Friday, June 20, 2014

Letter 33: Basketball, soccer, and new companion.

Hello Mother!!!

The transition is made, sounds like it went well! Brock is 16 years old!! Wooo!! Now you can have him do all of your grocery runs hahah. I miss the good foood! You will have to send me pictures of the birthday-Father´s day. And yes they do celebrate Father´s day here, I got a ¨happy father´s day treat¨ in church. (they had extras and said I would be a future father¨. Yes South America is absolutely CRAZY when it comes to soccer. On game days it is almost impossible to teach people and every time Chile scores the entire city yells ¨GOOOOAAAALLLLLL¨¨, so the bright side is we always know who wins haha. You guys had Art City Days?? Hahah mom, your story of the zipper made me laugh because I can imagine it happening! You and Nichole always seem to have something happen you go on rides haha, I imagine that the people who saw you as you got off might have had second thoughts about getting on hahah! At least it didn´t make you sick though, that´s what always happened to me in the space ship one! 

I feel so grateful that Trevor is going through this experience. It sounds like that phone call was really spiritual and special. It makes me so happy and relieved to hear that even though it´s hard there, it´s a good hard, and he is learning a lot it sounds like. I pray for him, and for you all every single day. I know that God is watching over our whole family. Sometimes it can be hard to ¨keep the faith¨ with certain things, but as long as there is faith, there are miracles. I know that Trev can do this and I know without a doubt the Lord is helping him every step of the way. You know, I think the mission has really made me grateful for an eternal family, and having been born in this gospel. I see many families who haven´t even thought of the idea of an eternal family but we have been sealed and are so lucky and blessed to know that.

We had a conference this past Tuesday as a WHOLE mission (which was great to see all my missionary friends), and Elder Robbins came. He is in the presidency of the seventy and lives in Springville! We all got to say hello one by one as missionaries and I told them I was from there too. We were able to do a question and answer session with Elder Robbins, President Kahnlien, his wife, and another seventy from South America and his wife. There were several things that caught my attention and I have been working  to set goals to improve and do better. One of the questions was about sealed families and how if a child is strays from their covenants, is the sealing broken? The answer is no. In fact, there is quote from Joseph Smith and though I can´t remember it word for word Elder Robbins said that with the power of the sealing, the loving arms of the Lord will always reach out to members of the family that have strayed. What an amazing promise. Other than that we talked about how to be better missionaries and be REAL missionaries, not robots (and believe me, there are missionaries that have no idea how to be themselves), and to use our minds. God has given us our minds and expects us to use them. I loved the conference. Our mission president asked if our mission was an obedient mission and Elder Robbins said that you can feel when a mission is obedient and when it isn´t and that we have an obedient mission and blessing will come with that. So we are doing good and on our way to improvement!

Well my new companion certainty is...different haha. He is a good guy but lacks social skills. When he first arrived he did some really weird things, I had tried to call our investigators and he told me no. He also tried assuming all of the responsibility of the companionship and just honestly was a little prideful. Well, I had just about had it with that and wasn´t going to have a change like that so I talked with my district leader and we got everything resolved. We get along well though no worries! He does things that I find a little strange and what not but hey, that´s the mission! I have to get used to thing and learn to work with the comps that I get. The good thing about us is that we teach together really well! I´m happy for that and happy we will be able to continue improving.

Okay, the family that we are teaching left for some relatives this weekend and get back late last night so they couldn´t go to church BUT we still have a lot of hope! Bernarda feels like the goal for her baptism is a little soon but we are going to teach her the restoration today and commit her to pray about Joseph Smith. They are a great family and i feel like they're going to get baptized it´s only a matter of time. I really just want to teach them in a way that they can feel the love of God and know this is the truth. I will keep you updated!

Today we played basketball with the other elders and Elder Schramm (the marriage missionaries), we played gringos vs. Latinos and OBVIOUSLY we won. Hahah it was like 50 to 12. So next week we are going to split up the gringos and play a bit of a fairer game. We played with an investigator too, his name is Jaime. His family are members but he has taken a little more time. We had a family night with him last night and looks like he will be getting baptized the end of this month! He is an awesome guy. We are teaching him as well as the sister missionaries. So hopeful with this double effort we can do it! haha.

