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Monday, February 27, 2017

PROTECT OUR GIRLS!


In this letter, I talk about girls a lot, but please know that our boys need help too.  

So this past week I saw a very little (6 or so years old) girl with a used, burned out cigarette butt in her mouth, and she was acting and playing with it pretending she was cool.  Because that's what she's learned.

This broke my heart.

And I know its hard to picture, because shes so young.  But here is my question. If it is so hard, so horrible to picture a little girl doing this, why is it more ok if the little girl was older, or a teenager? It's not.

It is very sad to me that our society is literally attacking our youth, telling them what pretty girls look like, telling them how to behave, what things to do.  Telling them that they have to be better than the rest, and telling them that drugs, starving themselves, are the way to it. 
And it's telling our young boys that girls need to be a certain way too.  But we need to remember that true beauty, true "coolness" comes from loving one another and helping each other! 

Our society is obsessed with loving yourself these days.  But please please please, love thy neighbor.  In that, you will find out what it means to love yourself.  Loving yourself is not making fun of others, or trying to be cooler than others, it is being happy and being able to feel love for someone else.

Our society is telling girls and boys to put themselves down in order to be humble, but this is not the answer.  We need try to focus less on ourselves and more and others.  


"Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman."

Contention will drive away any spirit of God.  It is not a spirit of humility.  If you have contention between someone, a roommate or someone that you have to spend time around that you dislike, chances are YOU feel the contention.  And if you feel the contention, you can help fix it!  But we cannot help fix contention by expecting them to change! Because, I have been with enough companions to know, they will not change.  But they don't have to change! You can be happy!  The very first way that you can feel love, remove contention from a relationship of someone you have to spend time with, is to do service for them.

Wash their dishes! Clean the floor that you both share! Shine their shoes (if they´re also a missionary)!  But more important than anything is that you love them.  I promise that as you serve them, and think less about yourself, less about how they have to change, you will love them, and you will begin to see them loving you back! 


BUILD YOUR CHARITY.  IT IS CHRIST LIKE LOVE!

You will find greater satisfaction and self-worth, as well as true humility.


Lastly, I´d like to share some words from our prophets for our girls 

I challenge you all to share a sentence from this talk with a girl you know.  You dont have to mention where it came from.

"I want to tell you something that I hope you will take in the right way: God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.

Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.

And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does." - President Dieter Uchtdorf

Though I am a missionary, I am not perfect.  I am still a teenage boy, and I still need to watch myself.  Holy smokes, Im actually 20 and no longer a teenager.  But still.  I am not perfect, but I am trying.  I'm trying to love one another.  

I know Charity is the answer.  Love your roommates, your neighbors, your classmates.  Just love them.  Serve them. 

I love you all, and please stay strong.  If you can, give this talk a listen sometime this week:


Love! Elder Amann

Here's a picture of a different little girl to remind you that they´re just angels, aren't they? Let's keep 'em that way ♥ Because we´re all just angels of God.

We built a wall, 
and the sky is beautiful! 

Hit Tha Beat,

 and some love from LOS MORMONES

Monday, February 20, 2017

DRINK THE MILK, EVERYDAY

Im going to talk about some very serious things in this email, pornography, because we are at war.  We are at war and we must win.  And the way we will win is by physically and spiritually drinking the milk.



We have spiritual wounds.  And the only way we can heal spiritual wounds is by the power of the atonement.  

There are two types of Sorrow.  
  1. Sorrow of the World
  2. Sorrow of God
Sorrow of the world is the feelings of deep depresion, the feelings of hopelessness, the feelings that we are filthy, and the feelings that someone else is at fault.  These feelings are evil and cyclical.  We cannot blame ourselves or others, because the pain with be a negative cycle.  We must blame the feelings of pain and sorrow themselves.  

Sorrow of God is a pep talk.  Its the feelings that we CAN and WILL get better.  God doesnt want us to be miserable, he wants us to OVERCOME.


