Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Two weeks to Take off

July 13, 2016
    Today was the official 23 month mark of my mission.  Elder Asplund had to say goodby to all of his old sectors today.  In this mission we are allowed to use our last p-days to say goodbye to people.  Next week it is my turn to go see a few select people.  This morning, I did a lot of exercise so I felt good all day long.  It was weird going to visit with people that I didn’t even know.
Miracle 704: One of the families offered to give us lunch which was good we wouldn’t have otherwise had the time to eat.
    After the whole thing, we went to write and drop by the church to print up a list that we have been working with, but our list wasn’t there.  It would appear al though someone deleted the list from the computer.  Luckily, my comp is computer savvy and he was able to find the old version and with just a little bit of work, he restored most of the document.  The funny part of the day was buying and playing with laser pointers that are so strong they hit hills more than a mile away. 
July 14, 2016
    Today was long and slow.  This morning we had a very laborious weekly planning that mostly consisted of chatting and adding a bunch of people to our area book.  After adding all of them, we went to the chapel to do some list work and back to the house for lunch. We has a nightmare lesson with M. because he was pouting virtually the entire time.  We were supposed to have our English class at 6A:00,. but no one ever showed up so we just wasted an hour.
Miracle #705: For the first time in my memory, I went to an old investigator and we go back tomorrow.
    The funny part of the day happened while playing with a dog using my laser pointer.  The dog was having a blast playing with the light and at one point it stared barking at the light  Wanting to see if I could get the owner to come out to talk to us, I shined the pointe on the door making the dog bark at his own door.  Just as I got bored and stopped, the dog’s owner opened the door and quickly yelled at the dog to shut up whipping out a quick kick.  The poor dog.  I felt badly for getting him into trouble.
July 15, 2016
    Today we had a good and frustrating day at the same time.  This morning, we had a decent lesson with Hermano N.  Afterwards we went to the church and did a little more computer work.  Hermano N. gave us a phone that is exactly like the other missionaries have.  Our phone is a piece of junk, so we switched it out.  I was really happy.  For lunch we had what was quite possible the WORST lunch I have eaten in my entire mission. I think that it was chicken liver sauce over rice.  It was so nasty that I had to swallow it without chewing or breathing. 
Miracle #706: We were with a member and I was impressed to go by to see a specific person.  He was home with his kids which was very unusual because he is often away for up to 3 weeks at a time and he is not usually home during the daytime.
    The crazy part of the day was seeing a guy who I assumed was dead.  People were shoving him into a taxi.  Apparently the police took the guys kids away from him so he decided to burn his house down.  The entire neighborhood put the blaze out with buckets and hoses. The guy was trapped by the fire and was passed out from smoke inhalation. I guess that the taxi was faster than an ambulance. It was pretty intense.
    Our last lesson of the day was with V. and his family.  It wasn’t our best lesson, but even at that they were so receptive that it turned out fine.
July 16, 2016
    Today was long.  Elder A. and I started making a powerpoint presentation to teach the mission how to make the list of members that we have been working with to help us find people to teach.  The list has worked very well and we have been able too send out over 60 names and clean up our ward list a lot.  The only problem is that it has taken hours and hours to make only half of the presentation. 
Miracle #707: We went to do contacts and for the first time in the entire week, a contact was nice to us.  They actually gave us juice and cookies.
    The fun part of the day was cleaning the church.  it was the ward missionaries day to clean the chapel.  Excluding the full time missionaries, there should have been 7 people there to clean.  Only one actually showed up on time and ironically that one person is the most irresponsible person int he ward.  It was a fun time because the cleaning crew consisted entirely of 20 year olds joking around and cleaning. The funniest part of the day was when my comp fell asleep in lunch.  He was exhausted today and was like a zombie.  We really didn’t work as hard as we could have today.  We are both loosing steam.  Pretty much every time we tried to contact people today, they were absolute jerks to us except for our miracle.
July 17, 2016
    Today was a good end to the week.  Church itself was not the best because V. and his family didn’t end up coming. It was a little bit of a let-down.  We did have a little lesson with them today in the afternoon which turned out pretty decent.  After teaching them, we went to some people who we haven’t taught for a while and last of all we walked far out inner sector to go see if a few people on our list lived there. Not a single person that we looked for lived there anymore.
Miracle #708: This morning I was super grumpy at church and it got to the pint that I was feeling angry.  I found somewhere to be alone so that I could pray.  The irritation just disappeared and I consider that to be a miracle.  It is incredible to me that God loves me enough to answer a prayer for something so insignificant.
     The funny part of the day was eating double lunches.  The first one was with V. family. We only ate it because we had not been able to confirm the second lunch appointment.  Then after we had already eaten, they called us back to confirm.  It was so hard to eat again, but we didn’t want to offend anyone.
July 18, 2016
     Today was a good day.  In spite of not having hardly any planned lessons it was pretty okay.  The most interesting part of the day was contacting this super stubborn guy who was ridiculously focused not he fact that you have to guide yourself based on what the word (Bible)says.  When we quoted the scripture in John 4:2 that says that the Holy Ghost will teach us the truth of all things, he just argued with us  and said, “No, the word of the Bible is more important!” (facepalm)
Miracle #709: Hmmm that is a hard one today.  Probably finally finishing the powerpoint that we have been working on for way too long.
    The funny part of the day was watching a little bit of a show called Brain Games and it was talking about anger.  Every time a new aspect of anger was discussed I thought to myself, “that happened to me just yesterday” or “well that sounds very familiar.” It was pretty funny trying to teach the last lesson of the day because i was trying to focus on the needs of the person that we were teaching while my comp was plodding through the lesson.  Also I tried to chase down a garbage truck and got garbage all over the street in the process.
July 19, 2016
    Today literally everything fell through.  We had 7 planned lessons and not a single one worked out.  We walked all day long and just couldn’t find anyone home. 
Miracle #710: The last 2 hours of the day we were very tired and sore from walking all day long, but we were blessed to be invited into houses for these last tiring hours of the day.
    The funny part of the day was probably when we were so bored that www just decided to protect a poor lady’s female dog that was being attacked by a large group of male dogs.  A Colvin boot in the butt is a big turn off.  The girl dog was super grateful and followed us around for nearly an hour.  She was a really sweet dog.
    We gave the presentation about our MLS today and it went well.  the other cool part of the day was finishing our part of the list of less active members.  We have now confirmed ALL of the people in our ward.  Other that that, today was a very trunk day.  I did not want to be on the street at all. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Endure to the END

