Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 21, 2013

I have to tell you that yesterday it was completely overcast in our sector for the whole day and it was so awesome. We had an entire day of what I would call perfect temperatures. The other little town that is closer to the mountains actually got rain in their sector, so that was cool for them.

We had kind of a tough week as both Ivo and another investigator both went on vacations until March, but we are trying to get new people to teach.

So that you know my companion is from AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay.

I am honestly finding that I am doing more work in the branch at this point to help things move along than I am doing as a district leader. Maybe it is just the way they have been doing district meetings here, but I feel like most of the work I do is just making phone calls, but that's fine with me.

That is so cool that you were able to get that job. I am actually really excited for you. I was reading the Liahona this week and I found a talk that I really like about how to become a leader.  One of the things it says is don't be afraid to fail. Just jump into it, work hard and soak it all up. You´ll do great.

I did start to do the Ab Ripper (abdominal workout from P90X that we sent) and have been doing it every other day so as not to just die and also because that is how often they recommend doing the work out. It hurts and I don't really want to do it, but I know that it is a good thing for me because I seem to only have muscles in my lower legs.

The spider that I killed in the pension during the last recording was the kind I told you about during the Christmas phone call. They can kill you in like 45 minutes if it bites you. They are pretty much everywhere in Chile, except some places where they die from the altitude.

The pension is warm which is nice. The houses here have no insulation so it depends a lot on which direction your house faces, what it is made out of, how it fits between your neighboors houses and some other stuff. It gets a little cold by morning, but not that bad. The nice thing is that Diego is not really a cold place, even at night, so it's nice in that regard.

I uploaded another recording so you can check that out.

Love you,

Summary of audio clip...

This was the first week of transfers. Elder Rojas and I get along really well although sometimes I have no idea how he thinks, but that's ok. It was a bit of a difficult week as many people are on vacation and we were mostly working to get lessons each day and it can be challenging to get into homes. On the one hand it went slow, but on the other hand it went by fast as we were working hard. We did find lots of new people as we did lots of contacting. My last companion, Elder Velasquez, didn't like to knock on doors at all so this was good. We did the equivalent of about 2-3 weeks of my previous transfer.

We found a group of young kids - we're not sure how that will work out, but we'll see. We also found an older man who was very receptive, but we don't know if he'll be able to attend church. He can walk, but has one leg that is bad and he's going blind. We also contacted another man and his friend - Orlando and Weeley. Orlando knows a lot about the Bible and how we should live. Weeley seems to just be sitting in currently. The things we have talked about so far make sense to Orlando and fit in with his knowledge of the Bible. The more I read the Bible, the more I recognize how they fit together. We are going back this week. It was interesting how we came to teach him - Elder Velasquez and I met them a few ago, but the address they gave was a business, when we went there. We thought they had given us the wrong address. Then Elder Rojas and I got them as a referral. We still thought it was a business address, but went by again and noticed 2 doors which looked like 1 to the business and 1 to a home. I saw someone come out of the home so we knocked on that door and they were there. That was a huge mistake, but it's all worked out now.

Most of our less actives are out of town and there's only a few members so we aren't getting many appointments in that area. We'll continue to contact and look for investigators this week. It makes it a little harder as we have a variable number of appointments. We're going to try to do a bit better this week. We'll set our goals a little higher and get 'er done!

My district is doing really good this week, so I'm super happy for them. They had 4 people in church this week.

The neighbor asked us to put the garbage out so they could pick it up tomorrow. I didn't think that was a good idea because the dogs would get in it, but he said it would be fine. We came home for lunch and the dogs had destroyed the garbage bin so we had to clean up a big mess - that sucked.

I also cleaned the toilet in our pension this week. It's weird, but the toilets in the pensions always have crusty stuff in the bottom - maybe due to minerals or hard water. I scrapped it all out with a knife, not one we cook with, and it looks much better now.

That's been our week... yawn... I'm really tired so I'm going to bed.

Love you guys,

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 14, 2013

That's good that you want to work on more and hopefully better scripture study. What I find is that I usually get bored with just reading. I would challenge you to find a topic that interests you and really study it, using the topical guide and index to see if you cant find the answer to your question. For example, this week I started studying if there were apostles to the prophets in the Old Testament (I'm still working on it). One thing you could also check out are the Institute Student manuals as they provide a lot of information and background to the scriptures - just remember that they don't replace the scriptures :). Also... let me know what you study.

As far as transfers go, I'm staying here in Diego for this transfer and my companion is going to go to Antofagasta to my old sector of Gabriela Mistral. I am receiving an Elder from Paraguay named Elder Rojas.

As much as I am really not wanting to do it, it will be nice to have that exercise routine you sent to do a couple times a week. I have the other one, but I just get bored doing the same thing every week instead of having some change.

I don't want to sound overly trunky but if you go to Arizona make sure you get the latest seasons of Burn Notice for me.

So I am getting really good at giving talks about pretty much any topic that I have in my mind for a good 10 min or so, at the drop of a hat. In this Branch, not only am I assigning talks, presiding, directing, picking the hymns, and sometimes blessing the Sacrament... I have also given talks more weeks than I have not given talks. Oh, I also teach Sunday School. I am actually really enjoying it.

Grandma has been sending me an E-mail every once and a while to give me some news. You guys usually give me the well known news and I usually get some of the gossip from Grandma.