Satan wants us to feel bad, and he wants our loved ones to make us feel bad as well, so often times, they try to help, but we just end up feeling worse.  And they feel worse, and we feel MORE worse!  And this is the most vicious cycle, and absolutely not of God.  God does not want us to be bogged down by our pain.  And we do not want our loved ones to be bogged down by pain.

I am VERY guilt of this.  When people make me sad, I let them know, and it always makes them feel worse! And then I feel worse! How lame is that.  That is SATAN´s plan! So before we tear things up, before we fight, we must realize how we are about to make someone feel.  And if we have already written it, we must take a serious consideration to determine if it will make the other person feel Sorrow of the World, or Sorrow of God--and a desire to get better! We want to get better! We´re on the same team! Stop fighting each other, and start fighting the source.  We can do it! 

In this article, we are told that our Children are fighting a great war, but we must not forget that Children are not the only ones affected by spiritual wounds. 


Stats:
Some studies show that close to one hundred percent of today's teenagers will be exposed to pornography by the time they graduate from high school, and most of those exposures occur on the Internet while the child is doing homework. As of 2008, an estimated 9 out of 10 young men and nearly one-third of young women reported using pornography. The average age of exposure and addiction are the same: 11 years old. We hope that these numbers drop with the influence of the gospel, but research shows that Latter-day Saints "are no different when it comes to prevalence or magnitude of sexual addictions." Unfortunately, the question seems to be no longer if our children will be exposed to pornography but when—and how they will cope. Indeed, we can expect many of our youth to be wounded in this battle. But that doesn't mean they will perish.

Do not let pornography let you feel like filth.  IT is the filth and you can overcome it. 

"Filters are useful tools," said Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, "but the greatest filter in the world, the only one that will ultimately work, is the personal internal filter that comes from a deep and abiding testimony of our Heavenly Father's love and our Savior's atoning sacrifice for each one of us."
We must impress the importance of gaining this testimony.  It will defeat all evil.

We cannot fight for them, and we cannot give them a filter.  But we can promise them the blessings that this filter will bring.  It will bring clarity of mind.  It will bring you together, and you will no longer feel like you are living a double life.  

We will never be able to misuse our physical body without also injuring our spirit, and that kind of injury always leaves spiritual scars.

Im Addicted, now what? 

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "No matter what addictive cycle one is caught in, there is always hope" because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

At their root, "all addictions are maladaptive coping strategies," says Mark Butler. People who have not learned how to deal with guilt, shame, sorrow, or pain will often turn to addictive behaviors to numb their negative emotions. 

 The following questions may help you evaluate your own coping strategies: When you are stressed, tired, or in despair, do you isolate yourself? Do you rely on entertainment to escape your problems instead of addressing them? Do you demonstrate that the healthiest way to solve problems is to rely on Heavenly Father, the Savior, and your relationships with others?

We must learn to recognize the signs of spiritual wounds such as grief, guilt, and pain so they can turn their pain into learning experiences. Emotional pain is not bad. Alma the Younger describes the pains of his sins as "exquisite" and "bitter" (Alma 36:21); Peter "wept bitterly" after he denied the Savior (Luke 22:62).

You can  learn to relate to pain not as a horrible emotion to be avoided but as a teacher that can lead to incredible growth. Alma, Peter, and Zeezrom all used the pains of their sins to spur them to repentance, and they became devoted ambassadors of the gospel. Your example and guidance can help you learn to value repentance over addiction.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, taught: "There is an important difference between the sorrow for sin that leads to repentance and the sorrow that leads to despair.

"The Apostle Paul taught that 'godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation … but the sorrow of the world worketh death' [2 Corinthians 7:10]. Godly sorrow inspires change and hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Worldly sorrow pulls us down, extinguishes hope, and persuades us to give in to further temptation. …

"True repentance is about transformation, not torture or torment. Yes, heartfelt regret and true remorse for disobedience are often painful and very important steps in the sacred process of repentance. But when guilt leads to self-loathing or prevents us from rising up again, it is impeding rather than promoting our repentance."

