Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How Can the Days Be So Long, but Time Go So Fast?!

Hola Familia!!

First, Happy Birthday Abu!! I hope you had an amazing day and have an amazing year!!  Next time we talk it will be in Spanish!! :)

So, Whoah!!  This week has been nuts.  It's true, the days are long and short at the same time... I couldn't explain it if my life depended on it.  So, let's just move on with the update!

To start, Spanish is going really well. I've been talking with latinos, playing soccer, etc. It's been a lot of fun and a lot of work!

We've been going almost every day with our progressing investigators, and it's been really fun.  It presents amazing oppurtunity to learn and grow and figure out how to teach 'people', and not just teach 'lessons'. 

So a few things really stuck out to me this week:

First off, an elder, Elder Thaden, posed a question while we were just studying in class... "Why is it harder to do good things?" And immediately I though back to being a kid, when a similar question was asked of me (after a friend commented in frustration 'Nick, it would be so easy to be bad').  After Elder Thaden asked the question, everyone started weighing in their own ideas, but nothing really satisfied him.  So I sat and prayed because I really wanted to know as well.  After thinking about the life of Christ, I had the impression or came to the conclusion that any good thing worth having or doing requires sacrifice... and so that's what I offered him.  He said "Oh, thanks, that makes sense" and went right back to work. I soon realized that the answer came from the Spirit, and it helped him, and helped me, understand why a good choice can, and usually is, the harder one. Even the simplest of good things, like preparing to do well for a test, requires sacrifice of other stuff, like netflix, gaming, hangout time or whatever... literally anything worth doing, requires effort, trade-offs or sacrifice.

Something else that really stuck out, was an experience I had with Elder Templeton. He's honestly one of the best here and his hometown is near Provo, so he said that we gotta hang once we get back. :) Family, you'd love this guy. Real gentle giant kinda guy.  Anyway, he had kinda been struggling with the language, and we were practicing as a class how to teach about prayer. Elder Templeton and I were partners and he got the last practice, which was talking for 5 minutes. And let me tell you, that Elder spoke amazing Spanish for all 5 minutes and the Spirit was so strong as he spoke. The teacher noticed we were kinda having a moment and asked how he felt, and Templeton said that he has never spoken Spanish like that before and we were all crying and it was awesome. I love that guy.

It makes me think of the first couple verses of 1 Corinthians Chapter 2... this is totally how we feel.

1 Corinthians

Chapter 2 The gospel is preached by the power of the Spirit—The Spirit reveals all things to the Saints—The unrepentant natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God.

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Me and Elder Templeton

Another thing, this week we learned much of Joseph Smith's life and the lives of the early saints. It made me appreciate the lives of people before me that allowed me to live this life. I became so grateful that Mom was late to the Nordstrom opening so she could meet Dad.  I'm so glad Abu and Tata left Argentina in hopes of a better life.  I honestly just sat and felt the Spirit confirm that my life is the way it is because of the lives of so many other people. And for that I'm so very grateful.

This was further confirmed when Elder White and I were called as Zone Leaders for the MTC. Now we're in charge of overseeing three Districts, and this is highly unusual because we weren't District Leaders, and we're still so young here at the MTC.  I'm excited to have this oppurtunity to further serve other missionaries.

Me and my comp, Elder White

Also, GUESS WHAT!!  I met an Elder named Elder Recca, A big Hawaiin dude that was wearing a Kamehameha shirt!  So of course I approached him, started talking, and I just had to ask... 'Do you know Elder Nakayama?'  And he lit up!  He totally knew him!! What a small world!!!  So yeah, we connected on that.  That was way cool.  And don't worry Mom, I emailed Elder Nakayama about it already! Ha! :)

Elder Nakayama

I'm so glad you all are well. I love you guys so very much. Be good, God loves you and has a plan for all of us. He wants us to be happy, and we can be happy through Christ! :) 

Love you guys
Until next week,

The District (well, most of them anyway!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

No puedo hacer nada sin Jesucristo, El Espiritu Santo, Y Dios

Hola amorosa familia! 

I brought my journal with me so I'll give you a quick run down of what has happened.

Okay, so the flight was not bad at all.  Although super long and super exhausting. I think we pulled in at like 6ish, and everyone was gassed. At my layover in Utah I met up with not only Theuson, but like 30 missionaries. I made really good friends with an Elder named Elder Templeton, who happens to be going to Chihuahua and is in my District (or group of missionaries).  I met my companion Elder White, and we were real chummy real fast. That's kinda all there was to the first day.

My District, with Elder Templeton in the middle (red tie), and my companion, Elder White, next to me in the navy suit.

 My District

 Elder Templeton and Me

Me and my companion, Elder White

Then it really started. The first few days were crazy, absolutely nuts. But in a good way! Elder White and I had to give a lesson on like day 3 with a fake investigator in Spanish, and it was so bad. I mean awful bad. Like I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be here bad.  But we continued to pray, and Elder White suggested that maybe it was meant to humble us. I don't think he could've been more right.

The very next day, el don de lenguas (the gift of tongues) was sooooooooooo real. The Spirit was so strong and we said what we wanted to say and everyone was crying, including our investigator.  I couldn't help but think of you guys in that moment and I just sat and cried because I know our lives and my life has been sooooo directed by God to get us to where we are now.  I also learned very fast that the Holy Ghost is the teacher, and we are simply the vessels to bring Him to people. Remember how Lauren had her 'Dios es perfecto' (Heavenly Father is perfect) quote?  I think I already found mine.

