Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010

To explain a couple of the pictures, Mom sent him some citronella spray to discourage the dogs.

Querida Mamá,

Me alegre que está practicando su español! Aún está leyendo de las escrituras? Si no me equivoco creo que le mandé una Biblia también. Si puede, debe comprar la Biblia SUD(LDS) en español, porque tiene todas las ventajas de estudiar que tiene el Libro de Mormón. Como quiera no más :).

Congrats on your success with the fitness program! Keep on keepin' on!

So that's where the CD Justin was talking about on the tape is, haha. I figured it had been forgotten somewhere (maybe even on Justin's desk since that seems to eat things up, hahaha - if you're reading this Justin....DUMMAAYY!). I have a few more wish-list items if you haven't already sent out the package - highlighters that don't bleed. I use them quite a bit while I'm studying and I think that they are starting to run out (you bought me the sharpie clickers before I left, I like those). Also, I'm not sure how this will work out, but there's a member here who is going to leave on a mission pretty soon and she asked me if there's any way that you could get a spanish, leather-bound triple with the tabs because apparently those aren't found here in Chile. Only the ones without the tabs on the side. She said she would give me the money and everything for it - so what I was thinking that maybe you could go LOOK at prices in the distribution center and then let me know what those prices are like. It's a little iffy to send it to me as well because by the time it gets here I might not even be in the sector haha. But I told her I would ask about it.

We had a REALLY great week this week. The Lord has helped us find lots of people - we put 9 baptismal dates this last week! The zone of Lebu (my zone) is on top for the month of June - yahoo! We had 20 baptisms (hasn't been done in this zone for 2 years) and every single companionship had at least one baptism. So we're really stoked about that. I'm kind of nervious about something though - last night when I called the zone leaders to pass them the numbers from my district for the week Elder Hatch (one of my zone leaders) pretty much told me that it's possible that I'll be a zone leader next cambio. Not sure if it'll be this cambio or the next one, but he thinks it'll be soon...Not quite sure if I'm ready for that haha. But I'll accept the call when it comes. While thinking about that one of my favorite scriptures came to mind - Alma 26:12. My favorite part (sorry, my scriptural knowledge is mostly in spanish) is when he says, ''solo sé que nada soy; en cuanto a mi fuerza, soy débil...'' I know I'm nothing, but the Lord has helped me work together with my companions in His work, and I'll do what He would have me do.

Funny story for the week:
So we were walking down the street the other day, and there was a sleeping dog on the street (perfect opportunity, hehe). Elder Laurito beat me to it and stomped on the ground really hard right by the dog's head. He was walking on the right side and I was on the left side - the dog jolted awake, wipped around and smashed into my leg. Hahaha, it was priceless. It's even more funny because the dog scared me haha - I didn't expect it to smash into my leg, so I thought it was trying to bite me. Needless to say I jumped haha.

Honestly, there are rough days. There are times when it is rough - but I never remember those days because the good out-weighs the bad. I'm always having fun and enjoying myself because I know why I'm here. I've always had great companions, I've met tons of great people, and the Lord has let me experience many miracles - both in my own life and the lives of others around me. If you've got your head in the right place the tough parts just fade away and you find yourself enjoying every second of this great work. I'm not sure which apostle said it, but there's a quote that I really like that says, ''Be a creator of circumstances, not a product of them.'' Or something like that - I remember it in spanish, ''Sea un creador de las circunstancias, y no una creación de ellas.''

Well, I think I had better get some pictures and stuff attached for you. We're going to go watch Chile lose to Brasil...COUGH...I mean Chile WIN! Haha...ha..ha..could happen. Too bad the States lost to Ghana :(. Just as well, if we had won, we would have gone against Uruguay this coming Friday and then Elder Laurito and I would have had some problems hahaha. I love and miss you all VERY much and am looking forward to spending time with you all again.

