Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fiesta Patrias

Elder Goode and Elder Cardona
Companions in Bollenar

Another photo from Carlo's baptism when Braxton was in the city of Santiago.

On Sunday, I received some messages and two photos from Ulises Acevedo.  I am really excited now to have the opportunity to receive more photos through Dropbox.  

Ulises Acevedo is my Branch Mission Leader. He works with us on all of the work like Rex Carter in the ward. Antonela got confirmed and it was a great Sunday. There were 41 people at church. Ulises or Dario, he uses both, is not married yet. His profile says Don´t hide. No Te Escondas is what it says. He uses a normal profile picture just to have one, but He is really great. He is really active and the majority of his family are inactive and we work with them when we can to help them return to activity in the church.

I can send pictures by Wi-Fi but I gave Dario all of my pictures and He has them on His computer and is going to continue sending them to you because I asked him to. That is why he has pictures from other parts of my mission. I haven`t been able to send pictures and I really want you to have them, so we are working on getting them sent to you. Sorry that I didn`t explain before.

The 18th of September or Fiesta Patrias was great. We ate a ton of food and the Branch had its activity the 26th to let everyone enjoy the parties with their families and afterwards with the branch. It was really great! I had a great time and the work is going really well. We have a goal of 50 people attending in Bollenar and we are getting really close and working hard. We are looking for more people to teach and baptize. We have many people with potential but nobody that has baptismal dates right now. Don`t worry about prayers and fasting right now we are looking for people more than anything. We have met a lot of people recently that we are looking to help.

I am fine with the transfers. I am doing great. Elder Cardona and I get along really well. I don`t really need anything other than what I mentioned. I am doing really well and he is fine with what you send. He doesn`t need anything specific either and if I asked he wouldn`t tell me.

I will explain to Dario about Dropbox and explain the basis so that he can pass the pictures quicker. I will tell him on Sunday when we have church. Things are going great and I am fine. The work is coming along we are trying to find people prepared to be baptized this month. It has been a challenge. More than anything if you can be praying that we find people prepared for the message it would be helpful. That is the most that I ask for. Thanks for everything I only have 2 minutes left, so this is the last message that I will be writing. I love you and thanks for everything. I appreciate all that you do and I am trying and doing the best that I can to give you as much information as possible with the time that I have. Love you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Earthquakes and Upcoming Transfers

Yes, I have felt the earthquakes and some were stronger than others. I am used to the moving now and it only happens now and then. Things are fine. I am doing really well. We haven`t had changes yet. We are still together Elder Cardona and I and I have pictures of us together. We have our Change Meeting in Santiago tomorrow. Things are going just fine. Your week sounds like fun.

Still no on photos. The computers aren`t reading my cards.... My glasses broke in the center one day when I played soccer. The center has a limited resistance, but my glasses got bent too much when they fell off that time and snapped. Things are fine. They haven`t told us the changes exactly just that I am staying here in Bollenar. Things will work out. Don`t stress. The Lord prepares things His way and if He needs to work changes He will. His plans are set in place to save the largest amount of His children. Don`t stress just wait and there are possibilities that things can change. I know that it is complicated, but we are doing just great. I am not stressed, just enjoying working where the Lord calls and how He calls. It isn`t an important detail to me where or in what way I serve just that I serve as His instrument. Sometimes He sends tests before giving us results. He sent me one last change. He said that I had changes, but that I was staying in the zone. There were options that I could have gone to Melipilla or stayed in Bollenar. I stayed in Bollenar and the Lord was able to have a baptism in Bollenar because of it and baptizing here is uncommon and the mission knows it. We had a reunion in the mission and most everyone was asking how we baptized especially the missionaries that have served in Bollenar. Things are going just fine and I know that the Lord wants me to change that mentality that it is hard to baptize here. I know that there are many more miracles here and that He just wants me to serve and help His children. I have stopped stressing over tiny details and just doing what He needs.

That is an excellent attitude to have and it will really bless you and the Chilean people. I will wait excitedly to hear what happens in your email next week. Have they told Elder Cardona that he is being transferred?

