Monday, October 26, 2015

The Language of Faith

Dear family,

I thought a lot about what to write today. I've learned so much and I'm having a hard time figuring out what it is that I want to share. As I pondered this morning about this week, the things I did better, the things I still am not great at and what others have taught me, my mind repeatedly was directed to the lesson that President taught me yesterday morning. He simply corrected me on a phone call I made to a few contacts we made in the street. I wasn't very persuasive as I invited them to church and President with much love, corrected me and gave me tips to do it better. But what I learned immediately changed the way I talk, think, and am. It has to do with another language that I yet do not speak. I'm great at English, and I have a good hold on Spanish. But what I still have not learned is the language of Faith. President told me to speak more of this language as I called people on the phone. I thought he simply was referring to phone calls but It wasn't until later in the day that I realized that there was much more there for me to learn.

The language of Faith is not a way to speak, it is more than using a large vocabulary, its more than teaching a lesson, it is more than just opening the mouth. The language of Faith is a way of being, of believing, a way of making others truly believe what you say and do is for their good. That is why it is so important that we speak this way with the investigators. When I made that phone call, I didn't let him feel that I believe what I say. It reflects in everything we do. We act differently if we speak the language of faith. We believe all things, hope all things... like the 13th Article of Faith says. 

The most personal example I have seen and experienced is when I had the privilege of working a little with Elder Uceda. He fluently spoke English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Faith. He didn't use any new words that we didn't know, he didn't teach a new Gospel, and he didn't just teach lessons. He arrived at every meeting showing love towards his wife, he showed humility, he greeted us with happiness and joy, he talked and acted in such a way that we wanted to do what he invited us to do. Its not that what he promised and said is written in stone, its that he spoke so fluently the language of faith, that we know without a doubt that if we do what he showed us, his promise is fulfilled. This language is a Godly attribute. Our living prophets and apostles are experts in this language. They speak in such a way that we know what they say is true. The Spirit testifies of truth spoken in the language of Faith. 

Its really hard to explain my feelings and thoughts about what happened yesterday morning but I just wanted to share a few thoughts I had. I understand now a little better what it is God wanted me to learn in this opportunity. I didn't realize all this until about 5:00 pm yesterday. 

We realized as a companionship what it was that Language of Faith means and we immediately prayed. I think it was one of the most sincere prayers I've said in a while. I asked God to help us learn this language and help others understand it as we spoke to them. From 5 until 9 our vision changed. We acted the language of faith, we spoke the language of faith, and we prayed with the language of faith many times during these few hours. We found 2 new families, 6 new investigators. 4 of which now have a baptismal date. They understood the language we spoke and we felt their happiness. 

We still have a lot to learn. I feel like its my second day in the MTC and still don't speak anything of the new language but my faith has grown more than ever.

I hope each of you will practice daily this language of happiness and joy. Speak it often, study the scriptures often which are like dictionaries to better learn this language, and listen to the chosen Prophets and Apostles who give such a wonderful example. 

Hurrah for Israel!!

Elder Gehring

Mc Tona is Mc Donalds with a bolivian accent.

Also there is an elevator selfi of the pants we bought on Monday.

This is one of me doing pushups with a 70 year old bolivian who doesnt eat meat or dairy products. I almost started a vegan diet.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Fotos and Stories

Hi there family,

Here are some fotos from this week. Ill tell the stories for each one.

-The Bowl
     This week we went bowling on monday. I'd been before so it wasn't too exciting. We had to buy some food so we didn't actually stay the whole time. I've lost a lot of my bowling skills now that I don't practice so much. I think I'm going to get back in to it when I come home. 

- For Rent
     In Bolivia you can find just about anywhere to live. If  your're alone that is. Just about every street  you walk down there are signs that say ''Cuartos en Alquiler'' or ''Rooms for Rent''. They usually vary from 300 bs. monthly to 1000 bs monthly depending on the size of the room(s). They usually do not have private bathrooms, usually dont have kitchens, just rooms. It works for most people. I've learned that all I need is one room when I go back to school. 1 Room with a bed and a small dresser! The rest is just extra. Bolivians are very smart livers. Anyway, we saw this sign and it made us laugh so hard. The owners of the homes always ask if you have kids before letting you move in but it looks like this owner made up his mind about families!!


- Lote
      Lote is a word that means lot. Sometimes they call it terreno also which simply means a piece of land usually before there is a house on it. People here loooove buying and selling their land. Heres a picture of a typical ''lote''. This one would probably be sold for 15.000 dollars. I think.. Maybe less.