You will be able to persevere through their spiritual wounds when they have the vision of and hope for a virtuous life. This vision is built through fervent prayer and sincere scripture study on a daily basis.  I call this, drinking the milk.

There is a parable in the bible that says we must drink the milk before we can handle the heavier stuff.  We must start where we can, but we must do it daily.  We must have daily nourishment.   This is how we will heal our Spiritual Wounds.  If we cannot handle the tough stuff of life, we must concentrate on the milk.

I love you all, and I promise you the blessing of the Gospel is overcoming your demons.


And one of the best ways to overcome is to see the love in others! 

"Forgiveness should go hand in hand with love. … Blame keeps wounds open. Only forgiveness heals."

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Put LDS.org in your Bookmarks bar ^^ click on it and read when you feel tempted.  The talks on valentines day were all about LOVE and it was GREAT. 

Attached is a photo I found in a Family Home Evening book.  If you identify with the things on the left, immerse yourself with the gospel, talk to your bishop, he will help you transform your sorrow, and get to the BLESSINGS ON THE LEFT.

I LOVE YOU ALL MORE AND MORE EACH AND EVERY DAY

IT JUST KEEPS GROWING, and I KNOW that you can feel of this love too! 


LOVE, ELDER AMANN



Also, here´s a picture of an older couple getting married in the church, and a reminder that LOVE IS THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE.

Monday, February 13, 2017

PLEASE READ THIS. I wrote this for you.

I want you to change your life. 


To me, everyone has two parts.  Everyone has an imperfect body made of flesh (including mind), and a perfect spirit that makes them who they are.  Everyone has these two parts, and its so important to remember that YOU have a spirit that is perfect.  It is beautiful and of God.  But because we have bodies, we are subject to the things of this world.  We are imperfect.  But please know that all the evil that you put up with is not of you.  Your spirit is perfect.

When I say I want you to change your life, I already know you want peace with your neighbors, and you want to be happy.  You want these  things.  Everyone does! Because we all have perfect spirits, who just want to be happy. When I say I want you to change your life, I mean that I want you to bring out that perfect spirit.  I want you to be able to fulfill who you really are, who you know you are, and know you want to be.  AND IT IS POSSIBLE.  In order to change your life, you need to overcome this body and the demons that you are fighting.  You need to nourish your spirit so it can be more powerful than your body.  Think of it as a balance scale with two parts.  Your body/pains of this world are by far the stronger part, but by nourishing your spirit you can overcome the things your struggle with! 

How can we overcome our bodies? -> Self-Control

I once read a talk that said "True love is motivated by Self-Control" 

I know this is true.  Self-Control means when our spirit is stronger than our bodies.  It is through self control that we can be set free.  We can emancipate ourselves.  Now be careful.  Self-Control is not keeping yourself from looking at harmful things on the Internet.  Self-control is not keeping yourself from smoking when you've got a pack hidden in your sock drawer.  Self-control is not keeping yourself from screaming at someone when you've got contention bundled up inside. Self-Control is not losing weight until you feel better.  You may win some battles this way against your body, but Satan will win the majority.  Self-Control is being happy with who you are, with all your heart. 
Self-Control is being free from the impulses that control you.  And the answer is not by fighting the thing directly.  We have to go above our demons, directly to our spirit.  

How can we have Self-Control? -> The Constant Companionship of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost is that magic feeling we have that fills our whole hearts when we give service to others.  It is the feeling mothers have after they have just given birth.  It is the feeling of undeniable love that makes you want to help other people all the time.  The Holy Ghost is the fuel that burns my spirit, and he is a wonderful friend to our spirirts.  Mormons believe that we can have this feeling in every moment.  We can have this same feeling that we feel during really powerful testimony meetings in every moment.  This is what "Constant Companionship" means, and at Baptism we receive the promise, the covenant of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  This magic feeling.  But I know for a fact that very few people, mormons especially, feel this way all the time.  And this is because our bodies are stronger than our spirits.  

