Monday, June 29, 2015

I am really happy!

They (The Soto Family) wrote me once and I responded to Alfredo the Dad for the whole family. They are great and I am hoping that they stay strong.

I am staying another change here with Elder Leyva, but Elder Brush from the other sector had changes and now Elder Cardona will be here with Elder Orozco for the next 6 weeks. I am really happy though, because a family of 3, that has their son who is 17, who is inactive and the dad that is inactive and suspended, with the mom, who is an investigator, are starting to progress. The parents got married 2 days ago and I am so happy. They still have issues, but I am hoping and praying that they will come to church this next Sunday, because we can baptize the mom and activate the family. They have their doubts in the gospel and it is keeping them from progressing.

We have heard all about the new laws in the States. The people this week have mentioned it to me several times and our Mission President talked about it today. It`s still frustrating but will bring out the best and the worst in the people and the truly converted will live correctly and others could fall into personal apostasy. Things are going to be different but not impossible. Thanks for all that you do. 

It is good to hear from you.  I am glad you are happy with the changes.  Please try to do some things to keep you warmer so you can get over the cold symptoms.  Do you have a heating blanket for your bed?  Are you wearing the thermals?  I worry that you have been sick for so long. 

You might try writing to the Soto family again and encouraging them to pay their tithing and stay active.  It couldn’t hurt.  Are you able to talk to the missionaries in that sector to see how they are progressing?

Any word on your new bicycles?  Did you get the package?

Congratulations on the work you are doing.  That is exciting that you have a family finally progressing.  That is cool that they got married.  Was that because of your teaching them about chastity?  What kind of doubts are they struggling with?

It will be interesting to see how things change with the new law.  Right now, I am seeing FB photos all colored like the rainbow.  Many people are doing it and I am sure not even realizing that they are supporting this movement by their actions without even knowing it.    You are definitely right.  Many will now leave the church or fall into inactivity.  It is really the story of the Ten Virgins.  Only half of the members of the church will be ready when Christ comes again.

Did you get to go to the Musical Presentation?  I saw some photos posted of it this morning.  Hopefully you will get to participate next time.

Photos today?  Please write more details about what you have been doing.  Tell us a miracle or two!

Also, I recently tried to send pictures and the computers only want to format my camera, but I don`t want that to happen, because it will erase everything on my camera. I will have to wait longer to send more pictures, sorry. It seems like a feeble excuse and I know it is frustrating for you and I`m sorry that I can`t do anything else about it to make it work out better. I love you and I only have another 7 minutes to write. I hope that everything is going well. 

I didn`t get to go to the presentation. We had to take an investigator and I can`t really even get mine to go to Bollenar for church so.... It didn`t happen and it is really far away. I did get the package thank you! I am using the new tools. We haven`t heard yet on the bikes.... We have heating pads for our beds that the mission gave us when we got here.

The parents are Juan and Jenny. They live around 20 kilometers from the church and they have a car. They used to come to the church, but they haven`t come yet, but I have visited them a couple of times and tried visiting them other times, but they haven`t all worked out. We are going to work hard from here with them to get them to church and progressing toward their answers.

Are you feeling any better?  If not, it might be time for a doctor or a blessing.  I can’t do much from here to help you, except to pray, which I am doing daily.  Please tell me how you are doing with the cold.

I am using the USB SD card reader and putting my micro SD card in the SD card and then in the USB and it isn`t reading it. It wants to format it anyway. I don`t know. It is frustrating and I don`t have another answer because this is the lowest version method that I have right now. Still frustrating and they have doubts about some doctrines like tithing because they don`t understand the scriptures very well. We are going to do our best to help them work toward praying more and asking The Lord for their answers to their doubts. Thanks for everything! I am out of time. I love you! Talk to you next week!

Okay.  I love you, too and will have to trust that you are in the Lord’s hands and He is taking care of you. 

Love always and forever,

Monday, June 22, 2015

Still no new bikes!

