Monday, July 27, 2015

Isabel and Julio

Bike repairs helped, but the bike still doesn´t go nearly as fast as I want. I really have been enjoying the shredded beet and carrot salads that I have had with lemon juice in them. Beets are great. I don´t really like prebre that much. I don´t usually eat it. It is still cold and no people aren´t on vacation. They just make excuses not to go, because it is winter....

Braxton likes this salad made with shredded beats and carrots.  

Braxton does not like this dish called Prebre made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro and peppers.  It is a type of salsa served with meat.

My companion Elder Leyva is a convert from around 3 years ago and he is going to go to his new house, because his family moved. He is the only member in the family and will probably be working and dating until he can pay for the final cooking tests for his degree for the 2 years that he has studied. Then he is looking into another line of studies. He also is going to be helping his family to be baptized. My companion is past trunky. He knows how many hours he has left.... Things are good he is still working hard and we are working toward having at least 1 baptism before he goes home. We had 16 lessons after the change of the levels of excellence in the mission to 20 lessons a week and we found 9 new investigators this week. We had a couple that attended for the first time yesterday. They need more help, but we are going to visit them today and invite them to accept a baptismal date. They accepted the idea of baptism, but not the date when we extended it before.

We had zone conference last Thursday so the pictures will probably show up soon. I don´t have a clue what will happen with changes and I don´t want to start guessing. I am just going to keep working until the changes come to be focused on baptizing in the 2 weeks that we have left.

I am doing well. A little bit of a cold, but allergies are on and off. They go down when it rains and then come back. Rain is on and off. My asthma is doing fairly well and only acts up when I push really hard biking and everything and I am using my inhalers and having my emergency inhaler with me to help. I hope that this answers that majority of your questions.

You should ask Carlos and Soley for their new direction. They moved to Pajaritos in 5 de Abril. You can send this phrase to them and they should respond. "¿Por adonde están viviendo ahorra? Por favor avisa nos para notificar a Elder Goode. El quiere enviarles cartas pero no sabe adonde enviarles." They should understand this and send you their new direction. If you can find out where it is I can use the mission maps to find out what sector to send them cards. Thanks Mom I love you!

Hi Braxton!  If you go faster on the bike, there is more chance you will crash!  Slow and steady wins the race. 
Thanks for the answers.  I appreciate it.  Now how about some stories and experiences.  Tell us about the people you are teaching.  You said couple.  Are they married?
I will send a message to Soley with your Spanish.  Thanks.

Yes, they are married and we have been visiting them for several weeks and they came finally. They are Isabel and Julio. I didn´t tell you about them, but last change Julio had a stroke or something along those lines supposedly. They are normal, because he had a tumor in his head and it has grown back. They have many difficulties and we are working hard with them. We are going to invite them to be baptized again today. I was visiting Isabel and Julio the day I had divisions with Elder Harrah and Julio had a stroke or something along those lines and we gave him a blessing and he has been improving a lot. We are doing really well and we have seen many miracles this week and things are going really well. Thanks for all of the support. We are finding many amazing people to help be baptized quickly and we are doing great. I don´t think I can send pictures this week and I only have 2 more minutes.

I will pray for your success with Isabel and Julio.  There is never enough time to hear from you.  I miss our long talks.  Keep working hard and know that you are loved and missed.  Have a super, awesome, fantastic, amazing, successful week.  I love you so very much and I am so very proud of you. 

Love always and forever,

Saturday, July 25, 2015

One Year Anniversary Luncheon

I had my 1 year lunch in the mission last Tuesday it went really well. Here is a picture from the lunch.

Lunch was great we had enchiladas. It was nice to have Mexican food. We had a reunion that was based mainly on reflection and progress and goals to improve in the next year. Things went really nicely and it was enjoyable but it was very odd.... It doesn`t seem like so much time has gone by so quickly. We haven`t had a ton of success lately. The attendance went up to 33 from 20 last week, but I still have a whole lot more to do. I am overhauling my bike right now so that is going to be a little expensive. There are some parts that I am changing out. I doubt they will ever get us new bikes, so I am doing what is necessary right now to keep going and improving everything. I will write a little more in a bit, but I have a couple things to do before.

Sounds like everyone is doing well. I hope that you enjoy everything. I am fairly certain that I remember Ben, but it is hazy right now trying to remember everything. I am doing well it has been a very interesting week and we still don`t have baptismal dates or investigators attending. We are working to find the miracles that the Lord has lined up right now, because we are running out of time to baptize... We have several potential baptisms that are lacking a little in their desires to be baptized and commit to doing everything, but this week we are going to have success.

Thanks for all of the support I still have 15 minutes if you manage to write something. I am basically done, but I can`t send pictures from the computer that I have other than those that are available through emails that I already have.... Thanks for all that you do and I don`t need anything else right now. I will probably end up converting my pair of pants into rags that is torn or something along those lines. I also have one that has come unhemmed, but I haven`t had time to hem it again. I am so busy. I spent 2 hours today doing bike maintenance and found many problems with my bike that I sent it into a shop to fix, because I don`t have the parts and I did all the repairs possible this morning.

