Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Blue-eyed Christmas Blues

 December 17, 2014

            Today was a nice p-day.  I spent a lot of money on provisions so that I would have stuff in the new house.  We went to a massive feria (basically just street vendors selling stuff for a mile.)  
After that we laid around the house for a hour until we wrote our emails home.  I got to sleep for a little while and it was nice.  When we started our workday our appointments fell through so we resorted to contacting.

Miracle #86: through a series of slightly painful and awful contacts we ended up being late for an appointment, but as it turned out – not really because the person we were teaching showed up 1 minute after we did.

            I found out that Elder L. is a little overly optimistic as far as lessons per day go.  He doesn’t keep it too real, but that’s all right.  He is a great missionary and I think that we are going to kill it together.

December 18, 2014

           Aggghhhh, sometimes Chile kills me!  It was a good day, but so much weird stuff happened today.  We walked to a lunch cita that fell through so we had to come back to the house only to learn that the elders ate our food!!! Whatever, we still went about our day with animo.  In our lessons, we went from a good intellectual lesson with an open heart, to a lesson with an atheist who was making fun of our beliefs, to a lesson where both of us nearly fell asleep, to our last lesson with a really great family.

Miracle #87: The last family that we taught wants nothing more that to become members of the church and be sealed eternally as a family in the temple.

            One of the contacts we made today really was hard because it was with a beautiful blue eyed girl  who reminded me of someone at home.  I barely maintained my missionary mindset and focus when she tried to get super flirtatious with me and my companion.  She said she loved English and that wanted to learn more English.  We asked her what words she knew and then she told us that she only knew one word…KISS. I leaned over to my companion and whispered in English, “Of course she would know that word.”  It was so hard for Elder L. to focus, and me too, but whatever.

December 19, 2014

            Today we walked about 7.5 miles according to my pedometer.  We were on our feet for about 7 hours, but we did have great lessons today.  In the morning we went to teach English to a girl, but as we started she told us that she wanted us to explain our missionary lesson in Spanish.  It was great. Another lesson was also great because the young man that we have been teaching told us that he knew the Book of Mormon was true and because of that he knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the church was true.  That was a great moment for me and worthy of the miracle of the day, but then we went to teach a man who used to be an atheist.  During the lesson he turned and asked me why I was here on a mission.  We got on the topic of my situation with my Dad and his cancer and then my miracle happened.

Miracle #88:  Our investigator said the closing prayer at the end of the lesson and in it he asked that my dad would be healed from his cancer.  It really touched my heart.

December 20, 2014

            Today was weird.  We did my least favorite thing - morning contacts …. Followed my most favorite thing – insanity workout.  Then we went to work on a service project with the other missionaries in our zone.  I met a lot of new people and I really got along well with an Elder from Honduras, Elder Castro, who is just a great guy.

Miracle #89: We got to play charades today with a deaf Jehovah’s witness today. That was really a lot of fun. 

            We are getting along well as a companionship and the only problem that we are having is that Elder L. says a lot of things that are the exact opposite of what all the amazing elders in my last house said.  So I am a bit confused.

December 21, 2014

            Rough day today.  Church was good because I played a musical number and that turned out really well all things considered and I had fun doing it.

Miracle #90: A young woman, who we have only taught once, and her grandmother, who we have never taught, came to church today!

            So, I didn’t get to do my personal study again today and it is ticking me off.  I really look forward to my study time and I need it especially as a new missionary.  Instead we ended up walking around all day long.  We did end up caroling to a hospital which made my day much better.  It also made me want to be a doctor, like my dad’s doctor is, and reach out to encourage my patients in times of suffering.  I saw so many people who just wanted to see a smile and hear a song of joy.  I felt great love for those people.

December 22, 2014

            We pretty much contacted all day long again today.  My feet hurt!!!  But on the upside, we actually had a lot of great contacts. 

Miracle #91: A Chilean actually ACCEPTED our offer to help him! We helped him set up his Christmas tree.

