This is Ulices or Dario as he likes to be called. He was the Ward Mission Leader in Braxton's last area, Bollenar. He works on the church buildings. He was at one of the chapels last week when he took this photo and posted it on Facebook for me to see.
This is Juan and Elder Goode. He is one of the recent converts in his current ward. Braxton is teaching Juan's mother and several of his family members. Juan posted this photo on Facebook for us on Sunday. It was so fun to get two surprise photos this week!
All of the sisters in the picture you sent are from the Mission. Ulices or Dario works on the church buildings and I ran into him at my district meeting in Malloco. Juan is our retention. He is a new convert that got baptized last year in March. We are working to take him to the Temple. Our Temple trip that was for this last Saturday fell through. We are working to go this weekend. We have Claudio with a baptismal date for the 15th, because he wants his girlfriend to be able to come. So he is going to get baptized Friday. We are going to go by later today to verify the Baptismal Questions and set up his Interview. He attended church this week with Sebastian.
We had to talk in church yesterday. They told us we were talking 5 minutes before church and wanted 15 minute talks from my companion and I. It went well.
In the District, the Sisters from El Sauce have baptized 2 people. One was Diego. He didn´t get confirmed and he will need to be baptized again. He has some difficulties. The Elders from Manzano had a baptism this Saturday and he got confirmed so we have 2 that have gotten confirmed. We are working for this weekend. There aren´t other baptismal dates yet, but we are going to see what we can do about moving things forward.
I have plenty of contacts and solution. I haven´t found a backpack yet, because they don´t sell them here in our sector.
I added Juan as a Friend on Facebook and then looked at some of his photos. It looks like he has a lot of family he is close to, but I would guess he is the only member among them. That probably makes it hard. It looks like he works at a grocery store. Does he attend church regularly and the gospel principles class?
Has Sebastian been attending church? How about the female cousin you were teaching?
I think it is fun that all of those sister missionaries are together at BYU. I guess that gives you good friends and roommates who have the same standards you do and makes it easier to live the gospel.
Sebastian came yesterday! We haven´t been able to have Aileen come yet. Juan´s dad and sister are members as well. They are converts as well. We are working with his mom to have her get baptized. She has come 3 times with us so far. We are pushing towards it. Juan attends twice a month because he works 2 Sundays a month. We visit his family a couple times a week.
I bought this backpack. My other one got destroyed in 3 months at the beginning of my mission. I don´t like the backpacks that the mission provides.
I talked about Conversion and Jesus Christ´s Atonement and effect. I will share one of my experiences from the talk with you again when I get home. It went really well. I talked around 18 minutes and my companion covered around 12. We were shooting for 30 combined and he talked first.
Diego wants to, but he needs to make a few changes. He wasn´t quite ready because he fell back into some of his earlier challenges.
I may appear skinny, but I am doing fine. I eat like normal.... I tend to lose weight in the summer and when walking or biking all day. Things happen.
I am not worried that you are skinny. You look healthy! That is what I worry about. I am sure I can fatten you back up when you get home and are sitting around all day instead of biking 20 or more miles a day. As long as you have bright eyes and a happy smile, I don’t worry much about your health. Exercise is good for you.
I am happy you are making progress with Juan’s family. That is neat. Hopefully you will get to baptize his mom. Then they can work towards becoming an eternal family. It is tough when you have to work on Sundays. I am glad he can come twice a month. Hopefully Diego will overcome his challenges.
I wish I could be there to hear you speak and share your testimony. Of course I wouldn’t understand all the Spanish, but I would understand the feeling behind it. I can’t wait to hear about all of your experiences when you get home. That was nice of you to cover the extra time during your talk. I know you are a great speaker now and the experiences you have had speaking will help you throughout the rest of your life as you serve in many callings.
I hope you are able to find another backpack that will work for you for the rest of your mission.
I know that you aren´t worried. I am doing great. I am loving the work. It is hard at times. My companion went through heat exhaustion yesterday and passed out in the street. It was almost 9:30 and luckily I was able to get him home. He wasn´t doing good in the evening and he is stubborn.... I had to command him to do things like drink water and use the ice. He was very frustrated because I wasn´t accepting no as an answer. He is doing much better now, but he had a fever and was not okay. I was able to get him drinking water, a cold shower, and icing his head to help before I let him go to bed. Even though I was late doing everything else in the evening, it was the most important thing.
I am not worried about Diego. He can be baptized again if he puts in his part and the sisters are working hard to help him. Juan is great, but the family is a harder case and we are doing our best to help them. His family is the family with potential to baptize 6 more people.
