Elder Carlos Samuel Gomez

Elder Carlos Samuel Gomez

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

He made it to Rosario!!! Whew... This mama can sleep tonight :)

We all made it safe and sound to Argentina! I am in the mission home right now, and everything is going great! The plane ride was a cool experience. It was during the night for the most part, but we flew over Cuba and Jamaica and we could see the city lights. It was beautiful. We also flew over Columbia, Bolivia, Brazil (the Amazon), but they were just lights. When we landed it was pretty easy to find our way around because there were 16 missionaries going just to my mission, and about 30 total flying to Buenos Aires. I am seriously lacking some sleep at the moment, but I did manage to get a couple more hours worth on the bus to Rosario. It is amazing here! The President and his wife are way nice, and their kids are great too. I just got the 101 on things around here. Packages can take any amount of time between 2 days and 7 months. They just received a Christmas package for a sister that is now about to get married back at home. The President says that pope or virgin mary stickers are not a good idea because we do not worship them, but pictures of the Savior should do the trick. Also, we have study time during the siesta. We wake up at 7 in this mission!!! I almost cried when I found out, because now tomorrow morningwill feel like 4 am instead of 3:30, haha. All of the missionaries I have seen have stories of dog bites, so I will definitely prepare myself for that! I am way excited to meet my companion tomorrow! I also have 2 hours of companionship study. It is pretty crazy to be here finally. I have been waiting my whole life for this moment, and now I have no idea what to think now that it is here! Well the other missionaries are waiting to use the computer, so I will finish here. On transfer weeks, p-day switchesfrom Monday to Tuesday. You will not need to freak out if I fail to respond in six weeks, haha. I love you. See ya!

(For the record - I WILL freak out if I don't hear from him for 6 weeks!)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Off to Argentina!!!

Well I'm reporting to the travel office at 8:30 today!!! I'm WAY excited to head to Argentina! I had the opportunity to bless another sister yesterday for comfort while she heads into the field, and I can again testify that the Priesthood is real. I've been feeling the Spirit so strongly all week. Yesterday we had a few devotionals, and one of them had a speaker named Steve Allen. He is the head of the whole mission department. He was hilarious! It was also very spiritual. Wow, it's crazy to try to work what happened in a whole week in just text. Nearly all of the experiences here are emotional and spiritual, and really hard to relate-especially in English, haha. The MTC is truly inspired. Everything is run so smoothly here, and the Spirit is in every decision that is made. When we said goodbye to the teachers is was way sad, especially with Hermana Imbler. That's just because she was crying like crazy along with all the Hermanas in my district and my companion Elder Quinones. Hermano Lloyd, my other teacher, was also sad but he didn't drag out the goodbye. Saying goodbye to the Elders and Hermanas in the zone was way harder than I thought it would be. One of the Elders name is Elder Romney. He's 6'3" and has a full ride scholarship to Nevada to start as quarterback for them after his mission. (Take notes Naomi) He is extremely obedient and is known around here for being the huge quiet guy, and he hugged me for a long time! I was like a little hobbit next to him, haha! I didn't think there would be any way that I could get so bonded to people that I've only known for 12 days. It's so weird! Dad, the Spanish has been going awesome! He apredido mucho desde que llegue al CCM. Era muy dificil a entender las lecciones y ensenar en los proximos dias, pero el Espiritu Santo me ha ayudado mucho, y despues el CCM puedo ensenar lecciones, y comprender las clases casi en total. Sorry, I don't know how to type accents. You probably see lots of mistakes still, but I still know the gift of tongues is real!!! I'm really going to miss the temple for the next two years or so, but I know that the Lord will bless us missionaries any ways. This week we had in-field orientation, which was about 9 hours of classes that are supposed to help us transition into the field. Hopefully that is true! Also, yesterday for my last American lunch I was pleased to see that one of the meal choices was tomato basil soup :) I picked it because Mom and Naomi love it so much. Also, since my zone is advanced Spanish, we have the best soccer players in the MTC. Who would've thought, right? Haha I'm definitely not as good as them all, so I just play defender and kick the ball really hard. I love you guys! Whenever I get a chance to tell other missionaries about my family or share pictures I am so proud to be a member of the Gomez and Ellis families. I really love you guys :) I'll email next week with the news on the fist week of Argentina!!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

