Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010

Hola Mamá!

Glad to hear that the new baby arrived safely and that she is doing well along with the mommy. I'd love to see some more pictures! did send some to gmail, so I'll have to take a look at those in just a minute.

Elder Kester...or rather, Camaron wrote me as well and told me about the visit he made to you all. I'm glad you got to meet him - I love that guy. I hope he didn't tell you anything too embarassing, hahaha. We had an amazing time as companions - I'll never forget that guy. I didn't know that he was in that ward, but that's neat.

Well, we had a baptism this last weekend! Wooooo! It was a really cool experience - the last time we had a baptism pretty much nobody from the ward came. The ward has been struggling a bit lately, but we've started to work with all the leaders more and they're all really excited, and we're having much better results. About 50 people came to the service, and 117 to the Sunday meetings. So we're very happy about how things are going here in San Martín.

Christopher's baptism

Today we had a zone activity and watched the Singles 2nd Ward. Everyone was just cracking up about all the stereotypes and stuff in that. You know what, I enjoyed it. I'd watch it again - that series is very cleverly written. Afterwords we had a water balloon fight. I had avoided getting wet, so some of the missionaries got a big pan full of water and chased me down and soaked me. They did that to everyone who stayed dry, haha. Good times.

We have MAAAANY investigators, but I wanted to share about one in particular with you all. Her name is Elizabeth, and we met her about 4 weeks ago. We found her doing door-to-door contacts and when we got to her house she came out and was dressed in black and crying. We asked her what had happened and she said, ''Everything that shouldn't have happened has happened.'' We found out that her husband had passed away just a day or two before and that a few years ago her daughter had also passed away. She was just...depressed - lost. For a good while we just listened to her and let her cry, and then we asked her if we could sing a hymn. We sang her Nearer My God To Thee....I've never felt the power of that song more than in that moment. Ever since then she has had us sing at least one hymn every time we pass by. For about 3 weeks she kind of disappeared - she went out to the country side to be with her mother and get away from everything. But when she got back she called us and asked us to come over. Turns out her neighbor is a less-active member, so we went over to the member's house and watched Finding Faith In Christ, which was also a very spiritual experience. The next day she asked us how to be able to be a member of our church and what she would have to do to participate. She asked about baptism and basically put her own baptismal date - the Lord prepared her, I have no doubt about that.

Well, I believe that's about all I've got for this week. I hope you're all doing well! Send me pictures of the halloween stuff! I might just dress up as a missionary this year...last year I was boring and dressed up as a missionary. Got to mix things up a little, right? Hehe. Well, I'll look forward to hearing from you next week. Love and miss you all tons!

A very tedious way to destroy an old jail

Knocking doors that are too small for me

Zone activity


Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

Querida mamá mía,

Sabe que? Creo que poco a poco su español está mejorando! Le felecito! Siga practicando y va a ser super seca (that's a Chilenismo for awesome or the best at something). Todo está de maravilla en la misión - estoy aprendiendo bastante todos los días acerca de ayudar a los demás, y también de ayudarme a mi mismo. Esa experiencia ha sido una de las bendiciones más grandes de toda mi vida. Estoy animado para el día en que podré compartir consigo historias de la misión cara a cara.

I totally spaced it - I didn't realize that I was going to have another niece this week! There's another face I'll have to get to know when I get back. Looking forward to the pictures! I took a look at those blogs - I'm liking Justin and Mandi's house and I'm sure Jasmine is excited to be deflated. Might want to try some gas-x, Wass (two snare pops and a cymbal crash) Haha, I kill myself sometimes. ... :)

It's good that you teach Kelton the financial laws - I remember the rush of having money as a young teenager, going on buying sprees and then regretting it aftwerwards when there was no money left to get what I really needed haha. That's when I studied a little bit about budgeting - do it Kelton! You'll have money! President Swenson said that if you save 2 dolars every day for 60 years with a total inversion, you'll have $1,100,000. I want to try that, haha. Starting the day that I start to earn money again.

Cami - stay away from returned missionaries as more than just friends. Even though they may be fantastic guys, and worthy priesthood holders, they are very much looking for WIVES.

Ian - study the scriptures and pray regularly. The desire to go to church will come. It did for me.

I finally got the box! Thank you for everything! The sister missionaries from the Los Angeles North zone are pretty excited for a joint zone activity to watch the Other Side of Heaven, haha. And I'm very much enjoying the peanut butter and Reeses. It's been awhile since I've had some of those things :) I ended up leaving the other jar of peanut butter you sent with the Millahual family in Temuco.

Cool experience I had from this week:

We were walking down the street one evening, and there was a lady walking with a young girl. We started to talk to them, I almost fell on my face (part of the sidewalk was missing, haha), and then we got on the subject of being happy in life. We asked them if they considered themselves happy people, to which they responded no. Then they asked us the same question - first time that somene has asked me that in my mission! At least that I remember. I told her yes, that I'd never been so happy in my whole life. They asked why, and we did exactly what one of the apostles from conference did - we pulled out a Book of Mormon, told them how it had changed our lives and invited them to read it. They left with smiles on their faces and are excited to have us come over to visit them. Read the Book of Mormon. Gain a testimony of it, and then share it with anyone you can. It can change lives, I testify of its power.

I'm working on putting a christmas box together for you - any special requests? I know you all don't know everything about Chile, but is there anything you would like me to send? I might need some financial help to send the box...but that just depends on what is in it. So talk it over with the family and then let me know.