            Other than that, our day was kinda chill.  We has a call to repentance in district meeting about pride.  Yeah…it was my call to repentance. Why does it have to be so hard to be humble.  On a lighter note, I found out today that I am illegal and could be deported J

December 23, 2014

            This is going to be the hardest Christmas ever for me!  Today we spent most of the day contacting again.  We did have an English lesson with the girl who came to church on Sunday  and afterwards we taught her about the Plan of Salvation.

Miracle # 92: She is more interested in the gospel than in the English lesson.

            We basically sang carols for all of our contacting today.  Elder L. and I got along really well all day long until we got in the house at the end of the day.  He doesn’t respect my opinion at all. I am going to have to learn how to not care about myself.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


December 10, 2014

It was a really short p-day today because of our mission-wide Christmas activity this Saturday that we are getting ready for.  We prepared until 3 o’clock today and didn’t get to relax at all. Despite our crazy schedule, somehow everything worked out.

Miracle #79: NONE of our citas fell through and that was awesome!

         This sector is really starting to pick up. We have about 20+ lessons a week now.  Personally I am shocked at how much progress I have made in the 12 weeks of training.  I feel like I have had exposure to every missionary experience that there is except for baptism. I know that this does not happen for every missionary, but I have been really blessed to be with my trainer and in my area for the past 12 weeks.

 December 11, 2014

         Today was pretty good.  This morning was really fun because we had to lift a closet up through the back of the roof and through the window of the zone leaders.  It was really entertaining to work with the elders and figure out how to get the job done. Our miracle of the day was when we were contacting.

Miracle #80: We were talking to a man who gave us water and when he asked how long we had been here in Chile, he was really surprised.  He said that my Spanish was excellent.  This just confirms that the gift of tongues is real!

         Other than that, we didn’t have too much happen today.  I smashed my knee on a door today when Elder Oscarez opened it right in front of me.  It took a huge chunk of flesh out of my knee and it hurts like a beast. Also I got shocked by our super ghetto electrical outlet.  220 volts can really make you jump!

December 12, 2014

         Wow, another good day today. We really ended up jumping back and forth with our citas because all of the people were super flakey.  Our first cita was awesome.  We were teaching our little German lady about the plan of salvation and I was bearing my testimony, but I was using a words, “I believe and I feel.”  She stopped me and asked me, “Why aren’t you saying that you KNOW these things are true?”  It made me ask myself that same question and it made me think about how each thing that we say is interpreted by our investigators.  We have to be able to testify very clearly in language that is well understood in order to be effective teachers.  In the end of the lesson, I bore the most sincere testimony that I have ever given.  I said, “ I don’t know many things, but I do know this, God is our loving Heavenly Father who knows us each individually and he has a plan for us to return to Him….(and many other things that I am too tired to write.)”

         Our miracle happened when we met a random person on the street selling cologne.

Miracle # 81: I stopped to buy cologne and just started up a conversation with the vendor and as it turned out, he and his wife are both very receptive less active members who do not show up on our registry!

December 13, 2014

         I am at the 4 month mark today!  Wow, tie is flying by so much faster than I thought that it would.  This morning Elder Soulier was still super sick so we weren’t able to go to the Christmas activity in the morning.  I decided that I wanted to use my time well so I cranked up my missionary tunes and did a deep clean of our entire house as a present to the other elders.  I also wrote notes to every single one of the elders in this house. It took me 3 ½ hours, but it was totally worth it!  This was my way of showing my gratitude to the amazing elders who helped me adjust to mission life in Chile. When we got to the mission activity I found out that I we missed the only movie that we can watch the entire year and it was “Princess Bride”….SHOOT!

Miracle #82: The great happiness that I felt while cleaning our house was a miracle considering how much I hate cleaning.

December 14, 2014

         Today was a day of goodbyes. I have been dead all day because Elder S. woke me up every time he had to get up to “destroy the bathroom.” He is still very sick. Packing sucks.  I hope that I don’t have to leave stuff behind, but it is going to be close.  I am going to a really mellow area. 
        We went to a Christmas concert at the temple with our investigators:

Miracle #83: Ivan’s entire family was able to go to the Christmas concert with us.

