Monday, December 30, 2013

Letter 14: First Baptism!

Hello! How are things??
Yes talking with you guys was probably the best thing ever! It makes me want to be able to talk with you even more is the only bad thing haha. Seeing all of your faces and hearing your voices was just amazing. Geez, I should have recorded it on my camera or something. Geez I miss you guys like crazy! We are going to be moving to our new are today at around 3 o clock more or less, the address is (3500 Zions #95, San Juan, Coquimbo) And if that doesn't work, replace San Juan with La Cantera. But you'll be able to see our apt. and all. Yes transfers for me are a mixed emotion thing. First of all yes, I hate change, just hate it, at least till its over and I realize wow, this isn't so bad. But at the start I just always dread it. Elder Holmes is good though, he doesn't really laugh at my jokes though, for example the other day a care drove by that had wax all over it and I said "Haha, looks like someone didn't learn to wax off" obviously referencing Karate Kid and he didn't even laugh? Whatever, I thought it was funny. But overall he's a good guy. I will send a picture. No I haven't gotten my package yet and wont until the zone leaders bring it up from Vina Del Mar, so another week or two. Hahah that was so funny that they wouldn't let you tell! How lame..but I'm excited to see! I know ill like it, I had the best people picking stuff out, especially Trevor, he knows how to get the good stuff haha. Hopefully it all arrives in one piece!. I cried a little a bit, especially after that prayer, geez, but everything just felt really good after that. 
New York sounds so exiting! I've thought about mine and Trevor's trip to there several times as I've been out here, that was an amazing time. I'm sure you two will have a blast! Hopefully dad has fun in his conferences as well...haha. And yes be sure to take photos!~I like your goals, I definitely miss the temple. If we reached our baptism goal of 1000 for the year we will go to the temple as a mission...so...we find out pretty soon. I hope so!.  I haven't set any goals on paper for this year. I need to do that, i have ideas in my head but nothing really set in stone. Ill do it though! Hey if one of your goals is to read and study that what ill be doing too. We as a mission are going to read it 4 times this year and mark different key topics. Should be good!  Let me know how it goes. 
But yesterday we had the baptism of Mattias Narveaz! And it was sooo good! He asked me to baptize him and i was a little nervous doing it in Spanish. Also, something really funny. Please imagine this in your heads right now...so we go into the water and I say the prayer (keep in mind i explained the process before hand, the whole bending the knees and plugging nose things) and I go and put him in the water and then all of a sudden he is almost jumping out of the water! and then makes this like "ahhh" sound. And me being completely surprised stood there thinking "what the..???" Haha. But the baptism worked we didn't have to do it again. And after he just said he was surprised or something? I have no idea but every time I think about it I laugh. We went and visited him afterwords and watched a video about John Tanner. It was a good lesson in how our sacrifices can help others. And how really, our worldly things shouldn't be our main priority.
Also during lunch we watched this church video I think called Lighthouse. But it was really good as well, it teaches about how the littlest of actions can make such big differences. Its about this guy who dies and writes in his will to about 6 people in different ways they unknowingly have changed his life.

Anyway this week has been a good one. And hopefully another will follow
I love you all so much! Have an great week! (ps. i also cant wait for May!) Haha. I miss you all tons. I Hope that you're all doing well and that you're happy.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Letter 13: I'm Dreaming of a Warm Christmas!

This week has been good. I'm now with a new companion and his name is Elder Holmes, and no his first name is not Sherlock. Although that would be pretty awesome if you ask me. Then I would get a friend named Watson just so I could say, "its elementary my dear Watson". But sadly, he has no friends named Watson, well, I'm assuming, I haven't actually asked. 
Other than that my Spanish is coming along really well, or so I think, Elder Holmes and the new Zone Leader Elder Bessey were telling me how my Spanish was really good and how when they were at where I'm at right now they weren't speaking like I am now. If that makes sense..haha, no but I still feel like Spanish will take a while to master, especially the way Chileans speak it. Oh yeah, also we are going to be changing areas within the zone of Coquimbo. Elder Holmes and I are switching to the Talinai (spelled something like that) but its in an area close to where I'm at now, like 10 minutes by car. Its also called La Cantera. But the zone leaders are going to work in our area because its so much closer to the chapel and I guess that's where president wants them. So on the 30th of December we are going to be making the switch. I don't really know how I feel about it, I love the view from our apartment and everything, and ive finally made connections with the people in the ward and everything. But I hear that that area is also good, but ill let you guys know.
We are working with this Less active Jose, and his wife Valedia, she wants to be baptized but she cant until they get married. At first they were going to wait 4 years!! Can you believe that?? But after we taught them more and found out more about the law (the reason they were going to wait so long is because he is in so much debt and if they get married the debt people can take all of their stuff and not just his) but we found out you can get married with separation of assets. So they are going to get married in January and then she will be baptized! Not that i will be here...haha, but still. Its exciting to see people progress and everything. They attended church yesterday and said they really liked it. 
Last night we were able to watch the Christmas devotional broadcast, seeing the conference center and ACTUAL snow made me miss home a bit, but it was a really good message. It really is hard for me sometimes to be away from the strong base of members we have where we live. But the families here and the people here are really great, they have a lot of potential and love. 
Well other than that is just our information for Christmas, we are going to be calling Wednesday at 8 o clock at night. I'm not sure what time that would be where you are? Around 5 or 4 I think. I'm excited to talk to you guys! I hope you pick up -_- hahah. We will be using Skype, I don't know your username..so maybe I will have to call first or something. But yeah! Then on Tuesday we will be eating dinner with the Kong family that we are currently reactivating. Should be a good week!
I love you guys, I hope you have an amazing Christmas and that its a great time! I cant wait to hear your voices and see you all! Definitely going to be the highlight of my Christmas. I miss you all, be safe and have a good week!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Letter 12: Fleas, warm weather, and pictures!