Things are going well. The mission changed the goals awhile back to 20 lessons a week only with investigators and recent converts. The lessons don`t count if they are with less actives. Our Mission President feels like some missionaries are turning into Home Teachers only working with less actives so the goal is less actives with potential to baptize. We are working on baptizing like crazy and helping the less actives where possible, but we can`t devote a lot of time to them. We only had 14 lessons this week and last week we had 15, but things are going well. We still have a ton of work to do and little time to accomplish it. I am down to 10 minutes now.

Hi!  If you need to use some of your money to fix the bike there should be plenty in your account. That will make life better for you, especially if you stay there for a while. Do the slacks you took still fit well, because I bought the new ones the same size?

I have a belt that I have been adding new holes to but I need to add some more holes. If the pants are the same size I will be fine. I am getting skinnier.... I have lost weight a couple weeks ago I was around 180 pounds or 82.5 kilograms and last week I was at 80 kilograms or about 175 pounds. I haven`t gained weight and might lose more, but I am doing great. Don`t stress. I know that I have money available. I am frugal and I don`t run out of money, plus here they give us extra for the bikes from the mission. I have 45.000 to take out today. It is around 80 dollars. I am doing fine and have plenty. I don`t think I will be pulling out personal money for a while. Maybe before I come home. I only have a minute so I will be quick.

How were the cheese sticks I sent?  Do you want more of them?  Tell me more about your companion and what was interesting this week. Tell me about the people you are teaching. What do they do for a living?  If they are farmers don't they get up and start work early. Why is it so hard for the people to get to church?

Many people work temporarily picking lemons which they work in the afternoon to export and in avocado harvests and other things. There are many forms of farming and other industries. Many people leave our sector to work in Melipilla and other areas. Things are going well and because on the weekend there isn`t transportation. Chileans have a custom of sleeping in on the weekends.... So many don`t work Sundays and there isn`t transportation to get to church so many don`t go and it is very difficult waiting more than 1 hour is common to get to church for the people on Sundays....

Grandma, Kathy and Makayla said to tell you hi. I talked to Makayla on FaceTime Sunday.  

That`s great tell everyone hi and to enjoy there camping time. I have to go. I love you! Thanks for everything. Talk to you next week!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Lots of Photos

Sounds like everyone had a great time camping. I am doing really well. My cold is lessening since it rained and most of my allergies are gone. I am doing well and asthma isn´t too bad and cold is almost gone, but it might come back with the rain. The house is always cold and we have electric heaters, but we have an electricity limit with our breaker and 4 missionaries, so it is difficult. We haven´t gotten bikes and I have stopped hoping for them and we have few issues with bikes. This week my companion´s tire went flat once and other than that minor things. I forgot to tell you that I crashed my bike twice last week, but I am fine. The second crash was worse and I tore a pair of pants.... They aren´t usable now. The thing I might lack more than anything are normal work slacks that aren´t part of my suits. I don´t like using the suit pants a lot and use others, but I can get by without if I need to. 

Exchanges went fine. I was with Elder Ludeman Tuesday in his sector that is bigger than mine and they can only use buses to work and I am with him today as well as Wednesday I will be. Tomorrow I have my 1 year lunch with Elder Harrah and will be staying with him tonight and doing lots of changes around the area. We met a family in Maria Pinto on Saturday that are really great and we are slowly getting progress with reading with investigators. We just haven´t gotten them to church. 

Church was bad. I got assigned a talk Saturday night and gave it on Sunday. It went really well. I chose to talk about the Fall and The Atonement sharing my experience from last week on Thursday when I fell and it applied so well to the Doctrines. I also teach Gospel Principles every week, but nobody came that goes to that class this week. The attendance was 20 this week. Like I said it would be low without anyone from our sector coming to have numbers. (Due to the time change from noon to 10:00 a.m.)  Things are a little difficult right now. 

Overall I am doing well and today I have a computer to send pictures, so I will be sending them with the time that I have left. Sorry that I haven´t written more, but it is going to be a very hectic and stressful week. I love you!

Elder Orozco´s Birthday!

Aji de Gallina. Peruvian food made by a sister in our sector for lunch from Perú.

Close up of Aji de Gallina

Division´s last change with Elder Harrah!

One of our investigators has a parrot!

In Elder Ludeman´s sector on a hill contacting people. Gigantic and only a portion of what they have.

Pictures with just the waterfall.

I enjoyed the sunset so here it is for you.

We have a waterfall in Maria Pinto!

Division with Elder Bello! Elder Bello knows Kelton because he left with the missionaries and is from Curitba where Kelton served. They are friends and it was awesome spending time with him.

Elder Bello was really enjoying his first and only day so far on bikes in the mission. We took several pictures and he is now in his 3rd change or just after his training time.

My last district with a special change of Elder Vasquez for Elder Vargas. Other than that it was my district.