Jordan's time on the computer has been very short lately due to their routine in this sector - they travel to meet as a district or zone every week. He decided to make a recording and send it with some additional details. I'll try and summarize it below:

We got our news about transfers this week. That usually comes on Saturday evening, but this time it was delayed until Sunday, but I don't know why. As mentioned above Jordan is staying in Diego de Almagro and will be getting a new companion, Elder Rojas, from Paraguay. They know who which elders are moving in their district, but not necessarily all the details of who is coming yet. Elder Velasquez will be going to one of Jordan's old sectors - Gabriela Mistral, to serve with Elder Van Pelt, who is 2m 10cm, about 7 ft tall. He is huge! - makes Jordan feel short.

Last Monday they met as a zone. They split off and worked for 2 - 3 hours. He went with Elder Farnsworth to see an investigator name Francesca - she is 13 years old. Her mom has finally consented to let her get baptized, but her dad (who does not live with them) has not. They taught a super good lesson, focusing on some of the challenges she might face, and also the great blessings that would come to her throughout her life if she got baptized. They were really happy with it. Just yesterday (Saturday), he heard from Elder Farnsworth that her mom is going to allow La Francesca to get baptized even if her dad doesn't give his consent. They are really happy she will be able to get baptized. It would be best to get her dad's approval, but the parents are not married, he lives in Arica (about 16 hours away) and it rarely involved in her life. He seems to be blocking it just to be difficult.

In their own sector, they are teaching a boy named Ivo. He is really cool and very receptive to the gospel. He even goes to church on his own - this is possibly the first investigator who will go on their own so far in his mission. Ivo is waiting to get his mother's permission to be baptized. The have encouraged him to speak to her first and then the elders will talk to her.

They have a few other investigators currently who are coming along, but none that are really strong at the moment.

This week has been a little slow as they were assisting the branch to get things sorted out now that it's the new year. They also cleaned the church, which they do every week and cleaned their pension so it looks really good. Jordan really likes this pension - it's nice, warm and comfy!

Brief time out from talking - Jordan tracked down and killed a spider. (I didn't understand the exact name, but it is poisonous, so not good roommates.)

Because the branch is so small they rely on the missionaries quite a bit. Every other week the missionaries do the preparations for Sunday - when they have this responsibility they can't take people to church. They have to hope they come on their own, which is challenging and not nearly as effective.

He'll "talk" with us in a week.

Love you guys lots,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 7, 2013

I know you want to have a nice long letter, but I am not really sure if this is going to exactly be it. I am thinking of an idea to give you a little more information about what is going on. I have made the goal of wrting in my journal again as I have not done it since I was in Antofagasta. I am also thinking of doing a recording on my voice recorder and sending it home. I can record during the week because we have a little bit of time in the evening. That will give you a little more stuff to recieve and also give me a little bit more time on the computer to do some of the extra stuff that I want to do. But... you will have to wait at least one more week for that.

Cambios (transfers) will be announced on Saturday evening so I will know my assignment then.

That is really good that you guys were able to celebrate New Years like a bunch of old people and welcome the New Year in at 11pm. 

I am not going to lie... I have been really lazy about doing my excercise. I wake up and think about doing it, then I just pull out my scriptures and start reading and then go shower.

One cool thing that I don't know if I told you was that our califon (water heater) was broken and we told a guy to come fix it. He failed to come pick it up about 5 times so I pulled it down and fixed it myself instead of waiting.

Tell Tyler (Lebaron) Happy Birthday for me also. (Their birthdays are on the same date.)

I really liked that backpack you sent and I have been using it this week and last week. 

We can drink the water here, but it tastes really bad in some places so most of the water we drink we buy in those 20 liter bottles.

The NERF battles we had were with other missionaries.

I am really sorry that this is short, but they really don't give us all the time that we are supposed to have for doing internet in this sector. Believe me, I wish I had more time to write as much as you do. This one was not my fault. I will record something for the next week so that if I only get a short time again you will have a little more news.

Look up ``Vivo por Ella`` By Andrea Bocceli. It is in Spanish but talks about the love of music. I really like it.

Love you guys, 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 2, 2013

I don't really like to tell people about my birthday (just past - Dec 29th) and things like that here. I don't really want anyone to do anything for me while I'm here in the mission field - it's not that big of a deal. I actually didn't have any presents to open on my birthday because after you told me that I had some interesting stuff I just got curious and opened it all after I got home on Christmas.

That's interesting that you say I sound different, but understandable. I look a little different since I have been slowly baking here in the desert for a whole year (I just passed one year in Chile).

Sounds like Christmas went pretty much the same as usual on your end, except for the fact that I wasn't there, unless that has become normal :P . I am glad that you got everything figured out for the Elders there for their phone call so that they call home, after they had a little bit of a hard time connecting at Bates.

I am glad that Austin (Jordan's nephew) will be a little bit of a more formidable opponent this coming Christmas in the  Nerf battle.  You should know that despite being in Chile, I have had a couple NERF battles here also. Just in my shirt and tie.

Pretty much all the churches here start at 10 in the morning except for reasons such as having two wards close together, without room to put another church. We did have multiple wards in Antofagasta and also in Alto Hospicio.

The reason that we don't have P-Day in this sector is that they use it to get together once a week for the meetings that we typically have in the mornings. Then they usually make us do something called a zone attack, where the whole zone does contacts or works in one sector for a couple hours. I really don't mind that, but what kind of sucks is that we have to be outside of our sector for the whole time. We can't clean the pension, really relax, or do some kind of activity in our own sector like go take a picture from the hills around about.

I have realized that I really like Andrea Bocceli here (Italian Tenor who sings classical and classical crossover music). (random thought)

I know exactly how many baptisms since I've been out, but you just need to know that I feel that I am being successful here. Maybe after the mission I will let you know.

Love Jord