Hello to the BEST mom in the world!
Well, almost Christmas! And absolutely doesn't feel like it with this weather. Its really tripping me out to be honest. It feels like mid June. Or just like San Diego, ill attach some photos. But to answer a few of your questions, changes are this Wednesday and I'm 90% sure I'm changing areas..it may not be very far though, I might stay in the Coquimbo zone. I know all this because of the Zone leaders (who I happen to be super tight with because of my District leader comp haha). I think the zone leaders are going to change to the area I'm currently in and i might be headed to theirs or somewhere else. If I went to theirs it would be in La Cantera, Coquimbo. We will see though! I'm also almost 100 % sure ill be getting a new comp. Which is pretty lame because Elder Hale and I get along really well. As for Christmas, with the changes being so close I have zero idea what I'm going to be doing, or where ill be, but from what I've heard, we spend it with a family and hopefully they have Skype, I'm pretty sure they will. I don't know exactly what time we will be calling but next Monday ill have a better idea of everything. Pres. Kahnlein wants us to spend our Christmas day with a less active family. So we'll try and make that happen.
That's awesome Christian finally called! I didn't give him any money, but maybe I can give it to his parents that are taking care of his house? They mentioned something about getting one of those little wood willow statues but with a father and son. (you know the type that we have? Like the little wooden people. I think its called willow tree). So maybe we could send them one of those or something? They have one heck of a story as well. There son was born without an immune system and almost died when he was born. He has had a ton of surgeries and they go back to the states every year to check up on him and get medication. They're really happy and loving people though, I remember meeting them for the first time and Christian made me laugh a bunch, partly because of his accent and partly because he made of my accent. He is really good at English though. But they're doing really well now and that's why they're in the states at the moment.
Ah! A trip to New York?? That brings back a ton of memories with me and Trevor! You two should go visit some of the same areas we did and take pictures! I can just imagine you two right now, buying some delicious dinner and doing the whole "indulgence"thing...be sure to take video! But whats the conference for exactly? For brokers? I just realized its gonna be freezing there..This whole weather thing is really throwing me off. But anyway, I'm also very happy for the New Year, A nice fresh start is always a good thing. You'll have to share with me some of your goals.
Also how did family night with the missionaries go??
Awesome, I look forward to that package and all! (: tell Lucia Thank you very much! That's awesome she is going to be in Chile. 
But anyway, I hope that you all are having a great Christmas time. And the same to you, I especially hope you're all feeling the Spirit and enjoying what this time is really about. Its hard to be away from you guys sometimes, its hard not being able to go home each day and have that strength immediately around me BUT I know you all are praying for me as I am for you. I know that everything is okay, and will be okay. Ultimately, I know that being here is a blessing. Thank you for supporting and loving me. I love you all so much! Have an awesome week!

OH YEAH! This week has been full of funny experiences. FOR EXAMPLE. We went to this house to teach 2 ladies and a man. And they had a 3 year old kid and we began to teach and then I look up and what do you know, there's the mom's boob hanging out right in the open and the 3 year old kid is just going to town drinking. This continued for about 7 minutes while we taught and I just had to keep eye contact the whole time or look away. So awkward. Oh and then this guy in the street came up and was just super high and he hugs Elder Hale for a solid 30 seconds and just strokes his head mumbling blessings, bless you. etc...it was funny until he let go of Elder Hale and came for me. Also here they do the whole shake hand and kiss things which we aren't allowed to do, but people just lean in and do, we cant really push them away. So that happens almost daily.

Okay, one last thing!
Can you do some research for me on fleas. Like..how to get rid, how to prevent etc. the best ways.
And if fleas collars actually sterilize you or not...like if that's a myth. Hahaha that would be awesome!


















Thursday, December 12, 2013

Letter 11: Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Hey Mom!
Well first of all Happy Birthday tomorrow!!! 30 years young wooo!!! And you only look 25, geez, no wonder I look so young and no wonder all of the Latinos call me Cara de Nino haha. (young face) But seriously I hope that your birthday is great and that the family gives you a great time! I'm sure that they will. Also I just want to let you know how grateful I am that you're my mom. Seriously I wouldn't want anyone else in the entire world to be my mom. I miss you so much some days, but I'm so happy to have your example and your love, it makes everything a lot easier. Mom, you're amazing, from everything you done for me and the family, to all the things you do for others and just the great example of truly caring and loving for people. I love how we can always just laugh and I feel so happy anytime I'm around you. I love you Mom! Don't ever forget it!
Man!! Snow?? That"s so hard for me to believe, today is actually pretty hot here, feels like a perfect beach day! (that I'm not going to have haha). We have to do that sled thing again when I come home, that was my favorite! I bet Bridger had a blast, I know I would have. The coldness sounds terrible though, seriously, I remember some days walking outside and its hard to even breathe because its so cold. But don't worry, ill keep things nice and warm down here. (; 
Hey its funny you mention that little family night idea with the missionaries, I've been thinking about the times we were good about doing family night and the times we weren't. You all should start doing family night again, for real. Its such a blessing to have that spiritual message outside of church once a week. I know that it will be a huge help to the family if you all make time to do it. (not to mention the prophets have told us to do it (;' ) I know life is busy and you may not even have to do it on Monday, but I think it would be great if you all found a time you could do it, including Trevor (since hes moved out and all). But hey, just a suggestion, its been on my mind this past week or two. Those missionaries sound awesome though. (: Oh and in response to your other question, no we almost never have dinner in general. Everyday we eat lunch, which is their big meal, its like our dinner, with members. And then they have a mini meal called once between 6 and 8 but we are usually teaching and stuff, so it just depends, some days we get it, some days we don't! But don't worry I eat when we get to the pension around 930 to 1000.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Letter 10: Testimony, marijuana, and meat feasts!