My time is up for the day I hope that that helps a little with pictures and I will look for more pictures this week. Thanks for everything and my district right now has the Zone Leaders, Elder Cummings and Elder Parker. My companion and I. Elder Brophy and Elder Lozano. Elder Brophy is training Elder Lozano. Hermana Campbell and Hermana Pino and Hermana Campbell is in her last change as well. That is a brief update on my district that changed entirely since last change and Elder Harrah is a District Leader now if I hadn´t told you yet. Thanks for everything and I´ll talk to you next week! Love you all! 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Little Discouraged

Things are going well, but they aren`t very easy. They just changed our Sacrament Meeting from 12 to 10 at the beginning of the meeting and it will be extremely hard to have people come when we can`t get them to come at 12.... It is really cold.... and it rained yesterday and we got soaked which made it even colder today.... A little frustrating but my only goal right now is to find someone ready to be baptized this month that will pay the price necessary to have the remission of their sins.... It is frustrating, but things are that way lately. We haven`t had investigators that attend that are in position to be baptized right now. Things really aren`t progressing and it is really frustrating the amount of work that we do without results. I`m just waiting for things to improve and trying to use all of my time efficiently but the results are slow.

Sorry it is so cold. Are you feeling any better or is the cold still hanging on?  

Unfortunately, part of your mission is to give people a chance to accept or reject the truth. I know it must be terribly frustrating to work so hard and see so little success, but you are doing your best and should be happy with that.  Don't beat yourself up when the numbers aren't there.  People still have their agency and only those willing to pay the price will see the rewards. 

I am writing right now and was looking to send pictures and realized that I don`t have a single cable or connector to send pictures so honestly I don`t know if I could have sent pictures or not and my companion forgot as well. I took everything electronic out of my bag yesterday, because it poured and I didn`t manage to get them back in today. Sorry. Things are all against me sending pictures. I am getting frustrated with things, but it was nice to play soccer today. I had a great time and scored several goals today and had many assists. It was a nice morning and now that it has started raining things are going to get more difficult and colder for us.

The mission keeps adding new rules that make it harder to be successful at least for me. Now all of our visits with less active members don`t count toward lessons. They only count if there is an investigator in the home and in the lesson. It makes it hard to use the rescue, because we don`t really know if the people that we find will have investigators in the home or if we will be wasting time. I am going to have my lunch for 1 year next week on Tuesday the 14th with Elder Harrah, because he didn`t have changes and is in this sector for 5 changes. We have been fighting against the investigators to have them read and pray.... Something so simple that if they do it and are persistent they will have their answer and they will do all the necessary steps toward baptism.... So simple, but so frustrating right now.

I am happy you got to play soccer. I know it is something that brings you joy. Congratulations on the goals and assists.

It is like in the story of Moses with the serpents.  All the people had to do to be healed was to look at the snake on the pole, but because of pride they refused to look.  It is so easy to be lazy in our day where there are so many distractions.  

Ask Hermana Barreiros to take photos at your dinner and post them on Facebook. At least I will get to see your pretty face that way. Does your umbrella work?  Probably not too useful on the bike. 

Exactly, using an umbrella with a bike doesn`t work. We have taught that to investigators and they don`t apply it to themselves and we have tried giving palos.... (It means hard, sharp or cutting scriptures toward the people to open their eyes), but they don`t learn and don`t apply. Really they don`t progress in their lives and in the end if you aren`t progressing you are dying..... 

The problem right now is that nobody is willing to pay the price and my leaders judge our success by the numbers, because they don`t always believe that we are doing everything. Even more so since my companion is in his last change. They start to believe that missionaries get lazy and stop working, but we are doing so much and hardly having success this week. We only had 15 lessons and 4 new investigators. It is frustrating, because it is so gigantic and the members don`t do anything to help. Last month there were around 4 visits by home teachers and it looks like they were done by only the Branch President and a couple others.... Every missionary that passes for this sector comes to know it as the purifying fire, because if you don`t become much better from it, you either go home or you aren`t obedient and don`t work.... I am working more than I have in my mission up until now, with less success and it is driving me crazy..... Sorry about the ranting, but even among the members there is so much personal apostasy and they mainly are only Mormons on Sunday here.....

I believe your leaders are probably aware of the area and its lack of success.  I am sure there is a long history of low numbers there.  Be completely obedient and continue to work hard. Pray for the Lord's help and guidance.  He will bless you. Maybe this area is as much to test your faith as it is to test the members.  Remember to speak kindly about your leaders. They are guided by inspiration to lead you. Be humble and teachable and let the spirit work through you.  

I appreciate my leaders, but when you feel like they judge you more than trust in you, it becomes harder for everything. I do what they ask and I worked hard, but when the results don`t come, it becomes frustrating. I know that it is a hard area and I am doing my best. It just becomes hard when the closest people that we have live 3 kilometers from the church. I am out of time. Thanks for everything.

Maybe your purpose here is to warn them. Just make sure you remain humble and do not become haughty. They will not listen if they perceive that you are judging them to be less than yourself.  It is a fine line to teach them without offending them. It sounds like the branch is struggling and needs help becoming organized.  

The problem is that there aren`t sufficient people to be organized to cause a dent in anything that there is to do here. The people also don`t have the means to do more or the desire to do anything hard for them. Many it is a miracle when they manage to show up at church. Thanks. Talk to you next week.

Try not to be discouraged.  How is your cold?

Hanging around, but I am doing well. Things should improve.