July 6, 2016
    Today was the last p-day where I had to do and activity that I didn’t want to do. We went to estacion central and I got one last souvenir for everyone.  Overall, I literally spent about 40 minutes doing my stuff. 
Miracle # 697: I. stopped working in his little store so he may now have more time to go to church.
    The funny part of the day was also very frustrating to me.  When we got to I. house, he was watching a movie and instead of helping me teach or ask to turn off the movie, he made me do it.  To be fair, I got sucked in a little bit before coming to my senses and getting to work. 
July 7, 2016
    Today was a pretty good day.  This morning we had a little breakfast and study with another missionary house and it was weird because everyone was looking up to me and my companion for how much time we have in the mission.  After that, my comp and I did our weekly planning and had just the usual swell time.  We didn’t argue too much so that’s good.  Most of our plans fell through, but there were a few tender mercies today.
Miracle #698: During our lesson that we had in our chapel, a member just randomly came in and we invited her to participate and then convinced her to go with us to the lesson afterwards.  First divs of the week.
    The funny part of the day was lunch at the bishop’s house.  It was one of those “you have to be there things”, but we were all laughing like crazy.  The bishop’s crazy RM son was laughing so hard that he began to cough and then vomit. 
July 8, 2016
    Today we had a meeting with all of the missionaries who are going home this next transfer and the goal of the meeting was to motivate us to keep working.  Unfortunately, when we got out of the meeting and back to work, we had a fairly crappy day overall. Most of our plans fell through and the ones that didn’t weren’t that good.
Miracle #699: We got baptismal clothes for M. and they actually fit!  Usually you have to frantically search at the last minute, but we were on top of it this time!
    The funny part of the day was probably setting up for the ward activity that the ward mission program is putting on tomorrow.  It was funny because they turned on the radio in the chapel and we all dancing around like crazy to some pretty vulgar techno crap. I was pretty bothered by it.
July 9, 2016
    Today was a long day.  This morning M. had his baptismal interview with Elder Dowdy and passed.  I really love that kid.  He is super spacey, but is a very sweet and genuine person. After the interview, we did a few things in the chapel and went to lunch.  We were supposed to go and make food for the ward activity at 3:30, but we waited for over an hour for someone to show up.  The family in charge of making sopapillas showed up a half and hour after that.  The activity was supposed to start at 5:00, but everyone got there at 6:00.  The activity was called Jacana Sudamericana and it was basically tons of food from a bunch of South American countries. Everyone just stuffed themselves and I got super sick from eating food that I am not used to eating. After the activity, we had to clean the chapel and the baptismal font for the baptism and for church tomorrow.  I was in a very bad mood going our to work this evening because I felt sick from over eating.  Elder A. was very patient and tried to help me out.
Miracle #700: Asplund was inspired to go to a certain house and when we got there, the guy that we were looking for wasn’t home, but his son was and his son was super interested in our message.
July 10, 2016
    Today was really long.  No one came to church except for a Haitian man we contacted in the streets during our consecration week.  We had a ward mission meeting even though our ward mission leader didn’t come, and we had a ward executive committee meeting as well.  After church we went looking for 6 people, none of whom were home.  After church we went to a small lunch and I was shocked by what the family was watching on TV.  I am not ready to return to that part of life.
Miracle #701: It was raining and we had not plans, but we went to a new investigators to get out of the rain.  They were home and let us in out of the rain. Also, Manuel got baptized today!


 The funny part of the day was when Elder Morales didn’t baptize Manuel correctly, but the bishop said it was fine so they didn’t redo it.  Elder Asplund suggested that they do it again, but they ignored him.  Oh well, the bishop is in charge I guess.  It has been a long time since I have had a baptism in my ward let alone my sector.  Even though it has been a decent week over all, Asplund and I are getting tired.
July 11, 2016
    Today was a long one despite being good.  This morning I was doing my exercises a little later than I should have when my companion made me feel guilty so I quit.  I hurried and got all ready to go on time, when the office called and told us that we had to stay in to receive a couch.  Ugh. After another in house lunch, we went to work with not much on our schedule.
Miracle #702: Despite not having any real lessons planned, we got a lot of lessons in with people that we have not seen in a very long time.
    The funny part of the day was lunch when my companion said he wasn’t hungry so I ate alone.  But when the other elders got home to eat, he was all of a sudden starving, so we spent another hour joking around and eating. The other funny part of the day was walking into a house with a Brazilian telenovela on.  Not gonna lie, the girls in that show were absolutely stunning.  I was a LOT a bit hypnotized.  It was funny because we were with an RM of less than a year and all three of us we just stunned by the women in that show.
July 12, 2016
    Great day today! This morning we had district meeting and I had divisions with Elder Crane.  For lunch we went to Aracely and ate with J.  He taught me quite a few native expression of Chile that I wish I hadn’t heard.  Today we just had lessons and members with us all day long. First, I got mixed up between two Byrons in our ward and called the wrong one to set up a division. It caused a rather amusing confusion which took a while to resolve.  After that, we had a few lessons wth Aracely and one was really incredible.
Miracle #703: We went to visit V., one of the contacts from our consecration week and had one of the best lessons of my entire mission.
    Instead of telling the funny part of the day, I just want to explain the lesson in more detail.  We basically got there and had to wait for V. to get home in order to teach.  When he got home, we started chatting and he asked what “restrictions” we have as a church.  I very briefly explained the law of chastity and then we went right into the lesson.  He asked some excellent questions and the spirit was really strong. It was one of the very few lessons that I have taught where the Spirit told me that I needed to ask him how he was feeling.  He said that he felt at peace and when I asked if he had ever felt like that before, he said, no.  He got very emotional and we were all overwhelmed with the power of the spirit.  We testified that it was the Holy Ghost testifying to him of the truths that we taught.  At that point he and his wife looked at each other and said, “Well, it looks like we are going to need to get married.”  I almost shouted for joy.  Missionaries live for lessons like that one.  If marriages could happen faster here in Chile, then they could be baptized by the end of my mission, but that is very unlikely.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Consecration Week part 2

