Monday, September 29, 2014

Six Baptismal Dates

We had an activity for the 19th of September. It is the day after Fiestas Patrias. The Church had an activity in the courtyard with soccer, basketball, kites, gunnysack races and other activities and we invited investigators and others to come to the activity to learn more about the church and meet the members. So we had permission to play games and have fun with the Branch and have a fun day, but we gave tours of the church and had people to fellowship and help get to know more about the church. It was a great activity and now we have one family who loves the members and loves the church who is progressing really well. They are a family of 5 but we can baptize 4 of them. They aren´t married but we have a goal for them to get married 2 days before their baptism and we are working really hard with them. They are really receptive and want to get baptized, have baptizmal dates that we placed this week and they want to get married and we typically have around 4 visits with them a week. They are awesome! They live close to the dump and they are really poor, but they are really humble and are great people.  

I am really excited we have 6 baptizmal dates right now and Martina wasn´t baptized because her Mom wants to find a day when all of the family can be there so we told her to plan the date and we would organize the interview and baptismal service. Our baptismal dates right now are Carolina, Isabil, the family Guerra Zapata with Victor, Elizabeth, Francisco, and Alfonzo with baptismal dates. Benjamin is their youngest and I think he is 3. They are really excited and are accepting all of the lessons really well and are working to change and follow the commandments. I am really having a great time serving right now. This is a little about my week! 

Ya pretty much how it was. Martina´s Dad respects churches but isn´t interested so they just want him to be a part of her life. I haven´t met her Dad. We teach English classes on Saturdays in the Church and Leontina, Martina´s Mom comes to learn and then we teach afterwards with the family. Martina has a younger sister Sophia who is 7 and we are doing a lot to help them be active. They are a little lazy to come to church every week, but they come fairly often. Things will work out though. Martina´s Dad works in other parts of the area so he isn´t always around so it is hard to plan when he will be able to come is the problem. 

The missionaries only teach one class on Sunday and that is Principles of the Gospel and right now Elder Vasquez likes to teach that. The first 3 weeks were a little hard with Elder Vasquez, but things are a lot better now. I am doing well and we had a great week. We had 81 people at Church. That is the most that we have had in the time I have been here. We are doing well and we had a conference with Elder Gonzalez from the South American General Presidency in my 5th week in the field. We are going to have another conference in the future with Elder Nelson of the 12 Apostles about the Plan Pilota which is the Pilot Plan that is in 4 missions in the world, 2 in Chile and 2 in Argentina. This conference is about this in November.  

We are doing well overall, a little frustrated that we didn´t have Martina´s baptism this week, but working hard to coordinate it with her Mom so that we can help them progress and doing all that we can to prepare our other investigators to come and be baptized. We had 10 less active members at the church and 4 of them for the 1st time this past Sunday and we had 6 of our 10 recent converts at church with 2 investigators, but they weren´t any of our baptismal dates. We are working hard though and are having success. We have changes on the 20th of October and I honestly hope that I don´t have changes this time because our 4 baptismal dates for the family are for the 26th.... We also have 2 other dates that I mentioned their names in my other email for the 19th of October. We are going to plan Martina´s baptism with her mom so that it can work out for a baptism and confirmation in the same weekend.  

Thanks for everything and I am doing really well. We have to go to Davila in our zone this weekend for the Conference broadcasts and this week is hard on missionaries with money because there were 5 Mondays and usually there are only 4, so most missionaries are running short, but I have my habit of not spending, so I am doing just fine. Thanks for the support and love and everything. I can´t believe that I am starting my 16th week in the mission. It doesn´t feel like it and I have 20 months left and it has been about 3 and a half months here already. It doesn´t feel like 2 months in Lo Espejo, but I got to this sector 2 months ago.... I´m doing really well and I love you a lot! 

I buy my own food and cook separately. We eat lunch with members and have breakfast and dinner on our own. 

It isn´t horribly cold and it just rains. It doesn´t snow on us. We have cold nights and hot days... It is a little bit difficult because it is too cold without a coat in the morning and too hot with during the day... Oh well.... It´s a part of the mission. We have a few wet days and a few hot days. We deal with it and I´m not trying to stress, but I mentally just stress and I am doing just fine.  

I am just working on learning to focus on the people and being their friends even though I don´t understand everything that they say, but when they enjoy having us there they are more receptive and more likely to come unto Christ and be baptized. That is one of my focuses is being a friend and not just teaching, but helping them and making them matter before teaching. Thanks for everything.  

This week I´m out of time. Love you!  

I did some work on descendants of John David Goode. You may be able to find them and double check them if you have a little bit of time. Thanks! Love you! 