Some of the most beautiful words I've seen written on the Holy Ghost are from James Faust Please read the whole talk for SO MUCH more insight than I can give you on how to obtain spiritual strength:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/04/the-gift-of-the-holy-ghost-a-sure-compass?lang=eng>
The Book of Mormon, the Bible, and other scriptures, along with the guidance of modern prophets, provide true standards of conduct. In addition, the gift of the Holy Ghost is available as a sure guide, as the voice of conscience, and as a moral compass. This guiding compass is personal to each of us. It is unerring. It is unfailing. However, we must listen to it in order to steer clear of the shoals which will cause our lives to sink into unhappiness and self-doubt.

I believe the Spirit of the Holy Ghost is the greatest guarantor of inward peace in our unstable world. It can be more mind-expanding and can make us have a better sense of well-being than any chemical or other earthly substance. It will calm nerves; it will breathe peace to our souls. This Comforter can be with us as we seek to improve. It can function as a source of revelation to warn us of impending danger and also help keep us from making mistakes. It can enhance our natural senses so that we can see more clearly, hear more keenly, and remember what we should remember. It is a way of maximizing our happiness.

The Spirit—the Holy Ghost—will help us work out our insecurities. For instance, it can help us learn to forgive. There comes a time when people must move on, seeking greater things rather than being consumed by the memory of some hurt or injustice. Dwelling constantly on past injuries is, by its nature, limiting to the Spirit. It does not promote peace.

 I know.  I KNOW. FOR A FACT. That those words are true.  The Spirit has been burning inside me and I´m so happy.  So at peace.  I´ve never felt this way before in my life. 

 But PLEASE do not take my word for it.  You CAN KNOW!!  But you have to nourish your spirit.  

You will be most successful in controlling your life as you constantly nourish your spirit. Avoiding food for prolonged periods, followed by excessively large meals, will not maintain physical health. Likewise, feeding your spirit sporadically, even in large proportions, will not yield the same result as constantly, daily nourishing your spirit. 

At baptism, Mormons are promised the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  And if we do not utilize this, frankly, as I've come to realize, there is no point to any of it.  The reason we pray, read scriptures, go to church, is to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  The constant burning feeling inside your chest.

I testify that I did not have this companionship for a long time.  It is delicate and needs to be taken care of.  But when we have it, its is single-handedly the greatest feeling of love ever felt.  AND WE WERE ALL PROMISED THIS WHEN WE WERE BAPTIZED.  WE ALREADY HAVE THIS PROMISE.  But we HAVE to pray for it, and search for it.  And if you weren't baptized, you STILL have felt this same spirit, and if you contact your missionaries, they will help you feel it IN EVERY MOMENT through the spirit.

Pray to God and ask to feel the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  And then look for it.  Do your part.  Do not do anything that will chase away the spirit.  I have felt his constant companionship almost for a week straight, and in the few moments when I didn't feel it, it was because I didn't take care of it.

Self-Control is giving up the things in this world that we like, that please our bodies, for what we love.  And when you feel the spirit as I have felt, nothing is worth it.  Nothing is worth sacrificing this feeling.  I love fast, loud music, but it is not worth it.  I had a lot of other things that I thought I liked, that my body was keeping, but they aren't worth it. GIVE IT UP.  You cannot dance with Satan and expect to win.  You must go above him, to a higher power.  

Throw away the things you like that keep you from what you love.  Delete what needs to be deleted.  I promise if you pray to have the spirit, you will understand and have the power to do what needs to be done.  

Satan will have you believe you are too dirty, too sinful to feel the Spirit.  This is a lie.  Pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him to feel it. 

-------------------
You do not have to go on a mission to "change your life" and bring out the good.  But you absolutely cannot do it without strengthening your spirit. 