We still haven´t heard anything about the bikes. It was a slower week on numbers. We had interviews with President this last week on Tuesday in Melipilla and I had divisions with the Zone Leaders in Bollenar as well this week. We only had 16 lessons this week and 5 new investigators, but things are coming, only we don´t have anyone close to being baptized yet. We are working on a lot of things. Yes there is a musical program and I wasn´t invited to participate, but that is fine. I haven´t gotten the package so it should come. I also can´t send pictures this week either. I already tried. I keep switching computers and only one has been able to send them so far and every time that I get there lately someone is using it.... I am going to have divisions tomorrow with Elder Bello. He is the missionary that Elder Harrah is training and is about to finish his training. We had a few bike issues this week, but my bike more than anything has just been stiff and really hard to work with and exhausting to use, but that is fine. Things are going well. I finished the Book of Mormon again yesterday. I also finished reading Doctrine and Covenants. I finished it today in the morning. It took me 22 days. I started this month. I believe it went fast. I am going to read the Pearl of Grand Price in a couple days and then decide what to read next. I am going to try to go through The Book of Mormon quickly this time around. How are you coming along as the family?

Hi Braxton,
It sounds like you are working really hard, but not seeing as much success as you would like.  Just keep trying.  I am sure you are planting lots of great seeds.  Have you oiled the bike chain and gears?  I know that could be messy if the chain keeps coming off all the time, but it might make it less stiff.  Did your Mission President say anything about the new bikes when you had your interviews? 

 I am sure it is fun to do exchanges with other missionaries.  It lets you meet more of the missionaries and more people and see different areas and maybe get some ideas on how to work differently or better.  Did you learn anything great from the Zone Leaders? 

I am glad you are reading so much in the scriptures.  I have not been doing well on my own at all.  I need to be better.  I have been reading some books about the last days and I do look up scriptures and things that are referred to in the books, but I need to also be reading the Book of Mormon on my own.  As a family we are reading in the Book of Mormon.  We just read 2 Nephi 25 and 26 Friday night and Sunday night.  We missed Saturday night with the grandkids there.  We did have prayer.  I noticed in chapter 25 some new things.  In verse 8 Nephi talks about how in the last days the people will understand the prophecies of Isaiah.  I realized that only today with the internet and the ability to search for things are we able to really understand what Isaiah was talking about in all of the Isaiah chapters that Nephi quotes.  For thousands of years, before the internet those would have been so hard to understand.  We also have all the Latter-Day Commentaries on the Book of Mormon that help to explain them and teach us what the obscure references to trees and stuff mean.  We just finished all of those Isaiah chapters again and I admit I don’t get as much out of them as I should.  We have been listening to the chapters mostly on my phone and too many nights we are each pre-occupied with other things while we are listening and so I know we are not getting as much out of them as we should.  Clain is so tired each night.  He wants to just get it over with so he can go to bed.  I know we should all do better.

I wish you could send photos, but I understand.  Keep trying.  One of these weeks that computer will be free.  I will keep hoping. 

 I should finish up at work tomorrow, I hope, if I can get the district to commit to come pick up my computers.  If not, then one day next week.  I can then get back to some of my projects.  I did accomplish two clean up jobs this weekend and I am going to do one more today.  Then I can work on getting the photos for Grandma’s Descendency Chart.  I don’t think I am going to get it done on time.  If you can, have your companion take a nice photo of you and have him email it to me.  I assume his camera works with the computers.  I need it for the chart, but I am still short a lot of photos.  I will try to contact each one this week and see what I can get. 

I love you lots.  Write more please. 

He had given permission to my companion and everything to ask for them. I didn´t talk to him about the bikes, but I don´t know. Things are fine. I just have to keep working with everything that I have and do my best. I am really tired lately. I am trying and sorry about the picture that you want. I still haven´t taken one. I just haven´t been able to remember or get around to it yet. Sorry. I am doing my best in everything right now. I hope that Dad had a good day yesterday. Thanks for all of the support and always writing sorry that I don´t have much time. I only have 5 more minutes.... 