'No puedo hacer nada sin Jesucristo, El Espiritu Santo, Y Dios'
(I can do nothing without the Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, and God)

It's crazy how humbled I've been since getting here, I find myself so often in awe at the blessings I, as well as others, have -- despite us probably not being worthy of all of them. I know for sure I don't deserve most of the blessings Our Heavenly Father has given me. 

Let me tell you, el don de lenguas es versed (the gift of tongues is true). Elder White and I, after just a week here, can give lessons in Spanish, and testify of the truthfulness of the gospel. I can talk with almost any latino missionary and have a good conversation. La Iglesia es versed tambien (The church is also true), that's just pretty undeniable at this point. 

OH, and just last night we had Sister Oscarson give a devotional here and she shared the video 'The Will of God' (the currant bush video Momma), (Video Link) and boy I cried a lot. It's crazy how personal this mission already is, and will continue to be.  I know I'm supposed to be here for one reason or another and I really can't wait to get out in the field. Even though my Spanish is still not great. But, the Mission President and the latinos all say I speak well, and have a good accent, so that's cool!! The only bummer is it's a Mexican accent, sorry family!.. ;) 

Latinos always ask were my last name is from, and I love telling them Its from Argentina, because then we always talk in castalleno for a lil', and that's just fun. I've also been told I have an Argentine nose, which I think is a good thing (insert sassy girl emoji, Nat probably knows what I mean ;)

We went to the temple today, so that was super awesome! I cried a bit in the celestial room. But, Basically I've cried cada dia (every day). Like I just know this is where I'm supposed to be. It feels right. 

There have been so many instances in which, just like President Merrill said, my prayers have been answered fast, and directly.  Like the first day I was having a hard time getting my key out the closet door, so i stopped, prayed and said I need help because I can't go 6 weeks struggling with my door, and literally before I said Amen Elder White came over and just pulled it out and taught me how to do it!  Some might call it coincidence, I call it uno repuesta (an answer).

Also, I've been praying to be humble, and stay humble, so I can feel the Spirit and help others feel it tambien. It's been in my prayers since day one and yesterday night the hermanas in our group walked up to me and told me "Thank you for being such a strong vessel of the Spirit. No matter whether you're speaking in English or Spanish we can always feel it as you talk so we just wanted to thank you."  It was probably the nicest thing anyone could say to me, and I took it as an answered prayer that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and I need to keep being humble and pray for the Spirit to be with me. 

Okay I feel like I'm all over the place here, but to answer your questions:

Yes I've been playing soccer <3 and Yes, it's been awesome, and ohmygosh I'm actually one of the better kids out here!  That was super surprising.  We always play futsal and I always play with the latinos because they like me and we ball upppppppppp!  It's way fun. We started a game one time, and I got the ball first, pulled off a sweet Maradona around a kid and he said "Shoot! What did we get ourselves in to?!"  Ha!  That was super funny and super fun.  All the guys here are super chill, so the games never get heated, which is nice :)

I love you all, stay awesome and stay humble. We are blessed beyond measure.

Until next week,

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

See You in Two!

Elder Nick Fardos has been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He has been assigned to labor in the Mexico Chihuahua Mission for a period of two years.  

We are so excited for Nick, and the adventure and experience that awaits him in Chihuahua!  At the advice of his recently returned missionary sister (Lauren served in Paraguay Asuncion North), prior to opening his call, Nick prayed to feel the love the Savior has for the people he would be serving... and as he opened the envelope, he felt an overwhelming outpouring of love!! It brought him to tears and to his knees. We all felt it!! So now we can't wait for Nick to meet and love these people that we know the Savior loves so much!!

Nick, or should I say, Elder Fardos left this morning on the first flight out to the Mexico Missionary Training Center.  The MTC will be his new home for the next six weeks as he better learns the Spanish language, the culture, and gospel of Jesus Christ.  After which time, he will be sent to his field of labor in the Chihuahua Mexico Mission.

Just moments after hugging Nick good-bye, we received an email message from a kind stranger and father of two missionaries himself... in the subject line was "Just saw an Elder" and contained the following picture.  

Then again during his layover in the Salt Lake City Airport, we received a text from a friend.  Todd Thueson (who spent last week giving Nick, Ed & Lauren a guided tour of amazing landscapes at Zion National Park)!  Such a treat for Nick (and us too!) to be greeted so warmly at each leg of his travels!!

Finally, this afternoon, we received word from Nick, upon his arrival at the MTC in Mexico City.  Following is his first update, short and sweet with the few moments he had to message out:

Hola Familia!

Your Missionary's mailing address is:

Elder Fardos
21/11/2016 Branch 8 District A
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

The estimated departure date for your missionary is 21/11/2016. 

The use of the above address on all correspondence will greatly facilitate delivery to your missionary at the MTC. Please don't send packages to the MTC.

Okay!!  I´m alive and well.  I made it here with no problems, and yea totally ran into Todd, Holy Cow! Just so you guys know my P-day is Wednesday, and I won't have one tomorrow. Totally got my nametag and almost cried. Any who, I'll talk to you guys next week, I have to go :)

Love you guys,
Elder Fardos