June 29, 2016
    Today was a very long day.  This morning was super long and quite unproductive. We literally had no lessons until 5:45 and that was rough.  In the end of the day, we had a few really good lessons.  With on of them we had to frantically make phone calls to get another man to accompany us and it turned out to be worth the trouble when he made all the difference in the lesson.
Miracle #690: Today we passed by another family that was on the list and it turned out to be someone that I taught when I was with my trainer.
    The funny/trunky part of the day was receiving my flight itinerary and seeing that after a 28 hour travel day which include two very long layovers, I am going to be home on August 2nd.  The reason it is funny is that Elder Ashland flies with me to Atlanta, but then he leaves to Seattle on a flight that departs 5 hours before mine does.  He will get home to Canada before I get to Seattle.  Actually if I took Asplunds flight to Seattle, my folks could drive me home and get to Spokane about 2 hours before my plane arrives. Ridiculous.
June 30, 2016
    Today was fairly decent day, but all of our plans fell through except for one or two appointments.  The morning was pretty slow, but we did find more work to do in the ward on the computer.  After that we did a few contacts in the feria and went to a few lessons who just fell through completely. We ended up walking a ton today and we spent well over an hour putting up flyers for English class. 
Miracle #691: We had been working for a long time and really needed something to work for us.  I was praying to get something and the very last house not he block turned out to be the answer to my prayer. Cool Kid.
    The funny part of the day was probably when we shot off Hermana Nanculeo’s cap gun.  It was pretty dang loud because it was made to imitate a real gun.  Also, I made the mistake of eating some sugary treats today and have been craving sugar all day long, and am just too tired to resist.  I didn’t think that I would be this tired on day 4 of consecration week.  Only 3 more days to go…we can do this!
July 1, 2016
    Today we were absolutely wiped out.  Overall it was a good day, but because of our exhaustion, the lessons were not as spiritual as they should have been.  In the morning we tried to do morning contacts, but the rest of our district was late so the bus stop that we were going to contact was dead.  We had a decent lesson with M. and J., but it was a long day.
Miracle #692 All of our planned lessons worked out in the end.  Honestly, if they had fallen, I think that I would have died.
    The funny part of the day was just how tired we really were.  At one point, we HAD to sit down to rest and make some calls.  It was also funny when someone tried to tell us that they couldn’t accept the Book of Mormon because they are from the South?!?  What does that have to do with anything? We have meetings with the new president tomorrow morning so that should be interesting.
July 2, 2016
    We had a weird morning this morning.  At 10 AM we had a special conference with the new president, President Gwilliams.  I thought that it was going to be a really cool conference, but it ended up being a get-to-know-you thing. We spent like 3 hours just presenting everyone and I really didn’t care for it at all.  It sucked up our entire morning and in the afternoon we had a hard time in the work.  Our first lesson was also our best lesson even though I didn’t say much. 
Miracle #693 We were finally able to set up and pull off a family home evening with Maxi’s family. 
    The funny part of the day was telling jokes with Maxi’s family.  Some of them were super innocent, but others got a little bit out of hand.  It was also funny when I thought that it was 10:30, but when I got home it was only 9:30.  During the entire walk back to the house, my comp. knew what time it was, but didn’t tell me.  Me managed to squeeze in one last lesson right before we got home.  I am pretty ready for tomorrow.  It is my last monthly story telling time (testimony meeting) here in Chile.
July 3, 2016
    We are DONE! We worked 100 hours in 1 week.  I don’t think that I have ever done anything that exhausting in my entire life.  The week was full of miracles and it turned out to be the “best” week in both of our missions.  The week has been both super long and super rewarding at the same time.
Miracle #694: Using the list of members in our ward, we went to a supposedly less active members house only to learn that she didn’t live there anymore, but miraculously, the woman who lives there now is an inactive member who was receptive to our message.
    The funny part of the day was the FHE that we did tonight.  After the message and refreshments, we started to play a ton of games that have to do with thinking and observing.  The family got so frustrated that it was entertaining.  To me, the other funny part of the day was hearing our district leader’s reaction to our numbers for the week.  He thought that I was lying and gave me a hard time for a while. It was really pretty funny.  I was pretty happy with seeing the results of working our butt off.  If I had to say one negative thing about the week it would be that not studying for a whole week made a huge difference in how I felt at the end of the week.  I need to keep up my scripture study habits when I get home!
July 4, 2016
    Well today was sure a lot slower than we have been used to.  This morning we had a super lazy morning of cleaning and studies.  After a week of no exercising, I almost vomited while doing Insanity.  All of our lesson just fell through today and it was a little slow. 
Miracle #695: Somehow, after 1 good night’s rest, I feel recharged and ready to work.
    The funny part of the day was probably the fact that one of our crazy people that we teach, ran away to the south.  I was really worried about her until her twin told me that it was the 4th time she has done it. 
    Something that was definitely was not funny was cleaning the grout in our bathroom that probably hasn’t been cleaned in a year.  It was absolutely disgusting. 
July 5, 2016
    Today was a pretty good day.  The morning I barely got up the energy to do my workout and it totally wrecked me.  After lunch, we hit the streets and went to our lessons.
Miracle #696: It was one of those days where our plan A’s all fell through, but our plan B’s all worked out and we found 2 new investigators that we had been looking for during the past two weeks.
    The funny part of the day was in the last lesson of the day when the family’s dog started playing with us and before I knew it, he was peeing on my shoe.  I resisted the urge to kick the little rat across the room but remembering that I am a missionary and have an image to keep up.  Elder Diaz and Elder Aedo were on divisions tonight and a gringo came over, so for the first time in a very long time (over a year), I was in a house full of gringos.  It made me trunky for sure! Being so close to the end, I find my mind wandering and thinking about home a lot more than I should.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Consecration Week