Things are going well and I am glad that you are doing well with all of your summer work. I know how exhausting that can be. I understand the being exhausted and how the family feels. It would probably be easier if you set an hour or time when everyone meets together for scripture study. That way it is planned and focused so that it isn´t such a chore.... It shouldn´t be a chore. It should be something enjoyable. I honestly enjoy my studies more than the rest of my day.... I don´t like when they end. Keep looking for it and you will find it. I hope the family is well and enjoying the summer. Enjoy your week and all that you have going on. Everyone is always so busy.

The other thought that came to me as we were listening to chapter 25 was that The Book of Mormon is supposed to foreshadow our day.  In verse 19, it tells us that Christ would come 600 years after Lehi left Jerusalem.  I wonder why we have not been given a specific time period to help us prepare for the second coming of Christ.  I know there are many prophecies that have to be fulfilled and so far some are still not fulfilled, so I doubt that Christ will come just yet.  The temples are supposed to be built in Adam-Ondi-Amen and in Jerusalem and the gospel is supposed to be preached to all peoples on the earth and I know there are still countries where we are not able to preach yet.  Yet, there are neat signs in the heavens that must have meaning in God’s plan.  Many people try to interpret them and say that Christ will come this fall because of the four blood moons.  I think they will be disappointed.  I think those signs mean something, but maybe not what the people want them to mean.  Yet it is all part of God’s great plan.  I am interested in all that is going on in the heavens and in our world, but there is much yet to come.  There are so many natural disasters happening all over the world.  Flooding and earthquakes and storms.  In fact, there was a 6.4 earthquake in Chile on Friday, at 9:10 p.m.  Did you feel it?  The epicenter was 430 km or 267 miles SW of Santiago, Chile, so out in the ocean.  I was grateful it was not closer.

I hope that this week is enjoyable. Next week there are changes, so I don´t have a clue when I will be on or anything. Sorry things are really short and everything takes so long to do here.... I am starting to get worn down..... I definitely don´t feel like I am at 100%..... I am doing my best though. The branch here is hard because everyone knows everyone here and they are all so judgmental.... Yesterday a sister in the ward had to tell me off for not shining my shoes.... The entire area is dirt coated and the attitude of the branch is hard to work with and they don´t help at all in The Missionary Work.... Frustrating but what I have right now....

Busy and tired.  I think those are two of Satan’s greatest tools in our world today.  He likes to keep us going so hard that we don’t have time to do the important stuff.  I am glad you are loving your studies.  I need to do better.  I will try. 

How is your cold?  Has it gotten any better?

I love you and I will keep praying for you and try to get to the temple again soon. 
Have a really great week.

My cold is still bad. I am doing everything that I have to help it. I don't know and I don't worry about the signs of Christ´s coming. I don´t have the time to puzzle over things that aren´t even revealed to the Prophets. I am happy just living the Gospel to be ready and worthy to receive the Glory that I want at his coming. If it is the time it will be, but I just hope that people don´t wait too long to change and lose their opportunities and the possible glory available to them. It will be a miserable day for the majority when Christ comes again. I just hope to be able to get married and sealed to be able to achieve the highest degrees of glory before his coming and I don´t worry too much because of the promises that the Lord has made to me.

Don’t let it get you down.  It is only dirt. It is really hard when people judge others and don’t allow people to change and grow, repent and forgive.  Keep teaching those principles.   

Have you had your special dinner with the Mission President for being out a year, yet?  Please tell us about it when you do.  I know that will be fun for you.  Please encourage Hermana Barreiros to post photos of it on Facebook. 

I love you so much.

I got a message today saying that they made a mistake and that it will be next change. I thought that it was too early. It will be in July or August after a year in the Mission Field not counting The CCM. I am fine. It works out and things will be a little different when changes happen, but oh well. I will live with it. Thanks for everything and I am out of time. Sorry. I have to go... Love you and talk to you next week!

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Better Week!