To my dearest Mother and Family,
Well happy past Thanksgiving and birthday week!! Sounds like everything went off without a hitch and that you're all doing really well which makes me happy. Thanksgiving sounded delicious and I expect lots of pictures from this past week haha! Oh! before I forget, yes, your first package finally got to me! Elder Hale on Friday and Saturday went down to Vina for a District Leader conference and he was able to pick it up and bring it back! It was funny because he got back Saturday morning at like 3 in the morning when to the church to pick them him up (I was on exchanges with the zone leaders for while he was in Vina) and we went into the church to drop some things off and hes like oh hey! I have a package for you! And you can imagine at that time in the morning having just woken up I felt a little bit dead, so I didn't really react much as he threw it to me. We then walked back to the pension with SIX missionaries, which I found a little odd? Turns out that we all were going to sleep in our pension. We have 3 beds...so we combined them all into a huge mega bed and all had to sleep there and UGHHH it was the worst. I put my package away for the next morning and went to bed, but didn't sleep for a solid hour an half because they all talked. I'm so happy that Dad gave me those ear plugs because I now use them every single night! Elder Hale talks in his sleep, well, teaches in his sleep. I've woken up a few times even with the ear plugs. It's pretty funny, also dogs bark all night long and the rooster crows whenever its awake so those earplugs have proved to be a life saver for me.
Lets see, this week was pretty productive in finding people and teaching some investigators that we have.
One night we had gone to teach an investigator but they weren't home so we were walking back to the main roads and we were on this pretty run down, alley way road and there were 3 boys sitting on the side smoking their marijuana (its huge down here) and we went up and said hey and all, we were just talking with them and joking around with them about how smoking is bad for them and then I noticed the butt of a gun sticking out of this guys hoodie pocket. He saw that I was looking at it and pulls out this huge revolver already cocked ready to fire and said "look, cool huh"? Hahah oh my gosh...this kid was 14 years old. It semi scared me but also just made me feel bad. These three kids aren't even 16 and are smoking and packing guns. Meh, its just too bad sometimes the way people think life has to be. But we asked if we could come by a share our message and they're were like sure, why not. SO that will be interesting!
OH YEAH! While on exchanges guess what? Friday, the day after thanksgiving we had lunch with the really well off member and we had a HUGE asada, or barbecue, just with all different types of meat and bratwursts and stuff like that. THen for dessert this delicious ice cream and fresh strawberries! I honestly feel like it was a blessing from the Lord. I know it sounds silly but the zone leaders were telling me they've only had food like that like twice on their missions and what a coincidence we had it right around Thanksgiving. I don't know, it was just kinda nice to feel like we were celebrating thanksgiving. It just goes to show that the Lord watches out for his children not only in the major big ways but in the small things as well. He wants us to be happy and I'm so grateful to him for everything he's given me, especially you all, my family. My family that has pushed me, supported me, loved me, and helped to get to where I am today. I hope that I can give back all that I've been given. What a blessing it is to be out here as well, to be able to try and change peoples lives for the better. Its a hard thing, we get rejected a ton, and we have days that I feel like im completely useless because we didn't teach and no one wanted to hear us. But thats okay, because we have days where people listen and where we can see people feel the Spirit, its a special thing.We taught this one man in the Zone leaders sector and it was his second lesson. When we arrived at his hosue he was outside reading the book of Mormon! It was the best thing I've seen! We always commit people to read, and they almost never read, its really frustrating. But he was out sitting on his patio. Jose is his name and he is 76 years old. His answers to all of our questions were just spot on and hes accepted to be baptized after he has read and prayed about the Book of Mormon. How awesome right? Its days like those that make this all worth it, that make me feel like I'm making a difference. Something else I've come to realize is that being out has helped me and will continue to help to grow faster and more in depth than anywhere else.
Last little story, we have a 16 year old boy Ignacio in our branch and we have had lessons with him that always are pretty lame, because he doesn't take it seriously. He's baptized but we are still teaching him because retention is a huge effort here. Anyway our lesson with him this past week was unreal, well it wasn't really a lesson but him telling us his story. His dad sells drugs and abandoned his family, and before he left Ignacio was walking home one day and all of a sudden gun shots were ringing out all around him and apparently he saw his dad shooting and getting shot at. He's been abused and has been through just a whole bunch of crap. He told us he went through a stage of depression where he would have these flashes of white hotness as he described it and next thing he knew he would be holding a knife to his chest or things like that. He told us how now he lives only to see the next day and what experiences there were. He doesn't really know why he was baptized and doesn't have a testimony. But we asked him if he would come with us all Tuesday every Tuesday to be a missionary. To feel how it felt to serve others and feel the love and joy that can come from this gospel. We're going to give him a white shirt and tie as well. Man, people have had rough lives, really rough, and I know that truly, its only through this gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can ever truly feel peace and calmness from the world. I wish that everyone would just be open to this gospel and the peace and joy it brings, can you imagine the world with everyone knowing they had a Savior and purpose here?


Well, I just want to let you know how grateful I am for you all. How much I truly do love you and miss you every single day. But now its a good type of missing, its a missing because I know how happy and loved I am when I'm around you. I'm not sorrowful or mourning being separated. Some days are harder where I feel a little sad, but for the majority, I know why I'm here and I know that this is the best thing, for you all and for me. I'm so happy that I have your support and your love every single day in your prayers. They truly have helped. It's amazing how much my testimony has grown in just 2 months. I pray for you all every single day and always look to your examples to me to be better. I see the families here and I love being able to visit with them and feel the ambiance that radiates from a family. I hope that we can find families ready to receive our message. Nothing would make me happier than being able to see a family come to the knowledge that I have of an eternal joyful family. A purpose, a belonging, a home. Thank you for providing me with a loving home centered on the gospel. I see a lot of homes and people out here that are so lost, that arent happy, and it makes me all the more grateful to have had the upbringing I had. I love you all so much! I wish I could express in words. Have a fantastic week and remember to pray!
I hope your sickness gets better! those throat and head ones are the worst! Tell Bridger its okay, and i cant wait to get his letter. I got a letter from Linda and Montey by the way! And from your package those clothes and tie are awesome! I love the tie! The pictures though are my favorite! I love being able to see the family. One of the best ones is when we are all walking towards the camera hahahaha, makes me laugh every time, especially Brock.
Oh and last thing, there is a member going to the states for a month or so and she said I could send with here letters an Christmas presents to send to you all. So be expecting stuff. I gave her your numbers in case there are issues...she doesn't speak English but her husband does a bit! so good luck ;)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Letter 9: Good exchanges and fleas bites!

I know, it's crazy how the weeks just seem to pass by at times! It also just depends on the day for me. Some days are really, really slow, but then overall when I look back over the week it seems to have flown by. But things this week have been really good for the most part! Yesterday and on Saturday we had District meeting as the whole district of Coquimbo. There are about 5 churches in our zone area and all attended. President Kahnlein came up for the sessions as well. I guess this meeting is a once a year thing. But the big "buzz" around here was about the changing of the limits of the branches. Basically our area El Llano got reduced in size and The Parte Alta and San Juan absorbed some of our area. We got a new Branch President who is apparently a super cool guy (according to Elder Hale). Also because of these changes, missionary efforts/areas are going to change a bit in December when we have our next transfers. I'm not sure whats going to happen but Ill let you know! Seeing Pres. Kahnlein was awesome! He had interviews with several of the missionaries here including me and he asked how things were going and what not and then asked if I was getting to know the area and the people. I said yeah, definitely trying, and he told me "Good, because you might be here a while" Hahaha, so who knows, I could be here for some time. Elder Hale has been here for 5 months knows, The missionaries up north usually have longer stays in their areas. President also told me that I needed to be memorizing areas because I MIGHT be getting a new comp, and then added the disclaimer of "but we will see, I don't know yet". But for how long Elder Hale has been here and how from what the Zone leaders were saying I'm pretty sure ill have a new comp in December! 
Let''s see, ah yes. I went on exchanges with one of the Zone leaders this past Tuesday, His name is Elder Faught and me and him get along SO well! It was an awesome experience and the area we were in, La Cantera, is a bit of a nicer place. We were able to find 3 new investigators and teach some pretty solid lessons. We taught one of his investigators named Juan, who was supposed to get baptized yesterday but on Saturday he decided to smoke again. So he wont be getting baptized for a least a little while. After the day though we went back to the pension and I went to be in the bed of Elder Alvarez who is Chileano and guess what?? I woke up with about 60 Flea bites all over my arms, legs, and a few on my stomach. -_- needless to say I wasn't very happy. You know how paranoid I get about things like that so when I got back to my pension I washed just about EVERYTHING I had and obviously the clothes I wore over there because I didn't want to have fleas anywhere near my pension hahah. I still have the bites on me and I have to be super careful not to itch any or I wont stop itching them. But yeah, we call the Zone leaders every night and that night I was like grandpa (grandpa because he trained elder hale, who is my "dad"), what the heck man! You gave me fleas! And all he had to say was welcome to Chile. What a punk. He's actually really awesome, but ill have to teach him some basic hygiene apparently.
The work here is good but its also kinda hard. There aren't a whole lot of people who want to listen to us. For example the excuse I've heard over and over that really gets annoying is "I believe in God, but in my own way".....What is that? Hahah Who knows. But we have 2 new investigators that are really good. Their names are Caroll and Paola, Paola wanted to get baptized from our first lesson and Caroll is just really interested. Neither of them came to church yesterday unfortunately, one felt sick and the other had work. So many people here work on Sunday. But we're working with them and hopefully they'll be able to progress. I definitely need to work on being patient and being sincere as well. Sometimes when we're contacting and we are getting rejected a lot or no one seems interested I just stop hoping or believing someone will be interested. But I need to change that and give everyone a fair chance. Its hard to see people so easily discard our message. Its like we have this amazing gift and people don't even want to see or hear it. A lot of our work is with less actives though, there are an unreal amount of less actives and in-actives! Its insane. We are keeping busy though, so that's good! 
Haha funny story, this week we were at an investigators house and Harry Potter was on the T.V. and I really had to stop myself from watching it because I love Harry Potter. It kind of helped that it was in Spanish. Oh and Chile would be a prime place to survive a Zombie Apocalypse. 80 percent of the houses here have fences, walls, or gates. I feel like the people here would be well of in a world war z situation. Oh yeah I forgot to tell you guys this little story but the first night I got here the Zone leaders stayed at our pension and so we combined the 3 mattresses we had into one huge mega bed and it totally reminded me of when me Brock and Bridger did that mega bed thing! Hahah. Oh geez. Well my week has been pretty good. And a new one is about to begin again. Oh and if you just are sending the package tomorrow, it probably wont get here till past the beginning of December and then ill have to wait till the beginning of January when the Zone leaders will bring it from the mission home. But who knows, it might get here! I haven't gotten your first one, but Elder Hale is going to Vina for a District leader conference on Friday and if there's a package he will bring it back. We'll see! Hey if you haven't sent it yet....Homemade choc.c hip. cookies or something would be amazing! An Elder here gave me that idea and it sound like the best thing ever haha but anything will be good!  I love you all so much! I hope your weeks get a little more exciting! I cant wait to hear about this week with the birthdays and with thanksgiving! I'm going to freaking miss you guys I'm sure. But I;m happy you'll be having a good time and maybe we'll find a new investigator that day or something? Have an amazing week and eat a ton of food! And don't forget to toast me ;)