They actually told him that he is staying in Bollenar, but many times they say something and change people anyway. I am waiting for the Lord to work through the changes, because many times He does. I will let you know how things go. There are many possibilities, but I am relaxed and fine with whatever happens. Many times things like this happen where the changes aren`t always finished when they advise us. Many times people have changes that were told that they didn`t have them. We are used to this in the mission by now. Thanks and I love you talk to you next week!

Thanks for all that you do and the support! I am out of time for today but I wanted to let you know that I love you and that everything is fine. I will update you on everything next Tuesday. I love you and I am really grateful for all that you do and always stressing about me and worrying. I love you and don`t stress. Just enjoy life. Don`t stress too much over everything.  Things are all in the Lord´s hands. I love you and thanks for being here always.

I am not stressing. I am calm. I know you are in the Lord's hands and everything that happens is a part of his plan. I love you so much and I am very proud of the man you are becoming. Take care.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

2015_09_16 Chile 8.3 Earthquake

Braxton's Mission President posted this message on the mission Facebook Page tonight, 9/16/2015 at 7:44 our time.

"We had an earthquake in Chile today and we would like to inform parents and friends that we and our missionaries are ok." 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Another Amazing Week!

It was a good week. Antonela was baptized by Elder Cardona and we weren`t able to confirm her yet, because her grandpa died and they went to the viewing this last weekend. She will be confirmed next Sunday. We didn`t have investigators this week and many people are slowly progressing, but the Lord is preparing their paths and working through us.

The week went well we had several conferences in the Mission and things are going amazingly with Elder Cardona and I. We are getting along so well together and I love what we are doing. The attendance is improving progressively. There were only 36 people this week and last week there were 46, but there are so many more that have the capacity to attend that we are working to help overcome the problems that they are challenged with.

Thanks so much for writing Dad. I am really grateful for the times that you write. Sorry that I forgot to tell you Happy Birthday. I got busy and wasn´t focused on the days. I am really grateful for all that you and Mom have taught me. I hear your counsels come back to me from over the years and guide me to a better life. I am eternally grateful for what you have done and sacrificed for me as my parents. Thanks so much for teaching me to work hard. I love you so much and appreciate all that you do for me!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Antonela's Baptism

Dear Braxton,

I do want to tell you of our little miracle.  On the way down to Monticello, we got just past the 5th South exit in Bountiful when we started to hear a slapping sound.  I looked out the window and could see something flapping as the tire went around on the trailer passenger side.  Clain told Dad we had a flat tire and he needed to pull over.  Dad was in the middle lane of the freeway and was able to move over to the outside because there was no one in either outside lane.  He pulled off and stopped.  We had thrown the rubber off the tire, but it had not popped and was not flat.  

A nice young man pulled off in front of us and backed up.  Dad was afraid we had hit him with the rubber, but he said we had not.  He just thought he might be able to help us.  He was on his way to a chiropractor appointment in Bountiful, but had an extra half hour before his appointment so he stopped to see if he could help.  He had a nice jack, so we used his.  We were on a nice flat spot and it was easy to change the tire and put the spare on and then we loaded the bad tire in the truck.  

I had texted Curtis some photos and told him what had happened.  He and Alex were coming down later Thursday night.  Curtis said we should go to Discount Tire in Bountiful.  So when we got back in the truck, I asked Siri on my phone for Discount Tire in Bountiful.  It was three minutes away, just off the Woods Cross exit which was just in front of us.  We drove there and the parking lot was full, so we parked on the north side of the building.  We were able to pull into a driveway and stop so that we were not blocking any cars and people could still get in and out of the Arby’s parking lot.  We had them fix the first tire.  Dad brought me the receipt.  Then he asked me to go to Arby’s which was right next door to us to get lunch.  I asked him what he wanted and then I went to ask Clain what he wanted.  As I saw the spare, I had the thought that we needed to replace it, too.  So I told Dad and asked what he thought.  He said, “Yes, he thought we should.”  A year ago we had replaced one tire and put the one we replaced on as a spare, but it had a bulge on the sidewall. 