Okay well, I'm going to get those shoes today then because it looks like it´s going to rain for 3 days this week. (let me tell you, when it rains, NO ONE lets us in). Hahah it´s basically just a test of enduring to the end of the day because everyone tells us to go home and go to bed. But yeah, i don´t want to ruin my shoes so I will get some today. Thanks! Tomorrow is Elder Bush´s birthday! I think we are going to celebrate our b´days together so that should be good. Seriously I am so happy that he stayed in my district, we are pretty much best friends in the mission. We keep each other sane on those harder days hahah.

Well I truly am happy that you´re all doing well and had a great week! I can´t believe how fast time is going by, I'm already almost at 9 months! I love you all so much! Be safe and have another great week (enjoy that wonderful summer weather!)

Love Elder Barton

Letter 32: New Investigators!

My dearest Mother (and fam)

Trevor is officially off to the military! Wow, I´m so proud of him. I don´t think I have ever met someone with as much drive and determination as he has. Well, I must say if feels really weird knowing everyone is kinda moving on to the next steps in their lives. How do you feel about it all? I think your description of ¨bitter-sweet¨ pretty much sums it all up. But don´t worry mom, we will all be together as a family again in no time. Not only that but you might have grandkids soon! (don´t tell Nichole I said that).  Sometimes I just wanna slow time down!! This whole growing up thing is a little rough sometimes. But anyway, awesome that he is out there and will be done in august! I was able to get an email from him this last week and today. He said some things that I really needed to hear (read) and I feel better about the whole thing know.
I´m soooo jealous about your birthday meal for him! Oh my gosh, you had me at should send me the sauce recipe so I can attempt it out here one day! Sounds like his birthday was a success...he is 24 now right?? Also, he looks pretty ripped in the pictures. And Brock looks taller.

Hey that Maleficint movie looks crazy! (I saw a commercial down here). We´ll put in on the list! Haha

Chile is good. I think with every week come different blessings and trials whether they be big or small. Something I love about the mission is being able help people, and through service develop a genuine love for the investigators. Elvia is someone I'm going to remember forever. We have had some of the most spiritual lessons with her and have seen her just break down and cry in her prayers asking for help and to keep her family together. Sadly it looks like they might separate. She told us that she doesn't want to marry Luis but through everything that has happened I have been able to see her grow. I have seen her change. It´s amazing to see someone grow in their faith and love for God. She will get baptized someday, right now she can´t, but one day she will and with luck I will still be here!

This week we found a few new investigators! We were teaching a recent convert and her nephew was there. He is 10 years old and we taught him as well. We ended up finding the house he lives and asking his mom for permission to teach him. She said yes AND even committed to come to church with us and they both came yesterday! We were able to take Felipe (the boy) to our branch family night and he loved it, then we brought him to English classes. Every time we teach him I think of Bridger, they don´t really act the same but they are both 10 and for some reason it just reminds me of Bridge haha. So we are making progress in several areas!

Let´s see...stories. Well, last night some teen-agers shot at us with that was pretty not cool. They had terrible aim though so no worries. Oh yeah! Finally I bought a voice recorder and am going to start writing in my journal again as well as voice recording. (it was cheap so I didn´t have to use our card). We are going to have transfers this Wednesday and it´s most likely that Elder Gonzales is going to head out. But as always you just never know. I´ll be sure to keep you all updated! It´s kinda sad knowing that our district is going to split up, but I'm kinda hoping that I get to train! I don´t know why, but I want to. We´ll see.

Ah, that story about Bridger bearing his testimony makes me so happy. I can just imagine it too. I wish you could have filmed it! But I am too, so grateful for eternal families. I am so grateful for an eternal perspective. Sometimes it´s hard to maintain that perspective, but it is something engrained in me. Every time I seem to stray or think in a day to day perspective I get drawn back to the fact that I have an eternal family and we have such potential! I´m grateful that I have the opportunity to spread this message with the people here in Chile. Maybe many won´t listen, maybe many won´t be interested, but for those who are willing to accept this gospel will know a happiness and purpose that they have never known. How amazing it is to be a missionary :) I love you all so incredibly much! Don´t ever forget it and be safe and happen! I love you. Be strong this week! I know there are many changes...but it´s all okay. Our life IS eternal, this mortal life will separate us physically many times, but we will be together an eternity.

