Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 22, 2013

Well it sounds like everything went really good on your vacation and you were able to get a lot done, which is good. I think that I would definitely like to do that ATV thing the next time.

Hey... I told Garrett and I'm going to tell complaining about the cold. (Jordan's missing the seasons currently. We'll see if that lasts when he returns on the doorstep of winter.)

I can't really say that I am seeing a whole lot of difference from the missionary age change being in the field yet, but I'm sure that the Elders in the office are seeing it more.

Tell Jacek that I wish him well.

Audio Summary...
It's Monday and we're supposed to go to the Cyber so I'm just trying to get in a recording before we go. First off, quite early in the week we were walking back to the pension from lunch - we eat at the bishop's house because his wife is our mamita. This guy was walking around his car and then starts grunting at us... I'm not quite sure how to describe it. He kept on talking so we turned and looked at him and he said "Hey, hey, do you guys want some juice?" We all stopped and stared for a second because it was so random. This guy stops us in the street to see if we want some juice. Then he asked if we understood him. We said yeah, but I still didn't know how to respond so I was just staring at him. It was super weird. My companion was the first one to talk and he said "Yes, bueno, ok." Then he goes into his house and comes out with the juice. He said he sees us out all the time, walking a lot so here's some juice for you. That was interesting... and a first on my mission.

Another thing we've done... my companion and I realized we have a ridiculous amount of money, by missionary standards. I have a ton of money and he's got quite a bit and we haven't been eating so well so every week we decide on one thing we want to make that's super delish. We go to the store and buy everything to make, it doesn't matter how much it costs, we just buy the stuff we need, then we pick a night and make it. I said I'd make the first one, so we made Poutine. It was good - the gravy here is not really great and the cheese isn't fantastic either, but we enjoyed it. I really want some good Poutine when I get home - like from Costco or The Cheese Factory. This last Wednesday we made subs. We went out and bought some bread that's kind of like hotdog buns, some chicken, cheese, tomatoes and I made honey mustard sauce so we had honey mustard chicken subs. I'm not going to lie... it was probably one of the greatest things I've eaten here in my whole mission. It was pretty, pretty fantastic. Yeah... it was amazing! This week we bought refried beans, ground beef, tomato, taco sauce and we're going to make some sweet burritos.

I did get the pictures of San Pedro from the sister missionary so I'll upload them. I also have a few on my camera and so does my companion.

This Friday we're doing a ward activity here - a talent show. We're going to do a weird dance thing where you do it with 2 people and it looks like a midget. I'll be sure to get someone to record it because I think it will be pretty funny. We'll see how it turns out. We don't really know how many will participate. We should have about 5 guaranteed and we'll see from there.

We contacted this lady about 2 weeks ago. Her name is Aileen. She's got 2 kids and her husband and they moved from the south. We went to her house this week and shared a lesson with her and she expressed that everything we said really made sense. She said she was really glad we came and resolved some of the questions she had. Then she said, "I think I'd like you guys to come back." so that was pretty sweet. That never happens that someone asks us to come back before we can even ask them. That's super good because she was really receptive to what we talked about. She have shared with missionaries before - we basically talked about the Book of Mormon, what it is, how it came to be, etc. Yeah... it was a really good lesson.

This Saturday coming up we have 2 baptisms - Sebastion who is 10 years old and Marco who is also young. I've talked about both of them before. We'll have the 1st baptism at 11am so that's going to be an early morning because we have to get up about 5am to fill the baptismal font.

I bought mint chocolate Oreos this week - they were delicious! Last P Day we played soccer and beat the Lations - that was ok too. That's pretty much it. Next week I should have lots to say based on what we have planned.

We're reading the Book of Mormon in one month - the  month of April. I'm in 3 Nephi 20 and I have 8 days left. And... I'll tell you now that I have something I'm going to do, but I have to finish first, so you'll hear about it later. It's another challenge... woohoooo!... or should I say invitation.