Family - I love you. I miss you all, and I pray for you constantly. I want to encourage you to do three things that will enrich your lives. If you do these three things I promise you will find more peace and happiness in each of your lives:

1. STUDY the scriptures - this means more than just reading. Use the footnotes, ponder what you have read in your hearts. Look for deeper meaning. Apply the scriptures directly to your lives. Do all that and do it regularly.

2. Pray fervently and constantly. I remember my favorite quote from the book Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage: ''Prayer is made up of heart throbs and the righteous yearnings of the soul...'' (p.238). Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to hear from us. Be humble and meek enough to actually CONVERSE with Him.

3. Attend regularly Sunday meetings. As it says in Moroni 6, we can recieve great spiritual strength by talking about our souls and partaking of the sacrament (in spanish -santa cena, which is holy dinner :) ).

I have been doing and will continue doing these things in my life and they have enriched my life in ways I didn't know possible. Spiritual strength requires constant and hard work, and will continue to grow when shared. Share your testimonies and you will be happier - God promises us that.

Well, that should be just about it for this week. I didn't take a whole lot of pictures this week, but I'll send some for you all. I love and miss you very much, but know that I am happy and am doing very well. I'll look forward to the letter next week!

Broken shoe

Kitty jail

They named a street after me!


Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010


Well that was an insane first week of a cambio for us here in San Martín and Los Angeles South - we're totally kicking trash! Every single sector in the zone had people with them in general conference and we've got oodles of baptismal dates :) President Swenson said he can feel the momentum picking up with this zone, so we're really happy to see some fruits of all the hard work we've been putting into the zone for the last 7 weeks. We had one especially cool experience in general conference on Sunday - the first session finished, and we had to run back to the house quickly to pick something up, head to lunch, and then RUUUN all the way over to the other side of the sector to pick up an investigator to go to the last session with us (her name is Abi). So when we were in the house our phone starts ringing - it was an investigator we have named ¨Patricia. I had called her that morning to remind her about conference, and she said that she had too much studying to do and wasn't going to be able to make it. So that was poopy, but then she called and said two words, ''Vincent! Vine!'' In english, ''Vincent! I came!'' So we raaaan back to the chapel and talked with her for a minute. MIRACLE! Haha.

We also had a really cool thing happen this last week: We were talking to people in the street on the way to an appointment, and we saw a nice couple and decided to talk to them (I think my english is starting to sound really bad...). The first thing the lady said when we shook their hands was ''Hola, Elder!'' So my first thoughts were, ''DANGIT! MEMBER!'' (I imagine the missionaries in Utah get that a lot, haha). After that she said, ''Quiero que pasen a visitarle a mi hijo'' ''I want you to visit my son.'' Next thoughts: ''Great...another mom wanting us to put her wayward teenager into line.'' Then she said this: ''El se quiere bautizar'' ''He wants to get baptized'' Curiously...I asked her how older her son was (if he's 8 years old then we have to tell the ward to teach him, because we're only in charge of convert baptisms which is 9 and up). Crossed fingers....''Tiene once años.'' SCORE! Hahaha, that was a little present from heaven. So we went over the next day to meet her son (she's a less-active member that wants to be active again) and he's a really good kid.

Here's a funny thing that happened last night:

So we were talking to people in the street (we do that a lot, haha) when we found ourselves with two women and their daughters. Come to find out that they are inactive members and had stopped going to church because somebody offended them like a billion years ago and they're still bitter about it. They said that they were even about to baptize their son, who has 10 years, but decided not to because they got angry. At first I was trying to just smooth things over and tell them that everyone makes mistakes and that they have to forgive and stuff, but then I just got sick of her garbage haha. So I said something along these lines: ''Look, lady, you can go your whole life being mad about stupid things, or we can come over to your house, help you come back to church, be happy, and baptize your son. If you want to keep being mad, fine, we'll be on our way, but if you'd like to help your family we'd love to come over.'' She thought for a minute and then said...''Come over on Tuesday.'' Haha, so that was a fun experience for me.

Ian - thanks for the shout out. Let me know when half time is over. And remember, if I'm not back in five minutes...just wait longer!

Kelton - don't cut your neck dummmmmmmbbb face! Collars are for dogs :-p

General conference was amazing - I hope you all got to see it. I've decided that when I get home I will be asking work off MONTHS in advance to be able to go to every session of both days every year. Spiritual refills are great. Let me know which talks were your favorites! I must have taken about 7 pages in notes, but I left my binder at home so I can't share what I wrote, haha. Maybe next week.

I still haven't seen the package, but I haven't been to Concepción since I was there last week. This week on Thursday we have a conference, though, so I'm hoping to get it then. Oh yeah, while I'm talking about that, here are the letters I sent out today:

Lauren Berry
Serena Lever
Margot Crandall
Chauri Thurston
Jasmine and Joel

It took me awhile to send them out because...well, I have very little time to do anything. Since becoming a zone leader I haven't really had too many regular p-days. They're often spent in meetings or doing something for the zone. But that's ok, I love the service.

Well, that should be just about it for this week. Thank you for the letter and the updates - I always enjoy reading about the family. For those who have not yet written me, do so through snail mail! I want to hear from everyone. Alrighty, I'll get some pictures attached now. I love and miss you all very much!

Kissing a turtle

The Bachelor Pad

The Room

We found LIFE cereal! (Blogger rotated the picture and won't let me change it back...)