"Not one hundredth part can be written"

Wow wow wow!!! This place is awesome!!! It's been great here. My companion's name is Elder Jose Quinones, He's way hard working and in the words of a member of the branch presidency he "doesn't have a disobedient fiber in his body". It's way nice, because now it's easier for me to be obedient and to get those blessings. The other Elders in my district are Elder Carter and Elder Bruneel. They're both Gringos too! Elder Quinones has a hard time because he's fluent and he can't understand us sometimes, haha. The rest of the zone is comprised of only two other Gringos and lots of Mexicanos. :) The Spanish has been going really well! When we met the branch presidency they told us all to write a five minute talk on baptism in Spanish (we're only allowed to speak Spanish because we're the "Nativo" zone). For encouragement they told us that they would announce who was going to speak right after the sacrament, and it could be any of us. Talk about a flipping heart attack! I didn't get picked thank goodness, but I did have the opportunity to practice writing a talk, and I got to bless the sacrament in Spanish. That was an awesome experience! Sunday has definitely been the best day so far. In priesthood meeting, we talked about the Spirit and some other elders from our zone taught us. I worked up the courage to comment in Spanish, and I was relieved when I got some smiles and nods in response. Whew. When I got here my escort was Elder Jake Jones, and it was really nice to have someone I know help me out. Since then I've seen Elder Alex Piper, Elder Scott Carr, Elder Conner Littlefield, Elder Tanner Jensen, Elder Ethan Larsen, Elder Cameron Houston, and a few people that beat me in tennis through the years from other schools. There might be a couple more that I forgot haha. The Spirit here is the best! It's everywhere. The difference between obedient and disobedient missionaries is very evident. When my companion and I are obedient, we are always blessed. When we miss a rule or two, we definitely miss those blessings. He is actually a convert, and he's only been a member for 14 months. But he knows a lot because he went on splits constantly with missionaries at home in Las Vegas, and even served a 3 week mini mission! He's our district leader. I'm the senior companion though, and I don't get it, haha. You would not believe the amount of spiritual experiences there are every day in the MTC! There has been miraculous improvement in my Spanish. I'm definitely not fluent, but in class instead of having to just nervously nod and smile the whole time I actually know what's going on. I also made a goal with one of our teachers, Hermana Imbler, to learn 20 new words every day. It's a lot easier than you would think when the Spirit helps you! A member of the branch presidency said that this work is impossible to do without the Spirit, but it is impossible to fail if we're worthy of the spirit. The spirit touched my heart when he told us that. Some of the most spiritual experiences here have been when groups of missionaries are singing hymns, and other church songs. The day I arrived all of the new missionaries sang "We'll bring the world His truth", and the words were switched from "And we will be the Lord's missionaries" to "And we are now the Lord's misionaries". I can't explain how strong the spirit hit in that moment. It was real, and it was marvelous. Perhaps the best experience of all was yesterday, when Hermana Garcia needed a blessing to help her with a bad cold and a worse case of homesickness. I had the opportunity to bless her, and I ended up talking about things that I didn't know she needed and I can't even remember. Afterward she told me that it was definitely God speaking, because she heard exactly what she needed. I testify that the power of the Priesthood is REAL. I know because I felt it work through me in a way that can only be from God. Also on Sunday, we got to watch the devotional "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. You know those spiritual "Aha!" moments that happen sometimes in sacrament meeting? I had one about every thirty seconds for an hour and a half straight. He is a divinely called apostle of Jesus Christ. Well I think I covered all of the major points, but I still feel like Nephi in the Book of Mormon who when after the Savior taught the Nephites said something like "Not one hundredth part can be written". I feel the same way. I've been severely humbled here, and still need a lot more. I love you guys, especially my eternal family. I did get the glasses, thank you! I love you again, goodbye!