June 22, 2016
    Today was a pretty dang good p-day for me even though it was sad.  It started off with a really meaningful service project at a members house from another stake.  Our entire zone went to help them rebuild their completely burned out house.  They lost a teenaged daughter in the fire.  I cannot imagine the pain that that family is going through right now.  Doing real service for people in real need is very meaningful and fulfilling.  I was designated at the wrecking ball of the project while the other elders had to clean up the mess that I made. 

Miracle #683: The rest of the family made it out of the fire alive.  It could have been much more tragic.
    The funny part of the day was watching the game between Chile and Columbia with the bishops family.  I simply do not understand how people can get so excited about a sport.  I can understand playing soccer and watching it, but when you start yelling insults at the other team, it is overkill. The other hilarious part of the day was playing with an electronic zapping machine thing that Elder Alsplund has.  It makes your muscles involuntarily contract at varying frequencies. We tried different muscle groups and the funniest one was the side of the neck.  We were laughing for 30 minutes straight. 
June 23, 2016
    Today was a fun day with my comp.  This morning we has our first planning session and we decided that next week we are going to do a consecration week which is where you have the goal to be out of the house as long as you can.  Our goal is 100 hours for the week. In order to do this, we have to leave the house every day by 7:00 am and eat 30 minutes lunches, and return home at 10:50 every night.  We also have to do a shortened p-day.  I have always wanted to try to do one of these weeks but have never been able to do it.  I am really excited about next week.
Miracle #684: All of the 4 people we taught today accepted a commitment and that made my companion super happy.
    The fun part of the day was just talking to my comp all say in the street.  For most of the last year of my mission, I haven’t really talked to my comps.  Of course biking between appointments prevents talking.  I am glad that I have Elder Aspland to talk to here at the very end of my mission.  We are going to finish together and finish strong.  It was pretty funny today when both of us got stuck for a few minutes watching a show that a member had playing in their house.  Usually it is just one missionary that gets sucked in and then their companion pulls them away from it.  But in this case, we were both mesmerized by “Independence Day” with all the action and explosions and stuff…oh boy!
June 24, 2016
    We had a good day today.  This morning we did a few contacts and then went to the church to print up a list of members.  We had the biggest lunch of every month with a member who usually makes a very large amount of awful tasting stuff. But today it was really good.  We ate broccoli and beans which came back to haunt us later in the day.  In the afternoon we went to the temple with B. and her mom, R, and her little brothers.  It is really a great thing to be able to take the people that you are teaching to the temple. 
Miracle #685: The biggest miracle was getting R. to go and do baptisms for the dead for the first time in her life.  She was super nervous, but she had a very positive experience. I was really happy to be able to help the ward in the temple today.
    There was a funny part of the day that was also a miracle of sorts.  We had to run back to the church to grab our phone and a guy asked us if he could use the church bathroom.  We let him in and then we also taught him a lesson.  We got his reference and everything.  The other super funny part of the day was when my comp. just destroyed the temple bathroom with “broccoli and beans”.
June 25, 2016
    Today was all right. This morning we did contacts in the fair with a pendon and it was quite successful for me.  After that, pretty much all of our plans fell through.  Our lunch was and enormous hassle that I would have preferred to miss all together.  After lunch, we started a companionship fast and went out to work.  Elder A. has a hard time with urgency, but for me it is not even worth bothering him about.  We walked around trying to introduce him to all the ward members but of course, no one was home.
Miracle # 686: We has a plan to teach someone, but I forgot where he lived and so we went to another person.  Then a little after we visited with that person, I remembered where plan A lived and when we got there, he was just pulling into his driveway. 
    The funny part of the day was when a guy came to us and tried to convince us that we should burn the Book of Mormon because if we didn’t, we would burn in Hell.  The other funny part of the day was when I walked up to a guy I know who was working with a friend an I just asked him how he was.  The friend just interrupted and obviously wanting me to go away just rudely said, “We are working right now.” Yeah if you don’t laugh at the daily rejection, you might just cry.
June 26, 2016
    Today was a good day.  In the morning, we had quite  few of our people actually come to church and one of my dreams from the beginning of my mission came true.
Miracle #689: Every since my training I have wanted to be able to see Maxi receive the priesthood and today that dream came true.