 If you have ever had the tiniest shred of desire to serve a mission, or if you absolutely feel you cannot build daily habits of kneeling prayer twice a day, and scripture reading, on your own, GO ON A MISSION.  Boys can serve until 25 years old and girls can serve until 39 years old.   It does not matter if you do not feel ready.  The Lord will help you every step.  It is the greatest way to have the constant companionship.  To give it all up just to have that Spirit.  I am giving it all up, just to have the companionship, and I promise, it's worth it.
And if you can't do that, contact your local missionaries and spend a day with them.  Maybe with a friend.  I promise it will change your life.  Tell them you want the Constant Companionship of the Holy Ghost.  And don´t let any one tell you that you can´t feel that burning in every moment.

Bob Marley has a song where he sings "Emancipate yourselves from inter slavery, None but ourselves can free our minds."  But he fails to mention how we can be free...But I leave you my testimony that we can be free if we have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  But we have to do it ourselves.

For those of you who still haven't read the talk from the 2017 Liahona I've been telling you to read, Here's the most important part:

You can change anything you want to change and you can do it very fast. It is another Satanic falsehood to believe that it takes years and years and eons of eternity to repent. It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes you to say “I’ll change”—and mean it. Of course there will be problems to work out and restitutions to make. You may well spend—indeed, you had better spend—the rest of your life proving your repentance by its permanence. But change, growth, renewal, and repentance can come for you as instantaneously as it did for Alma and the Sons of Mosiah.



Do not misunderstand. Repentance is not easy or painless or convenient. It can be a bitter cup from hell. But only Satan would have you think that a necessary and required acknowledgement of sin is more distasteful than permanent residence in it. Only he would say, “You can’t change. You won’t change. It’s too long and too hard to change. Give up. Give in. Don’t repent. You are just the way you are.” That, my friends, is a lie born of desperation. Don’t fall for it.

https://www.lds.org/liahona/2017/02/youth/how-to-change?lang=eng&clang=cag&country=afe
 
 I leave you with my love, my testimony that YOU ARE DIVINE.  YOU HAVE A PERFECT SPIRIT AND I LOVE YOU AND YOUR PERFECT SPIRIT.  But please nourish it.  It will set you free.  It will change your life.

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Here are some pictures of the sunrise this morning, easily the most beautiful sunrise I've ever seen.  The sky was on fire; pictures don't do it justice.  
MY SOUL IS ON FIRE WITH THE HOLY GHOST, WORDS DON'T DO THIS JUSTICE.

LOVE, √ČLDER AMANN

SET YOURSELF FREE, AND SMILE, YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I FOUND TUPAC AND PABLO PICASSO

This week we found Tupac (he´s a rapper who´s supposed to be dead but actually he´s just looking for Peace down here in Argentina) 
 













AND Pablo Picasso´s Guernica! 

It might look like some crazy Argentine art, but its actually a super famous painting with some great history!  And Pablo Picasso is one of the all time greats, so I was super excited to see any form of his work (Special shout out to my Art History Teacher, Mother Wood, and my AP European History teacher Ms. Farr)



One lesson we can learn from Picasso is to look at things as they are.  And if nothing else, if you´re looking at Picasso´s Guernica and it doesnt make sense at all, that's because war doesn't make sense. 

One thing we can learn from Tupac is to love your neighbor! Especially if they´re a different race.  I´m learning a lot about what its like to be a minority, and what racism means here, and I cannot stress how important it is to just love those around you, and be patient with them.  Especially if they obviously don't speak your language.  Be patient and speak slow.  Everyone is dealing with really scary demons, even if they look "fearless."  

Last week, I wrote about the Feb Magazine for this year, and if you havent given it a look yet, theres still time! I absolutely love this article 


"How to Change" and it was written for the youth, because we have to know that no matter what, we can change.   We have that promise from our Savior. And although its written to the youth, everyone needs to hear this message! You are a child of GOD. If you need help, if you feel lost, if you feel satan has dug your hole too deep, I need you to pick your chin up, look at yourself in the mirror, and know that You can never go so far that you can't come back home again.  But you have to make the trip home! And

He´s there for you.  We, the human family, are there for you.  Nothing is impossible if you believe! 

LOVE YOU ALL FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART,

Elder Amann