Friday, 22 July 2016

He's home!!!!!!

     Dawson returned home Tuesday, July 19th, 2016 at 5:07 pm at the Lethbridge Airport. He left Cancun at 6 am, flew to Dallas, then to Calgary, then to Lethbridge. He was greeted by this parents, sisters, Strate and French grandparents. Bryce & Cindy and their two youngest. Allison and her three children (Kevin will be down this weekend). Rhonda & Scott with Ali. Along with camera men and Dawson's two good friends Connor Rango Wright and Carter Hansen.
     We had posters, maracas and lots of cheering to welcome Dawson as he came through the doors. After all the hugs were done, we went to Rhonda and Scott's for a BBQ. At 6:30 pm we left to get Dawson to President Randy Wilde's home in Welling for him to get released. It was a spiritual, but tough moment for Dawson as he had to take his name tag off. We stopped at the Blue Goose on the way home and he got a snow bob.
     He are some pictures from the event, I'm sure more will be added from a busy week as he sees more friends and family.


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Monday, 11 July 2016

My last letter

     Hello Everyone,

     ¡¡Estoy bien muerto!! 

     This is my last week in the mission field...😭 how very sad to think that! 
     Therefore, this will probably be my last letter. So I will try to make it good! 
     I have learned so much in these two short years as a missionary. I can definitely say that my time here has been very well spent. Lots of people have asked me if its really worth it to serve a full time mission. If its worth sacrificing two years of our lives to serve in a foreign land, speaking a foreign language, talking with utter strangers about God, and all of the other challenges and difficulties that arise. Is it all worth it? I want to say to you all that it is worth it. Every single year, month, week, day, minute, and second is worth it. Its not easy, but its definitely worth it. I have been able to draw closer to my Saviour than ever before and have learned countless things about him and his restores gospel (those of you who are returned missionaries know what I´m talking about). There is honestly no other experience that competes with the mission. I would not trade it for 1 billion dollars. No amount of money, or other worldly riches can amount to the blessings that one receives. I have seen these blessings in my personal and family life. I love this work and I am grateful that I still have one week left to wear this name tag to represent Christ and his church. 
     I want all of you to know how much I truly love you. I´m sure that you are all annoyed because I always say that in my letters. However I say it because its true! I have learned that love truly does conquer all! That love is charity, which is the pure love of Christ. It doesn´t matter how hard someone is, or how much we get rejected, spit upon, or hated for the name of Christ. Love is the greatest antidote for all! I have seen people with the hardest hearts in the world, and how the Saviours love has softened them. 
     Thanks for reading all of my letters throughout these two years, I hope that they weren´t too boring! I´m not very good at writing but hey I try! 
     May we all press forward with steadfastness in Christ until the end. And never forsake his gospel or his church. I invite you all to read a chapter from the book of mormon this week. Moroni 7 which talks about charity and many other wonderful things. This chapter has changed my life and I know that it will change yours. 

     For the last time, thank you all and have a wonderful week in the work of salvation!

        Love,

            Elder Strate 


Monday, 4 July 2016

New Mission President

Hello Everyone,

This week has been good. We got to know our new Mission President and his wife, the Reynoso family! They are so awesome. We had a meeting with them in Cancun on Wednesday and it was wonderful. They have a very strong spirit about them and I know that they were called by God to guide this mission!
They talked about some very basic things/rules as missionaries. Like obedience, knowing how to teach, etc. It was great. He compared the mission rules to a lighthouse. That when we are "out at sea" the lighthouse will guide and protect us always. However if we choose to not follow the light and go where we want, we can get lost and maybe even die at sea. I feel like this principle not only applies to us as missionaries, but to all members of the church. Obedience is the first law in heaven for a reason! Without out it we would all surely be lost.
Also, this morning my companion and I went to the Hacienda Mundaca. He hadn´t been there yet so we went and explored a bit. Its really beautiful there and lots of things to see! Let´s just say that as we were walking through the forest, I saw some cool light coming through the trees.

Only 2 weeks left....man I can´t believe it. Going to have to work extra hard to finish strong! Thanks for all the support and love. Hope you are all having a great summer and may the spirit be with you all!!

Love,

Elder Strate

                               My Comp - Elder Moreno 



Monday, 27 June 2016

Visit with a 70

Hello Everyone,

      Had a good week. We found one new investigator this week. His name is Delmar (18years old) and his brother Audel is a member. We had a great talk with him on Saturday and he committed to get baptized on July 16th! He was also able to go to church yesterday! It was great. He will probably be my last baptism, unless we miraculously find someone else between now and then. I think we can!
 
     Friday was a pretty sweet day. A Seventy came to talk to us, Elder Ortiz. It was awesome! He talked to us for about 2 hours and it was great. He talked about how we need to keep being disciples of Christ even after our missions. For the rest of our lives...😨 All I can say is that I will try my very best to do so! He also talked about how we can establish the mission more plainly (Alma 4:4). By first starting with self improvement, then as a companionship, then as a mission. He is very inspired and I learned a lot. 
 
