Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Edifying Week

I received this photo from Sandra Gold Dominguez.  She and her husband, went to Chile to pick up their daughter Hermana Kelsey Dominguez when she finished her mission.  She took this photo of Braxton at their Change Meeting.  I was so happy to receive it.  He looks so happy and excited to be serving a mission. 

Photos taken at two of the luncheons held for the missionaries in past months.  The top one is more recent, when he was companions with Elder Leyva, who is sitting to Braxton's right.  The bottom one would have been back in January or February when he was companions with Elder Argyle, who is sitting to his left.  Hermana Barreiros posted these recently.

Things didn`t work out with the baptism. Her Husband`s health is deteriorating and she stresses so much about him that things don`t happen. We are working towards her baptism later on. Things are going really well and this week went amazingly well. The work is coming along. We had Branch Conference this Sunday and the attendance went up to 53 with Stake Leaders, but things are going to continue progressing. We have an investigator that has a baptismal date for the 6th of September. Her name is Antonella and her family are inactive members. She wants to be baptized and her Dad came with her to church this Sunday. We are strengthening the family so that they all return and stay strong in the Gospel. We are working with a lot of people that live closer to Bollenar and helping many return to activity and others remain in activity. We had 7 less-active members attending with 2 of our 3 retention at church and with 1 investigators with baptismal date, things are improving a lot. I am doing really well and things have improved a lot.

Do you by chance have Soley or Carlos´ email addresses? Because I couldn`t write them before because they were living within the mission. But now I can because they are living outside of the mission boundaries. So if you can get me their email things will be much better. 

Hi Braxton.  You are on later than usual today.  I am glad things are going well.  I am sorry about your baptism, but I do understand.  Moms are like that putting their families first before themselves and their own needs.  Is there any hope that his health will improve?

Please go back and answer my questions from the previous email.  I put them at the top of the email.
I do not have Soley’s or Carlos’s email address or their street address.  Curtis was going to try to write to them and see if he could get the street address.  I have only communicated with them on Facebook, but I will write to her again this week and see if she will respond.  She did not respond to my last two messages.  I did not write to Carlos, but I could try that as well.

Okay, things are fine and I have not been able to send my glasses and I forgot them in the house this morning because we were really rushed because my companion had to go the Temple and we had to do divisions and everything and I missed grabbing them today. When does the warranty expire on my glasses? I feel rushed and stressed, but things are calm and I just would like to know if this is an urgent issue against time or if I can be calm about it and get around to it. I am sorry I haven`t been good on pictures. It has been an extremely long but very edifying week and probably one of the most important weeks in my life and I am doing really well. Things are changing here in Bollenar and the work has changed entirely and we are having results like never before and I am very happy. Thanks for all that you do and I know that I haven`t written a lot and I am trying. You should be used to it by now. At least I am good about writing and getting in a decent amount of information. The work is amazing and I am loving it and being with Elder Cardona is amazing. All of our problems have been resolved and it is the most calming change that I imagine I will have in my mission.

Thanks for everything! Yes the pants are amazing and are fitting just fine even though I keep having to tighten my belt. Thanks for all the support and prayers. They are working miracles in the Lord`s work. Have faith and show it through good works and the Lord will show unto all men miracles.
Sorry to not have more time. There were many important conversations today and not enough time for everything, but I love you and will write next week. Don`t stress so much things will be fine. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Transfers - Staying in Bollenar with twice as much work!

Well pictures didn`t really happen and I haven`t found anyone to change the lenses yet.... I am doing great and I will see if I can get them changed. If not, I will just use them and send the others that are my real prescription. Thanks for everything. I am on now if you get a chance and I will be responding to everything and yes our Preparation Days are going to be Tuesdays from now on.

Hi Bud. I am on. Tell me what has been going on. Just send the broken glassess home today if you have time. It took about five days for them to fix my glasses and return them.  I sent mine in because one lens was scratched. It will just take time to mail them back and forth. 

