Monday, March 29, 2010

March 29, 2010

Things this week were amazing. We found tons of people to share the gospel with, had a few funny experiences, and ended off the week with the best thing ever: a baptism! A lady named Veronica Vergada got baptized - she calls me her gringito, and when she tries to pronounce my name it comes out, ''Vinchent'' haha. She's a SOLID convert; she's got a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and absolutely loves going to church. She said that she's never going to stop going because God would be angry at her if she abandoned the correct path. A boy named Erick also got baptized - he's the son of a member that was inactive for a few years, but he came back to the church and asked us to help get Erick baptized. So we did :). Now he, Cristian, has a calling as an assistent in the quorom of high priests and his son Erick will attend primary, young mens, and then later will be a missionary! Yay! He's a little ball of energy (9 years old) so I think he'll make a great missionary someday. We've got four more baptisms of a mom and her three kids planned for the 10th of April: Neysa (the mom), Macarana (17), Oscar (15), and Marta (15). They're an amazing family we found knocking doors in one of the richer neighborhoods in our sector. So we feel really blessed to have found some more of Gods children that He had prepared for us. We've got many other people that are progressing as well, but they don't have baptismal dates yet. The other night one of them called us, actually, and I'm pretty sure he was drunk. He tried to speak english to me, which he had never done before, and then afterwards he read me one of his love poems (he's a poet) and asked me to translate it into english for him so that it could be put in the Liahona. And then he told me he wanted to get baptized and that he would see me the next day in church. He never showed up to church so I'm pretty sure he had a happy heavy hangover haha. What a bummer - we had just barely spent an hour with him the other day drawing signs to put all over his house to help him quit smoking (which it seems like he did), but then we went out with some friends and drank...we forgot to practice saying no to alcohol. Doh! We'll pass by to see him these week - I'm not going near that love poem, though, haha.

(cleaning the baptismal font)

The other day Elder González and I were walking through a small park talking to people when we saw a little boy that looked pretty sad sitting down next to his sister. We walked up to them and asked if they would like to see some magic tricks (I've learned some magic tricks with cards here in the mission - it's a great ice-breaker). They said sure, so I started showing them a few, and before we knew it we were surrounded by about 15 kids from ages 8 to 15. Eventually I did run out of tricks, so I put my cards away, invited them all to church this Sunday (none of them came haha) and told them that we had to go. When we said that they all grabbed us and one of them said, ''Give us your cards! Pleeeeease!'' I told them that I couldn't because I only have one deck, but the refused to let us go! To make a long story short we ended up being chased by a horde of little kids screaming, ''They're getting away!!'' Good thing I played a little bit of football back in the day, I had to use some of my moves to avoid some of them.

A few days ago we were knocking some doors, and we got to one that didn't open, but it talked to us! The person was inside looking through the seeing-hole thingy. We just laughed, said, ''Chao! Que esté bien!'' And then we walked off.

We had a funny encounter with a little girl last week. We were walking through a neighborhood knocking some doors to meet some new people, and a little girl not more than 10 years of age came out of a house. At first she just kept turning around and yelling at her mom to come out and talk to us, to which her mom repeatedly responded that she was busy and couldn't come out (we get that all the time). So we started to tell her that we would just come by another day to see them and the little girl turned around and yelled to her mom that we were speaking english...haha. I'm very positive that we weren't speaking english. So we just smiled, said chao, and walked away. Some people need a little more social education in their lives.

I've heard some rumors that today is called, ''Día del joven combatiente''. Basically it's a day when all the young guys go around causing havoc in the city, and the government sends the military out to put them down. I don't really know how serious it is but Elder Grillone said that in Santiago the missionaries don't go out to work. I hadn't ever heard about it until today, but Elder Gonzalez says that it actually exists. Our sector is pretty residential and we've got lots of appointments tonight, so we'll be fine. I just though it was kind of interesting that there's a select day out of the year when this happens...hmmm.

Has the newer Joseph Smith movie come out on DVD yet? I would really like to get it as soon as possible - there are a lot of people down here who would love to see it. I have the movie Legacy, but it's pretty old and cheesey, so we've got to get that new material in circulation.

Well, I think that's just about it for this week. I'll look forward to hearing from you all next week! Stay strong, study the scriptures, eat good food, pray for me, and never pet burning dogs. I love and miss you all very much!