Thank you for all of your support and love. I truly am so grateful for your prayers. I promise that I feel them!
Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Letter 31: Wedding and Twitching Eyes


Well she is now officially married (I hope it´s facebook official as well...), and it sounds like everything went really smoothly. Sounds like it was a beautiful day and many people showed up to show their love and support. It really is kind of a bitter sweet thing, more sweet than bitter. I wish I could have been there, but i´m glad they are so happy! I love to see all of the pictures, and I love the colors haha. Everyone is getting so big I can´t even believe it. Yeah, definitely send me those pictures when you get them, I want to see more, especially the videos. 

My week has a word, challenging. Monday we were able to be in viña like I told you and we went to the mission offices to get money for the appointment and Pres. Kahnlein interviewed my companion and afterward asked to speak with me. He asked me to explain the whole situation and I told him everything that had happened and all that Elder Gonzales had told me. He then asked me how we were working together and I told him of the challenges we had. He told me to keep working and to endure to the end, and then talked to me about baptizing. I don´t know, sometimes I feel like there isn´t a lot of love from him. I know there are a lot of missionaries, problems, and things he has to take care of, but I feel like sometimes it´s all business, I don´t know how to describe, but it´s pretty hard sometimes. He asked me again why I hadn´t baptized and I told him I was trying. At the end of the interview I asked if there was anything I could do for him and he told me I coud fulfill my calling and baptize. I guess this week I have really just felt a lack of support directly around me. It is really hard for my companion to teach and to be a ¨people person¨, and we have had some difficulty getting along several times. I get frustrated when I can´t solve problems or when simply don´t know what to do. I feel a little discouraged at times when I am not baptizing. It´s just been a hard week, but i´m hoping this one will be better.

Anyway, on a better note, we went and got some sushi while we were in Viña. My companion enjoyed it and it was his first time eating sushi. I was able to see my old trainer Elder Hale and it was awesome to be able to talk with him for a few minutes. He is now the zone leader in Viña. I went to my eye appointment and the doctor said that my eye was a little irritated and that it was from being tired or I have tired vision...something like that. He said that I could buy glasses for reading but I read just fine so I don´t think I want to waste the money. He recommended that I buy some eye drops but the twitching has stopped so I think I will wait and see. So that´s good news. 

I was able to do interchanges with Elder Bush this week and it was a HUGE relief. We have kind of been support for one another while we have been out here. He is from Nevada and this is his first area so I´ve been here to kind of help him get through the harder times (i know what he is going through haha), but like I said we were able to do the interchange and we just talked for a few hours before going to bed. We talked about a lot of things but in reality, more than WHAT we talked about, it was just nice to talk to someone who understands a little bit more. (also sorry for the italics...I have no idea what I did hah). We have become really good friends in the short time we have been here. We were in his sector and we were teaching and the lessons we taught were filled with the spirit and just so....good. I don´t know how to describe it. It was an awesome feeling, we had so much unity and the people were able to understand really well. I think it was do to that we had more of a trust. I´m not exactly sure, but I sure hope my companion and I can establish that as well.

I still have the letter you sent me to open on my birthday, no worries! Although during the interchange my companion and my district leader decided to be tools and eat some of the stuff in my package. I wasn´t to happy but not much I can do now. I´m super happy they both arrived as well! The first one took forever but finally it arrived. It gets cool in the nights but the days are pretty warm like 60 % of the time. It´s a really weird climate here! I think I have sufficient bedding, I have like 3 blankets, I should be good. 

That´s awesome you were able to visit your Dad´s graveside and be able to think about him. I think I can understand a lot more how much you must miss them sometimes. That´s great they were able to make a memorial for all of the marines! The service they provide and the sacrifice they have given is truly a blessing. I miss grandpa too, he always had such a spirit about him. I miss that. 

I can´t believe either that Trevor heads out for training! One thing that I do know is that he is going to excel in his training and he is going to come out on top. He has such a gift and uses that gift to achieve great things. 