I am doing really well. They sent me back to Bollenar, but joined the sectors. I am companions with Elder Cardona and we have all of Bollenar from Rumay to Bollenar out to Santa Teresa all of Chorombo and Ibacache. Las Mercedes, Los Rulos, Isla de Rojas, El Rosario, Maria Pinto and Baracaldo and it is a lot of work and we have tons of people and not enough time. We are focusing on the people who are closer and have more potential to act and be baptized. Things are great and it is crazy that we have already gone through another week. I am really excited even though we weren`t able to have Isabel`s baptism this week, but we are going to see what we can do to make it happen this weekend. I will just send the glasses then because the difference in the prescription hasn`t been bothering me. I am doing well and am almost through writing the majority of the people who have written me, but I still need to do a couple other things as well. I am doing well and still no pictures.... I checked and this computer is against me as well... Sorry...

I thought that was where you would end up. Good and bad to it, but you will make the best of it and be successful. 

Tell me about your companion, district, zone and bike. Are you sleeping in the same bed? Where was Elder Cardona before?  


 Zone Leaders for the Talagante Zone
that was combined with the Melipilla Zone

Elder Goode's New District in Melipilla
August 11, 2015

Elder Cardona lived with me for 1 change and was in the other half. We just joined. Elder Cardona is District Leader and they joined the zones Talagante and Melipilla. There are 5 companionships in Melipilla and many others in Talagante. The zone leaders are Elder Robles and Elder Mendoza. They are in Talagante and they are both Chileans. Elder Cardona and I both went to lower bunks in the house and I switched to Elder Leyva`s bike, but I am making adjustments to it right now. Our District has us, Elder Ortiz and Elder Bello, and Hermana Erthal and Hermana Durfee. Elder Ortiz and Elder Bello are in Melipilla 2.3 and Hermana Erthal and Hermana Durfee are in El Monte 2. 

Elder Cardona is from Los Angeles, California and his Dad is from El Salvador. His Mom is from Guatemala, but he was born in California. 

Ok.  I looked at your blog and Elder Cardona arrived at the end of June so he already knows half of your new sector and you know the other half so you should be great.  Did Elder Cardona and Bush have people close to being ready for baptism?  Are you using a better bike now?  Why did they make you pack up if they were going to send you right back to the same house?

I don`t know it wasn`t well planned and it was frustrating for me as well. Elder Cardona was with Elder Orozco before not Elder Brush.

Okay.  I will read through the blog again later tonight and pull up his photo on the Mission Christmas card.  I don’t have my laptop here at work today and that is where it is saved.  Did they make Elder Cardona pack up also?  Why are you using Elder Leyva’s bike?  I thought Elder Cardona and Elder Orozco both had new bikes.
How long has Elder Cardona been out on his mission?  Did the mission get very many new missionaries in this transfer?  It looked like 29 or 30 went home. 

The mission got 18 new missionaries and Elder Cardona didn`t get told that he had changes just me. Elder Cardona`s bike that he used is bad condition like mine was. He took Elder Orozco`s bike and I took Elder Leyva`s which was faster and in better shape, so things are going great. Elder Cardona has been out 18 months and will go home with Elder Chuquel, but is going home early to start his college studies. 

I am glad you will have a faster bike.  You will need it with all of that area to cover.  That is huge!  Just be careful and try not to crash as you speed down the road. 

Is Elder Chuqel in the office now?  I saw one photo that made me think he was, but then there was a post last night about Hermana Barreiros birthday and the office elders were singing to her and Elder Chuquel was not with them. 

Do you and Elder Cardona get along well?  What kind of food does he like to eat having three different heritages to draw from?

Where did Elder Ludeman end up?  Is he still doing okay?
Elder Harrah became a Zone leader this time, but I don’t know which Zone.  I think that is exciting for him and I was thinking about it the other night and the thought that came to me is that this opportunity for him to be a leader while on his mission will probably help him to be a stronger member when he gets back home. He needs to go home and be a strong influence on his family and being a mission leader will help him to do that.  I hope you don’t feel bad that you are not yet serving as a mission leader or training.  I still think your opportunity will come, but maybe there are those who need it more than you do.  You have already grown up in a strong family and had leadership opportunities in the Young Men’s program and in Scouting.  We know you will have many more leadership opportunities in the future, so maybe you don’t need to have them while on your mission as much as some others might need them.

I saw that Elder Argyle was able to have two baptisms before he went home.  I was happy for him.  One was a young girl and the other was a young boy, maybe around 12 or 13 each.  He looked so happy in the photos.    

Elder Ludeman is in Olimpo in Rinconada. I saw the picture of the young boy with Elder Argyle, but not the girl. The boy is named Gabriel. I am happy for him, too.

