April 19, 2015

Hey guys I hope all is well and great with you guys at home. This week has been super crazy.

This week I developed a strong testimony of service, and how great of an affect one person can have on a life. I realized that we are here on the earth to learn and grow, but I feel like the best way to do that is by helping others and lifting them up…saying hi, giving them a smile. Nothing on this earth can make us happier than a simple smile or a complement from a stranger when we are down. We have been so blessed in this life. At times it’s hard to realize or even understand this because we may be going through challenges, but really all of us are blessed. We have so much. The Lord has given us everything, and what does he ask in return? He wants us to keep his commandments and then come and return to him. He wants us to live with him in His kingdom in my heaven forever, without pain, sorrow, or sadness.

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment,and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which wehave of every 26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining are mission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants. kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

How great is this scripture. We really do rally on the Lord in all that we do. This week my comp and I did a lot of service which was at times hard, and we wanted to stop because our backs hurt or we were drenched in sweat or we had blisters from shoveling tons of dirt, but then we would look beside us and see our friend our spiritual brother and sister beside us going through the same pain and with smiles on their faces. On Saturday we had an activity with the elders corm where were all went to the river to wash the clothes of Hermano Mario who has one leg and is almost blind, but is super sweet and humble. So early in the morning we all grabbed his clothes and went and washed them and we sat and talked to him. He told us how blessed he was to be a member of this church and how grateful he was for the helping hands of the members.

I am here today because of the service of my friends and family and because of my ward. I am here to stand as a witness that God is my Savior. He has been and forever will be my constant companion who will not leave my side. I have developed a strong testimony of service, and how great of an affect one person can have on a life. I realize that we are here on this earth to learn and grow, but I feel like the best way to do that is by helping others…lifting them up, saying hi, giving them a smile. Nothing on this earth can make us happier than a simple smile or a complement from a stranger when we are down. Yesterday I heard some super exciting news. I am getting transferred to another area in Bolivia. I’m getting transferred to Villazon. Villazon is on the boarder of Argentina and Bolivia, which means that I will be in both places. It’s the furthest area you can be on our mission, which is awesome, and means that the President trusts me. But it’s so far away that I have to take a plane and then a 20-hour bus ride. But I’m stoked! I can’t wait.

I love Punata and I always will love Punata. I have learned more than I ever thought possible. We have been blessed with so much success here. We are teaching an average of 40 lessons a week, where most of the missions teach about 20 lessons a week. I have learned how to love strangers, love the gospel and most importantly love my Heavenly Father. My goal on my mission is to know my God as well as he knows me.

I just want to say Happy Birthday to my big brother Sandon. I love you so much. You are such a blessing in my life. I know it has been a while because you have been in the Marshall Islands serving the Lord on your mission, but being here makes me feel closer to you. About 2 years ago I lost my 2 best friends, my greatest strengths…my 2 brothers were being called on missions. This was one of the hardest things I had to go through. Often I would cry my self to sleep because I knew I wouldn’t see them for a very long time. But this moment changes my life. Because of their decision I really wanted to know for myself if this church was really true. So each night I prayed. I poured my heart out to the lord, and I am here today on a mission with a testimony and an answer to my prayers. I have a never ending confirmation that this church is true. Karch and Sandon, it breaks my heart that as you guys end your missions I’m just starting mine. 3 and a half years seems like a long time, like forever almost, but this is the Lords work and if I was called to stay longer I would. I’ll see you guys in just a couple more years. Love you guys with all my heart. Thank you for everything.
If you guys want to send me a letter my address is:

Elder Craig Matthew Ziering
Bolivia Cochabomba Mission
Edif.Confort 7-C
Av. Villarroel 1132
Cochabamba, Cochabamba Bolivia

IMG_1457

IMG_1532

IMG_1564

IMG_1529

IMG_1550

IMG_1514-3