- Bolivian Road Work
      Road work is very behind here in bolivia. Heres a picture of a road that had really bad mud holes. They filled it with broken bricks and cement hahahaha 

- Watermelon
      One week ago we went to the market to buy a watermelon. We were so so excited. Neither of us had bought a watermelon before so we had no idea what to pay. We weren't thinking and the lady charged us 40bs. Of course there is no set price so she took advantage and won this one. We asked the members later how much they would have paid. They said the maximum would be 20. Oh well. We are going to go back to day and by a waaay cheaper one from the same lady. We took it home and ate it on our picnic style rug thing.


This week in our area we met a ton of new people. The ward is really excited to have 2 sisters and 2 elders. We are starting to see progress with the church attendance. There were 132 people who came to our ward on sunday which was great! The primary has about 20 kids I would say. A lot of the families just leave after the first hour. YM and YW have probably 10 each maximum and the elders quorum and Relief Society have probably 20-40 who actually come to church. I think. Its a pretty small ward but I love it. The bishop is a convert, the only member of his family, and very very young. He is 30 I think. 

We had a hard week with people accepting our baptism invitation. We invited everyone to be baptized but no one has accepted. We have been practicing how to teach better. I lack a lot of work still to become a missionary like Preach My Gospel but my companion is helping a lot with the progress. 

This week we met Faustino too. He is a less active member who hasn't come to church in 4 years or so. We found him on the list of memebrs and we looked for his house. We found it and he let us in!! We offered service and helped him put a wire screen on his window. We then talked about the importance of prayer and sabbath day observance. He came to church yesterday and has never been happier. Hes 48 and works with a Tow Truck Company. He still has a lot of goals but hes progressed more in 3 days than he has in these past 4 years. We are super excited for him. We also met these families who are now investigating the church. Dos Santos Familia, Rivera Family, Fernando and his wife and kids, Juan and Carmen, Claudia and Jaime, Joselyn and Rodrigo, Nestor Lovera, Joselyn and Sirilo, Sonia and her husband, Waldo Rojas, Reynaldo Vargas, Marta and her family, And the Rivero Family. Pray for them all!!

Love you all lots,

Elder Gehring
Elder Santos

Elevator Selfie

HUUUGE donuts

My view in a Micro (pubic bus)

My bedstand photo

Selfie with a drunk guy

Small ugly chicken

Monday, October 12, 2015


Hi there family,

I think I would win a competition for the best companion. Elder Santos is the best. This week as we traveled to VillaMontes and Yacuiba I saw how hard he works even when not in our area. He always has ideas of how to be better and he easily makes any missionary laugh. It could be the worst day in the whole world and Elder Santos will be smiling and laughing about something. He is reverent though when he needs to be. He listens to me and to our investigators. He teaches me how to pray with real intent and I feel the spirit in his words as he teaches. We have similar ideas usually which helps us be more united. He works well with the members and makes them feel important. More than anything, Elder Santos knows who his Savior is and testifies of Him often. He understands his role and purpose as a missionary and he actively helps other missionaries understand the same. He loves his family at home and understands why he is here in Bolivia. He is obedient and obeys Gods will. 

This week we also went to Villa Montes and to Yacuiba. We went in what is called a Flota. A large charter bus that has 2 levels. On the way there it was really really hot but they turned off the a/c and I have no idea why!! Its about an 9 hour drive and we left at 9 pm and got there really early in the morning. We went to their district meeting and Elder Santos demonstrated in the both meetings how to direct a district council. I learned a lot from him and from the Elderes in villa montes. I then went with 2 Elderes. I learned a lot from them. It was super super hot. Like 40-41 degrees and really really humid. We walked a ton and had a great day. We taught a ton of lessons. That night we took a small trufi (like a minivan) on a 1 hr ride to the city of Yacuiba where we met up with the Zone Leaders. We then slept there. It was staring to rain when we got there but it was still super hot. We were sweating as we went to bed but the ZL told us it would get cold. I didnt believe them so about 2 hrs after going to be I opened the door to let it some air. I woke up freezing cold. From super hot it got super cold. The whole day it was rainy and wet and cold. A big climate change. We had a great zone meeting there too.