That's everything for this week. I love you guys...
Caio! Jord

On the bus to San Pedro

San Pedro rock formations

San Pedro - rock covered in salt deposits

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 15, 2013

That is really weird that you have been running into so many people from back home while you are in Arizona, but then again, perhaps not. I tell people that sometimes it gets to like 45 C below (with windchill) and they just nod their head like they know what I am talking about. I try to explain how cold it is with examples of things, but I don't know if they can really imagine. Most people in my mission have never seen weather below freezing, let alone snow. They think that 15 C degrees above zero is really cold.

I have had some pretty interesting experiences here for sure. For example, the lady this week who had a Catholic church missionary sticker on her door and then denied belief in Jesus Christ, just to get rid of me. Or the lady who told me that she couldn't share with us because she was ironing her baby (like ironing board ironing). It makes more sense in Spanish...kind of.

My companion is pretty cool. He is from Guatemala City, Guatemala. I actually talked about him a little bit in the recording, but we get along really good.

I am going to try and get the pictures  of San Pedro this week and upload them next week so that you can see some of the stuff.

The amount of kids we teach alone might seem weird, but you would probably be surprised at the number of missionaries that go on missions without family support. There is an elder here that when he told his dad he was going to go on a mission his dad punched him in the face and told him that if he went he was going to be disowned, so you see a little of everything.

That is pretty much everything for this week. I love you guys, 

Summary of audio...
This week we tried to deal with a membership issue. Here is Chile there is a problem with people losing their membership records. No one really know why it happens, but it happens quite a lot. I think it's because people move around a lot and the ward secretaries struggle to keep track of them. In these cases, they need to be baptized again. There is one lady here, Tanya, and she's lost her records, but in the meantime, she has been living with someone. We learned this week that she is not going to be living with him anymore so she'll be able to get baptized and we were able to confirm it's all a go. These baptisms count for the mission. It's really cool because she's a really good person and a super active member... so it's pretty sweet. She's a bit different, but she's super funny. I think once she gets baptized she'll be a really strong member. 

There is a kid I mentioned last week - Sebastian. He's getting baptized April 27th. His whole family are members except his dad. He can't get baptized because he's living with Sebastian's mom and they aren't married, which is really, really common here. So, we're basically working with him until his baptism when his uncle is coming and will do the baptism.

The other kid were we teaching is Marco. We've challenged him to baptism, but he has to make up his mind now. He's really good and his mom likes the church, but says she will never get baptized. She's ok with him getting baptized if he wants to. Again... this is quite common here, where people say it's good for their child, but not for them, so it's interesting. It is nice that she doesn't have a problem with it. He's a super good kid. He comes and plays soccer with us some days.

Today for P Day, we didn't do anything too special. We went and played some soccer and then some basketball. I don't really like soccer much and even basketball doesn't thrill me that much, but some of the guys here are pretty serious about it. You know how I am... sometimes I play if I feel like it. One cool thing that happened though, we were going to play soccer and split into 3 teams. One team went off and took all the best players and the rest of us, including 2 members, split into 2 teams. We won every game - it was so funny. That was pretty cool. Soccer's still not my favorite, but sometimes it's fun when the teams are a bit balanced and you have a chance to win some games.

I hope you're all still reading the Book of Mormon as you indicated. I don't know if I told you that our whole mission has been challenged to read the Book of Mormon in 1 month - I'm in Alma 44 so that pretty good. It's only the 15th and I'm over half way through. All  the Latinos who can read English have to do so and the English speaking missionaries have to read in Spanish, so I'm reading in Spanish. It's good. I understand most of it except maybe the Isiah chapters, which are even challenging in English. Elder Lopez is in 3 Nephi, he's super far. He speaks fluent English - actually he rarely talks so I don't really know, but he understands everything. He watched conference in English. He's been to the States about 5x for a month each time. He's seen conference live more times than Elder Steiner, who lives in Utah. He understands English very well. He's flying right through it... and it's 100 pages shorter in English.

That's about it. Have a great week in Arizona and we'll talk to you next week!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 9, 2013

Last week was pretty busy and I also had to leave the Cyber early to go and check some stuff that was in the pension that the office was asking for, so that cut my time down by about 20 minutes, which is quite a bit. 

I did see those pictures you sent and Garrett also sent me an e-mail so I was a little short on time for that reason as well.