Does it look like you will have some success in your area this transfer?  It would be nice for you to have some more baptisms.  Who are you teaching and are they attending church?  Who can we pray for?

Do you think you will be able to send the glasses today?  Did you get your package yet?

Yes, but I am out of time and need to go thanks and I know. Love you.

I love you, too.  Have a Marvelous & Magnificent Week!!   M&M Power!!!
Remember who you are and Be Goode!!!
Love always and forever and ever,

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Broken Glasses & Transfer Frustrations

First off, last week, my pair of glasses broke.... I am using my old pair that has a very similar prescription and I can`t tell the difference. I am doing well, but not great.... Things are a little crazy for me right now.... Normally, I would write on Monday, but our mission just changed our preparation day to Tuesdays. Also we have changes going on in the mission and last night they called after my companion just went home ending his mission. They called and told me that I have changes, but that I am staying within the Zone of Melipilla. That could mean going to almost any part right now because 5 sectors are getting completely different missionaries or being closed and there are only 7 missionaries staying in Melipilla of the 18 that were here. They might lower the number of missionaries to 12 or 14 or 16 depending on the sector cuts, but it is going crazy right now. Tomorrow, I will have a meeting on changes which is so different for me and I don`t have to take my bags, thank goodness, even though I was up until 12:30 last night packing to switch houses and sectors tomorrow.

I am so exhausted right now. I am excited, but still stressed. I have gotten to know almost all of Melipilla, so I will be going somewhere that I know a little of. I had an investigator with a baptismal date set for this Sunday and I am leaving tomorrow..... So frustrating for me..... I will still be verifying her progress, because I am going to be in the same zone, but it could cause problems with her progression, because of the change. I am really stressed and was sure to have success in the weeks to come, but the Lord apparently has another plan for me.... The change meeting will be tomorrow, but I should still be in Melipilla because they told me that I am not leaving, which means a sector change here. I am really excited, but sad. It is hard to leave the people and with those that were beginning to progress so well.

I don`t know what else I will need. I have been looking into things and I don`t know what you think about the whole glasses situation? They broke in the nose piece and I don`t know about getting others or the costs or anything but that will be a concern for the future, is my glasses. I am doing fine for right now though.

Hi!  About the glasses.  I will call and see what I can find out.  I know they are under warranty, but I suspect we have to return the broken glasses in order to get them repaired.  See if you can do these two things.

1.     Go to an optometrist place or somewhere that sells glasses there and take both pair of glasses and see if they can swap the lenses from the new glasses into the old frames and the old lenses into the new frames. 
2.    Go to a post office and package the broken frames up and your SD card and send them home to me.
I will see if I can order you a new pair of glasses.  Let me know next week if you were able to do these two things.

I am sorry that things are stressful for you, but you knew this would be a change with lots of changes because so many missionaries are going home.  Just make the best of it.  Hopefully they will let you finish up the baptism and someone will be able to help her and the rest of the people you have been working with.  Change is good.  It is an opportunity for growth.

I have not heard back from Soley on Facebook, so I do not have an address for you today.  I will try again this week.  Maybe Curtis can message her.

I am doing really well, but I am honestly shocked with the changes, because so much is going to happen and I honestly thought that I would be staying to help these people here right now.... It entirely caught me off guard, these changes and I am hoping for the best. I will let you know where I end up next Tuesday, because those are supposed to be our days for emails. I hope that everything goes well and that you are able to enjoy all of the opportunities available to you. Thanks for being so supportive and always doing so much for me. It means a lot to me and I appreciate everything that you do for me. Love you. I only have a couple minutes left.

Is the Preparation Day change a permanent thing or just for this week?

As far as I know, it is permanent and that is how it sounded from the mission. We never know for certain, but it appears to be a permanent change.

I will see what I can do about the glasses this week, but I will have to work on it gradually and will let you know what I was able to do next week. I don`t know the best way to send them home. I also will need to take all of my photos and format them to send as well. I don`t know if I can do all of that in a week.

Why the change in Pdays?  It really doesn’t matter to me.  I am just wondering. 
Things always work out for our best good in the Lord’s eternal plan.  Be happy and excited about what is to come.  Maybe you will get a better bike to ride!

I doubt that I will be on bikes with the change and I can`t explain the change either. I wasn`t able to say goodbye to Elder Correa or Elder Argyle, because of this change and they are all in their houses now.... It is frustrating for the entire mission....

