Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy Birthday Braxton!

I hope you have had a magnificent week and a fabulous 20th birthday! 
Love always and forever,

I am fairly exhausted we have started moving to Melipilla from Bollenar and we will be finishing everything tomorrow. My bags are all packed and ready to come. I am doing well. Yes, I got the packages. Holidays are limited and Halloween they celebrate, but lower scale and Thanksgiving they don`t really. We played soccer today for a zone activity. I sent to the temple two or three weeks ago. I can`t remember. I think 2 weeks ago. We didn`t have investigators attending and we are working to improve things in Bollenar. We have very few people attending in way of new members and less-active members. I am fairly exhausted. I was at the Hospital yesterday with Elder Houston and those from the new house we are moving to. He was sick, so we were all there. He is doing much better, but I was up until around 1:30, before going to bed, but now I am doing just fine.

Hi!  Was the hospital in Melipilla or did you have to travel to Santiago?  What kind of sick?  Contagious? 

How many Elders will be in your new house?  Why are they having you move?  Is something wrong with the house or are you unsafe there at night?  How will you get to Bollenar on Sunday if the buses do not run?

I am glad you got to go to the temple again.
Have you opened your packages or are you saving them for your birthday?

In Melipilla there is a Clinic Called Las Maitenes here. Elder Houston has a stomach issue and it is not contagious. There will be 4 elders and we will have to travel every day to Bollenar to work and return every evening. The owner of our house in Bollenar wants us to buy the house or leave and the mission only rents, so we are moving. As well as our mission president wants the missionaries living in groups of 4 for more safety. Buses run. They just don`t as often and we already have been staying with them for a week, but moving our last parts of our luggage will be tomorrow. I opened the packages already everyone wanted food.... Oh well, I opened them and we are trying to eat everything before changes, because I might leave and it will be hard with a ton of stuff. I need to reorganize my stuff. We have interviews this week with our mission president, in our houses, which means a very hectic week.

I am glad you are willing to share.  I hope you all enjoyed the food.  I hope you will have time for a little birthday celebration with the cake and candles and photos.  You should be able to get rid of your old garments and your old pants and gain a little room.  Did someone help you haul the beds and washing machine and dryer to the other place in a truck? 

Change is always good and refreshing.  It would be great to have these baptisms, but as long as they continue to progress, you will have made a difference in their lives.  I am sure they will love you forever.  I hope you will be able to stay in contact with them all throughout your life. 
Who is the fourth Elder?  You, Elder Cardona, Elder Houston and ?

We are moving those things tomorrow. Elder Watson is the other elder. We are doing great I will talk to you next week. I am out of time. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Young Men's President

Some new photos of Elder Goode that I got from the Ward Mission Leader in his Branch.  I love that smile!  I am glad he is always happy and seems to be loving his mission.

This is a photo of Antonela, his most recent baptism and Elder Cardona, his current companion.  I think the little boy is probably Antonela's brother.

I am doing really well.  Things are going well. I haven`t received packages yet, that would be tomorrow. We didn`t have investigators at church. They didn`t come yet. I had a spiritual experience yesterday evening with Nicolas and his Mom. We shared with them and David the brother of the mom. They are doing well. I am in charge of The Young Men here in Bollenar. So I have been assigned to be the Young Men`s President, so I go to Mutual each week here and am in charge, so it is something else as well. We talked about the Book of Mormon and afterwards the Mom, Jessica, I believe is her name, wanted to talk with us to give Nicolas counsel because they have been having some difficulties. She is inactive and living with a guy and has two kids from different dads and Nicolas has a little bit of stress and anger issues over details related here. And we were able to counsel them and advise to help them. I know that Nicolas and David will be baptized. There is nothing keeping them from it. They almost came to Mutual this week, but didn`t. We are working with them slowly and even if I leave, I know they are going to progress. Nicolas is a golden investigator. He is so alert and concentrated and knows what he wants. He wants to be baptized. So does David. We haven`t placed a date recently, but if they attend this week and the next week they could get baptized on my birthday, if we work hard before changes. I am really happy with them.

The Hormazabal family is doing amazingly. The parents are attending even though not all of their children are wanting to. Antonela has been a little lazy and hasn`t come for 2 weeks, but her parents are going, which is more important. We had 41 people at church. There has been a good amount of growth in Bollenar. We are doing all that we can and I love this Branch, even though it stresses me out not being able to work everywhere and help everyone. But I need to be patient and do what I can. I am learning a lot more patience and diligence in the work. I am really happy.

We occasionally feel the earthquakes. We felt one yesterday morning.

The scripture that you chose is one of my favorites that Clain always quoted and I memorized as well but I don`t have it memorized in Spanish.