P.S. In case Naomi is worried, I've been staying away from chips, fries, cookies, and doughnuts, and I haven't gained any weight, haha :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Carlos' Farewell Talk : Charity

I feel blessed today to speak to you about the principle of Charity. Charity is

the pure love of Christ, and is my very favorite principle in the Gospel. The

reason why is if one cleaves unto Charity, they will find that all of the other

commandments are fulfilled automatically. Cleaving unto Charity means that

your thoughts, desires, words, and actions are all grown from love for both

those around you, and for your Father in Heaven.

The prophet Mormon also felt that Christlike love was key for happiness. He

lived at the time that the Nephites were about to be completely destroyed from

the face of the land by their enemies the Lamanites. Mormon knew that the

Nephites were doomed to destruction because he had seen their wickedness.

Even though he witnessed the merciless Lamanites slaughtering his brethren, he

was moved with compassion toward them, and wrote:

……………Moroni 7: 45-47……………………………

How can we have Charity? I’ve thought of a few of the many ways that we

can make Charity part of our lives. The first way is to see others as Heavenly

Father sees them. President Dieter F. Uchdorft said: “We all depend on the

Savior; none of us can be saved without Him. Christ’s atonement is infinite and

ternal. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding

grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it!” Alright

so when I read this I was kind of surprised. Elder Holland is the one that’s

supposed to have exclamation marks everywhere, right? I took it as a sign that it

was probably pretty important! He goes on to say: “My dear brothers and

sisters, consider the following questions as a self-test: Do you harbor a grudge

against someone else? Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true? Do

you exclude, push away, or punish other because of something they have done?

Do you secretly envy another? Do you wish to cause harm to someone? If you

answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to apply the two-word

sermon from earlier: Stop it! Let us be kind. Let us forgive. Let us talk

peacefully with each other. Let the love of God fill our hearts.”

It doesn’t do any good to come to the church and tell everyone to love each

other if you aren’t doing it yourself! You must do our best to treat others like

they are children of God. As we all do this, our love for others will grow, and

we will feel joy. I promise that if you think kindly of everyone, you will have a

happier life.

is to serve others. The ancient prophet Abraham lived in the wilderness, and had

been blessed with a considerable amount of wealth. Because he lived in the

wilderness, there were many lost travelers that wandered by. To help them, he

built a garden on his property with gates in every direction to let weary travelers

in. He provided food, drink, and rest for anyone who came by regardless of who

they were or where they came from. Hugh Nibley describes Abraham as

“generous to the point of lacking common sense.” It would be easy for

Abraham to feel content with his efforts to serve others. But he was not

satisfied. Brother Nibley continues: “Abraham used to undertake search and

rescue mission in the desert. It was at noon of a phenomenally hot day when

Abraham, suffering terribly from illness, had his faithful servant go out and

search the byways for any lost wanderers. The servant couldn’t find a soul,

which was no wonder on such a day; but Abraham still felt uneasy-it was just

possible that somebody might be out there needing his help. So the old man

went forth all alone to search in that dusty inferno.”

If Abraham went out in the heat when he was sick and 100 years old, then

why is it so hard for me to volunteer for a prayer in Sunday school? I clearly

need some work to become as selfless as Abraham. Fortunately, most of the

time we are not prompted to brave a sandstorm. But we are commanded to have

compassion for all men, just like Abraham. We can fulfill this commandment

by magnifying our church callings, serving our neighbors, and serving our

family members. We will always have more blessings than we can receive.

Because he demonstrated such faith and Christlike love, Abraham got what he

had asked the Lord for his whole life: A son.

Abraham loved his family more than anything but the Lord, and when he

was asked to sacrifice his son as an offering to God, he remained faithful.

We can all learn from the example of Abraham. He was willing to give up

everything that was important to him to serve the Lord, and we can certainly

commit to make a few changes in our own lives to do the same.