I also worked on all of the descendants of Elijah Daniel Goode on all of the lines with record hints. Double check them if you can. I don´t want to cause problems, but I thought that everything looked right and I was working a little fast so who knows? Thanks for being there to help double check things!





Monday, September 22, 2014

Independence Day Celebrations

Some of our baptismal dates fell through, because people weren´t able to come to church this week, but that´s okay. Isabil was finally able to come to church this week, but we had to go and find her and walk like 15 minutes to the church with her. She lives very far away, but we wanted her to come, so we went and found her, because she said that if we came with her she would come. It was a good week overall, but right now we are doing everything that we can to help out people that we are finding and helping.  

We found a new family of 5 that we can baptize 4 of, that lives in a poorer part that we have been able to teach 4 times this past week. They are really great and I know that they can progress really quickly. They couldn´t come to the church this Sunday, but they are going to come the next Sunday. We had an activity in the Church on Friday and we were at the church all day with people and they came and loved being there and meeting the people and being a part of the activity. We are doing well and I know that with a little time that they could get baptized. Here they use Last names of the father then the mother so the name of the family is The Guerra Zapata family. Victor, Elizabeth, and their 3 kids, but the oldest two are older than 8, so we can baptize them when they are ready. We are doing a lot to help them and focusing on them a lot because they are progressing so well.  

The 18th we were in the street teaching lessons and it was really hard to have lessons, but people gave us food.... We visited members because all of our plans fell through and contacting is horrible during holidays. The 19th was our activities in the Church and we gave tours of the church, played soccer, basketball, volleyball, and all sorts of other games. The 20th I was really sick and my stomach was upset and I was really sore from the day before and tried to go out and serve, but after about an hour we had to call the Zone Leaders and get permission to go back to the house, because I was sick. I had taken some medications for everything, but wasn´t feeling good. I slept for 4 hours and my companion listened to music, did the dishes, studied and relaxed while I slept and then we went out and taught a couple lessons, because I was feeling decent. I felt better the next day and that was Saturday when I was feeling awful. I am doing a lot better now and we still had 18 lessons in the week with 2 days of holidays and one day when I was sick, so it was pretty good overall. I am excited to work, but I always am trying to find more ways to help people progress, but it isn´t always easy. I am doing well and loving the work even though I have had a few hard days. Thanks for everything that you do and I have a little more time still. 

Don´t stress about me I am doing really well and little things happen and I will be just fine. I am doing great and loving the work. At times things are a little frustrating especially when I feel a little stressed out, because that is when I normally play video games for a little bit. Thanks for all that you do and enjoy your week. Love you!

Chileans celebrate their Independence on September 18th each year.  This article explains the history behind their government and their 204 years of Independence from Spanish Rule.




Monday, September 15, 2014

Photos!!! Hooray!

We eat lunch at around 2 in the afternoon.  My allergies are starting to act up a little because we are entering spring here. I am doing all that I can right now. Our normal cyber was closed today and we are short on time because of that. I am sorry and just be a little patient today. I still need to take care of messaging my president, but I wanted you to know so that you are not panicking sorry.

Currently we only have 1 baptismal date which is Martina she is 9 years old now. We moved her baptismal date back because we want her father to be at the baptism. So currently it is for the 27th with the confirmation on the 28th. The mom of Martina and Sophia who is 7 is a less active member but close to being active member. We are helping them to be more active and she is currently our only baptismal date.

I am doing good. We have other investigators. Carolina who visits her Mom in our sector in the weekends and we visit them and teach her.  Her baptismal date fell through because we need 3 times attending before baptism and there weren't more days to attend so we need to help her this next week with another baptismal date and to attend. We also have Isabil who is the mother of a recent convert that we are teaching because retention in the mission is for one year after baptism. We have a retention of 10. It is 4 families and right now we are trying to help Isabil attend, but it is hard because she and Ivan both work with weird schedules and can't always attend. We are doing a lot of contacting. We had 84 contacts in the last week. We couldn't leave our pention on the 11th of September because it is dangerous here, so we had a party in our pention. Our numbers were lower because we lost a day. We are doing really well and helping a lot of people, but right now it is finding people who are willing to progress and helping them prepare for baptism.

We have a lot of blocks in our sector. They have like 24 to 48 houses in each one..... We have more than 35 blocks to put it bluntly and a lot of other houses to contact. Our sector is a gold mine of people, but finding them and then helping them takes a lot of time. We are doing all that we can and being really persistent with others. Moises was the 8 year old that I confirmed a member two Fridays ago. Elder Chuquel baptized him and if I can I will send photos today. I am doing really well and loving the work, but I have a lot to do and it is a little difficult at times.


