Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Trunky for Transfer

 February 11, 2015

         Today was another really relaxed p-day.  I tried to not get irritated by the stupid conversational topics of the other elders today.  I did not blow up even once.  I did try to respectfully try to change the way we talk to/address each other and the things that we talk about.  I am getting tired of being referred to as dude and bro amongst other much more inappropriate titles.  It didn’t work, so I am just going to quietly lead by example. 

Miracle #142: I didn’t get irritated when I was the only one cleaning the house today. 

         The funny part of the day was going to an investigators house who always talks about her husband who died 20 years ago.  I walked into the house and thought 2 things: his body must still be in the house because it smelled so bad, and oh my goodness, that couch must be his coffin!
Sites on my way to get my Visa
February 12, 2015

         I can sum up today in one sentence. We woke up way to early to go to do my visa, stood in lines for way too long, and I ended up way too tired.  I almost fell asleep in both of our lessons today.

Miracle #143: S. accepted a date and seems 100% committed to be  baptized!

         I am so tired that I don’t even want to write the funny experience of the day, but I will.  We were walking on the sidewalk and I walk around the corner ahead of Elder Leon.  Out of nowhere I hear him laugh.  When I asked why he was laughing, he said that he ran into the wall as he was turning the corner. 

February 13, 2015

         Today was rough but really really good.  ALL of our citas fell through except one, but we found 3 new people who we were able to teach.  One of them was my miracle.  We contacted a ton and near the end of a long stint we found someone named J.

Miracle #144: J. had an experience 5 years ago where he died but was revived with an implanted artificial heart.  He now believes in God and is looking for his path.  He loves to read and is eager to learn. 

         The fun part of the day today was when I burned my 6 month tie.  It is a sort of a weird tradition that missionaries burn a tie at 6 months, a shirt at a year, pants at a year and a half, and a suit at the end of their mission.  I am not going to burn my suit, but the tie burning was quite entertaining. 
6 months out

February 14, 2015

         Today was quite possibly the LEAST lonely Valentine’s Day that I have ever suffered through.  Don’t get me wrong, it still sucked, but it had nothing to do with it being V-Day, or as my sister says “Singles Awareness Day.”  We had 2 citas and both of them fell through.  It’s really hard to think of a miracle for today.  I think that it would have to be in English class tonight.  None of our regulars came to class.  We put up some flyers in the stores here and our miracle came from one of those.

Miracle #145:  T. came to our class because of the flyers and was not only willing to learn English, but she was also receptive to our message.

         The fun part of the day….tough one today.  I would have to say that the fun part of the day for me was doing insanity workout followed by service this morning.  I really like feeling physically spent at the end of the day.  Tonight, my body feels really tired!
While people at home are making "snow angels",  I am making "sweat angels!"

My feet after a FUN service project!
February 15, 2015

         Even though today was really good, I am ready for the next transfer.  My comp elbowed me freaking hard in the ribs today.  I got a little ticked, but I just shut up and did nothing to retaliate.  I have learned that I cannot completely trust my companion so I have to watch what I say and do very carefully.

Miracle #146: I finally see the truth in the advice of my uncle and my siblings about missionary behavior and politics, and I am learning to be a lot more careful.  Hopefully I won’t have to get burned too many more times to learn my lesson.

         The funny part of the day was when we were talking to two very high guys on the street.  It was really entertaining because high people are VERY talkative, giggly, and nice.

February 16, 2015

         Today was a lot like yesterday except today I felt the Spirit more. We had really great lessons where I am pretty sure that the spirit gave me some new understanding and perspective to share in the lessons.  The missionary work is great and I love the people we are teaching. 

However, the last three weeks of living in this house are going to absolutely suck. Once again the district elders ditched me while we were eating.  So, I just studied on my own and decided that I need to pray for help to not get angry with my companion.  As I prayed, the other elders barged in and started yelling and messing around, even after they knew that they interrupted me.  It is very depressing to get angry during a prayer for help.

Miracle #147: J.G accepted the baptismal invitation today!  AND he also taught me some guitar!

         The funny part of the day was when I went to the shoemaker to pick up my pair of shoes and I just started talking to him.  He asked me if I liked Chilean girls.  I told him that “I am actually blind to girls right now.” Then I told him that I am a missionary and so I focus on the Lord right now and not girls.  However, I am a man after all…so it is hard to be completely blind.