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Letter 8: First Success, First Rejection.

Dear Mom!
Well another week has passed again!
It's been a really good week. The first part was really slow and a little hard because we just kept getting rejected and people that did let us teach them were so uninterested and were so blah. That's the disappointing part of missionary work, you have this joy, this happiness, this love for them, and they just dont even realize whats right in front of them. But then there are successes,yesterday we found this lady Angelica and her son in law Gonzalo, they're both Catholic but are really interested in what we have to say and about what we're teaching. They asked a lot of questions and we were able to answer them all and schedule another appointment, hopefully the next one with their whole family there (our pres. stresses teaching families a lot). It was interesting because they were talking about the Avangelists here and how the ministers require a lot of tithing and then go and use it to buy themselves things. They said how unfair and how contrary to God this was. We were able to explain what our tithing was used for and how none of it goes to support the leaders of our church. It was a really good part of the lesson. Its also kind of funny because we'll be walking down the street and we'll see a really nice house with the Avangelist's symbol and be like "oh, there's a minister's house". 
It's interesting to see that our church has answers and reasons for everything. And everything is done for a righteous purpose and for a reason. 

As far as my companion goes, its been pretty great. He's been super helpful and is always pretty happy, which kind of annoys me sometimes hahah, I know that sounds bad i'm getting used to it and it may or may not be rubbing off on me, I don't know. (: Also I gave him the wonderful advice of Dwight Shrute. Remember the scene where Michael asks Dwight "Whats the most inspiring thing ive ever said to you?" and Dwight says "Don't be an idiot, changed my life". I then proceeded to tell him that anytime he does something to ask himself, would an idiot do that thing? And if the answer is yes, do NOT do that thing. I'm full of wisdom, sometimes I feel like I should be training him. Nah, kidding of course hahah but we get along really well and he's been having me teach more and more during lessons. For example last night we went to a recent converts house and were teaching the mom and her two sons and Elder Hale was talking and then it went quiet. And after about 10 seconds I look over and he's just staring at me. The good old pass off look of "its your turn" So then I taught the passage of scripture and all. Haha the mission never ceases to surprise me. The other day this old man was yelling that we were CIA and some other stuff I couldn't understand. And then there was a drunk guy who came up and just began saying a bunch of profane things over and over. We told him to get baptized haha. Let's see...Oh yes. They don't do thanksgiving here. WHAT A RIP OFF!!! Hahah I'm so disappointed :( but oh well that's okay. Ill just dream of the delicious food and amazing family.
We had lunch with this family the other day and the mom reminded me exactly of you! She made this joke with her son (like you and Trevor) and just began to laugh and laugh and the Dad was reacted exactly like Nichole and Dad do! I couldn't help but just see you when she was laughing. I loved it. (: Hey I'm sending Nichole and Bridger birthday letters! Hope they get there in time. 

I'm doing really well though, and I hope that you all are as well! How long till you guys get some good snow do you think? I kinda miss the cold weather especially during these Holidays! Its so weird that its getting warmer and warmer here. Trippin me out.
I love you so much! I miss you guys and pray for you every day. I feel your prayers for me and feel your love. Have an awesome week! I don't know if Thanksgiving is this week...but if it is have an awesome one! Do a toast to me! Hahah Have a great week! I love you all!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Letter 7: OUT IN THE FIELD! And Justin Beiber.