After I got lunch, and came back, I talked to the kid who was fixing it.  He had brought some duct tape out and was taping up under the wheel well.  It had scraped off a coating or something leaving bare wood up there.  He taped it so it wouldn’t get wet if we hit water or a storm.  Dad will have to put tar or something up in there when we get home to protect the bare wood, which is the underside of the floor.  The kid said we should make sure all the tires had the same amount of pressure in them. Dad and Clain had filled the tires from 40 to 65 that morning before we left.  That may have been what caused it to throw the rubber.  The new tire had 80 pounds of pressure in it.  So we had to go out of the Arby’s parking lot and into the Discount Tire parking lot on the other side.  Dad pulled out and there was not a car coming either direction.  And he was able to pull right back in.  

While they were working on the air, Dad came and said he felt like we should change all four of the tires and put the good one from a year ago on as the spare tire.  So we did.  We both felt like by heeding these promptings we were able to save ourselves from having far worse problems on the trip.  The Lord gave us a warning with the first tire and in a way that we were safe from harm or accident and he prevented us from having a much worse problem somewhere on the road where we could not have gotten help as easily or as cheaply.  We paid $575 for the new tires.  In many ways, that was a real bargain. 

Another interesting thing, when I paid the bills the night before we left, I could not make the checkbook balance again.  There is $1100 more money in our account than what there should be.  I know the Lord is blessing us and providing for our needs because of your missionary service and faith.  I know we are being blessed all the time because you have the faith and desire to serve the Lord and bring people to Jesus Christ.  Thank you.  I feel very blessed and loved.  I know the Lord provides for us every day and in our times of need.  I know he is aware of our needs, our wants, our desires, and our fears.  He helps us in every way possible.  He is there in even the tiniest details of our lives.  He cares when we have ten year old tires on the trailer that will cause us to not be safe and he provides ways for us to get them changed so we can be safe in all that we do.  I testify that our Heavenly Father knows us and loves us and He is aware of our every need.  I testify that missionary blessings are very real! 

I love you and I am so very proud of you and all that you are doing to bless the people of Chile.  Keep on serving and loving the people and the Lord. 

Love always and forever,

The baptism went amazingly well and I saw so many changes in the family in the course of the meetings. Their hearts were opened to the message of the gospel and were softened from their hardened state. The family of 7 were able to open up and all of them came. Before we were only able to bring a portion of the family, Antonela and her Dad. Sunday all 7 were there and Antonela was baptized. We are going to visit them this week a couple times and on Sunday it will be her confirmation. The family is doing really well.

We had 46 people at church and we were able to bring a recent convert to church that hasn`t gone in 3 months. We are doing all that we can to help the people and the Lord is providing the miracles and the preparation in the paths. He has so many other people being prepared and that we are finding through His guidance. I know that He is guiding the family and teaching many lessons to the family through choices and mistakes and refining each and every one to follow the promptings of His spirit. The Lord blesses and takes away blessings according to our choices. I am sure of this divine truth.

Things are going so well. We are loving the work and being guided spiritually. The Lord has been revealing more divine truths to me about my life and my future. I am very grateful to Him for showing me parts of my path to come before-hand to prepare me even more for those special moments.

The Lord has placed special people close to each and every one of us so that we can serve them and help them recognize and accept Jesus Christ and His Restored Gospel. We are instruments, like you once taught me through an email that you sent me, and when we are living so that he can mold us, we can help shape others. I have started being a more effective instrument and letting Him use me more effectively through the refinement that he is working. It is a necessary process and He knows His tools and uses us when we let Him work. This truth has changed my mission and I am accepting His work and not mine. I know that He is guiding everything and makes all the decisions in the work and I am just here when He needs me to be. I promise as you and those in the family let Him work through us, He will give to each of them the opportunity to serve and help His children return, accept, or continue living the Gospel with more strength. He has chosen children still waiting specially for each of you to help learn and accept the Gospel. He is just waiting for you all to be ready to let Him work. 

Thanks Braxton.  Profound wisdom from you today.  I hope you are writing in your journal about the special experiences you are having with the spirit.  I hope you will share some of those special things with us when you get home. 

