Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hello everyone! This is George. Due to medical reasons, I have returned to the United States from Argentina. I've spent a few days just resting and recovering and I'm doing much better now. It was quite a different experience to be there and unfortunately there were several incidences that had a profound effect on my health. Not having any available water or food due to a water shortage and money issues was quite a challenge, physically and emotionally. It amazed me that I found myself wondering when I was going to eat next. My companion and I were also in a bus accident and thankfully neither of us was seriously injured. After a lot of prayer and thought, with the counsel of my family and my Mission President, the decision was made that I should return home. Although I was only in Argentina for two weeks, my eyes have been greatly opened to the wonderful blessings I have in my life. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. After I have fully recovered I will be considering my options to continue my mission. Thank you all for your prayers, support, and encouragement.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 15, 2016

We received an email from Elder Sheko today. He arrived in Argentina safely and spent the first night in Mendoza at the Mission Home. While visiting the town, he was able to teach 2 random people about the Gospel. Way to go! George arrived Thursday at his pension (apartment) in his first location, the Los Pinos area of San Juan, which is about 3 hours from Mendoza. Unfortunately, the living conditions in this area are somewhat difficult. The area is socioeconomically challenged and the water has been shut off to that region of the city since arrival. George has had difficulty purchasing needed supplies because the area is residential and there are no stores, only kioscos (homes with a window from which residents sell mainly cigarettes and Coca Cola) that accept only pesos. His debit card can't be used in the area. He and his missionary companion (who is from Chili) will stay with another set of missionaries until the water situation is resolved. George's first week has been a struggle to adjust to an entirely different country and culture. But, it has definitely opened his eyes to the circumstances of the people that he was sent there to help and to teach. With this struggle will come growth and also gratitude for the many blessing received from the Lord. We are praying that conditions will improve and that George will adjust quickly.

Matthew 11: 29 - 30
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

February 10, 2016

We finally received an email from the secretary to the Argentina Mendoza Mission President. George has arrived safely in Mendoza. We are looking forward to hearing from him by email soon! It was great to talk to him while he was at the Atlanta Airport on Monday 2/8/16. His Spanish is amazing!

Here is a picture of some of the kids from our church youth group with a special Valentines message for George.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Last update from George before he heads to Argentina:

Hello everyone! This is my last week in the MTC. It's gone so fast! So just a few awesome facts... I've gained 10 pounds while I've been here (I wish I could say it's all muscle, but it's not). On Monday, we have about a 36 hour trip to Mendoza which involves two flights and a long bus ride. My Spanish seems great now, but I'm sure it'll be a challenge still when I get to Argentina. My six weeks here have taught me that God is always with us. He never abandons us even when we feel alone. He has guided me every step of the way as I've studied the Gospel and the Spanish language. Prayer has been a blessing. Anytime, anywhere, we can pray for help, strength, guidance, and for anything else we need. It's been tough at times, but I know Heavenly Father blesses us and our families. I'm so excited to get down to Argentina. It will be a totally new experience, but I know I will love it. I hope all is going well for everyone reading this. Never forget that you are children of a loving Heavenly Father.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

When George posted that he would have a 12 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires to Mendoza, it got me thinking about how large the country of Argentina actually is.  Here is an overlay of Argentina to North America. Very impressive.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Here is the latest update from George on 1/27/16. Unfortunately, no pictures this week, but he will send some next week.

Hello everyone! It's been a crazy week. My companion and I are now the zone leaders and we just received a new district today. We leave for Argentina in 11 days. It's gone so fast. We should be getting our flight information on Friday. It's going to be a long trip. I believe we will be flying from here to Atlanta, then down to Buenos Aires (About a 12 hour flight), then riding a bus from there to Mendoza (About a 12 hour bus ride). I'm super excited! We've had the opportunity to teach investigators on skype who are in South America. It's really cool knowing that you're speaking another language to someone in another part of the world. The Lord has blessed us here. We spend ten hours a day studying our Spanish and it's truly amazing what we've all been able to learn. I don't have a lot of time to write today because we have to do some stuff for the new missionary orientation, but I just wanted to say how grateful I am to have this opportunity in my life. I hope all is going well for everyone.

