Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 20, 2012


I got my letter and my memory card this week but I have yet to read it because I think I may want to take a moment for myself to read it. I can't really think of anything that I feel that I am lacking right now, but I will think about it more and see if I find a need. I would have needed a cable for my camera, but Elder Lopez had an extra that he gave so I am good there.

I would love to tell you that the weather has changed here recently, but it is pretty much identical everyday. Nothing has really changed at all in that regard.

We have been having a lot of success with the new vision this week and we really hope the success we are having keeps going at this pace. One thing that I was annoyed with recently was with how missionaries here seem to move through the lessons in a strange order. At times they are almost against teaching them in order. (We could imagine this being disconcerting for Jordan - the logical/rational thinker!) But, we just had an e-mail this week from President Bruce about how he thinks this needs to be changed to allow us to focus and keep things going in a thorough and timely manner.

One of the things we have for the month of February is to read a list of scriptures from the president about love and also to read chapter 8 of PMG (Preach My Gospel) 8 times and chapter 13 thirteen times. I have really been getting a lot out of that. I would really encourage the ward mission leader *cough cough* to take some time to focus on getting to know what the missionaries are doing really well (the circumstances of their investigators and how they are progressing) as well as getting involved and taking opportunities to go teaching with them (which it sounds like you are doing) cause it helps so much. Also, I think that reading through Chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel is a good idea for anyone.

Recently I have been reading Jesus the Christ and I can honestly say that it is probably the best book that I have ever read. I am about 650 pages through and thirsting to read more all the time.

As much as I had a negatively biased feeling of French Canada (sorry), I feel that learning French will be super useful for anyone and I am really excited for Austin. (Austin Oviatt recently received his mission call to the Montreal, Quebec French speaking mission.) Honestly, I have had thoughts of learning French when I get home because it should be a lot easier with knowledge of Spanish and very useful. My advice would be to jump right in and to really use the time they give you in the MTC to study...to study and not nap.

Interesting about Vivian Baker committing to baptism after investigating for 2+ years. The other companionship in our area had a baptism a week or two ago for a lady who has been attending church with her husband for 7 years without being baptized. Needless to say that the number of times attending church wasn't an issue.

I had the opportunity to go give a talk this week in church because most of the branch was in Santiago to go to the temple. They didnt really have speakers so the missionaries gave talks. It was really cool and I decided to speak on the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. What was pretty cool was that I was able to do it pretty much without any notes and I think that it was pretty good. I took up a quote and a list of scriptures with a short sentence about each in English and just started talking with a bit of a plan in my mind. It was a really good experience.

It sounds like two of the girls from here are planning on going on missions after being to the temple in Santiago. They are really awesome and I know they will do great because most of the youth here, including them, help us teach all the time.
Until next time,

Saturday, February 18, 2012

February 13, 2012 New week. New vision

I know that I am in the desert and the weather here is perfect for what you like, but I am actually missing having some cold weather now and then. It is pretty much the same temperature here everyday and so it gets a little boring trying to guess what the weather will be like.

Right now I am basically just ignoring my weight and I haven't measured it since I left the MTC, so I can't really tell you. I think I am probably down because of all the walking, but I'm not exactly sure.

We have cambios (transfers) this week but none of us are going anywhere at this time. We had a sad experience this week with Elder Christensen. He actually had to go home. He has been having trouble with a pain in his head for a while now and has been to doctors in other cities and no one knows what is going on so he had to go home until he gets better. Because of this, Elder Lopez is in Antofa today in order to get his new companion. He is going to be training and we are pretty sure that he is going to be training a Gringo because he asked President Bruce if he could. Elder Revi says that it is a good chance of happening because Elder Lopez was an assistant for about 9 months.

Our investigators right now are really awesome, but we only have one baptism scheduled for the 25th of February. It seems like all of the investigators that we are working with currently have a problem that is stopping them from being able to be baptized. But, me and Elder Revi are working really hard and are definitely seeing success from it. For example, one of our investigators is a man that is 84 and his daughter doesn't want us to come by the house anymore or to teach her father, but he came to church on Sunday. We though that was never going to happen.

This week we were in Antofa for a Mission Conference and to recieve the new vision for this year. President Bruce spoke with Sister Bruce the first day when they introduced the new vision and Elder Zepallos of the 70, who is in the Presidency for Chile, spoke with his wife and that was really good. I really wasn't able to take any notes because I have to concentrate to understand so much. That sucks, but I was actually able to understand most of what was said which was good. The new vision is to work with the ward members to merge the full-time missionary work with the missionary work of the ward or branch in order to become a stronger force. The goal is to have really good baptisms, and not just a lot (quality over quantity). I think Chile has one of the highest rates of inactive members and this is something that President Bruce wants to change. He said that he knows that if he said to get 2000 baptisms this year, that we would do it, but he wants 1000 really good baptisms instead. I am so glad that we have him as our Mission President because he is so good.