    The funny part of the day was how few people were in the street for the final of the Copa America.  Literally there was NO ONE.  It was pretty fun when some super chill people gave us some meat.  The celebration when Chile won the Copa America for the second time ever in history was pretty HUGE! 
    We are working super hard this week, but I am very low on energy.  With effort and faith, hopefully we can see miracles happen this week.  I am actually pretty trunk thinking about the fact that I only have 5 weeks left, but I want to work my butt of and forget about home if possible.  To be honest, I am so tired that I am worried about lasting to the end.  I can’t wait until I can rest.
June 27, 2016
    Today was an incredible day of work.  We started our consecration week by leaving the house at 7 AM and working all day long without stopping or going back to the house.  We spent basically 10 of our 15 working hours contacting.  We ended up pulling off a staggering 9 lessons in one day.  As far as quantity of lessons go, today was a record for both of our missions.
Miracle #688: All day long we were using a ward list to try to find members and even though we didn’t find very many, we actually found a ton of new people.
    To me, the whole day was super funny.  Elder A. is a funny guy. One more than one occasion today, dogs were barking at us and Elder A. would look and me and say, “on the count of 3 we are going to chase them.”  Every single time we chased after the dogs, they got scared and just booked it off the street.  By the end of the day, we hurt pretty bad from all the walking and chasing. My knees and back and feet are killing me tonight.  But, I feel super happy about how the day turned out.  Elder A. is one of my favorite companions because he makes everything we do pretty fun. You never know what he is going to do. On top of that, we teach really well together.
June 28, 2016
    Today was another miracle filled day.  I can’t really fathom why we are being so blessed, but we have has a ton of miracles.  This morning we started our 15 hour work day doing morning contacts that weren’t super productive at all. After that unsuccessful hour, we went to the chapel an did some list work on the computer discovering around 20 less active members to visit in our sector and about 520 in the other elder’s sector.
Miracle #689: Through a weird series of coincidences, we were standing outside of a ladie’s fence and SHE came out to contact us.  She is prepared for the message and she told us that she wanted to go to church.
    The funny part of the day was searching for member on our list and not finding her.  At 9:30 we went to a lesson planned with a future investigator and as it turned out, the investigator lives with the less active member that we were looking for!  We then proceeded to have a very good lesson with 2 people who understood more about the gospel that anyone else I have taught in a very very long time. She literally explained to us every principle that we wanted to teach her.  I am not kidding when I say that I haven’t been this excited to work for a long time!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

My New/and Final Companion

Lot of Goodbyes this week.
June 15, 2016
     Today was an exhausting p-day.  As a zone we went to play soccer (big surprise).  This time we played on a full sized field and I also played which is a rarity.  I ran all out for pretty much a solid hour.  I have never been able to run for long periods of time, but I surprised myself and outran everyone today.  I was pretty excited that I had that kind of endurance.  We played for so long that everyone else was getting leg cramps. After soccer, we shopped and then went back to the house for lunch.  We all crashed pretty hard.  I slept for just over an hour….so nice!
Miracle #676: The referrals in this sector are amazing,  We went to a referral this evening and he let us in and had a really exceptionally spiritual lesson.
    The funny part of the day was teaching Elder Diaz some calisthenics.  It is also pretty funny to see the latino get super intense about their soccer which contributes to making soccer no fun.  I got super trunk while signing up for U of U classes online today.  It stressed me out a little bit to try and figure the whole system out, but I got a very good schedule and I am excited to start studying.  Thinking about the future scares me a little bit, to be honest.
June 16, 2016
    Today was an okay day.  This morning we had 2 lessons planned. One of them was super far away and of course it was the one that fell through.
Miracle #677 Four people came to the English class because of the flyers that we posted.   Hopefully more will come next week.
    To give a little summary of the day: I fell asleep in a lesson with M, who we are preparing for baptism, we held our new English class, we taught a lesson to a ridiculously prideful family, and we finished off by visiting a recent convert whose brother has leukemia. We had decent lessons.
June 17, 2016
    Today we did divisions with the DL and I learned a lot.  He is not a very patient person and pretty critical of me, but he gave me some good tips  The day in and of itself was only decent. Right after meeting up for divisions, we went to look for a member who helped us out in a lesson. Maxi also wanted to go with us and we let him since there was another adult member coming along.  That was a pretty funny and crazy couple of hours.
Miracle #678: For the first time in a while, I really felt the guidance of the spirit telling me where to go and who to contact. Both of our good contacts were like spiritual double takes.
    The funny part of the day was how much the DL scoped out the girls.  The leaders of this zone are really good missionaries with the only exception  being that they are very girl crazy.  When I was in Portezuelo, I learned to basically stop seeing girls completely, but when I got here, it was a topic of way too many conversations in the zone and the house.  It has really affected me adversely.  I am not a huge fan of the leadership because of this.
June 18, 2016
    Today we did a lot of contacting and it went fairly well.  This morning we did contacts in the feria and had some decent referrals as a district.  When we got back to the house, I accidentally fell asleep until lunch…no one woke me up.  Because of the nap, I was actually more sleepy all day long.  We did have one lesson, but after the lesson, we just contacted all day.  My comp and I talked a lot today and things are going a lot better.  He is really a good person, and he tries so hard. 
Miracle #679: In the very last contact, my companion took the initiative and found an inactive member, who got baptized for his girl friend, who now wants his little kids to learn about God.
    At the end of the day a few people gave u some good food/desserts and it was hard to turn it down. Let’s just say that the other missionaries benefit from my diet.  I also thought it was funny that the elder who life in the sector next to ours had to go home early because there is a major gang war going on in their area.  The stories coming out of that sector are pretty good. 