You may be wondering why I am writing today, but I will let you listen to the recording to find out what we did. I will say that we got in late and I wanted to use the afternoon to work instead of write.

I hope you enjoy your time in Arizona. The weather right now should be pretty similar to where I am right now. You'll get to experience summer in the Atacama desert this year when we come back.

General conference was sweet. Like my other two conferences, there was a room for English (the gringo room) - there were actually quite a few of us in there this time. There are 16 missionaries in Calama  and we had 5 elders (4 gringos and Elder Lopez who understands English perfectly) and 2 sisters there. While it's true there were a lot of talks about obedience, I also saw a lot on missionary work. This was the first time I was actually able to see the World Report completely -it is sweet. I don't know if you saw the BYU movie about the Bible - that was really cool as well.

And I will leave you with a really trunky thought... after the next general conference I will be 16 days away from coming home.

Love you guys, 

Summary of audio clip...
This is my first recording from Calama... I'll try and cover more stuff as I missed last week and only sent a very short email. First of all, in the sector this week... it was a little slower because of general conference coming up. Most of the week we were just trying to get people to come to conference. We just wanted to get a hold of, and invite all of our investigators and try and make sure they came. Conference is such a big eal we jsut try to get everyone to. Even though we only had 1 person attend, we really enjoyed it, because it's conference!

There's 1 young kid here named Sebastion who is going to get baptized on April 27th. The missionaries have been working with him. His mom is a member who is reactivating and he's 10 years old and is going to get baptized.

We found 2 really good investigators this week. They said they were going to come to conference, but they didn't. I was a little bit frustrated about that. We had another investigator who came to church. His name is Marco and he's another kid we've been working with. His mom is living with a man and they aren't married so she can't get baptized. Marco is really good, very receptive and he likes coming to church which is cool.

Not too much else happened in hte sector. We mostly focused on inviting people to conference because it's a really big thing - you're listening to the apostles and the prophet. Pretty sweet!

Conference highlights for me...
There was one talk that was really good for here in Chile because it is very common for people to live together without being married - of course that's not allowed. David Bednar gave a talk on Saturday afternoon on Chastity which was really good. It kind of put it into perspective and will help us to explain a little bit better to our investigators.

Also, I really liked the talk by Tad L Calister, from the Presidency of the Seventy. He is one my favorite speakers generally. He gave a talk about Deacons in the priesthood session and about how we can raise their vision. He said lots of cool stuff, but some of the things I wrote down were that I really liked:
  • the missionaries often rise or fall to expectations
  • with increased vision comes increased motivation
  • the Lord does not have a problem that he can not solve... and neither will we if we seek the Lord's help
  • being set apart is not a replacement for hard work and homework
Also in the priesthood session, President Uchtdorf  gave a really good talk about 4 titles we have as priesthood holders. This priesthood session was really, really good. I mean it's always good, but I found it was amazing this time.

Elder Holland gave a good talk on Sunday afternoon - he typically gives awesome talks. One quote he gave was "What was once a tiny seed of belief for me is now a tree of life." That was a good quote. I took a lot of notes, but these ones stood out.

Today for P Day we went to San Pedro. I  think I mentioned it before - it's like a little town outside of Calama, towards the mountains. It's really touristy - people go there from all around the world. Lots from Europe, lots from the States, just to see it. It would be really cool to see when we are back here. As much as Calama is not much to look at, San Pedro is pretty cool. There are lots of cool rock formations and stuff. It would be good to come here and spend a day taking in the sights and activities. The first thing we went to was the Valley of the Moon - they call it that because it's like pointed mountains or hills that are covered with salt, which makes it look really white. I didn't take too many pictures because I forgot to replace the batteries in my camera. A sister here gave me her camera to take lots of pictures. I'll see if I can get those from her to upload. There's some pretty cool stuff although the pictures don't really do it justice. It's just not quite the same as being there in person.

This week I got attacked by a drug addict. He stopped us and asked a couple of questions. I gave him a card with a picture of Christ coming to the Americas. It has people with their hands in the air and he thought it was a battle scene (because he was high) and he just started attacking us right in the street. It was crazy! I love my mission, but  this area is quite interesting.

