Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 2010

What's up, sick people?

There's actually some kind of bug going around down here in Chile as well - but I haven't caught anything. My companion Elder Heiser has an eternally stuffy nose (I've actually never heard his real voice, haha), but other than that nothing serious.

Alrighty....who wants to hear Elder Vincent's CAMBIOS!!!!
Is he going to the south of the mission?
Is he turning into a sister missionary?
Is he...eating a sandwich?


He is staying exactly where he is! Haha. Yup, I'm not going anywhere. And for the first time in my mission neither is my companion. That's bound to happen when you're a zone leader - we're more likely to stay together to keep the zone rolling. I'm not bothered by it - Elder Heiser and I work well together so it should be a good cambio. I have to admit we do have very different personalities...he's...femmy...haha...and I' all...haha. But that's ok. Haha, he asked me if I would like to be his roommate after the mission and I said (without thinking for a second) ''No...'' Haha, I was just messing around with him but in a serious way. We're good friends - but the kind of friends that wouldn't be roommates if you know what I mean. He's a great elder with lots of desire to work and help the people, which is exactly what I want to do, so we work very well together.

H' Romero, H' Bair, E' Heiser, me, E' Bu, E' Cottrell

Zone Leaders of the Chile Concepción South Mission

Carolina got baptized! WOOOOOOO!! It was a really spiritual service despite the fact that hardly any members showed up, haha. That was kind of a FLUUUUUNK! It had been about 4 months since the last baptism here so the members were happy to hear that we were going to have one, and then nobody showed up. Plop! Carolina's mom actually showed up unexpectedly, which was amazing. I was showing her the chapel while Elder Heiser and Carolina were changing and right as we passed by the bathrooms Carolina came out. At first they just said ''Hi!'', but then Carolina said ''I thought you weren't going to come'' and started to cry as they hugged. So that was a really cool moment :)

Carolina's baptism

E' Heiser and Carolina leaving the font

Here's a cool experience we had this last week:

So the week of the 18 (independence day here) the zone had a pretty rough week. Elder Heiser and I were basically the only people in our zone that had investigators in church, and the rest of the indicators kind of plummeted. So yeah...the assistants weren't too happy with us. So that Tuesday in our zone meeting we talked about doing something called a sanctification week - in which we would do as instructed in Heleman 3:35 and give our hearts to the Lord. We decided to fast, and contact at least 200 people that week in each sector so that we could find new people to teach, and then help them progress. This last weekend was the biggesty testimony builder ever. Every single sector had people in church, and all but one sector had baptismal dates. So we finished up the cambio VERY strong and today in consejo we saw that we had pretty much the best results for the 6th week of the cambio in the mission. The zone of Los Angeles South is going to be rockin' it this month of October. Fasting is a real way to recieve needed blessings - I encourage you all to study it and apply it in your own lives.

Well, I'm pretty short on time and we've got a 2-hour bus ride back to Los Angeles (we're in Concepción), so I'll go get some pictures attached. I was just in the office and there's no packages or letters for me or anything. I love and miss you all very much and am looking forward to seeing you all again in about 9 months! Crazy how time passes, right? Oh well, such is life. Have a great week!

I found Waldo!


Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Howdy, howdy, howdy, howdy!

Can I just say that you made me realize that my mission is actually going by really fast? That part about being excited for me to return made me realize...''Shoot! Someday this is actually going to end!'' President Swenson actually talked about that in...I believe it was consejo with the leaders...about if we had realized that the mission really was going to end at some point. He said that when he and Sister Swenson started taking missionaries to the airport that were finishing their missions that they had actually picked up when they got here to the mission made them realize that things are going by really fast. Crazy...I've got less than 10 months left and I still feel like I have way too many things to do before I go home. And that's how I'll keep feeling until the very end, I suppose. But I know when I leave I'll be able to say I did everything I could, because that's what I do with my companions every second of every day. So bring it on, 10 months! You don't scare me, time...ok maybe a little...but still, haha.

You had better get that study schedule going, because I'm sure going to need someone to study with when I get back! Companionship study is one of my favorite things to do - you get to bounce ideas off one another and share the cool things you learned while studying by yourself. And really, a lot of personal revelation comes when you talk about your ideas. And I would love to be able to continue doing it in Spanish, so you'll have to get going on that as well: watch movies in spanish without subtitles, and read the scriptures out loud every day and I promise you'll start getting it down (I say watch movies because it's essential to hear a native speaker constantly to be able to know how to speak the language).