Who is the sister that is ready for baptism?  I am sorry that you didn’t get to have the baptism before Elder Leyva went home.

The sister of the couple that have attended. The husband isn`t progressing, because of his head issues and will take more time, but the sister is ready. 

Just go to the nearest post office and they should have a small box you can purchase or even get free to put the glasses in.  Why do you need to format the photos?  I don’t understand. 

I have my photos on several cards, but moving the pictures around and putting copies all on 1 card to send home. I haven`t gotten them prepared and would have to copy everything to one card to send home as well which I haven`t gotten around to yet. I would want to put all of the pictures from my mission on one and then send them all to you, but right now all of my pictures are on my 2 64 gb cards.

I called West Point Eye Center.  I will have to take the broken glasses in to get them replaced under the warranty.  So you will need to send them to me.  It would be best for your eyes if you could try to swap the lenses before you send them home, but either way, try to get them sent as soon as you can and then I will take care of getting them replaced and back to you. 

I thought you had been copying your photos to your external hard drive so you would have a backup of all of the photos.  I know it is frustrating.  I guess I will just have to wait till you get home to see them. 

I am happy for you and for her.  Hopefully her example and excitement will help him to progress.  Hopefully the branch will be supportive and help them.  I suspected that your sector might get shut down again with these changes, since it was closed before and it doesn’t seem to be a very productive area right now because of the transportation problems.

The branch is not very supportive and there is the slight possibility that they tell me I have changes and then I end up back in Bollenar in 1 companionship.... They told me that I have changes, but I am not certain that I am out of Bollenar yet, because they told me I am staying in the Zone, but the changes are uncertain and it is stressful.... I don`t know and I will let you know in a week. Thanks for everything. I am out of time and I still can`t move my pictures to one card. I was looking into it and they aren`t reading my cards, so I can`t copy things over yet.

I might be able to get the pictures sent to you later on, but I still can`t copy pictures over often and I don`t have all of them copied over yet. I need to do more, but I can`t yet, but getting the glasses sent off I can probably do, but I don`t know about getting my prescription on my eyes checked. Would that be important to have done right now and then take the eye exam and use that to make a change to my glasses? I don`t know, but I can probably get the frames sent off next week. I tried taking the lenses out of the broken ones, but haven`t been able to yet and don`t want to break the lenses. The difference in my glasses isn`t gigantic right now, but I am getting by and I don`t know what would be the best option....

It will have to wait until next week before I can get them changed and sent in the mail and I don`t know how long that will take for them to get there. It will most likely take around a month and a half with the mail system. 

Okay.  Have a great week and stop stressing!  We love you so much and we are very proud of you and excited to hear what is going on in your life down south.  Focus on getting the glasses back to me and I guess I will have to wait on the photos.  But I really would like some soon.  Try to get on the good computer next week.  If you stay in Bollenar then you get to cover twice as much area!  Won’t that be fun!

I know and it all depends on what happens, but all of my stuff is here in a house in Melipilla right now. I have mixed feelings about both being in Bollenar and leaving.... Oh well thanks for everything and I`ll let you know next week what happens. Thanks!

You mean they sent the going home missionaries home yesterday?  Don’t worry about not getting to say goodbye.  You will have Facebook to keep in touch with them in the future.  That is a blessing of your generation of missionaries.  I can see how it would be frustrating though.

Yes, I am with Elder Ludeman and I have been since Sunday afternoon and we will be together until changes because our companions just went home and are home now....

No, you don’t need an eye exam.  Just have the optometrist use their tools to swap the lenses, so you have the prescription that best matches your eyes for the next few weeks while we get the frame fixed.  Then you will have to swap them back when you get the new glasses back.

Is it possible that an optometrist could fix the glasses down there?  You said it is the nose piece that is broken.  Could someone down there replace the broken part?

Not the nose piece, but the metal frame broke in the middle between the lenses so my glasses are 2 separate pieces.

Okay.  That is not supposed to happen.  If you can’t get someone to swap the lenses, then just send the broken pair home and I will get them back to you as soon as I can.  There was not a lot of difference in your old prescription and your new prescription so you will be okay for a month or whatever it takes to make the change.

Ok.  How is Elder Ludeman doing?  His mom mentioned something on FB about his health problems.  Not a lot of details, but said he might be going home because of his health issues. 