I am happy that you are happy and still loving the work. I hope these last few months will be your most happy time in the mission, though you always seem to be happy and smiling. I hope you are smiling all day every day and not just for the photos.
Thanks for taking good care of your companion. That was the most important thing. Make sure he drinks more water during the daytime, too. It is hot there and you have to protect yourself from heat stroke. Is he doing better today?
I hope you are able to help Juan and Diego and their families. That will help them through the rest of their lives. They will act differently and make different decisions as members than they would without the gospel. They will marry differently and raise their families differently. Keep trying. It will bless future generations if you can get them truly converted.
That is the work that we have right now. We are working a lot more with the younger generation and the youth. We are trying to influence their lives more and help them to make changes now so that they can live happier. We are doing a lot lately. There is always something going on.
I am glad you are having a positive influence on them. Everyone seems to love you. When Juan posted that photo on Facebook, there are lots of comments and likes from people down there that I don’t know, but who know you and they all seem very positive. You are well liked and loved by the people you serve. I am sure your happy smile and positive outlook have a lot to do with that. You have a special glow about you that will draw people to you.
I met a couple of new elders in the foyer at church yesterday. I said hello to them as I was going out to the car after Sunday School to put my laptop in the car. They lacked any kind of enthusiasm. They were sitting in the two foyer chairs, both hunched down with terrible posture, playing on their ipads. I stopped and introduced myself to them on the way back in and told them I had a son serving a mission in Chile. I asked where they were from and how long they had been out and through the whole conversation they just lacked any kind of enthusiasm. It was almost like I was bothering them and they wanted me to go away. It made me sad. I know you would never act that way.
The work you do with these people will change their lives for the better. I am certain of that!
It happens. There are missionaries like that. What bothers me more than anything is when Leaders look at the missionaries that are working hard and doing their best and they judge them without actually doing their best to actually get to know them. It bothers me when they put so much stress on us to do so much when we are already doing the best that we can. But I love the work. I just wish they wouldn´t stress so much over little things. If we acted like the Elders that you have there, in our mission, we would have interviews with our Mission President almost immediately. I don´t act that way and I won´t, but thanks for the update.
Maybe these new elders were just having a bad day. I should have taken a photo of them and sent it to their mothers for them. The sisters they replaced were so awesome. I guess it was a disappointment to see their lack of energy. I will have to see if we can have them over for dinner. We don’t get the opportunity very often to feed the missionaries. I think they have each ward do a month at a time and with all the wards in our stake, our opportunity doesn’t come around very often. I know that is very different from where you are.
The thing I have learned from having all three sons serve is that the Lord has His hand in all of the things that happen. He helps you to have the experiences that were meant for you. He helps you to have the companions you need and to meet the people you need to meet and to serve in the areas you need to serve in. I feel certain that you had friends in heaven that you promised to find and teach and they were placed in this part of Chile and now you are called to find them and teach them and help them come unto Christ. It is a miracle that the Lord is able to arrange all of that in His great Plan of Happiness.
When we met with Clain’s Mission President in Oregon and again when we went to their homecoming address and when we went to his first Mission President’s homecoming, I was impressed with how well each Mission President and their wives really knew Clain. I think they knew that being a leader would be a lot of stress on him that he wouldn’t deal well with. He doesn’t like to be in the limelight and receive a lot of recognition. He doesn’t like to stand out. He was happy to just be a missionary and teach and work the best he could. I was impressed that they knew he was easy to get along with and placed him with difficult missionaries on purpose because they knew he could help them to become better missionaries and if they couldn’t survive the mission with Clain, they wouldn’t make it as missionaries with any companion. You heard the praise he had for Clain when we were in Oregon.
You are a lot like Clain in your disposition. You are easy to get along with and low maintenance. You roll with the punches and just do your best and make the best of every situation. That is what Jesus would have done. That is the kind of man he was. He didn’t cause contention. He just dealt with what came his way. He didn’t seek for positions and power and glory. He was happy to be a servant and wash the feet of his disciples. He didn’t care that it was a lowly servant’s job to do that. He saw a need and he used it to teach his disciples a message of love and caring.
You have already served in many leadership positions in your youth and you already know how to lead. You don’t need the title to be a leader. People follow you because you are a natural leader. It is a quality and talent you have developed in your character. One of the most important lessons you have learned on your mission is humility. It matters less where you serve than how you serve. You are an amazing missionary and I know you are an amazing teacher. You are there to teach the gospel and I am glad you are having that opportunity. You are planting so many seeds and even if you don’t see them reach maturity and see the harvest, you still had a part in bringing them to Christ.
