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 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 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 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 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" 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. 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. to get rid, how to prevent etc. the best ways.
And if fleas collars actually sterilize you or 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 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 ;)