Then I went with Elder Evanson. I learned so much from him. He truly is a persuasive teacher. He showed with so much love to each investigator how to pray, read, fulfill their commitments. I was impressed. I tried to apply what I learned in our area when we got home and it went really well. We came home on a flota too. But this time it was super cold and never once turned the A/C off. I was soo cold. I couldnt sleep at all. We got home about 5 am and then we slept until 6:30

On friday when we got home, it was good to be back in our area. We worked like crazy and that night we had correlation meeting with the ward mission leader. We now have sisters in the ward too. Before, it was just us two. We divided the areas and the sisters are now where we were mostly working and focusing our efforts in (by the chapel). I feel good about it, just its been a rough weekend. All of our investigators are now the sisters. In ward council almost all of our families on the progress record were assigned by the bishop to the sisters. We moved over all the teaching records of our area book to their area book and we are left with just a couple records. It'll be a hard week where we need to find a ton of new families to be baptized in the area that's on the other side of the ward. Its going well though. We are excited to work with the ward even more.  I just wanted to be completely honest, its been rough these last 2 days. Elder Santos and I have been humbled by the experience and we are going to baptize every week in our area! 

This past week as I studied Alma 7:12 I learned a lot about Christ and His role in the life of all mankind. It is interesting how it says he will loose the bands of death. Not just one band but several. I thought about the reality of the Atonement and that He saves us not only from physical but spiritual death too. We were bound by the spiritual death that came as a result of the Fall of Adam and Eve. We weren't able to go back to the presence of God. We were also bound by the chains of physical death and could never have resurrected that came as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve. But He came. He took upon Himself death. He died to loose the bands that before held us captive. He knows our pains, weaknesses, desires, temptations, everything! He knows how to succor me and I feel my Saviors love as I teach, preach, and testify of Him. I also learned from Romans 6:8 about the symbol of His death and our death in baptism, I learned in 2 Nefi 2:8 about the power He has to free us from death, I learned about the meaning of mercy and grace and succor from Isa. 25:8, and I learned with more clarity that Christ is my Savior. My ponderizing scripture for this week is 2 Nefi 9:14. It talks about the judgement. I thought it would be a good follow up because I learned about how we return to the presence of God because of Him and now I am going to learn about how that moment will be. 

Hurrah for Israel!! 

Love you all lots,

Elder Gehring
Mi compaƱero y yo


Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference


This week flew by. We started on Monday to a trip to the Sand Dunes which was fun but really tiring. We got stuck in Peter's car. Well we weren't stuck in the car, the car was stuck in the sand. Ill send some pictures of us digging sand out from the bottom of the car. 

Also this week we went to Tarija. We went to teach the District Leaders how to give a great district meeting. We got there and I pretended to be their district leader and they (6) were my district. We talked about our investigators, how to help them progress, we practiced, we watched videos, studied Preach My Gospel, and it all went really well. In the afternoon we went to the ZL area to do divisions with them. I went with one Elder and my comp went with the other. It was weird to be back in the same area I was in just 2 or so months ago. I was able to see the Sossa Family really fast which was wonderful and I learned a ton. I went with Elder Evans. He is a great missionary who taught me so much. Ive never seen anyone more focused on their missionary purpose. He invites EVERYONE to come unto Christ. He talks with everyone, asks referrals from everyone, and if we were waiting for anyone to meet us or something, he always found a productive way to work. Knock on some door, talk with one person more etc. We had a wonderful lesson with him where we taught a small principle about through Christ we find comfort and joy. Then we invited a sister to be baptized and then committed her to the 24 of October. Her name is Hope. I hope she makes it to her baptismal date.

The next day (thursday) we went to the actual district meeting of the DL in Tarija. I went with three of them and my companion went with the other 3. We helped them if they needed help and participated as if we were members of their districts. They did a great job! It was great to see the result of a demonstration, 6 DL who understood and then did a great job executing. Then in the afternoon on thursday we went with the other 2 ZL in Tarija. I went with one Elder and we didn't have anyone to teach. We had limited time for the exchange so I told him that we should pray! We prayed to have an immediate teaching opportunity and when we said Amen, a father and his daughter entered into their home. We ran and talked to him where he then let us in and in the end of the lesson accepted baptism and offered the closing prayer. It was a powerful testimony that God hears our prayers. 

Then we came back to our area, worked in more exchanges on Friday with 2 ZL here in Santa Cruz and then on Saturday and Sunday the conference that we all know was wonderful. I was impressed by the reverence showed by our beloved prophet President Thomas S. Monson in the Priesthood Session on Saturday night. I know he is increasing in age but I felt a distinct spirit as he spoke humbly about a principle taught to the even youngest primary children. Keep the Commandments. I was moved by the simplicity of his teachings and the power behind his prophetic voice. I felt a stronger desire to be obedient in my life as I strive to follow the Savior more. I want to teach like he taught us on Saturday night. I want to simplify the gospel to a level that allows all men to understand regardless of his conditions. 
This conference was my last here in the mission and I arrived in every session with questions in mind. I have a firm testimony that God hears us and answers our prayers. He has called men to be our leaders and His prophets. Through them we can know the mysteries of God. 

I love you all,

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Gehring