Tell us more about the other investigators you are teaching.  How are they 

We had 3 investigators at church, the boyfriend of Antonela`s older sister and the mom of a recent convert. The Mom isn`t married, but we are going to work to get them married, so that she can be baptized. She has a testimony, just needs to get married to be baptized. I know that she is being prepared right now and the Lord placed her here to be prepared for baptism with us right now. We are working towards so many results, but the people need to make the decisions and believe for themselves. I believe in all of them and I am just waiting for them to choose correctly to be baptized.

How old are the other siblings in Antonela’s family?

16, 11, Antonela is 9 and then 6, and 2. With the parents.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Life Will Always Be Good!

Life will always be good! Even the Gods who were perfect only made a creation of a world that was good. They didn`t strive for anything more even being perfect, but something good.

I am really happy! I got my glasses sent today!

We have a baptism set for this weekend with the interview and everything we are reactivating her family and her name is Antonela. She is 9 and has always wanted to be baptized and is the strength of her family right now to return. The family is coming along and we have everything set for this Sunday! I am really excited and happy. Wednesday we are going to teach them and then go have the baptismal interview!

Mikayla wrote me and I am really excited for her. She will love the mission. I know that it will be a great experience for her. I wrote back to her.

Sorry that I am just getting around to everything I wrote almost all of the other things first so I only have 15 minutes and I am going to write just the messages left for you. I will see about pictures.

I won`t be able to send pictures. I just tried and it isn`t working. This week went well and now we are working towards Antonela`s baptism this weekend. We met a family The Peréz Balmonde family they are an older couple that just moved into a house that we decided to contact and accepted us and want to be baptized. We have a baptismal date set with them for the 13 of September and we also have a baptismal date set with José. His Grandmother is a member, but she is less-active because of her health. His baptismal date is for the 27 of September. Things are going really well and there are tons of people to help and never enough time because there is so much distance and so many people. I only have a couple more minutes. Yesterday, we had a lesson with Antonela and her family where we talked about her baptism and that it would be for this weekend and she is very excited and her parents committed to support her in the decision and continue going and now the whole family is going to go to church. We are going to continue strengthening them and helping them return to activity. They are a great family and we are doing really well.

Congratulations on the upcoming baptism of Antonela.  That is really neat.  How many others are in her family?  Are they all interested in becoming active again? 

I knew this was going to be a great six weeks for you.  I would love to see all of these baptisms work out for you.  I will pray for all of them and for you.  Sunday will be Fast Sunday, so I will fast for them also

I got a fun photo this morning from Elder Simplicio.  Thanks. 

Elder Simplicio is from Brazil.  I (Carol) met him on Facebook on the Missionary site before he left for his mission.  He is so excited to be a missionary and he was excited to meet Elder Goode.  Now they are serving in the same Zone.  I also met Elder Mason on the Facebook missionary site.  He is from North Ogden.  Elder Simplicio is in the front.  I don't know the name of the Elder in the back and I can't quite read his nametag.

Elder Simplicio is in my zone as well as Elder Mason. They are both in Talagante, but we are a joint zone with Melipilla now. Things are fun in our zone.

Even in the world we live in that is getting more wicked all the time, there is still so much that is good and beautiful.  I am grateful to live at this time on the earth.  I am grateful to see the growth in the church and to have the opportunity to serve in callings and help people.  I like my job because I get to help people all the time.  Service is the key to happiness.  When we love and serve others, we feel so much better. 

How are you getting along with your companion?  Are you learning a lot from him?

We are getting along really well and we are both learning from one another which is really nice. I am enjoying doing all that I can and I don`t have much time and I need to go. I am sorry I am trying and there is always so much that I can`t get around to talk about. Thanks for the support and the help in everything. I love serving and being in the Lord`s work.

I love you.  I know you are busy and working hard.  Continue to be happy and excited and more blessings will come to you.  I am glad your Zone is fun.  I wish you had more time to tell me about it, but . . .   you are a missionary and there is never enough time to do all that you want to do.  Serve the people as if you are serving our Savior and have an absolutely amazing week!

Love always and forever,