February 17, 2015

         We walked a lot today! Citas fell through…again, and we looked for new people to teach, which surprisingly we found. All and all it was another mediocre, sweaty, hot day in Chile.  I need to get a backpack ASAP because my back is killing me and I have got to figure out something.

Miracle #148: I found a guitar in my house which is great, but it is also against the rules so I am going to have to give it away, but until then it has been fun.

         The fun part of the day was in the morning I felt my very first earthquake.  It was only a 5.6, so it was tiny (more of a tremor), but still entertaining.  To describe it, I would say that it felt like the earth was shivering.  It made quite a lot of noise to be honest!  All of the houses were shaking and clattering. It was very fun.

Eating healthy and keeping fit!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A lesson in Humility

February 4, 2015
Today was a pretty good P-day.  It was a huge rest for me.  Elder Ware and Elder Leon went to the Buin Zoo while Elde Diaz and I just chilled, read, and slept.  Sooooo nice.  Elder Diaz and I also went to la Cisterna to get some new Mate cups.  We got really cook wooden ones and we also got a good lunch.  After emailing we went to work.  We had 2 decent lessons and next to no contacts. Our miracle of the day was with G. and her previously unreceptive husband (actually they are not married).
Miracle #135: This investigator participated in our lesson and he also gave the closing prayer
February 5, 2015
         Today I almost didn’t write in my journal.  I decided to take the time though, because I have been on my mission for 6 monhts and I have never skipped a day. Today I did a special division with Elder Castro.  He is an elder in my zone who doesn’t get along very well with the other missionaries, but he gets along very well with me.  It was a lot of fun, especially in the evening.
Miracle #136: I actually have a friend in the mission field! PSYCH, Real miracle: one of my morning contacts stopped us later on in the day and asked us to come and teach her.
         Elder Castro and I went through all of my ties and I gave him a bunch of them and also threw out the ones that I don’t like.  I think that I still have over 100 ties.  It is absolutely ridiculous – but I love it at the same time.
February 6, 2015
         Today was really bad.  Every single appointment except for one fell through.  We ended up contacting a ton, which was all right I guess. We visited EVERY plan A and plan B and ALL fell through.  Our miracle was during our division with a member.
Miracle #137: We ran into a person that we have been looking for for a very long time and they want us to come and visit with them tomorrow. 
         The funny part of the day was with morning contacts with Elder Castro.  I was all happy (actually I was faking it) and I said, “Hi, how are you today?” to this girl and she didn’t move a muscle or respond at all.  I thought that she had earphones in so I told that to Elder C.out loud and then looked closer and saw that she was just ignoring us.  She heard everything we said but was so grumpy that she would not even say hi.  Haha!
         Oh, another experience happened today when I got a little upset with the other elders during lunch.  Don’t worry it was actually respectful and tactful believe it or not.  The other elders were speaking in English except for Elder Vasquez who doesn’t speak any English or understand any English.  I said, “How can we have a unified district when our conversations are not inclusive.  It is rude and thoughtless to leave Elder V. out.” 
February 7, 2105
         Today was all right. We had a good time, although we didn’t do companionship study because I was cleaning.  For me, the disorganization doesn’t bother me, but the filth really irks me.  I just clean to the point where I can stand it and then I leave the rest alone.
         Our miracle happened when one of our newer investigators shared her experience with her pastor with us.
Miracle #138: D. told her pastor that she feels the spirit more when the missionaries teach her than when she attends her church. She also told him that she like reading the Book of Mormon more than the Bible even though she knows the Bible is still very important scripture.
         The cool part of the day is that I am learning some ghetto Peruvian Spanish.  I am practicing speaking with Elder V. all the time that I can. 
February 8, 2015
         Today was irritating.  I blew up a little at my comp again today and he has been annoying me all day.  The miracle of the say was the way that I was able to cope with my irritation without losing my temper. 
Miracle #139:  Lunch was late today which gave me time to practice piano for an hour (usually I get 5-10 minutes a week).  It was AMAZING and I loved every second.  I realized after playing how much better it makes me feel.  I miss that part of my life so much.
         We had a service opportunity tonight to help some members move a bed. We had to move it upstairs and it wouldn’t fit up the staircase.  We ended up taking out part of their staircase to get it up there.  It was really fun for me to work on a project like that. 
         The funny part of the day was in a lesson with our unmarried investigator couple.  I did not feel it was the right time to teach the law of chastity but my companion did.  So he taught it in a very awkward and uncomfortable way.  The guy we were teaching was sitting next to me and for some reason started patting my back.  As he was patting me, I let out a good sized belch accidentally.  Our investigators laughed and laughed which was good because it cut the awkward tension in the room. 
February 9, 2015
         Today started out ROUGH!  I am just dang tired of the way things are going in our pigsty/house.  Everyday I get more fed up with the other missionaries with all of their talk about girls and “deep “ doctrine and stuff that missionaries shouldn't really be focused on.  I usually just try to keep quiet and separate myself to do something else, but I am feeling pretty lonely in the crowd. So today I had an interview with the president where I learned that  I have a "reputation" for losing my temper.  I love President Cook because he doesn’t condemn me for ANYTHING.  He is very kind and patient and he wants to help me overcome my weaknesses.  He is willing to give me a blessing and to do a special fast with me. 
So it is cool with my President, but outside of his office, I have no idea what to do.  I am stuck.  I am pissed and the other missionaries, and I am even more pissed at myself because I don’t feel like a missionary. I don’t want to have the temper that I do, but I have seen minimal changes in this aspect of my life.  I just don’t think that I have the strength that I need to finish this mission.  I feel done, or at least I felt done before today’s miracle. 
         I was really feeling awful after talking with the president and I just wanted to pack it up and go home.  Seriously, I was miserable. When I got back to the house, I separated myself from the other elders and just sat to think about my situation.  I had no hope and decided that I had to get help from the Lord to figure it out. Basically I just begged to know what to do and expressed all of my thoughts and feeling to the Lord including my thoughts of leaving the mission.
Miracle #140: While I was praying I go ta distinct answer to read my scriptures in 2 Nephi 2.  After my prayer, I read that chapter of scriptures, in which Jacob was feeling so downtrodden and abused by his older brothers that his father, Lehi, gave him a blessing to help him to know of the love of the Lord.  As I read this passage, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of support and love of the Lord.  He was pleased with the efforts that I am making even though I am not perfect and he wants me to keep trying and continue my work.
         After my miracle, my day was really good.  I learned that I have to rely on the Lord a lot more than I have been doing in order to finish this mission.  I have to pour my heart out to Him more often so that he can help me.  And, I have to keep trying no matter what.  I can’t promise that I won’t lose my temper every again, but I want to work on it.  I want to be a trustworthy, hard-working, devoted, and loving missionary and person. Humble would be nice too, but after today I am feeling super humbled so I think that I am getting there. 
February 10, 2015
         Today I felt really good.  Even though it was not a very good day, I was still happy.  There was a ton of funny points that happened today.  My miracle of the day was with a really frustrating contact with a lady who only wanted to argue.
Miracle #141: I felt like I needed to contact her and I didn’t know why especially after she was so aggressive. Right as I was about to give up, a man walked in and said, “Hey, I am a baptized Mormon and I want to come back to church.”  It turned out that he set appointments for us to return.
         One of the funniest parts of the day was when we were walking down the street and saw some people sitting upstairs on a balcony and talking. We decided to contact them and as we climbed the staircase to the balcony and turned a corner, they all just ran inside to avoid us.  Elder L. and I had a really hard laugh about it. 
We are starting to do better with our relationship.  The biggest thing is that we are working on talking to each other with respectful terms and without sarcasm. The missionaries in the house are also working on using more respectful terms and have finally cut out the use of the N-word. Things are improving AND I only have three more weeks of this transfer.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Service and Spiders