Hey Mom!!
Well its been 2 weeks since I was last able to Email you because we skipped a P-day with all of the changing and training before we went to all of our different areas.
My last week at the MTC was pretty great! The we had a final day of training and goal setting in the chapel before we were sent off to Vina. That was a really good day, at the end of it they showed a Joseph Smith video and at the end just about everyone was in tears at the end. But that night at Alcantara was all of the goodbyes and what not. Man I'm gonna miss my companion and elders in my district! The next day (this last Tuesday) we all left on buses at around 9-10 in the morning for our different missions. Our bus had 15 on it and we headed for the mission home in Vina del Mar. About an hour and a half later we arrived at this central part of the city with a big clock. Our president then informed us that we would be taking books of Mormon and placing them and then asking people for directions to find the mission home. At this point I thought i was going to die, because I realized I might never make it with the way Chilean people speak I can never understand anything!! Hahah but then I got paired up with an Elder from Ecuador and went about asking directions. At first I was like "oh sweet, this will be so easy, he will do all the talking and get us there in no time!" Yeah...no, he wouldn't approach anyone or talk to anyone so I had to begin each conversation and then ask for directions, after I would ask him where we were going (assuming he understood what the person had said), and for the first 3 people we talked to he said he didn't understand what they had said! This is coming from a fluent Spanish speaker! I couldn't believe it, Chilean Spanish is just that crazy sometimes. Anyway, we eventually made it and were able to find the mission home. There we had some pizza and this super delicious dessert that I've never seen before. Then for the next 4 or 5 hours we filled out some paper work as we waited for turns to be interviewed by president Kahnlein. I was the last one to be interviewed by him. I went in the room and he asked me about how things were going, my goals here, what I want to achieve, why I'm here, and things like that. I could tell almost immediately the spirit he had about him and the love he had for us missionaries. I told him about my experience at the MTC and about all of you at home. It was a really great conversation and it helped me to feel a lot calmer about the whole change. I really like Pres. Kahnlein and his wife, they're from Argentina and President Kahnlein is HUGE, hes super tall but also really nice. Although you can definitely tell he has that authority about him. Anyway after this the new group of missionaries split into two and we left with the assistants of the president to nearby apartments. The rest of the day was writing in our journals, eating (top ramen) and talking with the other Elders. The next day was training from President and his wife about their expectations and how to be successful. It was a really good training and made me excited to get out to the field. After our training was the meeting with about 100 other elders in the mission to do transfers. Last minute before the meeting President Kahnlein told us new missionaries would be singing a song in front of the whole group and that we needed to pick the song right then. So that was a little adventure in and of itself. Anyway as he went down the line calling off names and where people were going he finally got to me and announced I would be headed up north to Coquimbo and my trainer would be an Elder Hale from Mesa Arizona! Immediately following we went out boarded the bus and left! About half of the new group came up north while the others stayed south. On our bus was about 20 Elders and Hermanas. We left at about 5 and were told itd be 6 or 7 hour bus drive. The Chilean countryside is really cool! We went up along the coast and on one side there are mountains and the other side is the Ocean which was really beautiful and neat. As we went along the bus would stop in different cities and drop off some of the people on our bus. Finally at about 1 or 2 in the morning I arrived in Coquimbo, the very last stop, and got off the bus. Elder Hale was waiting outside the bus and we did the whole Chilean hand shake, hug, handshake thing, and we started to head out to our pension, or apartment. Thankfully he let me know we would be able to sleep in till about 9 in the morning because we had arrived so late, that was a relief! But Elder Hale is super great! He's been out for ten months and is fluent in the language, he is also gringo and speaks English which is exactly what I wanted haha. 
I've been out in the field since Wednesday and its been quiet the experience! Yesterday was Sunday and I was able to meet all of the member of the branch which was super great! There are a lot of super capo members our here! (capo=intelligent, awesome, cool, good at something). They had me go up to the pulpit and introduce myself in front of everyone. I was so nervous! I'm sure my Spanish was terrible but i did my best haha! Everyone was smiling up at me like it was either funny because my Spanish was so bad or more like ohhh cute, hes trying to speak Spanish hahah! And the whole time my trainer and the zone leaders (who go to our branch) were trying to make me laugh. I love the branch though, it was so nice to finally be apart of a real sacrament meeting with members! 
The days here are an hour of personal study in the morning and then 2 hours with my companion, Which partially consist of studying the language. Then we go out and work from about 12 to 130 and then go eat lunch with a member family. Oh yeah! Their lunch here is the big meal of the day. And then we don't eat again until we come home at 930 or 10, so i always eat as much as i can during lunch! I'm going to get some snacks too for the day. But the food here is pretty good, I definitely cant complain! The members are always really nice and I've loved getting to know some of them. But anyway after lunch we go teach, contact, and visit less actives basically all day! The days have been great though. We have new investigators almost everyday and we had a confirmation on Sunday, Inocento's baptism was on the Wednesday i got there so I just missed it. But its interesting to see how so many people will make excuses to not do what the lord wants and what they know is right because its hard. Its so frustrating! I was to just pop them on the forehead like the lady does in the V8 commercial. Despite those people who are progressing really slow there are equally dedicated investigators who keep commitments and who really want to know more. Elder Hale and I teach the lessons, he definitely says a lot more but I'm able to keep up with the main idea of the conversation. I reckon itll take a few months to be able to understand everything. But that's what prayer is for! 
Also here's a funny story that you will enjoy. Apparently its time for a haircut because we were walking down this alley way and there were about 8 guys and girls hanging out there and we said hola, and the almost everyone one of them go heyyyy its Justin Beiber!!! No lie. And that hasn't been the only time! I've been called Justin Beiber like 4 or 5 times now hahah. And my companion just laughs and laughs. Hes an awesome guy though. He showed me a picture of him at the start of his mission and his face is so much pudgy-er! Hhaha its pretty funny, and so I've made it my goal to not let that happen to me. 
Anyway I miss you guys so much! Its been hard going two weeks without being able to talk to you all! But its made this time that much better! I hope its normal to have a mini breakdown and cry for a minute or two every now and then because it happens to me sometimes. I have this problem of focusing on everything that's negative all at once, and I have to try really hard to force myself out of it and focus on everything that it positive instead. I made a list of 10 things I know and that bring me comfort and whenever I feel low or down I read it. 
im super jealous about your thanksgiving preparations! They don't do that here so that will probably be just a normal day. But ill be thinking of you guys eating the most delicious food ever! I'm glad you all decided to do a home thanksgiving, i would have voted the traditional home one as well! Thinking about those pies has me so hungry right now!  Oh and as for Halloween, yes they do celebrate it, but hardly anyone goes trick or treating, just the super little kids. But I was in Santiago when Halloween passed we we on splits with missionaries that day and literally NO one was out in the streets. It felt super eerie like I am Legend or something! 

I love you all so much! I appreciate all of your prayers, they really do help. You're in my prayers every single day! Be safe, have an awesome week!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Letter 6: Speaking Spanish and Shaving Legs