It was a better week. I only had to make minor repairs with my bike and we are doing our best to take care of all of the issues that we have with everything. I am doing my best and enjoying everything even though it has been really cold lately. I am working on people. We have a baptismal date, but it isn`t very firm and we are working to help her attend. We also had a less active sister come with her daughter that is an investigator, but we would need to activate her and then baptize her daughter that wants to be baptized. It will be a process and we want to be sure that she will stay active.

Things are really cold lately and it has been around 20 degrees Celsius. (That is 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  I am sure it feels cold while riding a bike in it all the time and sleeping at night with no central heating.)  I have a cold that has been going on for around a month. Also my allergies are acting up lately.

Things are going well overall, but we are doing our best to keep having success and looking for the Lord`s miracles and doing all that we can to find the people that he has prepared right now to receive the gospel. I don`t have a lot of time left because I have been writing so many people and I will try to get some pictures sent really quickly.

This computer is like the other ones I had in Lo Espejo where it wants to format my drive.... It won`t work to send the pictures. I have only had one computer that has worked and it is being used right now in this cyber.... This is the best cyber in Melipilla.... I just have to work with it. It seems like another week without pictures... Sorry....

Thanks Braxton. We are at Grandma Goode's. Get back on your allergy medicine and use your inhalers regularly so you can get on top of the cold. Wear warm clothes. Wear your hats and sweaters and thermal underwear. I love you so much!

I am wearing my warm clothing and it is still cold and I am taking my medicines, but still it isn`t solving everything. I am out of time. Thanks for everything and I will talk to you next week. I love you and sorry that I wasn`t able to write more or tell you more about my week. Sorry about the pictures.....

You may have to find something like Mucinex DM to help with the cold.  Enjoy the cold weather. I am too hot here already. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bike Problems Resolving

I got some fun photos and videos on Dropbox from Guillermo and Camilla.  They are awesome.  It is nice to see some of the fun stuff you did with them.  It looks like they fed you a lot.  Who owned the red station wagon that you were riding in?  Where were you running to so fast?  I love that video clip!

Oh, that was a family from the ward taking us to their house for lunch after church. The Imperatore Family. We were running to another appointment that we were late for and we were doing our best to get them both in and everything. It was a long day. I remember that one well.

Bollenar to Maria Pinto to Los Rulos to Chorombo and back to Bollenar

This week, I didn`t have nearly any bike problems. It was slightly odd, but we have been doing our best. We went to a part of our sector, to visit a couple of less-active families, that is really far away. It is called Los Rulos. It is about 25 kilometers from where we live. We went there and then from there crossing over to Chorumbo to return to visit some people. So our day was nearly a 60 kilometer trip.... That was Saturday. I was exhausted and that is around 38 miles..... I had a very good time though. There are still a lot of people to get to know. We found 8 new investigators this week, so 30 in 3 weeks, but we haven`t found anyone ready to be baptized. We are still trying to visit with a lot of them, but some of them aren`t progressing and others we can`t get in contact with, but we are doing our best with what we have. It is a little frustrating working as hard as I can and barely seeing results. We only had 1 less active and our 2 retention at church and the attendance was the same as last week with 44 people. We are doing all that we can, but still things are taking a while to show up like we want.

Hi!  It seems like transportation is a big problem to get the people to church.  Can you arrange rides for them with active families?  I am glad your bike problems have improved.  I have prayed for that all week.  Keep working hard.  Pray to know which investigators are the most receptive and work with them to try to get them to baptism.  If you have time, write a lot more and send some photos. 

I am at WPJH pulling old teacher computers out of teacher classrooms.  It is dirty, dusty work.  Jim Hansen is helping me today.  He is working on becoming an administrator.  He has done most of his class work, but now he has to do 350 hours of service at schools.  He wanted to help me out with the computers and I am grateful.  It will be easier for the custodians to clean with the old computers out of the way.  Then I can setup the new ones in August after everything is neat and clean again.  I will try to respond again in a few minutes. 