Service project - digging latrines
January 28, 2015
         Today was a super chill p-day. Basically we just chilled all day and it was great.  The really helpful part of the day was when I got dang good advice from my family.  Seriously, my family is way more helpful to me in hard situations than some of my leaders are.  I am very grateful for the particular family that I was born into.  We have a different way of thinking which can be challenging at times, but ultimately it has really blessed me to have people who understand where I am coming from. 
         Our miracle happened when our investigators were faced with opposition.
Miracle #128:  Our investigator defended the church and The Book of Mormon to an evangelical who was telling all kinds of lies about our faith. We were blown away by this investigators courage and faith.
         The funny part of the day was during a lesson with a family.  The father started ripping into his teenaged son about being lazy. It reminded me of my mom getting after my little brother.  It is funny because with good kids, like my brother and this Chilean youth, everything usually works out and the parents don’t have to stress as much as they do.  I look at my little brother now and he has figured out how to work and is doing great. 
January 29, 2015
         Wow, today was tiring.  We has weekly planning which ended in a teensy bit of bad feelings after companionship inventory, but we got over it quickly.  Today, ALL of our appointments fell through and half of the people we contacted could have cared less about our message.  The miracle of the day was with our young friend F.
Miracle #129: F. went on his first divisions with the missionaries and all of our appointments fell through, including our backup appointments.  So we contacted, and F. LOVED contacting which is amazing to me. 
January 30, 2015
         Today was fun. This morning we did morning contacts (I hate them!) I am tired and so grumpy when I do them.  The people are never/or almost never receptive.  Anyways, afterwards we painted for service (again).  That was fun and it was a good change of pace.  We also did divisions today and I was with Elder Diaz who has even less time in the field than I do.  It made me more confident in my Spanish.
Miracle #130:  I was able to either understand or communicate 100% today.  That gave me the ability to help Elder Diaz and some of his investigators.
         The funny part of the day was when we were walking to our lunch in our service clothes past opened a fire hydrant.  It was irresistible in this heat and another elder and I ran through it.  WOW…fire hydrants spray a lot of water.  Super fun!

