Monday, April 26, 2010

April 26, 2010

*the lights are dim, the fog machines are on....*

*people start chattering....but then they don't...because they don't exist...*

*know why???....because this is just a letter from Elder Vincent....and it's not a cool concert....*

*the crowd goes wild!*

Haha...hope that was as fun for you as it was for me. Thanks for the letter this week! It's always a joy to hear from you mama :). Be sure to take care of that arm of yours - wouldn't want it to fall off or nuthin like that! I assume it's that tendonitis stuff kicking in...what a bummer. But you'll be just fine, playing all those gigs and stuff - the Lord will provide a way to help you keep doing what you love. I remember I had pains like the for a few days a month or two before the mission - you gave me that arm band thingy, which I actually found the other day in my luggage. I haven't used it yet, but good to know that it's there. Maybe I'll use it to suffocate some fleas...haha. I put the dog collars you gave me under my matress and put the bed cover on as well and they still manage to get through. I'm not getting it as bad as Elder Hall is though haha, they seem to like how he tastes better than I do. Probably because he's fresh gringo meat and I've been Chileanized...could be, right?

So you're having your share of painful music experiences too, eh? Every Sunday is torture for me. Nobody plays the piano, and the lady that ''directs'' the music always starts the song WAY too low, so sometimes it sounds like a chant hahaha. Yesterday we sang the most energy-drained version of Called to Serve that I've ever heard in my life. I've decided I'm going to talk to Bishop Dote about me going up to the piano before every song and giving the starting pitch so that it's not so terrible. I would practice the piano so that I could play during the meetings, but sadly I really don't have time to do that. Bleh. I really should have taken advantage of that before the mission. *Note to parents* DON'T LET YOUR KIDS QUIT PIANO EVEN IF THEY REALLY WANT TO - IT WILL HELP THEM SO MUCH LATER ON IN LIFE. I'll have to spend some time when I get back getting better at playing piano.

I'm glad to hear that you've been getting a regular temple time back into your schedule - I can't even begin to tell you how much I miss the temple. It was so nice to be able to go once a week in the MTC, and now I haven't even SEEN a temple (other than pictures, because I have pictures of every temple in the world hehe) in about 8 months. Yessir, I have now been in Chile for just about 8 months. That means 10 months in the mission (in about 2 more weeks)! Crazy! But yeah, definitely take advantage of having so many temples so close to home, and get the whole family involved. I think it would be cool to have the whole family go one night to do some baptisms or something.

We actually did have a small quake the other night. I heard that in Concepción it was a 6.2, but here in Temuco it was only about a 4.9 I think. So it did wake me up, but it was nothing compared to the first one (here Temuco the first one was almost an 8). Nothing too big, and certainly nothing to worry about. Just a little shake to help rock us to sleep, hehe.

It's still kind of weird for me to think about having another niece or nephew...probably because I'm so far out of the physical loop down here haha. Elder Hall just showed me pictures of his new nephew, so I'll look forward to getting similar pictures in October!

As for shoe size - I don't actually have my Eccos on at this moment..but I'm pretty sure that they were a size 12. I have been using the Dockers I brought on Sundays now, but I'm not sure if I'm going to continue doing that because they kind of hurt my feet. I don't remember when I got them but I know that they're years old...and kind of small for my feet. Some money on the card so that I can buy some sweaters and stuff like that for winter would be appreciated. Are you still monitoring the money I have in my account? I try not to use it very much. I bought a jacket a few weeks ago for p-days because smart ol' me forgot to bring one. I didn't bring any long-sleeve shirts either (that aren't white shirts, anyway). Should have thought of that, right? Haha. Something I would like now that I think of it would be an American flag :). I think I've mentioned that before - not one of the huge ones, just one that's kind of poster-sizedish. If you can, anyway. I'll be getting a Chilean flag at some point as well. If you can't find a dog whistle that's legit don't worry about it - wouldn't want you paying to send a plastic piece of garbage that doesn't work all the way down here haha. I have learned how to whistle really loud with my fingers as well (great things you learn on the mission ;-) ), but that doesn't realy hurt the dogs' ears, just gets their attention. I want to figure out how to do it how dad does, though...with no fingers! Can't really think of anything other than that at the moment...just throw in some little surprises :). I've been thinking about finally getting a guitar for my birthday. I've heard I can get a pretty good one for about 20-30,000 pesos ($40-$60) so I'll go check out what there is today.