Right now, he is doing fine, but we are thinking that he might be diabetic or that his thyroid might be acting up. He has a hyperactive thyroid, so that could cause problems.

The little bit his mom said on FB made me think he could be diabetic, but lots of other things can mimic symptoms of diabetes.  Thyroid problems can also cause lots of weird symptoms.  I will pray for him and hope that the two of you have a great few days together.  Have him take a photo of the two of you and send to his mom and have her post it on FB.  I would at least get to see you that way.

I love you.  Have an awesome and amazing week.  You are marvelous and magnificent!

Love always and forever,

Monday, August 3, 2015

Change is Good!

Hey mom, can I get the exact direction of the house of Carlos and Soley? If you get it to me I can send in a reference to the office and they can send it to the other mission. I need the address exactly so that the missionaries show up.

I sent a Facebook Message to Soley asking for it, but I haven’t heard back from her yet.  I will send it to you as soon as I get it.

I am doing well and it sounds like a chaotic week. Things are going well. Isabel and Julio attended and we are working towards a baptismal date for this weekend. We have invited them 3 times and they haven`t accepted yet.... They are fairly stubborn and we are doing our best. They still aren`t sure that they have received their answers yet....

At least they had enough faith to attend church. That is a start. 

I know. Thanks for everything. We are doing great and I don`t have a clue what will happen next week with changes, but I will do my best to keep you updated.

Change is good.  You know for sure that you are getting a new companion.  At least you are not in the dark on one thing.  I am sure President Barreiros is praying for help to make the right decisions with the changes.  Just remember that the Lord has a plan and it will work out for good to help those you are supposed to touch.  I am grateful you were able to give Julio a blessing.  I am sure that has helped to increase his faith in Jesus Christ. You will not see the effects of so much of what you have done and what you will do.  But every contact will influence people and make a difference in their lives.  You are doing a great work!  I am proud of you. 

If you can`t get the address of them, give them the church direction and that church starts at 10 am. I don`t have contact with Carlos and Soley. If you can tell them where and when they can go to church. Tell them that this is the information for their ward.

"Pedro de Cordova, 5810 es la direccion de la capilla adonde deben ir ustedes. Las reuniones comienzan a las 10 y si ustedes hablan con los misioneros por allí, digales que Carlos es un converso reciente y darles su direccion. Si lo hacen asi van a venir los misioneros para visitarles al igual pueden pedir que vienen a visitarles. Cuando ustedes estan preparando para ir al templo envia un mensaje a mi madre y ella va a visarme con los datos para que puedo pedir permiso a ir junto con ustedes. Si lo envian exactamente asi voy a verles. No tengo forma a enviarles cartas porque su barrio pertenece a un otro misión y esta un poco complicado. Gracias por ser tan buenos y les extraño mucho. Me preocupo mucho por ustedes."

The letter I just sent should work to send to them. This should help them to have their answers about what to do and they should end up at church. I am really worried about them. I know that I need to keep in contact and do all that I can. Thanks so much for all that you do. Sorry that I haven`t written much and most of everything is focused on Carlos and Soley.....

I know you worry about them.  They are an important reason why you are in Chile.   It is okay.  Are you out of time already?
Okay.  I will send that.  From her first message, it sounded like she knew which ward she was in, but maybe not. 

From how it sounded to me I was a little concerned. I want to try to be sure that they are attending and working towards the temple. They were doing amazingly until they moved and the change could cause a loss of connection, so I want to be sure that they know, so they can be progressing.

Can your Mission’s Simi Squad contact the North mission and let them know they have moved to that area so the membership records get moved?

Yes, but I need their direction to make it even easier. If you get it to me next week I will send in the reference.

Okay.  I will try.  It took a few days before she replied last time. 

Photos today?  I need photos.  Hermana Barreiros has not posted any of your Zone Conference.  I keep checking, but none so far.  When I post photos of you, people read your blog.  The last time, over 150 people read it.  On a typical week, about a dozen read it.  So . . .  send photos!  And tell me more experiences and miracles and bear your testimony.  Your blog is a way to help people as well.  

I am out of time I love you and will talk to you next week about the changes and what is happening. Thanks I love you!

Have a super, amazing, awesome week.  We love you so much and we are so very proud of you!  Be Goode!