January 31, 2015
         Today was exhausting!  It started with insanity workout, then was followed by a ward service project where only the missionaries showed up.  It was fine though because we went to a really poor ladies house.  She was so poor that she doesn’t even have a bathroom.  She and her 2 year old son  use a corner of their yard.  It was so sad.  She started to make a latrine, and had a 3 ½ foot deep hole dug, but she ran into some big rocks and had to stop.  Well I know a thing or two about digging holes in rocky ground since that basically was what my Eagle project entailed.  It took us a long time to pry MASSIVE rocks weighing easily 100-150 pounds out of the hole.  We spent 3 hours there and made very little progress. Elder Ware and I had to work together to get one of the rocks out of the hole.  I hauled it up to chest level, then Elder Ware jumped in the hole and helped me hoist it out.  SO TOUGH! 

          After our service project, we ate a huge lunch and then started our fast.  It has been really hot lately and I am hurting for water…it was a rough fast.
Miracle #131: F. is doing missionary work on his own time.  He took us to the houses of some of his friends and it was really great!
February 1, 2015
         Today had its ups and downs. Most of the day I just decided to follow my companion because he has been complaining about me trying to control what we do.  In a nutshell, we walked super slow and only contacted a very few people.  Don’t get me wrong, Elder L. is a hard worker, but he just works differently than I do.  He does not do spontaneous contacts well, which is my strength.  He is a very good teacher in scheduled/planned lessons.  He is not in a hurry to go anywhere, and I like to fit as much as I can in a day. I want to have more companion unity but he is not all that interested.  I have decided to chill out and see if things improve.
Miracle #132:  One of our investigators gave us quite a bit of food to take home, including my absolute favorite… grapes. I love them!
         The funny point of the day was when I looked at the chore list for the week and there were zero chores done for my housemates.  I am resigned to just do a little everyday to keep my area tolerable.
February 2, 2015
         We had a good day of contacts and lessons.  We contacted after lunch and found a very receptive family who let us teach them.  We then basically went from appointment to appointment contacting and teaching.  Our miracle was with a family with a son who is so sick that he can’t move or think.  It was so sad and it made me think that this boy is about as sick as my dad was when he was in the hospital with his stem cell transplant. 
Miracle #133:  The father of this family was 100% humble and open to receiving the gospel of Christ.  He is really searching for the things that are lacking in his life.
         The funny moment of the day was when a lady we met on the street yelled at us, “I don’t like your religion, go away!” Then within 5 minutes she came up to us and asked us to visit with her.  Bizarre!
February 3, 2015
         Today was hard, awful actually.  Not because of any companionship problems, but because all of our careful planning fell apart.  It was not fun.  The redeeming moment was when F. accompanied us for 3 hours and loved all of it despite how crappy it was.  As great as that was, it wasn’t my miracle.  Our miracle was with S. who just got back from a long vacation.
Miracle #134: S. read The Book of Mormon while on his vacation, and finished 1 Nephi. 
          We did manage to have some lessons and we did do a lot of contacting, so it wasn't a total wash.  The most fun part of the day was playing with spiders.  F. taught me that there is a spider in Chile that makes these little holes/burrows. If you touch the rim of the hole with a pencil, the spider jumps out ridiculously fast and grabs your pencil.  It FREAKS me out so bad every time…it is really entertaining.