Contacting a crooked house

One doggiette and many admirers...hahaha

Who let the dogs out -- SPRAY, SPRAY, SPRAY, SPRAY

Elder Noriega wanted to see if it worked (hehe...not really)



PS. Anyone who wants to send me snail mail, feel free to do so. It's always nice to get letters at the mission conferences.

Note: His snail-mail address is:

Mision Chile Concpecion Sur
O'Higgins 940 Of. 503
Casilla 3560
Concepcion, Chile

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010

Hooooooola Mommy,

11 months!

This last week I had a really funny experience - it has started to rain a lot, so we've been going out in our rain gear now (it's relevant to the story, I promise). So I don't have rain boots, and one day Elder Noriega forgot to take his out, and Elder Laurito and I had come back to the house to grab something, so of course I took advantage of the situation and grabbed the boots hehe. So while we were walking in our sector I became a bit confident and said that nothing could get me wet - I had rain boots AND a water-proof suit (pants and a jacket). And it was true, nothing could get me wet, so I started to walk through the puddles just to rub it in the water's face. Then we got to a soccer field that was just filled with water...and we decided to cross it. First puddle....conquered....second puddle...conquered....third puddle....TURNED OUT TO BE A 2-FOOT DEEP DITCH! AHHHH!! Needless to say my left leg did indeed plunge down and I fell on my face in the mud (many soccer fields here don't actually have grass). Elder Laurito was dying laughing while I picked myself up haha - now it's funny. And here's the amazing part....I didn't get wet! In your face water! Now I just have to get a mud-proof face so that it doesn't get dirty when I fall in it.

President Swenson drove us back from interviews on Friday from Cañete, and I got my hands on the list of the new elders that will be coming in this next transfer - I recognized the name of an Elder Merrill on there. Cami, your buddy is arriving to the mission in like two and a half weeks...mwahahaha. Nah, I'm looking forward to meeting him. I REALLY don't think I will be training again, but who knows - anything is possible.

In the bus on the way to interviews

We found a really great family this last week that we've started teaching. The grandma of the family (who we found talking to people in the street) is really receptive to us and is passing through a really hard time right now - she suffers from diabetes and if I remember correctly she said that she also has cancer. The other day while we were visiting them, actually, something happened to her vision and she left to go to the hospital. She told us that in any moment she could pass away, so we're praying and working really hard to help her progress in the time the the Lord gives her. She, Agustina, and her daughter Fabiola, and fabiola's two kids David and Fernanda are all really excited to be sharing with us and I'm positive that they'll be getting baptized within the next few weeks. The Lord has helped us find so many people and I'm so grateful for the guidance that he does give us. The other day in my interview with President Swenson we had a talk about how much atitude really affects the work - I feel that the Lord has always helped me and my companions find great people, and every day that we go out to work I do it expecting to see miracles. It's such an amazing experience...everyone should be out here doing this at some point in their lives.

One of the elders going home this transfer said something that I liked a lot. He said, ''When I was going to get baptized, I was scared...but I did it. When I was going to come on a mission, I was scared...but I did it. And now that I'm finishing my mission and going home, I'm scared...but I will do it.'' Honestly, I feel something like that. I don't really remember much how I felt when I was going to get baptized...but I was scared to death when I came out here. Now I'm hitting my hump day pretty soon here, and I thought about what it's going to be like coming home...and I'm scared of that too, haha. It's going to be something completely different, but it's something that I will have to do, and am looking forward to.

Sermon on the mount....of Curanilahue

Well, that's just about all I've got for this week. We got back to Curanilahue late because we had a zone activity in Lebu, so that's why the letter got to you late today. But I want you all to know that I love you, I miss you, and I would love to hear from all of you once in awhile. It doesn't have to be every week, but a line here and there would be appreciated. Feel free to send hand-written mail as well if you would like! Those are always appreciated. Anyway, I'm going to go get some pictures and junk attached - I love you all VERY VERY much, you're always in my prayers.