Not really much else happened this week except that most of the Branch left to go to the temple this week which is really cool for them. They were all really excited for that and they are not going to be back until next Sunday some time.

Well that's kind of all that I have to say. so.....
till next week,


Friday, February 17, 2012

February 6, 2012 Last week's email

**I did send this last week but I tried to send pictures and I think it got rejected.**

That's nice that the weather there is warming up and that the temperatures have been nice this winter. I really wish that it would cool down a little here as every day seems hotter than the last right now. You mentioned before that you are jealous thinking of me walking around all day in short sleeve shirts, but I wish I didn't have to walk around all day in black pants - it's not all upsides. On the plus side, I think that I am past the point of needing sunscreen the majority of the days here, which is nice.

I really have flubbed on excercising here and I am really not getting into it in the mornings. It was really difficult with 4 people in the old pension with the room restrictions, but the new pension is so much better space-wise that I can probably do a full aerobics routine (if i wanted). 

I hate soccer here. The weather is stupidly hot for sports, I suck at it, and the local 8 year olds beat me. I start out trying to do good and by the end of an hour I end up just giving up. Plus, I usually have to go play soccer after the rest of the day walking around. /end rant

I totally forgot that Blake should be coming home soon. If you could try and get a copy of his homecoming talk (if he even has one) and send it to me that would be cool to read. If not, just paraphrase what he said in your e-mail. 

I have been getting e-mails from grandma that are really short and always say something about getting off the computer so people don't get mad at her. You would think she is staying in a jail (she is actually in Phoenix). But I still enjoy getting them as she tells me some of the news you guys forget/don't know and they are always good for a smile.

I have been loving the time here in Chile. My two favorite things are spending time working with the members as well as teaching our investigators. With the new mission vision coming to Tocopilla this week which focuses on working with the members and investigators I am super excited.

There is a saying in the mission that I think is a local saying. "Giving juice" is when you are wasting time on useless stuff. Some of the missionaries are calling this the Big Juicy Vision, but I am super excited. Me and Elder Revi have been talking about the idea of going around and teaching the lessons to the members which I think is a good idea and a good way to keep from "giving juice".

I have made some audio recordings. I think 3, but I wasn't planning on sending any of them home because I don't want to risk losing them. I also don't think I am going to send any of my picture memory cards home, but I'll try and send home pictures. Then at the end of my mission I will just have some that you haven't seen. (Speaking of which, I included some pictures of the old pension, some of tocopilla, and some just random Chile shots).

We don't really have set service projects or a certain amount that we do. It's kind of just whenever someone needs something, we set a time and go. For instance, the Hermana Isolina who owns the home we're at, wants us to paint so we will do that one day soon, but the people here are really unreceptive to service or help of any kind for the most part.

I borrowed Elder Christensen's cord this week to do the pictures, but Elder Revi says he know where I can buy one and I imagine it won't be that expensive since it's just a cord. There should be one with my camera box but I don't want to wait 4 weeks so I'll just buy one.

Our investigators our progressing really good. One of our baptisms for Febuary fell through but we still have one on that date that is solid. We are currently working with 6? people who are really strong investigators. We had 3 people in sacrament this week and 2 menos activos (inactive members). With the other companionship in Tocopilla we had more people attending sacrament meeting than the rest of the zone which was a pretty good indication that we are doing good work. This next week we are planning on getting into more member homes for lessons and also getting more members involved with our lessons with investigators. One of our new investigators is Hugo, who is the dad of one of our previous youth investigators, which is pretty cool.

I realized the random Spanish sentence was in my last email, but I started writing it and just went with it because I was feeling a little lazy. The problem with how I talk right now in conversation is that it is a random mix of Spanish and English. I can talk for a long time about the gospel stuff, but it is really hard to use words like "atonement" and "repentance" in regular conversation. I am working on being able to speak better in everyday situations. One of the problems is the phrases that they use.

We had a cool experience yesterday in church. President Bruce showed up to the church to attend the meeting. None of us knew and then he was just there when we walkied in. Elder Revi was feeling pretty happy with our church turnout given that President Bruce was there. I also had the opportunity to meet Sister Bruce briefly for the first time. That was nice because everybody always talks so highly of her. They took the 3rd hour and gave talks on ward unity. Sister Bruce barely speaks Spanish so Elder Revi translated her talk for her and then the President gave his talk. Sister Bruce's talk was super simple, but really powerful and President Bruce's talk was about half an hour on 3 scriptures which was really good too. It was nice when President Bruce gave his talk as I could understand everything he said, which is not common. Elder Revi says it's because President Bruce talks like a Gringo, but I'm fine with that.

Well... that was my week.