It rained a little yesterday and the rain is frustrating but there is work to do so we go and do.

Sorry that I wasn`t able to get around to writing more, but I love you all and thank you so much for everything.

Sorry, I just got back to my office.  I love you.  Have a really great week!

I am very, very proud of you.  You are an amazing son and missionary.  I am happy that you have found Nicolas and David.  They will love you forever for changing their lives for the better and their influence may change the mother’s life and her boyfriend and the other children.  Sometimes progress is slow. 

Be Goode.  We love you.
Love always and forever,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New Investigators

It has been a long week. We talked with tons of people this week. We were able to teach many new people and we are seeing many miracles. My primary interests in people you could pray for are Nicolas Castro and David Farius they are two young men one 16 and the other 19 who are investigating now. The mom of Nicolas is inactive and it is David´s sister. So they have family that are members that we are starting to work with. The Lord is providing the way to get into their hearts. We are working to baptize them the 31st of October and have them get confirmed on the 1st of November. They need to attend this Sunday and the next one and get baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. We also need to finish all of the missionary lessons. I feel like this will be my last change in Bollenar. I have 3 weeks to pull off the last miracles here. If I don`t have investigators attending, then I won`t baptize this month. We haven`t had investigators attending, but The Hormazabal Family is activating. The parents went to church this Sunday and their daughter that we baptized didn`t want to go, but they still came. It was amazing and I feel great about this success. It is hard in a Branch to add new people because many times they don`t feel comfortable, especially in small branches and wards. We are working with a lot of other people that we have met and contacted, but we are pushing for so much and I have to be really patient in the work, something that I am still working on. I have improved a lot but there are my moments of pride and frustration... Things are going really well. I am happy and just trying to make a difference and many people have been affected by what I have been trying to do. Thanks for the support I love you so much.

Hello.  I am happy you have found some possible candidates for baptism.  I hope that they will attend so that your dreams will work out.  Don’t get frustrated.  Patience is a hard virtue to work on, because you have to experience trials in order to improve.  We will pray for Nicolas and David and for the Hormazabal Family.  How are the couple you mentioned last week coming along?

We haven`t been able to visit them, because Walter works so much. It makes it really hard for them to progress. We have been doing our best to try focusing on fewer people that have more potential to be baptized. We used almost all last week finding people and now we are trying to visit them more and prepare them quickly so that they can be baptized. There is so much to do and with a sector that is so large it really makes it hard to focus on key people and their progress. There is so much to do and I always want to do more, but I can`t sometimes... I am working on my patience, because I really need to focus in on some people and do all that I can for them.

You are always too hard on yourself.  I hope you are enjoying the work and not stressing all the time.  Do you and your companion have fun during the day?  Are you smiling and laughing and being happy? 

I got your glasses finally and I have ordered a new pair.  They were still under warranty. 

I mailed two packages to you.  They cleared Customs today, so it is possible you may get them this week or next in your District Meeting.  Where do you have to go for District Meeting?  You take the bus, right?  Do you walk from the bus back to your home?  One package was 15 pounds and the other 10.  Sorry.  They will be heavy to carry very far. I hope you enjoy them for your birthday.  Yes, you can open them early if you want or you can wait till your actual birthday, or open some and save some.  There are lots of pictures from Taylor and Alex.  Please take some photos of your birthday celebration.

I did get a few more photos on Sunday from Ulices.  Most were the ones I already had, but there were a few more new ones.  There were none of your latest baptism.  Did you take any on that day.  There are lots of blurry ones.  Do you know to hold the shutter down halfway so that it focuses and then push the rest of the way to take the photo?    

I wanted to share another thing from Fast and Testimony Meeting.  John and Jennifer Smith live across the street from us.  Their youngest son, Hyrum, was born with lots of health issues.  One of those was that he had no ear canal on his right ear and his ear was small and misshapen.  They recently took Hyrum to California where two specialists did surgery on Hyrum to create an ear canal and all the inside connections in his ear and to add to his outer ear to make it more normal size, shape and appearance.  I have been following their story on Facebook, so I had read of their miracle, but Jennifer bore her testimony about it Sunday.  She talked of how Jesus Christ used the Priesthood to heal people when he was on the earth.  She said they had experienced a healing, but it was through modern day medicine, which she feels is inspired of God.  She said one afternoon a week or so after the surgery, they were driving in the car in California.  Hyrum said he had heard a pop in his ear and now he could hear out of his ear.  She said she was so happy for him and to be able to witness this modern day miracle in their lives, one of many that they have had with Hyrum’s health.  It has made me think about all the many ways that our Heavenly Father is inspiring miracles in our lives and on the earth at this time.  Medicine is just one of the many places where miracles are seen regularly and though they do not all come through Priesthood Power, they do all come from God. 