Hey Mom!
Yeah the weeks just seem to fly by sometimes! I miss you a ton as well! I cant even describe. Yes things are still going well and getting better which is a great thing. Jared left?? That's crazy, he is going to the Provo MTC right? Hahah 5 week down...99 to go. That's what missionaries around here joke about, they talk about it in terms of weeks haha. I'm ready to head out! But also super nervous to be teaching real people and having real experiences! It blows my mind to even think about. Also I have the feeling I'm going to get a straight up Latino companion and just be fulling immersed in the language. Which I might need considering the fact that today I went to the post office to send some letters (yes to you and the family) and the lady spoke SO fast that I didn't understand a single word she said. So, I just pointed on my letter to USA and then she said something else really fast and I said I didn't understand and thankfully there was a guy in line behind me who spoke English and Spanish and let me know that she was asking if I wanted regular or express. Naturally I picked regular and paid my 540 pesos. But I was completely blown away hahah ahhh, Chilean Spanish just makes me shake my head sometimes. But other than that I can communicate with the teachers pretty well in Spanish and other gringos and sometimes Latinos, it really just depends. My night teacher Hermana Alfaro had me stand up and translate what she was saying for like fifteen minutes and to my surprise I was able to translate for the most part! There are 3 other missionaries that have better Spanish than me in our district and they helped me out every now and then. But I felt so accomplished (then i went out to the post office and face palmed) hahah but really, I've learned to much and am super happy about it. 
Ill be leaving for ViƱa this Tuesday morning. I'm pretty sure ill be taking a bus and its about a hour and a half drive. I don't know what to expect but I'm excited for sure! Its funny how im getting so used to the MTC and its about to all change around again. I'm coming to realize this will be a regular thing with transfers. My nose bleeds have stopped for the most part. I drain like 6 water bottles a day and that seems to help. Although I have to use the bathroom ALL the time.
Okay its funny that you mention the Pritchards Halloween party because i was thinking about that this week and how you and dad would always dress up. I definitely want pictures! Dad as the mad hatter...totally fits ;). Bridger though, I feel the same way as you like noooooo! I don't want him to grow up yet! You can take me around trick or treating when I get home if you want. Kick it back to the old days. Haha but what are Nichole, Brock and Trevor doing?? My district is all going to buy Halloween candy and then back at Alcantara were going to do a mini trick or treat during personal time. So that'll be sweet.
This week has kinda just blurred together! But some of the highs were today being P-day and emailing you! Also I've been able to progress in Spanish a lot this week! Elder Asay and I have had some successful lessons! Although the other day our teacher was praising this one group of Elders about how well they did and how well they followed the spirit and I get pretty down because I feel like that's been a hard thing for my companion and I. I know I should be happy for them, and I am, Its just the frustrating part of why are we not doing that EVERY lesson you know? I'm sure it will take some time to adjust, I'm just impatient and maybe that's part of the reason its hard. On a separate note, I may or may not have shaved my legs.  But dont worry, everyone was doing it so that makes it okay right ;) haha. No but seriously, feels so smooth. Like 10 elders from alcantara decided it was leg shave night and I figured why not? We have new roommates across the bathroom, there is an Italian and a Peruvian! I made the Peruvian my best friend and he calls me Elder Awesome as well. Whenever we pass in the halls he says hola mi mejor amigo! which is hey my best friend! His name is Elder Incil and hes really funny and nice. The Italian draws incredibly well! Ill send some pictures.
Mom I love you so much and miss you like crazy! I wrote you and dad some letters so I hope they get there soon. But I seriously just miss being able to hug my mom. I love reading your emails and picturing you saying it. Today I bought this delicious McDonalds burger and thought about our time at Carrabas with Trevor where we started to say To Indulgences! Haha made me laugh when I thought about it. Let me know how Halloween goes and what your plans are for Thanksgiving! I want to hear all about it. I'm sure Bridger will have some stories with this being her first time out alone.
I pray for you and the family every single day! Be safe and know I love you all!



Monday, October 21, 2013

Letter 5: Good day, good week

Hello mom!
Well this week has flown by! As the weeks now seem to do. It's so hard for me to express and let you know all the things that have happened and how much I feel like I've grown in such a short amount of time. This past week has been a really good one. I've been learning a lot of doctrine as well as Spanish  (i know quite a bit of Spanish now) Or at least i feel like I do haha. Understanding it when people speak it is something totally different. I can understand when gringos speak or when lations speak slowing but the average Chilean I would have a hard time understanding haha. The schedule is still the same with classes all day with breaks for lunch and what not but its gotten so much easier because i'm used to it now. Sundays are nice because we have days just filled with devotionals and no classes. I cant say that I always 100 percent attentive, i may doze off every now and then (the mornings are the hardest!) but its great. I learn a lot and we have longer breaks where we can go out and walk around on the temple grounds. Yesterday was soo beautiful here! I couldn't believe it, it was literally what i'd call the perfect day. I wanted to just go lay on the grass and take a day long nap or something. That's too bad about the weather there, i know how much dad LOVES winter haha but it's staying in the high seventies here. Es muy bueno!
Hey so really quickly, here's something awesome that happened this week. So during lunch we'll play soccer sometimes out on the court they have. And one day me and my district were playing when I looked over and saw 3 little Chilean kids standing and watching. So I went over and asked them "Quieren jugar??" which is want to play?? And they all smiled and shook their heads yes, so they start playing and it was awesome! Anytime they took the ball they would say "en su cara!" in your face! or gracias! Hahah by the end of the game there were about 8 or so little Chileans playing. I loved it, I just felt so happy when we were playing futbol with them. It made me excited to get out in Vina! Also every few days one of my teachers Herm. ARAYA has us go outside and talk to people on the temple grounds. It's hard but so cool to be speaking with people in Spanish.

I want you to know how much your testimony has helped me grow and has helped me during some of the difficult days out here. I think one of the reasons that I can/have been able to dig deep is because of you and dad. I've learned so much from your examples and you've taught me how to think for myself and how to rely on the Lord. I'm so grateful for that. As I was reading your email just barely I just felt happy, and at peace. I miss you guys, but not in a way of mourning. It's more of a happiness because I know you're all safe and happy, and i'm out here doing what I should. It's a great feeling really. My companion and my district will talk about our families sometimes and about how great calling will be when the time comes. I love talking about you guys and about home! I also love hearing about others families and experiences. It's great hearing their stories and their experiences.





Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Letter 4: Mini squids in the rice?!

This is the email Mason emailed me (Nichole). So some of it  may not make sense. Haha


Well that ice cream sounds pretty dang good right about now! I miss my homeland American food sooo much! Let me tell you a little story about the food here, rice, beans, mashed taters, anndddd the end. Hah well as for interesting things, they put mariscos in their rice, gravies etc...they're these little squid like looking things and it made me wanna throw up. I took a few bites of rice and then this marisco (they're 2-3 inches long) fell out of my pile of rice and I about cried haha! It was at the point that I said to my companion "Nope, nope, not doing this today." and stopped eating my meal. Hahah but luckily they don't serve mariscos too often. The best thing they serve here (now keep in mind "best" is extremely relative!) Is this chicken patty thing, like that kind you'd get at a school lunch, we slice up our bread and put in on there with some ketchup and mustard and its probably the most american thing I've eaten since I've been here. Hahah, I get excited to eat because i'm hungry but then realize, oh man, not so excited anymore. Its cool though, today is p day and imma buy some dulces.
 It's only getting warmer here, which is nice. I have about 3 weeks left in the MTC and then it's off to Vina! Speaking of which an Elder told me that there are these HUGE spiders there, like and big as my hand stretched out. At first I didn't believe him so I asked the MTC teachers and they're like "Oh yeah, we have those." Like it was totally normal. APPARENTLY, you can hold and play with them...they're not aggressive towards humans. Some Chileans even keep them as pets. Also, sometimes people's cats will eat them, or the spiders will kill the cats...survival of the fittest I guess. (which means ill be surviving, obviously). I have yet to see any ants here..but maybe in Vina and less city-like places. OH! So the other morning my companion and I were jogging around the city and this stray dog just starts running with us, it was the cutest dog ever, and so friendly! It looked like German Shepard but just wayyy skinny. It would run like 100 feet ahead, stop, turn around, run back and then repeat. So when we got back to ALCANTARA we gave it some meat. It's super sad when we're out running or on p-day and see dogs just laying on the side-walks. Makes me want to take them home.
Anyway, thanks for your words of encouragment and your testimony, it helps so much and strengthens my own testimony.  I'm happy to hear you're doing good.I love you Nichole! You're the best sister in the whole world! (nacho libre). Have a scrumdidlyuptious week.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Letter 3: The temple is the place to be.