Things have been going really well for Elder Hall and I in the last two weeks. We've been finding a lot of great people to teach and so far have had a great time doing it. The brother of the two girls that got baptized a few weeks ago is going to get baptized on my birthday, so that's going to be really cool. The Lord has been helping us out so much here in this sector - when I got here there hadn't been baptisms for months and months, but we've brought the sector back to life and we're having a great time here.

Well, that's just about it for this week. I'll get some pictures attached and get this sent off. I hope you're all doing well - I'll look forward to hearing more next week! Love and miss you tons!


PS. Not too many pictures this week, I kind of got lazy. But I hope you enjoy them! Elder Smith is Elder Kester's second son, so I have a brother! And Elder Hall is my son, so he's Elder Kester's grandson, and Elder Smith's nephew. The family tree is growing!

Missionaries of Lican Ray - Ortiz, Colón, Morales, Vincent, Hall

The family - Smith, Kester, Vincent, Hall

The Family Plaque

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19, 2010

Hola, como estar?

¡Que bueno que ha llegado la primavera! Acá recien estamos empezando invierno. Bueno, todavía estamos en otoño, pero pronto entraremos en el invierno. No nevará, pero lloverá muchísimo. ¡Parece que nos vamos a mojar! Jaja. Pero bueno, así es la vida, no hay que quejarse. ¿Todavía no ha mandado la caja, eh? Está bien, creo que dinero en el banco para mi cumpleaños será suficiente. Estoy pensando en comprarme una guitarra. No sé aun, pero es una posibilidad.

Glad to hear everyone is doing well - that Kelton has cut his hair, Ian's school year is winding down, that Justin and Mandi are enjoying their vacation with Jasmine and Joel, that Cami is about to graduate (congrats Cami!) and that you and dad are keeping busy with work and thoughts of killing deer :). I actually enjoy some deer meat every once in awhile, so if you do end up adding that to the regular diet, stock some up in the freezer for me. That's neat that Cami will be going to UVU - I think she'll really enjoy it there. She also would have enjoyed USU a lot, but I guess the money factor does play a part. I'm still not exactly sure what I'll be doing as far as school when I get back. I'm not sure if I'll be going back to USU (I still have the scholarships and honors program waiting for me there, so that's a definite possibility), if I'll continue studying music, if I'll be changing universities...BLAH! Too much to think about right now...stinking life decisions haha. One thing I'm sure of - I will continue studying and law school is still my goal. So I'll have to figure out what will help me get there the best.

Fernanda Millahual, Elder Bernal, and Me

So this was my first week as a trainer (or a dad in other words haha) and a district leader and it was really good. We found some really good people who are excited to share with us. My son's name is Elder Hall - he's from Fort Morgan, Colorado and is probably about 3 or 4 inches taller than I am. Crazy, right? If these Chileans thought I was tall, they can just think again because Elder Hall makes me feel average. Elder Grillone and I played a joke on our sons this week, hehe. One of the mornings when we were all studying, the man that sells milk and eggs came through our street yelling, and of course the new guys didn't understand what he was saying, so we told them that it was the international police doing a passport-visa check or something like that. Of course the greenies don't have their passports or anything, because that's all in the mission office, so we had them hide out back of the house. We went upstairs and opened the window very slowly and then stuck our cameras out (taking a video) to catch them just standing there hahaha. It's sooooo funny - when I send the next package home I'll be sending some cds with all my pictures and videos on them. Anyway, so we went downstairs, out the front door, opened the sliding gate, and then out of nowhere a car actually pulled up by our neighbor's house - TOO perfect! Elder Grillone started to pretend like he was talking to someone, and then he was like, ''Crap, run!'' He then ran behind the house and told Elder Hall and Elder Garcia to hop the fence and run, but I came around the corner with the camera and they they realized it was a prank. They told us we were horrible, but now we all laugh about it. It reminds me of the kinds of stuff Elder Kester did to me my first 6 weeks here in Chile. Good times, good times. But yeah, Elder Hall is a great elder - he's got a lot of desires to learn and work and will progress really fast. He's obedient and has got his head on straight, so we'll be having a good cambio here this 6 weeks.

First meeting as District Leader

I do remember the trip out to Wyoming! It's kind of wierd to think about that being over a year But I guess it has been that long, hasn't it? Congrats to them, sounds like they're doing great.

As I mentioned before (in spanish) it's starting to get colder now. In the morning and night especially. It's actually been kind of rainy for the past couple of days, so that's a bunch of fun. The mission gives us rain suits so that we don't get all soaked - I think I might have sent a picture of what they look like awhile ago when I was with Elder Hodson in Cabrero. I've got some sweet, fingerless llama gloves, so I'm stoked to use them hehe.