That is really nice of Mr. Hansen helping you out. Are you feeling better than you were yesterday? I am doing my best and this computer hasn`t recognized my camera yet, so I am working on that, so that I can send you pictures at the same time. I only have a few more minutes. We are doing the best that we can and I didn`t mention to you before, but Elder Harrah is in my zone and in my district, so last Wednesday I had divisions with him. It was really cool to be back with him. Also with the changes Elder Vasquez got changed and is in Melipilla, but not as a Zone Leader and he is in my District as well. I am going to have divisions with him in the next couple of weeks. It will be an interesting change and I still can`t believe that half of a change has gone by.... Things are going well. I just want to find someone prepared to get baptized this month. We are doing our best and we only have 3 weeks to pull it off, so we are looking for the miracle to pull it off. First we need someone willing that can attend and does. We are doing a lot of contacting and finding. Thanks for all of the support. My watch broke yesterday so today I had to buy a new one, but it was fairly cheap. I am doing really well and probably won`t have a lot of time left to write.

I can`t get my computer to read my card which is really sad because I have pictures to send you. This sector won`t be like my other sector where you randomly get pictures during the week.... The majority of people don`t have internet in their houses. Sorry that I can`t get pictures sent this week and my companion just said that President said we are going to get new bikes soon. I tried to get you pictures this week, but I will work on having more. I have some really cool ones from this week I wanted to send you, but sadly one more week. I love you and thanks for all of the support. I am doing great even though it has been an exhausting 3 weeks. Things will go on. Love you! Talk to you next week!

Camila, Guillermo, Elder Goode and Elder Correa

 Elder Goode, Camila and Elder Correa

Making a desert for Family Home Evening, banana bread, I think.

Elder Argyle, Camila and Elder Goode

Elder Goode, Elder Argyle, Camila and Guillermo

Elder Argyle's Birthday Dinner with Camila and Guillermo

Monday, June 1, 2015

Another tough week with Bike Troubles

Thanks for everything. I am on, so that you know and I have had an even harder week than the last one, but it has been interesting.

It hasn´t been an easy week. I had a hard time with my bike and it has been difficult because it breaks regularly. I have had 4 flat tires and about 6 times that the pedal has fallen off. The chain comes off almost daily. My tire just about fell apart on Saturday. My companion had to pull me 5 miles the other day and I had to pull him the same distance. Things aren´t easy and yes I got the package. I figured that I could start into it, since I am at the point where I have less than a year left to serve. I haven´t gotten to the official 1 year point, but I am close. Elder Brush has 1 change less than me. Elder Orozco has 2 changes less than Elder Leyva. I heard about the flood and how Colby is going to be getting an I-Pad today in his mission. Elder Orozco is from Mexico, close to Texas. Elder Brush is from Heber and Elder Leyva from Lima from the same Stake as Elder Vasquez. Elder Ludeman is in my zone and I do know him. We talked last Wednesday. I am having an interesting time right now and I still need to find some more things for my bike. We are working on it a little at a time. I feel like I am scrapping the other 2 bikes that aren´t being used to put together one that does. Thanks for everything and I will send some pictures I didn´t take many this week and my face generally isn´t in them....

I also forgot to mention that last Tuesday my tire popped and that I had to walk 5 miles to our house at 9 at night and we didn´t get in until 10:43 and we are supposed to be in at 9:30. It was awful. This week has been difficult more than most, but I am doing my best. We had 23 lessons and 7 new investigators, but none of them have come to church yet and we don´t have baptismal dates yet. We had 1 sister come to church for the first time in around a year. We also had our retention there, but one taught a class and then had to leave to go to work so we could only count 1 of 2 retention, because he wasn´t there for Sacrament meeting. We are doing our best, but very little results and many miles of work for little results.

Does your mission President know how bad your bike situation is?  Did you tell him in your email to him today?  If a new bike will help you to be able to work more efficiently, then ask for one.  You could even offer to buy your own bike.  That might convince him that one is needed.  It sounds like two are really needed. 
Can the guy at the bike shop shorten your chain by one link?  I saw a tool this week that would let you do that, but by the time I buy it and ship it to you, you will have struggled for another four weeks.  Did you buy the pump, tubes and light that you mentioned?