December 15, 2014

         Today was an amazing last day in my first sector.  The absolute hardest thing was saying goodbye to our investigators, especially the V. family.  Every single person was in tears (holy cow….I sound like an Hermana.)  I love that family so much, it is just weird how you feel things so deeply as a missionary.  I grew up with them as a missionary over the past 12 weeks. 

Miracle # 84: Hermana F.(the mother) said that the reason she got interested in the church again was because of me.  Not because I am awesome, but because in the beginning of my time here I wanted to express my thoughts and testify so badly but I couldn’t .  The simple struggle and faith I showed in learning the language so that I could teach her, sparked an interest and made her want to know why I felt as strongly as I do.  This was my miracle because it was the first confirmation that I have had that I was called to serve in this place for a specific time and purpose. 

         On a much lighter note, I broke the rules 3 ties today when the V. family women hugged me goodbye and wouldn’t take no for an answer.  The same thing happened with another lady who said goodbye to me.  Elder S. thought that was terrible and was super uncomfortable, but I had no issues with it because that is just how I am.  The longer I am here, the more I realize how “Latin” my personality is. I just love these people and I understand them.

December 16, 2014
TRANSFER DAY - saying goodbye to these great zone leaders and district leader/trainer and hello to my new companion was a new experience for me.  Elder Soulier has been a great trainer and example to me!
Elder Colvin always finds time to play.

         Today was a bizarre birthday! I am sure that it is pretty rare to get transferred on your birthday.  My best gift was my new companion!  I love Elder Leon!  He is incredible and despite having all of our citas fall through, we had fun contacting ALL day!  We got to know each other a little bit and Elder Leon says that I speak Spanish with a Spain accent.  I can’t figure that one out at all!  He told me that his goal for me was to give me a great South American accent!  Elder Leon is from Colombia and he is fluent in English which is really awesome for me because I am going to be able to learn so much Spanish from him!!!  He is a great guy and I am very lucky to have him for a senior comp! 

Miracle #85: We found a girl who speaks English and is interested in taking the missionary lessons.

         I am exhausted!  It is not just the rigors of missionary work, but I also haven’t been sleeping very well lately (probably because my companion has been so sick.)  I think that I am just going to be tired for the next two years of my life.  I was so tired a week ago that I literally fell asleep standing up on the sidewalk. I might be the only sober person to have ever done that. But, I am so happy with my new area, comp., housemates, and house.  I am looking forward to my first phone call home next week.  It is exciting that Sister (Taylor) Colvin is going to be home with you for Christmas. The elders in my house are nearing the end of their mission and they were looking through my family photo album and thought that Taylor was pretty cute ---- freakin’ trunky elders! 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Last week of Training

December 4, 2014

         Today was another really great day.  We did have to do stupid morning contacts which do absolutely nothing but waste our time, but our next appointment was with a little German/Chilean lady whom I love.  She chewed us out because we were a little late, but I love the fact that she is punctual because NO ONE else in this country is. Our miracle of the day was with a young 19 year old kid.

Miracle #73: This kid just walked up to us in the street and told us that he wanted to learn about our church.  We took down his address and we were able to teach him in the house of a member that lived nearby.  He was really interested in what we taught. We had a very spiritual lesson with him.

Before insanity
After insanity - I LOVE it!
December 5, 2014

         Today was another nice day.  We had some good service that gave me blisters and was a great workout in addition to insanity.  We had lunch with I. today for the second time and it was fun talking to his family and trying not to look at his daughter (the one who makes me forget my Spanish).  We got into two new homes today which makes 5 for the week.  Our miracle happened today when one of the youth of the ward went with us to contact a  young man named L.

Miracle #74: L. wasn’t home at the time of our visit, but as we walked back we recognized L. riding a bike and we were able to talk to him.  We were able to make an appointment to help him do some painting tomorrow.