 June 19, 2016
    Well I learned that I am going to have one more companion.  Today I was really paying attention to how Elder Morales works and he is like a new missionary!  He has progressed leaps and bounds since I met him.  It was so cold today that the work was a little bit hard to do.  No one really wants to talk to missionaries on a good day, but when the weather is bad, forget it.  My comp. will be leaving this sector, so we spent some time saying goodbye to a few people.
Miracle #680: I. called us to invite us to come over and eat a little something so that we could get out of the cold.  That really helped to pick up my companion’s spirits.

    The funny part of the day was probably making a few videos for Elder M.’s parents and showing our love for him by enforcing our new rule that if he makes his pouty 3 year old face, we will “gently” punch him in the arm.  His parents probably thought that we are abusing him, but we all find the rule pretty fun, including him.  The other funny part of the day was trying to resist/redirect everyone at our lunch appointment who wanted to look up my home city and see where I lived.  I really have avoided this at all costs because there is a big discrepancy with the lifestyle that I grew up with and the lifestyle of the people I work with. 
June 20, 2016
    Today was the longest day of goodbyes EVER.  We started off the day by helping I. with a hedge that he has outside of his house.  After trimming the bush, we had to practically run to get to the district meeting on time.  When we got there, the elder with the church keys was late.  A member picked us up early from the meeting to go to a lesson with some difficult twins.  We thought that the lesson was going to go poorly because they have been hard before and because of the conversation that we had leading up to the lesson, but we were wrong.
Miracle #681: The twins paid very close attention to the lesson and I distinctly felt the impression of what to say.  Later they confirmed that it was the message that they needed to hear. 
    The funny part of the day was when C. (the wacko member from Capitan Avalos) came with the Perez family to bring us some food (sell us food technically.) Without even noticing, he managed to get upstairs to MY room and take the mattress off the frame and shove in the bathroom.  It was super fun seeing my 2 best friends from Capitan Avalos.   They are going to go to the airport when I leave. 
June 21, 2016
    Today was a huge surprise.  My new companion is Elder Ashland.  When I was in Capitan Avalos, I lived with him and thought he was super weird, but now I really like him. Today was the most comfortable day of work I have had in a long time.  Elder A. is from Alberta, Canada.  Actually he lives way outside of the city.  Teaching with him is super easy. 
Miracle #682: While we were contacting doors, a lady walked past us and I felt like I should talk to her.  So I did.  We went to a nearby park with her and actually taught her a real lesson.  It was great.
    The funny/lame part of the day was the fact that my new companion goes home from his mission at the exact same time as I do.  This means that 2 brand new missionaries to this area will be replacing us.  It might be a little difficult to keep the energy up at the very end, but we are both pretty excited to work hard for the rest of our mission. The house is already more entertaining at night than it was before.  I was kind of hoping for a companion who would do exercises with me, but that is not going to happen.  In a little over a month I will be home.  The end is coming super fast.  I am excited to go to school and start that new chapter.  I found out today that Elder Anderson will also be going to the U of U. 

Elder Asplund trying to camoflage himself with his backpack.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

President Cook's last Conference

June 8, 2016
    Today was a super relaxed p-day.  We didn't really do anything other than buy our stuff, sleep, and exercise.  That and clean the house.  Actually, Elder Diaz and I cleaned.  The whole day was pretty dull actually. 
Miracle #669 We ended up being able to find and internet cafe.  The other real miracle was learning that my trainer met my son in the MTC in Provo on E. Huaiqinirs last day there. 
    The funny part of the day was quite possibly working out with Elder Diaz tonight. He can;t take its ll so he was collapsing the entire time.,  This last Sunday, the bishop gave an assignment to one of our less active members to speak in church. Tonight we learned that he has been so nervous that he hasn’t been able to eat.  We were able to calm him down and help him write his talk. 
June 9. 2016
    Today was a pretty different day.  this morning I did my insanity for and hour and a half, followed by some yoga.  I barely made it to my personal studies on time, but I did.  I don’t think that my legs have hurt this badly for a very long time.  We had morning contacting wth the posters in the Feria, an that wasn’t very good.
Miracle #670 We had a division with a member who I used to got on divisions with in the beginning of my mission.  We had a great lesson.
    There were a few funny parts of the day today.  One was the results of the lunch we ate today.  We were given lentils and they had a very harsh effect on my intestinal tract.  My comp. definitely suffered. The other funny part of the day was when we bought sushi which came with wasabi.  No one realyliked the wasabi so we played rock paper scissors to see who would eat ALL of it.  I lost.  It was not good.
June 10, 2016
    Today was a day.  This morning we came to the conclusion that we needed some help from the zone leaders with our “companionship.”  We ended up having a very long conversation with was full of lots of good suggestions.  Elder M. is a good kids and he tries so hard, but everything is really hard for him.  Work was hard because Chile played in a major soccer game today.  The streets looked like a zombie apocalypse hit.  The only real productive thing that we did before the game was offer and ask permission to put up flyers about an English class.
Miracle #671 The conversation we had as a house made today a lot more enjoyable.  Also we found a person to visit with during and after the big soccer game.
    The funny part of the day today was probably running home at the end because we were short on time.  For probably the first time in my entire life, it was easy for me to run.  Not so easy for my comp. though. I told hi to tell me when he got tired so that we could take a break, but he waited until the breaking point where he was wheezing and puffing.
June 11, 2016
    Today we spent a lot of our day putting up invitations to our English class that we are starting.  It was kind funny because we made the invitations in the time that we are supposed to be doing our missionary correlation meeting.  Our ward mission leader never showed up to the meeting, so we made use of our time to make the flyers. We wanted to put an American flag and a Chilean Flag on our posters, but the internet is so perverse that we couldn't even look those things up without garbage coming up online.  I am not ready to face that when I get home.
Miracle #672 To me, it has been an absolute miracle to live in the same house as Elder Diaz again.  Talking to a friend really helps in good times and bad.
    The funny part of the day was probably being in a lesson and not being able to keep my eyes open.  For a solid 15 minutes my comp tried to control the direction of the lesson and it was rough.  We made it through.  Tonight was the priesthood session and President Cook’s counselor gave a really good talk at lightening paced Spanish.  It was super engaging and powerful.  Right after that, the stake president spoke and it was the complete opposite.  He spoke very slowly with long pauses for dramatic effect.  It was a snoozer. 
June 12, 2016
    Today was a better day.  Elder M. and I talked a bit more about how to improve in everything that we are doing,.  He made lots of straight up excuses for why he was doing things he shouldn’t be, or not doing things that he should be.  Now I understand why it would tick my Dad off so much when we would make excuses or lie to him.  Trust is such an important part of a working relationship.  The good thing about my comp is that he was able to express himself and his doubts and concerns.  He has the desire to to the right things and that is super important.  I realized that I have learned a ton today when I surprised myself at not reacting, over reacting, or correcting.  I just listen and took it all in.
Miracle #673 We had some really good contacts while we were chatting.  Not only do we have good futures, but I understand my comp a whole lot better now.
    The funny part of the day for me was during a family home evening lesson that we had.  We used a really cool example with a match, a wet piece of bread, and water.  If you put the piece of bread in a dish of water, then put the match in the bread like a candle, and cover it all with a glass, the vacuum created by the burning match sucks up all the water. Using Matthew 6:33, you can compare this to centering your life on the light of Christ and all the rest just comes together. The funny part of the activity was when the object lesson almost failed due to the staleness of the bread.  In the end it worked out.
June 13, 2016
    Today was a pretty dang good day.  This morning we left before 7:00 to do morning contacts and miraculously I took out 3 referrals in an hour.  One was for our mission, one for our sector, and one in another mission.  We came back to the house and did our studies.
Miracle #674 In every single lesson today we had a member present!  For the first time almost a month, I felt the strong presence of the spirit while teaching a lesson.
    The funny part of the day was playing the game in family home evening we held today.  It was the game where you fill a bottle cap with water and then pick a topic.  One person gets the cap and walks around to he other people in the circle who try to say a different thing that fits the subject.  If someone repeats or guesses the thing that the person with the water guessed, then they get a face full of water.  Everyone got wet and seemed to have fun. 