Elder Laurito is ready to work


Monday, June 14, 2010

June 14, 2010


Sounds like you all are getting some of our weater! It's been pouring for about 2 days straight and everything is wet - except for my backpack because I put it under my rain coat that the mission gave us, hehe. They also gave us rain pants so that we don't get all wet and miserable. My feet, on the other hand, got absolutely soaked last night. The new shoes do fit (oh yeah, the package got here - thank you!!!) but they're a bit higher than my Eccos and they're harder (for the moment) so they started to give me blisters on my ankles. So for now I wear them on Sundays and special ocassions (baptisms, interviews, conferences, sundays, etc.) so that I can break them in without torturing my feet. They're good shoes, though, so thank you very much :)

We had an interesting baptismal service this last weekend. It was scheduled to start at 5pm so we showed up at 4:30 to make sure that everything was ready (in this branch the branch secretary actually does something so we don't have to give the talks, fill the font, prepare the clothes, etc. -it's pretty nice) and to our dismay we found that there was NO water in the font. Apparently the secretary had filled it, but all the water left because the drain wasn't all-the-way closed. So that was a nice surprise. Anyway, we started to fill the font up again, but the gas for the chapel had run out (the Carabineros are there since their buidling fell in the earthquake so they use up all the gas with heating) so it came out cold...and dirty for some reason. Not exactly sure why. So poor Piero had to get baptized in freezing-cold, dirty water. And on top of that he had to get baptized three times, haha. Poor kid. But he did get baptized and confirmed the next day, so we're happy about that. We don't have a baptism this coming week, but we do have people that we are preparing, so in the next few weeks we'll be having more -yay! There's a saying Elder Laurito gave me that a returned-missionary in his branch in Uruguay gave him: ''A missionary will never miss his family or girlfriend while inside of a baptismal font.'' So I guess I should just spend a lot of time in there so I don't get homesick haha. Nah, I miss you all still. But I'm loving every second out here. I really haven't had any companion problems or anything like that - I've been very blessed so far. And I'll keep working hard so that the Lord doesn't send me that kind of problem! *knocks on wood*

Bautismo de Piero

Here's a funny story for the week:

The other day during companioship study Elder Laurito and I called attention to the part that says pray for your companion when he is teaching - and we joked around and practiced it the way that the Evangelicals pray: everyone says your own prayer while the main person says a prayer (they actually do do's VERY distracting and sucks the spirit out of a prayer). I thought it was just going to be a joke that stayed in the house, haha, but one day we were leaving the house of an old lady, and during the prayer she was saying her own, and when I asked God to help her come to church with us on Sunday Elder Laurito said, ''Amen!'' I ALMOST started laughing out loud during the prayer hahaha. We get along really well - always joking around (including pranks on the other elders that live with us, hehe) and working VERY hard.

Well, I'd better wrap this up and get some pictures attached - we've got an activity planned with one of the members now. We're going to make completos and some other food and watch a church or Disney movie. Let the good times roll!

Obviously, this kitchen is Vincent-proof

Some roofs are really low...

Wiggin it out with E' Laurito and Kamila

Wiggin it out with E' Laurito

Thank you very much for all your supportiveness, mom (and family and friends!). I can't tell you how much it means to me. This week especially...reading letters from you and dad filled my heart and made my day. This week is going to be that much better having heard from you both. It really mean does the world to me. I love and miss you all soooooo much! Looking forward to hearing from you next week!


Monday, June 7, 2010

June 7, 2010

Heeeyyy mommy!

Sorry it took me so long to write you today - we were in Los Alamos for a zone activity, and I did get a chance to do a little internet, but we had to take a bus back to Curanilahue. Anyway, so here I am, back in my sector. We aren't close enough to the ocean to see it, but I have seen it - on the bus on the way here, and last week when I went to Lebu which is right on the coast. I didn't get a chance to go to the beach or anything, but one of these p-days I will be going to the beach and I'll take some pictures. It's really wierd to see the ocean...I've spent my whole life land-locked so it's a bit strange to see so much water. But it's really cool looking. I still like my mountains, though, hehe.