Hall, Me, and Kester

Kester and Me with birthing pains

More birthing pains

Well, I think that's just about it for this week. Let the family know that they're free to write me whenever they want, haha. I haven't gotten a letter from any family members for a good while (other than your weekly letters, of couse). They can write me with questions, let me know how they're doing, anything really. It would be good to hear from the fam - I remember the times we used to all sit down and write Justin while he was on his mission. It's easier now, haha, all they have to do is send me an e-mail! Thank you for the letter this week - I love reading them. I love and miss you very much and look forward to hearing from you again next week!


Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12, 2010

Hey howdy hey!

Sounds like you all had a great time on your Moab trip! I think the last time I went down to southern Utah was with the band when we went down to Coral Reef and all that jazz. It was a fun trip, but I'd like to do that with the family when I get back :) Glad to hear that Gma and Gpa are doing well. It's been a long time since I've seen the extended family, so we should definitely go to the family reunions when I get back. Time just contiues to fly, I finish up 9 months this week! Here are the cambios that are going on tomorrow for me and my companion:

1. Elder González will be going to Lebu with an Elder Smith that got here the cambio after I did. So there's a really young companionship. But there are a lot like that with the ratio of elders leaving to the elders arriving to the mission. The mission is really young, but it's still the best mission in the world.

2. I will be going to Concepción tomorrow to pick up my son! Yup, ya heard, I'm going to be a dad. In other words I'll be training a new missionary this cambio. And on top of that, one of the assistents to the president called me the other night telling me that I'm going to be a district leader this cambio. So I've been given a bit more responsibility now haha. But I'm really eager to do whatever it is that the Lord wants me to do. *Starts to sing* I will go I will do, the things the Lord commands. I know the Lord provides a way, He wants me to obey....and then Elder Vincent forgot the rest of the words to the song. *dada CHEEEE*

Don't worry about the birthday package, money in the account will be fine. I would like an American flag though :) I'm going to buy a Chilean one as well. But whenever the package gets here, it gets here. Can't complain, right? Here's a shout out to all those who have sent packages or letters: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

Kelton is going to change his hair to red?????? Why would he do that? I remember when I wanted to paint mine black with some red streaks (not sure if I told you that...but if not, surprise!), but I'm so glad I never did it haha. I think it's good to be satisfied with the color that God gave us :) Haha, nah, I don't really mind it when people paint their hair if it's not crazy colors. But red...we'll see how that one turns out. Send me pictures!

Alrighty, here's my list of interesting things that happened this week:

1. We had two more baptisms this last Saturday! I'll include some pictures. Their names are Marta and Macaren Acuña - two young women that are going to be faithful members. Just a few days before the baptism, we were talking with them, and Macarena shared a really cool experience that she had with us: A few days before we had met them she had been talking with one of her friends about religion, and the friend had asked her if she thought that the church she was attending (the Adventist) was really true or not, and Marta told her that she didn't really know if it was the only true church. So a day or two later, before going to bed, she kneeled down to ask God to help her find out what the truth really was. And then the next day we (Elder Tonumaipe'a and I) showed up at her house knocking doors. She told us that she knew then that God answers prayers and that she knows without a doubt that this church is true. By the end of the appointment they were both smiling a crying - the next day they had their baptismal interviews and then they got baptized on Saturday. The Lord really does help us find the people that He has prepared, I can bear witness of that.

2. So we found out this week that our calefont (the things that makes it so we have hot water - from gas) was in really bad shape and needed to be replaced. The day before we had interviews with President Swenson the two Elders from the sector Lautauro came to spend the night at our place so that they wouldn't have to travel early in the morning. Anyway, in the morning, we all woke up with head aches and light headedness, and one of the elders (Sanjinés) threw up. So we all went outside to see if it was something that was bad in the house. We started to feel much better outside, so we determined that something was bad with the gas line or something. So we turned the gas off (it's in a canister behind our house), and when we went to the interviews we talked to President and Sister Swenson about it. One of the bishop's councelors in the the Quirihue ward works in stuff like that, so he came over with one of his employees this week and took out the calefont (which is said was just about read to explode or burn the house down) and put a brand new one in, but outside of the house to fulfill the new regulations. So now we have an amazing shower (it was terrible before) and the new calefont turns on by itself, so we don't have to use matches. An interesting experience, to say the least, but we're all safe and sound now. No need to worry, they've fixed up the problems and we're fixing a few more things in the house (not dangerous things, just things that need to be fixed - lights, the sink, stuff like that).