 June 14, 2016
    Today was the longest conference of my entire mission.  It went from 10 AM until 7 PM.  It was evident that this was the President’s final address to us.  His message was based on what WE needed to do when we got home.  (REALLY!) I think that he wanted to leave his last words of advice with all of us. Not going to lie, I got more than a little bit trunk from listening to him.  The other trunk part was listening to the elders give their final testimonies who are only one transfer ahead of me!  I must admit that between this conference and the online orientation for the U of U, I am not exactly focused on the work.
Miracle #675 Today was the first zone conference that I didn’t fall asleep in.  That and I was super spiritual and emotional.
    Today was more spiritual than funny. I am extremely grateful for the time I have been able to serve with President and Sister Cook. Today they were asked a question and the answer sent tingles through me.  The question was, “How do you measure your success out here on the mission.  The response was, “We will measure our success in 20 years when we can see your activity and service in the church.”  I cannot even imagine who I would be or how I could have made it without President and Sister Cook.
    There were a few things that really stuck out to me from the conference.  1. When President Cook talked about arrogance, he made a few comments that impressed me.  One was that arrogance and pride do not approve of diversity: in race, in opinion, in abilities, and in work ethic. An arrogant person does not value what others have or can do, only what they have and can do.  To illustrate this principle, President Cook said that only men plant lawns, God plants meadows with all the implied natural beauty.  If I can internalize that, I think it will really help me in my life.  2. The second thing that I learned was that repentance only redeems us from the eternal consequences of our actions not from the temporal ones.  3. The third thing that I learned was that everyone in their lives will have a crisis  of their faith…kindof scary.
    When President talked about doubts and how they can challenge our faith, I started thinking about my own faith and doubts.  I have never and never want to let them influence the firm belief I have that this is the church of Jesus Christ and that HE is at the head.  I know that because of Christ’s atonement, I have been forgiven of my errors and strengthened in my weaknesses.  I am a little bit nervous for then next stage in my life because it really is intimidating.  But I have a great family to help me out and God wants my success more than anyone.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Rainy and Cold Again