Well this week has been really good. It's mostly been the same thing everyday, of classes, eat, more classes, eat, class, then sleep. We get about 30 minutes of exercise in the mornings. Hey in regards to your package, If you could send my I-pod loaded with church music from our computer, that would be awesome! I think we have a little white portable speaker too.. down in Brock and Bridger's room. If you haven't sent that package already then that would be awesome! If not that's okay, someone was saying that we don't get packages or letters at the MTC and that they go straight to our mission home?? |But i don't think that's right because A guy got a package who was staying here, and someone got a letter. So I'm pretty sure it should get here! I look forward to it!
Conference was so amazing! I have never taken so many notes as I did. There was so much that I wanted to remember and it was almost like I wanted to slow it down so I could get everything. It made me happy to think of you all have the traditional Sunday morning crepes and watching conference together. I definitely missed that! But the message was the same here as it was there.
So last Thursday I went into the temple, and beforehand I was feeling pretty down. I kept on praying, praying to know this is where I need to be. As we went through, I felt a calming feeling, especially during the film, (which was the old one by the way, pretty interesting). They had us but on headphones for English. Anyway, the second I stepped into the celestial room tears came into my eyes. This feeling just overpowered me. I sat down and began to pray, I just opened my heart to the Lord, I told him how I was feeling, my worries, my concerns, how I missed the family, just everything, I had this sense of peace, this sense of everything will be okay. The tears streamed down my face, and I was so thankful to have felt the spirit. When I looked up only a few people were left in the room. Finally I was the last one and one of the temple workers came and gave me a tissue. More than anything I didn't want to leave that room, ever. It was so beautiful and so peaceful. I had to go though, and as I left I felt so much better. There have still been trying days and moments, but I can look back on that experience for strength and for help. One more experience I had was just yesterday. Me and Elder Asay had just taught Ariel our investigator and it hadn't gone so well, mainly because the lesson just hadn't had the spirit. We went back to the classroom and our district (9 people all together) were doing Book of Mormon study in a circle. During this time we pick apart verses line by line and spend a lot of time talking about it and really understanding. Well, we sat down and talked for a while and at the end my DL Elder Tinney asked me to pray. I hesitated slightly because I felt so down and just not good. But I agreed and bent forward in my chair and began to pray, I got out one line and couldn't talk anymore because I was on the verge of crying, The Spirit was with me, I felt this peace, this love, and just this amazing feeling, I tried to continue a few times but could not, eventually and finished the prayer through my tears. When I finished I look up and Elder Tinney was in tears too. Ahhh, what an amazing experience this was! For all the difficulties that there seem to be at times, it's these moments that really keep me going and make me want to be out here. I want to feel The Spirit and God's love for me all the time. But to do that I need to continue to build my relationship with God and with the Spirit. I'm coming to realize how inadequate I really am. The only way I'm going to do this is through God's help, through your support and through the Holy Ghost. I'm so grateful to you for praying for me. I can feel your prayers each day, they strengthen me and lift me up, I pray for you all every single day as well. I love you so much, more than I can describe.  Thank you for setting such an amazing example for me. You and Dad have been so supportive, so loving, and in my mind near perfect parents.
Well I'm learning more Spanish everyday! Yesterday for the night we had an only Spanish speaking teacher and I understood at least 50 percent of what she was saying. Of course she was speaking mas lento or slowly, unlike real Chileans hahah but it feels good to improve and know more. I'm going to send some pictures right now! i LOVE YOU GUYS! thanks for the pictures by the way, send some in the package that I can hang up! Have a great week!!


Typical

Santiago Temple

Mason and his companion




Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Letter 2: MTC, real life.

Oh my gosh, it feels like it has been FOREVER since I've seen you or talked to you guys. I know it's only been a week, but let me tell you, some days it feels like i haven't seen my family in ages. I miss you guys more than I thought was even possible. I love you all so much! Well, im getting over my sickness, so that's really good. The MTC or CCM as they say in Spanish is about a 10-15 minute drive from where me and my district are staying. The place i'm staying is an old Sweden embassy now owned by the church on Al Cantara avenue. We drive back and forth every day to the MTC so we can go to classes. A typical days is

Wake up at 7.

Study for and hour.
exercise for a half hour.

Then go and get ready, then we leave for the MTC at about 9:50 and arrive around 10.

Then its classes until 9:30 at night, and let me tell you, I AM SO SICK OF MY CLASSROOM. Hahaha we stay in the same classroom every single day and this one has zero windows so its a little dull and repetitive. We break for lunch and dinner, okay so let me explain the food really quick. At Al Cantara, we just call the place we sleep at Al Cantara but that's the actual street name its on, we only eat breakfast there and its really good. We eat fresh bread, cereal with yogurt instead of milk, usually some apples, juice, and then cheese and like sandwich meat. OH and on the bread we spread this manjar, pronounced mahn-har, which is basically a less solid form of caramel and its pretty dang good. So breakfast, es muy bien. But then, there's lunch and dinner. There's a little cafeteria in the MTC and every meal is served with rice, beans, sometimes mashed potatoes, and then some sort of meat. It was really good at first, but then day after day...and rice, beans, etc...well, it all starts to taste the same! But overall, the food is decent and my teachers say "the cafeteria food is blehh" so I'm assuming real Chilean food will be better. Oh, by the way they have bread with every single meal, bread this their life down here, no jokes. A lot of kids at the MTC are starting to feel sick the doctor says its because so much starch and no fruits/veggies is make them lethargic, we have fruits and veggies here, they just choose not to eat them. So I've been trying to get fruits and that kind of food whenever i can!

Anyway, my companion is Elder Asay who is from Highland Utah and knows even less Spanish than me, so we're to gringos learning the language together. He's really great, he is very spiritual and also funny. He is pretty tall, like 6'4. We have some pretty good laughs! Good news: He gets my humor!! Kind of like Nichole does, but he's not as funny as Nichole..so, ill try to teach him hahah. My entire district is amazing. There are 9 of us all together, one companionship is a threesome. But we all get along super well and have a great time. Everyone in my district is going the the Santiago East mission except me, and Elder Tinney, who is from Riverton Utah. He is one of the happiest kids I've met, he also got called to be our district leader. He's a good guy and is a little different, it makes me laugh. He asked me to teach him how to punch, disarm a knife, etc..because he's never been in a fight and was worried hahah, so that was entertaining. (sorry if my thoughts are scatter brained, I have an hour to write everyone and I keep remembering different things, i promise my e mails will get better!) Also these keyboards are super weird! So its taking some getting used too.