     So President and Sister Kirkham are leaving tomorrow...I will miss them dearly! They are so amazing and have done so much for this mission and for me. They will always hold a special place in my heart 😄  So President and Sister Reynoso will be arriving tomorrow. They are from Veracruz and I am so excited to get to know them! 
 
     So thats what happened this week. Thanks for reading and may you all have a great week! 

     Love,
        Elder Strate     

Monday, 20 June 2016

Loving it here - 29 days left

      Hello Everyone, 

      This week was pretty good. First of all...
      Happy Father´s Day all you fathers out there! I hope that you had a wonderful day yesterday with all your families and such. I just want to make a shout out to my dad Ron Strate! Because of all the dads out there, he is the best. Just saying. Not to make anyone else feel bad but he is the best! He has done so much for me that I honestly cannot remember it all (sorry Dad). He has always been there for me when I've needed it most and always been a great example as a worthy priesthood holder in God´s Church. Thanks for everything Dad I love you soo much! Ok back to the mission now...😉
   
      We had a special meeting with President Kirkham and the rest of the Zone. In two weeks he and Sister Kirkham will be leaving, so we had one last meeting/party with a piñata and everything! 
      We also had interviews from President and it was amazing. He gave me a blessing too, and wow. It was a blessing unlike any other that I have ever received! It was almost like a patriarchal blessing! I think he has a gift of giving blessings. I´m not going to say what the whole blessing was, but I will say this. I will be called to serve the Lord again some day! Sweet!

      We have some baptismal dates scheduled for the coming weeks. This week we were able to visit a lot of less actives which was awesome. We even got the chance to talk with some  that rejected us before! Making progress! Its a lot of work but hey its worth it. The work of Salvation is the most important that there is. And I love it! Too bad thats its coming to an end in a few weeks...😭 
     Have a great week everyone and be safe. The Gospel is true and repentance is the key to happiness!!

      Love,

          Elder Strate


     P.S - If you haven´t read it already, read the conference talk called "The healing ointment of forgiveness"- Kevin R. Duncan from this April. Its wonderful!  


Monday, 13 June 2016

5 Weeks Left

Hello Everyone,

      This week was great!
      Last Monday, I got a call from an Investigator that I taught in Cozumel named Brayan. He was getting baptized this week and he wanted me to baptize him! How awesome is that!? So we got to travel back to Cozumel on Saturday to baptize him. It was a wonderful experience and I am so happy for Brayan. He will be a great member and one day he is going to be a missionary too! 
                                                        Elder Carlson, me, Bryan, and Elder Hart.
             Mauricio also got confirmed yesterday and I confirmed him. It was awesome. 
     So, we are allowed to wear hats and sunglasses now so...yep I bought some! Now I don´t need to wear sunscreen haha! I love revelation. 

     Also, some more less actives came to church yesterday which was great! Things are going good here on the Island and I can´t complain. My companion and I also went to the tortugranja again because he hadn´t been there. This time there were some sharks and manta rays! Pretty sweet. 

     Well, I have only got 5 weeks left until I come home. Wow, time sure flies by. I will definetly make the most of it! Thanks for all the love and support. Thats about I have for this week. Have a great week and keep the faith!

     Love,

           Elder Strate 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Ocean Baptism

      Hello Everyone,

      This week has been awesome! First of all, transfers are today!! And its official, I am staying here on the Island. I will finish my mission here on Isla Mujeres. However, I now have a new companion Elder Moreno. He is great, I have known him for a long time and we are going to work great together. According to my missionary geneology, Elder Moreno is my nephew haha. Family power! 
     We had a baptism yesterday! A young man named Mauricio that is 14 years old decided to get baptised and it was wonderful. Of course we did it on the beach 😉 because there is no where else to do it...what a huge sacrifice... it was so wonderful and the spirit was so strong. Even stronger than the ocean waves! 

                                                    Mauricio and his Dad Enrique 

     We couldn´t work yesterday because of the elections here. We had to stay in our house for our own safety. But it was nice to get a little break to relax. Sorry I am out of time but thats what happened this week. Thanks for reading. I will have more to say next week. 

     Love,
           Elder Strate 
                                            A picture of our zone

                                         Beautiful sunset from the top of our apartment building


Monday, 30 May 2016

Reactivating an entire branch

Hello Everyone,

    This week has been pretty good! A few things happened.

    But first of all, I would like to wish a happy birthday to my little sister Sarah! She turns 13 today! Have a great day Sis and I hope you get lots of Birthday spankings!