PS. I got the box you sent me at the last conference, but no other letters or packages got here (for those of my friends that may have sent me something).

what they do to first-year students at the University

fixing the toilet

Monday, March 15, 2010

March 15, 2010


Wow! That stake conference with Elder Oaks must have been amazing! I love hearing general authorities speak - it's always really uplifting and inspiring. It gives a bit of a spiritual boost, if you know what I mean. I remember when Elder Scott came to the MTC while I was there (it's so weird to think about the MTC now; seems like years ago) - that was a cool experience. He confered two apostolic blessings on us: 1. The gift of tongues (which has blessed me a LOT) and 2. Safety and security (which I've also experienced here in the mission). I remember seeing President Monson speak while he was still a councelor of the First Presidency, he's always great to see and hear. I'll take advantage of being so close to everything when I get back. You have to go to a part of the world where the church isn't quite as strong to really appreciate it - and I've definitely done that haha. I hope everyone takes advantage of the opportunity to go see a general authority next time they're in the area - it really does spiritual wonders spiritually for a person. That's my opinion, at least.

Glad to hear you got the letter from Sister Swenson, do you keep a regular contact with her now? Yeah, she did call and talk with me for a little bit the other night. President and Sister Swenson are incredible - I'm convinced that there's no better mission president and president's wife in the whole mission field. least for me. They really have a personal connection with all the missionaries which helps us to have loooads of animation (I'm not really sure how to say it in english, but the word in spanish is ánimo) to work. They'll be leaving the mission 2 weeks before I do - what luck, right? So I'll get to spend the last two weeks of my mission with a different president, but that's not enough to even see him more than once, really. He'll probably get here and then I'll leave before his first conference haha. I'm really happy I got here in the mission when I did, though. There's so many opportunities I've had to learn and progress that I'm sure wouldn't have been the same if I had gotten here later. Serving a mission is amazing - EVERYONE SHOULD DO IT!

Tell Brother Covey that I still think about him and Sister Covey from time to time out here - I've always loved them. Back in my ''rebel years'' they kept me interested, or semi-interested, in going to church (along with all the other support you and dad gave me). I'll always remember when they were my sunday-school teachers.

Well, the time has come for cambios again. They were delayed for two weeks because of the earthquake, but now things are getting back to normal (or more normal anyways). Elder Tonumaipe'a is heading up north to Coronel, which is right by Concepción and is a coastal city. So he'll get to enjoy the smell of fish every day (there's a fish factory there) and he'll have a lot more opportunity to serve the people as far as reconstructing Chile goes. We had a great cambio together - I learned a lot. My new companion is a Chilean named Elder Gonzalez. I met him when he was a greenue (this will be his third cambio) so I won't really have to start from scratch when he gets here. I'm pretty sure I'll be training a new Elder sometime here in the future (maybe the next cambio, AHHHH!), but I'm confident I could do it. Just have to trust in the Lord that He'll help me in His work.

Two people will be getting baptized the 27th of this month - Veronica and Erick. We found Veronica knocking doors in a neighborhood in the boonies of our sector. When we got there she already had a Book of Mormon and a testimony of its truth, so she accepted a baptismal date right away. Erick is the son of a member who was inactive, but is returning to the church now. So they'll be getting baptized on the same day, woo! We've got a lot of other people who are progressing as well, but don't have baptismal dates yet. I'm sure they will soon, though. The greatest feeling a missionary can have comes from seeing the people we teach accept the gospel, get baptized, and start anew. It's incredible.

Well, that's just about it for this week. There were a few aftershocks yesterday (that we didn't feel because we were walking in the street, haha) that knocked the power out for a day, but all is well. We didn't lose water or anything. Thank you very much for the letter! Send my regards to everyone that has asked about me! I love and miss you very much! Looking forward to hearing from you again!


Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010

Dear Mommmmmmmmy,

Ok, I'll start off by putting all your doubts and worries to rest:

Here in Temuco we have had water and electricity since Sunday. They turned it back on, and we had heard that they were going to turn it off again but they never did. So we haven't had too many problems in the regard. We were without water for about a day and half, but we had bottles and buckets of water in the house, so we were fine. It was a bit interesting trying to bathe, though, haha. But yeah, we're all good in that regard. As far as all the looting and stuff goes, I've been thinking the same thing - it's so dumb that people will rob and loot their own country right after a catastrophe. Something kind of humorous, though, is that now the people who stole TVs and washers and microwaves and stuff like that, are just leaving it on the basketball-soccer courts so that the police can pick them up and return them to the stores. They think that that cleans their slate and they'll get off free, but their neighbors are reporting them to the police and they're getting arrested. For a few days after the earthquake not a single big supermarket was open, so we couldn't go there, but the little negocios around the city and suburbs were still functioning (because they don't use computers for their money) so we were ok as far as food goes.