This was the last day with Elder Chuquel in the pention. Left to right this is Elder Fernandez, Elder Chuquel, Elder Decker and Elder Goode.


Sorry this was of my heritage in the mission. Left to right are Elder Goode, Elder Chuquel, Elder Smith and Elder Stevens.

Elder Smith is my Grandfather in the mission with Elder Chuquel, who is my father and Elder Stevens who is my uncle in the mission. And I have a brother but I don't have a picture of him yet and I don't know his name. I will let you know when I find out who he is. I am going to send photos from the baptism too.


This is Hermana Barreiros, Elder Chuquel, Elder Prisbey and President Barreiros.  Elder Chuquel is training Elder Prisbey so that makes Elder Prisbey, a brother to Elder Goode. 


The family here is Moises family and the other girl in white is Arecelli who is the cousin of Moises.

 We are at another cyber and it is reading my card, so if we can we will try to use other cybers or whatever is possible to write. Thanks for everything. I am almost out of time. I hope that my brief description will work for today. I'm sorry about everything in the past week and I will work on giving more details for the next week! Love you! If I have time I will send one more photo of our day stuck in the house.


Elder Fernandez, Elder Decker, Elder Vasquez and Elder Goode on September 11th when they were stuck in their apartment for their safety. 

Churry Pan is like Hot Dogs, but they are a little different as well. If I have a minute or two I will send picture of my first completo as well. I am doing all that I can to send photos this week to help because I can send them right now. Sorry and hope that this helps with everything. I will send more information about families and other investigators and everything next week. I am focusing on pictures this week.


My first completo Italian style.


Santa Lucia has a cool place that I don't remember all of the history about, but you can look it up in the internet and find out more, but this was the last P day of the change. We went with our zone and had permission. It was really cool and I had a really good time even though it was raining the whole time. I am really excited for the next change and now you have a photo of Elder Vasquez with me. The glasses he doesn't use they were just in the house, so he was wearing them. We did a lot of planning for our sector this past Thursday because we had all day and planned for the week for 4 and a half hours and the normal is 3. We are preparing to have a great change, but there is a lot to do and many people to help. I am excited to go work even though I don't always give a lot of details. I am going to do better to write more. Sorry. I don't always share all of my experiences, but I remember a lot of them. I will share them when I have a few minutes here and there. Thanks for everything. We have permission to write this late from the Assistants, if you were wondering.

I am taking my pills but I have missed a few days with the inhalers. I am doing fairly well.

One sister in my ward who lives close, we stopped by and she was having an asthma attack because other people were smoking. So I ran to our apartment and found one of my new inhalers and gave it to her, because she needed it more than I did. But this was after we gave her a blessing. I have had many opportunities to serve and I felt like we needed to visit them and she is a recent convert with all of her family. They are a family of 5. The Soto Family. They are awesome. We are doing all that we can to help prepare them for the temple. They have a long way to go, but we are doing all that we can. I am enjoying the work. This was one experience when I was prompted to help. This was this past week and it was a really good experience. I had exactly what they needed to help and afterwards she was feeling better.

Love you. And so that you know, the time changed here, so that it is 6:40 right now. We have permission to write for now, but I have to go.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Elder Vasquez, New Companion and Trainer

Hey Mom thanks for the Package! It was really nice and everyone wanted me to tell you thank you.

Elder Fernandez wanted me to tell you to add his Mom on Facebook he is the trainer of Elder Decker and lives in the same pention as me. Her name is Gabriela Fernandez Lopez.

I am doing really well and Elder Chuquel did get transferred. Transfers in our mission all of the missionaries go to Maipù for changes. We have a reunion and they list all of the changes. We are getting 25 new missionaries tomorrow and 19 elders and 6 hermanas. They will be trained and Elder Chuquel has a (whitewash) or a fresh sector. So he is opening this area without contact with others and he is training again in Peñaflor. He is really excited and nervous. The reunion is awesome and I love how the mission does it. Elder Smith, my Grandfather in the mission, was a District leader training my uncle, Elder Stevens, in the last change and now he is a new Zone Leader in Peñaflor. I am still in Lo Espejo 2. My new companion is Elder Vasquez from Peru. He was serving in the Coast in the Zone San Antonio before as a District leader and is District Leader now in Ochagavia. He has 11 months in the mission and finishes one year in this change with me. I am leading the sector, but he is senior companion finishing my training. I´m excited and it will be a really good experience for me. There is a lot going on and it will be amazing.

