Sunday, February 22, 2015

A harder and better mission - Feb 22, 2015 - Elder Sandberg

A harder and better mission – Feb 22, 2016 – Elder Sandberg

Dear Family and Friends,

In the last 7-10 days our mission has gotten harder, yes harder, but also better.

First harder, some humbling.  Part of my calling is to prepare and present to the area presidency all the back-ground information necessary for them to approve, or not, recommendations from the stake presidents for new bishops, stake presidency counselors, or patriarchs.  If the AP approves, they are sent to Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City for final approval.

Getting harder:  I got a great idea about how to improve the process so that more recommendations would be improve.  I carefully wrote up a “great” change in our process and presented it.  It was not approved.  I felt down.  Then I was driving the lead car of senior missionaries on a FIVE MINUTE TRIP to a restaurant and I took a wrong turn, GOT LOST and the missionaries behind were saying in their car, he’s going the wrong way – ON A FIVE MINUTES TRIP.  We have been working hard to have the Church movie "Meet The Mormons" released in Mexico and part of my job was to send a letter to all the stake and mission presidents about the film.  There were letters from the area presidency to be attached, one letter to the mission presidents and one to the mission presidents.  So I sent my letters off, with THE WRONG ATTACHMENT to the mission presidents.

Not so good.  I was feeling pretty low and then I thought about my father.  He had about 100 cattle and one time he made a mistake and about 40 of them, I believe, died.  Elder Lean Otten who was a missionary in South Dakota described what happened.

“One night the cattle ate some flax screenings and it bloated them and killed them.  He lost, in terms of today, tens of thousands of dollars.  Do you know how he responded?
“’I yusta thinka the Lord is  humblen me.  I yusta thinka the Lord is humblen me.  I need humblen’.  Everything was around the Lord; it was the gospel for him, a way of life.”

So I say the same thing.  I just think I could use a little humbling from the Lord.

Also this week Michelle received 32 new missionary recommends on Monday.  That is the most she has received in 1 day.  She needs to translate them to English, make sure all is correct, get them reviewed by the doctor, by the member’s records department, and the legal department when necessary and then call the stake presidents if things are not right.  It has been a busy week for both of us, but Michelle is getting faster at doing her job and was able to process 55 recommendations.

As I said, we have been working hard to get the movie Meet The Mormons here in Mexico.  We have had special meetings and letters sent, contracts with Cinemex, etc.  We had a premier showing for VIPS and guests scheduled for Thursday, and on Monday we found out the theater we had selected because it had the most seats did not have parking, was not in a nice part of town, and was not nice enough to invite press and special guests.  That was about the low point.

In our presidency meeting on Tuesday one of the area presidency gave the spiritual thought.  He quoted in Mathew 14 when the disciples are in the boat at night and Jesus comes to them on the water.  The scriptures say in verse 24, “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.”  The presenter said the winds feel contrary to us now.   The scriptures goes on to say when Peter was on the water, “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”  So the presenter said we need to press forward and not look at the waves and trust Jesus.  The scripture says; “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?  Then the presenter said "if we have faith and pray and work Jesus will put forth his hand and save us as he did Peter."

And then it was like Jesus put forth his hand to help on the Meet the Mormons project.  We were able to find a better theater location for the premier.  And much to my surprise David Archuleta, famous young Mormon singer, who was invited only the week before agreed to come to the premier.  He would be here along with Carolina Muñuz from Costa Rica, who was the kick boxer in the movie, and the director of the movie from SLC. David Archuleta sings one of the songs in the movie.  Suddenly things really picked up.  We sent letters to all the leaders, and I had to call some of them to make sure they knew of the change, etc.

The press conference was in the afternoon.  We did not attend but the reports were good.  There will be some press comments available later in this post.

Then the day of the premier arrived.  It was in a nice theater in a beautiful mall on Reforma.

David Archuleta, the kick boxer lady, and the movie director were there signing autographs and having their pictures taken.

There were lots of people there, some reporters, and many youth.

Michelle got in line with all the other "young" girls and they signed her poster.

It was a nice large screen.  They had a little introduction before the movie with Elder Pieper and the 3 guests.  They also gave free popcorn and drinks to everyone!

Then the guests came and sat in the row right behind us!  After the movie I turned around and shook hands with David Archuleta.  (Tell the teenage girls that!)

The public relations department in SLC was helping us track the press coverage after the premier. This is a letter from them.

International Team,

The news articles that I have read today, following last night’s movie premiere in Mexico City, are not only favorable…they are substantive!  These are quotes from senators, secretaries of education, television program hosts, catholic secretaries of culture, and the government coordinator of religious affairs. Here are some worth reading (if you speak Spanish):

I have not yet found any critical reviews. You?


Friday night was a devotional mainly for some of the youth in the area.  It was in the multi-stake center by the temple.  They filled the cultural all with chairs towards the stage.

Then they turned all the benches in the chapel around and people sat even in the choir seats.  I guess there was over 1000 people there, many youth.  When all the seats were filled, people stood.

We really like the devotional.  They had some youth ask questions.  One asked David about his choice to go on a mission.  He talked about  all the advice he got.   You should go, some said, and others said your music career will suffer if you do.  Others said that being successful in your career will help the church more than going on a mission.

He said finally he went into his room and praye and then received the strongest spiritual impression he ever had to go a mission.  And that thought, go on a mission, just kept coming until he went. Great for the youth to hear that.

They asked him about family history,  He said he knew nothing about it until a friend showed him indexing and then while riding in his bus, on tour with his music, he has started indexing.  And now he has done the temple ordinances for some of his ancestors.

The sister talked about balancing being a mother, work, children, and her husband being bishop in Costa Rica.

But one of the highlights for me is when David sang during the devotional.  He sang the first verse in English and the rest in Spanish.  The place went completely quiet, 1000 people!  He started:

       If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?
      Would I think of His commandments and try harder to be true?
      Would I follow His example? Would I live more righteously,
      If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

I will attach a video, I think I know how, the picture isn't great but I think you can hear his voice.

Does the video work?

The singing was a highlight for me, a true spiritual experience.

For a closing song David sang Glorious, the song he sang for the movie, Meet the Mormons o Conozca a los Mormones.  I have some pretty good videos of that, let me know if you want to see them and I will send them by email.

Then the guests walked down the aisles to greet a few people on the way out

Lots of excitement and interest.

So for me this was the hardest time here.  I was feeling down and prayed God would help me and lift me up spiritually.  I was discouraged and worried about the premier and devotional for the movie. We prayed for help with the presidency.  I felt like it says in the scriptures - the winds were contrary, it was dark, and I felt alone.

And then, and then,  I really felt God put out His hand and brought the movie showing to success and safety, and He reached out and gave me a spiritual experience that lifted my thoughts, raised my vision, increased my faith in Him, and blessed me.

So that is my spiritual thought, when the winds are contrary, and it is dark, and the storm is all around, and you feel alone, reach out, don't doubt, God will extend His hand in His way and in His time.

Love you.

Elder Sandberg


  1. Thanks for sharing these uplifting experiences.

  2. Wow, Mom and Dad, thank you so much for sharing these experiences. I was really touched to hear about the hard times and how God helped create a miracle experience for so many people. Where is David Archuleta from? Where did he serve his mission? I love hearing stories about Ivar Sandberg and his faith too. I am so blessed with good ancestors, including my parents :) Love you!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences and pictures. It gives us all faith and courage. Keep up the god work! Charlotte