It's such an amazing experience, being a missionary. I really urge everyone who hasn't served a mission to do it - family members, youngsters in the ward, older couples, EVERYONE. In the Milenium there are only going to be two works - temple work and missionary work. So we should all do our part :) I cannot wait until I can go to the temple again, it's been 7 months! AHHHH! I know this church is true, I know that Jesus Christ directs it through His chosen representatives and that He wants us all to use His atonement in our lives to be able to live with our Heavenly Father after this short period of probation. I love this work with all my heart.

Well, that's about all for this week, I'm going to go get some pictures ready to be sent off to you all. I love and miss you very much and look forward very much to hearing from you next week!


Monday, April 5, 2010

April 5, 2010

Hola hola!

I'll start out with a little bit of a bummer - looks like my card for my camera has got some kind of virus. I can see all the pictures in my camera, but when I put it into the computer nothing shows up. I have backed up all the pictures except for the ones I took this week. So I'll see if there's a way I can save the pictures from this week. If not, I'll just have to reformat it, and see if that works. Dumb Windows...this would never happen with a Mac! Haha.

Wasn't general conference amazing?? All the gringo elders went CRAZY when Elder Holland said that pornography and stuff like that can ''blow a crater in your mind''. That was AMAZING! Haha. I can't believe how much I underappreciated General Conference before the mission. Now I'm excited every time comes around. I don't know if I'll ever be able to show it to you, but Elder Grillone (our district leader that lives in the same house) and I woke up and recorded a conference-morning beat box slash rap. It's awesome - I'll see if I can record it onto a tape from his phone. Every session was just filled with the spirit - although some of the talks weren't as great as others and some of the words used were kind of funny (you can delete that line from the forward if you'd like haha), I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. I do miss talks from President Hinckley. When I get back from the mission and actually have time to do it, I'm going to go watch talks of his from years past.

Almost to the end of the school year, eh? Everyone here is just starting, and I'm so happy for that. Now nobody is on vacation - they're all in the house studying so we can find them very easily haha. But the people that want to share with us would have made time for us during the summer anyway. We've got two more baptisms this weekend - two great young women named Marta and Macarena. They went to 3 of the sessions of General Conference and absolutely loved it (especially the young women's session). We're also planning the baptism of their mom and one of their brothers for one of the following weekends after this one. That family is amazing, and a true example of how the Lord really prepares His children to recieve His gospel. Really the only question that Marta and Macarena have had during the weeks that we've been visiting them was why the sabbath day (día de reposo sounds cooler) is Sunday now instead of Saturday (they were Seventh Day Adventists, but that's easily resolved with a few scriptures from the Bible.

So Jasmine and Joel have got another baby on the way!! That's so cool! Yet another family member I will have to introduce into the world of Jazz. I've actually been thinking about changing my major...but not enough to really say anything concrete yet. But my love for Jazz and music in general will never leave. As of right now, though, I am planning on returning to USU for at least one year (to finish up my scholarships).

Tell Cami to be careful with those road trips - California isn't exactly the safest place in the world. Just so long as they don't get stupid and don't do anything dumb they should be all right. DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS! BAD!

We did a little bit of ''spring cleaning'' ourselves this morning. We're not anywhere near spring (just heading out of summer), but we did deep clean and reorganize our house this morning. Now it looks great and we'll enjoy ourselves a lot more the few hours of the day that we are actually in the house. Being organized really does bring a good feeling - I think I get that from you, mom. I actually really enjoy cleaning, organizing, and making everything tidy haha. Reminds me of all those years ago as a Deacon when you announced to the welcoming committee thingy that I even organized the socks in my drawer...thats right, still haven't forgotten that.

Didn't have any crazy funny stories this week, just the amazing spiritual refill that General Conference gave us all.

I'm having an amazing time down here in Chile - there is no doubt in my mind that the Lord really wanted me to come to this mission in this time. I've learned so many invaluable lessons that I'll carry with me for the rest of my life, and I continue to learn more every day. Each of my companions has taught me something and I'm more and more greatful for this experience the Lord has let me have as time goes on. I encourage everyone to do this - it doesn't matter what your circumstances are, if we put the Lord first he will bless us and add the rest of our needs on to what we already have. I love the Lord and serving Him - there is absolutely nothing I would rather be doing nor any other place I would rather be. I love you all and will look forward to hearing from you next week!


PS. I'll see what I can do about this memory card...hopefully I can save the pictures.

Ok, here's the only picture I could save from the card. I had to reformat it and I lost about 10 pictures. But that's ok I guess - better than losing all of them! Love you!

This picture is from a restaurant called Ñam Ñam that has huge burgers.