I am perfectly healthy! We have dust like everywhere does, but we clean. I believe mold is inevitable in the world and it doesn´t bother me and we have termites in parts, but I am dealing with everything. I don´t have problems with asthma now or anything. Yes, I am using my inhalers and everything and I got the package and read all of the letters and shared everything and am still reading the articles.

The schedule for the mission is like the normal missionary schedule. We wake up at 6:30 and end our day at 10:30. I am doing just fine. I have my 3 baptismal dates still going strong but we are working on getting them to attend more. I am doing all that I can.

Thanks for everything and I will try to find a converter that will work. I don´t know for certain though and if I can´t this week I will find another method to use. Patience without photos. I want to share, but I am having a hard time with the technology not liking the new stuff from my camera. I will look for a way to change it.

Note from Mom:  Braxton talks about his grandfather in the mission.  This is part of the missionary culture.  I don't know if they do it everywhere, but they did in our son, Curtis's mission to Ecuador.  Your father is the missionary that trained you.  If he has trained or does train other elders, they become your brothers.  Your grandfather is the missionary that trained your father.  If your grandfather trains other missionaries, they become your uncles.  If you have two trainers, like Braxton now has, the second one is your step-father and I suppose the missionary that trained him would be a step-grandfather.  When the missionaries all get together they like to catch up with their families from previous transfers, so I bet their reunions are really fun.  I suppose the hermanas probably have mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

First Baptism! - An 8 Year Old Kid

I personalize emails and it´s more frustrating for me when I write everyone and send you quite a lot of information and don´t get anything in return during the time when I am on.... I try to keep them brief that way you can give me more information as well.

I really haven´t had fried breads here. There is a lot of things that are really good. 

We had a Baptism for an 8 year old kid in the Branch whose mom is less active and we have been teaching them. We technically have the Baptism personally, but it doesn´t count for the mission. We have taught him a lot during this change and things are going really well overall. I was a little frustrated because another one of our baptismal dates fell through. We are having a really hard time getting people who are investigating the church to attend. We have had 2 investigators attend this entire change. We are working with them to get their baptisms ready by teaching the lessons, but Chilenos are work-a-holics and they are so hard to have lessons with because they are so undependable for appointments. We usually have 2 or three plans for every lesson.

Things are going well for me. I am doing just fine. Thanks for your concern and the food honestly doesn´t bother me. I´ve had shrimp, peppers, and tomatoes and honestly each of them hasn´t bothered me in the least. Most of the time I’m just happy to have food to eat when we go visit people. I am eating when I can, but overall it isn´t like before the mission and I´m only losing weight because my body is used to burning the same number of calories and I´m not eating like I could before. 

I haven´t received anything yet because like I explained pouch comes every 2 weeks so it should come this Wednesday when we have District meeting. We get it every 2 weeks. Don´t stress too much. I am doing just fine and I know that you worry about me and I understand your worries, but honestly I can handle anything that comes my way. I am handling money just fine and everything. I don´t run out and I usually have more food than everyone else and more money. I am frugal and I choose wisely so I am doing great and I have found souvenirs and other things, too. Don´t stress. I am starting into Mate’ and I might have to ask Curtis about his experiences and what he recommends for me.

Sorry that you didn´t get answered first. I answer the emails from the bottom up. However they came in. That way I have the timeline in my head. I know about how long ago each email was and then I can reply in context of when people wrote. Thanks for your patience and today you got a lot more that came in first and many of your emails from last week came in after I had gotten off. I´m sorry I am doing all that I can to make sure that you have emails to read and that I write my President and work on Family Search as well. Thanks for all that you do and I can´t just magically make the computer have all of the text appear. If I could this would be so much quicker. Love you Mom! J

Sounds like a crazy time and why am I just hearing about Lisa almost a month after the fact....? (Braxton's cousin Lisa had an accident.  It wasn't a month ago.  Braxton must not have read my email very carefully.) 
Thanks for everything and sorry that things are frustrating. The mission can be for me at times too. I´m doing good.  I don´t know about families I could help currently. Practically everyone. And we don´t have the types of ATM´s that don´t charge extra so every ATM charges like 8 dollars per transaction.... It´s a little frustrating. I´m doing fine and there are a lot of poor people where I am serving. The West and South missions are the poorest and The East mission is the richest. We went to a few places today outside of our mission for our Zone with permission. We went to Santa Lucia you should look it up. I may send some photos if I can get them to work today.
This is a photo of Santa Lucía Hill viewed from San Cristóbal Hill. 
This link has information and photos of Santa Lucia Hill. 

There are rules in the Missionary Handbook about not revealing personal information about other people. That´s why I generally don´t share anything. I keep it vague and confidential. Sorry... I will try to send pictures if I can today.

