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!", 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!