         I met Elder O. brother who got permission to come and do divisions with Elder O.  The coolest part was that he literally did not believe that I still haven’t finished my training yet.  I have been working so hard on my Spanish fluency that it is gratifying to know that it is paying off.

December 6, 2014

         Today was soooo bad.  First off we  walked for hours and hours today.  It was awful. 

Miracle #75: It wasn’t very hot today.

         Our day started with a service project at 9:30 that was ove a mile walk and the project failed.  We then did a workout and studied until the service project with our contact from yesterday.  That was also another mile walk and it turned out that they didn’t really have much for us to do.  We just basically visited with the family for way too long.  Then we walked back to the house and finished our studies before going on divisions.  This was another mile walk at least to another sector where I walked around for 2 hours trying to make contact with less active members.  Man what a long day… and to top it off, we were fasting.

December 7, 2014

         Today was only slightly less sucky than yesterday.  First off, Elder Colvin is not a happy camper when he is fasting. Elder S. might as well have been dealing with a PMSing sister. I was ticked all day pretty much.  The only time I was okay was during the 2 lessons that we taught.  After Church today there was a baptism but Elder B. goofed up and overflowed the font. That turned out to be the best part of my day. My miracle occurred during the First Presidency Christmas Broadcast.

Miracle #76: I was able to practice the piano for 25 minutes while the stake presidency tried to figure out how to get the audio feed working on the broadcast.

         After they figured it out, we listened to 1 talk and then had to leave because it was already 10:45.

December 8, 2014

         Hoy fue bueno! We got into 2 new houses today to show the church’s new Christmas video, “El es la Dadiva”.  I had a great time.  Our miracle was just cool.

Miracle #77: We walked past a group of socializing women and decided to go back and talk to them.  They let us come in and they watched the Christmas video with us. It was great!

         We had a ridiculously fun night tonight. The funniest thing was when we were in the street and some of the kids who hand out at night wanted to talk in English.  They wanted us to teach them a phrase in English so Elder O. came up with the best idea.  He taught them to say “Baptize me!”  It was hysterical having the kids running all around us yelling, “Baptize me!”

         Also we decided to hang all of the ties that we bought in the shape of a Christmas tree.  Then we bought lights and strung them on the tree.  Elder B, C, S and I surprised our zone leaders by lighting candles and singing a Christmas song as they walked in the door.  It was fun.

Christmas Tie-Tree
Our "tree" with lights
December 9, 2014

         Good day today! 4 lessons, 1 argument, 1 make-up session, 1 companionship inventory.  Yep, a pretty interesting day.

Miracle #78: We passed by an investigator’s house who is rarely home and he was actually there.  We taught a lesson and set an appointment for a return lesson.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Another GREAT week!

I forgot to take pictures of my journal this week...sorry Mom.  I  think the time is starting to just fly by here! It's really a lot better now that I can understand and speak a little Spanish.  Other than a rough night with two latin missionaries who talked about girls for an hour, it is all good.

Enjoy pictures from today's beautiful fun p-day at the zoo! When I was little my Mom tried to get all of us to learn Spanish and we spent a fair amount of time with computer programs, tapes, and CD's with songs and games in Spanish.  I clearly remember one tape with a song entitled "Momma's taking us to the Zoo tomorrow." The song taught us all the names of the zoo animals with and the animal sounds they made. I did restrain from making animal noises, but I was a pro at the names!

It has been ages since I have been to a zoo, and I loved it. I think that this zoo has a thing for collecting albino animals as you will see. 
The exhibits were all really natural and beautiful. 