Well i'm so so happy to hear from you mom. It helps me so much, with moral, and just to know you all are thinking about me. It has been a very difficult, rewarding, and challenging week. A mission is HARD. No one was joking when they said that. My Spanish is coming along okay...they don't actually teach us much Spanish here. We spend maybe an hour a day on it? And the rest is learning gospel stuff and studying for our fake investigators we have at the MTC. I've learned enough Spanish to know what people are saying or talking about usually, although, today was P day and real Chileans talk WAY faster! (my P day is every Wednesday and actually only for 3 hours out of the day). This is just for the MTC, it will change once i'm in Vina. Oh, i'm here for 5 and 1/2 weeks from when i started. so 4 1/2 now. I love learning and being taught at the MTC but ill be honest, sitting for 12 hours a day is driving me insanneee. The first 4 days or so I would have these really downner moments, where for an hour or two i would feel so depressed and so alone, to the point where I thought I couldn't do it. But I've been praying and I feel so much better. Hearing from you all also makes me feel 100x better as well. I know that you all are praying for me and I pray for you all DAILY. OH, really quickly, so the mission home president Elder Gilbert had to get open heart surgery 2 nights ago. A valve in his heart wasn't working and so they had to replace it, so by the time he's recovered ill be gone. But it was a really interesting experience, because I felt really close to him even though I had only been there several days. I'd had my interview with him and everything but it was just so neat to see how everyone in in the MTC and especially at Al Cantara came together and prayed for him. I love the missionaries here, the Latinos are probably some of the happiest and funniest people I know. One Latino Elder Roubles, thinks he's really funny and about a million times a day will says you es fefe! (which in English is like, you're a sissy) and its hilarious because hes this like 5 foot little guy who just says that to about everyone and speaks really fast. So, me and few other told him Boss meant fefe in English so now to all the gringos he says "you are boss" Haha. That actually doesn't sound that funny when I tell the story right now...but it is.Maybe i'm just going a little crazy. Hopefully I survive the next few weeks ;)

I love you all so much! I wish I could express adequately express how happy and grateful I am that you are my family. Especially being almost 5 thousand miles away I appreciate it all the more. I know its early on in my mission, but I can't wait to see you all again. I hope that everything is going well there, hope that Trevor does amazing with his Officer training, that's so awesome that he got sworn in. I love you all, miss you so much, and hope that you're doing well! If I don't have time to e-mail everyone please let them know I love them.Ill write again next week and I will send some pictures of Al Cantara, the temple, and my p day.  Oh by the way, I get to go to the temple tomorrow, I'm so excited for that.


P.s. Im going to MISS watching general conference with the family! Especially the delicious crepes that we make. I'll be thinking of you all. Have an amazing week!! I love you.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Letter 1: Arriving

Mason's first letter: 


Hey mom! Well after an incredibly long and boring flight I made it to airport. From the beginning we had our 5 hour layover in LA, then we left at 2 for Peru, Lima. Then we went off to Santiago. we arrived finally there at 5 in the morning and then proceeded to wait till 10 am at the airport for other missionaries to arrive. Long story short, I'm glad that part is over! So, it turns out that I'm going to be staying at a mission home instead of the MTC itself. This place is really neat and it used to be a emissary home for Sweden. This is where I will sleep and have some of my missionary training, then part of the day they´ll take us to the MTC for training there. Anyway, I kind of had a mini freak out attack today and was seriously doubting myself, but I'm assuming part of that was nerves, and that fact that you guys are too amazing for your own good, so its that much harder leaving you. Seriously, that will be the hardest part, but all I do is think about you as my family and the things you've said to me. It really helps and calms me down. I miss you all so so so much! It's a little early to say "I cant wait to see you again" but its true.I really love you all more than you know, i'm so grateful and blessed to have you all in my life, and coming to realize that more and more the more time I'm away.  It'll take getting used to, but it is worth it, and I know I shouldn't be anywhere else.
EVERYTHING is now in Spanish and I feel like a total foreigner (which I am..but whateves). Total immersion I guess. Right now we are learning our missionary purpose or (objectivo come missionario es...). I don't really understand it but hopefully that'll come. The spirit is strong here, and the Elders and Sisters are nice and all seem pretty bright. Most everyone who came with me down here is going to the Santiago east mission and then about 8 of us are going to Vina. (all together there were about 30 of us). I´ll be in the MTC for 6 weeks starting today. And then off to the field! I know that this step in necessary but i wish i could just know Spanish and get out there already.
Please tell the family Hey!  Ill be emailing more soonish, they just aren't letting have a lot of time. I love you all tons. I miss you and I hope everyone is doing great there. Let me know what everyone is up to and let them know i have my email set up. :) Mom, really quickly I just wanted to thank you for everything you´ve done for me..I cant express in words how lucky I am to have you as a mom, and dad as my father. You both have set an amazing example for me, I hope that ill be able to be as great as you two. I love you mom, and dad, and family (if you're reading this). I'll write again soon.
P.s. NICHOLE keep my info updated on fb please, thanks for being the best sister on earth, ever, in the universe.
Alright bye guys, I love you.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Airport Dropoff

Today was the day! Mason was dropped off at the SLC airport in route to Santiago, Chile. It was a great day that started by waking up at 4am. We left the house around five in order to make it to the airport on time. Unfortunately, Mason had received a flu shot yesterday so he was feeling pretty achy and had some congestion. Nothing a 16 hour flight and some benedryl can fix, right? We got to the airport and were happy to find other missionaries were on his same flight and headed to Santiago. At least Mason wouldn't be alone. We were able to check-in his bags and then it was time to say goodbye. Most of us held our composure and some (me) found it a bit harder to keep it together. It's such a special moment letting your family member leave and knowing they are going to serve the Lord for two years. Special, but hard as well. Everything went pretty smoothly aside from airport security confiscated Masons shaving cream and toothpaste that was in his carry-on (minor packing error.) He is now in route to the Santiago MTC! He is probably still at the LAX with his six hour layover, but THEN he will be on his way to Santiago. Go Mason! Wahoo! I don't have his MTC address, but I do have his mission address where you can send him letters. Please write him! He will love it! I think it takes about 2-3 weeks for snail mail to reach him, so if you think he isn't writing you back, he most likely is and it's just taking forever.

Mason's snail mail address:
Elder Mason Barton
Chile Vina del Mar Mission
4 Norte 1112
Casilla 631
Vina del Mar
Valparaiso

Mason's package address (use this if you are sending a package):
Elder Mason Barton
Chile Vina del Mar Mission
4 Norte 1112
Vina del Mar
Valparaiso
Chile