Me, Kester, Smith(my brother)

Glad to hear you've been enjoying the cds - I was going to send a DVD of the mission slideshow for the year 2009, but it didn't make it into the package (stayed in my backpack hehe) so I'll get that sent out with the next one. Make sure you put those cds in a safe place, and even back all of the pictures up on the computer if you'd like (they'll come in handy when we want to make a digital album of my mission in about a year).

Alrighty, now for my week:

1. We had a baptism on Saturday! Two sisters named Valentina(10) and Constanza(22) got baptized together, and they asked Elder Laurito and I to baptized them, so we were all dressed in white :) I'll be attaching pictures. We almost had a train-wreck with the baptism, though. Saturday morning I had a strong feeling that we needed to go see them before another district leader, Elder Frankson (the zone leaders couldn't come down from Cañete), came to do the interview. So we went to see them, and found out that the night before the dad of the family (the parents aren't actually married) had fought with the mom (who is a member that was inactive for about 15 years, but has returned now) about baptizing the younger daughter. So we talked with Valentina and the mom about why they were going to do it. Valentina didn't want anything more than to get baptized - she has wanted to do it for a long time. And then Constanza told us how she really wanted to start with a clean slate again and follow God. The Spirit was really strong...and then the mom just said, ''Forget it, I want my daughters to get baptized and that's what we're going to do. At 6:30 we will be in the chapel and I will see my daughters get baptized.'' That was one of those moments when you just look up and say, ''Thhhhaaank youuuuuu!'' hahaha. So yeah, the baptism went great, and then they both got confirmed the next day. And we've got another baptism this coming weekend, so the work is moving along really well.

Laurito, Constanza, Valentina, Me

Valentina and Me

2. We had a zone conference last weekend and Elder Zeballos (one of the newer 70) came with his wife to visit us. He was the mission president before President Swenson. He taught us about the importance of being able to speak english (he challenged every latino to learn english right away). I never really thought about what people mean when they say that the language of the Restoration is english, but now I understand. The language gets changed a little when you translate it, so some of the scriptures and passages lose some of the meaning. But in english it's pure, it's directly from God and can't be misunderstood. Doctrine and Covenents, The Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, all the Liahonas and Ensigns, etc. I, personally, am very grateful that I already know how to speak english, because I've heard it's pretty tough to learn, haha. ''Count your many blessings, count them one by one. Count your many blessings you are an english-speaking son.'' Hehe.

3. We found the eternal staircase! There's a staircase in our sector that goes alllll the way up a hill and then allllll the way down the other side. It takes FOREVER to get up and down. I took some pictures of it, so I'll attach those.

Thank you for being proud of me, mom. It really means a lot to get some of that supportive talk once in awhile. I pray every day that the family can recieve blessings and that we can all endure together so that we really can enter into the Celestial Kingdom as a family. I regret so much not having known about all this more before my mission - it would have saved me from a lot of time wasted and mistakes made. But one thing I know, is that what I have learned in the last year have saved my life and I could never go back to the way I was before. In the conference President Swenson talked about how when we get back from our missions the test to see if we really learned anything or not will be when we open up the boxes...if we want to pick up the same things where we left off we will not have learned anything. But if we open them up and don't want to go back to the same things, but rather go on to bigger and better things our missions will have changed our lives for the better. I know I could never go back to some of the things of my pre-mission life, but they aren't things that I will miss. I feel better about the person I have become, and I'm very eager to continue working to become what the Lord wants me to be and achieve what he wants me to achieve. And my family is an essential part of all that. I love you all with all of my heart and am looking forward to seeing you all in another year.

Frankson and Me

The Celebration Cake