    So we are starting to see some miracles here on the Island. There are lots of members here but only about 10 or so are active. Yesterday there were about 30 people there so that was awesome! We are getting there. The former Elders Quorum Prez is inactive along with lots of other priesthood so we are trying to work with them. On Saturday we went to visit the former Elders Q Prez and he was home! He had always rejected the missionaries before I had got here but he opened right up and we had a great chat. He talked about his family, when he got sealed in the temple, and a lot of things! He is super excited and he said that he is going to come back to church this next week! I am sooooo happy!! We desperately need more priesthood here and when Hermano Guemez(Eld Q Prize) comes back, we are going to light things up here!! He has a great spirit and I felt it super strongly when we were talking to him. We are literally going to re-activate this entire branch! Miracles exist!

    I love being a missionary. Even though its really hard and some days are just terrible, it's worth it. There is no better reason to be walking around in the hot 40 degree sun with 90% humidity every day than for the salvation of God's children. I know that when we obey the commandments and pray and fast for those that we love, God works miracles in our lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ! Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. Until we really start "enduring the end" we cannot fully experience all of the blessings of the Atonement. Thank you all for the wonderful examples that you have given me. Have a wonderful week everyone and be safe!

    Love,

        Elder Strate 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Loving the Island


Hello Everyone,

    This transfer is going by super fast! Only two weeks left! I feel like every transfer goes by faster than the one before it. Crazy!
    We had exchanges on Wednesday with some Elders in Cancun. Elder Zuñiga came with me to the island. It was a great day! We had 7 lessons and found some new investigators and put some on baptismal dates! So we decided to celebrate with some pizza! It was pretty good too. 
   

          This week we hope to have two baptisms! There is no baptismal font here, so we have to do it in the beach! What a terrible sacrifice...Oh, and also I want to wish a happy birthday to my baby sister Miranda! I don't think she is a quite a "baby" anymore, but I think she might act like one still! Love you Miranda!
    There are lots of things that I have been thinking about this week. How to strengthen the branch, teach lots of people, help people to do whats right etc. There is a lot of work to be done here on the island but unfortunately there are not many people willing to change. We are doing all that we can to help others but when it comes down to it, everyone has their agency. I would love to make decisions for people, but that is against God´s plan.       
       Lets choose wisely in all that we do to one day get to the celestial kingdom! Thanks everyone!

Love,

             Elder Strate 

Monday, 16 May 2016

Conference

      Hello Everyone,

     This week has been full of spiritual events!
     On Saturday we got to watch the talk called "Feed my Sheep" by Elder Holland. That is an amazing talk. It is specially for the missionaries and it was given in the MTC in 2011. Its great to always here the apostles and how we can be better missionaries. 
      Yesterday was great too! It was stake conference here in Cancun which was great. I got to see some of the members that I know from the Corales Ward. Thats where I started my mission! It was great to see them again. The speakers were excellent too. And last night we had a special fireside just for the missionaries! The Temple President from the Merida Temple came with his wife to talk to us about the temple. It was extraordinary! I learned a ton of things about the temple and scriptures that I had never even though about before. Such a wonderful experience and I now appreciate the temple a lot more! I can´t wait to go to the temple when I get back! I am literally dying to go!
      The Gospel is definitely the anchor in our lives. And the temple is so marvelous because of the blessings that we receive inside.There are so many things that have yet to learn inside the temple, but I know that the Lord will help me! I also know that the Lord with help anyone who truly seeks him. We are all God´s children and we are entitled to receive answers from him. 
       Thanks everyone for all the love and support. My time is getting shorter and shorter, but I will give it my all to finish the work that I have been called to do! Once a missionary always a missionary! Have a great week I love you all!

        Love,
           Elder Strate 
 
                                          The view of our apartment and a pic at the ruins.





 

Monday, 9 May 2016

Hacienda Mudaca

     Hello Everyone,

      First of all...happy mothers day to all the mothers out there! There are so many out there who are wonderful and are really changing this world for the better! However, I have to say that my mother is the best in the WHOLE world!! There are not words enough to describe how wonderful she is and how much she has done for me. Thanks you mom for everything and I love you to Kolob and back!!
       So this morning we went to a place called, "Hacienda Mudaca". Which is the house of the guy that discovered Isla Mujeres. And he was a pirate!! Thats cool. There are a few ruins and other things here. And there are crocodiles here too! It was great! 
 


 
          It was also great to get to talk with my family yesterday. The family is so important to us and also to God. 
      
       There is a reason that God put us here as families. It is not just to live and die and that being the end. Rather, an eternal family that can live together with the one day in the celestial kingdom! However, we get to choose if we really want that or not! God won't force us to do anything, he just invites us. I now invite all those who are reading this to really ponder about that. And what are the changes that you need to make in your life to accomplish that. Its not going to be easy, but its well worth it! Repentance is a woderful gift people! Without it, we could never enter back into God's presence. I know the gospel is true. I know that repentance is real and only through Jesus chrsit we can be saved. And witht he help of his authorized servents who hold the priesthood of God, we have access to all of this blessings. Make a choice!
        Thanks everyone and I love you all so much!

          Love,
              Elder Strate