Have you ever considered swapping cameras with your companion so he is taking photos of you and you are taking photos of him?  Have you ever considered asking your dinner appointments to take a photo of you while you are there and then they could text message it to me?  Braiden Parkinson does that all the time and Kelly gets tons of photos of Braiden from the members. 

Please tell me more about your experiences this week and the people.
I am glad you got the package and yes, dig in.  I hope you enjoy what I sent, especially the book!  You are officially on your second half of your mission.  I figure you will serve a total of 714 days on your mission, including leap year next year.  That means your halfway point was actually on day 357, which fell on Sunday, May 24th.  So I really did great in getting you the package just 3 days later than your halfway point. 

I know. Thanks for everything. The members really have a hard time here with technology the majority don´t have much and don´t know how to use them. Plus international picture sending has got to be interesting. I will look into it. I haven´t gotten pictures sent yet.

I assume yours is the white bike without the chain guard.  If you need to, spend some of your money to get it working right.  It will make life more enjoyable for you to have working equipment.  I really need that nice photo of your face for the chart.  I am running out of time.  Please take one this week and send it to me next Monday.
I am sorry you are struggling with the bike issues.  We have the money, you could offer to buy a new bike.  There is enough in your Checking account and in your Savings account to do that.  If it would make the work easier, then suggest it.  You would have to leave the bike at the end of your mission, but I suspect if you offer to buy a new bike that your Mission President will find the money to purchase you and your companion both new bikes.  If not, it can be a donation for the good of the mission.  The money is there if you need to use it.  Just find a teller machine and withdraw what you need.

Can’t you change the tire where you are when it pops? 

A new bike will help you to be more successful in the work.  I am glad you are teaching a lot of lessons.  That is great.  Maybe you could try this week to setup some rides for your new investigators.  If they know someone is coming to pick them up, they may be more willing to be ready and come.  Is the ward supportive in helping you with the missionary work?  Do they come to your lessons with you?  Can you find people to match up with each new investigator to be their friend and help them with rides and to feel comfortable?  Work on that angle this week and see if you can get them to attend meetings.  Are they making and keeping commitments to read and pray?  Have you looked at your part member families in this area?  Are there any promising families that you could work with?  Do you have Sacrament Meeting last?  I liked that schedule. 

Do most of the people in your area work in farming jobs?  Do a lot of the women also work?  Are there schools in Bollenar or do they bus the kids down to Mellipilla?   

 Elder Goode's bed.  The top bunk.

Their house is yellow on Google Earth, but that was two years ago.
It looks like it got a face lift.  

Yes we have Sacrament last and there are schools in Bollenar and other parts. There are a few part member families and we are doing our best to work with what we have. People are still busy in the Farm areas and many work farming and in other things. I am doing my very best and we are talking to our leaders to get the bike issue figured out but they haven´t done anything yet. We are doing our best to figure it all out. Sorry I am out of time and I am going to send a couple pictures and I will be off.

We have a washer and dryer which is nice.

Just keep doing the best you can do.  That is all that you and your Mission President can expect.  The Lord will sanctify your service.  I will fast and pray for your success next Sunday and continue to pray for you every day.  I love you so very much.  I am happy you are out serving, but WOW, I miss you some days.  Know that if I could, I would give you a huge hug and lots of kisses.  When I see missionaries coming home, my heart aches to see you again, but I know you are giving your best to the Lord and I must give my best, YOU, also.  Make the sacrifice worth it by serving the best you can.   Find lots of ways to give service to your companion, the members and your investigators.  If you serve them, you will love them and they will learn to love and trust you as well. 

Have an awesome week!  Keep pumping and watch out for the thorns Satan strews across your path.

I love you so very much. 
Love always and forever,

I did the math backwards.  Your halfway date will be June 9th.  Almost there.  Take care.