Be proud of yourself and happy with the work you are doing. Love your companion and care for him as if he were your own brother. Be energetic and animated and enthusiastic in all you do so that the members and the investigators will know you care about what you are doing. I know you would never slump down in the chair in the foyer and act that way. You have been taught better and you love the Lord more than that. You know that your behavior makes a difference on everyone who sees you. You are an amazing example to me. I love you so very much and I am proud of you.
Continue to be humble and teachable. You are meek and that is one of the most precious character traits one can acquire. Few acquire it here in this life. I can’t wait to throw my arms around you and kiss your sweet face, but I can wait. You are needed in Chile for a little while longer.
What matters the most is what Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father think of you. Do your best for them and don’t let the little things stress you out. Only our Savior truly knows what is in our hearts. Your heart is pure!
Love always and forever,
This was a zone idea for 3 people who had their birthdays in 2 weeks of the mission last change. It was Elder Brook´s, Hermana Tolk´s, and Hermana Lopez all put together. The Hearts were theirs afterwards.
That is nice. We have been talking about this on the FB mission group. Elder Buckley’s mom said he created it this year and it was a tri-fold with all the missionaries on one side and ornaments of all the countries that missionaries come from in the shape of a tree on one side and a scripture on the other side. She posted photos of two of the sides, but she was worried about posting the missionary photos and was trying to get permission to do it from your Mission President.
I can send it if you want. Here it is.
I hope that the details are fine. I remembered that you asked me about it, so I took pictures of it.
Thank you. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. What other photos do you have?
It is very nice. Elder Buckley did a great job with it. Thanks for the photos.
It was also Elder Johnson from my group. They worked as a team.
That is nice. Are they assistants to the President or just office elders? How does that work? How many are there that work in the office? Who replaced Elder Chuquel in the office?
Elder Buckley was a secretary and Elder Johnson was a Financial Secretary/Pensionist. Elder Chuquel was replaced by Elder Prisbrey, who is my brother, who was trained by Elder Chuquel as well. Elder Buckley and Elder Johnson are Zone Leaders now.
Okay. Lots of changes in the mission all the time. I know Elder Buckley goes home in two weeks. His mom is so excited! Is working in the office something you have wanted to do? Did they have you fill out a form about your skills and desires to work in the office when you arrived? Curtis said they did with his mission.
That is a fun photo. It is at the home of the sister who sent her daughter out on a mission, right? Are those her two sons? Are those the shirts you wear to protect yourselves on the bikes? To make yourselves more visible?
No these were gifts that they gave us. They are from marathons and other running events for Christmas. The son with the dog on his shoulder goes out to visit with us. His name is Cristobal. I gave him one of the Rubik’s Cubes. I gave the other to Sebastian our investigator right now.
Nice. How old are Cristobal, Sebastian, Juan and Claudio?
Cristobal is 15 but we have permission to go out with him. Sebastian is 15 and we have permission from his mom if he wants to get baptized. Juan is 20, but older than me. Claudio is 20 as well, and older than me. We also go out with Gid, who is the Bishop´s son, who is 16.
Awesome! But why does Elder Espinoza keep sticking his tongue out in photos? I hope you don’t ever do that.
It is a habit of some Latins for selfies and other things. I don´t....
Sadly, I am out of time and will have to get back to you next week. I love you! I am doing my best to write more and get you more pictures. I haven´t been the best about it, but we are working hard. It is exhausting sometimes and there are other moments when you just are exhausted but things keep going. Thanks for all of the support. I will get back to you next week!
Yes, lots of things happen and I am happy you are willing to just go and do what the Lord asks of you and not feel bad that you might have missed an opportunity. I still keep feeling that there are missionaries there that need to serve in leadership positions, because they have not had those experiences at home and doing so in the mission will help them to remain strong when they get home. You will remain strong no matter what. You don’t need to be in a leadership position to have been a leader. You are a natural leader and others will follow your good example all the time. You are strong and faithful with a vibrant testimony and very humble and teachable. I am so very, very proud of you!!! I am proud that you don’t see it as a status symbol to have served in the office or been an AP. I love you Son! Have I told you that enough lately?
I hope that every single night you drop into bed exhausted because you have given your all to the work. I am happy with your letters. I would love to hear more of the special spiritual things that happen to you, but I know it is hard to write about those. I hope you will share them with us when you get home. I know you are having them every week. Have a super week! I love you always and forever.