So the 18th of September was kind of a flop this year for us missionaries, haha. It wasn't quite as fun as last year even though it was the 200-year mark for Chile. Part of the reasoning for that was that our ward's activity was on the 17th, and we had our p-day on th 18th, so we didn't even get to participate in that because we had to be working haha. And then on the 18th everything was closed and nobody really wanted to go to the parade in the center, so we spent some time in the activity of the other ward that shares our buildling (Las Américas - my ward is named San Martín). So I actually don't even have any cool pictures from this year - because I never saw anything worth taking pictures of! What am I going to do with me and my lazy-picture-taking self? Haha. We did see many a drunk person, however, and some of them did throw up on the sidewalk so that was entertaining.

This coming weekend we'll be having a baptism - the girl getting baptized is named Carolina Inostroza. I believe I mentioned her before - so it suffeth me to say that she's going to be a solid convert. Yesterday in church she said that she really wants her whole family to be together in the gospel, so we'll continue working with her family. Her mom is actually pretty excited to be sharing with us and her dad is opening up, so I'm sure we'll be having some success with them soon. Edward didn't make it to sacrament meeting (he showed up for the last hour because of some sort of family problem) so we'll have to put the baptism off another week. Actually, maybe two weeks because of general conference. GENERAL CONFERENCE!! VERY EXCITED FOR THAT! And then that lady we found a few weeks ago, Marianela, should be able to start coming to church again, so she'll be getting baptized soon as well. Gotta love being a missionary - you get to see so many miracles and changes in the lives of the people you teach. :)

Quick note - this last week I got letters from:

The Purles family
Serena Lever
Lauren Berry

I've written the responses mostly, and will be sending out the letters when I get a chance. Everything is closed for awhile because of the 200-year thingamajig.

Well, that should be just about it for this week. I love and miss you all very much!


PS. I'll be waiting for the pictures of the new addition to the family!

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010

*Note from mom: The first part of his letter refers to my sharing an experience with the BEST meeting I have been to in years, a 150-stake conference this past Sunday with Elder Holland -- landmark address as usual --, Julie Beck and President Packer.

Hey howdy hey!

Thank you for sharing about your spiritual experience, Mom. While I was up at USU...I don't really know what happened, something inside of me just wanted something. That hunger lead me to make the decision to serve a mission and I can say that I've never made a better decision in my entire life. Leaving everything behind has helped me to lose the life I had before and find one that is infinately better and with more purpose. Something one of my investigators, Carolina, said this week made me think about that. She said that nothing and nobody could take her desire to get baptized out of her. I feel the same way about my testimony - it's so important and vital to me that I would never let anyone or anything take it away from me. It really is the most important thing in my life - without it nothing really has a purpose. Sure I would have a family, but to what end? With what purpose? This gospel IS true. This IS the Lord's church. I just wish I could go to a fireside with Elder Holland! I guess I'll just have to wait a little longer for General Conference in October. I finally understand why those guys in the Singles Ward said it would be cooler to watch General Conference than monday-night football, haha!

Let's see, how is Elder Vincent doing this week:

1. Today we went to Saltos del Laja - hadn't been there in awhile. It's actually amazing the difference in water level there is in winter (or the end of winter) as opposed to what there is in summer. I took some pictures, so I'll get some of those sent to you. We went up there as a zone (all but one of the sectors was there) so there will be some new faces in the pictures.

E' Heiser and me by the river

Petting a sleeping dog (H' Bair, H'Barillas, me)

Sleeping dog by the waterfall


2. This coming week we should be having two baptisms - Edward (18) and Carolina (19). Yay for more young people in the church! That's what the ward of San Martín needs, haha. I don't know what I've mentioned about these two before, but here's a short summary: Edward is a guy we met knocking doors. He had some questions about if he could see his dad again or not (he died 2 years ago) and that got him really interested in the church when we said yes. For the last 3 weeks he has been meeting up with us every other day and has gone to church every week. He's a great guy - very innocent and very willing to accept Christ in his life. Carolina is someone we found by taking a look at the people missionaries had taught in the past. A few months ago, actually, she said that she didn't feel ready to get baptized or anything, and her parents weren't too fond of the idea. Now she's loving the church, participating, and she said that nothing could stop her. On top of that, her mom is also sharing with us now! The Lord prepares these people, I have a strong testimony of that.