I love you guys. I'll talk to you next week.
See ya!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 1, 2013

First off... I completely forgot to do a recording this week.

Random nerdy comment - I miss my G15 keyboard.

That's a drag that the sink wasn't what you ordered, but at least you caught it in time.

I am really running out of time. There are things a little bit outside of my control, but I wanted to let you know that this week we had a baptism here in my sector. I pretty much walked into it, but it was still pretty cool. She was investigating the church for like 2 years. It was really weird though because her husband is a return missionary and he didn't want to do the baptism, so my companion did it for him.

We did not really do anything for Easter, but we went to church, so that was cool.

I am glad you bore your testimonies.

I am so excited to go to conference here in a big city. Try and go to, or at least watch as many sessions as you are able to .

I do have a mamita in this sector. The problem with making my own refried beans is not that I don't know's that black or kidney beans simply don't exist here as far as I know... just like brown sugar.

My companion Elder Lopez is from Guatemala.

I am really sorry this is so short, but I will give you a nice big recording next week and will probably have some more time.

I love you guys,

Monday, April 1, 2013

March 25, 2013

Listen to my recording for all the information on my transfer and what has happened this week. I have decided to write this smaller and keep track of things in my Agenda to say. So, my recording is longer and I´ll have a bit more time to do some other stuff on the computer.

That is cool to hear about your provincials and that you won. I told some of the Elders here that you play soccer and they said "you mean played (past tense) right?" I said no, she plays currently. I didn't know that Provincials was just a round robin, total points. I thought it was more of a playoff style, but I guess that would be tough with only 4 teams.

I know that the bathroom isn't finished yet, but it looks really, really good.

That was pretty crazy about the pile up near Leduc. More than 60 cars - I can't imagine. 

I like how you guys made the print really big in your e-mail to make it look bigger... it was a nice touch.

Audio summary...
First of all, you are probably wanting to know if I got transferred. The answer is... yes, I did. I'm going to Calama. Calama is a city 3 hours from Antofagasta and hours from Tocopia - they form a triangle with Calama being quite far towards the mountains. It's really cold there at night and really hot during the day. So, that's fun. I'm going to be going there and finishing the training  for an elder - it's his second transfer in the mission field. His name is Elder Lopez and he's from Elder Casas' group - he thinks he might be from Peru, but he's not sure. The elder coming here is Elder Mikesell, from my group. He's one of the elders I lived with in Alto Hispiscio. He'll be Elder Casas' new companion and will finish off his training.

Interestingly, you guys were talking about having to fix your toilet. I also decided to fix my toilet in the Pension this week because it was leaking. Actually, it never stopped running so we were losing a lot of water. It was also annoying to have to turn the water on and off every time I used it. So, I just fixed it. I went out and bought the inner parts of the toilet... it would have been really easy but what happened was the 2 bolts that hold the tank onto the seat were rusted and we couldn't loosen the nut from the bolt. We ended up having to get one of those thin metal saws, slipping it in between the tank and the seat and cutting bolt in half which a big pain for us, but after we got that done it was really straight forward. The seal fit well and bolts fit fine, the tank was good and now it works perfectly.

Apparently my new Pension is really, really nice. I haven't been there yet so I don't really know, but that's what I hear. I'm looking forward to that because I've kind of drawn the short straw a couple of times while I've been here, in the whole Pension clean-up thing.

Also, when we went to El Salvador last week I bought refried beans. You probably think "Oh, big deal - refried beans" but they were really expensive. A little can of refried beans was $6-7. So it was a big purchase... those little beans, but I made bean burritos and it was fantastic! It was probably one of the greatest meals I've had here besides Poutine. That was something else! I did that about 4x and then I couldn't find gravy anymore - that made me so sad. So... I made bean burritos. That was pretty cool!