Thanks I love you talk to you next week!

I love you, too.  Be Goode and Be Happy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thoughts on General Conference

Elder Goode and Elder Cardona, his current companion

A group of missionaries at one of their meetings

An Elder Braxton has come to love

A couple of Elders in his current Zone of Talagante

I did choose a verse. I let the Lord guide that one. I opened my scriptures and read until I felt that I needed a verse and I ended up in Alma 30:8 in Spanish it says ¨Porque así dicen las Escrituras: Escogeos hoy a quién sirváis. Which in English is ¨Because thus saith The Scriptures: Choose ye this day whom ye will serve. I really like it and it has been helping me to make even better decisions and to be better now. Every action and decision centered in Christ and reminds me to think that way to choose better so that I can be better.

Right now we really don`t have investigators that are progressing. We have many that have potential or difficulties or that aren`t married that know that the Church is true but more than anything I am working hard and looking for the miracles that the Lord is preparing and special people that He will put in our path. We need more than anything to renew our pool of investigators, but I know that the Lord is preparing miracles. We have a couple investigators that are fairly special, that are Walter and Daniela. They aren`t married, but they are very united. We haven`t been able to visit them much, because they work a lot, but they are interested in learning more. We can usually share one time a week with them and they are slowly moving along. We are pushing towards them reading for themselves and praying to know if the Book of Mormon is true. We have an appointment with them today, but we need to call again and verify if they still can. We are going to be reading with them today and hoping that they finally decide to pray and seek their answers and what path the Lord wants for them. They have awhile still before they could be baptized, but it is a process.

Thanks for all that you do and I love you so much and for all that you do. Elder Holland´s talk really took me out.... I love you so much and it is hard to have heard that talk, because most of the time on the mission we just emotionally disconnect from home and family and go work and share and love the Chilean Family all around us, but that talk was very powerful. Thanks for all that you have done and sacrificed and always been doing for me and my well-being I really appreciate it.

You are welcome!  I really appreciate your gratitude.  That has been very evident in your letters lately.  Thank you. 

I like your verse.  It is a good one and will help you in your work.

I hope that Walter and Daniela will continue to progress.  It is hard when they are not married to change their opinions about marriage.  Keep trying.  I am sure there are many others out there who need your to reach out to them.  Keep searching and you will find them.  Open Your Mouth and speak to everyone that you see and the Lord will help your path intersect with the right people.  Keep praying that today you will meet someone who the Lord has prepared.  I know you do these things, but continue in faith.  A lot depends on the Lord’s timing. 

I need to listen to Elder Holland’s talk again.  I remember it being a lot about the impact of mothers on their children, but several people have gotten other things out of that talk, so I need to listen again and see if I missed something.  I think you almost have to emotionally disconnect or you would be homesick all the time and unable to work.  Time is going quickly and you will have those connections again, soon enough.  Know that you are loved and cared about and that we pray for you several times each day.  You are always in my thoughts.  I wish I could be there as a little bird and watch you go through your day.  I know you are doing what the Lord needs you to do and you will have an important impact on many lives into the eternities.  I think about the impact that Carlos’s little boy will have on others and it makes me happy to know his life will be better because of you. 

Thanks Mom. I still haven`t heard from Carlos or Soley.... I have been waiting, but nothing has shown up. Also I am free from the other issue of pictures for a little while. I hope that helped make your weekend even better having all of the pictures from my mission. Some of them are things like information or other things that aren`t very important. If you don`t need the details you can delete them if they aren`t anything important. 

I am happy to write to you each week.  It helps me to examine my week and see what I have done and what I could have done better.  It is also a form of a journal.  I have shared some very spiritual things with my missionaries in letters.  Clain probably got the most of that since I was serving as RS President while he was out.  I am sure it is hard when your companions don’t hear from home.  That is why I always try to send things for them in your packages. 

I have received quite a few photos from Ulices, but I hope that there are more to come.  I think he has put three bunches of about 30 photos in.  I have then moved them to my laptop at home.  I am sure there has to be a few more because of the numbers on the photos.  Please talk to him and see if he is able to send them all.  Maybe they are not all copying because of space issues.

I look forward to many talks with you when you get home and hope that you will open up and share much more about your mission than what we have had in emails.  I am grateful that you write each week, even if you don’t share all the stories I keep asking for.  I know special things are happening to you all of the time.  I hope you recognize that they are special are recording them in your journal.  20 was an interesting time in my life and yes we should talk about that and what big decisions and temptations may be coming up in your life.  For now, focus on what your Mission President teaches you to do and all the things we tried to instill in your heart before you left and you will be just fine.  You are a Boy Scout and You are Prepared to serve.  .