3. Everyone is getting ready for the 18 - there have been parades of schools pretty much every day, everyone is having parties and, here's the best part, MAKING EMPANADAS! WOOOOOOO!!! They're reaaaally tasty :) I might be taking another wack at the cueca this year...we'll see how that goes haha.

Well, I think that's about all the updates I've got for this week. And my internet time is just about up anyway, so I think I'll go get some pictures attached and get this sent off. Thank you for writing me - I very much enjoyed your letter. Get that scripture studying going on a daily basis, and then when I get back we can have some group study :) I'll share some great things I've learned out here. I love and miss you very much and am always praying for you!


Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6, 2010

Howdy y'all!

I guess if there's more than one person reading this it would be, ''Howdy all y'all!'' Haha, one of the many great things I learned while living in Virginia.

You're always such a busy little bee, mom! But I guess that's better than having nothing to do, right? I love being busy and learning new things, so keep on keepin' on I say. Just don't lose too much family time!

Alrighty, let's see, what's new in the life of Elder Vincent:

Today Elder Heiser and I took a trip up to Cabrero to visit, it was so cool to be able to see some of the people again! We had breakfast at Freddy's house and then went to see another family that is basically my Chilean family. Only the mom, Jaqueline, was there, so that was a little bit of a bummer, but I was really happy to see her. It was very...nostalgic...being back in my greenyville again. I literally felt bigger! Haha. Kind of like when you go back to a place where you grew up as a kid or something - Cabrero seemed pretty small to me, like I had been so much younger when I was there before.

The other day I saw something pretty interesting. We were talking to this guy and asked him if we could come back to meet his family and share a message about Christ, and he said no, I already know everything and I don't really need anything else. And ironically he had a shirt on that said (in english), ''Why do people with closed minds always open their mouths?'' Haha, so I thought that was pretty funny.

Elder Heiser and I are working ourselves to death here! And the Lord is really blessing us for it - this last Sunday we finished up with five baptismal dates, four of which are for September and then one more in October. The people here in Los Angeles are amazing - I'm loving this city. There's this one lady named Marianela that has decided to completely change her life to be able to do live in harmony with the gospel and get baptized. She stopped smoking, has decided to go to churtch every week and is telling her boyfriend that they can't live together anymore. She's going to kick him out! Haha. So she's got a date for the 16th of October. We're teaching a family of three named Angela (the mom) and her two children Gonzalo and Krishna. They have a baptismal date planned for the 17th of September, but it miiiight change. We'll have to figure that out this week. And then the other for the 17th of this month is a girl named Carolina who had actually shared with missionaries before and had gone to church and institute (she's 19). Before she had been going to church with one of her friends, and he got baptized, so she thought she was just doing it for him and decided that wasn't right. So she kind of stopped going to church, but then she said she started thinking that she needed to go back, and that SAME day we passed by to see her (one of the ward councelors gave us the reference a day or two before). So she's really excited to be sharing with us again and her mom is actually participating now as well - she hadn't been doing that before; miracles just happen every day! Gotta love this :) We have plenty more people that we're teaching that don't have baptismal dates yet, but I'm sure they will soon enough.

I think the last bunch of letters I sent out while I was in Curanilahue got lost in the mail, so here's a shout-out to all of the people who should have recieved letters:

Margot Crandall
Jon Baranowski
Rachel King
Serena Lever
Chauri Thurston
Sara McGhie

I may have forgotten a name...or not...but if each of those people could let me or my parents know if you got the letter or not so that I know if I should write another one or not that would be great. If you've already done so don't worry about it - I already know, haha.

The other night we watched Finding Faith in Christ with a family...and it made me feel so much at home - seeing the life of Christ and pondering about it. Christ lives...I know that. He loves me...I know that too. The more one studies the more one comes to realize the divinity of His plan. I encourage you all to really STUDY the scriptures and pray about it. Study without prayer is like going swimming without water (3 Nephi 26:8-10).

Well, I believe that's it for this week. I love and miss you all very much and am constantly praying for you all. This is the Lord's work, there is not a single doubt in my entire being of that. I encourage you all to increase your faith in Christ and I promise you will find things you didn't know and feel things you've never felt.

Anyone want this piece of land?

Best mission in the world - with Elder Hatch my old zone leader from Lebu

Elder Hall liked that I killed him, haha

Elder Heiser and his mattress mountain