dad was holding the hand of a small boy with down syndrome. They were the cutest family in the whole world. I asked how old her kids were and she said her son  was 3 and her daughter (the baby in her arms) was 12. I asked again just to make sure I heard right and she said smiling, "yes, shes 12" We talked a little more with the parents and it turns out she was an "eternal baby" the mom said. She grew until the size of a 1.5 or 2 year old and stopped growing. She never developed the ability to talk but was a full functioning baby! It was the coolest thing Id ever heard. I was touched by the pure love this mother had for her daughter and the loving protection that her dad offered. I want to be like those parents one day. Even though they are not members of the Church, they had the light of Christ and have been blessed with the sacred responsibility of caring for 2 of Gods beloved children.

Then we came home on Wed morning to be able to work all day in our area. Abundancia (Bountiful) is progressing and we have seen a lot of miracles this week. Our goal was to teach everyone, everywhere. We talked to everyone like normal but we put an extra effort to teach them in that moment. In the very second of meeting someone we taught principles of the gospel. We saw a difference in the interest of people. Some, yes rejected our message, but the people that accepted us had a better understanding of our purpose. We not only are there to share a message about Christ. Lots of churches "share messages about Christ". We teach the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and have the authority to do so. As a companionship, our vision changed. Our purpose is Invite to others to come unto Christ through the restored Gospel. Now in every moment we find, we teach. And in every moment that we teach, we find. 

On the 29th of August, the Leon Family was baptized and confirmed members of the Church. Like all other converts, we have the responsibility to teach them the 5 lessons again, and help them progress to the temple. This week we went to the Leon Family to teach them the first lesson again (The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ). We left being taught by them, not the other way around. We read the account of Jose Smith in JSH which the invited the Spirit. Joseph himself taught, "El Espíritu Santo es un revelador, y ningún hombre puede recibir el Espíritu Santo sin recibir revelaciones". The Leon Family felt the Spirit and received revelation. Rosa (the madre) told us she had recently read a scripture in Alma 40 about the resurrection of our bodies. We read it in Alma 40:23 and she taught me something about the nature of God. 

God creates things, lets them learn (maybe gives them weaknesses or lets them die) and then restores they in their own given time. 

Just as our bodies were created by God, the Gospel was formed by Christ. Just as our bodies are subject to pain and death, the Gospel too was beaten, rejected, and was taken from the earth (died). Just as the Gospel of Christ now has been restored to never again be taken, we too as children of God will be resurrected and glorified to never again taste the pain of death. Even the earth we live on will one day receive a higher glory after being killed and reborn. Gods pattern is to create, teach, and glorify. 

I was taught by a convert of the church who was baptized 1 week ago. They understand the doctrine of Christ and I was touched by their pure understanding. I learned that a pure heart and clean mind are necessary for the Spirit to teach and inspire. I look up to this family a lot. They are wonderful people who have Spiritual Gifts I will never understand. They then gave us the referral for several family members who they want to share the Gospel with. 

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Gehring