Flooding in our apartment.
June 1, 2016
    Today was a fairly decent p-day.  Our zone played soccer again, but I helped with a tiny barbecue that we decided to do and played around doing some calisthenics.  The activity lasted a long time, so we didn’t have time to do much else.  I bought everything that I really need for the month except my weekly fruit.  It was pretty weird getting an email today from Mom about the details of my school registration and the classes that I am going to be taking.  It is freaking me out a bit how fast this is sneaking up on me. 
Miracle #662: This last week my Dad took a hard fall over the handlebars of his bike, which to me is miraculous because had that happened to him right before I left on my mission, he might have been seriously hurt.  His recovery in just 2 years has been remarkable/miraculous to me.
    The funny part of the day was probably when one of the kids from a family we teach came running downstairs with a bottle of shoe-shine and started polishing our shoes for us.  At that moment, I realized how long it had been since I polished my shoes.  They definitely needed a good shine and it was just kind of nice to have this little service given to us.
June 2, 2016
    Today was rather a dull day.  This morning I did minimal exercise and had a fairly normal personal study.  Our comp study wasn’t the greatest.  After weekly planning, we went to lunch where we stayed for way too long. I guess it wasn’t that big of a deal because it was raining heavily and very cold, and we didn’t have any appointments. No one will open their doors for us when the weather is like this.  After lunch, we had a lesson with a super ADD little kid and his family.  My comp wanted to lead the lesson, but he wasn’t dominant enough to control the situation and in the end it turned out poorly.
Miracle #663: This evening the whole house got together and helped to clean up.
    The funny part of the day was when I heard one of my ex-missionary leaders cursing about one of the sister missionaries.  It was really so shocking that it was funny to me.  I can’t really thing of any other funny things that happened today.  Well, I guess that it was kind of fun to have a push up competition with a kid who is entering the Chilean air force.  He managed to do about 15 pushups in a minute and his dad did around 14, and then his MOM did the same number as his dad.  I am super proud of my Dad because he always could trash me in pushup competitions when I was a kid.  What a boss. 
June 3, 2016
    Today it RAINED. ALL. DAY. LONG!  This morning we left to do early morning contacts.  That was a cold and fruitless effort, but afterwards we had some good studies where I had time to reflect on a great conversation that Elder Diaz and I had last night.  I realized that I am winding myself up into a giant ball of stress and it is not healthy.  I need to calm down or I will be miserable in this companionship for the rest of my mission.  I don't know if relaxing is the answer, but for a little while this morning that is what we did and it helped me a ton as far as our companionship goes.
Miracle #664: We were in lessons all afternoon long which kept us out of the rain for the most part.
    We had a very interesting afternoon today. The first lesson of the day was with an old investigator who is super interested in going to church.  The second lesson was the second lesson for the referral that we checked out on Monday.  She has so many doubts about the need for a living prophet and it is probably the first time that I have taught someone with a very specific doubt.  The last lesson was actually a visit with a less active member who happened to have a friend visiting at the same time.  It so happened that her friend was someone who we had street contacted before.  She helped us out in the lesson quite a bit.
June 4, 2016
    Today was all right.  It started with a 9:00 AM ward missionary meeting that actually began at 9:45.  It was so very long, but also decent.  After the meeting, we did our studies and everything that has to do with a typical morning.  Before starting the legit workday,. we went to a lunch and it would see as though the family forgot that it was FAST Sunday tomorrow and gave us a very small lunch.  So, we had to get something to eat after our lunch appointment.  Today we contacted quite a bit.
Miracle #665: We found 3 people in the most unreceptive part of our sector.
    Contacting with my companion was almost humorously impossible today.  He just loves to interrupt me with unrelated comments.  The really funny part of the day was helping a few people get a cat out of their engine.  That was a stubborn little cat.  Apparently this cat has been bothering them for months now.  The other funny part was falling asleep in one of our lessons for a minute or two.  I haven’t done that for a long time.  It felt like a 2 hour long nap, it was so refreshing.
June 5, 2016
    Today was the coldest Sunday yet this year and in Chile, or at least in Santiago Sur, when it is cold, no one goes to church or even bothers to wake up for that matter.  The lady that we were supposed to eat lunch with makes really horrible and unhygienic food (like full of animal hair), so we made an excuse that we had lunch planned somewhere else.  We really just went home and cooked our own lunch.  We studied for a little bit in the afternoon and then we went to an open house in a chapel near here.
Miracle #666: During our entire open house, 45 or so referrals were taken out.  For our part, we got 3 in a little over an hour that we were there.
    The fun part of the day was going to visit Hermano N. this afternoon.  He made us an amazing pizza with his years of chef know-how and we had a very good conversation and lesson about repentance.  He is a very good person, but he has made a ton of mistakes that he wants to fix.  Other than that, there really wasn’t a fun part of the day.  I had to do the calls with our DL and it was hard to not get frustrated with him.  I was just being straight up with him and he went all mother hen/nazi ruler on me.  Yeah, I have been out too long to get flustered by that nonsense.
June 6, 2016
    Today was fairly decent.  This morning we took my companion to the hospital to get some blood and urine tests done because of his inability to hold his urine.  I was a little bit worried about it so I called the mission nurse and she sent us to get tests.  We were at the hospital way too long.  On the way there and back we tried to take advantage of the opportunity to do morning contacts.  Back at the house, we had just enough time to study, workout, and go to lunch.
Miracle #667:  The very last 10 minutes of contacting led us to find a super open person who invited us to come to his house to teach him.  The lame part is that he actually lives in another mission.
    The funny part of the day was when we passed by Hermano N. to pick up another pizza that he made for us for family home evening.  We mentioned that my comp had to go to the hospital this morning so Hermano N. thought that the had a sick stomach.  Right at that moment my comp. started taking a bite of his chocolate candy bar and Hermano N snatched it out of his hands and hurled it out the door into the street. The only way to describe my comps face was, sad puppy. We were all laughing so dang hard.
June 7, 2016
    All things considered, today was pretty good despite the zone training meeting that felt like a ton of reprimands for me.  They talked a lot about making the transition to the flow of the new president and having a positive attitude towards all the changes that lie ahead.  I made the comment that if we aren’t obedient to our current president, how do we expect to be obedient to our new president?  The capacitation focused on doing whatever the new president asks, but the majority of the missionaries don’t even do everything that President Cook asks. Despite that NOT fun zone meeting, we went on to have a lot of pretty decent lessons today.
Miracle #668:  Our lessons today turned out quite well. Two people accepted the baptismal invitation and one of the set a date and everything.
    The funny part of the day was when President Cook gave me a call this afternoon.  I answered pretty tentatively and when he asked me what was wrong I said that I was scared.  He said, “Elder Colvin, why would you be scared of me, you know me.?”   I replied, “ Yeah, but you are in your death throws and I don’t know what you are capable of.”  After a good laugh he explained that he just needed me to do a favor for him and give someone a call.