My Mom's favorite animal!
We have these in my backyard at home

some sort of large South American rodent?
(A week later...)
November 26, 2014
         We had fun today! It was a free and very chill p-day. I don’t know how other missionaries always run out of money before the end of the month.  I have around ¼ of my funds left each month and I don’t feel like I am being overly conservative.  Other people just have no clue how to manage money. My favorite part of p-day, and reliably the best part of the week, is getting in touch with my family.  Other than that, we spent the rest of the day contacting. The miracle of the day was when Elder S. sent his package and we got stuck at the post office for over an hour.
Miracle #65: I held an hour long conversation with a Chilean woman and understood 100% of the conversation.  It was so nice!
November 27, 2014
         I am loving having the Insanity workout to help me with my excess energy.  On the days that I workout, I am much calmer and happier. The only gross thing is that I sometimes have to stop because the floor gets slippery from all the sweat.
Today I was on divisions with the zone leaders and it was pretty decent.  The miracle of the day was when in the lesson with M. we taught the law of tithing.
Miracle #66: Maria said that she would pay her tithe after her baptism.
         The funny moment of the day was when we were painting with the V. family and I swear those children painted me with more paint that the palets that we were painting.
November 28, 2014
         We had a pretty fun day today! I started by hurting every single muscle in my body with my workout, and then doing service.  I love it when service is physical and hard.  The miracle of the day was only for me I think.
Miracle #67: For he third time on my mission we knocked on a random door and were let in to teach an actual lesson to a nonmember.
         We ended up having some really great contacts in the end of the day and it was actually entertaining.  Usually contacting is a drag, but it was fun today!
November 29, 2014
         Today Elder S. got sick and I had a miracle.  They actually go hand in hand.
Miracle  #68: Elder S had to be in bed for most of the day so I got to sleep for 2 hours!!!! When I woke up, it was the first time in my mission where I haven’t  been tired.
         I did get to go on divisions with Elder Kimball and teach a little bit
But all it all it was a boring but dang good day.
November 30, 2014
         I ate so much food today!  It started with pollo (chicken) and all-you-can-eat french fries at lunch. Then we had a cita and they gave us a bunch of sopapillas, and after that we had dinner with our favorite investigator who fed us even more delicious food then gave us an entire pie! I am pretty sure that I just undid a whole week of insanity.  The miracle of the day was thanks to Elder S. 
Miracle #69: Elder S. decided to go by a less active members house and it turned out that she had been having a really hard time because her grandmother is dying. We were able to give her comfort when she needed it most.
         The funny/creepy thing of the day was when one of the sisters in the ward decided to breast feed in the middle of sacrament meeting and ummm culturally there just isn’t any need for modesty.  Then she did it again in class and let me tell you that I am not yet accustomed to this custom.  I know that Parker warned me, but nothing prepares you for that.
December 1, 2014
         Nothing too much happened today.  Just did divisions and contacted a ton without any results.  Kind of a lame day.
Miracle #70: Our appointment with the evil seminary teacher fell through and I didn’t have to deal with that drama.
         I am really starting to love Spanish.  It is tough some days but I like it a lot.  I especially love to study Spanish and learn unusual vocabulary and phrases.  I also love to practice which I think helps me to learn quickly. 
December 2, 2014
Today was so good!  It is incredible to have super sucky days like yeaterday followed by stellar days like today.  Today was just full of miracles like the fact that we taught 6 lessons in one day!  Our really surprising miracle was when a man came up to us and said “Hola Elderes”, which is actually very normal BUT:
Miracle #71: We stopped to talk to him, he turns out to be a member, but his mother is not and he wanted to set up an appointment for us to teach her!
         The other amazing thing today was our lesson with I. about the word of wisdom.  He was basically testifying of what we taught.  That alone was great but then at the end of the lesson he gave us a bunch of references without us even asking!
December 3, 2014
         Today was busy and fun!  We went to Chile’s biggest zoo today and I  had a great time.  Our miracle had to do with the marine show:

Miracle #72: We had been given the show time of 1:30 but we all decided at noon that we couldn’t stay that long.  Then we got a call telling us that we could change to 12:30 and it was totally worth it!
         We somehow got in to teach at 2 houses that we have never been able to teach at before.  It was great. This week is my “test” week because I am the leader in the companionship.  It is just what they do in the last week of training.  It is crazy to think that I will be finished with training and in a new area with a new companion next week.  Anyway, the week is going fine so far.  The funny moment of the day happened when Elder S (who is very tall) smacked his face into an overhead sign.