Well mom, I love you so much. I miss you too. I love you even more and I hope that you have a wonderful and less stressful week. Be safe and say hey to the family!

Love you!

Letter 30: Pre Wedding and Thriller

Hello Mom!

Oh my heck, I can`t believe she is getting married! (okay, lie, I can believe it), haha but honestly I`m so happy for everyone! MY SISTER IS GETTING MARRIED! Things just seem to be looking up don`t they? That`s always a good feeling. These past few weeks I`ve had several moments where I have felt sad that I won`t be there for everything, especially the wedding but I don`t know, I just feel good. I feel like you are all doing so well and blessed that I should be happy, it doesn`t matter if i`m there or not right now because I will be someday. I bet the temple was an awesome experience, I remember my first time and just feeling really good. I had an experience when I went through for the first time here in Chile and I remember just feeling a peace within me, and at that moment I couldn`t really understand it because I felt so much turmoil around me, but I think now more than ever, I understand. I feel like i`m finally feeling so much more confident in who I am, in what i`m doing, and more than anything, in God`s plan for me, and for us as a family. 

Well as for my companion, he is going in for an interview today. Oh..forgot to mention, today we are in Viña! I`m going to an eye doctor to check out my eye and he is going to talk with President today as well. I hope that all goes well. We tried calling President like 4 times and he never answered and my companion kind of lost the motivation to keep trying. Last night I suggested he call one more time, especially because we are in Viña today and he did, and finally he answered. So I will let you know how that whole situation goes down.

When we went to Illapel I was able to pick up some food from the grocery store but there wasn`t anywhere to eat, but it`s all good! Maybe I will be able to find somewhere in Viña today? Like a McDonalds! (that sounds so good to me, you have no idea hahah). We are going to be here till about 4 or 5 o`clock today. Our zone conference went really well (this one was just with the zone leaders, not the president). Oh funny story to go along with that, so there are about 22 missionaries in our zone and about 18 of us were sitting there before listening to the hymns playing from the zone leader`s Ipod and all of a sudden Micheal Jackson comes on, Thriller!! Hahahah everyone kinda looked up and started laughing, then the zone leader came in and was went bright red then told us that ¨we all have music we shouldn`t...¨...his companion about died. But the conference was good, we went over how to teach better, a little bit more simple and clear. We also went over how to extend good invitations. Things I already knew..haha just kidding, I can always learn!

As far as teaching this week, this might have been the slowest week in my mission, we had 3 lessons this entire week! Part of that was due to the zone conference and then on Thursday I had to go to Illapel again to do my visa papers. 8 Months into the mission and they finally are ready to start the process to I can receive my Chilean I.D. card. So we were there almost all day. But we need to be teaching more. Either we have to contact a lot more or think of some new way to find new investigators. But the work is going well! I can`t really complain, in fact even though it`s been a slow week, I feel good. I just want to have more success! Hopefully that will come with a little more time.

Oh! Both of the packages arrived! The one that you sent way back in March arrived on the 8th of May and the one you sent April 21 arrived the 2nd of May. But I got them both! First of all, all of the treats and everything look so good (I have only eaten a little of the cookies and cream and a few starbursts because I want to conserve it haha), but I loved reading the letters from everyone and the new journal! OH! Other really awesome story, they found my old journal!!!! I have no idea how because I lost it in the street but the zone leaders gave it to me at the conference. I can`t believe it, I thought i`d never see it again. Seriously, crazy. But anyway, that water bottle is going to be a life saver, especially in Los Vilos. I still haven`t opened the letters in my birthday package because I want to save them for my birthday, or should I open them now?? I don`t know, you tell me. But thank you so much for sending the packages they are awesome! Even though love isn`t showed through gifts and doesn`t hurt ;) haha.

Well sounds like you will be having a busy week with Nichole, painting, and cleaning up the house a bit. I have to say I`m definitely jealous of the weather, it`s starting to get pretty cold here in the mornings and nights. The days are okay but they are also getting pretty...CHILE...hah. But seriously, I miss the Utah`s climate. Be sure to send a ton of pictures of the wedding ! I love you all so much I hope that you have an amazing week!!