The third thing that I thought of that can help us have Charity in our own

lives is to be forgiving. We learn from the example of Jesus as he hung on the

cross. Amidst being mocked, spat upon, and tormented by those he served,

Jesus looked up to heaven and said: Father, forgive them, for they know not

what they do. In an effort to follow the Savior, we must forgive all men, and not

judge. The Apostle Peter asked the Lord if we should forgive men “Till seven

times”, Jesus answered “I say not unto thee until seven times: but, until seventy

times seven.” I don’t know of any case when I needed to forgive someone more

than 490 times. Maybe it has happened the other way around. I think it’s safe to

say that the savior meant that we should always forgive.

The beloved prophet Joseph Smith also had many opportunities to forgive

others. Between those who opposed him from the start and those who were once

his friends and turned against him and the Gospel, it might have been hard for him

to count. One of his dearest friends was William W. Phelps, who was called to be a

“Printer to the Church”. He assisted in the publishing of the Doctrine and

Covenants, the first hymn book, the first church periodical, and also served as a

scribe for Joseph as he translated parts of Abraham. After being reprimanded for

selling land in Far West, Missouri against council from priesthood leadership,

brother Phelps became bitter against the church and bore false witness against the

Prophet that contributed to his imprisonment in Liberty Jail. Brother Phelps

eventually became remorseful and had a change of heart. He wrote a letter to

Brother Joseph, asking for forgiveness:

 “I know my situation, you know it, and God knows it, and I want to be

saved if my friends will help me. Like the Captain that was cast away on a

desert Island, when he got off he went to sea again, and made  his fortune the next

time. So let my lot be. I have done wrong and I am sorry. The beam is in my own

eye.

I have not walked with my friends according to my holy Annointing: I ask

forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ of all the saints for I … want your

fellowship.”

Joseph Smith responded:

“It is true, that we have suffered mujch in consequene of your behavior-the

cup of gall, already full enough for mortals to drink, was indeed filled to

overflowing when you turned against us, one with whom we had oft taken sweet

counsel together, and enjoyed many refreshing seasons from the Lord. However,

the cup has been drunk, the will of our Father has been done, and we are yet alive,

for which we thank the Lord. And having been delivered from the hands of wicked

men by the mercy of our God, we say it is your privilege to be delivered from the

powers of the adversary, be brought into the liberty of God’s dear children, and

again take your stand among the Saints of the Most High. Believing your

confession to be real, and your repentance genuine, I shall be happy once again to

give you the right hand of fellowship and rejoice over the returning prodigal.”

Any hesitation in Joseph’s heart was cast out as he warmly accepted William

W. Phelps back into his arms of friendship. Surely we can forgive anyone of their

previous and future trespasses against us. I promise you all that by doing so, you

will be filled with the Pure Love of Christ toward that person. Joseph’s example

proves to all of us that if we make the sometimes difficult steps to forgive another,

we will be blessed far more than if we had not. If we choose not to forgive

someone, we choose to bear the burden that their transgression caused in our lives

forever. It is just not worth it.

The final part of Charity that I feel can help us become more Christlike is to

use His everlasting Atonement. A part of the Atonement that is looked over too

often is the perfect life of Christ. From the time of His birth, Jesus aligned his will

completely with the will of His Father’s. Everything He thought, spoke, and did,

was in harmony with the commandments of God. He faced every temptation with

faithfulness, and every challenge with courage, relying on the hand of God to

support Him. Had it not been for the pureness of His life, there would be no

sacrifice sufficient to offer for the remission of all sins. But the greatest test He had

was the actual performing of the Atonement that night in Gethsemane. There He

bore the pains, afflictions, and punishment for all men. It was the greatest act of

love that was ever accomplished, and is the means by which we can all be saved.

We need only to follow His commandments, and the gateway to Heaven is

unlocked. As we fail to stay perfectly in line with the will of the Father, we need

only repent and we are forgiven. It is my prayer that we share this news with

everyone we meet. It is what we are called to do, and it is what I will be doing for

the next two years in Argentina. I bear my witness that if you strive to have Charity

in your hearts, you will feel the marvelous power of God change your life for the

better.

His Call