Matthew 4:19

"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

Monday, January 30, 2017

Working with Less Actives

Howdy kids! 

Well another one down in the Guat. This transfer is coming to an end as well next week. Its been an awesome time with Elder Larsen. We get along great together and teach really well together. I have a pretty good feeling that either him or I will have changes this week which would be tough, but Im kinda just expecting it. 

This week we were working a lot with less active member families. Something that I honestly havent done a lot of in my mission. We´ve always seemed to be focused on investigators just because of the amount of less actives here and I havent had much success in the past with reactivating. But we started working with our ward and theyve been giving us names of families they think really want to and are ready to come back to church and its been incredible. 

We got to work with 4 families in particular this week, and all 4 were in church on sunday! It was truly such a blessing to look and see all those families with smiling faces in church. 

I didnt have a ton of time this week so my letter is short, but I love all yall and hope you all have a great week!

Elder Gurksnis

Monday, January 9, 2017

Teaching the Atonement

Howdy yalllll! 
We had a conference with President Crapo this past week and I learned so much! He's truly an awesome mission president. We talked a lot about the Atonement and Repentance, so thiis week weve been focusing on teaching the Atonement alllll the time and teaching repentance.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ, very, very briefly described, is the sacrifice and actual  ¨paying for our sins¨ that occured in the Garden of Gethsemani, where he truly suffered for every single sin that every single person on the earth has ever committed. Every pain and every affliction. Every sad moment and heartache.  He experienced it all! Just so that we could have the opportunity to repent and live with Him for eternity.
Mosiah 3:7
 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
What a scripture! King Benjamin here is prophesying of the great Atonement. Jesus bled from every poor, as if he was sweating blood. We truly can’t comprehend the pain and anguish he experienced, but it was great. He did this to know how we feel in every dark moment and in every hard experience, so that He might know how to comfort us in those moments.
Matthew 26 gives us an exact description of what occured...
 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O  my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I  will, but as thou wilt.
He was suffering beyond belief that He prayed to the Father to ¨let the cup pass¨ from Him. Suffering for every anguish and sorrow of billions and billions of people can we possibly imagine such a thing?
More importantly, how can we ever repay Him for what He did for us? Well the truth is we can’t 100% repay Him for what He did. It’s simply not possible to do something of equal action to that of what He did for us. But the thing that comes closest is repentance.
Repenting of our sins is the ONE thing we can do to show Him we are grateful for His sacrifice.  He suffered so that we can repent.  If we do not repent of our sins, we are simply saying we are not grateful for His sacrifice. But on the other hand, if we repent, we can show our gratitude to Him and we can feel His love!
Doctrine and Covenants 18:11 and 13
 11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh;  wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
If we repent, we may feel the love of God in our lives again. The burdens we carry may be taken from us, and we can feel the Lord´s spirit in our lives again.
 13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
I testify that the soul that repenteth is joyful. I have experienced it in my own life many a time. If we may turn our will to the will of the Lord and repent every day, we may become closer and closer to Him and the blessings of the Atonement will be poured out upon us.
I invite all of you to not only stop doing something bad, but to stop doing whatever it is you´re doing in contrary to the Lord´s will, and start doing something great! Change your will to that of the Fathers and we may all feel more happiness in our lives.
I know these things are true! And I know that He lives.
With love!
Elder Gurksnis

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year Muh Duds

Happy New Year Muh Duds!
Hope it was a great New Years Eve for everyone!  Guatemala loves fireworks and things that make loud noises so it was a pretty nutty 31st here. Ill send a video! We got to go to the roof to watch it all go down.

So my new companion is Elder Larsen! Hes from Las Vegas, NV and superrrrr awesome. He was the Assistant for 6 months and finished his time so he came back to be a zone leader with me! Its been such a great change having a companion I get along with and who wants to work hard and be obedient. 

Weve already seen a difference in our area and its been great. Were working really well with members and encouraging them to read the Book of Mormon and to be missionaries individually. Were kinda starting from scratch and changing a lot together, so we may not see the ¨fruits of our labors¨for a while, but February will be a good month for area Colombia. 

I wanted to share a short spiritual thought for this New Year for you all! Mosiah 3:19 reads

 19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a childsubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

King Benjamin is giving his speech to all the people under his kingdom here. It says the ¨natural man¨is an enemy to God. Anything that isnt a Christlike attribute that we have is the natural man (impatience, anger, pride, etc.). We are invited by King Benjamin to put off the natural man, and become a saint through the atonement of Jesus Christ! Become meek as a child and willing to do the will of the Lord. 