-Elder Sheko

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Here are a few of George's pics from this week:

Birthday Pic!

This is my 'Zone' of Elders and Hermanas.

Update from George 1/20/16

Hello everyone,
With week 3 complete, the half-way point here at the MTC, I have all kinds of great stuff to talk about. We had Janice Kapp Perry, the sister who wrote many of the primary songs we sing, come and speak to us at our devotional on Sunday. Today we got to view an international missionary devotional. There was a lot of great stuff said, but what really stuck out to me is that the purpose of missionaries is not to bring the Spirit into the investigator's hearts; it's to bring the Spirit unto the investigator's hearts and they have to allow it to enter. I had a wonderful 19th birthday, and although I don't feel much older, I feel closer to my Savior as I study and learn more and more of His Gospel. One of our "investigators" accepted our invitation to be baptized. Even though Antonio isn't a real investigator, it was one of the best feelings to invite him and hear him say yes. I can't wait for the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with each and every person I meet in Argentina. I hope all is going well for everyone! I look forward to keeping everyone updated as I get closer to going to Argentina!
Elder Sheko

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Update from George 1/13/16

Hello everyone! This week at the MTC has been great! Last night we had a devotional and Neil L. Andersen came to speak to us. My companion and I are in the choir and apparently they panned right over us while we were singing. I don't think there's a way to go back and watch it though. Neil L. Andersen talked about how simple life is. All we have to do is follow the Doctrine of Christ. Have faith, repent, get baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. It was a really great talk. We get to have devotionals every Sunday and Tuesday. They always have really good speakers. The language is coming along really well. I'm so glad that I took five years of it in school. It has given me a great foundation. They feed us a lot here. I've actually gained five pounds since I arrived 2 weeks ago. I used to skip breakfast most days before I came to the MTC but now that I'm eating it everyday my metabolism has gone way up. Hope all is going well for everyone!

This is Called a placa in Espanol.

This is a view of the mountains and temple gates across the street from the MTC.

It's beautiful, but really COLD!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Here are a few pictures that George sent us on Wednesday of this week.  He is doing ok and really having a good time getting started at the MTC. We love you George.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

On Jan 6, 2016, at 5:41 PM, George Briton Sheko wrote: Hola! The MTC is pretty awesome! Took a couple of days to get adjusted but It's great. I have an awesome companion, Elder Roan. He and I work really well together and we have a lot of fun. The language is awesome. I'm so grateful that I took 5 years of Spanish in school. It's helping a lot. We've been teaching two "investigators" and it's been going really well. One of them is very difficult so It's very realistic. I see how hard it is but I'm up for the challenge. The food is pretty good, and we have a nice room. It is truly amazing how much I can get done when I don't have the distraction of a cell phone or computer. We spend 6-9 hours in the classroom each day, most of the time without a teacher and they leave it up to us to plan our lessons, study, and learn the language. It's been a crazy first P-Day (personal day) so I dont have a lot of time to write. I just want to leave you all with a few things that have really stuck out to me this week. The Holy Spirit works in many ways. It's amazing. I heard an awesome quote that said "Work like everything depended on you. Pray like everything depended on the Lord." I really thought a lot about that. Alma 37:37 is such a great scripture, “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good ; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” It definitely applies to all of us missionaries, and everyone else as well. Next week I will have my schedule figured out. It changed last minute because of New Years. I'll write a better blog post next week. Adios!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Here is my handsome young missionary, Elder Sheko. We just dropped him off at the Missionary Training Center on December 30 in Provo, Utah. This is truly the hardest thing I have ever done! But, I know he will do great things on his mission. I love him so much and I am so proud of him for making the choice to serve The Lord.