I can´t send photos this week as well, but I may be able to figure it out in the last couple minutes.
Congratulations on your baptism. Do you have another one this week?

I would have, but she didn´t attend church so her date is gone. We will have to reschedule the date, but it´s a little frustrating. We start teaching people and then they find jobs that take up all of their time. We haven´t taught her this past week and it has been difficult. She is a friend of a recent convert, so we should be able to meet with her soon hopefully...

I understand.  It is hard when things you plan fall through, but I think all missionaries go through this.  It is just human nature and it is hard to change old habits and routines.  Most people have to take care of their basic needs of food and shelter before they can think about their spiritual needs.  Unfortunately, if the people are poor, they will have a lot of those basic needs to deal with.  At least they are hard-working people and not idle.  That will be a blessing to the church, when you can get them to join and be committed.  Keep on trying.  Don’t give up on them.  Try not to judge.  Just love them into the church.    

I know and that´s what I do is testify and invite. Things will come along.
Just a heads up that you don´t know. My date for the end of my mission is May 31st, 2016. I have known this date for probably a month and a half. Sorry I haven´t shared it. Just a lot going on. Don´t worry too much. Time goes quickly and I am nearly 2 and a half months in, but for time my mission ends in less than 21 months, so calm down. I´ve been in the sector for more than a month. Time goes fast and it doesn´t feel like it has been this long. Relax I´m doing all that I can to share and I love you and know that you are doing all that you can. Keep working through the challenges. We have them so that we can grow! Like a tree in the wind that was talked about in the past conference. By the way I read the entire Ensign about conference in a week and a half. Also I read all of Alma this change in Spanish and am in Helaman now. I started in the CCM in the last Chapter of Jacob. All of this has been in Spanish. I am doing really well and the time is great. I haven´t started marking my scriptures yet. I want to work on understanding better before I begin a marking system for my scriptures, but I know that it will go well. Thanks for the love and support!

One of the other missionaries in your group had posted the release date while you were still in the CCM.  I think it was Elder Christiansen.  I was reading his blog.  So I have known for a long time, but that doesn’t matter at this time.  You have lots of time to be a wonderful missionary.

I don’t worry too much and I am probably more relaxed and calm than you.  I know you are in the Lord’s hands and even when I hear sad things about other missionaries that have died while serving their missions or earthquakes or tsunamis that have hurt missionaries, I am okay.  I know I placed you in the Lord’s hands and He is taking great care of you.  I know He can see you and if He wanted to or needed to, he could pluck you out of the middle of a storm and place you somewhere safe.  I don’t worry about you dying or anything because your Patriarchal Blessing is amazing and gives me comfort.  You have so much left to accomplish in this life.  My Patriarchal Blessing also gives me comfort.  It says that I will live to a ripe age and that I will see my sons and daughters grow to maturity, obeying, honoring and sustaining the gospel.  I know you think you are all grown up, but I still think of you as my little boy and I don’t think you or Clain are yet grown to “maturity” and I don’t feel very ripe yet.  I think I have many, many, more years to live and work on this earth.  There are so many more things I can still accomplish.  So I expect on May 31, 2016 we will be standing at the bottom of the stairs at the Salt Lake City airport waiting for you to come down the escalator.  And this time, I just may break loose and run across the room and tackle you with a giant hug, just to embarrass you!  I look forward to that!  But I don’t want the time to go too fast, either.  Enjoy every day and enjoy this wonderful time in your life.  It will change you and make you a better man for the rest of your life. 

That is exciting that you are reading so well in Spanish.  We have been doing terrible at scripture study since you left.  We need to get back into a regular routine now that school is going and make sure we get scriptures and prayers done every night.  I am still reading in Alma. 

Today I read 6 chapters in Spanish. Things are good and it may be a day or two after depending on the flights and everything, but it is approximately correct.

That is great.  Six chapters is a lot, especially in Spanish. 

No problem on the date.  We will get the final flight plans when it is time.  We had wondered if you would come home before your two full years or if you would come home six weeks later, because your two years falls halfway between transfers.  That changed because you spent only six weeks at the CCM instead of the nine weeks that they spent earlier.  

I´m out of time. Sorry I can´t get photos sent this week. Sorry.... I am having a hard time with drives and computers lately. I will figure it out.

Ok.  I love you anyway.  Photos next week, please!  Be GOODE!

I´m trying in the last minute or two.

Sorry.... The drive doesn´t show up on the computer I tried another drive Elder Chuquel has and it wouldn´t work and now I´m out of time. Sorry.... I can´t get them sent. I have some really good pictures, but I can´t find a way to send them. I´m sorry.