I invite you to ponder this scripture and as you make new years resolutions, think of the things you do that are part of the natural man that keep you from being more Christlike. Then make goals to be able to conquer those weeknesses and become more like Christ through the Atonement. 

Im out of time, but I love you all! Have a great 2017!

Elder Gurksnis

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas from Guate!

Merry Christmas yall!

Hope everyone had an incredible Christmas as I did. Talking to my family for the first time in 5 months was amazing and a special experience for me.

It´s hard! Serving a mission and spending Christmas away from your family twice in a foreign country is hard! Lemme tell ya. But its worth it. This Christmas I wont ever forget. Im unbelievably lucky to be where I am, doing what Im doing. 5 months have already passed by since I left last and its blown by. 

We have changes tomorrow. My companion is leaving the area and Ill be getting another new companion. Kinda nervous, but Im going to work harder to make sure our future companionship gets along and works better together. 

This was my toughest change. But I know we have to pass through difficult times to appreciate the great times. And I know the Lord will help me if I continue to try to work hard and be obedient. 

A short letter, but I hope all of yall had a great Christmas! I love you all. Take care and have a happy new year as well!

Elder Gurksnis

Monday, December 19, 2016

Teaching Athiests

Howdy USA!

I hope everyone is enjoying this awesome Christmas season back home. Really.

Christmas season is definitely different here, but I still feel the spirit and presence of Heavenly Father even stronger around this time of year. 

Its been hard these past couple of weeks with my companion and our area. It hasnt really been the same here as it was in my old area. Changes are 2 days after Christmas but Im pretty sure we´ll both be staying here together for another change. 

One thing I have learned is how to really depend on Heavenly Father in times of difficulty through fervent prayer. It has sincerely helped me especially when I feel alone. I dont know if yall have seen this video but it is truly remarkable. Its a song by David Archuletta that just came out recently. But here is the link....

What an amazing song! I have saved and watched that video probably 10 times this week. Every time I feel the spirit and know that He knows me. He knows my trials and fears and is ready to listen to me and help me. 

I know He is there. Im 100% sure. 

I feel like I am constantly thinking about my faith. I know I have faith in Christ and in Heavenly Father, but I sometimes get upset because I feel like I dont have the same faith that others in the church have had in the past, or the faith that the apostles had to heal and perform miracles. Ive been trying and trying to study faith and let it grow but it sometimes is dissapointing! I know others have felt the same. But I had an incredible experience this week. 

We had a lesson with an athiest this week and one thing I said to him I didnt know where the words came from but it was one of those moments where i felt i just opened my mouth and the Lord gave me the words to say. We were talking about faith and believing in things we can not see. He doesnt believe in God because he said theres no way for Him to show Himself to him. 

I told him that if he knelt down that night I knew that God would make Himself known unto him by the power of the Holy Spirit. I said he didnt need to know for a surety but if he placed a tiny seed of faith in his heart, with just the hope that some supreme being could answer that He would do so. 

He then said to me, someone annoyed, ¨If you have such great faith, do you have the faith to say unto God right now ´show yourself unto me´? Do you have the faith to say that and know that He will appear right now? Do you have faith to show me a miracle?!¨

I sat there thinking, and doubting myself. But the Lord blessed me so greatly in that moment.
¨No. I dont have that faith in this moment,¨ I said. ¨I dont have the faith to know if I say to Heavenly Father show yourself to this man right now that He will do so. But I have 100% faith and a surety that if you kneel down and pray to Him tonight, that by the Holy Ghost you will know that He is there and He is listening. Because I have placed that seed of faith in my heart many years ago and have let it grow. So I may not have the faith to know that God will appear from heaven and show Himself to you right now, but that seed is still growing. And what I do know is that He is there and answers our prayers. Pray to Him, and He will answer.¨ 

We left and a few days later we passed by him in the street. We asked him if he prayed that night and then if he believes if God exists. He said with a funny smirk, ¨Maybe.¨ Hahaha it was really funny actually. But I knew that God had answered him. 

I know that although I may be having a tough time right now, that thats part of the mission first off, and second I know that God knows my problems and that He listens to me. And I have faith that problems will fade away in time. 

The Lord loves you! I hope all of you can remember Him even more this Christmas. I hope you all have an amazing Christmas with your families! 

Love, Elder Gurksnis