President Swenson called you, eh? That's cool. I'll be sure to pass the word on to him that you're sorry you missed his call.

Weather is starting to cool down a little bit here for us. It's actually been a bit rainy for the past few days. The under-ground pipe system isn't too great here in Chile, so when it rains a lot the streets start collecting a lot of water and some even turn into mini rivers. So that provides opportunities to play splash-your-companion hehe. It's pretty fun stuff.

Tell Cami that counting out the rhythms and stuff like that will SKYROCKET her ability to sight-read and play with other people. I remember in high school Doctor Fulmer always had us start the day in jazz band counting out rhythms together, and we played much better than we would have had we not done that. It's a very good habit to think about the time in your head while playing - prevents a lot of dumb mistakes. The sign of a true musician is someone who can play without having to tap your foot - you just feel the time naturally. Something that we all have to work on, right?

Alrighty, time for the list of things from this week:

1. Is there any chance you could send me one of those whistles that like destroys dog-ears? I really want one so that I can walk down a street blowing it and not have to listen to a billion dogs barking at me. There are 2 especially that live near us that I wouldn't mind punching right in the face, haha. But I think making them suffer from a whistle would be much better. One of our investigators, Robin, has a sound on his phone that does something similar, but I don't think it's as affective.

2. The other day we were knocking some doors talking to people, and we got to this one house and started to yell ''Halo!' (that's usually what you have to do here unless the house has a doorbell or if they don't have a gate out front). Nobody came to answer the door after about 3 shouts, and then out of nowhere...I dropped my pen and it bounced inside of the fence. So we shouted again, saying that I had dropped my pen. Nobody came...but we looked up at the window...and I saw an arm in a gap in the curtains. I walked a little further down the sidewalk and looked a little closer at the window...there was an old man with his face pressed against the window glaring at us! It was one of the creepiest things ever! Hahaha, and at the same time it's kind of funny. So I yelled, ''¡Hola Caballero! Se me cayó mi lapiz, ¿podría buscármela?'' He came out of the house, grabbed my pen off the ground (I thought he was going to throw it at me), but he handed it to me and then walked very quickly back into the house. The end. :)

3. One of the mornings this week we went to buy some more gas, because nobody likes taking cold showers, right? There's a place to buy gas right by our house, but they didn't have any. Just so happens that there were two men there looking for gas as well. They said they would take us to another place where there was gas, so we hopped into the truck (I didn't want to, but Elder Bernal - Elder Moreno's companion - had already jumped into the truck so I did as well) and drove to the other place. They bought their gas, and while we were waiting to get ours, they drove off hahaha. I asked them to wait for us but they said that we were taking too long. So Elder Bernal and I carred the gas together back to the house, which wasn't very enjoyable because he's a lot shorter than I am. So there's a fun, little story for you hehe.

4. We found a lady the other week named Veronica, who had shared with missionaries years ago, and her son-in-law is an inactive member. She doesn't have a Bible, but she's had a Book of Mormon for years and reads it every night before she goes to bed. When we asked her if she believed that it was true she said, ''Yes. These things really happened.'' She now had a baptismal date for the 27th of this month. The Lord really does prepare his children. We just show up, show them the way, and help them to come unto Christ.

Well, that's just about it for this week. Thanks for the letter! It's always good to hear how the family is doing. I'll keep you updated on the things that are going on down here. As far as earthquakes go, there was one in Concepción the other day (I'm pretty sure it was just a big aftershock), and there was one in the north this last week, but we're just getting small aftershocks here every once in awhile. Usually a few times a day, but nothing strong. Somebody said that there's a volcano nearby that might go off, but I haven't heard anything more on that. If it does I want to get pictures of the eruption :) We're pretty far away from the actual volcano, but I'm sure we'd be able to see the eruption on the horizon if it were big enough. No need to worry though, we're doing a-ok down here. The Lord protects those that serve him. I love you all very much and pray for you always! Be safe and make good choices!


Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1, 2010

¡Hola Familia!

Will you all quit jumping up and down up there in gringolandia? As I'm sure you've seen in the news it's made quite a big problem for us folks down here on the other side of the world. I've actually heard some Chileans say that they think the United States was testing bombs underground - so there are some conspiracy theories already for you! So here's the story of what happened for me:

At about 3 in the morning Saturday I was woken up because my bed was going crazy; at first I thought it was just one of the Elders pulling an early-morning joke on me, so I was just about to roll over and tell him quit, but then I sat up and noticed that the whole house was dancing! The only thoughts I remember were, ''What the...'' And then Elder Moreno jolted up into a sitting position and yelled, ''¿Qué pasa?!'' (I don't know why, but the thought of that makes me laugh now). So we all jumped out of bed as fast as we could and made our way to the door to go outside (Elder Moreno had to grab his glasses first). When we got outside we saw and heard that the power lines were whipping around like crazy, so we didn't go any nearer to them - we just stayed on the little patio until the earth stopped shaking. After that we went back into the house and got a bunch of candles so that we could all find our flashlights - nothing had fallen except my brand-new bottle of shampoo. The upside to that is that now the carpet upstairs smells really good :). At about 3:45 we all decided to go back to bed, and the earth was kind enough to send us a few mild aftershocks to rock us to sleep. The next day was hot, hot, hot. I think it got to about 34 C, which is about 95ish in F. Everyone was looking for water, but we were going around visiting all the families making sure that they were ok. At about 5pm we started to worry about our own situation and started to look for water. Elder Tonumaipe'a and I walked for about 3 hours looking for water, and we finally found some. And now here we are - today we have had power on and off, the water is back but will probably be shut off again at some point (the water mains broke I think), and we're going to go around and help people after we finish here. Nothing bad happened to us, but there are parts that got hit really bad and the death toll seems to just keep rising. Earlier today we walked around in the center taking pictures of the damage, which I'll attach to the e-mail. There's an apartment building pretty near our house that has about 13 floors that cracked all the way up the side - I'm sure another quake would make it fall. But that's been evacuated, so I don't think there will be any deaths from that. The hospital cracked in half, I didn't get a chance to take a picture, but I did see it as we went by in a bus this morning - I don't know how they're going to fix that, it's pretty bad. So yeah, luckily nothing bad happened to the Elders that live in our house (nor in the mission), but still keep us in your prayers along with all those that are passing through hard times down here.

Happy Birthday Mommy! So you're turning 25, huh? That's a pretty good age. There's a saying down here that women use when someone asks them how old they are, ''Veinte siempre.'' Which means, ''Always 20'' or ''20 Forever'' Whatever sounds better in english. But yeah, you could start using that if you'd like ;-)

Sorry to hear that everyone got a little sick over the last week, but glad to hear that they're all getting better. I had no idea that Jasmine and Lexi were visiting you this weekend...or rather, I probably did, but just wasn't thinking about it. But it was good to be able to talk to you all for a little bit yesterday to let you know everything is going alright down here. It didn't really occur to me how worried you all would be, because I knew I was ok and I knew that you all were ok...I just didn't think to think about how you all would feel haha. But now I know if there's a next time.

The work continues to progress, despite the earth quake. We're sharing with and helping a lot of families to come closer to Christ. It's really an amazing experience to be a missionary - not only do you get to experience a different lifestyle personally, but you get to see so many miracles in the lives of others. This natural disaster has really made me take a closer look at the families - the things they do to survive and what they will do to help the ones they love. Trials like this really show who are the ones who have values in the important things in life. I really feel blessed to be able to be here in this time to serve the people in any way I can. Always keeping in mind Mosiah 2:17 ''Y os digo estas cosas para que aprendáis sabiduría, que cuando os halláis en el servicio de vuestros semejantes, estáis en el servicio de vuestro Dios'' Something like that. I don't really know how that would be in the english scriptures, but you should all read it.

Well, it was really good to hear from you all again - thank you to all those who have written me to see if I'm alright. I'll send short replies to everyone, but this e-mail will be sufficient generally, I think. I love and miss you all and am looking forward very much to hearing from you all again. Take care, be safe!

(burning pornography taken from an investigator)

Trevor's District

Temuco Zone (blogger kept rotating it and wouldn't let me fix it...annoying)