As far as work here in the sector this week we were able to find a couple people. We found 1 lady that was really, really good, but her husband is very closed minded and doesn't want anything to do with us, which is actually very common here in this little pueblo. So, we're not going to pass by there anymore... or the missionaries here won't, as I'm leaving.
We did find 1 lady that was really good last week, but we couldn't connect with her this week. They're going to have to try and pass by her house this week. Apart from that I don't really know what I'm going into. This sector has been really hard, but I've learned a ton here. I'm not sad I was here, but I'm ready to leave. I'm getting a little bored. But... I've learned so much here and it's been really good. It's interesting, the branch president's family is the only really active family in the branch. I told the branch president's wife this morning that I'm leaving and she wrote me a note that was really, really nice. There's a quote in Preach My Gospel that says you have to ask yourself if you've been a help or a hindrance where you're serving. This branch right here... I feel like I've been a really big help. Not to be proud or anything, but I feel like I've left a mark here, at least in one place. I only baptized one person in 4 months, but I feel like I did a good job. She really want us to come back, so we'll probably pass by this little tiny pueblo and you can get to know her. She's super cool.

That's what happened this week. I'm really happy I'll be in a bigger city for General Conference because I'm not sure how/if they will get it in the little pueblo, as I don't think they have a satellite dish. I feel sorry for Elder Mikesell and my kid (Elder Casas) who will be here for his first conference in the mission field. That really sucks for them, but I'm happy. Then, for the Mother's Day phone call I'll probably also be in Calama, which is pretty nice because it's a big city. So, that's what's going on with me this week. I'm leaving in about 45 minutes.

I hope you guys have a good week. I love you all... talk to you next week.

March 18, 2013

That would be dad's biggest worry about the blizzard and big snowfall - Not that there might be accidents or anything like that, but that it is going to delay golf season.

The work you're doing in the bathroom is pretty cool. I did some unplanned service this week in the street and it was even more cool. We saw this lady hitting some wooden beams on a really horribly built little shade blocker. It was put together with really bad wood and overly large screws. After we figured out what she wanted done (because we couldn't really understand anything she said - about 1 word for every 20) I spent about 5 minutes smacking on the wooden beam as hard as i could to get it in place. Pretty sweet!

That is really funny about the anniversary party. I don't even know what to say...but I did read that to the missionaries here with me.

It was ironic that you mentioned The New Asian Village because yesterday I had the hugest craving for Indian food. It actually made me feel a little depressed. Indian food and a huge filet mignon.

Grandma filled me in on all of Jana's baby details like the name and everything.

I think you've probably figured out the correct date I return home (Around Oct 22).

During the last recording I was in ChaƱaral and there are hills there, but Diego is flat, I don't get out of breath walking around Diego.

That is pretty much everything for this week. I answered all your other questions in the recording with my smooth and sexy voice. (Thats right - I just said sexy).

Love you guys,

Audio summary...
We're in El Salvador today - it's really cool here. The streets are really wide whereas in the rest of Chile the streets are narrow. I'm looking at a street right now that you could easily fit 6 lanes. It's like freeway width. El Salvador is interesting because it's really high in the mountains and it's desert obviously, but there's trees here and the air is really cool, really different. Calama is really high in altitude, but it's not like this.

We had a pretty good week. The problem is we were sharing with Ivo this week and talked to his mom and she said he could get baptized so we were like "sweet". Then his dad said no, so now he's not going to get baptized. I'm so annoyed. But, we found a really good lady this week. Her name is Erika. She's about 35ish. We walked to the door the first day and she said she didn't have time to listen, but to come back tomorrow. So, we went back and she just let us in even though she had guests at her house, so that was pretty cool. We had a good lesson there and she couldn't go to church this week but she said she wanted to go next week. We're pretty excited to see what happens with her. Other than that it was a pretty  normal week. We visited member and less actives and people are coming back from holidays so it's nice.

In El Salvador, which is in my District, they have a baptism coming up. It's Francesca who I talked about before. I actually met her before the vacations when the whole District met there and split off, so that's great!

There are transfers next week. I'll be able to tell you next Monday where I'm going to be and who my companion will be - if I'm leaving. President Bruce might leave me here again - it wouldn't be my favorite, but he could do it.

I don't know if there's anything else. Elder Casas and I are getting along really well. We're doing the training to get him all perfect. I really want to do a good job so we're doing all our study time and everything.

That's pretty much it. So, I'll talk to you next week. I love you guys and hope you have a good week.