I know. It will be a great time and there will be many important decisions that will all be coming very quickly when I arrive home. I understand those details and they are many. I will share many experiences afterwards. There was a time of around 6 months when I made the mistake of not writing my journal because of time and it has become a regret and I have fixed that detail and am writing at least a half page everyday. I don`t have accounts of when Carlos was baptized or when Camila either because it was during that time. It is a regret but I am doing all that I can now to change that.

I have many years of regrets for not writing.  I wish I had done better and had journals to go back to and read from. I keep trying to make it a new goal, but time always seems to get in the way.  I need to try to put the most important things in place in my life and let some other things go.  Only, I don’t know what to let go.

If you can, try to write about what you felt when you were working with Camila and Carlos now, while you are still on the mission and while the details are more fresh in your mind.  It is harder to remember the longer time goes by and the older you get.

Thanks for all that you do and writing always. I have had companions where they never had emails and it is hard to have to see them writing a little bit and trying to act normal even though they barely have received anything. One of my companions almost never received anything from his mom or family... I am glad that I get yelled at if you don`t hear anything. It is an expression of love and for all the rules and lessons that you have taught me over the years. When I come home I am going to be waiting for those talks about when you were 20 you went through certain things. That will help me a lot and I really pay a lot of attention to the counsels that I receive from you and Dad. I am grateful for those. They stay in my mind and come back to me when I need them. The Lord has provided that blessing in my life to be able to remember the counsels from my parents.

I found this on today.  It might help you share the prophet’s message with the people you teach.  He basically taught what you are out there trying to live.  I think you are doing a great job. 

I sent him an article called Invitations from the Prophet that outlines what President Monson talked about in his two talks.

Thanks for sending that. It helps. I had written on all the talks, but that helped me to remember the details and to think on what I need to do now and follow the Spirit´s guide of what things I can improve now.

I will try to get Curtis to speak with Soley and Carlos and see if he can figure out what is going on.  I hoped that they would write to you. 

Curtis interviewed for another job today as Head Custodian at Odyssey Elementary.  I hope he gets it, but I will be sad when he is no longer at WPJH.  I have really enjoyed having him here.  He helps me a lot and does it so willingly.  They are pretty sure they will get the house, so that will be lots of work to do, but I think they are excited to pitch in and make it a nice home.  They have lots of ideas and it is fun to see them so excited about it. 

I love you so much and I am so proud of all you do.  

I can imagine. I really miss the special moments with Curtis and Clain.... It will be special to have them again when I get home, but there is time before that event even though it goes by so quickly. Thanks for the support and help. I am out of time and need to be going. I love you and it has been nice to have more time to write today. I had fewer emails than normal. I love you so much and am trying to do all that I can to write as much as possible. We are working hard to help everyone we meet. There are many special members here for me that will be joining my special group of friends from my mission. They are few, but special.

I also loved the talk where it focused on 2 questions. One was along the lines of asking The Lord what I lack now and the other asking what we are doing well and what we can do better. I really enjoyed those details. I liked the talk about the potter`s wheel and centering our lives in Christ so that things can continue. If we aren`t centered in Christ everything always seems harder or that if falls apart which makes sense because it does our spiritual lives fall apart if we aren`t living focused on Christ and His Atonement. We can only be changed in and through Him. He is the power that allows us to become when we let Him change us.

Many key details have been stuck in my mind and I am grateful for the Conferences because they are helping me to teach better and remember more key doctrines that the Lord needs His children to understand and understanding them more helps me to bless them through example in all that I do and as I share them clearly and powerfully.

Yes, it was an excellent conference.  I felt the spirit so many times as I listened.  Dad would look over and I would be wiping the tears away.  He would ask what was wrong and I would just say the spirit touched me.  I love having that feeling.  Not all the crying, but knowing that the Lord is speaking to my heart and trying to communicate things to my spirit.  I have loved Elder Rasband since the first time I heard him speak.  I am glad he was chosen as an apostle.  Elder Stephens knows so much about the welfare of the church having served in the Presiding Bishopric and that will help him to always consider the needs of the people.  I felt that Elder Renland has a very tender heart, like yours.  He will be much like President Monson, ministering to the widows, and needy.  I believe he has a handicapped daughter, just one child.  I would like to learn more about her.  

Have a super great week.  We love you and we look forward to being with you again, but I would not want to cut this special time in your life short.  You need all of these experiences and they will bless your life forever.  If I could reach through the computer, I would give you a huge hug and kiss. 

Love always and forever,